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Her Sister's Shadow ~ANOTHER New Chapter! 3-13-12

Allura

I wonder where all my campers have gone...

PART 12

The strange elves made Pike nervous. He didn’t like it one bit when their giant birds had tried to eat Hotburr, and he wasn’t so sure about their invitations to visit their mountain home. But Rayek wanted to go, and he wasn’t one to tell people what to do. And since Shenshen wanted to go where Rayek went, he was stuck going where she did.

And then Petalwing arrived. They had hoped to leave the bug home, but not even Rayek could shut the thing up and make it do something when its mind was set. However, the flying elves fell into shock when the thing showed, demanding to come with them. They called it a Preserver, and Petalwing zipped right towards them, and started talking even faster than normal.

It was Hoykar who spoke first in a low, almost inaudible voice, “Strangers, where did you find this Preserver?”

“In the forest.” Pike pointed. “The thing latched onto us and won’t go away.”

Shenshen nodded. “Petalwing and its friends keep food there for us, so we can last the white-cold.”

“There are more?” Aroree stared in the direction of the forest. “How many?”

“Many many!” The preserver nuzzled her shoulder. “We stay there, wait for longsoft hair highthing come get. She say ”˜go catch food for highthings!’ We do. Wait longtime, we do.”

As many times as Petalwing had told them that story over the last couple moons, it never seemed to get tired of telling it. But as little sense as it made to the small group, the two Gliders were nothing less than awed and a slight bit confused. But they said nothing, and instead insisted that they should take the Preserver to Lord Voll as well. The others had no real arguments, and so they headed towards the mountain; Rayek with Aroree, Shenshen with Hoykar, and Pike and Ekuar on Hotburr, with Petalwing to ”˜keep them company.’

It had been sun-down when they had left, and so were moving long into the night. The birds would circle back to make sure that Pike on the ground was following, and because of his slowness compared to the flying ones, Rayek became impatient, sending him an occasional, **Can’t you make your wolf go faster?**

When he walked through the ”˜Wrapstuffed’ woods, Petalwing called out to its folk, insisting that they were going to the ”˜Mountain thing’ and that tended to bring interest to the other Preservers. By the time he had made it through the woods, he had at least five others following Petalwing, wanting to come along.

As they got nearer to the mountain, Pike gave in and sent Hotburr into a run, as the two birds with their riders flew to the top and dismounted. Ekuar and the Wolfrider, however, halted at the base of the mountain and they could feel Hotburr’s neck fur bristle. They slowed and even the aged elf gasped at the sight.

**Rayek, Shenshen! Humans!** Pike sent. **There are humans here! I cannot get in!**

“Calm down, Wolfrider.” Ekuar whispered in his ear. “They have not attacked us yet.”

But the small group stayed hidden from the five-fingers until they heard an amused sending. **You have been afraid because of the harsh world, young one.** Aroree swooped down to them gracefully. **They will not harm you.**

“Right”¦” Pike muttered. **And I’m an eight-legged treewee with green fur!** He could not believe that the humans meant no harm. Not after the holt””

“But they worship us. Come see.” She floated off, towards the strangely dressed humans. True, they seemed less savage than the ones from the Holt, but they couldn’t be friendly towards elves. No human had an elf for a friend”¦ But as he saw the female Glider near the five-fingered tribe, they stopped and stared in wonder, then bowed down to her.

“Impossible!” Pike whispered, but soon realized he was wrong. Ekuar mumbled something in his ear about the stories he’d told about Mantricker and Demontricker, and only then did the Wolfrider urge Hotburr to take them near the humans.

The attention was suddenly drawn from Aroree to the shorter newcomers. His wolf was obviously nervous, ready to bolt if even one of them made move to attack, but it didn’t come.

“<Do you see? He rides a wolf, instead of a bird!>”
“<More of them! It is truly a blessing!>”
“<They have not come so close to us in so long”¦ I feel I might faint.>”
“<Even small, they are beautiful! Are they children?>”
“<The strange one is injured! Do you think they fought some demon?>”

Pike soon tuned out their chatter, almost jealous of Ekaur, for he could not understand them. He soon found that he didn’t want to be worshiped any more than he wanted to be hated. It was silly. What he really wanted was a nice warm home in a tree and dreamberries. Lots and lots of dreamberries.

Rayek soon showed, carrying Shenshen. She insisted she wanted to see the humans, especially since they had been assured that they would not be harmed. It amused Pike, that she stared in just as much wonder at them, as they did her.

Finally, the Gliders insisted that they enter the mountain, and they offered to fly each of them to the aerie. But Pike refused to leave Hotburr behind, and neither Glider wanted to carry him, so, with a sigh, Aroree agreed to another way.

**Winnowill! We have a surprise for Voll, but we cannot fly it through the aerie. Can you open Door?**

Pike couldn’t hear the reply, but Aroree and Hoykar suddenly looked disappointed. “She says that Door only opens when the humans play their pipes.” They looked to the humans, but it didn’t seem like they were going to move from their spots at all on their own. “They cannot understand us.”

“Sure they can.” Pike grumbled only a little, but then smiled, glad that there was something he could do that the others couldn’t. “<Humans! Play your pipes for us while we enter the mountain.>” He was half afraid it wouldn’t work. After all, since when did humans obey elves? But after a moment of confusion, many humans left, and quickly returned with their musical instruments and began to play. [i:6421f57a86]And they’re not half bad.[/i:6421f57a86] He thought.

Aroree and Hoykar then led the elves to a solid rock wall, and told them to wait. For a moment, Pike thought it was silly to wait at a rock wall, but he remembered Ekaur and his talents. He was still not used to rock-shapers. But the wall moved away as fluidly as water, allowing them a tunnel inside.

The inside of the mountain was very impressive. Even Savah’s hut couldn’t compare to the ornately decorated walls and arches covering the inside. And there to greet them, were many other Gliders, crowded around, probably to see what Voll’s surprise was. In the front of the crowd was a tall slender female elf with black hair, the longest hair he had ever seen, beating Clearbrook easily. And next to her was the strangest of them all; an elf with wings like a bat instead of arms.

As with the humans, both groups stared at each other with equal amazement and wonder, neither speaking for some time. It was Petalwing and the group of Preservers that broke the silence. It flew to the long haired elf and latched itself to her locks. “Longsoft hair highthing remember Petalwing? We back! Keep food for highthings long time, like you say.”

The female elf groped for words, for a moment even seeming annoyed (but who wouldn’t be? Preservers are annoying.), but when the other Preservers joined in their greeting, she only managed to say, “Where?”

Excitedly, Aroree explained how they had found both the elves and the Preservers, and that they were now going to see Lord Voll. Winnowill, for that’s what Aroree called her, seemed hesitant, but said, “The elves must see Voll, of course. But see how our kin are drawn to the Preservers? They should stay here, so as not to bother our lord just yet.”

Pike found that suspicious, but as the other Gliders hadn’t said anything, he went along with it. They left the Preservers behind, and were led through passageways, vaguely reminding him of the troll tunnels, and followed by at least half of the group of Gliders that had greeted them, picking up even more as they wound their way to Lord Voll. He wished they wouldn’t stare so. It was nearly as bad as the humans.

Finally, they arrived at what Hoykar called the throne room, and it was impressive. A skeleton of one of the giant birds was set up, and decorated with gold and jewels. An in the center of it, sat a very aged elf, wearing a long black cloak covered in white feathers. He spotted the two Chosen Eight, and quickly said, “Ah, we had feared your loss. You’ve never come back so late.” It was then that he noticed the newcomers. His eyes widened.

“We discovered them by the great waterfall, my lord.” Hoykar explained. “They are Rayek, Pike, Shenshen and Ekuar.”

Rayek took a step foreword and bowed. “It is an honor to meet you.”

The_Wylde_Wynd

Gah, sorry I've been gone so long, things are really hectic right now. Anyhoo, finaly caught up and I must say... BRILIANT!!!! Our brave travelers in Blue Mountain, Rayshening, Petalwing amungst his High-Things again, beautiful! And you've got Hoykar!!!!!*glomples Hoykar* Hope you spotlight him some, Hoykar needs more lovin'!

[i:725778af01]Hoykar:*twitches* Help. Me.[/i:725778af01]

[quote:725778af01="Allura"]Yah, your 'Circles' and Wyl's 'Lioness.' Love 'em.[/quote:725778af01]

Wow, happy time for Wyl now :oops: :D . ...Ah man I need to start writing again.*pounds head* Curse you writers block.*settles down at the semi-abandoned camp-sight with paper, pencil and snaks to wait and write*

Allura

I love Hoykar. I never gave the other Eight much thought until I was going through the comics to get some pictures for the "Other six of the Eight" thread in the Characters section. Did you know he was the other one besides Aroree that was flying away with dead Voll? Poor guy, all crying. Broke m'heart. Fell in love with the character. So, no worries, he'll be in the story more.

SnowWren

What you've got written is fantastic! Wow...

Poor preservers... I hope Winnie doesn't try to "get rid of them" again! Pike was right to be suspicious!

And I loved the way Pike pointed out he didn't want to be hated, OR worshipped!

Excellent!

Arthis

Excellent indeed! :D

JadeOwl

:clap: Excellent! I love the part with Pike talking to the humans. :D

And I'm so sorry that I missed the part with Hoykar! I love it love it love him! :heart:

(And you know, your story makes ME want to write more of 'Changelings', so thank you. :hug2: )

Allura

You know, I keep meaning to read Changelings, but I either forget, or I don't have time.

Hmmm... *goes off to read it now*

JadeOwl

Really? Thanks! I'd love to hear what you think. :D

Allura

Quote:
"Jade Owl
Really? Thanks! I'd love to hear what you think. :D


Heehee... Just did.

Allura

PART 13
Hoykar found it strange that Winnowill insisted Voll see the newcomers before the Preservers, but she knew best, didn’t she? After all, she was Voll’s lovemate, and one of the elves closest to the Preservers before they had left Blue Mountain.

Voll’s reaction to the new ones was beyond disbelief. After all, all of the Gliders had thought that those they had left behind died out long ago. To find that they had survived”¦ changed, but still elves, was nothing short of amazing. They had not even close to the magic and power that they had, but the dark male could fly and levitate, and the old one was a rock-shaper, so even the old powers had not left these shorter kin fully.

When Rayek introduced himself, Voll was speechless. He seemed to eye the four over, but say nothing. When no reaction came, the dark one continued. “We have come a long way, and are surprised to find other elves. Especially ones such as yourselves. Before I attained such skill, we had long thought that the power of flight had been lost to our kind.”

Again, Voll was silent. Even Hoykar could feel the newcomers becoming nervous, but he dare no say anything. Finally, when it seemed the new ones could think of nothing else, their Lord said, “How did you survive the world outside?”

There was obvious relief on the new one’s faces, and then Rayek replied, “My folk come from a dry desert place, free of humans. We have lived there for many eights of years, living off the land, and hunting what we can.”

“There are very few dangers in Sorrow’s End,” Shenshen added, “And we have a healer for the troubles that come our way.” Perhaps no one else noticed it, but Hoykar thought he saw a strange look cross the face of the black-haired elf, and then pass as if it had never happened.

Finally, the wolf one spoke up. “And my kind, the Wolfriders, come from a forest place, where we faced the threat of humans every day.” He paused. “But we managed”¦ with the help of our wolf-friends.” He patted the one by his side.

Voll was silent once again, and Hoykar wished that someone would speak; the anticipation coming from himself and all the other Gliders that had followed them to the throne room was overwhelming. Finally, the answer came. “There are more of you?”

Again, the dark-haired one seemed to hesitate, and so his female companion was the one who replied. “They are far away, but yes, there are more.”

Lord Voll then nodded, and stood, some of the tension in the room wafted away as he did so. “Then you are our guests. I hear from the Eight that the snow has come and the cold is harsh. You are free to stay here, safe. I would like to hear more about you and your people.”

With the official meeting was done, the other Gliders who had followed them from the entrance all closed in, asking questions, amazed that there were those on the outside. All the group allowed this for a while, but suddenly Rayek insisted he wanted some room, and so Voll ordered the Gliders away. They were then offered a tour of the mountain, a suggestion that the group agreed to, and were led by Lord Voll himself, leaving Hoykar and the other Eight behind.

Allura

PART 14

Those blasted Wolfriders and their blasted wolves!

He hated them. They had been nothing but trouble since the day they had met, and now he was worse off than ever. His throat was dry and sore, and he longed for water. The moon burned his skin in this horrible place just as easily as the sun would. Is feet were worn and blistered.

And it was all the Wolfriders’ fault!

But he wouldn’t let them get the better of him. No skinny little elf was going to best him, no way, no how. He only had a little more to go, didn’t he? Just a little farther”¦

But the mountains seemed even more distant than when he last looked. Was he going the wrong way? How long had it been?

But there! In the distance! Water! An entire lake of it! If only he could reach it before the sun rose and burnt away the flesh from his bone. Just a little farther”¦

“What do you suppose he’s doing here?”

“I’m more concerned with how he even got here.”

“Well, we’d better get him to the village. I don’t want a corpse rotting up the place.”

“No creature in its right mind would eat him.”

“Come on, let’s call the others.”

Allura

I have a question for you campers.

If I get a lot of parts written (like I have been), would you prefer I post them as soon as I'm done with them, or wait a little while to post the next installment?

SnowWren

Post post post! I love reading your story!
:)
I really like where you're going w/ the story!
That last chapter... that was a troll going across the desert, right?

Allura

Quote:
"SnowWren
That last chapter... that was a troll going across the desert, right?


:D

Allura

PART 15

Rayek stared up at the spinning rock sculpture, lost in his own thoughts. He hadn’t thought that when he left the Sun Village, that he would have accomplished so much. He discovered other elves! And he expanded his powers more in these last months than he had in the last five hundred years. And these new elves”¦ they were different than the Wolfriders, and even Ekuar. They had power, and he hungered to learn.

Their Lord Voll seemed old, much older than Savah. Maybe he was even one of the firstborn”¦ or even a High One! He could learn much from the wise old elf, if only he could get the old one to come out of his haze. He seemed even more disconnected from the real world than Ekuar had been when Rayek had found him in the Troll tunnels. But there seemed to be no evidence of mistreatment, no wounds. They lived in paradise! It made no sense.

Even this”¦ this egg; it was amazing! So much wonder and power went into it; it must be one of the greatest things elven kind had created.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?”

Rayek turned, to see the elf maiden that greeted them when they’d arrived”¦ Winnowill was it? She truly was beautiful; pearl-white skin and silken black hair. If any here looked more like a High One, he would not believe it.

“Very.” He replied, forcing his eyes back to the Egg. She walked next to him and waved one hand gracefully in the direction of the sculpture.

“It stores the whole of our knowledge. It is our pride.” She leaned over to whisper in his ear. “What do you see?”

He forced his skin not to show the goose bumps he felt coming. There was a longing that had started the moment he had laid eyes on her, and grew the more he saw her. Did she feel it too? He supposed it didn’t matter too much, he had Shenshen, and that was enough”¦ but was it really?

He shook the thoughts away and focused on the Egg. “I see”¦ history. The what ifs and what could be’s. I see power and the ability to use it to make life all you can make of it.” He turned then to look at her. “I see you. And I see that the High Ones made you their most beautiful child.”

She laughed then, a musical sound to his ears, and she smiled at him, rather amused. “But, dark one, we ARE the High Ones.”

All time seemed to stop. The High Ones? Living legends? Here? He had found”¦ High Ones?! It seemed unreal, and yet”¦

But before he could say anything, ask any questions, she put a slender finger to his lips and hushed him. “I can see that you are not like your companions. You have an appreciation for the old powers that your people have forgotten. Even your rock-shaper friend.” She moved in closer, her skin brushing against his. “And you are misunderstood because of it. Taken for granted. I understand, stranger. I too am misunderstood.” She brushed his shoulder with her delicate fingers and he felt a rush of excitement flow through him. A feeling of power and pleasure.

“You””You are a healer!” He gasped.

Again she laughed, but not quite so loudly. “You are very observant. Come, let me show you what we can truly be.” She held out her hand to him, and he was mesmerized. Slowly, his hand reached for hers, then stopped suddenly.

“How are you misunderstood?” He asked. “Healers are needed by all our kind.”

For a moment, she faltered. He look of calm confidence trembled and she looked almost like a child. But the moment passed, and she took his hand. “We have not needed a healer in our safe haven, save for the minor scratches and bruises received by our Chosen Eight.” Something in her voice sounded almost bitter. “I have little to do, and so, become bored.”

He nodded. When the rains came in the Sun Village, there was very little need for a hunter. He did what he could, but he would never become a dirt-digger like the rest of his folk. He remembered what it was like.

“But you,” she continued, “Full of life, and fire, from the outside. You intrigue me. Tell me about your people and how you came to be here.”

He nodded. “And you. I want to hear about you and your people. Everything here is so”¦ amazing.”

She smiled as she led him away from the Egg and down the hallway. “Yes dark one, I will tell you. And perhaps you can help me in the end”¦”

* * *

Shenshen had noticed Rayek’s absence, but didn’t think too much of it. He was by nature a loner and that wasn’t going to stop anytime soon. She understood he needed some time alone, and was willing to give it to him. But when the Lord of the Gliders had finished part of the tour, and seemed to be getting tired, Shenshen and Pike insisted that they would like a room for the time they spent there. Voll complied, sending the strange winged elf to find a suitable room, while she and the Wolfrider backtracked to find out where Rayek had disappeared to, and Ekuar followed Voll.

They found him in the Egg chamber, but as Shenshen was about to greet him, Pike pulled her back and behind one of the many intricately designed pillars. She was about to yell at him, but then heard another voice in with her fellow Sun Villager. It was the pale woman from their entrance to the mountain. Shenshen risked a peak around the pillar to watch the exchange, and her heart sunk when the two walked away together.

He was enraptured. She knew that look in his eye. It was the look he’d had every time he’d looked at her sister. It was the look he’d had when Ekuar told him he could help him strengthen his power. It was the look she’d wished he’d look at her with.

She stood there for quite some time after the two left, not quite sure what to do. She felt as if it were over. What she’d had for such a short time, even if it was only really just beginning, was now over.

SnowWren

Awww.. poor ShenShen!

(and poor Rayek! If only he knew the webs Winnie weaves)

JadeOwl

*hugs Shenshen* I love you sweetie! :hug2:

Ah, Rayek/Winnie...I wondered what you would do with them....Now i wonder even more at what will come of it. *Needs a "hmmmm..." smilie, all strkin' it's beard*

And as for posting sections? I'd say as you write them, unless it's like six in a row. Up to threee I'll read, but after that it gets time consuming. :D

Allura

Glad you guys like it!

This next part is giving me some problems. One of the characters doesn't want to co-operate properly. Ah well. I'll get it out of 'im.

The_Wylde_Wynd

Aww, it's ok girl, you've still got Pike.*pets Shenshen on the head*

...Hmm... wonder who will get more upset. Shenshen for losing Rayek, or Voll for having some young pup moving in on his woman! This should most definately be interesting!

SnowWren

I think it's Pike that will have the most trouble: "cramped" in Blue Mountain; a Winnowicked who may find out that the wolf bond is more than the gliders have w/ their birds; ShenShen pining after Rayek, and Rayek "forgetting" ShenShen for Winnie. I think Pike will have a very hard time. AND... well, he may start missing the company of other Wolfriders.

Hmmm... I wonder... will Cutter leave to find out what has happened to Rayek ShenShen and Pike, or will he leave to search for other elves, like he did before?

Allura... please post more! :) (i know, I'm not one to talk, I haven't posted in a while)

Allura

Speculation is fun!

Although part of it is right, part of it already has a plan to work around, and the rest... well, you'll see.

Some, of this has been planned for months.

manga

Rayek and Winnowill, huh? Now there's a meeting that'll rattle the Mountain!

heehee :)

Poor Shen-shen though. :( Maybe this can be good, though. Maybe Rayek and Winnowill meeting before Winnowill loses Voll will stop (or at least help to stop) her downward spiral?

Allura

Okay. Since a couple of the other characters weren't cooperating, I went a wrote a different section instead. Hoykar wanted more 'screentime' and for a character I never really meant to use much of, I'm glad he wants more of a part in the story. I loves 'im! *hugs* He's such a sweety. And I've taken his personality from everywhere I could find it. In a lot of places (meaning fan-fics and holts) he's a musician (And I plan to have him playing a lute-like instrument at some point, and maybe a flute or something. And in others he's got a thing for guys over girls. I like part of that, but not to the extent that people have him. I dunno. My story, my rules, I guess. I've got a couple plans for him now, and he fits well.

Now that I've talked enough: The story!

PART 16

Hoykar waited, as per Lord Voll’s orders, until that morning to go visit the strangers again. He flew gracefully through the passageways to the room that had been selected for them, and gently landed just outside the doorway. Almost unsure of what to do, he slowly poked his head inside the open archway. “Eh, hello?”

It was the aged elf who spoke. “Ah, come in, come in.”

Hoykar took a few uncertain steps in, and gasped at what he saw. Somehow, a window had been shaped in the side of the room, high up, allowing the sunlight to show through, and all around the walls were designs of nature; trees, rivers, animals, wolves especially on one side, and faded into what looked like soft mountains with little vegetation, save for strange pillar-looking plants with spikes growing out of them. The side with the forest and wolves, was depicted as being night, with two moons and stars covering the sky, while the side with the strange plants was depicted as being day, with the sun shining brightly.

Hoykar saw this and felt his own peoples’ sculptures inadequate. The shaping of rock in the from of living things inside the mountain had become more an more abstract the longer they had lived here, so that in comparison, these new depictions were as real as if he were standing in the strange landscape. And the sun that shone through”¦ it made the usually dull rock shimmer with colors that seemed to only show in the light of the day star. He hadn’t known that it could look so beautiful.

The aged elf, Ekuar, who was sitting cross-legged on one of the beds, put a finger to his bottom lip and stared, concerned. “Did I mess up your pretty carvings? I’m sorry. But the place reminded me too much of the troll tunnels and I had to””“

“No.” The Glider interrupted, trying not to sound too rude. “No it’s just”¦ It’s wonderful.” He took another long look at it and then forced his mind back to the present. “Where are your companions?”

“Oh.” The aged elf thought a moment, then smiled; something he seemed to do a lot. “They are, eh, outside.”

“Outside?!” Hoykar’s panic hit him immediately, but he forced it down. Though with the Gliders, only the Eight went outside, these elves were not Gliders, and so not obligated to follow those rules. He cleared his throat and tried to calmly ask how they got outside without the help of Winnowill or one of the Eight.

Ekuar chuckled and simply placed a hand on the wall. A section of the desert scene swirled and slowly opened up to the daylight and a small outshoot of mountain that served as a decent balcony. Standing there, was the Wolfrider with orange hair, his wolf, and the dark skinned beauty. They seemed to be expecting him, but if the outside of the rock swirled in such a strange way that the inside did, he wasn’t surprised.

He greeted them, and they only looked at him as if he had interrupted something. Now that he was here, he wasn’t sure what to say. “Beautiful morning, isn’t it?”

Pike nodded, but the female only seemed to look away. The fire that he had seen in her had apparently gone away. Something was amiss. He wanted to ask what was wrong, but the look he received from the Wolfrider told him not to ask. So, instead, he made a resolve to cheer her up. He couldn’t stand someone who had such a beautiful smile, to hide it away.

He walked a little to the edge, his foot hit a rock, and so he was thrown over the side. Shenshen let out a yell of concern, but he smiled, did a summersault in mid-air, and turned back to face them. “I’m sorry.” He told them. “I am much less graceful on the ground.”

Pike looked at him strangely, but Shenshen let out a short laugh. He found he liked to make her smile. It was strange, he normally went for the males, but she had a fire that he could not resist.

Her smile faded, but before he could do anything about it, the Wolfrider gave him a strange stare, and lock-sent with him. **Help me cheer her up.**

Without asking why or how, Hoykar turned to the dark skinned beauty. “That reminds me of something that once happened to Tyldak”¦ when he first received his wings. I wrote a song about it, would you like to hear?” She hesitated a moment, then slowly nodded. He then landed back on the ledge, cleared his throat and began.

“To soar through the sky, was his only dream
he sacrificed his arms to give himself wings
he flew through the air
all without a care
now that he had the means

To test his speed, he planned a race
None of the others could keep his pace
He beat them to the door
Dropped to the floor
And landed flat on his face.”

At that, Shenshen actually laughed. Hoykar was glad to hear it. “He wasn’t so great at landing when he got his wings. Wasn’t used to balancing on the new feet Winnowill gave him.”

Pike looked up at him. “Winnowill did that to him? How?”

Hoykar started to answer, but truthfully, he wasn’t all that sure. “It’s part of her healing I suppose. She can shape bodies too.”

The answer was thought over, and the Wolfrider seemed to accept it. Shenshen had finally turned all her attention to Hoykar instead of the landscape. “You have a beautiful voice. Could you sing more for us?”

Hoykar smiled. “For you, lady, anything.”

The_Wylde_Wynd

*tackle-glomps Hoykar* GAH!!!!! AWESOMENESS!!!! You so rule Allura, I loves my favorite Glider! ...By which I mean "Loves one of my several #1 favorite Gliders"... ... whatev, love it!!!! Beautiful chapter! Ekuar's shaping their chamber, Pike and Hoykar joining forces to cheer up poor little Sheny, the tripping and the song! Beautiful!*showers Allura with shirtless Hoykar cookies* More soon please!

JadeOwl

Awww! I actually think this is one of my favorite sections you've writen yet. It's just so..believable! So elfquest-y! I can see it so well in-comic... Surprised

Plus, I mean, c'mon, it's Hoykar! Wink

Allura

This part proved a bit difficult. If something screams WRONG to you guys at all, let me know, k?

PART 17

The group had been invited to a large dinner as guest of Voll. They were seated at a long table with Lord Voll at the head. Rayek and Winnowill arrived together, and soon separated, Winnowill taking the seat at the opposite end of the table of Voll, while Rayek joined the other three in the middle, mixed in with the Chosen Eight. Hoykar took a seat across from Shenshen, and Pike and Rayek sat on either side of her.

Shenshen, though in a better mood from last night, was immediately huffy when Rayek arrived. Neither said anything to each other, but the tension was broken when Voll spoke. “We welcome our small kin from the outside, and hope to hear tales of your people.”

Pike, being a storyteller, had waited eagerly to tell the origin of the Wolfriders, but Rayek was the one who spoke first. He told of how his Mother of Memory crossed the burning waste to come to the oasis of Sorrow’s End where they have never need fear humans. He seemed to play up the safety of the village, and that bothered Pike, because he’d had that run in with the zwoots, and things weren’t as safe and comfortable as he’d made it out to be, no matter how much they believed so. He’d also overplayed his part in village protector, just a little, and left out the end when the Wolfriders arrived.

Then came Pike’s turn, and he proudly told the story of Timmain’s sacrifice and Timmorn, the first Wolfrider. But when he was done, the reactions from the others was not what he’d expected. He’d not told this story to the group he’d traveled with yet either, and from them he was surprised. Shenshen and Ekuar only looked contemplative, but Rayek and a few of the Chosen Eight seemed to be repulsed. Lord Voll himself seemed troubled, but not like the others.

Slowly he sat down. He wasn’t exactly sure what to make of the silence, but thankfully, Voll asked, “Is your”¦ Timmorn still alive?”

To Pike, that seemed a silly question, but to the Gliders, it seemed not. He let out a nervous chuckle. “High Ones, no. Nine chiefs have passed between Timmorn and Cutter, our chief now.” The silence lingered again, and so Pike held up his glass and said, “Can I have some more of this”¦ wine stuff?” A nearby Glider refilled his glass, and he quickly took a few big gulps. It wasn’t dreamberries, but it’d do.

For a moment, Lord Voll put a finger to his chin, in thought. Then, slowly, he looked to the long haired beauty across the table from him. “Winnowill”¦ is it true?”

Winnowill stood, looking carefully from Voll to Pike and back. “There is only one way to find out.” She walked over to the Wolfrider and reached out to him. “Give me your hand.” It more a demand than a request, and that made him hesitate, but both Shenshen and Hoykar were giving him a look of ”˜go ahead’ so he did as she asked. He felt a strange tingling in his fingers, and then she pulled away, gently wiping her hand on her clothing. “It is, my lord. The Wolfrider has the blood of their animals running in their veins.”

Again, the silence was overwhelming. It was as though no one had any idea what to say. Pike had never felt ashamed of his bloodline, but he was starting to feel embarrassed. Then, suddenly Shenshen stood up and slammed her hands on the table. “But he’s still an elf, right?” She looked around, and everyone only seemed shocked. “He looks like us, he feels like us. He is an elf. All he has are heightened senses. And that helps him survive.” She stared at Rayek, who still had said nothing. “Rayek! We’ve traveled with him for moons! You even started to like him! What makes him any different now?”

“Death.”

The group turned to Winnowill, who calmly explained. “The blood of wolves run through your veins, little one. You are able to survive in the harsh world, but the cost is death. You will grow old, and die, just like the wolf you ride.”

Pike thought that over for a moment, and though at first it seemed a sad thing, he soon changed his mind. “Death part is life. We Wolfriders know this.” He wished now, that his tribe were here. It felt strange that he, of all his tribe, were facing this knowledge alone, and he didn’t like the responsibility. “We are born, we hunt, we howl, we live, and then we die.” It was probably a mix of the knowledge he was just given, and the wine he’d been drinking, but his head was getting even fuzzier than usual, so he sat down, and said no more.

Some of the others continued to eat, but Pike had lost his apatite. He stood up, and left the table. He thought he heard Shenshen try to send to him, but with his head muddled, and her inexperience, it was hard to tell. He walked back to their room, where Hotburr waited for him. Ekuar had shaped an opening to the outside for the wolf to come and go as it pleased, and so he greeted his wolf and decided that he would feel better if he went on a hunt.

manga

Aww. Poor Pike. Good story development though. :)

Someone oughta tell the other's that wolfblood isn't contagious. heh.

JadeOwl

Nothing seems off at all. I LOVE it. Great developement, and so true! Death is such a huge deal to the gliders. The woflriders know that it's part if living... :D

Allura

This part was fun.

PART 18

Rayek and Shenshen were the only ones left at the table once the others left. Shenshen glared at the elf next to her. “Why didn’t you stop him?”

“What?” The look on his face was of surprise.

“You should have stopped him! He’s our friend!” She crossed her arms, huffing. “You should have said something. You can’t possibly think he’s less than us just because of his wolf blood!”

Rayek frowned. “He will grow old and die. Like humans. All the Wolfriders will. He will be gone from our lives in the blink of an eye.”

“And what about now? He’s here now, and so are you. His mortality gives you no right to treat him like dung! He’s an elf just like us!”

“He’s not like us at all! He’s””“

* * *

“He’s an abomination!”

Hoykar frowned. “That’s not fair.”

The Glider in front of him sneered. “Elves live forever. We were never supposed to be part of this world. Never supposed to mingle with the creatures here. It is unnatural.”

“They did it to survive, Kureel.” He tried to speak to him calmly and rationally, but it didn’t seem to be working. “And it wasn’t as if he had a choice in the matter.”

“So we blame Timmain.” He turned his back to Hoykar. “Either way, he and his ”˜Wolfriders’ are not worthy of Blue Mountain. I forbid you to associate with him.”

* * *

“Forbid?” Shenshen’s eyes flashed with anger. Her voice volume dropped, but the words were no less fierce. “How dare you. You cannot force me to stay away. You cannot make me do anything I do not want to do.”

“You are mine.”

“No.” She moved in closer. “I was with you because I chose to be, not because you ”˜won’ me or you own me.” She paused a moment. “Do you love me, Rayek?”

“What?”

“You loved Leetah. Do you love me? Or did you ”˜choose’ me because I am her sister? Or maybe because you felt bad for me? Or did you just pick me because I was the [i:ebe172e1fd]only one there?![/i:ebe172e1fd]”

For a moment, he seemed very taken aback , but he soon straitened his jaw. “You followed me because you wanted me, didn’t you?”

* * *

Hoykar’s jaw dropped. “You knew?” He found the anger in him rising. “You knew the whole time? That I-- And you used me! I did everything for you!”

Kureel only held his head high. “And now all is out in the open. I forgive you for mingling with them. But our lives are better off without the elves from the outside. Especially the Wolfrider Soon Voll will see what I do and they will be gone.”

“They have a fire, Kureel. They have something in them that I fear we lost long long ago.” He clinched his fists. “When was the last time we talked? Just talked? When was the last time ANY of us just spoke to one another? Can you remember, Kureel?”

“We don’t need to talk anymore. We have moved beyond that. We are High Ones. We are””“

“We are nothing. I envy them, Kureel. They have opened my eyes. And I would rather be like them, than like you. Good bye.”

* * *

“We’re through.” Shenshen turned and walked away.

JadeOwl

Gods, Allura, how do you do that? I've been wanting to do that kind f scene for....I don't know how long! But whenever I tried, it was just....stupid. Dull. Forced. This is.....it flows so well, it's just.... Everyone's in character, it advances the plot, it's heart-breaking and so uplifting and hope-giving and lovely and...!


Pure genius.

:bow:

SnowWren

I get back from a weekend away, and what do I find??? Three beautifully written chapters!!! Each one is so lovely! I really like where you're going w/ this! Is there more?

Arthis

that is excellent, brilliant! :D :clap:

I love the last part, very well written!

manga

Boy did Rayek deserve that! Go Shen-shen!

That said, this Rayek doesn't seem very in character to me. I can (barely) see him hooking up with someone after his loss in the Village but I can't see him laying claim that quickly. It took him nearly ten years to start to like Kahvi that way. I admit some of that may have been the particular chemistry between them but I'm just not feeling this Rayek.

I mean, yeah he was a bit of a jerk at that point (JtSE) but he can't have been that bad or why hadn't Leetah given him the boot a long time ago?

Allura

Quote:
"manga
Boy did Rayek deserve that! Go Shen-shen!

That said, this Rayek doesn't seem very in character to me. I can (barely) see him hooking up with someone after his loss in the Village but I can't see him laying claim that quickly. It took him nearly ten years to start to like Kahvi that way. I admit some of that may have been the particular chemistry between them but I'm just not feeling this Rayek.

I mean, yeah he was a bit of a jerk at that point (JtSE) but he can't have been that bad or why hadn't Leetah given him the boot a long time ago?


While I agree, there are parts of this that I've written that don't seem quite right to me, I maintain that this is a Rayek we never truly saw int he comics. He left the village and found Ekuar, and it was just them for quite some time, and then they met the Go-Backs. He had time alone to think and he had Ekuar there to help him, and then he had the Go Backs to slap him around a bit.

Here, he's got two people constantly with him to remind him of why he left, and the bitterness he felt about it. And remember, they've been traveling together for months now. So it's not as if he just laid claim after two weeks.

And I imagine that Ekuar had some part in having him warm up to her.

And as to him being a jerk... well, he really only got like that after the Wolfriders showed up. Now don't get me wrong, he's one of my favorite characters... but he was kind of a jerk to the wolfriders, and then we didn't see him for seven years. It's only been a few months at this point.

And please don't take this as a "you're wrong, I'm right" type of thing. I'd like to know how you think he would act. Perhaps we can come to a happy medium. ^^

manga

[quote:6ce71a9e9a="Allura"]And please don't take this as a "you're wrong, I'm right" type of thing. I'd like to know how you think he would act. Perhaps we can come to a happy medium. ^^[/quote:6ce71a9e9a]

Dittoes! I'm not sure what to tell you about how he would act. I think you made some good points about time and not having reminders in the form of Pike and Shen-shen around. He doesn't seem OUT of character to me, he just doesn't seem to be fully in character, if you see what I mean. I just wish we knew when and how he learned about the Wolfriders' mortality in canon EQ. I can't see Leetah walking up to him during the first Palace War and saying "Oh, by the way, don't let Cutter get on your nerves too much, he'll be dead in a couple thousand years anyway."

HA! Finally placed your name. Allura was the princess in "Voltron" wasn't she? Even if that's not where you got it from, I think that's why I keen thinking I recognize it. :)

The_Wylde_Wynd

Awesome chapter Allura (Princess of Voltron?)!!! I loved Hoykar's standing up to Kureel, it may just be me but did it seem like a bit of a lover's quarel to anyone else? Also loved Shenshen's standing up to Rayek, again, love him but young Rayek needed a smack on the head every now and then.

I'm kinda with Manga, he seemed just a little out of character to me the first time I read the chapter. However with a few more reads and some thinking I think it's because I've gotten so used to Rouge's Quest/fanfiction/imagination more grown-up and mature Rayek that I forget that he was a brat sometimes. All in all, love it love it [i:01f41d83eb]love it[/i:01f41d83eb]! More soon please!

Allura

I can only guess that he'd found out about the mortality from when Timmain was talking through Suntop after the Palace War. Or did he mention it beforehand? Can't remember and I'm too lazy to check right now. Even so, he could have easily learned it during the couple of years where he was messing with the scrolls before Siege at Blue Mountain.


Quote:
"manga
HA! Finally placed your name. Allura was the princess in "Voltron" wasn't she? Even if that's not where you got it from, I think that's why I keen thinking I recognize it. Smile


You are right and wrong. Yes it was her name, no that's not where I got it from. Alura is my real name. I just added an L for here... not really sure why. Mom found the name in a baby book when she was a teenager. She liked it so much, she reused it for a million things, including her D&D characters (of which I actually own one of the character sheets of) and a character in a sci-fi story she and her cousin wrote. The character int hat story was an alien princess, and my mother was dressed as that character in the sci-fi convention where she and my dad met.

And now you know... :D And knowing is half the battle.

Allura

PART 19

Lord Voll stared at the woman he wished he still knew, and frowned. “Why did you do that?”

She smiled slyly, always keeping something secret behind her eyes. “They have a right to know whom they travel with, my lord.”

“And what about him?” He had attempted to sit down on the throne a few times, but every time, he felt as though he had to stand. It had to be symbolic, but he couldn’t understand how. “Must you tell him that he will die?”

“Would you have him believe otherwise?” She turned away and stared at the lavishly decorated walls. “To have him here, thinking he would be safe from the perils of the outside world, when he has only brought it with him?”

He sighed, knowing she was right. “Could you have done it more gently? Perhaps in private?”

“To achieve only the same results?”

“You humiliated him, Winnowill.” He shook a finger at her, but she didn’t seem too phased. “Death is”¦” He couldn’t find the words, and so he quieted. “Better he live in ignorance.”

At that, she turned to face him, her eyes burning with a secret he could not know. “Like you?”

He blinked. There was something there. Some kind of bitterness. “What do you mean?”

For a moment, he thought he saw a flicker of the Winnowill he knew, but it faded even as she turned away. “You did not listen to me before. Long ago. Why should I explain myself now?”

Lord Voll closed his eyes. Her voice had been full of resentment, and all of it at him. He thought out his words carefully, for any mistake could cost him the bond he’d tried so hard to keep going. He sighed and answered, “Because I am listening.”

Her first reaction was to glare at him, almost with hatred, but in the blink of an eye, it faded away and her eyes softened. She groped for words, and he swore he could see a tear in her eye, but before saying anything, she turned from him again.

Any anger he’d had from before faded, and his heart went out to her. Had he finally brought the old Winnowill to surface? There was some dark secret she kept all those years, something that ate away at her, and it hurt that she would never tell him what it was. He reached out for her. “Winnowill”¦” But she wouldn’t face him. He frowned in frustration. He had no idea what to say. **I am listening. Please, speak to me.**

Winnowill first refused to even turn around, but her demeanor slowly changed. She straitened, and collected herself, and when she turned back around to face him, she had returned to the Winnowill that had graced the mountain these last few centuries. “You wanted to keep all of us safe. And now it is my turn. I will keep you safe. I will keep all of us safe. Even from yourselves if I must.”

He could have ordered her to stay, but that would have achieved nothing. He only wished that he understood the person she had become”¦

JadeOwl

Surprised Voll/Winnie! Voll/unredeemed Winnie! Gods~ Allura, I love you. My heart aches for them....thank you for showing me why I love canon early-Winnie.

Also, you have one of the best names ever. With two L's, I always imagined it said All[u:a6a409d03c]ur[/u:a6a409d03c]a, like "alluring". With one, though, it could be [u:a6a409d03c]Al[/u:a6a409d03c]ura stress on the first syllable. How do you say it?

Allura

Quote:
"Jade Owl
Voll/Winnie! Voll/unredeemed Winnie! Gods~ Allura, I love you. My heart aches for them....thank you for showing me why I love canon early-Winnie.

And boy am I having a difficult time doing it right too. I'm really trying not to make her the 'evil for the sake of being evil' Winnie, but it's really hard. She doesn't talk to me, she just insults me, so all this has to come from the other characters' point of view. Makes things difficult. (and it also means I have no idea what she's actually planning... grr...)

Quote:
"Jade Owl
Also, you have one of the best names ever. With two L's, I always imagined it said Allura, like "alluring". With one, though, it could be Alura stress on the first syllable. How do you say it?


Actually, I found my name in a baby name book once too (and promptly bought it. I mean, it's really hard to find my name! I'm always out of luck on those name keychains you get at just about any gift store.) It even had both spellings of the name. The one with two L's means alluring. The one with one L means 'divine messenger.'

It is technically pronounced like alluring, but I personally just pronounce as if it had an O instead of a U. Alora. Or Laura with an A in front. *shrug* I honestly don't care. I've had people pronounce it Alera (E as in learn) too.

JadeOwl

Well, either way, it's pretty! :D As for Winnie...Hm.

*goes over and sits in the corner, muttering to herself for a few seconds*

Here. You can have my nearly-redeemed Winnie. She seems mostly willing (though she's kind of pissed because I've been leaving her out of Changelings on purpose), and maybe she can give you some insight on how she felt back then (which was really not so long ago).

Allura

I will be sure to hit her up for information. Not yet though, as I'm taking a short deviation to another set of characters. Maybe for one or two parts, and then we're going back to out friends at Blue Mountain.

Oh, and because no one has mentioned it yet (which I'm surprised about) a lot of people think I'm named after the baby in the movie Willow. But I'm going to say now that though it may sound similar, it's spelled Elora.

SnowWren

Yeay for Voll/Winnie interraction! Great writing!

Poor Pike!

Ooooh! Deviation to other characters--yeay!

Allura

Hm... I'm not very happy with this chapter...

Can't really figure out why though...

Next chapter will be better, I promise!

PART 20

Cutter was becoming very annoyed, very quickly. “We’re not going to kill him.” He repeated, forcefully, leaning on the window of the clay hut, looking inside. “Not yet anyway. We wait until he wakes up, and then we ask him how he got here.”

But the elf standing next to him would have nothing of it. **He tried to kill us! We should only do the same in return!**

The chief turned his attention from the inside of the building, and sighed. “No, Greymung tried to leave us to die, and ordered Picknose to take us there.”

**They’re all the same!**

He growled. It was bad enough that the argument was happening at all, but many of the Sun Villagers had come out, curious of the strange creature that had been found, and so were all there to witness the spat. He was just glad that most of the villagers couldn’t send and only got half the message. “Think about it, Strongbow! He’s a troll! Trolls hate the sun. Why would he risk traveling across the desert? It took us three days! There must be a reason. And I’m going to wait until he wakes up and ask him.”

**He’ll lie.**

Cutter shrugged. “Maybe. But I’m betting that if he’s thirsty enough, and he doesn’t want to go back into the sun, he’ll tell us what we want to know.”

A moment later, he heard Leetah call him into the hut, and both he and Strongbow followed. His lifemate was sitting on the edge of her bed, in the relaxed state she always was after a healing, while on her sheets lay the troll they had been discussing. The troll groaned, and slowly opened his eyes. He looked around, and spotted Cutter.

“Oh. S’you.”

Cutter put on a grin and leaned on one of Leetah’s tables. “Well, well Picky. Welcome back to the land of the living.”

The troll slowly sat up, putting a hand on his head and glanced around. He looked ready to say something, but closed his mouth when he saw Strongbow with his bow in one hand, and an arrow in another. He then cleared his throat and mumbled, “So you did make it.”

“And more.” The wolf chief took a step onto the sheets and knelt down to become eye-to-eye with the troll. “Now, why don’t you tell us what you’re doing here? Failed too many times for Greymung’s liking?”

“Hmph.” He raised his head, almost proudly. “Greymung’s dead.”

Treestump, who had been sitting on a chair in the corner of the room, chuckled. “We’re gone just a few moons and you Trolls lose it, eh?”

At the comment, Picknose growled, pointing a finger at the bearded elf. “It’s because of you elves that we got soft! After you left, the Trolls from the North came, killed half of us off, enslaved the other half”¦” He sighed and slumped his shoulders. “They took everyone.”

“And so you came to us for help? Is that it Picky?” Cutter scratched his head. There was something more to this than just that, and he hoped the troll would tell them. “What made you think we’d survived the little trip you sent us on?”

He crossed his arms. “You’re little red nosed friend came back through the tunnel. Him and some others.”

At the mention of Pike, Leetah spoke up. “And Shenshen? Was she with them?”

The troll sniffed. “Yeah, there was a female who looked kinda like you. And a male. Dark skin. Black hair.”

“Rayek”¦” She whispered. She said nothing more, but Cutter could tell she was both worried and relieved. “What happened to them? Are they safe?”

“Dung if I know.” The troll huffed. “They left. Headed out to where your ”˜Holt’ used to be. Haven’t see ”˜em since.”

The elves thought over the information for a bit, but soon Cutter got back to business. “Why are you here, Picknose?”

“I just came to escape. Same as you.”

“Nu uh.” Cutter shook his head. “If you were going to escape, you could have gone through at least eight eights of other tunnels. Why pick your ”˜Tunnel of Golden Light?’”

At this point, some of the other Wolfriders had arrived to watch the discussion between their chief and the Troll. Picknose looked around nervously, but didn’t give in. “Don’t I get to ask some questions? Like how you survived? Or what treasures you might have found? Or”¦ maybe whether you need that sword of yours?”

Quickly, Cutter looked from his blade and back to the Troll. He frowned. “New Moon? Why would you want it? It’s mine! My father gave it to me.”

“Your father took it from us. He was a cheat.”

“Liar!” The wolf chief lunged at the troll, blade at his throat. “You take that back! He got this sword fair and square!”

Picknose immediately changed his attitude and showed throat. “I didn’t mean anything by it.” He cleared his throat. “Not like the blade’s any use in troll hands anyway.”

The wolf chief backed off only a little. “You tell us why you’re here, or I’ll let my tribe cut you into pieces and feed you to the jackals.” The troll was scared, but didn’t say anything. “Leetah here saved your life, Picky. Shouldn’t you be grateful?” Picknose grumbled something the may have been a thank you, but it was hard to tell. Cutter thought for a moment, then smiled. He walked over to his lifemate, and pointed to her earring. “See this? There is a lot of it here. If you tell us what your purpose for coming here is, we’ll give you some of it. Trolls like gold, don’t they?”

The moment Picknose spotted the yellow metal, his eyes grew round and wide with greed, and Cutter could swear he was ready to drool. But in that moment, Cutter knew he had won.

JadeOwl

I like this! Picky's gotten cagey. But where's Oddbit? And Old Maggoty?

I wants my Oddbit/Picky romance! :D

Hmm....I don't really see anythign wrong with it, except that it's short. I know that I tend to be less enthusiatic about my own chapters when ALL they do is advance the plot, and maybe have a character moment or two. If it doesn't have something surprising, a cliffhanger, or some bit of poetry somewhere....I just don't like it as much.

Maybe you're the same way? Wink

Allura

Entirely possible.

EDIT: And I've decided my avi is far too serious. So, now I have a cute Clearbrook/Treestump. These two don't get enough love.

SnowWren

I like the chapter--want more. :) Please?

And I love the new Avatar!

Allura

Of course there's more. But two things stand in the way at the moment; I've been working on a comic taking place before and during the habitation of Blue Mountain (which may take me a while, and is not the priority, but it is taking time away from writing. Don't expect anything to come of this one anytime soon.)

And the other... well, Picknose is being a pain in the butt. I wanted to write this next part in his point of view (last one too, but it didn't work either) and he's just giving me the surface details. You know, he said this, and then she said that, and blahblahblah. No feelings thoughts or real detail. So I asked him to give more, and he insisted that real manly trolls didn't go into their feelings. And I told him then that it didn't make for a good story otherwise. And so he replied with, "A story? You never said anything about a story. I thought you wanted the facts. If what you want is a story--"

And he proceeded to tell me how he tricked all the elves, won the kingdom back, became richer than God (my add-in, not his), and single-handedly took out some monster with eight arms and six heads. Talk about tall tales...

So we'll see how long it takes me to get the information from some of the other elves, eh?

Allura

This part ran a lot longer than I wanted it to. Ah well. Next chapter, we get back to our people at Blue Mountain.

PART 21

Skywise leaned back on the cave wall and absentmindedly fiddled with the stone hanging from his neck. “What do you think, Cutter? He telling the truth?”

The Wolfrider chief didn’t answer immediately. “I don’t think he’s lying about the Trolls from the North attacking. I don’t think he’d come all this way otherwise. Not even his greed is that strong.” He paused. “I believe he became king in Greymung’s place, but I think there’s more to him just being overthrown.”

“Probably lost his crown in a game of toss-stone.” Skywise added with a smirk.

Cutter smiled, but kept going with his own thoughts. “And I believe he thought he’d find us here because of Pike, Shenshen and Rayek. He certainly seems to believe that ”˜we owe him’ for saving their lives. But there’s something he’s not telling us.” He looked down at his blade. “Something about New Moon.”

The frost-haired elf shrugged. “You think too much. Maybe he just wanted to get at your throat.”

“I don’t think so.” He pulled the sword from its sheath and examined it. “What could Old Picky want with my father’s sword?” He ran his fingers across the blade, then the hilt, then down to the handle. Suddenly, his expression changed to confusion. He stared intently at the sword, and then slowly pulled a small metal piece from the handle. One of the blue bands lifted up, but nothing more. Both elves looked at it closely, but they couldn’t see anything under the band.

“I don’t get it.” The stargazer scratched his head, as Cutter moved his hand holding the sword down to his side. There was a small clanking sound, and the pommel fell from the handle. Both elves knelt down and reached for it, Skywise grabbing it first. They examined the metal, noticing immediately that there was more that fell than they could see when it was in the sword. There was a long thin strip of metal coming from the sphere, jutting out at odd angles. Clearly, there was much more than Picknose had let on.

* * *

“What is it?”

The troll had stared at the pommel to New Moon with an almost unreadable expression, but he obviously knew something about what was being shown. However, “No clue. Never seen it before.”

Skywise grinned and leaned over, picking up one of the pieces of gold jewelry that had been promised to the troll. “You’re lying, Picky. One of your eyes droop just a little when you lie.” **And he lies a lot.** he added to Cutter. “Now you wouldn’t want to take advantage of our hospitality”¦ saving you from the desert”¦ healing you”¦ giving you food and water”¦ and gold”¦ You wouldn’t just use us would you? We don’t like being lied to”¦”

On cue, Nightrunner and Starjumper closed in on the troll, just a little, growling. Picknose pulled his feet in closer to his body and clutched the gold pieces he had been playing with when the elves arrived. “Well”¦ since you put it that way”¦” He cleared his throat. “Have you elves ever heard of Two-Edge?” The two looked at each other, and shook their heads. “Hmph. Well, he’s a master smith, a legend to us trolls. Crazy as anything, but the best forger we’ve ever had. Made your sword there, and the key that came from it.”

Skywise held up the pommel. “Key? What’s it do?”

“It opens things.” The troll grinned. “Wonderful things! Full of gold and treasure.”

The stargazer’s eyes widened and sparkled. “Treasure?” He licked his lips. “What kind of treasure?”

“It’s mine!” The troll snapped, “Two-Edge promised it to me!”

Cutter only rolled his eyes and shrugged. “We don’t want your treasure. Keep explaining.”

After a moment of what seemed like the troll didn’t believe them, he let it slide and continued. “He came to me, after we left you in the tunnel. Told me about the key. I thought I’d lost it all with you being as good as dead. And then your friends came back, and I became king.” He stuck out his chest proudly. “I saved their lives.” He made sure to point that out at every opportunity. “Greymung would have killed them if not for me. Then those trolls from the North came, like I told you. I escaped.” He suddenly became much more serious, staring off into the distance. “They took Oddbit.” He stopped talking, and simply stared into the distance. The two elves waited, but he didn’t continue.

“Eh, Picky?” Skywise waved a hand in front of the Troll’s face, which snapped him back to the present.

Cutter raised an eyebrow, but decided not to press the matter. “And”¦ your escape?”

The troll grunted, but went on with the explanation. “The old Master Smith warned me they were coming, and directed me to the Tunnel of Golden Light. Said I would find you here, and the key to my treasure. I found some supplies”¦ water and food, at the exit to the tunnel. No doubt left by Two-Edge for me.”

Cutter looked down at the strange metal that had some from his sword. “Well, you found us, and the key. What did you expect to do once you got here? I’m not giving you my sword. Even a piece of it.”

Picknose stroked his beard. “I say you owe me.”

“Owe you?!” Skywise stepped foreword, annoyed. “We saved your life, troll! I say we’re even.”

**Fahr”¦** Cutter sent to his close friend to calm him down. He turned to Picknose. “But what made you think that he was telling the truth?”

The troll almost chuckled. “You’re holding the key aren’t you? He’s mad, but he’s no liar.” He crossed his arms. “I trust his troll half when it comes to treasure.”

That caught Cutter’s interest. “Troll half?”

Picknose grunted as if he’d said something he hadn’t meant to. He glanced from the elves to their wolves and frowned. “Eh, he’s said to be”¦ half elf, on his mother’s side.”

“That’s disgusting!” Both Cutter and Skywise were repulsed. Cutter only cringed, while Skywise stuck out his tongue.

“Disgusting indeed.” The Troll agreed. “But it’s true.” Picknose quieted, tapping on one of the gold earrings he had been given, that now lay on the table before him.

**Half elf, half troll.** Cutter sent to Skywise. **Do you know what this means?**

**One deranged elf?**

He gave his brother in all but blood a disapproving glance, but didn’t say anything. **If Picknose is telling the truth, if this Two-Edge is really half elf, then there must be other elf tribes out there, besides us and the Sun Folk.**

**How to you figure?**

**No Wolfrider in their right mind would mate with a Troll.**

Skywise cringed. **Point. But would you really want to meet a tribe that mated with Trolls?**

The two glanced over at Picknose, who seemed to have no clue there was a conversation going on between them. Cutter shook his head. **I get the feeling that this Two-Edge is one of a kind. Either way, there are elves besides us in the world.**

Skywise frowned. **Stop that.**

**Stop what?**

**Thinking. I know you.** He pointed a finger at his chief. **You’re thinking about going to find them. You have a lifemate and a cub on the way. You can’t just leave.**

**Leetah can come with. She--**

**She won’t do it and you know it.**

Cutter didn’t reply. He turned his attention to Picknose. “I have a deal for you troll. You can stay here as long as you don’t cause any trouble. When my cubs are born, I will go with you to find your treasure. And you can have it.”

For a moment, Picknose seemed excited, but it faded just as soon as it had come. “Oddbit may not last that long, elf. It’s her that I want.”

“Oddbit?” Skywise cocked his head. “She your lifemate?”

The troll nodded. “She’s mine. I won her when I became king. But Guttlecraw took her away from me. I tried to save her from the warriors, but I”¦” He stopped, seeming genuinely hurt. Even Skywise’s heart went out to him. “They’ll kill her. They may have already.”

As much as Cutter felt sorry for the troll, he couldn’t justify helping him. “I’m sorry Picknose. I can’t put my tribe in danger, just for your treasure and your lifemate. They wouldn’t agree to it anyway. I’m getting enough from them by just letting you stay. And I’m not leaving my lifemate here.”

Picknose huffed and quickly stood up. “And what am I supposed to do?! Sit here in a cave surrounded by elves, getting even fatter and lazier than Greymung?!”

“You may do what you wish, as long as you harm no one in the village, or take anything that doesn’t belong to you.” Cutter sighed, knowing this was not what the troll wanted. He frowned, almost regretting what he was about to say. “When you saw Pike, Shenshen and Rayek, they were alive.” The troll nodded. “They were supposed to return here in one turn of the season, with or without Rayek. They have been gone for six moons. If they don’t return in another six, we have to go look for them anyway. You may come with us if you like, but that’s all I can offer you.”

Picknose obviously didn’t like the deal, but he nodded. After all, what other choice did he have?

SnowWren

Mmmmm.... I could see it happening that way! :) And I love the interaction between Skywise and Cutter. And Picknose makes me feel sorry for him...

Allura

This was so much fun to write! Now let's see if anyone can understand it...

PART 22

Fly fly fly! Stay away from flyhighthings. Hide from longhair mean highthing. Must find softpretty bushyhead highthing and roseynose tipsy highthing and sharpdark grumpy highthing and happy rockmover highthing! Must find must find.

Fly fly. Hide behind rock. Fly when others leave. Zip zip. Fly. In and out, and around. Back and forth and””

“Preserver!”

Eep! Found! Fly away, avoid. No flighhighthings! Through tunnel. Around bridge. Fast fast. Lose flyhighthing. But still there! Not good not good no””Eep!

“Why didn’t you obey me?”

Found! Caught! Use claws. Scratch.

“Ow! Preserver, I order you to stop, now!”

Stop. Look. Highthing was one from outside. But not softpretty bushyhead highthing or roseynose tipsy highthing or sharpdark grumpy highthing or happy rockmover highthing. One of first flyhighthings come in long time. Can trust?

“Acornleaf need find other highthings. No capture by flyhighthings. Acornleaf scratch. You let go!”

Highthing confused. Maybe trust? “I have no wish to capture you.” Highthing let go. “I only wanted to know where your kin went. I have not seen them since we arrived.”

Want to trust. Must find other highthings. “Highthing help Acornleaf find other Highthings?”

“Other highthings? You mean Shenshen and Pike?”

“Yes, bushyhair highthing and roseynose highthing, yes yes!”

Highthing look away. “I do not know where Pike is. But Shenshen was just in her room, I thought. I was just going to go see her.”

Good good! “Acornleaf come!” Fly into softpretty hair. “Acronleaf hide. Flyhighthing find bushyhair highthing. Go go!”

Flyhighthing fly. Through ways and around ways. Then, Bushyhair Highthing! Flyhighthing fly down. “Shenshen!”

Bushyhair Highthing not happy. “Hoykar! Pike is gone! He left the mountain! I wish to look for him. Can you open the Door for me?”

“Only Winnowill can open Door.” Bad. Bad longhair highthing. “But I can take you down on my hawk if you’d like.”

“Talk talk talk.” Fly to Bushyhair highthing. “No talk! Help Acornleaf!”

Bushyhair highthing look sorry for Acronleaf. “What’s wrong little one?”

“Longhair Highthing cage Petalwing. Cage others! Acornleaf free. Find Bushyhair Highthing and roseynose highthing and sharpdark highthing and rockmover highthing! Get help!”

“Winnowill caged the Preservers? Why?” Flyhighthing good to trust! Look to Bushyhair Highthing.

“Who knows?” Bushyhair highthing look around. “But there is certainly more going on here than we first thought. We need to find Pike.”

“Nooo! No stray! Help Acornleaf!” Bad highthings not help. Need help.

“We will take you to Pike, outside. And then we can get the other Preservers.” Flyhighting good idea. Get more. Get others. All come and save others.

Bushyhair Highthing take Flyhighting hand. “Come on, Hoykar, let’s go.”

SnowWren

Oooh! I like Aacornleaf! And Hoykar--** :D **

Allura

Only one person read the new part? :(

Arthis

Iread it too, and I really like it. Preservers are so funny to write! Grin

crescent1325

[color=indigo:3c5835d162]Ive been reading your story, Just lurking and not much posting these days. as I said when you first started this story, brilliant. And if I didnt.. I should have. Grin[/color:3c5835d162]

Carapace

I've just been catching up. I love how you're bringing all the non-elf players into the story. The preserver speak especially is impressive. That stuff's hard to do for long, and horribly addictive at the same time. I hope you were able to revert to normal human speech afterwards.

The elves are good too, of course. Skywise especially reminds me of how he sounds in the novelizations.

The whole thing feels so plausible. I love AUs where everything is changed with one little decision, and this fits. I do hope to hear more from ShenShen's viewpoint soon, though. We never did get enough from her in the canon. Thanks for helping make up for it!

Allura

Thanks everyone for the comments!

And sorry for pushing the matter... I'm just really proud of this part.

manga

We know how it is, Allura. ^_^

Sometimes I think the Preservers are my favorite characters. Good job capturing their squeaky little minds. ;)

Allura

Okay, so I've been writing a lot to other stories (non-Elfquest) so the next part may be a while coming. But who knows? Maybe I'll have a quick inspiration and write the next part.

This is, however, a good thing. It's been a while since I could write anything besides fan-fic, and that was bad. I used to write pages and pages a day. So, this particular story here, has kept me going in my dry spell. I'm going to use up this inspiration on other things, but when I get my next drought, I'll pop back in here and continue.

Just warning; It may be a while for the next update. But at least anyone who fell behind will have a chance to catch up.

Sorry guys. *throws some favorite character cookies at the campers.*

The_Wylde_Wynd

*pops back in* Awesome chapter Allura! I know I keep saying it but I just loves Hoykar to bits!*glomples Hoykar* And I love Acornleaf too! Preservers rule!!!

krwordgazer

You know, somehow I lost track of this story in May sometime. :oops: Anyway, I found it again and found that the last section I'd read was part 8. My only hope was to print the remaining sections to read away from the computer, or I'll never catch up. So I did. Did you know that that comes to 33 pages? Surprised

Anyway, I'll read it and get back to you, Allura. ..

Allura

Quote:
krwordgazer

You know, somehow I lost track of this story in May sometime. :oops: Anyway, I found it again and found that the last section I'd read was part 8. My only hope was to print the remaining sections to read away from the computer, or I'll never catch up. So I did. Did you know that that comes to 33 pages? Surprised

Anyway, I'll read it and get back to you, Allura. ..



Really? *looks* My Word Document of the story totals at 47 pages. (but I'm counting the stuff I haven't posted yet. I'm working on the next bit little by little. It'll give you time to catch up at least. :D

krwordgazer

Allura-- my 33 pages did not include the first 8 parts, which I had already read. So I think that meshes with your page count. :)

Wow, this is a wonderful story so far! A few things I really liked included:

1. The way Rayek was acting at the beginning, especially towards Pike. Despite the comments of other readers, I didn't find him out of character at all. I found myself looking at a Rayek who was sulking-- who hadn't gotten over his ignominious defeat at Cutter's hands. In setting up an internal contest for Shenshen with Pike, then, Rayek was putting Pike into Cutter's place so he could "win" this time. Hence his sending, "I won, Wolfrider"-- which, of course, Pike couldn't understand, since the whole contest had been in Rayek's head to begin with, as a way to regain "face." Excellently done.

2. Your conception of Hokyar. You've made him a full character, and very interesting. I love your description of the way he compares his people's rockshaping with Ekuar's. A beautiful description, and the comparison encapsulates the whole problem within Blue Mountain.

3. Hokyar's poem about Tyldak. Hysterical! Grin

4. The really cool parallelisms between Rayek-Shenshen and Hokyar-Kureel, as one rejects the Wolfriders for their blood and the other defends them.

5. Petalwing's section. The Preserver-speak is very well done and fun to read!

A few constructive comments.

There are some places where you "tell" too much rather than "showing." When the reptile attacks Shenshen, I'd like to "see" some sharp teeth and claws, to "hear" the swish of claws through the air, the skirt ripping, stuff like that. In the Picknose-Cutter section, when you say "the troll was scared, but didn't say anything," I'd like Picknose's fear to show in his posture and facial expression rather than simply being told he was scared.

The only other thing is the moment at which the Gliders find Rayek and Pike. Pike open-sends to Rayek, "You're sounding more elegant than usual, Black-Hair. Trying to impress them?" This seems odd. Why an open send? Does Pike really want Hokyar to overhear him insulting Rayek, at a time when the two of them are being confronted by an unknown elf on a huge bird? I don't think Pike would be petty enough, or foolish enough, to show lack of solidarity by insulting his companion in front of a stranger. It's also already clear that Rayek is speaking very formally, as though to impress, without Pike drawing attention to the fact. I'd adjust this somehow, perhaps even delete Pike's words.

Anyway, I'm glad I got caught up! It's definitely a story worth reading, and really fun!

Allura

Quote:
krwordgazer


1. The way Rayek was acting at the beginning, especially towards Pike. Despite the comments of other readers, I didn't find him out of character at all. I found myself looking at a Rayek who was sulking-- who hadn't gotten over his ignominious defeat at Cutter's hands. In setting up an internal contest for Shenshen with Pike, then, Rayek was putting Pike into Cutter's place so he could "win" this time. Hence his sending, "I won, Wolfrider"-- which, of course, Pike couldn't understand, since the whole contest had been in Rayek's head to begin with, as a way to regain "face." Excellently done.


Thank you for explaining it far better than I have been able to.

Quote:
krwordgazer


There are some places where you "tell" too much rather than "showing." When the reptile attacks Shenshen, I'd like to "see" some sharp teeth and claws, to "hear" the swish of claws through the air, the skirt ripping, stuff like that. In the Picknose-Cutter section, when you say "the troll was scared, but didn't say anything," I'd like Picknose's fear to show in his posture and facial expression rather than simply being told he was scared.


I have always had trouble with that. I'm trying to get better. (In fact, I used to be much worse.) Part of this story is practice for me. I'll probably go through the whole thing in the future and fix it all, but at the moment, I'm not willing to put forth the effort.

Quote:
krwordgazer


The only other thing is the moment at which the Gliders find Rayek and Pike. Pike open-sends to Rayek, "You're sounding more elegant than usual, Black-Hair. Trying to impress them?" This seems odd. Why an open send? Does Pike really want Hokyar to overhear him insulting Rayek, at a time when the two of them are being confronted by an unknown elf on a huge bird? I don't think Pike would be petty enough, or foolish enough, to show lack of solidarity by insulting his companion in front of a stranger. It's also already clear that Rayek is speaking very formally, as though to impress, without Pike drawing attention to the fact. I'd adjust this somehow, perhaps even delete Pike's words.


Hm... not sure what I was thinking at the time. When I get around to it, I'll re-read and fix it.

Thank you for the pointers, and I'm sorry I didn't reply sooner (looking back on it, I fear it may have seemed like I didn't take the criticism well) but I've been playing the Sims lately and haven't done much of anything else. :daze:

Allura

*looks around at the long-deserted campsite* Hrm... *pokes some half-eaten stale cookies* *Kicks the ash from the old fire pit around, then sticks a sign in the ground reading: RE-OPENING SOON*

And I would have everyone know I've got a plotline written out now that will probably take several chapters to reach the end of. I'll start working on it this evening. *wonders who will return*

LadyArill

Me. I will return.

(Sets up tent with Hoykar tethered to outside)

There we go. I love your Hoykar. Really I do.
(Strokes Hoykar)

I feel so dirty...
-H


There now. It will go away in a couple of days, don't fret.

Have some fire wood, lighter fluid and matches to fire up the pit/fic once more!
(Gives)

~Rilly

Allura

Hey! Hoykar's mine! *snatches*

Hoykar: "Don't I get a say in this?"

No.

The_Wylde_Wynd

*rises from the ash, clad in a sleeping bag and blinking like an owl* Allura? Story?*never left*

...Hoykar!*flying glomp*

Hoykar: Why?! Why was I cursed with such an appealing being?! Why won't they- oh High Ones! Air! Need... Air!

Allura

Lol. Poor Wyl! I didn't kick you when I kicked the ash, did I?

Allura

Aaaannndd... PLOT!

PART 23

His heart pounded. He gripped the thick fur as the muscles of his mount rippled beneath him. The steady beat of the wolf. The panicked sounds of the doe. The biting winds of the snow-filled air.

This was the Now. When in the now, there was nothing else; just the deer, the wolf and the elf.

Nearing his prey, the elf reared up on his mount, gripping his weapon tightly. He narrowed his eyes, looking for an opening, and when one was spotted, he let the spear fly. Blood. The deer went down. It was not a clean kill, but that was ended easily when they closed in.

Pike pulled his weapon from the corpse and let Hotburr have first taste of their kill. Although the thrill of the hunt was refreshing, he was not in the mood to eat just yet. His eyes drifted up towards the looming figure of Blue Mountain in the distance. He didn’t like having to think, let alone as much as he had been on this strange quest. All he wanted was a tree to sleep, a tribe, and some dreamberries. What he had now was strange trees without a shelter, an abandoned cave, a mountain of elves who shunned him, and friends who didn’t seem to understand. And a secret.

His eyes fell then on Hotburr who had looked up from his meal, wurfed, and then trotted over, dropping a bit of meat at Pike’s feet. The elf broke into a smile. Hotburr knew what was important, and so did the wolf blood. He grabbed the scrap and started chewing as he cut up the kill. The wolf wouldn’t reject him. He knew who he was; a Wolfrider! He would always be one, and he couldn’t imagine being otherwise.

But”¦

He expected that this must be what it was like to be Cutter; always thinking. Pike could easily stay in the forest with the Preservers, or in the cave that they had denned in at the start of the white cold, but he had made a promise to Leetah to watch over her sister.

But could one watch over someone who didn’t wish it?

What he wouldn’t do for some dreamberries right now”¦ even some of the Gliders’ ”˜wine’ stuff would do. His head felt so heavy he could hardly hold it up.

The wind around him grew stronger and the once gentle snowflakes started to sting any exposed skin. It was going to be a cold night. He packed up what he could carry, mounted Hotburr, and headed towards the cave by the waterfall.

manga

*wakes up to find herself covered with leaves and branches* Hey! Redlance! Get 'em off of me! Please?

The_Wylde_Wynd

Aw, poor Pike's all alone. But go Hotburr! Stick by your buddy!*pets Hotburr*

*brushes foliage off Manga* There there hun, the icky plants are gone. Wink

SnowWren

<Wren, who'd been sleeping soundly in her zero degree sleeping bag in the crook of some exposed tree-roots, wakens to see the fire blazing! She inchworms her way closer, thankful for the renewed warmth, and laughing at the antics of the other campers!>

"Yeay! She's back! Allura's back! And she brought storrrrryy!!!! Please, Allura, tell us more! We're all here! And maybe more will come once they see the fire's going!"

Windwalker

Just spent an hour reading the whole thing. Methinks Pike is regretting this quest perhaps. But I'm glad he took it because this story rox mai sox off. And I must jump on the bandwagon and agree that Hoykar is awesome. Kureel needs to die though.

Allura

Gah! "They're popping out of the snow... like daisies!"

"If you write it, they will come!"

And Hoykar-shaped cookies for the first one who guesses those two (tweaked) movie quotes.

And, as I'd said before, I've got an outline now, so I know where the story's going, and (mostly) how to get there, so when I get time, I'll work on it. I'll try and get something before I head off to work, and if not... maybe after.

Allura

WindWalker: You must have posted while I was replying to Snow Wren. ^^

Thank you for the compliments! And yeah, Pike's not really the questing type, and certainly not without his tribe. And remember, this was supposed to be a simple search and recover mission. It turned into something bigger, and Pike's having trouble with that. Poor guy. *pats Pike and gives him some dreamberries* And remember too, he's been without the wonderful purple berries for months now.

And, I loves my Hoykar too.

The_Wylde_Wynd

*pulling out snax for the wait and directing minions to spruce up campsite* And don't forget the bbq pit! Meat is needed! Oh, btw: Mulan and Field of Dream!*eyes Hoykar-cookies*

Allura

*hands the cookies over*

Hoykar: Don't I get some? *pleady eyes*

manga

Interesting scene with Pike, btw. I wonder how things will develop from here?

Allura

I love this bit, though the end of it felt a little awkward for me. (I'm not so good at those parts) so any critique would be nice. And, awww.... I loves my elves.

Oh, and can anyone remember if I named Hoykar's bird yet? I skimmed the story and I can't find a name, so if I have, just let me know and I'll change the name I gave the bird here.

PART 24

Hoykar couldn’t help smiling to himself as the delicate browned hands gripped his waist tightly. Her face showed no fear; far from it, but her hold on him said otherwise. But, despite any fear she may have from falling off the moving bird, she seemed to like flying.

He turned his attention back to the ground beneath them, and scanned the visible area. So far, no luck finding the Wolfrider, and the snow and wind was getting worse. He was about to consider turning back when, “There! Hoykar, that has to be him!”

Down below, through the hazy air, a small figure could be seen against the white backdrop of snow. As they descended, an elf and wolf were easily distinguished. Hoykar turned and lifted his passenger, who squeaked in surprise, but calmed when she saw they were slowly floating off the bird, and down towards the ground.

Pike had stopped when he’d spotted them, and waited for the two to land. He’d said nothing, but it didn’t seem like he needed to. The moment Shenshen’s feet touched the snow-covered ground, she ran to the orange-haired elf and embraced him tightly.

“I’m sorry, Pike!” There were no tears, but a sob escaped her voice. “I should have said something! I don’t care if you live a hundred years or a thousand; you’re an elf, same as us!”

Hoykar approached the two and placed a hand on the Wolfrider’s shoulder. “I too apologize. I cannot say that the thought of elves growing old and dying eases my mind, but you live life as well as the rest of us. Perhaps more because of your”¦ differences.” He smiled, hoping he didn’t sound offensive, but Pike didn’t seem to care. He hugged the two of them tightly. “Thanks.”

When the three broke apart, Pike wiped his eyes while Hoykar scanned the skies for his bird. “Come back with us.” Shenshen requested. “One of the Preservers said that the others were being held captive. We’ve sent it into the forest to get more of its kind while we searched for you. Winnowill’s up to something.”

But before Pike could reply, Hoykar had to shake his head. “I fear Windcry has flown back to the mountain.” He sighed. “He knows he should not be out in such weather.” He cursed how sheltered both the birds and his people had become. “And neither should we.” He rubbed his arms as a chill struck him.

Pike motioned for the two to follow him. “The cave is closer than the mountain is. We can wait out the storm there.”

Almost as if responding to the statement, the wind picked up, and the snow swirled around them. The three elves and Hotburr trudged the short distance to the old cave near the waterfall and moved as far away from the entrance as they could. It was not warm, but it was better than being slave to the wind.

Shenshen grabbed for some of the old furs they had left in the cave when they first left for Blue Mountain, and covered Hoykar in it, and then herself. Pike, after shuffling some things around, turned to Hoykar. “Are you a rock shaper?” The Glider, almost surprised at the question, shook his head. He still wasn’t used to being around people who hadn’t known him even a season yet. Pike sighed. “Then we’ll have to hope the wind doesn’t blow into the cave too much.”

Shenshen sat down on one of the juts of rock Ekuar had made, and wrapped as much spare clothing and furs as she could around her. Hoykar moved next to her to offer warmth.

“Brr, Pike. Will it end soon?” She asked.

Pike shrugged with a smile. “Sometimes. Sometimes not. But it will end.”

“Just like the sand storms in Sorrow’s End.” She shivered, “Only cold”¦ so cold.”

The Wolfrider’s grin grew wider. “There is one way to keep warm during a storm.” The two others looked at him with curiosity. Pike moved towards Shenshen and held his hand out to her. She took it, and he pulled her close, gently biting her neck, and pulling her hair out of the gold rigs that held her hair up.

Hoykar suddenly felt out of place. He felt his face get hot, and his eyes drifted from the different corners of the small room to the exit and back again. When his eyes fell again on the two, they were looking at him with eyes full of comfort and want, and an inexperienced sending came to him. **Join us?**

With only a moment’s hesitation, the Glider moved to them and the three began to create their own warmth.

The_Wylde_Wynd

"create their own warmth"... niiiiiice. Wink

Loved Hoykar's reaction at first, lost puppy is always a good look on a pretty boy. More soon please? *passes out Hoykar-cookies to campers*

Hoykar:*pleady-eyes*

... Oh you know I can't resist!*glomps Hoykar and gives him him-cookies*

Allura

This part's short, and I'm not sure I like how it came out. I may tweak it later, but I can't really think of how to fix it yet.

PART 25

Ekuar finally gave in and closed up the hole to the outside in their chambers. Though it provided light, the snow and wind were making a mess of the place. For good measure, he shaped a sun in the hole’s place and smiled. Soon the sun would return and show the storm it should never have come.

But the others had not come back. The poor Wolfrider had been gone some time, and the female Brownskin had left with their Glider friend to find him. His mind was still addled from those long years in the troll tunnels, but he knew a blizzard when he saw one, and he remembered the bodies of those lost in one so long ago.

Picking up his walking stick, the old elf stood and shuffled out of their chambers and into the mountain proper. He seemed to remember his way around, keeping his eye out for any passing elf. Perhaps they would know if his friends had returned. Or, if he found Brownskin first, he could ask him. But any time he thought he saw one of the Gliders, they would disappear around a corner. Perhaps it was his imagination, but it seemed they did not like him.

It didn’t take long before he found his way to Egg’s Chamber. At least here was someone who would not fly away. Ekuar happily moved in front of the elf seated in front of the massive spinning egg and said, “Hello.” But the expression on Egg didn’t change; his eyes still focused on the stone behind Ekuar.

The old elf thought perhaps then that he were in a trance. He had seen Brownskin do it more than once. So this time, he greeted the elf a different way. **Hello”¦ eh, Egg?** But all his mind touched was emptiness. But”¦ it wasn’t death it was just”¦ emptiness.

Cautiously, Ekuar placed his hand on the seated elf’s chest, and quickly pulled away; Colder than the stone around them. When they had gone on the tour, it had been said that Egg spent all hours on the floating sculpture in the center, so Ekuar turned to face the stone. Using a mixture of simple sight and the power he possessed, he stared into the spinning shapes and designs, and what he saw frightened him. He had to find Brownskin.

He turned, only to find the tall pale one with long black hair”¦ Winnowill? She was smiling at him, but the look in her eyes was not kind. “Marvelous, is it not?” She waved her hand delicately at the Egg. “It has been here since Blue Mountain was created. It is our greatest creation.”

With care, the old elf replied, “But to create this, you lose one of your own.”

She chuckled. “He is not dead.”

“No, but neither was I when Brownskin found me in the troll tunnels. It is the same thing.” He pointed at her. “I will tell him. And he will agree.”

“No, you will not.”

Pain filled Ekuar’s head. His body ached, and all strength left him. He tired to send to Rayek, but the more he tried, the more he hurt. In moments it was over, and Ekuar fell into a dreamless sleep.

The_Wylde_Wynd

She... she knocked out Ekuar. ...She can't do that! :EEEK:

Rayek! Get your head out of the clouds and save your friends already!

manga

Gleep. Poor, sweet Ekuar! Bad Winnie! Bad, bad Winnie!

Too bad she's so far gone already. Otherwise I'd think she'd fall on an elf like him like a wolf on a rabbit. His mind's addled, he's malnourished, he's missing parts of his body... her healer's instincts ought to be running on overdrive. But those instincts are too twisted already.

Or are they? Tyldak speculated that Winnowill was taking her time healing Reevol out of spite but what if it was just a desperate need to draw out the time she could spend using her powers properly?

LadyArill

(Pimp slaps Winnowill repeatedly)

YOU DO NOT ABUSE EKUAR!! NO!

Very well done. I lurve Ekuar's sunny optimism. He is WIN.

(Huggles Ekuar)

Spleek!

Have some Hoykar baked goods. The muffins are especially delicious!^^

Unclean...unclean...unclean...
-H

Allura

Winnie has plans of her own, and as of yet, she has only shared a select few of them with me. Though I know what will happen to her in the end. Muahahahaha!

Allura

A longer one this time. I was going to make it in Rayek's point of view originally, but he's currently not speaking to me for what I wrote in my last part. So I decided to go for Voll's PoV this time. Lemme know what you think.

PART 26

Lord Voll sat, as he had done year after year, at the head of the long table while the various plates of food were being picked at by some of the Eight. Winnowill sat across from him, as she always had. The food was as it always had been. Everything was the same as it had ever been. The only noticeable difference was that one of the newcomers, the brown-skinned Rayek also sat at the table, close to his beloved Winnowill”¦ but that’s not what was bothering him.

It was the silence. Not one of the elves at the table said a word as they ate. No gossip about the day, no discussion on how the food was, no comments about the others’ appearances. It had been like this every night for hundreds, perhaps thousands of years, and it had never bothered him before. He had never noticed it before”¦ before last night, when the Wolfrider and the brown skinned beauty had joined them. They had chatted, and told stories and laughed and joked, even the quiet one, Rayek.

How long had it been since any of the Gliders had spoken so much to another?

In comparison, it seemed lonely”¦ so dead. The eating of a meal, which should be a sign of life, became solemn and cold. When had it become this way? Was it a slow process? So slow that no one had taken the time to notice? But now that it had been brought to his attention, he longed for the chatter. He turned to Rayek and asked curiously, “Where are your companions?”

The Sun Villager hesitated a moment, but before he could speak, Tyldak answered for him. “I saw the Wolfrider leave the mountain, my lord, after dinner last night. He has not returned.”

“Leave? Why?” He looked to his followers, but none replied. He didn’t understand. He had offered them a haven from the outside world, and still they returned to it. Especially in the season of death that it was”¦ it was madness. “He could die out there.”

Winnowill stood, grabbing everyone’s attention. “He is meant to die. He knows this.” She turned slightly from him, making a movement with her arm gracefully, in the direction of Door. “He wishes to spare us the sight of watching as he withers away.”

Voll frowned. He would not turn the Wolfrider away simply because he was mortal, but he could not force him to stay either. With a sigh, he nodded, but asked, “What about the others?”

“I thought I saw Hoykar leave with one of others.” Aroree supplied, “But I couldn’t see who. Perhaps he took them both.”

Again, Voll was confused. “Why would they leave? And one of my own?”

This time, Rayek commented quietly, “To find Pike.”

While it was a very good reason, Kureel seemed to think otherwise. “Hoykar wouldn’t be foolish enough to leave during a snow storm.” He huffed, but seemed unsure. “They would have turned back.”

The dark skinned elf stood suddenly, and stared hard at Aroree. “Did you see Ekuar go with them?” The tone in his voice was forceful, but worried. Aroree was obviously taken aback at his forceful question, but only managed to say that she didn’t know.

Without a moment’s hesitation, the elf flew out of the room. Whether it be Rayek’s presence and intense determination or simple curiosity, nearly all at the table, including Voll himself followed. Rayek flew fast, but his unfamiliarity with the passageways allowed the Gliders to keep pace with him, until he hit the aerie, and he stopped.

Across the large room, the opening to the outside was a wall of solid white. The wind howled so loud that if any of them were to speak, nothing would be heard. Rayek’s eyes darted from the storm to the nests build just inside, as the others who had followed him did the same. Finally, it was Kureel who pointed out what they had all noticed. **Hoykar’s bird is here.**

Kiryll, one of the Gliders who tended the giant birds, pointed out, **His bird returned long ago.**

Almost in a panic, Rayek confronted him. **Was anyone with Hoykar when he returned?**

The Glider, surprised, shook his head. **The bird returned alone.**

Voll’s heart went out to the young elf, but while the Lord thought there was little to be done, Rayek looked around frantically, as if an idea would hit him soon. He suddenly began to fly towards the opening, but a gentle hand held him back. **You cannot save them, Rayek.** Winnowill sent forcefully. **You will only put yourself in danger going out there now.**

Voll agreed. **If they are with Hoykar, he may very well be capable of keeping them safe. He is one of the Chosen Eight.** But Rayek still looked pained, so Voll added, **When the storm is over, I will send the rest of the Eight out to search for them. But you will be no use to them if you are lost yourself.**

Winnowill took Rayek’s hand. **Come, they will be fine. Do not fret.** With a look of defeat, the Sun Villager allowed Winnowill to lead him away. It was a strange connection the two had made in their short time together, but perhaps the outsider would be able to bring back the Winnowill Voll had lost. He sighed and brushed the thought from his mind.

Voll stood in the aerie for a short time, looking around. It had been too long since he had been here. Too long since he had seen any light at all that did not come from a candle. For a moment, his eyes fell on the oldest of the great birds, Tenspan. Though through a fog, he could remember a time when he rode the backs of this bird’s ancestor, and saw the whole world spread out like a many-colored cloak far below him. But the past, and the outside world”¦

He looked to the opening of the aerie, where cruel blasts of wind threw snow and ice on the mountain walls. No, the past was nothing more than memories. This world was harsh and unforgiving, and would always be so. Lord Voll turned away and returned to the comfort and safety of the mountain.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Oh, and just in case I get some questions about this: yes, the ease with which he let Winnowill go with Rayek was intentional. I always saw Voll as a sad character, letting his embers die. Until the fire starts sparking again, he won't fight, even if it's for his woman. And I have my own plans for these guys here... *cackle*

manga

Good choice, letting us see through Voll's eyes here.

Allura

Thank you. I liked doing it.

*hands out Voll cookies*

The_Wylde_Wynd

Ooooh, Rilly's going to have a coniption. Grin

Come on Volly, wake it up and save your girl! Once someone harms Ekuar they only have so long before a horrible death!

Allura

Quote:
The_Wylde_Wynd

Ooooh, Rilly's going to have a coniption. Grin

Come on Volly, wake it up and save your girl! Once someone harms Ekuar they only have so long before a horrible death!



*saves some shirtless Voll cookies for a non-coniption bribe*

And... Surprised a horrible death?! Poor Winnie! Hrm... she'll be around for a while yet. At least, that's the plan so far...

SnowWren

Do you have more for us, then? :) I hope I hope I hope... I hope you will have more for us soon!

Allura

Not more yet, but soon. I hope to have something else up either tonight or tomorrow.

Allura

A short one today. Longer one tomorrow.

PART 27

She had managed to calm the dark stranger down, but he was still in no mood to be consoled. Winnowill knew that anything she said would only make it worse, so she took her leave from the Egg Chamber as he stared into the spinning creation. She had not expected such a fierce protection of the old elf, but all was not lost yet.

Through the winding passageways, down the secret halls into her own private chambers. Only once inside did she allow her defenses to drop. Slowly, she walked to the flat stone platform where the old rock-shaper lay, circling him.

He was terrible to look at; old, shriveled, and downtrodden. She sneered at him, but it did not last. How hard would it be to change him? He was a Firstborn; possibly as old as even Voll. How would he have looked if he’d been given the chance to grow? To be as tall and elegant as he should have been? And what color hair would he have had? Long and brown”¦ or a snowy white, like Voll?

She held out a hand, nearly touching the old elf’s remaining hand. She had been able to draw out appendages from flesh before. Tyldak was a prime example of this”¦ but would it work if there was little left to draw from? Wings she created from the hands that were there”¦ was it possible to create from nothing? Should she try?

The temptation lingered. Her healers powers longed for a challenge; a true meaning. If she could do this”¦ he could be a magnificent elf. He should have been. He will be.

She reached out, and fixed her attention on the elf. Her mind saw Voll in his place. She could heal him. She wanted to. But the image faded, only to be replaced by a twisted vision of a half-troll, screaming, crying. She pulled away, shaking her head, hoping to rid herself of the image, but it did not go away. She didn’t want to see, didn’t want to know.

Fearfully, she ran, her heart beating faster than was healthy. She reached her bed, and threw herself on the pillows, sobbing. She couldn’t heal him even if she wanted to. She was too far gone. Too far”¦

“Poor poor Winnowill”¦” The eerie voice echoed off the cave walls. “Haunted by a secret she cannot tell”¦”

The long-haired elf wiped her eyes and looked up to the ceiling. She had to collect herself, or all would be lost. “Two-Edge”¦ You must not interfere.”

“Where are his bones”¦. My father’s bones”¦?”

She did not answer.

manga

I'm in awe, Allura. What a great weaving of elements!

Allura

Thank you. Winnie wasn't giving me anything to work with, so I ignored her, and then she threw this in my face. Reverse psychology works!

And I hope to have the next part up soon. Comments/reviews/critiques help me write faster... *hint hint*

The_Wylde_Wynd

Ah Winnie, stuck with a healer's dream and all you can do is compaire him to Voll. DENILE!

*lays out muse-bait by Allura's compy*

Allura

Something I've been working on... I've wanted to illustrate parts of this story, and I've gotten a Wacom Tablet recently, so I've been getting the hang of the characters' designs. (Pike and Shenshen have very similar face shapes) So here's a peek at what I've been practicing.





I realize these aren't as good as they should be. I'm still practicing. And, no Hoykar I'm afraid. His design is giving me problems. Wendy's drawings of him don't seem to be as consistent as one would like, so I'm going to have to make some of it up. When I get it right, I'll post it.

SnowWren

**Eeekk!**

Yeay, Allura!

I really am enjoying your writing and your variety! Thanks, also, for the awesome illustrations--you're doing a LOT better than you give yourself credit for! Oooh! If you want to, you could "practice" your illustrations over in my "Circles" thread--the story could use some fun pictures!

The_Wylde_Wynd

Oh wow! Your Pike = Cutie! Your Shenshen = Perfect! You've so got her! Surprised

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