Balance

Here and Away
5th of floodtime

Dear Flitt

Thank you for your staunch support while I addressed the crew this afternoon, knowing that I can count on you to Captain our beautiful new ship to Lockland make this trip easier. I became emotional during our talk so I thought I’d write everything down in case I missed anything. Although I have loaned out my extra rugs and blankets so everyone has something to sleep on I expect them back in pristine condition.
I have spoken to Aurelia about using the chest as quarters for the ships guards please work out the best location with her. I suggest my cabin.
When you get to Lockland please aim for no more then 10 days in port.
While you are there I need you and Aurelia to hire a crew 200 gold should cover the hiring on costs. If you are able to find a competent quartermaster 500 gold should cover supplies and stocking the ship (please include hammocks and bedding so I can have mine back before I return)
Also, you will need to secure cargo something legal for our first run going to Honastis or High port. Once we get to my vineyard we will have plenty of cargo but we need to pay our way down. Remember due to the special nature of our Hold we can handle far more delicate cargo then another ship. (please impress upon every crew member the dangers of bring any sort of extra dimensional space into the hold)
I have set aside up to 5000 gold to secure cargo.
We also need to rebrand our ship so we are not easily picked out by Omar’s. I believe my goddess will do a wonderful job and I know she will help the entire crew feel involved, and take pride in their new home.
Can you do me a personal favor? Can you please have someone check on the Were? I need to know what echo did to Versum. Please remember my oath to the people if they need aid we must provide it. If their pack is to small offer them free passage. Maybe you can make contact with the Bard I hired to improve the publics image of the Were who protect them. His name is Sam Smith and he should be staying in touch with the pack.
My journey will take me about 30 days and I should be able to meet up with you near pirates’ swoop.
I know I already said this but be safe I will see you all very soon.

Love Thalion

P.S. please remind Maddox not to fret I promised I would not reveal that he was a cat (even a competent and noble one) I always keep my promises.

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Say Something

“Say something,” Miriel asked Prancer; they’d been talking about if he was going to come with the Boot or if she would stay in Cainia, but from the beginning of the conversation he seemed distant and unwilling to talk, which was very unlike her beloved. Something was going on in that wonderful mind of his – something that she wasn’t going to like.

“I’m giving up on you…” he whispered.

She sighed, not catching his words, and turned to the mirror in his chambers, taking the brush to her hair once again. “I’ll be the one if you want me to…”

“Anywhere I would’ve followed you…”

“Say something…”

“I’m giving up on you.”

Miriel snapped to attention, staring at Prancer’s image in the mirror in confusion, watching as he put a hand up in the signal he’d explained meant to wait before speaking, in Human.

“And I…” he stopped for a moment, anguish apparent on his face as he struggled inwardly. “I’m feeling so small. It was over my head, I know nothing at all. And I…will stumble and fall.”

Miriel whipped around, stumbling towards him and shaking her head violently. “I’m still learning to love; just starting to crawl.” When he didn’t look at her, she fell at his feet, grasping his hands in hers. “Say something – ”

“I’m giving up on you.”

Tears slipped down her cheeks and she slowly released his fingers from her grasp. “I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you.” She rose, turning slowly to look at the room they’d just made love in, a room she’d felt would be one she would’ve taken his troubles away. “Anywhere I would’ve followed you…Say something – ”

“I’M GIVING UP ON YOU!”

Miriel took a step backwards, his words a blow to her heart, and she had to stop herself from keening in pain. Memories of them laughing on the ship, flying on the wind, and embracing everywhere and anywhere broke over her senses, and she searched his face – and found it mirrored her own.

A thought came to her, and she paused; she knew why he was doing this. Tentatively she reached forward and cupped his cheek with her right hand. “And I…will swallow my pride.”

Prancer’s eyes filled with tears and he himself grabbed her hand, bringing it to his lips and brushing her skin with kisses. “You’re the one that I love,” he said gently.

She nodded her understanding, letting her hand fall. “And I’m saying goodbye.” She turned and began to gather her things. There wasn’t much there, she thought idly, she hadn’t given herself time to move in. He had his people to think about it now and she couldn’t live with herself if that meant he had to choose between them and her…because she knew he’d pick her…and it would kill him.

“Say something…” he began, his hands now clenched into fists, as if warring with himself on his decision.

“I’m giving up on you.” She opened the door to his room and stepped out. “And I’m sorry that I couldn’t get to you. And anywhere I would’ve followed you.”

“Oh…Oh…say something!” He took a step forward but she raised her hand. He couldn’t go with her, had too much here to finish…

“I’m giving up on you,” she replied, mind made up. She looked back at him, just outside the door.

“I’m giving up on you,” he repeated dully, his arms hanging at his sides, resigned.

Say something…

“I love you Harold Forbes of Cainia.”

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Anger Leads to Violence

Sonsday the 7th of Floodtime 383 ONT, 4:22pm, The Island of Oakenglen, 12 miles South East of Isles Wood

Grand Druid Caius Degryll stepped through the rocky terrain and approached the loam heavy cave at the edge of a small pool. He took in the methane and rotting scents in the air and shuddered, this was not his terrain of choice, nor would he elect to spend more time here then need be.

ARRRRRRRP, an ancient willow near the cave mouth groaned and twisted as a tree-stride spell completed. Out came a balding man with grey whiskers and a heavy brow
“Arch Druid Fraxious, it is about time you arrived” the Grand Druid began being sure that his displeasure at being kept waiting was known.

“My apologies Grand Druid” the lesser druid said, bringing two fingers to his lips, then his forehead then offering them out in the traditional druid greeting. “My tardiness could not be helped” the Grand Druid took a long appraising look at Fraxious and gritted his teeth as her quickly returned the gesture.

“Come along then, let us get this over with” he said as he expressly strode toward the cave. The cavern was damp and filled with the heavy aroma of bog gas, fresh fungus and rotting meat, making an altogether unpleased bouquet that stuck to ones tongue. They turned a few times through the cave system, noting scratch marks and burns on the cavern walls and floor and finally turned into the main chamber. It was large, some three hundred feet around with a tall ceiling reaching near fifty feet. The roof was pock marked with small holes that moss had grown over filling the room with eerie streams of green light. The back end of the room had a large putrid pool that no doubt led outside through the murky russet water of the swamps, not far from it, half submerged lay three dead bronze dragons. Youth or adult age if Caius’s guess was right. Towards the back a small Green Dragon, maybe the size of a large dog feasted upon one of the fallen bronze. Tiny blade marks around the neck of the nearest gave clues as to how the creatures had died. Sprinkled around the room mounded towards the left hand wall were piles of treasure, mostly tarnished silver or moss incrusted gilded goblets and swords. In the centre of the room perched atop a half rotted gold inlaid podium sat Lord Shepard. The Waylen did not look up, as he appeared to concentrating and lost in mediations. On the ground in a small pool of unknown liquid lay six of the nine sigils. Minding the small tarns of acid marked into the floor Caius made his way towards Lord Shepard, Fraxious a few feet behind him.

“Lord Shepard” Caius opened, but the small creature held up a single finger to stop him
“You have come to report failure Caius” the impossibly deep voice of the small Waylen pronounced, still his gaze never leaving the sigils.

“That would be Grand Druid Caius, Lord Shepard, and no, at long last the false druid Emerys is dead!”

“and you feel this deserves praise Caius?” the Waylen enquired, his voice steady, it was impossible to predict where he was going with his line of questioning or if he was angry or perhaps accepting. Annoyance bubbled over in Caius

“As stated Lord Shepard, I am Grand Druid Caius Degryll, Master of the Suzuki Grove, Bearer of the Holly Crown and Master of the Scimitar of the Lasting Dawn. You will address me as Grand Druid, or Your Honour, failing that, you will hold your tongue!” he felt it was important to re-establish their relationship as formal and not of subordinance. The Waylen at long last removed his gaze from the sigils and turned standing up on the lectern. He stood at near chest height of the two men. His helm obscured his face and his breathing was even. Caius sensed that perhaps he should move on and change the subject. “Now… Lord Shepard, Arch Druid Fraxious has been…” that was as far as he got as the Waylen reached out both his hands, from the left gauntleted hand shot forth a current of purple and blue lightening sizzling and frying the Grand Druid. Unlike a spell where the lighting would hit you and end, this one was maintained and worked around his magical defenses. The Waylen held his right hand slowly closing it to make a fist in a crushing motion. Fraxious found himself lifted from the ground and choking as he watched the elder druid be continually stuck by lightening. The power was awesome to behold and terrifying when one considered who wielded it.

“I will call you whatever I damn well choose! You would be wise to humbly accept whatever name that is…. WONT YOU!” his voice boomed with the last two words sending an increased jolt of lightening and applying further pressure on Fraxious neck, the arch druids vision was beginning to blur.

“Yes… Yes…” The Grand Druid groveled falling to his knees

“Yes, what?” Shepard asked anger now apparent in his voice

“Yes… My Lord…” Caius gasped… and with that the lightening stopped and Fraxious dropped to the ground gasping for breath.

“The form you wear now appears to be too pretentious Caius, you have clearly forgotten your place… perhaps something that will remind you of where you stand.” The helmeted head turned its gaze towards Fraxious “You, you are an omnivore, correct?” the Arch Druid was disoriented but nodded his head “What is that meat that your races pines for, the one they insist on putting on everything?” both Caius and Fraxious looked confused but not wanting to anger the Waylen further Fraxious offered and answer

“Bacon? My Lord” he gasped, his voice hoarse from his windpipe nearly being crushed
“Yes… Bacon… Caius, from now on we will conduct our meetings with you in the form of a LITTLE…” with each final word he let a little bolt of lightning out “… PINK… PIG!” wincing in pain the Grand Druid tried to muster what minute dignity he had left

“Lord Shepard… if we could please AHHHHH!” Lightening zapped into him and continued to fry him until at last the Grand Druid relented and shape shifted into the form of a small pink pig. Once he had taken the form only then did Shepard stay his attack. The Waylen inhaled deeply his helmeted gaze locked on the little pig.

“You are right Fraxious, he does smell good enough to eat” at this the Green Dragon looked up from its meal half interested, but after a few heartbeats in continued to tear the bronze dragon carcase to pieces.

“Lord Shepard… Please…” Caius said, being a druid of his power he could still speak in animal form

“Behave Caius, at this juncture you are more useful to me alive then dead…. Barely” Shepard responded looking down from his podium at the small pig, and the man on his knees a little way past him. He studied the two but now seeing no further challenges he commenced the meeting proper “Emery’s is dead, of course he is… I know this because I sent Teriovus to see that it was done!” the helmed Waylen took a step forward on the lectern. “Where are my Sigils, where are the final three? Why must I spoon feed these to you?”

Caius couldn’t help a small piggly snuffle before he spoke “We proceed my Lord, the Strix lose ground nearly every day… our druids rip their ancient trees to the ground to search for the sigils, it is only a matter of time before we have won and the remaining sigils are ours”

“And what will you do if the Bellator Libra comes to stop you?” Shepard intoned in a deep voice

“Bellator Libra… he is dead sir, Emerys is dead, I confirmed this myself”

“The Clava have an ancient belief that one known as the Bellator Libra will save their people from doom, it is they who believed that Emerys was their precious saviour… what have I told you about the Clava?”

“You… you don’t think Emrys is this person?” Fraxious asked, a tinge of electricity danced on Shepard’s finger tips in a not to subtle reminder not to interrupt, but the Waylen chose to answer the question

“The Clava are idiots, a foolish barbarous mistake that evolution has yet to correct, there is no Bellator Libra, or what they call Warrior of Balance. There is however “a courageous one who will balance the scales, a warrior who balances between life and death, and one who returns the weave to balance” Shepard paused for a moment “Whether this is one man or three, Waylen or druid, or even something else… I have yet to know, but I don’t believe if coincidence, the weave reveals much to me, and I am no so foolish to let down my guard when I am so close to achieving all my dreams… I take these matter seriously” he began to pace on his podium “My mount requires much of my attention…” he gestured towards the green dragon “I have done much for you Caius… Was it not I who fixed the chair so you could sit on it? Was it not I who hunted down those who opposed you and had them silenced? Was it not I who secured the power of the druids by sending you the wealth of the Littles? And all too often I have asked for you to merely stay out of my affairs.” He paced more quickly as his gaze roamed the room before settling once more on the pig “I find it hard to believe that such stupidity runs so rampant in your order Caius… these near barbarous creatures are on the verge of being classified as ‘dull’ and yet you fool around with ridiculous notions like boarders and laws. Things created by weak men designed to protect and empower weak men.”

“My Lord…” Caius said in an appeasing tone, he did not get further as lightening flung down singeing the piggy and eliciting an involuntary squeal of pain

“I WANT MY SIGILS! I WANT THE GUARD MICE TRULY DEAD! PUSHED BEYOND THE VEIL AND SEALED, NEVER TO AGAIN RETURN! I WANT THE STRIX GENOCIDE COMPLETE BY THE FALL EQUINOX! Not a single one left on Argyle… gone, forever forgotten” his gaze shifted between the two druids as his voice dropped to a menacing whisper

“If a single moment of the 18th of Harvester passes without this being done, you will become the meal of my newly hatched mount” a long silence stretched on before Shepard spoke again “Caius… this form suits you… never appear before me again outside of that form, should I see you in any other…” he let the threat hang there. Finally he turned back towards the sigils, sitting at the edge of the podium once more, his mind reached out with the weave to the sigils… for what cause one could only guess at. His hand reached out and made a shoeing gesture dismissing the druids. Who quickly fled the cave and left the Waylen to his dark deeds

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Then and Now a LITTLE perspective Pt 2

NOW

6th of Floodtime, 383 ONT, 2:19am Glenrummy Gorge, 27k south of Lockland Keep

Icarus opened his wings allowing the air in the gorge to fill them, the wind spun him backwards as he twisted, his wing blades a flurry of death as he clipped one of the two crows that dogged him still. He folded in once more and fell into a dive, letting out a shriek to confirm that his other enemy was hot on his heels. That meant it was still being goaded, this was no Avian, these were dulls being pushed by their master to do their dastardly deeds. He ended his dive within seven inches of the water, as close as he dared in unknown lands at this hour, gliding over the silver bubbling surface of Glenrummy Creek. He heard a splash and a spluttering as it sounded like his pursuer had not been so graceful on ending his dive. He let out two quick shrills and grinned to himself as an image of the cliffs came to his mind, with a tight left and three quick flaps he spiraled upwards and launched himself towards a small hole in the cliff wall, as soon as he was in he landed and crawled a bit deeper.

PECK PECK

Just in time to… the crow had managed to land nearby, but as suspected it could not fit in the cave. A quick call in both directions showed the cave spanned into a deeper network, and widened after a while. Icarus looked back over his shoulder, he certainly wouldn’t be exiting that way anytime soon, so crawling it was. As he pulled himself through the narrow space he began to think about everything that had brought him here.

The Bellator Libra was dead, Anya was dead, Meagre was injured and had fallen in battle against Shepard, he was on outlaw in Arbour-Portum, and the Suzuki’s had finally made there moves public, there druids now hunted he and his. He stopped tears welling in his eyes as he thought back to everything that had happened… how could he have been so wrong… if Emerys had not been the Bellator Libra… then who was? Who was the warrior of balance who had been little and big, who had straddled life and death and would bring them to victory? If Meagre Pickens wasn’t the one to slay Lord Shepard who was? Perhaps Daedalus was right, perhaps the fates had turned from this prophecy when his brother had died, no matter what he did, he would always be a second son, and a failure. He crawled further through the tunnels waiting until they opened wide enough that he could fly. They took off letting a few calls direct him through the dark cave system. Prophecy and truth didn’t matter anymore. He had fifty two refugees who needed protection, needed someone to save them… needed some BIG help. He had heard the Avenging Angel of Avengence had moved to Lockland Keep, he at least knew of the littles, knew of the plight, and might be willing to stop the felines from destroying these poor people. If that didn’t work… well then his hope for the people of Thistledown was lost.

The cave opened wider finally leaving a shred of moonlight peeking through some boulders her turned and spurred onwards flying towards Lockland… hoping he could find help there.

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Then and Now a LITTLE perspective Pt 1

THEN

17th of Patchwall 2:30am, Arbour-Portum, Damp Caves District

Icarus crawled through the tiny series of caves until he entered the musty workshop. The smell of steel, wood, and various chemicals assailed him as he entered. The room was cramped, and filled with materials and unnamed unknown inventions. In the corner, hanging over a cluttered workspace was a tiny old Clava. The little old Clava sniffed twice and spoke without looking

“Look who has decided to return… you’re in trouble I presume… I doubt you would make the trip for any other reason” the old Clava picked up a tool and began to fiddle with a small block of wood. Icarus took a breath to respond but let it out slowly, feeling guilty that the Old Clava was right. “Well, come over here, let’s have a look at you and see what troubles you have brought upon me today” Icarus waddled over to the desk and looked up at the Clava

“Hello Daedalus,” he said in a respectful tone. Deadalus snorted

“Don’t go ‘Hello Daedalusing me’ Mr… you leave for two full seasons and think Hello is the way to start?”

“I’m sorry…” Icarus interrupted “It’s just after Theseus fell… I guess, I didn’t know how to come back, I needed to follow through on his quest, I needed to finish things” The old Clava shook his head looking away from Icarus

“HIS quest Icarus, HIS… not yours, HE was a first born, HE was given a quest, you cannot complete that which does not belong to you; and with his death, his quest was lost”

“I can’t believe that, I was there, I heard the words from the Oracle, I found the Bellator Libra. I even found a real live Waylen… I can do this! I can save us all, I just need to be given some more time”

“Icarus, your hubris will be your undoing; You cannot…”

“I can… I have earned the Decoration of the Last Shade, the Orden of Santiago, the Medallion of Aerea and…”

“Achievements awarded by Clava Icarus, Clava…. many rightfully so, but a Clava’s achievements mean nothing to the fates… and you are not a chosen of the fates Icarus. Your brother was our last best hope. Now he is gone, the sooner you come to terms, the less heartache you will feel. The fates can be cruel when they turn.” The two shared a look, neither speaking, at long last the old Clava turned back to his tinkering and spoke “Clearly the universe has not finished teaching you this lesson, so what is it that you have come here today for?”

“The King has granted Arbor-Portum Hibernium this season.”

“Yes, I had heard, what of it”

“I cannot stay, I have the Bellator Libra and the Waylen here in the city, I must get them out prior to Hibernium”

“Yes, that makes sense, The King should authorize a skirmish to let you through”

“He will not, I am not cleared to go, and my house will not support me without the Kings direct word”

“and why is it that the King will not offer his word?”

“I am not privy to this information, but I have been told that he has considered it, and has stated that an exodus is not to be so”

“Icarus, has it been your experience that the King makes decisions lightly? Or without reasons?” Icarus looked up at his feet for a few moments before shaking his head no “… then can we not trust that the King has made a decision for the collective good, and that we perhaps need to abide by it?” Icarus continued his long stare at his feet, his wings fidgeted in agitation

“No, the Bellotar Libra and the Waylen need to make their own decisions, the King has not even greeted them, has not offered an audience. If they choose to stay so be it, but I will not allow it to be inflicted on them through ignorance”

“It is my experience Icarus, that a Waylen is rarely ignorant, especially when it comes to magics as powerful as Hibernium”

“Never the less Daedalus, I need to get them out of the city, and past the line. On top of that I have to get them out quietly… will you help me or not?” The old Clava placed the block he had been working with down and shook his head sadly

“Icarus, I am an educated professor, why will you not learn from me? Why will you not take advantage of the resources I offer you?”

“I am trying to learn from you, I need to know how to get out…”

“No Icarus, you come to me looking for answers, not for rational discourse… to think critically is what will aid you in the long run, giving you the answers only makes you more reliant on me”

“EEERRRGGGG! I don’t have time for this, please… no… wait… what are you doing?” he asked as he saw the old Clava move across the room and begin to wheel out a large chalk board “please don’t start with the chalk board”

“There is always time for rational thought Icarus; I am trying to help you, please take a moment and clear your mind” the younger Clava glared at his older counterpart for a long moment before sighing an accepting that this was the only way to achieve his mission. He closed his eyes in exasperation

“Ok, mind cleared, now what” Daedalus paused knowing he was being humored but holding to the patience of a teacher. He began making a crude diagram of the black board

“This is Arbor-Portum, what are the obstacles preventing you from leaving. Remember the rational mind acknowledges to most obvious first and works its way towards obscure” Icarus took a deep breath focusing and working the problem

“We would be seen by random Clava if we approached the perimeters, if we made it that far, the magic’s that protect the city would detect us moving through the Thorn Trees. After that there is an army of Avians out there”

“Good, good… so we cannot leave through conventional methods of flight or foot, correct?” Icarus nodded “What of the way you entered? Can you leave the same way?” Icarus furrowed his brows in thought for a long moment

“I don’t think so, it was very dangerous, and the little reading done so far implies we were very lucky” Daedalus nodded at this

“Good, good, we are making progress, and what is the old Clava adage about magic?”

“A Clava is always grateful for Waylen aid and magic, but a wise Clava never relies on it” the older Clava nodded

“So young Icarus, you cannot blast through the lines, you cannot magic yourself away, and you do not possess the magics to sneak past our sentinels… so what does that leave?”
There was a long silence as Icarus stared at the board thinking, again Daedalus held to his patience wrought of years of teaching young Clava

“You’re not thinking of the lower caves are you?” Icarus inquired

“Well… let’s take a look at that option…”

“Well… after the cave inn’s no one can fly though there, no one’s really sure if you can even get out…”

“So it would be lightly guarded at best” the old teacher stated

“That’s not much of an option Daedalus…”

“Defying the King rarely leaves one much in the way of options, besides, I am not advising you do this…” he stated as he began to wipe clean the board “… I am merely participating in a thought experiment. Obey your King Icarus, enjoy some much needed rest, see what the spring brings, that is the advice I offer that you so freely spurn” Icarus nodded and moved towards the door

“Thank you Daedalus” the Clava said as he left. The old Clava shook his head and muttered softly to himself

“You are welcome nephew, good luck”

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Dark Darklyness of Darkening

5th of Floodtime, 3:36pm, location unknown

The chrysalis pulsated and the unholy symphony crescendoed. Each instrument hitting a sharp or flat in perfect unison to create a paradox of discord. At a signal from the mighty conductor, the awaiting ghouls pulled the 13 babies from their cribs and slit their jugulars, cutting off their morbid cries that had created the background noise for this creature’s incubation. The blood drizzled and sputtered through the grated catwalk and landed on the pulsing gooey shell of the chrysalis. Next came the fantastical creatures. The egg of a baby gold dragon was cracked and poured over the unborn form; the horns of the captured sea unicorns were cut from their hosts, killing the near extinct creatures immediately. Their horns were then used to cut down young maidens, ones who had not yet experience love or the riches of life, again their blood was sucked into the horns and let drizzle upon the every faster beating and pulsating cocoon. The conductor increased his pace and the tempo shot forth as a shambling group of zombies pulled in a might bound Sphinx. The bearded creature struggled and surged at its bonds to no avail. Until it was brought forth and also sacrificed in unholy rituals to this thing of darkness. Hundreds were slaughtered to maintain a steady stream of blood, all innocent, all with so much hope or potential, all with some connection to the great Titan. At last as the hues of red, black, green and grey finished their finial pulse a clawed lizard hand ripped open its encasement. The huge slimy creature was born into murder, into discord and hatred and into chaos. It ripped its way from its bindings racing towards the flowing light of the captured fairies and hungrily devoured them, as a child might stuff popcorn into its mouth. The conductor cautiously approached his new creation

“Lord Talib has opened the rifts between planes, and brought you life on this world…” he said to the creature. It turned and hissed at conductor, but he did not shy away “You will serve our great father, and show him that his time was not wasted” the Lizard creature turned one of its bulbous yellow eyes taking in the Conductor while the other searched the room. “You are our weapon, and our future… your first task on this world shall be one of great consequence… YOU WILL KILL FLITT FARGAZER!” the beast stared at the conductor both eyes fixed on him “KILL FLITT FARGAZER!” the Conductor said again in near hysteria

“killllzzzzzz Fargazzzzzerzzzzzz” the creature hissed, its very first words of its exsistance

“YES!” the nearly mad Conductor screamed, breaking into diabolical laughter “MUHAHAHAHA! HA HA HA!”

“KILLLLLLZZZZZZZZ” the Creature hissed again

“MUHAHAHAHAHA!” the madman laughed on, his ritual had been a success

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Of Mice and Men

5th of Floodtime, 2:13pm, Cannon Deck, Champions Boot

“I suppose we should get to know each other a little Aury.” Thaden said he walked about her in kitten form, a small length of twine in his hand that he used to measure her for barding. “Like I know you, I can feel you but I don’t know much about you. Heck I have been crying for almost two days over the loss of Serenity, but I still don’t even know what that means… or who she was, or why everything that happened there was so important… but it felt life altering, and like it was the most important thing ever…”

“mew” was the response he got, he looked at her and raised an eyebrow

“and we will have to being lessons as well, start you with lessons in Mamelian… I am passable at best in Felus and Preatus, and I think Mamelian would suit you best in speaking with the others from my realm… if you have a knack for languages we could then try Waylan or Clavan, both would be suitable”

“meow” she said back and he nodded, knowing he was getting ahead of himself

“ok, back to point, I guess I saw some intense things about you, and since I am not finished the measurements yet, and you can’t yet speak in this form… I should begin by telling you about me”

“I suppose there are only four of us left now, I am one of the original ten apprentices of Guard Mouse Meagre Pickins. The others were Myself, Joseph Palmer, Cayley and Graham, Tander, Wilkin and Dalla, Clove, Garrow and Moria. To my knowledge, with Cayley and Graham now dead…” Aury felt an intense sadness radiate off Thaden, as if she had just lost Mandy or Flit, she could feel the pain, so fresh and the anger that welled below the surface at the wizard who had so needlessly killed his companions. “That only leaves myself, Joseph, Clove and Tander… that is not many, not enough to save the world anyhow…” the mouse looked down at his feet as he reached into his satchel, he put away the twine and pulled out a small brush, slowly he began to brush Aury’s fur the motions almost meditative as he focused on his task and told the story. “I had been held prisoner in Rootwallow for some time, it was almost two years ago when Meagre and his rebels, mostly the Clava, Silverwings, burst in and took it back from Shepards blasted Imperium. Meagre released us from our magical bounds and quickly began to reunite us with the weave. Moria had been my betroved, we were to be wed long before the dark uprising, but had never had the time… the life of a Guard Mouse is a life of service after all, I had decided not to wait longer, that the evening of the solstice we would be wed…” the brush came down harder as it fought a particularly stubborn snarl, the Waylen too far into his story to give it the proper attention, Aury winced but did not interrupt “Four hours before the wedding they attacked… do you know how many people Shepard brought? None, just him and his new mount, the Green Dragon Credivus… they melted Rootwallow, massive globes of acid rained from the sky sundering our once beautiful home into smoldering shambles. The brave clan Silverwing tried to fight back, but even the best among them was no match for Shepard’s command of the weave and the Dragons might. Moria and Dalla were slain that day, the acid that hit them was so thick there was nothing left of their bodies to bury. Had it not been for Meagre, he dragged me out of there, I doubt I would be there today.” The Waylen moved around to the other side of Aury and continued her brushing. “Garrow was the next to fall. He had been on a simple diplomatic mission to Windselm, trying to convince the Hedgies there that they need not submit to Shepard. The Hedgies betrayed him and the Oculas descended upon him, tearing him to pieces. Dalla died on a mission for Meagre, looking for another Weave Gem… she had found one, but it was well guarded by the Zemaya, and she was no match.” He put the brush away and began to nuzzle her head

“mew” she offered, but he either did not understand or chose to say nothing

“Wilkin and I were close, we had trained hard together, we both specialised in Ataru and thus spared often together; as such we were often sent on missions together. We were rescuing a captured Clavan Princess, a Moonwing, from the Imperium Capital, Redwall. It had gone sideways and our attempts ahd been discovered, she had been injured and was unable to fly, and so I carried her, while Wilkin covered us from behind… his skills in Djem So were admittedly superior to mine. We made it to court yard, when the Wyzals had cornered us in… and there he was Thrawn himself. It was a fight we could never have one, but Wilkin needed to try, and to his credit he took the wolverines eye before he was sundered and rendered in two. I barely made it out that night, the princess had died in the attempt.” He took a few long slow breaths before continuing “The Suzuki Druids are funneling power to Lord Shepard’s Imperium, they turn the dull beasts against us, and use their magic to hem us in and trap us. They also actively wipe the memories of the BIGS so that we are not remembered as a race… they work towards our genocide. Meagre sent Cayley, Graham and myself to find the Suzuki Druids and put a stop to it… we did not know where their grove was or where they were, we had only just started out really, when we were captured by the mage, and entrapped to be sold or killed… I cannot guess at his logic… that is when I met you dear Aury, and the others… I cannot go home until I find the druids and end their involvement in my war, I have no family left… and to be honest, you might be my only friend in the world… I am sorry for that, friends of mine usually have short lives.” He laughed a mirthless laugh to himself “But I swear to you Aury, I will do everything I can to protect you and help you along the way, I won’t let history repeat itself, and you won’t be another name on the list” he placed his forehead against the kittens sharing in the quiet moment before taking a few breaths and taking a step back.

“I suppose if I am to learn who you are, you will need to take your other form… at least until we can sort out some languages”

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The Five Once More

5th of Floodtime, 1:33pm, the Silver Mines, 10k outside of Amberdale, Kezrenad

Shaheed looked around the group once more, there were about fifteen of them here, another six keeping watch outside the mines, still after three days he was beginning to feel that this was another wild goose hunt.

“Shaheed, you make the men nervous when pace like this, sit, have some wine and take rest” his brother Taaj called out to him. He turned offering his brother a thin smile

“I worry Taaj, we have been here too long, our coffers run low, and I will not be able to pay the town to keep the mine closed for much longer… I don’t think we are making enough progress” as Shaheed spoke he back to pace, his words spilling forth faster and faster

“… Come brother… walk with me, let us take a walk and discuss our options while the men finish their break” Taaj interrupted… Shaheed looked hard at him, but could see he was right, the two marched down a long tunnel waiting a few moments before discussing their options

“You need to relax Shaheed… we are doing all we can…”

“no Taaj, you need to get a lot more stressed… we cannot fail in this task, this is your first command with the Company, they have invested a lot into your training and this mission. The success or failure of this mission will dictate your career for the rest of your life… I need you to get worried” Shaheed said, again beginning to speak faster and faster

“Shaheed… be reasonable…” he said stopping and leaning against the wall “We have been prudent in every decision we have systematically searched this entire place and… OH” he started in surprise as the stone he leaned on suddenly shifted and a large panel of wall slid open seamlessly.

“By the veiled merchant himself” Shaheed said making the symbol to ward against evil Taaj touched his broach that had been glowing dimly and had it increase the light is was projecting.

“This could be it” he said taking a step forward; as he did his brother grabbed him

“we should gather the men and go in together” Shaheed said warningly

“If the door closes we will never find that button again… I say we go, that is what we are here to do”

“Prudent decisions indeed” Shaheed snorted… “You stay here, keep the door open, I will hurry back and gather our men, then we will proceed as a group… agreed?”

“So be it” Taaj said smiling ruefully. Shaheed let out a sigh of contentment of a well liked plan, he straightened his attire and then quickly strode off back the way they came at a brisk walk ready to rally their men, if things went quickly perhaps they could be finished today, and he would not need to renew the mine for another three days.

Taaj waited in peace for several moments… looking into the plain small room, it had very little in it, aside from an alter in the centre of the room. After another minute or so, the door began to once again close… he leaned against it to hold it open but quickly found the door was much stronger then he… he pressed further open to wedge himself in the frame but found again that he risked being crushed… as the moments ticked down he made a decision and thrust himself into the room, the door closing with a gentle THUNK behind him.

“well… that happened” he mused to himself, wincing a little at how loud his voice was in the empty room. He searched around the doorway and found no obvious means of exit. That was annoying, perhaps the alter then. The alter was black and octagonal, it had an old writing etched into it, he had to squint to decipher it.

In the Long summer SHE must break the barrier of his steely Labyrinth. A false disagreement shall not happen and a conversation of convenience must take place in order to mend old rifts. When the time of the Forge is at risk SHE who mines will gather the materials with great sacrifice; and rest well at the side Dumathoin.

“Not to helpful, he said, fishing the notebook from his satchel and flipping to the prescribed page… the company had paid well for information and he had done his research well. Without much trouble, he began pressing the letters as required with his six most likely syphers… he got it on number three. The top of the alter turned and swirled opening up showcasing a ladder leading down a narrow tunnel into the alter. He looked back to the still sealed doorway… Shaheed would not be pleased with him going alone… but on the other hand, he had no method to exit, and his research did not indicate any trouble within the Alters. he straightened his back, he had been trained by OMARs, this was his mission to undertake, he would become linked with the infidels who had attacked the company, and he would use the link to hunt them down. When this was done, he and his family would be very well compensated for their troubles. He climbed down the ladder into the small room below.

There was a tapestry of Clan Nogrod and a small glassed off room that had a weapon stand and a bust, on the bust gleamed a small pair of goggles, on the stand was a dwarven miners pick. He pulled his jewelled dagger from his belt and shattered the glass, the stand rotted to nothing almost right away, but the goggles and pick seemed unhurt. Taaj al-Pour took a deep breath, he had been told that these items can affect the mind, he had been trained to resist such things, but still he worried, what if he was not good enough… what if he failed, he would be only a further black mark upon his family. He forced such thoughts aside, reached forward and quickly placed the goggle on his head, he bent down and scooped up the pick.

“I AM THE MINER”

5th of Floodtime, 1:33pm, The River Rhone, The Evermoist, Master Carpenters Quarters

Mandy was in her room, her stomach hurt, she was angry, she was unsure if maybe she was dying, she had been bleeding almost non stop for two days down… below… but couldn’t bring herself to go talk to Mr. Fargazer or Captain Alfirin…. She hated being on this ship, she wanted to be back on The Boot, Belinda would know what to do… but she also hated being away from Ms. Ouelette, Mr. Fargazer and Captain Alfirin…

THUNK

She punched the wall with anger, the winced in pain as she hurt her hand “GODS BE DAMNED!” she cursed to herself. She shook her hand to try and shake off the pain, it did little to help. She wiggled her fingers assure it was not broken when it happened

First an image, of a man with dark hair, he was kind of cute he had a silk blue shirt and a red sash around his waist, then a deep voice that sounded like rock being poured into a barrel… she could hear a ringing in her ears like the sound of a hammer striking an anvil

“THE FITH ONE HAS BEEN FOUND, THE MINER HAS ONCE AGAIN BEEN REBORN, THE WHEEL IS NOW SET IN MOTION ONCE MORE”

5th of Floodtime, 1:33pm, The River Rhone, The Evermoist, Cannon Deck

“Great jump Aury!” Thaden said as the kitten leapt from the back of a cannon across the deck landing neatly exactly where planned. The Waylen affectionally patted her head a few times before dismounted “Watch your head as you shift girl” he said reminding Aurellia that this deck was lower, she had smacked her head the first time she shifted, now she was better prepared. As she took her form back she took a moment to straighter her tunic and breeches and smiled at Thaden’s compliment

“I was thinking we could get some more distance if we fix the saddle, it’s not as tight as he could be, and the weight shift is throwing me off” she said to him. The Waylen scratched his chin nodding…

“Agreed… when we get to Lockland I want to have something crafted… I wanted to ask you about Barding as well… I would like get you some armor… at least leather, preferably chain if I can find the gold for it”

“Hmmm…” Aurellia said thinking about it, and how this could work with her shifting she opened her mouth to speak when it happened

First an image, of a man, he had elvish or fey blood to him, with dark skin, then a deep voice that sounded like rock being poured into a barrel… she could hear the sounds of doors being slammed and locked, a steady thudding in her head

“THE FITH ONE HAS BEEN FOUND, THE MINER HAS ONCE AGAIN BEEN REBORN, THE WHEEL IS NOW SET IN MOTION ONCE MORE”

5th of Floodtime, 1:33pm, The River Rhone, The Champions Boot, Belinda’s Quarters

“And so you can see, that’s how the ration matrix works for buying in large cities” Belinda finished up. Thalion was wowed, he knew she worked hard, he considered himself a bit of a budding merchant himself, but when it came to cargo moving, and feeding a crew and resupplying, he felt that Belinda had forgotten more about trade then he might ever learn. All at once he felt very intimidated and out of his depth

“Thank you Belinda, I’m not sure I can do this without you… I was wonderi….” Thalion trailed off as it happened

First an image, of a man, certainly a half elf… slight scruffy goatee, with clothing much to nice for how he kept his hair. Then a deep voice that sounded like rock being poured into a barrel… ze could hear the sounds of battle, of people crying out, of swords and spears being battered off ze shield and helm

“THE FITH ONE HAS BEEN FOUND, THE MINER HAS ONCE AGAIN BEEN REBORN, THE WHEEL IS NOW SET IN MOTION ONCE MORE”

5th of Floodtime, 1:33pm, The River Rhone, The Ever Moist, The Bridge

Flitt stared out into the river ahead, his course continued to cut back and forth, as their magic sails continued to cause them to outpace the Champions boot. He smiled, first mate on a ship, at war with Talib, a Phoenix about to rise from the dead… its been an exciting few days. He took a gulp from his wine skin, it was the festival of floods, how could he not imbibe a little… he dropped his skin it never reached his mouth when it happened

First an image, of a man, tall and slim, humanoid for sure, with brown eyes and a slight bead, he wore clothes of blue and brown, and had a beautiful scimitar on his belt. Then a deep voice that sounded like rock being poured into a barrel… he could hear the sounds of keys, keys unlocking doors, keys rattling on rings, keys being forged, keys being broken.

“THE FITH ONE HAS BEEN FOUND, THE MINER HAS ONCE AGAIN BEEN REBORN, THE WHEEL IS NOW SET IN MOTION ONCE MORE”

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The feelings

I never knew that the passion I felt for the very survival of my people, could be felt for a cat and goblin a mouse and frog my goddess. I need to find Mandy. I’m grieving for Versum. I will destroy every vampire in Lockland. I’m not supposed to feel this hard. I will keep them all safe957fb4726583f8eddc8d9df20568fd51--story-inspiration-writing-inspiration.jpg

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Revenge of the Horned Hangman Pt 2

3rd of Floodtime, 11:03am, the Confluence of Kezranad, Champions Boot.

Tar-di clutched the little mewing kitten as she huddled behind a stack of crates, in her lap she could she had the loaded pistol that Belinda had passed her when the First Mate had called that they would be boarded. She noted the brave men and women of the Champions Boot prepare, some actually seemed happy that it was coming for this, they loaded their weapons and crouched in anticipation as to what was to come. She looked down at the little ginger kitten again, it was odd, she could see the nearly blind little cat in front of her, but also could see deeper, see the spirit of Mandy crouched in there, but disabled by the body.

“I’m sorry Ms. Doyle… Mr.Fluffy said my magic was not reliable, that it didn’t come from Kelezandri and I should not use it… I would help you if I were allowed”

THUNK

The two ships scrapped sides with one another as grapples pulled them in, the sound of men and women screaming, of pistols blasting filled the air as the ships were boarded.

“mew, mew, meow” the kitten said pathetically

“I guess I could try…” Tar-Di replied as if she understood the kitten “I doubt I could change you back, but maybe I could change your form into something more able to defend us”

“MEW!” the kitten said excitedly, Tar-Di supposed during an invasion almost any form would be better than a kitten.

“Ok Ms. Doyle… we both need to focus on what would be better… gods I wish I were older, I wish I knew what I was doing” Tar-Di murmured as she began to focus and feel the energy and spells around Ms. Doyle.

“YAR!”

“AHHHHGGHH!”

BANG

The noise of battle kept jolting her away from her spell, still she tried to push forward… she felt a tingle, like she was nearly there when something broke her concentration

“Well what do we have here?” A gruff voice said, she looked up to see a man in a black and white striped shirt, he wore a red bandana and a brown best, in his hand he held a bloody scimitar “A Little piece of trim and a mangy cat” the man finished with a single HA to himself.

MandyKat_2.jpg

Tar-Di looked down, no longer was she holding a little nearly blind kitten, but a full grown ally cat, one that looked like it had seen its share of junkyard scrapes. The man reached down to grab Tar-Di by the hair and pull her out from her hiding spot, as he did the cat leapt into action

“RAAAOOOOOOWWWWWW” it cried as razor sharp claws extended from its hands, the feline leapt for the man’s face front claws cleanly connecting; it was however the rear claws that he needed to fear as they both raked across his throat slitting it open and spilling his life all over the cat and Tar-Di. The Cat leapt atop the barrels and then took off to head above decks

“Ms. Doyle! Wait!” Tar-Di called after the cat…still wiping the blood from her eyes “What have I done?” she asked herself

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