Here are the elements for April:
A joke, prank or trick
A change in someone's life
All works must be related to Elfquest, whether canon-based, original character, alternate universe, or whatever. Writings must contain all the above elements. Art can either contain all the elements, or illustrate one of the writings.
Looks like a large and challenging grab-bag this month! Let's see what we all come up with!
Ugh, this time I wrote a whole book! >.< But I had to make it this long to get all the elements in. I'm continuing with my Medieval Stories and I hope that you'll like this one, even though it's long.
[size=15:6a83d9b567][b:6a83d9b567]Eye for Eye[/b:6a83d9b567][/size:6a83d9b567]
The sun was shining from a cloudless sky. Birds were chirping, flying across the forest, the fields. Horses were neighing in the stable. Stable boys were walking back and forth with the horses, a maid was on her way from milking. A mild breeze kept them cool under the golden orb. Smiles could be seen everywhere, low chattering mixed with sound from the animals. Sometimes, weather could be a reflection to feelings. And sometimes not.
”Why couldn’t I go with father to the castle?”
The woman put the needle down, looking at her son. Young Woodhue stood on his toes with his arms on the table, looking her directly in the eyes. His mother only blinked before she picked up the needle again and continued sewing.
“Your father is a busy man, he has things to do. He doesn’t have time for you today.”
Woodhue frowned and leant in closer.
“But Longbranch got to go with him!”
“He’s older and doesn’t need to be looked after. Besides, he also has things to do.”
It was obvious that the woman actually didn’t care about what her son meant. The lack of attention from his mother made the boy a little angry and he kicked away a stone from the ground. It was unfair! Just because his brother was older he didn’t need a babysitter. Woodhue was 10 years old, old enough to take care of himself. He watched the stone fly, jumping up and down. High Ones, he felt like that stone! Being tossed around, not allowed to go where he wanted. The stone settled on the grass a few meters away, forcing him to blink. That stone went where it wanted. Hell, that just made him angrier! The stone had more freedom than he had! While he had to watch every step he took, the stone could be wherever it wanted to be! If [i:6a83d9b567]the stone[/i:6a83d9b567] could do it, why not he? Frowning, he turned back to his mother.
“But IÂ´m Bearclaw’s page!”
Not exactly what he had planned to say, but probably better than compare himself to a stone in front of his mother. Being jealous of a stone wouldn’t help either. And it was the best chance he had. As the page of the prince he would have to do whatever the prince told him to do. His mother couldn’t deny him that, could she?
“He doesn’t need you today.”
Okay, she could. If he ever had any hope of being able to go, that hope quickly faded. Crushed like a thin glass against the stone floor in his room. It never had a chance. Neither had he. Refusing to admit that he was a child, even though he acted like one, he walked around the table his mother was sitting at. He didn’t even cast a glance at her work when he stood on his toes yet again, trying to make himself taller.
“But I want to be there when the baby’s born!”
“The child won’t come until next new-green.”
There it was again, the casualness. Woodhue frowned as he backed away from his mother. Earlier that morning she had said that she loved him. Like he would believe that. If she really loved him she would have let him go to the castle along with his father. Instead, he was stuck in the manor all day, without anything to do. The boy turned his back to the table and sat down on the ground, sending the stone wall an evil glare.
“Not fair!” he grumbled.
After a while his mother looked up from her work, glancing at her child. He sat with his legs crossed, his head in his clamped hands. She was about to say that it wouldn’t help blaming the stone wall, but kept her mouth shut. Knowing exactly how he felt, she smiled fondly.
“I don’t pout!” he said as he quickly turned around.
”-you’re not the first one your father has said no to. “
Woodhue ignored the last comment, turning back to his former position. It was so unfair! Maybe he was too young to be on his own in the castle, but the prince surely needed help these days, didn’t he? With a child coming next year it would be much to do, and he would gladly help. After all, he was Bearclaw’s page. Even though it was almost like being a servant, he liked it. He was even allowed to carry the sword. The [i:6a83d9b567]big[/i:6a83d9b567] sword. The other children in Two Moons were envy of him, but he never bragged about being prince Bearclaw’s page. He just told them how it was and what he did. If they felt different than he did, they could blame themselves.
Getting tired of sulking, which he would never admit that he did, Woodhue rose up again and walked away. He trotted around inside the stone walls, glaring at the others who passed him. Not even the maids had time to play with him, and he knew better than to ask the stable boys. With his hands in his pockets, he kicked away another stone. He couldn’t play with Clearbrook either. The 9-year old had been gone for one moon, visiting her grandparents. She wouldn’t get back before two moons had passed. What the hell was he supposed to do during that time?!
Forcing himself not to scream from annoyance, he kicked away another stone. He was old enough to take care of himself. Why couldn’t his mother just understand that? Did he have to prove himself worthy? What did he have to do to be considered old enough? Thoughts fought for his mind and he didn’t care about the others that passed him. The stable boys were too busy to even notice him being there. It was almost as if he was invisible. Then he suddenly stopped.
A few meters away, a man stood in the middle of everyone else. No one seemed to observe him either. And he was staring at him. Woodhue found himself staring back at the man, noticing that he hadn’t seen him before. He was no stable boy, according to his clothes. He wore a green tunic. Plain green, no darker tones to witness hard work. But the clothing was so simple that he couldn’t be a nobleman. Even if Woodhue hadn’t lived for as long as Longbranch, he had seen enough of life to distinguish rich from poor. And by his looks, the man couldn’t be a guest either. His parents only invited close friends, and Woodhue knew almost everyone. If he didn’t know their names, he had at least seen them before. This man was no guest. Then his parents would have told him about it earlier. No, this was a stranger. But what did he want?
Woodhue had no answer, he just kept staring at the man who have his look right back.
The mother hummed peacefully for herself while sewing, glad that her son didn’t disturb her anymore. She felt sorry for him, though, but didn’t know what could make him happy. When he first decided to sulk, then he sulked. Often for the rest of the day and longer than that.
“You aren’t still mad, are you?”
She didn’t get an answer, though. Smiling, she chuckled.
“Sulking doesn’t help, you know.”
She was greeted with nothing but silence. Smiling, she started to sing the lullaby she sang when her children were babies. She knew Woodhue liked it.
“Sing with me, Woodhue. You know the words.”
He always sang the song with her, no matter how mad he was. But when she didn’t get an answer, she looked up.
“I swear, you use me, father.”
Longbranch shifted his hold on the sword and the bunch of clothing, glancing over his shoulder and sending his father an evil glare.
“Just because I happened to be walking by didn’t mean I wanted to help you carrying these stuff.”
Owl pretended that he didn’t care about his son’s complaining, but it was impossible not to smile. Therefore, he hid his face behind the knife he was carrying, studying it closely. Longbranch just snorted and turned his gaze forward again, refusing to look at his father.
“And did you have to make me look like a fool in front of Brownberry?” he asked.
Owl tightened his jaw to prevent himself from laughing as he spoke.
“Remember the High One’s words; wait ”˜till the wedding night.”
Longbranch jerked, turning his head and glaring at his father. Owl didn’t care, he just continued riding further into the forest. It wouldn’t be long until they were home again, the whole family together. He smiled at the thought of his youngest son. Little Woodhue had been so disappointed when he understood that he had to stay home this day. But he would love to hear about how he ruined Longbranch’s moment with Brownberry!
“Are you insulting me?” Longbranch’s offended voice said.
Owl sighed and met his son’s glare, choosing his words without care.
“You’re the one who was careless. Blame yourself.”
Longbranch muttered something as he shifted his hold on the clothing again, still not removing his glare from his father. The stone walls towered in front of them, telling them that they were home again.
“Sure,” he snorted.
“I suppose that was convenient, too?”
Owl grinned at his son as they rode inside the manor, his arms more heavily loaded than his son’s.
“Something like that.”
Longbranch glared at him again, then turned to face his home.
“Yeah, I’ll bet. I reckon you”¦” Longbranch started, then frowned as he stopped the horse.
He stared at the manor ground, taking in the mess, everyone running around and calling. Stable boys ran through the stables and the cowshed, their faces twisted with fickleness. Some of the maids came out from the house, others ran inside while a third group searched outside, everyone shouting. And in the middle of everyone, a single woman stood alone.
“Father!” Longbranch exclaimed.
Owl had stopped his horse at the same time as Longbranch, his eyes wide as he stared at everyone around them. As his eyes met the woman’s, the blood drained from his face. He swallowed hard as he jumped off his horse, running for his wife.
He flung his arms around her as he caught something out the corner of his eye. She was trembling”¦ clyring.
“Evenstar, beloved. What”¦?”
“Oh, Owl!” she cried.
“It’s so horrible!”
Both Owl and Longbranch already knew what she was going to say. They had heard what the stable boys and maids cried, and deep within their hearts, they had known when they first entered the manor. But it was still a shock to hear it. Almost not bearable.
“Woodhue is gone!”
The world was green. Golden light slipped through the treetops, giving leaves different shading and tones. Dark green, golden, light green, golden green. Lighting up the forest, encircling the hidden path. Withered twigs lay across the path, crunching under the light weight of feet. A mild breeze caressed his cheeks, a slight tingle through his body. The little that was of light cast long shadows, letting secrets stay in the darkness. Secrets that didn’t withstand the lightness of day. He found himself throwing nervous glances around him, trying to pierce through the darkness and end whatever was hiding.
“Scared, little one?”
Woodhue glanced up at the man that walked beside him. His smile friendly, his look fatherly, but something else lay hidden there. Something that made the little boy grab his hand. Shadows were a natural happening, nothing scary about that. But one could never tell, and it was better to stay close to someone. And he felt safer when he held his hand. He had a firm, but relaxed grip, only that told him that he wouldn’t let anything happen. The man smiled again, patting his head.
“Don’t worry, it’s okay to fear what you don’t know about.”
Don’t know about? Was there something he should know”¦? Woodhue swallowed and cast another glance over his shoulder. Footfalls through the forest”¦ he swore he could hear that! But there was nothing behind him, and nothing to his side either. He turned to the man and tightened his grip on his hand, feeling a nervous tingle run through his body.
“A-are you sure this is the right way?” he asked with a stammering voice.
He could have bit off his tongue right after the words came out, though. What was he thinking? Of course this man knew where they were, he was the one leading the way, right? And Woodhue had argued with himself all morning about being a child or not. Children were scared. Adults were not. The boy frowned. He was not a kid. And therefore, he wouldn’t be scared.
“Why, don’t you trust me?”
Woodhue froze, looking at the ground, his gaze full of shame. How could he be so careless? He was the son of the one who ruled the country on behalf of the king, raised as a nobleman. And noblemen weren’t supposed to be cheeky or distrustful. Lowering his head, he felt his cheeks turn bright pink. His parents would have been furious if they had heard him talk like that to an older man. Then he felt a tug at his hand. Looking up, he saw the man grinning down at him.
“I know this forest as well as my own horse.”
Woodhue couldn’t help but letting out a small sigh of relief. The man wasn’t angry with him. He didn’t seem to mind his little mistake at all. In fact, it looked like he was rather amused. Then he suddenly blinked, tilting his head.
“But you said that your horse throws you off every day.”
The man froze and stopped, looking down at him. He raised his eyebrows as he spoke.
He stood still for a moment, his gaze turning blank as he stared into the air in front of him. Woodhue looked up at him, waiting patiently for a reply. It would be impolite to disturb him in his own thoughts. After all, he was an elder, and elders were supposed to be respected. They had lived for many years and knew more about life than others. While waiting, he caught himself in studying the man. He couldn’t be [i:6a83d9b567]that[/i:6a83d9b567] old, actually. Well, he was bald, but that didn’t mean he was very old. It rather looked like he was somewhere between his own father and Longbranch. His face filled with wrinkles”¦ smile wrinkles, he said. Then the man looked down at him, smiling.
“I guess I know the forest better than my horse, then.”
He gave a little laugh and Woodhue smiled, laughing together with him. The man was nice, nicer than the stable boys. He didn’t try to have fun at the child’s cost, instead he tried to have fun [i:6a83d9b567]together[/i:6a83d9b567] [i:6a83d9b567]with[/i:6a83d9b567] him, so that both of them had a great time. Smiling, Woodhue gave the man’s hand a squeeze. The man looked down at him, smiled and returned the squeeze.
Woodhue found himself trying to get a glance at the sky, but the treetops wouldn’t let him. They were like a roof, shielding him from something. But what? As he glanced over his shoulder for the fifth time since they started laughing, his smile disappeared. The man had said that it wouldn’t take too long. It was only a little walk through the forest. But even though he couldn’t see the sky, he knew that he had been gone for a while.
“It’s getting late,” he said as he looked up at the man.
“Where is the treewee you were talking about?”
The man cast a glance at him and smiled, tugging at his hand.
“It’s only a little further, don’t worry. We’ll be there soon.”
Woodhue nodded. He trusted the older man, but still”¦ there was something that didn’t feel right. He bit his lip as he stared at the ground, the path only the man could see. Slowly, he started to wish that he had made one of the stable boys go with him. At least they knew the forest around the manor. He had only seen what his father had shown him, and then only from horseback. It was a whole different thing seeing everything from the ground, walking. And the fact that he hadn’t been in this part of the forest before, only made it worse.
“Mother will worry if I don’t get back before noon,” he said.
The man squeezed his hand again, smiling, his brown eyes looking at him with fatherly affection.
“I’ll get you back before that happens. Trust me.”
Woodhue nodded again, but still couldn’t get rid of the feeling that something was wrong. He pulled at his tunic and directed a lock of his hair behind his pointed ear. Then he looked up at the man. That was the first thing he had noticed, his round ears. And as he glanced at his hand, he saw five fingers. Another difference between them. The man was human, he was an elf. There wasn’t anything wrong about it, humans and elves had been friends for as long as he could remember. But there was something that kept gnawing on his mind. Something that told him that this was wrong. He quickly shooed it away. This man was nice. Then the man suddenly stopped.
“We’re here,” he said as he looked up a tree.
Woodhue stopped and turned his head, looking around, but didn’t let go of the hand. As if the man knew what he was looking for, he bent down and placed a hand at the boy’s shoulder, pointing at a tree in front of them.
“There,” he said with a low voice.
“Can you see them?”
Woodhue followed the man’s finger with his eyes and squinted. Then his face broke into a smile and he moved forward, letting go of the hand. With quick steps that only an eager child can make, the boy leapt over a nearby rock and looked up the tree, his eyes wide.
Two big black eyes met his and suddenly he was all lost. The little animal sat peacefully on a low hanging branch staring down at the boy. And in her lap, three tiny bundles lay, yawning and staring at the world with just a newborn’s curiosity. Woodhue found himself staring in awe at the little family, and now he knew that the long trip here was worth it. He had never seen a treewee so close before, and the fact that it had babies made the moment even better. With a smile that was almost too big for his little face, he turned to the man.
“That’s the sweetest thing I’ve”¦”
His voice trailed off and he froze as his eyes widened, filled with terror. He severed his lips to scream out loud, but instead knew a big hand held tight over his mouth.
The wind was icy cold as it tugged at his clothes. Only moments ago the sun had been shining and it had been enjoyable to be outside, wearing nothing but his tunic and a shirt underneath. Longbranch flung his arms around himself, forcing himself forward. He hadn’t walked for more than a few moments, but it felt like his whole life. Since he got home, the weather had suddenly changed. The sun was still shining, but the wind had suddenly gusted and flown through marrow and bone. His mother’s words were burnt into his mind, but he still couldn’t believe it. He could see her now, how she had flung her arms around their father and looked at them with tearful eyes.
[i:6a83d9b567]Woodhue is gone![/i:6a83d9b567]
Woodhue”¦ gone. No. No, he couldn’t be gone. He couldn’t, he just couldn’t! No, not Woodhue. Not his little brother. This had to be a joke, he thought as he ran forward. His brother wouldn’t have gone out of the manor, not alone. Even though he was no more than 10 years old, he knew better than that. But where was he?
“Foolish little brother,” Longbranch mumbled.
It couldn’t be true. He had heard stories about other children that disappeared, but that’s what it was. Stories! And other children. It couldn’t happen to him, not to Woodhue. He ran across a path, forming his hands to a funnel in front of his mouth as he cried.
“Woodhue! Woodhue, where are you?”
The echo of his voice was thrown back to him as he ran further, not taking the time to stop and listen for an answer. Hell, where could he be? He was only 10 years old! He couldn’t have gone that far by himself, and he wouldn’t have left alone either. Longbranch increased his pace and rounded a tree.
“Woodhue!” he screamed.
“Woodhue, answer me! Where are you?”
He ran through the forest, hitting branches out of his way, not able to see clear. The only thing that was important for him now, was to find his brother. Why he had left in the first place, was something that only the boy himself could give an answer to. But first they had to find him, and quick.
“Little brother! Woodhue!”
He stopped cold in his tracks against his will, staring at the two paths in front of him. A scream from anger rose within him and he punched a nearby tree. It couldn’t be true! He didn’t have time for hinders, and if he picked the wrong way, his brother could be in real trouble. What if he didn’t find him in time?
Then he closed his eyes, slowing down his breathing. He stood like that for a moment, taking in the sounds of nature and the forest, mixed with his own feelings. A faint thumping in his left side was everything he felt. Left. Longbranch unclosed his eyes and stared at the left path. Left. The left path was right. He didn’t waste any more time as he ran forward again, knowing deep within himself that he had chosen the right path.
“Left is the heart’s side,” he said to himself as he ran further into the forest, across uncountable paths.
Then Longbranch suddenly stopped, his eyes glued to a footprint on the path in front of him. He knelt down by it, running his finger across the lines. No, his brother wouldn’t have gone that far by himself and wouldn’t have left alone”¦
”¦ because he wasn’t alone.
He had gasped out loud when someone pulled him backwards, the grip so hard that he lost his balance. If he really had any hope of getting home again, it faded as he hit the ground hard. He was completely paralyzed by shock when a dark figure bent over him with an evil stare.
“Who are you?” he asked with a growling voice.
Woodhue swallowed hard, not able to answer. He found himself totally useless, only staring at the man in front of him. He was different to the other man. This one has pointed ears and hands with four fingers. He was an elf, and so were two others who stood by a tree, their hands at the knifes at their sides.
“Who are you?” the voice repeated.
Woodhue swallowed hard again, trembling slightly as he looked at the male elf. But he quickly understood that he couldn’t look him in the eye. That was too difficult. Turning his face away, he spoke up.
“Wo-wo-Woodhue Owlson,” he stammered.
The elf nodded, and an evil grin spread across his face. He turned his face and said something that was impossible for the boy to understand, but he understood the meaning of them as another man came closer. This one was human, the oldest so far, Woodhue concluded. The elf moved away and was quickly replaced by the human, who also bent over him.
“Welcome, young Woodhue,” he said slyly.
“Just do as we say and you’ll be home again before darkness arise.”
Woodhue nodded, too afraid to do anything else. But he took the time to look for the man, his human squire, noticing that he couldn’t see him. Where was he? He didn’t get the time to think about it, though, as the man bent over him again.
“Tell us about your father,” he said.
“My what?” Woodhue yelped, but when the man raised his hand, he knew that was the stupidest thing he could have said.
He screamed as the hand came closer, but instead found it covering his mouth.
“Quiet,” the man said.
It was an order, and he better had to follow it. He had heard enough stories to know what would happen if he didn’t. So he just nodded again, sighing relieved, but soundlessly, as the man removed his hand.
“Now, tell. What’s the king’s next move?”
Woodhue stared at the men in front of him with a confused look, blinking. The king? Move? Why did they ask him about these things? Couldn’t they just talk with the king himself? Or his father? Trembling from fear, his voice had a higher pitch than he wanted.
“I don’t know!” he cried
“Bullshit!” the human shouted, grabbing his shoulder.
“As Owl’s son you must know something of value!”
Woodhue’s eyes widened as he slowly understood what was going on. They wouldn’t ask his father, not even talk to him. Because that was never their plan. They wanted to know something his father knew and had abducted him to make him tell them. Yes, he was smart for his age, but still a child. And with a child’s mind, he was more scared than ready to protect his father.
“No!” he screamed.
“No, I don’t! He never tells me.”
He couldn’t let them know what he knew, couldn’t let them harm his father, the king or the country. His father told him stories from the castle, taught him everything he could. But when he was talking with Evenstar and Longbranch about the country’s situation, he had had to stay away. He hadn’t obeyed, though. Listening at the door was a perfect way. Only too bad that one year ago his father caught him red-handed. He made him promise that this would be a secret between the two of them, swearing at the High Ones. And a promise to the High Ones was unbreakable.
“Don’t try to play us for a bunch of fools!”
The man raised his hand again and Woodhue curled up, screaming. The slap was disrupted, though, much to his luck. A voice broke his scream and the silence that followed.
“He’s worth more if he’s unharmed.”
Woodhue opened his eyes and widened them as the man came out of the shadows. It was him. The one who had walked with him in the forest. The boy quickly opened his mouth to call for help, but shut it immediately. The man talked with the others like he knew them, knew what was going on. Woodhue felt his stomach turn around as he understood. The man was a part of this, and he had walked right into their trap. He trusted him. Why”¦? But again, he didn’t get the time to think. The mean man’s voice interrupted his thoughts yet again.
“We know who your father is, and we know enough about you too.”
“M-me?” Woodhue stammered, not understanding.
Sadly, this only seemed to make the whole situation worse. The man glared at him and lifted his foot. The boy screamed again and covered his face, only to find himself getting kicked dirt at. The human turned and walked away, swearing under his breath. Another human with short brown hair moved forward and grabbed the boy by his collar, lifting him up.
“You’re prince Bearclaw’s page. If your father haven’t told you anything, then tell us what you’ve talked with the prince about!” he said with a threatening voice.
“Nothing!” Woodhue cried.
“We don’t talk about those things!”
It was a lie, but he had promised both his father [i:6a83d9b567]and[/i:6a83d9b567] Bearclaw that he wouldn’t speak of things like this. Prince Bearclaw had told him lots of stories during his chores. And when he was done, they often sat in the library and read about the country’s history. Bearclaw had said more than one time that he was impressed by the child’s knowledge and eagerness to justify the country. When he had said that he thought it was unfair that only boys could be heirs, the prince had laughed out loud. He remembered that he, eight and a half years old then, had crossed his arms and said that when he grew up, he wanted a daughter first. His voice had been deadly serious. Bearclaw never laughed at him again. Instead, he brought him to the councils with his father, hiding him behind the giant curtains sometimes. Other times he stood beside the prince’s chair. He had learned very much and knew more about the country than any other children in Two Moons. At least that’s what Bearclaw said.
The man’s glare narrowed. He turned his head and spat on the ground, tightening his grip on the collar as he started shaking the boy.
“Liar!” he screamed.
“No! I’m just a child! I don’t know anything!” Woodhue cried, forcing himself not to cry.
The man let go of him again. He fell backwards with a cry and hit his head, but sat up again and kept staring at the men in front of him. They were arguing about something.
[i:6a83d9b567]It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to be scared![/i:6a83d9b567]
They were nothing like Joyleaf. Kind princess Joyleaf, who had let him inside their chambers. She had been very tolerant and patient with him, and she was also the one who persuaded the king to let him join the councils. She had said that it could be useful some day. He remembered their long conversations in their chambers, that they sat by the fire. She also laughed when he told about his future daughter, but she didn’t make fun of him. She thought it was sweet.
Then the human grabbed him again, pushing him to the ground. He screamed as the human placed himself on top of him, then he whimpered. Woodhue struggled to get free, but quickly abandoned the effort. The man was too heavy, he just wasted his strength. And somehow, he had the feeling that he would need it.
“I’ll teach you what happens to liars!” the harsh voice said.
He looked skyward, blinking away frustrated tears. His warm brown puppy dog eyes weren’t that much of a puppy dog anymore. Now he could see the sky, but he didn’t care anymore. He only wanted to go home again, to be with his parents. The bald man was staring at him. Woodhue gave him a wounded look, his eyes two wet question marks.
Longbranch stood by another oarlock, trembling and panting. This time he wasn’t so sure about the way. If he picked the wrong way, he would lose precious time. But if he didn’t pick soon enough, he would lose more than that. The wind picked up and whipped the grass, swaying gently. He looked around helplessly, trying to decide what to do.
Then a heartrending scream erupted from deep within the forest.
Longbranch spun around, looking in the same direction that the scream came from. Long and cold it rolled, and he felt the wind respond to it. Then, just as sudden as it erupted, the scream died, leaving the forest quiet again. The grass once again swayed gently in the breeze, back and forth, like nothing had happened. But Longbranch knew better. His eyes filled with terror as he leapt forward.
“Woodhue!” he screamed as loud as he could.
This time he didn’t care about hitting branches aside as he ran. He just ran and ran, continued running like it was the only thing he could do. Running like crazy, like he had the devil himself in his heels. But the devil was ahead of him”¦
Longbranch increased his pace and rounded a bush, ducking to not get hit by a low hanging branch. His heart ran almost faster than him, threatening to jump out of his chest. If he had ran away from his mind, he didn’t stop to wait for it.
“Woodhue!” he screamed.
He would never stop, not for nothing! That was until he reached a hidden path. There he stopped cold, dead in his tracks, staring with eyes wide and filled with terror.
“What the hell”¦!” he whispered.
“Oh, damn. [i:6a83d9b567]Damn![/i:6a83d9b567]”
[i:6a83d9b567]Where could he be?[/i:6a83d9b567]
Owl walked back and forth with his arms at his back, mumbling and grumbling and cursing everyone who went by without news. He snapped at the stable boys, growled to the maids and threatened to tear the door off the wall if someone entered without any helpful information.
[i:6a83d9b567]Why had he left?[/i:6a83d9b567]
Evenstar sat watching her husband, her eyes filled with tears. She kept fidgeting, the rosary rolling between her fingers are she prayed to the High Ones, prayed that they would find her son and that he would be okay. 10 small white pearls, one big black pearl, 10 small white pearls and one big black again. Each time her finger touched a white pearl, she repeated the prayer. When she touched one of the black pearls, she whispered a Pater Noster.
“Curse that scum of a servant staff!” Owl grumbled.
“He was supposed to be safe!”
Evenstar sobbed, drying her eyes as she put the rosary down. No one had seen her son since he talked with his mother. He hadn’t even tried to talk with Gwen, the maid who took care of him and his favorite among the staff. Hartley, Woodhue’s best friend among the stable boys, told them that he hadn’t been in the stable this day, not in the cowshed. And he hadn’t been anywhere else either. No one had seen him, no one could tell her where her son was.
The door suddenly opened and Hartley stepped inside. Evenstar quickly stood up and walked over to Owl, letting him take her hand in his. Both of them stared at the stable boy with a pleading look, their hearts pounding harder than ever. The looks that met him made Hartley swallow hard, they pierced him like a glowing knife. But it hurt him even more to be the one to give them the news. He only shook his head, staring at the ground.
“I’m sorry,” he said with a low voice.
“But he’s nowhere to be found.”
A sob escaped the hand she held over her mouth, and the next Evenstar knew was a strong arm around her shoulder. Owl swore under his breath, cursing everything that could be cursed and a few things he made up. Hartley just stood there watching them, not knowing whether to leave or stay. He didn’t get the chance to think, though, as the door flung open and Gwen ran inside.
“It’s Woodhue!” she cried.
“They found him!”
Her totally lack of politeness was quickly forgotten, almost not noticed at all, as all four of them bolted through the door to the open place outside. Stable boys and maids came running from everywhere, the air filled with death cries. Cries that came from the open gate, rolling over the manor like thunderclouds over the sky a stormy night. And through the gate Longbranch came running, a blood soaked screaming green rag wrapped in his arms.
“Mother! Father!” he screamed.
”It’s Woodhue! Help!”
Everyone stopped cold in their tracks, staring at the boy in his arms. His tunic was torn to pieces, the moss green color replaced by bloody red and dirt. His face was hidden, buried in his brother’s neck. Sobs and screams rose from deep within him.
“High Ones, child!” Owl shouted as he ran forward with arms outstretched.
Longbranch shouted something that was impossible for Owl to catch. He grabbed his son, tore him out of his older brother’s arms and shook him.
“Woodhue!” he said.
“Woodhue, answer me!”
But the boy only shook his head, still screaming for his very life and crying. As careful as he could, Owl placed him on the ground and took a hold of his wrists, intending to remove them. He struggled.
“Woodhue, please!” he said loud.
“I must, or else I can’t help you!”
“No!” the boy screamed.
His cries ended in sore and high pitched choked couching. Half suffocated screams rose from his bloodstained hands. An explosion of feelings appeared from deep within the boy, sprawling through the crowd. Longbranch had always thought that blood was red. Just red and nothing else. But his little brother wasn’t red. He was deadly pale, like their grandparents were when they died. He was dark red, black, almost dirty red. Not plain red. Nothing like plain red. Hating himself for giving his son so much pain, Owl forced the small hands away from his face, saying that he was sorry.
And then every sound disappeared.
Somewhere in the back if his head, his mind registered Evenstar’s heartrending scream. Longbranch crouched down beside him, saw his brother’s face and turned and vomited. Woodhue cried, sobbed and screamed. He was red, dark red. His light skin covered in bloodstains, his tunic soaked in the red fluid, his screams drowned in blood. He was still screaming, still crying, bloody tears running down his face as he trembled.
“Oh, High Ones,” Owl whispered.
His eyes were filled with terror as he turned, not letting go of his son.
“High Ones. Rain! [i:6a83d9b567]Rain![/i:6a83d9b567]”
The blood surged from Woodhue’s right side. His right eye was gone.
Bearclaw rolled over, yawning as he stretched. He blinked, sitting up and scratching his head.
“Slept well, beloved?” a sweet voice called from his side.
Bearclaw turned, feeling the grin spread across his face, reaching from ear to ear. Grinning like the fool he was, which he would never admit, he placed his feet at the ground, standing up and walking over.
“Better than tonight,” he said with a teasing and playful smile.
Joyleaf raised her head and smiled at him, sporadically placing her hand at her swelling belly. Bearclaw felt his heart pound with pride and joy as he bent down, leaning closer and placing his ear next to Joyleaf’s hand. His wife, the princess in his life, was more beautiful than any legitimate princesses he could have married. And their child would be just as perfect, a unique synthesis of its parents. He looked up at his wife.
“When you left, I got cold,” he said with a fake hurt voice.
“And you know I like playing with your hair when I wake up.”
“All you do is tangling it and I spend the morning having to get them out.”
Bearclaw had to smile at his wife’s obvious tease. But he didn’t get the chance to reply. They raised their heads as they heard running footfalls through the halls. Gazing quickly at each others, both of them bolted through the room, sticking their heads outside the door and looking at the servants that ran by.
“Oh, High Ones!” Joyleaf gasped at the sight of a man with blood soaked clothing running by.
Bearclaw looked at his wife, then stepped out and grabbed a servant by his arm.
“What’s all this for?” he asked.
The servant sent the prince a wild and horrified look, shaking his head as he stammered.
“It’s Owl’s son. He’s been out for an accident.”
Heartrending screams ran through the halls, filling the castle with a sudden cold. The servant apologized before he disappeared, leaving the prince and princess. They didn’t waste any time, though. One look at each others was enough, and in the next moment both of them raced down the halls, following the servants. Rounding a corner, Bearclaw saw the door to the nurse stove fling open and the servants ran inside. Horrifying screams arose just as king Mantricker rounded the other corner. At the sight of his father, Bearclaw ran forward with Joyleaf just behind.
“We just heard, father,” he said.
Another scream could be heard, followed by uncontrollable sobs and more screams. Joyleaf turned pale and grabbed her husband to prevent herself from falling as Mantricker shook his head. He looked at the closed door with watery eyes, trembling slightly.
“It’s Woodhue,” he said.
A gasp could be heard, Joyleaf, Bearclaw thought. She had grown fond of the little boy over the last turns of the seasons, and just the thought of that something had happened to him, was for her unbearable. The prince swallowed hard as also he turned pale, feeling like he would be losing his lunch any second. Mantricker cast a glance at the door, then looked at his son and daughter-in-law.
“He was abducted and taken into the forest”¦”
His voice failed him and the king coughed.
“They put out his eye.”
He spoke through gritted teeth, his voice trailing off. Joyleaf gasped, Bearclaw swore under his breath, all three glares turning to hate.
“But”¦ but why?” Joyleaf stammered, her voice trembling slightly.
“He’s just a child!”
“I don’t know,” Mantricker said.
“Rain’s taking care of him now, trying to save what’s left.”
“What about Owl?” Joyleaf asked.
“Outside with Longbranch. They’re coming now.”
Just as he said that, two figures appeared at the end of the hall. Owl with a blood drained face, Longbranch with drowned cheeks. No words left their lips, there was no need for that. Their eyes told more than thousand words.
Another scream traveled through the halls. Longbranch lowered his head, sobbing, while Owl struggled not to tear that damn door off the wall.
Bearclaw looked at the door, wincing from the blood curdling scream. He closed his fists along with his eyes, feeling the hate turn over to worry for his page. He could only guess how Owl felt right now, but the pain Woodhue suffered through was unthinkable. He was just a child. A child. An innocent child! What crazed men would abduct a child just to steal his eye?
“Those bastards!” he spat.
Then the door opened, making all five of them turn their heads. A slim figure appeared, wearing a long light tunic stained in blood. His face was obviously embossed by the situation.
“How is he?” Owl sobbed as he stepped forward.
The castle doctor sighed and shook his head, messing his red hair up even more. Owl felt his heart stop right there and then, the same with Longbranch. Then Rain gestured them to come in. Even though neither Bearclaw nor Joyleaf or Mantricker had any right to join them, they still followed.
“He will survive, but”¦” Rain said.
The door shut behind them.
Black. The world was black. He stared into a dark pool of nothing, the darkness staring back.
They stopped. Rain had lit as many candles as he could afford and they were placed all across the room. There were 16 beds in total, eight on each side divided in two rows. 10 men were lying in each bed, starting at the right. The servants were busy taking care of them, some slipped out through the door without making a sound. And in the third bed from left, a little boy lay sobbing.
“Woodhue!” Owl cried as he ran forward, flinging his arms around his child and holding him close.
Longbranch sobbed at the sight of his brother, also he moving closer. Mantricker, Bearclaw and Joyleaf stood by the door, knowing all too well that this was a moment that shouldn’t be disturbed. Little Woodhue looked up at his father, tears streaming from his left eye. The place where his right eye had been was covered with bandages. If Owl was shocked by the sight, he didn’t show it. Neither did Longbranch. Rain sat down at the end of the bed, glancing at father and sons with a sorrowful look.
“It’s the best I can do,” he said.
Woodhue looked up at him and sobbed, clinging to his father while reaching out for his brother. Longbranch seemed to tremble, but he didn’t show if it was from anger or fear. The 10-year old started to scratch on his skin, trying to remove the blood. But it had caked on his skin, and not even his fingernails would remove it. Rain raised his hands, as if to apologize.
“I cannot restore what his abductors took.”
Longbranch stopped trembling. He stared at his little brother, wondering how he could be so strong and how someone could have done something like that to him. He gritted his teeth and clenched his fist, glaring at the bed as if he blamed it for the happening.
“Those filthy sons of a harlot!” he roared as he slammed his fist on the bed.
Little Woodhue yelped and tightened his grip on his father, staring at his brother with a wide eye, tears threatening to flow over. Longbranch looked up, his gaze meeting his brother’s, and the anger disappeared. His brother was so calm even though he had just lost his eye. He just sat there, sobbing and crying his eye out. He had suffered so much already”¦ he couldn’t bear it if he gave him more pain. With a sigh, Longbranch unclenched his trembling fist. Instead he moved it up to his brother’s cheek, caressing it.
“I’m sorry, Woodhue,” he mumbled.
Woodhue sniffed and nodded as he grabbed his hand, refusing to let go. At least he knew that [i:6a83d9b567]this[/i:6a83d9b567] hand belonged to someone who wouldn’t dream of hurting him. With a choked sob he flung his arms around Longbranch, crying silently into his tunic. Owl stared. Looking at his sons embrace each other like that brought a tear to his eye. He looked up and met Rain’s eyes, blinking away the tears.
“You have just saved my son,” he sobbed.
“That’s more than enough.”
Rain smiled, saying that it was the least he could do. Mantricker watched the scene from the corner of the room, thinking of the relationship between himself and his children. He couldn’t remember last time he had been like that with them. He did remember his talk with Bearclaw one and a half turns of the seasons ago, though. And that Moonshade had been gone for almost two and a half. He couldn’t help it, he just had to smile at the sight of father and sons. Then he frowned, staring at the ground for a moment and walked over to the little family.
“Woodhue,” he said with a clear, but friendly voice, as he pulled out a chair and sat down beside the bed.
“May I ask you a few questions?”
Woodhue dropped his mouth open, staring at him in awe. The king wanted to talk with [i:6a83d9b567]him[/i:6a83d9b567]? Of course, he had been at the castle for a long time, prince Bearclaw’s page in two turns of the seasons, but the king had never addressed to him before. Gaining his mind again, he nodded speechlessly. King Mantricker smiled at him, then his look turned serious.
“What happened today?” he asked.
Woodhue looked at him with a hurt eye, then he turned to the blanket. He was silent for a while, making Longbranch even more thoughtful. What had actually happened with his brother this day, other than that he was abducted and lost his eye? The boy looked up again, meeting the king’s glance.
“I was bored. No one had time to play with me.”
Mantricker nodded silently and slowly, letting the child do the talking.
“Mother was busy sewing, so I walked around inside the manor. No one noticed me then either, neither the strange man.”
Owl jerked, sending his son an asking look.
“Man?” he said.
Woodhue looked up at his father, blinking.
“The man that brought me to the forest.”
“What was his name?” Mantricker asked quickly.
Woodhue turned back to the king, not taking in his father and brother’s shared looks as he looked down, lowering his voice.
“I don’t know,” he mumbled.
“He never told me.”
The room fell silent, everyone watching the child. He lifted his hand and touched the bandage at his right side, then looked up again.”
“I hadn’t seen him before. He asked me who I was. I told, and then he wondered if I wanted to see a treewee. He said she had three cubs.”
Owl swallowed hard, the king nodded again.
“I said that I had to ask mother first, but he said that he had already done it. So I took his hand and left.”
“You said you hadn’t seen him before. Why did you go with him?” Mantricker asked.
Woodhue blinked and gave the king a look that said that the answer was a matter of course.
“He was an elder,” he said.
“And father has taught us that we must show respect to elders.”
Owl cursed himself silently, swearing under his breath as his son continued.
“We walked through the forest for a long time. I was a little bit scared, but he held my hand and said that it was okay to fear what you didn’t know about-”
His voice trailed off as his eye went downwards and turned seriously. Longbranch blinked and placed a hand at his shoulder, squeezing it slightly. The boy mumbled something that was impossible to catch, but it sounded like “I should have known”. Then he looked up at again.
“We had fun, really. He told me lots of stories and didn’t try to make fun of me because I was scared. We got to a clearing and he showed me the treewee. He had told the truth, she had three cubs. I was going to say that it was the sweetest thing I had ever seen, but then he wasn’t there anymore.”
He looked down again, his hand reaching out for the blanket as he started fidgeting. It was obvious that he didn’t want to go back to the clearing, but if they were going to get the guilty ones in this wrongdoing, then they needed to know. Luckily they didn’t need to push the boy. He spoke up by himself just a few moments later.
“There were three others there instead, two humans and one elf,” he mumbled.
“I was about to scream, but then someone grabbed me from behind and covered my mouth. They dragged me through the forest to another clearing. There were eight men in all, five humans and three elves. There they started to ask me about”¦”
He became silent again, but only for a second.
“”¦things,” he said.
“What ”˜things’?” Mantricker asked as he leant in closer.
Woodhue gave him an uncertain look, then swallowed.
“First they asked me who I was. I told, and then they started to ask me about father.”
Owl jerked and looked at his son with wondering eyes, but the boy kept talking.
“They wanted to know what your majesty’s next move was. I said that I didn’t know, and then they started yelling at me. They said that as father’s son, I had to know something of value. But I didn’t know anything, and when I told them, one of them said that they would teach me what happened to liars.”
In one moment, Owl’s heart sank down to his stomach. The next it was up in his throat, then back in his chest, pounding and running like crazy. The guiltiness flushed through his body, threatening to drag him under for real. His son had been abducted because of [i:6a83d9b567]him[/i:6a83d9b567]. The men wanted information about him and the king, therefore they had taken his son. Slapping his face, he groaned silently. If only he had stayed at home this day. Or brought Woodhue to the castle. If he had done something, nothing of this would have happened. It was all his fault!
“The man who took me saved me from getting slapped. He said that I would be worth more unharmed.”
Woodhue became silent again, staring at the bed as he recalled every single happening. He didn’t understand back then, but now the words were as clear as the day. Longbranch clenched his fists again, getting a stern look from his father, daring him to open his mouth. Woodhue sighed.
“Then one of them pushed me to the ground and sat on my chest. He was heavy. I couldn’t get free. One of the elves grabbed my right hand and a human grabbed my left. The man who sat on me suddenly held a knife in his hand. Then he rose it, and”¦ and”¦”
He buried his face in his hands as he leant forward, his body shaking in convulsive crying. Longbranch quickly placed a hand at his back, patting it carefully.
“I’m sorry,” he cried from his finger grids.
“I can’t say it! I’m sorry!”
“Shh, little one,” Owl whispered as he bent over the child and hugged him hard.
“It’s alright. You did fine, I’m proud of you.”
“Yes, we are proud of you,” a sweet voice called from behind.
Turning around, they saw Joyleaf move closer and sit down at the bed, reaching out for the boy she had grown so fond of. He let her embrace him and stroke him over his hair, caressing his head.
“You were so brave,” she mumbled into his hair.
But Woodhue shook his head, blinking away the tears.
“No!” he sobbed.
“If I’d done something, maybe”¦ maybe they hadn’t-“
“It hadn’t stopped them,” Bearclaw said as also he moved closer.
“They intended to get the information they wanted, no matter what cost. Unfortunately, you were their goal.”
Woodhue looked at the prince with a sorrowful eye as he started crying again. Not before now did he realize the price he had to pay. He had lost his eye, and with that, his depth vision. He wouldn’t be able to separate different distances, something that was essential for life or death on the battlefield. He hadn’t only lost his eye, but also his only dream; to become someone. His future was killed in that clearing, in the same moment as the man drove the knife into his eye. He would never be anything, only nothing.
He looked up at Joyleaf with a tearful eye, seeing the concern shining from their eyes. Everyone looked at him, even the others that stayed in the nurse stove. He hadn’t realized that he was crying.
“My life’s ruined,” he sobbed.
“I can’t be anything with only one eye!”
Mantricker looked at the confused and heartbroken boy, feeling something in his heart. He knew what to do, knew it was the right thing.
“Woodhue,” he said, gaining everyone’s attention.
“Brave lad”¦! There’s honor in this.”
Woodhue blinked away the tears, staring at the king with a wide eye.
“You stood strong even when they threatened you. You didn’t give them the answers they wanted, didn’t betray me to save your neck,” he said, lowering his face just a little and smiling.
“I only know a handful of men who would do that for me.”
He placed his hand at the boy’s shoulder.
“From now on, you shall be known as”¦ One-Eye!”
An elf’s memory is often misty and distant, considering that they’re living for so long. But this memory would never be forgotten!
Note: Pater Noster is the Latin name used in the Middle Age for a prayer. In modern times, Norwegians just say Fader VÃ¥r, translated to Our Father (God).
Whew! Wasn't sure I'd make it before my dentist appt, but just made it. It was interesting to read knowing where it was headed, but it made it more compelling to see how you would get there! Another good one!
Nice story Tenderfoot! But I just thought the age gap between Woodhue/One-eye and Cutter was bigger... :?
Here's my contribution:
[b:51b85da473]Trick, tricky trolls[/b:51b85da473]
Trick, tricky trolls tricked
Tribe to the wasteland
Ooh, don’t believe in those trick tricky trolls
A decision was made
To follow the daystar
Tribe tracked through the wasteland
Three long hot days
Thirst made the tribe’s
Thoughts somewhat addled
Tribe tried to take
Things from the strangers
Blue eyes met green
Tribe took time
To take some time of
Two years went by
Twins to the tribes
Two years and three
Things once again stirred
Human told tale
Of dark sky exploding
Tam thought time
Was up for a quest
Timmain told tale
Through the young twin
Tales of how High Ones
First came to the planet
Treewee told [i:51b85da473]this[/i:51b85da473] tale
Of the trick, tricky trolls[/color:51b85da473]
Starting with the shortest one - and that's Redhead's Tricky Trolls
Not cryptic the usual way ... but kind of cryptic too - in this irritating strange way it is written ... and all explained by the fancy twist at the end :clap:
Remind me when I'll complain about your cryptic ones next time - these were easy to illustrate compared to this one
1. I always found it odd that we see the Palace land in basically a forested area, that looks like flat lands around them (when we see it first appear) ”“ and yet later ”“ it’s deep in a mountain range. This is my little explanation as to why that is.[/quote:01fab44d8c]
I always thought this was sort of explained by saying that there was a change in climate from when the elves first landed to the "current" story. I think it's referred to a bit in the graphic novels and quite a bit in the prose novels that it began getting colder and the elves had to move to find game. I think it's also supposed to show just how much time has passed going from Timmorn to Cutter.
Anyway, I really enjoyed this story. I still have trouble keeping all your characters straight, but this "episode" seemed to flow better than some of the others I've read. I look forward to seeing what happens next.
[color=red:31af764bb5]Yeah... it [i:31af764bb5]is[/i:31af764bb5] a little... would [b:31af764bb5]tongue in check[/b:31af764bb5] be the right expression? Really thought it was a nice way to include the treewee! :D
[size=9:31af764bb5]And... [i:31af764bb5]man[/i:31af764bb5] did I have some troubles with that explosion? Which... is rather silly considered that I myself suggested it! That's gonna be a new one... problems with including "your own" element... :roll: [/size:31af764bb5]
Don't worry... I'll remind you... :twisted: [/color:31af764bb5]
[quote:69670f05fc="Redhead Ember"][color=red:69670f05fc]That's gonna be a new one... problems with including "your own" element... :roll: [/color:69670f05fc][/quote:69670f05fc]Saw you writing German somewhere ... so you'll understand this, I guess:
[i:69670f05fc]Kleine SÃ¼nden straft der Herr sofort![/i:69670f05fc] :P
[color=red:64a02b73f1]Something about punishment... I'm not [i:64a02b73f1]that[/i:64a02b73f1] good at German... only what my C-level will alow me...[/color:64a02b73f1]
Um.. God punishes small sins immediately?
To me, it sounds like something like "small sins, the Lord will punish us immediately".
Since I'm learning Spansih in school, I have no clue if that's right though :?
Beat you to it. :)
Hard to keep pace here :) ... Welcome, Kindredsou! :D
I love your story, Tenderfoot. You are showing Woodhue's conflict between being a child and his wish of acting like an young adult. And you pictured Longbranch's love and care for his little brother beautifully.
But ... :x ... instead of solving qone riddle, you introduce an new one! Who are this kidnappers and wht's their issue? Nastybad prosething!
Waiting curiously for more ...
I love the whole interaction and the fact they had to get the list done!!
And nice work Tenderfoot, you're coming along great!
And as usual, Tymber is awesome and so is RedHead Ember's!
That was prizeless, Kindred! :clap:
[quote:e3073c94ce="mournsong"]Um.. God punishes small sins immediately?[/quote:e3073c94ce]
That's a literal translation, Redhead ... tho I don't know if it's a phrase in English as well.
That was great Kindred! Now that you've started, I hope you'll contribute again.
[b:13c098540b][u:13c098540b]A silly drabble[/u:13c098540b][/b:13c098540b]
"Stop hanging off that branch like a sorry treewee, Ember! Mother wants us to gather capnuts." Suntop was cross at his sister's loafing. He frowned in all seriousness. "We've got work to do!"
"Ah..." Ember pouted. "Puckernuts! I will, but come closer."
"Come closer, I want to show you something."
"Alright..." Cautiously Suntop edged nearer to where his sister hung, upside down by her knees from a branch. Finally, he was almost standing beneath her. "What is it?"
"This!" Ember swung herself around and leaped off the branch. She landed nearly on top of her brother. Sheer momentum propelled her into him, and they both fell backward into a bush in an explosion of leaves and twigs. "Haha! Take that, Cloudhead!"
"Grr! You pest!" Suntop and Ember rolled around in the foliage, wrestling and grappling, until the fight dissolved into hysterical giggles. Finally, Suntop laid back, exhausted and looked up at the sky. Ember, beside him, did the same.
The trees above them seemed to spin.
"We still need to find some capnuts..." Suntop reminded her, breathlessly.
"Yep," Ember gasped. She hiccuped, then smiled. "You know, I was always gonna. I just wanted some fun first."
"Huh.." Suntop looked at her as if he'd never considered that. I guess it's okay to play a little bit, as long as you do what needs to be done." It was a point of view he had never considered before- but one he was willing to give a try. He stood and hauled his sister to her feet. "How about a game then... first one to find the most capnuts wins!"
Ember grinned. "Let's go!"
The rest of that afternoon was spent in the happy and, for Suntop, newly discovered midpoint between work and play.
Nothing silly about it...
It was good Luna!
But everything is silly, silly! :P
thanks- i'm glad you liked it.
Touching, actually, Luna. And just the way for me to start the morning. :)
Cheers and coffee,
I enjoyed it, lunakat :D Very much Suntop and Ember
Wow, lotsa comments. Better get started. *rolls up sleeves*
[quote:e34779f5f1="jeb"]Whew! Wasn't sure I'd make it before my dentist appt, but just made it. It was interesting to read knowing where it was headed, but it made it more compelling to see how you would get there! Another good one![/quote:e34779f5f1]
Thankies! I'm glad you made it, you must be a fast reader. It would be almost impossible to write this so that you wouldn't know where it was heading, but I'm glad that you still found it compelling.
[quote:e34779f5f1="Redhead Ember"][color=red:e34779f5f1]Nice story Tenderfoot! But I just thought the age gap between Woodhue/One-eye and Cutter was bigger... :?[/color:e34779f5f1][/quote:e34779f5f1]
Thank you! Well, in my story, I wanted the gap to be smaller. If Woodhue had been older with just a few years, that would have ruined it. Then he probably wouldn't have gone with the man since children were counted as adults from age 15 and up in the Middle Age. And from age 12 , they knew better than to trust a stranger.
Woodhue was somewhere between seven and eight during The Iron Burden, and now almost two and a half years have passed. There's still over a year until the birth of Bearclaw and Joyleaf's firstborn, so One-Eye will be a little over 11 years older.
Hm, I think I need to make a timeline for this...
[quote:e34779f5f1="Embala"]I love your story, Tenderfoot. You are showing Woodhue's conflict between being a child and his wish of acting like an young adult. And you pictured Longbranch's love and care for his little brother beautifully.[/quote:e34779f5f1]
*blushes* Naw, that's really nice of you to say. I'm glad I made it though, I was a bit afraid that it would be too... childishly and sickly sweetly.
As for Woodhue's conflict, I based it upon own experiences. Being the youngest out of three children, I know how it is to be left behind and to wish that you were older.
As for Longbranch, I don't know how it is to have younger siblings, but friends of my parents have a little daughter who I consider as my very own little sister. I also know how I would react if either her or my real sisters had disappeared without a clue.
I almost don't know what else to say to your comment. When I've slept on it, I'll give another answer. I'm glad you liked it!
[quote:e34779f5f1="Embala"]But ... :x ... instead of solving qone riddle, you introduce an new one! Who are this kidnappers and wht's their issue? Nastybad prosething!
Waiting curiously for more ...[/quote:e34779f5f1]
Nastybad prosething... Now I have a preserver name too. Kidding aside, unsolved riddles are necessary. How else should I keep you reading, maybe at the edge of your seats? But don't worry, everything will be relieved sooner or later. I'm not sure, but I think that this question may be answered in the next Grab Bag. Depends on what the elements are. As for the former riddle, I'm afraid that you'll have to wait a while for that one... :oops:
[quote:e34779f5f1="WiseShaman"]And nice work Tenderfoot, you're coming along great![/quote:e34779f5f1]
And thanks to you too!
Wowsa, lotsa comments! Boy, am I exhausted. *collapses on bed* Zz[size=9:e34779f5f1]z[/size:e34779f5f1]
Tenderfoot, I'm so glad you are continuong with these medieval tales! A whole different look at the elves, and a very good read!
Tymber - I haven't read yours yet. I intend to read them all in the correct order, but I simply haven't the time right now to dive into such a huge, ongoing saga. But, when things settle down, I promise you I will read them!
Redhead, Tricky Trolls was very cute!
Kindred, I loved your take on the challenge! I really hope you'll do more grab bags! :D
Luna, that was awesome how you managed to get all the elements into such a short piece, and so seamlessly too!
[quote:6ad30a4497="Tymber"]The passage of time - two years went by, twins to the tribe, two years and three (which is five years?) - and things once again stirred. Were the twins 5 years old when the humans arrived at Sorrow's End? I couldn't recall if their age was ever mentioned, or if I am reading that passage correctly as to what that's meaning. [/quote:6ad30a4497]
Well! The Wolfriders stayed in Sorrow's End for 7 years before the quest began: Leetah was pregnant the two first years! That leaves 5 years! 2+2+3=7
[url=http://www.elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics/OQ/OQ06/DisplayOQ06.html?page=9]Here it is on print![/url][/color:6ad30a4497]
Great story, Tymber. Hasn't felt as long as it looked - definitely nice flowing. Mass of background - and future implications.
Guttlekraw must be a moderate villain compared to Scalphunter *shudder* - that was CRUEL. Wilkl not even imagine what will happen if he finds his way to the Holt.
Only one irritation - when the High Ones lived a secure live inside the Palace - why do their children havn't elvish soundnames? And more - when their live was peaceful til Scalphunter's takeover - why are there "WAR-"names? Guess you need a new naming day - a chance to explain when and why the twins changed their names, at least.
Hey guys! Thanks for the compliments! :)
I just wanted to say that I'm also very glad that Kindred decided to contribute this month, that Tymber's ongoing saga is very much fun to follow! And that I also adore Red's 'tricky tricky troll' poem... told from the point of view of a treewee! I like how it captures the simple thinking of the little being.
Okay, I'm giving you another one. It's also pretty short. This is to compensate for the fact that I didn't write a full story.
Silly Drabble #2[/b:9a94613939]
Pike looked at the treewee. The tree wee looked at Pike. It blinked its huge, limpid eyes. Pike giggled. He extended a finger. The treewee leaned forward, sniffing with its little nose”¦ and reached out a very elfin-looking, treewee hand.
Slowly, carefully, Pike reached back into his pouch and pulled out a handful of berries. He offered them to the small and curious creature. It crept closer, then, suddenly, snatched the berries from his open palm and darted back to its den.
”˜Awwww”¦’ Pike thought fondly. ”˜It likes dreamberries too!’
*Pike!* Scott’s send broke in upon his thoughts. *Did you kill it yet?*
Pike shook his head in annoyance to clear it. Then, *No. And I’m not gonna either! *
*What? Why not?!* That last came from Krim. A short while later, the two emerged from the brush. Joining Pike on a nearby branch, they each fixed him with a glare. Krim, for her part, seemed irritated”¦ but Skot looked ready to burst.
”˜Here it comes,’ thought Pike, ”˜one, two, three”¦’
*What is wrong with you?!!!* Skot’s frustration exploded in his mind. *All this time we spent looking, the days I spent awake-watching and waiting- The trouble Krim went to setting that trap, and now this! You track it, you find it, and”¦ and”¦ you let it go?? You LET IT GO?? *
Pike’s jaw dropped. Krim laid a hand on Skot’s shoulder. “Lifemate, calm down.”
“No.” Skot muttered. “I want an explanation.”
“Alright,” Pike smiled. “I’ll show you where it lives- and then you can decide.”
Krim raised a brow. Skot narrowed his eyes. But they both nodded and followed Pike’s lead.
Moments later, they found themselves crouched outside a tree hole. Krim peered inside. She could see the treewee, huddled in the dim light, gazing back at her with its enormous, blinking eyes. The hollow was lined with fur, soft grasses, and various”¦ things”¦ to make it more comfortable. Around the treewee, small, fuzzy shapes moved blindly, occasionally nuzzling against their mother for warmth.
“I’ll be...” Krim stated. “She has cubs!”
“So?” Skot sneered. “That’s just a mouthful more to snack on!”
“Look!” Krim instructed. Skot shoved his face in next to hers.
“Well”¦ I’ll be.” He smiled. “Look at that! It’s”¦”
“My deerskin pouch!” Krim exclaimed. “And over there”¦”
“My boot!” Skot finished. “Aw- look! That little one is sleeping in it”¦ Oh wait. There’s four!”
One by one, Skot and Krim identified several items gone missing from their den.
“Sneaky little treerat,” Krim chuckled finally. “We’ve been outwitted!” She turned to Skot. “What do you want to do about it?”
“Huh?” Skot was staring raptly into the den, watching the babes crawl in and around his former possessions. Krim snorted. “Oh! Oh”¦” Skot drew himself up and tried to look stern. “Well, of course I want my boot back””but the deathsleep [i:9a94613939]is[/i:9a94613939] coming soon, and this brood needs to stay warm.” He sighed a long-suffering sigh. “I guess I can get it come newgreen.”
Krim smirked. Pike grinned, “I knew you’d come around." Pike turned his back to the den, not noticing a small hand that reached out toward his belt-pouch”¦
“Come on, lifemates,” Krim laid a hand each on their shoulders. “Let’s go home!”
Later that day”¦ the three of them loafed lazily in their own den. Skot tossed his one boot to Krim, who tossed it back. “I still can’t believe we aren’t snacking on treewee right now,” Krim remarked.
“You know, Wolfrider,” Skot glanced at Pike, “I wasn’t so sure about you and your tribe. But I’m glad we came, and I’m glad we got to live life your way for a change. So”¦” He examined his boot, “how long does it take baby treewees to grow up?”
“Haha! I don’t know,” Pike answered. “Maybe a turn of the seasons? In the meantime”¦ at least we have these!” He reached around to grab his pouch. “What? Where are they? My dreamberries!” His lighthearted expression turned abruptly to a scowl. “Grr! That little”¦.”
Krim and Scot just laughed!
[quote:26575437f3="lunakat"]Krim and Scot just laughed![/quote:26575437f3]... and me too
That was sweet and funny, Kindred. So enjoyable!
[size=9:26575437f3]... only one question: Why Pike's "erstwhile" lifemates? That would mean they are lifemated no more, right?[/size:26575437f3] :?
doh! fixed it!
That was lovely Luna!
It came across to me like that "Rikki Tikki" story rythm! *an old children's book. Don't know if anyone's familiar with it :oops: *[/quote:0cc486353c]
Is that the story "Rikki Tikki Tembo No Sirembo Cheri Beri Rechin-pip Pembo"? (Just guessing at the spelling and being too lazy to Google it.) That was one of my favorites as a child but never thought anyone else had ever read it.
*What is wrong with you?!!!* Skot’s frustration exploded in his mind. *All this time we spent looking, the days I spent awake-watching and waiting- The trouble Krim went to setting that trap, and now this! You track it, you find it, and”¦ and”¦ you let it go?? You LET IT GO?? *
That seems oddly familiar...
I remember Rikki Tikki Tembo too!
Hey, nice addition there Luna.
I can easily see a treewee outsmarting that trio!
Tenderfoot, I have to tell you that your story was fabulus. Yeah I know I write bad sorry. :? forgive me
Aww, thank you, Rainflower! And don't worry about spelling, everyone makes mistakes.
And love your signature!
Is that the story "Rikki Tikki Tembo No Sirembo Cheri Beri Rechin-pip Pembo"? (Just guessing at the spelling and being too lazy to Google it.) That was one of my favorites as a child but never thought anyone else had ever read it.
Thanks, Kindred! I don't think it was too confusing. Or, rather, I think the confusion is good. It really could go either way!
Oh, I think it was "Tikki tikki tembo..." "Riki Tiki" is a Rudyard Kipling story.
Not even a real illustration :oops: At least a nice background for Redhead's "tricky" tale and a little color for this thread. An we should SEE a treewee this month, shouldn't wee?
Does anyone know other treewee pics (besides the Blue Mountain one)? Still looking for inspiration for a collage ... but this one looks so saaad ... tooo sad ...
It's cool! 8)
REAL nice. Beautiful layout!
It took a while, but I finally was able to catch up to everyone's grab bag! That'll teach me to put things off.
Wow, this was really nice. I loved the begining, where Woodhue was so petulant and being a child, knowing he was being a child, and not caring. So cute! And oh, after he got kidnapped... You really handled all the emotions well, and each character's reaction was so distinct, I felt that I really got to know the characters and how different they all were.
I like how the rhythem sounds, but I don't think I could pronounce any of that without getting my tounge-tied. I like the alliteration and the end of how the Treewee told the tale. :D Very nicely done!
These new trolls sound worse than Guttlecraw! That whole description of Scalphunter put shivers down my spine. Brrr. Now we'll have to see how the rest of the tribe deals with them. And a new Recognition as well! I'm eager to see what has Skyshade so cowed. Did I miss something in the previous installment? (checks) Well, there's something. Something deeper than the torture at Scalphunter's hands? Gah! Now I can't wait for May!
That was awesome. I really had no idea that it was Cutter and Rayek, but reading the story kept a smile on my face the entire time. :D The description of the scene with Old Maggoty and Picknose was priceless! I could just picture the two of them in her den, screaming. Brilliant!
Two drabbles with six elements! Now that is a writing feat. :) I loved the one with Suntop and EMber. I thought they were very much in character. And I love anything with Pike in it, and the visuals of the first paragraph had me awing with cuteness glee. I also like how his dreamberries got stolen in the end. :)
That was awesome. I really had no idea that it was Cutter and Rayek, but reading the story kept a smile on my face the entire time. :D The description of the scene with Old Maggoty and Picknose was priceless! I could just picture the two of them in her den, screaming. Brilliant!
I like how the rhythem sounds, but I don't think I could pronounce any of that without getting my tounge-tied. I like the alliteration and the end of how the Treewee told the tale. Very nicely done!
Thanks, Tymber :D
Hhmmm ... seeing it this way ... you might be right!
I like the collage, Embala. The Treewee looks more neutral, as if he's thinking, this rain adds atmosphere. :)
Then... DO a the picture! Puppydog eyes[/quote:7bac0a9fac]
Oh no! Puppydog eyes! Can't resist..... will do picture. :D I've already got a sketch in mind. 8)
Okey, my turn. This is my first Grab Bag and those elves are not from Elfquest, but my own. They're inspired by EQ though, like all the other elves on this forum. So I hope you will enjoy it.
[size=18:42ae5b1c7d]The hidden powers.[/size:42ae5b1c7d]
It was a lovely day, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and there was peace and quiet. And that was enough for Hawkeye, while he rested near the lake and didn’t care for what they others did in the village. Everyone had worked hard, and now everone rested for a while. A perfect time to be a little lazy, Hawkeye tought.
In the meantime, his older brother, Blindeye, was with his wife, Sunshine, and sharpened his arrowheads while telling their little son, Himerish, how to hunt. Sunshine smiled at her husband, it was only a few weeks since Himerish was born, but like all fathers, he was so excited to do many things with his child.
“Listen now, Himerish. When you’ll go out and hunt, you must have good weapons with you.”
Blindeye continueded to explain how to hunt and what kind of weapons you could hunt with. He could have contunied to explain more, if not for their friend, Daredevil, who threw a bucket with cold water on Blindeye. Daredevil was one of the tribe who was so advanced, and the one who had a really good sense of humour. Blindeye gave Daredevil a look, and everyone could see that his look said, “You are so dead”. Then he began to chase Daredevil while he shouted to Himerish:
“And then you must take the kill, before it gets the chance to run away from you.”
Daredevil laughed while he ran with Blindeye behind him, and both of them made a little chaos in the village. They almost ran Starfire down while she sharpened her arrowheads, and now her arrows were on the ground after Blindeye and Daredevil raced past her.
“Hey, I’ve worked with my arrows in a whole hour, and now you two have made a mess,” she shouted after them. But it seemed that they didn’t hear her.
“Guys,” she sighed.
And the chaos wasn’t over yet. Moonlight, Sunshine’s younger sister, stitched new pantaloons to her chief, Topaz.
“Almost done, Topaz, and then your new pantaloons will be done,” she said and was happy for that Topaz really appreciated her talent to sew clothes when she asked friendly.
“Good, I really needed new clothes, thank you so much again, Moonlight,” Topaz said and waited patiently for Moonlight to be done, but then Daredevil and Blindeye ran past them, and Moonlight poked on Topaz with her needle by accident.
“Ow!” she screamed.
Daredevil and Blindeye didn’t hear the women grumble after them while they still ran. They were out of the village now and ran to the lake, but they didn’t know that Hawkeye was near the lake.
“Get back here you fool,” Blindeye shouted after Daredevil. “You’ll regret the day you were born.”
Hawkeye was unsuspecting, but then Daredevil and Blindeye clashed on him and Hawkeye fell in the lake.
“Whoops,” Daredevil said while he and Blindeye looked down at the lake. Hawkeye didn’t come up and soon, Blindeye kneeled down and looked down to the water.
“Hawkeye?” Blindeye said with a worried voice. Then Hawkeye finally came up from the water, spitting out water, and looked up to his brother and his friend with an angry glare.
“Earth swollow you both,” he cried to them. “Watch where you’re running next time you two are going to chase eachother.”
Then he went back to the village, still angry at his brother and Daredevil.
“Wow, I can’t remember to have seen your brother so angry before,” Daredevil said suprised.
“Well, these times he’s angry, is when he have a bad day, or had a nightmare, or if someone have suprised him like we did now. Belive me, I know my brother,” Blindeye said seariously. Daredevil laughed for himself.
“Well, then your brother must have nightmares every night,” Daredevil said, but in the next moment, Blindeye pushed him to the water.
“Hey,” Daredevil screamed while he fell in the lake.
“What was that for? I just joked,” Daredevil said when his head came up from the water and looked to Blindeye.
“Well, the first thing. Your joke was so funny, that I forgot to laugh. The second is, I got my revenge. Shortly said, you walked in the water,” Blindeye said and turned back to the village.
“You walked in the water,” Daredevil mimiced after Blindeye.
“I heard that,” Blindeye shouted back.
“No you didn’t,” Dardevil protested.
“Yes, I did.”
“I won’t discuss this with you. We have work to do,” Blindeye shouted and Daredevil followed him back to the village.
Later on the day, Hawkeye was on a hunt with Blindeye, Daredevil and Topaz. Starfire wasn’t with them, even that she wished she could be with them, but it was her turn to be in the village with Sunshine and Moonlight if something happened with them. The group was quiet, a very importent rule when you were on a hunt, be quiet and not let the prey know you are there. When it came to hunting, it was always good to have Hawkeye with them. He had the sharpest eyes in the whole tribe, like a hawk. That was the reason he got his name. When it came to Blindeye, was only because of his right eye was blind, but it didn’t stop him from to hunt. He was a very good hunter, and especially to use bow and arrow. The elves went deeper in the forest, without to get any caught yet, but they didn’t want to give up. But later when they were in the forest in almost two hour’s, Blindeye had gotten a searious look.
“Guys, I think we shouldn’t have gone so far. I have a bad feeling,” Blindeye said.
“Relax, Blindeye. We have been in this part of the forest before, so what’s the matter?” Daredevil asked.
“Haven’t you heard the sounds up in the trees? I dont like them so much,” Blindeye said and looked up in the trees, but he could not see anything.
“Blindeye, try to relax now. There must be only treewees up there,” Daredevil said with a little laugh. “By the nine chiefs, Blindeye, what’s wrong with you? After you became father, you haven’t relaxed much.”
”You’ve got nice brown eyes. Want me to give you two blue ones instead?” Blindeye said to Daredevil.
Hawkeye sighed silently for himself, what wouldn’t he do to have the same feeling? The feeling to be a father, have a child, have a own family? One of his greatest wishes, make a own family. He must admit that he was a little jealous of his brother. Blindeye should have really know how lucky he was. He had been married, and now he was father. Since his parents, their last chief and almost every tribemate he had known since he was a child, were dead, dead by an accident when they were on a hunt. Since then, it was only him, his brother, Sunshine and Moonlight, Topaz, Daredevil and Starfire. But the tribe was begginning to grow again, but it was only Himerish now. But who had said that he couldn’t marry Starfire or Moonlight? But he wouldn’t have felt happiness for that. One, he wasn’t in love with one of them, he only felt friendship between them. Two, why couldn’t he try to meet a another elfwoman from another tribe? Well, it wasn’t that easy, because the warrior tribe, lead by chief Optarh, was in a war with someone called the dark ones. And the warriors tried to protect the other tribes, and the war had started for fifteen years ago. His thoughts were erupted as Topaz tried to calm the others down.
“That’s enough, you two. We’re on a hunt now and shouldn’t discuss such a stupid thing. Blindeye, it’s okay that you’re not feeling well, but you shouldn’t let that destroy the hunt for neither you nor the others. Daredevil, it’s nice of you to try to calm Blindeye down, but you out of everyone must know that there’s a limit.”
As their chief’s words sunk in, the roup calmed down a little bit. A while later they were wandering around again, deeper into the forest. Blindeye still heard the sounds from the trees and still felt that something was wrong, but chose not to think abou it. Chief Topaz words were to be followed. His younger brother Hawkeye continued searching for a prey, his eyes scanning the ground for tracks. And it didn’t take too much time before they ound a little group of boars. With a little wave of Topaz’ hand was a sign for them to get their bows ready, but just as Hawkeye readied his bow he heard a distant whisper.
“Danger. In the trees. Bad intentions.”
Hawkeye turned around and tried to find the source of the voice, but he couldn’t see anything out of place. In the trees? he thought. An unpleasant tingle ran through his body and before he knew what he did, he fired an arrow that flew through the branches in the trees. The sound of someone being surprised was the only answer he needed.
”What the”¦” was the only thing Blindeye had the time to say.
In the next moment someone landed on the ground. The Dark Ones. And it was obvious that they didn’t have good intentions. The Dark Ones pulled out their swords, the elves’ blood froze like the lake’s surface during winter. Hawkeye didn’t know what to do when the Dark Ones’ eyes met his. One of them raised his sword, pointing it at him. His body was trembling as the sword came closer, but to his surprise he wasn’t attacked. He was rather pushed gently away from Blindeye and the others, lifted above them. Then he heard the whisper again.
“Don’t worry. Help is coming.”
Some of the Dark Ones pulled out their own bows and pointed them at Blindeye, Topaz and Daredevil. No! Hawkeye thought. They’re going to kill them! But before the Dark ones got the chance to fire the arrows, a roar could be sound all over the forest. The elves could hear someone approaching and strange elves leapt through the bushes and into the clearing, towards the Dark Ones. The enemies were thrown up into the air like they weren’t anything else than washed clothes, while three other elves grabbed Blindeye and the others and pulled them up the tree. Topaz wasn’t worried. She knew who these rescuing elves were. They were warriors from chief Optarh’s tribe, and it looked like they had fun with thrashing the enemies. Hawkeye used the opportunity to try to get to the others. He ran past those who fought each other, was pushed aside and almost fell, but it seemed like he did fine. That was, until one of the Dark Ones lost his balance and fell on top of him. But he received help again. One of the warriors pulled the enemy up and threw him away, helping Hawkeye onto his feet. The leader of the group cast one single glance at Topaz and the others, then turned to his own tribesmen and shouted an order before he joined the fighting again.
“Get up in the trees, quick!” he screamed and waved at someone.
The four friends immediately felt someone grab them and before they could protest, they were pulled up the trees and to safety.
“Don’t worry, you’re safe up here,” one of the warriors said as they joined the fight again.
Blindeye’s visible eye widened as he stared at the fight with a confused look. He couldn’t understand what was really going on.
“If Moonlight had been here, she would have said that these warriors were some real brawlers!”
”You mean harsh, right?” Daredevil asked as he continued watching the fight.
“The Dark Ones seemed to lose their courage immediately when these warriors appeared. Damn, they’re good!”
And he was right, ’cause some of the Dark Ones fled just a second after, followed by some of the elves. The leader of the group was busy fighting the Dark Ones’ leader. He used every fighting technique he had learned, got a few hits and scars from his opponent’s sword, but quickly gained the upper hand. Then he heard his friend call for him.
”Hey, Toron! Over here, over here!”
Toron didn’t need to be asked twice and kicked his opponent, sending him flying over to Sturkas, who gave the enemy another kick and made him land flat on his face. Hawkeye had witnessed everything and was thunderstruck for a few seconds. He thought that everything was over now, but he was wrong. A shiver ran down his spine and he turned automatically, raising his hands and holding them in front of him. The next moment his hands were glowing, something happened that almost blinded everyone. One of the enemies would have attacked him from behind, but the result was the opposite. Hawkeye looked down at his hands and suddenly felt dizzy and sick. He almost didn’t notice that he teetered on the branch, didn’t hear Blindeye shout. He would have had a nasty fall if Toron hadn’t grabbed him as he fell. But he quickly recovered though and noticed an asking glare in Toron’s eyes.
”What the fuck did you just do?” he asked.
Hawkeye didn’t know what to answer, he didn’t know what had happened. Just that it seemed like he was a magic user.
“I”¦ I don’t know. I really don’t know,” was everything he said.
The warriors had taken Topaz and the others home, but hadn’t left their village yet. Never before had they experienced that the enemy had attacked other elves; elves that weren’t a part of their war. Toron had a serious talk with Topaz while Daredevil told Sunshine, Moonlight and Starfire what had happened during their hunt. The women were gaping in shock while listening. Hawkeye didn’t have the energy to be with them now. He still hadn’t gotten over the fight or what had happened. That he was a magic user all of the sudden, that was too much for him to handle. Topaz was done with her talk with Toron and went over to Hawkeye.
“How are you?” she asked.
“I don’t know,” he answered.
“Just that first I’m a normal elf, but the next moment I’m a magic user.
“And it seems like it’s magic of the strong kind,” Toron commented.
Hawkeye didn’t answer, he just looked up at the sky and saw the shining stars.
“Captain Toron has decided that some of the warriors shall stay here in case the Dark Ones will attack again,” Topaz said after a while. She was struggling with finding the right words.
“And you should make a decision.”
”A decision? For what?” Hawkeye asked and looked at Topaz.
“Captain Toron don’t want to take hast conclusions, but it actually seems like the enemy was after you, sort of. So he wants you to think about if you want to go with them, back to their village and talk with their chief, Optarh, and the Sages Council about what magic you have and what you can do with it.
“What!?” Hawkeye was about to protest, but Topaz interrupted him and continued talking.
”I know that you don’t want to leave us, but I don’t know anything about magic. I can’t help you, but maybe chief Optarh could help you in a way. You can’t use magic you can’t control. Just think about it, it’s all I’m asking you. Think about it.”
”No, I don’t agree. You’re not to leave, understood?” Blindeye said after Hawkeye had asked him for advice. It wouldn’t be easy.
“But Blindeye, what if Topaz’s right? I have the right to know what kind of magic I have, how and what I can use it for.”
“I don’t care. I won’t allow that you can get hurt. You stay here!”
”Blindeye, it’s my decision! You don’t have any right to say what I can or can’t do. I’m a grown-up man, not a child!”
”Maybe not, but you’re still my brother and I can’t bear the thought of losing you,” Blindeye almost screamed.
Hawkeye was silent, his brother had never screamed at him before, at least not in that way. It was too much for him, he couldn’t stand the other’s asking glares. He ran to his hut, leaving the others. Once inside, he fell on top of his bed and let the tears stream. His emotions had come like an explosion and he only wanted to be alone.
His tears had dried long ago, now he was lying on his bed, thinking. Should he dare to leave? Leave the others, what he knew and loved? But he had been in the warriors’ village before, back when he was a child, long before the war started. All of the elves had met each spring to celebrate the spring’s return. If he left, the warriors would make sure that he didn’t get any problems. Besides, some of the warriors were staying with his friends, so they would be safe is the Dark Ones were to attack again. Attack, he thought and remembered Topaz’s words. If I stay, the Dark Ones will certainly attack us again, but if I leave, maybe they’ll be safe. But what about the other village then? Won’t they be in danger? No, they’re warriors, and the Dark Ones won’t know that I’m there. Or”¦ no, this is too silly. I’ll leave, I won’t let the others be in danger because of me. Hawkeye was thinking so hard that he was sure someone could hear his brain crack in frustration. He heard the sounds of night and the warriors walking outside their huts. There had been just one attack and they acted like they were in the middle of the enemies’ territory. If the Dark Ones attacked again, just once, they would make sure that they were safe. He stood up from the bed and went over to the window and looked out. How long had he been awake? The others had turned off their lights long ago. He sighed and let the chilly, fresh night breeze fill his lungs. It helped his thoughts. Maybe he could just leave with the warriors, get to know what kind of magic he had, probably practice or train a bit and then go back home. Topaz was right, he couldn’t walk around with magic he couldn’t control. If his loved ones already were in danger because of the Dark Ones, what wouldn’t hey be with him around? He ran down the stairs, his decision was taken. He met captain Toron just outside his hut and immediately told him what his decision was.
“Good,” Toron answered and laid his hand on his shoulder.
“We’’ leave at dawn.”
Ooh! That's... undescribably! I mean, it's both funny, serious and thrilling!
:thumbsup: Keep it going!
Really? Do you mean that? Thank you so much. And dont worry, I will keep going. But we must have some more elements first.
[quote:3a40838887="Tymber"] I am surprised you didn't break the forum with the size of that submission! I thought MY story was going to be long! Wow![/quote:3a40838887]
[img:3a40838887]http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn88/Green_Joy/animesweat.gif[/img:3a40838887] Well... what can I say? But your story was long too, and it was great!
[quote:3a40838887="Tymber"]I usually copy and paste stories and read them in word (where I can adjust the font and the size for ease of reading when they're longer stories like this one!) And wow, am I glad that I did.[/quote:3a40838887]
That's smart to do, especially if you're reading [i:3a40838887]my[/i:3a40838887] stories...
[quote:3a40838887="Tymber"]It takes some getting used to each time, reading them in a Medievil setting - but after my mind accepts the fact a few paragraphs in, everything begins to flow. The only problem I keep having is I visualize them dressed as they are in ElfQuest, even after I accept the medievil'ness of the entire story![/quote:3a40838887]
Oh, that's alright. I try to make their medieval clothes as close to their OQ clothes as possible. Only that you'll never see Ember and the other girls in pants. Dresses for the ladies, tunics and trousers for the guys. But with EO-colors, of course.
[quote:3a40838887="Tymber"]But that said, it was still a good story and an interesting take/version/telling of One-Eye's namesake... [/quote:3a40838887]
*bows* Thank you! As for One-Eye, it was necessary. Not only for him, but also for the rest of my plot... :twisted:
Wow, this was really nice. I loved the begining, where Woodhue was so petulant and being a child, knowing he was being a child, and not caring. So cute! And oh, after he got kidnapped... You really handled all the emotions well, and each character's reaction was so distinct, I felt that I really got to know the characters and how different they all were. [/quote:3a40838887]
Wow, now that's simply... wow. Thank you so much for those words! I really appreciate them! *hugs bukittyan*
A joke, prank or trick
A change in someone's life
Mantricker...it was his tribe name, and he was fretting
now about how to live up to it. High in a tree, he was
sure the day-walking tall ones below would have no idea
that he spied on them. But simply looking held no sport.
He'd been restless lately. Feeling tired, yet unable
to sleep in his lifemate's arms. Feeling somehow like
he'd missed a season; the white-cold that had just
passed was still lingering in his spirit while outside
the world had blossomed again wihtout his notice.
He was itchy. The young Birdcall, blonde pest that
he was, had been seen flicking fleas at Mantricker's
den. That little one was not of an age yet to worry
about consequences. It wasn't a big concern with
most Wolfriders, to be sure, but most at least would
agree it was a bad idea to anger the leader.
Even wolves had that much foresight.
Mantricker's gift to look ahead had let him plan
his daring teases of the tall ones before. He
could stay just out of reach, anger them
just enough to make them wild; yet keep them wary
of the "unseen ones" and keep them fearing
to attack. His father's wish to rid the area
of humans still was a goal, but often it was
blurred by the simple desire to just stir the
Perhaps that was why young Birdcall, the
one who had squalled at birth like a high-air
flier, did not fear any potential wrath. He'd
seen that his chief was not a sort to snarl in
anger, but rather to laugh while others growled.
Perhaps it was time to hear that squall of surprise
His sudden movement made a nest full of tiny treewees
explode into the air behind him. They were skittish
creatures, timid and easy to frighten. Their wide
eyes blinked rapidly at him as he grinned back over
his shoulder at the tree full of frightened fuzzballs.
A little fear kept you alert and healthy, Mantricker
thought as his feet flew over the trail. Now to decide
on the type of trick. Something that would give the
lad a new respect for his Chief was needed.
He'd had the tall ones encounter pests like white-stripes,
and nests of angry stingers to teach them the power of
smaller enemies. But what he wanted to teach now
was the opposite lesson...what would make him look
larger in the eyes of a lad?
Something like wrestling a bear? Climbing a tall
tree? Mantricker could think of nothing to compare
himself with that would impress.
If Goodtree were still around he might ask her council.
She had seen so many seasons of forest life, so many
branches that bent to strong wind.
A snarling wolf nipped at the tail of another as
he entered the Holt. The Way of the pack was so
simple...the teeth, the eyes, the size...they determined
who would lead. For elves, it was different.
Perhaps it was not that he needed to seem big after
all, but rather to be respected for other traits, he
decided. A wise leader featured in as many stories
of the Wolfriders as those who were physically strong.
His smile as young blonde Birdcall passed promised
the lad would learn.
Awsome work, Nightsea.
I agree - that was great again, [b:49f964cff5]Nightsea[/b:49f964cff5]. Getting the respect of an adolescent cub is an unexpected problem for a Chief.
Loved the part with the treewees - such a vivid description.
Your story makes me curious about Hawkeye's future fate and his "power", [b:49f964cff5]Cleopatra[/b:49f964cff5]. Tho ... havn't get at all what kind of power he used. Missed /misunderstood something? Or were you so cryptic by purpose?
Loved the scene where Blindeye is giving newborn Himerish his first "hunting lesson"
Very interesting start! I like the characters of Hawkeye and Blindeye, and how you've managed to give just enough hints about your elves that leaves us wanting more. I also enjoy your dialogue. When this series continues (because it should) would you write a little more about the Dark Ones? I get that they're enemies with the elves, but there isn't much more than that. Why do the elves fear them? And are they elves, or something else?
Mantricker! I love this little blurb into the Wolfrider's past. And I love how you reminded us that Birdcall (later Treestump) has a mischevious side to him. :D I hope you'll write the next part; I'm not sure if I should be worried for Birdcall or not.
Embala, Hawkeye's powers won't be revealed until next month. I'm glad you liked the "first hunting lesson" scene
Tymber, wow, that's a lot of comments! I'll try to give an answer to everything. Please remind me if I forget something. As for little Himerish, his name is of a special meaning for his parents, but I won't reveal that yet. It's for another story
And as for the marriage, I'll give the answer in another story, but it's not exactly Recognation.
The Dark Ones are made up by me, so I'm not surprised that you haven't heard of them.
And as for what Toron said... blame Tenderfoot.
Bukittyan, the Dark Ones are my elves enemies, but for the time being, Hawkeye's tribe aren't familiar wih them and they have never been attacked before. It's typical for these elves to fear what they don't know about because of a tragic happening a few years ago. And the Dark Ones... well, they're neither elves nor trolls or humans, just the Evil's creature, though they can remind of humans.
It's taken me a while, but I've read everyone's!
Redhead Ember, I love your treewee poem! Cute and clever, and all the T's were great! Embala had the perfect complementary picture, too!
Tenderfoot, yours was intense; a great piece! Your depiction of Woodhue as a child was very believable, and the kidnapping scene was scary. I did wonder, since the man who brought him to the other men was able to keep them from slapping the boy, why he didn't try to save him from the eye injury. I thought there must have been some disagreement between the men about whether to hold the boy for ransom (in which case they wouldn't want to hurt him) or try to get information out of him (in which case they would.) I think that since the first man seemed to have some authority, and does not seem to get his way about keeping the boy uninjured, that conflict ought to have come out a little more clearly. Other than that, though, it was really a great read!
Tymber, yours was intense too! The part about the torture of Mindtoucher was hard to read but very effective. I felt for Skyshade, and wondered what it is about these elves that is making the Recognition so hard-- other than not having wolf blood, though that could be all it is. . .
I did wonder if maybe the new elves ought to identify themselves as "Firstborn of the High Ones," though, instead of "Children of the High Ones," since it was my understanding all elves consider themselves "children of the High Ones." But it was a wonderful piece; and I can't wait to find out whether Skyshade will end up with twins-- one child from each Recognition!
Kindred, yours was rich! Hysterical, and so fun! That was a great revelation at the end-- threw me for a loop! However did you get the idea of including the list of elements as a plot device? You're amazing!
Lunakat, your drabbles were charming and delightful. I especially liked the bit at the end of the second, where the treewee steals the dreamberries!
Cleopatra, I really liked your original characters and original tribe. I enjoyed the differences between these elves and the Elfquest elves, and I thought the humor between Blindeye and Daredevil was great! I thought perhaps some of your language was a bit too modern-Earth-- such as phrases like "you are so dead" and "Damn, they're good!" But I liked it a lot and thought the Dark Ones were a good source of conflict. Nice job! :D
Nightsea, yours was poetic! You really did trick[i:a46bc6b4f3] us[/i:a46bc6b4f3] at the ending! Cute twist! And fun to see what Treestump might have been like as a cub! Cute pic, too!
As for me, I regret to say I don't have anything to offer, or even any good ideas. :oops: Though I thought I was going to have time, things just went crazy this month, both at home and at work. If I do come up with anything, though, I'll be sure to post it! :D
[quote:b2b764a3da="krwordgazer"]Tenderfoot, yours was intense; a great piece! Your depiction of Woodhue as a child was very believable, and the kidnapping scene was scary. I did wonder, since the man who brought him to the other men was able to keep them from slapping the boy, why he didn't try to save him from the eye injury. I thought there must have been some disagreement between the men about whether to hold the boy for ransom (in which case they wouldn't want to hurt him) or try to get information out of him (in which case they would.) I think that since the first man seemed to have some authority, and does not seem to get his way about keeping the boy uninjured, that conflict ought to have come out a little more clearly. Other than that, though, it was really a great read![/quote:b2b764a3da]
*bows* Thank you, Mrs. KR! As for the missing conflict, I did that on purpose. We never saw them stab out his eye, I "left" them right before that happened. I will come back to what really happened in a later Grab Bag, perhaps already next month.
And again, thanks!
[quote:531a39f736="krwordgazer"]Redhead Ember, I love your treewee poem! Cute and clever, and all the T's were great! Embala had the perfect complementary picture, too! [/quote:531a39f736]
[color=red:531a39f736]Heh... thanks :D [/color:531a39f736]
Cleopatra, I really liked your original characters and original tribe. I enjoyed the differences between these elves and the Elfquest elves, and I thought the humor between Blindeye and Daredevil was great! I thought perhaps some of your language was a bit too modern-Earth-- such as phrases like "you are so dead" and "Damn, they're good!" But I liked it a lot and thought the Dark Ones were a good source of conflict. Nice job! :D [/quote:4773cd6f07]
Wow. Thank you KR. I'm glad you liked my elves.
But wait and see what's more is going to happen in my next grab bag. But I'm not going to say anything yet.
I'm really glad you liked it But I [b:166bd5d7ba]really really really[/b:166bd5d7ba] hope to read something from [b:166bd5d7ba]you[/b:166bd5d7ba] soon! :D[/quote:166bd5d7ba]
Sorry about this month, Kindred. But I did post last month. :D And I have written several things on Elf West.
BTW, if you haven't read [i:166bd5d7ba]this[/i:166bd5d7ba] yet-- this is one I think you'd really like. It's from June's Grab Bag.
OK, another really, really, really late one. For some reason Nightfall and Redlance's backstory has been festering in my mind for awhile, so I figured "why not now?"
“Who should we play the trick on?”
Cutter considered a moment. “Redmark.”
“Redmark.” It took a while, but finally Nightfall was able to conjure an image of the quiet red-headed elf. “Why him?”
“I dunno. I figure he won’t get too angry.”
Nightfall shrugged. Made sense.
It was one of those long days of summer, where there was nothing but time. Too much time. A day when everything that could be done, had been. And it still wasn’t sunset. A day when even young lovemates had run out of ways to occupy themselves. And that’s when they hatched the idea of a trick.
“So what do we do?”
Cutter was quiet, thinking. Finally his mouth spread into a mischievous smile. “We do what Bearclaw would do. We watch, and we wait. And when the time is right, we strike!”
They spent the next several days watching the tracker. If Nightfall had ever had a more boring time, she couldn’t remember when.
“Plants!” She fumed to Cutter. “He sits around looking at plants!”
Cutter’s eyes gleamed. “Yes, and that’s how we are going to get him!”
They had noticed that he always came back to the same clearing in the forest. There was an unusual vine there, and although the young elves didn’t know what the attraction was at first, they soon noticed that this particular vine would be blooming soon. They had the bait, so they set their trap.
Now Cutter was waiting in a tree above the clearing, and Nightfall was following Redmark, ready to alert Cutter when to spring into action. Redmark was walking toward the clearing, just as they were expecting. Nightfall was glad that her time studying this “prey” was almost over.
Suddenly, he froze. He cocked his head, slowly lifting his spear. He turned and disappeared into the forest.
*He’s going somewhere else.*
Nightfall empathized with her lovemate’s frustration. It hadn’t been easy to get all that stuff up the tree and balanced. It was not something either wanted to do again.
Nightfall slipped through the trees, trying to catch sight of Redmark again. How could someone with such bright hair disappear so quickly? She was starting to get sloppy in her effort to find him when she heard it.
*Nightfall?* Cutter’s send filled her mind.
*Quiet!* She heard it again. The sound of breaking branches. Something stomping through the undergrowth. Then a high-pitched whine.
*Cutter, it’s a wolf! Something’s got it!*
*Puckernuts! I’ll be right there!*
Nightfall moved forward, more carefully now, listening for any more noises that would let her know where the problem was. Silently, she unsheathed her knife. A branch snapped behind her and she whirled.
Cutter stood with his hands in front of him. *Easy.*
They both stood listening. The whine came again.
Nightfall followed her tribemate. The sound was louder now, right in front of them. They burst from the dark shadows into a sunny clearing full of soft fuzzy balls. Their eyes were still adjusting to the sunlight so they never saw the tree root coming out of the ground right across their path. Cutter stumbled first, tripping Nightfall who tumbled through the strange garden.
The fuzzy balls exploded as they touched them, filling the air with pollen. Cutter and Nightfall coughed and rubbed their eyes. Suddenly, a treewee dropped from above, landing in Nightfall’s hair. She shrieked and jumped, causing it to pull tightly as it hung on for dear life. She hopped around the clearing, each stumble releasing more golden pollen. Cutter trailed after, swiping at the treewee, each grab making the animal fasten its grip harder.
Finally Nightfall just stopped and let out a scream. The treewee took advantage of the lack of movement to scamper up the nearest tree and out of sight.
They were a funny sight indeed, standing in front of the Father Tree, covered in yellow powder, eyes red and itching. Bearclaw could hardly contain himself.
“What happened to you?”
“Nothing.” Cutter mumbled.
“Well, then go clean up. You’re getting ”˜nothing’ everywhere.”
Cutter stalked off toward the stream and Nightfall hurried after, Bearclaw’s laughter ringing through the forest behind them.
Cutter, kicking stones and mumbling to himself, didn’t notice the figure sitting casually against the tree, but Nightfall did. She slowed and approached him.
“You set that up, didn’t you?”
He smiled, amused by her anger. “You were going to play a trick on me.” It was a statement, not a question. Spoken without anger or accusation, just a simple statement of fact.
“No! I mean”¦well”¦” She lowered her eyes guiltily.
He touched her arm. “It’s all right.”
She lifted her eyes to his, and suddenly the world dropped away. She was aware only of him. The caring in his eyes, the warm pressure of his hand. The bend of his knee, inches from her hand. She could just reach out and”¦
She backed away, the heat rising to her face. “I’m sorry.” She stammered. “We never should have-“
“It’s all right.” He repeated. He smiled, his face serene. How could he not notice her heart pounding? Not feel something in return?
“Go wash up.”
Nightfall nodded weakly, not trusting her own voice.
She found Cutter resting on the river bank, drying in the gentle breeze. He looked so young to her somehow. She found herself reluctant to undress in front of him.
“What took you so long?”
“I was”¦apologizing to Redmark.”
Cutter grunted. “Hunh. He should be apologizing to us.”
Nightfall just nodded and began to slowly untie her shirt knot.
Cutter picked up his breeches, then shot her a sidelong glance. “So”¦” He twisted the lacings between his hands. “Do you want me to wait for you?”
“No.” The word flew out of her. He looked at her quizzically. “I just”¦I just want to be alone right now.”
“All right.” He sighed.
She stared at the water as he dressed. Then, instead of walking away, she felt him standing beside her. A gentle finger under her chin tilted her face to his. “I’m sorry.”
She smiled and rested her hand on his. “I know. Me, too.”
She waited until he left before easing herself into the cool water. She floated, the tree branches above waved like fingers reaching for the sky.
Somehow, she knew, things were about to change.
Finally succeeded with an illustration for Redhead's tricky poem :D
This was tricky - tried to find more "random" pictures for this tale. Hope the text is readable (at least on better screens than mine).
[color=red:dcdfc3e9a4]That's [size=18:dcdfc3e9a4][b:dcdfc3e9a4][i:dcdfc3e9a4][u:dcdfc3e9a4]grrrrrreat[/u:dcdfc3e9a4][/i:dcdfc3e9a4][/b:dcdfc3e9a4][/size:dcdfc3e9a4] 8) [/color:dcdfc3e9a4]
Hoped so much that this treewee will work as storyteller. Glad you see it this way, Tymber! :D
@ Redhead: :banana:
Aww, Jeb. The Nightfall-Redmark story is terrific. I love the idea of Redmark turning the tables on them-- and everyone's so in character.
"You're getting 'nothing' everywhere." What a great line!
Embala, you've captured Redhead's poem so very well. I love the way the treewee in the foreground puts it all together. Wonderful job!
[quote:ff76e5dca2="jeb"]OK, another really, really, [i:ff76e5dca2]really[/i:ff76e5dca2] late one. For some reason Nightfall and Redlance's backstory has been festering in my mind for awhile, so I figured "why not now?"[/quote:ff76e5dca2]
Good thing you added it - me love :D It's gorgeous - it made me smile ... made me laugh ... and suddenly - this first look at each other ... touching! I'm still playing catch up with all the new stories - havn't much time the last weeks ... so my comment is really, really late
[quote:ff76e5dca2="krwordgazer"]I love the way the treewee in the foreground puts it all together. Wonderful job![/quote:ff76e5dca2]
Happy to hear this, Wordgazer ... the treewee gave me a nice start! There was no idea for a collage before finding him - many thanks to Skya for the help :D
Such a fun one, [b:11d110745a]Embala[/b:11d110745a]! I see it as the bw treewee in the front is the storyteller and collagemaker, just arranging the last pictures into it.
[i:11d110745a]Treewee told the tale of the tricky tricky trolls. [/i:11d110745a]
Precious! [b:11d110745a]Redhead Ember,[/b:11d110745a] reading your poems is a joy.
That's the effect I was going for :D
It's fun to make collages for Redhead's poems ... you know her thread, I guess?
Finally got to read yours, Jeb! I liked the descriptions
of Nightfall's attraction to Redmark and Cutter's boyish behaviors.
I could so see Cutter kicking stones, but also tenderly lifting
Nightfall's chin at the end.
Only writing critique I can offer is that your story gets a *tiny*
bit repetative with lines that begin similarly. You did
vary the terms used to relate her to Cutter, but another
method for describing would change the cadence.
Lines I mean are:
Only writing critique I can offer is that your story gets a *tiny*
bit repetative with lines that begin similarly. [/quote:b0b5304a53]
Yeah, looking at it now I realize that like half the paragraphs begin with "Nightfall."
I usually try to be aware of certain phrases and imagery that I tend to overuse, but that's one I hadn't noticed before. Thanks for the heads up.
I read a similar comment about Redmark's hair being easy to see
in the forest just recently, so that idea must be one of those forum
One of the things I love about visiting the forums is seeing how these concepts get passed around, or well up spontaneously at several places. We're all using the same source material so it's gotta happen sometimes. Plus, red hair in a forest? It's a no-brainer.
You are right, Nightsea - this poem longed for a different kind of collage ... one reason why it took so long. Thanks for noticing it :D
All of these were fantastic.
Boring lectures kick my muse! About time that I contributed though, cuz I came up with an element Enjoy! (and title suggestions are welcome!)
Grab-bag 2009-04 April
-a change in someone's life
All he had ever done wrong was stray too far from the nest. Why did She have to find him and take him in?
He had just been bored, been loafing around at the edge of the forest. And all of a sudden She was there, luring him in with Her pretty face and sweet words. She would make him very pretty... How could he resist?
It turned out to be the worst decision of his life. As soon as they entered Her pretty chambers, She made him sit down on a stone perch. And then She touched him...
The pain! Unbearable! He did not have a voice like Her, but he wished he had one to scream... Explosions were behind his eyes, and he closed them in a desperate try to shut out the world.
Many hours later, he slowly regained conciousness. After he opened his dark eyes, he looked around. She was not around, and he was glad for that...
But this room was different from the one he entered! He felt his hopes die when he discovered exactly what She had done to him. He wasn't pretty, he was hideous! Ashamed of himself, he crawled away in the corner. Flying he could not, not anymore. For She had taken away one of his wings, turned it into an arm.
She had tricked him, but it was he who had been stupid enough to fall for it... And now he'd have to spend the rest of his life here, away from everything he knew and loved.
He was stupid.
For the first time ever, a treewee could be seen crying.
Clever use of elements! You totally caught me. That was sad ... touching ... I feel with this little creature.
Just one nitpicking ... it should be the other way round - changing arm to wing. Well, it seems more cruel to take away it's ability to fly, so it might be for stories sake.
You're right... I mixed them up XD
And indeed, I'm gonna keep it this way for stories sake