Balance

Revenge of the Horned Hangman Pt 1

3rd of Floodtime, 10:45am, the Confluence of Kezranad, Champions Boot.

“Mr. Ironbraid, have Mr. Tyre hold his next shot, until they are with two hundred feet”

“Aye Captin” Thitmed responded and turned towards the deck “WILLHYM, DON’T YE FIRE ANOTHER SHOT UNTIL I BE SAYIN’ SO!” he turned to another crew “CEILIA, GET UP THA’ MAST WITH MANDY AND HELP HER FIX THA’ BOOM, WE’LL BE NEEDIN’ IT WHEN WE COME ABOUT!”

“Aye Sir” The two echoed as Ceilia ran towards the mast that Mandy was already preciously dangling from. The slight women was up there in no time

“How come’s it Master Carpenter” Ceilia asked ready and eager. Mandy looked at her a little annoyed, she was a good fifty feet above the deck hanging upside down while she tried to get this mangled hinge to come free, all while this ridiculas pirate ship continued to harry them. Six days of hiding and weaving through the island chains and shallows to shake the Roebuck, finally the ship turns and heads back up river, and when they come out, Boom, they are met by this ship “The Horned Hangman’s Revenge” no chit chat, no parley, just opens up all cannons. Now here they were sails damaged, over ballast, and low on supplies. Mandy gritted her teeth, and tugged once more

CACHUNK

The piece finally came free… the poor girl almost lost her grip and fell when it did. Catching her breath she smiled to Ceilia.

“OK, now we are in business… we just need to pry off that old hinge, screw in the new hinge with this piece here, and bang the boom back into place… here pass me that prybar” Mandy said as she readjusted herself into a sitting position. Ceilia grabbed the prybar from the tool belt hanging on the hook and passed it to the girl. With a few efforts the old hinge began to give way “Got it” she smiled as Ceilia stabilised her

“HOLD ON” they both her Thitmed boom, both women grabbed the mast and covered as best they can

BOOM
BOOM
BOOM

Three cannon blasts rocketed at the ship as the entire ship seemed to careen to port side.

SPLASH SPLASH

SWISH

Two of the cannon balls missed completely, the third tore through the rigging before is launched out to sea. Mandy cursed, she would need to run new ropes now as well… that was certainly a job for Mr. Fargazer… he was far better at hopping along the Mast than she was. She ship righted itself, and it looked like they would have a minute or so before the next pass

“OK,” The Master Carpenter said to Celia “Get the new hinge plate on here, then screw in the boom like so…” she showed how the piece was supposed to fit together “I’ll climb over there and start pulling the rigging ropes free to run new lines… all good?” Ceilia looked over to the tool kit to fish out the tools she need

“You got it boss” she said as she dug through Mandy’s bag

“Meow” Ceilia wasn’t sure what she heard, but she had the tools and was turning back

“What was that Mandy? WOAH!” she looked back and Mandy was gone, replaced by a small ginger Kitten, who sat on the mast and cocked its head to the side offering nothing but a tiny

“mew?” Ceilia’s heart almost melted at how incredibly cute the little kitten was, before the seriousness of what happened dawned on her. She turned her head and called back to the bridge

Mandykat.jpg

“THEY HAVE A WIZARD! THEY HAVE A WIZARD… MANDY’s BEEN POLYMORPHED!” she yelled

“GODS BE DAMNED!” was the response from the bridge before she heard Thitmed yelling to Baker to ‘Mark the Wizard’ Ceilia looked back at her job… the little kitten stared at her and mewed again

“meow, mew mew, meow” Ceilia shrugged at the little cat

“Sorry Mandy, I don’t speak kitten, I’m sure the Captain can get you sorted when we’re through this but… OW!” Ceilia pulled her hand back as the little kitten nipped her, she could see Mandy’s hazel eyes on the ginger cat as it mewed again, this time pointing with its paws

“Meow, mew mew, Meow” it repeated, pointing at the hinge plate

“You want me to finish working on the boom?” Ceilia asked. The kitten offered her a gentle purr in response. Ceilia smiled at the situation, “Aye Aye, Master Kitten” she said getting to work, if the Cat found her joke funny, it did not show it.

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Wine Time Pt 2

2nd of Floodtime, 383 ONT 2:41pm, Lyithalus Vineyard, the Ilse of Amyenhone, Novarthia, Elven Court

Onus Thesalour looked hard at the Lady Alfirin, they were arguing in circles and he had just about had enough of it. “Nueleth, please listen;” he implored a final time “They will come back, there will be more of them, if you want this place protected, you will need to find more guards in the immediate, and lodge a complaint with the Sons of Treefall through the Seeker in Highport. I doubt I can stop this again, and frankly I am not keen to try” the elven women glowered at him, she was unhappy when she couldn’t work out a quick solution to a problem. She opened her mouth to speak but the door to the room bust open before she could “Master Thesalour… Goblin Raiders on the Southern Hills, they have torches and are heading for the red brewery!” a young Halfling women exclained, she seemed out of breath and red cheeked. Thesalour jumped to his feet scooping up his bow as the girl continued “Ms. Roslyn is sending the Fairbanks to get a bucket bridage ready, she had the Proudfeet getting shovels and hoes to ward them off!” “Fool girl” Thesalour swore as he dashed out the door and bolted for the southern fields “Goblins in the Court?” Neuleth asked confused, but the Halfling girl was already gone, hot on the heels of Ser Thesalour
“We should have no troubles today” Folwin Jocan assured his men. He had seven elves escorted Omar Tadnius across the northern roadway. “Our summoned will have done his piece by now, and the knight will be busy on the far side of the vineyard, even if we are spotted he won’t have time to respond… but just to be safe, let us cut around the Northern Ridge and work are way to the villa from there, I would prefer to kill less folk if possible” there was a general mumble of assent from the elves as they continued on their course **********************************************************************

Krieger stood outside the little cottage and cocked his head to the side… he wasn’t sure if he liked the way the yellow daffodils beside the white daisy’s. The daffodils refused to grow in neat rows and that bothered the otherwise symmetrical layout of the garden he had arranged for mother. he looked at the sun and cursed… he really didn’t have time for this, aside from the spring classes he had agreed to teach and agreeing to coach junior polo for the freshmen sorcerers, he had not anticipated the amount of trouble he encountered in building the cabin and laying the magics it needed for mother… the elven court was playing havoc on his regular spells and he had needed to call in a few favours to untangle the snarl in the weave that ran through the area. Then there had been the actual move, getting her settled, getting her acquainted with the local community, finding the appropriate services for mother and assuring compensation and materials could be shipped here in a timely fashion. He wiped his brow, it was near exhausting. He wiped his brow trying to calculate how much time he’d put into this, he really should check in with those sailors soon; time was tending to get away from him… but first maybe one more glance at the garden, this time from the bench across the road, that’s where mother would want to take her afternoon tea… that was the view that counted. He walked down the little path and opened the charming white picket gate to cross the road and when nearly bumped into them. Seven elves and a human, all very well armed with dour looks on their faces.

“Why Hello there, ladies, gentlemen” Krieger greeted… there was an awkward look among the elves and human, a tightening of grips on their weapons. Krieger whispered a word and

POP

He appeared maybe thirty feet down the road from them

“Apologies, he called over… I had thought at first you were from here… my bad… I’m new”

“Listen, human…” Folwin started but was interrupted right away

“That’s racist” Krieger said. The elf was taken aback for a minute

“Actually it’s not, you’re a human and I called you human… that is accurate not racist” Folwin replied… he had met these snooty Don-Ton liberal types before, and he was sick of hearing it

“It is, you said it in a derogatory tone, one that implied a meaning of ‘less then’, or at best ‘not enough’” Krieger responded

“I think I know what my tone was, I was not implying less then, I was merely addressing you in the way I could having not known your name yet”

“I am afraid I don’t buy it, I am professor at the Tower of Sorcery in Don-Ton, I have taught classes on species relations and tonal degradation through passive racism and it’s my belief that…”

“By the gods are you for real?” Folwin interrupted hands spreading in exasperation “Even if I did imply less then. WHICH I AM NOT SAYING I DID… would it be wrong? I am an elf we are a more evolved species then you… would that be so inaccurate”

“Surprise surprise… like I have never heard that before… funny how such an ‘evolved species’ can’t make a better argument then ‘I was here for first so I must be better’. I am a Wizard of the Arcane Order, I can latterly rearrange the laws of physics and nature to better suite my mood… you propel shards of wood with wax horse gut for a living in attempts to kill other creatures… which one of us is more evolved?”

“So because a single human manages to get a glimmer of what magic looks like…”

“ENOUGH!” the human accompanying the elves called “We have not time for this” he said in a more reasonable voice. The words seemed to get Folwin back on track as he turned back to the wizard

“We have no quarrel with you, clear the road and stay out of our way, and you will not be harmed”

“Well, no offense but I don’t really think I’m going to be harmed either way here… but I take your point that you are in a hurry… I am afraid however I need to ask your business before I depart… to assure it does not hamper my own”

“We care nothing for your little cottage, our business is with the Lady Alfirin and the villa, clear the road now”

“First… I think you should all know, that the cottage is much bigger on the inside… it is very cool… took me several months to set up, especially with the snarl here… it’s actually quit the feat of conjuring and special management, you see…”

PING

An arrow raced towards Kriegers heart, stopping mere millimetres from its appointed target before uselessly falling to the ground at his feet… Krieger looked up shock. “You shot me? While I was telling you about the cool cottage? How could you?” Folwin glowered at the wizard, but also seemed nervous that his arrow had had no effect.

“I said clear the road, now do it, or suffer the consequences!” The elf barked

“Yes, Consequences, that was my second point… you see I have just settled my mother here, she loves the place, it is really quiet beautiful… I know Thalion said it was a spectacularly beautiful place, but you know, everyone says that about their home… but seriously, look at this place, it is wonderful, and the climate is ideal for mother’s condition. Also just recently she has started making friends with a few of the locals, there is a wonderful young Halfling women named Sophie… she has just the most amazing blends of herbal teas… and plays canasta… can you believe it, my mother has been looking for a canasta partner for almost six years, and right here I find not only that, but also the herbal teas… which are not only good for her health, but also quiet delicious, I do believe I will be stocking them in my tower as well when I return”

PING

“Really?” Kriegers voice held a tone of annoyance now as a second arrow bounced off his chest “You thought when I saw seven elven archers I would only protect myself against one arrow? You really do think humans are stupid don’t you… you are such a racist” Folwin glared firing another arrow at him, not expecting it to have any more effect then the first two

“I AM NOT A RACIST!”

“Said every racist ever” Kreiger rebutted “Anyway, so you can see how I am not keen to upset the landlords here, and you kidnapping the landlords sister may not actually impact my rent, it will certainly affect the locals and I just can’t have any more change right now, mother has already been through a lot of upheaval” Kreiger explained dutifully

“Kill him, just… kill him please” Folwin ordered of his men, who all drew bows and fired

PING PING PING PING
PING PING
PING

Kreiger sighed and pointed to the right side of the road, the side that held his mother cottage and quickly cast a long wall of force parallel to the road

PING PING PING PING
PING PING PING PING
PING PING PING
PING PING

The wizard began moving faster now, he could sense that his spell was being pushed to its limits, a second wall of force appeared along the opposite side of the road, it would not due at all to destroy mothers view with any stray spell effects.

PING PING PING
PING PING PING PING PING
PING PING PING

THUNK

Krieger gritted his teeth as the final arrow sunk into his arm and bit deeply, he touched his belt and summoned his staff to his hand. With a wave of the staff on wind wall appeared just before him that would rebuff arrows in the immediate future, he raised his voice to be heard over the sudden gust in the wind tunnel

“You cannot win this day, you may not continue to the Villa, as yet I have not expended and spells of cost, if you force me to do that… none of you shall live.” Krieger sighed as he saw the elves draw their long swords and rush forward… they were deifinently racists


2nd of Floodtime, 383 ONT 2:58pm, Lyithalus Vineyard, the Ilse of Amyenhone, Novarthia, Elven Court

Krieger focused once again causing another rift to open up, the strange whirling and popping noise from the reality he had chosen once again assaulted his ears. As the rift stabilized he nodded to the two summoned Dire Apes and they hustled forth grabbing another two corpses and throwing them through the rift, they turned and approached the last remaining load, a tied and gagged Folwin. He was bleeding from several wounds but the stubborn elf refused to give into blood lose and die. As one of the Dire Apes grabbed the elves blond hair and began to drag him towards the rift, the elf struggled and gagged, desperately trying to say something.

“Stop” Krieger said to the ape, “remove his gag” the ape did as he was bade and roughly ripped the cloth from the injured elves mouth

“Don’t do this… you can’t just throw me onto another plane… please… let me go…” the elf sobbed. Krieger tsked and shook his head at the sorrowful display, he made a signal with his hand and the gag jumped up and secured itself in the elves throat once more.

“Oh come on… Don’t look at me like that… I gave you plenty of opportunities to leave me be and you just would not.” The elf continued to struggle and cry, Krieger felt a little bad for him “I suppose I could turn you over to the authorities and let them try and sort this whole thing out…” At this the elf nodded enthusiastically “… but I really don’t have time to be dealing with elven courts and elven laws…I am pretty sure you are in the wrong… but why worry about it… beside in my experience in Don-Ton the court system is pretty overburdened, best to not bother them with things that you can handle yourself” as he said the words the ape began to drag the elf towards the rift, the elf thrashed and fought but to no avail. “I am not leaving you completely to your death, you weapons have already been tossed through, and once the rift closes my spells binding you will be ended and you will be free… you might be able to survive and carve out a living there… maybe not however… the plane is one of chaos and confusion… it is in constant flux… but you are a superior being aren’t you… probably won’t be a problem at all for you” again the elf thrashed and tried to speak but the gag held him true as the Ape dragged him through the rift… once they were through Krieger dismissed the Ape and closed the rift leaving Folwin to the fates. His unseen servants had almost finished cleaning up the road of any debris and stray arrows. “An arrow can be scried, as can anything left behind… anything you find I want burnt to ash… take it into the stoves and get it done” with that finished Krieger dismissed his final walls and turned back to the bench having a seat and letting out a long sigh… he did not like the flower arrangement… but it would have to do for now… he had other business to attend

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Wine Time

1st of Floodtime, 383 ONT 10:13am, Lyithalus Vineyard, the Ilse of Amyenhone, Novarthia, Elven Court

Audomar Burrows wiped the sweat from his brow and he stood up and stretched, the sun was getting hot, and he had been in the valley since sunrise. He pulled out his wineskin and took a slight sip of the rejuvenating wine. He had to admit, though the work was hard, he loved his home. His eyes stretched along the gentle hill filled with neat rows of grapes; he saw his family and neighbors working diligently, Floodtime was when the gully worms were known to come, and each plant had to be carefully inspected and culled else you risked losing the entire row, these grapes needed much in the way of tender care, they would only bear fruit once every six seasons, but when they did, they were the tastiest and most special golden grapes that one could ask for; Audomar could hardly wait, according to the ledgers, if they had done their jobs properly for the past decade, by Harvest he would get to once again taste these wonderful grapes. The aged Halfling bent down once more, carefully moving a small leaf aside with two fingers and searching below for the pests, now gully worm, no sign of a hole either. He smiled to himself, he and his kinsmen had worked hard, had studied hard under their elven friends , he would be surprised if they found a single gully worm in the entire vineyard, but by Falas’s Beard he would check, and check again and search each four day until the end of gully worm season. This year he was being permitted to brew one very small batch of white wine all by himself, and when his grandchildren opened the cask in ninety years, he was determined that it would taste just as good, if not better then Master Alfirin’s own. He grinned wryly; to brew elven wine without being an elf… if that weren’t something, well, he didn’t know what was then.

He sensed more then saw or heard the commotion three rows over, right on the fringe of the northern field. He assumed it was that damndable wizard Krieger again. For the last two weeks the wizard had been perfecting some sort of teleportation shortcut domahicky magic thingy… Audomar was not a fan, if the fellow wanted to teleport to his cabin… which Audomar was pretty sure Master Alfirin had been a might too generous in rent… but if he wanted to teleport there so be it, but why did he have to be going around the property and setting up “jump spots” and “wiz poppers” and whatever other magical nonsense he was doing, it was distracting to the folk and annoying to hear about. Audomar sighed and raised his hand calling his daughter Kelsey over.

“Yes Papa?” the little girl said, having run up the row to him. He smiled, she be a fine vintor one day. Already she could run through the fields without damaging our hurting the plants.

“I am pretty sure that Mr. Krieger fellow is causing himself a great nuisance again over on the high path… I’m gonna go look into it, but as per the rules I need ya to run and get Master Thesalour… Master Alfirin was clear that he is to check every single instance no matters what”

“Right away Papa” The little girl said, and took off down the hills towards the villa. Audomar hitched his belt that held his many gardening tools, adjusted his straw hat and picked up his walked stick, carefully making his way through the fields. He cut over two rows and then climbed a slight embankment pulling himself onto a cobbled path that led along the northern and eastern end of Lyithalus. He did not have to walk far before he met with four elves armed well in armor of chainmail and leather, caring strung bows and escorting a human who looked to be from the desert lands. Audormar felt a pit in his stomach as he became uneasy, but tried to supress it as he cleared his voice and called out in High Elven to them.

“Hail and well met friends, welcome to the Lyithalus. May I be of service to you.” The human looked to the elves, he appeared not to understand the elven language. One of the elves, a blond man with close cropped hair spoke for the group.

“Clear the road Halfling, we have business in this area, and haven’t time for idle chatter” His tone was curt and lacked any warmth of friendliness. Audormar felt the pit grow and it nearly filled his chest, but still he spoke forward

“Perhaps you are lost then friend, this land is ruled by the Alfirin family, I am Audormar Burrows their Master of Crops, I am afraid I cannot let you wander the grounds unescorted, if you have business with the Lady Alfirin I can escort you, else I will have to see you back to the crossroads” His voice managed to hold its friendly tone, and only quavered a little towards the end, but he covered that up with a throat clear that he hoped spoke of authority. There was a brief conversation between the elf who had spoken and the human in a language that was unfamiliar to Audormar. He tried to comfort himself while they spoke, telling himself that they were just explaining that they had gone the wrong way, and that any moment they would smile and nod to him and head back to the crossroads… sadly Audormar didn’t believe this himself, and while he kept a good grip on his cane he also reached to his belt and his hand grasped the familiar handle of his trust spade. The conversation finished and the turned back to Audormar

“By order of the Sons of Treefall, get out of the way or I will shoot you dead” the elf said, raising his bow and seamlessly knocking an arrow. Audormar’s legs stopped working, his mouth went dry, he was terrified, he didn’t know what to do, his hand clutched at his little spade, but he felt like he couldn’t move now if he wanted to.

“That is an interesting directive you have chosen to offer, since I am the only ranking member of the Sons of Treefall on Lyithalus” came a familiar elven voice from behind Audormar, the Halfling turned and saw good old Master Thesalour walking up the pathway, his bow strung and in his hand at his side, his pipe still in the corner of his mouth as he walked. The blond elf seemed taken aback by the new arrival

“Who are you, identify yourself” The elf snapped. Thesalour walked up to Audormar, and gently ushered him to the side of the path before responding.

“Perhaps the sun is too hot for that armor my friend, your manners seem to have sweated away” Thesalour quipped, his tone still light, but now with an edge to it. “I am Ser Onas Thesalour of the Sons of Treefall, Protectorate of Liythalus, and as our Master of Plants mentioned, you are trespassing, and you have illed my name in your command to my companion here. I will hear your names, your reasons, your apology to Master Burrows, and then see you to the crossroads.” Master Thesalour didn’t have any quaver in his voice, and seemed at ease that the blond elf still had his bow knocked while he in return only held his pipe. The elf ease the tension on his bow string and interpreted for the human before responding.

“I am Folwin Jocan, of the Sons of Treefall, I was sent here by Captain Sylora Valindra, I have orders to take the Lady Nueleth into my custody and burn Alfirin manner. Step aside Ser Thesalour, I do not wish to fight a brother” Master Thesalour took a long pull from his pipe, savouring the smoke before exhaling, he then knelt and tapped out the remaining weed, stepping on it to assure it was out before replacing his pipe in his pouch.

“It has been a long time since I read the Book of Treefall, but last time I did I seem to recall a full knight outranked a Captain, is that still the case?” Folwin looked a little sheepish but nodded. “Good, then your new orders are to fuck off, to tell Captain Valindra that I would have words with her personally, and to never comeback to Liythalus”. All the kindness was gone from the knight’s voice now, Audormar had never seen Master Thesalour like this before, he had always had a glass of wine in his hand and his pipe in his mouth. The Lady Alfirin often cursed about his laziness when Master Thesalour wasn’t about, but today, the elven knight had no kindness in his eyes, no smile on his lips, just the icy blue stare of one who would soon summon death and pain.

“Come on Onas, it doesn’t have to be this way, there are four of us…”

“You assume much Folwin, To you I am Ser Thesalour, and believe it or not, counting is one of the many things they teach knights… you have been given an order, and by every law I can name are in the wrong…” here Master Thesalour switched from the high elven tongue into the common tongue “I may not be able to kill you all, but it comes to it I promise you Folwin, that you and your human will both be dead before I fall” there was a long pronounced silence with the elves and human all exchanging glances before Folwin spoke once more

“This isn’t over,” he said dramatically as he sheathed his arrow and lowered his bow

“No, it’s not Folwin” Master Thesalour said as knocked one of his own with uncanny speed and pulled back on his string. The other elves yelped in worry, many reaching for their own arrows but all stopping short of knocking their bows “you still have not apologised to our Master of Plants” the knight said, a slight grin returning to his face. The blond elf looked incensed, but once again seeing the precarious position here was in he seemed to take several breaths and visibly calm himself

“I apologize Master Halfling” Folwin said

“What are you apologizing for?” The knight called, the elf shot a glare that would turn a gorgon to stone

“I apologize for my lack of manners, please forgive me so that we might part with my honour intact” The elf said, reciting the ancient elven apology that every small child learnt. Audormar was a bit taken aback, he almost was unable to speak, with a quick cough he croaked his response

“Think nothing of it, my honourable friend”, Master Thesalour lowered his bow and spoke once more in a jovial tone

“Good, now we may part in friendship instead of anger. Folwin, I trust you can find the crossroad without trouble?” the elf asked pointing with his bow back the way Folwin and his party had come from

“Indeed, until we meet again Ser Thesalour” Folwin responded

With that the elves and the human turned and quickly departed, Audormar and Master Thesalour following them until they could see them reach the crossroads and continue back towards the city. Once they were truly gone Audormar let out a long low sigh of relief

“Well, I say to you Master Thesalour, I am sure glad you came along, and that that is over, phew” the elf gave the Halfling a pitying look

“I am afraid my friend that this had only just begun, come, we must speak to the Lady Alfirin at once”

To be continued.

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A Thing, pt 2

A Thing, Pt 2

An unknown amount of years later

“… and that is why I feel that the creature known as Pelly should be executed by the council of Gods” the Troll finished

“VERY WELL… ALL IN FAVOUR?” but a few gods raised their hands “IT APPEARS NOT THIS TIME” Vol’Gatha stated and turned looking down the table “NOW IF THIS CONCLUDES THE REGULAR BUSINESS, LET US GET TO AGREEMENT AT HAND… THE FLOOR CEDES TO TALIB” the man in grey nodded an acknowledgement to her before standing

“My fellow divine beings, recently I was informed that the church of Prometheus has decided to declare a Holy War on my church…” There were some surprised gasps from several individuals around the table. “I know, I was rather surprised myself, but I would like to clarify exactly whom I am to be at war with, just so that there are no… misunderstandings later” the older man with scales stood and glared down the table at Talib

“I know what you are doing Talib, and I haven’t the time or patience for this. That item should not have been on the prime material plane to begin with, you knew exactly what was going to happen”

“My Friend Kelezandri… I am wounded… I had no idea that that particular symbol had made its way onto Argyle… but alas it has, and your son’s church as declared war… now I need to know if you will be joining such an endeavor”

“AND WHAT IF WE WERE… IT WOULDN’T TAKE MUCH TO FREEZE OUT THE LIKES OF YOUR FOLLOWERS!” Anamachara shouted jumping to her feet

“Muzzel your dog Kelezandri or I’ll put it down” Talib warned his voice becoming deadly serious

“Call her a dog again and I’ll cut that pretty tongue of yours out” Aleau called back her dirk back in her hand

“My Lords, must we go through this every time” Raven appealed to the group

“I vote we all let it play out this time” The Dwarf in Chainmail quipped, but Kelezandri placed a hand on Anamachara’s shoulder and she and Aleau were once again seated.

“Talib, You know I am pressed on several fronts on the plane of water, accept my apology for the rash actions of my son’s follower so we can put this behind us, no one wants another war on Argyle” Kelezandri’s words seemed tired and frustrated, his voice that of an ancient current deep below the waves

“Talibious,” Gabriel added “That is a very reasonable request, and witnessed by this council, will you concede that it is enough?”

“He cannot” came a low and morose voice from Raven, the fey was looking down at his feet but stood and faced the groups elaborating “He cannot, the item destroyed was a shardling, breaking it is akin to drawing the blood of a god, and the act was sealed by a divine creature… in this case Pelly acting on behalf of his father, and supported by a member of Prometheus’s church. To accept this Talib would be forced to cede domains or step down a godly tier… I am afraid in this case my Lord… Sorry is not going to cut it”

“Really, so anyone can just screw around in the woods and make a god war with another god?” Aurora asked, a note of worry in her voice

“Not anyone Aurora… but yes, mortals can cause a lot of trouble when left to their own devices” Raven responded ruefully

“Which brings us to that matter at hand…” Talib continued “Currently you provide spells to Prometheus’s clerics, you shelter his churches and people in your holy cities, and your triad exacts revenge on his behalf… will this continue should war arise?”

“What if it did Talib…” Hansel put in, Kelezandri’s hand came out to usher him down but the redhead pressed forward “No Seriously… let’s think about this for a minute… what if it did… Do you want war with Water? Don-Ton only has one city on its side and that is Rehume… would you end that? Do your followers no longer wish the gift of potions, the gift of sea travel, the gift of lust, or ice? We are the very nature of all beings… is war with us something you truly wish?” Talib seemed a little off put
“Let us not jump to conclusion that Talib is alone in these matters,” The merchant spoke from his lush seat “Where would your Holy Cities be without trade or commerce, how would your people get their ingredients for their potions?” The threat hung out there as a silence came across the table

“If no God is willing to sponsor Prometheus in his misaligned goals, then I would have the following demands met…” Talib said to those assembled. “His Temple in Rehume is to be torn down, his followers are to build a temple to me in its place. His Churches will tithe 12% of its yearly income to mine for the next three years. Rehume will lift its ban on undead within the city, and Flitt Fargazers soul will be gifted to me whenever his end should come”

“THERE IS NO WAY YOU WILL HAVE A TEMPLE IN REHUME… AND UNDEAD WALKING ITS STREETS. I WILL DUST IN THE COSMOSE BEFORE…” Anamachara jumped up shouted but Aleau pulled her back to her seat

“I…” Hansel started but saw the look in Kelezandri’s eye and trailed off

“Will no one here sponsor Prometheus then? Will no one take up his cause?” Talib asked, a wicked grin crossing his face

“Let us holdout a moment longer…” Raven said “We have not yet heard from our newest goddess… She of the Night Wind, what say you to all of this?”

To Be Continued by Jamie

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A Thing, pt 1

Time Unknown, A Thing, in the Woods of Elysium

The table was long and wooden, spanning the length of the entire grove. It was not infinite in length but it seemed to span days, and even years. Some of it cast in eternal shadow, some of it brand new just finished constitution, some of it aged and decaying. Miriel looked at the glade ringed with trees older than time, with a brook that spanned longer than thought. With rocks forged from chaos and let out a long slow breath… she may be a little out of her depth. The brook wriggled and burbled then with a puff of steam the first visitor arrived. The steam gracefully floated to a spot near the newer end of the table, as it took up a chair is formed into a human, with reddish hair and boyish good looks. His eyes were green in nature, but he held a hazy almost not full solid look about him. He shot her a wink and a nod before reaching out onto the table and grabbing a large puiter jug that had not existed before he reached for it. Now a fine glass appearing in his other hand he poured a thick purple liquid into his goblet and sat back in his comfortable chair. Next from on high it appeared the white puffy clouds lowered and formed a staircase. Descending them rapt in a conversation that was beyond mortal language came two forms. One of a man, perhaps eighteen if at all, he was angelic in every sense of the word, with ten beautiful white feathered wings furrowed at his back. His chest was clad in a silver breastplate and his belt held a sword that bespoke ancient times. Beside him was a women, perhaps twenty five in age, her hair was blond and light, she was angelic as well with eight white wings that matched her robes. As they reached the final stairs they took a graceful step and floated to their seats, across the table and a little ways down from the red head. The creek burbled again and from it the water rose and formed a women, naked as the day she was born and impossibly beautiful. Her hair shone aquatic blue and green in the bright sun. Around her waist was a red shall wrapped more like a sash, and it held a silver dirk. She ran lightly from brook her footsteps leaving puddles in the grass; she threw herself at the red head who had risen to greet her and wrapped her arms and legs around him forcing him to catch her “I MISSED YOU!” she squealed in a melodic voice as she smothered him in a passionate kiss that quickly made even the strix blush. If the man was perturbed he didn’t show it quickly returning the kisses, it seemed it would devolve into much more if not for the very loud throat clearing of the angelic man. The two did not apologies or blush but merely nodded, the women pulling a chair very close to the redhead and quickly taking his goblet and drinking from it.

Miriel was in awe at the displays she was seeing, unsure who must have poisoned her and what feverish dream she was in, she was contemplating trying to awaken herself when the next arrivals came. Several ancient trees in the forest turned and bent making room as a large troll. His armor was a mix of breast plate and hide comprised of legendary creatures he had slain, his hair was black and pulled into a tight weave above his head, his ancient staff and a gnarled blade at the top. He walked in shade but not darkness as he made his way to the table. A massive wooden cup appearing filled with foam as he sat and took it to his mouth.

Glancing back Miriel could see the Angels were back in whispered conversation as the water women was toying with the ginger keeping his cup just away from his mouth every time she offered to feed him a sip. Across from the troll the ground itself seemed to open up and voices could be heard from within

“…and then I says… well at least it ain’t rum! BWHAHAHAHAHA” there were certainly two voices, one clear and bright laughing hard and whatever joke he had just finished telling. The other, also laughing but much deeper like rocks grinding on each other. From the tunnel came two large dwarves, one wearing a chain shirt with a salt and pepper beard that made age impossible to tell. He carried a mighty axe at his back and a shield slung over his shoulder. The other dwarf was dressed in an ancient smith’s apron with a beard of magma itself, his left hand had an ancient maul over the shoulder while his right held his belly in laughter. The dwarf in the chain shirt shot the Troll a wave as he made his way over to the two angels and gave the female one a peck on the cheek before taking a chair beside her, the other dwarf sat beside the other angel, each causing a silver mug to appear and filled with a foamy liquid. Much further along the table, she had not seen him arrive, but there by himself toying with a crystal glass filled with a near clear liquid sat an elfin male. He wore a cloak of raven feathers, which nearly masked a white tunic below and a gold chain around his neck. Miriel took a step towards the table, unsure if she should sit, or if she should, where? When the brook appeared to freeze over. The ice shifted and formed until a petite elven women cast completely of ice formed. She carried a spear that spanned two heads taller than herself. Each step caused the puddles of her predecessor to freeze. She strode in a hurry towards the ginger and the lady of green hair. The water women saw her and let forth another excited squeal throwing herself away from the redheaded man and nearly flying to the ice elf. The two collided, the ice elf throwing away her spear to catch the women as they fell into a tangle on the ground, hugging and kissing and whispering words of comfort to one another. The aquatic women appeared to constantly shift as she touched the elf taking on the texture of near slush as she moved. If Miriel had thought the display between her and the red head had been excessive this surpassed anything she could imagine. She noted the dwarf in the chain shirt rising from his seat to get a better view until the angelic women elbowed him and pulled him back down. The red head eventually and with deliberate sloth walked up to the two and helped them to their feet, offering the ice elf a long slow kiss of his own that created a sizzling noise like a piece of ice dropped on a red hot skillet. All three came to the table clambering together on the chair that appeared to morph into a plush bench. Before them two more goblets appeared as well as food, and quickly they devolved into flirting and playing, drinking and feeding one another and generally making a nuisance of themselves. Miriel could not help but smile at their antics, and noted the others all had bemused grins, until the sky appeared to visibly darken.

Further down the table beside the troll, it appeared light itself shirked away as a man appeared. He was handsome enough for his age, with a salt goatee and dark eyebrows. He wore robes of grey and seemed to hold an aura that sucked joy and mirth from the surrounding area. Through the sky and landing beside the human an ancient wyrm, rotting and writing with carrion landed and took up a position at the table as well. Near as she could tell as the great death dragon arranged itself the rock below her feet trembled, a large boulder shifted and turned until it shifted into the form of a man who reached towards the sky and stretched. The shifting boulders grated and groaned as he took two hulking steps towards the table, settling cross-legged on the ground. He reached for a giant glass that seemed to fill with a thicker white liquid. He raised his glass to the three trouble makers and drank deeply.

The Strix became aware that the dwarf in the chain shirt and the troll were both eating and swapping stories, and their seemed to be great tension between the angels and the man in grey. She also became aware of music playing… light pipe music. Several trees all but danced out of the way as a great satyr bounded into the grove, three nymphs hot on his trail. The Satyr seemed almost surprised at his location, but quickly shrugged, embracing each of his nymphs before ushering them back into the wood. He strode towards the table offering the fey in the raven feathered cloak a thunderous high five on his way by. A spot not far down from the raven man had already begun to have cheeses, wines and grapes appear as well as a lavish seat and the image of a ghostly women prepared to serve the satyr.

Miriel noted the warmth a moment before a section of grass burst into flame. The form of a women of incredible beauty stepped from it, she was wrapped only in flame and at once was new and ancient. She took a dignified step, and glowered as she was greeted by the three water creatures and the rock figure with an annoying half drunk

“HEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY!” their seemed genuinely enthusiastic, but the women of fire was most unimpressed as she quickly strode to the table and took up her seat, bringing no liquid to her lips. The angles began hushed conversation once more as the satyr and the Raven man began to swap stories about a plane known of Crestora. The water burbled once more and this time an ancient man, with a beard of seaweed and crown of coral emerged from the brook. His skin had the hue of brine and the texture of scales, he carried a large trident and joined the three mischief makers… for their part the three appeared to sit up straighter as he approached and took up his own seat. A large foamy wooden mug, which appeared to be carved from floatsum materialised in his hand; he took a long draw from it.

The sky cycled through blue then pink then purple then green then back to blue as a women of great beauty descended

“Am I late? I hope I’m not late… I was…” she said worriedly rushing to her spot on the table… the dwarf in chain called to her

“Yer fine Lass, not a worry at all, we’re still waiting fer yer better ‘alf” she nodded to this but seemed somewhat rebuked as she quietly took her seat and reached for a glass that materialised as she grabbed it. It was a long stem crystal that appeared to only be full of mist.

At long last at the farthest end of the table it was just like blinking, there was nothing, and then she was there. Elfin features on this black haired beauty she was small and lithe and exuded power and danger.

“Well…” the male Angel said taking his feet and holding his glass forward… it appears that we have all arrived…”

“THIS IS NOT YOUR TABLE TO CHAIR GABRIEL!” The women in black said from the far end of the table, her voice was terrible and as thunder, causing many of those attending to wince as they heard her words. “SIT DOWN YOUNGLING, WE WAIT FOR ONE MORE” the one known as Gabriel glared down the table at her, but did indeed retake his seat. Miriel took another tentative step towards the table, unsure if they waited for her. When she heard the chiming of bells and the sounds of horse hooves. The trees separated and a large carriage was driven into the clearing. The door to the carriage opened and out stepped a human man, his skin covered by robes and veils, his belt heavy with pouches as he made his way to the table and sat nearer the dark women and the raven man then those at the other end. He took his seat, a lavish meal and pristine setting appearing before him, once settled he nodded to the dark women who took to her feet. “YOU THERE!” she pointed across the clearing, her gaze falling upon Miriel. The Strix noted that each of the attendees was now staring at her, and suddenly felt her knees weaken, never before has she felt such power in a single place, she wondered if her very soul would shatter under the gaze of these creatures. “TAKE UP YOUR SEAT GODDLING… YOU WASTE OUR TIME!”. The dark women pointed to the opposite end of the table from her at a lone rickety wooden stool… Miriel knew not what to do or say, so she quickly moved to her chair and sat. imitating the other Gods she reached out with her hand assuming an invisible drink would appear… she was disappointed when none did, and glowered at the flighty air goddess who stifled a giggle at Miriels failed attempt.

“WE HAVE MUCH TO DISCUSS GODS AND GODDLINGS…” the dark women began, “LET US BEGIN WITH COMPLAINANTS”

“I offer complaint” the dwarf with the magma beard offered

“I RECOGNIZE DUMATHEON OF THE COURT OF GABRIEL”

“My complaint is twofold… to the Everlast and the Goddess of the Night Wind…” he began pointing at the Raven cloaked man, then at Miriel. “My sacred items have been activated, but their wielders worship other gods… Raven crafted these for me to aid my church, and now three of the four of them work towards the Goddess of the Night Wind” the dwarf said, annoyance clear in his voice

“Well that is hardly her fault…” The red headed man said “Raven should have made them more specific when he crafted them…”

“I knew you would weigh in Hansel” The dwarf retorted “The forth is a worshiper of Prometheus” at this the great man with the trident put his hand to his face seeming to have developed a headache.

“WHAT IS IT THAT YOU WISH DUMATHEON?” The women voice cut through the table, ending anymore cross talk

“I want them to worship me or put the items back”

“That is not possible, the items have been selected, they are tied to them now… and you can’t force mortals to worship…. Well most of us can’t anyway…” the Raven cloaked man said. The dwarf seemed angry

“Then I want the Goddess of the Night Wind to construct three churches in my honour… one for each of her followers who has usurped my items… and Prometheus to build one as well”

“Come on…” The Ice Elf said, anger flashing across her face “… now you are being a baby…That is barley a church… he’s sleeping and it’s just a bunch of idiot surfers and pot heads”

“THE COURT DID NOT RECOGNIZE ANAMACHARA” The dark women warned

“THEN HURRY UP AND RECOGNIZE ME OR SHUT UP AND QUIT SLOWING US DOWN!” The Ice Elf responded, her spear appearing in her hands as she yelled down the table at the dark women

“I WILL NOT BE SPOKEN TO LIKE THIS FROM A LESSER BEING, SHALL YOU BE TAUGHT A LESSON OF RESPECT?” The dark women stood.

“I DON’T FEAR YOU VOL’GATHA, NOR DO I FEAR YOUR MASTER, BRING IT!” Anamachara offered, feeling more than seeing her companions Aleau and Hansel rise to their feet and weapons coming to their hands

“Woaw… let’s all just take a deep breath and calm down” Raven said standing and making calming gestures with his hands

“Yes, the Everlast is correct, Kelezandri, control your children if you could” The grey man put it with a snide tone. The old man sighed a gurgled sigh of annoyance before waving a hand ushering his three to seat themselves

“Hansel, you will handle the construction of a small church to Dumatheon… have in built on the road between Rehume and Dwarf Gate” Kelezandri said, ending the argument and allowing everyone to sit down once more.

“IT IS SO AGREED THEN… THE GODDESS OF THE NIGHT WIND WILL CONSTRUCT THREE CHURCHES ON ARGYLE, AND HANSEL WILL BUILD ONE… THE GRIEVENCE IS FILLED… WHO IS NEXT?”

END PART 1

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Thaden POV

3rd of Floodtime, 383 ONT, Time unknown, maybe early afternoon? outside “Warehouse” in OMARU

Thaden pried himself from the time non-moving hands of the elf and crawled upon her shoulder to take a better look at what the gods had decided to fate him with. The elf was immobilized, paralyzed and did not seem to be able to move her eyes without tilting the entire body… her spell appeared to allow her to continue flying; but it seemed little else was possible. The ef’s grip seemed to have Aury in a decent grip. Thaden was relieved at that, the kitten had proved a loyal ally and he hadn’t the strength to try and save it magically should she fall. The appeared to have emerged from the top of a larger tower maybe eighty feet in elevation. The surrounding wall to the compound appeared to be spewing magma in all directions setting the nearby forests a blaze and quickly flooding outward giving those with the gift of flight no option to land for respite. Thaden watched horrified as the blind eagle rider fell from his perch and began to plummet, his mount madly flapping in a futile attempt to pull up as it careened towards the deadly lava below. With less than twelve fee to spare the eagle found some strength of wing and managed to pull up as a talon lashed out grasping its former rider by the left leg and dashing him away from what was sure to be a gruesome death. From the tower, walls and various other openings the enemy began to release its reinforcements. Thaden cursed the old gods and new as he saw what they were up against

From the very place they had just departed arose a great Thunderbird, on its back sat two men, one in gleaming armor with a great lance of silver and a shield of gold. Behind him sat a man in robes of green who madly scrambled to pull free one of six rods strapped along a bandolier. From the wall ahead and behind came no fewer than six robed men astride carpets that flew at their command. Behind each knelt a man in leather armor clutching desperately to a leather thong in one hand and a light crossbow in the other. From below along the lower corridors of the towers emerged eight flame drakes, each carrying a rider wearing silvered armor and noting the holy symbol of the great merchant god. and as if that were not enough he could see from mid-way up the tower three great beasts leap from brand new openings. Larger than an elephant, this scaly, bird-like creature had a vaguely horse-like head and vast, slime-encrusted wings. Their riders wore hoods of black and bore glaives with golden blades… SHANTAK… Thaden thought, how is this possible?

The sky began to fill with smoke as the trees of the great forest below burnt in the magma flood. Paprikia, the elf seemed to have the same idea as Thaden and quickly flew towards the eagle rider, the great lumbering phoenix circling lower and lower, seemingly having trouble maintaining altitude. The Guard Mouse watched in horror as the enemy circled and maneuvered quickly attempting to cut them off. Their wizards or clerics seemed to be calling in storm clouds to try and box in the altitude, or to perhaps let even darker creatures join the fray. His mind whirled at the possibilities and then calculated the darker paths. Could they even survive this? Would it be better to offer his new friends a quick death then whatever fate awaited them should they be captured? Aury was a shapeshifting cat, what perverse cage would they lock her in for all eternity? And for the gal the two elves showed in attempting to rob Omars, how would they suffer? His sword flicked up, debating a quick slash across Paprikka’s spinal cord… but then the moment passed, these were not his decisions to make, they must have known the consequences before attempting such an action… they would be prepared to pay them… for his own part, he would aid where he could, and hope that he could make as many of his enemy suffer as possible before he should be cut down.

“My Blade is your Paprika, what is the plan?” he called into the paralysed elves ear, as he watched the drakes and thunderbird circle.

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Maddy Cat POV

3rd of Floodtime, time unknown

Meow, meow, meow…. Meowith meow… MMMMMEOW!

Mewing mewing meow… meow meow meow meow meow. meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow. Meow Mewing Meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow… MEOW!

Meow meow, meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow meow meow meow. Meow meow meow meow meow meow mew; meow meow meow meow mew, mewing. Meow meow meow meow meow meowing. Meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow meow meow mew. MEOW! MEW MEW MEOW! Meow meow meow meow meow; meow meow meow meow meow meow, meow meow. Mew meow meow meow meow meow meow, mew mew meow. Meow meow meow meow meow meow. Mew meow mew meow meow meow mew, mew, meow meow; meow meow mew meow meow mewing, meow meow. Meow meow meow meow mew meow meow meow mewing meow meow meow meow mew. Meow meow meow mew; meow mew, mmmmeeeeeeeooooooowwwwwww… meow meow meow meow meow. Meow meow meow mew meow meow meow meow mew meow meow. Meow meow meow mew mew mew meow, meow meow meow mew meow meow meow meow mew meow meow meow meow mew meow meow meow meow meow.

MEEEEEEOOOOOOOWWWW!

MEEEEEEOOOOOOWWWWWW!

MMMMMMMEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOWW!

MEW!

MMMEEEEEOOOWW!

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The Fall of Salkire

33rd of Planting 383 ONT, Salkire Keep, Cainia, 6:43am

James Hasson Forbes blocked out the screaming of his men, the pounding of the battlements and gates, the frantic rushing of his people as he approached his quarters. His hand paused a moment over the latch as he quickly pulled it back and took a series a quick breaths. He pulled his sleeve to his face and wiped the tears that he desperately wanted to keep at bay; a few more calming breaths came as he slowly mastered himself, only then did he enter. His chambers were a mess, with several bags laid across the bed. His sweet wife Anya was shushing his baby daughter Faith in one arm while whirling about the room pulling clothing and equipment and packing it in the bags with the other hand. A hard lump formed in the back of his throat as he saw her. His heart filled with nothing but shame, knowing he had failed them completely and they would soon pay for it. Doing his best to hold back his emotions he strode into the room and quickly gathered some woolen cloaks adding them to the pile of items to be packed. Anya paused and looked at her husband, studying him

“So it is decided then… how soon?” she asked with an air of calm that her husband did not have

“Gunther doubts we will make the noon hour, if we still want to attempt this plan, we need to start now, it’s the only way it will even have a chance” James mumbled looking down at his feet

“What do you mean if we still want to attempt it? James, your plan is brilliant” she said forcing him to look her in the eye

“Gunther and the others think it is ridicules, and…” she cut him off before he could go much further

“Gunther and the others aren’t Forbes nor are they the Lord of Salkire Keep, besides… do they have a better idea?” he shook his head in response and hugged her deeply

“I’m not a real Forbes… not like Arturo or Gregory or even Trenton… Trenton would have killed any who dared attack the home of his wife… and Gregory would have come up with a brilliant strategy to save the keep… I… I got nothing but a convoluted…”

“Your father is brother to the King, and you are every bit a Forbes as Gregory or Arturo… The King trusted you with Salkire… you, because you are a Forbes and have his trust… he didn’t trust Trenton with it, or Harry, his own sons… he trusts you… and so do I… my Lord” he looked up at her, tears in his eyes and couldn’t help a small smile… she was his everything, she always knew just what to say and how to keep him grounded. He let out a breath he didn’t know he was holding and wrapped his arms around them letting out a single long sob. The embrace lasted minutes before he finally regained himself.

“You will need to travel light and fast, only a few days food, berries are in season, it won’t be much but should sustain you as you make for Aravik Hold… my father will be able to help you from there” she looked hard at him

“You speak as if you aren’t coming with us…”

“I am not… the only way this works is if I can stall them, if I am not here they will see through the ruse immediately, Guntar, Diego and twenty others will remain with me”

“Surely you can slip away and…” she saw the look in his eye, the pain that rested below the surface and knew. She knew he would come if it were at all possible. She leapt forward into his arms once more giving him a long embrace as fresh tears sprang to both their eyes. “Goodbye my love…” she said kissing him deeply

“Farewell my sweet” he replied in their usual manner


35th of Planting, 383 ONT. Salkire Keep cellar, Cainia

Catherine Undertoe paced the room once more as she looked at the last three survivors of Salkire Keep. Lord James Hasson Forbes, Master of Arms Gunther Alright and The Bard Diego. Two days ago her people as stormed the keep, it had looked like the majority of his defenders had pulled back possible to try and hold an inner build or room, but upon breaking through they had found maybe fifteen or so guards left in addition to the current three, there was not a trace of anyone else, almost one hundred souls missing. It had been two days of interrogations and executions, but so far it appeared that the defenders left behind had been left on the wall and were not told what had happened to their families or loved ones… this left only the three left. After two days of torture the men were in rough shape, but they had not yet cracked. Catherine had felt it time to bring them together and see if she could break one this way.

“Lord Forbes… I should remind you before another one of your companions needlessly die, that it need not end this way… all three of you are valued prisoners and can be confined in comfort at Darwheaton Castle. Tell us where the remainder of your people are and we can all be on our way” the swollen faced Lord looked up at the Halfling mercenary and offered a bloody grin

“Did you misplace a bunch of people… I certainly hope you’re not paid by the person Undertoe… Ha” he let out a strained barking laugh… half delirious with pain and lack of sleep. The Halfling mercenary just shook her head slowly as she drew out a long dirk and walked behind Diego.

“Tell me where they are or I will slice his throat right here and now… last chance James” she said… Forbes looked at the bard with a sadness in his eyes

“You are the best I have every met Diego” James said to the Bard… Diego managed a curt nod before he began to spasm and gurgle as Catherine opened a line of red across his throat. Catherine did not pause, pulling the Master at Arms in front of her and placing the dirk in the same position. She didn’t even bother to speak the threat, merely gesturing to James once more. Gunther looked at his Lord

“It was a good plan Lord Forbes… a good aghhhhg” he never finished his throat being neatly sliced open he fell shuddering to the ground. The Halfling was losing her temper, this was infuriating. She was ready to kill the Lord and be done with it when she heard boots of one of her Captains approaching. A black bearded dwarf entered the room saluting the Halfling

“We’ve searched the entire keep ma’am… they are not here, dead or alive” she glowered at the dwarf… one hundred people do not just disappear, in frustration she took a chair and flung it across the room and into the far wall

woomp

She paused… the noise was not right… she stalked across the cellar to the far wall and knocked on it. The wall appeared to be stone, but had the thud and feel of wooden planks… planks cleverly painted to look like the stone cellar wall.

“Pull this wall down at once!” she called to her men, and quickly the boards were dismantled showing a tunnel leading away from the keep. Her triumph was tempered by rage… to have been duped so easily and for so long. “get me fifty men, geared to travel light and fast… I want the found” she said to her Captain and turned stalking in anger towards the Lord of Salkire.

So Passed James Hasson Forbes, Baron of Salkire Keep, Lord of Cainia

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Gathering Darkness pt 1

32nd of Planting, 383ONT, Faurthur Port, Cainia

The two hooded figures entered the small port by the thin moon of the luner blur. They marched from their ship of black sails to the keep and waited out front for the guards to challenge them.

“Who goes about at this hour” the guard called down, annoyed to be roused from his nook and pulled from his warming fire. The first hooded women reached up with pale hands that were marked with light blue swirls and pulled back her cowl. She had ghostly white hair, almost no trace of the blue left in it, and her face was hauntingly white.

“Serenity Fair and Echo Thane on business of Baron Muldark of Don-Ton” her clear voice rang out. There was a long pause before the gate opened the chains clattering in the mild chill of the night. When at last it did, they were met by a short blond elf, wielding a bow of amethyst. She was flanked by six helmed compatriots. The white haired traveler stole a glance to her dark haired companion before turning to face the elf “may we enter?” she asked in a sickly sweet voice.

“The last of the elves will be long and dead before I invite twin vampires into a keep” the elf said. There was a momentary pause from Serenity before a curt nod and replacing of her cowl. “State your business beast and be on your way before the sun finishes you. You’ll find no shelter in Omaru” the elf finished

“On that I believe you are mistaken… we travel on behalf of not only our lord but to the benefit of your cause as well” Echo said, he dark eyes a sinking void that devoured all light.

“We come in search of the interlopers who traveled on the Champions Boot… they would have been a dwarf, and elven knight with an eagle, a Strix, a frog man, a one armed man perhaps a fat balding man…” the elf raised her hand signalling Serenity to stop.

“I know of the group you speak, some of them at least, what is it to you?”

“These creatures have made it their goal to harry your land and will continue to do so out of misguided loyalty to a human…” Echo said “Our master wishes these ones destroyed, with but one of them taken prisoner and brought back to him…. Give us access to your land, and shelter from the sun and we shall hunt them down and handle this little problem for you.

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What lies between Part 2

Dear Sir Horace,

I want to be perfectly clear: The Lady Alyss did not tell me anything about what was going to happen to me. She asked if I wanted to have the courage of a hero while I was trapped in the fear effects of the largest and most frightening dragon I have ever seen. At first, I was still in control, you and I could speak to each other, and my situation, though strange, did not seem so dire. I agreed to give up more and more control, as my friends were dying all around me. How could I not? The people on this ship have become my family, what would it say about me if I were not willing to sacrifice to save them?

I watched as your corpse became mine. I watched as this new version of my body, the one that carried the playful nature of the wind, the one that my wife fell in love with, the one that survived unspeakable horrors and refused to die, be burned at sea because the Lady Alyss insisted it must. Now I have no body to return to. This body, that you and I inhabit, was mine, and somehow it has become yours and I am to understand that it can never be mine again?

The Lady Alyss won’t even speak to me when I transform into myself at the full moon. She will not open her door to comfort me, she pretends I do not exist. I know that you love her above all others, but she did this to me and now she won’t even acknowledge that I ever existed. Because no one else that has suffered this fate has ever been able to remain, it has been easier for her to pretend they never were.

I am not saying that she is evil, but what I am saying is that her love for you has clouded her judgement in these matters, and she needs to understand the gravity of what she has done.

I want my body back. I miss feeling the wind on my skin. I want to find a way that we both can survive, but I do not want to be a stuffed bear, I want to be Aurellia. My victories may seem minor to you, but Aurellia always gave everything she had, she never held back if there were innocent lives at stake. She was a survivor, the very fact that I am still holding on is proof of that. I am begging you to help me bring her back. She did not deserve to have her story end so abruptly.

At your Mercy,

Aurellia Oulette

Post Script – I will do what I can to honor you, please do the same for me. I have no desire to touch your body, but when I am myself, I will do as I please.

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