Balance

Tummy Time the Two

Curtis walked slowly with his head hung in shame, he approached the Lily Ivey gates of Soaz’s realm. The guards were wary, but they did not see his wild elven warrior who had ended so many lives that day, so though they kept their spears levied they allowed him entrance. Through the aisle of great holly and oak, the ancients of the wood, he felt the gaze of the immortal trees weigh and judge his crimes, he felt petty he had acted with good intentions and those had led only to war. As he walked he say pixies, brownies, fairies, sprites and lechies in impromptu hospices being cared for as best they could, the dead that the fey had carried off with them rested on the roots of the great trees, eyes caste towards the starry sky above.

At long last he came to the Hall of the Fairy King, where the roots of the oldest tree on Argyle had been slowly sung to shape them into a tiny throne that held the ruler of the fair people. He looked up and swallowed hard. Sitting in the thrown sat Soaz, her arm in a sling, her face bloody. For her to sit there meant that the illness her father was reputed to suffer from had taken him at last, couple that with their recent battle and he knew that her mood would not be one of peace. Behind her tucked into the shadow of the great tree, eyes closed with hand open on the bark, stood the Fey Prince himself. His black feathered cloak billowed in the slight breeze as his blond brows furrowed with sadness and disappointment as he learned of all that had transpired from great elm tree. Curtis swallowed and stepped forward

“Princess Soaz…” he was cut off as a large Fairy with flowing blond hair and a breast plate of maple leaf. Cutis knew him for he had been the one to injure Maul and cause him to turn back. That was Yarrow Junipersnap head of Tylwth’Teg a warrior order of Fairy.

“Our Royal Matriarch is a princess no longer, upon the death of King Quillleaf she ascended to become Queen Soaz Peddlewing the 3rd of her name, Rular of all fair folk from Rosemellow Ridge to Rainbow Glen, from the Cliffs of Clover to the Hills of Holly, she is the rightful Queen of the Northern Fey and Duchess of the Tywth’Teg Council, and you… heretic will show respect before she rightly orders your end” the words that came from Yarrow were filled with hate and venom, he had lost brothers this day. Curtis nodded and bowed

“I am sorry Master Junipersnap, I do not come intending offense,” he turned to the throne once more “Queen Peddlewing, I am sorry, I had thought the Lady of the Night Wind demanded obedience, I had thought that I was doing her work, but as I look at the carnage that I have wrought, as I prayed afterwards I know now that my understanding was flawed. I know there is no way to undo what I have done, but I wish it so, I wish I could.” The Queen looked angry, and was working on forming a response when a soft voice spoke from behind her

“If I may speak your highness?” the fey prince said in a tone closer to song then words. The Queen looked to her advisors who all nodded hurriedly
“The Everlast shall always have a voice in this court” the Queen said

“Thank you your Majesty” he bowed deeply stepping forward towards Curtis. He stood the height of a man, with blond hair and features closely to those of an elf then a fey, but it was the eyes, great blue orbs that held a wisdom beyond that of any mortal or fey, eyes that could swallow a creature’s soul and have them drift through a void of forever. The Everlast turned and looked carefully at Curtis, weighing his very nature and soul against his actions. “Curtis Tomas, the faun of Myth’O’Learth, compaions of Maul-Chaluim of Clan Silverfish, and worshiper of the Goddess of the Night Wind. He leaned in and stared hard at the faun. Curtis’s heart was racing, he knew that his life was about to end and offered a prayer of apology to his goddess, he would be in death as he had been in life, a failure. The Prince’s hand reached out and touched his forward and then withdrew, Curtis dared to open his eye, but saw in the Everlasts face not a look of anger, but of surprise. And then mirth. “The Goddess of the Night Wind is a Goddess true!” he declared to the court, many of those assembled gasped in awe and surprise “What is more is that she wishes both sides to come to peace, and…” his voice took on a curious tone as he studied the soul of the faun before him “… and she gives much for it” the Everlast reached into a pouch and polled from it a handful of sand, with a dramatic swirl he tossed the sand in the air and a golden light emanated from it. The sand quickly formed images and those gathered saw a proud and noble Strix, a tall warrior a proud man formed by the gods himself. They saw him go forth live honorably, meet another Strix, marry have children, then it followed the child as she grew and lived and fought and married and more children were had. Each time one child was selected and followed until they in turn had children, this repeated thousands of times over and over until it came at last to one larger then the rest, a form of beauty and power a form that arose to Godhood and became the Goddess of the Night Wind, and beyond her showed the silhouettes of the many generations that were to come. And then, with a sudden thunder strike, all the ones that followed the Goddess were gone, she would be the last of her line, the last of her kind. The sand that had made up her children, childrens children and more drifted to those fallen, and turned to a spark of purple resting above the heads of each fallen pixies, sprite, or fairy. With a pulsing that quickened until at last one last POP, the sand faded and those who had fallen awoke, as if only from a deep slumber.

“The Goddess of the Night Wind and offered a peace, I recommend her Majesty extend the same curtesy” The Everlast said as he backed away to his shadow by the great elm once more

Miriel awoke in a cold sweat and in agony, the dream was so real, it scared her so, she then turned in her bed and cried out in paid, she felt of awful stabbing in her stomach, her hurt like a hand had grasped her insides and tore at them… and she knew that all she had seen was real, and for it she wept.

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3rd Letter to Home

Papa,

We almost died.

Perhaps I should be more clear; apparently arrows are bad for our health – that is an “idiom” as the frog friend describes it, though it seems to be to be words of truth. They were a dishonourable lot from the Fire Nation, if you can believe it; this group laid an ambush out for one of the pet humans on board my captain’s ship and killed a crew mate of mine. In retribution I killed everyone I fought; you would be proud of me, Papa, many of them were human, though I had to use the avatar to kill them.

Incidentally, that pet human is that boy your friend was asking you to protect – are there any messages you wish for me to relay? He does show some promise, I suppose…

I have started to look for the history of our people – the library here is exquisite. I accidentally revealed to my bosun moons ago of my ability and love of reading but thankfully none of my other companions remembered it and believed me when I said I had no love of reading. I am not ready to admit to them that I enjoy a weakling’s pursuit, not when they believe me to be strong and fierce. As for the history I have found nothing of importance. There were only three books on our people, yet thousands on sharks; sometimes I do not think I will understand these people. Regardless, I will remain here in this human dominated city, and learn more about their culture; there must be qualities in this race that are redeeming, there must be allies we can trust. I did find two humans involved in the War – I ask your permission to carry out their death sentences, though I will need something official as these humans in Don-Ton ask for documents all the time.

[There appears to be scratched out words here, as if Miriel had a hard time writing the following paragraph]

Papa, I have a suitor; he is human, true, but he is as respectful of his ancestors as we are, his stamina is beyond approach, and every time I see him fight I would say he could rival any Strix in agility. I must be beginning to understand human customs for often he swears that I must have a large piece of human in me (and yet is overcome by laughter when I remind him I am do not have human in me, but half elf). He has not been serious in seeking my hand, but he assures me that the next request to be my virum he will be most impressive. I know he will not be accepted by our people as my actual virum but it is my hope that you and Ronan will bless him as my consort. I would be happy for it to be so.

By my love and wings,

Miriel

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Tummy Time

Curtis looked around at the bloodshed and carnage that he had wrought, his stomach turned and he thought he might be ill. How had it come to this, how had the battle been so brutal. He bent down carefully has he heard a light tinkle of bells and saw one of Soaz’s fairy soldier’s shudder with pain. But the looks of it he’d been clubbed out of the air and crashed against the rock. The stone has smears of glowing gold on it indicating the fairy had been bleeding severely. He reached for the little creature, heart torn with pathos, but stopped himself, The Goddess of the Night Wind had granted him three spells this night, one had been used in the combat, but he would need to be careful on how he spent the other two.

“I’m sorry my friend, I never wanted it to come to this” as he spoke he collected a droplet of water on his finger and lowered it so the small fairy could drink. “My spells are not powerful enough to save you, but please, be comforted” Curtis sat with him and began to sing an ancient song

Please Listen While Reading

While he sang he gathered the fallen soldiers of Soaz and laid those who had died peacefully by the alter of the Goddess of the Night Wind, those who yet lived he brought them water and warmth hoping to aid their passing and make it as painless as possible. As he did this he couldn’t help but see the truth, Maul-Chaluim had been right and maybe this was what the Goddess had been trying to teach him as well, strength in might did not make one right. He could force his way, but could he live with forcing it? Maybe people needed to decide for themselves. He let out a quivering tear and prayed to his beloved Goddess, was he right in this line of thinking, should he make peace? He brought his gaze up to the great chevron in and stared hard at it. The chevron swirled, and she appeared, his beautiful goddess wearing red tinted goggles a great winged beauty. Her face showed a smile and it filled Curtis with warmth. He decided then he would march over to Soaz and find a way to make the peace. He looked to his goddess once more and prayed fervently, could she save these Fey? Would She?

*
To be continued*

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Pics or it didn't happen

“Now my dear, let us shed these constraining costumes,” he slowly unzipped the back of her dress, “though you look positively radiant in this gown, I can’t wait to get a longer look at the ravishing form within.”

As the dress fell to the floor Aurellia turned on the balls of her feet and began to unbutton his shirt. Once she released the final button, Harry took her hand gently and spun her around, her strawberry blonde hair swirling gracefully. He took a long appraising look at her body in the candlelight. Smooth milky curves with flashes of blue.

“This form is amazing too,” he shakes his head as she turns and smiles, “I’d say one of a kind even.”

Aurellia blushes ever so slightly, “thank you.”

“But it’s too fragile for a bear,” his pants fall to the floor, “and you are an impressively beautiful wolf.”

He begins to shift as Aurellia watches, filled with excitement and anticipation.

She follows suit, and begins a new chapter in were relations.

image.jpeg

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Drowning in Thought

Hithday the 10th of Sunsebb, Dorms, Chef Stadium, 2nd Circuit 8th Spoke, 6:56pm.

Hiro sat with his legs crossed on the cot assigned to him for his stay at the Stadium. He stared into his hands tracing the lines and scars past the callouses he’d built up searching for the answers he sought. He felt off balance, like everything was being undone around him and all he could do was help those around him while drowning in his own problems. The clarity and air he sought seemed distant and the pieces of information he was collecting more like bubbles of air he could see and reach for but unable to grasp and pull down to give him more breath to swim.

The captain’s story about the Phoenix was disheartening as he’d travelled to the wrong coast and a glance at the charts and further discussions had left him looking at a long journey of the better part of a year to get into the right part of the world. Then he would need some sort of local aid in finding the Phoenix from there. Hiro doubted he had the supplies and money to make the journey from Don Ton alone. That meant he would need to work his way north and west from job to job if he could get them.

Then came the news from Chef Armsy that his secret ingredient was procured from a Phoenix. Setting aside his thoughts that using a magical and intelligent creature to spice up food as being more than a bit of a cheat, Hiro was desperate to ask Armsy where he could find the Phoenix who was willing to give up its feathers as a spice on food. But there was no good way that would not endanger Hatrutt’s chances of making it to the end of their training. He held out a faint hope that this Phoenix was much closer and alive to be spoken to.

And then none of it actually helped him answer the riddle that Ymeri had given him so that he could be prepared and achieve the balance and clarity Ymeri meant him to have by the time he reached the Phoenix. He still found it difficult to speak to any of the others about it and after the heated exchange between himself and Thalion where he accused the elf of aiding the werewolves both in Don Ton and Lockland and endangering the crew for base reasons. Thalion had rightfully fired back and the comments stung. For he did respect the elf and the others and knew their lives were only joined for a short time and should not be expected to have the same ideals or outlook about the world. But what was he to say in return? He was eighteen and was likely not going to see his twenty first year. Until he found the Phoenix things like sexual urges were a luxury he could not afford to distract himself with. Thalion had lived many times as many years and probably could not fathom how short time was to Hiro.

But if he did not ask them for help then he would lose any possible allies he might have. And Hiro was not going to let it all go without a fight. He had come too far and endured much to get here, even if it wasn’t where he expected to be. There was time enough for that later though as the Boot was not going anywhere and the crew were stuck in port for a few months at least. Which left him with more pressing concerns about not only doing well with Hatrutt but protecting the gnome from those who would harm him or undermine their dishes. His own cooking was improving and he knew that the crew of the Boot would be pleasantly surprised at how well the food would taste even after this short amount of time. But this was the gnome’s dream and he vowed to make it last for as long as he could.

So Hiro knew he had more to do than even he had planned on. From here on out he would use his sharp eyes to keep watch on the others and their habits and what they did both in the kitchens and away from them. Who spoke to whom and what they did would all go into his book for reference. He would also check their ingredients the day before and hours before they were due to cook to ensure no tampering. And as much as it might annoy Hatrutt he was going to insist on accompanying the gnome whenever he left the Stadium so no one got the idea that he would be an easy target to remove beyond the kitchen. Lastly he made a note about suggesting using things like curry and teriyaki and soya sauces to change up their dishes a bit.

Hiro lay back on the cot and stared at the ceiling letting the flickering light of the candle lull him into a light doze. There was so much to do… Now if only his nightmares would abate. Watching his father burn over and over was something he’d thought he was past along time ago…

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Departure

Hithday the 10th of Sunsebb, Chef Stadium, the Docks, Don-Ton

“Captain, are ya daft, ya can’t be serious, it’s the stormy season” Thitmed exclaimed. The Captain merely looked on him with patience.

“I have to go, Sir Myles of Oula was a great warrior during the war, I owe him my respects, and we are too close for me to not go.”

“But Sir, then let me go with ya, it’s hardly safe fer ya to be out on yer own”

“I won’t be on my own Thitmed, I have spoken to our dear Bosun, and he has agreed to accompany me and lend us the use of Elthoron; I am also taking Belinda, we will travel slower being three, but still faster than by horse or boat. Besides, I need you here, keeping an eye on the Boot while it is in dry dock, and keeping the rest of the crew out of trouble”

“But Captain…” the Dwarf said little else, he had no other arguments other than the fact that he didn’t like being separated from his Captain, his love or his unborn child. The Captain gave him a pitying look

“It is a funeral, nothing to trying, and we will return shortly, do well by me my dear Thitmed, and we shall return safely” the Captain said, placing a hand on the Dwarf’s shoulder. The Dwarf let out a sigh but nodded. Signifying he would offer no more resistance. “Good Man,” the Captain said grabbing his pack “Tell Hatrutt I look forward to tasting his new concoctions when I return…” he said has he started walking towards the pier where the eagle, Thalion and Belinda awaited. “.. oh and let Aurellia know that if I were her I would avoid running about on the 21st… aside from that, good luck and be well” with the the Captain can companions mounted the eagle and took to the air, leaving Thitmed watching them fly away south over the harbor for a long while

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Encounter at Farpoint Pt 1

3rd of Wealsun 377 ONT: Kaiden Academy, Fire Nation

“Yukiko Omori.”

“What?” Hikaru blinked and looked over at his friend Natsu.

The pink haired youth only grinned and nodded in the direction Hikaru had been looking. “That’s her name, Yukiko Omori. The one that you’ve been stealing glances at while the commander was welcoming us and then again at muster for our unit assignments. Not that I blame you.” Hikaru had the decency to blush at this as he was trying to be secretive and nonchalant about it.

“How is it that you know her name?” Hikaru found his eyes drawn to her once more as she smiled and joked with a few of her friends. It looked like she was heading for the south end of the compound and he was trying to think of a reason to wander in that direction.

“It’s a secret!” The spiky haired youth laughed and dodged the playful punch from Hikaru. “I’ll only tell you on pain of a full stomach.”

“Deal.”

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

“… second son of my great grandfather on my mother’s side which are known for having green eyes of all things. So in general terms we are cousins as I found out last summer at the gathering. Her family is from the north and they sent her here because this is the best academy in the Fire nation and because I was attending.” The story had taken a while to get out as Natsu spent more time stuffing his face than speaking and Hikaru had long since passed impatience. He knew that giving in to the urge to throttle his friend would only result in delaying what he wanted to know. “… doesn’t have an affinity for the elements like I do but her magical potential is supposedly quite high.” Hikaru was certain that Natsu’s true talent was talking but his affinity with fire was a close second. “…so I think I can arrange it so you two meet up.”

“Really? Thanks Natsu.”

Natsu leans back now fully stuffed and nods. “What are friends for if not for setting up distant cousins with?” Both friends looked up as their sunlight disappeared with the arrival of a half dozen other trainees. Hikaru’s mood soured when he saw who it was at the head of the group. The eldest Ishikawa, Batou towered over the others as his two years gave him a height and strength advantage. Not that the others would do much thinking on their own that he would allow, Hikaru mused.

“Someone with as much potential as you Dragoneel should know better than to associate yourself with traitorous spawn like the Yamamotos.” The six had circled the two friends and Batou actred as if Hikaru wasn’t even there. His friends, however, had eyes only for Hikaru and all he saw there was a group of bullies looking for a reason to attack. He wasn’t going to make it that easy for them. “If you’re not careful you might catch it and I’m told the only way to keep that filth from spreading is to cleanse it with fire.”

Hikaru’s eyes narrowed and he rose to his feet, fists clenched in anger. Beside him Natsu stood and placed a hand on his friend’s shoulder forestalling the violence. “Ishikawa-san, you honour us with your presence. We new cadets can only stand here in awe of your family’s exemplary record and service to the Fire Nation. I am certain your father has taught you well and as a senior member of the mounted division I hope to learn much from your actions at the Academy.”

Batou frowned, this was not the reaction he wanted and worse it was respectful enough that with the few others nearby he would lose some face if he were to press with such blatant jabs at Hikaru. “See that you do Dragoneel. And the first lesson would be in deciding what kind of soldier you want to be. A hero or a traitor.” And with that he turned gathering his friends behind him as a lord gathers his cloak.

Hikaru stared at the back of Batou while his mind relived that frightening night and he felt as if his jaw was going to crack with how hard he was clenching it. Ishikawa, Fujima, Moto, Tanaka and Kita. All important houses, all with strong ties to the Ishikawa family and at least some were complicit in what happened that night.

“Ha! Well that will make things interesting will it not?” Natsu grinned and Hikaru could only shake his head. Interesting was an understatement. It was no secret that it took more than a few tries for his name to be accepted onto the rolls as he had been blocked at almost every turn. Only his ties to the royal line and want to serve finally gave him access but the highest he could be was as an archer. It was a position that would allow him to serve but not one that would gain honour and glory in battle facing the enemy with the sharp steel of a blade. Hikaru didn’t really care as long as it gave him a chance to show that his family were not the traitors they were thought to be.

Natsu was about to say more when he spied Captain Rugenji moving towards them and thought better of it. “Tomorrow after second bell be near the dragon gate.” With a quick salute to the captain, Natsu made his escape. Unfortunately that left Hiakru with the captain and a mess of dishes. He sighed and saluted knowing that he was about to be given a menial task to keep him busy for the next few hours.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

4th of Wealsun 377 ONT: Kaiden Academy, Fire Nation (shortly after second bell)

Hikaru tried not to hurry to the Dragon Gate even though his archery practice had run late. It wasn’t his fault that someone had tampered with all of the strings assigned to him and covered his bow with grease. In truth the entire day so far had been one bad prank after another and even now he was trying to not let his boots fall off as the laces had been sliced so they came apart when he went to tie them up earlier. That was not the extent of it either and even the instructor knew someone was out to make Hikaru’s life miserable and admonished the group as a whole about tampering with the equipment of comrades and allies as they might be the only ones between you and an enemy blade. But all Hikaru received was snickers and whispers like “Its only what a traitor deserves” and “Can’t trust the untrustworthy” or “send him home before he injures one of us.”

Earlier it was a more direct approach with Batou and his cronies. It seemed at every turn at least one of the six friends were nearby and he was somehow always in their way; a foot here, and arm there or an outright shove for not moving fast enough or in the right direction. With size and years and training Hikaru didn’t have all he could do was absorb the abuse and hope someone would step in. Yet none seemed to notice or if they did were not of a mind to help the son of a traitor against the sons of powerful Fire Nation families.

So it was with relief that Hikaru reached the spot Natsu had indicated he would try to get Yukiko to meet him. Yet he was there alone, no Natsu and definitely no Yukiko. He frowned and looked around trying to see if anyone was heading towards him possibly running later than he was. But as the minutes dragged by it was becoming very clear that he was not going to have company. Well at least it had been a break from the bullying. After nearly a half bell with no sight of anyone Hikaru sighed and turned to make his way back to his assigned barracks.

“Giving up so soon?” An amused feminine voice carried to him on a soft breeze. Hikaru stopped and looked around surprised. “Another mark against you and we haven’t even formally met yet.”

“Who?” Hikaru spun in place trying to figure out where the voice was coming from. In return he was met with laughter.

“Who were you coming all this way to meet?” The voice questioned in return. “One would think if one was wanting to make a good impression one would have done a few things differently.”

Hikaru glowered and stared at the dirt. He didn’t like this game, it felt too much like the taunting and bullying he’d received from the others. “You seem to know much more than I so I’m sure you know.”

“Oh stop being such a boy and think!” The voice tsked, “Natsu said you were intelligent. I’d like to see you work some things out on your own.” There was a small pause before the voice continued, “If you do, come find me and we can talk.”

A small shadow detached itself from the Dragon Gate and Hikaru watched Yukiko leave. He frowned and thought over what had just happened and sighed shaking his head. He didn’t like these games not the ones the six played nor the one that Yukiko was playing. Yet it seemed he would have to take part in both if he was to survive Kaiden Academy and the first part of that was going to be in finding Natsu and, well things would be done and said…

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Erecting Gone Wild
9th of Sunsebb, 381 ONT, Champions Boot, Pier #17, Don Ton (late night)

Miriel looked around the general quarters, her eyes roaming critically as they took in the additions she’d erected. She felt a surge of satisfaction at her work; after bidding her fellow shipmates good luck on their hunt for the werewolves and delivery of random packages (privately she felt it was a bomb, but had not wished to “jinx” the party as Mandy called it – wise child), she’d spent the better part of the afternoon creating a makeshift aerie to nest down in the winter. She supposed after she was done she probably should have cleared it with the bosun or first mate, but did recall Harold mentioning something about it being easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission and so dismissed the thought from her mind.

Cable and canvas stretched from hammock loop to hammock loop into an off-square like tent; a brazier sat in front of the entrance, its embers glowing and warming her backside as she worked. She’d ended up stripping off the few layers she had (except for the pair of fur lined boots she had on from her cold weather gear, of course – who on earth walks around with bare feet??) and sang softly in Elven as she strung it up. Ungle had tromped in, taken one look at her – and then another longer glance which made her wonder if her tattoo was spreading further across her body – but before she could ask he grabbed something from his locker and went right back up the stairs, muttering something under his breath.

Once done with the outside of the tent she got to work on the inside, dragging the feather down mattress she’d bought from a nice halfling gentleman just inside an alley out past the harbour. The unfortunate soul had given her a deal; originally he had bought it as a reward for long months out at sea but wanted to sell it after lightly damaging it whilst merely traveling to his ship – he’d tripped on a rock and fallen on it, neatly puncturing the mattress. When she inquired about the fresh red stains, he was honest and owned up to his random nose bleeds that just coincidentally flared up just as he dropped the mattress – an old injury of his, he said, that acted up from time to time. She sympathized with his plight, thanking the gods that no one was actually hurt in the process and bought the mattress, thinking Mandy could repair the hole with her hammer power and Flit could clean it with his weirdly named spell.

Blankets were the easiest of the items she needed to be found; rather, actually, they found her. After bringing the mattress to the ship, she decided to fetch dinner from a tavern that had heavenly smells coming from it. She had not thought much of the city in matters of honour and kindness, but as she waited for her dinner to take back to the ship, ladies and gentlemen alike seemed to be very concerned for her well-being in the storm. Blankets upon blankets they brought to her, with each person seeming more angry over the cold than the last, wrapping the blankets around her bikini-clad body; while unconcerned for how cold it was, she was touched by their concern on how she dressed for the weather, and made sure to graciously accept each blanket offering as they came, so as not to insult anyone. Armed with a mountain of blankets and her dinner for the evening, she’d whistled and stepped lively back to the ship, eager to show off the generosity of the people of Don-Ton.

Leaving open the flap of fabric that acted as a door to her cozy tent, Miriel curled up and allowed herself to drop into a meditative state that left her feeling relaxed and warm. The cheese and bean mushroom warm-bun she’d eaten, though unneeded, left her with a feeling of contentment. Ever since the faun named Curtis built an altar to herself within the tattoo on her belly, she’d felt an extra surge of power, almost divine in nature. It left her with certain abilities that not only improved her fighting and summoning skills, but also granted her immunity from the rigours of life in general; specifically not needing sleep, food, or drink.

More mysteriously perhaps, Miriel also felt that it gave her a different hunger, a hunger she could not quench, as was made apparent when an exhausted Harold appeared in front of her tent. One inquisitive look from him was all it took and Miriel surged forward, tackling him onto the floor just centimetres away from the brazier, her wing tips curling around her body until gently caressing his cheeks. She swallowed his cry with a fierce kiss, and she felt territorial as she sat straddled on the very surprised Harold; she pushed him down with force, and smiled in satisfaction when she felt his arousal straining against his breeches.

“You confuse me, Harold de’Cainia. I thought I made it clear that I like to be touched.” She brought his hands up to cup her breasts, interlacing her fingers and squeezing. “Do you not want to touch these?”

“I can assure you that I very much want to touch these,” he replied, a slight upturning of his lips the only sign of a smile.

She moved her hips in tiny circles, cocking her head at him inquisitively as he sucked in his breath at each circumference. “Do you not want to give me pleasure, Harold de’Cainia?”

“Oh, I very much want to give you pleasure, my love,” Harold assured her, his hands trembling as she pinched her own nipples with his fingers. “In fact, if you let go, I can prove it to you.”

“Oh?” she asked, the circles getting more languid. “Then why do you ignore me? I am very displeased.”

“I can fix that, I swear.” Harold pulled himself upward, licking her nipples where he could get at them. “Let me show you.”

“I do not know, Harold de’Cainia.” She gasped as he managed to move fingers aside enough to suck on the nipple. “What would your father say about leaving me unsatisfied for so many days?”

Harold gave her breast a quick bite that drew a sharp gasp from her lips. “My father…enough about my father. There’s only room for me here.”

Loud clapping at the bottom of the stairs made both of them jump; there stood Ungle again, this time clapping obnoxiously. “It is good, my comrade, to not have family over when doing the uhhh – “ he said, while making crude mating gestures.

Miriel looked at Ungle in horror. “It would be disrespectful to mate with family, stu –“

“Good night, friend Ungle,” Harold interrupted, pushing Miriel backwards into her tent. “I can assure you that friends are not welcome either.”

Ungle grinned.

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Fire Birds pt 2

Hithday the 10th of Sunsebb, Chef Stadium, 2nd Circuit 8th spoke, 2:44pm.

Hiro had not slept well the night before, the events in the abandoned market had been hard to shake, even knowing they were not if fact real, the images of his parents would leave scars. It was as such that he had not noticed the morning competition as closely as normal, he followed Hatrutts orders but went about his business methodically, allowing his mind to wonder. Hatrutt on the other hand was in a flurry of activity motivated by his discoveries last night. He was working with a giant squid and creating a new take on a beef wellington with light fennel salad and raspberry vinaigrette as topping. Hiro had had his doubts about the dish but ultimately followed the eager gnomes lead. He was not feeling inspired. The service had been hard and in the end they found themselves standing in front of Chef Graham, Chef Tosi and Master Chef Armsy. Even further to his surprise as he tuned in more clearly he heard the words from the Master Chef.

“A splendid new take on the old, it’s refreshing and light… just wonderful” he looked beside him and watched Hatrutt beam with the praise. The Master Chef continued, “Your reward, for such an inspired creation is that you may spend time with each of the Chef’s on this panel and ask them each a question about technique or cooking. Good Work, and Keep it Up” Hatrutt and Hiro bowed as they turned to leave. Hiro looked about at his competitors and noted a few unsavory types… this was the 2nd victory for he and Hatrutt, soon they would be targets if they weren’t carful.

After a quick bath and fresh clothing Hiro found himself with Hatrutt having the kitchen to themselves and Chef Armsy. They were permitted a question about cooking or technique and he was surprised when Hatrutt just dove in. “Master Chef, If I may… what is the secret ingredient that you slip onto dishes, from where is it attained” Hiro noted a cloud pass over the Master Chef’s face, but the man did respond.

“A very good use of a reward, perhaps the best use I have ever seen.” As he spoke he pulled the familiar jar from his pocket, and held it up. “in here is ground phoenix feather, but a single filament on a dish will give it new life, reawaken flavours and cause them to burst with the absolute best of their potential, it is a godsent for any chef to have in his arsenal. I will not tell you where I get my supply from, it is incredibly difficult, rare and expensive to get only the freshest of ingredients, but I am being truthful in what it is, and I expect that I can rely on your discretion”. The two nodded vigorously. “Now, let me show you how it works”

To be continued

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Fire Birds

Yoloday the 5th of Sunnsebb 381 ONT, 6:12pm Champions Boot, 18 miles form Don-Ton Harbor

The Captain sat back in his chair ushering Hiro to sit as he considered the question. His hands carefully pack his long elegant pipe as his eyes stared off.

“An interesting choice of study Master Suberu, the Phoenix is not a common creature on any plan, and rarer still on Argyle. A few thousand years ago, the great Sun Priest known as Golhan was tricked by the God Talib into releasing three Dark Phoenix onto the plane, the dark ones burn all the flew over with a foul fire of negative energy not only destroying what was their but making all left behind scared, never able to grow of give life again. It was Ra and Damie, the God of Sun and Healing who came together and awoke the true Phoenix, it fought and killed the dark ones and wept for their destruction, its tears rejuvenated the land and it made its home on Argyle once more.” He paused taking a few moments to light his pipe before blowing a simple smoke ring, he inhaled deeply again and this time the smoke flew from his mouth in the shape of the great mythical bird, shifting constantly to match his words as it swirled and flew around his cabin. “Although all phoenix are avian in form, their specific features vary greatly from region to region. There is only one phoenix at any time, but once it arises anew it will take the form depending on where it was reborn. In arid plains and desert lands, where phoenix most tend to make their homes, they tend to resemble enormous hawks and eagles with sharp, hooked beaks and piercing ruby eyes. In the dense jungles and outlying savannas of the south, the mythical firebirds have the smooth-crested heads and resplendent feathers of the region’s various tropical birds. In some arid lands that border close enough to vast, primeval forests, such as the Evermoors rare owl-like phoenixes with huge, violet eyes and crushing talons have appeared and aided the elves in shepherding the ancient woods.” The smoke bird dissipated and the Captain took another deep inhale before letting out more smoke, now many people appeared, as well as a great bird. “After the great war, much of the land was scared and wounded, so much evil pent up energy, places of death and masacars that the demons and devils had forged. It was the wizards Illiate, Erindale and Calista who came together and sought out the great phoenix. Once again the mighty creature was roused and once more took pity on the scared land of Argyle flying over it and healing it from its twisted misshapen nature. Those were better times… your people, young Master Suberu, revered the Phoenix, and held great feasts and celebrations in its honour, coaxing it to make its home in the Fire Nation when its work was done. For several generations it did just that, but in time the people grew less thankful, and saw the great beast as a pet more than a friend and benefactor. One day it could take no more, and decided to leave.” He paused again gaining more smoke to tell his story “It was the Fire Lord Kasai who tried to deny the beast its right to depart and swore he would have it killed if it tried to leave. A great battle ensued with the Fire Lord chasing the Phoenix ever northward until it crossed into the lands of Eiradun. The bird continued to fly, but the army was met by the Lioness Alana of Eiradun and a thousand of her Dentoni. They clashed and fought, but she held the famed blade Shieldbreaker and no man could stand against her. The Fire Nation was turned back, but their soul had flown away free… since then, they have been a land lost of direction, a people of great intellect and wisdom, but lacking the heart to propel them forward. Many believe the Phoenix was an avatar of Ymeri herself, and that her people have lost favour… but that is more conjecture than fact” the Captain took another long pull from his pipe and with it, the smoke figures drifted from form becoming just a smoke filled cabin once more… the silence stretched as Hiro gathered his thoughts for his next question.

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