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  1. - Top - End - #331
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    The Three Priests

    When the priests of Kalandor had arrived, several weeks ago, they were at first accosted at bowpoint. The Orunta orcs had never before met outsiders who were not there to kill them. Once violence was ruled out, however, the City seemed more friendly, as the Orcs were curious what lay outside their lands.

    Whenever the priests brought up Kalandor, if it was in the presence of a guard, the guard would begin to brag at length over their god. Who taught them the way of the bow, so that they might protect themselves. Frellon, it seemed, had left them in very capable hands: their own.

    The Orunta could not tell the priests when Frellon would return, but they were invited to stay as long as it took. However, when the priests became possessed, and one killed the other...

    The Orunta were not pleased.

    After much explaining, it was decided that the priests should be allowed to live. While the priests were still allowed to remain, they would notice the people were less open to them, more wary. There was an armed guard within their sight at all times now. Both to protect the people from the priests, and to protect the priests from themselves. Still, children plied them for stories from far off lands, and they were still permitted to practice their magics. In time, the incident would be forgotten, but none of the Orunta seemed interested in following Kalandor any longer, as some had been starting to consider.



    God of Honor, The call of Family

    Frellon spent the greater part of that day in a march.

    It was rather uneventfull, for he stayed within bowshot of the coast, and avoided other life.

    At sunset, he checked his bearings again, The spark he was willing to tentatively label as Carolinus, seemed a little closer. The two that just had to have been Jongo, and someone else, had jumped, much closer to Carolinus than himself.

    He drank the last of the herbs he had prepared earlier that day. He was no longer suffering quite so much, but he could go no further today.

    Frellon made camp. He wished he had some way to contact the others, but this was not the white city, his mind could not extend that far. He still wondered how Carolinus had managed that trick, but Frellon could think of nothing.

    It seemed that if he was to procure a ride, he must trust that his family would think to come pick him up. But that was the easy part. Frellon trusted his family implicitly.
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-03-12 at 07:41 PM.
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  2. - Top - End - #332
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
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    As the dragon's left Haramhold relaxed, his body shaking slightly. He had not realized how tense he had been. He was not made for battle that much was certain. Gathering his thoughts Haramhold checks to see how everyone else is doing. Jongo was alright, it would take more than a mere pair of dragons to shake the eldest. Amanda was fine, as she was already steering Green MorningStar back on course, it seems that she handled the encounter better than he had.

    "Lets take the ship as high as we can stand it." Haramhold called out to Amanda "Hopefully our altitude will discourage further predators."

    Haramhold had to brace himself against a rail as the deck tilted upward as he walked toward the exarch. When Green MorningStar finally leveled out Haramhold scooped her up in a hug, one that she returned. Haramhold breathed deeply as he loved the smell of her hair and the warmth of her body. "That was a close one."

    "Yeah, perhaps you and Jongo should have put more thought into Green MorningStar's ability to defend herself. No offense to your spear and uncle's form of the day." Amanda teased slightly.

    Laughing Haramhold agreed with her and leaving her the helm went to go check to see if Green MorningStar had suffered any damage.

    Haramhold repelled over the side of the ship repainting the hull where the dragons and the flying beasts had scratched her. When he suddenly sensed a great power rise up in the north. Someone had made a great stronghold of ice and water. Haramhold could feel how reality had bent and twisted to bring this place into existence. It was intriguing perhaps one day he could do something similar...

    That evening he was leaning on a rail, gazing out into the expansive landscape below them. They were coming up to land very soon and hopefully to his brothers.

    Looking up to the crows nest where Jongo posed gallantly with a child like innocence and wonder. It would be good to have the family back together again.

    -----------------------------------------
    The Stories of Salus
    Jack the thief part 4.
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    The strange sorcerer was named Haramhold it turned out, a fitting name I suppose. Every wizard to witch in Mum's old stories always had long ridiculous names and this one was no exception. Of course it was only after I nicked one of those enchanted spear heads when someone had the sense to tell me that they were in fact not enchanted but were made of something called I-Ron. Well that's just great I had wasted two perfectly good chickens, a salad fork and a woolen dress.

    Well this Haramhold lead all of the people out of the caves and Greg, Slied and I tagged along. After all the larger the crowd the better the pickings. But Greg and Slied did not play the game safely, they stole more than they could carry and much more than they could hide. It did not take long for them to earn a black reputation and only by the pure luck did they manage to avoid being exiled from the camp.

    Well eventually we came upon a large hill with a river flowing past one side. Haramhold decided that this would be as good as place to settle down. I thought it was stupid, it seemed that it would just take a lot of effort to haul all the water these people would need up the hill.

    Well as the years past I engrained myself into the community, I was the go to guy. I could get anything no questions asked for the right price of course. Now don't get me wrong I did not become an honest businessman, but as far as everyone knew I was an upstart citizen.

    As the population swelled so did Greg and Slied's egos. They began to lurk about making the town downright unsafe at night. Not that Baylor didn't try to catch them but that block head was as dense as the iron sword he carried at his side. Not that they were his only problems I had begun to mentor several younger orphans in my trade. Having a half dozen young kids to run messages and act as lookouts was extremely helpful.

    I think that my little merry band gave Greg and Slied ideas of their own and they soon formed a gang of their own composed of thugs that were as easily captured as they were replaced.

    Well five years went this way when we suddenly got word that those damn trolls were massing in numbers. Didn't I tell you that they were trouble? Well our dear Haramhold and his little brat rode off as quickly as they had come and good riddance. We didn't need them, not with all of the I-Ron weapons we had.

    I helped prepare the defenses with the other men, after all I had a vested interest in this place. Never in my life had my job been so easy. Well the palisade rose and all we could do was wait.

    The night before the scouts said the trolls would come I happened to be walking past the armory when I heard a noise. Opening the door I saw my favorite pair of deveants helping themselves to every scrap of I-Ron they could lay their dirty paws on.

    "I hope you weren't planning on taking all of those" I said a hint of anger in my voice "This town doesn't stand a chance without those arrowheads"

    "Why should we care what you think" Greg sneered "This town is doomed, were getting out while we can."

    "Run if you must but leave the weapons"

    Slied clicked his stump of a tongue angrily and rushed toward me his arms laden with swords. Pulling out my flint dagger I nimbly side stepped his bull rush and brought the blade across his throat. Blood spurted from the wound, covering my face and chest in red.

    Greg was not as stupid he put aside his loot before attacking me. We struggled back and forth for what seemed like hours. My dagger was soon broken along with my nose. But in the end I won out being quicker and less easy to tire.

    Standing over my unconscious foe my breath was ragged. I contemplated killing him, but I already had enough blood on my hands. It took the rest of the night to bury Slied's corpse someplace discrete and to tie up Greg in my basement. As the sun rose I groaned but still went with the other men to arm myself for the coming battle. As I waited in line Baylor came up and pulled me aside. This could not end well I remember thinking to myself.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  3. - Top - End - #333
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    The Succubus's Avatar

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    Dark Sands

    A sandstorm hissed softly over the dunes, its owner lost in thought. After the roc had set them back on the ground and reunions made, Khalen had excused himself and had set out to his starting location. The First One should have gathered enough stone to make a start on the city, he thought, and maybe even enough to create additional golems…

    Golems, however, were not at the forefront of his mind. The malevolent beings that dwelt on the Disk had struck much sooner than he had planned for – and Khalen and his siblings had been found wanting. The dark sand – which they had named The Surrusus – was mightier than the combined forces of Dasque and himself and had Faden not intervened…

    Faden. It was like him to make such an enigmatic entrance, although Khalen felt a strange sense of kinship with his somewhat dour mount. As they rose into the air, the Surrusus had followed them yet instead of striking at them, it had merely whirled around Faden’s beast before dissipating. It had shown no mercy towards his sister and he was in little doubt that had he not appeared when he did, Dasque would now be lost to them. Why had it refused to strike Faden? Was it under Faden’s control? Had Faden launched the attack? Khalen frowned. So many questions yet so few answers. He was nothing if not methodical and refused to jump to conclusions about Faden’s involvement until he had more evidence.

    Finally the dunes gave way to an open expanse of rock and Khalen saw a small hill of shaped stone blocks. Here he would make a great stone fortress for himself and his siblings, a place to plan and defend from.

    Next time the darkness struck, he vowed, they would be ready.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dallas-Dakota View Post
    Succubus gets grongratulatory cookies from me. You have stepped into the realm of puns that only the likes of Death, Your Friend the Reaper have seen.

    Posting schedule likely to be erratic for the next few weeks - sorting out some personal stuff.

  4. - Top - End - #334
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    Dark Sands

    The strange interaction between the dark sands and Faden was not lost on her, nor was how much he had changed. Still, there was too much she did not know, and for now was pleased to be alive and with her siblings.

    "Take us to somewhere there is civilization. It has been far too long."

  5. - Top - End - #335
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    Prelude: Sonata


    Oh, enviable clouds,
    At your will wandering
    Forever idle in the empty sky
    That was my home!
    Now fades and fades upon my ear
    The voices of family,
    Daily accustomed lamentation,
    And you, oh you I envy,
    white birds singing,
    From the sky-paths returning;
    Hear this moon-child's voice,
    Fit for the princes of men:
    the dance tune that makes to turn
    The towers of the moon palace
    I will sing it here and as an heirloom leave it
    To the sorrowful men of the world.


    The red moon sky burned as an eye, Sonata lay upon the grass, her eyes fixed to it's crimson circle.

    How quickly can things change from good to bad, or from happy to sad? For Sonata, who looked up at the sky, she had passed through the shriek and darkness of despair, and alone she was here, upon the disk. Where were her brothers? Where were her sisters? Among them, where was Fayruz, who had always been with her?
    Where were the spirits?
    Where was father?
    Where was home?
    All of it was lost. All of them had been strewn like rocks in the river.

    Sonata cried that night, she was certain she did. Tears had fallen around her with immeasurable numbers. But she had been silent.
    This land was silent. In muteness, the barefoot moon princess let out the anguish of her soul, but it was silent.

    Where could she go?
    What would she find?
    What had happened?

    None of these things she could answer.
    And so the silent god-child walked just as aimlessly. Hungry. Cold. Afraid. Alone. And of all of these, the most she regretted was to be alone.

    In those days, the land was still wild, and the god-child's feet and body suffered greatly in the cold and dark forests.
    But in these travels at once she started hear the sounds of the forest. The soft sound of tree leaves. The sounds of unseen animals.
    It was only a little comfort to hear such things, when she could hear the echo of the white city in her mind. The memories of the fountains, the laughter of her family, the sounds of the smiles and the colors. It was different.
    It was not the same as this place.
    This dark and cold, and empty place.

    The starving god-child, who had never known hunger.
    The shivering god-child, who had never known cold.
    The scared god-child, who had never known fear.
    The alone god-child, who had never been alone.

    She stumbled and fell to the ground, beneath the next red moon. But in her despair and weeping, there came a voice beside her.

    "A high beauty nurtured,
    tear-stained, is there ever
    a more pitiable sight?
    No, Renard has not seen such,
    Nor, such a beauty,
    Come, won't you tell
    of your troubles?"

    Beside Sonata there sat a small and smiling fox. Wearing a luxurious coat, he spoke to her in a soothing voice.
    But Sonata could not answer. Her voice was gone. And she looked forlornly at the moon. The cunning fox thought and said

    "Ah, a moon child, you must be,
    fallen from heaven
    to the low earth you sink
    and yearn to return"

    Sonata nodded to the fox, whose tail comforted her and warmed her.

    "Come and be warmed by my coat. My home is not far from here." The fox said, leading up the mountain. His manners and grace gave some comfort to Sonata, and her tears stopped falling. Still distraught, she couldn't eat. But the foxes preformed tricks and jokes of such cleverness that Sonata in surprise, opened her mouth. So she ate her first meal on the disk, and with warm fox fur, lay down to sleep. So, the ancient lullaby is like this.

    "This way, that way
    Climbing fox stairs
    to the top of Kodama
    wrapped in fox coat
    don't cry, little child
    sleep gently for a while"

    ~*~
    Last edited by Kasanip; 2012-03-14 at 06:50 AM.
    Kasanip's Sketchbook 2 Thread
    It is difficult to speak English, please excuse mistakes kindly m(_ _)m

  6. - Top - End - #336
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Ladorak's Avatar

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    Above Green Morningstar

    High above the clouds proud Green Morningstar cut the air faster then any ship will ever cut water. The noon day sun blazed warm on the faces of those aboard, adding to the crisp cold air an almost sparkling blue. Yet the noble sun was outdone by the answering message of Carolinus.

    A shimmering disk as large as Green Morningstar appeared overhead. It shone with sparkling white light and shimmering colours, bathing the airship in light like a second sun. On the disk was the image of Carolinus, the shield, the White City and the Great Disk.

    The familiar stern yet loving voice of Carolinus filled the air, drowning out even the whistling wind 'I cannot smile for you Jongo, though glad I am to learn you are safe sister-brother. My heart is heavy, for my duty and vow compels me to be at once in two places. At the side of loving sister in need of assistance and also standing before my people, so I might break the foul tide before it washes over them.
    'I had hoped with all my heart to meet with you, I have travelled far with this purpose always in my mind. Fayruz has need of our assistance Jongo and I have no manner of passage to her side, save yours.
    'But, though it splits my heart, I must turn back. Frellon is to my north west, he too is seeking you. Take him to Fayruz. I cannot protect our sister Jongo, I beg you do so in my place.'


    The lone Watchman sets forth.

    And so Carolinus set forth once again, retracing his steps until he passed Markien and keep going north. Behind him the Wardens stood close attention amid the towering black slopes of Black Buttress. The passageway had become a fortress since the days of the Bastard of the Titans, thousands of arrows and spears were secreted in hundreds of places along the higher slopes, inaccessible for the entrance. Gone were the flint and stone arrowheads used against the Children of the Shadow, now all had heads of iron or bronze. Hundreds of Wardens stood below, no longer did they fight with stone spears and slings, no longer did they fight unarmoured. Each now wore helmet, greaves, gauntlets and breastplates. They carried iron shortswords at their belts and each had several spears slung over his shoulders. Carolinus felt confident as he left Markien behind him that no harm would befall his people in his absence. He longed to stay with the men, once again stand aside them in battle. But he could not, for he could not allow even one more maiden to be devoured. A Great Beast had sent forth a call for a challenge, Carolinus now went forth to deliver that challenge.
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    The Human Spirit also by KP. The Raynnverse lives!

    Vagrant and Seal by Smuchmuch

    Vagrant by Darth Raynn

    Sentient #6 Avatar by kpenguin. Clearly the best picture of a M&M character named after a Nevermore song there has ever been.

  7. - Top - End - #337
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Gengy's Avatar

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    Upon Green Morningstar

    Finally, finally, after two days of travel, the Living Ship was back above land, and they were getting so close to what felt like Carolinus.

    Jongo was so excited to see another of her siblings! To be able to laugh with them again. Oh, Haramhold was all right. But he was... regular now. Jongo had stayed with Haramhold for months, and it was a delight to be with at least one other member of the family, but the stories were told. The stories were old. Fun, but old. There was nothing more to say.

    All that was left was the things unspoken.

    Father. The White City. The Blood Moon. The Dark Thing. The...

    Bright light exploded above Green Morningstar and unconsciously, Jongo shifted his eyes to be much larger and prominent on her face. They let the light in more easily, and it was very simple to see the huge shield that held all the good things about the White City.

    "I cannot smile for you Jongo, though glad I am to learn you are safe sister-brother. My heart is heavy, for my duty and vow compels me to be at once in two places."

    It was Carolinus! But wait... he... he wasn't coming?

    "I had hoped with all my heart to meet with you, I have traveled far with this purpose always in my mind. Fayruz has need of our assistance Jongo and I have no manner of passage to her side, save yours.

    But, though it splits my heart, I must turn back. Frellon is to my north west, he too is seeking you. Take him to Fayruz. I cannot protect our sister Jongo, I beg you do so in my place."


    He wasn't coming. He wasn't going to come at all. And he'd basically just told them to not even show up. What a... what a...

    "Oooooooooh, you are such a grassblade sometimes!" Jongo pouted, trying not to think about the extra day of travel that it would take for Green Morningstar. The Living Ship was already correcting it's course, heading towards the north west.

    Jongo sulked over to Haramhold. There, his large eye form plopped on the ground, and she stared up at the other member of the family that at least had the decency to meet with him. "You really should speak up more, Butterfly. They all think that Green Morningstar is just mine. But it's not shaped like a flying Banana on a Rhino's back - since someone here said that wouldn't be practical - so it's not only just mine. Though, with how it's acting, I guess Green Morningstar belongs to Green Morningstar, and it's very nice of it - her, ships are always a she, right? - very nice of her to listen to us sometimes."

    Not really waiting for a response, Jongo looked up again at the giant shield. The magic of it felt like a protective feeling. So. At least Jongo had a better idea now... the feeling within the mindscape of great comfort and protection was Carolinus.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The Next Day

    The land here was boring. Jongo saw many things, but once they were seen, it didn't shake or change like the waves of the sea.

    Only the wind seemed to shake the trees and move things. That was a little interesting.

    "Camp below!" A crewman yelled, and Jongo rushed over to their side to peer down. Sure enough, a small camp, with just one figure at it, was right below them. And it felt... it felt so good. So right. So honored and humble.

    "Squid! You're alive! How do you like the ship? Fancy, huh? Haramhold made it. And I helped! I heard a rumor that you needed a ride?"
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    "Fear the Gerbils, lads! For they will destroy you!" ~ DOOM

    BladeofObliviom said:
    I've only seen a character at anything resembling this level of absurdity thrive exactly once, and he/she/what-the-jongo had the advantage of being written by Gengy, who I look up to as a writer.

    "What-the-Jongo?"
    Before you insult someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, you'll be a mile away, and have their shoes!
    ~avatar by myself

  8. - Top - End - #338
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Red Ink Falls to Earth

    They went back at dawn. Nieve meant to wait longer, but the night dragged on for hours, dark and windy and oppressive; and she, full of restless energy, infected the others. As one they returned to the place of the kill, rolling into the village along with the morning mist. They murdered the ones who stood guard, and ran between the half-buried mud huts to fall upon men and women just roused from slumber.

    It was more slaughter than battle, and it should have sickened Nieve: the panicked cries drifting through the fog, the naked terror on the faces of the village people (so like her own the day she left the White City, though she did not know it), the broken bodies lying in plain daylight. It should have. It didn't. She had always loved the simple joy of exertion, of stretching her limbs and testing her body just to see what she could do, and now she lost herself to it. The mist was cool and clean on her skin, the wind's chill lashed against the fire running in her veins, the grass and mud caressed her feet like a greedy lover. Dawnlight leaked down through the mists to paint rosy stains on the vivid greens and blues and greys of the world. She felt lightheaded, lightbodied; as if, should she lose her footing, she might float up into the sky rather than falling down.

    A jug feels the same way the first time it is filled with water, and suddenly discovers purpose after a lifetime of emptiness.

    Soon the village people had all died or fled, and Nieve's people forgot their quarrels that day as they glutted themselves on victory. The town's animals died to make a feast, and that night they slept beneath roofs for the first time in a long while. But when the morrow came it brought with it disagreement; some said they should stay and claim the village for themselves, others that they ought to leave before the survivors could gather a raiding-party from the nearby villages and seek revenge. These last spoke wisely; they were attacked, not a week later, and forced to flee into the fog.

    Then Nieve spoke, saying that they would strike at their enemies. It wasn't madness; they had not the numbers to stand and face a whole village, but when they struck quick and without warning they had a chance. This was what she told them, and not one of them disagreed, not even Shesa the thief. None wanted to return to a life of scavenging on the cliffs after tasting the wealth of the settled folk—and this was only a small village!

    That wasn't the real reason, of course. The truth was that Nieve simply didn't want to stop.

    They struck like wolves in the night. Once, and they scattered the warriors who'd bested them days before, taking revenge for the deaths of Bal and Usa. Twice, and they descended on the foe's home, battling amid stone huts and ivy trellises. Nieve slew a chief who wore dull copper armor and an antlered crown, and the nameless people who had been Anli's fled into the night. Again, and again, and again. After a while, she lost count.

    Blood mingled with the dew. Sometimes it was night and the blood that fell was black; sometimes it was day and pale red tinted the water. Once they fought under a clear night sky, and the blood shone crimson with the reflected light of the no-longer-White City. (That was the night they first named her Daughter of the Red Moon.) Heedless of the sky it fell, red ink dripping on the dusty parchment of the world and bringing it to life, wild puddle-mandalas of scarlet and starlight pooling in the grass.

    Afterwards it turned crusty and black on her hands, matting her hair with filthy scabs that not even the rain could wash out. At times the sense of filth overcame her, and she huddled in the dark, scrubbing at her hair with shivering hands.

    Her people threw themselves into revelry, dancing and feasting to forget that tomorrow might bring death, but even when Nieve could bring herself to join them she could not lose herself. The world seemed to grow greyer and drearier by the day, and none of their stolen pleasures could command her attention long: not the rich stews and roasted meat, not the warm fires and dry roofs they slept under, not even the hours she spent entangled with Essen or Aruin on the grass. She no longer felt alive unless somebody was bleeding their last. Enemies. Friends. Herself, even. It didn't really matter.

    Word spread ahead of them, carried by the survivors. Sometimes they found a village had readied for them with sharpened stakes and sharp-eyed guards—not that it made a difference. Exile had toughened Nieve's folk, made them quicker to kill than any village hunter could be. At other times they found men and women who wished to join them; a few were outcasts, just as Nan's folk had all been, but most were young men and women of the villages who wanted to fight. Some hoped that their aid would convince Nieve to spare their homes and make war on their allies, others came seeking plunder or glory in battle. Most were fools, but fools or not they swelled her ranks: a dozen became a score, a score became two dozen, then three dozen, then more. Many died, and Nieve knew that she was not immune, that she too could die.

    And how she savored that! Each moment was unbearably sweet when she knew it might be her last; but it was a poisonous sort of sweetness. She knew would kill her if she didn't not stop, and she didn't want to die, didn't want to lose all this. But nor could she stop. She ached with fear and longing, wanting and hating.

    Messengers began to travel back and forth between the great chiefs of the settled-folk, Maltek and Beven and Esh-Ka-Nin and others, all saying that something should be done about the reaver-woman from the coasts and her growing band. Nieve did not know this; nor would she have cared. She was caught now, drawn towards death like a fish on a hook.
    Last edited by The_Snark; 2012-03-18 at 01:38 AM.
    Avatar by Ifni. Thanks!

  9. - Top - End - #339
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    But, though it splits my heart, I must turn back. Frellon is to my north west, he too is seeking you. Take him to Fayruz. I cannot protect our sister Jongo, I beg you do so in my place."

    Carolinus wasn't coming. Carolinus did not feel the need to help his own sister, his own blood. Fayruz had always been a gentle soul one which would have had an extremely difficult time settling to life on the disc. Yes Haramhold knew that he had forgotten about his siblings as he labored with his people and one day he would pay for that sin he knew that. But Haramhold had assumed that his role wasn't that of bravery or valor. His was the job of making wonders and encouraging skill. Haramhold had never put much stock in the arts of war for that wasn't his purpose. Carolinus had said she would need protection, not help, not guidance, but protection. Which meant that she was in danger, that she could be killed.

    Carolinus, he was supposed to protect people, He was supposed to protect their dear sister to shield her from the terrors of this world as it was his to make the roof that sheltered them from the rain. Carolinus decided forsake his sister, his BLOOD.

    As these thoughts raced through Haramhold's mind he felt a rage like he had never felt before race through him. What possible cause could Carolinus have for this? Had he found a people in need of his protection? After all of this time did he not trust them to look after themselves? All the stars above knew how Haramhold was loathe to leave the men and women of Salus. That he longed to go back to them and nurture their skill and might. Haramhold had left them stronger and more skilled then when he found them, stronger than every generation that had come before. If the mortals had survived in thatched huts and darkened forests, they would thrive with a walled city on a hill. So he had left them to attend to the duties of his family.

    So either Carolinus had neglected his duties to his people or was now neglecting his duty to his family it did not matter. If Carolinus did not feel up to the task someone would have to take his place, someone would have to do his job.

    If one had sharp ears they would hear the groaning of the wooden rails under the god's iron grip. If one had keen eyes they would see the deep gouges in the rail, smeared with his blood from where the splintered wood had pierced his calloused hands.

    "Oooooooooh, you are such a grassblade sometimes!" Jongo pouted, trying not to think about the extra day of travel that it would take for Green Morningstar. The Living Ship was already correcting it's course, heading towards the north west.

    Jongo sulked over to Haramhold. There, his large eye form plopped on the ground, and she stared up at the other member of the family that at least had the decency to meet with him. "You really should speak up more, Butterfly. They all think that Green Morningstar is just mine. But it's not shaped like a flying Banana on a Rhino's back - since someone here said that wouldn't be practical - so it's not only just mine. Though, with how it's acting, I guess Green Morningstar belongs to Green Morningstar, and it's very nice of it - her, ships are always a she, right? - very nice of her to listen to us sometimes."

    "And what would I say to our dear and wise brother? Haramhold asked, containing his anger under a thin veil of sarcasm "I am but the humble craftsmen, no great warrior or his elder and therefore worthy of consideration. He didn't even mention me, its not like I helped build this wondrous ship, a ship that I might add that has never seen or will ever see her equal. That of course doesn't matter no what matters is that he has decided to dump his duties upon your shoulders dear Jongo. I can only hope that you actually put forth effort.

    Sighing Haramhold takes a deep breath and calms himself "I'm sorry Jongo, that was rude of me. I shouldn't have snapped at you, after all you are one of the few of fathers children to have done nothing to shame yourself."

    Silently walking to the back of the ship, Haramhold takes the helm from Amanda and spreading his bleeding hands across the control crystal starts to push power into it. More power than Green MorningStar had ever felt before, more power than she thought she could handle, so much power that it began to hurt. Haramhold sensing her pain, sent his mind to each and every interconnected crystal across the ship and took it from Green MorningStar. He took her pain. Steering the ship toward Frellon Haramhold pushed the ship faster than she had ever gone before faster than what she was meant to go. The wind whipped across the deck, screaming as if in anger.

    Amanda having relinquished control of the ship, was almost thrown off balance when it suddenly jumped into overdrive. Struggling against the wind She tries to call out to Haramhold but her words are lost to the wind. Slowly she drags herself along the rails to below deck where she would not be at risk of being flung off the ship.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  10. - Top - End - #340
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    Default Re: Heroes of the Fall

    Three Tales of the Fayheran

    This is a fable of the goddess from when the world was younger.

    Once upon a time, there was a man who wanted to die. He was a mountain-dweller from the days before Fayruz, who had once been a mighty hunter and warrior of his people. His belt had been heavy with the scalps of his foes, and his cloak was woven from the skins of the cruel kobold-folk, and his shirt was made of bear's hide. But his sun had passed into dusk, and his arms were too frail to continue his hunting-craft, or to learn a new trade. His son had been slain by the thralls of the black sands, when they assaulted the Olm, and his daughter had chosen to wed a man that he detested, and his brother's family who cared for him brought him little joy. And so the man resolved in his heart that he would die, for he thought that to see his son again would be a greater joy than any left on the earth for him, and that to become so weak that he could no longer care for himself was a crueler fate than any he could dream of.

    Now, this man knew of the maiden of dusk, as all did. He had given up his last weapons when she had declared peace among his people, and he had caught a glimpse of her face unveiled, and fallen in such love as all men who see her face do. Surely, he said to himself, the goddess of all peoples, who wove ancient foes into brothers and sisters, could do him this mercy, and let the last thing he saw be her face. So he asked his niece, who was a young water-runner, to take a message to the goddess, begging her to come to him and kill him.

    The young girl, who was an innocent not yet ten years of age, cried when her uncle asked her to carry that dark message to the goddess, but obeyed him all the same, for she loved him dearly. So she went up from her camp, and took the high paths that took her to the Olm, the battlefield of the ancient gods that had become the goddess's home. She passed the warriors who guarded the paths, who asked her if she were a thrall or a desert-ghost or a spirit of malice, for it was given to them to protect the goddess and those closest to her. She then made her way towards the plaza in the center of the Olm, where the great bonfire burned on feast-days to bring delight to the goddess and her people. There, many waited to be healed, or to request healing from the goddess for their loved ones, for in those days she did not have the Kindly Ones to aid her. And so the young girl sat there with them, and she was lucky, for she was old enough to be in the days when there were not a thousand clamoring to be healed, and the goddess had already gone through the camps and washed the leper's spots from his body, and had restored life to the cripple's legs, and had given sight to the blind and hearing to the deaf and voice to the mute. Those waiting for healing, now, were those who bore word of a plague sweeping from the north, and those who had wounded themselves while on the hunt, for these were the days before the river of the Olm had green on either bank, and the blessed farmer had not yet taught the Fayheran the secrets of seed and growth; with them, the girl waited.

    And at dusk, the goddess came to them, cloaked in the white robes of the Kindly Ones, and asked them to tell her what ailed them. The messengers stood, and told her of the plague sweeping from the north, that came with the copper-mines and the kobold-knocks. She cried, then, for those who suffered, and bade them return with news that the maiden of dusk would come to heal them, and divine the secret of healing it through the clever art. The hunters stood, and begged that their cuts and twisted limbs be healed, and she laid her hands upon them and made them whole with effortless ease, for of all healers the maiden of dusk is the greatest. Then the girl rose, and told the goddess that her uncle wished her to kill him. And at this, the maiden of dusk was upset, for no one had ever told her that they were tired of life. She told the girl that she did her best to keep men alive, not to kill them, and that she believed that it was always best for men to live until her sister came to claim them in their sleep, to guide them away. But the girl begged for her uncle, and asked the maiden of dusk to speak with him, and if not to kill him, then to drive his desire to die out of his mind.

    The girl returned to her uncle in the morning, having slept in the tent of the maiden of dusk that night, and told her uncle that the goddess had received his words. And the maiden of dusk entered the tent after the girl, and revealed her face to the man, and asked him why he wished to die. As he began to speak, she told all others to leave the tent, and so no one knows of what they spoke. But there are those who believe that the man told her of everything in his life, of his sorrows and his joys, and of what he had lost, and of how he wished to die so that he might be reunited with his child. All that is known truly is that the goddess and the man stayed in the tent together throughout the entire day, and that at midday those who waited outside the tent could smell food, and the perfume of exotic plants in water, and at dusk the maiden left the tent, her mask damp with tears, and said that it was done. She knelt by the girl, and told her that her uncle had gone to sleep, and that it was his choice as to whether he would rise. That she had asked him, for the sake of the niece who loved him so dearly, and the brother who cared for him, to stay a while longer with his family, but that if he did not truly wish to wake, he would slip into her sister's embrace in the night.

    It is said that, in the morning, the man rose, and that for the rest of his days he was tireless in his service to his camp. He would not speak of what he told the goddess, or of what she had told him, but he cared for his niece and taught her of what was right in life. And I tell you the truth: that young girl was the Mariner, and her uncle who had chosen to live taught her much of craft, and of honor, and of how he had fought in his youth. So did she do right, even as a child.

    And it is known, by all of the goddess's people, that she taught the Kindly Ones this: the secret of the drink that would put a man to everlasting sleep, should he so choose it, that should only be given after a day spent in the presence of those who wish to die, as the price that is to be paid for the knowledge of how to give it. So did the maiden know not only mercy but wisdom, for she knew that many cry for death because of wounds in their heart, wounds that she and her priesthood wish to close and heal.

    ***

    These are the words of the goddess when the world was younger.

    In the days of the fathers of the Fayheran, we did not know the mercies of our goddess. Some, such as the wild Ma-Shen and the glass-enamored Kayanek, said that mating was not worthy of ceremony, and that men and women should take whoever they wanted to mate, for tomorrow they might die. The wealthy Tekeza and the proud Aferi said that a man should take for himself a woman, and bring treasures to their bride's father to be worthy of her hand, and that only men could lie with women, and only women with men. The Dereg and the Iuneh, the mountain-dwelling kindred, had their harems carved out of the mountain's sides, and they decorated the dwelling-places of their women as lavishly as they could, while the men went hunting for days or months at a time, leaving the mountain-hounds to guard their wives.

    After the unification and baptism of the tribes at the Olm, the people began to question what was right in the sight of the goddess - whether love should be free and wild, or whether the marriages of the hill-people were right, or whether men should keep their women safe within their harems while they went out to serve their part for the goddess. Their arguments were fierce, until the tribes as one brought their questions before Fayruz Dragonslayer at the Riverfane, the sacred seat of the goddess.

    And these were the words of the goddess: that the people of the rocklands were blessed by her father, the almighty Baz'Auran who shaped the world like a potter. For like spirits they could know a pure love, but like the beasts of the earth they could mate and bring forth children into the world, as the spirits could not. That all were free to love who they would, but that to lie with another by choice was to make a bond with them that could not easily be broken.

    To those who said that the Ma-Shen and the Kayanek were right, she turned and said, would you treat a dear gift carelessly, not caring whether it was cast into the dirt or broken by another? To lie with another by choice was to bind yourself to them, she declared, by the laws beneath heaven or earth; and to bind yourself carelessly was to cast aside the precious gift given to them. For to sleep with another carelessly, out of selfishness and blind desire, would be to wound them grievously, deeper than any sword's bite. No, she declared, this was not the way.

    To those who said that the Iuneh and the Dereg were right, she turned and said, no more are men to protect the women, who stay at home. Have you not seen the strength of the daughters of the Fayheran? Do you not worship me, children of men? Let them take up the spear and the hammer, the sword and the knife, if they choose! And let men stay at home, should they choose, as well! Let the young man become a weaver, let the young woman become a huntress, in the name of Arenis who cared for me in the wilderness and protected me from evil, although she was a woman! For I say to you, there are more sons who wish to serve the household, and more daughters who wish to be a guardian of the household, than you know, children of women. And this, she declared, was part of the way.

    To those who said that the Tekeza and the Aferi were right, she turned and said, you have almost found wisdom, but I say to you that no more may the father decide the heart of his daughters, and let his sons choose as they please. A woman's heart is her own to give as she will, I say to you; who among you would ask my father for my hand before me? And I have been told that you forbid the young men from choosing among themselves, or the young women from choosing among themselves: this is wrong. I, myself, care little as to whether the ones I love are men or women, as long as they are rich in heart and beautiful of spirit. Should two of my people love each other, and come to me and mine, I will bless them as being in marriage, whether they be of different lineages, or men or women alike, or of a family rich in cattle and a family bereft of goats.

    And the people spoke these words among each other, and discussed them, and replied to her: goddess, your commands are strange to us, and some fear them. But the lords of the Fayheran, those who stand closest to your tent and have devoted their households to you, have declared that they will stand by your words. But tell us: what is a woman to do, should she lie with a man and carry his child, and then grow to hate him? And what shall the woman do, who is taken by force?

    And these were the words of the maiden of dusk: that the woman should bring the child to birth, and give their child into the care of one of the families who had devoted their households to the maiden of dusk. And that he who forced himself upon a woman, or that she who forced herself upon a man, should be given a mark and cast out from the tribes, for the crime of taking the sacred gift of Baz'Auran.

    Fayruz, then, gave secrets to the people, so that they might be made wise: the secret of the mountain-herb boiled in water that would make the woman's womb lie empty for seven days and seven nights, that those who could not care for children would not bring them into the world, and thus, be tempted to give them the gift of life only to take it away. For Fayruz knew that the wisdom of the young was limited, and their curiosity was great, and sought to give them a way to protect themselves from the crime of slaying a child, which is grievous in the sight of Fayruz.

    And so these things came to pass in the days to come: that the son of Myrken Stonearm and one of the sons of the Wolf Lord were bound before the riverfane, declaring that both their households would serve Fayruz faithfully until they came to an end; that the daughters of the Fayheran freely chose who they would to be their husbands and wives, and there was rejoicing among the tents; that the great households of the Fayheran dedicated themselves to the service of Fayruz Dragonslayer, keeping her commandments and seeking to praise her through righteous word and deed. And, in time, the Olm became one beneath these households, and one could not go from the high point to the riverfane and find any but the households dedicated to Fayruz.

    Great is Fayruz of the Rocklands, great is the goddess of the Fayheran; merciful is the Goddess in Fool's Garb, wise is the gazelle-maiden who brings purity and healing, strong of heart is Fayruz Dragonslayer who will not bow to evil men or despair in darkness.

    ***

    This is a fable of the goddess when the world was younger.

    Once upon a time, a chieftain of the glass-mines of the west met a spirit of crystal and shadowed glass as he worked, who commanded him to bring tribute to the spirit, and worship it, for granting him the privilege of mining the spirit's glass-spires and shaping their shards into swords. These were in the days when the Fayheran feared the thralls of black sand, and so the chieftain shook, and begged the spirit to show him mercy, for he and his household worshiped only Fayruz Dragonslayer, daughter of the Moon's King, and must give her people swords to combat their foes. And at this, the spirit was all the angrier, and commanded him to offer up his eldest daughter as a sacrifice to it, or else it would slay all the people of Fayruz who lived in the land of the glass-spires.

    The chieftain brought back word to his household, and to all his camp, of the spirit's wrath and of what it demanded from their people. And his daughter, bold Shyreza whose hair was as dark as the feathers of a raven's wing, and whose skin was as flawless as burnished copper, said to her father that she would go and buy the people of the camp time, while he sent the goddess word. So one of the fastest riders in the camp went out that night, to carry word to Fayruz of the Olm, and that night, Shyreza knelt by her mat and spoke to the goddess and the night, begging her to come swiftly and protect her family in her stead, and to give her the bravery she would need to go and meet the spirit.

    The next day, she took what provisions could be spared, roots and a rabbit's haunch and a small purse of water, and she covered her hair with a fine veil, goat's-wool brightly dyed for a chieftain's daughter. She told her family not to cry for her, for she would do her best to convince the spirit not to devour her, and to have mercy upon the camp. And so she went out alone, into the maze of glass and crystal that was to the south of their camp. It was not like the greatest glass-mines, but those were feared infected by the black sand in those days; it was still, to Shyreza, a dizzying maze of glass-shards and tall towers. This maze lacked color, for it possessed little of the colorful varieties of glass that were common in the south, and so wherever she turned there was only the smoky dark glass, or the bright sky-clear glass.

    She sat down and ate of her roots, after hours lost in the maze, and took out her harp. It was a simple thing, made of a misshapen wooden bow and several strings, but she knew how to coax the sweetest music out of it. She began to strum it, and to play a song for her home, and her family which she dearly loved. And for hours she played, until she saw the spirit step out before her. It was twice the height of a man, and just as sharp and jagged as the most dangerous glass-spires, and its eyes were coldly-burning fires, and its bones were of the clearest crystal, and its long talons were of the darkest glass. It reached out to her, and said, your blood will be my praise, and your bones will be my holy icons, and from them I will make a mighty altar of your people's sacrifices.

    Wait, she cried, might I not entertain you? Is not your home of glass ever dull? He laughed, and replied that while it was indeed dull at times, for he knew every gleam in every sliver of glass, and there was little color to brighten his dark heart, he had listened to her song already and grown tired of it. He would keep her harp, and he would make his next sacrifice play it before he killed them. He reached out for her, with claws sharper than the most cleverly-made blade, and she cried that she could tell it the most wonderful stories. And she closed her eyes, and waited for it to slay her - but it did not. It simply commanded her to entertain it with a story, then, and it would slay her when she was done.

    And so Shyreza brought to mind every story that she had heard her mother and her nursemaid tell her, and she began to weave a story of spirits and monsters for the spirit of the glass-mine. She told him of a mighty prince of glass, who sat on the throne of Tys, the lost city, and not only had seven leopards who slept around his throne, but had a menagerie of bronze-winged eagles that had been caught by the mighty hunter Skalldesh, who had been raised by a kindly mer-maid who had raised him up to be a hunter who could leap between the mightiest peaks with but a cry of his three magic words - and then she told him of Skalldesh's training with the sorcerer Myferen, and of the five trials he had undergone to be come the mightiest hunter in all the rocklands. Skalldesh had brought an entire flock of bronze-winged eagles to Tys in his nets, and had offered them up to the mighty prince of glass, but even with them he still wanted for one prize- ah, but it was dusk! The glass-spirit called up chains of glass to bind her to a spire, and told her that he would hear the rest of her tale in the morning, when his strength returned to him. So he stepped into a glass-spire, and became it, leaving Shyreza to struggle in the unyielding chains of glass.

    But something came to her, that night - a gazelle, dainty and dark. It walked slowly into the dark clearing in which Shyreza was caught, and it came up unnaturally close to Shyreza, until she could see herself in its beautiful eyes. It then pressed its lips to hers, and pushed its cud into her mouth - but it was sweet to the taste, and its juice was rich in Shyreza's mouth, and it filled her with strength. Three times it did this, and then it licked at her cheeks, and then was gone, having vanished into the maze once more.

    At dawn of the next morning, she was awoken by the spirit's command to finish her tale. So she told him of how the prince of glass only wanted for one prize: the mighty phoenix, the wisest and most beautiful of all birds, which lived in a sweet-smelling tree, in a nest of perfumes and incenses, on top of the highest mountain in the world, and watched both the moon and sun, and knew all their secrets. So the prince of glass, who was worshiped rightfully not only by the glass-people of the glass city of Tys, but also by the enlightened children of men from east to west, who paid him tribute of the richest kinds - and then she detailed all their tributes, and saw longing and lust in the spirit's dark eyes - this prince of glass declared that he would go on an expedition to the highest mountain in the world, to catch himself a phoenix! And so he commanded a net to be woven from the roots of a mountain, and the song of a fish, and the mercy of a wolf, and the kindness of a jackal, and the beard of a queen. So his craftsmen, who were oh-so-clever, collected these - and so she told of how the prince's three wise fools collected the five ingredients for the craftsmen - and wove the net for the prince. And so the prince and his retinue went to the north, to find the highest mountain in the world, but a sandstorm of dark sorcery forced the prince away from his trusted warriors and bodyguards, and his wives brought to please him, and his many clever advisers and magicians. So the prince was ambushed by ravens who cloaked themselves in men's robes, who bound him with ropes made from dreams and hopes, and they brought him before the devious mountain-witch, who demanded that he marry her, for even she was in love with the prince of glass! But the prince refused, and so he was cast into the deepest pits of her dungeon, to be cursed by a thousand scorpions. But the prince had a plan - ah, but it was dusk already!

    Shyreza reassured the spirit of glass that her tale was nearing its end, and it promised her that it would kill her at next dusk. So once again, it retreated into a glass spire as night came and stole away the light that gave it strength. And once again, the gazelle came in the night, and once again, it fed her from its sweet cud, three times. This time, however, it licked her upon the cheeks, and gave her a passionate kiss, before bounding off into the maze and the night.

    Upon the dawn, the spirit reappeared, and it commanded Shyreza to finish her story about the prince of glass. So Shyreza continued, telling of how the prince summoned up a spirit of smokeless fire that he had enslaved in a fierce battle, far to the south, when he had waged war against the king of all sand. The king of all sand, you see, had waged war against the chieftain of all foxes for stealing away his daughter, for the chieftain of all foxes had seen her while she had been bathing in an oasis, and had slain her guards and kidnapped her, and intended to marry her. But the chieftain of all foxes gave great tribute to the prince of glass, sending him vixens taught how to walk like men, and sing pretty songs, and dance the most beautiful dances for the prince, and so too did he send gold and silver in chests, and weapons of mythic bronze, swords and spears for the prince's armies. So the prince of glass had gone to the south, and he had struggled with the spirit of smokeless fire for a year and a day, battling him in the most spectacular battle that had ever been seen by mortal eyes, before the spirit had begged for mercy. The prince of glass then made the spirit swear eternal loyalty to him, and used the spirit to devastate the armies of the king of all sand, who was forced to give tribute not only to the chieftain of all foxes but the prince of glass in exchange for being spared. And so the prince of glass had seen the daughter of the king of all sands married to the chieftain of all foxes, and then secreted the spirit of smokeless flame into a dagger. So he used the spirit's power to tear down the castle of the mountain-witch, and to raise him up out of the pit of dead scorpions, all of which he had slain with his strength, for it was prophesied that he would only be slain when the stars of the hunter fell from heaven. And so the raven-men were scattered to the four winds, and the mountain-witch was bound by the prince of glass and brought to be a member of his harem, as the men of the mountain-tribes gathered wives. And so the prince of glass continued on, until he saw - ah, but it was dusk already!

    Shyreza reassured the spirit of glass once again that her tale was nearing its end, and it promised her that it would kill her at next dusk, upon its black heart and its forbidden name. So once again, it retreated into a glass spire as night came and stole away the fire of glass that gave the spirit its power. And once again, the gazelle came in the night, and once again, it fed her from its sweet cud, three times. This time, however, it licked her upon the cheeks, and gave her three passionate kisses, one on each cheek, and one upon her brow, before bounding off into the maze and the night.

    Upon the dawn, the spirit reappeared, and it commanded Shyreza to finish her story about the prince of glass. So Shyreza continued, telling of how the prince of glass finally saw the tallest mountain in the world, and of how he had commanded one of his hunters to climb the mountain and find the truest path, while he made camp at the mountain's base. The hunter went up, and came down three days later, saying to the prince that he had only made it a third of the way up the mountain, but that there was no way higher up, for the mountain's cliffs were too steep and sharp. So the prince had him executed before all his hunters, and commanded another to climb the mountain and find the truest path. The hunter went up, and came down six days later, saying to the prince that he had only made it two-thirds of the way up the mountain, but that there was no way higher up, for the mountain's cliffs were too steep and sharp. So the prince had him executed before all his hunters, and commanded another to climb the mountain and find the truest path. The hunter went up, and came down nine days later, saying to the prince that he had made it to the peak of the tallest mountain in the world, but that there was no way to reach the phoenix's nest, which sat beneath the peak on a jagged outcropping. So the prince had him executed before all his hunters, and declared that he would find a path to the phoenix's nest. And so he climbed for three days, and found the way to be easy; and he climbed for three days more, and found the way to be harsh; and he climbed for three days more, and found the way to be impossible for any but the strongest and surest. And then he had found the phoenix's nest, and found that the path to it was no wider than the edge of a knife. So he walked along the knife's edge, and came to the nest of the phoenix, which he found to be the most beautiful thing in the world. So he took the nest up in his arms, knowing that the bird would have no choice but to follow him, for the phoenix is inseparable from its nest. And so the prince of glass descended, careful now not to drop the precious nest, for nine days. And on the dawn of the tenth morning, the prince of glass stepped down from the mountain and presented the nest to his followers. So they began to travel home, but were stopped when a vicious storm descended from the heights, and the great dragon Bazaratuin rode on the wings of the storm down to the glass prince, and its eyes were burning coals, and its teeth were a thousand swords, and its claws a thousand spears; its armor was impenetrable, and its body was as long as the earth itself- but here, the spirit stopped her, and told her that the prince of glass slew great Bazaratuin, and lived forever as a king in glory, with his phoenix, in lost Tys.

    He told her that her story had been most entertaining, but that he had sworn that he would slay her at dusk, by his black heart and his forbidden name, and that was a promise he must keep. So he drew back his long arm of sharpened glass, and Shyreza knew that she would finally die, despite the gazelle's kindness and her own wit.

    But then, a voice of command rang out in the glass-clearing, and the spirit turned, snarling. There, wrapped in her white cloak, which Shyreza had only ever seen from afar, was Fayruz. By Fayruz's side was the gazelle that had cared for Shyreza, its horns long and dark. Fayruz commanded the spirit to release the girl, for taking human sacrifices was not acceptable in the land created by Baz'Auran, the Moon King. The spirit cursed Fayruz for being a godchild, and for taking worship which was rightfully its, and for daring to command him when she was weaker than he. Fayruz simply pleaded, then, for it to join her cause. It would be thanked for every good and kindly deed it did for the Fayheran, she said, and it would be able to help mortalkind, not to prey upon it. Shyreza thought that the voice of Fayruz was like the sweetest silk, and that her bravery was untold - to speak to this creature, while being no taller than any ordinary person, and being no stronger? Even if she was the Dragonslayer, Shyreza was in awe.

    The spirit denied Fayruz again. It would not only slay Shyreza, it cried, it would slay Fayruz, and then it would become god of all the rocklands. Fayruz asked it, a third time, to reconsider. If there is some way I can heal your sin, she said, please, allow me. Why do you hunger for conquest? Why do you not see that we were given to this earth to aid mortals, not subjugate them? The spirit replied simply that it was in its nature to disobey Baz'Auran, and to take what he believed to be his, and that both Shyreza and Fayruz would die. It swung, suddenly, at Shyreza, with one deadly talon - but, suddenly, the gazelle stood between them. Although Shyreza felt the talon cut through her shirt, gouging a deep gash in her side, the fatal blow was turned aside from her heart, at the cost of the gazelle's life. It fell limply to the ground, a hole in its side, and Shyreza screamed in fury and sorrow to see her benefactor dead at her feet.

    The spirit drew back its arm, to thrust again, but then three things happened, all at once. Dusk fell, leaving the glass lightless and the spirit powerless. The gazelle raised its head, with all the strength that it had left, pushing the spirit away. And Shyreza's father was there waiting for him, with a great hammer clutched in his hands. With a scream of fear and anger, with the rage of a father who sees his child hurt, he slammed the hammer into the spirit's back, and drove it to the ground. Again he struck, and a third time, and the spirit shattered apart with a scream.

    Fayruz, meanwhile, had come swiftly to Shyreza's side, pressing her hand against the young woman's bloody stomach. She sang a song of healing, the melody coming easily from behind her mask, and Shyreza's wound closed in a moment, leaving only a long, glass-white scar. Shyreza, meanwhile, begged for Fayruz to care for the gazelle, despite the fact that it was already dead.

    Fayruz did just that, as Shyreza's father went to work breaking the glass chains with his long hammer. She stroked the beast's cheek softly, and closed its beautiful eyes, and said, "I will thank you and your kind for saving this child. Your family will be under my blessing, and I will make you mine." She rose, and turned to the newly-freed Shyreza, and Shyreza saw for the first time that Fayruz moved like a gazelle, even though she had bright eyes. She asked Shyreza if she was all right, and embraced her, and told her that she would be safe; that she had received the earnest prayers of Shyreza during the night, and she had met the messenger sent by her father halfway to the Olm, and ridden with him back as swiftly as she could.

    And so Shyreza was returned to her people for a short time, and there was great rejoicing in the camp, and dancing, and songs. There was even more rejoicing when Fayruz accepted Shyreza as her bard, a position which Shyreza had begged for as they spoke alone, for even though their beloved Shyreza would leave, she would leave as a treasured servant of the goddess. And so, when Fayruz returned to the Olm to continue her work, Shyreza rode with her. That is how Shyreza became the goddess's bard, and how the gazelle became the herald of Fayruz, and it is how, they say, Shyreza fell in love with her savior, Fayruz.
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  11. - Top - End - #341
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    Waiting for Pickup

    Frellon was getting ready to move out for the day, checking his location with regards to his siblings: when he paused. Jongo and the other were getting closer. Much closer, very quickly, even as he was watching.

    As they approached he began to notice things about their sparks. Both brimmed with creative energy, though of drastically different kinds. Both had an overtone he couldn’t place. Some emotion; he wondered what it was. Jongo was the most easily identifiable. No one else had that aura of quasi-organized chaos following him around. The other was more difficult. Frellon sensed the itch to create, shape, and mold. Might be Rumel, or Haramhold or the Weaver, or several others. The will to create was something most of them shared, but this spark seemed centered around it. Frellon couldn’t pin it down at this distance, and gave up trying.

    They seemed to be moving directly toward him, so Frellon built up his campfire and waited. He would find out who was with Jongo in due time.

    Several hours later, he could see them, a dot steadily growing bigger near the horizon against the sky. He finished packing up his belongings and waited, excited. That Carolinus was not with them was no new revelation. He could still sense him far away down south, south-east. He also could now identify the other as Haramhold. At this, short distance, it was unmistakable. What was curious now was the other two sparks he could now sense. Who were they, to have a spark at all? Even if they were not nearly as potent as his siblings’.

    As the flying ship approached and hovered above him, Frellon didn’t bat an eye at the oddity of a flying ship. He did, however, feel a sense of wonder at the realization that the ship was the origin of one of the sparks he had sensed.

    "Squid! You're alive! How do you like the ship? Fancy, huh? Haramhold made it. And I helped! I heard a rumor that you needed a ride?"

    Frellon tore his eyes away from the living ship long enough to realize he was being spoken to.

    “Yes, I live! It is good to see you Jongo. The ship is beautiful. I indeed need a ride, far south. Could you lower me a line?”


    Aboard the Green Morningstar

    As Frellon reached the deck, his siblings would behold him up close for the first time since he had become a god. He had been living for years in little more than a dirt hut. He was more or less clean, but rougher than he had been. He bore new scars, some of which were not visible beneath his clothing. He wore simple traveling garb, but one might notice the warm leather jerkin underneath his cloak would double as armor. He wore a large pack, and a crude bow was slung across it. At his waist was a sword. It too, was not exactly elegant, only being bronze, but one would notice it had a silvery sheen, and reflected light oddly. There was very little one could point to and say “That’s different about you.” but Frellon was most assuredly different. He radiated power. Strength. Purity. Wholeness. His body seemed charged, as if at any moment he might erupt in holy flames – which, to date, had never occured, but time would tell. His gaze was ever intense, something only added to by their natural cat-like shape.

    To all of this, Frellon seemed oblivious. He saw his family, and went to greet them heartily, embracing his siblings.

    “Jongo! Haramhold! It brightens my heart to see you again! Alive and well!”
    Last edited by AntiMatter101; 2012-03-28 at 11:03 PM.
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  12. - Top - End - #342
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    Quote Originally Posted by AntiMatter101 View Post
    Aboard the Green Morningstar

    As Frellon reached the deck, his siblings would behold him up close for the first time since he had become a god. He had been living for years in little more than a dirt hut. He was more or less clean, but rougher than he had been. He bore new scars, some of which were not visible beneath his clothing. He wore simple traveling garb, but one might notice the warm leather jerkin underneath his cloak would double as armor. He wore a large pack, and a crude bow was slung across it. At his waist was a sword. It too, was not exactly elegant, only being bronze, but one would notice it had a silvery sheen, and reflected light oddly. There was very little one could point to and say “That’s different about you.” but Frellon was most assuredly different. He radiated power. Strength. Purity. Wholeness. His body seemed charged, as if at any moment he might erupt in holy flames – which, the Orunta could attest, he did from time to time. His gaze was ever intense, something only added to by their natural cat-like shape.

    To all of this, Frellon seemed oblivious. He saw his family, and went to greet them heartily, embracing his siblings.

    “Jongo! Haramhold! It brightens my heart to see you again! Alive and well!”


    "That's odd. Did you expect to see us again dead and well? That would just be weird. You're being silly, Frellon." Jongo grinned, to show that she was kidding.

    Jongo set the feeling of purity and honor in his mind's eye. Like Haramhold's solidness, Frellon could be shaken, but it would not move. Jongo would not easily forget the feeling now.

    So Jongo hugged Frellon, because Squid gave good hugs.

    ...though Jongo hugged Frellon with six arms, so she was probably doing a better job.

    Releasing him, Jongo looked at his brother. The six arms changed back to two, and Jongo grew tall enough to look at Frellon square in the eye. Tilting her head to one side, Jongo smirked, and the torrent of words began.

    "You have dirt on your nose." Jongo didn't wait, just cleaned it off. "Now, your room is all ready. Green Morningstar is a Living Ship, and we treat her nicely so she doesn't play too many pranks on us - well, on Butterhold, since I like her pranks - and her crew has learned that they won't always wake up in the same spot. Just accept that you'll be where you need to be, and you'll get along fine with her. The pretty girl next to Haramfly with her jaw open - stop staring, dear, he's your Uncle too - is Amanda-girl, and she's your neice. No, no, not mine, she's Haramhold's too. On her chest is Jewely, who doesn't talk much but is a great listener. Oh! And this is the Band of Chaos!"

    Holding up one leg, Jongo showed Frellon an anklet, that seemed to be both silver and gold, flat and twisted, and grossly beautiful. Jongo lightly stamped his foot back down, and everyone could feel the Living Ship begin to move again.

    South. South and west.

    "As you may know, Fayruz apparently needs our help. And since I haven't had time to develop my ideas fully yet, her place is a great place to meet. Can you feel her, Frellon? She's far to the southwest, and she's... she's bloomed. I just hope we can find Iris too. And Cookie. Because I'm so hungry right now, I could eat a song."

    The Band of Chaos began to sing out in protest. "Of course I didn't mean frozen on ice. That's weird. Ooh! Wait! Story time! How did you get that sword there, Frellon?"

    Jongo, it would seem, changed a great deal... without really changing at all.
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    "Fear the Gerbils, lads! For they will destroy you!" ~ DOOM

    BladeofObliviom said:
    I've only seen a character at anything resembling this level of absurdity thrive exactly once, and he/she/what-the-jongo had the advantage of being written by Gengy, who I look up to as a writer.

    "What-the-Jongo?"
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  13. - Top - End - #343
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    The Long Walk

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    "You know not true pain. To be trapped in your own body but to not be able to affect anything. That is true torment. To want to howl a howl of total pain and loss, and have no voice with which to speak...."

    Kalandor to someone who was ever onwards known as 'That whining git.'

    Kalandor Had a long walk to Olm. To Fayruz. It was a perfect time for the mind to get aquainted to his new, 'body'. It would be 2 days after the Green Morningstar arrived at Olm until Kalandor would arrive.
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    Congrats, you made me laugh hard enough to draw my family's attention.

  14. - Top - End - #344
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gengy View Post
    "That's odd. Did you expect to see us again dead and well? That would just be weird. You're being silly, Frellon." Jongo grinned, to show that she was kidding.

    Jongo set the feeling of purity and honor in his mind's eye. Like Haramhold's solidness, Frellon could be shaken, but it would not move. Jongo would not easily forget the feeling now.

    So Jongo hugged Frellon, because Squid gave good hugs.

    ...though Jongo hugged Frellon with six arms, so she was probably doing a better job.

    Releasing him, Jongo looked at his brother. The six arms changed back to two, and Jongo grew tall enough to look at Frellon square in the eye. Tilting her head to one side, Jongo smirked, and the torrent of words began.

    "You have dirt on your nose." Jongo didn't wait, just cleaned it off. "Now, your room is all ready. Green Morningstar is a Living Ship, and we treat her nicely so she doesn't play too many pranks on us - well, on Butterhold, since I like her pranks - and her crew has learned that they won't always wake up in the same spot. Just accept that you'll be where you need to be, and you'll get along fine with her. The pretty girl next to Haramfly with her jaw open - stop staring, dear, he's your Uncle too - is Amanda-girl, and she's your neice. No, no, not mine, she's Haramhold's too. On her chest is Jewely, who doesn't talk much but is a great listener. Oh! And this is the Band of Chaos!"

    Holding up one leg, Jongo showed Frellon an anklet, that seemed to be both silver and gold, flat and twisted, and grossly beautiful. Jongo lightly stamped his foot back down, and everyone could feel the Living Ship begin to move again.

    South. South and west.

    "As you may know, Fayruz apparently needs our help. And since I haven't had time to develop my ideas fully yet, her place is a great place to meet. Can you feel her, Frellon? She's far to the southwest, and she's... she's bloomed. I just hope we can find Iris too. And Cookie. Because I'm so hungry right now, I could eat a song."

    The Band of Chaos began to sing out in protest. "Of course I didn't mean frozen on ice. That's weird. Ooh! Wait! Story time! How did you get that sword there, Frellon?"

    Jongo, it would seem, changed a great deal... without really changing at all.


    Frellon smiled at Jongo's joke, and nodded his way through the introductions. He took a moment to make the connection - if he was her Uncle... Haramhold had had a child? - before the band of Chaos was shown to him. It was a curios thing. Like a minature Jongo, as it shifted colors and forms before his eyes.

    Frellon would have asked about it, but then the conversation turned to Fayruz.

    "While that is a story that deserves telling, I'm afraid that story will have to wait for a less pressing moment. You know that Fayruz needs help, do you know anything more? First I hear Fayruz's song, some months ago, now Kalandor sens me a message, still have no clue how they did that. Anyway, Kalandor says that Carolinus and I need to come help Fayruz from some danger, and that he can't stay with her, he didn't say why. This was two days ago, and I've heard no word from either Fayruz or Kalandor. You say she has bloomed?"

    Frellon focused, and cast his senses southward. He could sense the presence of sparks, but couldn't even pinpoint them.

    "I cannot sense it, but I have never been good with that kind of thing. Especially not so far away."

    Frellon felt the ship change course, and relaxed. At least they were on their way.

    "No matter. at least we are going in the right direction."

    Frellon gave voice to a thought that had been bothering him since dawn."Is Carolinus coming by some other route? I noticed he did not board the Green Morningstar."
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    Dark Sands - Departing

    Faden noted the departure of the sands - they had retreated more quickly this time, behaving oddly. A mystery for another time.

    After Khalen's departure and Dasque's request, he nodded, since most facial expressions were out of the question. "Pyra, do you think you could handle a flight to..." he consulted briefly with a sprite that flitted out from his hood, "...Olm?"

    The roc hesitated, gliding. "Actually, I would prefer to land. The flight here was tiring, even with your magic to help me."

    Faden appeared to stand motionless for a moment, before turning to his sibling. "My apologies, but Pyra has a point. We did fly a rather long way at great speed, and it would be better to rest and face tomorrow fresh." He adjusted his robes, then simply allowed the roc to choose her own landing place. "I'm afraid I don't have much in the way of supplies. I... sort of stopped needing most kinds of sustenance. My hope is that you will travel with us to Olm, but if not, then there appears to be a small settlement nearby. And since I didn't say it before... I am overjoyed to see you again, Dasque. For the longest time, I thought I was the only one of Father's children left."
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  16. - Top - End - #346
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    Prelude II: Sonata


    "Attached moonlight in dazzling crimson
    the lost child is shown the way
    there, upon far kodama
    voices of laughter and joy
    awakened moon-child's tears
    like gems running down jade skin
    rest in fox fur
    a path left and right
    every-time downwards going,
    into the dark lake,
    Yet now, upon a mountain
    thinking it is sly, calling and glittering
    wrapping me easily,
    the doubtful feeling of loneliness disperses,
    the lost child who is me."
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    The next dawn, Renard the fox came to Sonata and sat with her for breakfast. "You do not speak, moon child. Has your voice become lost? Or do moon children forever sit silently?"
    Sonata shook her head.
    "Do you have a voice?"
    Sonata nodded.
    "Where did you put it?"
    Sonata looked confused.

    "Truly my moon child,
    if you have a great treasure,
    You should keep it safe."

    The fox sighed. "Let us search upon Kodama mountain. It is said that even if a voice is thrown here, it will answer and return."

    Together the fox and Sonata climbed higher on the mountain. And they came to the first peak, called Echo. Renard sat and watched Sonata.
    "Here is the place of voice-throwing. You should try and throw to the mountains, and maybe they will throw back."
    But as Sonata came to the edge, she saw the form of a flute below, on a dangerous ledge. Indeed, it must have been the same flute that had fallen from the white city! Ignoring the fox's warning, Sonata tried to climb down. Down. Slowly. Down. Dangerously. Down. Onto the dangerous ledge. There were many cuts on her feet and arms from the angry thorns and rocks. Twice she almost slipped, but held on tightly. At last she recovered the flute, and holding it in her mouth, began to climb. Up. Slowly. Up. Dangerously. Up. Onto the peak called Echo. And she had joy in this accomplishment, hugging the flute. But as she was hugging the flute, her joy disappeared. Instead of the great silver and gold design she had remembered, here was a simple child's toy. Made of wood, with simple holes in it. What memory could it sing of? What song could it make?
    Mournfully, Sonata played it gently, a soft and sad melody. The fox watched silently.

    "A beautiful sound, from a beautiful princess.
    The fairest sounds I have heard, but too sad.
    Too sad for Renard the chief of the fox clan.
    But where is your voice?"

    The fox asked curiously. Sonata turned back to look over the mountain and the lands below. Clenching her fists tightly, she opened her mouth and tried to call out to it. But no sound came from her mouth.
    In silence the moon-child and chief fox waited. And then, faintly, Sonata could hear her voice far away.

    "Hear me!" The voice of Sonata called. Renard sighed and shook his head.
    "No, it is too far away. It must be far south at the famous lake Madako." He sighed. Sonata felt her heart grieve. She clutched the flute tightly, despaired at all she had lost. Renard the fox, seeing her sadness shook his head.

    "No, my dear.
    That look is not for you
    tear-stained always,
    come, listen to uncle Renard!"

    The fox sat down, comforting her with a gentle hand.
    "Sending and receiving, this mountain Kodama, and the peak Echo, it is in that sense, transaction. Many miracles can be accomplished, and with you, moon child, I find myself moved to help you. Perhaps the mountain will also. Give and take. Beautiful moon child, I suggest a trade to you.

    I will give you a gift, but you must give me one too.
    I will give you a family,
    I will give you a voice,
    I will give you hope.
    But you must give me the flute and the clothes you wear.
    Some things can only be seen
    when you've lost everything!"

    Sonata pulled back and thought.
    The clothes she wore, of the white city. They had been beautiful, worthy of a princess who commanded melodies beyond anything here. But here, they were dirtied and cut. They were not elegant, like her. They were simple rags. They could not show her beauty. What was their value now?
    The wooden flute in her hand. Once it had been a beautiful instrument, capable of playing the most moving songs ever played in the white city. But here it sounded hollow, empty. Like her emotions and feelings, it was marred in sadness. How could she think of playing music here and now when she couldn't even sing? How could she think of playing music, when there was only a fox to listen?

    Looking to Renard the chief fox, she nodded, and gave her flute to him. Then she took off the gown of the white city. And the fox took off it's fur coat and gave it to her. Sonata wrapped the coat around herself, and the wind on the mountain touched her gently. With joy, found she could speak again. It was not her own melodious voice, of a child of Baz'Auran, but of a fox princess. It was sweet like honey, smooth and gentle. And the chief fox Renard gathered up the robes and hid them away.

    "Now my dear,
    a fox princess you shall be!
    a daughter any true father would dote upon
    not cruelly drop you from heaven!"

    "Thank you!" She said to the chief fox. And she put her hands on the ground and bowed to Renard.

    The fox laughed and held the flute to mouth. A sad, lamenting song played across the mountain, and Sonata's fox ears heard it, but it was strange to her.

    dressed royally
    wrapped in a fox coat
    a little fox princess
    but what fox ever fell
    from the white moon?


    ~*~
    Last edited by Kasanip; 2012-03-16 at 03:17 AM.
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  17. - Top - End - #347
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    The Steel Champion

    Before he'd traveled even a day, Carolinus encountered yet another messenger from a victimized tribe. It seemed the beast was four days to the north, moving slowly but surely towards yet another village. The mortal's eyes were wide as he described the monster, more than a hundred feet tall with a mane of fire. Truly, the mere sight of it seemed to have unmanned him, for he refused to turn north with Carolinus, instead insisting he be allowed to make his way to Markien, and safety. So the Watchman continued on his way north, a clear destination firmly set in his mind. And though the beast's path was swift, the feet of the gods have been known to shame the wind, and by the dawn of the next day Carolinus felt himself growing close.

    The first sign was the smoke on the horizon, a thin trail of grey-blue against the glistening green of wet leaves. Scant steps closer, and the smell reached him, the luxurious scent of spiced meat crackling over an open fire. These signs set Carolinus on his guard, for the messages had given no indication that the beast might breathe fire! Yet even steeled as he was, Carolinus could not have prepared himself for what he saw as he broke through the thickest growth. Standing in a wide clearing was a monumental tent, bright crimson and three times the size of the largest dwelling he'd seen save those of his own divine craft. Fluttering above a central pole that must once have been a mighty tree was a banner of the same crimson color, fringed in gold with black lettering upon it that Carolinus was at a loss to decipher.

    Despite the alien nature of the tent, it held his attention for but a moment before he noticed the figures milling around it. They seemed at first to be children, but Carolinus soon realized that to be a trick of the tent's scale - the figures he beheld were human woman, all of them young and beautiful. These were the maidens supposedly sacrificed to the beast, yet each was engaged in a shockingly domestic task - a team of six was hard at work cleansing a tarp that Carolinus belatedly recognized as a tunic, another four worked the levers that turned a great boar above a bonfire built well away from the camp. Still more entered and exited the tent itself, and as he watched Carolinus nearly gasped to see a number of them carry out a truly monstrous spear and begin polishing a blade that gave the impossible glimmer of steel. And, his eye finally forced to acknowledge the glimmer of metal, Carolinus noticed the shine of gold around each woman's neck - collars.

    Confusion surging through his mind, Carolinus' reflections on the scene before him were swiftly dispelled as something entirely different exited the tent behind the procession bearing the spear. It look to be a man, at first, yet it stood more than twenty five feet tall, it's skin burnished copper and its hair the jet black of unmined coal. IT's wiry frame was wrapped in a tunic that shamed any craft of humanity Carolinus had seen, and leather sandals creaked as it strode towards the bonfire. Pulling a knife from his belt that also glinted with the fine edge of steel, the giant cut a sliver from the boar and tasted it. He considered it for a moment, seemingly dissecting every flavor, before nodding to the women tending the fire and pulling a curled horn from his side opposite Carolinus. It made a terrifying sound, the clarion of a trumpet mixed with the squealing roar of a great beast. In response came a noise near as fearsome, a voice that boomed like thunder over the clearing.

    "Kelmeris, is breakfast prepared!?"

    The giant bowed, before responding with a voice that was but a rumble.

    "It is, Khar Melkhan. You may greet the day in glory."

    What came next nearly caused Carolinus to gasp, for the figure that stepped from the tent next dwarfed even the giant by the bonfire. He must have stood more than thirty feet, his skin a fine burnished gold, his hair and beard spun ruby. Rather than a tunic, he was adorned in elaborately engraved greaves, gauntlets, and breastplate, and hanging from his hip was a massive broadsword. He strode towards the boar, followed by a rushing mass of women carrying a camp stool to fit his stature that was only just assembled as he sat without a backwards glance.

    "You have trained my thralls well, Kelmeris. No Khar in the empire could ask for a better shieldman."

    "You honor me, my Khar."

    The Dark Traveler

    Kalandor's legs carried him far, and robbed of the irritants of fatigue or hunger he traveled even faster than he had on his mad dash south. It seemed that, for the time being, the darkness of his attacker would preserve his body. But for how long? It was a question that quickly passed, as Kalandor recoiled once again from consciousness to fall back into the waiting refuge of his mind. Yet even that no longer seemed sacrosanct - what had once been a solid room of his own devising had become a cage of black iron, thick strands woven together in an impenetrable web of fear and self-doubt. It had been weeks since he'd lost himself to the dark force behind the sands, and now even his mind seemed to present no obstacle to the thing's mocking laughter. As he curled around himself yet again, he saw yellow eyes bobbing in the darkness, eight fiery slits that stared down without pity.

    "We are nearly arrived, morsel. Are you not excited to see your sister again? You seem rather...withdrawn."

    Again came the laugh. The beast seemed to derive a special pleasure from tormenting him, though Kalandor suspected it might simply enjoy the sound of its gloating as well.

    "Do you feel them, slave? All coming closer and closer to the sight of the slaughter. Some have already begun to suspect your beloved brother - I dare say, you Children of Twilight almost do my job for me. Ah well, I suppose if your siblings prove too easy to manipulate I can entertain myself by tearing down precious Fayruz's dreams. Do you think she'd enjoy watching her people die, because I'd find it most entertaining."

    Kalandor pulled in closer to himself, struggling to suppress the voice. And mercifully, it withdrew, at least for the moment. But he could not help but wonder how much longer he could endure his tormentor's attentions before he went truly mad.
    Last edited by TheDarkDM; 2012-03-19 at 04:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDarkDM View Post
    The Dark Traveler

    Kalandor's legs carried him far, and robbed of the irritants of fatigue or hunger he traveled even faster than he had on his mad dash south. It seemed that, for the time being, the darkness of his attacker would preserve his body. But for how long? It was a question that quickly passed, as Kalandor recoiled once again from consciousness to fall back into the waiting refuge of his mind. Yet even that no longer seemed sacrosanct - what had once been a solid room of his own devising had become a cage of black iron, thick strands woven together in an impenetrable web of fear and self-doubt. It had been weeks since he'd lost himself to the dark force behind the sands, and now even his mind seemed to present no obstacle to the thing's mocking laughter. As he curled around himself yet again, he saw yellow eyes bobbing in the darkness, eight fiery slits that stared down without pity.

    "We're nearly arrived, morsel. Are you not excited to see your sister again? You seem rather...withdrawn."

    Again came the laugh. The beast seemed to derive a special pleasure from tormenting him, though Kalandor suspected it might simply enjoy the sound of its gloating as well.

    "Do you feel them, slave? All coming closer and closer to the sight of the slaughter. Some have already begun to suspect your beloved brother - I dare say, you Children of Twilight almost do my job for me. Ah well, I suppose if your siblings prove to easy to manipulate I can entertain myself by tearing down precious Fayruz's dreams. Do you think she'd enjoy watching her people die, because I'd find it most entertaining."

    Kalandor pulled in closer to himself, struggling to suppress the voice. And mercifully, it withdrew, at least for the moment. But he could not help but wonder how much longer he could endure his tormentor's attentions before he went truly mad.
    The Dark Traveller
    Kalandor cursed himself. Not even his mind was sacred. He knew better than to think the physical form a temple, his travels told him otherwise. It was a moment after withdrawing he responded, with a shocking force.

    Using a large chunk of his mental energy, scrounged within his treasones hideaway, he paralyzed a leg. It lasted only a second, but enough to collapse himself, smaking his face with a stone. It had left him exhausted, but not enough to restrain himself from a grandese statement.'

    Spite yourself Dark One. You will not succed, as I have just demonstrated, you are not total. Already, I have set in motion events to evict you. Know that when you fall, it will be looking into my sisters grace and to the sound of my laughter mocking. And alll around will see your plan shatter as a thin weave of glass.


    And in truth, he had. He prayed to Baz'Auran that a priest of the orcs might call upon Frellon, but he had plans, half baked in a quite possibly vain attempt to keep them from the other mind. Formost amoungst these where something he felt when Haramhold arrose, like an anoyncer shouted his being with the voice of Baz'Auran himself, proclaiming it for the whole world to see.
    My Homebrew Sig.

    Woo, I have a Quote.
    Quote Originally Posted by Moonwolf727 View Post
    To avoid harming the sanity of the DM I can no longer:

    * Cast flesh to stone on a annoying Druid
    ** Cast Rock to mud on a Druid statue
    *** Scoop mud into little ceramic pots
    **** Plant tree's in individual ceramic pots
    ***** Claim that I have helped them become one with nature
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    Congrats, you made me laugh hard enough to draw my family's attention.

  19. - Top - End - #349
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    By the time Green MorningStar had reached Frellon Haramhold had calmed down and was frankly feeling a little foolish for his outburst, it was unlike him.

    Frellon gave voice to a thought that had been bothering him since dawn."Is Carolinus coming by some other route? I noticed he did not board the Green Morningstar."

    "No he is not. Carolinus has decided not to come. said Haramhold as he embraced his brother "Nor did he give us a reason. But enough of this unpleasant talk Let me welcome you to Green MorningStar, she is a good ship with a" Haramhold paused "Unique personality."

    Looking over his brother Haramhold could not help but examine his attire, the rough bow and primitive leather jerkin would not do. Haramhold thought to himself, quickly recalling what was in the hold which could replace them. And then Haramhold saw the sword.

    "May I please examine your sword?" Haramhold politely asked eager to view this masterpiece.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  20. - Top - End - #350
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    Carolinus cursed as he collapsed to his belly beneath the shade of a sturdy oak. A great foe he had expected, yet he had not, could not, have imagined the scale of the task before him.

    He lay there for what seemed an eternity. Flat on his belly, his hand sheltering his eyes from the sun, he set in to observe his quarry. Often did he curse further, damning the the singularity of his training. He wished Faden was beside him, surely the wisest of his brothers would know how best to act. Jongo or Kalandor could have easily slipped into the Khar's camp and freed the womenfolk during a moment of quiet or, more likely, during a distraction of bizarre proportion.

    Carolinus was not made for such things, his was the artless and frequently ugly form of tactics and blood. He was not the wisest of his Father's children, nor was he swiftest or strongest. He did not invent or create, he did not weave or build. Carolinus was made as a shield, he was made as sacrifice.

    He scrutinised the Khar, planning his battle strategy. How best to attack such a large opponent? At best he could hamstring Khar Melkhan. Then there was the matter of that dire spear. It would give the Khar such an absurd advantage of reach that, assuming he was skilled and fast, a direct attack would be hopeless.

    They I will not attack directly

    He turned, viewing the path by which he had come, verdant forest blossoming everywhere in patches of green, brown and red. Bush and branch, limb and trunk, amble cover for a creature of his size. This would be his battlefield.

    Moving carefully to avoid attention he moved back into the forest.'Yes, this will do nicely.' Words came back to him, spoken to him by the First Spirits of both war and knowledge Remember Carolinus, a battle is often won before it is fought. You are destine always to hold the line, but remember always to choose your line wisely.

    He went down on one knee and closed his eyes. He made a hand sign as he slowed his breathing and sought focus. He listened to the sounds of the forest, listened to it breath and sway in the wind. He listened to it's life until it became all that existed in his mind.

    His magic leaked out through his feet and spread through the earth in all directs. It spread until he had an anchor in the roots of every tree within a sizeable area.

    The next part was not easy. This was a new magic to him, untried before. It was always thus, even in physical manifestation wardings, in which Carolinus excelled beyond all others, he had always struggled. It was always so easy for Faden. In the protective arts they were equal, yet Faden required little work to master even the most complex arts. Carolinus sometimes went days without seeing Cireo mastering even the basics of such arts. But Carolinus did not give up, his vow was absolute, his determination total, his dedication all encompassing. Yet, given all that, he was only equal to his brother.

    'But determination will not be enough here. I only have one chance to get this right. Great Baz'Auran, if you can hear me, please hear your son's plea. Grant to me just once the natural talent you gave to Faden. I seek only to keep the purity of my vow, already tarnished as our family scattered. Please...' A single tear rolled down his cheek, he had not seen the face of Cireo so clearly in his mind in years. He remembered the sundering of the family, he remembered her terrified face.'I will keep the oath as best I can. Just grant me this.'

    Finally he succeeded in forming the spellshape he had in mind. Via the roots he fed magic into all the nearby trees, wrapping them in invisible bands of steel. It would take a lightning strike to split them now.'My line is chosen.'

    And truly did he speak the truth, for this titanic exercise in magic would not go unnoticed. The final release of the spellshape released a thunderclap that would have felled the nearby trees had they not been fortified. Carolinus glowed like a beacon in the night as he appeared at the edge of the forest.

    Now to bait the trap.

    Thirty feet from the edge of the forest he stopped. He raised his sword high in the air in challenge and spoke words that easily carried to the Khar 'Khar Melkhan! You have sent forth call for a challenge. I challenge you! I, Carolinus son of Baz'Auran. I will end your cruel bondage and, if necessary, your miserable life. You have but one chance for survival. Release the women and go back from whence you came. Should you be as foolish as you appear, come, ye fragment!' With his sword he cut a line into the dirt and stepped back from it 'Cross this line! Come, but if you come remember well my name, Carolinus son of Baz'Auran, it will be the last name you will ever hear.'
    Last edited by Ladorak; 2012-03-16 at 09:55 PM.
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    The Human Spirit also by KP. The Raynnverse lives!

    Vagrant and Seal by Smuchmuch

    Vagrant by Darth Raynn

    Sentient #6 Avatar by kpenguin. Clearly the best picture of a M&M character named after a Nevermore song there has ever been.

  21. - Top - End - #351
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Quote Originally Posted by shorewood View Post
    By the time Green MorningStar had reached Frellon Haramhold had calmed down and was frankly feeling a little foolish for his outburst, it was unlike him.

    Frellon gave voice to a thought that had been bothering him since dawn."Is Carolinus coming by some other route? I noticed he did not board the Green Morningstar."

    "No he is not. Carolinus has decided not to come. said Haramhold as he embraced his brother "Nor did he give us a reason. But enough of this unpleasant talk Let me welcome you to Green MorningStar, she is a good ship with a" Haramhold paused "Unique personality."

    Looking over his brother Haramhold could not help but examine his attire, the rough bow and primitive leather jerkin would not do. Haramhold thought to himself, quickly recalling what was in the hold which could replace them. And then Haramhold saw the sword.

    "May I please examine your sword?" Haramhold politely asked eager to view this masterpiece.


    Frellon lowered his pack to the ground, and stretched his shoulder muscles, seemingly at ease just to be among his family again. He accepts Haramhold's explanation with a nod. After all, Carolinus probobly had people to protect, just as Frellon did. Perhaps they were in need. After Fayruz was seen to, Frellon resolved to offer his sword to Carolinus's cause, in case he needed aid as well. "Unpleasant indeed."

    "May I please examine your sword?"

    Grinning, Frellon drew the blade with a flourish, letting the light play along it's edge as he presented it to Haramhold carefully with one hand along the blade, as tradition demanded. "This is my blade, which I have named the Sword of Heroes. I awakened it in the moments before my ascention. It is an old sword; crafted in ages past, and it's memory is long. Generations of mortals have weilded it, some great, some small, I have learned much in the years I have spent plumbing it's secrets. " Frellon felt no qualms about handing over his prized sword. Haramhold would know what he was doing.

    The Sword
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    Upon inspection, one would find that the sword is not intelligent, but it forms a bond with those who weild it; this bond may be traced, and events may be relived from the sword's perspective. There have been a total of 329 different weilders to date. Frellon being the most recent. The vast majority have been Orc Champions and Warleaders. A precious few have been of other races. The blade has been lost and found by dozens of Clans, as is true of every Orcish sword, as the Orcs have long since lost the art of Sword Smithing. This blade is one several made in service to some mighty, unknown Tyrant far, far in the past, but it's power is derived from those it bonds with and has served. All this and more would Haramhold find upon carful inspection.
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  22. - Top - End - #352
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    "Unless one of you is Kalandor cleverly disguised as an older brother, neither of you can instantly travel somewhere. In fact, I don't even think Kalandor can do that. But in theory, I guess one of us could. Hmmm. Interesting thought. Anyways! My point is we have plenty of time for stories, and plenty of time for examining swords, but very little time for getting the ship underway. Green Morningstar is very nice, and is already moving because I asked. But for some reason no one wants to let me drive. So, Haramhold, take the helm. Give our nice Living Ship a boost, if you can. Amanda-dear, please show your Uncle Frellon to his cabin. And find him some clothes! And a bath. Maybe not in that order. And so help me, if the two of you force me to act responsible like this again, I swear I'll go pear-shaped." Jongo demonstrated by doing exactly that. Large in the stomach with short stocky legs, but little to no upper chest, Jongo looked ridiculous as his shoulders grew back out again and her head looked larger. "Er, I mean, I'll go pear-shaped... again!"

    Waddling along the deck, Jongo changed back to a small child in a white shift, with sandy blonde hair; a pair of small working wings lifted Jongo up to look at both of his brothers. "Well? What are you standing around for? Flower is waiting. She may have grown into her powers, but those are only for healing. That's why we came for you, Squid. You aren't Pineapple, but you're better with a sword then me or Haramfly. So, let's go. Chop chop!"

    Jongo looked over at Amanada, and grinned, "Get it? Chop chop? Sword?"

    "I think they get the point, Uncle."

    "Ha! Clever girl."
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    "Fear the Gerbils, lads! For they will destroy you!" ~ DOOM

    BladeofObliviom said:
    I've only seen a character at anything resembling this level of absurdity thrive exactly once, and he/she/what-the-jongo had the advantage of being written by Gengy, who I look up to as a writer.

    "What-the-Jongo?"
    Before you insult someone, walk a mile in their shoes.
    That way, you'll be a mile away, and have their shoes!
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  23. - Top - End - #353
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    Frellon felt no qualms about handing over his prized sword. Haramhold would know what he was doing.

    Grasping the sword lightly Haramhold runs a hand down the blade. The blade itself was of good craftsmanship not the work of a master swords smith but not of an apprentice either. But that was only what lied on the surface of the sword. The god could sense the care and devotion hundreds and hundreds of wielders had given the blade. He could see every sharpening, every polish and hilt replacement, as if it were a ghostly image that surrounded the sword of heroes. Haramhold could tell that this had given the sword a power of its own even before Frellon infused his divine essence within it.

    Handing the sword back to his brother Haramhold said "This sword was forged with love; a greater asset to the smith than skill. Take care of it for I doubt that there exists any like it."

    "Well? What are you standing around for? Flower is waiting. She may have grown into her powers, but those are only for healing. That's why we came for you, Squid. You aren't Pineapple, but you're better with a sword then me or Haramfly. So, let's go. Chop chop!"

    Smiling at Jongo Haramhold turns to Amanda "Could you show Frellon the armory after he has settled in. I think that there some chain mail that will fit him, if not I will alter it this evening. And I know that I brought a better bow than the one he has now."

    "Okay" Amanda replied eager to get to know another of Haramhold's strange family.

    Returning to the control crystal Haramhold wipes his blood off it and begins steer it toward Fayruz. Grasping the crystal Haramhold reaches toward Green MorningStar and silently apologizes to the living ship for pushing her too hard earlier. Pouring more power into the ship Haramhold increases her speed as fast as is comfortable and as high as they dare ascend.
    Last edited by shorewood; 2012-03-16 at 07:09 PM.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

  24. - Top - End - #354
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    The Weaver's Cave in the Dream-Time

    The Weaver wept with joy. His power was returned to him. No, not returned-amplified, made into full strength and empowered one thousand-fold. And gazing into the dreams of mortals which filled his new home, he could see what had become of many of his siblings. And what had become of them!

    He could see his eldest sibling, Jongo, aboard a mighty floating ship, accompanied by Haramhold. Both had grown immensely. Haramhold had gained a sense of beauty in his work, and Jongo had received in turn a measure of responsibilty. It was amusing, to see how his siblings had learned from each other. And another was joining them. From the dreams of the mighty orcs, The Weaver saw his brother Frellon. A true paragon of Honor now, a greater Hero than any of those found in The Weaver's stories.

    Further north, The Weaver gazed upon the dreams of more humans, who dreamed of a great Protector. It was Carolinus. The sorrow of their savior was painfully evident, but Carolinus had always known he would one day be without his sister. But his dreams were plagued by a great many things.

    Westward of Carolinus was a palace of frost and ice. The Weaver knew not whose dream he visited, but he could sense who the palace belonged to. It was Lossethir, of all people. How curious. Perhaps his laziest brother had made something of himself after all. But how happy The Weaver was that Lossethir had survived, regardless.

    Just above his cave, The Weaver saw a dream-that-was-not-a-dream. The feeling was of someone who no longer was connected to the physical world, as all true dreams are. But of course. The person was dead, and it was Avyra's realm he entered. His sister had not survived the fall, but she was not gone from their world either. Again, The Weaver's heart leapt for joy. He had always admired his sister.

    West again, across the great water, The Weaver laughed at the dreams he listened to. For he heard these ones before he saw them, so full of revelry and song. It was Brandis, most assuredly, and he had brought life and light to the lands he fell to. The Weaver made a promise to himself to go to his brother in short time.

    Then The Weaver's visage grew grim. For he felt a great disturbance, near to his own home. Three gathered in a single place. The powers gathered were not dreamed of, and The Weaver could not identify them. But those upon the isle nearby dreamed of a being of pure energy, surrounded by bands of sacrifice. It could be none other than Faden. So much power...The Weaver just hoped Faden was satisfied with the cost to gain it.

    But further west, were dreams aplenty. Of a madien of great beauty, power, and ability. A healer unsurpassed, and a diplomat of boundless skill. But who? Was it truly possible that this was Fayruz? The Weaver smiled. She had grown the most out of any of those he had seen, and he could feel his heart swell with pride.

    The pride lasted not. The Weaver gazed southward, and felt the darkness of the dreams there. A great evil sat in those lands, that cast shadows upon the men and women who lived by its throne. Nightmares The Weaver tolerated, for they were necessary. But those who delight in destroying the dreams of others are damnedable in The Weaver's sight.

    He would go to Fayruz. It was she who was closest to where he was needed. But first, there was something he needed to do. Taking some of the sand from the desert around him, The Weaver took a deep breath, and blew. The sand, infused with his divine spark, flew out among the twists and the turns of the Dream-Time. And the realm grew, and blossomed, and the threads which constructed this world found their way to The Weaver's fingers. Taking them, The Weaver felt his mind travel across the threads. And because he was a creature of the mind first now, and a being of flesh second, where his mind was in the Dream-Time, he was. The Dream-Time was his, and he was the Dream-Time's.

    From the sleeping mind of a man in the care of Fayruz, The Weaver sprung. His form shimmered, as though he were an illusion cast by the desert sun. But he was real enough. And he walked through his new surroundings, to find his sister.
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    Spend 3 Major Acts.
    Define the Dream-Time as my Sanctum

    The Dream-Time is a realm which overlaps and overlays the physical world. It is the world where dreams live, and a world of theoretical and potential. It is possible for both deities and mortals to travel to the Dream-Time proper, but more often they find themselves within a dream-bubble, a self-contained area of the Dream-Time which is maleable to their will-though ruled primarily by the subconscious. Residents of the Dream-Time can enter one of these bubbles and mess with a dream somewhat, and The Weaver, being the king of this world, is REALLY good at it.
    As a side note, because of the Dream-Time's nature, any deity can utilize it's infinite maleability, as though they had designated it as their Sanctum.
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  25. - Top - End - #355
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    Prelude III: Sonata

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    So it was that Sonata, daughter of Baz'Auran, became Sonata, daughter of Renard the fox. Once again, she had brothers and sisters, a family and friends. And for many days, she lived with them and played with them on the mountain Kodama. She learned many tricks and cunning games. And for a time, her heart was mended, and the fall was forgotten. But at night, the red moon reminded her, and it's light always gave her nightmares.

    But the affair of foxes and fox princesses is not the story of Sonata. Of the times as a fox princess, an age before her coming to meet humans, and so, this is not the story to be told. But the fox princess did not lose everything, listen to this story.

    One day in the middle of summer, Sonata the fox princess came to Renard. She greeted him properly, and spoke of her desires.

    "Greetings, Fox Father. It has been long since you took me into your house. You have treated me well, like a daughter and a princess. I have become spoiled and dance freely with my brothers and sisters. But at night the red moon does not let me forget. It's terrible glow does not let me forget nightmares of the fall. It's majesty doesn't let me forget how much more I can be. It's memory doesn't let me forget that I once had a different family. I cannot be satisfied like this. Tell me, Fox Father, may I go to Lake Madako?" Renard smiled a sly fox smile.

    "It has been long my dear princess, since we talked about that place. I welcomed you here into my family, and you became a daughter to me.
    But what father can refuse his charming daughters? Kon ha ha! will take you there, my dear adopted daughter. We must go south three nights and west one. There are the mortals called 'human' who live by the lake. Once you are at the lake, make the proper rites and ceremony, and call your voice back." Sonata thanked Renard, and then left the mountain of Kodama with Renard. Swift as foxes they traveled, three days south and one west until they came to great lake called Madako.

    At that time, there were humans who lived by in the valley of lakes surrounded by mountains land called Gozan. The five lakes sat around the great lake of Madako, and they were named Hifu, Fumara, Mittara, Yocchi and Itsanu. Each of the lakes had a village of humans who fished upon the lake for food. This valley of Gozan was blessed with fresh and nurturing rain. The reason for this was the dragon lord who lived beneath the lake Madako, and who gave them rain for their crops. Yet it was not so easy, since the red moon came, for the dragon lord had turned from his sacred task, and lorded over the villages as a tyrant.

    When Sonata and Renard came to the town of Hifu, the head of the village approached the two and prayed to them.

    "Please, honorable fox chief and fox princess. You must help us. The mighty dragon lord who claims this lake has become terrible since the moon's red turn. Now he demands tribute and daughters from the village to serve him in his palace beneath the waves. The mother's crying can be heard in every house. Please, you must intercede!"

    "How can a village's woe compare to the woe of the white city?" Sonata wondered with a bitter feeling. She could not comprehend the worries of the elder, for the red moon had signified far worse for her, who had lost her home and her family. But Renard covered his mouth politely and laughed.

    "Little fox, sorrow can be known everywhere. It is easy to give and receive sorrow. Perhaps too easy. But happiness must be worked for. Who can say whose sorrow is greater? Indeed, we can help, but the dragon lord is strong and I have desire to make him angry." Renard said with regret. "It would be foolish to make an enemy of someone so strong. No, it is better to endure misfortune." And with this, Sonata felt disappointment.

    "If... If Baz'Auran was here..." Sonata tried to say. The name, which she should have said Father, seemed distant to her too. She looked up at the sky, but the moon was so far, and red.
    And in that moment she realized how far she had truly fallen. Here she was a fox princess, but in the sky, she had been something greater. Here she didn't sing, play music. She had fox brothers and sisters, but their smiles and laughs couldn't compare with those she had known before. To faces of family that were a blur, but she didn't want to forget.
    The fox's gift of hope she had taken. But it was their gifts of love to her, that burned in her still.

    "I must find my voice first. Please, elder, direct me to Madako's shore." The village elder led the fox princess to the shore. And here Sonata called out again.
    "Where are you, return to me my voice!" But the voice that echoed loudly was like a fox princess' voice. It was sweet like honey, smooth and gentle. Sonata shook her head.
    "This is not my voice!" She cried. "I am no fox princess!" Renard laughed.
    "Look into the waters. They do not lie."
    And when she did, Sonata saw a beautiful fox princess looking back. She wore flowers and braids in her beautiful hair, but the eyes that stared at her were like the earth, and the ears on her head were furry and not made for the hearing of divine music. She turned in a panic to face Renard and the elder.
    "No, I am a princess of the white city! I am not a fox!" The elder of the village looked doubtful and bowed respectfully.
    "I welcomed the noble fox princess and her honorable father to this place. I have not seen a princess of a white city."
    Sonata turned to the fox.
    "You will give me back my robe and my flute, fox father!" The fox shook his head.
    "I cannot. They are back safe on Kodama mountain. Only there could we trade something so valuable as that. Indeed, you were willing, weren't you? You wanted nothing more than to find your voice. You were willing to give up everything, weren't you?"

    Sonata shook her head.
    "No. I did not! Deep in my heart I should have known! But I was afraid, I was alone! I thought that some things were different! Oh, how far away the moon looked! My brothers and sisters wherever they are! What would I do if Fayruz saw me now? We were beautiful and twins, but I have forsaken even that! I am a beautiful fox princess, but if I think of my family, how wonderful they were! I am nothing compared to them, but I want to be! I want to be so much! I cannot accept that this is who I am! I am better than this! I will become better! If there is pain, then I will endure it! If I have a failure, then I will overcome it! I am not a fox princess! I am something far more noble and grand than that!" In frustration, Sonata pulled on the fox coat she had worn, and threw it down. And as she threw it down, her voice returned to her, from the depths of the lake.

    throwing a fox coat
    a goddess child revealed
    her divine nature


    "I am Sonata! Daughter of Baz'Auran the creator! Princess of the white city! I will not hide myself! I show you the truth, now return to me my own!"

    The elder and the fox were both in awe and surprise at the power of her voice. It was noble and melodious, like dancing petals in spring, but beyond any they had heard. And as she spoke, both of them fell to their knees.
    Sonata turned to the elder.
    "I ask you then elder, for hospitality and charity. Lend us a place to rest and eat, and I promise that in return I will stop this dragon from troubling you. If it is a maiden the dragon wants, then listen to my plan to catch him!"

    Together the elder and the fox listened to her plan, agreed, retreating to the village for the night.


    In those times, it is said that this was the first time Sonata walked with humans. And she grew fond of them quickly. Compared to foxes, humans were more like the children of Baz'Auran, perhaps more than any other. And in the many moons she spent in the village, she taught the art of music to them, so that the first humans who heard the songs of the white city lived within the valley. The five villages and the five lakes found their oppressive burdened lightened, and new joy for each day came with the ringing of a morning bell.
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  26. - Top - End - #356
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    Dark Sands

    Dasque looked upon her elder brother, at least what was left of him. Emotion washed over her face as his presence, and that of Khalen-Het, finally sunk in. She had changed, her reserved nature had lessened, an unapproachable sense to her that she once held in the White City had gone away.

    Was the beast his then? Had he called it away when he realized with whom it fought? It was clear he did not make the thing, its ancient evil something most likely before her birth, before light had truly come to the Disk, but had he tamed such an abomination? That thing had attempted to kill her, played with her, even seemed to lust after her in a sense, in a way she hoped never to fully understand. Faden always sought answers even in dark places, and knowledge was but a hand’s reach from power, she knew that far too well. Had the Fall changed him in ways beyond his body? Whereas she had cast out her darkness, had he embraced his?

    No. Whether the thing was his or not, her eyes burning of radiance saw only two of her brothers.

    “I will go with you.” At first it was one tear, rolling down her face, the color of white gold. Then the tears came out in full as she sobbed, the Dasque who had always kept a level head, who seemed impervious to harm, let her guard down. The Dasque who could answer all but the most cryptic of Jongo’s questions, keep up with any of her siblings within the Cathedral of Steel, and would dare defy Baz’Auran crumbled at finally being with family again, with anything that was not a lonely frozen landscape, or a shadowy monster that meant to kill her. How many years had it been? How many of them had survived?
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    Quote Originally Posted by shorewood View Post
    Frellon felt no qualms about handing over his prized sword. Haramhold would know what he was doing.

    Grasping the sword lightly Haramhold runs a hand down the blade. The blade itself was of good craftsmanship not the work of a master swords smith but not of an apprentice either. But that was only what lied on the surface of the sword. The god could sense the care and devotion hundreds and hundreds of wielders had given the blade. He could see every sharpening, every polish and hilt replacement, as if it were a ghostly image that surrounded the sword of heroes. Haramhold could tell that this had given the sword a power of its own even before Frellon infused his divine essence within it.

    Handing the sword back to his brother Haramhold said "This sword was forged with love; a greater asset to the smith than skill. Take care of it for I doubt that there exists any like it."

    "Well? What are you standing around for? Flower is waiting. She may have grown into her powers, but those are only for healing. That's why we came for you, Squid. You aren't Pineapple, but you're better with a sword then me or Haramfly. So, let's go. Chop chop!"

    Smiling at Jongo Haramhold turns to Amanda "Could you show Frellon the armory after he has settled in. I think that there some chain mail that will fit him, if not I will alter it this evening. And I know that I brought a better bow than the one he has now."

    "Okay" Amanda replied eager to get to know another of Haramhold's strange family.

    Returning to the control crystal Haramhold wipes his blood off it and begins steer it toward Fayruz. Grasping the crystal Haramhold reaches toward Green MorningStar and silently apologizes to the living ship for pushing her too hard earlier. Pouring more power into the ship Haramhold increases her speed as fast as is comfortable and as high as they dare ascend.

    Frellon re-fastened the sword around his waist. Quite pleased that Haramhold aproved of it.

    "Could you show Frellon the armory after he has settled in. I think that there some chain mail that will fit him, if not I will alter it this evening. And I know that I brought a better bow than the one he has now."

    "Okay"

    "You know me too well, brother! I was dropped from the sky with nought but cloth garments and a flimsy ceremonial sword. I've been itching for some real armor for a long while."

    Frellon followed Amanda to a room, just large enough to fit his needs. He was excited; the prospect of one of Haramhold's bows was definitely worth getting excited about.

    After unpacking his things, of which there was little, he asked Amanda to lead on to the Armory. Going back through the same door they had left, and ending up among forges and racks of glittering iron was unexpected, but Frellon took it in stride; gravitating instantly to the sets of mail.

    He busied himself among the armours, as comfortable among the stacks and rows of gear as if he was in his own hut, sitting down to a meal. Admiring the craftsmanship of a mail shirt with both his fingers and his eyes, he realized that he had forgotten he had company.

    He looked up, and faced his niece. "So, Amanda was it?" Frellon hesitated. This was the daughter of his brother. He was unclear on the etiquette - none of them had born children before. Baz'Auran's left foot! Had Haramhold really had a child? Frellon couldn't quite wrap his mind around it.

    Frellon automatically defaulted the conversation to familar ground. "Have you ever tried your hand at the fighting arts?"
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    "Have you ever tried your hand at the fighting arts?"

    "Like everyone I have spent a year in study under Baylor's guild when I was young but besides that no and I've never been in a real fight before." Amanda answered "I hadn't realized that any of Haramhold's siblings liked fighting. Frankly until recently I thought all of you were like Haramhold, quite craftsman. Then Jongo showed up and showed me just how wrong I was." Amanda paused for a moment as she held a chain mail shirt up to see if it would fit "Can you tell me more about my family? Haramhold doesn't talk about the white city often, I think that something happened to sadden him, and Jongo enthusiastically explains everything which would be great if I understood even half of what he said."
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

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    "I hadn't realized that any of Haramhold's siblings liked fighting. Frankly until recently I thought all of you were like Haramhold, quite craftsman. Then Jongo showed up and showed me just how wrong I was." Amanda paused for a moment as she held a chain mail shirt up to see if it would fit "Can you tell me more about my family? Haramhold doesn't talk about the white city often, I think that something happened to sadden him, and Jongo enthusiastically explains everything which would be great if I understood even half of what he said."

    Frellon nodded assent. Everyone should know to whom they were related. "Well, you have a large family. Very Large. Back when we lived up in the White city there were over 20 of us; all would be your Uncles and Aunts. Our Father is Baz'Auran, The Creator." This last was spoken with a quiet reverence.

    "Some indeed were Crafters like Haramhold. He and Rumel the sickly were once quite close I understand. Others found that their talents lay elsewhere. Fayruz, whom we go to safeguard, found a place most often by Father's side, as his cup-bearer, but Jongo says she has found her calling in Healing since coming to the Disk."

    Finding suitable mail armor, he willed it onto his form, over the leather attire, pausing in his storytelling long enough to check that everything was fitted correctly.

    "Faden found his passion lay in the Magical arts, the Weaver... wove taepestries, like you've never seen before. Kalandor, who informed me of Fayruz's plight, allways seemed restless, moving from place to place. There were many who practiced the fighting arts; Carolinus, Contragh, Nieve, Dasque, Myself. But our motivations for doing so differed. It is the same among mortals. Some fight to protect those they love. Some fight to achieve some goal. Some fight because they have to, because fighting was thrust upon them. As for me? I train because the Fighting Arts can be a thing of beauty. I hone my skills so that I can best those who would abuse theirs. But I fight for what is right. Even now, I journey south to guard a member of my family against the darkness." Frellon paused, quite obviously for dramatic effect, and took a seat on a nearby stool.

    "That is not the whole story, however. Each of your relations has a story best told by themselves, but there is one story common to all of us: The story of the Fall. We do not know what it was that attacked our home. We know only that we were cast down from the white city, away from the danger, for our own protection. We have been scattered. We do not know how many of us survived the Fall, or the hazards of the Disk. But now, yes, now at last we are starting to find eachother again! It is a time for great celebration, even in the midst of our hurry to reach dear sister Fayruz."
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    "But now, yes, now at last we are starting to find each other again! It is a time for great celebration, even in the midst of our hurry to reach dear sister Fayruz."

    Amanda strung a bow for Frellon's inspection as she digested this information. "Do you know what is threatening Fayruz? Carolinus's message was rather vague. she said as she handed him the bow.
    Sometimes it is useful to know how large your zero is. ~Author Unknown

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