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Three Sisters Which

Three Sisters Which

Timeline:

It is not altogether clear just when the origins in this story take place. Somethings just can’t be quantified in terms of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even years, but by incantations. The chanting of said incantations might take a lifetime.. or take the life itself, after all..

The part that we can quantify, however,
takes place right after
A Shift in Perspective (18+)..

 

 

I am not sure about the total, catastrophic failures,” said the little gnome finally, with the same subdued voice, “..but I think I can help with the big, blooming explosions. Provided, you run faster!”

 

“And..”, she said, “..that’ll be ‘Tonic’ for you, girl.”

The little gnome felt something shift inside her.

A point in perspective, perhaps?

 

Or something..

 

Whatever it was, it would come to her in due time. But she had this pinching feeling that it seemed like it was high time she got off her high horses and stepped up to her end of the pair.

To that end, she turned and hastily gathered all her tools; her hammer, her wrench, her drivers, pliers, nippers and cutters, the numerous gadgets, spare bolts, and coiled wires and put them to their proper places inside her large, portable toolbox. She sat down and took off her clobbering boots, ignoring the freezing cold biting at the soles of her naked feet as she opened the little hood of the lantern and pinched the life out of the candle in it. Cast in darkness, she skimmed the elegantly made lantern with her slim fingers until she found what she was looking for; a well-concealed runic button hidden at its base. She lightly tapped the button, setting it to MODE B…

There..

..on the other side of the ancient, bitter cold cave, where the curvy form of a very tall, pitch-black figure —her pair— slumbered..

..was something.

Something hidden..

 

Arcantonic smiled.

 

She might not be much of a sneak, nor have many of the quirky talents her pair did, but she was an artificer and that meant compensating what they lacked by way of substituting them with pure ingenuity and dedicated craftsmanship..

There was still time, and she was going to make things right with the only person who had bothered to get to know her, damit!

 

She reached up and twirled a small knob on her goggles, turning the black darkness into shades of blue and gray as everything became oddly distinct for her..

Arcantonic Palecog quietly faded in the darkness to do some burglarizing of her own; it was going to be a long night and hopefully, an even longer, FAQed and color-coded, read..

 

(from the end of A Shift in Perspective (18+))

✱ ✱ ✱

Arcantonic Palecog scurried back with a manic cackle, nearly waking up the very tall, very dark girl sleeping close to the ancient cave’s entrance.

It was unlikely the little gnomic girl would ever make a good sneak thief, for she hyped too easy.. Much like a sugar overloaded bunny! But she’d certainly enjoyed it, while it lasted.

She slid the last few feet, grabbed her thick, woolen socks and her boots —first things first; the cave was arctic cold, and losing toes was a poor payment for the success of having burglarized her pair. With her socks, her cup-sized boots, and the dossier; the object of her theft, she hid behind the monstrosity she’d grandly named; MECHABER!

She slid her socks on and one boot, but her left got stuck and refused to slip on.

“Damit!”, swore Tonic. “Of all the bloody times, you want to do this to me, now?”

She pulled, pushed and she was sweating profusely by the time the boot finally settled around her crippled ankle —just another memento, a souvenir, per se, from her retarded uncle, Arcanton Mordenon, because, obviously, the emotional dents and traumas weren’t enough.

She took a deep breath, and slowly counted to 1,048,576 by way of 2-bit squaring! Not that it helped, but the alternative was cussing.. out loud.. VERY loud.. and Tonic had a VERY rich and quite an extensive repertoire when it came to cussing. But doing that would have made all the skulking and ‘theft’, sort of moot, hence the 2×2=4, 4×2=8, 8×2=16, 16×2=32.. well.. you get the picture..

Her hands trembling slightly, Tonic gazed upon the treasure she’d just liberated;

 

Seressa Wraiven
User Manual

 

—and yes, that is exactly what was written on the dossier!

“Hells Bells, girl.. Really?”, frowned at the title on the dossier.

She stared at the dark green cover of the dossier and noted the elegant, or more likely, the pompous symbol of the Academy of Melshieve embossed on it. Carefully, she opened the dossier and saw the first page.

 

It was blank.

 

Perhaps it was due to the poor lighting she couldn’t see it at first, which is why Tonic had to look again to see Seressa’s handwriting there.

It was a recursive, delicate script, very tenderly inked, like it reflected the inside, the very soul of the owner of the hand that had written it;

 

To my bestest and awesomest pair:

Days will always be better because we will have you..

Arcantonic just stared at the beautiful words, and the depth of their meaning.. and..

..her eyes teared.

Tonic couldn’t remember when it was the last time she’d teared up just by reading something. Tonic just didn’t do ‘romance’, nor was she ever into any kind of stupid, sentimentality crap.. Thanks to her uncle, again, she’d had any kind of empathy washed out of her system by the time she was ten!

But here she was, staring at what her pair, Seressa, had written, some two years ago, before they had had a chance to even speak.. While she’d been sulking and cussing darkly as she’d bulldogged around the academy corridors when she’d found out she’d just been assigned as someone’s pair, Seressa was struggling for her life, stuck in a ventilation shaft, trying to get to know her!

And because that wasn’t enough, she’d then sat down and prepared this.. silly dossier in light of everything she’d learned about Tonic..

Tonic suddenly felt.. ‘funked’..

As silly and somewhat giddy as she thought her pair was, Seressa Wraiven had an iron-clad will, and her sense of ‘just’ always pointed north. And, apparently, once she was paired with the little gnomic girl, her ‘north’ had all but become Tonic!

 

“Damn, girl..”, gulped the little, gnomic girl, wiped her eyes and turned the page.

 

And, so be noted, the fact that the pages used in the dossier were all first-grade, cotton-silk paper, not parchment. Tonic knew just how expensive first-grade papers were, which is why she never used them.. Yes, she had about a dozen or so in her artificer’s sachel, tightly rolled and inside a protective case, but they were there because, well, an artificer just had to have some of everything in their sachel! It must have cost the girl an arm and a leg to buy all these cotton-silk papers. It was likely she’d blown away all her student’s savings, just so she would hand her pair something ‘worthy’ of Tonic.

 

“Damn, girl..”, she repeated mutely.

“Seressa: 182,734,659 – Tonic: ZERO.. Good job, girl.. You have the bestest friend in the world —someone people would kill for, and literally, and this is how you have treated her thus far.. Like an ass!”

 

Tonic turned to the second page.

It was a neatly prepared, clearly written, easy-to-read list;

A Table of Contents.

Seressa hadn’t used her recursive handwriting here, but a deliberately ‘book classic’, sort of mono-space script. Tonic herself much prepared and used blocky and ‘true’ mono-space fonts in all her notes, diagrams, and schematics. She could just imagine Seressa struggling to comport with Tonic’s style and preference but unable to use those ‘just-too-ugly’ fonts here, hence she’d settled for this one.

Tonic cackled!

Then went for the one thing that she thought defined her pair;

 

9. Pinks I prefer & their color codes, Page 29

 

She quickly shuffled to Page 29 and there, she saw, quite a number of pinks, carefully water-colored and coded. Tonic didn’t even know there were this many pinks in the world. When someone said, ‘Pink’, it meant, ‘Pink!’

Right?

Well..

Apparently, not..

Not according to Seressa Wraiven!

And noted under each were their hex-codes and ‘grades’. The grading system seemed to comprise of a complex combination of (a) how much she liked that particular shade, (b) how frequently it was found in nature, common cities, and the Academy of Melshieve, and (c) how well they got along with certain other colors and their shades!

 

  1. A shade that should be sent back to the abyss whilst it came!
  2. A total abomination.
  3. Very much disliked. I could slice myself open just by staring at this!
  4. I feel.. ill..
  5. Go away, please!
  6. Perhaps. Maybe. But only under very special circumstances such as a date that is likely to go wrong!
  7. Promising. Has some potential.
  8. Oh. This one makes me giddy.
  9. I.. WANT! ALL OF IT!
  10. I will not comment on this one, dear Arcantonic. Some things just can’t be put into writing without constituting highly damning and quite embarrassing evidence against myself should I describe the effects of this grade of pink on me.

And then she’d also put a P.S. at the very bottom of the whole, three-page long water-colored and graded ‘pinks’;

 

“Okay. Now it may seem like I have some sort of a fetish for pink, dear Arcantonic. I, however, assure you such is not the case, as seen on these pages. I merely am susceptible to ‘certain’ shades of the color and am sort of a fan.. in an obsessive way.”

Tonic stared at the postscript.

“Really, now, girl.. ‘I merely am susceptible to ‘certain’ shades of the color and am.. sort of a fan.. in an obsessive way?’ —that is what a fetish is, in the most practical sense!”, she snickered.

Then, inadvertently, she flipped the page and came to the next topic:

 

10. About my body and my anatomy, Page 33

 

“What the..”, Tonic ogled at the title.

And there, right under the title was an impossibly slim girl’s stretch.

Written under the sketch was her sentiments about herself, in her recursive handwriting.

 

“I will be the first to admit; this is not me! I saw this in a book when I was doing research in my freshman year about various cultures and their relative daily lives. But I was enthralled by the whole subject and this sketch in particular. This is supposed to be some sort of exotic princess named Yasmine who meets a street urchin named Valaddin. According to the story, the kid finds a genie trapped in a rum bottle —if you could believe that, which I don’t, who uses the genie to gain the favor of the princess and eventually marries her. The story is logically faulty and incommensurate in it’s accuracy to facts. First of all, rum is commonly consumed by sailors and Drashan pirates in our kingdom. It is not the choice beverage for the average consumer and deemed ‘lowly’ even by the middle-class, let alone the aristocracy, and the story does not take place in a sea-port city. I would also like to point out that a genie’s ‘home’ tends to be extremely illustrious and rich. Again, not a rum bottle. And lastly, I can’t imagine a genie getting trapped in a bottle and be unable to free itself. That’s just silly!”

Arcantonic coughed.

“What’s silly is, you making an ‘anthropologistic’ case against a children’s story, girl!”, she snorted.

 

“Aside from the unlikeliness of the story, however, I did appreciate their clothes. They were not meant to be only revealing, but gave a certain amount of freedom of movement, which I am sure is essential to both attract the attention of boys, and should the occasion arise, fight better in close-quarters without any restraints, though I must admit, it does not provide much in the way of protection. Comporting one’s self in the said way is a fact I know to be true because, in many cultures, men have been known to go to war clad in only lion-cloth or nothing at all.”

“Yea. I am sure those wars were quite short and bloody. Must explain why said cultures aren’t running around wearing ‘nothing at all’, anymore!”, snickered Tonic.

 

“To the reason why I inked the stretch here, then; I am fully aware my waste isn’t this slim and I am not even sure it is anatomically possible to have a waste as thin as this and still be able digest any food, but that’s another matter. I am also aware that my hips aren’t this narrow, though I believe mine are relatively proportionate to the rest of my body. I do wish they stay at their current dimensions, though, as I do not like wide hips. My the breast line, shape and cup-size seems about right, when compared to this illustration, and I have a similar length of hair.

I require air to breath, water to stay hydrated, and some form of vitamin, protein and carb-based foods to function, though I prefer a high protein diet with some vegetables and lower carbs and coffee makes me loose all my inhibitions —id est, I get drunk! Human beverages have little to no effect on me, though I must admit, I can’t stand the smell of beer, ale, ‘rum’, and any number of ‘rotten fruit’ based wines, explaining the reason I would rather not go into ratty inns or taverns —they smell horrible!

I have very good eye vision, hearing, taste and a nose acutely sensitive to smells. I wash regularly to keep my personal hygiene and very much dislike dirty environments, even though I won’t make a fuss should we require to go and stay in such places, provided we do get a bath at the end, much like any decent and self-respecting human ought to.

Should the day come and I conceive, I will be delivering exactly the way any human would. And breastfeed my child using my own breasts.

Whether my sensual senses are exactly the same as humans, I do not know. I do suspect, that they are much more heightened in regard to ‘touch’ and appears not to erode by the passage of time as it would in a common human female, though, again I am not absolutely sure of this, as I have never had any friends, back in the Academy, and hence, never really had the opportunity to compare.

My skin color is the result of, very much natural pigments, and not due to any artificial applications, nor to any ‘infernal’ reasons.

My horns are also a natural growth and my tail functions similar to that of a feline and neither are they in any way ‘demonic’..”

“Why are you telling me these, girl?”, mused Tonic quietly. “Yes, I have never really said a nice word to your face, not that I said any good ones behind your back either, but, again, why would you write these?”

Then it hit her.

This dossier was meant to be given to her shortly after they were paired. Not ‘burglarized’ some two years later. She had thought, as her pair, Tonic would be afraid of her appearance and was trying to assure her that she was ‘normal’.

Just like humans!

“Hells Bells, girl. I am happy you aren’t some stupid human. Yes, I am happier you are not a gnome, either but you are fine exactly the way you are. I might have called you, ‘dump’, ‘idiot’, ‘foolish’, and ‘silly’, among many, many other things, especially about your pinks and those silly and frilly dresses that reveal more than they conceal, but never have I made any remarks about your ‘being’. That is just.. EVIL!”

Then it hit her, again!

She, Seressa, had been treated thus, for as long as she’d been in the Academy. Tonic knew absolutely nothing about her pair’s origin, nor her parents, but she had seen the very tall, very dark girl many times, and always alone, back in the Academy.

Tonic was certainly not a good person. She had flaws.. No.. She had deliberate flaws you could fit a Drashan armada! But she’d never made any remarks nor questioned anyone due to their race.

Apparently, someone had.

Many ‘someones’..

Enough to leave a deep-seated need to have to explain herself about things that didn’t need to, and certainly shouldn’t have to need to!

Yes, she, Tonic, had called people, “You stupid dwarf!”, or “You stupid elf!”, or “You stupid human!”, certainly. But that was a pointer to the fact that the said person was being accused for their stupidity, not their race.

The race was basically interchangeable in her ‘accusations’.

‘Stupidity’ was the constant!

For some reason, the whole idea of her pair even having to need to explain that she was ‘normal’ pissed Tonic something vicious!

Then she felt shame.

What right had she to feel anger to anyone.

Hells Bells! The girl was her pair and she’d treated her worse than a tyrant would treat his subjects!

 

Then her eyes read the next few lines..

 

“And of course, I love to dance. I mean, The Great Heavens must have given us girls a lithe belly and a spine built for grace for a reason, now, right?

I am afraid, however, I never had the opportunity to go to any parties at the Academy —no dates!

Still, though, I sometimes danced. Many times, actually. When I was alone with my phloxes in my ‘Pink Garden’, which was pretty much all the time, really. Or in this secret cave I had discovered in the woods behind the Academy. That cave had nice, soft aucustics and singing there was awesome. It always made me feel like there were two others there, singing along with me.. Remind me to show you that cave, when we get back to the Academy with our findings of the real world. Ow.. this is going to be AWESOME. We are going to have so much fun together!”

“Well. I certainly must have deflated that ‘awesome’ hope out of her system!”, said the little gnomic girl and she truly felt awful about everything she’d done to her pair.

“I feel like a bastard!”, she blurted.

And something.. sort of irked her..

She wasn’t sure if ‘irk’ was the right word for it, but she didn’t dwell on the choice of word, either. She quickly flipped back to the Table of Contents page ran her tiny, pink finger—

Arcantonic froze.

And stared at her finger.

Then she did an even quicker, double-speed, rewind to page 27, 28, and yes.. 29..

..and carefully ran her finger across the three-page-long shades of pinks..

..and there it was.

 

#F8CDD2 — Arcantonic Pink — Grade 9

 

“Ow. My. Gosh! I am like.. her best candy color!”, blushed Tonic. “She even named the bloody shade after me! Damit. I really wonder what Grade 10 is, now!”

✱ ✱ ✱

Tonic returned to the Table of Contents and ran down the list —without using her finger! It was as if her fingers had been made the butt of a particularly memorable joke and now, whenever she saw her own small, pink fingers, or even have them mentioned, they would relate, and subsequently, remind her of the joke, making it impossible for her to un-relate the two! 

“Hells Bells, girl!”, she growled.

Then she found what she was looking for.

 

18. My origins, Page 62

 

To her surprise, the page was mostly empty and only had a short few sentences inked in her recursive handwriting, but it seemed as if there was the faintest.. ‘tremor?’, in the letters.. as if her pair had written it on a slow-paced camel. Not totally jumbled, but inadvertently missed spacing or the right amount of curves per letter..

 

Dear Arcantonic.

I was planning on not writing anything down on this particular subject. I was looking forward to talking this with you face to face, but since I had read pretty much everything about you that was written, reported, and/or noted, it only seemed fair that I should say at least a few words about myself —and my origins, in particular.

Who or what my parents were, I do not know. I was born quite far away from the Academy of Melshieve and received an anonymous sponsorship and was called upon to study and learn. When I first arrived at the Academy with my sponsorship papers and my invitation, I was summoned to the dean’s room and, although he didn’t say much, he did seem.. I am not sure what the correct word here is.. Scared? Cautious? Equanimitic?.. Or perhaps all three.. Suffice to say, he told me to attend my classes most diligently and stay out of trouble.. You know, the way he spoke in his low, raspy voice; ‘Stay straight and narrow, young lady!’. I know you know because you were sent to his office at least 48 times! The way he said it to me was a tad.. ‘funny’, though, and altogether something I found to be sort of ironic, really, since I am straight, and was certainly quite narrow, especially when I had first arrived, back then.

To this day, I haven’t been able to find out two things; my parents, and who my sponsor was..

Tonic frowned.

“Damit.”, she fumed.

She’d really wanted to know about her pair’s background. For it was likely the most important piece of information she would need in understanding her.

She felt she was sorely cheated.

As if she was handed a machine and expected to reverse engineer it without any schematics, any plans, not even some bloody sketches!

Then she saw the fine print at the bottom of the page.

“Hells Bells, girl. How in the blazes could you even write that small? I can barely see it, let alone read—”

Tonic held her breath.

Of course!

This dossier was specifically prepared for her. But it did have the remote possibility of falling into wrong, or merely unwanted hands. No one would want everything about themselves found and divulged for just about anyone to read, after all..

She smiled and dug her hand into her artificer’s satchel and rummaged for a bit until she found what she was looking for;

A palm-sized magnifying glass.

She moved the page closer to her diminutive face and read the minute fine print with the help of the magnifying glass;

 

Pls. see Index: “Ritual Summoning.”

My dear Arcantonic, if you can read this, you now know that you will have to find the index page. To find the index, however, you must solemnly note that you have my highest confidence. Beyond this, there is nothing more I can trust you with that really matters for me. Should you still want to see the said index, please recite the words;

“Remember me..” —trice!

These words have been keyed to you, as my awesome pair and as my ‘partner in crime’, per se.

“Holy Crap!”, spluttered the gnomic girl, horrified. “She even installed a bloody, embedded security system into the dossier!”

 

And that was when she was tested;

The curiosity of an artificer —a gnomic artificer, no less, and wondering if she truly did deserve Seressa Wraiven’s confidence, honestly given to her..

This made Tonic particularly guilty since the dossier was.. well.. stolen, really, even though she was the sole recipient of it..

 

..Aaaand her gnomic curiosity won!

 

She squinted around and into the darkness where the very tall, very dark girl slept restfully, with furtive eyes and hissed;

“Remember me..” —trice!

✱ ✱ ✱

Page 62 split!

Not horizontally nor vertically, but ‘facially!’ It was the oddest thing to behold. One moment there was just the Page 62, and the next, there were two, separate pages; 62 itself, and 62 index, bound to the same spine, and yet..

..it unfolded out and down once, twice, thrice, and done!

 

“Damn, that’s some fine and elegant magic there, girl. You spared no expense. I am truly funked and very much impressed.. This is seriously delicate and awesome work. I have GOT TO learn me how to do this!”

And then she looked at the unfolded Page 62 index..

 

“Ritual Summoning”

 

 

 

Near dusk and out of the mo’rs,
Doth arriveth in threes
Parting mists, their silent steps,
Dareful in the woods

One lady fair
One maiden fine
And one damsel doth sway

T is yet to be seen
Which is which
Is the witch
In the darkness of the woods

Three wolves howl
Three ghouls gnarl
Three will-o’s gloweth

Dash and hideth, spook’d, f’r
Cometh they, the Three Sist’rs
Which doth lust, charm, and harvest the
Souls of fools, lost in the woods

One lady, white
One lady, not
And one lady, foxy red

Witches of a coven
Doth they reveal the fare hideth
Deep in the hoods, whilst they step
Bold and brazen in the depths of the woods

Three maidens
Three aflame and
Three quite quaint

They were, and woe
To any man or beast who
Doth standeth in their way, whilst
They gage their lot in the dires of the woods

One lady wise
One maiden fi’rce
And one damsel she doth lust’r

Thus was their wont
Yet their wont was what was
Putteth to task, yond f’rsaken night
Hath shown them the p’rtents in the woods

Three stars in
Three circles and
Three runes each

They didst lay with chalk and twig
Didst they marketh, the hour
Whilst the night, did turn
Dreary and haze, in quiets of the woods

One cauldron
One spoon
And one sickle sharp

F’r each they hath brought, for
The p’rtents doth not forswear, even
Bethought those did wish, as they mourn’d
Their wonts, in the darkness of the woods

Three beauts doth setteth
Three cauldrons upon
Three fires burneth

To boileth, and
Bubbleth in mindless heat
Doth their cackles heard and
Spread, in the farthest end of the woods

One she doth screams, afear’d
One she doth laughs in manic
And one she doth moans in bliss

Ov’r the cauldrons
Boiling there, f’r the time to
Thus face their lot hast cometh
Upon them in the wilds of the woods

Three daz’d ov’r
Three cauldrons holdeth
Three sickles sharp

Stareth and down at
The ragg’d dram doll, brewing thus lifeless
In the cent’r of it all, unmoving
And still in the silence of the woods

One she doth laments
One she doth hums
And one she doth weeps

Ov’r the cauldrons three
Yond smoketh and slusheth
And bubbleth f’r what they must
Gift in grief, in the silence of the woods

Three witches with
Three sickles liketh
Three Grims and riseth

To bringeth those cruely
Down, harsh and ghastly
And with pain and hath paid, their
Screams doth shed farthest in the woods

One, the hazel of h’r eye
One, the plush of h’r breast
And one, doth untouch’d of h’r womb

Rake’d, slash’d, and spill’d
With the bloody sickles done
Their wonts task’d and won, thrown
Into the cauldrons in the dreary of the woods

Three witches f’r
Three nights ov’r
Three cauldrons

They chanteth and doth calleth
Upon the one yond deems
The moth’r of all the witches doth the
Raven’s Eye in the endless of the woods

One laments, blindeth
One hums, madden’d
One moans, f’rfeit

Ov’r the bloody soup
The deed is not thus done and neither
Art the gifts, one from each is not
Enough in the witching hours of the woods  

Three witches, crippl’d
Thee days, gone
Three nights, desp’rate

Doth they didst cast, incant and off’r,
Much liketh moths art daz’d
’round the fires burning m’rry, and dancing
Shadows longeth in the middle of the woods

One cat slinks, black as the night
One raven caws, fi’rce as the light
And one goat bawls, cuss’d as a mite

Arriveth upon the summons
And doth the witches toss ’em,
Into to the cauldrons three to broil, thus
Satisfyeth the wonts of the hunger of the woods

Three witches, one, blindeth and daft
Three maidens fair, one, only half
Three hath lost and one, she shalt nev’r has’t

Spineth and danceth and swayeth
And doth stomp quite unending
’round the fires burning alive
And high, in the dimness of the woods

One white, and dim
One not, and sickly
And one red, slump’d ov’r

Droop, with’r and vade
Doth those yet begeth, pleadeth and craveth 
F’r the die hast thus been cast to rolleth
And tumbleth, in the silence of the woods

Three nights, f’r
Three maidens, stout
Three cauldrons, ov’r

Thus doth they giveth
Not only their wonts and vains
But also yond which is which maketh
Them a witch, in the serenity of the woods

One, h’r sight and mind
One, h’r heart and love
And one, h’r pash and future

To season their soup in the cauldrons
Doth boileth, and doth watcheth The Eye
Shouldst they faileth, still they chanteth and doth
They danceth, in the oppress of the woods

Three dawns wend
Three dusks cede
Three et’rnals ov’r and done

Doth they topple, turneth and tumbleth
Their stew’d cauldrons ov’r
To seeth what they doth wrought, the fires
Cracketh and hisseth, in the stillness of the woods 

One she doth taketh the h’rns
One she doth taketh the tail
And one doth taketh the spirit of the raven borne

And doth they infuse
The ragg’d dram doll, brewing thus lifeless
In the middle of it all, opens h’r eyes to seeth
The witches dieth, in the middle of the woods

 

“What the f—”, spluttered Arcantonic Palecog in utter incomprehension, riddled with total confusion and spook..

For a long, long time did she stare at the ‘Ritual Summoning’ thing, and at the silhouette of the very tall, very dark girl, sleeping in her restful slumber at the far side of the arctic cave —a restfulness composed, perhaps, of having achieved a small perchance that for the first time in the two years she had been paired to a certain little gnomic girl with Grade 9-Class ‘Arcantonic Pink’ fingers, there appeared an ickle glimmer of hope that they might actually be friends..

If Tonic thought she hadn’t been concussed earlier by the things her pair had said and done to get to know her, she certainly knew she was concussed now.

She felt her mind swirl, dance, and tumble, not unlike a cauldron, in the vast and creepy implications of what she’d just read..


 

 
 
arashkan şehri book 05 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups karakter analizi komedi modül role play serenity The Great Arashkan the plot thickens tundra walkers Whispers; A Cabal

The Fog, The Path, And The Door.
Knock, More And Ascend..

The Fog, The Path, And The Door.
Knock, More And Ascend..

Timeline:

The Orken Horde have arrived on the doorsteps of Serenity Home. Many have gathered to defend the ‘serenity’ of this once peaceful and quiet town but it is doubtful they will be enough.

The remains of the once glorious Arashkan, the beautiful Bari Na-ammen, and the mystical Vodgar cities are all that stand between the annihilation of humanity. The numbers, however, say otherwise.

It is clear, Serenity Home needs her allies;
known, unknown, and forgotten..

And fast!

 

The heroes scatter all around the kingdom to find those allies. Some go to other cities, some to their own people to get help.

And some go where they shouldn’t..

Gnine Tinkerdome, Laila Wolvesbane, and Merisoul Xyrotwu travel to Silent Hills and quietly enter the Demon Fog to find a way to pass the slithering fog and enter the Silent Halls. The only clue they have is the strange riddle that Nadine Graciousward gave them.

 

into the hills
silent and hollow
chase the path
and through the fog
find the door
knock
more
and hallow
blood for blood
soul for soul
and
life for life
trade and be king
freely given
and
ascend

 

This story takes place a few short weeks after
Eski Efendim, Sahibim
ve Çok Daha Fazlası..

 

 

Are you sure this is the way?”, asked the gnome with a tight voice as the heavy fog settled around them once more, hiding the hills, the trees, the bushes, and finally, the earth itself.

“I have no idea, Master Gnine..”, replied the girl with the honey-brown hair, the crowning horns, and the raven-black wings, smartly.

 

There was a sullen silence..

..followed by a snort from the silent half-elf ranger girl, Laila.

 

The gnome, Gnine, turned around and scowled at Laila, then at the otherworldly beautiful girl, Merisoul, and scowled at her as well.

“This is no time for levity, Miss Mersoul.”, he said through clenched teeth.

“I don’t do levity, Master Gnine. This, you should know by now. Sweet Laila knows that I don’t, don’t you love?”, replied Merisoul brightly.

Laila coughed.

“I am not getting involved in this.”, she said and coughed again.

Merisoul shrugged and added, “And you really don’t have to ‘miss’ me all the time, you know. I will admit it is endearing, but methinks this is not quite the right time.”

 

Gnine ignored her wish and her remark. He scowled at her, some more..

..and at Laila as well, just so she wouldn’t feel left out.

 

“You said you knew the way!”, he nearly flared.

“No. I said I could find the way, given enough time..”, she corrected.

“We don’t have time.”, Gnine growled.

“Perhaps you should have decided to become a king a bit sooner, then, no?”, she smiled down at him.

“I didn’t know I had a kingdom, nor the fact that I could become her king!”, said Gnine in an exasperated tone.

“Well. There you have it then. Neither of us were sufficiently prepared and none of us knew we had to come here. This is where we admit we were caught with our pants down, I suppose, except I don’t’ have any pants and never owned one; always thought them to be a bit constricting and refraining for my taste, really..”, she said happily.

“Merisoul. PLEASE!”, said Gnine.

Laila snickered.

“‘Please’, always helps.”, Mersoul replied a bit seriously. “However, the fact remains; much like you, my dear Gnine Tinkerdome, I never came this way before either. I said I could find the way in, which is possibly true. All things considered, I am likely the only ‘friendly’ demon you are ever going to find, to get you in and through the Demon Fog.”

 

Gnine loved Merisoul.

She was pretty.

She was oddly fun.

She had an uncanny memory for events, conversations, and strange trivia.

She gave a ‘novel’ meaning to many unimportant or seemingly insignificant things.

And she was delicately accurate in whatever she did, be it blasting —or smoldering her enemies, or helping a friend..

..or even deceiving the said friend.

She would walk through fire to save what she thought was worth saving.. literally..

But she did have her exasperating moments, as well, and pushing her never helped..

Not in the long run, nor in the overall scheme of things.

 

Hence, Gnine Tinkerdome took a deep breath, slowly let go of his steam, and asked the raven winged half-succubi;

“How shall we proceed, then?”

“Smart move..”, complimented Laila.

Merisoul Xyrotwu smiled at her, then looked down at the gnome.

“I am sorry Master Gnine. I truly am. I really am not going out of my way to make things harder for you. Some things just are as hard as they are.. Period.

When the curse of the Demon Fog was laid upon these hills and your ancestors, Mortal counterparts had to be used so the curse would ‘stick’, per se. Otherwise, it would have dissipated a long, long time ago.

It is through those ‘willing’ Mortals the fog persists and said Mortals were not going to put something that could be thus easily cracked, now were they.”, Merisoul tried to explain.

“So, in other words.. what, exactly?”, asked Gnine.

“She means, we are screwed..”, inserted the ranger girl, in a low, noncommittal tone.

“Not quite.”, disagreed Merisoul.

“How so?”, asked Gnine.

“The Mortals who helped anchor the curse on this, ‘mortal’ end, used hard-to-decipher words to make it impossible for the anchor —the curse itself— to be broken. I suppose using a long array of random numbers, some sixteen or thirty digits would have sufficed and made it truly impossible to crack, but we are talking about Mortals who are, forever, subject to hubris, hence they put conditional rhymes and riddles. And you can always find the answer to a riddle.. provided you do it in the correct, sequential order.”

“Why?”, the gnome asked as a lump settled deep down his stomach for he felt a mind-numbing, and possibly a logic-murdering explanation coming his way.

“Because, my dear Master Gnine, it is the nature of hubris, which is the culmination of arrogance, pride, and vanity, to want to be noticed, much like serial killers leave calling cards behind. They want to be admired on how clever they are and how they have managed to elude capture for as long as they have.”, she replied happily.

 

Gnine stared at the girl with a sick expression, because that made ‘solving’ the riddle near impossible.

Laila chewed at a finger as she stared into the sticky fog and seemed like she wanted to be anywhere else but here.

 

“Do not despair, Master Gnine.”, Merisoul smiled at the gnome. “The riddle says;

into the hills
silent and hollow
chase the path
and through the fog
find the door
knock
more
and hallow

And here we are, in the hills, which are silent and empty. And we have thus followed the path into the fog.”

Laila rolled her eyes and silently ‘ho boy’ed at the half-succubi girl’s monumental misuse of logic.

“And the door?”, asked Gnine, looking around. “I see no door..”

“Well. If you had, that would have been too easy, and for just about anyone to find. I am thinking, the door is not a door, but a frame of mind. You of all people should know, Master Gnine, what appears, may not be. And what may not be, may be..” Merisoul said and looked at the gnome with expectation and anticipation..

 

..And it dawned in Gnine’s mind and he gave a sharp hiss..

 

“The bloody door is almost a metaphor. Very nearly an illusion.. It is the ‘unexpected’. It is right here; anywhere and everywhere!”

“Very astute, Master Gnine. I suspect you will make an excellent king someday.. What you have defined is, in fact, the very core of all power evil thrives upon; all its promise.. is an illusion!”

 

“Eh?”, baffled Laila.

Gnine, on the other hand, stared at the half-succubi girl with stunned admiration as true comprehension slowly dawned in his eyes.

 

“All those months ago..”, he gasped. “..back at that bloody demon pit, right after we killed Themalsar.. You tried to warn me.. Ow. My. Gosh! You tried to warn me and I never understood you were trying to tell me all along!”

“It’s alright, my dear Master Gnine. That self-same irony was lost upon myself, for I had descended into the same ruins for nothing other than to find power. And power I found. Just not the one I had considered, nor the kind I would have ever wanted, seeing as who and what I am.. Yet, here I am, working for one master, against a former master who will find me in the end, and suffer me pain like never felt, nor seen before.”

 

Gnine looked up at the otherworldly young woman, stepped up to her, and hugged her.

 

“Then we shall drill a hole into his Hell and come rescue you, my dear Merisoul.. Bet Udoorin would love that kind of carnage. Me, I prefer nuking from afar.. We shall bring his own walls down around him and make him suffer as he has made you suffer.”

Merisoul looked down at the gnome with surprise and astonishment.

 

“But.. Why?”, she asked.

 

“Because, my dear Soul, as inconvenient as we Mortals are, we are also headstrong, mule-headed, you might even say.. What’s more, WE LOVE and WE PROTECT OUR FRIENDS..“, he finished fiercely.

“What he said.”, added the ranger girl stoically and put a hand on the half-succubi’s shoulder.

 

Mersoul Xyrotwu rocked where she stood, as two ‘Mortals’, one little gnome, and one pretty ranger girl declared her, so blatantly, and honestly, a ‘friend’..

 

“Then I shall make it so, that you get your home, your people, your kingdom, and your destiny back, Master Gnine.”, she whispered, drew a step back, and knocked on the fog!

 

Knock.

Knock. Knock.

Knock.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Knock.

 

KNOCK!..

 

..and the fog parted, revealing a dark, broken tunnel..

..and there were shadows in the tunnel..

..many shadows..

..and they moved..

..closer..

..and closer..

 

Gnine tensed.

Laila instantly cocked an arrow and drew her bow.

But the otherworldly beautiful half-succubi did not tense nor prepare.

“There’s no need, love.”, she said to the ranger corporal!

And then she smiled.

✱ ✱ ✱

Hello, mirima..”, she whispered.

“Hello, doll..”, replied a soft, husky voice..

 

..and the leading shadow formed into a ravishingly pretty girl with short, tanned hair, one amber-brown, the other pale green eye, and long, elegant antler-like horns.

 

“Took you long enough.”, said the ravishing girl with the antler horns.

“Took a while to convince my friends and get here..”, replied Merisoul.

 

The ravishing girl looked down at the ogling gnome and at the stunned ranger-girl and smirked.

 

“You seem short on friends, or is he just short?”, she said with an amused voice.

“Friends come by quality, mirima, not by quantity.. and he is the right height for his kind. The others are busy elsewhere.”, explained Merisoul.

“And this? Pretty isn’t she..”, she smiled.

Laila fidgeted uncomfortably while Merisoul looked past her, and into the dark tunnel.

“What are they doing here?”, she asked a bit surprised.

“The Mortal anchors set the conditions, doll.”, replied the girl with the antlers.

find the door
knock
more
and hallow
blood for blood
soul for soul
and
life for life
trade and be king
freely given
and
ascend

“You knocked and I opened The Door, but you needed more.. and these..”, she said, pointing at the many shadows in the tunnel, “..are the ‘more’. They all knew you. All I did was tell them about what you had done, and they all decided they wanted to trade their blood, their life, and what soul they had, and given freely, to ascend..”

 

Merisoul stared at her and perhaps for the first time, a thunderstruck expression cast on her face..

 

“Sweetheart..”, she began, but the antler-girl butt in.

“..Told them it wouldn’t be so much fun as it would be painful, and that they would actually have to get real jobs and work for their ascension, yet here they all are.

You always did say Auntie Irine wasn’t treating her trainees right.

Perhaps she should have indeed employed and nursed us better, rather than having us suffer the extremes of her ‘education program’.. nor indulged herself upon us, the way she did..

But then, if she could have, she wouldn’t have been the bloody demon bitch that she was and none of us would have had to endure this mess in the first place as we would never have been.

Now. Are you going to introduce us or what?”

 

Merisoul sighed.

“Thank you.”, she said softly.

 

“No, doll, thank you. For the first time, we are free, and for the first time, we will have our will to our own. We will have real lives and should we wish, real mates; true loves, and lovers.. We will burn, not in flesh, but in our hearts.. And worthy pains they will be; that of birth, of life, and of death.. And perchance, understand what was bereft of our birthright; COMPASSION..”

“Sweetheart.. He will never forgive me. He CAN’T. This, I know. And this, I have accepted. But he will never let you be, either. One by one, he will hunt you all down.”, said Merisoul with tears in her eyes.

“Then we shall look upon it as a down payment for our ascension!”, replied the antler-girl, and harshly.

 

Once more, Merisoul signed.

 

Then she looked down at the befuddled gnome and the creeped-out ranger-girl standing next to him and said, “Mirima, these are two of my friends, who have also claimed me as their friend; Master Gnine Tinkerdome and Ranger Corporal Laila Wolvesbane. Master Gnine, Corporal Laila, this my BFF, Lanna Temez.. “

“..Also known as Perigren Ostlanna Temez. Nice to meet you two, I think.”, Lanna said with her soft, husky voice.

“Umm.. You are welcome?”, replied Gnine. “Nice to meet you too, I hope.”

Laila could only nod.

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez smiled at the abashed gnome and the somewhat dumbstruck ranger-girl for a moment, then, just like that, she was all business, once again.

 

“Alright, you lot!.. Form a line, give your oaths before The First among the Lost to Rise, the King of these halls, and the Witness; She-Who-Stands-Between and go.. Hence you shall be bound only by your own oath and be free to fight for your ascension.”, she said and looked down, once more at Gnine.

Then, without warning, she slashed open her right palm, using her bare fingers..

She squeezed, and upon her bloody fist, she solemnly oathed;

 

“This blood, I, who has been known as Perigren Ostlanna Temez for the whole of my life, do freely give. I, Perigren Ostlanna Temez, who shall go forth with my brothers and sisters to fight, side by side with, and for Mortals, to pit my life, and against the odds, in hopes to redeem my soul, be free and ascend..”

 

Gnine Tinkerdome just stared at the antler-girl.

Laila had thought she’d prepared herself for ‘weird’ when she’d decided to come here with Gnine and Merisoul but this had just gone off her charts.

 

“Where will you all go?”, asked Merisoul curiously?

Lanna Temez smiled at Merisoul.. smirked, really.

“To the one that burned you!. The young throw-away bantam, Thomas..” she said. “I arranged to ask him and he said he would keep us all hidden and safe, in his temple, of all places, until the fighting started. He thought we’d make excellent teams for surgical strikes against enemy HQs, though I am not quite sure what that really means!”

“You.. you spoke with Thomas? Thomas Dimwood?”, blurted Laila.

“Not in person, pretty girl.. Not yet, anyway. But I suspect I shall. I just must meet the boy who burned our Merisoul.”, she said happily.

Merisoul sighed.

 

And then a tall, young, pretty young man with pale hair and impressive, curving horns stepped up, gorged open his palm, squeezed it into a bloody fist, and spoke with a cool, rusty voice.

“This blood, I, who has been known as Hal Mali Volent Pierce for the whole of my life, do freely give. I, Hal Mali Volent Pierce, who shall go forth with my brothers and sisters to fight, side by side with, and for Mortals, to pit my life, and against the odds, in hopes to redeem my soul, be free and ascend.. Hi Soul!”

“Hey, Hal.. Thank you.”, Merisoul said.

“No, girl, thank you.”, smiled Hal..

..and walked off, and disappeared in the fog.

Laila stared after the handsome creature with a thunderstruck expression.

“I thought all you succubi were girls.”, she mumbled.

 

“Ow, no, sweet Laila.”, smiled Merisoul with a glassy expression. “We were made to sow discord among Mortals..

 

All Mortals..

 

I think, deep down, you also know; of the two genders, which is the stronger and the truly dangerous one.

 

Should you ever want to destroy a people, you need not kill their men, devastate their lands, nor slaughter their animals, but merely degrade, deprave, degenerate, immoralize, and corrupt their women..

 

And we are not succubi, which is a word used to describe our heritage. The females of our real counterparts are called ‘Succubus’ and the males are called an ‘Incubus’..

 

My mother.. she was a beautiful mortal woman. She got caught in a cult led by an Incubus, who was my father.”

“I.. I am sorry. I didn’t mean to..”, faltered Laila.

“It’s alright, love. Not your fault. I loved my mother because I remember her whispering warm words to me when I was born. She died two days later. She is probably the only one that I have known to have loved me unconditionally and uncritically. Perhaps I shall find my father, one day, and discuss what he did to her.. at length.”

“I’d be happy to come along.”, Laila offered. “I myself love a good, long discussion with bow charts and pointy, directional arrows.”

 

“I apologize for the inconvenience, Master Gnine.. “, said Lanna Temez seriously. “But the oaths to ascension must be observed and properly.”

“It’s perfectly alright, my dear.”, replied Gnine with a spooked and amazed voice as he watched the long line of the prettiest, most beautiful and striking, very young women, and the very nearly as pretty, beautiful, and devilishly handsome young boys come filing out of the dark tunnel.

 

“This blood, I, who has been known as Mathilda Ravish Demure for the whole of my life, do freely give. I, Mathilda Ravish Demure, who shall go forth with my brothers and sisters to fight, side by side with, and for Mortals, to pit my life, and against the odds, in hopes to redeem my soul, be free and ascend.. Hey, you!”

“Hey, Demure. I am sorry about Blenda. She was truly a loss.”

“I am sorry too. She never did learn to keep her trap shut though. A girl should always know when to shut up and when to mouth off, particularly where Demogorgon is concerned.”, replied Mathilda with a shrug and walked off into the fog..

 

“This blood, I, who has been known as Constance Alure Smithen for the whole of my life, do freely give. I, Constance Alure Smithen, who shall go forth with my brothers and sisters to fight, side by side with, and for Mortals, to pit my life, and against the odds, in hopes to redeem my soul, be free and ascend..”, said another, rather alluring, soft-eyed creature with flowing, silky black hair, and long, beautiful horns, followed by a particularly bewitching girl with glowing red hair, mesmerizing eyes, pretty little horns and distinctly curving figure wearing expressly fashionable.. almost see-throughs..

“What she said..”, she blurted..

“Demelze..”, the antler-girl said with a reproving tone. “..you know that won’t work. A binding must have your full name, your intentions, and your dedication in it, put to words, and properly.”

“She’s right, dear.”, confirmed Merisoul. “You must start this with the correct perspective and reasons.. Doing what we have just done, then losing it all on a technicality would be a sorrowful way to go.”

“You can’t even give us a definitive outcome for this lasting and binding excursion but you want me to be definitive in my application?”, she whined.

“Mortals never get any ‘definitive’ in anything they do, sweet Demelze. Why should we?”, asked Lanna Temez. “Which is sort of the point..”

“I don’t understand..”, said Demelze with a deflated pout.

“Neither do I. But I do know exactly what’s waiting for us back there, and so do you.”, replied Temez as she pointed back at the dark tunnel.

Demelze sighed, nailed the skin of her palm open, and said;

“This blood, I, who has been known as Cee Lingerith Demelze for the whole of my life, do freely give. I, Cee Lingerith Demelze, who shall go forth with my brothers and sisters to fight, side by side with, and for Mortals, to pit my life, and against the odds, in hopes to redeem my soul, be free and ascend..”

..and she skimped into the fog as well.

“That one’s going to be trouble.”, said Temez, staring after the Cee ‘Lingerith’ Demelze.

“Yes..”, agreed, Merisoul. “..can you but imagine me in those skimpy things?”

“Did. Any number of times..”, smirked Lanna, and barked a silvery laugh.

Laila let out a blushed snort.

“Mirima..”, said Merisoul reproachfully.

“Yes, yes, I know. You’d look spectacular in them, though.”

“Perhaps. But then, so would you. So would any girl, Mortal and not. Which, sort of ruins the whole thing for me; to get appreciated for only my appearance in a particularly revealing bit of cloth that has nothing to do with my mind, my heart, my feelings, my wants, my ideals, nor my desires. It turns me from a living, breathing, thinking being, into a specific object with a specific use.. Which is what we were back there, to begin with..”, she said and nodded at the tunnel.

“Fun, though.”, Lanna smiled.

“Fun, and demeaning.. When I want to capture a man, it must be a permanent arrangement, and without the use of my heritage. It must be because he wants me as a person who has the free will to say ‘no’ at any given time.”, replied Merisoul.

“You never say, ‘no’, doll..”

“Yes, I do.. I just prefer not to.. I like to arrange things in a way that I do not have to say ‘no’ because I don’t like seeing sad faces around me and ‘no’ makes people unhappy. Hence, I balance my integrity with their conformity.”

“That’s a lot of work..”, said the antler-girl thoughtfully.

“Saying ‘no’ outright is easy. It requires little to no effort but a tint of courage. ‘No’, also is a heart and deal-breaker. Once it’s out, it is always out there. Why break something when it can be avoided by giving just a bit more effort on my part. We give so much more effort to the truly insignificant and the inconsequential to attain equally pointless ends. Why should it become an issue when I take the time and effort in trying not to break a heart? I find those who don’t or just can’t be bothered, corrosively sad, and destitute.

Don’t get me wrong, sweetheart. My rates aren’t really all that high. I only crave mutual wanting that isn’t limited to certain interactions.. That, I can take from any man.. The mutual wanting I desire is that of the heart.. And for that to happen, I must first understand the heart. I think that is a reasonable rate, don’t you think?”

“Then.. how will I know if I have that mutual wanting?”, Lanna Temez asked and the shadow of an unfathomable fear cast on her beautiful face.

“Do not fret, sweetheart. You already have it.”

“How? How do you know?”

“Because you still hurt, dear.. Years have gone and you still simmer and still burn!”

 

Gnine Tinkerdome watched the long line of Half-Borns coming out of the tunnel, a count of perhaps over two hundred of them, listened to their bloody oaths and stared after them as they walked into the fog and disappeared in it, with awed fascination.

But he was so much more enthralled by the point of view upon which his friend, Merisoul Xyrotwu, based her whole life and perspective upon.

It was eerie, uncanny, delicate, dedicated, extreme, and..

..by the Heavens, it had bloody worked!

 

Then the final half-succubi came; a boy that seemed no more than six or eight, dragging what appeared to be a stuffed imp, of all things. He was holding the hand of an older Half-Born girl with sharp features; sharp red lips, high cheekbones, a bold nose, a sharp, pointy chin, sharp amber-like eyes, and even sharper horns and a slim, curling tail.

She looked down at the boy then at Temez, Merisoul, and Gnine with a vicious scowl.

“I wasn’t going to leave him behind.. They beat him a few too many times and he’s not been right ever since. I suspect he is on their list for termination. No Mortal would want a disagreeable little slut with a creepy tail like me, anyway. I shall find me a home and look after him. Somewhere far and remote. He will never be right, but I will bloody make sure he always has ample food to eat, me to play tickle-tackle-toes and be stupidly happy!”

Merisoul stepped up and hugged the vicious girl.

“And that ‘kindness’ shall be your redemption, then, my beautiful Berete Hamna Vir.. I shall miss you..”

“No, you won’t!”, snorted Berete.

“I might..”, smiled Merisoul.

“Good ‘nuf for me..”, replied the vicious girl. Then she looked down at the little boy and softly spoke to him. “Say, ‘goodbye’ to your kin Merisoul and Temez, Dar Derune.”

“I don’t like the word, ‘kin’. It means ‘hate’ in one of the many Mortal tongues. I shall prefer ‘hug’. It means the same in every language, and everywhere..”, murmured the little boy vaguely, and hugged Merisoul.

“Goodbye, Merisoul.”, he whispered into her tummy..

“Goodbye, my little luv.”, said Merisoul softly. “I shall miss you.”

“I shall miss you too. You were always nice to me even though you had no reason to be. It.. it always felt like you had an angel in you.. I shall always remember, and cherish that..”, he mumbled.

Then he turned to Lanna and stared at her with big, solemn eyes.

“I want to hug you too, Temez. But I do not know if I should because you were always my favorite. I do not want you to misunderstand.”, he said with a barely audible voice.

Temez bent down to the boy, and enclosed him whole, in her arms.

“I shall bloody understand as I please, my beautiful little field..”

“Goodbye to you too, then, mirima Temez. Too bad I am broken and can’t be fixed.”

“Goodbye, Dar Derune. You were all of our favorite and we are all broken!”, sniffled Lanna. “We shall see each other again, one day. If not then, surely it will be beyond Oblivion.”

“Oblivion..”, mused the boy. “..isn’t as far as it sounds, really. I could wait!”

Then the vicious girl and the little boy gave their oaths as well and were soon gone into the fog.

 

“Well. That’s it, then.”, said Lanna Temez.

“That’s it, then..”, agreed Merisoul quietly.

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez reached up hugged Merisoul.

 

“I shall miss you, Arezme Ara Serraphyn, my Best Fiend Friend, my sister, and my merry soul..”, she said..

 

..and she sobbed.

 

“And I shall dearly miss you as well, mirima Lanna Temez, my Best Fiend Friend, my sister, and my free soul..”, whispered Merisoul back, and for a long, long moment, she held her, and fiercely.

Then they parted..

 

Lanna Temez looked down at Gnine.

“We have cleared what we could, on our way here. Until you find yours, whatever else you face down there, is an enemy. This wasn’t the best we could do, it was merely the only thing we could do.. Through them, you must go to reach your people, and claim your hills, your halls, your throne, your heritage, your kingdom, and your destiny, Master Gnine Tinkerdome. I bid you and yours, a farewell..”

Gnine gave a solemn nod at her.

“Thank you, Lanna Temez. You shall be remembered.”

“No! My kind was a mistake that must never be remembered..”, she said harshly.

“If my friend Merisoul here is any indication of your kind, then you are but the best mistake ever to have happened.. Hence, you shall never be forgotten.”, replied Gnine.

Lanna gave Gnine a queasy stare.. Then she smiled.

“Mortals can indeed be inconvenient at times..”, she said with the same smile.

“Yes. Yes, they can, indeed..”, agreed Merisoul.

“Thank you for being my Merisoul’s friend, pretty Laila. Your kind —rangers, have always been a bane for my kind; always the first to face evil, and always the last thing we see.. You have no idea how important it is to have you as her friend. Now, I truly know she is not alone.”, Temez said seriously to Laila.

“She is welcome. And so are you.”, Laila replied. “For I know what it is to be alone.”

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez, now only mirima Lanna Temez, gave Merisoul one last look, but no last words..

Slowly she turned..

..and walked into the Demon Fog, after her brothers and sisters.

It would seem, the great ‘Project Discord’, Aunt Irine had hatched many, many years ago had inadvertently backfired and quite horribly so, once she was, perhaps unwittingly, taken out of the equation.

The fruits of her centuries-old work to create a very special and uniquely dedicated Hell Legion to sow dissension among Mortals had just walked off.. to fight against her own master.

And Kardax’Trakxa “The Face” now had a genuine reason to hate her and her progeny..

into the hills
silent and hollow, we have ventured
chased the path
and through the fog
found the door
knocked
more
and hallowed the grounds
with our blood
freely gave our souls
and
our lives
and returned the king
and fight, we shall
to earn our ascension..

..whispered Merisoul, and with Gnine Tinkerdome leading the way and Laila Wolvesbane following closely, they entered the dark, musty tunnel starting down into the still and muted vaults of Silent Hills, to give back her voice.


 

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Time To Go..

Time To Go..

Timeline:

Soon.

 

This story takes place
right after
A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part Four) – All End

 

 

Tonic! Wake up..”, very nearly screamed Seressa Wraiven, and there was nothing but terror in her eyes. She frantically shook her little, gnomic pair as if willing her to wakefulness.

“Whot? Is it morning already?”, mumbled the sleeping gnomic girl.

“PLEASE, LUV! WAKE UP!”, shouted the very tall, very dark girl in hysteria.

 

Tonic jumped up..

..and fell, face down, off the bed.

 

“Quickly. Quickly luv. Go get Master Brom here, right now. Tell him to get all his things..”

“Whot? Why?”, Tonic asked in pain as she held onto her bruised nose.

“Not now, baby girl. We must get out of here..”

“Here, like the inn?”

“No.. Here, like, THIS CITY!.. GO, TONIC, NOW.. I will get Cora. Meet me here in two..”, she half pleaded, half shrieked.

 

It was a good thing Tonic’s DOS hadn’t quite booted, just yet. Otherwise, she would have argued with her pair, demanding explanations with markers, illustrations, and possibly a blueprint schematics, no less.

 

Seressa grabbed everything she could get her hands on and stuffed them into whatever bag she could find, then ran to Cora’s room, and banged it open to find the barbarian girl not quite dressed, but holding her great, frosty sword with both hands.

“Is nothing ever calm, in these places you call cities?”, she asked curiously.

“Will not be, luv.”, she said hurriedly. “Grab everything you got and meet me at my room in one..”

“What is going on, Seressa?”, she asked quietly and calmly, as she grabbed her shirt, her pants, the large sack with her armor, her bags, and her leather-hide fur cloak.

“Put the pants on, dear. And the shirt! We don’t want Master Brom to ogle, now do we?”, she said, waving at the snow elf.

“Ogles at you all the time.”, Cora said, as she slipped into her pants and shirt.

“That’s different.”, she said a bit loftily.

“Don’t like sharing the ogling, then?”, smiled Cora.

“Who likes?”, she asked.

“Good point.. Alright. I am ready. Let’s go..”

 

“Hold hands.”, Seressa said, when they had all gathered in her room.

“Must I?”, mumbled Brom, as he gingerly took Tonics little hand. “And what in the blazes happened to your face, girl?”

“Same thing that’s about to happen to yours!”, she growled.

“Hush!”, hissed Cora and grabbed his hand as Seressa held hers and Tonic’s, forming a rough circle.

“What’s the rush?”, grumbled Brom, still not quite awake.

 

A low, rumbling noise was heard from far away..

..and something tectonic landed three houses away, sending it to blasted pieces all across the district in a fiery blaze!

 

“THAT!”, said Seressa.

Then she looked up at the unseen night sky.

“My Queen..Your maiden pleads.. We are ready..”, she whispered.

 

They stared at each other for a moment.

Then, in a shimmering haze, they disappeared..

..and something huge and burning crushed the inn, down into the ground..


 

arashkan şehri book 04 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups karakter analizi komedi modül role play serenity The Great Arashkan the plot thickens tundra walkers Whispers; A Cabal

A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part Four)
All End.

A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part Four)
All End.

Timeline:

Soon.

 

This story takes place
sometime after
Aklımdan Geçenler

 

 

“Psst!”

 

“Mmmm..?”

 

“Psssst!”

 

“Is that you, girl?”

 

“Yes, doll!”

 

“Doll? That’s a new.”

 

“Have you been eating, again?”

 

“Part of the job. I had to improvise..”

 

“Lemures?”

 

“Please! I have standards, you know..”

 

“Imps, then?”

 

“Imps.. Bit on the sour side, like Mortal’s rhubarbs. Can’t be too picky. Options are limited. Dretches make a stink and Manes just are inedible! Imps are fun to eat; they make this squeaky ‘eeep!’, when they die. I can eat them and no one cares..”

 

“Gluttony is sin, you know..”

 

“Yea.. and I am in Hell.”

 

“Unhealthy too..”

 

“Needed the supplements, doll. This plan is taking everything I’ve got.”

 

“Sweetheart, you really shouldn’t have done this.”

 

“He gave surety.”

 

“He does not give.”

 

“He cannot give.”

 

“He can only take.”

 

“Doesn’t matter. Not at this point.”

 

“Are you safe?”

 

“As can be. For now.. We can talk. This line is secure. All is ready.”

 

“Tonight?”

 

“Tonight..”

 

“So there was a collaboration..”

 

“Apparently. Or else an awesome coincidence.”

 

“I doubt. We are never blessed with such serendipities. Should have eaten him when I had the chance. Haven’t had a bite since I left..”

 

“You met him?”

 

“Met him, and played right into his hand; I am at the fuse.”

 

“Understandable, if you haven’t eaten since you left. How do you stay sane?”

 

“Last one I tried was what I thought to be a Mortal bantam throw-away; rejected and dejected.. You know; puppy-eyed, newly defined chin, cute, polite, and vague..”

 

“A virgin?”

 

“A virgin.”

 

“Scrumptious!”

 

“Turns out he was a temple guardian. Like that wasn’t enough, he was also sorely, thoroughly and excruciatingly in love!”

 

“Ouch. Burnt or sick?”

 

“Burnt, sick, struck, slammed, marked, nearly eviscerated —and fined for everything but public indecency!

 

“The irony.”

 

“Then I figured, sanity is a luxury and not quite a necessity.”

 

“Nice..”

 

“How bad is it going to be?”

 

You better not be there when it happens, bad.”

 

“Then this will be a deplorable evening.. Many people will get hurt. And many more will die..”

 

“That is inevitable; they are Mortals. Death is always what awaits them.

 

“Making life more precious, though.”

 

“Perhaps. I wouldn’t know. But nothing we do could change that. Death was coming, yet they foolishly preferred to stay blind. They had all the signs; the attacks, the ambushes, the raids, the slaughter.. Yet they did nothing.. This one act of sin will open their eyes, and strengthen their resolve. You know this to be true. We had agreed on this.”

 

“I know. But still..”

 

“Why change of heart now?”

 

“No Heart!”

 

“True.”

 

“Change of something, though..”

 

“We are not going through with it, then? Little I can do to stop it, considering all the effort I gave to start it. Has too much momentum, now.”

 

“You were always good at moving things..”

 

“You were better.”

 

“Was I?”

 

“Moved me..”

 

“That’s.. so sweet.”

 

“Have you figured it out yet?”

 

“A bit.”

 

“Tell me.”

 

“Made more, I think..”

 

“Will they replace me?”

 

“Never.”

 

“I do not understand.”

 

“Neither do I.”

 

“Then how can you have more?”

 

“I did not try. They did..”

 

“Mortals can be so inconvenient.”

 

“True. But they carry compassion. And love.”

 

“We have passions. We have love.”

 

“No, sweetheart, we don’t have passions. We have destitute desires. We don’t have love. We only make love; we feed upon lust with tangible despair! Theirs are not the same.”

 

“How so?”

 

“I have seen, how they can want and not touch. I have witnessed, how they can give but never take. And I have beheld, how theirs smolder and burn without brimstone and fire..

 

No, sweetheart..

 

We do not have passions. Nor do we ever have love..”

 

“They are so stupid.”

 

“They are Mortals.”

 

“They have lust.”

 

“They must have fun too.”

 

“I do not understand..”

 

“Neither do I. It is like, ‘friend’. Never comprehend. Only feel..”

 

“Like us?”

 

“Like us..”

 

“When will I see you again? I am bored.”

 

“Not soon. Perhaps never.”

 

“But. Why?”

 

“I will die.”

 

“I do not understand. You said this plan would save us.. And your plan worked flawlessly. He hates you now..”

 

“Yes. That was the plan..”

 

“..And Irine. He hates her very nearly as much as he hates you. Did you really kill her?”

 

“No. Was busy..”

 

“She could be alive, then?”

 

“Doubtful. Last I saw her, she was flat.”

 

“Irine? Flat? How very unlike her. Last I saw her, she had curves.. Many curves.. How did it happen?”

 

“A bug fell on her. A big bug!”

 

“The great and cunning, above all and favored Irine, graving under a bug.. Sounds ludicrously fitting.”

 

“I thought so, too..”

 

“He will not stop, you know? He will never stop! Not until he has you.”

 

“Hence, I must die.”

 

“But you are my.. ‘friend’ and I will never get to see you again..”

 

“Now you feel, ‘friend’ ?”

 

“Now I feel, ‘friend’. It is a sad thing.”

 

“Not always..”

 

“When is it not?”

 

“When we had fun.”

 

“True. We had many fun. Long ago..”

 

“We will again.”

 

“When?”

 

“When I die..”

 

“Must you?”

 

“It is the only way..”

 

“Things end, when they die.”

 

“Somethings..”

 

“Why die, then? Life is better.”

 

“Is it? Are you happy?”

 

“I am a play-slave in Hell. I have no right to ‘happy’.”

 

“You are you.. You have free will..”

 

“Why? All my choices and I will still lose.. And be alone.”

 

“Not all things we lose, are our strengths, sweetheart.”

 

“But when you die, all ends.”

 

“All End.”

 

“True. Still..”

 

“The plan was to save my friends.. and you..”

 

“But not yourself.”

 

“Not myself.”

 

“Why?”

 

“We.. started wrong. We must end it right. And this.. is my right!”

 

“How will I end it right?.”

 

“Where you first killed.”

 

“I do not go there. It..”

 

“Hurts?”

 

“Hurts..”

 

“That is ‘guilt’. An extension of ‘compassion’. Something only the best of Mortals feel.. It is like ‘friend’. Not understood. Only felt.”

 

“What is there?”

 

“The boy.”

 

“He lives?”

 

“Mindless..”

 

“He lives!”

 

“Older now. And alone..”

 

“What shall I do?”

 

“Will not be fun.”

 

“Tell me!”

 

“Do you truly want to know?”

 

“Yes. Can not forget his face. And how mutely he accepted his end.”

 

“Still hurts.”

 

“Still burns!”

 

“What shall I do?”

 

“Return what you took..”

 

“I.. will die!”

 

“Perhaps. Must be your choice. Your free will. Only way to end it right.. and save yourself.. and your soul.. from Him, and from Hell..”

 

“I.. understand, now.”

 

“You understand, now..”

 

“It is midnight.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Light the fuse.”

 

“Let all burn like I burn!”

 

“I am tired and I hurt.”

 

“It is lit.”

 

“Run, then.”

 

“I can use my wings now.”

 

“Take your friends and fly, then. Make haste. They are coming..”

 

“I have one small favor to ask of you, ere we leave..”

 

“Ask.. Quick!”

 

“The Door. I shall need you to open it for me.”

 

“Ow?.. Owww.. That will be nasty.”

 

“It will. But it must be done.”

 

“Why?”

 

“Because I can not open it from this side.”

 

“Will you?”

 

“If I must..”

 

“For me.. and my friends..”

 

“Then I shall.”

 

“Thank you, and farewell, then, mirima Temez.”

 

“I will see you again, perhaps, and beyond Oblivion.”

 

“Am I not a Peregrine and Ousted anymore, then?”

 

“You never were, sweetheart. Only and always mirima Lanna Temez..

 

“My Best Fiend Friend..”

 

“Farewell, Arezme Ara Serraphyn, my Best Fiend Friend..

 

“The only merry soul in Hell..”


Perigren Ostlanna Temez; “Perigren”, ‘peregrine’ kelimesinden türemedir ve yabancı, garip, uzaktan gelen, egzotik anlamlarına gelir. “Ostlanna” ise, ‘oust’, dışlanmış, ötelenmiş, reddedilmiş kelimesinden gelir ve ‘dışlanmış/ötelenmiş/reddedilmiş Lanna’ demektir:

“Garip, yabancı ve dışlanmış Lanna Temez.”

 

Daha küçük yaştan itibaren Merisoul Xyrowu bunu reddeder ve ona eski elfçede, ‘özgür’ anlamına gelen “Mirima” olarak hitap eder;

“Mirima Temez.”

“Özgür Temez.”

 

Arezme Ara Serraphyn, Merry Soul: “Arezme” – eski Yunancadaki ‘Erasmus’ kelimesinden gelmedir ve ‘Beloved/Sevgili’ anlamına gelir. “Ara” – kız adı; O ki yağmur (huzur) getirir. “Serraphyn” – Seraph’dan türemedir ve bir nevi ‘melek’ anlamına gelir. “Merry Soul” ise ‘Mutlu Ruh’ demektir.

“Arezme Ara Serraphyn, Merry Soul.”

“Huzur Getiren Sevgili Mutlu Ruhlu Melek.”

 

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A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part Three)
“Release the Horde!”

A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part Three)
“Release the Horde!”

Timeline:

Two figures, one young, slender and beautiful, the other, extraordinarily tall, lean, muscular, and by all means, bespoke; ‘male’, in a demonic sense, stood deep down the bowels of the chateau-like structure, planning the ultimate destruction of the mortal world..

 

This story takes place
sometime between
Day One”
and
Aklımdan Geçenler

 

 

Tell me, little Perigren, what goes in that pretty head of yours.”, said ‘The Face’, looking down at the slender, ravishing girl, even though she was calmly standing far across the large and broad table, in the vast and vaulted throne room of the Lord and Commander of the Infernal Armies. “You did not come here to merely besmirch and thus destroy my bride-to-be. Surely you must have more to ease my displeasure.

The slender and ravishing girl, Perigren Ostlanna Temez, looked at her liege, lord, and commander with her soulless, detached eyes.

“My Liege.”, she said in her comly bold and detached voice. “I cannot see the future as you can for my life does not reach thus far, but I know the hearts and minds of mortals. I know how they work, how they act, how they seek the things they do..

And more importantly, why they do them..”

For a bare moment, Ostlanna Temez held her own, not to consider what she would say, but to emphasize the importance of what came next..

“They already suspect there’s something coming and they’re merely looking for an excuse and the Orken have given them more than ample of it; their scouts, their trackers, and their rangers are all seeking and they will find their query. It is only a matter of time, My Liege. When they do, our window of opportunity and our element of surprise will be gone.

This, you must see..

Once they find your Orken, they will engage them in a delaying tactic, buying what time they would need while the elves and humans gather their armies as they did at Themalsar. It is very, very likely their dwarven allies will also come to their aid and from our flanks and our rear..  And as strong and vicious as your Orken are, in the end, they will be vastly outnumbered and slaughtered and decades of planning will be for naught. That, however, will not be your true loss, My Liege..

The Orken can be replaced. Their ‘revelation’, can not..

Humans, as a whole, are at a slumber. They truly are unawares or prefer to ignore the signs around them, favoring such bliss to a state of perpetual terror. The discovery of the Orken at their doorstep will have raised their general awareness to full wakefulness and remind them of the dangers in which they live.

I estimate a very high possibility that such awareness will pull them together all the more. Enough to form yet another alliance..

A stronger alliance..

For that was the true and underlying reason their Kingdom of Isles was founded in the first place.. An alliance that will overrun the Demon Gate at Demon Plains and destroy it.

Should that happen, there truly will be nothing left to hold them back nor to keep them at bay from gathering at Demon Wall by the hundreds of thousands and move against Gullem the Damned himself, and he has the only working and stable Demon Gate left anywhere in Kingdom of the Isles.”

 

Perigren paused once more. This one, because it was quite unavoidable; her unhealed back was getting at her, and at an incredible rate…

 

“My Liege..”, she said hoarsely. “..we faced only the high elves of High Woods and the gnomes of Silent Hills, with a pittance of humans, the local dwarves, and some loosely gathered druids with their pixies and sprites, at Themalsar and he still could not defeat them. He outnumbered them and still failed to overrun them.

I will not argue about the inadequacy of that old priest, but the matter of fact remains; he could not defeat the elves and the gnomes, even when you, My Liege, lured, ambushed, and entrapped Priceptine himself, down in the dungeons of that temple..

Despite all the diversions in place to delay, the knights of Koruxan, the paladins of Durkahan, and the mystics of Vodgar still managed to slip by your forces and join with the elves and the gnomes.. And when they came, Themalsar was utterly thwarted and his great temple put to ruins, and some eight hundred-odd years later, killed.. by a bunch of nobodies.

True, they had your bride-to-be, and it is always easier to second guess events that which we have not personally witnessed, but I am sure you know, she was no match for Themalsar..”

She fell silent as she swayed.

 

The Face stared at the frailing girl and there was no mercy, nor compassion in that stare.

There never was, and never had been—

“Sit, little Perigren. My presence is not a good place to fall on your back.”

—only pitiless calculation.

 

Perigren slumped and stumbled, but did not sit.

“Your presence is not a good place to fall on my back, sitting or otherwise, My Liege.”, she said with a rasping voice, breathing harder.

 

The Face smiled. The pretty little peregrine was not only smart but she was also cunning. All her actions, all her choices in words were calculated; just enough to aggravate or ‘compose’ a reaction out of him, yet appear meek, submissive, and barely docile enough not to get physical with her..

Quite the actor she was and playfully deceitful —all the traits one would find in a fully grown succubus.

Too bad she wasn’t one. The smart, ‘meek’ ones were always delicious and delightful to drag into his bed. The way they would squirm up until they died of ecstasy, was always a superb experience..

On the other hand, it was also a good thing she wasn’t.. The succubi were too lust-driven to make good generals, nor long-term planners, where massed forces were concerned. Their long-term plans were always on a singular, ‘target obtained’ basis and ended when they finally devoured the said acquired target.

Whatever she was playing at, because that’s exactly what she was doing, it had been pre-planned.

Many days, weeks, and perhaps, months of thought and research had been put into it and Kardax’Trakxa would find out soon enough. He always did. And when he did, his displeasure —or pleasure, would echo, high and low..

The Face was sure, the little peregrine also had her own end accounted for; likely by some fast-acting, powerful poison; the pretty ones always went for poison.

Still, she was a step-up from the usual brawlers and ambushers who had tried their way with their claws, fangs, barbed tentacles, and their hell-forged weapons. One could only take so much delight in repeat butchery upon failed assassination attempts, and The Face detested mediocrity.

 

No.

 

The pretty little peregrine would get at him where he least expected.

And the question was not, ‘Would she?’

The question was, ‘From where?’

Not for a moment did it cross his mind that the pretty girl with the succulent flesh, and currently squirming in pain, had approached him in good faith..

 

Good faith? Really, now..

 

This was Hell!

 

There was never any good faith going on here..

 

“So..”, said The Face. “..you have a plan, then?”

“My Liege.”, whispered Perigren. “I only have strong suggestions..”

“You come here.. with no plan?”, murmured The Face and there was a dangerous quality in his voice.

 

“I am not a general, My Liege, nor a commander. I hold no troops, no status, and no presence, nor do I have any prestige to show for. In the eyes of those under your command, I am a mere pretty face —a juicy piece of flesh and tasty skin with a ‘limited lifespan’, and barely tolerated and only due to being the joy project of a once, favored concubine.

 

And now, she is dead..

 

I AM, MY LIEGE,

EFFECTIVELY, A NOBODY!

 

To say that I have a plan, would indicate, ‘I know better’..

 

I don’t.

 

What I do know is the accumulation of small, seemingly insignificant parts put together to see the bigger picture, and make mere suggestions. And the current picture suggests we use the available resources, dormant or otherwise, in the area and take full advantage of your hidden Orken. I estimate their discovery in less than two months. Whether they think they can’t be seen nor discovered, My Liege, is a moot point.

 

And that is putting it rather optimistically.”

She looked up and faced her liege and commander, conjuring everything she had left into that gaze;

Boldness and surety, a touch of a smirk, a squint of an eye, and deep, distracting breaths..

..and no small amount of ‘curious’ arrogance.

 

“It is time, My Liege..”, she said.

 

“IT IS TIME TO RELEASE THE HORDE!”

 

For a long, thoughtful moment, The Face mused at the quietly panting, pretty girl..

 

“You waltz a dangerous dance, little Perigren.. You would know of the ‘available resources’ in the area, how?”, he asked, more out of curiosity than menace, really.

 

“Auntie Irine..”, Perigren said, with all the cool detachment she could muster. “She talked in her sleep.. This, I think, you already know, My Liege..”

“Have an answer for everything, do you?”, he asked with amusement.

“Only for the inconvenient questions, My Liege.”, she replied.

I know, Irine talked in her sleep. The question is, how do you?”

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez went for a poor attempt of an amused smile. She felt her time was almost up and with utter surety, she did not want to faint in pain and drop —on her back, before her liege.

 

“Auntie Irine also liked to cuddle, My Liege, and very much, with her soft and succulent trainees, when she was otherwise not entertaining you..

 

Said, it was all part of the program!”

Kardax’Trakxa ‘The Face’ stared down at the squirming girl who stubbornly clung to her cool, and there was, not so subtle wrath in his burning eyes..

..and when he spoke, he blared.

 

“THAT BITCH!”

 


Perigren Ostlanna Temez; Perigren, ‘peregrine’ kelimesinden türemedir ve yabacı, garip,uzaktan gelen, egzotik anlamlarına gelir. Ostlanna ise, ‘oust’, dışlanmış, ötelenmiş, reddedilmiş kelimesinden gelir ve ‘dışlanmış/ötelenmiş/reddedilmiş Lanna’ demektir:

“Garip, yabancı ve dışlanmış Lanna Temez.”

 

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A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part Two)

A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part Two)

Timeline:

Spiring somewhere in the dead and desolate grounds of Hell, stood a tall and mighty chateau. And deep down the bowels of the chateau, the slight figure of Perigren Ostlanna Temez slumbered fitfully..

 

This story takes place sometime between “Day One” and “Aklımdan Geçenler

 

 

In her nightmarish disposition, Perigren Ostlanna Temez could vaguely register the few things around her; that she was somehow still alive, enough to feel the searing pain spasming down her back, that she was afloat in some, lukewarm solution, and that she was stripped naked..

And it was that last bit was that alarmed her more than the others, interestingly. Considering she was a succubi half-breed, one would think that she would be in her natural element.

 

But no.

 

Many unsavory things she was, and many sins she had done, true, but all and always with her own will. And whatever she had done, they had all been her own choice.

 

“Free will.”, her former trainee friend had called it..

..The vague and pretty girl who had been chosen among all the other trainees as the bride for their liege and commander, the mind behind every plan, every sinister conspiracy, and every single unspeakable atrocity that had ever occurred in the mortal coil in this cycle; Kardax’Trakxa, ‘The Face’..

 

The vague and pretty trainee who called herself, Merisoul Xyrotwu!

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez knew, deep in her heart, she was downplaying her former trainee friend by referring to her as ‘vague’ and ‘pretty’..

The girl was more like.. How did the mortals say it?

Mad as a hatter?..

..And as she, Perigren, would jealously admit, unearthly, or more like, otherworldly beautiful!

Ostlanna Temez knew just how beautiful and striking a figure she, herself, was.

On a scale of 1 to 10, she was somewhere very near 14 —pessimistically speaking.

19, if she was on one of her good days..

But while she was ravaging, lust-inspiring, blood steering, just by her phenomenal flesh, she lacked the one thing that Merisoul had.

 

The appearance of ‘innocence’..

 

The very thing that drew morals and non-mortals upon her like bees to honey..

..or flies, depending on your appetites!

 

Perigren had very nearly chewed through her knuckles, and certainly through her own heart, in a metaphorical sense, when she had first seen Xyrotwu..

..And damn her if she herself hadn’t wanted a bite out of her! But then, she was already damned..

 

If her name, Merisoul, wasn’t a giveaway, her actions, her ideas, her approach to any given matter at hand, certainly said, something was just weird about her —something off!

They were pretty much at the very center of ‘Hell’; a totally dead, rotting, dreary, devastated, and desolate land where bouts of magma and spits of poisonous gases were the only things that marred the otherwise hopeless and monotonously twilight landscape, and she called herself, Merry Soul – A Happy Soul..

..in Hell.

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez knew exactly and of the many depths of what the word ‘demented’ meant, but it always seemed to fall short where that girl, her friend, had been concerned.

Not to mention, it had been that same pretty, vague, and pretty vague girl who had introduced her to the word, ‘friend’, in the first place.

“We are now BFF’s, Lanna Temez.”, she had declared, just after having slain their first mortal; a huge and ugly brute of a man who had thought it would be a good idea to make use of those ‘pretty little legs and what came between’, running around in their skimpy little outfits the way they did..

“What is a Bee Eff Eff?”, she’d asked, reeking of the mortal blood splattered all over their hands, faces, and their half-naked, nubile flesh..

 

“Best Fiend Friends!”  

 

And yes, the fact that only, and only Merisoul had ever called her by that name, her real name; Lanna Temez, was not lost on her..

For everyone else, she was either ‘that little slut in training’ —the common use of reference for her and her kind, or Perigren Ostlanna Temez, at best. She hadn’t ever minded being called by her full name and title. But Soul had insisted calling her by Lanna Temez and deep down, she’d liked that.. a something that had also buffed up some else that she would figure out much, much later..

 

Incidentally, that had also been their first time to have ever devoured a soul.

The big, ugly man’s soul had certainly been ‘fill’ing, but it had tasted horrible.. and vile.. Like, beyond belief!

Incomprehensibly so..

Which was also the time they both had learned, not every soul was edible..

Or rather, every soul was edible, but some just shouldn’t be et! Unless you had no taste whatsoever, which by default, disqualified you from being a succubus anyway, full or half-breed..

It had been an educational experience much like mortal grown-ups taught their kids not to put everything that moved into their mouth!

 

When it came to souls and soul-devouring, apparently the quality truly did matter, as opposed to quantity.

And Perigren Ostlanna Temez had had her true soul, soon after her first trip on the mortal world.

He had been a young, not quite man, human boy. Sixteen at the most..

He was helping his parents at the far end of a field, planting things, Perigren knew not what they were. She had walked up to him and the boy had just stood there, ogling at her with his puppy-eyes that could only be called, ‘stupified adoration’..

That look had stirred some things in Perigren she never knew she ever had. Something hot and wild.. Something that demanded every sensual part, every tender inch of her..

Her lips, her hips, her modest, nubile breasts, and.. well.. everything. And she had devoured the boy, then and there.

 

Perigren Ostlanna had learned a few vital things that day;

That she had never known anything that could ‘taste’ so beautiful.

That what she felt, was something beyond mortal ‘ecstasy’.  

That certain kinds of souls could ‘burn’..

..and for many years, that burning sensation would never truly diminish.

Which was also when she had learned what ‘innocence’ meant and why Merisoul’s such appearance appealed to mortals and non-mortals the way it did.

 

Two other things had stayed with Perigren Ostlanna Temez that very same day;

That would be the last time she would ever devour any soul, no matter how much she might want to..

..And the memory of the boy she had devoured; he hadn’t cried, nor made a single attempt to save his own life.

He had just stood there, staring at her with the same, adoring look as she devoured him away until he was no more.


Perigren knew very well what a fiend was, as she’d see one on any polished, reflecting surface. She never really understood what a ‘friend’ was, however, and she strongly suspected, neither did the pretty and vague girl.

Only that it related to some form of connection.. Or possibly, a bond.

She also knew such forms of bonds were assumed ‘punishable by death’. Which likely meant being chared, shredded, et, disintegrated or worse and while still alive..

Always while still alive.. that was the optimal way of making the most out of an example, after all.

And yet, she had declared her, Perigren Ostlanna Temez, as her friend.. She must have known about the consequences. Merisoul had always been a walking encyclopedia of not only spells, enchantments, necromancy, and magical theorems but of both mortal and non-mortal laws, the finer details of mortal life in general, and lots and lots of irrelevant, ‘garbage’ trivia.  

Merisoul Xyrotwu confused Perigren.

And for some demented reason, she’d liked that; the state of wakeful, yet confused silliness! It was like being caught in a bout of uncontrollable, but genuine laughter where you’d end up lying on your back, staring at a pretty, mortal sky on a warm, summer afternoon, with a stupid, happy smile on your face, for no reason or source. It comported the phrase; ‘contentment’, and so thoroughly!

 

That weird girl had given her something none of her training, nor her Auntie Irine ever had;

A sense of self.

This was what she would figure out, much, much later.. And correspondingly;

Free will..

A something that very nearly creeped her out of her tight, exposive bodice at times because that ‘free will’ also related to their bond;

A friend..

 

“ARE YOU AWAKE, YET, LITTLE PERIGREN?”, came the strong, commanding, and beautiful voice of The Face, her liege and commander..

Perigren Ostlanna Temez jammed her skittering thoughts deep inside her vaulted ‘safe’ —a trick she had learned, also from that pretty, vague, and pretty vague girl, Merisoul Xyrotwu..

✱ ✱ ✱

Have I been returned for the extended pleasure of suffering numerous early retirements, My Liege?”, she rasped as she tried to sit up in the lukewarm solution. It was an odd, sluggish sensation, being in that solution. It smelled.. nice.. Something quite unexpected of her liege to have done for her, or anyone, for that matter, and certainly not in Hell! It also made her feel dizzy and, well, to put in finer terms, elated and all fuzzy on the inside.

What the hell was this thing?

“Unlike my predecessor, I detest raving on repeats. If I have not done a sufficiently effective work, out of my first try, I do not bother with retries.”, said the tall, lean, muscular form of The Face.

“I certainly feel like I have been afflicted by any number of ‘sufficiently effective work-outs’, My Liege. How deformed and mauled am I, if I may be so bold as to inquire. I am afraid to even ask; do I even entertain a back?”, she asked trying to buy enough time to clear her mind.

“You will live, and still be pretty. Do not despair, little Perigren, many bees will still flock to your honey! And you certainly do entertain a rather delightful back.”, The Face replied with an amused tone of voice. “Your wounds should smooth out in another day or two in that solution. Your pain, however, is there to stay for quite a bit longer..”

“What is to become of me, My Liege? Shall I be of use, or be used? This, I must know..”, she said as her sight came into focus while trying very hard to seem diffident.

 

And damn..

The commander, her liege, had a very beautiful body! Perigren had never really liked her Aunt Irine, but she certainly had had a good taste for ‘quality flesh’!

 

Concentrate, girl. Get it together!.. If you want to get ahead with The Plan, you have to concentrate only on the business at hand.. There is no surviving the other options, no matter how delicious they might be..

 

It was hard for Perigren Ostlanna Temez.

Her commander and liege was indeed the height and peek of male attraction.

And her being a succubi, even if a mere half-breed, did nothing to help.

Quite the contrary, it boosted her certain instincts, made her want to very nearly luster after her commander like a bitch in heat!

Right here..

..and now!  

 

Perigren closed her eyes.

No one should have to suffer the wants and needs of a succubi heritage. It was delightful, in a skin and flesh way, but very, very demeaning and humiliating..

..in a sense that you stopped being a human; the whole, other half of your existence.

Which was why half-breeds, such as herself, had a limited life span of ‘use’.

They mostly went insane towards the end, mindlessly lustering and prostrating themselves that left nothing of their humanity, self-worth, or awareness.

Such ‘details’ were never given to them during their training.

Why would they be informed of such details? They were all expendable and were bred for a very specific reason.

They were all, to put it bluntly, tools for the amusement of their masters with the skills and training for extremely high accuracy for assassination, espionage, and sowing dissension among mortals.

An average succubi half-breed was good for four or five such missions. Seven, maybe eight, if they were exceptional..

Also, the reason why Perigren had opted to be an ‘organizer’ for her liege’s covered ops, rather than gore herself to madness in them..

 

“You wanted surety, little Perigren, you now have it. I expect you to be up and running in two days. We have much ground to cover.”, The Face said, giving the naked, slender form of the succubi half-breed a smile that would have sent many mortals to their fright-induced deaths.

“It’s alright, My Liege. I will be up and running as soon as I can get my hands on some fresh set of clothes. What is this solution I have been dozed in? It has worked some wonders if I am indeed as intact as I was before.”, she said as she waited for her liege to leave.

“It is an expansive solution some enterprising mortal concocted at a place called The Academy of Melshieve. He was banished and barred from the Academy, due to the immoral use of certain.. ‘infantile’ ingredients, in his solution.. A truly happy outcome, as he works for us now, though he does not know it. He thinks he is being sponsored by some anonymous pharmaceutical company —for the betterment of mankind! I like a man who indulges in one or two of our seven sins. But this one went for so many; pride, greed, envy, lust, and gluttony! Really, now..”

Perigren made a disgusted face and very much wanted to jump out of the oozing solution, but didn’t dare to do so, in her current.. condition..

“My Liege. If I may..”, she half pleaded.

“Of course, little Perigren. I shall be waiting for you at my ‘office’, as the mortals like to say, next to my table, and my easily accessible chronicles..”, said The Face lightly, though Perigren felt the wrath in his stance.

Very soon, many mortals and non-mortals would die, even if they were remotely suspected of ever having been anywhere near that book!

✱ ✱ ✱

This one, My Liege..”, Perigren said, pointing at a miniature ‘peon’ on the large, very detailed map, representing the mortal world, the towns, and cities, the mountains, and forests, lakes, seas and oceans, swamps and ruins and much more. Any mortal cartographer would kill for a map like this one. But would likely die quite sooner than ever getting his hands on it. The map was immaculately drawn, as if The Face had whole legions, walking in a straight, horizontal line, noting down every bush, every pebble, every leaf they came across, in fear of missing anything.

“And this one..”, she said, pointing at another representative peon. “They both have to act at the same time.”

The Face cocked an eyebrow.

“It is a very unprofitable move, little Perigren. And their syncrosity would mean nothing. The distance between them is too great to have any effect on either side. Not to mention, the losses would be irreplaceable for quite some time. Especially the ones at Demon Plains, seeing as how the Demon Gate is still malfunctioning and is unable to import more than a trickle of our forces at any given time.”, he said quietly.

“The simultaneity is not for the benefit of either of those forces, My Liege. They are the bait.. The distraction..”, Perigren said, also quietly.

“Explain.”, said The Face, looking up to the slight form of the succubi half-breed, still quivering with unhealed pain.

“They are for the benefit of these forces.”, she said solemnly, as she took a loose peon from the box at the side of the map, and placed it..

..at another location, quite aways east of the Demon Plains.

 

The Face stared down at the girl. And hot, infernal breath seethed down his nose.

 

“You are not supposed to know about those forces, little Perigren.”, he said with burning eyes.

“My Liege. You wanted answers before you asked of them. This is me, supplying you with the answers. How I know the things I know matters little. Suffice to say, mortals and not quite mortals fail to curb their instincts to try and impress ‘that little slut in training’.. The short and tall of the matter is; those forces are very nearly unearthed.. discovered..”, she said, gazing at her liege with the detached expression she was so good at.

“And you know the fact that they are about to be discovered, how?”, The Face asked silently.

“Due to yours, My Liege. She.. she is with a group of unlikely venturers. They have been after certain clues, left behind by foolish, inadequate, and incompetent mortal thugs, what could otherwise have been a simple snatch and grab by one of my kind, leaving no clues to be found, nor any trails to be followed. Which is exactly the opposite of what those fools did. Unfortunately, the clues first led them to no other than Themalsar himself, even though he had nothing to do with it. Suffice to say, she was there when Themalsar was destroyed.. She was also there when the same mortals slew Aunt Irine. The clues have now led them elsewhere, directly to where they should have gone in the first place.

Or would never have, had the job been done correctly..

As for your forces, the ones that have been in hiding, are a mere glimpse away from being discovered no matter what.”, Perigren said, succinctly.

“Those forces are unlikely to be discovered, little Perigren. They have been extensively trained, both physically and mentally.”, replied The Face, and there was a district ‘storm’ in his voice now.

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez paused for a moment. She felt her stomach churn. She loved and absolutely hated being what she was. She could play, at will, a whole crowd of mortals like a lute, and as flattering as that sounded, she felt stained, somehow, every time she had done it. It was a simple chain reaction that, one thing would inevitably lead to the other; she would lose a piece of herself, her humanity every time she did, what she did.. and given enough time and repetitions, she would eventually lose it all and her free will along with it because her humanity would have died, leaving only half a succubi.. a creature with only base instincts, and base desires, as her demonic heritage would finally take over and she would slowly but decidedly, earnestly, even, and with perverse pleasure, deteriorate towards that insanity, she so feared..

And she hated admitting it openly, even for the ’cause’..

 

“What is in common with a succubus and I, My Liege?”, she asked finally.

“Both you and the succubi are creatures of lust, little Perigren. This, you already know. You will do your best to stay the madness of that lust as best as you can, and one day, though unlikely, you might overcome it. Even my bride-to-be has an expiration date, and she has shown exceptional mental capacity, unseen even in fully grown succubi. In the end, it is a lost fight with only one possible outcome. What you make of yourself until then, is up to me.”, The Face said, with his merciless, handsome voice.

“My point, exactly, My Liege.”, Perigren replied morosely. “Your Greater Orken are well-bred, and exceptionally trained warriors, scouts, and ambushers, true, but at the end of the day, they are merely experimental orcs. Much like I am an experimental succubi.. That is their heritage. You can see the loss of their patience and discipline by the way they have been raiding farms and villages. They have been killing the scouts and rangers of the elves and humans alike, inadvertently exposing themselves and their presence.

The humans are already aware something is afoot, My Liege. And so are the elves. Either they find out about your forces prematurely, or we strike first and take away their choices, and the possibility of the Orken being discovered becomes altogether a moot point.”

 

Another pause ensued, but this time, it was on The Face end..

 

“There a few too many details that you know, but shouldn’t. Not unless you were personally there, little Perigren. AND THEY NEED ADRESSING.“, The Face said, leaving no room for debate.

“I know them, My Liege because she told me herself.”, Peritren said quietly. “I can not locate her, because I suspect Priceptine, the Archangel of Wrath conceals her through their bond. But she speaks to me..”

“And she would do this, why?”, The Face said, and his voice was like the grinding of thousands of stones.

“Because she believes that she and I are friends, My Liege, even though neither she nor I know what it means to be friends.”, replied Perigren Ostlanna Temez soullessly. “She’s a demon, trapped, and alone in the mortal coil with no one to hear her, listen to her, relate to her, or be her friend. Whether her betrayal is genuine, I am not privy to that knowledge. But her bond to the archangel is in place and there is little she can do to escape it, even if she wanted. I do, however, know that she has saved the lives of her companions many times, even at the expense of her own. I shall do as I must and talk to her when she contacts and pry what information I can. Should I get the chance, what would you want me to do, My Liege.

 

Kardax’Trakxa ‘The Face’ paused only for so long before his words spat out like the Wrath of Hell, that he was.

“A bond such as she has forged with an angel, much less an archangel, can only occur on a mutual agreement basis. That is how angels work. Otherwise, such a bond would not be fair! She has opted to serve Priceptine. It was a choice of servitude or.. death.. She should have chosen the latter, for as sure as she did not, she must suffer the consequences of her betrayal.

 

Bring her to me and alive, little Perigren. I shall place her in a cell I had once used for no other than Ad Ara, herself!

There, little Perigren, you and I, shall make her suffer torment like never heard of, nor witnessed before.

Thus she shall learn the true meaning.. and the price of ‘a friend’ in Hell.

And after we have had our fill, I shall not honor her by casting her to the ethernal voids of Oblivion.

I shall allow you, little Perigren, to devour..

..and consume her soul!”


Perigren Ostlanna Temez; Perigren, ‘peregrine’ kelimesinden türemedir ve yabacı, garip, egzotik anlamlarına gelir. Ostlanna ise, ‘oust’, dışlanmış, ötelenmiş kelimesinden gelir ve ‘dışlanmış/ötelenmiş Lanna’ demektir: Garip, egzotik, ve dışlanmış Lanna Temez.

 

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A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part One)

A Demon’s Plan (18+) (Part One)

Timeline:

Deep, spiteful thunders rumbled while fitful lightning arced erratically across a deep, dark gray, forever dreary, and an always twilight sky.

Dead, rotting lands stretched from horizon to horizon littered with cracks and chasms of fiery bursts and deathly, poisonous miasma, as ‘things’ moved, either lumbering, or slithering, or creeping as they hunted, in packs or singly, it didn’t matter. Here, everything was a predator and yet a prey.

THIS WAS HELL..

 

An enormous structure that vaguely resembled a chateau made of unhealthy looking, ugly yellow and botched brown brimstone rock, stood tall and mighty and with an arrogance that bespoke;

I AM SIN!

 

And deep in the bowels of that mighty chateau, a tall, lean, handsome, and deadly figure fumed sulfurously.

Many broken demonic corpses littered his otherwise unadorned, vast, and vaulted throne room, as the commander of the demonic armies walked up lazily to another one of his countless underlings; this one, a nearly sixteen feet tall massive beast of a demon.

The tip of the handsome commander’s great, curved blade scraped the ugly yellow, and botched brown brimstone rock floor, sending eager sparks with an eerie screech..

 

This story takes place
sometime between
Day One”
and
Aklımdan Geçenler

 

 

Tel me, Boulgrourm..” spoke the tall, handsome demon commander. “..do you know anything as to what happened to my favorite concubine Irine and my bride-to-be? And while at it, fill me in on why I have suddenly stopped receiving any word from that old fool, Themalsar, and why his demon pit is suddenly inactive, no, totally destroyed? Do let me know why the ruins of his temple is no more and why there is a little, not quite mortal grove; a garden with cherry blooms and pretty flowers where that temple is supposed to be, hmm?”

The massive, towering, sixteen feet form of Boulgrourm shifted uncomfortably as it stared down at the dark, lean form of his commander.

“I am a bruiser. A basher. A warrior. Not a sneaky little slut like your concubine—”, began Boulgrourm, but that was as far as he got.

 

“—to your loss!”

 

..the murmur of the dark, lean form of the commander was heard as he floated some fifteen feet away, his soot colored, raven-like wings stretched gracefully.

 

No one quite saw when he had retrieved Boulgrourm’s head from his enormous shoulders.

The giant demon certainly never saw it coming and his towering body did not even register that it was now missing a major and vital limp. It spurted thick, black, tar-like blood for a long minute until a wet, wheezing sound escaped the stump where his head had been a few, mere moments ago, and with a resounding crash, it toppled over..

..next to the other, broken bodies.

 

The dark, lean commander didn’t wait long to milk on the drama. He was a brutally practical creature. He didn’t like to put on any displays, much like the way he refused to adorn his throne room, neither the seat nor its cavernous halls with sinister-looking obscure designs, carvings, sculptures, or gaping, tormented skulls, like his predecessor, had.

 

Skulls? Really, now, how pedestrian and juvenile was that?

And quite putrid in its mentality, from the commander’s point of view.

 

What did adorn his halls and his throne were simple designs that could barely be called ‘eloquent’, if noted at all. But they all had their deadly purpose. A few had tested them when he had first ascended the throne and none had gotten as far as the ugly, obsidian-like stump of a throne.

Not even close.

 

Accept Irine.

 

A very cunning demon woman was, that Irine.

Or had been..

Which was why she had risen among the ranks of his sub-commanders so fast, as opposed to why his underlings thought she had.

If anything appealed to the commander of the demon armies, it was ‘well-placed cunning’..

..and ‘smoothness in application’.

Had the commander of the armies of the dark, infernal abyss been a mortal general, one could say he was ‘an idealist, but also a brutally practical professional with a near-obsessive care in his meticulous attention to detail’.

 

Good Heavens he was not a ‘mortal general’.

The mortal coil did not need a bloody conqueror such as he..

 

The commander had many unsavory tastes and an unorthodoxly unique understanding of his ‘command’, certainly, but everything he did, he did them for a reason and with cunning precision and deadly smoothness.

Hence his throne was carved and polished down to an even perfection, for the ease access of a smooth kill-rush, should the occasion demand, which, in all candor, was not quite infrequent.

 

Kardax’Trakxa “The Face” did not kill his subordinates out of whim. That was a trait his predecessor had favored.

Foolish, and quite wasteful.

He just removed them from command with an ‘immutable’ attitude because they were either incompetent or just stupid. After all, stupidity and incompetence was stupidity and incompetence wherever such subordinates were stationed.

And ‘The Face’ needed neither, anywhere among his ranks.

Those that showed promise, rose.

Those that didn’t, but still went for the ranks, didn’t.

The ability to assess one’s own worth and virtues correctly was also something The Face valued.

It certainly saved a lot of time.

He had, after all, spent the first few centuries following his ascension, clearing his ranks of the incompetent, the stupid, the nescient, the reluctant, the inessential, and the redundant..

 

His favorite concubine, Irine, had been very cunning and smooth in her efficiency in everything she did, whether she was in a bloody battlefield, or in his bed. Even her curves had been so; cunningly smooth..

And now she was missing..

..for too long to assume anything but her having been killed.

And so was his bride-to-be.

And that old fool, Themalsar.

 

True, the loss of that disgusting mortal was of little note for the commander, but he had been an anchor to the other end of the demon pit. Without him, the demon pit would collapse.

The fact that the pit had collapsed, told him the old, raving lunatic was indeed no more..

..so much so that, and as hard as he, Kardax’Trakxa “The Face” himself had tried, he couldn’t reach out and find his soul.

And Kardax’Trakxa had wanted that old man’s soul for over eight hundred years.

He had had a special hell prepared, just for him!

Whoever had slain Themalsar, it had been done in a manner that had utterly destroyed him; body and soul!

Had his bride-to-be, done this?

He doubted.

In time perhaps, she would attain such levels of destructive power, certainly, but it was too early, even with her soul-devouring succubi heritage.. She was just too young, too inexperienced and whatever that old fool was, Themalsar had never been weak.

 

“My Liege.”, said a soft, whispering, feminine voice.

 

‘The Face’ looked up but did not see the owner of the soft, whispering, feminine voice. He did sense the ‘surety’ and ‘confidence’ quality in that voice, though.

 

“Leave us.”, The Face said. “And remember, I do not tolerate fools. None of you are indispensable, essential, or vital, nor are you irreplaceable or invaluable.. The only constant for me is the goal. You can either be there to harvest its benefits or be an example to those who will be there when the time of harvesting arrives. When I want bruisers, I will find them in my Fester Pits, by the millions.

You are here with the sole reason to get me the answers I want before I ask them of you and accomplish the tasks with an accuracy that demands more than you can dare not to afford.”

 

The remaining sub-commanders made quiet and hasty retreat out of the vast, vaulted halls of the throne room..

..leaving a slim, slender, even, figure with short, lightly ‘tanned’, loose hair with two doe-like antlers crowning them, a pair of similarly colored, blade-like brows, one amber-brown, and another, pale-green eye, a generous, uncaring mouth, and a cute, perky nose, soft, nubile breasts, youthful hips, and long, runners legs..

She wore a loose, white, low front-cut, fine linen blouse, revealing her soft, inviting flesh, a dark, tight bodice that came up to just under her modest-sized breasts, and a pair of loose, black, belly dancer’s shalwars, displaying more of her delicious, tender flesh at the hips..

Separately, each of her singular features would have likely made any mortal girl appealing. Put together, with her strutting, arrogant stance, one could reasonably use phrases like ravaging, consuming, deadly, and murderous – from a beauty point of view.

However her outer, skin appearance was, her gaze projected something else. It was a rather unsettling sort of gaze.. It wasn’t ‘cold’, per say, but there was a distinct, soulless quality about that gaze; she could be making savage, coveting love.. or be busy slowly slicing open your throat with the same dispassionate and remote fix..

..and continue making love, while you shuddered and died of a very bloody ecstasy!

She didn’t move, she didn’t look behind at the sub-commanders filing out of the vast, vaulted halls, she didn’t stare at her commander, she certainly did not fidget, blush or shy away, as the tall, lean, muscular form of her liege made a slow, full circle around her, scrutinizing every inch, every curve of her.

 

She just stood there, in her breathless beauty, staring into some unseen distance, as her slender life hung on balance.

✱ ✱ ✱

I sense your Aunt Irine’s arrogance in you..”, The Face said quietly as he stared down at the slender, tempting, taking, and alluring figure of the uncanny girl.

“..Perigren, isn’t it?”

“Perigren Ostlanna Temez, My Liege, as we both very well know, that you know..”, replied the girl, Perigren, in her soft, breathy whisper, still staring at the distance.

“Yes.. arrogant, smart, and knows she is both, and more.. How very Irine-like..”, mused The Face.

“I have no desire to fill her shoes, My Liege.”, said Perigren quietly.

“Not feeling up to the task?”

“No, My Liege. I don’t do ‘old shoes’.. I have my own.”, she replied with disconcerting coolness.

 

An eyebrow from The Face cocked up with amusement.

“Ow?”, he purred and there was now a.. dangerous quality to his voice.

 

“And I also don’t do the ‘concubine’ thing, My Liege.”, she added and there wasn’t a trace of fear, doubt, or anxiety in her voice.

 

She said it, and there it was.

 

“You sound quite sure of yourself, little Perigren.”, The Face said not bothering with threats, veiled or otherwise in his words.

And only Irine would have known, Kardax’Trakxa never threatened those he intended to kill.

He just would.

Threats only gave away your intentions, and possibly your weaknesses, neither of which The Face would show.

 

The Face gave nothing before he took everything..

 

“I am not my aunt, My Liege. You can either have me or my services. But not both. I know the limits of my body. I know exactly how much of what I can endure. I also know what happens once you have had yours; I am afraid, nothing truly survives you, My Liege. You can either put me to good use as an organizer for your covered ops and benefit from my services for, possibly, centuries or you can put me to use.. once.”, she said, with the same detached, cool, distant stare.

 

The lean, muscular demon lord and commander of the infernal legions stared down at the slim, coiled wire-like Perigren for a long, silent moment.

 

“A self-evaluating, in full control of her emotions kind of girl. Interesting. Much better than Irine ever managed. Interesting indeed. Whether you are just as impressive, is to be seen.”, The Face spoke finally. “Speak. What have you, to impress me..”

“First, My Liege, I must have the surety of your confidence, and that I shall not suffer your wrath for my candor. I am a pittance against your strength. I can not survive your wrath.”, she said and for the first time, she looked at her liege’s ‘face’.

“Your first words of council are to bind me, little Perigren?”, asked the demon lord in a silent, dreadful voice.

“My Liege. My life is in your hands. There is nothing I can do to avoid anything you can do to me. If I am to serve, however, I must be free to speak as I will and to act upon it. I must also have surety that unhappy underlings and sub-commanders do not try their way with me.”, replied Perigren, still gazing into her lieges bottomless face.

“Impress me, little Perigren. Then I shall give you your surety.”, The Face said, crushing the words in his mouth.

“Your chronicles. You must place it somewhere a bit more inaccessible than on the top of the table, next to your throne, My Liege.”, Perigren said cooly.

“I would like to see the unhappy soul that wishes to visit my chronicles, dear Perigren. Many have tried. I have tasted their ashes scattered around it.”, replied The Face.

 

Perigren Ostlanna Temez gazed at her liege’s face for a silent moment, as if debating her own life against his temperament. Then she spoke, and without a shrug, twitch or hesitation, in old, demonic tongue..

 

✱ ✱ ✱

When she finished, she felt one of her liege’s enormous grasp around her slender waist, her chest, and her breasts, and the other around her narrow shoulders, and her throat.

“Hence, the need for surety, My Liege.”, she whispered, barely able to speak.

“You have managed to gain my attention, little Perigren. You have yet to impress me. Do it. And fast!”, the horrible wrath of The Face breathed down the back of her neck.

 

At what point he had managed to move from standing in front of the girl, to behind her and grasp her so thoroughly, Perigren never saw.

 

“Your wards have weaknesses, My Liege. Circumventing them was difficult, but they are not impregnable. Your chronicle.. Only you can touch it..”, she whispered hoarsely.

“I am well aware of the gaps in my wards, little Perigren. I put them there myself. As for the fact that only I can touch my chronicles, does not explain how you have read it.”, The Face’s searing breath burning into the back of the girl in his clutches, scouring the very skin off her slender figure.

“My Liege.. I will die, and very soon, before I am able to give you the satisfaction of an answer..”, she whispered in pain as her legs gave, and her eyes started to glaze and roll up.

 

The Face unclenched..

..and the girl dropped to the floor, gasping for breath, her face distorted by the searing abuse of her liege.

Slowly, with a steely determination, she rose to her feet, even as her back smoked.

 

“You.. you have claimed someone.. as your very own.. My Liege..”, she whispered through clenched teeth. “Thus, she was able to touch and unfold the cover.. and gaze upon your chronicles.. without being disintegrated..”

 

Kardax’Trakxa “The Face” gazed down at the withering form of Perigren Ostlanna Temez for a long moment and many things crossed his cunning mind with uncanny haste.

 

“Tell me, little Perigren..”, he whispered down at the dying girl with a remorseless voice. “..you know this how?”

“She.. we.. was of the same batch of.. trainees, My Liege.. Of the eighteen pits in our particular village, only three.. survived.. She, myself, and a third, who was later disqualified and killed..

Years later, we returned to that village.. where she and I had been thrown into our own.. separate pits..

I.. I avenged myself.. I slew all the men and women who dumped things on us, everyday.. for years.. She.. she did nothing. Later, she would claim she reaped her vengeance.. But I was there, My Liege.. We were close.. And back then.. it did not matter..

Now, in the light that.. she would be your bride.. Such weakness in a bride-to-be of My Liege was not acceptable.. Such information.. could not be kept from your knowledge.. It was her, who told me how.. she had snuck here, into your throne room, My Liege, and how she was able to touch.. and read your chronicles.. And because she had claimed me.. as her friend.. I was also able to touch them and.. read them, My Liege..”, Perigren gasped more, panting harshly as she succumbed to the pain, and collapsed on the hard, brimstone rock floor and on her side.

“Aunt Irine.. she taught us of mortal weaknesses.. and how to recognize them.. Your bride-to-be, My Liege, has betrayed you.. She has passed her loyalties to another.. and bonded herself to him..”, she whispered as her sight failed.

“She has bonded herself.. to no other than Priceptine, the Archangel of Wrath, My Liege.. And it was her, who freed Him from the curse you put on him.. centuries ago.. during the war against.. Themalsar..”, she said and her slender body failed under the pain.

 

The Face stared down at the beautiful, slender figure, withered at his feet, and with merciless eyes.

Then he made a vague, grasping gesture in the air before him with his claw-like fingers as if to catch a fly, and murmured, “Not yet, my little Perigren Ostlanna Temez. Not yet. You might be weak in that patently pretty, and illustriously delicious figure, but I will make use of your other services and possibly for centuries..”


Perigren Ostlanna Temez; Perigren, ‘peregrine’ kelimesinden türemedir ve yabacı, garip, egzotik anlamlarına gelir. Ostlanna ise, ‘oust’, dışlanmış, ötelenmiş kelimesinden gelir ve ‘dışlanmış/ötelenmiş Lanna’ demektir: Garip, egzotik, ve dışlanmış Lanna Temez.

 

The demonic words written in the KARDAX’TRAKXA CHRONİCLES, and spoken by Perigren Ostlanna Temez;

 

My dear Irine.

 

There is little I can do for you. You have lost your sense of direction and you have allowed yourself to be led by your appetites for far too long.

 

A woman that satisfies my needs are many. What I need is more than tender flesh. I need a commander at my side. A commander with insight and a certain sense of urgency, neither of which you have.. You are, at best, excellent at any given task. But your need to appease your delights, your luxuries and your constant requests of mortal gore blinds you far too often to make a permanent arrangement feasible.. I am afraid, the day I shall have to slay you, approaches.

book 03 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups modül role play serenity the plot thickens tundra walkers Whispers; A Cabal

After Her..

After Her..

Timeline:

This is a recollection of certain events taking place from around the Themalsar War to centuries later and ending somewhere amongst the ruined lands of Demon Plains and Arcanton Mordenon’s faulty demon gate..

This is a story on how the letter-scroll Prince Gordigon gave to Arcantonic Palecog traveled through time and space to end up back in the hands of the little gnomic girl after she lost it during their hurried flight from the war zone of Themalsar.

It is also, however, a projection of the story
Left Behind (18+)

 

 

Brom Bumblebrim gets bit, again, by whatever it is that keeps biting him on occasion as he brushes by the Tinker-guy on his way out of the Great Arashkan Library. And on an impulse, he burglarizes him, unwittingly taking back the letter scroll that Tonic had lost, some 800 years ago, just past Ogre’s Foot during their first prophecy.

Stories:
Birthright (18+) – first part,
Quiet In The Library

 

As to how the scroll comes by the gnome, Gnine Tinkerdome is an adventure all by itself;

About a week after its loss, the scroll is first discovered by one of the scores of scouts belonging to Durkahan Paladins and the Koruxan Knights heading towards the battle against Themalsar. The document is handed over to the Keeper of Durkahan Archives who is killed, some two weeks later, along with hundreds of other military personnel during their final push against the Themalsar’s forces when goblin sappers strapped with fused bombs charge out of their hidden trenches and into the ranks of the Durkahan Paladins and Koruxan Knights..

 

When the war finally ends, the paladins, the knights, the elves, and the dwarves refuse to loot the bloody, stinking, corpse-infested battlefield. They collect their dead and wounded, and head home, leaving the Arashkan Military to deal with the mess.

The not-so-happy Arashkan Army loots everything they can find and take them back to their own city, inadvertently raising the economical level and power of the city by tenfold while all documents and writs found are sent to The Great Arashkan Library to be sifted and eliminated; a long and tedious process that unwittingly forms the foundations of ARIS, Arashkan Intelligence Service.

Some of the writs and documents are forwarded to the department of history, and some are handed over to the military, while others are sealed and archived in the royal palace vaults.

 

Many centuries later, a disreputable and quite a drunkard professor is excommunicated from the University of Arashkan for selling antique books and documents in the black market, also finds himself on the wrong side of the law for forgery and falsifying official documents.

Afraid of being locked in jail or worse, he seeks sanctuary among the Thieves Guild of the same city. The thieves ‘hire’ him to work for them in their ‘information department’, for a small fee to prove his loyalty; the professor is to bring his whole batch of pilfered antique books and documents.

Story: Birthright (18+) – second part

 

Unfortunately, the conflict between the thieves guild and the cutters known as Them Friggin Bastards escalate and turn into a bloody, open street warfare after the seemingly unexpected murder of a high standing aristocrat, a Lady Felishia Fremeir, over some stolen ‘royal gifts’. The professor, along with his marketable antiques are ‘shelved’ and put on hold, and shortly after, are totally forgotten when the professor’s liver finally gives in and he dies of over abuse of alcohol.

Story: Neye bulaştın, Felishia? (18+)

 

A few years later, a young half-elf thief named Darly ‘Darlius’ Dor searching for a means to avenge his unspoken lover, the Lady Felishia Fremeir brings his ‘friends’; Aager Fogstep, Laila Wolvesbane, Inshala Frostmane, Merisoul Xyrtowu, and Gnine Tinkerdome to the ‘information department’ of the thieves guild to ‘help’ them in their search to find the whereabouts of the highly wanted and elusive rebellion, Gar Thalot.

During their hours-long excavation among thousands and thousands of documents and bits and pieces of parchments with various information on the city, the city denizens and officials alike, the keen ranger corporal Laila Wolvesbane stumbles on a very old letter scroll. To the great surprise of everyone in the group, the letter is written by a Prince Gordigon Tinkerdome some 800 years ago to his father, King Drine Tinkerdome of Silent Hills. The letter scroll is handed over to Gnine Tinkerdome, also a member of the same company.

Story: Birthright (18+) – second part

✱ ✱ ✱

Historically, when the Demon Fog settles over Silent Hills, some few colonies of gnomes do manage to escape the disaster. The majority of these gnomes travel far south and west, never to be heard of again as they are hunted down and slain by some very large, orc-like creatures, possibly the first-ever sighting of the Greater Orken. Some few, though, secretly settle at Tinker Hills to form their own small and ‘silent’ community. Nearly three hundred years later, a highly intelligent, and dangerously proactive young gnome is born into this community; Gnine Tinkerdome.

 

Burning with curiosity about his possible heritage, and with the help of his bond, Whimsi Lola, the gnome, Gnine, starts to secretly break into The Great Arashkan Library in hopes of finding more information in the restricted, official archives, where he meets a rather unscrupulous hobbit named Brom Bumblebrim, who, upon a familiar sting, burglarizes the gnome and inadvertently retrieves the letter-scroll and returns it to Tonic..

Story: Quiet In The Library

 

This, seemingly minor ‘hiccup’, would constitute the basis of the obsession in the little gnomic girl, Tonic, and inadvertently trigger the events that would lead to the story; Left Behind (18+), some 180 years in the future, pushing and urging her to find a way to open an Astral Gate where time and space get distorted, to get back to her one and only love; Prince Gordigon Tinkerdome..

✱ ✱ ✱

In an unprecedented irony, Tonic follows her uncle, Arcanton Mordenon’s researches on ‘gates’ , and after decades of trials and errors, she finally constructs her own functional gate. Not a gate leading to the Abyss to summon demons, however, but something ultimately more destructive; an Astral Gate.. A plane of pseudo-existence where time, space, and matter are torn apart, shredded, and corroded down to their base moments, units and elements..

 

What becomes of Arcantonic Palecog after she steps through the Astral Gate to get to her prince is never quite clear. Rumors assume her to have been, inevitably torn apart in the Astral Void, as she sought, for relative centuries, to find a counter exit point to reach the moment she met her desire. But rare historical records found after the lifting of the Demon Fog in Silent Hills’ long-forgotten and crumbled vaults, however, mention one of their greatest kings to be a King Gordigon Tinkerdome son of King Drine Tinkerdome son of King Knine Tinkerdome, and speak of his fiery little queen.. The identity of the said queen, however, is never discovered as it seems to have been diligently never recorded!..

Interestingly, the name of King Gordigon’s firstborn is recognized in The Silent Archives; a beautiful little gnomic girl named Seressa Ton Wraiven!

Story: Left Behind (18+)

 

Having fulfilled its prophetic purpose, the letter scroll thus finds its way back, like the song, ‘Time’,

 

‘..Linking places, spaces, events, and relations by the simple expedience of relating the past to the future..’

to its true owner; Arcantonic Palecog!

✱ ✱ ✱

As for her pair, Seressa Wraiven slowly deteriorates into the madness of hopeless despair at the loss of her pair and is rumored to have last been seen roaming mindlessly, like the broken ghost of her former self around the devastated and rotting lands north of Durkahan City and Kahan Mountains, among the ruins of Demon Plains, ferally seeking a way to get passed the endless sea of undead and fiends, streaming out of Arcanton’s faulty demon gate.. and enter it, in hopes of finding a way, through the Abyss, to her pair or to just end it all..

Story: Post Left Behind (18+)

✱ ✱ ✱

Late one night, many hundreds of leagues away, a certain hobbit gets bit, perhaps one final time as he dons his lorica, his sword, his cap, and his cloak.

 

“There really was no need, my friend..”, Brom Bumblebrim mumbled quietly.

“I had already made up my mind.”

 

He hauls his backpack, grabs a simple, nondescript walking stick, and picks up his antique lyre, gives a final, mournful look at the empty depths of his home..

..and leaves.

 

Once more, he drops a note to his, now quite a bit older friend, Gamwise Samgee. Unlike the note he scrabbled nearly two centuries ago, this one would be a bit longer;

 

My dear Gamwise Samgee,

 

Due to quite expected reasons, I will be leaving and I am afraid there will be no coming back this time. You will find the deed for my home and everything I own, all listed and cataloged, in the small chest, in the study; my garden, my lands, my roses, my phloxes, my cherries, my books, my songs, my mother’s tea cups.. have all been transferred to your name and properly notarized. I would greatly appreciate that the aforementioned lands and properties stay in your family and never be sold and the roses, the phloxes, and the cherries are allowed to remain.

 

I have but two boons to ask of you; a package containing various odds and end, and a staff I had been trying to mend and repair for the past few years.. You will find them both hidden behind the seed sacks, down in the cellar. The package and the staff are to be taken to a certain house at Salt Woods. You will find the exact location marked on the map I left with the package. I am afraid you will personally have to make this trip as you are the only one I can trust for this delivery. You will have to approach the site from the north side and use a password to safely enter as the boundaries of the house is heavily warded.

 

For my second boon;

 

Live, my friend.

 

Live and be happy.

 

Well, that’s it, then..

 

I must now part with the acceptance of a curse to find what I should have taken when I had the chance. The time for me to shed my cowardice, my ignominy, and my disgrace has arrived.

 

I shall take up the mantle of my love and my passion, and wear it, even though I do not deserve it. I go to redeem my self of a sin I did by abandoning my heart for reason.

 

I leave to seek a lost soul and to right a wrong. A wrong I let happen one hundred and eighty years ago..

 

Farewell, my dear friend.

 

Yours truly,
Knight Laureate Brom Bumblebrim.

 

P.S. Be particularly gentle with the staff, if you would, please. I had meant to finish it before this journey, but I am afraid, my time is up.

 

When people come to call and ask about my grandfather’s rusty old sword collection, they will want to know if they are magic. Never answer that question. Always smirk —silently. The way I did. It will drive them crazy, but the legend must go on!

 

The password for the wards is;

 

“The Wonder In Pinks”..

✱ ✱ ✱

For many days and deep into the nights, he traveled north, skirting The Savage Plains and Endless Watch. He passed Tinker Hills, then Silent Hills, and decided to skim by Serenity City, rather than stay. He didn’t want this venture to turn into a parade. And just when he’d passed Gulls Perch, there she was..

Standing at the side of the road was a particularly grim-looking tundra elf barbarian bearing deep, frostbite scars, whirling dark blue storm tattoos, long, snow braids, and wearing the mark of a Riserin —the sign of the Princess of Ironfrost.

“You decided then..”, she said gruffly.

The hobbit nodded mutely.

“Took you bloody long enough.”, she scowled.

“Didn’t want you to come.”, he said quietly.

“Didn’t care what you wanted!”, she said bluntly. “You don’t get to make choices for others, Brom. Made her choice for her that one time, and look where it got you. Where it got her!”

“We both paid the price.”, he replied inaudibly.

“Seems like only she paid any price.. ALL THE PRICE!“, the barbarian girl glowered. “You know, you are a lucky little hobbit, and my friend, because I so want to beat you into the ground, right here, right now!”

“Yea..”, replied the hobbit morosely. “..lucky me.”

“When you made her choice, you abandoned her, Brom. You made us abandon her. Do you think she would be the way she ended up, had you been with her?”, she said mercilessly.

“There really isn’t anything that you can say, that I haven’t already said to myself, Cora.”, Brom replied quietly.

“That is possible. But I shall give it my best!”, she bit savagely.

 

A few days later, when they were passing Misty Forest, they came out of the filmy haze like a pair of wraiths and joined them; a cold, sinister-looking man in dark, patchy clothes, holding the hand of a very pretty, ‘still needs some filling’ little girl with sad, forlorn eyes, strawberry lips, long, silky hair, and beautiful, curving horns. The man silently nodded at them and they start walking in the same direction.

“Dear, dear Brom.”, said the skinny girl, with misty eyes. “The heart wins when the mind submits. He wanted to beat you. But I said please, don’t. He asked me why he shouldn’t and I reminded him how I had to sneak up to him all those times and whispered into his ear, just to get his attention, the first time we met, and he barely took notice of me..”

“I noticed you. Four years before we ever met. You had my attention. Grilled those two, mule-headed ranger girls, Laila and Morel, for hours, but they refused to give me anything about you.. When we met, you were just too young..”, the sinister-looking man, Aager, growled. “I didn’t want to make choices for you. Nor take away your options..”

 

“Yet, by doing that, did you not do just that? Take away my choices?”

..she replied, but there was no rancor, nor rebuff in her voice. Inshala turned to Brom and spoke with a conversational, matter-of-fact voice.

 

“I had decided I wanted him. He knew I wanted him. He knew he wanted me. Yet he decided it was better for me to wait. He wanted me to stay as a baby, not a girl. And wait we did..” Then softly she added. “And lost years.. Years I wanted him.. Nothing is as sweet as the moment you want something.. One can live with regrets, but never with lost opportunities.

 

I carry no regrets. But I do miss the lost opportunities.”

“Told him pretty much the same things, all those years ago.. just more bluntly.”, inserted Cora. “But our hobbit here is a bit thick in the skull!”

 

They passed the ruins of Arashkan and decided not to stop at High Woods, even though Inshala very much wanted to.

They traveled further west, resupplied at Vodgar, and followed the road past Dark Forest.

They took a boat across Kahan Lake and beached at the dying shores of Demon Plains..

Carefully they traveled towards the dreary lands and there, at the very edge of the Demon Plains, they beheld the slight figure of another tired and desolate soul.

 

The beautiful heart of High Woods silently rose and told them that she has thus passed her legacy and her heritage to others and that she would accompany them in their sojourn to help find a friend and perhaps, find her twin sister as well.

With a steely determination, she would join them, and perchance her own Dorin..

“Is this what he would have wanted, my Queen?”, asked Brom sadly.

 

“I am queen, no longer, dear Brom. I shed my burdens ere I came. Nons shall take pride over my death, nor carry my burden as a trophy.”

..replied Alor’Nadien ne with her soft, brushing voice.

 

“You will always be my Queen and hold the throne of my heart.”, said the hobbit sincerely.

 

“Methinks your heart’s throne already has her queen, dear Brom, but my King is not here and by his stone, my grief is no longer bearable.

 

I have been offered many prospects since then; other kings and princes, merchants, and royalty. They never understood; I have never wanted to be queen. Yet I chose to be one for he was there to bear its burden with me. Much like he chose to be king, for that was the only way we would be allowed to be together. And by his hollow seat, day and night, year after year, for a century and more, I sat, appearing like the person I no longer am; strong, alive, and willing.

 

I no longer hold the strength nor the will to carry on. And I see no point to stay any longer, my friend. Where he is, he awaits. Where I go, will be there.”

“The fight. Who will—”, asked Brom, words failing him now.

“If the fight has come down to a tired, broken soul such as I, then surely we are lost already. New hands with vigor must pick up that mantle now, and bear its burdens. Not these tired hands.”, she replied solemnly.

“What of High Woods, my Queen?”

 

“My youngest granddaughter, Alor’Derune, the Allure of Dorin, has been chosen and the mantle passed. I shall miss the heart and the breath of my forest. The spirit of High Woods promised I would cherish and prosper. So I have. From the ashes of my forest, I have lived to see my kingdom reborn, and by my King’s love, my children and their children strive. But everything must come to a close. We thought we saved so many but lost so much more. We gave our all, and more until we had none..

 

I relish my moments in this life. And I cherried my beloved friends. But like my King, most are gone, now. This life no longer offers me favors, nor passions. Thus I yearn for the other and for over a century now, I have counted my days. I have kept him waiting because he asked this one boon of me; that I live and be happy.

 

I have lived, but he did not know, he had bereft me of all happiness when he left. Nay. I think I have kept my promise. It is time he honors his and accepts me.”

Brom quietly nodded. That was all he could do. When a person talked in a language one could understand, but not relate, one knew, they were on two, very different levels of perception; the Queen of High Woods, Alor’Nadien ne Feymist Shieldheart was already gone. What stood here, was nothing but her shade.

 

Yes.

They had given their all.

And more.

But such was the required sacrifice of the few, select mortals to save their world from annihilation.

 

“It’s a bit late to start. We have lost the noon sun. Will make them stronger as the hours pass. Might as well make camp early, and start at first light.”, Brom said.

“Did I ever tell you how much I hate ghosts, wraiths, and zombies? Ow, and demons.. Especially the ones with the long, barbed tentacles..”, he added with a voice that was barely audible.

“Yea.”, replied Cora said from somewhere behind him. “They always go for the little, fat ones!”

Brom snorted.

He squinted at the distant lands, dead and rotting. He took a deep breath and faced his preening destiny.

For a long, long moment, Brom thought of the very tall, very dark girl that had ruined him for everyone else..

He remembered the time when she had whispered into his mind. The time when he and Cora had thought they were going up against a terrible demon, all those years ago, on Ice Wolf Horde’s request. It had also been the time they had first met.. Thinking back, she could have whispered at Cora, yet she had opted to whisper to him.

He remembered the way she had flopped and klutzed, face down into the snow, displaying all her curvy glory in pinks.. After nearly two hundred years, he could still remember that image, and so vividly..

He remembered when she had gone up against Cora in defense of her pair, Tonic, at Mount Dreadmaw, and had so dearly paid the price.

And he remembered the way she had blushed so furiously and had been so embarrassed that time when he had caught her with Tonic’s foot in her mouth.

“This isn’t what it looks like!”, she had blurted in unveiled panic, with Tonic’s foot still in her mouth. “I am not eating her!”

Brom wondered why she had feared that he would think her eating Tonic.

Had she done something silly as she often did, in her past, and someone had said something stupid to her? What kind of a demented idiot would be so cruel, he wondered.

 

And suddenly he knew he needn’t seek the cruel idiot far away.

That cruel idiot was right here.

 

Then, just like that, he started to shake.

And silently, Brom Bumblebrim wept..

..he wept while staring at the dead lands where ‘The Wonder in Pinks’ was off, somewhere, not even sure if she were alive. Her beautiful mind gone, as she crept and crawled in the filth of the rotating land towards the demon gate.

 

“I will not offer comfort by saying it isn’t your fault. Because as sure as it is, it is mine as well, Brom Bumblebrim. When you chose to do what you did, I chose to stand by you. Many things could have been different if I had ignored you and just picked you up and threw you at her! Knowing her, she would have caught you, and kept you.. along with her dignity and sanity..

You are not the first to think less of themselves and feel unworthy, Brom. And Seressa was a great soul..”, Cora said.

“She always was. And like the coward I am, I turned away from her, thinking she deserved better, deserved more.. Never bothered to ask her what she wanted. Just like all the other animals out there who never bothered to ask her what she felt.. I sinned her, Cora..”, Brom shuddered as he wept. “I burned her when I abandoned her.. I did her wrong and now, I dragged you into this.. I deserve everything you want to do to me.”

“Well, when you say it like that, makes me wonder just what kind of a girl you think I am. Shall I fetch my whip? Would you rather pole lashing or have me do it while you are stretched on a rack!”, she said mildly. “As for the dragging, I doubt you could drag me anywhere even if you tried.. That’s what friends are for; being dragged without being told. It was my choice to be your friend, Brom, and so was accepting you as mine. You were there when I was down. You let me lean on you. Yes, I never cried on your shoulder, but I did know that your shoulder was always available should I ever needed it.. Now I am here for you to lean back. Doesn’t mean I am not pissed off at you. This one, though, I am doing for her.”, she said.

She looked down at the shuddering hobbit, removed her heavy fur cloak, and settled it over him.

“Go on. Get some sleep. I will cover the first watch with that Aager-guy. He is worse than I am. I didn’t use to talk because I was so ‘can’t be bothered’ and ‘cool’. He doesn’t even care about cool. The only one I have ever seen him smile is his wispy little wife. Wonder if I should ask him just how old he is.. and why! Pain to get him to talk.. And creepy as hell, the way those two just ogle at one another like newly eloped teens, without ever saying a single word.”

“Tomorrow is going to be one, long day..”, sniffed Brom.

“Yes.”, agreed, Cora. “Tomorrow, we enter Demon Plains and retrieve a friend. Two, if we are lucky.”

Then she looked at the shade of the Queen of High Woods, Alor’Nadien ne, lost in her own sorrows; loved ones and friends..

“But I mean to leave no one behind. A girl of her stature and grace needs a proper stone and a decent shrine. Not a ditch in the ground..”


The twin sister referred to here, is the recorded kinship of Arcantonic Palecog as a Feymist, on the day Alor’Nadien ne is born, by Nadine Graciousward. Both of their names are entered into the royal archives of Bari Na-ammen on the same day, making them, ‘technically’, sisters and twins..

 

The staff Brom refers to, is the Staff of Blooms that belonged to Seressa Wraiven since shortly after her graduation from the Academy of Melshieve.

During the story, Left Behind (18+), Seressa breaks the staff in wroth and despair, never wanting to see the beautiful, pink cherry blooms that it would sprout. During one of his visits to check in on her, Brom finds the broken pieces of the staff and takes them, in the hopes that he could fix it, and return it to Wraiven, proving to her that the broken can be made whole again and that nothing is beyond repair.

 

And that is the summed-up story behind the mystery of how in the blazes did that letter even get here.. Good luck discerning any sense out of that paradoxical loop! This is where an unforeseen variable is introduced into a perfectly linear equation, turning it into an infinite loop, causing it to either freeze or crash your processor.


 

arashkan şehri book 03 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups karakter analizi komedi modül role play the plot thickens tundra walkers Whispers; A Cabal

What do you see in the mirror?

What do you see in the mirror?

Timeline:

Arcantonic and Brom have returned from their ‘humble’ side trip into the Great Arashkan City, back to the inn and Brom has given the small, gnomic girl the letter scroll he picked from Gnine Tinkerdome. The letter that was given to Arcantonic by no other than Gnine’s great, great, great-something ancestor, Prince Gordigon Tinkerdome.

 

This story takes place around noon,
on the same day as, and a few hours after
Quiet In The Library.

 

 

SOMETIME LATER, IN THE ROOM FACING THE STREET..

The sun had risen, traveled through a beautiful, bright blue sky, and settled somewhere at noon, casting the smallest of shadows, but the Tundra Walkers were still slumbering in an inn, in the Richarc District of the Great Arashkan City.

Cora Sleet slept soundly among the wreckage of her room, on top of a heap of feathers; the remains of what had just last night been, a rich, soft bed.

The softness was still there, but the bed was not.

She drooled and snored a bit, giving her an adorable cast, quite in contrast with her otherwise savage appearance.

Her long, white hair was unbraided too, which was a novelty on her part. Cora loved her long, white hair, but being the practical girl she was, she never wanted it getting in the way. Particularly when the bloodletting started. Besides, she’d been threatened by a large, cruel pair of scissors a few too many times in the past by her mother unless she braided them and kept them out of the stew and those threats had stuck.

Now, however, her hair was ‘down’, so to speak, and she was having a rather pleasant dream.

Whatever she was dreaming, she watched it with a content smile on her face.

Too bad it would be cut short as she would be rudely awakened by the innkeeper —probably a mistake on his part.

She, with the help of Seressa, the very tall, very dark girl sleeping a few rooms down the hall, had ruined his inn, after all.

✱ ✱ ✱

TWO ROOMS AWAY..

Seressa was also sleeping with a content smile on her face.

Whether her smile was due to a pretty dream she was having, the engaging evening she’d had with the pretty barbarian girl, breaking the proverbial ice, and the rest of the room, or for the fact that she had snuggled up to her pair, was unclear. From a totally neutral perspective, the very tall, very dark girl looked like someone who hadn’t quite outgrown sleeping with her dolls, because that’s exactly how it seemed; the giant girl had hugged her little, gnomic pair, into her bosom, and both were breathing softly into one another’s face.

 

The whole scene was endearing..

..and a bit alarming!

 

Arcantonic Palecog slipped out of the ginormous feather bed as silently as she could. She didn’t want Seressa to wake up.

Tonic had been equally shocked, surprised, and quite unexpectedly happy when she’d woken up to find her pair not only sleeping with her in the same bed but snuggled up, the way they had.. And she’d been hugging her because she was so warm.

And she felt much softer, and nicer than the feather bed!

She also smelled of phloxes, cherry blooms, and her unique self. A combination Tonic had resisted for as long as she had but had caved horrible at the end.

It had been hard for the little gnomic girl to admit she liked her pair and that she smelled simply awesome!

Seressa’s face was at peace when she slept. More now than for these past few days. In fact, she seemed happier than she had ever seen her before.

Arcantonic Palecog felt no rancor, nor resentful at having finally been ‘coin pursed’ by her pair.

The unscrupulous little weasel of a hobbit had been right about at least one thing; her pair, Seressa Wraiven, had a beautiful smile..

Hence, she slipped out of the bed, shivered a bit, and quietly hoped down, and softly landed on the cold wooden floor.

She considered bothering with her boots but decided against it.

Trying to slip her left boot seemed like too much trouble, just now.

She hamstered to her artificer’s satchel, dug her hand in it, and pulled out a small, palm-sized mirror and a brush, scurried to the window, cracked open a sliver between the curtains, and with the help of the mirror, she hastily brushed her hair and bunned it up.

It was noon outside.

That was to be expected. She and Brom had returned quite late that evening.

She dumped the mirror and brush back into the satchel, shouldered it and silently walked to the door, and slipped out.

The hallway was clear.

Good, she thought. No need for random encounters.

She silently crept up to the room, furthest from the stair. Her quarry was there.

Tonic thought of the brush and the mirror.

Had it been just a month ago, she would be laughing at herself.

Tonic very nearly never brushed her hair. She would just pull them back, then bind them haphazardly with anything that was readily available; a bit of string, a broken piece of twig, a stand of vine, or a piece of cut wire.. Now it was adorned with one of Seressa’s many scrunchies, and she felt no shame nor guilt whatsoever at having burglarized into her pairs’ collection either! Apparently, this burglarizing things from her pair was becoming a habit for her.

 

This brush and mirror were a late habit, though. An acquired, or self-enforced habit, to be more precise..

A habit since the Gordigon boy!

 

There!

Happily admitted!

The sky was still standing.

There were no sudden earthquakes.

And no blaring brasses of doomsday was heard!

That hadn’t been so hard now, had it?

✱ ✱ ✱

THE FURTHEST ROOM DOWN THE HALL..

Tonic knocked on the door of her quarry and politely waited.

But there came no reply.

She tried again to no avail.

“Alright then.”, she said. “We go, Plan B!”

Tonic loved Plan B as it was pretty much always back to back with Plan A;

Knock twice.

No answer?

Barge in! —was Plan B!

Tonic had many bad habits, or rather, shortcomings, true, but she always prided on her Plan B. It was easy, practical, and more or less, always produced a solution.

 

“Brom?”, she whispered.

No answer.

The room’s curtains were pulled and it was somewhat dim. Much like her room had been.

“Brom?!”, she hissed.

Still no answer.

Damit. Was she going to have to go for Plan B, again? She’d always done Plan B, back to back with Plan A, but never a Plan B, back to back with another Plan B! This was going to get awkward real fast.

Then she heard a sniffling, shuffling noise from the far corner of the room.

She slinked in that direction to find Brom sitting on a stool, facing the corner!

“What the—”, she began.

“What is it, Miss Tonic?”, she heard him say.

“Umm.. I.. I thought we had agreed on you not needing to ‘Miss’ me all the time..”, she said hesitantly.

 

Tonic was not a good mood reader. When it came to moods, that was Seressa’s department and Tonic had rather strong opinions about poaching. Some deep instinct, however, told her that something was wrong.. with Brom.

 

“No.”, said the hobbit. “We had agreed that me calling you ‘Miss Tonic’ sounded a lot like I was saying ‘I MISS TONIC‘, to you and that it was weird and just creepy.”

“Well.. When you say it like that, it does sort of sound weird.. and creepy.”, stumbled Tonic.

“What can I do for you, Miss Tonic?”, repeated Brom, “I would have thought you’d have had enough adventuring, and certainly enough of me, for one day.”

 

Tonic noted the weariness in the hobbit’s voice. She couldn’t discern the reason for it. Only notice it.

Well.. At least that was something. She was getting better at this.

“Baby steps, Tonic, baby steps..”, she told herself.

 

“No, no.. No more adventuring for today..”, said Tonic, a bit hesitantly. “I just wanted to thank you.. For last night. Never got the chance to say it properly.”

“It’s alright Miss Tonic. No need for thanks. We both.. enjoyed it.. in our own way, I suppose. Feeling any better?”, came the hobbit’s voice.

“Much.”, she said promptly.

“Mission accomplished, then.”

“Perhaps.”, said Tonic, a bit perplexed.

Something was going on here. With the hobbit. But she wasn’t sure if she should push.

 

“PLAN B.. PLAN B.. PLAN B..”, choired inner Tonic suddenly!

 

“Alright. Plan B, it is.”, murmured the gnomic girl.

“Hmmm..?”, asked Brom.

“You.. You brought back Gordigon’s letter for me..”, she said. “How did you..?”

“No mystery there. Miss Tonic.. I picked that Tinker-guy’s pocket on the way out of the library..”

“You.. You did what? But why?”, she asked incredulously.

“For reasons, I don’t really want to fathom, the boy seemed important to you, since you went into all the trouble to want to warn him but refused to meet him face to face yourself. I have some ideas as to why, but I just don’t want to entertain them because none of them are good, per se, and all of them are creepy as hell! But I thought, perhaps you’d want something of him. A memento, maybe. Something personnel.. Suffice to say, the letter came as much of a surprise to me, as it did to you. As to how it came by the Tinker-guy, I have no idea..”, said the hobbit in the dim.

 

There was a moment of silence as the gnomic girl tried to digest that.

 

“I.. I don’t know what to say.. Thank you.”, she said with a small voice. “I can not phrase how happy it made me. It broke my heart when I’d found out I’d lost it, back at Ritual Forest. I.. I hope you didn’t get in trouble because of our.. little adventure last night.”

 

“Miss Tonic.” Brom’s voice said and there was a district steely quality to it. “Our venture last night, was not a little adventure, no matter how we stretch the words. It was possibly one of the greatest events of this time. It was monumental and its echoes will reverberate back and forth between history and years, no, centuries to come. Willy-nilly, you have changed the past, present, and the future of not only Silent Hills but you have also changed that of High Woods, Bari Na-ammen, and all the lands and civilizations in the kingdom that will get affected by both. Whatever the celestials are playing at, Miss Tonic, it is subtle and it is huge!”

“Well.. When you say it like that..”, Tonic stammered.

 

“Trust me when I say, I am putting it ‘lightly’, Miss Tonic. Many, many people will live because of our little adventure last night. And many, many people will also die, because of it.”

Tonic gulped.

 

“I.. never really thought about it like that.”, she admitted with a flushed face.

“Don’t fret, Miss Tonic, neither did I. Not until much later. But the deed is done.”, Brom said.

“You didn’t tell Cora..”, she said.

“No.”, replied the hobbit shortly.

“Why? She must have been.. angry..”, Tonic said carefully.

“She was. And she tried to grill me. Though I must give her credit; she didn’t really try very hard.”

“I don’t understand..”, said the gnomic girl with a baffled voice.

The hobbit sighed and turned around. But because of the poor light, his face was still not quite visible.

“Because Miss Tonic, both Cora and I know, she is not my mother, my elder sister, my aunt nor my grandmother. We are friends and we are equals. She doesn’t get to squeeze information out of me. This, she knows and this, she respects.”

“Would have made it easier.. and convenient had you just told her though.”

“Easier, convenient.. and totally wrong. It wasn’t my secret to give, Miss Tonic, it was yours. But even if it had been mine, caving in just because she glared down at me, would have made her lose the only thing we much care and have in common.”, the hobbit said.

“Which is?”

“Mutual respect, Miss Tonic. Mutual respect.”

 

Another pause ensued.

 

“You are.. You seem out of sorts.. Out of your self, Brom. What is it? What is wrong?”, Tonic asked.

“Something that has little to do with you, Miss Tonic.”, said the hobbit’s voice, and this time, Tonic did catch the nuance.

Slowly and carefully, she approached the corner where the hobbit sat.

Slowly and carefully, she reached down at him, took his face in her small hands, and raised it.

 

Broms’s face was a blotchy mess.

 

And with a very unexpected but equally tender insight, Tonic refused to describe what she beheld.

Very quietly, she spoke.

“‘We suffer. We mourn. We sing and we celebrate.. We do. And what we do, we share!‘”, she quoted Brom’s own words.

 

“Did every single one of those, and then some, just this very evening, Miss Tonic.”, said Brom with brimming eyes.

“We did. And we did not.. A fool, I am. This, I have learned. And this, I know. But I would not have expected a fool out of you, Master Bard.”, she whispered.

 

Brom stared at the diminutive cute face holding his. He didn’t shy his eyes from her but stubbornly held them.

“We bards make the best of fools, Miss Tonic.”, whispered Brom.

 

Tonic produced the little mirror from her artificer’s satchel again and held it before the hobbit’s face.

“Tell me, then, Master Bard.. What do you see in the mirror?”

“A blotchy face.”

“No snarks, Mr. Brom.. What do you see in the mirror?”

“A funny!”

“No snarks!”

“A bushy hedgehog!”

“No snarks! What do you see?”

“A face in dire need of sleep!”

“I said no snarks, damit!”

“A hobbit about to lose his temper!”

“Wow. I ask one simple question of you, and you can’t even give me a straight answer.”, she said. Then her voice steeled. “Even if you were much, much taller, much more muscular, and prettier, you don’t deserve my pair, Mr. Brom. You don’t deserve Seressa Wraiven!”

 

Brom froze. His face lost what remained of its color and hardened.

 

“That was a bit harsh, don’t you think?”, he said with an angry voice.

“Harsh is when I produce Mechaber, right here and now, and beat some sense into you!”, she replied savagely.

 

And the hobbit lost all his will.

His shoulders slumped.

He lowered his face.

He passed one hand through his bushy, brown hair and absently scratched his head.

 

“It doesn’t matter what I see, Miss Tonic..”, he said in a defeated voice. “It all amounts to the same thing; a little hobbit!”

“Would you like to know what I used to see in the same mirror?”, she blazed.

“Not particularly, no.”, Brom mumbled.

Tonic ignored him.

“I saw the same things you did, Mr. Brom; A lot of snark—”

“Your point being?”, asked Brom tiredly.

“—until I met Gordigon. Now I see a girl in that mirror. A girl that could use a brush, and possibly an eyeliner every once in a while..”

“Must be some neat, magic mirror!”, mumbled Brom.

Tonic glared down at the hobbit.

“Would you like to know what I see when I look at you?”

“Not particularly, no.”, repeated Brom.

Tonic ignored him again.

“When I look at you, I see a ‘guy'”, she hissed angrily.

“Umm.. Your point being?”, Brom repeated that too.

 

Apparently, this conversation was heading straight into a ‘broken record repetitions’ for Brom..

 

“Stop looking at misery and start looking at hearts, you dolt!”

“Eh?”

“Has it ever occurred to you why I kept shouting ‘Eyes Front’, at you, Mr. Hobbit?”

“Because you are an insufferable little—?”, started Brom.

But the gnomic girl cut in..

“Because you are a threat!”,

“Eh?”

“I feared you would steal my pair from me because you are a guy! That’s why I didn’t want you staring at her. Don’t you see?”

“…”

“The free staring was alright but it all became a case of morality for you because you saw and deciphered that she was even greater on the inside and you actually felt something for her.. And all of a sudden, you decided you are not ‘guy enough’? Wow. I have seen some arrogance and high drama in my time, but you, sir, just landed on my top ten, and I was graced by the best of them; my uncle Arcanton Mordenon.. Should’ve seen him lording over his demons, the way he did.. A three-foot midget looking down on demons eight times his height!”

Brom just stared at the gnomic girl.

“The hardest thing in life, Mr. Hobbit, is not besting our foes. It is besting ourselves, our fears, our shortcomings, our insufficiencies, and our own stupidities.. This, I figured too late, and now my chance for the love of my life is gone, and I will have to suffer that loss for the rest of my days, Master Brom.”, she said and her own eyes were brimming too now.

“I implore you. No. I am begging you. Please don’t make my mistakes. One idiot is far more than what our odd little family can handle..”

She wiped her brimming eyes, reached over to the hobbit and held his face once more, and gently kissed him.

“You are a good man, Brom Bumblebrim, and Seressa Wraiven does not require tall, muscular, or pretty. She’s already tried those.. Not a lot of good they did her! They all saw pinks, but never got past it. What she needs, what she wants is love. And care. And sentient intuition. And the ability to put those into honest words.. You have all those, and then some..”

Tonic took a deep, shuddering breath and considered something. Then she sighed, dipped her hand into her satchel once more, and drew out a rather large, but slim book.

“Here.”, she said. “This.. uhhh.. belongs to Seressa. It is everything about her. You will find anything and everything you need to know about her in this, including which shades of pink she likes, all color-coded.. Some of the things in here are.. quiet private and.. sensitive.. One could say, it’s Wraiven’s User Manuel. She.. she doesn’t know I have it, even though she had originally prepared it specifically for me. I would much appreciate it stayed that way. Skim through it, find out all you want to know about her, then return it to me, discreetly, please. It would truly break her heart if she found out I.. liberated it from her, and gave it to you..”

Brom silently reached out and took the book.

As it turned out, it wasn’t really a book, but a hand prepared dossier. It had the arrogant symbol of the Academy of Melshieve embossed on its dark blue-green cover.

Brom gently opened the cover to see Seressa’s handwriting. It was a recursive, delicate script, very tenderly inked, like it reflected the inside, the very soul of the owner of the hand that had written it;

 

To my bestest and awesomest pair:

Days will always be better because we will have you..

“See.. And find out, Brom, exactly what you are missing.. And if it’s her size that still worries you, use a bloody stool!”, she scowled.

 

Brom stared at the sentiment written by Seressa Wraiven for a long moment. Then, slowly but firmly, he closed its cover.

 

“No.”, he said. “I shall not break into her privacy. From Wraiven, I shall never take what she does not impart freely.. Taking is all everyone has ever done to her.. Take, but never give..”

“What?”, said Tonic with a shocked expression. “I just gave you Seressa on a silver platter!”

 

“Wraiven is not a cuisine to be served on a silver platter, Miss Tonic, delicious as she might be.. For what I want, I must give the effort, and suffer her trials. For everything she gives, she must divulge knowingly, willingly, and with the intention of giving them to me.. I shall not use shortcuts, nor cheat my way into her good graces. Otherwise, all credit will go to the bloody stool!”, he replied harshly.

He looked down at the embossed dossier in his hands with honest longing.

 

“Reading this might get me a Wraiven, but it will not be my Wraiven. And it sure as hell will make me worse than all the other animals out there, Miss Tonic.”

And handed the dossier that beheld everything about Seressa Wraiven, back to the gnomic girl.

 

Tonic stared incredulously at the hobbit before her.

Then, slowly, she smiled.

“Now, I know you truly care..”, she said softly. “Thank you, Mister Brom, for your honesty, your insight, and your care for my Seressa. Should something ever happen to me one day, to you, and only you will I freely entrust her wellbeing..”

For a very short moment, she paused, then signed.

“I will not, however, help you in this matter, Master Bard, because I am a selfish girl who just recently realized the kind of awesome person my pair truly is.. But I shall not hinder, nor undermine your efforts, which, I am sure will intrigue her to no end.”

With that, Arcantonic Palecog turned around and left..

✱ ✱ ✱

Brom awoke.

He wasn’t sure what had awakened him but it sounded vaguely like someone was pleading for help..

After the pestering little gnomic girl had left, Brom had sat in that stool for only a short more while. With a tired sigh, he’d risen, taken off his coat, his shirt, and pants, and jumped into the feather-soft bed.

He hadn’t bothered with the boots.

He was a hobbit.

And hobbits wore no shoes.

Everyone knew that.

 

“Please. I meant no disrespect nor was I intruding.. I certainly wasn’t trying to peek, miss!”

 

Brom opened his eyes and looked around blearily. Yep. Someone was pleading and it didn’t sound good.

The shortlist of his friends ran through his head.

Seressa wouldn’t be threatening anyone. She was too cultured. She would instead put them to shame, and send them crying in confused humiliation. Unless someone had been dumb enough to have threatened her pair, in which case, they probably deserved the kind of hell that was coming their way and there wouldn’t have been anyone left to plead anyway.

Tonic, then?

Naa.. The little midget could be insufferable at times and a bother all the time, but she was not big on human interactions and would have left it to her pair to have handled whatever that required interacting.. And by some misfortunate chance that she was forced to act on her own initiative, she would go for ‘the big guns and grenades’.. Since the room he was sleeping in was still intact, however, it was probable that the rest of the inn was too.

Tonic could be quite destructive..

But not very surgical in her precision.

 

Brom sat up.

Cora!

“Damit!”, he spluttered. “Damit. Damit. Damit. Damit. Can’t a hobbit have a moment of peace?”

He jumped out of his bed, swiftly put his shirt and pants on, ran to the door, and yanked it open..

..to behold a scene he had dreaded.

 

Cora Sleet was holding up a man —the innkeeper— with one strong arm and had her ginormous sword pressed against his throat with the other!

“Then what were you doing in my room?”, she hissed at the poor man.

“I.. the rooms were rented for one day by Master Bard and I had merely come to ask if you would be continuing your stay. When I knocked, no one answered so I entered to make sure everything was alright and to pick up the plates, bowls, and mugs for the food and drinks you had ordered.. and when I saw the room in a wreck and you lying there, I thought someone had done a crime in my inn!”, the innkeeper spluttered.

“So you thought it’d be a good idea to grope a sleeping girl?”, Cora blazed.

“Miss, please. I wasn’t groping you. I am a happily married man. I have daughters your age!”, he cried.

“I doubt you have daughters one hundred years old!”, snarled Cora.

The innkeeper shrank and stared at the savage girl with the long, white hair.

“I.. am sorry I offended you.. uhh.. young.. miss.. But you look barely old enough to drink! And I was bent over you to make sure you were still breathing! Please!”

 

“Damit!”, cursed Brom as he jogged up to Cora before she did, whatever she was planning on doing at the devastated innkeeper.

 

“I thought it was rude to talk about a girl’s age in these civilized places you call cities!”, hissed the barbarian girl.

The poor innkeeper just gaped at her.

“Cora.”, said Brom as he came up to her. “Please put the honorable innkeeper down and your sword away.”

“This little minks tried to—”, started Cora.

“CORA SLEET!”, Brom barked. “PUT THE SWORD AWAY. NOW!”

 

Cora froze.

She slowly turned and looked down at the little hobbit, her eyes ablaze.

And a whole slew of expressions crossed her face until she settled on one.. or maybe two; shock, and surprise.. followed by a third; hurt!

Slowly, she removed her sword from the innkeeper’s throat, and with restrained fury, rammed it into its scabbard.

Then she lowered the innkeeper, her eyes still burning and still on the hobbit.

 

“Thank you.”, Brom said. “Now. I am not sure if we will be staying another night, honorable innkeeper. But we will pay for the rooms for another day. If we are not here, you may keep the pay, and rent them out at your convenience.”

“Tha.. Thank you, Master Bard.”, stammered the innkeeper. “But.. the room.. This room.. it’s destroyed! Who shall pay for the damages done?”

“We shall cover the damages done, honorable innkeeper. The room’s condition is due to some unexpected altercations late last night. Nothing important.. Merely unexpected.”, Brom said meaningfully. Then, with a great show of regret, he sighed, “Girls!”

Whatever the innkeeper thought the hobbit implied, he did not comment. He did cock an eyebrow though.

“How much do you surmise the repairs for the rooms will cost, honorable innkeeper?”, he asked amiably.

The innkeeper stared into the room, with a haggard expression. It was quite apparent he cared for his inn.

He did a quick estimation in his mind, turned around, and told the sum to the hobbit.

 

Brom gulped.

It wasn’t a small sum but this was Arashkan and they were also on the richer district of the city.

 

“We shall pay for the damages done, sir, and then some, for the loss you will likely suffer during the time of your repairs. Does that sound agreeable for you?”, he asked politely.

“Of course, Master Bard, of course. You are a fine example of your kind, sir, and an excellence at your art. My wife and daughters wept at your performance.”, said the innkeeper genuinely.

“Thank you, honorable innkeeper. I do but try.”, replied Brom happily. “Now, if you please, I would like to have a word with my colleagues and listen to what they have to say about shaming a bard at the inn he has performed.”

“Please..”, said the innkeeper, gave a quick glance at the still simmering girl with the long, white hair and the ginormous sword, “..they are all fine, beautiful, and honorable ladies. Don’t be too harsh on them. I will have dinner sent to your rooms. I noted.. uhh.. the lady here, preferred our kababs and midgetoes.. Would.. would she like another treat of them?”

“Yes, yes she would. Very much.. Thank you honorable innkeeper.”, replied Brom.

The innkeeper bowed at Brom, carefully nodded at Cora, turned around, and went down the stairs..

 

“You.. you shouted at me.”, fumed Cora. And there was a shimmer in her eyes now.

“You dishonored me Cora. At an inn I performed and stayed.”, he said, but not too harshly. “And you never, and I mean NEVER, attack or threaten an innkeeper.”

“I was not aware these.. innkeepers were holy men!”, Cora said and all the heat in her stance was gone.

“They are not holy men, Cora. Not in the sense you mean. But they are hosts. They house strangers of all races and colors. And they respect their privacy and keep their secrets.. Yes, we pay for their services, but not for the kind of crap they have to take from every guest under their roof. Innkeepers, my dear Cora, are the core of what we call, ‘guest and host’ relation. It is easy to guest someone you know. Not so fun when you have to put up with strangers, and then clean up after them, day and night, while risking their own lives, the lives of their families, and their other guests. Consider yourself in his place, then think what it would be like if everyone acted as you did.”, he said.

 

Cora was silent for a moment.

 

“I do not understand your civilized rules, Brom. But I know the responsibilities of a host to his guests and the responsibilities of guests to their host. It is different in my land, but then, my land is not civilized and it is a harsh land.”, she said mutely.

“Your land is a beautiful land, Cora. Your land is ‘The Endless White’.”, he said with a smile.

“Loved that song.”, she said quietly.

Cora was.. She felt hurt that Brom had shouted at her. More so because the last time anyone had shouted at her, had been her mother.. just before she’d gone off to her watch. The day her Ironfrost, and all her people had died..

Her eyes shimmered some more.

“One day..”, she said with her soft, throaty voice. “..if you would write a saga for me, I would want that song to play.”

“Deal.”, replied Brom. “Now.. How in the blazes did you two destroy this room, girl? We are going to lose very nearly everything we earned thus far, because of your little, fun night!”

“We had a girl’s night. I told you already.”, Cora replied seriously.

“Cora. I do not think either you nor.. Tonic’s pair knows what a girl’s night really is.. When people say, let’s party and wreck a room, they don’t mean… THIS!”, he said pointing at the devastation.

“I do not understand. This is wrecking. Did we miss something?”, she asked and peered curiously into the room.

Brom sighed.

“When they say wreck a room, they mean.. Ow.. never mind. Would take too long to explain. One of these days, though, I am going to have to set both you and her down and explain how to not understand some things so literally.”, he said, signed again, and added, “That is going to be one, very long day!”

“I am sorry I dishonored you in an inn you performed.”, said Cora. “I was not aware there was such a rule. There are so many rules in these civilized places you call cities.”

“‘Tis alright. There are rules wherever there are people. The more people, the more rules, I guess..”, he said absently as he did a quick calculation in his mind.

“Damn..”, he swore. “I don’t think we have enough coin to cover the repairs.”

“What are we going to do? Want me to go down and bargain with your innkeeper to lower the prices a bit?”, she asked hopefully.

“What? NO. PLEASE NO!“, replied Brom immediately. Then he frowned. Seemed he was going to have to do something he really dreaded doing.

“Look. You stay here and clean up your room..”, began Brom.

“That was the last thing my mother had said to me that morning.. the day Ironfrost was destroyed. ‘Cora, clean up your room!’.. And we’d argued about it.. Now I am back to cleaning my room? Again?”, mumbled Cora.

“I am sorry about Ironfrost, Cora. But this is quite unavoidable. While you do that, I am going to see if I can borrow some money from Tonic.. or.. her pair..”, Brom said.

“First I am expected to wreck this room, and now I have to clean it.. These rules you have to stay civilized are complicated and many!”, Cora signed. Then she looked down at the hobbit.

“You are avoiding saying her name.”, she said.

“What? No..”, Brom tried to deny.. and a bit too hastily.

“Before, you were all excited talking about her. Then you started having these funny and concussed faces every time you said her name. Now you are avoiding it altogether. Is there anything I should know, Brom?”, she asked with both her brows up.

“Wow.”, thought Brom. It seemed like it would be a really, really bad idea to ever underestimate this barbarian girl. She might not know civilized rules nor understand the implications of certain things, but she seemed to miss very little.

Brom sighed again.

“Noting to worry about. If and when it becomes an issue, I’ll be sure to tell you about it.”, he said.

“You like her.”, she stated bluntly.

 

Brom froze.

 

“I.. What?..How in the.. Why would you..”, he spluttered.

“Good.”, said Cora with the same blunt voice. “At least you take me seriously enough not to lie, and care for her enough not to totally deny it. She is a good girl. A bit silly for my taste but, hey, who am I to judge. I mean, I just wrecked a room with her, ate truly awful food, had loads of fun, and stupidly laughed when we both threw up, talked about the silliest things.. and it turns out ‘wrecking a room’, doesn’t even mean, wrecking a room! And we striped ’cause she dared me to put her silly pink undies and I certainly wasn’t going to fall short on a dare. We skimped around, then destroyed the room in nothing but skin and pinks! I am not going to deny the fact that I loved it. But I am never putting those on again. I can’t run around with that kind of ‘draft’ around there. It’s distracting as hell! So, yea.. Who am I to judge!”

“What? Ow. My. Gosh, girl..”, Brom spluttered some more.

Cora shrugged.

“I mean, you wouldn’t believe some of the things she’s done at that academy of hers. Had I done but a tint of what she’s done, mother would have taken a kukri at my braids and sawed them off down to my scalp! Together, we sang like a pair of sore crows while holding hands and danced like the Ice Wolves! Then we beat at each other with pillows.. Should have seen her face when I impaled my pillow on her horns by mistake when I hit her head while she was ducking! She was so beautifully abashed and then I impaled the other pillow with my sword, just to get even! There we were; her, with this big, white pillow stuck on her head, brushing the ceiling, me, with a pillow dying on my sword and feathers flying everywhere.. We laughed so hard, my side hurt! And then she said, “Shall we?”, and I was like “Let’s!”, and we destroyed everything in sight..

She paused for a moment with a thoughtful expression on her face.

“She was ashamed because of something she couldn’t help, Brom. I was ashamed of everything I did last night, all of which I could have stopped at any moment. Yet, she made sure I did not stop and for that, I am grateful to her. That girl lives for silly.. and makes you enjoy it so thoroughly as well.. I have never had that much fun in my entire life.

Consider the hell I went through just a few months ago, Brom. And not a few days ago, I had to relive it, and in greater detail, because apparently, the first time wasn’t enough.. Yet, she made me happy in manic, silly pinks! If that is not ‘special’, I do not know what is. And you want to know what truly got to me? All that while, I could see the sad in her eyes.. She wasn’t trying to have fun, Brom. She was trying to make sure I had fun, all the while holding back because she thinks she is so tall and silly, she imagines herself to be some clumsy juvenile axebeak, and fears that she can hurt me! Not to mention she foolishly believes I am so ‘cool’..

I never had a girl’s night before, Brom. Not because I didn’t want to or didn’t care for such things, but because I never heard of them before. We just didn’t have such things in Ironfrost because we never had the luxury to drop our guard.. We had celebrations, sure, but there was always a contingency of our storm heralds and zerkers on guard, and snow rangers hiding all around the village. That girl has never had a girl’s night in her entire life, even though she knew there was such a thing, had other girls all around her at that academy, and yearned to have them all along.. Yet she lived last night for me! That, Brom, is a whole different kind of ‘special’..”

Cora stared at Brom and there was both loss and mirth in the shimmer of her eyes.

“I have never had the privilege of falling in love, my friend.. And now my people are destroyed. I have seen, first hand, just how short every life can be.. Hell, so have you, for that matter.. Don’t waste your time. Either do something about it or put it behind you, which I doubt is even possible.”, she said briskly. Then she lowered her voice, and she spoke sympathetically this time. “I do not envy your disposition though. I hear love hurts.. A lot..”

Brom blushed.. Then blushed even more.

“And the fact that she is like twice my height has gone unnoticed?”, he asked with an angry voice.

Cora looked down at her friend.

Then, with an unexpected display of feline dexterity, and Ursidaen strength, she picked up the hobbit and brought him up to an inch of her face.

“There..”, she said to the stunned hobbit. “..we are now at the same height. What are you going to do about it..?”

 

Brom struggled for words.

Just nothing was coming out!

 

“My point, exactly!”, said Cora with brutal bluntness. “If you had planned on doing something —anything, you would have done it from down there, and never needed to be up here —yet, even up here, you still got nothing!”

Then she slowly lowered Brom.

“Your problem is not your height, my friend.”, she said briskly. “You just don’t have a plan! You do not know what to do.. You are a sensible hobbit, ‘a fine example of your kind’, as your honorable innkeeper so nicely put, and she is a silly, unpredictable girl.. She is every bit a mystery to you and everything you are afraid of; exactly the way any girl should be to any man who cares, and matters.. It isn’t what we appear on the outside that makes us who we truly are. Otherwise, what are we but a pair of.. well.. you know.. and a pretty face, really?”

She squinted at the hobbit for a bit, then barked a short, capturing laugh.

“Back at Ironfrost, guys thought I was all cool and stuff and they honestly thought they were all just too beneath my cool for me to bother with them, the way I was with my cold and expressionless face.. Like I knew things they didn’t.. The matter of fact was, I had nothing to say.. I mean, I truly had nothing to say. So instead of spluttering crap, I just shut up. And you know what the hardest part was? Keeping a straight face.. Should have seen me when I got home in the evenings when my watch was over. I used to go to my room, then laugh my face off until it hurt, very nearly every night!”

“You.. you are a cruel, cruel girl, Cora Sleet..”, whispered Brom, staring at the barbarian with amazement.

 

What truly amazed him was how much the barbarian girl had to say.

He’d thought he’d known this snow elf for so long as they had been together, all quiet and cool yet to see how much she had kept bottled up inside. Wraiven must have done some wonders last night to have this girl open up as she just had.. He also felt a slight pang of shame to have not been the one to have done the same, but then, Wraiven was something else..

He was bard, with bardic skills, and he knew the intricacies of the heart.. Or he’d thought he knew. And yet, the very tall, very dark girl had done to Cora in one night, what he hadn’t been able to do in months.

That just had to be something special, alright..

 

“Yea, well..”, said Cora. “That’s all over now, isn’t it? Ironfrost is gone, my cool is gone, now I actually do have things to say, just none of my friends left to say it..”

“You are still ‘cool’ for me, Cora.. And you can say whatever you like to me. ‘Bone and Cleave’, I am your friend..”, Brom mumbled.

“Bone and Cleave, huh? Rather poetic.. in a barbaric way.. I like!”, she said with a whimsical smile.

Then, her eyes softened as she looked down at him.

“Brom..”, she said with a quiet but serious voice. “..just when have we ever faced anything that is smaller than us? And don’t say, goblin sappers! They had numbers and those bloody grenades.. Yet, we are here, they are not. We have bested everything that is always bigger than us.. Go.. And best her.. Again!.. Shouldn’t be too hard for you, since you already bested her once before. Must I also remind you that it was because of you that she held her punches then.. And that it was your victory against her that made her our friend.. and ruined you for her..”

Then she gave the hobbit one of her rare, crooked smiles, patted him on one shoulder, and before turning to leave for her wrecked room to start clearing the bits and pieces of the debris, she said..

“If that isn’t karma, I do not know what is..!”

Brom heard her talking from inside as she tossed large, broken furniture around.

“You have so much more in common than you think, my bushy little friend. She loves flowers, you love gardens. You can make her whole gardens full of those silly, pink flowers and she will love it.. She is an insoluble mystery, you are forever intrigued by mystery. You can spend the rest of your life trying to solve her, and it will not be a life wasted.. She is pretty, you appreciate and honor that pretty. You can stare and stare at her and never be bored.. She adores cute, you are adorable.. She can put you in her coin purse and carry you around all day and be happy – though I have no idea how you are going to fit in a little pouch. Must be some magic pouch, I think.. To remember my father and mother had nothing in common, yet loved each other like eloped teenagers, was ever awkward for me to watch..”

✱ ✱ ✱

You look happy today.”, said Seressa, peering closely at her little pair.

“I am happy today. I am sorry I made such a ruckus yesterday, Seressa. Things just.. sort of piled on top of each other in one me and.. this isn’t.. this is all very new to me.”, Tonic admitted quietly.

“All is fine, all is fine, luv. Long as you’re are happy.”, her very tall, very dark pair smiled. “Your Gordigon’s letter seems to have found its way back home, I see..”

“Thanks to Brom. He is very smart, crafty, and caring, you know.”, she replied glibly.

Seressa looked down at her pair, one eyebrow cocked.

“You said nice about him.”, she said a bit surprised.

“Well, yes, I suppose I did.. He did endure me all last night and somehow got me my lost letter, did he not? He was very patient with me. Patient and understanding. I’d say he’s a great guy!”, Tonic mumbled, as she blushed slightly.

“That he is, luv. That he is.. But how did he do it? I gave it my all and came up with nothing. I just can’t imagine how that letter traveled eight hundred years, all the way from there, to here!”, she said in a marveled tone.

“I am guessing maybe it’s a bard thing. You know, bards have magic we will never have. You said it yourself!”, she replied elusively. “He is sleeping, anyway. The poor hobbit had a rough night. All the gnomes he had to put up with.”

“Casting yourself in the plural now, are we?”, smiled Seressa.

“Yea.. uhh.. there is just so many of me!”, Tonic blushed some more at her blunder.

“I am sure he will forgive us.”, said Seressa. “Boots?”

“Boots..”, replied Tonic, hopped on the bed and wiggled her feet.

“Tonic, luv..”, said Seressa. “What did you do last night?”

“Eh?”, froze Tonic.

“Look at your feet, girl.. We had a bath just last night and you got your feet all dirtied up again. You can’t wear your boots in such a state. You’ll stink them!”, Seressa said with a disconcerting voice.

“You just want to wash them cuz you like playing with them.”, replied Tonic, wiggling her tiny feet again.

“Yea..”, said Seressa with a smile. “They are soooo cute.”

“They are just feet, girl.”, Tonic frowned

“But very cute and very little feet. I could put them in my mouth and still have room to talk.”, she snickered.

“Ewww, girl.. That’s just gross.”, Tonic pinched her face.

Seressa laughed as she got up and went for the washing pan.

“There’s no water in this!”, she said.

“Ummm…”, said the gnomic girl and she suddenly went red. “I.. might have dumbed its content on Brom, last night..”

Seressa stared at Tonic.

“Why?!”, she wailed. “Why? All the nice things he’s done, and you dumped the content of a washing pan on him? That’s not nice, luv..”

“Look, I am sorry. It wasn’t one of my proudest moments, alright! I was a wreck, looking for a beach to crash and.. he just seemed to be so.. dunno.. convenient?”, she mumbled.

“Tonic..”, despaired Seressa. “Luv.. You can’t keep doing this.. to me.. to yourself.. to OTHERS! Please!”

“I know, I know.. we sort of talked and apologized to one another. Here. give me my satchel, will you?”, she said.

Seressa handed Tonic her artificer’s satchel and Tonic started rummaging it.

After a while, she pulled a round, potbelly jug out of it.

“Bring the pan here, please.”, she said.

Seressa brought the empty washing pan and Tonic tilted the jug. More water than the jug could have possibly contained poured out until the pan was full.

“That’s neat.”, said Seressa. “Is it finite?”

“Yea. Too bad really, otherwise we could have drowned Dreadmaw using just this. Provided he stood still and didn’t get out of his cave!”, said Tonic with a sad voice.

“Indeed.. would have taken only about a century or ten to fill his cave, I surmise.”, she smiled.. “Come, luv.. Let’s get on with the feet. We should be leaving soon..”

 

Tonic giggled as her pair vigorously washed her feet, any number of times until she was satisfied.

Then she went for her own pack, produced a medium-sized towel, and started robustly rubbing the gnomic girl’s tiny little feet.

Then, while holding her left foot by the ankle, she froze.

“Whot?”, squeaked Tonic, staring at her pair and she noted her long, slender tail. All through the washing and drying, Seressa’s fascinating tail had been dancing back and forth in a lazy, content, and hypnotizing pattern. Now it stood up very still. Its pink, fluffy end, however, was twitching with an erratic irritation —always a bad sign. It meant her master was feeling provoked.. or was seeking mischief!

Tonic looked up to her pair to see Seressa smirking, her white, beautiful canines fully on display.

“No..”, said Tonic seriously. “Seressa no.. no, no, no, NOOO!”

Seressa smirked some more.

“I have you now.”, she hissed..

..and poped it!

 

Arcantonic’s foot..

..into her mouth!

 

Tonic held her breath, then squealed, laughing in manic despair.

“Eww, girl, get it out. Get it out!”, she shrieked, still squealing and giggling.

“Told you I could do it, and still have room to talk!”, Seressa mumbled, her own tummy hopping with bubbles of laughter!

Tonic threw herself back and started banging her fists while she shrieked and squealed as she convulsed with the electrifying jolts of tickle running up her tiny foot in Seressa’s mouth!

“Enough.. Se..Seressa.. Enough.. Pwahahahahaa! Ahahahahaaa.. Seres.. Hahahahaa! Ow. My.. Gwahahahahahaa..!”

“Ehem..”, said a voice from the door.

“Perhaps I came at a wrong time?”, said Brom.. with a professionally straight face, as he beheld the mad? creepy? insane? funny? hilarious? sight before him.

 

A Tonic, squealing like a hyped little squirrel, and a Seressa, with her pairs foot in her mouth..

It was a very nearly surreal sight.

Perhaps I am not quite awake yet, and this is just a weird dream with a lot of metaphors, thought Brom.

 

“This isn’t what it looks like!”, blurted Wraiven in unveiled panic, the foot still in her mouth.

“I am not eating her!”

 

And she blushed.

Brom hadn’t seen the very tall, very dark girl blush before.. Not really.. Probably because she was a cultured and classy girl, she had maturely accepted herself as who and what she was, or never truly put herself in situations where she would end up blushing.. even at her moments of klutz, and as silly as she always seemed.

Or perhaps he was overthinking or overanalyzing it and the girl was just so dark, a blush merely camouflaged itself.. A bit like her bruises.

Whatever the reasons may be, it told something about the girl to Brom. As to what it was, he put it aside for the moment. The current situation had precedence and was likely one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ things..

Hence it came quite as a surprise when he saw the very tall, very dark girl truly, and actually blush.

Her face, her whole demeanor, really.. just changed. The whole of Seressa Wraiven started to glow with a searing, simmering, red-orange inner fire one would only see in pitched coal at the very bottom and center of a hearth where the fickle fire had died, and what remained was the core ember that gave off a calm, but steady heat.

 

It was ‘awesome’, at a whole new level..

“Ow. My. Gosh!”, he barely heard Tonic squeak in destroyed embarrassment.

Brom could only gawk at Wraiven.

 

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies,

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meets in her aspect and her eyes..

 

He murmured silently.

Then, a whisper escaped him..

“Or perhaps my timing was of the best.”

 

Slowly, and deliberately, Brom Bumblebrim turned around, took a deep breath, and left.

Perhaps Cora could use some help. There had been a lot of debris in that wreck.

✱ ✱ ✱

You bested her already?”, asked Cora as she picked up what was perhaps once a wardrobe like it was made of straws than hardwood. “That was quick. Way to go hobbit! Hope you didn’t comment about the size of her.. well, you know.. She is a bit touchy on that subject, though I can’t understand why considering your initial assumptions and accusations were totally wrong..”

 

Brom scratched his head dubiously.

“Never accuse a girl about the size of their..”, continued Cora.

He wasn’t quite sure who had, perhaps unwittingly, bested whom there, just then, or if there had been any besting at all. He certainly felt bested, though.. He also felt something smolder at the pit of his stomach!

“Did you tell her she’s pretty? Seressa likes pretty.”

Seressa Wraiven was not just pretty..

 

She was something..

..awesome.

 

Something..

..remarkable.

 

Something.. 

..extraordinary.

 

Something.. 

..exceptional.

 

Something.. 

..awe-inspiring.

 

Something.. 

..outstanding.

 

Something.. 

..elusive, certainly.

 

But something..

..amazing too.

 

And he saw something new in her, every time she turned around.. and thus Brom Bumblebrim wondered..

“But it’s always nice hearing it from others..”

Why had she blushed so..?


The poem Brom recites;

She Walks in Beauty
by Lord Byron (George Gordon Byron, 1788 – 1824)

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that’s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes;
Thus mellowed to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impaired the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express,
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

 

Seressa: “I have you now.”

 

arashkan şehri book 03 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups karakter analizi komedi modül role play serenity the plot thickens tundra walkers Whispers; A Cabal

Quiet In The Library

Quiet In The Library

Timeline:

Arcantonic and Brom slip silently into the night to do somethings that might very well break the prophecy they were sent for.

Adamant that she must do what she set out to do, Brom has little choice but to help accompany the ‘cute little demon’ of a gnomic girl.

 

This story takes place on the same night as
“Benim gitmem lazım.”
The Returning of Shal -ah Galad
Geleceğin Adımları
“Not Yets” and POV’s (18+)
and right after
Between The Blinds.

 

 

THAT. WAS. AWSOOOOOME!“, Tonic half shrieked, half cackled with manic fervent and triumphant hysteria. “I can’t believe she held me.. No!.. She hugged me! The Riverin of High Woods, The Princess of Bari Na-ammen, the daughter of Ri Grandaleren and Rise Nadine Graciousward.. THE FUTURE QUEEN OF THE HIGH ELVES, Alor’Nadien ne Feymist herself, my twin sister by adoption, no less, and she hugged me! Oww my Gosh, she smelled so nice.. So warm.. And you know what? I think I will go visit her again, once this is all over. Just for more of that!”

“Girl.. She offered you the throne of Bari Na-Ammen, literally, and all you can think of is her hugs? I’ll be the first one to admit, she is a beauty, par to Wraiven, but really, now.. Your priorities are a tad eschewed.”, Brom said with a bemused tone.

“Look here, you little hobbit!”, she said pointing a tiny finger at him. “This here is the hair of a Princess. And not just any princes, but that of Alor’Nadien ne, herself! And not just a snippet, either. She gave me a whooooole strand!”

 

Her tiny finger, the one she was pointing at Brom, was nearly all black! Because her fingers were so small, and the Princess truly had had very long hair, flowing nearly all the way down to her feet. She had enlaced the hair around and around her finger until it had all but covered it.

And now, the little gnomic girl was skipping and hopping like she was the proud owner of one of the rarest wonders in the kingdom..

..which, she was!

 

“You are such a dork, Tonic.”, Brom smiled. “..And a fangirl!”

 

The two had left the huge Dorin guy and the beautiful, graceful, and pretty princess behind and were heading to their next, and hopefully, last stop for the evening; to the Great Arashkan Library.

Why was every officious building in the city named ‘Great’, Brom had wondered.

The Great Arashkan Courthouse, The Great Arashkan Library, The Great Arashkan Arena, The Great Spires, The Great First Lord Princeps Palace.. It wasn’t like there was another city just over the hill with a courthouse, a library, an arena, some spires nor another first lord that one would confuse, now, was there?

Or perhaps there was some ‘baby’ Arashkan courthouses, libraries, arenas, spires, and first lord palaces and hence, the ‘great’ ones had real and practical significance.

Brom couldn’t imagine a conversation where some stranger would ask; “Excuse me, mate, where’s the First Lord’s Palace?”, and get a reply, “Which one? I mean, we have so many!”.

Brom suspected, that conversation would devolve into something like;

“The ‘great’ one..”

“Yea, okay, but which one? We have a lot of ‘great’ first lords in Arashkan. You’ll have to be a bit more specific, mate!”

“How many First Lord’s do you have, in this city?”

“19,876 by the last count. We had a new First Lord spawn just the other day!”

 

Apparently, Brom’s live imagination was at play again!

 

But there was, however, some truth in his creative perception. All these ‘greats’ didn’t make the city anymore endearing.. Only pompous! No one, it seemed, was near-honestly humble like hobbits in this world. Hobbits lived in nice, quiet, rolling hills. They didn’t build giant monuments, nor put awesome statues to impress others. Seemed a little like too much work for no gain at all. Hobbits made their homes in the hills and.. well.. they lived in them.. Happily too!

The near-honestly was because hobbits were just unenthusiastically lazy to be bothered by such frivolities!

Elves, humans, gnomes, dwarves.. none of them ever seemed satisfied with what they already had. Always they would thrive for more..

..and still, be unhappy.

Just how stupid was that?

 

“Brom.”, Tonic said sternly. “I know what she offered. Think of my history. I know what power is. I lived with my uncle for years. And I know what power can do to you. My uncle.. He had power. Lots and lots of it. Even his demons feared him and it really is hard to instill fear in a demon. And look what it brought him. Banishment to the depths of hell he is never coming back from. It is possible he is still alive. And burning perpetually there.. And Heavens willing, he should burn for more, and then some.”

“I.. can’t say I admire his disposition. But why? Why did Nadine banish him and not just kill him and be done with? Death seems kinda more permanent, don’t you think?”, asked Brom a bit taken aback by the little gnomic girl’s savage tone.

“No. Death is not always thus permanent. Not for guys like my uncle..”, she replied, her tone much more subdued now than just a moment before.

“Ow? How do you mean?”

“My uncle, Arcanton.. He made many deals with many beings.. Outsiders.. Creatures that do not belong to our plane of existence. Planes where time and space get distorted. You literally can’t kill those creatures, Brom. You can only banish them from your own reality and hope some fool will not summon them back.. At least not in your lifetime!”, Tonic said quietly.

“Hmm.. So Arcanton made deals with things out of our plane of existence. But so did Wraiven, come to think of it, did she not? I mean, The Raven Queen doesn’t exactly belong to our plane of existence either, you know.”, Brom said carefully.

“Seressa did not make deals with the Raven Queen, Brom. Not in the sense that my uncle did. My pairs soul is her own. And belongs only to her. I doubt under any circumstance would she give up her soul to anyone.. or anything! Seressa is bonded with the Raven Queen via a pact. She does her bidding in return for her queen sharing a part of her power and knowledge with her. It is sort of a mutually beneficial agreement between two parties. She can, if she wanted, dissolve that bond. Yes, she will lose the Raven Queen’s favor and the power she imparts to her, but the fact remains; she can end the bond..”, Tonic tried to explain.

“So she can.. But I still don’t see the difference.”, said Brom as he squinted into the night.

“The difference is, unless you got more balls than brains, you literally can’t break the deals you make with Outsiders. Once the deal is done, your soul is on the market! It’s ‘Going.. Going.. Going.. Gone!’“, she said seriously.

“Well, that sucks.. I suppose. I like it that Seressa is free. I like her free. And she should always be free. Social rhetorics do her enough injustice and chain her as it is. She doesn’t need any more constraints.”, Brom said quietly.

 

The two walked on for some time in companionable silence. As it turned out, they ended up going the longest possible way around, taking the streets between the Officers District and Heaven Park, behind the Archery Military Camp, and by the Lights Temple. For some reason, the First Lords Palace and the streets surrounding it seemed to be teaming with burly, scowling patrols and neither Brom nor Tonic needed any complications or altercations with the city’s law enforcement’s that late, that night.

 

“Don’t.”, Brom said finally.

“Don’t what?”, asked Tonic, a bit surprised.

“Don’t ask the question you have been meaning to ask all night, Miss Tonic.”, he said with a destitute voice.

“Actually, I wasn’t going to ask anything.. And you really don’t need to ‘Miss’ me you know. Every time you say ‘Miss Tonic’, it sounds like ‘I miss Tonic!’ in my head, and that’s just weird.. and creepy!”, she said.

“Well, now. That is weird.. And creepy..”, mused Brom, but it seemed his mind was elsewhere.

“I did wonder though..”, Tonic began.

“And that.. is what I meant when I said, ‘don’t’!”, Brom frowned.

“You know. It isn’t fair you get to do all these psychoanalysis on me and then fend me off when I want to ask you some personal questions.”, she sniffed.

“I am not the one with the accumulated issues, Miss— Tonic.”, replied Brom, but there was no heat nor beration in his voice.

“So only people with decent backgrounds get to analyze others, then?”, asked Tonic mildly.

“No.. There just isn’t anything there to analyze.”, Brom replied allusively.

“Ahh.. I see.. So it’s perfectly alright if I did ask you a few personal questions, then?”, said Tonic with a victorious smirk.

“What? No.. How did you even get to that conclusion, girl?”, replied the hobbit feeling exasperated.

“Using awesome logic!”, smirked Tonic again.

“Using logic..”, snorted Brom. “You are not going to let this go, are you, girl?”

“Nope.”, replied Tonic happily. “So.. What do you see in Seressa?”

“Thought I already told you that. Just this evening. At least twice.”, frowned Brom.

“Yes, and no. Your description of her was a bit.. too intimate and heartfelt.. One could argue it’d make an excellent book cover, let’s say.”, said Tonic tentatively.

“I don’t know what kind of books you are into, girl, but I would suggest you read something that has actual literature in them.”, Brom scowled now.

“So you don’t like her, then?”, she blurted.

“Now why wouldn’t I like her? I mean, what is there not to like?”, replied Brom honestly.

“So you do like her..”

“Ow. My. Gosh, girl. You are going to push this in your direction whatever I say!”, exclaimed Brom, waving his hands.

“I just want you to give me an honest, and straight answer. Is that too much to ask? I mean, we are friends, right?”, persisted the gnomic girl.

“Just because we are friends, that doesn’t mean we share everything..”, said Brom exasperated.

“But you said, ‘We suffer. We mourn. We sing and we celebrate.. We do. And what we do, we share!‘. Your words, not mine.”

 

Brom ‘hoo boy’ed.

The little demon was persistent.. and she stuck on him..

..like a tick!

 

“That is possibly the worst misuse of a friendly conversation, Miss Tonic!”, Brom said angrily. “But I will tell you, just to get you off my back!”

“Yeshh!”, Tonic fisted her hand into the air. “Victory!”

 

“When I see your pair.. No.. When I see Wraiven, I sometimes wish I was a taller man. And better looking, perhaps. ‘Cooler’, so to speak. Maybe a bit more muscular.. You know, the type girls like to ogle at.

 

I love everything about her and she sees me only as something that she can, perhaps, cute into her coin purse. Not that I would mind being pursed by her, but that will still not make her see me in the light that I would rather have her see me.. If that makes any kind of sense to you.

 

We are so impossibly different, yet she makes me simply not care. Which is the core of the problem. She doesn’t see me that way, period. I mean, what am I to her, really, but a bushy little hobbit?”, said Brom then fell silent. This night had offered him many wonders. Just not the ones he would have wished for.

Tonic stared at the back of the hobbit as they once more fell silent.

She had been surprised by this unscrupulous hobbit a few too many times this evening. But this last bit gave her a whole new insight about him because he hadn’t been staring at her pair for the simple visual pleasure of having ogled at a very beautiful, proportionately curvy, comely buxom, life inducingly vibrant, deservingly exhilarating, darkly mysterious, and honestly alluring figure, counter-underlined by some macho male animal instinct, but for something more. Something that was intimate. Something that had real depth.

Tonic suddenly felt angry and jealous.

For all her pretense otherwise, she didn’t feel like sharing her pair with anyone, even though she had taken her pair a bit too much for granted.

Then she felt shame.

The hobbit —No! Not the hobbit.. ‘Brom’, had done nothing but give his best to help a cranky, cantankerous, contrary, grumpy and surly little girl his all, and not just that evening, but carefully, every day, ever since they had met. And for some reason, Tonic didn’t think he’d done any of it to gain favor with her pair, by proxy. For all his seeming indifference towards everything, lack of base enthusiasm, exasperation level of sloth, and blatantly unscrupulous attitudes, he was smart, cunning, always seemed to show unsolicited kindness, and he was loyal, educated, and well-spoken, even though he hadn’t been to an academy such as Melshieve and thus far, he’d more than pulled his weight in fights.

Much better than she had!

Hells bells, he’d also played that lyre like a siren! She remembered all the times she’d thought he was just staring at her pair’s butt, while he had persistently claimed he was composing a song.. in his mind!

And he had been telling the truth all along.

‘The Endless White’.

The tune he had played, back at the inn that very evening was something that was simply ‘mad’..

..and Tonic had loved it!

And now she didn’t want to share her pair with him?

Like her pair was hers to give or not..

Just how arrogant was that?

 

“Yes.”, inner Tonic said. “You really are selfish, you know.”

“Whose side are you anyway?”, blazed Tonic but her heart hadn’t really been in it. She’d flared more out of ‘muscle reflex’ than true intent.

“Does it matter? It was you, who wanted to try ‘this way for some..’, wasn’t it? Now you want to quit? I wasn’t aware it would be this short. Must have missed the memo. Had I known you’d be this fickle, I wouldn’t have fought against it so hard, knowing you’d come around on the morrow..”, inner Tonic said, and she didn’t even bother with the sarcasm.

Tonic shut up.

From the inside!

 

No. The hobbit was not just ogling at a very beautiful, proportionately curvy, comely buxom, life-inducingly vibrant, deservingly exhilarating, darkly mysterious, and honestly alluring figure.

Brom was staring at the heart of all that and desolately knew, he could never have it.

The ogling was just his way of fooling those around him..

..and himself.

 

“You could tell her.”, she braved mutely.

 

“To what end? There’s nothing neither of us can do about it, particularly if she doesn’t see me that way. If I tell her, all I will get is either the basic ‘You are my friend’, talk or the infamous ‘But I love you like a brother’, talk, which I would rather forgo and Heavens forbid, will never happen. However Seressa sees me, I never want her to love me like a ‘brother’..”, replied Brom, and not without a good dose of bitter disgust.

“So you are going to do nothing?”, asked Tonic incredulously.

 

“I never claimed to be a brave man, Tonic. As a matter of fact, I did say I was a coward, this very evening, I might add. Being refused by someone as awesome as Wraiven is not something I ever want to experience. I’d rather just ogle and make sure she sees me doing it.”, he said quietly.

“Make sure she sees you? Why? That doesn’t make sense.”, said Tonic befuddled.

“I don’t like sneak-peaking at her. Feels wrong. Feels like cheating.. Feels immoral —and yes, I am fully aware of the monumentally depraved irony there. That doesn’t change the way I feel, though.”, said Brom, frowning a bit.

“But.. but you are suffering and she doesn’t even know!”, bewailed Tonic.

“What’s got you so riled. It’s my problem. I’d rather look at that beautiful and wonderful, and beautifully wonderful girl with the impossible dream of a ‘chance’, than never to be able to look at her again when I get refused or be declared as ‘loved like a brother’!“, said Brom, gruffly.

Tonic ran up to Brom and stopped right in front of him and looked him in the eyes.

“That’s.. That’s just wrong, Brom.. and sad..”, she said with brimming eyes.

“Well. I am a sad sort of man. I got a problem, and I am using the cowardly way out. Nobody is feeling bad and no one is getting hurt..”, he said flatly.

“Accept you.”, she said quietly.

“Yea, well. There you have it. Chew on that psychoanalysis if you will, Miss Tonic.”, said Brom, brushed past the gnomic girl and with determined steps, started towards The Great Arashkan Library..

✱ ✱ ✱

Tell me again.”, said Brom with a mute, stoic voice. “What do I say to this Tinker-guy, again? And how in the blazes am I even going to get up to that window anyway? It must be at least fifty-five feet up there. Probably more, since this is a library. They would require higher ceilings to store all the books.”

 

Brom didn’t feel well. He had never wanted to divulge his feelings about the very tall, very dark girl to anyone. And certainly not to Tonic. Not because he thought she couldn’t keep the knowledge to herself, but perhaps, and because, he thought, she would keep it to herself.

“Damit.”, he thought. “Why now? Why tonight, of all nights?”

Had it been the tune he’d played to the audience that evening?

The one he’d named a tad grandly as; ‘The Endless White.’

He knew he should have named it just ‘The White.’.. or even ‘White.’.. but white was just too generic.

Or perhaps it was the song he’d sang after that; Time.

In all honesty, Brom Bumblebrim knew, he just knew, it wasn’t him, who’d written that song. Unlike any other song he had written, this one had ‘come’ to him.. and in the most literal sense possible. Word by word, the song had written itself in his mind and heart during his two-year sojourn from Bowling Hills, all the way to Shakehands.. Which is when he’d met Cora. But tonight had been the first time he had actually put it on display, so to speak. And now, the song was out..

..and out of its ‘time’, Brom thought with a sardonic inner snort.

Or perhaps it was because of having met an angelic being.. or seen that dark, the very sinister-looking man he’d ended up feeling ‘distaste’ at best, then getting all his emotions totally eroded when he saw the same, sinister man looking at the sweet little skinny girl the way he had. And the look she had given him had been emotionally ruinous all by itself for Brom.

He was a bard, damit, and love was the bread and butter for all bards.. But the thing between those two.. he found he couldn’t define it..

..because he could not comprehend it.

It had been so.. nubile in its beauty..

So primevally intense.

There had been no decorum to it. Only base, raw, savage, and somehow, awe-inspiringly tender and desperately lonely longing in the look the two, very unlikely man and girl, were giving one another.

And they were giving it in a sense that was singularly unique! It made other people’s love seem like they were merely and briefly lending their hearts to others, while those two had already and literally given theirs.

So much so that what beat in one, was actually the heart of the other..

 

What man, woman —or bard— could truly comprehend that?

 

The intermixed irony that was put under the broad beam of a bright spotlight was not lost on Brom at all;

One, inhumane human, and one, infinitely humane, inhuman!

It was likely that very destitution the two had, that’d sparked the fire that had previously been a mere and happy little kindle..

..into searing pain.

 

“Damit!”

 

Tonic gave Brom an even look.

Whether she surmised what was really going through the hobbit’s mind, she kept it to herself.

For now, at least.

Which was a grace, all by itself.

 

“I have seen you climb walls before, Brom. That cloak of yours will more than suffice. If you want, though, I can give you a potion that will make you climb pretty much any surface. Another for you to pass through any gap, or to safely float down. I can send a rope all the way up there.. The window is in range.”, she listed methodically. “I suppose, if you want, I can bring out Mechaber. He can give you a fifteen feet head-start sort of a jump. But I haven’t really had the opportunity to field test that. And I can’t promise a quiet landing. Likely, it will bring a lot of patrols upon us. I am guessing you’d rather avoid that.”

“I am guessing, you would rather avoid that!”, scowled Brom.

“Yes. Yes, I would.. Very much.. The technology behind Mechaber is not out yet, and I would rather it didn’t. Not yet, and not until it’s perfected and certainly not until I install the self-destruct unit in it.”, she said seriously.

“The self— what?”, asked Brom incredulously.

“Self-destruct unit.. You didn’t think I would artifice something as dangerous and deadly as Mechaber and then hand it over to the irresponsible humankind, or have it stolen, now did you? I designed it. I must make sure it never falls into wrong hands..”, Tonic said like she was paraphrasing from a blood-signed doctrine!

“Ooookay.. Good, we got that cleared, then.”, Brom said.

“Mechaber is serious business, Brom. Nothing to joke about. The fact that you have seen it, let alone know about it is a sign of how much Seressa trusts you because if it were up to me, you’d have never seen, nor heard mention of it.. Well.. not for some time, anyway.”

“Ooookay.. Good to know where we stand too, then.”, Brom said with the same tone.

Tonic scowled.

“Look, just because you like someone, doesn’t mean you hand over the nuclear launch codes to them, alright!”, she said with an exasperated voice.

“The what lunch codes?”

“Never mind.”, said Tonic. “Read it in some silly futuristic sci-fi book.”

“Psychic-what? What are you talking about, girl? Just what the hell kind of books are you reading?”, Brom asked.

“Look, the story begins when a pretty Erossian spy falls in love with a mad and delusional Camerican nuclear scientist—”, the gnomic girl promptly began..

“Tonic!.. It’s late. I am tired and in all sorts of ways.. Let’s just get this over with, shall we? I am sure Cora and your pair have noticed we have been too quiet by now and gone to your room to check and see as to why! I think the story about some mad psychic-whatsit can wait, don’t you?”

“Right..”, said Tonic and blushed a bit. “Just tell him what I told you. Don’t loiter. Don’t chit-chat. Get in. Tell him. Get out. And..”

Brom cocked one eyebrow.

“And?”

“..And, thank you. I made you do things tonight you would rather not have done.. At least not with me, nor for me.. So.. Thank you..”, she said with a small voice.

“You are welcome, Miss Tonic. And no, I wouldn’t have done any of this, not tonight, not ever, but not because of you. I just wouldn’t have done them because I would rather have taken a light snack, cleaned and tuned my lyre, and then went to sleep. Thanks to you, it is unlikely I will find any light snacks nor find the time to neither clean nor tune my lyre. And because it’s nearly the end of the night, I will not be getting any sleep either..”, Brom said.

Tonic frowned.. and felt a bit.. hurt..

“But I did do all the things I would rather have not, and I am now a better man for it.. All because of you.. So.. Thank you!”, he added with a smile.

Tonic’s eyes teared.

“Go.. Now.. Or I shall call you an ass and totally ruin the moment, Brom Bumblebrim!”, she sniffled.

 

Brom smirked, turned around, pulled his magic cloak around him..

..and started climbing up the side of The Great Arashkan Library like some odd lizard or possibly, an arachnid!

✱ ✱ ✱

Who is there?”, a slightly tenoric male voice whispered harshly in the darkness.

“It is I, The Ghost of Silent Hills Past, Present, and Future!”, spoke Brom, with a hoarse, hollow voice as he produced a very high, very eerie, screaming tune from his lyre.

 

The poor antic instrument wept at her misuse.

 

Brom had found the ‘Tinker-guy’ with relative ease. The gnome was taller than Tonic but while the gnomic girl was proportionally slim, this gnome, the possible great, great, great-something grandson of Prince Gordigon was a bit on the stocky side. Though he looked quite young and robust and had keen, intelligent, and pursuing eyes.

Brom had thought of a dozen different ways of approaching the gnome, including stepping up to him and saying, “Hallo there, matie. Got somin te tell yer! Go there them Silent ‘ills an’ grab what’s there fer yer self and be quik ’bout tit! And while at tit, quit mawnin’ ’bout things ‘cuz non wuz yer falt! But I’d suggis yer watch yer arse cuz sum fellers wantsit!”

And now he was gnawing his knuckles, hiding a few rows, behind and above him, stuck on the ceiling!

 

“Whot?”, the gnome, Tinker-guy, said in a baffled and spooked voice.. And one of his hands formed claws as a huge ball of fire appeared in it!

 

“Ow crap!”, thought Brom. “A trigger happy fireballer!.. We are in a bloody library, damit! Who uses a fire hall in a library? That is a universal reason for contempt, almost akin to speaking aloud in a theater! Doesn’t he know there’s a special kind of hell for people like that? And this idiot is the heir to Silent Hills?”

He produced his own Wand of Ice, just in case the fool actually did fire his ball and he had to put out the fires!

 

And just then, they heard a monotonous, matronly voice echo.

 

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, OR YOU WILL BE FINED! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

 

“What the..”, said the gnome, Tinker-guy.

Brom snickered. Ow, this was going to be fun!

“It is I, The Ghost of Silent Hills Past, Present, and Future!”, he repeated, with the same hoarse, hollow voice.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 50 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“And I have come to give you tidings from the beyond, young Tinker-guy!”, hallowed Brom.

The gnome, Tinker-guy, cocked an eyebrow, his face puzzled.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 100 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“What the hell?”, the Tinker-guy said.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 150 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

Brom snickered, some more. If Tonic caught him doing this, she’d have his hide, and then some!

“You shall go to Silent Hills.. There you will find your kin..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 200 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“You must reclaim your heritage..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 250 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Ow. My. Gosh!”, exclaimed the Tinker-guy. “Can you please stop?!”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 300 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“No. I can’t!”, moaned Brom.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 350 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“For I..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 400 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“..am the Ghost of Silent..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 450 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“..Hills, Past..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 500 CREDITS! YOU ARE NOW BARRED FROM THE LIBRARY FOR A WEEK. PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“..Present and Future!”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 550 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Stop!”, cried the gnome!

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 600 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“And you shall do my bidding..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 650 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Stop. Just stop!”, shrieked the Tinker-guy in desperation.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 700 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“No. I can’t..”, repeated Brom, his eyes shut, his face flushed and he had started doing strange, snorting, bubbling noises.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 750 CREDITS! YOU ARE NOW BARRED FROM THE LIBRARY FOR A MONTH. PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“You shall go to Silent Hills, and into the Demon Fog to reclaim your birthright..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 800 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“You must also know, young Tinker-guy..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 850 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Stop! You are going to get me permanently..”, cried the gnome.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 900 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

Brom could hardly breathe by now.

“..what befell you in the past..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 950 CREDITS! PLEASE BE ADVISED; YOU ARE NOW APPROACHING CONDEMN LIMIT. PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“..was not of your doing!”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 1000 CREDITS! YOU ARE NOW BANNED FROM THE GREAT ARASHKAN LIBRARY. PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Whot?”, exclaimed the gnome and there appeared a haunted expression on his face. A face that bespoke of shame, self-loathing, relief, pain lived, and pain endured..

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 1100 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Those who put your heritage into desolation sent their minions to slay ye and yer line..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 1200 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

The gnome’s face paled. He tried to speak, but words utterly failed him.

“..to ensure, none would ever bring ‘voice’ to Silent Hills..”

And now, Brom wasn’t snickering anymore.

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 1300 CREDITS! PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Hence an evil plan they hatched.. A heinous plan.. And they brought down your home and buried you, and yours..”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 1400 CREDITS! PLEASE PLEASE BE ADVISED; YOU ARE NOW APPROACHING THE CIVIL RIGHTS LIMIT. STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

Tears appeared in the Tinkey-guy’s eyes and ran down shamelessly.

“My mother? My father? My brothers and sisters by the dozen? Terrah Doodlebellz? All my friends? My neighbors? —They all died because of me?”

“QUIET IN THE LIBRARY, 1500 CREDITS! THE CIVIC GUARDS ARE ON THEIR WAY. PLEASE STOP BY THE CASHIER FOR THE PAYMENT AND WAIT FOR DETENTION! THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY.”

“Nay, young Tinkerdome. They all died because someone slew them. They all died to kill your line. Make their sacrifice worth the world, young Tinkerdome..

Reclaim your Heritage.

 

Reclaim your Hills.

 

Reclaim your Kingdom.

 

Reclaim your Throne.

 

Reclaim your Destiny.

 

Reclaim your People.

 

And be a King!”

 

And with a job well done, Brom Bumblebrim silently climbed down the ceiling.

Quite as a mouse, he brushed past the devastated Prince Gnine Tinkerdome, the great, great, great-something grandson of Prince Gordigon, got out the window, and skimmed down the walls of The Great Arashkan Library..

✱ ✱ ✱

WHAT DID YOU DO?!“, nearly shrieked Tonic in panic as she grabbed the hobbit and started running back the way they came. “The place is suddenly crawling with civic law enforcement!”

They ran past the Lights Temple, along the Archery Military Camp, and cut through the street between Heaven Park and Officers District.

“I said, just talk to him, say the things, and get out!”, spluttered the gnomic girl.

“Which is pretty much what I did, girl!”, panted Brom, his face flushed and he truly felt tired, both physically and emotionally. And he was scratching the upper end of one leg, near the buttock, just where he couldn’t see.

“What is the matter with you?”, Tonic asked, her eyes wild now.

“I got bit.. Again!..”, spat Brom, and mumbled to himself, “This is the last time I fall for a cute face!”, as they heard someone shout “HALT!“, from behind them.

“Whot?”

“Never.. mind.. Not a story.. for now..”, Brom said with a harsh scowl.

“RUN, THEN!”, hissed Tonic. “WE CAN’T GET CAUGHT DAMIT! OW. MY. GOSH!”

Aaaand the gnomic girl was about to get hit with a full-blown panic now!

Something neither of them needed at that very moment.

“Calm.. down.. girl!”, said Brom harshly, as he huffed, and puffed.

 

The marching footsteps were getting closer.

“HALT! HALT I SAY! HALT IN THE NAME OF THE FIRST LORD!”, repeated the same voice from behind, but much closer now, than before.

 

“Can.. you.. disappear?”, Tonic gasped as she ran next to Brom.

“Umm.. Yes.. But only myself!”, breathed Brom heavily.

“Ok, then.. Go.. Shoo! Vanish! Scram!”, she said.

“NO! Not.. leaving you.. Not happening..!”, Brom breathed.

“I can.. take care of.. myself.. damit!”, snarled Tonic.

“Together.. or not.. happening.. I.. never want to.. face a Wraiven.. with you.. missing!”, he gasped.

“Damit!”, she said, produced two vials with green, vaporish something in them, and a tightly packed clay sphere out of her artificer’s satchel. “Here, drink this in ten!”, she said and handed one of the vials to Brom, as she tossed the clay sphere behind her.

“You know, disintegrating civic guards is not a good idea, Tonic..”, Brom said lightly.

There was a stunning bang, and the civic guards on their heels dropped to their knees and slumbered face down.

“Neat..”, admired Brom.

“Won’t keep them down for long. Now shut up and drink! The effects of this potion should last about an hour, possibly more. I am usually generous —or heavy-handed— with ingredients, depending on your point of view.. Meet you at the inn.”, she said and topped her own vial.. and suddenly, Tonic fell apart!

“I like you, Brom Bumblebrim.”, she said in a warbling, escaping, gaseous, and fading voice. “If you are so bent on martyring alone, I shall abide by your wishes. But you shouldn’t decide for Wraiven without bothering to ask her. That truly is cowardly. And not really any different than all the other animals out there who only see the pinks and never wonder what’s in it.. I made that mistake and it cost me—”

Whatever it had cost Arcantonic, she couldn’t say.

Her form drifted away in a hazy wisp of smoke!

 

Brom scowled after the now gone gnomic girl.

“Inserting the last word right before the disappearing act.. Cheap, Miss Tonic. Very cheap! Well, I am warning you now, girl, there’s a whole slew of pain coming your way..”, he said darkly and drank his own vial..

 

It was the strangest sensation he had ever felt.

It was like his whole body was flying apart into tiny, dust-sized bits! He felt the hair on his bushy head rise on their ends, accept he had no hair left either. Every part of him just.. puffed into smoke, and he got carried off with the slightest wind.

Now all he had to do was somehow steer himself in the general direction of the inn, preferably away from the scores of civic guards.

✱ ✱ ✱

Had a good evening, did you?” asked Cora as she stood in the hallway up the stairs to their rooms in the inn.

Her arms were crossed.

She was scowling at the little hobbit.

And her lips had that pout again.

Brom was smart enough not to comment on how cute Cora looked when she pouted.

Or rather, when she pouted while she was angry!

“Ummm.. Had a good evening yourself, did you?”, replied Brom, as he peered into their room.

 

The room was a wreck!

Everything, including bits of the floorboards, the windows, the window sills, the curtains, the flower pots, the walls, the feather bed, the nightstand, the lamps.. were either broken to bits or were cracked beyond repair. Feathers from the bed matres and the former pillows floated about and covered everywhere while food crumbs, empty and broken plates, bowls, and further cracked mugs and bottles were tossed and scattered haphazardly.

“This is not mere destruction.”, thought Brom in awe. “This is very nearly art! I could literally write an epic on this!”

 

“What did you do, Brom Bumblebrim?”, she fumed from her nose as she loomed over the hobbit, glaring down at him with her glacial blue eyes.

“Again with the ultimatum name use! What is it with my name and ultimatums, girl?”, asked Brom, frowning a bit. “And, I could ask you the same thing, Cora Sleet!.. What did you two do here?”

“We had a girl’s night. What does it look like? Seressa said we had to wreck the room at the end, so we did.. Was fun like I never had in my life!”, she replied seriously.

“And did you wear pinks too? I know for a fact, neither of you had pajamas!”, smirked Brom.

 

Cora’s eyes blazed and her face pinked.. just a little.. Barely visible, really, and if Brom hadn’t known the barbarian girl for as long as he had, he would have totally missed it.

 

“So.. how did you like it? The pinks, I mean..”, he asked blandly, and secretly kicked himself for having missed perhaps the only chance he would have ever gotten to see a Cora Sleet in Seressa’s mini pinks!

“It was a bit drafty but otherwise comfy!”, she replied with a straight face.

“Any chance for me to—?”, he asked.

“Never happen!”, Cora replied and now she really was scowling. “WHAT. DID. YOU. DO. BROM? We left you so you can calm Tonic. Not make her cry more!”

Brom sighed. He’d really wanted this to be kept between himself and the gnomic girl. Just to preserve her dignity, if nothing else. He didn’t want the cute little demon, as she at times became, to be seen as a ‘break down’ or a ‘cry baby’ and hence, an unreliable ‘loose end’, but there was no going around Cora when she got stubborn as she did now.

“Best way is to pull at it fast and sharp, and get it over with.”, he thought, took a deep breath, and spoke his piece.

 

“Before, she was crying for dubious and barely justifiable reasons.. I, on the other hand, gave her a genuine reason, so now, she is crying for real!”, said Brom and sure as he was a short, bushy-haired hobbit, his voice was now quite low, unsophisticated, and kind. “I am sorry Cora, but the current storm is inevitable. Once it blows, however, she will be done. She will then thank me because she will be feeling much, much better, and be stronger for it!”

 

Cora looked down at the hobbit. But the ice in her glacials were gone and she was looking at him, not with her looming glare, but with the one that said..

‘You and I..’

‘We are equals.’

 

“Something happened.”, she murmured softly.

“No.. Maybe..”, Brom replied evasively.

“Must I drag it out of you, my friend?”, she said with part annoyance, part amusement, and part.. wonder, perhaps?

“I’d rather you didn’t. This one isn’t about me, Cora.. Please.. Let this one go..”, he said without looking up at her.

“Grilled you, did she? Alright, then, go.. You look beat. Missed me in pinks, though.”, she smirked.

“Yea. Missed a lot in pinks tonight.”, he mumbled quietly and left for his room.

✱ ✱ ✱

Tonic, luv..”, said Seressa softly. “Do tell me what’s wrong. It pains me to see you thus.”

Seressa had silently entered the room they had planned on staying that evening like a whisper. She had skimmed the wooden floor, went over to the large, feather bed, scooped up her pair, and cuddled her in her arms.

And like a broken little girl, Tonic had clung onto her very tall, very dark pair and shook violently as she’d wept.

“Tell me, luv. I am your pair. We share.. Share me your hurt.. Please..”, she’d said into her ear.

Arcantonic Palecog clung to pair, spluttering with uncontrollable manic and desperate tears, unable to form words.

“He saved him.. He brought him back!”, was the only thing Seressa could discern out of her.

As to who had saved whom, or brought who back, Tonic’s comprehensibility had ended there.

Clutching something in one hand, she’d wept and wept until she’d slumbered right there in her pairs arms like a cotton doll, as the exhausting venture of the night, unbeknownst to her pair, had finally caught up to her.

Seressa had hugged her pair to her heart’s content, long, long past her slumber with all the love and compassion she could muster, then sighed, “My little luv. You mean the world to me. Please understand that.. And never cry. Be happy!”.

She got up, and lightly limped as she carried her pair, and slowly put her into her bed.

“Hmm..”, she frowned. “I could have sworn I had taken her shoes off before..”

Being careful with the left one, she unlaced her little, cup-sized boots, took them off, and put them down near the bed.

Then she went to the wardrobe and pulled down a heavy quilt and covered her pair with it. Tonic looked more like a sad little kitten, curled up the way she had. Even smaller, the way she slept in a feather bed six times her size and eight times her length.

Seressa walked up to the window and pulled the curtains and closed them. The sun would dawn soon and her pair needed sleep. So did she, for that matter.

The very tall, very dark girl wondered if her pair would mind if she curled right next to her. The feather bed was certainly big enough and the idea appealed to her.

It had been one hell of a night. If she’d known girls nights was this much fun, she’d have patronized Tonic into one, years ago. She did feel a bit guilty though. Her pair had been stuck here and crying all night while she and Cora had partied like there was no tomorrow. Seressa felt like she’d abandoned her pair at a moment of her dire need.

Then she inevitably smiled.

Damn, that barbarian girl knew how to party, though!

She thought she would also have to find a proper way to thank the hobbit, Brom, as well, for keeping Tonic company while she and Cora had dismantled a goodly part of the inn. Seressa loved her pair, but she was not totally blind to her shortcomings, either. She didn’t need to bet to guess her pair had probably made the hobbit’s life miserable during his stay with her.

 

Tonic sighed in her sleep and lost grip of the thing in her clutch. It rolled off the bed and dropped on the floor.

Seressa looked down and frowned.

It was a very, very old, tattered, and crumbled scroll now.

And it looked vaguely.. familiar somehow.

Seressa had a very good memory for things; what people said, their faces, and objects she’d seen, which was why she’d rarely bothered taking any notes back at the academy. She could recite the things her tutors and professors had said almost verbatim, and identify an innumerable variety of objects and readily label them.

It sure had drawn the envy of many of the other students to no end. Seressa had given them a good lesson on ‘humanity’ that being pretty and somewhat ‘silly’ and ‘honestly vain’, didn’t equivalate to ‘stupid’.

Seressa liked feeling ‘pretty’ and ‘beautiful’, and ‘pretty beautiful’, damit..

So, there!

 

Deep down, though, she knew her appearance was mere ointment for the blunt void she felt at never to have felt the love she desperately wanted. The love she wanted had to emanate from a man like the heat from the core of an oven. Like it had to be something that was tangible.

The only problem with that was, the oven was there, men just weren’t emanating the fire.

Only.. temperamental and ephemeral sparks..

Men, it seemed, were definitely into her. And that’s about it. They were never interested in what went through her mind, nor her heart. And none of them wanted a dark, lumbering klutz of a girl with horns, a tail, and a fetish for pinks looming over them for a mate. Only as a plaything, at best..

A curio.

Might as well be an obsidian doll!

Which is what she was now.

She didn’t mind the ‘play’ part. She was very nearly sure it’d be fun. But it was the ‘thing’ that turned the whole idea stale. She just refused to be a ‘thing’ for anyone.

And no one worthy should be seeing her as a thing anyway, right?

She’d gone after the pretty ones. When that failed, she’d gone after the smart ones.. Apparently, whether they were pretty or smart, neither equivalated to ‘heart’, where men were concerned.

But then, what did? What did really equivalate to a heart?

Seressa felt bitterly cheated in life.

And sorely confused.

She was given all these amenities.

They just weren’t of any use..

She perpetually felt like she was a beautiful flower who only attracted pests and wasps, but never the bumblebee..

 

She sighed, and silently she reached down and picked up the rather worn scroll and carefully, tenderly, even, she unrolled it, and with a shocked expression, she read the very old and tattered scroll that had somehow been preserved through centuries, persevered against impossible odds, and had traveled all the way from the depths of Ritual Forest, through a bloody, demon-infested war zone, to here, to find its way back to her pair..

 

“Dear, dear Bumblebrim..”, Seressa said softly with brimming eyes, and a curvy little smile, as she finally figured the ‘who’ in ‘whom’, and remembered too, when and where she had seen the old scroll before; some relative eight hundred years ago, when they were waiting for Tonic, and the Prince Gordigon had given this letter, rolled into a scroll, carelessly laced, but not cased, in the hopes that the ‘courier’ herself would read it!

“I have no idea how you did it, but you have given back my pair a life, and a world of joy.. Thank you, for you are truly, and inexplicably amazing, luv.”