Lark takes a deep breath, eyes falling closed and shoulders straightening back. The weight of her armor has never felt heavier–a part of her wishes she could just take it off, dig into her own skin and muscles and nerves and be free of it–but this is something that will always be a part of her.
She shakily exhales, can feel the burn of tears behind her eyelids but wills them not to fall. Elm trots over to her–his own armor clanking with every step.
‘Time to leave now,’ Elm says to her through the new bond that has flared to life only hours ago.
“I can’t, Elm, I can’t,” Lark says, every word keeping her feet rooted to the ground. She doesn’t know why this is so much more difficult than pulling her master’s body off of Elm’s back and burying him in the ground, but actually leaving him behind?
It feels like a betrayal.
‘Yes,’ Elm says, stepping in front of her to bodily block her view of the newly dug grave. ‘Yes, you can.’
He nudges her. And maybe for anyone else, a nudge from a two ton mass of magical horse and armor would knock them on their ass, but for all that her training is incomplete, she’s a magical knight with armor of her own, too. This is as gentle as Elm gets.
“What do I do now, Elm?” she asks, hauling herself onto his back when his nudging becomes pointed and accompanied by the thought-feeling of impatience.
He turns them around, away, but doesn’t begrudge her one last look back.
‘We do what we’ve always done,“ Elm says to her, flashes of images from missions she’s been on and those she hasn’t, the ones Elm had with her master before she became his squire. ‘We rid the world of evil and tyranny…’
”… and bring peace to those in need and honor to the Order.“ she finishes by rote.
She pauses, runs her hand down his neck. "I think I’m going to need help with this, Elm.”
Night falls, they set up camp. Well, they try to set up camp, but they can’t agree on a good spot–Elm’s criteria mainly consists of the quantity of grass he can graze on, while Lark tries to fall back on her training and find a defensible spot.
Howls, multiple, coming in fast.
“Oh shit,” Lark spits out, leaping onto Elm’s back once more.
‘Language,’ Elm chides, for all that he’s already begun galloping away.
Elm is fast–all mounts chosen the Order have to meet basic requirements and are trained to be even more impressive–but he’s mostly built for battle, not racing, and the wolves do not have panicking riders slowing them down.
Lark risks a glance backwards, sees the wolves gaining. Correction, they’re not wolves–they’re hellhounds.
Three flanking Elm’s left, two on his right.
“I don’t think we can outrun them!”
‘Well, you’re a knight, aren’t you?’ Elm snipes back, and he doesn’t need to sound so pissy about it.
Lark summons her swords–she’s not very good with her shield yet, but swords are easy enough. They appear: glowing and lavender and the last things these hellhounds will ever see.
Which is true enough; but she only kills two of them.
The other three fall at someone else’s hand.
A/N: Don’t want to burnout on DoS stuff so here’s some original fic so I don’t end up with a missed post!