Today is the first day of my exile and the last day of my imprisonment. Requested by the Human Kingdom to act as an 'outside eye' and advisor, I will be one of a small number of my people among their lands, though unlike the others, I am never allowed to return home. I will keep this journal to remind me of my journey, of what I have done and document what I will do. If I am slain on my journies, it will act as my final record and testament.
I am a kinslayer, and that is how my people shall record my histories.
The tall elven woman closed the leather bound journal, something she'd bought off of one of the human sailors for a few silver coins. She slipped the cloth-wrapped charcoal pencil she'd been using to write down into the spine of the book, covered it back up in the canvas the man had been keeping it in, then placed the entire thing down into the small bag she then hefted up and over her shoulder.
She wore a simple chain shirt atop a leather jerkin, thin leather chaps covering her rugged burlap pants. Long white hair cascaded down her back as she stood and walked out onto the deck of the ship, sprayed by the salty sea as they crashed through waves toward shore. Long ears swayed in the salt-laced wind as she stood and faced out to sea, away from the city that would become her home for the foreseeable future... back toward the land she could no longer call home.
A man's voice called her back and she turned away, toward the source of the sound. A man she'd been introduced to as Cappel. "So, miss Kinslayer, I see you have joined us on deck finally." He clapped a hand on her shoulder, drawing a quiet grunt from the elf that stood easily two feet taller than he. "We need to find you a better name than that. Doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the king's new advisor."
"It is the name available to me." She glanced down toward him, then off to one of the few elven guards sent to ensure she actually reached her destination. "My old name is struck from the records. It is that or something of your own creation."
He tapped his red-fringed chin, a thin almost-beard scraggly and weak clinging to his facial features. "How about..." He let his hand fall to his waist as he considered, swaying with the motion of the ship in a way that she had yet to master, leaving the elf to brace herself against the railing of the deck. "Slaye, eh? It's mysterious and intimidating, though not outright hostile like 'Kinslayer' is. What do you think?"
The elf woman shrugged, adjusting the bag upon her back. "Slaye it is."
The ship's bells rung as they hoved to along the dock, skilled hands working over ropes to tie the ship up alongside, and within minutes a gangplank had been extended. Cranes were already being cranked toward the ship's hold to unload cargo, trading goods from elven lands across the sea. Slaye followed Cappel along the deck, passing by the elven guards as she did, drawing a sneer and a hissed 'Kinslayer' from their lips, prompting a glance from the human between the elves and a shrug of his shoulders.
A hand lifted to her face, fingers gliding over the dagger tattoos that now covered her eyes, still red and inflamed from their recent addition. They covered her from forehead to lower cheek, nearly an inch wide at their widest point, vertical across her face, a constant and permanent reminder of her crimes. She had some salve she could have put on them to dull the pain, she had just chosen not to apply it.
The gangplank proved sturdy as elf and human traveled down and onto the docks proper, bringing the pair to look up at the human city perched upon the cliffs, huge stone ramparts and ramps connecting the docks to the city proper, hundreds of feet above their heads. Waterfalls from the canals flowed down cliffsides to either side of the dock, splashing constantly into the sea. Cappel stopped short to look up at the white walls of the city, turning his gaze to the elf at his side. "Lionshield... pride of the human lands. Your new home for now, eh?" He jabbed her side with an elbow, a grunt her only response.
"Ah, speechless with wonder, I understand." He grinned, then waved her onward with a hand and continued down the dock. It would be a long way up into the city, joined by workers carting cargo to destinations within its walls or other travelers from lands abroad who'd also arrived on their ship, or even guards patrolling. While they entered, still others traveled down toward the docks, either to pick up cargo, meet new arrivals or board a ship of their own for destinations unknown.
The elven woman towered over all of them, an imposing figure in what little armor she'd been given to wear. Her bag contained meager amounts of food to sustain her until she could earn her keep as well as a single change of more casual clothes for when wearing chain and leather wouldn't be appropriate, though it was easier to wear than carrying in a bag for now. She held no weapons, not allowed even a pocket knife on her travels, though she intended to fix that as soon as she was able... She felt naked without a blade of some kind at her side.
"Advisor to your king, hm?" She finally asked as they walked up one of the large ramps into the city; it went up perhaps a third of a way to a landing with benches and enough area to rest, doubled back to climb the second third with another such landing, then the final third opened onto a gate into the city proper, the entire area covered with murder holes and archer's nests from the walls above, making any assault from the sea onto the city ill advised at best.
"After a fashion. You won't be answering to him directly, though your superiors often will. You'll be serving under a special detachment as 'outside eyes', to give new perspective to certain issues." Cappel explained as they walked, his hands swaying idly at his sides.
"And what is this detachment? What do they do?" She kept her eyes straight ahead, voice low so that only the two of them could hear among the hustle and bustle of the people traveling the ramps.
"They're one of the many adventurer's guilds based out of Lionshield. They call themselves the 'Twilight Expanse'. One of the larger guilds registered within the city and their guild leader answers directly to the king." He leaned over, whispering to her for a moment. "Some say she has a bit too much influence with him, but who am I to say." He grinned and shrugged, throwing up his hands in an exaggerated gesture. "Their Guildhall is actually our first stop. It's situated in one of the older blocs of the city, a big meeting hall and living area. You'll be staying there."
"Are they allowed weapons? I would like to get my hands on a blade."
"Well... yeah. You aren't planning to go on a murder spree, are you?" He turned his gaze up to her, one eyebrow raised curiously.
"No, but I have held a blade longer than most humans have lived. I do not feel right without a means to defend myself. I would like to own one again, as mine was taken from me." She looked to her hip, where a hilt would normally hang, then turned to continue watching where she was walking.
"That will be up to the guildmaster, I'm afraid. You'll meet her shortly." He gestured vaguely with a hand up the last ramp ahead of them. "She's to meet us at the guild hall."
"What does this Expanse do? Why do they have a detachment who answers to the king?"
"As one of the larger guilds in the city, they hold several contracts that come directly from the crown. One of those is to patrol the lands around Lionshield and take care of any problems that arise. Lately, however, several problems have come up that they have yet to solve. Rather than get the army involved, the king has tasked them with solving these problems specifically, and they've created a small force focused upon that. You will make up one portion of that force. Outside eyes, as I said."
The elf grunted quietly in response. "Fine, I suppose. I shouldn't look over a gift too critically... I could be in prison for the rest of my life."
"They take that kinslayer stuff pretty seriously, don't they?" Cappel looked back toward the dock where the boat still sat.
"We are a people who birth infrequently. To kill another is the highest of crimes. Prison or exile, and in exile I will not be a drain on our resources." She spoke in a fairly detached way of her status, voice flat. "I killed one of our kind in a fit of pique. It was an accident, but what is done is done."
"That's some heavy stuff, friend."
"Indeed it is. And that is why I am here."