I have decided to re-post the 2nd chapter and every chapter there after to make it easier to view for readers That way also, if there are any comments, it will be easy for me to distinguish between the chapters and peoples thoughts. Enjoy the next chapter and if you feel like it, send me some comments. ================================================================ “This is Therra, a land with sixteen large continental islands that swirl around one large island at its center. Twelve of these lands are ruled by the religious powers, each one of these worshiping separate gods. At the center of the world, there is the land that allows for all beliefs. This land is called Loom and further at that continents center, located on an intersection of ley lines, is Deiyil, the capital of Loom. Deiyil is the only place in Therra where war and violence is not tolerated between the different religious powers. All beliefs are welcomed. Among all of the cities, this one is the only one that is blessed by all gods equally.” Chapter 2: Bad Dreams Birds were chirping happily as they began to wake up. Light streamed through the trees and caused the dew to sparkle off the leaves. A shining rainbow lit up the forest vibrantly, and gave birth to the day. The tree’s branches perked up as they grasped for the sunlight from the twin suns of Therra that climbed into the western sky. One of these suns was smaller than the other and shined red, while the other larger one was a brighter yellow. A falcon was sitting on his nest, his wings were folded and he was preening his as he prepared for his morning hunt. He was covered mostly in white feathers and had a mild speckling of brown that dotted his wings and back, while his head was graced by a keen set of eyes and a wicked curved beak. It looked to the sky and watched as the twin suns crested the horizon. It was time, the falcon flapped his wings experimentally and climbed out of his nest. This bird was a loaner, no egg chicks to take care of, no mate to watch. This was how it liked it, alone in the wild, a hunter in the skies without equal. He keened loudly and took off from his perch towards the sky. The falcon flew higher and higher, till he was able to see his entire dominion and then he began to look for food. The clouds toddled by and did not care about his hunt in the least. The forest below him was his largest source food. It was a large evergreen forest, also where he kept his home. The falcon was able to pick from a wide array of prey, there were small animals and other birds in the forest that had satisfied the falcon’s appetite many times. Just to its back were mountains with ivory stone a tall white stone mountains. The most notable feature near its home was the man made monstrosity. A city that was large, robust, tightly walled, and was a center for activity. That city was also home to the falcon’s favorite hunting grounds. The walls and the three expansive roads that lead from the city were made from the white stone of the mountain, quarried from there long ago. The reason why the city was the falcon’s favorite hunting ground was that it presented the largest challenge. This bird had long ago become board of his forest. The animals were dumb, lazy, and did not seem to put up much of a fight. The city was a different beast all together. Dangers lurked in the twists and curves of the city streets that had almost killed the falcon many times. Food was also plentiful in the city. Being able to survive off of food from the city was the pinnacle of the hunter to him and he did. The city itself was enclosed on all sides by an unnaturally perfectly circular wall. It was made from smooth white stone that had stood the test of time. The inside of the structure was populated by three circular grooves in the ground of the city that were fully apparent from so high up, these were connected at the center by three more smaller circles that connected to one another at the center of the city, where a large tower rose up from the center like a monolith to a civilization long ago. Unlike the roads, walls, and towers, the other buildings in the city were populated by a motley assortment of houses that dotted its streets tightly and compactly. Between the roads and the circles are made up of smaller semi-triangular sections. The city is broken up into ten quarters this way, three large circular city areas, six smaller outlying triangular areas, and a single tall white tower at the cities center. Near the western section of the city was a large open wound in the ground, it was as if a titanic force had ripped the ground open, and revealed a dark chasm underneath. There! It spotted its meal perched on a small window ledge towards the south end of the city. His sharp eyes focused on a spot, it was a small window ledge towards the south end of the city. A small mouse was gobbling up cheese greedily next to a potted plant on a window sill. The falcon dived quickly and swooped past the clouds as it rocketed towards its prey. As it descended it let out a loud war cry, a keen that split the stillness of the morning air. Just before impact it extended its wings and thrust out its claws to scoop up the mouse. The falcon hit the mouse like a lightning bolt and killed it instantly. The attack was successful and the falcon had food. It was satisfied and speed off towards its home to satisfy its growling tummy. It was dark and quiet, the realm of dreams. A stillness settled in as the sleeper felt the dream come to fruition. Something was coming from just beyond the veil. The dreamer could sense it, that palpable feeling that precluded a vision. This thing that was coming was the purest form of evil and it had manifested as a thing of wicked claws. There was something else. A blurry image of a creature made out of energy and it appeared to be making a patch for the destruction the other would bring. ------------------------ The shadow creature slipped from the fog and then it was flying over the ground, the area was familiar and it was near Deiyil! It flew closer and closer, then as if it was reaching out towards me, I saw its claws encircle me, as I was about to run away I heard a piercing keen that thrust me from my dream. -------------------------- Penndarius was thrust from sleep by a high pitched keen followed by a loud crash onto his windowsill. The falcon looked over at Penndarius and blinked at him. “What do you want?” He asked the bird. It blinked at him. “Go, get out of here.” He said waving his arm at the bird and then it took off into the sky, leaving Penndarius to a headache and the rest of the morning, thoroughly startled. It took him a few moments to get it together. He wiped tears of sleep from his eyes and yawned. He looked around and sniffed the sleep away. Penndarius swung his legs out of the bed and threw the covers on the ground. He stretched and stood up. The rich redwood paneled floors were cold, but creaked welcomingly to Penndarius. There were the twin suns, Sol and Sul peaking in through the window, Penndarius scowled up at the light, “You too? Fine…I am up.” He said resentfully to the suns, “Ugh, my head.” Penndarius said holding his head for a moment. The room was four square, with a dresser on one side, his bed under the window across from a heavy paneled redwood door, with a desk on the remaining wall. The dresser was made from a matching redwood paneling and it was mounted with a mirror that was large enough for Penndarius to see himself in it. The dresser was mounted with a mirror and had iron in the razor. These were not uncommon things. With the evolution of our understanding of magic, these kinds of implements and the materials used to make them were becoming common place, instead of rare collectibles. There were even a few forward thinkers that suggested that these simple household items could be used to facilitate steam powered technology and coupled with the understanding of magic, this could lead to great breakthroughs. Currently though, that technology was both inefficient and dangerous and at the very least needed further development to prevent unfortunate accidents. Penndarius turned his head from side to side and examined the stubble that had grown over night. Penndarius hoped he was good looking and was not far off from the truth. His jaw was relatively square and had an intelligent angle to it that was coupled with the lilt to his smile. His skin was pale from working inside and there were laugh lines engraved into his face. Behind the sparkle of intelligence there was an insightfulness that he tried to hide. People tended to shy away from someone who can read others like a book. Penndarius was one such person and tended to try not to use it on his friends. This was tempered by streaks of sarcasm. He was a bit taller than most and was average built. Penndarius dipped his razor into the water basin on the desk and dipped his hand into lather. He applied it liberally to his face and put the razor to his skin. He proceeded to shave. Penndarius began to multitask, brushing his hair and shaving. A few quick swipes through his hair and the last few cuts with a razor and Penndarius was almost ready. The door slammed open and startled Penndarius into cutting his cheek, “Rise and shine Penn me boy!” Douglas said with his startlingly loud voice. Douglas was built like an anvil. He was Douglas was a short and stout older man and had broad shoulders that made him look like he was as wide as he was tall. His skin was browned with a deep tan from working outdoors. Laugh lines had formed all about his face in deep creases that reminded me of the mountains just outside of Chapel. He had a long plated beard and always looked like he was two beers short of an even broader smile, even after two beers. He wore a bartender’s apron over a plan white shirt and long brown britches. “I almost cut my throat!” Penndarius yelled in protest. “Aye and that might have helped your mood. You are so surly in the morning.” Douglas said with a hearty laugh. He walked and leaned in examining Penndarius’s face, “Ye alright Penn lad? Ye look like ye been close to a touch with the other side.” Penn shook his head, “Do not get me started. Did you know a falcon was hunting on my window sill?” Penndarius smiled with a sly laugh. “Roses be mighty feisty creatures me boy, never underestimate them, sneaky bastards, always lying in soil, cannot trust them.” Douglas responded teasingly. “What do you want?” Penndarius asked. “Penndarius Greyson.” Douglas said with mock seriousness. “Do not use my full name.” Penndarius said with a painful wince. “Yer dad gave it to you Penn me boy.” The bearded man said. “And?” “Thought you might, dunno, have some respect fer im.” Douglas’s voice sounded encouraging. “About that...” Penn sighed. “Come down in a bit, get yerself some breakfast.” Douglas said changing the subject. “I have to get my things first and after I promise I will be down to get a nice hot meal.” Douglas dropped the joking smile, “Seriously lad, you looked like ye done seen a ghost.” Douglas said with concern, he continued to scan me, “Bad dream? Looks to me like ye had another glimpse o’ that gift yer father left ye.” Penn scowled down, “Do not talk about him.” Douglas snorted in derision, “Yer pa made sure ye were well taken care of, that meant somethin’ don’ it?” Douglas said with unrelenting honesty. Again, I could not help myself, “It is his legacy that causes me to lose sleep at night. Thanks a ton dad.” Penndarius said with a scowl. “Magic again? You hold stuff in too much.” Douglas nodded. “How does that make any sense at all? You know the children of magi are magnets for magical events.” “Come to think of it…the only person I told about my family was you. Why are we talking about this?” Penndarius said in frustration. “You cannot let stuff go. That dream was just a bad dream. Not everything has to be a magical event.” Douglas said with slight wavering of his hands to signify how it was a “Big deal.” “Thanks.” “Fer what?” “Being a horses ass.” Penndarius said turning back to his dresser, “Are you going to watch me change as well as interrupt me shaving or can I do that in peace?” Penndarius started getting out his cloths. “Aye, I get the hint. Before I go, what ye got planned fer the day?” Douglas asked. “You know the scar right?” Penndarius responded as he started getting clothes out of a small closet tucked away near the door. “Freaky place that. I never wanted to go near the place.” Douglas said with a shiver. “Well, I have been trying to get on the team for months and they finally got back to me the other day. They want me to decipher this tablet. Apparently my expertise with ancient languages comes in handy, since none of his current team has any idea of what this thing says.” Penndarius said as he admired a tablet that was setup on the dresser with multiple notes on paper near by. “That what you been working on lad?” Douglas asked, “I been wondering where you had gone.” Penndarius’s desk was a disorganized mess, all across the top were scattered parchments, past, and present projects and some of the were paid, while some were not. The entire mess was rampant across the desk, spread over three different tiers and to the four drawers that were so full that they would not quite close any more. Douglas tried to grab one of the parchments up and managed to throw a whole mess of them across my room. They spun wildly and floated to different corners of the room, scattering themselves across my floor in a rag tag mess. Douglas looked at tablet that was the center piece on his desk, “What is it boyo? Looks like a bunch o’gibberish to me lad, cannot make no sense o’it.” Penn pointed to different markings on the circular stone, “This is a tablet from the scar. It is a giant ruin just under Deiyil and it appears as if it was made to store the knowledge of an entire people, though to be honest we do not know who they were. They did leave us a few landmarks and markings to help decipher the large stone blocks and tablets therein, but many of these do not make any sense at all.” Penndarius circled parts of the tablet with his finger as he explained, “This does is Deiyil. That I am sure of.” Penn pointed at another part of the tablet, “These markings here are landmarks in what I think was Deiyil countless thousands of years ago, but the strange thing is that they are no longer there. Some of them appear to have been of very great importance.” Douglas cocked his head at Penndarius, “That be some pretty ‘eavy stuff lad.” He said. Penndarius nodded. “So?” Douglas asked Penn shook his head, “That is it.” He opened his hands outwards in mild exasperation, “The tablet lad, what did it mean?” Penndarius nodded in mock seriousness, leaning in he made as if to tell Douglas a great secret. Douglas perked up his ear in curiosity. “It was a bunch o’gibberish.” Penn snarkily. Douglas laughed out loud and his plaited beard shook wildly with mirth. He saluted Penndarius, “Ha ha ha ha, well played lad. I can already tell today’s gonna’ be a good day fer ye. Have some fun with it! Speaking of fun-“ he leaned over secretively, ye gonna find yersef’ a nice lady friend?” he leered at me in a comical lecherous way, “Yeah? Yeah? Have a little fun?” he ribbed me with his elbow. “Get out.” Penndarius chuckled under his breath, “I have to go meet Ed and Gale in a bit.” “Gale?” Douglas responded grinned. “Get out.” Penn pushed him towards the door. “Ye get yersef down fer breakfast fore ye be leavin’ aint gonna be havin’ ye goin out on an empty stomach.” Douglas said as he was on his way out the door. Penndarius laughed to himself as he closed the door. Then, he went about his business and began the last of his preparations. He grabbed his satchel off a nearby stool and carefully wrapped the tablet in linen before he stuffed it and a few notes into his bag. As Penndarius left the room he looked down the hall and saw two dark hooded figures clad in black cloaks. They had hoods up that hid their features and each wore a silver moon and star pin on their lapels that contrasted sinisterly with their outfits. Penndarius’s keen eye caught the bulges under their cloaks and knew they were wearing armor underneath as well as a slight bulge at the right side of their wastes, indicating they carried weapons. Penndarius shrugged and made his way towards the stairs, one of the cloaked men patted the other and they headed after Penndarius, being careful to not be conspicuous. Penndarius was almost to the stairs when he heard thrashing and crashing coming from within one of the adjacent rooms. Inside there was a man thrashing about on the floor and he was crying out in pain. The room was unlike his, with the curtains drawn over the windows and just the faintest light was let into the gloom. Dust hung in the air and the scattered particles sparked off of the streaming light. The room was setup like Penn’s as well, with a dresser on one side, a bed across from the door, and a desk on the other wall. The man kept convulsing on the ground and he rolled back and forth in agony as he fought against creatures and monsters in the shadowed realm of dreams. A flash of Penn’s own nightmare or vision, he could never tell which entered his mind and he knew he had to try to help in whatever way he could, “Hey, wake up!” Penndarius said as he straddled the man, trying to hold him still. It was not easy, the dreamer was extremely strong and bucked back and forth, throwing Penndarius off many times. Penn managed to finally pin him to the ground and could only watch as the man let the dream take its course.