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a witness or two..

a witness or two..

Timeline:

A long stream of refugees disembark from the damaged Arashkan ships to the shores of Serenity Home town, adding to the already unmercifully overcrowded town and the lands surrounding it. From the last ship, a pair; one handsome but tired-looking blond half-elf, the other, a boldly beautiful young woman walk down the ship’s plank and follow the last remains of what was once The Great and Glorious Arashkan, towards the town that’s offering more than it has.

 

This story takes place about a month or so after
The Stab In The Back
and a bit before
Grulganesti Grimtooth Bolgrig;
“A Debt Father to Daughter Passed..”

 

 

Agent Largo: This is a bad idea. My guestimation is one of three outcomes..

Lilly Venom: That so?

Agent Largo: Yes. (a) He will suffer a traumatic shock and runoff, shouting how much he hates me. (b) He will undergo some form of angst, followed by an episode of a not so unexpected breakdown, accuse me of letting his mother get killed, and very likely result in him punching me. (c) He will outright defy me, saying I wasn’t there when he was growing up and when he needed me, and that he’s all grown up now, doesn’t need me at all, and will refuse to see or talk to me..

Lilly Venom: Angst, huh? Never thought you a man for high drama, Agent Largo. But here you are, proving me wrong.

Agent Largo: You pun me.

Lilly Venom: (shrug) I pun a lot of people, Agent Largo, and you still owe me a dinner. I hope this town has a decent inn.

Agent Largo: You came here before, Lady Lilly. You should know.

Lilly Venom: The key to being a good assassin, Agent Largo, isn’t the kill, no matter how effective or efficient you are at it.. It is knowing your target.. and their habits.. And of course, never being noticed. The Temple Guardian, Demos, never visited the inn, hence neither did I. Thinking back, good thing I never did visit the inn.

Agent Largo: Ow?

Lilly Venom: Inns are a good source for local gossip, news, and information.. and finding out who is who. Had I visited the inn, I definitely would have left this town with at least one corpse.

Agent Largo: You know someone in this town, then? On a personal level?

Lilly Venom: (slight frown) That’s none of your business, Agent Largo.

Agent Largo: You really enjoy calling me ‘Agent’, all the time, don’t you, Lady Lilly?

Lilly Venom: More than you like ‘Lady’ing me.

Agent Largo: (side glance) You are in a mood, today.

Lilly Venom: I am in a mood, every day, Agent Largo. Have you decided on what to do? About your Dexter, and about your job? At the moment, you have neither.

Agent Largo: That was a tad harsh, Lady Lilly..

Lilly Venom: I have never fallen head-over-heels for any man, Agent Largo. But I am willing to give you a shot—

Agent Largo: Coming from you, that sounds ominous. I am not sure if I should feel elated, or I should start wearing full body armor.

Lilly Venom: —And I don’t like distractions.

Agent Largo: You are quite the target-oriented girl aren’t you, Lady Lilly?

Lilly Venom: I am a Drashan girl, Agent Largo. Everyone is someone’s target there. And if you are a girl, that number rises exponentially. But I have always believed in celibacy. It removes the option of undesired attractions, and hence, unwanted distractions and complications.

Agent Largo: That’s a bit.. lonesome..

Lilly Venom: Any self-respecting Drashan marries only once, Agent Largo. That being said, there is no such thing as a ‘self-respecting Drashan’, and the only thing we truly marry is ‘death!’

Agent Largo: You make it sound like it’s a proverb.

Lilly Venom: (shrug) It is.. Have you decided what to do?

Agent Largo: I was hoping to get killed in the upcoming battle and save everyone the hassle.

Lilly Venom: No.

Agent Largo: No?

Lilly Venom: No, Agent Largo. You owe me dinner and I refuse to dine with a coward.

Agent Largo: Now, that really was harsh, Lady Lilly. And totally uncalled for.

Lilly Venom: Then go to the boy, knock on his door, or knock it down and say ‘Hi..’, sit down, and explain all your reasons for having done what you did. He might get angry, he might pout, or he might be happy. I would be happy if my mother rose from her grave and came to visit me.. though I doubt she has a grave.. Unclaimed bodies are usually just dumped into the sea with the rest of the derelict, in Drashan..

Agent Largo: That’s.. sad..

Lilly Venom: You don’t really have to act the ‘understanding type’, Agent Largo.

Agent Largo: I am not the ‘acting’ type of spy, Lady Lilly. I am the ‘orchestrating’ kind of agent. Though I see nothing to orchestrate, here. Well, actually there is.. with a lot of potential.. but I just don’t want to..

Lilly Venom: By all means, Agent Largo, do!

Agent Largo: No.

Lilly Venom: Why?

Agent Largo: You are a girl with a very special and specific set of skills, Lady Lilly. But you have honor and, diverse as it may seem, you also have integrity. I am afraid, I just don’t feel like playing with and consequently destroying either. Whatever sins I may have done, I have done for my Arashkan. I never wanted you to be part of that even before we met for the same reasons I mentioned above. The only reason I called upon you was because High Lady Angrellen left me little to no choice and I needed help.. desperately..

Lilly Venom: Do I sense ‘tender care’ in all of that?

Agent Largo: (replies with silence)

Lilly Venom: (after an extended, counter-silence, and a sigh) Neither my honor nor my integrity will save me should I ever be subjected to the law, Agent Largo.

Agent Largo: Arashkan is destroyed, Lady Lilly, therefore I am no longer the law.. And hence, I feel no obligation whatsoever to turn you in. Funny how that turned out.

Lilly Venom: (more silence) You will likely end up an outlaw too..

Agent Largo: I have been in and out of said law for longer than I can remember but never for personal gain. If for once, I end up doing that, I don’t mind doing it for you.. At all! I will do whatever job I can find, once this war is over and provided I am still alive. As for my son.. He will accept me, perhaps in time, or he will not. I did what I did, to preserve his life. He will either understand this too or not. But if you are willing to be with a fool like me, I am willing to do what it takes, Lady Lilly..

Lilly Venom: My contract with you was—

Agent Largo: —Your contract with me got voided at least twice.. back in Arashkan.. when you saved my life in the tunnel and then again after High Lady Angrellen trampled over us.. And possibly any number of other times I am not even aware of, when you watched my back on our deadly plight to get the civilians and the remaining guards out to the docks, and aboard the ships, Lady Lilly.. So when I say, you have my gratitude, I mean it at its maximum capacity. Many people who are alive now owe their lives to me. Funny how they fail to see, they actually owe it to you..

Lilly Venom: (stares ahead and does not say anything)

Agent Largo: ..We will have to take Prince Korodin in with us, though. Quite unavoidable, really. I did, after all, give my word of honor to Lady Ferrara, and the boy needs training from the best..

Lilly Venom: (snort) A wanted assassin and a former ARIS Agent..

Agent Largo: Like I said; The best..

Lilly Venom: (back to serious) Someone’s bound to notice me eventually, you know.

Agent Largo: I thought all you assassins were good with disguises.

Lilly Venom: We usually are. It’s part of our basic training program.

Agent Largo: There you have it then.. A good handlebar mustache or a chevron, along with a brett, and no one will ever recognize you.

Lilly Venom: (snort) Yes. I am sure no one will recognize me, but everyone will notice you, constantly arm in arm with a guy!

Agent Largo: So you want it to be ‘arm in arm’ and constantly, then?

Lilly Venom: (slight frown) Depends on the dinner, Agent Largo.

Agent Largo: You really have your mindset on that dinner, Lady Lilly.

Lilly Venom: Yes. I do.

Agent Largo: Why? I don’t mind a dinner.. many dinners with you, Lady Lilly, but why indeed?

Lilly Venom: Because it will be a first, for me.

Agent Largo: (blink) You mean to tell me, you have never had dinner with anyone in your life?

Lilly Venom: Agent Largo.. Just who would dine with a wanted fugitive such as myself, let alone an unaffiliated, freelancing assassin?

Agent Largo: Apparently, me..

Lilly Venom: That is yet to be seen.. and I think we are here..

Agent Largo: I suppose we are.

Lilly Venom: There are guards at the town gates and they seem to be questioning everyone before they let them in.

Agent Largo: Let me handle the guards, if you will, Lady Lilly.

Lilly Venom: Handle away, Agent Largo. I have no issues with a capable man. I have nothing to prove, and neither do you.

Agent Largo: I must disagree. Every man has something to prove, where a pretty girl is involved. If you can accept that, we can move forward.

Lilly Venom: I suppose I must. Since you think me ‘pretty’.. So, yes, I am willing to take that risk.

Agent Largo: (smile) Forward it is, then..

✱ ✱ ✱

Serenity Home Gate Guard: Good afternoon, sir.

Agent Largo: Good afternoon.

Serenity Home Gate Guard: What can I do for you, sir?

Agent Largo: We are Arashkan refugees, to see Dexter Summersong.

Serenity Home Gate Guard: And what business do you have with the town bard? He has a full schedule, training the platoon assigned to him.

Agent Largo: He.. he has?

Serenity Home Gate Guard: Yes, sir. Anyone with any skill sets is expected to train others for the upcoming battle. Any kind of training is of use. You can fill in this form over here, take a number and you will be assigned somewhere, or be assigned to someone..

Agent Largo: I see. I will fill in the forms, but after I see Sir Dexter..

Serenity Home Gate Guard: Very well, sir?

Agent Largo: Largo.. Largo Summersong.. And this is Lady Ferra and the young boy is my distant relative, Rodin.

Serenity Home Gate Guard: Alright, sir Largo. I shall send a runner and see if our bard, Dexter, is available. I apologize for the inconvenience, but I can not let you in until there is some sort of vouch —security protocols, you understand..

Agent Largo: Of course..

Serenity Home Gate Guard: Perhaps you can take the time to fill in your forms in the meantime, sir? It may take a while for Sir Dexter to get here..

Agent Largo: (sigh) Very well..

✱ ✱ ✱

Lilly Venom: ARIS Agent? Really? You are actually going to write that?!

Agent Largo: Well, why not? For once in my life, I actually don’t have to lie about my job!

Lilly Venom: Then I guess I will just have to write ‘Assassin For Hire’, in my form, then.

Agent Largo: You.. might not want to do that, Lady Lilly.. For my sake, if not yours..

Lilly Venom: I don’t do lies, Agent Largo. Perhaps you might have noticed that.

Agent Largo: I have.. And it’s made me wonder..

Lilly Venom: A good assassin does not do lies, Agent Largo. Lies constantly require attention to keep track and that clusters the mind. And because I study my contracts very well and plan my exit strategies accordingly so I never have to lie. O.P.G.G.. Observe. Plan. Get in. Get out..

Agent Largo: You really never cease to amaze me, Lady Lilly.

Lilly Venom: Also, it is immoral to lie!

Agent Largo: (stares at Lilly)

Lilly Venom: What? Just because I am an assassin, doesn’t mean I lack moral codes, Agent Largo. I kill because it’s my job, not because I enjoy doing it. That is what was available for me to learn to stay afloat at Drashan, so I learned it well. Had I enjoyed it, we wouldn’t be having this conversation because you would have been dead and I would have been elsewhere busy cutting throats.

Agent Largo: Touché.

Lilly Venom: (shrug) It’s the truth.

Agent Largo: Write, ‘Security Advisor’, then. I am guessing you can do that very well.

Lilly Venom: I suppose..

Agent Largo: It won’t be a lie..

Lilly Venom: (sigh) It had better be a very good dinner, Agent Largo..

✱ ✱ ✱

Agent Largo: Here you go, sir. Two forms.. One for me, and one for the lady..

Serenity Home Gate Guard: Thank you, sir Largo. Sir Dexter should be here soon.. Ow.. and here he is.. Sir Dexter. These are the two who wished to see you; Sir Largo and his lady, Ferra..

D.D. Dexter: (stunned) Dad?

Agent Largo: (flustered) Uhhmm.. Hello, son..

D.D. Dexter: (still stunned) You.. You are not dead!

Agent Largo: (still flustered) I.. can explain..

Lilly Venom: (snort)

D.D. Dexter: Who are you?

Lilly Venom: I am the girl your father owes a dinner to!

D.D. Dexter: (stunned and shocked) You have a girlfriend? She is younger than I am, dad!

Agent Largo: (flustered and blushing now) I.. can explain that too..

Lilly Venom: (snort) Your father is alive and well, and you are worried about my age?

D.D. Dexter: (splutter) What the heck, dad?!

Agent Largo: (going down in flames) I…

Lilly Venom: (briskly) Your priorities are mind staggering, boy.

Agent Largo: (dead because of fighting in two fronts now) Uhmm.. Lilly..

Lilly Venom: (mildly agitated) What? After some twenty-odd years, he sees his father, ALIVE, and he is making an issue of my age? Really, now.. I thought bards were a polite bunch, if not smart!

 

(many footsteps approach)

 

Sheriff Standorin: (Udoorin’s father) (stern officious voice) Lilly Venom. You are under arrest and wanted for the murder of Lord Trimdel Kandara of Endless Watch. Please do not resist. Master Aager, please arrest this felon, if you will..

D.D. Dexter: What the..

Agent Largo: Ow crap!

Aager Fogstep: (approaches Lilly with cuffs and hisses at her with an extremely angry, tight voice ) You idiot!

Lilly Venom: (sigh) Well, bugger..

Agent Largo: (more than flustered) Sheriff Standorin—

Sheriff Standorin: (with a heavy club in one hand) And you, former Agent Largo.. You are also under arrest for aiding and abetting a known fugitive. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. I suggest you keep to your silence!

Agent Largo: Sheriff Standorin. You know who I am. You know what I do—

*wham*

Sheriff Standorin: —There.. I appreciate it when criminals heed a good advice when it’s given to them and do stay silent. How about you, Venom, how would you like your reception? The same, perhaps? Or would you rather exercise your right to silence?

Lilly Venom: (shrug) No, I’m good..

✱ ✱ ✱

Lilly Venom: How are you?

Agent Largo: I hurt. The good sheriff has a heavy hand with that club of his..

Lilly Venom: (heartlessly) I wouldn’t know, Agent Largo. I did not resist.

Agent Largo: (sigh) Well.. That certainly went well!

Lilly Venom: This is sort of embarrassing for me, to be honest. The first time I come to a town with no contracts nor clients, and I am detained and put to jail. Remind me again why we are here?

Agent Largo: The boy.. Where’s he?

Lilly Venom: Which one?

Agent Largo: Both, I guess?

Lilly Venom: Your Dexter was with the Sheriff the time I saw him, though he did come in to check in on you once. You were still out so he just stared at you.. and me as well, I guess, since your head was on my lap.. He was furious and was looking somewhere to lash out. I told him if he tried that in my direction, he would lose everything he thought was dear to him. I might have threatened him with evisceration and death by choking on poisonous darts as well.. We had a small chat after that, though only I spoke. Told him everything you did for him and why.. He didn’t say anything, but he listened, then he left..

Agent Largo: I should have been the one to tell him those.. Not the evisceration and death by poison darts part, obviously.. The other things..

Lilly Venom: Probably. But you were making such a lousy job out of it.. And the boy needed to know.. Hearing it from a third person is sometimes better. Gave him something to think about besides pouting, at least.. He might come around, or he might not. It’s on him now.

Agent Largo: (sighs) Thank you.. Lilly.. What about the prince?

Lilly Venom: They took him elsewhere. I suppose they will question him first for some kind of leverage.

Agent Largo: Korodin won’t tell them anything except that his name is ‘Rodin’ and that I am his distant uncle. And he will keep repeating that.. unless they hurt the boy.. And if they do that, I will get out of here and really murder someone!

Lilly Venom: (a bit surprised) You care for the boy!

Agent Largo: Well, sure.. He is my prince.

Lilly Venom: True. But you personally care for him..

Agent Largo: (sigh) Yes, Lilly.. I personally care for him. He’s young but I suspect he understands what’s going on around him a lot more than he lets on, making him quite brave. He didn’t cry once during our plight from Arashkan, nor on our way to here on the ships.. And we read The Amazing Adventures of Blom Bundlebim Hobim. Anyone who reads that book together, are bro’s for life!

Lilly Venom: (snort) Boys!

Agent Largo: Don’t pun the ‘bros bond’, Lilly. It’s a real thing!

Lilly Venom: (slight frown) I am no longer a Lady, then, Agent Largo? Why am I suddenly not a lady anymore?

Agent Largo: (sigh) We share a cell and that’s as close to any woman I have been since my wife was murdered, and that was more than two decades ago. I believe that calls for a bit of honest sincerity. I don’t think this was the dinner you had in mind but here we are, in a quiet and dim setting.. just like you wanted. We even have candlelight. I am in your hands.. and your lap, quite literally, I might add.

Lilly Venom: (stares down at the face in her lap, studying it, perhaps to finalize a decision)

We have no dinner, Agent Largo..

Agent Largo: Jail food is never really all that good, but it’s always on time. Should arrive soon enough..

Lilly Venom: Very well, Agent Largo.. Will you propose now?

Agent Largo: I was really hoping for better conditions, Lilly.. You deserve better conditions..

Lilly Venom: I think I will be receiving ‘what I deserve’ on the morrow, Agent Largo. I wouldn’t fret about it too much if I were you.

Agent Largo: You could get away, you know.. I am sure these bars can’t keep you..

Lilly Venom: Could say the same thing for you, Agent Largo, but you won’t.. Because of your son and because of the damage it might do to his reputation.. For similar reasons, I won’t either. Just.. not for a son or daughter.. (pauses for a moment, then sighs) And I gave the good sheriff my word that I wouldn’t try to escape, provided he let me stay in the same cell with you.

Agent Largo: Huh! A wasted bargain, if you ask me, though I can’t complain about my current disposition; your lap is surprisingly.. intriguing. Enough to want to know what’s on either end.

Lilly Venom: (amused) A foot on one end, and a hip on the other, Agent Largo, among other things, and you don’t have rights to any of them —at the moment. Not unless you want to embarrass yourself anymore than you already have.

Agent Largo: (snort) Fair enough. I am guessing the other reason you stayed has to do with the person you know in this town?

Lilly Venom: (silence)

Agent Largo: Very well, then.. If I will have more of your breath.. and perhaps get clubbed every once in a while knowing I shall wake up to your lap, then I would very much like to propose. Would you like to spend the rest of your life with me, Ferra Ferrea? To be my wife, my companion, my partner, possibly in crime, and my friend?

Lilly Venom: Yes. I would, Largo Summersong. The rest of my life, short as that maybe, I would like to spend it with you.. Same conditions!

Agent Largo: The name is Lauca, actually.

Lilly Venom: Lauca?

Agent Largo: Means, ‘warm’, in Elvish, though I have no idea what my mother was thinking when she gave me that name. It is supposed to relate to ‘A Warm Summer Song’.. But I have been using Largo since a bit before I joined ARIS because they sound similar and Largo was easier to pronounce. This, however, is a definitive occasion, so I thought at least you should know.

Lilly Venom: Lauca.. Sounds intriguing.. Means, warm?

Agent Largo: Please don’t make too much pun of it. Half-elves tend to get touchy when it comes to certain things.

Lilly Venom: La-yu-ka.. Law-ka.. Am I pronouncing it right?

Agent Largo: Do you want to pronounce it right?

Lilly Venom: I would, yes.

Agent Largo: Why bother?

Lilly Venom: Why bother with Ferra Ferrea?

Agent Largo: Touché.. and point taken, I suppose.

Lilly Venom: I shall call you by this name, from time to time, so we remember a warm summer song!

Agent Largo: That.. actually sounded poetic. Much better than I ever thought it would.

Lilly Venom: I think, I like it..

Agent Largo: Alright. Now we’ll need a witness or two..

Lilly Venom: I believe we have.. a witness or two..

Agent Largo: We do?

Lilly Venom: Yes, we do.. Don’t we, Aager?

Aager Fogstep: (sighs and comes out of the shadows) You really are an idiot, Lilly.. What possessed you to come here? This place is going to burn, and very soon.. and you came here?

Lilly Venom: Hello, Fogstep. Good to see you too.. Less than I wanted to, but here I am..

Aager Fogstep: This isn’t a game, Lilly. I have no authority over the sheriff, and certainly not over the mayor. I thought you were a survivor.

Lilly Venom: I am tired of just surviving, Aager. I have done it all my life. Took a page from your book and I have decided I want to ‘live’ now..

Aager Fogstep: And you came here.. For that.. Just how stupid are you?

Inshala Frostmane: (comes out from behind Aager) That is not nice, my Aager. I do not think Lilly is stupid. I think her to be extremely smart. Certainly smart enough to make all the correct choices, when we were back at Arashkan.

Lilly Venom: And, here is our inseparable second witness..

Inshala Frostmane: Hello, Ferra.

Lilly Venom: Hello, girl.. You have grown some. And you glow more..

Inshala Frostmane: (blush) I.. I do?

Lilly Venom: Yes. You were scared all the time, the last time I saw you. Now you look.. free!

Agent Largo: Don’t mind me. I’ll just lie down here and nurse the bump on my head.

Lilly Venom: (to Aager) Do you want to introduce yourself, or should I?

Aager Fogstep: (shrug)

Agent Largo: I know who he is. He is SIS —Serenity Intelligence Service; pseudo-named, Aager Fogstep. Single. Real name; unknown. Mother; unknown. Father; unknown. Siblings; rumored to have one, though his or her gender is unknown and presumed dead. He is also a former Drashan convict.. His ‘apparent’ job is being the right hand of Sheriff Standorin Shieldheart. He was one among others to have brought down Themalsar. There are any number of murders attributed to him, though none of them have been proven, nor verified.. The girl, I do not know. None of the spies I sent could get any information about her, back when she, sir Aager here, and their diverse other companions first came to Arashkan and started asking questions about Gar Thalot.. We found out who all her friends were.. Just not her and the one other girl who slept on the roof of the inn they were staying. It’s like neither of them ever existed before. We couldn’t even put a name to them. Heck, we couldn’t even scry them! It was like.. they both were off limits!

Lilly Venom: I am inclined to be impressed, Agent Largo, though I don’t think Aager here qualifies as single and his sibling’s name is ‘me’.

Agent Largo: (confused) Me?

Lilly Venom: (silent smile)

Agent Largo: (somewhat horrified expression) YOU?

Lilly Venom: (sumgly) Yup!

Agent Largo: (stunned silence)

Lilly Venom: Yes, Agent Largo, he is my elder brother.. I am not at liberty to divulge who or what the other one is, but this cute little girl, here, is Inshala Frostmane. Aager’s girl, woman, mate.. I have thus failed to put a name to what they are, to one another. Nothing seems to sufficiently cover their relation.. In all candor, though, it is likely she is the best thing that’s happened to me in my life and I am happy to call her my sister.. Other than that, I am not aware if she has any other title.

Inshala Frostmane: (beam) I am here in my ‘Ritual Guardian’ capacity, dear Ferra..

Lilly Venom: I do not know what that means.

Agent Largo: I do, and it is an immense ‘capacity’.. I thought the good Master Cathber was killed in his sleep. I wasn’t aware he had any students in training.

Inshala Frostmane: (quietly) He had me. And I had him. He was my Father and my Master since I was a month old.

Agent Largo: I am sorry, young lady. I knew Master Cathber personally and deeply revered him. Now.. Master Aager, and Ritual Guardian, if you would be kind enough to put in a good word for Lady Lilly here, I would be grateful. I shall suffer my punishment, whatever it may be.

Lilly Venom: How very noble of you, Sir Agent Largo! I wasn’t aware I was getting a knight in shining armor when I asked for that dinner.

Agent Largo: I apologize, Lilly. But it comes as part of the package!

Inshala Frostmane: (beaming) I have no idea what you just said, but it sounded so sweet. And I didn’t know you were a knight, Sir Largo. I will ask them to release both you and my elder sister Ferra and also to kindly return your shiny armor.

Agent Largo: !

Lilly Venom: (snort)

Aager Fogstep: (snort)

✱ ✱ ✱

Sheriff Standorin: You seem to have left out quite a bit of your personal life, Master Aager. I thought you said your sister was dead.

Aager Fogstep: I thought she was dead, too. Her unexpected appearance in Arashkan did take me off guard.

Sheriff Standorin: I see no mention of this in your reports. Are we making private exemptions, then?

Aager Fogstep: (cooly) Yes and no, Sheriff. Some of the things that happened at Arashkan never got mentioned for obvious and not-so-obvious reasons. Suffice to say, putting them in writing would have been too damning for the people involved, which includes our esteemed Ranger Lieutenant Laila Wolvesbane, and by proxy, Ranger Master Davien Hart. Master Nimbletyne Tinkerdome’s niece, Master Gnine, and by his proxy, back to his uncle. Princess Alor’Nadien ne Feymist and High Lady Anglenna Sunsear of High Woods and Bari Na-ammen, damning Ri Grandaleren Feymist and Rise Nadine Graciousward, again, by proxy.. Our Senior Temple Guardian Lady Magella, and by her proxy, Master Argail Smitefast and pretty much all her extended family at Scowling Hills, and the deceased Demos Lightshand. Then we have Udoorin Shieldheart, your son, who also happens to be the betrothal of Princess Alor’Nadien ne Feymist, hence damning her again. And since he’s your son, that would be damning you, Sheriff Standorin Shieldheart of Serenity Home town, by a similar proxy. Last but not least, myself, and by my proxy, damning you again! The Ritual Guardian, Inshala ‘la Fey’ Frostmane, here, and ‘The Celestial’ girl, Merisoul Xyrotwu, never got mentioned as neither of them are within our kingdoms’ jurisdictions.. The title of ‘Ritual Guardian’ is not bestowed by the king nor his vassals, but by the Ritual Forest itself and I shudder to even contemplate just who has any jurisdiction over Merisoul Xyrotwu, other than ‘The Great Heavens’.. What was put into writing, however, was done so from a distinctly ‘relevance’ point of view.

Sheriff Standorin: (amused) Nicely done, Master Aager. You have threatened damning everyone of note in this town and people of the highest status among our neighbors. Not to mention damning my own son, my future daughter in law and myself —twice, I might add..

Aager Fogstep: (coldly) You didn’t bring me here from Drashan to play ball, Sheriff. You brought me here to be the solution!

Agent Largo: (snicker) I did offer to take him off your hands years ago, Sheriff..

Sheriff Standorin: (ignores Agent Largo and glares at Aager) Just how damning are we talking about, here?

Aager Fogstep: (total silence)

Sheriff Standorin: (sigh and turns to Lilly Venom) Says here, in your form, you are a ‘Security Advisor’, Miss Ferra?

Lilly Venom: Ferra is my given name, Sheriff Standorin. And that would be ‘Mrs.’ Not, ‘Miss’..

Sheriff Standorin: (cocked eyebrow) I wasn’t aware the infamous Lilly Venom was married.

Lilly Venom: I would have been surprised if you were. It happened just last night!

Agent Largo: (cough)

Sheriff Standorin: You can’t be serious!

Agent Largo: I have been. For quite some time, now.

Lilly Venom: (smile)

Sheriff Standorin: What the hell do they put into the prison food?!

Agent Largo: I resent that.

Sheriff Standorin: (irritated) What am I expected to do now?

Agent Largo: (shrug) That’s up to you, Sheriff Standorin. This is my home, but it’s your town.

Sheriff Standorin: I suppose you will spill everything should I try to send you to the gallows, Mrs. Lilly?

Lilly Venom: (shrug) I am an Assassin —or a ‘Security Advisor’, if you will, Sheriff. I kill people for a living and I am very good at it. Whether I shall keep doing that is up to consideration at the moment, but I don’t do two things; lies and blackmail.

Agent Largo: I do.. And yes, the irony in that is sort of disturbing, but in this case, I shall uphold Lady Ferra’s wishes.. and honor..

Sheriff Standorin: (scowl) This is a mess, Master Aager. Please tell me the ‘solution’ in all this.

Aager Fogstep: (shrug) Hire Agent Largo as part of the Covert Ops team and let him do what he’s good at doing. Hire Lady Ferra, here, as a Security Advisor, as written in her form, and let her do what she’s good at doing. This town can’t stay a town any longer, Sheriff, even should we win the war. You know this to be true. We have tens of thousands of refugees of all races and The Ritual Guardian is doing everything she can to keep the weather ‘mild’ and the ground warm so they don’t freeze to death and so there’s is still some crops growing and hence, food available for the all those hungry mouths. It is also because of her and the druidic elves that survived High Woods we assigned to her that there haven’t been any breakouts.. All those refugees will, however, and eventually, require a roof over their heads, and said homes will require a much, much larger security team.. I am guessing Yuleman already knows this also. Everyone is working hard now and for a common cause because there are a hundred and fifty thousand Orken coming this way. But that’s all going to change, should we win the day and the threat of imminent death is gone. Especially should we win the day and the threat of imminent death is gone..

 

(silence for a long, smoldering moment)

 

Sheriff Standorin: (sigh) Very well, Master Aager. I shall take this up to Mayor Yuleman. In the meantime, Master Largo and Lady Lilly will stay in your residence, Master Aager. They may get out into your garden, but they shall not leave the premises. Agreed?

Agent Largo: Agreed.

Lilly Venom: I suppose so..

Agent Largo: I need some rest, anyway. Been running back and forth for weeks now.

Lilly Venom: (cooly) Not tonight, you aren’t!

Agent Largo: (stammer)

Sheriff Standorin: (sigh) Go get the Temple Guardian Thomas here to officialize and formalize their wedding, if you will Master Aager.

Aager Fogstep: (quietly) Yes, sir.. And.. Thank you, sir..

 

(after Agent Largo and Lilly Venom are escorted out)

 

Sheriff Standorin: Is she as good as they say she is?

Aager Fogstep: (slight frown) She killed me, once!

Sheriff Standorin:

✱ ✱ ✱

Lilly Venom: That was one hell of a speech you gave back there. I am impressed. This place has done you good.

Aager Fogstep: The good sheriff might be a harsh man, but he isn’t unreasonable.

Lilly Venom: (after a moment of pause) Will you give me away, Brother? When your Temple Guardian comes to officiate our marriage?

Aager Fogstep: Bit late to be asking me that question, don’t you think?

Lilly Venom: (quietly) I am.. I am trying, Aager.. This is me, taking those steps..

Aager Fogstep: (silent stare)

Lilly Venom: (returning the silent stare)

Aager Fogstep: Where’s your.. Largo?

Lilly Venom: Outside. Behind the house, talking to his son.

Aager Fogstep: You are okay with him having a son? Not that it should matter and Dexter is a decent man. But the fact remains; both are quite older than you. Agent Largo in particular.

Lilly Venom: It isn’t like the age disparity is all that much, you know. Well, it is, but he’s a half-elf. By the time I am old and crooked, should I see those days, he will still be of mild age.. And to be honest, his age never bothered me, considering how much I dislike fools and loath men in general. I think, being forced to work in Madam’s brothel when I came to age, back in Drashan did that to me.. Do you even know, or have any idea what it feels like to be groped or fondled by a total, filthy stranger who is leering at you with unwanted desire when you are barely twelve?

Aager Fogstep: (in pure, silent wrath) No.

Lilly Venom: You are naked. In all kinds of ways. You are shivering. Not because it’s cold, but because you are so scared. You have no idea what you are expected to do and everyone and everything is looming over you and they are all so much bigger than you.. All you know is you are about to be used and it’s going to hurt and you are going to cry because you are just a small, skinny, powerless girl.. You are going to cry and it will not matter because it won’t change the fact that it’s still going to keep on hurting in places that you shouldn’t be hurting.. Not at that age.. All you have is a tiny knife that you are allowed to use if the man likes beating his girls.. I was so scared that I couldn’t even move.. He became angry.. I don’t know at which point I sliced him open! But when I woke up, I had a cracked head and a bloody face, and he was dead. That was my first kill.. Then I decided to do the same for the next half dozen or so men as well. I just stood there, unmoving, and I was scared all the time.. Eventually, though, it would anger the men and they would slam me around and I would slice them open! That is when they sold me off to the Cutters Guild.. (sigh) I don’t think I could have found someone my age that fit my tastes since I really, truly, and quite mindlessly loathed men.. All men.. Still do, really. Largo.. He has.. seen things.. Bad things.. And over the course of years longer than either of us seen put together.. It has made him mature.. And serious.. Yet he still clings to that lame sense of humor of his. It is pathetic, really.. But I find it.. endearing.. if you could believe that. Yes, I freely admit I like those qualities in him. I.. I don’t think he will grope me like those animals. I think he will treat me.. right.. and alright..

Aager Fogstep: So you love—

Lilly Venom: Aaaaaaa! La, La, La, La, La, La, La !!!

Aager Fogstep: (confused) What?

Lilly Venom: I don’t want to talk THAT with you! I don’t like you that much, yet! Or rather, I don’t know you that much yet.. Brother..

Aager Fogstep: Fair enough.

Lilly Venom: (sigh) I don’t think we will ever be like the way you and Inshala are.

Aager Fogstep: What way would that be?

Lilly Venom: Wierd?

Aager Fogstep: (snort) Huh!

Lilly Venom: To be honest, I wouldn’t want to, either.. Too much effort, too much work, too much pain.. and too many emotions for my taste. I just want honesty, care, and reliance —both ways.. But I also want a certain amount of privacy reserved for ourselves too..

Aager Fogstep: Also, fair enough. I am happy for you.

Lilly Venom: You.. you are?

Aager Fogstep: (shrug) Yes.

Lilly Venom: This conversation went.. better than I expected!

Aager Fogstep: Just what kind of a beast do you think I am, Lilly, to mess up your happiest day?

Lilly Venom: (carefully suspicious) I am sorry. Hard to change everything, all at once.

Aager Fogstep: (straight face) Besides. You are TOTALLY his problem now!

Lilly Venom: (scowl) I knew it!

Aager Fosgstep: But I would rather you took your man and left. Gone.. Far away..

Lilly Venom: Why don’t you?

Aager Fogstep: (quietly, and after a pause) I can’t.

Lilly Venom: Why?

Aager Fogstep: (silent moment) This.. is my home now. And my Inshala’s forest.. I won’t give up my home, she won’t give up her forest..

Lilly Venom: Largo will not go. They destroyed his home. He does not show it, probably for my sake, but it’s tearing him apart. I strongly suspect he wants to die in as bloody a way as possible in the coming war.

Aager Fogstep: Why marry him then?

Lilly Venom: Because I.. want him.. per se.. And to give him another reason not to do what he foolishly wants to do.. Besides, we will likely go into the battle together. I’ll just have to watch his back..

Aager Fogstep: You are going into a battle.. because of an idiot?

Lilly Venom: No, brother. I am going to war because I want to preserve what’s mine.. And to earn my own ‘home’..

Aager Fogstep: You are an idiot too, then!

Lilly Venom: Perhaps.. Wonder what that makes you?

Aager Fogstep: The elder brother of an idiot!

Lilly Venom: (scowl)

Aager Fogstep: (snort)

Lilly Venom: Where’s your pretty girl? Where’s Inshala?

Aager Fogstep: She’s up the tree in the garden, trying to convince it to bloom.

Lilly Venom: Do I even want to know why?

Aager Fogstep: The tree is supposed to have very pretty pink flowers. She wants you to share them with your Largo.

Lilly Venom: (stunned) What? I am..

Aager Fogstep: Speechless?

Lilly Venom: Well, yes!

Aager Fogstep: She loves you.

Lilly Venom: I am flattered but how can she love me? Considering how little she knows me, and how horribly I treated her back in Arashkan.

Aager Fogstep: She has a great heart. And it seems she has a distinct affinity to seeing the depths of the souls in people. I can’t imagine what, but it appears she has found something she finds lovable in you.

Lilly Venom: You are not as funny as you think you are.

Aager Fogstep: I am funny?

Lilly Venom: What will you do? We.. seem to have barged into your home.

Aager Fogstep: (shrug) Sisters’ prerogative, I suppose.

Lilly Venom: (scowl)

Aager Fogstep: It’s alright, really. We will take our rest in the temple dormitories, or more likely next to some campfire —it’s a bit too crowned in the temple for my taste. We still have a lot of work until the day’s end, though. Inshala has to coordinate and make sure the ground stays warm and the weather mild for the refugees and I have two teams I need to continue training. One in the afternoon, which I should be heading soon, and the other at night and will take all night. ‘Infiltration, Blind Fighting, and Ambush!’

Lilly Venom: Oww.. Ambush! I could help you with that.

Aager Fogstep: No.

Lilly Venom: Why not?

Aager Fogstep: This one is an advanced group of former Bari Na-ammen vets and rangers, hence we will be using live weapons and I don’t want you bleeding back to your.. husband.. Besides, you should make good use of your time.. Nights in particular—

Lilly Venom: La, La, La, La, La, La, La —I am not listening to you..

Aager Fogstep: (snort) See you tomorrow morning, then.

Lilly Venom: (quietly) Aager?

Aager Fogstep: Hmm?

Lilly Venom: Thank you.

Aager Fogstep: Thank me when this is over and the ones we love are still alive.

Lilly Venom: (hug)

Aager Fogstep: (strained voice) You.. aren’t going to try and stab me are you?

Lilly Venom: I just might..

Aager Fogstep: Care for a slice of advice?

Lilly Venom: From you? No.. But say it anyway. I might listen.

Aager Fogstep: Lose some, to win some.

Lilly Venom: What the hell kind of an advice is that?

Aager Fogstep: The kind I gave to myself, though mine was, lose all, to win all! You are a smart girl. I know because my Inshala said so! I am sure it’ll come to you in time. Now, go on to your hubby, baby sister!

Lilly Venom:

✱ ✱ ✱

Lilly Venom: Are you done?

Agent Largo: Almost.

D.D. Dexter: I still can’t believe this.

Agent Largo: I am sorry Dex. After what happened to your mother, I wasn’t going to trust anyone from ARIS where you were concerned. This town was the safest place I could think of and still give you a happy life. You know what is coming. You know the score.. I was ARIS and I had to do something for Arashkan without a constant threat on your life.. I can’t even tell you how many of my friends, my co-workers, and their families were assassinated in the past thirty years.

D.D. Dexter: I know the reasons, father. It’s just..

Lilly Venom: (briskly) Give it time. You’ll get used to it.

D.D. Dexter: You are.. intense.. If you don’t mind me saying so, Lady Lilly.

Lilly Venom: Just ‘Lilly’ will do.. Considering all the effort I gave to make your father quit calling me that. As for intense.. Guess Agent Largo here will find out soon enough.

Agent Largo: (fluster, flush and blush) Lilly.. Please.. This is my son, for Heaven’s sake!

Lilly Venom: (heartless laugh) And he isn’t nine, Agent Largo. He’s older than I am!

D.D. Dexter: (cough)

Agent Largo: (blush some more)

Lilly Venom: Are you ashamed of me, Largo, that you keep blushing?

Agent Largo: No. Never that. It’s just.. a bit of an uncomfortable topic, that’s all..

Lilly Venom: There you have it, Dexter. He loves you enough to be embarrassed in front of you. Which is the only time I have seen him actually blush like this. You, Dexter, must understand; he did what he did to you, knowingly and deliberately because he had to. And now he has decided to share a life with me, knowingly and deliberately. Your father is a smart man, Dexter. I don’t think he would have been fooled by my approaches, because I am not really a ‘girly’ girl.. He accepted me because he wanted me. Considering just how loyal he has been to your mother’s memory for the past twenty years, I would say he deserves a break, wouldn’t you? Take that into account before you dish out judgments. We just came from Hell itself. There is no name for the blood and carnage we saw in Arashkan. We didn’t watch it from a distance, Dexter.. We were there.. On the ground, fighting, bleeding, and saving lives.. At least your father was.. All I did was to try and stay alive, and watched his back.. Your father needs respite and I hope he finds it with me. Will you not allow him to have that much before we go back into that Hell? Because whether we want it or not, Hell is coming our way as we speak!

D.D. Dexter: (stare with open mouth)

Lilly Venom: Now. If you would please, I would like to have a few, private moments with Agent Largo..

D.D. Dexter: Of course. I will see you later today, or perhaps in the evening when my duties are over.. (pause) On the other hand, tomorrow will be a better time.

Lilly Venom: Tomorrow will be fine. Thank you for being considerate.

D.D. Dexter: (mumble) Not like I was given much of a choice.

Lilly Venom: Best kind of choice offered. Which makes sense, since this really isn’t anything you should be making a choice over, should you think about it with an open mind. The only thing that concerns you is whether you will honor the choices your father had to make to keep you safe and alive and wish him some happiness and that he finds it with me.. or sulk about it.

✱ ✱ ✱

Lilly Venom: I am sorry if I was a bit abrupt with your boy.

Agent Largo: I won’t complain. Had you not said the things you said, when I was still out, I don’t think we would have made any headway today.

Lilly Venom: I just didn’t give him the time to do or say things you both would have regretted, by making myself the target of his possible ire.

Agent Largo: You didn’t have to do that, Lilly.

Lilly Venom: But I did it anyway. I saw enough sad and stupid in my life, Largo. And I am tired of it. We can either carry that particular baggage into our lives or keep it out. This.. this is something I learned.. or rather, ‘was shown’, really, by my bother, Aager, and his skinny little woman.. But he.. they proved to me it could be done and I want to give it a shot. I will sweat for it, bleed for it, war for it, but want you to be there for it..

Agent Largo: (smile) We are back to ‘shots’? Where is the boy, Prince Korodin, by the way?

Lilly Venom: He is with Inshala.

Agent Largo: I don’t really know Lady Inshala. Can she be trusted?

Lilly Venom: More than either of us. She will ‘care’ for him like no other.. Now, quit dodging. Will you go for it?

Agent Largo: I am here, aren’t I?

 

(pale pink flowers start to fall all around them..)

 

Agent Largo: (surprised) What’s this? Cherry blooms in the middle of winter?

Lilly Venom: (looks up at the thousands of pink, cherry blooms flaking down with a glowing face and shimmering eyes, and whispers)

Inshala, baby girl.. Thank you..

✱ ✱ ✱

It is the first few days of December and evening has settled over a white Serenity Home. It is quiet and kind tonight and a barely discernable warm wind seems to blow from Gull’s Perch as if Mab and Titania have come to a rare understanding. There is a great, awe-inspiring, beautiful cherry tree in bloom in a garden in this town and there is a small ‘home’ next to this tree.

A home where people ‘belong’..

In this home, there is a young woman with a boldly handsome face and she shivers even though there is a cheery fire crackling in the small grate. Carefully, she takes off her long, brown leather trench coat, revealing an exquisitely made dress; a pale green loose blouse, a very dark royal green tight bodice with many laces complimenting her narrow hips, her slim waist, her slightly gaunt belly, and her pleasant-looking breasts, hiding in her blouse. A long skirt of the same color embroidered with delicate, silver threads and slits on either side flow down her hips to her bare feet, carefully displaying parts of her slender, naked legs..

The young woman shivers again, her hands in tight fists by her hips, and has trouble looking up at the maturely handsome blonde man standing a bare foot in front of her. The man has a slight frown on his face as if trying to discern a last-minute vex, for the small, single-room home is thread-bare to be sure, but it is warm.

The young, boldly handsome woman, however, is as if knot, and her lovely dark eyes seem to be staring only at his hands.

 

Lilly Venom: Will you have me now?

Agent Largo: Lilly? What’s wrong—

Lilly Venom: If you are, I would like you to take my daggers, all my knives, my darts, and my shark teeth away from me.

Agent Largo: Why? If you won’t mind me asking—

Lilly Venom: (looks up at her husband’s face, then at his hands again and whispers in trepidation)

I am scared.

And I do not want to kill you..


 
Epilogue

 

The boldly handsome young woman is as if staring down at her own bare feet as she speaks in a low, hoarse, throaty, and barely audible voice, her face burning with defiant rage and with a kind of a lost shame. She fidgets as she speaks but her eyes are in fact affixed on the blond man’s hands as if expecting them to move for an assault at any time.

 

Lilly Venom: You are the first man I have liked. And been this close to. And that almost includes my brother. I have loathed men all my life and killed many because they couldn’t keep their hands to themselves. If this is an issue for you, I will try to understand, even should you want to leave.

Agent Largo: (stares at the girl, silently)

Lilly Venom: It isn’t like I am the only girl around.

Agent Largo: (continues to stares at the girl silently)

Lilly Venom: I can’t claim I am much of a catch, either.

Agent Largo: (still silent)

Lilly Venom: You are a handsome man, after all. I have seen any number of girls looking in your direction on the ship while we were sailing here..

Agent Largo: (persistently silent)

Lilly Venom: And yes, I am aware I should have said something about this before. But in my defense, it isn’t something I wanted myself to remember, let alone admit to someone else. It is not exactly table conversation; hey, I loath men, and I tend to slice them open when they come too near!

Agent Largo: (absolute silence)

Lilly Venom: I would rather you said something.. or left..

Agent Largo: (finally speaks, in a dry, gravelly voice) I don’t really know what I should say and still stay safely unbleeding..

Lilly Venom: (scowls while still looking down)

Agent Largo: That you think so little of yourself, and by doing so, you think so little of me, since choosing one another was consensual and you are basically accusing me of having bad taste! That you would notice the girls staring at me, but not notice the constant scowl I had for all the young men ogling at you on that same ship, and why I never returned the wonts of any of those girls but stayed as close to you as I could, while trying very hard not to crowd you. That you think I would leave because you have some issues, serious as they may be. And last but not least, that you would want me to strip you of your weapons, yet never asked me to remove mine..

Lilly Venom: (stares at the man)

Agent Largo: No one is ‘just right’, Lilly. We all have our issues. I will not belittle yours. But at least it is a relatively tangible problem that has its own solutions. I carry the guilt of Arashkan, dear Lilly. The blood of thousands are on my hands because of my failures and there is neither a cure and nor any redeeming salvation for that.

Lilly Venom: You can’t blame yourself because of what happened there. Everyone was at fault for that failure. Everyone ‘failed’.

Agent Largo: True. But I am the only one left alive to have to live with it. The dead feel no guilt!.. But that’s another, and certainly not a ‘tonight’ matter, for you have worked hard to give me some respite and I shall not let that go to waste.

Lilly Venom: Very well. I shall do more, if I must, to carry that guilt with you, only if I can’t wash it off you. What.. solution do you offer?

 

Agent Largo slowly takes off his coat, folds it neatly, and puts it aside. Then, even more slowly, he reaches for the girl and smoothly strips one of her daggers from her.. and cooly tosses it aside and out of reach.

 

Agent Largo: There. Your turn!

 

The boldly handsome girl ogles at the man for a frightened, breath-held moment, then, and inadvertently, she smiles, for suddenly she knows this is a game. A game she is certain to win.. She does a quick, mental inventory: the other pair of the long, close-quarter combat dagger, sixteen short-range throwing knives, half a dozen shark teeth, any number of garrotes, and two dozen poison darts!

 

Lilly Venom: (smirks) You will run out of ‘steel’ before I do!

Agent Largo: (smirks back) And what are you willing to bet on that?

A red glare appears over the Gull’s Perch to the east, and very slowly, the sun starts to rise and Serenity Home stirs with a lazy and reluctant yawn.

The night, however, hasn’t all gone to waste;

Lilly Venom loses some and wins some..

arashkan şehri book 07 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups komedi modül serenity Whispers; A Cabal

Unintentional Adaptation.

Unintentional Adaptation.

Timeline:

 

Place; Serenity Home

Time; Mid-January

Aager Fogstep and Inshala ‘la Fey’ Frostmane have left Durkahan city and returned to Serenity Home where each has their own harsh responsibilities waiting for them.

 

 

The events in this story take place after
Promise To Be Stupid Together,
and
The End of Sunsears

 

 

46 Days After The Fall Of Arashkan.

 

The lithe figure in long, brown, leather trenchcoat skulked near the wall, taking advantage of the shadows and the bush, happily growing in the garden of the house. She had her target insight, perched and hidden amongst the branches of a brittle, snow-covered tree, and she had no intentions of letting it get away this time. She dearly hoped the other two were in place. Then her thin lips pressed together and she growled in her low, throaty voice. “They had better be. Or there is going to be murder!”

Carefully, and with exaggerated motions, she took another step forward.

Her target didn’t seem to notice and was looking, not quite in the other direction, but she knew she wasn’t in her target’s peripheral vision either. A drop of sweat trickled down her brow and itched its way down the side of her boldly drawn nose, around the curve of her tightly pressed lips, and disappeared around and under her somewhat angular chin. The lithe girl did not flinch, nor moved to wipe it off. She’d done that once, before, and that was why her query had gotten away.

“Not this time. Not this time.”, she hissed. “This time, you are going down!”

 

Not far, another figure was ghosting. This one in dark, sinister-looking leathers. He wore a low hood and a mask, made from the same material, covering the bottom half of his otherwise slightly pale face. A short, dirty-black, and tattered cloak hung from his back, all the way down to his hips and just a bit more, hiding the daggers attached to his leather belt, and his short, but deadly swords strapped across his back. He was a stab above average in height and had shoulders an edge under broad. He was neither skinny nor gaunt, but lean, though he gave the slight impression that perhaps he’d suffered from malnutrition in his youth, and now, his form refused to take any access body fat. There was a cold, wintery air about him as he moved even closer to the lithe girl in her long, brown, leather trenchcoat.

“What are you doing, girl?”, he growled quietly.

And yes.

His voice actually did sound like a growl.

“You are not supposed to be here. I distinctly remember warning you not to bring your murder into my town. Was I not clear? Must I kill you to remind you of that?”

 

The lithe figure took another oozing step.

And her target prickled and looked directly in her direction!

The girl in the long, brown trenchcoat froze..

Her target’s eyes scanned and raked the area in her direction without mercy, but the lithe figure was good and her target couldn’t see her.

“Yes. Turn around and look the other way now. Come on. You know you must.”, she murmured to herself.

As if her words were some kind of prophecy or perhaps some mental geas, her target slowly turned around and started scouring in the other way —the opposite direction.

“Right.”, whispered the lithe figure triumphantly. “Now or never.”

 

The man in the dark, sinister-looking leathers also froze, for he saw someone else who had just come into play. Another lithe figure. This one had a long-sleeved, white, silk shirt, of all colors, open at her slender throat, a dark, gold-trimmed, tight bodice that fit her like a glove and complimented her hips, her waist, and her cup-sized breasts, a pair of black, belly dancers low-cut, loose trousers, and soft healed boots reaching up to her knees. Unlike the first, this girl did not skulk, but moved like.. water! The lean man in dark leathers had never seen anyone move with such natural grace, and that was a word he used to describe the lithe figure’s flowing motion which was exactly what she had done. She hadn’t moved silently, she had flowed from one spot to another! Her whole body language bespoke of elasticity, suppleness, and fluidity.. and precision! The man in the dark, sinister-looking leathers didn’t know who she was but guessed at what she might be, for she also had antler-like horns, and she was upon the girl in the long, brown trenchcoat before she knew it!

Aager Fogstep heard a very soft, bold voice.

“You are dead, love.”

“What the hell?”, he exclaimed as Lilly Venom slumped down and on her knees, screeching as she pummeled the dirt..

..and Inshala ‘la Fey’ Frostman Bolgrig Hooman Fogstep jumped down from her perch on the tree as she punched the air with a small fist, a happy grin on her face, as she gloried a victorious, “YESSHHH! I THINK WE WON AGAIN!”

“NO DAMIT! NO. BLOODY EF’ING NO! I ALMOST HAD IT! I ALMOST HAD HER! EF! EF! EF! EF! EF! EF! EF! EF!”, screamed Lilly Venom!

“Now now, dear girl.”, said the one with the antlers, also grinning. “There are children around that might overhear you. I believe that word is considered bad among mortals, though the reason escapes me. After all, there are children around because of deed that word implies and entails!”

“HOW, DAMIT! HOW DID YOU EVEN..!”, Lilly screamed at her. “I ALMOST HAD HER THIS TIME!”

“I am sorry, dear girl, but you never had her. This round, she played the possum, per se. Or bait, if you will.”

“WHERE ARE MY TEAMMATES, DAMIT? THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO HAVE COVERED ME!”

“Totally owned ’em!”, came a soft, merry voice.

“Uhhmm.. I am sorry Lilly..”, said a very embarrassed Agent Largo, followed closely by his son, D.D. Dexter Summersong who also bore a similarly embarrassed and flushed expression, guarded by a very pleased-looking Bremorel Songsteel, miming holding a sword in her hand. “The two ladies here jumped us before we could even get into place..”

“Totally what dad said. I mean, I even went as far as warding our location, but the Ranger Leuitenant Bremorel had downed my father already, and Lady Mirima Temez, here, came at me from above! I was like, ‘Isn’t that against the rules?’, but she just smiled at me and said, ‘Darling, there are no rules in love, and certainly not in war..’, so I.. gracefully gave in.”, Dexter mumbled in a dejected tone.

“Darling, you gave in because you lost. But I will not otherwise gainsay you. You were quite graceful about it.”, smiled Perigren Ostlanna Temez.

Inshala came running at them with an elated expression etched all over her face and she was jumping and skipping all the while.

“Whoop! We won! So you three are cooking tonight?”, she said happily, all the while beaming at Temez and Bremorel.

 

Lilly Venom scowled furiously at her.

Lilly Venom scowled even more furiously at Agent Largo.

Lilly Venom scowled and almost incinerated D.D. Dexter!

 

Then Inshala spotted Aager and beamed at him as well, and started waving in his direction!

Lilly Venom noticed her brother too..

“Well, crap! Now he saw it as well!”, she spat, her face darkened and her scowl deepened.

Then with a poisonous glare, she turned to her husband and her son-in-law.

“YOU.. BOTH OF YOU..”, she snarled pointing at the two who squirmed like two schoolboys caught in the act. “..TOTALLY SUCK!”

Then with a destitute flare, she turned around and stormed off towards Serenity Home Temple..

..to do that evening’s cooking.

Perigren Ostlanna Temez and Bremorel Songsteel ran after her, while the extraordinarily beautiful Temez tried her best to comfort the very much irritated Lilly Venom, the ranger lieutenant only laughed harder as Inshala almost threw herself at Aager.

The two hugged and drifted off towards their own home.

 

“Well..”, Agent Largo said when he was alone with his son.

“Yup!”, D.D. Dexter said.

“..that went well.”, his father finished.

“Yea..”, agreed, Dexter. “..we suck!”

Largo grunted.

“Yes. Yes, we do.. Six times in a row, though? I mean, from three young and pretty girls, you’d think they’d show us some mercy and let us win once! You know, just so we’d save face..”

“Yea..”, said Dexter. “..could have been worse, I suppose. Your young wife does seem to have admirable temper.”

“That she has. But she curbs it most of the time, which in itself is the truly admirable part. It’s just, she doesn’t like losing.”

“Who does? But I wouldn’t really call losing to a Ranger Lieutenant, the Ritual Guardian, and the head of Escape, a loss, father.”

“There’s that. But like I said. Lilly doesn’t like losing, and she doesn’t really like cooking either. Lucky for us, I don’t mind cooking at all. I have been doing my own cooking since I lost your mother. Lilly.. she really is trying to learn, you know, if only for my sake, and cooking for the refugees is good for her, but after seeing her slice a loaf of bread, I got scared and told her I totally wouldn’t mind doing the cooking at home.. at all!“, Largo said.

“Why?”, asked Dexter.

“She cut the bread like she was slicing open a man’s throat. It was the creepiest thing I have ever seen! I mean, you should have seen her face, then. She had this strange, dreamy expression no woman should have while slicing bread!”

Dexter laughed.

Then, as if remembering something else, he laughed again.

“What?”, asked his father.

“Just remembered something; I can actually go home and sleep merrily after we are done cooking at the temple.”

“Yes, so?”, asked his father.

“A night with a very pissed-off Lilly should be interesting for you, though!”, Dexter laughed again.

“That was not nice, Dex.”, mumbled Agent Largo.

✱ ✱ ✱

I see you are having fun.”, smiled Aager Fogstep, though only the little girl in his arm knew it.

“YEZZ!”, smirked Inshala viciously, reminding the man next to her, a bit like her old self. From the time they had first met. There was, however, a gaping difference between the two;

This Inshala was not hiding her horns under layers of hair, conically braided around them, she wasn’t the hissing surly girl anymore, but had a distinct skip to her pace, and she was..

..smiling.

 

He laughed..

..and woke up to another difference;

He, Aager Fogstep, was not the same man the girl had first met, either. Because he had a lighter step to his gait that had appeared the moment the little girl had ran up to him and threw herself at him for a hug, and..

..he too was smiling.

 

“Well, now..”, he said.

“Well now.”, she agreed happily.

 

He laughed again and held her closer and tighter, and the girl literally purred.

“I take it you were playing some game?”, he asked.

“I think so. I had fun. Lilly was telling us just how boring it was teaching noobs how to sneak and ambush, and that her trainees were a bunch of klutzes, though I have no idea what a ‘noob’ is.. nor a ‘klutz’.. She said there was no challenge here at all, so I asked her what would be a challenge for her, and she said she hadn’t gone up against any pros since Endless Watch. I totally agreed with her, since I now know what ‘pros’ is! It’s so nice to know social things.”, she said with another skip. “Then I offered her perhaps we could play a game and she could try and catch me. But she suddenly went cold and her face did this red thing and said to me, I am never going to hurt you again. And I was very sorry for reminding her about the arena thing and hugged her and apologized to her, and she was like, ‘Why are you apologizing me, girl? If anyone is to apologize, it’s me.’ But I told her that, she didn’t know me then and she didn’t know you were her brother and so there wasn’t anything for her to apologize. I think that broke her mind a little because she just stared at me and seemed like she was about to cry. Well, I wasn’t going to have any of that, so I quickly said, ‘It’s only catching.’ And that if she could, she won, if I caught her first, though, I would win. That got her attention, I think. Lilly loves winning. Then she said, ‘How about we bring in others. That way, we can also improve our teamwork skills.’ I had no idea there was a skill called Tea Murk but learning new things is nice so I agreed and she called her new hubby, Sir Agent Largo, though I don’t think that’s his real name because every time I say it, he does this funny face like he wants to cry, but it makes Lilly happy, so I keep saying it. Then she also called Sir Agent Largo’s son, De De Dexter, and told them about what we wanted to do. But De De Dexter said it wasn’t fair that the three of them should go up against one little girl and that I should also go and bring two others. So I went to the town temple and found Laila’s cousin, Bremorel, there, because, you know, she’s my friend, and asked if she would like to play with us. She asked me who was on the other team. When I told her, she said, ‘Your Aager’s sister? Nice. I am in..’. Then she called for Perigren Ostlanna Temez, one of Merisoul’s sisters, and told her about what we wanted to play, and asked her if she would like to join. She said, ‘Sure, sounds fun. But we must return before midnight because she and all her other brothers and sisters had to go down and pray for their Demos Lightshand. She was very pretty and always smiling so I didn’t get too scared of her and she has antlers which I thought were awesome, so I told her I didn’t think it would take that long and that I had to go home to my Aager before midnight anyway. So we started playing. Lilly plays very well. Hides very well too. And she is very patient. I don’t think I can be as patient as her and I am a patient girl. Sir Agent Largo is very smart. He almost caught me once because he had changed coats with Lilly and De De Dexter was I think using magic to hide them. But I don’t think any of them use their noses. They use their minds, their eyes, their hands, their ears, but never their noses. I smelled Sir Agent Largo and got away before I fell into their trap. So we started making traps too. In this last one, Perigren Ostlanna Temez told me to be bait, which I think is just another for ‘wait’, while she and Bremorel hunted them down because she thought Lilly had some sad feelings about coming after me and that distracted her, and that De De Dexter was an unmarried boy who would want to be polite against three, very pretty girls so he would lack courage. Only Sir Agent Largo would be the real problem, so they would first get him, then De De Dexter, while Lilly would end up waiting for them and wouldn’t be able to do anything, and they would get her last.”, Inshala said with a ‘phew, I talked too much!’, blush.

 

Aager was laughed, once more, but was astounded by the level of sophistication in the way her mind worked when it came to ‘hunting’. The Temez girl displayed a similar trait, but hers was based on gender psychology. She had used each and every single one of their opponent’s most innate and base weaknesses against them. That was.. a dangerous area to exploit.

Then it occurred to him. Of course! She was a succubi half-born. Using such tactics was their ‘thing’. That’s how they ‘got’ to their enemies and that’s how they brought them down on their knees. While a mortal would think such methods quite unorthodox, vile, even, it was their natural element. Much like you just didn’t blame a snake or a scorpion for using their poison, you just couldn’t blame Temez and her kind for using their flavor of skills.

 

“You liked it here, then? This town?”, Aager asked tentatively. It was something he’d been meaning to ask her, but had thought perhaps she hadn’t seen or known the town long enough. And it had been quite hectic since their arrival. He had been forced to his sheriff’s-right-hand duty, raised exponentially since the arrival of the thousands of refugees, not to mention the three groups of specialized trainees; morning, afternoon, and midnight.. Inshala had taken over her duties quite immediately as the Ritual Guardian and worked day and night to warm the earth, and the weather, so as to avoid further deaths among the miserable refugees. Both Aager and Inshala would end up, for the few moments to walk, arm-in-arm to his single-room house and just slump down onto the hard mattress, cuddle, and pass out —quite literally.

The only consolidation he felt he had in all this was the fact that the little girl was extraordinarily warm to hold in his arms. Deep down, he didn’t think it was merely her body heat, but something else.. It was like she radiated a kind of warmth totally unrelated, and had nothing to do with her skinny figure, but everything to do with her heart.

And he’d always wake up when he felt a soft, deliberate breathing into his face..

Inshala, it appeared, had her own way of waking him up. She never poked him. Never called his name. And never squirmed in his arms. Very carefully, and patiently, she’d turn around to face him.. and quietly watch him sleep —interestingly, not very unlike cats sometimes did to their owners!

And when Aager came around and opened his eyes, she would smile. A flushed, accomplished smile. It was like;

‘This weary and tired man has slept soundly and peacefully.. I did that!’

Aager recalled, how she had been so very shy and had very nearly panicked, that first night of their wedding, back at Durkahan. She’s just yelped, and hid in a corner, behind the wardrobe when they had finally entered Aager’s cave/den/lair of a room after the festivities were finally done.

Against all Aager’s thoughts, Inshala hadn’t turned herself into a little ball because she feared him, but she was just so over-excited and didn’t know what to do or what was going to happen next, she’s just shut herself down!

Aager had sat before her, in the darkroom, and silently waited for her to raise her head. He hadn’t tried to soothe her, nor comfort her, for Inshala didn’t need comforting, then. What she needed was to brave up to the ‘unknown’, and Aager had refused to take that away from her..

..until he noticed she’d fallen asleep, curled in the corner between the wardrobe and wall.

Aager had just picked her up, carried her over to the single bed next to his, and lay her there, pulled off the blanket from his own bed, and covered her with it. Then, as he’d done so many other times, he’d grabbed the spare from the wardrobe and, just before he’d slumped into his own bed, he had whispered in her direction;

“I am yours now. We may sleep together whenever you wish, my Inshala.”

 

He’d woken up the next morning with Inshala cuddled in his arms, silently breathing into his face with the best smile he had ever seen on anything alive..

..wearing one of her pretty little nightgowns, much like the ones she’d worn before.

It had been a wonderful experience for Aager. More so, when he’d found out something he never knew about himself; he’d liked to cuddle!

And now, they could do it as often as they wanted.

It was rare for Aager to be eager for anything. As a matter of fact, he’d never been eager to do anything in his life. True, whatever he did, he did them with surgical accuracy and pragmatic efficiency, always seeing things through.

Just not eagerly..

 

“It’s nice, here, yes. I.. I was very scared when you said we would come here and asked me what I would think about settling here. I am sorry I am scared of humans all the time. They.. weren’t very nice to me when I was a little girl. I feel shame when I admit to my fears because it makes me seem like a crybaby. I don’t always cry. I just don’t know when I am allowed to and when I shouldn’t because no one ever told me. My Father let me laugh and cry whenever I wanted. And now I am here, in this town, and there are so many humans here.. Some of them seem to be nice. Your sheriff, Udoorin’s father, is nice, though I feel a bit shy when he is around even though he is always very polite to me. Your mayor, Artanboss—”

“—Arthandos, love..”, Aager said with a smile.

“Yes, him.. He is nice. I met his daughters, and they really wanted to make me more dresses. I told them I’d loved the one they made for me, the one I wore on our way to Arashkan. But only if they would let me give something in return. They said they would not accept gold from the Ritual Guardian, so I showed them the soap blocks and the rose oil I’d made and they loved them but told me the rose oil was too pure and that they would have to make at least seven dresses for it. We argued and finally settled on four. Then I heard our Bremorel was here and that she and this Thomas boy had married. I was so happy, so I went to visit her. She was very surprised to see me and hugged me. She wanted to sit and talk but said the temple was a bit too crowded so we didn’t go in there then. Instead, she took me to this place called bakery where they make these awesome breads and cookies and things called doughnuts, cakes, pies, and many other things that I forgot their names, and they let you have things to drink called melonades and berry juice and honeydew. I think she knows everyone in this town. Or perhaps everyone knows her, I am not sure, but she waved at this young boy working in the bakery whose name is Dervel. Did you know he is the childhood friend of our Udoorin and is married to this very small and young wood elf girl? Bremorel said he, Udoorin and this other boy once made fun of our Laila for having pointy elf ears and the two of them had a fight with the three of them over it and now Udoorin is going to marry our Lorna who also has elf ears and this Dervel married a wood elf girl who has even pointier elf ears! Well. I didn’t think any of that was funny, since I also have elf-like ears, just much smaller but Bremorel was laughing about it all, though they all seem to be friends now, accept the third boy who went missing some months ago and was never heard of again. Bremorel ordered some of everything and a big jar of melonade, and we walked over to someone’s garden and she just barged into the house and came back with a blanket and some plates and some cups. She lay the blanket in the garden and told me to sit and eat. I was a bit frightened because I didn’t know whose garden we were in and humans were always angry with me when I came near their gardens when I was little. Then this man poked his head out of the window of the house and I was almost about to run away when he waved at us and said, ‘Hey, Morel. Having an outing, are you? And right in front of my open window where I can smell all those wonderful pastries. You are a cruel girl, you are.” I just sat there, frighted like a rabbit, but Bremorel just laughed and told him to come over and that there was more than enough, and the man did come over and sat with us. He.. he smiled at me and said, “Who is your pretty friend?..” I was so scared and he was just smiling at me and calling me ‘pretty!’.. “Uncle Darien, this is one of my dearest friends, Inshala ‘la Fey’ Frostmane, the new Ritual Guardian who is also the daughter of the late Master Cathber. She was with us when we fought and brought down Themalsar. She is as awesome and wise as she is pretty.”, and I was now blushing so much, I had to drink half of my melonade to cool down. Then we ate all the wonderful cakes and cookies and doughnuts and the other things I can’t remember the names of. While we ate, we also talked. Uncle Darien is a nice man, and I learned he is Laila’s father! Bremorel seems to have changed. She was always angry before. And arguing. Now.. she is.. shining? She is smiling a lot. And laughing a lot. Then we said goodbye to Uncle Darien and he told me I could come and visit him any time I wanted to. Bremorel showed me the town and she met me many other people before she left to train her new rangers. Did you know there is an orc here who works at your iron shop? When he saw me, he slowly came and dropped on his knees and said, “Ritual Guardian. Many years ago, I was wild and with my marauding band, we attacked villages for their food and their gold. When the rangers came after us, they hit us hard and they killed my band. Your father, Master Cathber found me, days later, wounded and dying. He chose to save me instead of ending me. He tended to my wounds and brought me here to work hard to atone for my sins. Thus I have. I was bound to your father. And now, I am bound to you.” Later, I met more people, and today I met the half-born and we played a game of catch.. Of all the people I met, from this village and amongst the refugees, elf, human, or half-born, I learned that ‘nice’ is a choice. Some chose to be and some do not, and that my fear was misplaced. What I feared were people. What I should have feared was, ‘bad choices’..”

 

Inshala fell silent after that, a bit breathless.

 

Arm in arm, the two walked in silent harmony for a while. Aager sensed his young wife wanted to say more but whatever it was, she was clearing feeling very shy about it and was trying to brave herself up.

He opted to give her the chance.

 

“I..”, said Inshala a bit hesitantly. “..want to show you something tonight.”

“Ow?”, said Aager.

“I saw some little girls do it and I thought it looked awesome. So I was brave and went and asked them what they were doing. They were a bit scared of me too, I think. But after we talked a bit, none of us was afraid anymore. I let them touch my horns and they all laugh with delight and asked me if I had any more and begged if they could borrow them to show off to their other friends. I told them I was sorry and that I only had these. Then we talked some more and they told me what they were doing. I tried it too and asked them if I was doing it right? They corrected me and I tried some more until I think I learned it correctly now. I asked them if they would mind I showed it to my hubby, and they were like, ‘You have a hubby?’, and I was like, ‘Yes, I have a hubby because he decided to be my hubby and asked me if I would want him to be my hubby, so I told them I didn’t know what hubby was but that it sounded awesome, and if it made him near me and made me near him, then I wanted him to be my hubby!'”

 

Aager chuckled.

 

“What did they learn you?”, he asked.

“Not here.”, Inshala said blushing brightly. “I.. liked it.. very much.. and want to do it while you watch..”

“Alright.”, he said.. and without noticing, he had picked up his pace.

Stop this, video and start the next one to see
what Inshala has unintentionally learned, and
wanted to show Aager..

 

 

arashkan şehri book 07 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups komedi modül serenity Whispers; A Cabal

The End of Sunsears

The End of Sunsears

Timeline:

 

Place; Serenity Home

Time; Mid-December

 

The events in this story take place after
“I believe this belongs to you..”,

 

 

28 Days After The Fall Of Arashkan.

 

Something crashed right through the Guest House of Serenity Home with incredible force causing everyone nearby to go for their weapons!

The wooden inner walls of the modest Guest House splintered and the windows shattered sending shards everywhere. The clanking of alarm bells rang through the town as everyone apart from a burly group comprised of harsh-looking men and women led by Sheriff Standorin Shieldheart ran to their designated posts. Apparently, the town took its defense quite seriously and all the training of the past months had paid off; in under ten minutes, the great wall built just west of the town was maned with thousands of elves, dwarves, and humans, their swords, axes, shields, and long pikes at the ready. Down below, hundreds of bows were drawn, waiting for the command to ‘LOOSE!’ while two dozen catapults were already being loaded with various destructive projectiles..

 

..but the expected Orken attack never came.

 

Sheriff Standorin ran up the flight of stairs, followed closely by the hardened town guards holding heavy clubs in their hands. Town security did not draw swords on a whim. Their job was to secure, not kill. Standorin pointed at one of the doors and two men stood before it, each facing the door. He then pointed at the remaining five doors and the men and women ran for each door in pairs. Then he pointed at the door he was facing, nodded at the large, burly man, some thirty years younger than him. The young, burly town guard nodded back than shouldered the door, smashing it down. Standorin and the rest of the guards barged in.

“MEDIC!”, shouted the sheriff the moment he took a quick stock of what lay before him. “GO GET SENIOR TEMPLE GUARDIAN THOMAS DIMWOOD HERE AT ONCE!”

Then he paused for a tad moment.

“No.”, he said. “Tell him to prepare to receive. We will bring the wounded to him.”

“Yes, sir!”, barked one of the younger women and dashed out of the room and down the stairs, and with the opening and slamming of the Guest House door, she was gone.

Standorin walked over to the remains of the broken single bed, with his powerful arms, pushed it aside, walked through the gaping hole in the wall, and stepped into the adjacent room and very carefully, he picked up the very tall, rather willowy figure, her robes shredded, her long, once elegant dress-skirts torn and ripped, her platinum-blonde braids loose and disheveled, her somewhat angular face bloodied and one of her arms hung at an odd angle.

The sheriff motioned at one of the guards who had followed him through the hole. The guard ran ahead and opened the room’s door for him.

Standorin carried the broken form of High Lady Anglenna Sunsear out of the room, and down the stairs.

“Bring a bedsheet. No one needs to see her like this.”, he rumbled quietly, then paused again and added. “No one needs to see her.”

He looked at the town guards and his face hardened.

“We do not know how the elves of Bari Na-ammen will react to her. She will get her opportunity to explain herself. I will not have a riot, nor a witch-hunt in my town. Do I make myself clear?”, he asked, looking at the men and women staring at the high lady.

The guards all nodded silently. The sheriff gently put the high lady on the wooden floor while the dust and splinter-riddled bedsheet was pulled off the broken bed and brought down.

“Couldn’t have brought a clean one?”, asked Standorin to the guard, a high elf and a recent addition to the town security.

“Sorry, sir. But we already broke one door down. And I don’t think this.. woman.. is worth a clean sheet to begin with.”, he very nearly spat.

Standorin stared at the young elf with his, calm-before-the-storm, gaze.

“Young man. I can not imagine your losses. However, you are a guard of Serenity Home now and represent the honor of this town. People from all over the kingdom come and settle here. Much like you, everyone is welcome, provided they do not drag their prejudices and their personal issues along with them. This is not Arashkan. This is not Endless Watch. This is not High Woods or Scowling Hills or Koruxan. This is Serenity Home, and the lady is the cousin of Princess Alor’Nadien ne and to the best of my knowledge, the princess adores her cousin. I am not privy to the reasons, but I am guessing she must have them, wouldn’t you say? You may not care, nor have any respect for this woman, but you will care and respect the Princess of Bari Na-ammen.”

The young high elf gulped.

“I apologize, sir. I acted and spoke out of turn and before I thought things through. I hate this woman with all my heart and wish nothing but ill will for her. I will, however, show her all the courtesy required of a high elf and a town guardsman.”

Standorin gave him a nod of approval and the young elf ran back up, and returned with another sheet —a clean and neatly folded one.

With the help of two female guards, Standorin carefully wrapped the high lady, covered her face, then gently picked her up again and nodded at the Guest House door.

The young elf ran ahead and opened the door for him.

The sheriff of Serenity Home rumbled.

“Form a quiet line. We do not need spectators. And inform the watch, they can turn the alarm bells off. Everyone is to remain at their posts for another hour then return to their daily routine.”

✱ ✱ ✱

High Lady Anglenna Sunsear woke up, quite dizzy and groggy, to a dimly lit, single-bed dormitory. The room was plainly furnished. Spars, even, consisting of the bed itself, a small table, a chair, a box, possibly to hold personnel possessions, two shelves nailed to the walls, and.. that’s it! No carpets, no ornaments, no framed pictures, no doilies, no curios, no vase with flowers, no tapestries and no curtains, though that was understandable since there were no windows, giving the overall impression that this was a cell, rather than a dormitory..

Anglenna looked down.

At least the room was clean and so was the blankets and the sheets, and she was wearing a long, ankle-length, burlap-colored linen nightgown of some sort. Apparently, someone had gotten her out of her shredded, sewer-smelling, soot-smudged clothes, cleaned her up, washed her hair, even, applied ointments and bandaged the dozen or so cuts and bruises, and cast her arm.

Hmm, she thought, why was her arm cast? She didn’t remember fracturing her arm. True, it’d just looked.. odd.. and had quit working properly, back when she’d been in the sewers, but the pain had died down, eventually, in the days, or perhaps it was weeks, or likely four or five days, maybe, ten at most, where she’d barely been able to find an hour or two, time enough for a breather, but never quite enough for full meditation. Anglenna had depressingly admitted she had no sense of direction whatsoever underground and that she was unequivocally lost. Exhausted, constantly on the run, hungry, thirsty, and hunted, by the Orken, and by the horror-inducing, pitch-black, sentient smoke; The Three Dog Curse she had unleashed, constantly growing and always spreading, and where she had dashed back and forth in those tunnels, very nearly losing her mind. It was during her desperate running in the sewers of Arashkan that she’d carelessly slipped and fallen into a crack in a wall caused by an Orken mangonel rock that had landed on the house above ground and caved it in all the way down to the sewers and then some.

Anglenna had very nearly screamed in abandoned panic when she had found out that she couldn’t even climb out of the narrow crack. The irony of having found the calm of being a Sunsear under the very harsh tutorage of her mother that had saved her from ultimate madness had not been lost on her. She had used her, quite secluded, predicament to her advantage; she had meditated for the duration of a full rest and was able to finally teleport out of the dark, stinking sewers, out of the burning, ruined, dead and dying Arashkan, and all the way to Serenity Home Guests House, where she had stayed once, when she’d first gone there, looking for the princess.

There had been three major problems to be able to cast the teleportation spell for Anglenna, however. The first was, she’d already used it on her cousin, Princess Alor’Nadien ne, and the young man, Udoorin. The second was, she wasn’t yet powerful enough to cast a second before making a full, meditative rest, which she hadn’t had the opportunity until now. And the third was, the person casting said teleportation had to know the destination.. thoroughly. That had always been a major drawback and problem with teleportation spells. The caster had to have familiarized the landing point, otherwise, the outcome(s) —plural, could be unpredictable or unprecedented at best, deadly at worst, obviously. The better he or she knew it, the more accurate their landing would be.. which in itself had produced its own issues. Before the events in the Arashkan Arena, Anglenna had been everything she seemed like; cold, distant, uncaring, looking down on everyone, and.. somewhat intentionally unobservant.. because everything was pretty much beneath her —just the kind of daughter her mother had always wanted! True, she had stayed at the Serenity Home Guest House for a few days while waiting for the possible arrival of her cousin so she could drag her, by the hair if need be, back to her father. But she hadn’t given a second glance to the Guest House, the town itself, and certainly not the little room she had been offered, which she had taken offense, but hadn’t been able to take umbrage due to the fact that (a) the alternative was to stay in the town’s common inn, which was just too beneath her, (b) all the rooms in the Guest House were the same!

In all candor, the only thing of note had been the spectacular view of Gull’s Perch, visible through the Guest House windows, for even though it was a few days travel east of the town, it was still, quite the magnificent sight; a single ‘rock’, some half a mile wide at its base, reaching up and up until its cap was lost in the clouds..

Hence, when she focused on her destination as she cast her spell, she had only a vague picture of the room she had stayed, which in turn had presented its own, distinctly ironic problem; all the rooms in the Guest House were indeed, identical!

Anglenna wasn’t sure if she was even at Serenity Home, at this very moment and this.. little howel.. or perhaps it was a cell.. certainly didn’t look like one of the rooms in the Guest House.

 

There was a polite knock and the door of her cell opened presenting a young, sturdy-looking man in a long, white robe that had contouring, embroidered colars and sleeves in dark red, and the only thing he wore that seemed unassuming was a holy symbol of some sort hanging from his neck.

The man nodded politely at her as he came in, carrying a tray in one hand covered with a clean cloth, a tankard in the other, and a genuine smile on his face.

 

Anglenna ogled at him.

 

And no.

She wasn’t ogling at him because he was a young, good-looking man, nor that he was smiling at her. She was ogling at him because the smile was genuine!

Alright, she thought, he must not know who I am and he is smiling because he is looking at an elf girl.

“Human males and their ‘elf maiden’ fetishes.”, she fumed to herself in disgust. “Guess I’ll just have to disillusion your elf fetishes by showing you, bitchery is not a registered trademark of human females.”

“High Lady Anglenna Sunsear. It is a distinct honor to have finally met you in person.”, the young man beamed.

“What the—”, thought Anglenna. “The boy knows who I am and is still smiling at me. No, he is beaming at me!”

“Are you sure you are talking to the right High Lady Anglenna?”, she asked, her voice patched and dry, and sounded more like a croak. “Perhaps you are confusing me with someone else.”

“I doubt, my Lady. There is but one of you.”, he replied, still beaming at her.

“Do I know you, young man?”, she asked a bit irritably. People did NOT smile at her. And if they did, it was more of a sneer, than a smile, really. Perhaps this boy was merely an idiot!

“I doubt, my Lady.”, repeated the young man. “Though we did meet once, albeit briefly. Several months ago, at the celebrations on the evening of the return of our people from the Ruins of Themalsar. You were staying here, waiting for your cousin to arrive, I believe. Then I saw you again, the day after. You were in the meeting where the same group members met with the mayor, the sheriff, and the town council members, deciding on the course of action in relation to what they had learned.”

“I am at Serenity Town, then?”, she asked somewhat relieved.

“But of course, my Lady. You are at Serenity Town Temple, to be more precise.”, the man answered politely.

“You know who I am, then?”, asked Anglenna.

“Indeed.”, replied the young man.

“You know who my mother is too?”, she asked.

“As much, yes.”, said the man.

“And what she did?”

“Not definitively, but I dare say, the rumors are likely true, considering the wide variety of different, independent, and quite reliable sources.”, smiled the man.

“Is something wrong with your head, boy?”, asked the high elf woman, unable to refrain herself.

“Yes. He’s an idiot!”, came a soft, irritable, feminine voice from outside the room.

The young man looked at the owner of the soft, irritable voice, grinned at her, and made room for a young, tall, beautiful girl with a lithe, striking figure, deep green eyes, fair skin, and long, free-flowing black hair. Anglenna thought she’d seen her before, but couldn’t quite remember when and where.

 

Unlike the young man, however, the girl was glaring at her.

The girl was glaring at her balefully and Anglenna got the distinct impression that this girl had glared at people all her life, and had dismantled any number of them to prove just exactly what her glare entailed!

 

“Why are you down here, talking to this psychopath, Thomas?”, she almost snarled.

“There.”, thought Anglenna. “Someone who does know me!”

“Perhaps introductions are in order?”, asked the high lady.

“SHUT UP, BITCH!”, snarled the young woman. “YOU DON’T GET TO MAKE ANY DEMANDS, HERE! IF I WANT YOUR BLOODY OPINION, I’LL BE SURE TO BEAT IT OUT OF YOU!”

 

Anglenna froze.

That.. had been the first time someone —anyone— had ever talked to her in that tone, let alone tell her to shut up so viciously. She felt her cheeks blaze with embarrassment.

 

“Morel..”, said the young man reprovingly. “Please, love. She’s my guest, in my temple. We agreed, I would follow your lead in the woods, and you’d follow mine in my temple.”

“It’s alright. I’ll just drag her off to the woods, by the hair, or ankle, or throat, or nose, doesn’t matter which, and finish her off there!”, she spat, as she stared at the high lady with impressive hate.

“How do you even drag someone by the nose?”, the young man, Thomas, asked.

“You stick two fingers into the holes and drag. Either they come or they loose the nose! Quite painfully, I might add.”, the young woman replied with an indifferent shrug.

The young man stared at her.

“You will do no such thing, love, nor will you harm her. You are not a cutter.”, he said with a decisive tone.

“She is, though. Her mother’s precious little cutter!”

“I don’t think that is true, love. And I don’t believe you think so, either.”

 

The young woman, Morel, turned to Thomas and hissed at him.

 

“Do you know what this elf skank and her bitch of a mother did?”

“Yes, love. I do. A bit more so than you, actually. I have been caring for the refugees of Arashkan and Bari Na-ammen for the past few weeks now, remember?”, Thomas said quietly. “Had to burry quite as many, pray over their souls, and comfort their loved ones, too.”

“If she wants to drag me off and cut me, perhaps she should.”, Anglenna said in a subdued voice of her own. “I certainly deserve it. But only after I see my cousin and young Udoorin.”

The young man and the girl turned to her, staring with baffled expressions.

“Neither the princess nor young Udoorin is here, Lady Anglenna. Which is why Ranger Lieutenant Morel, here, is a bit edgy. Of those who went for Arashkan, only Lady Magella has returned thus far, and she had to leave again to speak with the dwarves about the upcoming war and smooth over some family issues at Scowling Hills. No one else has come back yet. Other than her, you are the first to arrive.”

 

Anglenna blinked.

 

“Before leaving for Scowling Hills, however, the esteemed Senior Temple Guardian, Lady Magella, informed us that the deputy sheriff, Master Aager, and the young lady, Inshala, had gone off to Durkahan to inform them of the events culminating with the fall of Arashkan and Bari Na-ammen and look into the possibilities of arranging some form of military relief, while Ranger Lieutenant Laila, Master Gnine, and Lady Merisoul had gone to.. Silent Hills for.. well.. we are not quite sure why they went there, and you, Lady Anglenna, along with Princess Lorna, and young Udoorin had set out for a secret mission at Arashkan. The princess and Udoorin aren’t here, but you are, which does raise some questions. More so, considering your distinct affiliations with.. your mother.”

“How is this possible? I sent my cousin and young Udoorin here days ago.. Weeks, maybe. I lost track of time when we were at Arashkan. The young man was severely wounded, so I sent him and the princess here to make sure he received proper medical attention. But we hadn’t completed our mission yet, hence I had to stay behind.”

“So you say! For all I know, you are in it with the Orken, just like your mother. But I am warning you, girl, if something happens to Udoorin or Lorna, you are a dead meat!”, sneered Morel.

“Morel, please.. Why don’t you go and— Wait. What are you doing?”, Thomas asked when he saw the high lady throw off her blankets and try to rise.

“I need to go find my cousin.. and that foolish boy!”, she hissed.

“Lady, please. You need rest. You have been unconscious for weeks.. Your wounds were quite extensive, you have a fever, and.. we still need to break your arm!”

“You need to— What?!”, exclaimed Anglenna staring at the young man.

“I am sorry, Lady. But your arm was fractured, mangled, really, and I am afraid you didn’t set it right before you let it bind on its own —incorrectly.”, Thomas said with a strained voice.

 

Anglenna stared at the young man with a distinctly horrified expression.

The young woman, Morel, however, grinned.. quite viciously!

 

“I can do it.”, she offered, still grinning. “Please let me do it, Thomas! I could make you very happy if you let me do this one thing!”

 

To give the young man credit, he only blushed a little.

He coughed once, then turned to the grinning young woman.

 

“Why don’t you go and find the sheriff, love. He will want to ask questions before I do.. what I have to do. I doubt Lady Anglenna, here, will be in any condition to speak coherently after that. Not for a day or two.”

“Spoilsport!”, scowled Morel and turned around to leave.

“Here.”, the young man said and gave the tray and the tankard to her.

Morel stared at him.

“Perhaps the high lady should eat after what has to be done. Less of a mess that way. And.. I thought you were over breaking arms, Morel.”, he said to her.

“Ow, Thomas.”, said Morel, smiling fondly at him. “If I don’t break an arm or two every once in a while, I’ll have to break yours. And if I did that, you would be so useless at nights, and mornings, and in the woods, and in the afternoons, and—”

 

Young Thomas blushed furiously.

Hell, so did Anglenna!

The young woman’s heartless laughter trailed off as she left..

 

“I.. am sorry about that. Morel and I are—”, Thomas coughed.

“—Just weird?”, finished the high lady.

“..newlywed. I mean, it’s only been a month or so.”, Thomas stammered.

“Why are you apologizing me for?”, asked Anglenna.

“You.. didn’t have to hear some of the things she said, that’s all. Morel is kinder than she lets on, really.”, mumbled the young man., paused, then added. “And quite the robust girl..”

“Apparently, so are you, young man.”, said Anglenna with a straight face.

 

Young Thomas deflated as his own face went even brighter red.

 

“Ah, I remember the two of you, now. Back from that celebration night. Didn’t that girl punch you in, then slam you on the ground and dislocate your shoulder?”

“Well.. yes.. I suppose she did..”, admitted, Thomas blushing some more.

“And you married her!”

“Well.. yes..”, mumbled the young man. “I.. love her.. always have.. since I was six and she was four..”

“I am tempted to ask, just how stupid are you, young man? But I shall politely settle for, just creepy and weird.”, said the high lady with an amused tone.

 

Thomas ogled at the high lady.

 

“Go get your hammer, and your anvil.”, she gave Thomas a brittle smile. “Might as well get it over with.. Before your woman decides to come back and do it herself. Something tells me she doesn’t like me very much and might feel obligated to break more than just my arm.”

“It will hurt.. a lot, Lady Anglenna.”

“You are the Senior Temple Guardian now, then? A bit young for that kind of responsibility, aren’t you?”, Anglenna asked.

 

Thomas shrugged.

 

“Lady Magella is the senior, really. But she has other responsibilities, making me the fill-in for her. Not a position I wanted at my current age, as I lack the temperament, the wisdom, and the experience, but the other guardians are even younger than I am.”

“You over underestimate yourself, young man. I am not as good a read of character as my cousin, Alor’Nadien ne, is, but you seem to have the temperament and the wisdom. The experience will come in time. It always does. And since you are a temple guardian, just Anglenna will do. Or Lenna. Bari Na-ammen is no more and I am no longer a high lady.”

“You don’t need a piece of land to be a lady, nor to have a noble soul, you know. Much like I don’t need this temple to be a guardian, nor do I need it to be my Morel’s husband.”

“But you do have your temple, and your woman.”, informed the high lady.

“There are over a hundred and fifty thousand Orken that we know of, are marching this way, Lady. The fact that I have a temple or my wonderful Morel is a moot point.”, Thomas replied with solemn realism.

“Young man.”, Anglenna replied with a resigned voice. “It is obvious you are as polite as you seem. And honest as well. You don’t have to try so hard, though. Considering the things I did in my past, and my many sins..”

“I am not trying anything Lady Anglenna. This is the only me, my Morel gets, and the only me you will get.”, Thomas smiled.

“I see. Well, do politely break my arm then, if you will, please?”, Anglenna smiled back at him.

“Shouldn’t we wait for the sheriff?”, he asked.

Anglenna shrugged.

“I’ll be alright. My mother never had a tender hand when it came to teaching pain. Which is probably why I wasn’t even aware it was broken in the first place. The sooner we get it done, the sooner I can start looking for my cousin and young Udoorin, who needs medical care much more than I do now.”

✱ ✱ ✱

Young Thomas removed the cast from Lady Anglenna’s arm with practiced efficiency.

“Been cracking arms a lot?”, grinned Anglenna with frightened anticipation.

“Many times, my Lady. People tend to shrug off their injuries and end up here. It isn’t like I charge for my services or anything. In the end, they suffer more than they should, had they come to me in the first place.”, Thomas explained as he took the high lady’s slender arm and tightly bound it to the small table.

For a moment, he looked at the elf girl, then her arm then took out a piece of arm’s-length, wooden board and placed it on her arm.

“I don’t suppose it’ll help if I said you should eat more. I probably lack the years to advise a high elf.”

 

Anglenna snorted.

Which was when the young temple guardian drew out a heavy hammer with a broad head and smashed it, just right, on the high lady’s slender arm.

 

Anglenna gave a sharp, savage scream, and dropped limply on the floor!

 

“For that, I very much, and sincerely apologize, my Lady.”, he said quietly.

“You sure have a way with people, young Thomas. I hope you are not treating your young ranger lieutenant the same way.”, came a burly, rumbling voice.

“Sheriff Standorin..”, Thomas said, without looking back, as he unbound the ropes, pulled out several long, flat sticks and a thick roll of bandages from his robes. “..no one treats Morel Songsteel the same way..”

“Good answer.”, grinned Standorin.

“Dammit, Thomas!”, hissed Morel also from the door. “I told you I wanted to do it!”

“Language, love. We also agreed about confining it outside our home and the temple, in particular. And Yes. You did. But this needed tender accuracy.”

“I could do tender.. and be accurate.. You of all people should know that by now..”, she scowled.

“That I do, love. But your ‘tender’ is rather selective and probably doesn’t include the esteemed high lady. And you are horrible with hammers and maces!”, Thomas replied seriously.

“True, I suppose.. on both accounts.. I would have just hit her on the head with the hammer and be done with..”, she admitted freely.

 

Standorin coughed.

 

“It is amazing, the things people admit to what might constitute as a crime.. right in front of the town sheriff..”, he grinned.

“I am sorry, sir.”, replied Morel that clearly said she wasn’t sorry in the least. “But the things spoken between a man and his wife in the privacy of their home, or a temple, can not be used against them in a court of law, and this temple is our home! We even eat and sleep here and Thomas makes me pray sometimes, too!”

 

Standorin cocked an eyebrow.

 

“I wasn’t aware you were into the finer details of the law, Ranger Lieutenant Morel. I am.. pleasantly surprised.”

“Nothing to be surprised, there, sheriff. The first thing my Ranger Master Moorat taught me years ago, even before showing me how to track or forage, was, ‘If you are going to persist in being a delinquent, at least be smart enough to know the law so you don’t end up in jail like you did, should you be stupid enough to get caught again!’ —pretty much his exact words!”, Morel said with a shameless smirk.

 

Thomas snorted.

Standorin blew a fuming breath out of his nose.

 

“I knew it was a bad idea handing you over to that old, no-good bandit. Like master, like novice.”

“Come, love.”, Thomas said. “Straighten her to a sitting position, if you will. As much as you may dislike her, she is a noblewoman and the cousin of Princess Alor’Nadien ne, and shouldn’t be left lying on the floor. Then hold her shoulder up and straight while I pull from this end so we set the bones right before I recast the arm.”

“Nice.”, smiled Morel with an evil grin. “I get to watch her squirm in pain up close.”

 

High Lady Angrellen woke when they pulled her arm to set the bones.

She did not squirm, nor his she cry out again.

She just stared, somewhere off and at some unseen distance with blazing eyes.

And there was no satisfaction in Morel’s eyes, as she held and pulled, quite tenderly, at the high lady’s shoulder.

 

Huh!..

 

..though the sheriff, looking down at the two women.

Apparently, one had changed, quite a bit of late and the other had suffered, quite a lot, for quite some time..

 

“Ranger Lieutenant Morel.”, he said, after Thomas set and recast the high lady’s arm, and carefully put her back into bed. “If you would, please, go to the leader of the HWRM —the High Wood’s Resistance Movement and inform him, discreetly, if he would be kind enough to come here, preferably alone, on a matter of some urgency. We need to make sure this actually is the High Lady Anglenna, and not something else. We have had a few too many surprises sprung on us as it is, lately. Do not tell him anything. Just bring him here.”

“Why?”, asked Morel, looking down at the high lady. “This is the bitchy high lady from back then, she still is the bitchy high lady now. She has the same height and the same foot size, though she does not smell of her perfumes but that of sewer, even after we cleaned her up, and she weighs less, which is expected, considering she looks like she’s been through some rough, and has been comatose for three weeks or so.”

Sheriff Standorin frowned a bit.

“I do not question your assessment, Lieutenant. But she seems.. different.”

“Perhaps she is concussed?”, she offered. “I certainly want to concuss her. There are bound to be others!”

“No, love.”, inserted Thomas. “The esteemed sheriff is right. True that she has suffered quite a lot recently, both physically and emotionally, but I do not think she is concussed. She was coherent and fully awake. However, nothing she said nor her behavior as a whole, matches our first encounter with her. I saw genuine emotions in her; shame, regret, a sense of urgency, and the need to punish herself.”

 

Morel scowled at them both.

 

“You just want to run me off so you can talk in private!”

“The sheriff can say anything he wants to say right here and now.”, Thomas grinned at her.

“Very well.”, she fumed. “I am going to do this only because the esteemed sheriff asked nicely.”

 

Sheriff Standorin cocked both his eyebrows.

 

“I always ask nicely, Lieutenant. And not because this is your home.”

“I don’t recall you asking me nicely before you clubbed my lights out then dragged me off to jail when I was twelve, sir!”, she said hotly.

 

Apparently, aside from many other things, Morel was a good grudge bearer.

 

“I did ask you nicely. Several times. And warned you even, that should you continue, I would detain you. Your cousin, Ranger Lieutenant Laila was there, though she was a ranger novice at the time. You can ask her. She stopped after the second warning but you didn’t. I wasn’t aware my son tasted so good! He must have. Since you just wouldn’t stop chewing on his arm!”, Sheriff Standorin said with a straight face.

 

Thomas coughed.

Morel’s face, however, turned dark red, as she blushed furiously.. and in mortification. She turned and ran out of the room.

 

“Well..”, said the sheriff. “That went well..”

“Yup!”, said Thomas.

“I hope this little incident doesn’t come back at you.”, Standorin said.

“It is possible that it may but unlikely. However the people of Serenity Home want to remember her, she is dedicated not to return to that angry, bitter girl. And that is ‘wisdom’ in my book.”, the young temple guardian said proudly.

✱ ✱ ✱

So she won’t talk?”, asked Arthandos Yuleman, the Mayor of Serenity Home Town, and the person responsible for the wellbeing of nearly eighty thousand Arahkan and fifteen thousand Bari Na-ammen refugees and he was as tired as he seemed.

Tired, weary, and older.

“She talks.”, replied Sheriff Standorin with his low, rumbling voice.. “Just nothing of significance. She is excellent at dodging questions, excels at debating her point, and too refined for us to take offense at anything she says for us to openly force her to tell us the things she is hiding.”

“So she is a politician.”, grunted Arthandos.

“No, Arty. She is a very good politician. Besides being a powerful sorceress, which I suppose, is to be expected of her. She was trained by The Betrayer, after all, and on both accounts..”

“So we know nothing. Other than her claim about having ‘sent’ both the princess and your son here, by our calculation, at least four weeks ago.”, said Arthandos unhappily.

“Yes. About that.. I wanted to.. ask you a personnel favor..”, said the sheriff, looking down at his hands.

“You want us to send some of our very limited number of rangers and trackers out looking for them, without knowing where to look for.. in every direction!”, frowned the mayor.

“Something like that.”, replied Standorin quietly.

“Stan.. You are killing me!”, sighed Arthandos.

“Eh? Why?”, asked the sheriff, looking up at the mayor with a baffled expression.

“We are not talking about anyone here, man. We are talking about your son. Of course, you can send off some of the rangers and trackers. Any we can spare. You don’t have to ask my permission for that.” said Arthandos.

“It is a personal favor, Arty. Everyone out there has someone they care missing..”, mumbled the sheriff.

“You are missing the higher point here, man. He is your son, yes. But he is also the fiancee of the princess of Bari Na-ammen. He now represents more than you, me, this town, or the elves. He represents HOPE. The boy who came from a simple town, fought against all odds, and rose to become a king. And not just any king, mind you. He became the king of ELVES. His line will also be of KINGS and QUEENS!”, smiled the mayor expansively.

Standorin sighed.

“You just had to turn it into a political parade, didn’t you?”, he scowled.

“But of course, my dear Stan. That’s how I got away with all the irregular expenses you and Master Aager caused all these past years!”, he laughed.

“Whether he becomes a king or not is his prerogative. I just want my son back. Safe and sound. And I want his happiness. He.. when they were here, he was looking at young Lorna like I used to look at my Limnia. My boy found happiness and the will to do great deeds because of that girl. Just that is enough to make her special in my book.”, Standorin said seething silently as he fisted his hands. “He must come back. He is the only thing that is left to me from my Limnia, Arty. Do you understand that?”

“No, Stan. I don’t. I was never blessed by someone as special and luminous as Limnia. I was only cursed by having to put up with her brother Moorat!”, he replied sympathetically.

Then sighed.

“Is there anything we could do to make her talk? With her consensual cooperation, I mean. And what do you propose we do with her?”, he asked.

“We can’t let her go, not that she wants to leave, other than to get better as soon as possible so she could go and seek for her cousin and my son, which came as a surprise for me, from the way she phrases it. Or perhaps, the way she sees them. For some reason, she will not say her cousin’s name alone, but she speaks of them as one. Like they were a single entity. I can’t say I understand what that means, but that’s the impression I got. She did offer to help train anyone with a glimpse of innate affinity to magic, as a contribution to our war efforts. She will not talk about any of the group members we sent to Arashkan nor about anything that occurred there because, ironically, she does not trust anyone here, which is understandable, since she doesn’t know anyone here and considering what her mother did, she has no reason to. But I do believe her feelings for her mother are quite genuine. She does a good job not showing it, but I have been a sheriff for a good thirty, thirty-five years now. She burns with shame whenever the issue of her mother is brought up, down to her very core. Add her elfish heritage into that stew, you get a young, high elf noblewoman who will burn her enemies down to cinders. And not metaphorically in her case.”, Standorin said, trying to put as many words into as few sentences as he could.

“Yes. Elves can be like that. Good haters. When they hate, they won’t confine it with you, but they will take it up to generations to come, in human terms. Not surprising to hear an elf say, your great-great-great-great-something-great grandfather did this to us!”, snorted Arthandos.

“You are going to have to decide on what to do with her, I am afraid. She is way above my pay grade and to be honest, we don’t have the manpower to neither guard her against her own people, let alone her mother, nor anyone to spare to keep a track of her, considering she is a sorceress who has the skills to teleport!”, grimaced the sheriff.

“How about she stays where she is now. In the temple.”, Arthandos asked?

“No. The temple is crowded as it is, what with all the.. new guests.. young Thomas took under his protection. Yes, those succubi half-borns are all adults, but they are very much like children who just ran away from school! They keep to their rooms and play quietly during day hours and when Thomas is performing his sermons, but come evening, they board up all the temple windows and run around wildly, playing games, all the while screaming like sugar-loaded, over-hyped kids! We just can’t let them loose, either. Some of those girls are extraordinarily pretty. Hell, so are the boys! When Thomas first told me about them, I went to make sure they were as safe as he claimed they were. Thomas called them and they all fell in line happily, then he introduced them to me. But let me tell you, some of the girls were looking at me like I was food. I haven’t been that freaked in my life. It is interesting, though. They won’t harm nor try to seduce our young Thomas, and Bremorel hasn’t shown any form of jealously nor animosity against them. Those two must really trust and believe in one another. Then there is the fact that every night before they go to their dormitories, they all file down into than cavernous chamber where all the temple guardians are entombed and pray for Demos Lightshand!”

Arthandos stared at him.

“What? Why?”, he asked in astonishment.

“Because Thomas told them it was he, Demos, who trained and taught him to be kind, understanding, and to accept everyone who came to his temple. Hence they all go down and pray for his soul —every single night!”

Arthandos stared at him.. some more..

“Half-demons.. praying for the soul of a Temple Guardian of Light! The irony in that hurts my mind!”, he said, putting his face in his hands.

“I know, right?”, grinned Standorin. “Let me tell you this, though. Willy-nilly, the Orken changed everything. The Orken and that strange girl I fined the night of the celebration. The one with the raven wings, Miss Merisoul Xyrotwu.. Thomas refused to go into the details, ‘for otherworldly security reason’, he said, but all those half-borns were freed from Hell, and I mean actual, literal Hell, by that Merisoul girl, and are all willing to ‘sweat, bleed, and die for their Ascension’ —their exact words! Should we win the day when the Orken finally arrive, a great many things will have to keep on changing because we just can’t go back to what we were.”

Arthandos signed.

“I feel too old for this. Maybe I should start looking for some replacement as well. I hear you are.”

“There are many candidates who could replace me. I don’t have to dance around politics. If and when I see someone breaking the law, I tell them to come quietly. If they don’t, I club them quietly—”, Standorin said with a broad smile.

The mayor snorted.

“—then politely take them in. Being a mayor, however, requires too much political dancing for my taste where everything and everyone wants to complicate things like they were getting paid for it!”, the sheriff finished.

“Who do you have in mind, Stan? Not young Udoorin, that’s for sure, now.”, wondered Arthandos.

“Had it been before, I would have said Master Aager.”, admitted, Sheriff Standorin. “But things have changed. One sheriff was good and well for a town, even one as large and connected as ours. But that will not be enough. Most of the elves might return home to rebuild their lives. Though it will take centuries for High Woods to come anywhere near what it once was. And they will have all the support they can get from us. But Arashkan is beyond repair. Lady Anglenna didn’t say anything nor imply, but she had this, ‘smirking’ look in her eyes when I asked her what they were doing there, which gave me the impression that it will stay beyond repair for quite some time. All she said about it was, ‘We had to make sure the Orken could never use Arashkan as a base, nor fix the walls to stand a siege, so that is exactly what we did.'”

“That sounds.. ominous.”, said Arthandos.

“Yes, it does. And we still don’t know what we are going to do about the Orken that was camped west of Ritual Forest. The rangers, the dwarves, and the elves stationed there as lookouts all reported that one evening they were there, come morning they were.. gone! I am thinking they employed the same device they used to ‘ambush’ Arashkan.”, said the sheriff with a worried expression. “They could be anywhere by now..”

“Perhaps. But we are not without a wide variety of options, you know. We have the Arashkan military here, and Bari Na-ammen veterans, wizards, sorcerers, and rangers, and dwarves from Scowling Hills and Elder Hills, and gnomes from Tinker Hills. Not to mention the half-born. Why don’t we throw the problem at them, all separately, and see what they come up with?”, Arthandos offered.

Standorin mulled over that for some time. But not for long. His troubled face brightened and he grinned.

“You are a cunning man, Arty. And a man of the people. I shall draft separate papers with the problems we have in relation to the war and pass them out to each group’s representatives.”, he said.

“Only after you sent out people looking for your boy and the princess. And they don’t all have to be rangers or trackers. We have a lot of people here, most of them not doing anything. Pick from the lot that isn’t in training. Put one elven ranger per group. Try to mix them with dwarves and humans and impresses upon them the importance of cooperation. That should break the ice between the races.”, grinned the mayor.

“A man of the people, indeed.”, agreed, Standorin.

✱ ✱ ✱

High Lady Anglenna woke up to a hot, tingling sensation in her left arm. Something deep in her awareness told her that she should be under a long siege of grilling pain, but for whatever reason, said pain just wasn’t there. Only the hot, tingling sensation.

“You have been given certain medicinal drugs to ease your suffering, my Lady.”, said a quiet, handsome voice.

The high lady stared around dazedly, with groggy, blurred eyes, and barely noted that she was in a small, unadorned room and that she had seen, or perhaps been in before.

She tried to speak but whoever had drugged her, had apparently glued her lips as well because nothing came out except a wheezing breath. She gave up and closed her eyes again.

She did hear a soft pair of feet in armor come near, then heard the tingling of glass, and something was poured from one container to another.

“Water?”, the quiet, handsome voice offered.

The high lady tried for a nod, but she wants sure if she’d done it right.

She felt a strong but gentle hand under her head and neck and the hand carefully nudged her up to a slightly sitting position, and a glass touched her lips.

“Slowly, my Lady.”, said the voice.

Anglenna couldn’t quite place where, but she thought she knew that voice.

The voice helped her drink from the glass; cold, clear water, with forced small sips. Whoever this person was, Anglenna thought, knew exactly where his jurisdiction began and where it ended.

She opened her eyes again and looked up to see a familiar face.

 

Familiar and too close!

 

“Armathelius.. Riverblade..?”, she gasped.

The young-looking high elf had angular features much like the rest of his kind; a sharp nose, sharp eyes, sharp, arching brows, a sharp chin, and a distinct mouth. His hazel eyes were set somewhat deeper than usual and something in those eyes read; relief.

Armathelius didn’t say anything for some time. He just stared down at the high lady, carefully taking in all the details of her face. It was long enough that it made Anglenna uncomfortable.

“Sir Armathelius?”, she began..

..but the young elf carefully and gently lay her back down and removed his hand, got up, walked over to the door, opened it, and to someone outside he said, “Yes. This is High Lady Anglenna Sunsear of Bari Na-ammen. I can vouch for her identity and shall take any and all responsibility for her future actions within Serenity Home limits. I will personally see to her safety as well, should she deem it necessary.”

Anglenna heard some muffled voices from outside the door.

“Perhaps.”, said the young high elf. “But she is our people, and hence, within our defacto-jurisdiction, sir. I thank you for having informed me, even though you did not have to. We would never have known had you not. Please convey my personal gratitude to the esteemed and honorable mayor, Arthandos Yuleman, if you would, and tell him we shall address his concerns on this matter as soon as the high lady is back to her health and is able to present herself.”

The muffled voice said something short and curt and left.

Armathelius closed the door and turned to the high lady, and Anglenna noticed, through the hot, tingling sensation, and the groggy, blurry haze, there was something else in those deep hazel eyes; smoldering, boiling wrath.

“Are you well, my Lady?”, he asked, not coldly, but distantly.

 

Anglenna did not reply for a long moment.

When she did, her face was pale, drawn, and lost, and her voice was parched, wheezy, tired, and weary.

 

“You.. you misidentified me..”, she said.

The young Armathelius Riverblade stared at her.

“The line of Sunsear’s is dead.”, she continued, looking down into her hands..

“I am Anglenna Brightleaf.”


 

arashkan şehri book 06 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups karakter analizi komedi modül role play serenity the plot thickens tundra walkers Whispers; A Cabal

Deep in Silence..

Deep in Silence..

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 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.

With the help of unexpected allies from Hell itself, the three have gained access into the long-forgotten, dusty and silent vaults under Silent Hills.

 

This story takes place a few days after
The Fog, The Path, And The Door.
Knock, More And Ascend..

 

 

And, here they come again!”, swore Gnine Tinkerdome as he took a step back and to the left, making room for Laila Wovesbane and her great bow.

“Persistent, aren’t they?”, replied Laila cooly as she huffed her bangs out of her eyes and drew a pair of long shafts from the quiver buckled to her back. “Don’t they know, these arrows cost money!”, she added mournfully.

“Perhaps these will pay..”, scowled the gnome as he started weaving his fingers into some strange, cross-over knot and started incanting.

“Persistence is the herald of victory. This they know. This they will use, always..”, came the soft, alluring, and vague voice of the unearthly beautiful girl with the raven black wings, and the dark, crowning horns, Merisoul Xyrotwu, from behind them. “..and they are likely bored!”

“I hate being the butt-end of relieving the boredom in demons!”, grimaced Gnine, and released his spell..

..and a faint, barely visible giant hand appeared in front of the half dozen fiends howling and charging in their direction. The fiends, barely humanoid in shape and size, otherwise black, spike riddled and bearing long, ugly-looking claws, smashed into the hand and stumbled back.

Laila ‘loosed’ her arrow, cocked the second, and sent that one as well, as she drew more arrows from her quiver and sent them one after the other —all in seamless, fluid motions.

Looking at the pretty ranger corporal, one would think she was knitting, rather than raining arrows into demons!

In all candor, it was quite rare for any talented bowyer to shoot half a dozen arrows in under a few seconds. What made the Ranger Corporal Laila Wolvesbane particularly unique, was the ‘cool’ in her deliberation, anticipation, and application.

“Want me to nuke them?”, asked the alluring voice from behind. “Or save it for later?”

“Save it for later..”, growled Gnine as he gritted his teeth. Holding back the demons with the very nearly invisible hand was a tasking chore and beads of sweat had started gathering on heated his face. “I believe Laila’s got these.. You got these, right?”

“I got these..”, confirmed Laila as she riddled more and more arrows into the dark, and angry fiends pushing the giant hand, step by step closer to them.

“Now, I am bored..”, said Merisoul with an unhappy voice and released a pair of erratic, brilliant purple shafts of force sending two of the fiends smashing into the ones coming from the rear.

“Three down. Three to go..”, reported Laila, and hung her bow, drew her two long blades, and dashed into the remaining fiends.

“What. Are. You. Doing?!”, half shrieked Gnine.

“Arrows are expensive.. Thought I told you that..”, replied Laila as she rammed into one of the fiends, slashed it open with one sword, and stabbed it with the other. The fiend let loose a horrific scream, then fell back dead.

 

The remaining two rushed the ranger corporal!

 

Another pair of sizzling, erratic shafts of bright purple lightning-like beams cracked in the dark tunnel and struck one of the fiends, pushing it some twenty feet away, and buying just enough time for Laila to get into a defensive stance as Gnine sent a flaming bolt of fire, hitting the third and causing it to yowl like something that could barely be called feline.

Laila didn’t give the third one time to recover.

She lept forward, slid under the creature’s claws, blew her bangs out of her face, sliced open its belly with one sword, and half gashed open the demon’s scaly leg with the other.

The demon shrieked in pain, stubbled, and fell facedown onto the ground.

Laila stabbed it in the back of its neck, severing its spine.

The ranger corporal did not like half-dead enemies.

She liked them dead.. all the way!

Another pair of jagged shafts of purple lightnings jazzed right past her and the last demon crumbled, its chest caved in.

“Well..”, said Merisoul, merrily. “That went well!”

“Damit.”, spat Laila when she bent down to inspect the corpses. “Two more arrows, broken beyond repair and are now totally unsalvageable. I really hope I get paid. Or I am never going to be able to replace these.”

“You will get all the arrows you need.”, said Gnine, looking down at the dead fiends. “I will personally pay for them. Or have them crafted for you.. If and when I get my throne..”

“Ow? That’s generous of you.”, smiled Laila —a something she rarely did.

“Of course, my dear girl. You are risking your all, coming here with me.”, replied Gnine.

“Actually, I am here just to make sure you come back and in one piece.. As for your promise, I would like the same deal for ‘Bree’ as well!”, she smirked.

“Why? She’s not here..”, scowled the gnome.

“She’s my cousin. She gets what I get.. Unless you want to explain why she’s not getting the same generosity from the prince of the gnomes.. To her face!”

Gnine Tinkerdome sighed.

“And something for Merisoul as well. If anyone is risking anything, it’s her.”, she added.

“It’s alright, love. I don’t really need gifts. What I need has long been forfeit from me and can not be procured. Only comprehended, earned and merited.. Something neither my old master can give, nor my new shall ever deign to bless upon me..”, said Merisoul, with her own sigh.

 

The hour was early.

And it had been four days since they had entered the silent vaults under Silent Hills.

Early or late, it didn’t matter. Fiends, demons, and.. other ‘things’ came at them constantly, relentlessly, and mindlessly..

Yes.

Mindlessly..

And always insane!

As if the Demon Fog had driven everything in it, fiend, beast, and even the occasional walking corpse, insane..

They would come at them and just charge them.

Like some endless stream of rotting debris being carried off in some nightmarish, swift-running river.

Other than what they had offered thus far, the vaults themselves were barren, silent, and bereft of cognatious life. Gnine hadn’t minded it at first. As a matter of fact, he’d marveled at the geometry of it all. In a very non-human, defiantly gnomish way, the structural design of the vaults under the hills was.. beautiful! After four days —and nights, however, he’d started having doubts, for they hadn’t seen or met a single other soul.. The unearthly beautiful half-born, Merisoul, had inspected everything she could with mild interest, pointing at this or that —things she thought were… well… interesting. Laila had found the lifeless halls depressing at best. ‘Spooky’, was the word she thought was more fitting. Perhaps, if and when ‘life’ came back to these halls, vaults, and vast chambers, it might make these hills ‘spectacular’, though, even then, she thought, she wouldn’t have stayed here even if she were being paid for it.. Laila loved nature. And trees, and the sun.. None of which, she would ever find here. She looked down at her little friend, Gnine, with sympathy as she huffed her bangs out of her eyes. From her point of view, he was genetically predestined to like such depressing and dreary places.

There was something about this place that Laila truly found.. intimidating?

She was not really sure.

These vaults, great as they were, were also silent. Too silent. Much like the tombs under Serenity Home temple. Laila had been down there, but only once. Sort of as a private ‘dare’. It was cool, dark, not musty or moldy, nor did the place stank of death or anything.. just.. ‘still’.. and unmoving. And this place, these halls, and the vast, empty chambers they had left behind, were just like how those tombs had been. But with much, much more dread and certainly at a larger magnitude.

Monumentally so. 

It made her feel diminished, sparse, scared..

..And alone.

 

Laila inadvertently shivered.

 

Yep, her forest, her trees, and her sun, out there, was much, much more preferable than here and now.

What truly hit her was the thing she secretly feared most. That she was likely going to lose one of her oldest friends; Gnine Tinkerdome, to these halls, even should they survive and succeed in their endeavor, for here would be his home and his kingdom, and not Serenity Home anymore, and just the thought of that, brought a knotted lump up to her throat she found trouble sending back down..

She sighed and tried to remember their happier times. It was something she often did, for she knew it was important to keep one’s spirits up. If they fell to despair, likely the next encounter would be their last.

“Now there’s a gloomy thought!”, murmured Laila.

“Happy thoughts, girl, happy thoughts.”

Then she thought of ‘Bree’ Bremorel, her cousin and wondered what she was doing right now. She remembered the voice call they had received from her some months ago and inadvertently smiled.

So.. Thomas, that skinny boy, had finally garnered enough courage to be able to speak with her cousin, let alone go on some mission with her. Who would send that kid on any mission? The boy was a bookworm! And suddenly he was sent all the way to Dim Woods on some dangerous mission? With her ravishing and equally raving cousin, Bremorel Songsteel?

Laila liked Thomas.

Yes, they had never really had much in the way of interaction, other than the rare times she’d visit the town temple and he would greet her with his serious but generous smile.. And when they’d see him scurrying behind them like someone’s lost puppy whenever they returned to town in hopes of finding some desperate opportunity to speak, or at least get a glimpse of Bree.

Laila thought he was a good boy even if she found his quite mindless and very nearly melancholic obsession with her cousin a bit creepy..

Then, perhaps because they hadn’t seen each other for some time, Laila felt she should amend her perspective.

Thomas was not just a good boy, he was a good young man. Good, decent, calm, well-mannered, and well educated, but never condescending the way most ‘well educated’ tended to become. And both the orphans and the other children of the town loved him, as he’d somehow find the time, among his overcrowded temple duties and his studies to engage in all sorts of games with them, particularly the one called hog-ball even though he would end up losing in most.

Laila smiled.

Hog-ball; a game that involved a rough, ragged ball wrapped and knotted with strips of leather thongs, and lots of pulling, pushing, kicking, and tripping. Laila had played it a few times before, but only after she’d become a ranger novice. It was too rough a game and seemed to have one basic rule; if you ended up with lots of scratches, scrapes, a black eye, preferably two, and likely a bloody nose, you won —in a personal achievement sense.

Gnine had played it too. Gnine played everything that would get him hurt, for some reason. And when he played hog-ball, he chose to be the goalkeeper; the sole person where EVERYONE pulled, pushed, kicked, and tripped! Kids on their teams wanted larger boys to stand in front of their goal. Someone who could take the heat, AND block the big barrel; the goal. And Gnine would defiantly be their team’s goalkeeper and take all the heat.. just not block the goal. Once, the opposing team had simply picked him up and stuffed him, head first, into the barrel, along with the leather ball!

Her cousin, Bree, had participated in them since she was six and always came back with black eyes, a bloody nose, split lips, skinned knees, ankles, and knuckles. But she would also return triumphant and likely laid waste the whole playground!

The children of Serenity Home had heaved in collective and popular relief when she’d been drafted off to be trained as a ranger!

Another time, some years back, when they had come to town after a particularly long patrol, they had chanced upon one such game. Bree had elbowed her and both had entered the fray where they had ended up in opposing teams. Thinking back, Laila conceded that her cousin had deliberately joined the side where Thomas had been.

Poor boy.

He had run in front of her cousin the whole time, screaming like a lunatic and literally throwing himself on anyone who would try to tackle her! It had been a mindless, selfless, totally unnecessary, and endearing brevity on the boy’s part, leaving him massively scraped, thoroughly grilled, heart-breakingly bleeding, and outright concussed, but had given Bree the opportunity to score an epic goal!

Her cousin, however, had NOT found his ‘protective’ approach amusing..

At all.

She’d raged down upon him, hissing and screaming at his witless attitude all the while, until she’d found him lying knocked unconscious—

—with a stupid smile on his face!

Bremorel hadn’t talked for two days after that. She’d just steamed with confused furry and equally puzzled and somewhat scared expression on her face. Laila had kept her company with badly concealed amusement, triggering further frustration from Bree.

 

Funny how the stupid things people did in life had such devastating effects on others.. More so than the smarter choices they made.

Thinking back, she could still remember what Thomas had said, when she’d asked him why he’d acted so.. ‘rashly’.. rather than be the smart person that he was..

The boy had said, in his calm, serious voice;

“The smart choice was the stupid choice; no one is going to hurt Morel so long as I am around.”

 

Laila chuckled.

The stupid things people did, indeed!

But then, Laila wasn’t one to complain either.

She entertained bangs!

The girls back in Serenity called them ‘fringes’ but Laila liked to call them ‘bangs’. Sounded more.. well.. ‘rangery!’

Rangery? Was that even a word?

Rangerish, then..

Laila snorted. Like that made a better word!

She deliberately dismissed both words and returned her attention to the issue at hand;

Bangs!

Bangs were bad in fights..

Bang kept getting in her eyes..

Bangs made seeing near impossible when swinging swords while dancing among fiends, demons, and crazed corpses..

Bangs made aiming a problem too..

But there she was.. persistent with her bangs perpetually biting into her eyes..

 

The things people did to impress others.. Even when they weren’t there to be impressed!

 

Laila huffed her bangs out of her eyes and plucked another arrow out of one of the dead fiends.

The arrow splintered.

“Damit!”, she murmured in frustration.

That was the third arrow now, totally destroyed!

✱ ✱ ✱

It’s a big room.”, whispered Whimsi Lola.

“Big? How big?”, asked Gnine, to his sprite familiar in hushed voices.

“Big..”, replied the tiny, ‘less-than-six-inch’ girl as she hovered next to Gnine’s head.

“Big like.. a farmhouse?”, asked Gnine.

“Big..”, repeated Whimsi Lola.

“The farmhouse and the barn?”

“Big..”

“Ok.. the farm itself, then?”

“Big..”

“Two farms?”

“Big..”

“Hmm.. Three?”

 

Laila just stared at the two as they ‘haggled’ about the size of the room with the eerie light, at the end of the hall, some two hundred yards away.

Merisoul though seemed much amused and caressed and stroked her own familiar, Jay the little pseudodragon. Jay purred and made happy croaking noises as he sent his pretty mistress mental images of the room ahead and indeed, it was..

 

“Big..”

 

“Four farms? Geez, how big is that room?, Gnine asked in an exasperated voice.

Whimsi Lola shrugged.

“Big..”

“Great Heavens, girl. Don’t you have a word to describe just how big it is?”, fumed Laila finally.

“No.”, replied Whimsi simply.

“Well, is it ten farms big?”, she asked.

“Dunno..”, said the sprite vaguely. “How big is ‘ten farms big?'”

“And this is why I never have pets!”, she glared at the minute girl.

“I am not a pet.”, replied Whimsi Lola with pure indignation and added with a disparaged huff, “I am an indentured cooperative auxiliary! I would have thought a big girl like you would know the difference. Apparently, I was mistaken!”

Laila glared at the minute creature buzzing in the air.

“I don’t think you even know what you just said, means.”, she growled back.

“Of course I do. All fey know about debts and what they entail, and we very much stick to them, once owed, Ranger Lieutenant Laila Wolvesbane!”, replied Whimsi Lola, buzzing higher and staring down at the ranger corporal with a distinctly superior tone.

“Don’t you look down on me, young lady! And it’s ‘Ranger Corporal’. Not lieutenant.”, scowled Laila.

“Not from what I heard, you aren’t!”, sniffed the ‘not-even-six-inch’ fey girl with admirable disdain.

“What?”, stared Laila up at the tiny, buzzing girl.

“We fey always correctly define things so we are not called upon our mistakes that would lead us to more debt. Don’t you know anything? You had Mistress Inshala ‘la Fey’ Frostmane, the Ritual Guardian, for months with you to learn you all this!”, piped down Whimsi Lola in disgust. Then she turned to Gnine and gave him a look of pure exasperation. “How do you mortals even manage to live as long as you do, not knowing anything that goes around you?”

Gnine coughed.

Laila just ogled at her.

The little creature turned to Merisoul and scolded her as well.

“You are not fey, ‘Soul Keeper’, but you are aware of the things I speak. Why have you not learned them these things?”

“It is a mortal thing, dear Whimsi Lola.”, replied Merisoul. “It takes time for them to be adequately equipped with the necessary wisdom to start to notice such things. And by the time they do.. well.. they run out of time!”

The tiny Whimsi Lola glared down balefully at Gnine.

“You had better not run out of time soon, Master Gnine Tinkerdome! We just started having some decent fun!”

“I.. will make a point not to..”, replied Gnine a bit deflated.

“So.. I am a Ranger Lieutenant now? When did this happen?”, asked Laila a bit shaken.

“One month, twenty-four days, and the time since we entered this horrible Demon Fog! The Fey do not come here so I do not know exactly. It happened after your mothers’ oath-sisters’ daughter, a Bremorel Songsteel and the Temple Guardian Thomas Dimwood returned back to the mortal town you know as Serenity Home. They had both you and your cousin change ranks!”

Laila ogled at the tiny creature, some more..

“Wow.”, said Gnine. “That must have been some mission those two went to. I wonder what happened?”

“They fought many very big creatures there, with the elves and some dwarves. Creatures that have no respect, called Greater Orken. The elves warned us not to come near, so the details of what happened are a bit sketchy.”, shrugged Whimsi Lola.

“The Orken attacked the elves, again?”, Laila asked feeling a bit sick.

“Yes. But the elves were ready this time. And were backed up by your cousin and the Temple Guardian. Many elves still died, but then the dwarves from Elder Hills came, and together, they defeated these Greater Orken.”

“But.. why would the Orken attack the elves again?”, frowned Laila. “..unless they wanted the north of Ritual Forest cleared to move in their main forces without hindrance when the time came.. And I think the time finally did come! Dammit. We had better get moving and fast.”

“So we are back to the room ahead, then.”, said Gnine, staring down the two hundred-yard, tunnel-like hall.

“Big!”, prompted Whimsi!

Laila sighed.

“She is right, you know.”, said Merisoul from behind them. “The room is rather big. Possibly bigger than your Serenity Home itself, though its purpose escapes me. Why do the little races want to always build things so much bigger than they are? And certainly bigger than they need?”

“Well.. we like to..”, stammered Gnine.

“..compensate for something, perhaps?”, smiled Merisoul.

“We just like to emphasize things, that’s all.”, replied the gnome sternly then shut up.

The unearthly girl smiled at him again then started down the long tunnel.

“I think you just got served.”, snickered Laila.

“Yes. Yes, I did..”, agreed, Gnine, then he smirked at the ranger lieutenant. “But at least I got served by something otherworldly..”

Laila scowled at him, then up at the little, buzzing ‘indentured cooperative auxiliary’..

✱ ✱ ✱

Gnine Tinkerdome gazed down the eerily lit room. But to call this place a ‘room’, was like calling the gigantic monstrosity of a T-Rex they had fought months ago in the Arashkan Arena, a rock lizard! It seemed to go on and on and on forever and it was not empty. Rows and rows of tall, stone boxes were laid out and aligned both vertically and horizontally in military precision so much so that it was downright creepy.

“Wow..”, said the Ranger Lieutenant Laila Wolvesbane from behind in hushed awe. “What is this place?”

Gnine looked up to see the succubi half-born, Merisoul Xyrotwu flap her wings overhead, with unveiled envy as she glided past them again, doing a wide circle in the great hall. It seemed like she was having a lot of fun while doing it. Fun, Gnine thought, that he would never hope to achieve. The gnome had many weak spots in his life. His unquenchable desire to be the things he saw, pretty faces, and to be able to fly, at will, and free of constraints. He secretly gave a side-long glance at his closest friend, Laila, and saw similar envy in her eyes. But there was a distinct nuance in how they viewed the half-born’s flight. Laila viewed it as something unique and perhaps wanted to try it out of thrill, and because it would make travel much easier on her feet.. Quite a practical wont, really. Gnine, on the other hand, much preferred the immense pleasure he could only imagine it would give him. The kind of pleasure only ‘total freedom’ would give. He watched Merisoul, a magnificent creature; her raven black wings stretched, her arms wide open, her honey-brown hair whipping among her dark, crowning horns, her very nearly black-purple strapless dress fluttering, and her tiny, baby pink feet tickling and who had a distinct dreamy expression on her face, disappear in the distance.

“Wow..”, repeated the Ranger Lieutenant Laila Wolvesbane from behind in hushed awe. “I feel jealous, now. I mean, you have got to admit, that’s just awesome!”

“Yes. Yes, it is.. It is almost a sin, watching her like this and know how hard she tries to be a mortal. She must truly want honest love and compassion.”

“She’s an idiot!”, fumed Laila.

“What? That’s a bit harsh, now, don’t you think?”, asked the gnome, taken aback with her sudden vehemence.

“That girl already feels love. And she certainly feels both passion and compassion..”, replied the ranger girl, frowning after the succubi half-born.

“How do you know?”, asked Gnine, a bit surprised because Laila wasn’t one to open up easily, nor give her opinion about ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’. On this score, he thought she was more catatonic than her cousin, Bremorel had ever been. As a matter of fact, he knew Bree displayed her emotions, like, all the time. Yes, it was mostly limited to anger, but Gnine knew it was to hide her real feelings. Laila, on the other hand, was always.. well.. ‘cool’.. Which is how she hid her emotions..

“Gnine.”, she said sternly, looking down at the gnome. “You do not sacrifice your own blood the way she keeps doing to ‘heal’ others, without some sort of genuine feelings. No one can be that ‘chore-oriented’. I mean, look at Lady Magella. She healed us so many times, I can’t even come up with a number, and she still snapped at the end and she doesn’t even have to bleed to heal us.”

“Huh..”, grunted Gnine.

“That girl..”, Laila said, pointing at the general direction of the succubi half-born, “..does that every time she thinks any of us are in danger. I have yet to see her flinch when she is being attacked. I mean, she’s all like, ‘meh’, when a demon trice her size incoming at her, yet she very nearly panics when we are. That just can’t be ‘chore’!”

“Hmmm..”, mused the gnome, also looking in the direction where Merisoul had disappeared.

“Yes, she has issues. Issues I could only define using words like, monumental and otherworldly.. But she feels love, passion, and compassion. I can not imagine a girl who does not have those and do the things she does.. Have you seen her face? Actually seen it, when Princess Lorna said, ‘I thought you were my friend..’, back when we had just ran away from High Woods and were hiding in that cave? And the time when the two of us declared her as our friend when we were stumbling in that bloody Demon Fog? She very nearly broke down and cried. Had we been just a bit less nonchalant, or a bit more formal in our impromptu declaration of friendship, I fully believe she would have fallen apart.. Like, really fallen apart.. I was half afraid we had, inadvertently dismantled her! That girl lives for things we have and take for granted.. The things every ‘mortal’ has. Her problem isn’t the total lack of the things she wants. It’s connecting what she has, to her heart.. and mind.. She can’t relate.”, she said, and not without a certain amount of rage.

“Damn..”, Gnine whispered. “That’s.. that’s just sad..”

“When she says, she is broken, she actually means it. And until WE, her FRIENDS, find a way to make her relate to things she already has, she will STAY broken.”

“That’s going to be one, hard task, that is.. And I must admit, I am impressed AND pleased you opened up, the way you just did. Thank you.”, said Gnine happily.

Laila just stared down at the gnome.

“Just which part of anything I said, gave you the impression I was talking about me, let alone opening up, little man?!”

“Ahhaa..”, smirked Gnine. “..Anger! You always get angry when I am right.”

“No, I don’t.”, scoffed Laila.

“Yes, you do.”

“No. I. Don’t!”

“Then what’s with the name-calling?”, snickered the gnome.

“It’s the pre-warning you get before I knock you out of your socks!”, Laila fumed.

Gnine snickered, some more.

“You know, you really should go and have a long sit-down with that pretty boy, D.D. Dexter!”

Laila’s eyes blazed!

“That. Is. Non. Of. Your. Business. Dead. Man!”, she hissed at him.

“The well-being of my oldest and closest friend is non of my business? Just what world are you living in, girl?”, asked Gnine, still smirking. “If you are going to smack me, by all means, do, but my stance in this matter isn’t going to change.”

Laila glared down at him even more. Lucky for her though, or perhaps for the still smirking gnome, Merisoul appeared and did a stunning dive in their direction, swung up at the last moment, then gently settled down next to them!

“Wow, girl. That was truly spectacular, amazing, mind-boggling, and simply awesome.”, admitted Gnine.

 

Merisoul blushed!

And both Laila and Gnine noticed it.

 

That.. had never happened before.. Merisoul never showed any emotion other than perpetual sadness in her otherworldly beautiful face. Yet, here she was blushing..

Gnine ogled at her.

Because a blushing Merisoul was a whole new definition of ‘otherworldly beauty’!

Laila cleared her throat as a certain heat washed over her.

Damn!..

The half-born was unprecedentedly beautiful and Laila just now understood what would have happened had the girl actually used her succubi heritage over them the whole time she had been with them.

She also got a glimpse of what the girl truly meant, when she’d said, she was ‘hungry’ and hadn’t ‘eaten’ since she’d been forced to switch masters!

‘She must be starving!”, she thought, more than unnerved. ‘How does she even stay sane?’

 

“Tha.. thank you, Master Gnine.”, stammered Merisoul, still blushing in a baby pink-red color.

Gnine tried to clear his mind but failed.

Laila stepped on his foot and asked with a somewhat hoarse voice, “Uhh.. What have you seen?”

“Tombs..”, Merisoul replied. “These stone boxes are tombs.. All of them.. Thousands upon thousands of them.. It goes on for as far as I dared to fly..”

Gnine reeled back in desolate horror.

“Tombs? What the..? Why?..”, he spluttered.

“Relevant questions.”, Merisoul replied, all business again. “I suspect they all contain someone in them.”

“How do you..?”, the Gnine shuddered.

“They all have similar-dissimilar names, carved on brass plaques at one end of each box.”, she said.

“How do you mean, ‘similar-dissimilar’?”

“The names are all unique, but have a similar phonetic function, meaning they are likely all kin or of the same race and familial clan, Master Gnine. I believe we found your Silent Gnomes. I am, however, afraid it might be a bit too late for them.”

 

Laila suddenly felt sympathy for her little friend when she saw the sick expression on his face..

✱ ✱ ✱

Gnine, Laila, and Merisoul examined the ‘tombs’ for hours only to find very little more than they had expected to find. And now, Gnine was sitting on the cold, smooth floor of the immense hall of tombs with his back on one of the stone boxes and seemed very much on the verge of breaking down when the succubi half-born silently came and sat next to him.

Quietly, she put one arm over his other shoulder and hugged him closer to herself, and spoke in whispers. “I am sorry Master Gnine. I did the best I could to bring you here.”

“Tis alright, dear Soul. None of this was your fault, nor your doing. We were a couple of centuries too late.”, sniffed the little gnome.

“I know all seems lost, but I am not certain, nor do I know if they are actually dead or in some kind of suspended animation or cryo-sleep. If so, then there must be some way to deactivate it. Otherwise, It doesn’t make sense, preparing all these stone boxes, just to lie down in them and die.. Besides, the logistics behind it all doesn’t add up, either.”

“How do you mean?”, asked Gnine with a hoarse voice, stifling another sniff.

“There must have been a considerable number of gnomes left behind who were not put to ‘sleep’. Gnomes that had to ‘activate’ these ‘sleep-stones’, to care for them, and to make sure they were left unscathed.. Basic logistics and maintenance.”, she explained.

“She’s right.”, Laila said as she appeared between the stone boxes, further down the hall. “Other than the wear and tear of ‘time’, I noticed pretty much all the containers, or coffins, are still in pristine condition. So I checked for tracks. The floor is not marble, but very smooth and tightly fit stone, much like the walls. There is, however, quite a bit of dust. I found many tracks. Most of them belong to the demons we have slain on the way here. I found some small bootprints too. Seeing as you are one of my oldest friends, I could easily say, these prints also belonged to gnomes, though they are old. Very old. I happened upon many dead demons as well. Having looked closer, they all seem to have been ambushed. I suspect that Temez girl and her friends came through here. She did say they cleared all they could on their way to the Door.. The ones we met thus far were likely wandering around, rather than stationary sentries. We should move on.”

“We could be just wasting our time, you know..”, Gnine said in a depressed tone.

Laila looked down at the little gnome.

She felt a fluttering pang in her heart, for him.

But she refused to show any sympathy.

Her brows crossed and her gaze turned hard.

“Get up.”, she said with an unmerciful hiss.

“Wha—?”, gapped the gnome at her.

“I said, get up. Or I will hurt you. This is no time for your sorry feelings. We didn’t come all the way here, and through Hell, just to go back empty-handed. My town.. Your town needs you.. And I have no desire to see it go to waste by the Hell-Spawn Orken. I have seen firsthand what they did to Arashkan. I have seen what they did to High Woods as well, and so have you. Will you give up now and let our town, our homes burn because you are feeling sorry?”

Merisoul tried a poor attempt of a cough.

“Well, now. That was a bit harsh, girl, don’t you think?”, Gnine said taken aback. “‘Get up’ was more than enough. You didn’t have to beat me into the ground.”

“I don’t do ‘half ways’, little man.”, said Laila sternly. “Nor do I like doing repeats, re-do’s, begs, or pleads.”

“Apparently you don’t!”, mumbled the gnome. “I think you have hung around Bree for a bit too long.. All her bad habits seem to have rubbed off on you.”

Laila scowled even harder.

“Okay, okay..”, said the gnome in defeat. “There.. I am up! Geez, girl, you can be harsh at times..”

“Quit whining, Gnine!”, scoffed the ranger lieutenant.

“I think she’s right.”, smiled Merisoul.

“By all means, chose her side..”, grumbled Gnine.

“Well, yes. You are cute. But she’s prettier, and she has bangs!”

“…”

✱ ✱ ✱

Finally.. That was one, big, room.. We must have walked for.. How many hours?”, wondered Gnine Tinkerdome.

“More than five, closer to six.”, came Laila Wolvesbane’s voice, off to his left.

“How do you know, girl? There’s no sun here to determine—”, wondered the gnome.

“She’s been counting her steps.”, said Merisoul Xyrotwu simply, from his other side.

“What?”

“Easier than counting steady heartbeats, I must admit. But I have wings and skip a step or three, now and then..”, the succubi half-born replied a bit abashed.

“You have been counting your heartbeats?”, asked Laila, with a surprised tone. “Won’t that be a bit.. inaccurate? Considering it changes when sleeping or in exertion such as running or even prolonged walking, as we have been doing.”

“Yours does. So does Master Gnine’s. Mine?.. Mine only changes under particular conditions? Otherwise, it’s much like a metronome swinging on even surface.”, replied Merisoul, with a reluctant voice.

“That is ..remarkable; a truly metronomic heart!”, admired Laila.

“Not as much as you make it sound.”, Merisoul answered with the same tone.

“How so? And how do you do it?”

“I don’t do it, dear Laila. It has to do with emotions. More like the lack of them in my case. Hard to have a hyped heartbeat when you can’t feel love, fear, anger —or any other form of excitement.”, she said in a monotonous voice.

“But you said, yours does, under particular—”

“—When I feed, dear Laila.. My heart rate changes only when I ‘feed’..”, came the half-born’s defeated voice.

“When you feed?”, asked the ranger lieutenant a bit confused. Then it dawned on her. “Ow.. when you ‘feed!'”

 

Gnine coughed.

Laila blushed furiously and shut up.

 

Gnine cleared his throat after several silent moments.

“Ahem.. Back to the issue at hand, then..”, he offered.

“The thing you are actually wondering..”, said Laila in a subdued and flushed voice. “We came just over 30,000 yards. Each stone box/coffin/crate/or whatever you want to call them is two yards long and one yard apart. There were twelve rows, each row has four lines of crates grouped together. You do the math. I did the steps!”

“Fair enough.”, Gnine said and did a quick calculation in his mind but voiced it for the benefit of the girls. “That’s 10,000 crates per row..”

“How did you come up with that number? I said 30,000 yards..”

“Well..”, said the gnome. “..Each box is two yards long so we can reduce 10,000 yards off right there and another for the length of each crate.. Then we have twelve rows, each row with four crates, making the lot 48 actual rows in total. Now we time that with the 10,000 crates and we’ll get 480,000 crates in total!”

Laila whistled..

“That.. is a lot of crates!”

“It is indeed..”

“You reduced 10,000 yards, twice, right at the start. Why?”, she asked.

“Because, my dear girl, 10,000 yards of it is just empty space between each sequential crate, and the second was because 20,000 is in ‘yards’. It is not the number of crates per column.. Each crate is two yards long, so that’s 20,000 divided by two..”

“Ow.. right..” *cough* “Well.. Let’s just get moving, shall we?”

Gnine did not laugh. He did not even snicker. A friend never laughed at his friend, and certainly not at a girls’ blindside or folly. But that wasn’t really the reason.

The Heir to all the gnomes of Silent Hills had just come to a stunning realization.

These.. were not crates..

These.. were tombs containing his gnomes, his people!

 

Damn..

 

The adventures of the Wizard Prince Gnine Tinkerdome, the Ranger Lieutenant Laila Wolvesbane, and the sad, otherworldly creature, Merisoul Xyrotwu will continue as they travel deeper into the demon-infested vaults of Silent Hills, desperately seeking answers and allies, and the original denizens of the hills..


 

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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.


 

book 04 books dungeons and dragons duygusal groups karakter analizi komedi modül role play serenity the plot thickens Whispers; A Cabal

Lie By Omission..

Lie By Omission..

Timeline:

There is no good time for a Lie.

Only good timing!

 

A FEW WEEKS AGO, ON THE ROAD TO ARASHKAN,
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN SIM TOWN AND MISTY FOREST
NEAR THE GREAT ARASHKAN LAKE.

I feel sick!”, came the groaning voice of a girl from the shuddering wagon. She was an innocently beautiful girl, with a diminutive, sad face, long, honey-brown hair, raven-black wings, and dark, crowning horns. She lay in a fetal position under a rough, scratchy, woolen blanket as she moaned dramatically.

“You were sick yesterday. And the day before that. And the one just about before that as well.”, came the voice of the broad-shouldered she-dwarf in heavy armor, and heartlessly. She was already tethering at the end of her patience; she had been trying to compose a prayer —a feat that was quite a challenge, the way the wagon shook and rumbled like a drunken Mox!

“But she is ill..”, said the third person in the wagon; this one, a pretty and skinny girl, and she spoke with a small, scared voice.

She wasn’t lean, nor slender.

Just skinny.

One would think she had been saved from a concentration camp merely a day or two ago.

“And I do believe she totally deserved it.”, scowled the she-dwarf.

“But.. Sister Lady.. Please..”, pleaded the skinny girl.

“Should have kept her hands off my boy. Did she? Nooo..”, the dwarf, ‘Lady’, growled at the skinny girl, Inshala.

“She didn’t know..”, whined the girl.

“What she said; I didn’t know!”, came the voice of the girl from under the blanket.

“And that makes it alright, I suppose?”, scowled the she-dwarf, even more.

“Perhaps you should pin a note on your ‘boys’, ‘I AM THE TEMPLE PROPERTY! – HANDS OFF!’ Or better, yet; ‘OFF LIMITS’.“, replied the girl in a miserable voice and without a trace of sarcasm. “I promise, I would never have touched him.”

The underlying twisted logic in that was not lost on ‘Lady’, the she-dwarf. Had the ‘boy’ not been a temple guardian, he would have been dead —’used’, and then devoured by the half-succubi girl lying sick under the blanket.

Lady sighed.

There was no arguing with Merisoul. She was what she was; a half-born, a scion of succubi, and devouring the souls of their victims were in their nature. True, the girl had managed to curb her disturbing appetite rather admirably since the day they had met, but Thomas —the young temple guard, had almost fallen for the beauty of the succubi.

To be fair, the half-born was not sick because Thomas had been a temple guardian, but because the boy had long fallen for another beauty; the stubborn, pugnacious, aggressive, and troublesome girl, Bremorel Songsteel..

..and the succubi, as seductive as they were, would get branded and sick or poisoned should they ever try to touch, let alone devour a soul who was truly in love.

Funny how that went; beauty always seemed to cause trouble, and eventually, burn —someone!

And boys always seemed to go for the wrong girls..

Yes.

Lady loved Bremorel like she were her own, like all those she had taken under her wings, but the girl was trouble.. and troubled. She had been so, ever since her parents had been killed by a band of marauding orcs and brought to the town orphanage.

In time, it was possible she would have recovered as time healed many things by way of clouding old memories..

..had the girl not actually witnessed the butchery, and she had been only four at the time.

Lady decided she should perhaps be a tad more lenient to those under said wings.

“Are you getting worse?”, she asked finally.

“What I am getting, is a smell and it is going to make me retch!”, said the girl and with a sudden motion, she picked herself up and leaned over the side of the wagon and..

..retched!

For a long moment, she stared at the sick as the wagon moved on.

“I puked.”, she said clinically. “That was mildly revolting, considering I am not even actually, sick! Not physically anyway. You would think a fiend like myself wouldn’t even have a soul, to be spiritually ill.. Shows how much all the great Heavens and their saints know!”

The skinny girl reached up to her with the itchy blanket and put it around her shoulders, shredded a piece of her own thread-bare skirt, and wiped the sick off her face.

“Why don’t you lie down and get some sleep.”, she said and drew her back into the wagon.

“Can’t. The smell..”, she moaned.

“Smell? What smell? I don’t smell anything?”, the skinny girl said.

“It’s coming from ahead. I think someone needs a bath.. and thoroughly!”

“Ummm.. who?”, asked Inshala tentatively.

“That Udoorin boy..”

Inshala stuffed her head under the blanket..

..and snorted.

..and she kept on snorting!

The gnome driving the wagon also snorted. But unlike the skinny girl, Inshala, who was trying to keep it down so she wouldn’t be heard —because she was a polite young girl, the gnome, Gnine, on the other hand, barked out with glee.

“Ow, this is just too good not to repeat.. Repeatedly!”, he said, kicking his feet into the air.

“You repeat that, and I will hurt you, boy..”, came the growling voice of Lady. “..repeatedly!”

Gnine cackled some more.

“Would you like me to tell him? I totally can.”, the gnome said with mirth.

“How altruistic of you.”, said Lady and very much wanted something heavy in her hand.

“The ladies shouldn’t be burdened with this. It would break the boy’s heart! Can you imagine his face if someone told him he stank, right in front of Princess Lorna?”, smirked Gnine.

“By all means, do that, Master Gnine.”, said Merisoul from inside the wagon. “I am sure he will enjoy dismantling you. Not that there is much of you to dismantle.”

“Oh no, my pretty Soul. He will do nothing as long as the princess is anywhere in sight. He can’t!“, the gnome said evilly.

“But.. don’t you share a tent with him?”, asked Inshala innocently.

“Well.. as inconvenient as that might be, it might still be worth it.”, replied Gnine a bit dubiously, now.

“Or not.”, added Merisoul.

“You will do no such thing, midget!”, flared Lady. “I will inform the boy and he can take a bath in the lake. We will make an early camp.”

A FEW HOURS LATER..

“Hey, you.”, said Merisoul, as she approached Lorna while holding a large ‘puking tub’ in her arms.

“Hello, Merisoul. How are you today? Are you feeling any better?”, asked Princess Alor’Nadien ne politely, turning to look at her.

Merisoul looked down at her ‘tub’, then at Lorna.

“It’s only half full, so I suppose I am a bit better.”, she said, as she swayed.

“Please sit.”, she said and turned back to look at something in the distance.

“You can’t see him from here, you know.”, Merisoul said with a straight face.

Princess Alor’Nadien ne blushed.

“What? No. I was not trying to peak. That would be very inappropriate. And unkind to Sir Dorin.”, said Lorna, her face still bright red.

“A bit early to ‘Sir’ him, don’t you think?”, and there wasn’t a trace of amusement in her voice.

“I.. we refer to one another so. I would rather he called me Alor’Na or just Lorna. But he insists on living the habit of ‘ladying’ me, hence I reply in kind. He is a good man.”, Lorna said, still blushing.

“He is also alone..”, inserted Merisoul.

“Alone?”, Lorna asked, a bit confused.

“Yes. A young, healthy male, and not bad to look at, out of his armor, taking a bath, in a lake, and alone. I imagine any number of young, Arashkan country girls are having a great time ogling at him.”, Merisoul replied.

Lorna’s face changed..

..from a bright, blush red to a dark, furry red!

“That is.. that is just rude!”, she fumed.

“I agree. Totally rude.. but fun. Probably. Unless someone takes steps. Once one of them musters enough courage though, it’s over; she will jump into the lake for the boy, followed by her numerous competitors.”, the Merisoul mused. “They say the Dryadkin entrap by their charm, but nothing beats an Arashkan country girl to a young, husky, and healthy male specimen such as your Udoorin!”

“They had better not!”, flared the princess in a rather uncharacteristic way.

“I mean, I wouldn’t mind going there myself —to make sure he stays safe, I mean, but I am in a vulnerable state at the moment and young human males are a tad too scrumptious to pass. Ranger Corporal Laila could too, I suppose, but she and young Udoorin are like brother and sister, so that would be a bit awkward. The gnome would end up getting water-logged, then beached because he would enrage young Udoorin. Inshala is out of the question; she belongs to that not-so-nice Aager and Lady just shouldn’t be staring at a naked man while he bathes.. Now that’s just wrong. That leaves you. Unless you want to risk him.”

“I..”, stammered Lorna, returning back to a blush.

“I mean, all the fights and bloodletting we have been through all these months and losing him now to some country strumpets sounds like such a poor trade, and a waste to me.”, the succubi half-born added.

“But I am on watch duty.”, struggled the princess.

“I can cover for you.”, offered Merisoul. “And trust me when I say, no one wants to be anywhere near my ‘puke tub’. It’s toxic!”

“I won’t be intruding upon him, will I?”, asked Lorna hesitantly.

“Intrude away, darling, I am sure he won’t mind. Not that there is anything he could do about it; he is naked, in a lake, and alone, after all, probably about to be ambushed by any number of sunny, buxom, country girls..”

Princess Alor’Nadien ne took off at a run!

Aager Fogstep walked up to Merisoul as he stared after the princess, running towards the lake.

“What’s gotten into her?”, he murmured.

“She is off to watch duty.”, replied Merisoul.

 

This event triggers the story: A Bard’s Tale X, Dorin’s Day

✱ ✱ ✱

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, DEEP DOWN
IN DUNGEONS, UNDER THE RUINS OF THEMALSAR.

Aager Fogstep did not like dealing with people. Not at a personal level. He preferred to orchestrate things in such a way that others did the interacting and the conversing. When things came to his attention on a personal level, it usually meant someone was about to be deleted.

Hence he smoothed over to the two ranger cousins and growled at them in his low, implicating voice.

“You two better talk with that girl.”

The two ranger cousins, Laila Wolvesbane and Bremorel Songsteel stared at one another and the younger of the two, ‘Bree’ made a face which she took no trouble hiding from the sinister-looking man in his dark clothes.

There was, apparently, some dislike between the two cousin-ranger-girls and Aager.

Laila never showed him any animosity. Not openly. Perhaps being half of an elf called her to be more subtle. Hence she preferred a passive-aggressive stance. Bree, on the other hand, did not bother with such subtleties and showed her displeasure as she did everything else; openly and savagely..

“What girl?”, asked Bremorel bluntly.

If Aager was taken aback by the girl’s attitude, he didn’t show.

Because he didn’t care.

Aager Fogstep had had his empathy washed out of his system by the time he was five.. back at Drashan.

“That strange girl.”, he said in his quiet, growling voice.

“That doesn’t narrow anything down. You could easily be referring to—”, she began.

“—You?”, finished Aager, causing her to scowl, and her cousin, Laila, to snort. “But no. You are odd enough without talking to yourself. I was referring to that.. little Inshala girl.”

Bremorel fumed furiously at the man standing before her.

“If you want to be taken seriously, and shown the respect you deserve, you must display it to others, and freely, young Morel Songsteel.”, he said.

Apparently, not caring did not equivalate to ‘accepting’ open displays of disrespect nor insolence, for Aager Fogstep.

Laila put a hand on her cousin’s shoulder, then she turned to Aager, and said, “What are we going to talk to her about? She isn’t exactly chatty, you know. Other than sneaking up to us and mumbling a few words, then taking off again, she hasn’t spoken to us at all.”

“My point, exactly. She has some.. issues. Serious issues that must be addressed.”

“Why don’t you talk to her then?”, inserted Bremorel spitefully.

“Don’t be asinine. That girl avoids me like the plague.”, snapped Aager.

“Can’t imagine why!”, she sneered.

“Bree.. Please.”, said Laila reprovingly.

Aager, however, gazed at the young woman for a long, silent moment with dead eyes.

Then he spoke;

 

“There is nothing to imagine, young Morel. I wasn’t given this job because of my people skills. I was given it to make sure the said people were safe enough to do all the stupid things they do. I do not defy nor deny my shortcomings. I am a heartless murderer with enough corpses to rope all the way back to Drashan.. I have no past worth remembering, nor a future worth living.. When I kill, I feel nothing. No shame, no remorse. Much like I see no reason for joy when I breathe.. Yet, I show courtesy because those that don’t, are cut first. I see little practical merit for ‘life’, yet do my best to keep those around me safe and alive.. What awaits me in my future, is nothings short of a noose..

 

So tell me, young Morel..

 

What’s your excuse for being insufferable?”, he snarled savagely.

Bremorel’s face flushed.

Laila sighed.

“What do you want us to tell her? What kind of issues does she have?”, she asked.

“I wouldn’t know. I could safely say, she needs.. friends. Talk to her. Be her friend.”

Laila cocked an eyebrow at the man in dark clothes.

Even Bremorel was astonished.

Aager Fogstep; the soulless, friendless, exempt-of-all-human-emotions man, was asking them to befriend someone!

“You want us? To be friends? With that girl?”, she asked incredulously.

“Yes.”, he growled. “From what I heard, you two became friends quite after you met. You should know, how.”

“Yea.”, spat Bremorel in a voice that reeked with sarcasm. “Have Udoorin insult my cousin again and we’ll take Inshala with us to beat him! Should make us and her, all cuddly!”

“Ow. Do you like that girl?”, came a soft voice from somewhere above them, and Merisoul Xyrotwu landed right next to them!

Aager Fogstep just stared at the half-succubi.

“No.”, he snarled.

“I don’t believe you!”, she said happily.

“And I don’t really care what you believe.”, he very nearly spat.

“You do know that I can read your feelings, right?..”, she began.

“Neither my thoughts nor my feelings are any of your business.”, Aager growled.

“..And they are all a jumble. A confused mess. Mangled in disarray!”, she finished.

“By all means, repeat the same thing using synonyms.”, he said in an infuriated voice.

“Actually, they all mean different things.”, Merisoul said in an explanatory way. “True. They are, at times, used interchangeably, but in reality, there are nuances. In your case, they all apply independently.

Aager decided this was just about the best time for an acceptably decent retreat and still keep some of his dignity intact. The silly, intrusive girl with the raven wings was a heaven for garbage trivia, making arguing with her, a pointless, but infuriating exercise..

She was exactly the kind of person he avoided at all costs.

The only ‘good’ thing about his birthplace, Drashan, was people like this girl would never last. They would, sooner than later, irritate someone —anyone— and be cut and make everyone else happy.

Other than pirates, murderers, thieves, cutthroats, scoundrels, and whores, it was likely Drashan had the highest concentration of pragmatic and practical people then any other place!

He looked at the ranger cousins one last time.

“She needs friends. Desperately, and soon. Not me..“, he growled and left.

 

This event triggers the stories:
Sen iyi biri değilsin!
and Day One.

✱ ✱ ✱

A FEW MONTHS AGO, INSIDE AND NEAR THE
ENTRANCE OF THE RUINS OF THEMALSAR.

Tell me, little fiend, have you any last words before you face your doom?”, said the beautiful Archangel of Wrath, Priceptine, as he gazed down upon the broken body of the pretty girl with the long, honey-brown hair, sagging raven-wings, diminutive face, sad, soulful eyes, and the crowning horns. She lay there bruised and bleeding, but still clutching to the dented locket that had been the Archangel’s jail for some eight hundred years.

“To which doom, are you referring to, if I may ask? The one where some Mortals threw me into a pit when I was but two and kept me in there until I was ten?

Or the doom where an incubus had his way with my mother, who died two days after giving birth to me?

Or the doom where I was forced to endure Hell for years? I hope not. Hell is a bore..

Or perhaps you are referring to the doom where the Angel whom I set free, gets to beat me out of ‘gratitude’?”, replied the barely alive young girl.

Apparently, this was not the answer Priceptine, the Archangel of Wrath was expecting. From a demon, something declarative like “I will see you in Hell!”, was more fitting.

“You did not free me out of the goodness of your heart.”, he snarled.

“How could I? I didn’t even know what was in the locket. Had I known the Archangel of Wrath would be my collocutor, I would never have opened it.”, she said, and without a trace of shame.

“So. You admit your intentions?”, he scowled.

“What is there to hide? No one sane would release a being, knowing he will beat you to pulp the moment he’s out. That would be insane!”

Priceptine glared down at the little fiend girl. She was either very smart, cunning, and devious.. or just stupid.

“I think an apology is in order here.”, sniffed the girl.

“AN APOLOGY?”, snarled Priceptine.

“Of course. Something to compensate for the smiting, the lack of gratitude, and rewards.. I did set you free. And I am a bit appalled about the lack of base courtesy, as well..”

“You did not release me intentionally, nor with good intentions.”, he grinded his teeth.

“As a matter of fact, I did open the locket with the intention of releasing its prisoner in hopes of being rewarded. That sounds like a perfectly good intention to me.. And any fiend or demon would have complied with those terms. But I suppose such rules of courtesy do not apply to Angels.. Or Mortals! I find the similarity arbitrary and quite disturbing.”, she said.

One must candidly admire the cool in the girl’s attitude; there she was, lying in the rubble, with one arm broken, any number of ribs shattered, at least one lung punctured, and bleeding from multiple wounds and still had the audacity to mouth off and make demands.. from The Archangel of Wrath himself!

“You are a brazen one, aren’t you?”, mused the Archangel.

“There are only brasiers and blazes where I come from. Just more of the same, where I am about to go.”, she replied.

“There will be no rewards. I can’t be rewarding fiends, no matter how smart they think they are. Would set off a very wrong presidency.”, he said.

“Yea. An Angel showing gratitude to a helpless girl who saved him from nearly a millennia of entrapment, as opposed to beating the crap out of her. What could possibly be misunderstood, there?”

“Make your last words, fiend. I tire of your mouth.”, Priceptine said in a weary tone.

“Just out of curiosity, are you going to beat me onto death? Because that is exactly what you have done, thus far; beat me. And in the most literal sense; using your fists.. Much like drunken Mortals beat their wives.. Where is your mighty weapon? I’d rather you run me through with it and get it over with. Beating is a little degrading.. Or perhaps you’d prefer murder by strangulation; less effort there, and not as messy as the other options. You will just have to watch as the light of life fades from my eyes!”

The Archangel of Wrath fumed and glared down at the pretty fiend.

“Right. Last words it is, then.”, the broken, bruised, and bleeding girl said.

“A BARGAIN!”

Priceptine scowled.

Then smiled.

So, the devious little fiend wanted to play games, did she?

“A bargain it is. What is your name, little fiend? I shall need it to seal the deal. Can’t have you getting bored nor sidetracked, now can we?”

“Merisoul Xyrotwu.”, replied the little demon girl promptly.

“Happy Soul Zero Two.. An interesting name for a fiend. I see your soul, little girl and there is no ‘happy’ in it.. Only the desire and cravings for ‘happy’, bound by your inner lust.”, he murmured thoughtfully. Then he smiled and his face became even more beautiful. “But that is not your real name, little fiend, is it?”

“How would you know?”, asked the little demon.

“You gave it too soon and too quick! A demon’s name is the most precious thing they have. You truly must be new in Hell!”, he smiled even more.

“Well, bugger.”, grudged Merisoul Xyrotwu.

“So, little fiend.. What shall it be? Your name and a bargain, or no name and Oblivion?”

The little demon, Merisoul sighed.

“My name is;

 

AREZME XIRISO NU LEI KAREXY ROTXIN GWUE
NIMONORA LUNADORA GWHISHAVA XALISHA
ERRA LILU ALURA NIM DARELLE FEL ESSA WIXEN
BWANDA AD ARA LYNN SELENE BELLA XENARA
DWENDELIEN DE VIENE YLARA X LAKUNA ELLE ISLA
SERRAPHYN EDET VIELLA XILLESSE DEMI

 

..and it shall never be repeated to another. And for the record, I am not a fiend. I am more along the lines of a demon. A half-born succubi, to be more precise. The differences are minor, from an Angelic point of view, I suppose, but they are there, from a cumulative end.”

Priceptine, The Archangel of Wrath stared at the little fiend.. demon.. succubi-whatsit, for a long moment.

“Your name.. It is a bit ostentatious, don’t you think? Your mother must have been an ambitious woman.”, he said finally.

“I wouldn’t know. She died, remember? But she hated demons and their cults. She gave me that name so I would never be controlled nor ever be used by any demon as she had been.”, she replied and there was something eternal, sadness and loss, in her voice. Perhaps the only time she had shown any genuine emotion since their meeting.

“The bargain, my Lord.”, she said, to skim over her broken heart and what leaked out, whenever she was reminded of her mother.

“The bargain..”, agreed, the Archangel.

“You shall defy all your former ties and bonds. You shall enter my service and be ‘good’. You shall never devour the soul of another mortal, and should you try, you shall be smitten by my very hand. You shall spend your days, saving the lives of others, tooth, and nail.

You shall commit yourself onto the path of danger to save others, but never with the deliberate intention to end your own life. You shall serve me so long as you live, and until you make true and honest mortal friends. You shall do everything in your power to make them better and you shall do this without ever using your succubi heritage.

Do you, <INSERT THE VERY LONG, VERY OSTENTATIOUS NAME HERE>, accept these terms?”. Priceptine said with a very harsh, demanding voice.

Merisoul Xyrotwu stared at the Archangel.

“Alright. As Mortals say, ‘You have shown me the stick. It’s time for the carrot.’

The Archangel gave her a humorless smile.

“There are no carrots, Miss Fiend. Only the stick!”

Merisoul’s eyes teared.

For these demands were very, very harsh demands. They would effectively close every door from her past, and not really open any new ones. Such a bargain would seal her own doom in the hands of her ‘former’ Master, and in a horrible way, should she ever be found.

And should she refuse these harsh demands, however, this Angel would end her. But at least it would be quick, and ‘mercifully’ painless. She knew Angels did not do the torture thing.

She opened her small, cherry-red mouth in defiance.

“I accept.”

 

This event triggers many stories and:
A Demon’s Plan (Part One)
A Demon’s Plan (Part Two)
A Demon’s Plan (Part Three) – Release the Horde!
A Demon’s Plan (Part Four) – All End.
and The Best Of Bargains, in particular.

✱ ✱ ✱

A FEW DAYS AGO, BEHIND AN INN,
IN THE SLUMS OF ARASHKAN CITY.

She’s right you know. You should tell her..”

The man in dark clothes tensed, then cursed with recognition.

“Shit!”

“A bit obscene, but essentially accurate..”, replied the soft, beautiful voice.

And out of the darkness, an angelic girl glided down and gently settled in front of the seething man..

She had flowing, honey-brown hair, baby pink skin, black, raven-like wings, a small, pouting mouth, and a pair of dark, possibly black or dark purple horns that appeared more like an elegant crown. She wore a dark, strapless dress that looked as if it were trimmed with soft, black feathers. Her slender feet, however, were naked, yet unstained as though dirt shied from them..

“I doubt this is any of your concern, Merisoul Xyrotwu..”, gnarled the man.

“..don’t you have a Darly you should be concerned with?”, the man continued with contempt, though it wasn’t clear to whom his distaste was directed at; the beautiful girl, or this, Darly person..

“My poor Darly..”, said the girl sadly. “..He has attached himself to a fairy dream where there are no faeries. He has idealized the woman he once loved so much, her death has beset him on a path he can not abandon.. And no other woman can match such blind and purified ideal, I am afraid. But we are not here to talk about my beautiful Darly are we? Now tell me, when have I ever given you a reason for you to hold me in such contempt, Aager Fogstep?

I am not some cuisine you can eat the parts you favor and discard the parts you find distasteful. I find it quite unjust that you would thank me when it suits you, but try and banish me when it doesn’t..”

The face of the man, Aager Fogstep, turned ugly. He bit into the words as he snarled at the girl. “And when have I ever given you the impression that I was a ‘just’ person?!”

The majestic creature paused for a moment and gazed sadly upon the boiling man before her.

And then, the beautiful girl stepped directly in front of the man, reached up to him with one, small hand, and touched his face as if to caress him..

..and the moment she did, wisps of smoke started from her. The feathers on her black, raven wings curled, her hair danced as if hit by a vertical gust and her dress sagged..

 

Love!..

..she cried in pain.

 

I feel the love you have for her..

 

It Burns..

 

And the hate you feel for yourself..

 

It Pains!

 

She.. she is so much stronger and resilient than you think, Aager Fogstep!

 

Do not deny yourself, your love, nor your pain from her, for she has not..

And just like that, the girl caught fire!

The man in dark clothes just stood there, shocked and petrified as the girl in blazing fire crumbled into the ground..

“YOU FOOL! YOU DAMNED FOOL!.. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!“, cried the man with fear and panic.

“I am damned.. and a fool.. But I have made my choice.. Now go..”, a shriek in terrible agony came from the figure, ablaze and crumbled. “Go to her, please.. for she needs your love now more than ever.. Do not make my sacrifice go in vain!”

But the man in dark clothes did not go.

He raised his hands into the night sky as if in prayer.. and called..

“Inshala. My dearest. Merisoul needs you in a most desperate way. She is dying!”

And out of the night, something tiny darted up to the man and landed next to him. It was a small, baby owl..

The owl spun in on itself and suddenly turned into the sweetest looking little girl..

She had very long, soft hair that swept down to her knees, two beautiful, curving horns, deep, forlorn eyes, a small, cherry red mouth, and slightly elfish-looking ears. She was also dangerously skinny.

The little girl summoned gallons and gallons of water that came gushing out of the cobblestones and drowned the blazing girl’s fire.

Then she raised one hand in a graceful arc and tiny little sparkling golden motes rained down upon the severely burned girl and the burnt crisps started falling off her, displaying fresh, baby pink, tender skin under them..

And then she turned around to face the man in dark clothes as he stared at the little, skinny girl like she was his last breath on earth.

And the little girl returned that gaze like she had only one more breath left to take, and she wanted him to have it!

Then came Merisoul’s shrieks of total loss;

“CURSE YOU! DOUBLE CURSE YOU, AAGER FOGSTEP! I WAS OUT! I WAS ALMOST OUT AND YOU RUINED EVERYTHING!”

 

This event triggers the story: Lilly Venom: “İş Teklifi”

✱ ✱ ✱

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO,
DURING THE LATE HOURS OF CELEBRATION AT SERENITY HOME
UPON THE RETURN OF THE HEROES FROM THE RUINS OF THEMALSAR.

Well, hello there, scrumptious!”, smiled the beautiful girl, Merisoul, at the young man, holding his dislocated shoulder. “I could fix that shoulder for you, and make you feel happy, elated, and very, very exhilarated, all in one package.”

The young man ogled at the ‘otherworldly’ beautiful girl.

He was very nearly tempted to call her an Angel because nothing worldly could possibly be THIS pretty. But he was a polite young man. And as beautiful as this young woman was, he was already fixated on another, even though that other had rebuffed and rebuked him this very evening, sending him off in total defeat and dejection.

“Thank you ma’am.”, he said. “But this suffering of mine is merely part of the learning process.”

“Owww.. Polite and honest.”, observed the angelic Merisoul Xyrotwu, happily.

“As everyone should be.”, replied the young man earnestly.

“Very true. I totally agree. As a matter of fact, I want to keep agreeing with you. Privately!”, she said, blasting the young man’s mind with the full-blown power of her succubi heritage.

“I..”, the young man stammered. “That sounds.. wro—”

“—Right, doesn’t it? Come now. This night should end with some happiness, don’t you think? Everyone is celebrating. Why should you fall short? Why should you be denied of some fun?”, said the beautiful girl and started to respite with excitement and her modest, nubile breasts heaved.

Slowly, carefully, she took a silent but deliberate step towards the boy and reached up to his, not-quite-adult face..

..and something flickered!

It happened so fast, that no one quite saw the long, single streak of lightning that came down the night sky..

..and landed on the slender, otherworldly beautiful young woman, smashing her into the cobblestones of the town.

When the rubble and dust settled, the young man stared in baffled amazement at the nearly charred girl, lying face down and clutching her ‘palm’ of all places and squirming in pain.

“Are you.. are you alright, ma’am?”, he asked, a bit foolishly.

The charred girl waved one hand in a, ‘move along, nothing to see here’, sort of way.

“Perhaps I should call Lady Magella. I heard about a very pretty young woman to have joined their party during her sojourn into the malignant ruins of Themalsar. You must be her.”, he said.

“No, no.. Please don’t call her.”, mumbled the girl. “I believe I have had enough help from your town’s temple for one evening.”

“Well, if you are sure. I should get going anyway. And put some ice on my shoulder. This night has been a hopeless loss for me. I thought she felt something, back there, when she agreed to dance with me and when she was staring at me in the eyes when D.D. Dexter and her cousin were singing. All these years of self-training and she still knocked me around like I was a little boy!”

“You should probably get yourself someone a bit sane, young Thomas.”, groaned Merisoul.

“You know my name?”, asked the young man.

“I know many names. And yours just happens to be one of them. Your dream girl is mad as a hatter and it is very unlikely that will change.”, the burnt girl said, still clutching her one palm.

“Change? She is perfect. I wouldn’t want her to change. I am calm for the both of us. She is all fire. Both are needed in a.. uhhh.. relation..”, his voice trailed off with embarrassment.

“She is broken, boy. You can’t fix her and she is too scared to even try.”

“I do not need to fix her. That is not my place. I can only show her what she could be, or have, or want. She is smart. I am sure she will eventually submit to her own.”, the young man said with patient confidence. “In the end, though, I have but one heart and it’s all hers. It’s always been hers. She can have it, break it, burn it, or destroy it.. It’s up to her.”, he said quietly.

“Anyway. Good night ma’am..”, he added, and with a forlorn expression, he turned around and left, walking in the general direction of the town temple.

“One down. One to go.. There must be an easier way to do this.”, she moaned in pain, staring at the peculiar ‘brand’, still eating at her palm.

 

“You know, I could cut you right here, and now, and no one would even know about it, you unwholesome little skank!”, hissed a harsh voice, from somewhere above her.

Merisoul could barely pick her head up to see the fuming Bremorel Songsteel, her eyes blazing with some crazy fire, as she held her great, cold blade in her hand.

This had been a painful evening but Merisoul Xyrotwu knew, she just knew, it wouldn’t end there, yet..

“You did not just beat that young, lovely bantam. You humiliated him by physically assaulting him and slamming him into the ground. You did not just break him. You destroyed him. You sent him off refused and dejected. And the moment you did that, he became ‘fair game’!”, the crispy girl in the smoking hole groaned.

“I rebuffed him because he thought he could get familiar with me just because he picked me up to a dance. All these years and he still hasn’t learned, I am not an easy catch.”, fumed the young woman, brandishing her great sword for emphasis.

“Yea..”, agreed, Merisoul. “It must be very important for everyone to know you are not an easy catch. What are you? Twelve?”

Bremorel glared down at the burnt girl.

“You know, there is a special kind of hole for girls like you, in Hell.”

“What? Girls can’t have their own opinions?”, Bremorel snapped.

“Mortals don’t get to have opinions in Hell. And girls have rather limited use there. I do not think you want me to spell it out for you as to what those ‘uses’ may be. Suffice to say, cooking, cleaning, dusting, sewing, sweeping, and changing the diapers of imps, lemures, and dretches for eternity is not fun!

But don’t fret. I was done with your boy, the moment I touched him.”, Merisoul said, and in agony, she opened her branded palm and showed it to the fuming girl.

Bremorel stared at the little ‘skanks’ palm in amazement. It seemed like a stylized ‘rose’, and it was still orange-red as it simmered and glowed.

“What the hell is this?”, she flared.

“This.. is the Mark of Love. Or a Fool’s Brand, depending on your point of view. Whenever one of my kind touches a Mortal who is truly in love, we get ‘marked’ —’branded’. If we are lucky, it’s just the mark. If not, we get sick and poisoned for days.. Weeks, sometimes..

The boy is in love and thoroughly, you are an idiot and vastly, and I am the fool who paid the price, and heavily..”, she said in a voice like she wanted to cry.

For a long moment, Bromorel Songsteel glared at the simmering brand, and at the crisped girl in the smoking hole.

“You deserved it.”, she said finally, and quite heartlessly.

“Apparently, but not satisfactorily.”, moaned the girl in the hole, and with dreaded anticipation.

“I WARNED YOU!”

The terrible voice of the Archangel of Wrath boomed in her head.

“No, no.. I am thoroughly ashamed—”, she squeaked in a panicked voice.. to no avail..

 

..and the smiting Fist of Wrath came down from the Heavens— 

 

“Well, bugger!”, groaned the crispy Merisoul..

 

—and smashed the succubi-whatsit, fifteen feet deeper into the ground.

 

This event triggers the stories:
Düş Kapanı,
Evim yok..
and Önemli olan..

✱ ✱ ✱

A MONTH OR SO AGO,
LATE ONE EVENING, ON THE ROAD TO
THE GREAT ARASHKAN CITY.

I am sorry Master Aager.”, Merisoul said, holding up her ‘puking pot’. “I have not been well of late and it is likely I will be doing a lot of unladylike, retching noises all night long. I am afraid you will have to park dear little Inshala somewhere else this evening. Possible near the campfire. And keep her company as well, in case she wakes up and finds herself to be alone. She does that a lot, you know, wake up and find herself alone.”

Aager Fogstep stared steadily at the beautiful, half-born succubi girl, then at her empty puking pot, then back at the girl, as he held the sleeping Inshala in his arms. He was amazed at how the hybrid hadn’t even flinched nor blushed in the slightest at the glaringly blatant lie she had just told.

“You don’t have to try so hard, Merisoul.”, he said, in his low, growling voice.

“Hence, I did not. You are a smart man.. for a Mortal, and would have suspected me of something, however I did my presentation.”, she replied, and with a straight face.

“Why bother at all, then?”, Aager asked.

“One must follow the motions. It is polite, if nothing else, Master Aager.”, she sniffed as if stating the obvious. “I wouldn’t want you to think less of me by giving you the wrong impression, after all.”

“Which would be?”, asked Aagar.

“That, I didn’t think you were worth any effort..”, she smiled.

“I appreciate the courtesy. But you are missing the point.”, he said.

“Ow?”

“Why bother.. AT ALL?

“Ahh.. Habit, I suppose. A bad one, yes, but we all have our little vices we like to indulge, now and then.”, she replied.

“No.”, Aager said quietly.

“No?”, asked Merisoul, a bit confused.

“No..”, repeated Aager. “That’s not it. Not the main reason, anyway.”

 

“What could I possibly want of you, Master Aager?

 

The thing you most admire, treasure, and care..

 

The thing that you most desire, hunger, and love..

 

The thing that perpetually astonishes and astounds you..

 

And the only thing that has ever given any meaning and joy to your desolate heart..

 

..is already in your hands, and literally.

 

And from her, I have never made any requests nor claims but a bit of love and friendship, which she has given without command nor demand, freely and without reservation. Sad, really..”, she said softly.

“Sad?”

“Sad.. that nons have ever given her any, yet she gives it to others so earnestly, even though she does not truly understand what it is, nor just how precious what she gives is..

Only gives.. I am not sure if that makes hers just the more precious, or foolish. It hurts me to look at her.”, she mused.

Aager looked down at the little girl in his arms and inadvertently smiled because she was dreaming and probably visiting something she liked in that dream because her face was calm, peaceful, and adorned with a smile of her own. He was still amazed that of all people, this little, scared girl would find peace in a dreadful man such as himself. He certainly would never have..

He looked up at the other girl, still holding her puking pot.

“You are good, Miss Merisoul. One obvious reason followed by another, not quite so blatant tailored specifically for me.. Very good, indeed, but no..”, he said..

Merisoul squinted at Aager and bit her lower lip.

“You are.. Afraid!”, he said quietly.

“And you are rude, Master Aager.”, she said, as she pouted and crossed her arms. “You don’t have to be like that all the time, you know. All the trouble and effort I put into the planning and application and you demolished it just because you could. Not a quality a girl would find admirable. Sometimes, it’s better to be bested by a well-planned conversation —or seduction.. It is the polite thing to do.”

“Perhaps. Too late to rewind now.”, Aager replied, trying to suppress a stifle. Then he scowled a bit. “The fact remains. What is it you are afraid of? You hide it well, but not from someone who knows that look.”

“You don’t know what you are asking of me?”, hissed Merisoul.

“No, I don’t, because you haven’t told me yet.”, said Aager, calmly. “Personally, I think you are quite mad. But what I think is irrelevant in this matter. Only that you are ‘ours’, and that my Inshala loves you. I am sure there are any number of others in this odd group that would be willing to share your burden. It is possible this will not help you, but it will make things a lot more bearable for you. At least you won’t have to retch all night to make us think you are still sick.”

Slowly, he turned around and left the tent, to sit out the night next to the campfire with the skinny little girl sleeping in his arms.

Merisoul Xyrotwu lowered her crossed arms, tossed the puking pot aside, and smiled.

“Saw through all but the real reason, Master Aager.”, she whispered. “But as smart, cunning, and devious as you are, at the end of the day, you are only a Mortal.”

“The main reason was always the joy in your arms. Love her, and cherish her. For she is one of a kind..”

 

This event triggers the stories:
Gemini,
Gemini, “Epilogue”,
and Gemini, “Slo-mo”
which in turn trigger the events in
Nefret Dökümü,
Ben, MAB,
Farstep,
and 1:33:017 – Elveda, Felishia..

✱ ✱ ✱

A WEEK AGO,
EARLY ONE EVENING, RIGHT OUTSIDE AN INN
IN THE SLUMS OF THE GREAT ARASHKAN CITY.

Merisoul Xyrotwu watched the huge man in filthy-looking clothes swaying drunkenly, from the roof she was perched, as he staggered down the street towards the inn they were stationed. She stared down at the man with a puzzled expression on her small, otherworldly beautiful, yet ‘sad’ face.

“What is he doing, I wonder?”, she mused quietly.

“He thinks he is incognito. ‘Undercover’..”, snorted the young, handsome man, lying on his side, next to the pretty girl.

And the light of comprehension shown on her face, making it appear even more angelic.

“Aaah.. Well, you can’t blame him for trying, Darly. He just isn’t cut for that line of work.”, she smiled.

“Actually, you can cut him in two, and neither half would be any good for that line of work.”, said the young Darly, with a vindictive voice. “He has ‘LAWMAN’ written all over him.”

“Perhaps. That isn’t really anything so bad, though, is it? I am sure the fact that he is the son of a renowned sheriff had some effect on the princess’s choice. Being the sheriff of Serenity Home is nothing to sneeze at. It is a highly regarded position, you know. It does not return much of what you Mortals call ‘money’, but it does garner a lot of respect. At least that is the conclusion I have come to, after extended observation of the relative Mortal social titles.”, said Merisoul happily.

Darly snorted but did not dispute the pretty girl.

Her observations had indeed had a certain accuracy to them. He had barely heard of Serenity Home before his.. uninformed venture into that town some months ago. Later, much later, he had learned that the original founders of the town had all been old, but very much renown and powerful men and woman themselves, who had settled there, some five hundred years ago, sort of as a peaceful retire, and in time, the town had grown slowly but steadily. It had had the potential to become a city nearly three centuries ago but had never bothered. The denizens of Serenity Home did not want a city to live in.

Just, serenity..

“Why do you think Master Aager put him up to this job, then?”, she wondered. “It is obvious, our dear Udoorin will never make a good.. spy..”

“Because he thinks he is smarter than everyone else..”, sneered Darly.

“Don’t do that, Darlius.”, said the girl, absently.

“Don’t do what?”, asked Darly.

“Sneer. It isn’t something that looks good on your beautiful face.”, she said, still absently, as if she was thinking on another matter.

Darly shut up.

“But your observations about that dreadful man are quite accurate, even without the sneer.”, she said..

..and hopped down the three-story roof!

Slowly, she glided down, her raven wings spread, and with her honey-brown hair lashing, her slender arms open, and her dark purple-black, strapless dress fluttering, she looked magnificent.

Like something out of a fantastic dream.

Slowly but surely, she landed next to the huge man, Udoorin, who only flinched slightly.

“Umm.. Hello Lady Merisoul.”, he said politely.

“That is so sweet. The way you are always so polite to me.”, she said with genuine elation.

“Well. It is polite to be polite.. to ladies..”, he coughed uncomfortably.

“You do know I am not really a Lady, right?”, Merisoul said.

“I must disagree. You have everything that makes a woman, a Lady; elegance, refinement, care, loyalty, and a beautifully honest heart.”, replied the young man.

“Wow.. And the things people say about you.. However, I think your definition of  ‘a Lady’ might be a little overcrowded, but that’s not quite my point. Ladies do not bear horns, nor sprout wings.”, she pointed out.

“Some do have ‘crowns’ and some are just angelic!”, Udoorin said honestly.

“That.. is the nicest thing, anyone has ever said to me, young Udoorin.”, said Merisoul and she had a strange, astounded expression on her face. “No wonder she likes you.”

“I.. what?”, blushed the young man.

“Though she feels neglected.”, she said quietly.

“Neglected?”, Udoorin said, and there appeared fear in his eyes.

“Yes.. Your venture into the slums for information about that Gar Thalot is admirable, considering the late hours you put into it. But Princes Alor’Nadien ne is not a girl you can ever neglect.”, she said.

“I.. this is sort of a private matter, Lady Merisoul.”, he blushed, some more.

“Yes. But I share a room with her and I tire the way she ‘sighs’ every other breath, though understandable, considering she has been stuck in that none-too-clean room for days. I think you should go and get cleaned up, and take her out.”, she offered.

“It is a bit late for a walk and the slums aren’t exactly scenic.”, frowned Udoorin.

“I was thinking more along the lines of Heaven Park, then the slums, Sir Udoorin. The area is heavily patrolled due to that, Gar Thalot you seek, so it should be safe.

It is a beautiful night, dear Udoorin, and the princess could use some much-needed attention and care, wouldn’t you agree? I hear the park itself is quite charming at nights, with many paths, ponds, benches, and fresh air.”, she said brightly.

“You.. you really think she would like that?”, asked the young man, with an embarrassed tone.

“Like? No, boy.. She would love it. She is part-elf from High Woods, after all. She does not show it, for your benefit, but I am sure she misses the woods. Inshala goes there all the time. Sleeps there sometimes too. Oh, and remember not to take your axes with you.. They would totally ruin the mood. Take your father’s sword instead. It will give you a more refined appearance for the occasion..”, replied.

“Oww..”, young Udoorin said, with a ‘dawning’ voice. “Well, I should probably hurry along then. Need to get cleaned up. The stink of the last inn will require quite a bit of scrubbing to wash off..”

“Don’t dawdle, Sir Udoorin. She tends to sleep early when she has nothing to do..”

Young Udoorin thanked the ‘angelic’ girl with the ‘crown’ and politely excused himself and took off, with a haste that would have rivaled any decent charge!

 

This event triggers the story:
Geleceğin Adımları

✱ ✱ ✱

A FEW MONTHS AGO ONE EVENING,
IN THE BEAUTIFUL GROVE
WHERE THE RUINS OF THEMALSAR ONCE WAS.

LADY!” screamed Aager in panic and there were so much pain, loss, devastation, and desperation in that scream. A scream that cut right through the peaceful night and echoed in the grove. A pain that begged for help.. and for life!

“Make way!”, Lady Magella’s gruff voice was heard outside the tent and the she-dwarf parted the flaps and pushed her way inside, followed closely by the young paladin girl, Moira Hooman. The tent was only so big, hence the others could wait outside with sick worry for they knew, Aager never screamed. Not even when he had been cursed horribly by Themalsar himself, just a few days ago, and had very nearly died. Laila and Bremorel’s heads pushed through the flaps as Gnine, Lorna, Merisoul, and Udoorin waited outside.

“She.. she just stopped..”, shrieked the man in dark clothes as he held the little, skinny girl, Inshala, in his arms. “She just stopped breathing.. SHE IS NOT BREATHING!

Lady knelt down next to him and felt for the skinny girl’s pulse.

“Help her.. PLEASE.. WHATEVER THE PRICE, I SHALL PAY!“, he cried desperately.

“I don’t charge to save my children, boy. You should know that by now.”, scowled Lady, but there were tears in her eyes. “She has no pulse. Foolish girl.. She gave her all to burry that mad dog’s temple into the ground and raise this grove. And now she has nothing left. Her heart gave out.”

“Ow. My. Dear. Heavens!”, the stricken voice of Lorna was heard from outside.

“Lady, can’t you do something?”, asked Liala with a horrified expression.

“Anything?”, asked Bremorel reflecting her cousin’s voice.

“The power of your faith will heal her, My Lady.”, said Moira with a nearly broken voice.

Lady did not say anything.

She closed her eyes, silently murmured a prayer, and repeated it over and over, and slowly reached out to the skinny little girl and released her prayer..

..and nothing happened.

Her shoulders slumped.

For she had expected this.

“She is still not breathing..”, said Aager in a scared whisper. “Why? Why will you not fix her, Lady? Is it because of some wrong I did you?”

“I.. I can not heal her, boy.. She is not wounded!”, said Lady as quiet tears rolled down her eyes. “I am so sorry.”

Aager just stared at Lady and there was nothing..

..absolutely nothing in those eyes.

Whatever he had ever felt, or may have felt, ever in his life, was just..

..gone!

“No.”, said Moira from behind Lady. “Inshala is a fighter. She does not give up. She never gives up. All she needs is some help.”

The young, comely paladin woman raised both hands into the air in plea and whispered.

“Dear Heavens. Hear my voice. This little girl gave everything she had to remove a vile and evil woe that plagued these lands for centuries. SAVE HER. I BEG OF YOU! SHE DESERVES LIFE AND LOVE. SHE DESERVES A FAMILY. A FATHER AND A MOTHER. SHE DESERVES SISTERS AND AUNTS AND UNCLES AND GRANDS.. SAVE HER, AND I GIVE MY MOST SOLEMN OATH, THAT I SHALL GIVE HER THE REST!

And the tent suddenly was awash with bright, golden light.

Moira laid her hands on the skinny girl and gave her everything she had; her sincerity, her love, and her tears..

..yet the skinny girl still did not move, nor did she breathe.

“No.. Nooo..”, wept Moira as she crumbed on her knees.

And outside, Gnine looked thunderstruck.

Udoorin’s face was drawn and tears ran shamelessly down his eyes as he held the princess crying openly into his embrace.

Laila and Bremorel just stared at the unmoving form of the skinny little Inshala, pale, and gone, yet seemingly sleeping in Aager’s arms.

“Why?”, asked Aager silently. “Why give her to me, then take her back so soon? Why blame her for my sins?”

And there were little words to describe his silent wrath.

“Don’t.”, a voice whispered.

“I believe I must.”, said Merisoul back and there was no voice in her reply..

..only the shape of the reply echoed in her mind.

“You owe these Mortals nothing.”, said the voice.

“Owe?”, she asked. “Who shall pay, if no one is willing?”

“Doesn’t have to be you.”, said the voice, with the slightest trace of a plea.

“Didn’t have to be her. Yet that little girl did. And now she is dead. And should I do nothing when I can do something, her death shall be on my head.”

“Why, though?”, asked the voice.

 

“Because she was so afraid of me, yet she was the first to accept and adopt me, and in the face of death, did she do so.. And like me, she understands so little of love, yet unlike me, she has a chance to find it. I shall make sure she attains that potential.

“But.. but you will die! Don’t do this..”, the voice now begged.

“It is an acceptable risk. I am young and healthy. There’s a chance I can be brought back. She has none.”, Merisoul whispered back.

“He will not accept this. You know that right? Your bargain was that you commit yourself in the path of danger to save others, but never with the deliberate intention of taking your own life!”, pleaded the voice desperately.

“I do not intend to deliberately take my own life. I intend to deliberately trade it with her death, for a heart must beat to love..”, said Merisoul..

..and stepped into the tent.

 

This event triggers the events and the emotional breakdowns and rises of Aager and Inshala in the story:
Day One” (from days four to nine)..
and leads to “Hiçbiri..”

✱ ✱ ✱

A FEW MINUTES AGO,
ON TOP OF THE WESTERN BATTLEMENTS
OF THE GREAT ARASHKAN CITY.

After weeks in this city, I forgot how much I missed the outdoors and the woods.”, murmured Laila Wolvesbane, as she toyed with the handle of her beautifully carved elven longbow. “It is so quiet up here. One could see the stars so clearly.”

“I suppose so.”, Merisoul said. “A bit on the boring side though. Don’t you think?”

“Boring is good. I like boring.”, said Liala sternly, as she carefully scanned the walls. “We do not want any excitement tonight. If we get caught, this will leave a black mark on my record that will never come off. Collaborating with a known rebellion and helping incite his revolt! Would go excellent in my CV; Laila Wolvesbane: helps thieves, cut-throats, thugs, and insurgents! I would have trouble finding a job at a sanitary dig post!”

“I doubt.”, said Merisoul. “You are smart, observant, can see relevant details no one else can, always cool-headed even under pressure, can shoot threads though needles from 600 yards, and boldly pretty. Love your bangs, by the way.. No.. No one will put you to a sanitary dig post if it is what I think it is.”

Laila was startled a bit.

True, that she had never really chatted with this peculiar, or perhaps ‘quaint’ girl and that was the politest way she could readily define her.. as opposed to weird, off, creepy, odd, mad, and happily insane!

What had startled her was, the girl, Merisoul sounded.. well.. down to earth!

Something very much unlike her usual self.

“Mind I ask you something?”, Merisoul asked, further surprising Laila.

 

Merisoul never asked if she could ask.

She just said things.

Whatever that crossed her mind.

 

“I suppose..”, replied Laila, carefully.

“Who is D.D. Dexter?”..

..aaaand she was back to weird, creepy, off, and odd, again.

How in the blazes did she even know about D.D. Dexter, let alone relate him to her?

“I am guessing you already know, who he is.”, Laila said.

“I do.”, she replied. “But more importantly, do you?”

Laila cocked an eyebrow at the pretty girl with the angelic face, crowning horns, and raven wings.

“Saw him trice.”, said the succubi half-born, quietly.

“The first time was just before the celebrations and the dancing began, back at your Serenity Home, arguing with his friend, Thomas, so he would divert your cousin Bremorel. I am guessing his plan was to get you alone, so he could brave up to ask you for a dance. The plan worked, more or less, though young Thomas was arguing with your D.D. Dexter more for show, really.. I could practically see how he yearned for your cousin. Yearned and feared her. He was actually trembling when he went up to her. It was so adorable. I am guessing he would have slopped into a puddle and oozed all the way back to his temple in dejected embarrassment had she said, no. To be fair, he did ooze all the way back to his temple in dejected embarrassment at the end, even though she’d said, yes, the way she man-handled the poor boy.

The second time was when the two of you were singing together at the festivities and I must say, you two have beautiful voices and they blend very well. ‘Seamlessly’, I believe the word is.. His, slightly raspy and masculine, yours, contralto, as the Mortals call it.

And the last time, when we were leaving the town, two days later. He was hiding in the bushes, watching you go. He looked.. sad. ‘Forlorn’, to be more precise.”

Laila was a private sort of girl and D.D. Dexter was not someone she wanted to share with anyone. Certainly not as a ‘pass-time’ topic.

“I still don’t hear any significant question in any of that.”, she said, seeking verbal room to maneuver herself and the odd girl away from the current conversation, and the potentials it carried.

“Ahh.. My bad.”, said Merisoul Xyrotwu. “Though my question is a rather simple one, really.”

“Ow?”, asked Laila, not quite sure she wanted to hear it.

“What’s the holdup?”

 

This event triggers the story:
“The Marshal and The Bard”
(a work for the distant future..)


 

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

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

The Best of Bargains

The Best of Bargains

Timeline:

Soon.

 

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

 

 

“You.. you obstinate fool! You bargained my ‘Shal’ for the damned soul of a demon!”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Silly girl.. You should have bargained for your own.”

 

“I shall earn, my ‘own’.”

 

“Why would you do this? What is she to you, that you would make this bargain?”

 

“A friend.”

 

“A friend? She is a fiend.”

 

“She has no ‘friend’.”

 

“She can never have, ‘friend’.”

 

“She had me.”

 

“Another fiend.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“You truly are an unredeemable fool and not quite sane.”

 

“The fact that you will consistently see me a silly girl, I have never minded, for I have always been that.

 

“But reminded me, unfailingly, as a fiend, unredeemable, and alone, is sad..”

 

“Yes, I am a fool. And perhaps not quite sane as well..”

 

“But does my folly and relative lack of sanity have any relevance to the validity of the bargain?

 

“Will you, then, go back on your word?”

 

“No. I do not betray my word.”

 

“Then, I am content.”

 

“You could have asked.. for a lot more.”

 

“You could have wished for anything!

 

“I did not want a lot more. But I did wish for anything;

 

“That my friend was to be free.”

 

“That she would be allowed to work to save her soul.”

 

“And like any Mortal, that she could Ascend.

 

“She is the scion of Succubae.”

 

“She will always have lust.”

 

“She can never be free of that.”

 

“Then, she is already Mortal!”

 

“She is Sin. She cannot Ascend.”

 

“It is good, then, that the choice of Ascension is graced by ‘Compassion’ before it’s judged by ‘Wrath’.”

 

“Your faith in her is commendable but misplaced. This, you must see.”

 

“It does not matter. I have made my choice. She will be free and she will have the chance to labor and save her own, every day, and every night, and every walking moment of her life to attain her Ascension.”

 

“She will have the opportunity to be a woman to her man and to bear his children. With the sweat of her brows, she will grow the food from the dirt ere she puts it on their table. With the strength of her back, she will care and carry him, when he grows old. And with the pain in her heart, she will fear, not for herself, but for them.”

 

“With tooth and nail, she will fight and bleed to protect what she has..”

 

“She will be the first among us to feel.. and understand compassion and love.”

 

“Hence, she will have a chance to earn her Ascension..”

 

“That is more than anyone has ever offered to any of my kind..”

 

“She will die.”

 

“All die. And All End. Until then, she will live happy. And when her time comes, she will die content, for she will have her children and her children’s children around her.”

 

“She will have people who shall love her in life, and mourn for her in death. She will have people who will remember her. And the life-long labors of her deeds will walk this earth after her, thus she will never be forgotten, for her grueling deeds shall be a gift to her lineage; they will be free of the curse that beset her.”

 

“She will be known to all Mortals and not, as ‘the Fiend who Ascended’..”

 

“It is ludicrous and lunacy, to think she could be saved. And you bargained my ‘Light’.. my ‘Grace’.. for her..”

 

“We are, because you let it happen. You watched, with your kind, from your perch among the Heavens, as Mortals did what they did to us. Had you, perhaps, given us better options, we would never have been.

 

“I remember. Someone else said something similar. Once.”

 

“Perhaps you should have listened to her.. You ask me why I bargained your ‘Light’ and your ‘Grace’ for the soul of a fiend.”

 

“That ‘fiend’.. walks and carefully, every day. That ‘fiend’.. sleeps and fitfully, every night. Always in fear, always in terror that she might be ravaged, stained, and slain as her flesh is torn, shredded, and gnawed off her bones, as her will, and her life is taken from her, at any moment.”

 

“She is alone and vulnerable, always.”

 

“Tell me. Who is to protect my fiend?”

 

“We. Were. Born.”

 

“Never were we asked, nor were we ever tasked with a choice.”

 

“Only born.”

 

“And thrown into pits before we could walk. We were fed by the lurid sins and the feces of Mortals.”

 

“We were broken, and beyond repair. We were made so we could never understand, never feel, never relate..”

 

“Always lose, but never mourn.”

 

“Yet, she found me. And together, we were two broken fiends who became friends in Hell.”

 

“That..”

 

“Was the only free choice..”

 

“We made.”

 

“You.. you could have bargained for the souls of so many.”

 

“I do not have so many.”

 

“I do not know so many.”

 

“I have but one.”

 

“And I know only that one.”

 

“Be damned, you and your fiend friend..

 

“I already am.”

 

“She. No longer..”

 

“She. Is free.

 

“You could have saved your Mortal friends.”

 

“I have. Their lives and their loves..”

 

“Bled for them, I have. Suffered pain and again for them. Lied and cheated for them. I have made them woe and abhor me so they would be reminded of the truly significant.”

 

“Abandoned all sound and reason, and traded the beat of my own heart for them..”

 

“..I have.”

 

“And burned for them.”

 

“I have…”

 

“Watched over them, day and night, above them and around them.”

 

“..I have.”

 

“Thus, with tooth and nail, I have worked to earn my Ascension..”

 

“It is likely she will kill the boy.”

 

“We only burn once. All these years and her burn has never gone, never faded. It still simmers.. That is remorse. And that is love.”

 

“Who, among Mortals and nons, feel as we feel; always lost.”

 

“Who, among Mortals and nons, live as we live; always destitute.”

 

“And who, among Mortals and nons, suffer as we suffer; always scalded.”

 

“Judging the Half-Born must not be much of a challenge when you shun us for being born the way we are. They have judged us to be fit for only one purpose. And you have judged us for merely being.”

 

“Are we thus doomed, Priceptine, to be treated the same by them, and you?

 

“In your willingness to pass unseasonable judgment and reign your wrath upon us, you fail to see what we have thus achieved..”

 

“One is an accident. A freak. A defect born of deficiency.”

 

“Two is not.”

 

“It is a promise.

 

“And it is hope..

 

“We have thus shown all, Mortals and nons, that they do not have to be what they were indoctrinated.”

 

“We have shown them that they are not doomed to their predicament, but that all could work for their Ascension.”

 

“This is the new precedence that we have set.. in Hell!”

 

“They will know..”

 

“..if there can be two, there can now be three.”

 

“And where there are three, there can be more..”

 

 

“You are naïve, and this was truly a depressing bargain;”

 

“A fiend, for my ‘Galad’..”

 

“This..”

 

“..was the best of bargains;”

 

“A ‘friend’.. for a stick!”


 

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.”