The Finding of Hluin

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction' started by Unien, Aug 23, 2006.

  1. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    Hello, y'all. Along while ago I outlined a Four Book Series chronicling this world and hopefully it's deep history. I really want this to get published, and I am nearing the end of the book, which I hope to have 35-36 chapters. So far, I am almost done Chapter 33, and would like some criticism. Just to let you know, the real plot doesn't really start until Chapter 9, :)

    Well, here's the Prologue...


    PROLOGUE
    A Prophecy




    The night was dark and stormy near Xuqidp Kuqi, “The Heart of the Forest” in the Coulanish language. Rain pounded down from the heavens across a black, cloudy sky. Angry thunder shouted in its tantrum that ripped the sky in two for mere seconds. Tonight was an important night.
    The grand city of Xuqidp Kuqi—the only city in all of Coulan—gave off a faint glow from all of the buildings. It was a sacred place among the Coulani. Even thought the Coulani loved nature, they looked at rain and thunder as if a young child was stomping and pouting.
    This city was different. There was no paving, or cramped space. The buildings blended with the environment and some twisted around the very aged oak trees with silver lichen beards. A very important night.
    Only one stone building was constructed in the whole of this city. A stone, cylinder tower that stretched up to the tallest, oldest tree. The Tower of Ages held records from the First Era, some even thought older than that. It was the most sacred tower of all Coulan.
    The next was the Palace—which was but a slightly larger building like all the others. Built like and around the trees. Within that, was what would make this night very important.
    In a large bedroom, the Kayae of Coulan—equivalent to a queen—laid in her death bed. Sickness was engulfing her as well as age. Even though Coulani could live for tens of thousands of years, she had reached the end. Her hair was grey—which showed great age—and had little thickness left. Her irises were transparent—like all Coulani—so that they could be mistaken for a blind human.
    Her face had wrinkles, and her robes stank of past vomit and blood. Her name was Elien, and she had lived a long life. But it was over. Beside her, were her brother-in-law Cirous and his wife, Ayenna. They were young Coulani, a little over four thousand years of age.
    Elien was a lucky Coulani; she had the gift of foresight. A feat that made this night very important. “Tonight, I leave you,” she said with great difficulty. Both Ayenna and Cirous looked at her with saddening, transparent eyes. Elien was family. “But I have one—last vision.”
    She panted for a moment, her voice was leaving, but she must say what she saw. “The—promise!” Ayenna and Cirous were silent. Lovely honey-haired Ayenna, and handsome Cirous. “The—the promise—Amana made to Samar shall—be fulfilled!”
    That grabbed the other Coulanies’ attention. “When?!” exclaimed Cirous. He had waited for these words a very long time.
    “In half—a millennia,” began Elien, “one event—shall set—Fate’s Circle in motion. A—unstoppable chain—of events.” She was croaking now. “They will—cause—the promise! The promise! The promise to be fulfilled.” Within the dying Kayae’s mind, a string of words out of nowhere blasted from her mouth. A double-voice. Her’s and a voice with strength!

    “‘Fate has split the swords of old,
    One is platinum,
    One is gold.
    And they shall shape the fate of the Era.

    One of a King, now long gone,
    The other,
    His brother’s,
    Who died in song’”


    With that, Elien’s eyes turned dark, and took colour. When a Coulani died, their colourless eyes became coloured. Her’s were now blue. Ayenna looked at Cirous in awe, and then back at the lifeless corpse of the now, former Kayae.
    “What could that mean?” asked Cirous. “What promise did Amana make?”
    Ayenna took on a troubled look. Her face was fair, and gave off a faint glow. Her honey-coloured hair was short-banged, except at the two ends, where they were long and hung to her shoulder blades. Her back was tied in a bun.
    “I do not know of the promise. But, I believe I know one thing.”
    Cirous looked at her. His hair was brown, and long for a male. On the right, a cluster of strands were braided and hung over his shoulder to the beginning of his chest. The sign that he was the successor to the position of Kayai—the Coulanish equal to a King. “What?” he asked softly.
    “I believe,” said Ayenna—the next Kayae—turning to her beloved husband, “that Belal shall finally fall.”
     
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  2. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    It was an interesting beginning. Please keep posting.
     
  3. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~I~
    *
    An Act of Love






    An autumn wind blew in the north. The noon was approaching, but the wind cared not. The city of Tras Namar—the capital of Gotherik—was below it. A city of marble and ivory, a sight to behold up in the heavens. This wind was in a good mood, it was peaceful and happy. But in an instant, it plummeted toward the city. Faster than an eagle’s dive.
    Before hitting the ground, the wind swooped upward and hovered above, searching for something to quench its boredom. A freshly raked pile of luring leaves sat lazily on the ground. The wind, with puppeteers’ hands, moved the leaves around like marionettes on strings.
    For a few more moments, the wind drifted with fatigue through the city to the royal palace. A walled, shining castle made of stone and ivory towers surrounding it. Great banners of red with golden Griffins with prideful chins stuck up nobly in the air. The wind shot upwards, and began making the royal banners flap. Then, slowly, the wind died and faded from the air.
    Beneath, a red-gold leaf that had been disturbed when the wind had darted upward from a tree glided to the ground and landed on the leaf-blanketed garden. And sitting on the ground were two humans. One was Prince Tamassi Frax of the Gotherin. His hair was golden blonde, and it hung in a bushy near-mullet to his shoulders. Brown eyes that perfected his handsome face stared at the woman across from him. His red coat with golden griffin embroidery on the collar simply made him more handsome.
    Directly across, and beside him was the love of his life, the Lady Dyan. She was the daughter of a powerful noble within the city, but he never thought about that. She was fair woman with golden-red hair that flowed like a river everywhere behind and in front of her. Her eyes were a light blue, and her face had very few freckles around her tiny, cute nose. A red blouse and tan skirt was what she wore, her soft fingers twirled a few end strands of Tamassi’s hair.
    Tamassi did not mind, she loved him. And he her. The gardens were an ideal place for them to be alone. “The autumn is nearing.” was all that Dyan said, a smile making her face glow. All he could do was stare at her, enchanted. And then he replied;
    “It is. I love you, Dyan. By October, we will have courted a full two years.” Tamassi remembered when they had met—he had been eighteen years of age. “I feel I am ready. Ready for Kry Sollan.”
    Dyan’s face flashed shock, and then faded to pleasure. “You are serious?”
    Tamassi darted to his knees, and she to hers. He took her soft hands in his, and he stared into her eyes. “I wish for you to be my Queen, one day. I am ready for Kry Sollan.”
    Dyan did not break the link between their eyes, and smiled. “Then I shall be your bride, Tamassi Frax.”
    With that, their heads grew nearer, and their mouths locked together. The First Kiss of Kry Sollan.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2006
  4. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~II~
    **
    The Feast of Kry Sollan





    The palace was in a constant motion now. The Prince Tamassi was going to begin Kry Sollan, a marital holiday that had been celebrated since the days of Lord Frax. It was only the first night, and would last for a fortnight. Servants ran from place to place, busily preparing the palace for the first night. And more importantly, for the great feast.
    Mistress Malderin had prepared the feast for King Aramin, and she would do it this time again. She had short notice, but she would get it done. It was nearly impossible to walk down the corridors without nearly bumping into someone.
    In celebration of Prince Tamassi’s engagement into Kry Sollan, every working man and every university was put on breaks for the fortnight—as was custom. The day went slowly, but Tamassi and Dyan spent their day within the Prince’s quarters, Dyan very excited.
    “I thought you were fooling me, at first,” she admitted, “but I see now, you were not.”
    “A wedding at the end of the fortnight, we shall be wed in the autumn.” said Tamassi. Dyan’s favourite season.
    The hours passed slowly, but they were filled with joy for the future. Every time a servant transporting food from one place to another passed, a brief scent passed into the room. There were mixed odors, and it was hard to tell what they were.
    Eventually, there was a knock at the door, and a black-dressed servant with an eagle nose and eyes tight together, stood behind it. His skin looked like leather; he must be one of the older servants. “The Hall expects Prince Tamassi and the Lady Dyan at this moment.”
    “Thank You.” said Tamassi, who took his lady by the hand and together they left the room. Dyan had a smile of pleasure. This had been her dream for a very long time. The servant led them through a few corridors, even though they knew the way well enough—it was all part of custom.
    Whenever they passed through a door of fine oak or polished maple, two guards in full armor with spear-axes or sheathed swords stood guard. Knights could not leave post—their jobs always stayed the same. Finally they came to a set of double doors, made of a polished oak that smelled just cleaned. Golden door knobs shaped like the Griffin of House Frax were polished and gleamed. This was the entrance to the Feast Hall.
    Tamassi’s fingers could feel Dyan’s pulse racing, she was excited and nervous. He couldn’t blame her. There was no turning back, now. The older servant opened the doors with his white-gloved hands and stood aside. It all flooded in at once. Below an ivory staircase were many circular tables where lords and ladies sat holding goblets. Some had been conversing, but were frozen in position now, staring up at Tamassi and his fiancé.
    The older servant raised his voice, “Please welcome the Prince Tamassi Frax and his lady, Lady Dyan Brayelle!”
    Dyan’s Kry Sollan dress was snow-white and added to her face’s perfection, and in a way, made her glow. Her hair was tied in a bun, and neatly combed; her smile could not be more cheerful or larger. Tamassi wore a red coat of a fine cut and a soft white dress shirt with formal pants. He smiled too.
    Hand-in-hand, they simultaneously descended the stairs one at a time. When Tamassi looked around, a larger table filled with closer family was at the back of the room. Two chairs beside his mother and father were empty. When he and Dyan reached the floor they walked down a red carpet with Griffins on the edges with the nobles’ tables to either side. Eventually, they came to the Royals’ table, and took their seats beside King Aramin and Queen Nynaegwene.
    They sat to the right of Aramin. On the left of Nynaegwene, sat the Princess Lana Frax, younger by a year to her brother. Her brown-turning-black hair hung to her waist and small of her back, and contained a bright luster. Her brown eyes were like the rest of her families’ and divine features completed her face. If she was the type of woman, she could lure a different man to her bed each day, but she had honor. An alluring dress of red silk snuggled her breasts tightly, and a sterling silver necklace hung around her neck.
    Every table had a white table cloth, and empty plates and unused cutlery were before everyone. The doors that Tamassi and Dyan had entered through opened again, and lines of servants dressed in black—male and female—descended the stairs carrying trays of food, some drink. The first servants went to the Royals’ table, and the others branched off to the other nobles.
    The appetizer was some bread, butter and a bowl of hot soup. Everyone ate quickly, and within minutes the next wave arrived with the main course. There were a few choices. Some servants brought juicy steaks that many chose, with a side dish of mashed potatoes seasoned with some light garlic. There was an option of gravy for the potatoes or not. Other servants brought platters with steaming, red lobster freshly cooked and rings of shrimp.
    Tamassi chose a lobster, and cracked the thick shell in two. The last choice was some pork, and rice fried with bits on chicken, with a variety of salads and lone vegetables. Every noble and guest in the room ate well beyond the point of unbuckling their belts. It was Kry Sollan. Very few lived to see two in a lifetime. Why not eat until you had to vomit or feel sick? It was Kry Sollan!
    And last of all, for a dessert, the last waves of servants brought different trays of dainties and other sweets. Others brought several, large cakes iced with vanilla and coconut and apple crisps and fruit. Another type of dessert was many kinds of flavoured puddings. This truly was a feast, and everyone would leave a little fatter.
    Finally, the meal was over, and a good hour of visiting ensued. Lords and Ladies met others they had never met, and talked of politics and of people they all knew. Some even came up to Tamassi and Dyan and congratulated them on their future plans. After every person had digested and many knew everyone else, the sound of a fork tapping the side of a goblet echoed across the Feast Hall.
    Whatever anyone was doing stopped, and their heads turned toward the noise. King Aramin stood, looking happy and serious. “My fellow Lords and Ladies, Lordlings and Ladylings, welcome to this feast of my son’s Kry Sollan. As you know, the engagement shall last a fortnight, as will celebrations. But, many events must take place, as custom demands. The first, that the future groom must be ready for Kry Sollan and the two fiancés kiss to seal the beginning. Second, a grand feast must be held on the first night.
    “But now must come the third event. On the morrow, at dawn, the groom must depart to anywhere in the land and find a unique gift for his lady, and return by the end of the first week. This means, that Tamassi must leave tomorrow and find the beloved Lady Dyan a gift for her wedding…”
    At the mention of ‘beloved Lady Dyan’, the Lord Brayelle smiled up at the King. King Aramin continued on congratulating Tamassi and Dyan, and saying that during Tamassi’s absence, that each day he is gone, it is encouraged to dance and sing in the streets.
    After the speech, the end of the feast came, and every Noble was presented with a gift before leaving by the servants. Many of the women received necklaces or perfumes. Men mostly received items of value or gold coins. The Lady Brayelle—mother of Dyan—added her new necklace to her neck filled with several others.
    The feast was a success, and everyone talked to another about how much they had enjoyed the food and the gifts—but especially how well Dyan and Lana and even Tamassi had been dressed.
    After everyone had left, the members of House Frax left behind the crowd of guest nobles. Lana and Nynaegwene along with Dyan walked ahead, while Aramin and Tamassi stayed behind. Aramin turned to his son, “Serious business, is Kry Sollan. But, it’s too late to turn back now. In the hours before sunrise, you must depart, and find Lady Dyan her wedding gift before this week ends.”
    “Yes, father,” replied Tamassi, nodding his head simultaneously. Aramin told Tamassi that when he was the Prince of Kry Sollan, he traveled to Dorarak Forest and cut the branch from a rare tree and carved into a good luck charm—necklace. Tamassi had to think of where he would search out a gift, and then he thought he knew.
    After the talk, Tamassi wove through the maze of corridors and staircases into his room. It was a large space, with a four poster bed and a large, matching curtained window. A writing desk was pushed to the wall, with a chair, both smelled of oak finish. Some odd documents that his father had him sign in preparation for when he would be king were strewn about on the desk. A quill still lay in an ink bottle. Beside the ink bottle was a small pile of unused parchment and an unlit modern oil lamp.
    He was extremely fatigued. Even though his stomach was about to burst and all he had done was it around, it was still tiring. In an instant, he let himself fall into the cushioned, impossibly soft feather mattress. On contact he bounced, and then settled in. The room seemed to hot for blankets, and there was no need, as soon as head hit pillow, his eyes shot closed.
    Dreams entered his mind. Some pleasant, some frightening. He always seemed to remember the nightmares. One was so terrible the image stuck with him all night. Eventually, a shake awoke him and a very pained-looking servant whispered, “It is time, my Prince. It pains me to wake thee so early, but the King has asked me to do so.”
    The servant straightened, and still wore the feast black, holding a dim candle with a golden holder with a piece shaped like the Frax Griffin. Tamassi slowly sat up, and then pushed himself lazily off the bed. Tamassi’s chest lacked hair, yet was very muscular from m any years of soldier training and special sword lessons at the Citadel of the Dragyari in his mid-teen years.
    He swiftly changed from his old, used pants to a new set, and hastily donned a well-worked coat with a mid-height collar with griffin pins, and a black lining on the edges. He buttoned to sides together swiftly, and then nodded to the servant that he was ready to go.
    The servant left the room with a bit of a quick stride, and they twisted around the hallways. Eventually, through a back way, they came to the Royal Stable, where Tamassi’s horse—Wind Spear—was saddled and impatiently shifted its feet. It was a great brown stallion, with a firm and powerful build with muscular limbs. He was snorting quietly until his eyes recognized their master.
    A stableman held the reins of the magnificent beast, and smiled at his prince. “May the honor of Kry Sollan bless your journey, my Prince.”
    “Thank You, I will ready my steed further, you both may leave and catch up on your rest. It is very early.” replied Tamassi.
    Both smiled wide and bowed slightly, before almost jogging out of the stable. He began to pat Wind Spear’s neck lightly, and then he heard a soft sound. Tamassi’s head jerked to a shadowy piece of stable beneath a hay loft, overstuffed with straw. In an instant, a movement revealed someone. A hooded woman—by the look of the person’s body—a cloak of red-brown. All that was revealed on her face were red lips.
    A flash of hands lowered the hood to reveal the face of Dyan. Beautiful and luring. Another hooded woman emerged from the deep shadows, one wearing a violet cloak, with the hood hiding her face. Long strands of brown-turning hung to her waist from the hood. This woman’s hands lowered the hood—Lana.
    “What are you two doing here?!” he whispered sharply and loudly. Loud for a whisper.
    “We want to come with you.” said Dyan, lips curved in her trademark mischievous smile that he had always liked.
    He paused before answering. The cloaks open, he could see both wore blouses that were a tad long for them, and divided riding skirts. Lana had a silver-painted bow slung across her shoulder, a quiver filled with smoothly crafted arrows with steel heads and fine swan feathers. She also wore a mischievous smile, though not as sexy or cute as Dyan’s. Or maybe, it did not seem so because she was his sister.
    “It violates custom!” he exclaimed. Could they not see that? Stars! It was bloody Kry Sollan. “If anyone finds out, they’ll have your hides tanned—every inch!—and then skin you alive and burn it!”
    Dyan darted to him suddenly, and seemed to lean into him with her side. A finger touched his chest and rotated in a circle around the top of his chest. It felt good, and Tamassi felt tingles everywhere. “I want to come, my love. I know it violates custom, but it makes it all the more dangerous.” She emphasized the word ‘dangerous’ a little too much.
    His eyes flashed to Lana a second, who seemed to be trying to stifle a giggle. She loved seeing Dyan and him performing this mushy love stuff. She loved it! His eyes returned to his fiancé, still rotating her finger in the same circle on his chest. “No.” he repeated. “What happens when you see the gift I choose to bring to you? Where is the surprise?”
    In an instant, like a viper, Dyan’s face flashed to looking up into his—she was a little shorter than he—with a gleaming fire of anger and passion. “Now just you listen, Tamassi Frax! I am a woman, and I can choose what I wish to do. I make my own choices, I am a woman!” Tamassi’s face—and the rest of his body, for that matter—were petrified at the amount of power in her voice.
    In seconds, her hand returned to spiraling on his chest. “Besides,” she laughed, “you will find it easier to turn a rivers’ flow upward into the sky, than to change a woman’s will without getting hurt first!”
    Lana didn’t even bother to quench her laughter this time, and burst out into mirthful giggling. She was a mature woman—but admired Dyan’s sense of humor. Tamassi sighed. Women!
    Stars! “Fine,” he sighed regretfully. Even after, the feeling that this was wrong dwelled in his mind.
     
  5. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    Great job.
     
  6. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~III~
    ***
    A Deadly Hunt




    Thomas Ghored, a hunter-apprentice in a small village in The Valley of Gotherik, sat on a rock sharpening his half-moon bladed dagger. It was of a master craftsmanship, he collected them. He was fifteen and had lofty goals. Tom wanted to become one of the legendary Hunters down in the south, defending the borders of the north from the darkness of snowy Belal.
    The hilt of this dagger was sterling silver, and was shaped as to fit into a hand better than the average square design. Every year, he saved up enough coins to buy another hunting dagger to use. Sometimes, if he had saved ands worked enough, he could purchase two. That was the yearly visit to Tras Namar, and that might be put off this year.
    Young Tom had red-brown curly hair, and dashing blue eyes. A good thick wool shirt covered by a cow’s leather vest felt snug, but warm in the cooling autumn air. To match his shirt, was a pair of brown trousers that were almost too tight. He needed new clothes—badly.
    The other daggers he had purchased hung at his waist—fifteen in total. When Thomas had been young, his father had bought him a dagger at one, two and three years of age. From there, Thomas had bought them. He stared at the dagger in his hand—moments ago it had been bloody and dull—but now it reflected the light of the sun and was sharper than a wolf’s fang.
    It was not very long before Thomas heard the familiar mischievous voices of his fellow apprentices. There were three other apprentices under Ghoramen: Moral, Roffrel, and Gobran. Time passed quickly, so that the other apprentices under Ghoramen approached their peer.
    “Hey, Tom, we were just looking for you!” laughed Moral.
    Moral was a thin and athletic young man at eighteen, and come of age; he had completed the trial of manhood. But still, he was an apprentice. Perfect, woman-seizing blonde hair in untidy bangs and luring handsome light grey eyes always earned a woman in his bed. He had a gleaming dagger at his hip with an ivory hilt, sheathed in a raccoon-skin sheath he had crafted himself.
    With him were the twins. Roffrel and Gobran. They were inseparable, though normally unattractive; they usually shaved and tried to look their absolute best for the dances at the Week’s End. Even they had managed to ensnare women into their rooms at least once. Everyone else had all the luck!
    Roffrel was the more muscular, with some zits on his face like hills on a plain, and a nose that was slightly crooked—like his teeth—after being broken a time or two. Tall, and thin, Roffrel was second only to Moral in hunting. He often carried a self-crafted spear, but it was absent today.
    Thomas and Gobran shared the same rank, and were both fairly good at hunting. Although Gobran favored the bow, and Roffrel the spear. Gobran was shorter than Thomas, and enjoyed reading in his spare time rather than wrestling, like Roffrel. Gobran had proved his vast knowledge more than once and seemed to be a great guide and master of estimates. Partly why he was an apprentice to the Ghoramen.
    “Really?” replied Tom not all that interested. Since Moral was a man now, he was stereotyped as the leader of the group, though, Tom had acted as leader once, but Roffrel was really more of the second-in-command.
    Moral took notice of Tom’s sarcasm and scowled, but soon his face returned to perfection. “Well, we were looking for you to go on a hunt—.”
    “Hunt?!” interrupted Thomas, “Hunt? Without Master Ghoramen? That isn’t allowed, and we could get into serious—”
    Moral raised a hand, the twins on either side of him like body-guards, to silence Tom. “Relax, Tom, it’s just a hunt. Besides, I feel the hunter’s urge, I need to go out to the forest and kill! Ghoramen won’t return for a few days, and I cannot wait another day!”
    “We’re gonna hunt for the griffin,” said Roffrel, fingering a spear he did not hold.
    “The griffin!” exclaimed Thomas. “You’re all mad! Insane!”
    Moral began to turn away, and the twins shadowed him. Then in a voice barely audible, Moral muttered, “Then stay, and Basque in the glory of boredom!”
    Thomas gave an exasperated and furious sigh that echoed slightly. “Fine! Someone needs to look out for your mischievous asses, which will be chastened soundly if Master Ghoramen finds out.”
    Moral only replied with a slight chuckle.
    The group of four apprentices didn’t even return to town, the vast Dorarak Forest was very near and was a short half-day journey from the village. Their feet were used to the plain, so they trod upon it quickly with a half jog-run. The grass parted before them, some patches of yellowed grass reached to their waist.
    The sun had been near its peak when they parted, and slowly descended across the south towards the east throughout the journey. The way to Dorarak Forest was simply a path straight south-west.
    Eventually, the four apprentices stood in the grassy plain, staring at the line of gigantic trees that bordered the south-west entrance of a forest that bordered two-thirds of Gotherik and Coulan. The leaves on the trees were still green, and the trees themselves resembled mushrooms. These trees had broad and vast trunks and were very close together, except the spaces between them looked like archway-like entrances to a temple.
    It had not been the first time that they had seen the entrance to Dorarak, but it was the first time without Ghoramen. There was fear in Roffrel and Gobran’s eyes. Moral had a fire inside his, welcoming a challenge with open arms. He was a man. Thomas was neither frightened nor joyful at seeing Dorarak. He always thought the place dangerous but beautiful.
    After staring at the bordering lines of trees, the four of them began the final steps towards the forest they hand hunted in near the edge. Tom could tell that Gobran was searching for an excuse to turn back, and Roffrel was ready to agree with anything that left his brother’s mouth. No excuse was voiced.
    Roffrel, now with his spear, held it tightly and ready to use as the sunlight was slowly veiled by the trees branches above them. Within the forest, it seemed darker. Instead of a bright light, the place was lit with a greenish, half-light.
    The ground was cluttered with a blanket of autumn leaves, some colourless others like rainbows of orange, red, and yellow. Roots from the larger trees were on the surface, and thick vines were lounging lazily across the forest floor. Above, the odd bird whizzed to and fro, but overall the atmosphere was silent. Except for the crunch of boot on dried or drying leaf.
    “Never have we been so far into the trees of Dorarak.” said Moral; he seemed excited, while Gobran and Roffrel were near shivering with fear. Little was known of the forest, few ventured within it. If you traveled farther west into the trees and vegetation, there was a path cleared with easy visibility for trade and travel. However, this was a more uncharted region of Dorarak.
    There were myths that the griffin that Lord Frax mounted to battle and won Gotherik had fled after to the woods, and so that griffins roamed the woods near the core. Moral wore a grin, he wanted to see one. And, if luck favoured him, to capture one. But never kill it.
    As the hunter apprentices traversed deeper into the labyrinth that was Dorarak, the trees became thicker and older and more vines lay on the ground bordering small water streams from natural piles of decaying leaves. Moral led, the twins walked in the middle, and Tom walked behind in their line of single file. Time passed on, and the green light was beginning to dim the more of the afternoon progressed.
    Eventually they came to a wide stream that flowed lightly over rock and was bordered by green-emerald vines as thick as six thumb spans. “I am a tad thirsty,” panted Moral. Tom rolled his eyes. Even the glorious grow weary. Other sarcastic thoughts flashed through his head.
    This stream was deep compared to the several shallow ones running randomly throughout the wood. It was as clear as diamonds or glass, and it was possible to see the bottom from a fair distance away. Moral knelt on the bank and cupped his hands, letting some of the water fill his hands.
    Gobran and Roffrel followed, dipping their hands in, and then tasting the water. Tom cleared his throat, he was thirsty too. So, following the others’ lead, he knelt on the bank and cupped his hands. The water was chilled adequately and was very thin for a liquid. He slowly brought his filled hand-cup to his dry lips and slowly sipped the water.
    It certainly did not taste like water. There was a hint of something. Like a wine he had tasted but could not remember. He wanted more! More! More! More! In haste, Tom cupped another handful and slurped the liquid, satisfying his crying body for moisture and for the taste. All four kept drinking, even when they could drink no more.
    Half way into drinking, Tom collected himself and flung the water from his hands. He was addicted, or was close to. He clumsily stumbled from the stream, and started panting. A twig snapped. The sound echoed through the nearby woods.
    All four heads instantly snapped to the right, and beheld a delightful sight. An alluring female gracefully stepped with bare feet toward the bank a few yards away. Her hair was deep black, and hung well below her waist, it had been growing a while. Eyes of hazel stared down at the flowing stream, and skin whiter than snow seemed to light up the dim forest. Her lips were cherry red and a worn bridal gown with a tear or two was her garb. Pearls were sewn in at the base of the dress.
    She too knelt at the bank, and bent down. Her whiter-than-snow, lustrous hands cupped as theirs had been. All four could barely inhale and exhale as they washed. She is so fair! From her rising hands, her lips sipped the delicious liquid and pleasure became painted across her face.
    Every motion she created was graceful and elegant, she seemed noble. A fast exhalation from Tom caused her head to stare at them—still moving gracefully and elegant. Stars, she is beautiful!
    Her bent knees slowly rose to her full height, and she turned, nearly gliding to them. She seemed a ghost. A spirit of the forest? There were many tales of such things. The woman’s mouth opened, and even her speech was elegant. “What are four fine, young men doing, roaming around the Dorarak Wood?”
    All but Tom seemed dazed. Wait. The other three answered in unison, a double-voice that sounded possessed answered her. Her lips curved into a sexy grin and she seemed to shine brighter. “I am Eena, for that is what many call me. I was once great, but time changes things of such.”
    The other three awoke from their daze, but were still immersed in Eena. Moral stepped forward, and put a hand to his heart as a sort of salute. “Greetings, Lady Eena of the Dorarak Wood, I am Moral whom leads this group.”
    Eena—six. Tom’s mind worked quickly. Words flashed across without warning, it seemed a pile of gibberish. Eena—six—kiss—noble—lost. His eyes glanced at Eena, who now was closer to Moral and stroking his shirt rhythmically as she complimented his physique and manners. Gah!
    Then, lost in his mind and fantasies, Moral said faintly and dreamily, “I shall wed thee, Eena of the Dorarak Wood, and forever shall we be bonded.”
    A look of anger flashed across her face and she flew back a few inches, a mist appeared around her hand. No longer did she appear fair, for her appearance was beautiful but horrible, and now she looked horrible. “None shall wed Eanai, daughter of Vanchalon! One failed to do so, and now I am as I am. None are worthy, all are filthy!”
    In an instant, the mist around her hand shaped into a sword of ice that she gripped. Eena—six—kiss—noble—lost—Eanai—Shaayla—Samantia—Darena—Payena—Santia—princess—BELAL! As the words hit him, the blade of ice that Eena held slashed through Moral, decapitated Gobran, and halved a screaming Roffrel. Just as the woman charged at Thomas, a cry that sounded and eagle screech and a lion’s roar echoed across the wood.
    With ice blade raised in the air and ready to strike, a blur slashed across Tom’s vision as Eena looked to her left and screamed. Tom was blasted to the ground, and the sound of the woman screaming was in the distance. Fog engulfed Thomas’ eyes and darkness slowly slid over them.
     
  7. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    That's awesome. I love how much detail there is. And another thing that I forgot to point out. In chapter 2, Nynaegwene sounds awfully close to a combination of Nyaeneve and Egwene from the Wheel of Time series.
     
  8. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    Ya, it's an inside joke, cuz Robert Jordan steals names from JRR, aka Perrin. LOL!
     
  9. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    Ohh. I just got that. Thanks!
     
  10. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~IV~
    ****
    Angry Tears




    Princess Lanalell Frax sat atop her steed, White Sword. She preferred the name Lana, unless she was engaged in a formal event. Tamassi, Dyan, and she had traveled for half a day north towards a cluster of mountains and forest named the Wilderness. Her brother had a theory now that his Kry Sollan gift to Lady Dyan Brayelle would be found in the most odd of places. Of course he took himself literally. What a madman!
    In fact, she and Dyan— by custom—were not even supposed to be here. At first, when Dyan had suggested it, Lana felt it could be fun, but now something was warning her on the edge of her mind. Danger follows you. Turn back!
    The Princess of Gotherik had faith in one thing, her bow, which was slung across her back with a fresh, full quiver. There was just nothing like a full quiver when you are traveling to the Wilderness. No matter to all her protests, Tamassi insisted on traveling to a place inhabited by those who despised the royal family of Frax. She wished she could spit at the man.
    She sighed. He was her brother, no matter how much of a man he was. Lana almost giggled at her joke but stifled it. Ahead of them, at least eight miles yet away, stood a large cluster of old, mist-shrouded mountains. Some towered with sharp, pointed peaks surrounded by short, stout stubby mountains. And of course, like a moat around the mountain was a green circle of thick forest and untamed woods.
    The high, towering mountains bore snowy caps, while the stubby looked like dulled knives with no other colour except boring grey. I just hope we leave alive! Damned Kry Sollan! She just hoped that her husband would be more sensible and simple with her Kry Sollan gift if the star-forsaken day ever arrived.
    Ahead, Dyan brought her horse directly beside Tamassi’s, and whispered in his ear. She giggled, and for the rest of the journey they rode side-by-side. Lana stifled a snort and turned her head towards the east. The plains of Gotherik were dominant of the land, broad and flat, but the coasts by the sea were bordered by mountains, and in the deep north—the Wilderness only a small piece— as a brutal wasteland of clustered mountains. But that was far off.
    A soft, humid chill wind played with her brown-turning-black hair across her face for a second. This type of wind was common further north, and much more powerful. Few villages were established beyond Tras Namar, except for the odd one or two, because it was simply too cold. No crops could grow a few miles north of the point of Tras Namar.
    This journey was already tedious—to Lana, anyway. To Dyan and Tamassi, it was joyous, but in her brother’s eyes, there was a glint of fear and worry over breaking the custom—especially the custom of Kry Sollan. Dark things were said to happen when custom, such as sacred as the Marriage Holiday, were broken. Dark things.
    The miles slowly slid across time, and before they knew it, the forest was beginning to surround them. The air was chill, and a light fog began to appear every time Lana exhaled. Why had she come? This was the Wilderness! Before she knew it herself, she had strung her bow she held so dear and had an arrow ready to nock.

    The forest that began the Wilderness closed around the party of three, and the air seemed to adopt a very cold and frigid temperature. Tamassi gave a slight shiver, and pulled up his hood. Now his face was shadowed, but a little warmer. Small puffs of exhalation exited his mouth and faded into the transparent oxygen around them. The cold attacked his chest.
    The first thing was to just let fate lead him to his Kry Sollan gift to Dyan, who should not have even been here. He pitied himself—he had been so weak! Nonetheless, he loved her, and knew that it would have taken hours to convince her not to come. His eyes darted from side to side between the trees. The tips of the leaves had already begun to frost. Winter always approached faster in northernmost Gotherik, especially near the mountains.
    Eventually, he heard Lana bring White Sword along side Dyan. An awkward silence gripped the wood, until she spoke. “Dyan, you know who dwells within the Wilderness, do you?”
    Dyan shook her head, “No, Lana. I have little knowledge of northern Gotherik. My father’s business has more so to do with southern Gotherik and beyond.”
    “Well,” Lana began; she was educated by a well-paid and very intelligent tutor, “in the days of Lord Frax’s childhood, the kingdom was owned by a man named Gotheri. Humans were arranged into clans up in the north, and were constantly killing and continuing feuds. Gotheri held authority over all of the clans, but the only flaw was, he loved bloodshed, and was a warmonger. He had a stone castle and it was where the chiefs of all the clans would meet.
    “But, Lord Frax did not agree with this constant butchering and battle and formed a group of men that shared his view of peace. He learned to ride a griffin, and his followers did too. They were known as the Frahori Xac or ‘Griffin Cavalry’. In one great battle at the walls of Kryn Solim, the castle of Gotheri, Lord Frax overthrew the bloodthirsty ruler and cleansed the nation of bloodlust.
    “With the knowledge and character of Lord Frax, the clans were united into one people and the nation of Gotherik was formed. However, there were many that reaped rewards from Gotheri’s reign and did not particularly support Frax. Rebellion was started, but quickly quenched, and they fled into the Wilderness.
    “Their descendants still live in the mountains, and they despise and hate the royal family. You may have heard their non-formal name, the Beast-men of the Wilderness. Barbarians.”
    Dyan took the information in. “The beast-men? Lana, they are children’s tales to keep them from wondering north.”
    Lana gave a half-snort in reply, and kept silent as they came deeper into the misty trees, with melancholy vines and dew-filled lichen shining like silver from light half-veiled by grey clouds gathered in the sky. In one part of the bordering woods to the mountains, the trees cleared to reveal a solemn clearing.
    All three dismounted from their steeds. Tamassi tied Wind Spear’s reins to a thick, secure tree branch. Dyan held her reins herself, and gently stoked the cheek of her bay. Tamassi glanced over to Lana, where she too tied her white mare to a tree and then held her bow with an arrow nocked, her eyes darting in every direction between the trees.
    On a large rock, sitting slanted into the ground was a gem imbedded into the rock. The perfect gift! He bent down to it and observed the jewel within the rock. It was a ruby, and in seconds a sapphire, and without warning, an emerald. It constantly changed colours and was a sight to behold. A gem to go into a wedding necklace for Dyan. Stars! If only she were not here.
    The silence that engulfed the trees was soon disturbed. Sharp, guttural cries echoed from the north and the east and west. Lana’s head snapped to and fro towards the approaching noises, bow raised. A sudden movement from the trees showed hairy, unshaven men wearing tattered loin cloths charging downhill from the north. From here the forest curved uphill. They held wood-handled axes with rusted blades; others held spears and had large bushy beards and overly too much facial hair.
    “Ha nar cu rim batall!” cried one, wearing a necklace with finger and toe bones. Some very dull paint was upon his cheek and a headdress with a vulture skull connected to his forehead trailed after him. Unpolished, yellowing and even greening teeth flashed as others replied in an odd tongue. They sounded enraged and threatening.
    “Kril imca tu nal! Kril imca tu nal!” The line was chanted like a battle cry, and increased in rhythm each time. Some very roughly-made arrows whizzed at them and struck trees. Dyan ducked and hugged the leafy ground.
    In a heartbeat, as a barbaric-looking man raised an ax, Lana pulled back and released an arrow. It hit him square in the bare, hairy chest and he stumbled over into a tree. Life left his eyes. Lana’s cycle of draw, nock, pull, and release repeated in instants, pinning down approaching attackers. Some that managed to get past her met the silver of Tamassi’s war blade. The sword flashed through the air parrying and killing the attackers. Its tip, wet with blood.
    Both children of the House Frax kept between the beast-men and Dyan. The leader-looking male with the barbarians stayed back, and used hand motions to direct his followers, his spear clutched tightly. When there was a break in the wave, and arrow sailed from Lana’s bow and hit the chief-like man square in the forehead. He fell to his knees and crumpled into a limp heap.
    So far, Lana had counted each man she had made into a pin cushion. Nineteen. A smile of triumph painted across her face.
    Meanwhile Tamassi’s blade was coated with new blood with each kill. A pile of dead men surrounded him while other men leapt over their fallen comrades and lunged enraged at him with axes and spears and sometimes rusted blades. Each one was an easy kill. Block, counter, block, counter. Strike, block, strike. He repeated the procedure over and over again in his mind.
    He saw several men beginning to overwhelm Lana; she was outnumbered greatly by a group of beast-men. He charged with a battle cry and helped Lana dispose of her attackers. She murmured a quick thank-you and released another arrow, pinning yet another man in a pile near a slim tree.
    A gasp echoed across the clearing, a woman’s gasp. High-pitched. Tamassi turned, and saw Dyan staring at him. A beast-man was behind her holding a bloodied ax, and she fell to her knees, gasping for breath. Her eyes were glazing.
    “You bastard!” cried Tamassi, a mix of hatred and sorrow. He charged crying, “DYAN!” His blade swung and decapitated the barbarian man. His head rolled and stained the leaves below with blood. Lana shot down two approaching beast-men. The clearing was empty now, and Tamassi knelt in the leaves.
    Lana gazed upon the scene with sorrow. Tamassi knelt in the leaves still, and Dyan leaned in his arms. His blade lay beside him. Dyan’s eyes were deeper into glazing. Death taking her. Tears rained from Tamassi onto her blouse, and she looked up at him. “I should not have come.” It was near a whisper, and sounded forced. Her voice was leaving.
    “No!” Tamassi sobbed, “You’re not dead, we can ride to Tras Namar quickly, and you will make it!”
    He shot to his feet and carried her, slumping her into his saddle. The Prince of Gotherik mounted behind his dying fiancé. Lana looked up at him, holding White Sword’s reins. “What about her steed?”
    “Leave it!” said Tamassi, a hard decisive tone etched in his voice. “It is of no more use, and it shall slow us down.” Lana let the horse’s reins go, but held White Sword tightly. The bay took off into the trees, whinnying as it departed.
    Lana hopped upon her mare in haste and immediately held the reins in her soft hands. “We ride swiftly.” said Tamassi. “No stopping, even if the moon falls upon us!” Lana nodded, and they kicked their horses into motion.
    The two steeds darted down the path they had came in rapid succession of steps. It seemed that both horses ran simultaneously with each step. Neck-and-neck, they rode, and in surprising speed broke through the trees in a dead sprint. Grasses of plains and hills were blurs as they shot like arrows towards the south, towards Tras Namar.
    Dyan’s sight was clouding, and she leaned back into Tamassi’s chest, taking comfort. He stripped his cloak as he rode and wrapped it around her sensitive arms. Evening was falling, and in the east the sun set. A red sunset. No! Cried Tamassi, the thought echoed through his head, now he had a headache. Stars! A tear rolled down his smooth face, of stress and frustration.
    The horses never slowed, he did not allow them. He would ride them to death if need be! They were war-bred, however, and were used to long sprints. The distance they had covered in half a day sped past in minutes. There was still hope. The blood on Dyan’s back soaked into Tamassi’s chest but he ignored it.
    After a swift hour of riding, Tras Namar lay nestled under a large dune-shaped, grassy hill they rode upon. Lana reined in, and her horse cried across the night wind. Tamassi skidded Wind Spear to a stop and turned towards Lana. “What the hell are you doing?!”
    Lana bowed her head to him, grief and sorrow splashed across her face. “Tamassi, she is dead.”
    The blonde prince looked down at the woman in front of him. Her eyes were closed and her chest no longer stirred for breathing. His finger touched her neck. No pulse. Slowly, and solemnly he dismounted and fell to the grass, hugging Dyan’s corpse into him. Hands at the back of her head. He cradled her as if she were still living.
    Lana’s eyes glinted, revealing that they watered, watching the sight. Slowly, tears poured from Tamassi’s eyes continuously without pause. He sobbed, and stroked her hair. Good bye. Why did I let you come? She was still beautiful, dead. He stood again, holding her body in his hands. With his hands, he let her body snuggle into him and started walking down the hill.
    Lana sighed of sadness, and grabbed the reins to Wind Spear. Slowly, she held Wind Spear and rode White Sword after Tamassi and his dead bride-to-be. As Tamassi stepped down the hill, angry tears slid down his face. And as he entered Tras Namar, people were certain they would evaporate from the heat in his cheeks in seconds.
     
  11. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    Still good.
     
  12. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~V~
    *****
    A Task




    There was nothing except the darkness. Darkness. Thoughts and emotions brushed the dark gently, but were of little importance. Memories of recent, faded dreams were no longer remembered. Conciousness, as quick as a leopard, darted into the darkness. The black turned red, as closed eyes react to bright light on their exterior. This forced young Tom to awake.
    His heavy eyelids took a long moment to slide open fully and then three quick blinks cleared his vision. The sun shone high at its noon peak in a blue sky, with a single strip of a cloud—white—floating across the celestial pallet of the Star Kings. You are safe now, child. That lone thought stuck with him. Where in the void am I?
    As if awakening from invulnerability, much pain flooded into him, and he very nearly screamed and wept. Everything ached with a passion, his head throbbed, and he realized that a white blanket lay overtop of him. White. That thought held contempt. Every bone felt like he had been ruthlessly and mercilessly hammered with a boulder until every piece of marrow was dust. A groan escaped him.
    “Good, you’re awake. We were in fear that you were departing us.” A younger woman, around her thirties, knelt beside him. She had sparkling blue eyes and beautiful, light chestnut brown hair tied in a bun out of her face. A white apron was tied around a blue blouse and green skirt.
    The light was still impairing his returning vision, so Tom squinted. “Ralya?” he asked. She nodded slowly. Ralya was a student to a well-known Herbler that did work within most villages along the eastern side of Gotherik.
    “I worried for you, Thomas.” She replied. A swift palm darted to his forehead and she sighed with relief. “Well, it’s a much better temperature than it was a few hours ago. You wee nearing a fever, but you seem to be all right. Do you thirst?”
    Actually, now that he thought of it, Thomas’ throat felt more parched than the most arid desert. “Yes,” he rasped. Then, without thinking, he blurted, “How long was I out for?”
    Using a mortar and pestle to grind herbs after setting a kettle over a fire, she replied, “A full day after the attack—”
    “Attack?” interrupted Tom. Ralya proceeded with grinding her herbs calmly.
    “Yes, there was an attack on the village. There was not a building not razed to the ground. Now, we live in tents, while the builders are on their way. It’ll cost the village a hefty bronze, or possibly silver!” She kept grinding her herbs, a little more vigorous now.
    Tom moved his head from side to side, and noticed rectangular shaped piles of ash where buildings had been. Over top were erected medium-sized tents of varying colours. Many people moved in and out frequently, cook fires outside of every tent. He realized that he lay on a white sheet and beneath was another pile of ash. Some boards lay in the street, unused for now. What the bloody hell happened?
    Ralya, content with the pile of minute pieces of plants, poured the contents in to the boiling water. A faint sharp hiss followed by a quick stream of steam flew into the air. A soothing aroma drifted to his nostrils, and he welcomed it, taking deep breaths. “The tea will be ready for a moment. It should help you relieve aching and other uncomfortable things as such.”
    Beside Tom were all of his belongings he had taken to Dorarak with him in a pile, every half-moon-bladed dagger accounted for. Then another question shot through, “How did I get here, Ralya?”
    She turned back toward her patient and smiled. About two hours after the attack, by those horrid things, Ral the wood-cutter—who was doing work in the wood—found you alive and Moral, Roffrel, and Gobran dead. He brought you all back, and the others were buried ceremonially. In fact, the funeral ended an hour ago.”
    “Horrid things?” asked Thomas, confused.
    A sigh of memory escaped Ralya, and she appeared lost in her thoughts a moment. “Chief Valrag called them demons, but a traveler by the name of Srol—some Coulani—named them Gan-Chuta.” She whispered the word ‘Gan-Chuta’ and said it quickly, looking to see if no one had heard.
    For in truth, the theory of Gan-Chuta was extremely queer. Gan-Chuta were demonic, hideous beasts that looked like men, but there skin appeared charred and like it had lived in magma all its life. Yellow eyes with slitted pupils like a cat and torched tongues lacking skin were what tales of old days recounted. But if they even existed—they were in the Deep South, in Belal—how could they be here? All the way north in Gotherik.
    “That’s madness!” exclaimed Thomas, almost laughing at someone’s insanity. Pure fright appeared on Ralya as she slowly shook her head.
    “I’ve heard all the tales, Tom, all the descriptions of every beast. They fit them—exactly. I believe the Coulani; I believe Gan-Chuta are in Gotherik. How? I cannot answer. But I believe.” Ralya replied handing him a wooden mug filled with hot tea. He accepted gladly, and allowed moisture to quench his throat’s desire for a beverage.
    It tasted delicious, and he found that some of the aches from everywhere lessened, some faded away. Some stayed. Finally, Thomas felt he could sit up, and he did. With a long yawn filled with fatigue, he stretched his arms.
    Ralya chided, and then said, “You need rest! A glass of tea is not enough to have you jumping around after just becoming conscious.” She more than gently guided him back into his blankets and wrapped a light blanket around him. “Now, you should get a nice long nap. And don’t think I won’t be making sure, or I won’t let you out of these blankets until tomorrow!” She flashed a grin, and then turned around to make herself some tea.
    Tom sighed and then closed his eyes. Darkness whirled around behind his eyes, and surprisingly, he realized he was extremely tired, and immediately faded away into sleep.

    Tom floated in the darkness, it must be a dream! He shifted his weight, and drifted over to his right. He was just hovering, with no ground below or above him. This is fun! It was then that another voice echoed across the void.
    Good, we can talk!
    Alarmed, Tom gasped, and the darkness suddenly flashed into a lush, green field just after winter with clumps of snow slush moisturizing the new tall, grass blades. Young wild flowers blew in a light breeze, and light reflected from fresh dew drops. Where am I?
    That does not matter. That voice! He had heard it before this dream. Before he had drifted to sleep.
    Show yourself! Who was speaking with him? Instead of a voice in his head, an audible voice drifted on the cooling wind.
    “If that is necessary,” was the reply. There was a crunch from a footstep. From behind large oak tree—with no other vegetation besides grass seen for miles—appeared a large animal. It looked like a lion—tail, torso, and limbs—but with the noble head of an eagle and sharp talons. A Griffin! The thought echoed loudly…

    …and roused Tom, who gasped for breath. What a queer, queer dream. He had a massive headache; it felt like something was trying to bore through his mind. It was having difficulty. Ralya bent down to him.
    “Well, you slept for a good two-and-a-half hours. Everything seems normal…” Her palm shot to his forehead. “Normal temperature…” She sighed. “I’m sorry,” she apologized, taking a step back. “I’m just following procedure for my test later on. I want to be Herbler with a passion!” Another sigh escaped her, but not a sad one, more so a fatigued sigh. “Well, you’re ready to walk about, and get used to moving again. But not too long! Just enough to remember how to walk. I’ll give you an hour.”
    “A hour.” replied Thomas. “Okay.” He nearly jumped out of the blankets, but did not want to have Ralya scold him. With a spring in his step, Tom walked around the town of tents. Children had faces with smeared ash, and adults did too, some bore scars. Over by a clear space was some disturbed ground. Coming from these places were wooden posts marking three or four graves. As by custom, a white rose lay upon the disturbed earth. The white rose—purity—giving the dead one a blessing from the village to a peaceful afterlife.
    Tom even saw some teenagers almost men carrying a short sword or a crude spear, patrolling with normal Village Guard. It seemed that some workers were starting to rebuild the inn, The Dancing Horseshoe. A rectangular perimeter of cement blocks bordered the pile of ash now being shoveled and cleared away with wheelbarrows. It would take a while to make the village what it had been.
    Younger children stayed close to their mothers, clutching their skirts, worried that the Gan-Chuta may return. Gan-Chuta? I still can’t believe it! Then a thought not his own answered, anything is possible. What the hell? No response. He muttered to himself, “I’m bloody well going mad!”
    Over to the side, he saw a cluster of business owners and other important folk to the village, including the chief. Valrag was an optimistic man—at times—and had a strong, burly build with large shoulders and chest. His dirty blonde hair was messy and shot out in all directions while a smudge of ash was still on his cheek. Beside him were the innkeeper, the shopkeeper, and the blacksmith. There was also a Coulani—most likely this Srol fellow.
    He had transparent irises like all Coulani—colourless—and sharp, blonde hair in a short braid to his left shoulder. Sheathed on his back was the trademark Coulanish double-bladed spear-sword, one blade sticking above his fair head. His garb wasn’t noble, but it wasn’t poor, either. The garb of a soldier or something similar. And he was so tall! Probably a head and a half taller than Tom.
    Before Thomas looked away, the village chief spotted him and looked as if he had found a solution to something. He beckoned Tom over to the group shouting, “Tom, m’boy!”
    Tom jogged over to them, and made a very weak bow. Stars, it hurt to bend! The whole group smiled at him, Srol bearing a slight curve of his mouth. I thought Coulani were cheerful! The large smile on Valrag’s face warmed Tom. “I see you’re awake. My condolences about your friends.” greeted the chief.
    “Thank you for your sympathy.” replied Tom. Everyone else also offered their sympathy as well. “My condolences to your village.”
    Valrag asked questions of how Tom felt and what had happened in the woods. When he came to Eena, Srol took on a disturbed look, a troubled one as well. Then the Coulani spoke, “That name, and description, fit the perfect picture of a Snow Daughter.”
    Thomas stopped in mid-sentence. Snow Daughter? Then he realized the question had come out loud. Srol flashed a grin and then turned serious again. “Well, I suppose that term for the Dsuc-Yeahwpiq may not be common around here. But you would know the tales. In Gotherik, they may be known as Maidens of the Empress?”
    The recollection flashed in all of the other group members’ minds. “Oh yes, I remember them.” They all seemed to know immediately. So did Thomas.
    “It is troubling,” continued Srol, “that one of the Dsuc-Yeahwpiq was even out of her mistress’ domain. Darkness is coming.”
    After Srol’s sentence, there was an awkward silence that lasted a few moments, and then Valrag said, “Well, getting on to business.” He turned to Thomas, “You are needed for an important errand, m’lad.”
    Tom didn’t reply. What will Ralya say? Valrag continued, “Everyone is too busy—besides the children who are deeply traumatized—and Tras Namar must know of our plight. Actually, the whole east coast’s plight! We received a message from Ralshaz a few hours gone, and their town was destroyed like ours, only by a few days before. They tried to warn us, but were too late.
    “Anyway, I’ve sent our best messengers to warn villages further north—may the Stars have them reach in time—and I know you are a fast rider. I want you to travel to Tras Namar and alert the King Aramin about this rabble, and be sure to emphasize that there are Gan-Chuta! Make absolutely sure!” Tom nodded.
    “Now if you excuse me,” said Srol in the pause of words, “I must return to Coulan, the Kayae cannot protect herself while I have been delivering this iron. May the Star Kings bless thee all, and pray that the Dsuc-Yeahwpiq do not return!”
    The fair Coulani turned and left the group, cloak trailing behind him. Tom watched as the Coulani slowly faded into the busier parts of the Town of Tents.
    When he turned back, Valrag gave him detailed directions to Tras Namar.
     
  13. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    I've just started reading the first few chapters, and it's pretty fantastic!
     
  14. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    Thank you, all! Keep 'em coming!!
     
  15. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~VI~
    ******
    An Early Message




    The funeral for the Lady Dyan Brayelle was very noble and beautiful. By custom of the death of a noble, three men and three women carried her coffin, top open, down the streets filled with bystanders on either side. All wore clothing, some of the women with tinted veils over their face. Not a smile was found in the whole crowd of people.
    From the rooftops, every rooftop along the street the procession would tread, sprinkled blossoms down upon the street, which seemed to fall in slow motion. A white rose was held in the dead fingers of Dyan, in the middle of her chest. She looked to be sleeping. A peaceful rest that would never end.
    At the end of the procession—a few meters away—were the parents, Lord and Lady Brayelle, and of course: Aramin, Nynaegwene, Tamassi, and Lana. Lady Brayelle wore one of the tinted veils over her face from her black funeral hat and wept into a silk kerchief. Lord Brayelle comforted her.
    It even seemed the sky mourned, for grey clouds dominated the sky, unmoving. Only a sad, grey light allowed vision. The procession ended as the carriers set the coffin before a priest of the Star Kings. He read the parting words of the living to the dead, and then the lid to the polished maple coffin was closed. The sigil of House Brayelle was engraved on the top.
    Kry Sollan had ended in tragedy. Lord Brayelle sent some of his personal knights up north into the Wilderness to slaughter the barbarians and avenge his daughter—he even rode with them in the end. Aramin did not try to stop him—it was the man’s own choice.

    Sad days passed, and it seemed that Tamassi had fallen into a deep depression. Lana strode down the hall, lit by oil lanterns in brackets and wall the walls papered with the Frax sigil. Maids and Servants passed by, bowing and curtsying to her. She ignored it all. For nineteen years they had practically kissed her feet, but one grew accustomed to it.
    For her whole life there had been names too. For her beauty, she was titled: “Lady Lanalell Frax, Goddess of the Gotherin.” Lana didn’t mind much, but it did eventually become a tad cliché, and was seldom used anymore. Only really in deeply formal situations.
    When she passed by her rooms on the left, a maid struggled with a door handle to one of Tamassi’s rooms on the right of the corridor. Finally, she gave an exasperated and slightly vexed sigh. “Damn it all!”
    “What ever is wrong?” asked Lana in a soft and gentle tone. She had to start changing that, she was stereotyped as lenient and pacifistic. She would not live with that if she married a handsome noble or a bloody prince.
    “Oh, stars!” cursed the maid. She had graying hair and an aging face. “Well, the prince has locked himself in his rooms for the past few days. He only leaves to snatch a snack and a drink and then locks himself in again! The boy needs fresh air; he’ll starve or dehydrate himself!” She turned on her heels and left down the hall to perform other duties, snarling under her breath.
    Lana sighed again. I should try and get him out of this depression. Slowly and quietly, she approached the door and then gave three rhythmic knocks. She heard a muffled reply, “Cerseia, quit badgering me and bloody go do something worth doing!”
    “It’s me, Lana. Do you remember?” She stifled a small laugh at her joke, but really, this was no time for laughing.
    “Come in, then.” was the response. The doorknob clicked and then the door opened. Tamassi stood there, not too happy looking, with sleepless bags under his brown eyes. She nearly gasped, but smiled instead.
    “Do you want to talk?” she asked. He seemed to reluctantly nod, and then allowed her space to enter his room. He took a seat on the bed, and she sat beside him. “I miss Dyan too.”
    He looked at her in the eyes, pure sorrow etched in them. “It was my fault.” he sighed. “My fault that she lies in a coffin within the crypt of nobility at such a young age!”
    Lana knew she had to redirect the blame from himself. What if it ended in suicide?! “No,” she replied. “Tamassi, it’s my fault!”
    “What?” he asked, bewilderment replacing depression and fatigue.
    Lana took a deep breath. “Yes,” she continued. His brown eyes watched her, wondering why she would be saying this. “I failed to shoot some of the beast-men and they began to outnumber me. If I had been a better shot, you could have concentrated on defending Dyan.” In truth, she only half-believed what she had said. It had been his choice, but she could not have him blame himself.
    The bewildering stare returned to depression. “No,” he replied, “you do not understand. It was my fault. I was too star-forsaken weak! If I hadn’t allowed her or you to come, then none of those events would have taken place.”
    He had a half-look as if he had checkmated her at a game of chess, but she still responded, “Then it is her fault.”
    Shock hit his face like a boulder, wondering how it could have ever been Dyan’s fault, so she explained. “She is no toddler, Tamassi. She made a choice, I also made a choice! You must remember, she and I broke custom, the bloody custom of Kry Sollan! That is one of the worst customs to break, and this was punishment. I should be dead too, but somehow, I am not. Ask the bloody stars why if you want to, because I cannot answer that.”
    His face did not fade back to depression; in fact, a slight smile was on his mouth. “Deep in my heart,” he confessed, “I already knew that. But I wouldn’t believe it! Yet, it is true. Thank you, dear Lana.” She placed an arm around his shoulder and moved closer.
    “Sometimes a woman has to make a man see sense…” A smile painted across her lips.

    King Aramin Trodak Frax II slightly slumped in his glorious throne. The top had been carved from gold into a noble, arrogant Griffin—chin stuck up in the air. The very sigil of House Frax. The armrests were embedded with rubies and crimson Mother’s Tears. A small staircase covered with red carpet sat directly in front of the throne and connected to the floor of the whole throne room.
    Beside him was a slightly smaller throne, where his wife should have been sitting, but she was elsewhere. Above the two thrones hung a vast banner that covered a third of the wall behind them, the same Griffin that was in the top of his seat. The Frax Griffin. The banner with the animal on red had flown behind the great commander of the Griffin Cavalry before the walls of pre-Tras Namar.
    On either side of the upraised thrones were heavily-armored knights holding pikes and standing ready to defend him. Their faces were hidden by steel helmets. Even their chest plates had engraved golden Griffins, revealing that they were Frax Guard. This was just an Elite type of knight assigned with the task of protecting the whole of House Frax. They even had trademark cloaks also with the Frax Sigil.
    “Then I shall invest an extra One-hundred thirty-five Golds to your marvelous invention.” The lad before him was from one of the older, larger, and wealthier academies. He had invented a new type of poison that could paralyze your opponent on contact, and didn’t spoil within two months. It could prove handy for his military.
    Content with the King’s offer, the University student bowed, murmured thanks, and started walking down the long doors to the exit. After the large doors—embedded with still yet, the Frax Sigil in a gold mural—closed, Aramin leaned over to the nearest Frax Guard. “Do you believe I was wise? And don’t try to butter me up with compliments!”
    The guard gave a muffled reply, “I do believe so, my King. If war ever comes—and the Stars never let war ever come—it could be very useful.” The King smiled; for once no one shivered when he spoke to him and tried to kiss his ass! Truly, that disgusted him more a man trying to seduce him to bed.
    Then the king shouted to the doorman, “Is there another appointment for me?”
    The man opened the door. “The last one, sire! The Throne House Frax welcomes a messenger.”
    As the doors opened, a pale-skinned man with brown, scruffy hair and hazel-tan eyes slowly walked down the red carpet to the throne. He looked like a rat in some features, but Aramin ignored that. It was hard to ignore, though, the man even walked like a rat. His hands up by his chin in the position of rodent paws. He wore all lack, even a black cloak, and a flaring, green scorpion was upon his cloak.
    Tachean. When he looked closer, the scorpion was made out of emeralds. “May I hear the news that Tache brings to me?”
    Ceremoniously, the messenger knelt on one knee, head down and palms spread on the floor. Then, slowly, his face rose upwards to meet the face of the king. “I am Taliff un Sorul d’Somnae, one of the Grand Messengers of the Sultan of Tache and I bear news to King Aramin Trodak Frax II.” Aramin sat through the pleasantries and repetitive way Messengers gave their news.
    “The Sultan has called the Council of West-Land in Tachea to be held in three days.” said the Messenger, still kneeling, palms spread on the red carpet.
    “The Council of West-Land?” asked Aramin with interest and a little suspicion in his voice. “It is being called a month early!” he exclaimed. “Is there any logical reason for this?”
    The Messenger’s gaze to the floor slowly rose up to meet the King again. “Of course. There are so many thriving issues in all the nations, and one important matter has arisen. He wishes to discuss this with the council.”
    “What important matter?” asked Aramin, now on the edge of his seat, no longer slumping was he.
    The Messenger flashed a smile filled of amusement and then returned to a formal look. “I am only a messenger. I bear news and deliver it. I know myself that the Council of West-Land is very secret with their topics, and unfortunately, the issue was not told to me. Only this message, ‘if you plan to attend the Council, it is being held in three days.’”
    This troubled Aramin. Very seldom was the Council held early, and only for the most pressing and necessary matters. Then he said, “I am sure you are weary from your journey. I shall offer you a suite within my palace for two days, thank you for your message.”
    Taking that as consent, the messenger rose to his feet and bowed, and then replied, “May the Stars light your way, Your Highness.” The man—who still reminded him of a rat—strode down the red carpet and was allowed exit of the room by the doorman.
    Aramin turned to the Frax Guard near him, “Alert Bluvert that we are leaving today. Tell him of the council and to select ten men he chooses to accompany me. In fact,” said Aramin thinking, “tell him to find Tamassi, too.”
    “Yes, my liege.” said the Frax Guard, giving the special Griffin salute. He ran down the throne room, armour clinking, and disappeared behind the muraled door. Leisurely, Aramin stood from his beautiful throne and stretched his arms.
    Within half an hour Bluvert—the Fraxali, or leader of the Frax Guard—had selected his ten men and had found Tamassi, whom surprisingly wore a smile. Personally, the King had thought his son was still depressed. All—even Aramin—wore the breastplates with the royal sigil and had cloaks with the same embroidery. Each Griffin had rubies for eyes.
    Their saddles were a leather of prestigious craftsmanship, small crimson jewels bordering the base of the saddles. The reins even had some of these. From the stable, Aramin had chosen a strong, grey stallion named Grey Veil from his collection of many horses. Every one of the men either had a sword sheathed at their hip or a spear held like a lance under their elbow. A few had an additional bow and quiver, as well.
    Tamassi reined in Wind Spear beside Grey Veil and let the brown stallion graze at what little grass was still in the courtyard. The ivory-crafted gates were currently being opened as they watched. “I wonder what would have caused the council to be called early.” said Tamassi.
    Aramin nodded. “Yes, it does trouble me, but I am sure that the Sultan of Tache has his reasons, and the council of West-Land is held by his call.”
    When the gates opened, the procession to the Council arranged into lines. Bluvert, Tamassi and Aramin would ride together, and then the others would ride in twos beside each other. The leading three heeled their horses into a moderate gallop out of the courtyard and into the city of Tras Namar.
    Along the streets, some well-dressed commoners walked to and fro to different stores and buildings. Commoners were always well treated in Tras Namar, not a poor person could be pointed out, unless you counted middle-class poor, of course. Dried autumn leaves blew in soft gusts of wind across the street in front of the riding party.
    Some Tras Namari people stopped and pointed to their companion, trying to figure out where the royals and knights were going. It truly was early for the Council to be held. Eventually, and quickly, they rode to the outskirts of the city of ivory and marble. A flat plain stretched ahead of them and would run until they came to the Dorarak Forest. That was if you rode straight south. If you journeyed east or west you would encounter a border of mountains along the entire coasts.
    The party of thirteen riders picked up speed as their mounts’ hooves pounded the grass.
     
  16. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~VII~
    *******
    Another Messenger




    The air was calm today, so was the atmosphere and mood of the place. Lana gave an exasperated sigh as she looked over the city of Tras Namar from her balcony branching from her sleeping quarters. She sighed with exasperation and watched as people nearer to the palace performed their business, while the noise from the market a little farther and surrounding the palace from all sides flooded in.
    Boredom as heavy as a boulder crushed her good mood today. Her tutor had taken a two-week holiday, well deserved, too. But now she was so bored her skull was about to burst. Another sigh escaped her mouth. Will I survive for two weeks? It wasn’t that she particularly enjoyed her tutoring, but at least it was something to do!
    She rested her elbow on the balcony and placed her chin on her fist. This would be a very long day. Especially since Tamassi always went to the Council of West-Land. Now Lana was just stuck here, having to die of boredom until they came back.
    Well, she thought optimistically, it’s better than politics! I would just be ten times as bored there, anyway. Why am I loathing Tamassi? She had no idea, but realized it was far better back in Tras Namar.
    She could continue reading her novel. Why not? Lana removed herself from the balcony and walked over to her desk. Besides some of the paper holding her writing work and mathematics, there was a leather-bound book with golden lettering. It was named, “Days of the Dragon Masters” by Al Illman. It chronicled the days of the dragons, and when the Dragyari were in their golden age.
    Of course, the Dragyari still thrived, but they were not as great as they had been. In the nation of Dwarvi, to the west of the realm of Coulan, was the small peninsula that was Dwarvi—the land of the Dwarves. It was more of a province of Coulan now, however, because the Dwarves were extinct. Well, rumors stated that one still lived, but rumors were rumors.
    Within the province of Dwarvi, were two mountains close together, and between them was the great Citadel of the Dragyari. She had known this already though, because she and her brother had trained there in their teen years. Tamassi learned sword arts, and Lana had learned a little healing. They were never really taught in the way of the Kor-Ada, or barely knew what it was.
    She flopped into her bed, and opened the book to her marked spot, then removed the book mark. Immediately, she was immersed in the words.

    “…after the Second Era began, and the order of the Dragyari was formed, the study of Dragons finally began. They realized that like Coulani, Dragons had a certain elemental spark within them. Soon, they began to bond Dragons with the same element and their power was increased. However, for a strange reason, only thirteen Dragyari could be bonded at one time.
    This began the trainee level of Shemar, where the novice had studied long enough to be able to use Kor-Ada powers safely, and would not draw too much at any one time. Shemar would be eligible to replace a Dragyari whenever the current one had perished or resigned.
    Since Dragyari could live for extended periods of time, this opportunity may have only arisen once every couple thousand years. The Order thrived and began concerning themselves with justice, wars, and the settling of more minor issues among the habitants of West-Land.
    They were deeply respected and bore power beyond the imagination of any individual. Some of the more powerful Dragyari—such as Tolir Omabas—discovered how sink an entire island with his own mind, winning the War of the Island Nations to the east…”

    After reading a good forty pages, Lana placed her book mark and shut the novel. Reading was fun, but became tedious over time. The whole day had been tedious! She leapt from her bed and had a thought. What if I ride White Sword? Yes, riding could entertain her a while.

    Queen Nynaegwene sat in a chair under a wall-less tent that shielded her from today’s heat. It was nearing the centre of autumn but it was still a very warm day. Probably one of the last before winter arrived. A silver goblet with cold with condensation was filled with peach wine.
    She took another short sip and watched as Lana finished another lap with White Sword on the track. Sometimes, this track was used for jousting tournaments, but today her daughter beloved rode up and down the jousting track in laps, whispering in the white mare’s ear.
    She truly did love Lana, though sometimes she did not show it. That brought a sigh. And another sip from the goblet as well. Why did she feel sympathy for Lanalell now? Because, I stick her with that strict tutor that I had when I was young. I sent her away with Tamassi to train at the Citadel of the Dragyari and wasted some of their teen years. I barely spend anytime with her! She stopped. Where had those thoughts come from? Another sigh was released. It was the truth.
    Something else bothered her as well, these days. Lady Dyan Brayelle had died, and
    Kry Sollan had been disrupted by death within the first week. That had only occurred
    three times—including this one—for the last two Eras. It was a very sad thing, and
    normally was remembered for years. I must repay Lana. Sip. What?! Nynaegwene held
    out her glass, and a nearby servant refilled it with a sterling silver pitcher. There was
    sweat on his brow.
    I must repay Lana. Sip. Why? Sip. I’ve already told you why! Sip. What does Lana
    enjoy? Archery. Yes, Lana did enjoy archery! It was her passion! Everyday after tutoring
    and studies, Lana went out to the targets and shot arrows with the archers-in-training.
    Hmm. And how will this help? Sip. Well, there is that annual Coulanish Archery Camp. It
    is full of prestige! Lana would like it more than shooting with the archers here, whom she
    is clearly far better than.
    That was it! The Coulanish archery camp would be perfect for them to bond. And
    Nynaegwene could learn something new, too. The Queen glanced up, Lana was returning
    this way. The Princess reined in the mount, and hopped off the mare’s bareback. “Well,
    Mother,” said Lana, stroking White Sword’s neck while holding the reins, “I am finished
    with my riding.”
    One of the servants around the wall-less tent took the reins with a bow and led the
    horse away towards the stable. Nynaegwene looked at her daughter and then said, “Lana,
    I feel like I owe a debt to you! So, I thought, why don’t we go out of the country for
    once? We can have our own little journey while the men sit around and talk politics.” She
    winked.
    Lana flashed shock on her face and then asked, “Where would we go?”
    “It is a surprise.” replied Nynaegwene with a grin and a wink.
    So, mother and daughter returned to the palace and began to pack a few things for their
    trip. A normal meeting of the Council of West-Land was a week long, so they planned to
    be back in a week. Nynaegwene packed some silk blouses with divided riding dresses,
    and chose a pair to change in to.
    Her choice for departure was a red blouse with a grey cloak pinned with a rearing
    griffin broach. Her riding skirt was a whitish-grey with a hint of aqua. The Queen finally
    let her hair hang loose, the red strands beginning to tangle already. Her brown eyes were
    like the rest of the family’s. It did seem that no one without brown eyes ever became a
    part of the Frax family. Dyan had blue eyes. Nynaegwene gasped. How could she be like
    that? She scolded herself harshly in her mind.
    Lana wore a bright blue blouse with divided riding skirts as well and a wool-knitten
    shawl over her shoulders. She had braided a part of her hair to the side, and let it hang
    down her back.
    Next, they moved to supplies for the journey. Blankets and pillows were necessary.
    Nynaegwene realized that some of the trip there they could bond as well. Camping under
    the stars. They went to the kitchens to gather food. Cabbage rolls would be a quick food,
    some hard tac, they found some pemmican, and even packed some sausage with spices,
    and carefully wrapped eggs with some bacon.
    They packed the rest of the essentials, and were ready when evening began to set in.
    The air was nice and cool on the outskirts of Tras Namar, and crickets chirped in the
    distance. The moon was waking as it grew darker. From the city a gravel road stretched
    across the southern plains of Gotherik.
    For protection and hinting if food ran low, Lana had her silver-painted bow and a full
    quiver slung across her back. For herself, Nynaegwene had a dagger at her waist in a
    leather sheath, and another smaller knife down her boot. This journey could take up to
    two days, but that was if the forests of Coulan didn’t have them lost.
    The Queen sat atop a red mare she had named Flame, and each horse had their baggage
    divided evenly attached on their saddles. Lana didn’t like riding bareback on the longer
    journeys. With two quick heels to the ribs, the two horses sped off across the plains. The
    path was easy to follow, and gravel crunched under the horses’ hooves.
    For a good hour they rode in silence, except for one of them directing the other to the
    way they would go. Eventually, though, they came to a fork in the road. The left path led
    east, the right led west. Both reined in and turned their steeds to one another. “Where do
    we go now?” asked Lana.
    “Either way.” said Nynaegwene. “Both come to another fork that goes south or north.
    There are more villages along the east way, but personally, I would rather ride west and
    stay clear of villages. I think this trip could be more fun that way.”
    Lana nodded. “Okay, I’m fine with that.” As they turned their horses to ride on the road, another horse’s footsteps came from the other path, and eventually a rider came into view.
    He wore weathered and threadbare clothing with much dirt. A few daggers gleamed at his belt. This man had red-brown curly hair and dashing blue eyes. With his hair combed back, a set of elf ears were revealed. The elf drew rein.
    He cleared his throat and then spoke, “Excuse me, fair maidens. But, could you direct me to Tras Namar? I have a message for the king, my name is Thomas Ghored.”
    Nynaegwene looked at Lana, and then turned back to the elf. “Greetings, Thomas Ghored. I am…Radra and this is my daughter…Helen. If you are looking for the King, going to Tras Namar shall not aid you. He has left south for a…meeting. He’s only a half day gone; you should be able to catch him.”
    Thomas bowed his head slightly, “Thank you, Madam…Radra? May the Stars light your path.” He turned his horse southward and galloped off the path, dust rising behind him as he vanished into the darkening night.
    Nynaegwene and Lana turned towards their path again, and started riding by moonlight.
     
  17. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    ~VIII~
    ********
    Torah Noma




    Two days had passed since the departure of Tamassi, Aramin, and their fellow Frax Guards from Tras Namar. They were in the core of Coulan surrounded by endless trees and natural wildlife. Not a thing looked tampered with. It was then that a Frax Guardman blurted, “Where are all the bloody villages?”
    With the party was a special member of the Frax Guard. Grah had been a top-notch student at a university in Tras Namar. His ambition had been to become a scholar, but soon lost taste in learning and joined the military. He quickly ascended the ranks and had become a Frax Guard. He enjoyed reading a book every now and again, and his knowledge had proven useful in the past.
    “There are none.” he replied to the other Frax Guardman. “Coulan has only one city—Xuqidp Kuqi—‘The Heart of the Forest’, roughly translated. We are near the edge of Coulan, while Xuqidp Kuqi resides in the exact center. Few human eyes have ever seen it. Stars, I want to visit the Tower of Ages!”
    “A scholar at heart,” whispered Aramin to Tamassi.
    Tamassi had his hood pulled up again, the noon air held an early winter chill that would be commonplace in a month or two. Wolf skin gloves were stretched over his hands and heavy boots snuggled his legs. By the end of the day, they would be near the Tachean border and in the next day make it for the Council. Wind Spear gave a snort, but kept on walking fearless. The opposite could be said about the riders. Every horse seemed calm, even though there was a vast amount of trees surrounding them and it felt like unseen watchers observed them.
    Tamassi thought he glimpsed movement among the trees. A man-like figure. Coulani are everywhere and anywhere in their land. Where can they go?
    The procession on the way to Tachea—where the Council was held and the capital of Tache—stuck to a dirt road. “How come them Coulani never pave their roads?!” asked the same Frax Guardman curiously.
    Grah smiled. “That’s like asking, ‘why do they not cut down and clear their trees?’. They believe in total nature, they barely tamper with anything. Dirt roads are considered almost too far into messing with the natural way. But alas, even Coulan must thrive off of some kind of economy, so traders need an easy road to certain places in Coulan.”
    Grah truly should have finished his scholar training. He could have been great. But, that was his choice. Tamassi would give almost anything for that knowledge, that wisdom! Night fell upon the land of Coulan after the Gotherin had ridden along the path a few more hours. The moon was milky white and glowed extra bright this night. A voice seemed to echo inside his head. The voice of a woman, a woman he knew. Who was it? It begins tonight! He gasped. What? No answer.
    Some of the Frax Guard looked at him with raised eye brows when he had gasped. “Y’all right, lad?” asked one.
    “Yes,” replied Tamassi, blushing. How star-forsaken embarrassing! Stars, madness was claiming him!
    Aramin reined Grey Veil in, and looked around. “It grows late, and I weary. Where shall we camp?”
    Bluvert stopped his mount beside the king and peered around with his one eye. The other one had a deep scar across it and it was permanently closed. “Well, we can’t camp on the road. Not enough space, but…” Tamassi watched at where they were looking. A side path branching off climbed a ridge. “I know ‘is place.” said Bluvert.
    “Yes, so do I.” said Aramin. Both of the leaders turned to their conversing knights. “Men! We’ve found a place to make camp! Follow Bluvert and I.” shouted the king. Everyone took hold of their reins and booted their mounts into motion, riding by twos up the ascending ridge.
    Tamassi rode along side Grah. “Where the hell are we going?” muttered Tamassi.
    “Why, my Prince!” exclaimed Grah. “We are ascending the ridge to Torah Noma.”
    “I’ve heard the name.” said Tamassi. “But what in the stars is it?”
    Grah chuckled. “It has a little of your heritage!” As Grah spoke the voice returned. A woman he knew and in a whisper. Tamassi! He listened a moment. Frax. He couldn’t hear anymore so he continued hearkening to Grah. “You see this are of Coulan was temporarily a part of Gotherik. Well, actually, during the War of Belal, no land belonged to any kingdom within the Alliance of Vanchalon. Torah Noma was a war fortress of the Gotherin forces. Lord Frax’s son—Ralian—was King by then after the Battle of Suka-Durasil.
    “Vast and powerful, none dared attack the second castle of Gotherik. It was feared by Belal, but also a threat. It is important to remember that anything Belal fears doesn’t mean it won’t try to raze. Anyway, Ralian expected an attack at any moment by Gan-Chuta. It is odd, and the records don’t exactly explain it, but the attack he expected came unexpectedly and he was killed.
    “For some reason, his son Torin was enraged and took out his anger on other races. The War of the Four Nations began, but that is off-topic! Well, now Torah Noma is ruins but still habitable and it sits upon the ridge like a ghost. Mist often surrounds it now.”
    After Grah’s tale of Torah Noma, Tamassi and the riders in front of him had topped the ridge. And there it was. The ghostly fortress of Torah Noma. The first thing in sight was a tall wall of stone surrounded by mist. In some cracks found randomly along it, vines grew out; decay was very plain in some parts. However, the wall was not as tall as some half-crumbled towers in the distance.
    Grah sighed in amazement. “This fortress covers a lot of ground. Who knows what secrets it may hide? However, I would have rather liked to have been here when it was in its golden age, before it decayed and was besieged.”
    Aramin led the riders towards the darkened and by now—ancient—gates. Both were unhinged with very old arrows stuck into both. Moss thrived upon the old decaying pieces of gate wood. They rode by, without second glance at the so-long-ago destroyed gate to Torah Noma. When they entered, the place appeared a labyrinth.
    The walkways were paved with stone, and rebelling grass and lichen grew from underneath. The streets were parallel and perpendicular to each other, every street linking with a four-way intersection. Torah Noma felt empty and a lonely mist floated in the air on this cool night. On the edge of every street bordered another layer of a concrete wall, each equally decayed in different ways.
    The party of Gotherin men didn’t traverse far into the maze-like fortress, for they only wished to set up camp. Each man erected a white tent with a rearing griffin on the entrance flap. The nobles’ tent was the largest and was in the center. A single spearman guarded the tent of the king and prince.
    Outside of other tents, small fires burned and light reflected off of the damp walls. The other eleven men of the party clustered and talked of matters. Two were selected to patrol for an hour and then select another two for the next hour.
    Inside his tent, Tamassi decided to catch an early night and tossed and turned beneath his covers. Dark dreams tormented him—more like nightmares—no, memories. There were flashes of events that had actually happened.

    It seemed all the dreams of the night melded into one, and he remembered them all. The dream was of when he was fourteen years of age. A foolish blood-heir to House Frax, and was currently training at the Citadel of the Dragyari. Then he learned of the Dragyari’Dansa, or the “Weapon of the Dragyari”. They were men—or women—that had an elemental spark but could not use it for Kor-Ada powers. Instead, they could bond power with a Dragyari and be able to use Kor-Ada somewhat, but in the end the Dragyari used the worthless spark to increase their own power. You truly were just an extra sword to them.
    At that time, such a thing had not been done since the defeat of the Dragyari by Sa’Tavon, Empress of Belal, and former High Seat of the Dragyari. He wanted to use his useless Spark of Ice—which had not been found since Sa’Tavon left the Order. They would have loved him—praised him!—if he could touch his inner Kor-Ada. But he could not. They supported the answer with, “Well, you are a human!” No had ever been a part of the Order. He would be the first! He had thought in his arrogant, young mind.
    He fled across the nations—Elfi, Coulan, Tache, and Corussus dodging the sentries and scouts sent to retrieve him. Tamassi had not asked permission to leave, and was still under training. Eventually, he came to Belal, where his brilliant plan would come to pass. He had heard that the Empress of Belal was a Dragyar of Ice. He could be of use! Unfortunately, then he had known little about her or her history.
    Half-way to the White Desert and her lair named Suka-Durasil he was captured and taken to her. Young, foolish Tamassi had asked to be her Dragyari’Dansa and with a mischievous grin, agreed. Then she knelt down and kissed him on the right cheek. That was the worst possible thing! But, through his arrogance and ignorance, did not know that.
    The Wench’s Kiss, The Witch’s Kiss, The Death Kiss, there were so many names for it. It was said that if her bloodless, cold lips touched your skin in a kiss you would obtain a very fatal wound. If you were lucky, you died. If you were unlucky, however, you became one of her wretched servants. And not Gan-Chuta or her minions, but pale wretches that were her personal servants.
    He was different. Tamassi had rode back across the border—somehow, he couldn’t remember—slumped in the saddle and a pale lip-shaped mark on his cheek. Everyone feared the worst, but he neither died nor became her unfortunate servants. It had been a bloody miracle! No one knew why Young Tamassi had not succumbed to her deadliest weapon. No one. In the final dream, young Tamassi lay under the covers and was recovering. A cluster of loved ones watched and hoped. But then the clangs and clash of steel were heard in the distance, echoing.
    What? This never happened! My present self? I’m thinking! I’m think—

    —ing! Tamassi leapt up in conciousness and panted, blankets soaked with sweat. He always hated those memories of his stupidest mistake! A hand shot to his forehead which felt like it was splitting in two. His senses quickly returned, and in the distance the clanging and clashing from his dream was in the distance. Stars!
    He shot up from his blankets, wiping beading drops of perspiration from his forehead. Tamassi opened the tent flap and beheld a strange sight. All of the Frax-Guard and Aramin were clashing swords with demonic forms.
    There skin was black and ashy and long, black hair swung down tied with beads. Beneath the skin that looked like it had been fried in magma were deep yellow eyes with slitted pupils like a feline’s. They even glowed in the darkness like them too. When they gave a cry or a command to their fellows they flicked torched tongues, almost completely skinless. Each one held a two-handed spear or axe and battled the Gotherin men. Tamassi shivered, he had seen these before. Gan-Chuta.
    He ducked inside the tent and found his sword lying with his belongings. The Prince picked it up, and held it in both hands. But this time, I can fight back! Swiftly, he donned a cloak and ran out, the blade gleaming in the moonlight and one of the flaming tents on the other side of the camp.
    One of the Gan-Chuta swung at him with an ax. The blonde prince ducked from the head blow and stuck his blade vertical from his own chest, stabbing into the creature. It was odd to him that Gan-Chuta had the build of humans. Then, just as swiftly, he took the bloodied blade from its chest and pushed it aside to die on the ground. Where is his father?
    Some Frax-Guard would occasionally call, “Aid!” It was lucky that they were Bluvert’s best or they would have fallen quickly. Another tent was set afire. No! The madness had only just begun. And then the same woman voice echoed in his mind—he swear he knew that voice!—It begins tonight!
     
  18. BBallForLife

    BBallForLife New Member

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    Wow, this is so good!!
     
  19. Wing Rider

    Wing Rider Psychotic Cybernetica

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    I've still a long, long way to read but I'm inclined to agree - this story is really good.
     
  20. Unien

    Unien New Member

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    Where are you, Wing Rider?