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May 2009 Grab-Bag Writings & Art

krwordgazer

Here are the elements for May:

[i:acbdadd88f]Permission [/i:acbdadd88f]- as in permission to talk, open a door, etc.
[i:acbdadd88f]Eyes Meet Eyes [/i:acbdadd88f]- I would think this could mean Recognition, but it could also mean a stare of challenge or something like that.
[i:acbdadd88f]A Tragedy[/i:acbdadd88f] - could be dramatic or less dramatic, like Pike can't eat dreamberries or someone is badly hurt, etc.
[i:acbdadd88f]A Coin[/i:acbdadd88f]
[i:acbdadd88f]A Bug [/i:acbdadd88f]- I would think this would mean either an insect or a Preserver, but if you want to do a Futurequest-type story, it could also mean a microphone, right? :D
[i:acbdadd88f]A Flame[/i:acbdadd88f]

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.

jeb

Aaahhhh! Why so many elements? Surprised

[size=9:6a85ea7a5c](Asked by the chemist.)[/size:6a85ea7a5c] :roll:

krwordgazer

Six is the maximum allowable. This month, we got six.

Bwwaah-ha-ha-ha! :twisted: It's gonna be tough!

Sofia

Thought I'd try my hand as this for once as the prompts really inspired me. I hope I got the challenge right (I've never participated before) and that the results aren't too nasty for the forum. If this – see warning below – is too much for the Scrolls, please tell me and I'll immediately remove it.

The story is based in a role-playing Holt I'm creating together with a friend, called Mirrors' Lake Holt. Hopefully it'll be online one day.
EDIT: What do you know, it actually is online now! The roleplay is in full swing and we're always welcoming new members!

Warning: Implied violence and death – Palace War/Ekuar's back story level. Oh, and dragons, in case someone really hates having them in a Elfquest setting.

****

The End of Dragon's Den

Blackstripes claws at the door, scrapes her knuckles raw and breaks her nails in search of a way – any way – out of the chamber. All sendings have fallen silent now, as have the shouts and running footsteps. Even Sunmane is quiet as death, curled up on the stone bench in the chamber's far corner.

His eyes are dry and empty while tears flow freely down Blackstripes' cheeks. The tension in her face makes the still fresh marks on her forehead sting and ache more. She curses, screams and pounds on the door, but nothing changes. The world outside remains unresponsive; just like Sunmane, just like the stone door.

**Scarlet!** she send-screams, pushing any and all limits her mind yet might have failed to break. **Mother! Father! Anyone!**

Her right fist hits a dent in the door's frame and the tiny bulge sinks into the rock with a soft click. The door folds in on itself, as if its bowing, granting them their way out. Blackstripes' shouts stop and change into noisy sobs, hiccups and nausea as the smells and sights of the outside crash against her senses.

There, on the other side of the door that has given her the cruel permission to watch, lies Scarlet – pretty, cheerful Scarlet whose head is nowhere to be seen. All that is left of her is soaked in blood, both elfin and human.

Blackstripes stumbles forwards, falls to her knees next to Scarlet's remains and fumbles over them with both hands and words, making “lovemate” sound like nothing more than another whimper.

A stone's throw away she finally finds Scarlet's head, tied to the belt of an unlucky human warrior. Most of him is nothing more than coal and ashes, but Scarlet's head is safe.

Blackstripes carefully unties it and searches what's left of the man for some trophy – anything to bring Scarlet some honor in death. All she finds is a small, round disk of rust colored metal. She places it in one of Scarlet's pockets, arranges the head to align with its neck and gets up, walks away, leaving Suname to his corner.

The halls and chambers are all coated in end and stillness as she pass them. The floors are sticky red and black and brown, the gray, smooth stone covered with unmoving bodies; some with four fingers, some with five. She knows there are eights of more outside the Den.

She remembers her mother sending, just before the humans crawled into the mountain, but she can't recall all she had sent – the last of her mother, her Lord...

The descent to the dragons' chambers is a slow, but much less bloody one. The bodies here are nothing more than soot-stains on the walls, faint memories of warriors with round ears and sharp swords.

A confused beetle is making footprints in the wall-soot, looking for food its cousins already feast on in the higher chambers. Blackstripes overcomes the urge to smash it and keeps on walking.

The wall of fire that meets her at the entrance to the dragons' nests moves just slowly enough for her to dodge. Thickfell's gaze, when the large head its attached to carefully emerges out of the cave's opening, is steady and challenging, but no more flames come.

Blackstripes stares right back and Thickfell doesn't hesitate at all when she turns and goes back to the cave.

There is only one nest still whole inside the cavern. The three remaining dragons – Thickfell, Nightspark and her own fierce Longtail – are nestled around it, shielding two eggs with far too many cracks. Blackstripes climbs into the nest, wedges herself between the eggs and hugs one gently. She strokes it and hums to it, uncaring of the yolk soon coating her hands, as the dragons keep a watchful eye on the entrance.

It is only Sunmane's tentative: **Sister?** that brings her back to the world, but that is much later.

Embala

Beautiful written - tho the describtion of Scarlet's death is hard. On the other hand you 've chosen a war scene - and war shouldn't be glorified ... it IS hard to bear. I like that you concentrate on Blackstripes' feelings alter the massaker, not on the fighting itself.

You managed to draw me into your story, tho the elves are strangers and the background is totally unfamiliar.

I've found all the elements besides "eyes meet eyes" - guess it's Blackstripes/Thickscales, tho.

Many "tho"s, I know - not the fault of your writing at all - that works great - only the fact that it is harder to catch the feeling for "alien" characters than for canon elves.

Huh ... hope you can understand want I mean :oops:

Tenderfoot

That was great, Sofia! :thumbsup: Loved your elves, but felt sorry for Scarlet. Unhappy Poor tiny's head, stuck to a human.

RedheadEmber

[color=red:dad0790753]Okay... this is perhaps going to be my longest ever Grap Back Poem...

[b:dad0790753]No Distance[/b:dad0790753]

Eyes meet eyes
In strangest way
Two souls have met
Where bodies have not

Waiting for the arrival
Of your one a only
But not everyone seems to think
These events are to rejoice
Beware of the strangers
The vessel they have is a dangerous one
Only you are allowed
To wait for your soulmate
A few others decide
To remain back with you
Permission is given
Though not very gladly
As the others are too swiftly
Spirited away

A flame burns steady
In the depths of your soul
As you step into the sanctuary
Of the High One’s Palace
Joyful you greet
The one your soul loves
He is of sun
As you are of water

A call across far waters
Calling your friends
A quick as they can
They speed back to meet you
Caught in a whirl
Around and around
Until you witness
The true power of the Palace
Your friends are safe

Unfortunately
The pain isn’t over
Fear still has its hold
Over your leader
A desperate act
He captures the wolf chief
As everyone screams out
In horror and despair

A coin has been flipped
A path has been chosen
Now it would seem
There is no going back

Sometimes later
A challenge is made
Father against son
For control of the tribe
A little colourful being
Hear of the events
And starts to recount of another such battle
Vividly it tells a tale
Of family stolen
It’s thus that you learn
The truth of your Klynn
Though he seems so young
He was born long ago
A night he spent
As millennia flew by

In the end the father
Cannot let his son die
Sacrificing himself
He is redeemed for his misdeeds
As the one who was broken
Returns with the wolf chief
Blood fills the water
As the place you call home
Comes tumbling down

Your happiest day
Turned into a tragedy
Yet in the end
Joy fills the waters
As one who was broken
Is broken no more

One last day
You spend with your lover
You both know
Soon is it goodbye
But though you may be far away
In body and flesh
There’s really no distance
When in comes to the soul
A wow you make
To send your souls out
And let them be together
Where your bodies cannot
He promise you to show
All the places he’s been to
To take you to visit
His fire-haired sister

You smile as you part
At last your deepest desire is being fulfilled
As you feel a new life
Growing within you[/color:dad0790753]

Tenderfoot

Okay, I'm finished after forcing myself to write the story. Normally it's writing itself, but it did help to have all the elves around me. They're so kind! And, >.<, it's a book this time too, at least a short one. I really need to get a hold of myself...

But enough of that. Now, let me introduce the next piece for you, a continuation of my Medieval stories... *insert drums*






[size=18:788950e0a4][b:788950e0a4]The Iron Burden ”“ part 5 (1/2)[/b:788950e0a4][/size:788950e0a4]

Mantricker leant on his elbow and looked down on the map that was draped across the table. One of his councilors was pointing at a spot, the castle in Two Moons, while talking. The other councilors were sitting around the table, listening and agreeing. It was a closed meeting, meaning no one else, not even Bearclaw, was allowed to join them. This was serious talking. It could end with death.

They were discussing the abduction of little Woodhue, now named One-Eye. When the king gave him his new name, he had met resistance from the priests. They had said that a name was sacred, given right after one entered the world. You couldn’t just change it whenever you wanted to. But Mantricker had, deadly serious, asked how the High Ones could decline honor to a child. The little boy had sacrificed his eye to protect the king and his family, and also lost his future at the same time. Wasn’t that noble enough to deserve a great prize?

The priests hadn’t uttered one more word about that case.

The king’s guards and other volunteers had searched the whole town and forest to find the abductors and punish them. The councilors had interrogated One-Eye several times and he had tried to give a description of his abductors, both elves and humans. But they didn’t get much out of him. He had been so scared that he didn’t take note of their looks, he only remembered their hair colors, perhaps the eyes of those who had been close. And the man that took him, he would never forget him. Bald with brown eyes, friendly. Or so he had thought”¦ But no matter how much they worked to find them, both elves and humans were long gone. It was almost as if they had vanished from the earth’s surface. They had probably left Two Moons right after One-Eye got away, maybe even crossed the border to another country. The only thing they knew was that they were enemies of the king, but what they wanted”¦ that was another question added to the pile of unsolved mysteries.

And that’s what they were trying to survey now. The councilor who stood next to Mantricker, kept his eyes on the map as he talked. The king looked as he explained, trying to keep his thoughts clear. And lost.

“There were eight men in total, five humans and three elves. One of the humans, the bald one, took the child. Another human put out his eye while a third human and an elf held his hands. And”¦”

The councilor let his finger run across the map until it met a spot, forming a forest.

“”¦ the wrongdoing happened here.”

Then he looked up and locked eyes with the king.

“They couldn’t have gotten very far when we first searched for them, but now they can be anywhere. It’s been a long time.”

Then, as an afterthought after a pause, he added “Too long, perhaps” as a mumble.

Mantricker nodded slowly as he leant back in his chair, sighing soundlessly. His councilors were right. They had wasted their time trying to find them around the town or in the forest. They should have known that they would have left Two Moons as fast as possible. And now it was too late to track them. They were long gone.

The councilors were talking with low voices, discussing among themselves, all of them serious. And Mantricker caught himself in thinking about the whole incident. Not even One-Eye had been allowed to join this meeting, even though he played a big part in this mystery. But he wasn’t sad for that, the child preferred to stay home with his family. Owl had told him that his youngest wouldn’t leave the manor at all and was still skeptic about going outside.

And then there was the abductors motive. They had abducted One-Eye to get information, but when the child didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear, they had put out his eye. Then it had nothing to do with ransom or Owl’s family. After all, they had wanted information about [i:788950e0a4]him[/i:788950e0a4]. The king. His next move. And that’s what took up Mantricker’s thoughts right now.

Someone in Two Moons wasn’t satisfied with the Way he ruled the country. And this someone wouldn’t hesitate with hurting innocent people to get what they wanted. Perhaps even killing”¦ and that was what scared the king, even though he would never admit it. If innocent people would get hurt or killed because of him, what would be the best to do? Let Bearclaw become king? Abdicate and get rid of the royal governance? Or fight his enemies?

Mantricker sighed silently and placed his chin in his hand as he came to the conclusion that there was only one thing to do.

He needed help.

One of the councilors had been quiet for a long time, just watching the others talk and listen to their discussing. Everyone already knew what they said, they just repeated it over and over. And just sitting there like that wouldn’t help anyone, less capturing the king’s enemies. Choosing his words carefully, he raised his arm as he spoke.

“If Your Majesty allows”¦”

The councilor gained everyone’s attention as they turned to him. King Mantricker removed his hand from his chin and looked up, nodding. The councilor stood up and cleared his throat.

“We all know what has happened and part of the motive,” he said.
“But what we need to find out, is exactly what their plans are and where they went after the abduction. These questions won’t be solved by just sitting here.”

Mantricker nodded slowly and locked eyes with the man, thinking that this was the smartest thing he had heard since the incident. Satisfied with that the others listened, the councilor continued.

“These men are dangerous, enemies of Your Majesty. It seems like someone wants to get rid of the royal family, or at least the royal governance. They made a mistake and probably left the country immediately, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come back. And”¦” he said as he locked eyes with the king.
“”¦ when they can’t get the king, they go after the ones who are close to him. Meaning Your Majesty’s friends.”

Mantricker’s eyes widened a bit at this statement, even though he had secretly known it all the time. The room fell silent as the councilor continued speaking, again turned to everyone.

“They wanted information, so they took the son of a close friend to the king. They could have just taken a guard or someone else, but they wouldn’t be worth much if something were to happen. These enemies had probably planned to get information from the child and let him go, in the worst case maybe keep him as a hostage and demand information from his family in exchange for the child.”

Then the councilor took a much needed breath, ending his statement. The others sat still for a few moments, looking at each other. Silence fell over them like a carpet, and there they sat, no one moving. Not until the silence was broken by an authoritative voice.

“And what is your suggestion, councilor Aldous?” Mantricker asked as he straightened his back.
“What should the king do in this case?”

The answer came immediately.

“Keep himself safe and make an alliance with the neighbor country.”

Mantricker raised an eyebrow and sent the councilor an asking look, but the man just nodded. Looking around, the king saw that the others also nodded. It seemed like the best idea”¦ the only thing he could do. Sighing, he leant back in his chair and crossed his arms in front of his chest.

“Then the king will do just that,” he said.
“Two Moons will have an alliance with the neighboring kingdom.”

Just after he said that, the door to the room opened and a guard peeked in. The councilors sent him stern glares and were about to scold him for interrupting their meeting, but something stopped them. The king’s raised hand and the look on the guard’s face.

“What is it?” Mantricker said as he rose.

The guard walked further in and lowered his head as he spoke.

“There’s someone at the gate, someone who wants to speak with Your Majesty.”

Silence. The guard looked up, locking eyes with the king.

“It’s your daughter.”


!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!


If the king was relieved now that his daughter was back, he didn’t show it. If he was angry with the man that had run away with his daughter, he hid it. If he felt anything at all, it was not to be seen. The king just sat on his throne, his face blank and free for emotions. When he opened his mouth, Moonshade felt like hit by hail. As he spoke, his voice was just as cold as the gusting wind outside. It was understandable, the Way a king should behave. But it was still a bad sign.

“So you have returned,” he said, his voice emotionless.

It was a statement, not a question. And it was the only thing he said. Memories from the past came flooding back, making Moonshade swallow hard.

[i:788950e0a4]Never love[/i:788950e0a4]

But she wasn’t his little girl anymore, not the one to always obey. She wasn’t the jailed bird. Now, a wolf mother stood in front of the king. Feeling the strong need to protect, she automatically tightened her grip on the clothing, clinging to the bundle in her arms. The king had kept his eyes on the two in front of him all the time, but that little move caught his attention. His eyes locked with hers, and all the cloistered emotions were released. Burning, hateful, blaming. But there was something more as his glare turned to the bundle in her arms. His face almost”¦ softened. His eyes, angry, frustrated and”¦ curious?

“What”¦?”

To her surprise, it was not a statement. It was a question. A low mumble, but still a question. And before Moonshade was able to answer, he rose and came closer. The strong urge to protect immediately came back, but she couldn’t get herself to do something. Instead she just watched her father come closer, all surroundings gone from his sight. His gaze was glued to the clothing, the bundle.

Mantricker stopped right in front of them, so close that they could touch each other if one of them stretched out an arm. She hadn’t looked into those eyes for almost three and a half turns of the seasons, and now she remembered why she had feared to do so before. He was her father, but she still feared him in many ways. Who knew what he may do if”¦?

[i:788950e0a4]Too close![/i:788950e0a4]

Moonshade suddenly felt Strongbow’s hand on her shoulder, felt that little tingle run through her body. He was still there for her, would always be. And the almost not noticeable squeeze gave her the courage she needed. She locked eyes with her father and blinked slowly, seeing that his eyes wandered down to the bundle in her arms. Looking down, she grabbed a corner of the clothing and slowly removed it.

A little round face was exposed. The tiny nose was so small in contrast to the pointy ears, the lips light red and heart shaped. The most beautiful sight that had ever been seen. Mantricker jerked and almost took a step back as his eyes widened, staring at the child. The room was even more silent now, even the guards stopped breathing, waiting for the king’s reaction.

So did Moonshade and Strongbow.

The king stood perfectly still for an awful long time, doing nothing but staring at the baby, and the child’s mother started to fear that she had been wrong in coming back. Then her father suddenly reached forward. Even though every part of her screamed no, she let him take her baby. Slowly handing it over to him, her heart pounding. Mantricker took the bundle and kept it close to his chest, staring even more. Every rule of etiquette had evaporated.

“This is our daughter,” Moonshade said with a calm voice.

Calm, in front of the king, for the first time since she ran away. Something she hadn’t thought would happen”¦ ever. And her father Mantricker didn’t take his eyes off of the child as he spoke, his voice and stare full of something she hadn’t seen before. Awe.

“What’s her name?”

The silence that followed didn’t last for long as it was broken by a deep voice, one they hadn’t expected to hear.

“Crescent.”

Moonshade turned to see Strongbow’s smiling, handsome and strong face, his warm brown eyes shining with pride. Now Mantricker removed his stare from Crescent, instead boring his eyes into the young ones’.

“And I suppose you two are married”¦?” he said slowly, his voice literally dripping with skeptic.

Strongbow blinked one time, searching for Moonshade’s hand behind her back and cleared his throat.

“The first thing we did, Your Majesty,” he said and lowered his head a bit.

Mantricker looked at the two of them and silence filled every corner of the room, sticky and suffocating, like old spider web. His eyes, shut and still without emotions. Then his face suddenly broke up in a smile.

“Wonderful!” he said.
“Then she’s my real granddaughter!”

Tenderfoot

Next part. I only did this because I couldn't post it in any other way. Think it was too big...




[size=18:eb7d9c5ed0][b:eb7d9c5ed0]The Iron Burden ”“ part 5 (2/2)[/b:eb7d9c5ed0][/size:eb7d9c5ed0]

The heartwarming laughter and chattering lasted for a long time, and it almost didn’t end when a sleepy figure appeared in the doorway.

“Father, what are you doing up at this time?” Bearclaw mumbled.
“It’s the middle of night!”

Mantricker turned to his son with a broad grin, almost scaring life out of the prince.

[i:eb7d9c5ed0]Hell, I must be dreaming. Smiling like that”¦ he’s scary![/i:eb7d9c5ed0]

And when the king turned his whole body to him, Bearclaw took a step backwards.

[i:eb7d9c5ed0]I’m scared![/i:eb7d9c5ed0]

But it wasn’t a dream. The king [i:eb7d9c5ed0]was[/i:eb7d9c5ed0] smiling, and not a fake smile either. This one was real and even reached his eyes. But the smile wasn’t the only thing that seemed strange. It was the whole attitude. Somehow he seemed”¦ happier.

“Your sister is back!”

Bearclaw jerked and was immediately awake, searching the room for that recognizable slender figure”¦ and found it. He dropped his mouth open as he stared, before also his face broke up in a big smile.

“Moonshade?” he said with a light voice and stepped inside.
“What”¦”

He didn’t care about finishing the sentence as he ran forward, his father and Strongbow invisible to him, and flung his arms around his long lost little sister. Moonshade also laid her arms around her brother, taking in his looks and obliviously noticing a faint smell of perfume. Her slender arms seemed very small compared to his strong ones. Bearclaw hugged her hard and long before he broke the contact, holding her at an arm's length and looking at her. She was taller, still slim, but with more curves. Long dark curls, longer than last time”¦ The soft and light skin, more tan now”¦ The perfume scent, now mixed with sweat and something else he didn’t quite catch, which he should have”¦ And those big violet eyes, now calmer, belonging to someone who had seen the world.

It was her, it really was. Moonshade, his little sister, was back.

“Moonshade!” Bearclaw said.
“You’ve changed so much.”

But his sister shook her head, smiling.

“No,” she said.
“My external may be different, but I’m still the same. I only hold more knowledge.”

Bearclaw smiled again and intended to give her another hug, but froze as his gaze wandered over to Mantricker. His blue grey eyes widened a bit and he blinked.

“You hold more than that,” he said dumbfounded.
“Or should I say, [i:eb7d9c5ed0]held[/i:eb7d9c5ed0]?”

Moonshade looked over her shoulder and met her father’s gaze, still holding her little Crescent in his arms. Strongbow was standing next to him, so close that it was obvious that the king had forgiven everything. Both of them smiled at her, the king laughing heartily.

“Bearclaw, come meet your niece!”

“M-my”¦ niece?”

The prince looked at his sister again, but she only giggled. So he walked over to his father and the bundle in his arms, a beautiful little girl with wide violet eyes and a curious look. As he bent over her to have a better look, she reached out and took a hold of his hair, pulling gently at it. Her sweet giggles made the prince smile stupidly as also he melted.

“Her name is Crescent,” Mantricker said.

His whole being almost shone with pride, his eyes gleamed with a strange warmth his children had never seen. And as Bearclaw stared at his father making funny and goofy faces at Crescent, he noticed that Strongbow smiled and walked over to Moonshade, taking her hand in his and letting his other arm slide around her shoulders. That move made him blink and turn.

“You two married or something?” he asked confused.

Moonshade only giggled and Strongbow smiled, silent as always. It was an obvious answer.

“And father’s okay with that?”

The sound of Mantricker’s cooing in the background suddenly stopped, only Crescent continued laughing as their noses untouched and the king raised an eyebrow.

“That’s the stupidest question I’ve ever heard!” he said.
“Of course it’s okay, haven’t you seen this little cutie?”

Crescent only smiled and giggled, letting her grandfather do the talking. Which was natural, since she couldn’t talk. And Bearclaw smiled at his sister, feeling whole for the first time since she ran away.

“You and I are lucky ones, aren’t we?” he said.

Moonshade’s smile disappeared immediately as she frowned.

“What do you mean, brother?” she asked.

She took note of the looks that passed between Bearclaw and Strongbow and quickly understood that her husband knew more than her. Turning around, she let go of his hand and placed her owns on her hip.

“Alright, tell me,” she said.
“And don’t smile like that! You know I hate it when you do.”

But Strongbow continued smiling and nodded in Bearclaw’s direction. And as always, Moonshade perfectly understood what her husband meant. Therefore she turned over to her brother, crossing her arms over her chest.

“So”¦?”

And Bearclaw smiled even broader, knowing all too well that his sister hated it when someone else knew something that she didn’t know. But the time of being the mean older brother was over, now he was the protecting one”¦ in more than one way. So he smiled a knowing smile, wanting this moment to last forever.

“You see, I’m also married.”

He had hoped for a funny look on her face, but her expression just made his day. Her eyes widened to the size of saucers and she blinked like it was the only thing she could do. As a matter of fact, it was the only thing she could do. At least for the very moment. Her mouth dropped open, and if not for the jaw joints the lower row of her teeth would have had a fatal meeting with the ground. Bearclaw was almost scared by her reaction.

“What?” Moonshade finally squeaked.
“You mean you’re”¦?”

She didn’t see Bearclaw’s nod as she turned around, facing her father with an angry stare.

“Okay, what have you done now?”

Mantricker, who had started making funny and goofy faces at Crescent again, immediately stopped and looked up at his daughter with an innocent look.

“Who, me?”

“Yeah, you!” Moonshade said.
“You’re the only one who has a say in this matter!”

She was about to say something more, but a hand on her arm stopped her. Turning around, she saw Bearclaw smiling at her.

“Father has nothing to do with this,” he said, making Moonshade blink.
“Besides, I said [i:eb7d9c5ed0]lucky[/i:eb7d9c5ed0].”

“But then”¦" she started, then smiled rather impishly.
"Who's the [i:eb7d9c5ed0]un[/i:eb7d9c5ed0]lucky one?” she asked.

As the heir to the throne, her brother had had to marry a princess, and it was most likely that their father had arranged everything. But who could Bearclaw have chosen, one who was both princess and one he liked, one so perfect that Mantricker didn’t care? He didn't get the chance, or joy, to answer though. The heartwarming mood was interrupted though, just as a tired and irritated voice called out.

“So there you are, old badger! Sneaking off again, aren’t you?”

Strongbow and Moonshade both looked at Bearclaw, whose face suddenly twisted like in pain. Reluctantly, he turned to the doorway and forced a smile upon his face. A young woman stood just inside the room, dressed in a light blue nightgown. Long blond golden curls surrounded her high cheekbones and heart shaped face. The bright red lips were formed into an upside-down smile, her blue eyes blinking drowsy.

“J-Joyleaf!” Bearclaw stammered while his face changed color to slightly pink.

Joyleaf could be as dangerous as a fire spluttering dragon, but right now she was more like an annoying little fly. Wouldn’t go away no matter how often you attacked it, always survived your poor assassination attempts. Only that Bearclaw had never tried to get rid of Joyleaf, he just wanted some peace.

And he wouldn’t get that now, as his wife came closer, hands on a blue blanket in her arms.

“Your son is crying,” she said.

Strongbow’s eyes widened a little bit and Moonshade turned to her blushing brother with an asking glare.

“Son?”

Bearclaw shifted foot and wriggled, suddenly uncomfortable with all the attention. And the fact that his wife was making him look like a fool in front of the others.

“Yeah, this is my son Cutter,” he mumbled.

“[i:eb7d9c5ed0]Our[/i:eb7d9c5ed0] son,” Joyleaf interrupted with an angry glare directed at the prince.
“And I’ve told you this before.”

She changed her grip on the baby, Cutter, and held him out to Bearclaw.

“Before dawn, he’s your son!”

The baby’s father didn’t have any other choice than taking the crying blue blanket from his mother. But he didn’t have the knack with babies like mothers had, and the fact that he held his son under his arms didn’t help much.

“But Joyleaf”¦!” he started.

“No but! As his father, you need to learn what he wants.”

The two of them stared at each other for quite a good time, only Cutter’s crying proved that the room wasn’t filled with statues. Joyleaf irritated and drowsy, Bearclaw blushing and helpless in his situation. He looked down at the baby, then at his wife.

“Of course I know what he wants when he’s crying,” Bearclaw said and held him out to Joyleaf.
“He wants [i:eb7d9c5ed0]you[/i:eb7d9c5ed0]!”

Joyleaf’s glare was still angry as she placed a hand on Cutter’s back and gently, but firmly, pushed him back to his father. He didn’t stand a chance from the beginning.

“Moonshade’s back,” the prince said as he cradled his son.

If he had waited for a reaction, he was disappointed.

“I already know that,” Joyleaf said with a smile.
“You don’t seriously think I missed that?”

Then her smile turned impishly as she winked to Moonshade.

“And I see you haven’t been very busy. Plenty of time, eh?”

The comment made Moonshade blush, but no one got the chance to answer though, as Mantricker walked up and placed his hands on Bearclaw and Moonshade’s shoulders. Crescent was back in her mother’s arms, the 1-year old chewing on her hair.

“Well then, let my grandchildren meet each other! After all, they’re going to spend much time together.”

Bearclaw and Moonshade smiled at each other, holding out their children to see each other for the first time. Cutter, one moon old and the heir to the throne. Crescent, one turn of the seasons old”¦ whose future was unclear. Son and daughter of royal children, grandchildren of the king. Cousins. Mantricker spoke as Bearclaw held out Cutter, the boy’s head full of light blond downy hair.

“Cutter, this is your cousin Crescent.”

Then Moonshade held out Crescent, the girl’s face surrounded by dark locks.

“Crescent, this is your cousin Cutter.”

As their parents held their children out in front of each other, both of them opened their eyes. Blue eyes met violet eyes, and for a moment they did nothing but stare at the other one. Then both their heads fell to the side and they were sleeping.

“I don’t think they’re interested!” Bearclaw laughed.

Mantricker joined the laugh and turned over to Strongbow, who looked at his daughter with fatherly affection.

“You’ve done good, boy!” he said.
“Given me a fine granddaughter!”

Just as he said that, he slapped Strongbow on his back, making him stumble forward. The former stable boy rubbed his back and shoulder as he sent his father-in-law a skeptic glare, but chose instead to cuddle with Crescent. As he took his daughter from her mother, Mantricker took Moonshade in his arms and gave her a hug.

“Welcome back, Moonshade,”

He paused, hugging her a bit harder as his voice turned into a whisper.

“I’ve missed you!”


!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!##!!


[i:eb7d9c5ed0]Flick

Grab

Flick

Grab

Flick[/i:eb7d9c5ed0]

One-Eye threw the metal coin in the air and grabbed it as it fell down. He threw it and caught it. Throw. Catch. Throw. Catch. He just waited for the right moment, even though he knew he would end up dead. The warmth from the open fireplace reached out to him, made the nervousness go away. He leant his back against the wall and watched the king discuss with his councilors along with Bearclaw and Moonshade, even Strongbow was allowed to sit at the table. The princess was back and would stay forever, decision taken by the king alone, but she had lost her princess title. It was the prize of going against the king and marry someone else. So little Crescent wouldn’t be a princess, but she had a place in her grandfather’s heart that no one could take away. And Strongbow”¦ well, he had accepted his old job and enjoyed it, but there were rumors that the king was about to make him an esquire.

Then Bearclaw leant forward and spoke. One-Eye smiled. It was the moment he had been waiting for.

Sneaking up on the prince, he reached inside his tunic and felt the sticky hairs touch his fingers. Some of the others who sat around the table looked at him and sent him questioning looks, some just smiled. The 11-year old boy smiled innocently as he walked up behind the prince. Then his face turned impish and he pulled out the little black creature. He slowly placed it at the back of the prince’s shoulder, then quickly walked backwards as it crawled forward onto his chest on its eight legs.

Moonshade’s eyes widened and her hand went up to her mouth. Strongbow seemed to tremble, but only those who knew him well could tell that it was from cloistered laughter. The others that was centered around the table stared with wide eyes, some giggled while others turned pale. Even the king didn’t say anything, just continued talking as he watched Blacky crawl further down the prince’s tunic. When it turned and moved for his throat, the king decided to let his son do the talking.

“Well, I-“ Bearclaw started as he moved his hand up to his chest.

It was itching! And the others seemed to look at him like they either pitied him or knew something he didn’t know. How come? And what was that itchy feeling on his chest? As he looked down, his hand met the tarantula.

“Oh my fucking High Ones!”

How the prince jumped around as he tried to get rid of the spider was impossible to describe, but even in the distant corners of the town they could hear the roaring laughter from the castle. And no one had ever seen Bearclaw so frisky before, not even Joyleaf at night. And little One-Eye laughed heartily, holding his stomach while rubbing his eye.

“Deserves you right!” he gasped.
“That’s for ”˜introducing’ me for the horse dung!”

But the funny moment was a short one, and it ended as the tarantula was thrown out the window and Bearclaw clenched his fists.

“Payback time!” he growled.

One-Eye didn’t even get the time to think before he ran around the table, screaming, as the prince chased him, cursing him and threatening to tear him to pieces. The others just laughed again, but that quickly ended when One-Eye stumbled and fell to the ground with Bearclaw on top.

“Alright, stop you two!” Mantricker ordered as screams rose from the ground.

But it wasn’t his words that stopped them. It was the door that opened and the messenger that walked inside, his clothes almost dripping with sweat. It looked like he had ridden hard for at least a day and night without a break, but his face wasn’t red from exhaustion. It was pale.

“What is it?” the king asked slowly as he stood up from the chair.

Little One-Eye spotted the move out the corner of his eye and immediately jumped up and out of Bearclaw’s grip. He ran forward, took the scroll from the man and rushed back to the king. But just as he was going to hand it over, one of the guards took it. With permission from the king, he opened it and read, and as silence fell, blood drained from his face.

“What is it?” the king repeated.

The guard lifted his head and stared at the king, so long that everyone understood how bad it was.

“The king’s enemies won’t let anything stop them from achieving their goal,” he coughed.
“Three days ago, they attacked a noble kin, the Orn Kanta-“

At the mention of this name, Mantricker straightened his back and felt his heart pound hard. One of his best friends, just as close, if not closer, than Owl’s family”¦

“They broke into the manor and stole anything of value. Then they put the manor on fire, and”¦”

The guard stopped and his arms slowly fell down as he looked up at the king.

“No one survived.”

“The whole noble kin was assassinated, including servants, old, women and children. They didn’t spare anyone, those murderes.”

“Everyone?” Mantricker squeaked, scaring the others. He never talked like that, not even when Thornflower died.
“Even little-“

The guard lowered his head. That action said more than thousand words could tell. Mantricker stared at the guard, then at the messenger, who nodded and dried his tears. The king sat still, unnaturally still, on his throne. Bearclaw and Moonshade both rushed to his side and touched his arms, speaking to him. But he didn’t hear anything of what they said. Only the words in the scroll repeated in his min.

[i:eb7d9c5ed0]Assassinated”¦ fire”¦ children”¦[/i:eb7d9c5ed0]

Then he collapsed in his throne, his hands clinging to his head as tears threatened to drown him.

“No,” he whispered.
“No! This can’t be!”

It couldn’t be true! He had visited them just three weeks ago and met their newborn. All those children, caught by the fire”¦ they never stood a chance. And everything was his fault!

RedheadEmber

[color=red:dec905be6e]Phew... that was... great![/color:dec905be6e]

faeriegirl

totally agree! Crescent is sooo cute *melts*
... but yea, those baddies suck big time!

Willowspring

Permission - as in permission to talk, open a door, etc.
Eyes Meet Eyes - I would think this could mean Recognition, but it could also mean a stare of challenge or something like that.
A Tragedy - could be dramatic or less dramatic, like Pike can't eat dreamberries or someone is badly hurt, etc.
A Coin
A Bug - I would think this would mean either an insect or a Preserver, but if you want to do a Futurequest-type story, it could also mean a microphone, right?
A Flame


Hmmmmm... thats gonna be a bit hard.... hmmmm...

Sharptalon

[quote:2afd05b618="krwordgazer"]Six is the maximum allowable. This month, we got six.

Bwwaah-ha-ha-ha! :twisted: It's gonna be tough![/quote:2afd05b618]

It's rather uncharacteristic of KR to have a fit of maniacal laughter...
I suspect an element-loving impostor is afoot... :peek:

manga

I think the poem is about Sunstream and Brill. :)

Sofia, I love your story. I like dragons and elves and though your story was too sad, it was well done. :)

Nightsea

My contribution for this month is part of my Vytha story,
but stands alone as well.

[b:2cdb46728a]Dawn's Early Light[/b:2cdb46728a]

The flames of the central fire pit flickered as fresh dawn air flowed into
the Go-Back lodge in the wake of his exit. Vok had permission to wake Kahvi just as the sun's disc was mid-way over the horizon.
The rescue party would follow the new talking bugs and take
back stolen kin from the underdark trolls as soon as her boots were on.

He hurried back inside. His eyes met hers as they opened; her look changing from sleepy to avid anticipation as she recalled their task for today. He frowned at her for a moment, thinking how her eagerness for conflict was somehow unhealthy, but wound up echoing her grin as her green eyes blazed with the force of her determination. He could no more deny her passion than he could his own. To subdue her spirit would be a tragedy, and very likely beyond doing by any means.

He handed over her second boot and next a pouch he had
gained on a previous troll encounter. "You could use
this instead of that," he said, waving the bag in the
direction of the spear leaning against her bed. The
yellow coins inside clanked together with the motion.

"You know as do I that trading those Mush-Brains coins
for kin would only make them think to hold more of us
for profit. I'll not suffer their greed for flesh, but
I will give them all the metal they will ever need!" The
spear-tip danced forward in emphasis of her last words.

His sigh was long-suffering, all the old arguments
included in that one overdone noise. She was a War-Chief
to the marrow and he was glad of it as he held the hide
up for her to proceed. Who else would he ever follow
so willingly into the rock-warrens of the enemy?
*********************************************
May 09 Grab-Bag Elements:
Permission
Eyes Meet Eyes
A Tragedy
A Coin
A Bug
A Flame
**************************************
To Be Continued...
--Nightsea

RedheadEmber

[quote:b5b183e787="manga"]I think the poem is about Sunstream and Brill. :)[/quote:b5b183e787]

[color=red:b5b183e787]Now... [i:b5b183e787]what[/i:b5b183e787] makes you think that? :P

It's not good... I'm getting too obvious...[/color:b5b183e787]

jeb

Lots of great stuff this month!

Nightsea - I admire the simple elegance of your story. All the elements while still having mood and emotion.

Tymber - I liked both your stories, the Stonehowl holt and the flash example. For some reason right now your characters are like potato chips to me. Don't be surprised to see some more art inspired by this story.

Tenderfoot - I like the sweet family interlude that you've given us, but I wonder what's on the horizon?

Redhead Ember - I have to admit that I wasn't quite sure what to think when I first started reading your poetry, but I'm starting to enjoy it (it does probably help that it's been a little more transparent lately so a little more understandable for left-brainers like me.)

Sofia - Not quite sure I understand what's going on, but an enjoyable read in any case. Didn't think it was too nasty at all, but then again, although I am about as laid-back and cheery in real life as you would want to meet, all my writing tends toward the dark and angsty, so I'm not too bothered by it.

I wish I had a contribution for this month, but my writing muse seems to have eaten all the pistachios and stolen the car keys. Hopefully the state troopers will show up with him soon.

RedheadEmber

[quote:ee51fe69ea="jeb"]Redhead Ember - I have to admit that I wasn't quite sure what to think when I first started reading your poetry, but I'm starting to enjoy it (it does probably help that it's been a little more transparent lately so a little more understandable for left-brainers like me.) [/quote:ee51fe69ea]

[color=red:ee51fe69ea]Nonono... I'm not writing transparent... you wouldn't be able to see it! I'm writing
[b:ee51fe69ea]red[/b:ee51fe69ea] :P

Aaah... shoo... I [i:ee51fe69ea]know[/i:ee51fe69ea] what you mean! And... yeah... maybe some of my earlier contributions were a little [i:ee51fe69ea]too[/i:ee51fe69ea] cryptic...[/color:ee51fe69ea]

jeb

I always tend to over-think things too much and that little example was like a slap-in-the-forehead reminder to me that things don't always have to be so hard.

jeb

Here's what will probably be my only contribution this month, an illustration for Tymber's story, Skyshade, Wardance and Warsong:

[img:bd74fc0cdd]http://i370.photobucket.com/albums/oo147/jepaul42/skyshade4trimmed.jpg[/img:bd74fc0cdd]

jeb

Quote:
Tymber



Jeb. You so effin rock.

I heart you so much.
:D


:dance: Thanks, glad you like it! It's fun to do.


Now, after saying that I was out of inspiration lately, I spent all of Sunday on my patio writing April and May's grab-bags. :roll:

May is a continuation of March's story. It also is kind of a Mother's Day story, in my weird way.

REBOUND

Prey-pacer had kept them traveling long and far, but they had finally been rewarded. The hunting was good here. Everyone had eaten tonight.

Stillstep looked around at her blood- and mud-covered companions. Someone had started a fire and now they huddled around its flame, well-fed and weary.

Well, not everyone. Stillstep noted the slim figure sitting a distance from the others. Twinstar, barely recognized, and already she had lost her lifemate.

Stillstep was concerned for the young elf. As a life-bearer, Twinstar was offered first pick and the choicest bits from every kill, yet it seemed everyday her skin clung a little more tightly to her bones.

As tribe elder and hunt leader, Stillstep felt responsibility for the whole tribe, but she had watched over Twinstar especially since her father’s death several years ago. Sharpeye had been her second in the hunt, she thought his death would crush the dreamy cub, but Twinstar had proven tougher than Stillstep had imagined. Stillstep had trouble believing Dusk’s death had affected her so much.

Stillstep stopped in front of the youth and held out her offering of a bit of fresh liver. “The hunt was good tonight. Will you eat?”

Twinstar took the meat hesitantly, then took a small bite, chewing slowly.

“May I sit?”

Twinstar continued to stare at the meat she held loosely, as if she’d rather it wasn’t there, but nodded.

“Not agreeing with you?”

Twinstar shook her head.

“Sometimes it’s that way when you’re first with cub. With Latefrost I couldn’t even hunt, the smell of blood turned my stomach so.”

Again, Twinstar just nodded weakly. Stillstep could see her eyes moisten. Twinstar struggled to swallow the meat, her throat suddenly too small. Stillstep gently touched her shoulder. “And sometimes it’s something else.”

Twinstar’s eyes, overflowing with tears, met Stillstep’s and she collapsed into her arms. “It’s terrible!”

Stillstep held Twinstar as she shook with sobs. Then the images came. The strange elf. Dusk’s death. The Recognition. Emotions held in check through a moons’ turn came gushing forth. Finally, there was nothing more. Twinstar pulled away, her head in her hands.

“How can you stand to look at me? The rest of the tribe, they won’t want me around, once they learn what I’ve done.”

“The rest of the tribe wasn’t there. It is not for them to judge what you had to do.” Stillstep’s voice was forceful. “You did what you had to do to survive. What matters now is whether you make that mean something. I can’t believe you fought so hard then, just to let yourself waste away now. It’s not what Dusk would’ve wanted. And it’s not what you want, or you wouldn’t be here!”

Twinstar turned her head, the firelight dancing in her tears.

“What if”¦” Her voice lowered. “What if I don’t”¦can’t love this child?”

“Then the tribe will raise it. What happened was a tragedy, but this”¦” She held her hand to Twinstar’s belly. “This new life is a wonder.”

“Not all Recognitions are those sought after.” Stillstep’s eyes took on a faraway, knowing look. “High Ones know why this one did. But we must accept cubs as we are given them, and do what we can.”

Twinstar nodded gently, her heart already easing from the unburdening. “But what about Joygleam? How can I tell her the truth?”

Stillstep hugged Twinstar. “I’ll tell her. Don’t worry, she’ll understand.”
__________________________________________________________________

Joygleam settled in beside Twinstar.

“I understand why you did what you did.”

Twinstar would not meet the elder elf’s eyes, instead staring intently at a small beetle as it made its way over the rocky ground. She felt her hand being lifted gently and something flat and round pressed into her palm. She glanced at Joygleam, then inspected the item in her hand. It was shiny, like Dusk’s blade. Irregular markings ran along the edge and in the center what looked like a flower except it was flat. Yet, when she turned it the light moved around. She rubbed it, feeling the bumps and ridges. It still held Joygleam’s warmth.

“What is it?”

“It’s called a coin. My mother was pure elf, a daughter of first-comers. This is one of the few things they had to give her. For them, it was special.” Joygleam shrugged. “I always thought I would give it to Dusk someday. Or his child.”

Twinstar winced. “But-“

Joygleam silenced her. “I know this is not Dusk’s child, but I know what was in his heart. You were a part of him. Dusk will live on in your child, for he is a part of you.”

Twinstar thought of Dusk, and found that for the first time since his death, she felt something besides pain. It was a beginning. Her heart was opening again to love.

MrsGrizzley

Awwwww, I like that story. I really like that story. I also like that you're continuing the events. Very nice.

Mrs. Grizzley

krwordgazer

Took me a while to read all these! :D

Sofia, your dragon-rider story is very intense! You jumped right into the action, so I'm looking forward to the next segment and some orientation as to where we are, and why. But your plot is great so far and your characters are good.

Redhead, your poem encapsulates The Discovery very well! Nice wording, nice rhythm and imagery.

Tenderfoot, I always look forward to the next segment of your medieval story. Good to see Mantricker finally coming to his senses-- I loved the reunion! Fun that Crescent and Cutter are infants together; that should make for some interesting interactions later! :D The threatened coup makes for a very good plot element, too. And who's death has affected the King so deeply? Looking forward to finding out!

Tymber, I really enjoyed this segment! The prejudice of the Firstborn against "primitive" Recognition was believable. I would have liked a little more insight into why the twins embraced it so readily. Beautiful consummation scene! :D

Nightsea, the interaction between Vok and Kahvi was great! I always wanted to see her through his eyes! The relationship between them has always intrigued me, and it was great to see it more developed!

Jeb, your illustration of Tymber's story was beautiful, and I also very much liked the next part of the Twinstar-Dusk story. Your introduction of the new characters was seamless and natural, and it was good to see them help the poor girl get some measure of peace.


I don't know whether I'll be able to write a piece this month or not, but if I can, you'll all be the first to know! Wink

jeb

Quote:
Tymber

[quote:285bc78ff5="jeb"]
“What is it?”

“It’s called a coin. My mother was pure elf, a daughter of first-comers. This is one of the few things they had to give her. For them, it was special.” Joygleam shrugged. “I always thought I would give it to Dusk someday. Or his child.”

Twinstar winced. “But-“

Joygleam silenced her. “I know this is not Dusk’s child, but I know what was in his heart. You were a part of him. Dusk will live on in your child, for he is a part of you.”

Twinstar thought of Dusk, and found that for the first time since his death, she felt something besides pain. It was a beginning. Her heart was opening again to love.



You know what I really love about this story?

That I think the BEST part of the story was the part about the element that I had the MOST difficult trying to fit into mine. Perhaps that's why I just love this part. It flows, and it's so touching![/quote:285bc78ff5]

Yeah, I really struggled with that one. Even though I use a third person narrative I hate to bring in stuff from "our" world, and since an elf would never refer to something being "coin-sized" or "coin-like" I really wanted to avoid it. I figured since the setting of the story was early in the wolfrider's history I could get away with having it be something the high-ones brought with them.

It did get me thinking about a couple of things:

1. Before the trolls the elves had no metal-workers. Most of their weapons must have been bone or rock. In the BOTC novels it refers to Rahnee having an "ancient" metal knife. I guess anything metal would have to be.

2. It seems like the utopian world the high ones came from wouldn't have any use for money, so would they even have coins? I figure we have coins for purely decorative/commemorative reasons, so maybe they could have also. (Offering, for a limited time only, Leaving the Planet! now as a commemorative coin!) So I think the coin would have been really ancient. But that also might have made it mean more to the high ones, a reminder of what they had left behind.

3. Elves can't read! Grin

jeb

Ahh! Excellent logic! :D

Cleopatra

Hey guys. Now I'm posting my grab bag for this month. Hope you will like it.



[size=18:1bf21585ee]The Hidden Powers part two[/size:1bf21585ee]


”Capture an elf, capture an elf. It’s easier said than done!”

The Dark Ones weren’t happy as they trudged home. Some limped and had to hold on to those who were close, while others used their weapons as crutches.

“We just have to capture that elf and then kill the rest,” one of them said.

“Yes, thank you,” another one said loud with a sarcastic voice.
“We’ve heard that thousands of times before!”

The leader of the group was surely as far from happy as he could be. He was beaten, humiliated, laughed at by a group of lousy elves.

“Our lord won’t be happy,” he heard someone mumble.

And who would get the blame? He, of course. He growled inwardly, chief Optarh and his foolish warrior elves had had fun with them and laughed at them for fifteen years. Fifteen looong years.

“What does it take to capture a lousy little elf, just because he has magic?” he mumbled and growled.

And he shouldn’t have said that, ”˜cause in the next moment, the Dark Ones felt something. And this something was not nice! Believe them, they had experienced it many times before. So often that you’re stupid if you chose not to believe them. The surroundings disappeared and they gained a feeling of flying through a tunnel, surrounded by sharp stones.

”Ow, ow, ow, ow,” was everything that could be heard as they were hit by the stones. Small screams in high pitch voices appeared while they flew further, into a sea of flames. Then the feeling was over and they just fell, surrounded by darkness. Fell and fell and fell until one could hear a loud BANG, which indicated that they hit the floor. It was impossible to have a wrong guess at what had happened. It was obvious that they had been brought back by their Lord’s magic. The Dark Ones groaned.

“Oboy. Here it comes,” the leader said and groaned inwardly.

Then he looked up at his Lord. Or the Dark Prince, as he also was called. The mask he carried made it impossible to see his face, not that seeing it would help much as no one knew who he was or where he came from. And for those who had seen him and still been alive when they left, that was their last concern. Just trying to look into his eyes made your soul freeze to ice.

“Now?” the rasping voice said.
“I’m waiting.”

The Dark Ones stood in lines, each of them not wanting to be close to the Dark Prince. Now they would hear it. What a tragedy!

“Well”¦ it went all right”¦ most of the time, but”¦” the leader said, having difficulty with finding the words and still live through the day.

“But?” their lord asked as he waited for the answer.

“But the others”¦ they sort of didn’t let him”¦ come with us.”

A hesitating laughter from the Dark Ones was the only thing that filled the silence in the room.

################################################################

The passage was dark. Dark, nothing else but plain dark. The only thing that could be heard was the footsteps of a couple who closed in on the throne room of their ruler. They approached the door, but just as one of them was about to open it they heard the lord’s roar from the inside. The glances they threw at each other weren’t necessary. The roar told more than a thousand words could tell. He was furious.

“Fools! Boors! Idiots!”

The couple looked at each other, understanding all too well that something had gone wrong. Again. They silently opened the door and walked inside with light steps, walking towards the throne while their lord continued roaring and screaming invectives at the Dark Ones.

“Why do I have to be surrounded by incompetent idiots like you!?”

The couple looked at each other again, lowering their voices to whispers.

“Looks like this group will look death in the eye very soon,” one of them whispered.

“Even that wouldn’t help,” the other one replied.

You could hear that one was woman and the other was a man.

“Now, there you are,” their lord said, still angry.
“Here you can see the biggest pinheads on earth who couldn’t manage to capture a single elf!”

The couple laughed inwardly, but their silent laughter didn’t last for long.

“He may think that he can laugh at me now, but that laughter’s going to turn to death cries as soon as I get my revenge!”

If the lord had seen the hurt eyes of the man, he would have understood that he had hit a sore spot. The woman at his side noticed it, grabbed his hand and gave it an affectionately squeeze without no one noticing.

################################################################

Flames. A burning hate was the only thing Hawkeye felt as he ran. The surroundings were nothing but flames. He wasn’t safe anywhere. No matter where he ran, he wasn’t safe. The flames were chasing him and he could have sworn that someone was calling his name.

“Hawkeye. Hawkeye!”

The flames were just about to swallow him as he woke with a pounding heart, feeling sweat run down his forehead. Then he remembered that he and the group of warriors, led by Toron, had wandered very far. They had decided to take a little break before they continued. He must have fallen asleep immediately. His cheeks turned slightly red. He was so embarrassed. But Toron didn’t seem to have notices his little nap. Instead, he was busy talking with Sturkas about when to continue.

“If we’re gone for much longer, they will send out a search party to chase us down,” Toron said and started walking.

“I can see that,” Sturkas answered laughing.

“Shut up, Sturkas,” Toron said as he turned around, irritated.

“Aww, you’re of the bored type. Can’t enjoy the fun of a joke,” Sturkas mumbled as he walked past Toron, arms crossed behind his head.

“One more comment like that, and I’ll give you a third blue eye!” Toron said with a very irritated voice.

The group continued in silence, everyone enjoying their own company. Well, everyone except Hawkeye. He didn’t quite like the silence, the only good thing was the happy chirping birds in the trees. At this time of day, Blindeye and the others were probably resting, a pause in today’s work, just enjoying the sun. At the thought of his older brother, he suddenly felt a pang in his heart. He had left without as much as a ”˜see you later’. But he also knew that Blindeye never would have let him leave, no matter what he said. So he had probably done the right thing”¦

So why did it feel so wrong?

“We’re almost there,” he heard Toron said.

Hawkeye peeked out from behind the big man, his eyes wandering across the landscape. He could see pretty far from the hill, and the details were much clearer for him than for the others, thanks to the reason for his name. And the warrior village was just like he remembered it, but chief Optarh and the Wise Council”¦ their reaction was a whole different problem.

Would they accept him? Would they take care of him and help him with his powers? Or would they look at him as a threat to the village and send him home again, without any answers?

He didn’t hope for the latter. If the Dark Ones didn’t get their hands on him on his way home, Blindeye would surely finish him off!

Either of them would end with death”¦

”¦ yay!

But, no. Chief Optarh wasn’t like that. He still remembered what his former chief had said, that chief Optarh was the best chief a warrior could ever want. Even though he had magical powers, he used it with care and was still a great warrior who didn’t always need magic. Brain was the only thing one needed. Not magic or great muscles.

Brain. Attack might be the best defense, but a bright head would be more useful in combat.

And chief Optarh always considered his moves before doing something, always thought about his tribe and gladly helped those who needed it. He knew that chief Optrah would help him, no matter what. And with that in mind, he followed the others down the path to the village.

“Take care,” he heard the whispering voice inside head say, but just then he suddenly felt the ground disappear underneath him, and he quickly understood that he was no longer on the ground.

################################################################

Everything was quiet now that the guards kept watch, each one in a different corner of the village. The villagers were doing their daily duties, the pupils practiced their fighting technique. But something was changed, and everyone could feel it. Something had woken the day before. Everyone had seen the strong sparkle of light, far, far away. Chief Optarh had been the first one to understand that something had happened.

But now, one day after, nothing else had happened. The sun had moved far during the day, it didn’t seem like anything else would happen. One of the warriors that kept watch at the edge of the forest could hear someone in the distant. He batted an irritating fly and continued listening. Now he was sure, now he knew who was coming. Captain Toron and his group. Of course it had to be them, no other group was ever able to make such noise as them. Everyone knew that putting Toron and Sturkas on the same team was like inviting the enemy to breakfast; it was impossible for those two to not piss each other off. But chief Optarh wouldn’t hear about it, their teamwork was more important.

For an unpracticed ear, the sound of chirping filled the village. But those who had been born and grown up in the village, knew better. It was a signal from the warrior guard, telling that captain Toron and his group were in their way back. The message flew like a bird to each guard, then to every villager. All the elves heard the chirping, let go of what they had and bolted to the gate to greet those who came back. Even the students, who were busy practicing their techniques, stopped and ran faster than their tutors had ever seen.

“Now, if they only were just as eager when it comes to learning,” one of them sighed.

Oh yes, the students were very eager, but one ran faster than all the others. Toron and Sturkas were home! She increased her speed, wanting to be the first one to greet her ”˜big brothers’. Her eagerness almost hit the Wise Council, so she shouted an apologize and continued running. She ran out the gate and up the hill when a thought suddenly hit her.

The trap.

Well, if they just were careful and didn’t step into it, everything would be okay. She increased her speed again and ran to the plain where her trap was hidden. But just as she was going to enter the grass, furious roaring filled the entire forest.

Oh, no! she thought. Someone had stepped into her trap!

Feeling a little unsecure, she slowly walked over to where her trap was hidden. But when she looked up the trees and her eyes met the sight, she couldn’t help but snicker.

################################################################

Hawkeye shook his head, still feeling dizzy. He looked around and understood immediately what had happened just a second ago. He, Toron and Sturkas seemed to have stepped into a little trap, a net. That was what the whisper had been trying to warn him about! The whisper in his head, the one that told him to take care. But sadly, just as he heard it, Toron looked over his shoulder instead of watching his steps. Actually, all three of them had stepped onto the net at the same time, causing the trap to react. And now they were hanging among the trees, like some old fruit ready to be harvested. Ah, well, too late was too late. Right now, Sturkas was swearing loudly and roared threats to a so-called ”˜little sister’ while the warriors that stood on the ground just laughed at them.

”Okay, I know that it’s been a long time since I was here, but”¦ is this how you great every newcomer nowadays?” Hawkeye asked slowly, eying Toron curiously.

“Only if the enemy has been able to sneak up on us,” Sturkas growled sarcastically.

Toron sighed dejected.

“Forget that. What we really need now is a plan for how to get down before the entire village finds out and mocks us for at least six months.”

He looked down at the rest of the group, who were collected in a heap on the ground, laughing hysterically at their leader who had been completely fooled by a trap that even a child would have spotted. Well, it wasn’t his fault. He had been so busy arguing with Sturkas that his eyes hadn’t seen the signs.

“I would have appreciated it if you could actually try to get us down,” Toron said with a calm voice, that quickly turned into a roar as he continued.
“Or else you are going to be the first to taste my sword blade when I get down!”

It didn’t help. Someone just to their left snickered, Hawkeye wasn’t able to spot the person, but he heard that it was a woman. Just the thought made his cheeks turn bright pink.

“Hello, ”˜big brothers’. What are you doing up there?” he heard the woman ask.

“Having a meal,” Toron grunted sarcastically, but his words drowned in his friend’s roar.

“What we are doing up here? Planning a plot on how to assassinate you!” Sturkas yelled.
“What are you thinking? Making traps and surprise us like that. Get us down, or else you’ll taste my fist!”

Silence. Then suddenly a little

“Okay”

followed by the feeling of flying, all three of them lying on the ground. Why, oh why did warriors have to be so violent? Hawkeye thought and grabbed his head, feeling the pain slowly slip away.

“That was nice of you,” Sturkas said calmly, his voice yet again turning into a roar.
“But warn us next time you plan on killing us like that!”

As they tried to wriggle themselves out of the net, Hawkeye saw her for the first time. Toron and Sturkas’ so-called ”˜little sister’. And he found himself staring into green orbs, almost not aware that they were her eyes. He immediately felt some king of a connection through them, him and her. He couldn’t describe the feeling, but it was almost as if they became one, sharing everything.

”Who’s this guy?” the woman asked and reached for his hand. He grabbed it and was pulled back onto his legs.

“Long story,” Toron answered as also he noticed that something had happened through them.
“But we need to talk to chief Optarh and the Wise Council immediately. Can you get your mother to call for them, Xin-Jing?”

Xin-Jing”¦ Hawkeye understood that it was her name, and found himself following her with his gaze when she nodded and bolted back to the village.

################################################################

Chief Optarh heard the steps, knowing that they belonged the Wise Council, who was on their way to him. They would now discuss what they had seen and felt the day before, and hopefully this meeting wouldn’t end with fight a fight like last time.

Give me strength, he thought and closed his eyes.

As if his thoughts had been heard, he felt soft lips against his owns.

“Wasn’t it you who wanted something to give you strength?” he heard his wife, Erla, say.

Then he felt the soft lips again, touching his in a fondly kiss. Optarh loved Erla so very much, more than his own life, and he was happy that she always was at his side. But their kiss was interrupted by the sound of screaming and roaring. They looked at each other, knowing all too well that the noise belonged to the Wise Council.

“Seriously, the limit is soon crossed!”

“Lilac! You have to do something about your daughter! It’s the seventh time she’s ran into us, and it’s only the third day!” they heard someone scream.

Optarh and Erla sent each other one short glance, then went out the door to greet the Wise Council”¦ who were collected in a heap on the ground, Xin-Jing standing next to them with bright pink cheeks and an apologizing look. If they had hoped for a scolding for the girl, then their wishes wouldn’t come true”¦ ever! ”˜cause Optarh and Erla couldn’t help but laugh at them.

“And what’s going on here?” Optarh asked as he sent Xin-Jing and the Wise Council a knowing look.

The council didn’t have anything to say. Well, maybe they had, but no one would ever get to know because Xin-Jing spoke up first.

“Chief Optarh, Wise Council. Captain Toron and his group are back in the village and wants to speak with you”¦ immediately.”

“Has something happened?” Lilac, Xin-Jing’s mother, asked.

She was a member of the Wise Council (a member who risked getting kicked out every time Xin-Jing went out the door) and she always took things seriously.

“He hasn’t told yet, but they bring an elf from another tribe,” Xin-Jing answered.

The Wise Council sent each others worried looks, turning their heads to chief Optarh.

“Send them in,” he said after a pause.

Then he turned and walked back to the throne room again. Xin-Jing was just going to run back (without bumping into the Wise Council and risk her mother getting kicked out) and find Toron when she felt her mother’s hand in hers. She turned around, looking at Lilac with an asking glare.

“Who is it?” Lilac asked.

“Who is who?” Xin-Jing replied, not understanding what her mother meant.

”Who’s this man?”

”Man? What man?”

Lilac just laughed at her daughter, pointing at her left hand. The elf girl looked down at her hand, eyes widening in surprise. She couldn’t find any words that would describe how she felt, and there was no word that could describe the mark. Two hearts”¦ melting together. Then she understood what her mother had meant with her question. Xin-Jing had met the Right man for her, a so-called ”˜soulmate’. But who”¦?

It couldn’t be her suitor, Eros, because she hadn’t seen him this day. And it was impossible that it was some of the guys she was training with. Then both of them would have noticed and she wouldn’t have been able to win all the fights. But then there wasn’t any ”˜free’ guys left for her, all the other already had wives. Then”¦ She stopped, feeling her heart pound a little faster. Could it be the elf that Toron had brought?

She turned around as she heard the steps, knowing they belonged to Toron, Sturkas and the stranger elf. She also heard that her mother followed the chief into the throne room along with the rest of the Wise Council. With a little smile she went to greet her ”˜big brothers’, and when she saw him again, her heart pounded even harder.

“Just go inside, they’re waiting,” she said and walked past them, as fast as she could without making it look strange.

Toron and Sturkas led the others to the door, where the two of them walked inside with Hawkeye right behind them. He was surprised that they didn’t fight over who got to walk first, not that they didn’t need it since the door was big, but as the idiots they were”¦ he had expected something.

But what he hadn’t expected was the feeling he got when he saw the chief, his wife and the Wise Council. And he didn’t even notice the female elf who was staring at him, at his left hand. She smiled and clamped the coin she carried around her neck. Now Lilac had seen this man, who he was. And she wondered how Xin-Jing would react.

“Chief Optarh,” Toron started as he knelt, then stood up again and introduced Hawkeye and continued telling them what had happened the day before.

“I see,” Optarh said slowly after Toron had finished his tale (which had been interrupted many times by Sturkas who had put in a little extra here and there).
“I can’t say anything else than that it was wise of you to come back with captain Toron.”

Optarh turned his head and locked eyes with Hawkeye.

”Welcome back, Hawkeye.”

bukittyan

Yea! I managed to get through all of these before the month was up! :D

Sofia: Dragons and elves are two of my favorite things! Your story was so sad, and the description of Scarlet's death was well done, though difficult to read. You're handling a lot of the emotions well.

Redhead Ember: Beautiful poem as always. I love your way with words, and how you've chosen to depict Discovery.

Tenderfoot: Oh goodness, you do like teasing us with what's next huh? ;) I love how Mantricker melted at the sight of his new granddaughter, and the spider on Bearclaw was hilarious. I love how you described his jumping too.

Tymber: I'm hoping that Wardance, Warsong and Skyshade can resolve their differences. I'm liking the three of them together, and it looks like they all have something to teach each other.

Nightsea: Very well done. I love how Vok's character was fleshed out a little bit more in your story.

jeb: Aw... I liked Twinstar, and I love how accepting of all of this her tribe is. It's also nice to see the aftermath of your previous story too. Maybe you'll continue this? :)

Cleopatra: Ah, so now we see the Dark Ones. They don't look nice at all. I like the character Hawkeye and how you're portraying his uncertainty coming in to a foreign place with powers he doesn't understand. I'm thinking that Toron, Sturkas and Xin-Jing are going to help him out.

jeb

In Cleopatra's story I'm particularly interested in the fact that there's an outward sign of Recognition (or its equivalent) but that the elves themselves don't know that it's happened or who the soul-mate is. Seems like it could lead to some misunderstandings or missed opportunities. Grin

Also, is the mark forever? Can it happen more than once?

It's almost a literal interpretation of the english phrase "wearing your heart on your sleeve." (meaning- you fall in love too easily.)

Tenderfoot

Before I give any more comments, I juust want to say that all negative comments about Cleopatra's story must be directed to me. I translated it for her and also added/removed some things, It was really great before she gave it to me, so blame me!

Also, I'm helping her with answering, so when she writes 'blame Tenderfoot' and that it is my fault, I'm the one telling her to write it! So don't think she's mean or tries to push the blame over to me. She's an excellent writer, I'm just a bad translator :oops:

Cleopatra

[b:1db8408b64]Bukittyan:[/b:1db8408b64] Yup, you are right. The Dark Ones are not nice. I'm glad you like Hawkeye's character and I can tell you he will get help from Toron, Sturkas and Xin-Jing when he need it. Wink

[b:1db8408b64]Jeb:[/b:1db8408b64] Well, the elves don't only get the mark at their hand when recognition happen, but they have a very special feeling when they are seeing eachother if they dont have joined yet. The mark will only stay untill the couple have come to a understanding about what they are feeling for eachother and when they are joining the mark will go away.
[quote:1db8408b64] Can it happen more than once? [/quote:1db8408b64]

Yeah it can, but only with the elf you have joined first time.

[b:1db8408b64]Tymber:[/b:1db8408b64] First of all, direct all negative comments to Tenderfoot (with her permission, since she's helping me right now). *points at Tenderfoot*

Sorry if you didn't understand everything,but I'll explain as much as I can. The rest will come later. As for the Dark Ones' looks, it's explained in the name; dark. They wear dark clothes, like ninjas.
And you're right about the laughing, but only for Hawkeye's tribe. They hadn't seen the Dark Ones before, so of course they were scared. But Toron's tribe has been fighting them for 15 years and always beats them. Have you ever read Asterix and Obelix? It's pretty much like their fights with the Romans. They like fighting with them, but only when those two tribes are involved. Here, there was a third and innocent tribe, and then it wasn't fun anymore.
The sentence starting with 'And' is Tenderfoot's fault, she helped me translate it. It was better in Norwegian, though...
As for comedian, I did that on purpose. You see, the Dark Ones are evil, but terribly stupid sometimes (well most of the time). I also wanted to make it a little funny since they've gone through this before, but I'll remeber to be more cryptic next month!
I didn't use he direct translation of dark in Norwegian, but only word for the Norweian word I used was dark. I could possibly have changed it, but they are called the Dark Ones because of the Dark Prince. They're sort of his... servants? So, Dark + Dark = Dark
As for the man and the woman, I couldn't think of something todescribe their voices. But I'll remember this next time, to 'show' the reader, not 'tell'.

Except for these, I'm glad you thought it was interesting! :D

Tenderfoot

Surprised Woot! Lotsa comments! Better get started if I want to be finsihed before June! *pulls up sleeves*

[quote:6d4d0d769c="Redhead Ember"]
[color=red:6d4d0d769c]Phew... that was... great![/color:6d4d0d769c][/quote:6d4d0d769c]

Thanks, [b:6d4d0d769c]Redhead Ember[/b:6d4d0d769c]!


[quote:6d4d0d769c="faeriegirl"]
totally agree! Crescent is sooo cute *melts*
... but yea, those baddies suck big time![/quote:6d4d0d769c]

Yeah, [b:6d4d0d769c]faeriegirl[/b:6d4d0d769c], isn't Crescent just adorable? And you're absolutely right about those baddies. Me don't like them either, but they're necessary for my plot [b:6d4d0d769c]Bwa ha ha ha![/b:6d4d0d769c] :twisted:


[quote:6d4d0d769c="Tymber"]
That was a monster sized double sized grab bag special![/quote:6d4d0d769c]

[img:6d4d0d769c]http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn88/Green_Joy/animesweat.gif[/img:6d4d0d769c]

[quote:6d4d0d769c="Tymber"]But I liked it![/quote:6d4d0d769c]

:D

[quote:6d4d0d769c="Tymber"]It still takes me time to see them in Medieval setting - because I keep seeing them as how I know them in comics! But just like last time, despite that, this epic sized tale proved to be another good segment![/quote:6d4d0d769c]

I'm glad you liked it! And don't worry about their clothing or style, their looks are almost the same. I try to keep their clothes as close as possible to their real ones, except that all the girls have to wear dresses (sorry Nightfall and Ember!).

[quote:6d4d0d769c="Tymber"]So am I to understand all the children are dead? I can't help but wonder how Mantricker would respond to something like that... sure, he's not as crazy as Two-Spear, but Mantricker is not one I'd mess with![/quote:6d4d0d769c]

Only the children of that family, but just the death of one child would be tragical, so all of these little ones' demises are horrible. And this family was close friends with Mantricker, actually best friends, even closer than Owl's family, so with all of them dead, it's not strange if he does something stupid.
But you're right, I wouldn't mess with him either! Oi, what's that sword doing in front of my throat...? Surprised


[quote:6d4d0d769c="jeb"]
Tenderfoot - I like the sweet family interlude that you've given us, but I wonder what's on the horizon?[/quote:6d4d0d769c]

So do I... *scouts* I can only see trees... no, kidding aside, that will be revealed sooner or later. I hope for sooner, but I'm jumping very much, so it's probably the latter. I'm glad you liked it! :D


[quote:6d4d0d769c="krwordgazer"]
Tenderfoot, I always look forward to the next segment of your medieval story. Good to see Mantricker finally coming to his senses-- I loved the reunion! Fun that Crescent and Cutter are infants together; that should make for some interesting interactions later! :D The threatened coup makes for a very good plot element, too. And who's death has affected the King so deeply? Looking forward to finding out![/quote:6d4d0d769c]

And I always look forward to the next comment of yours! :D Yep, Mantricker surely came to his senses as soon as he saw Crescent. I mean, who can possibly resist a baby girl? (not my relatives, at least. And not Mantricker either). As for Crescent and Cutter, they will have plenty of time to be together, with only a year between them.

And it's the death of a close friend who made Mantricker so sad. His best friend's entire family, including elders and children, boys and girls, men and women, were brutally murdered. But who this family is... that has to wait for a little while. Wink Or else I'll just lose my readers.


[quote:6d4d0d769c="bukittyan"]
Tenderfoot: Oh goodness, you do like teasing us with what's next huh? Wink[/quote:6d4d0d769c]

Now, what makes you think so? *blinks innocent*

[quote:6d4d0d769c="bukittyan"]I love how Mantricker melted at the sight of his new granddaughter, and the spider on Bearclaw was hilarious.[/quote:6d4d0d769c]

I'm glad you liked it! And who can possibly resist adorable little Crescent? As for the spider... Grin Can't say anything more! *goes happy dance*

[quote:6d4d0d769c="bukittyan"]I love how you described his jumping too.[/quote:6d4d0d769c]

*stops happy dance* Uhh... so you noticed that... [img:6d4d0d769c]http://i302.photobucket.com/albums/nn88/Green_Joy/animesweat.gif[/img:6d4d0d769c] Kidding aside, me glad you loved! :D

faeriegirl

oh, Tenderfoot, quick question:
was there a thread dedicated to the Iron Burden? I'd love to reread it without searching through lotsa grab-bags...
if not I'll just have to search :P

faeriegirl

[quote:2bbec1aa0e="Tymber"][quote:2bbec1aa0e="faeriegirl"]oh, Tenderfoot, quick question:
was there a thread dedicated to the Iron Burden? I'd love to reread it without searching through lotsa grab-bags...
if not I'll just have to search :P[/quote:2bbec1aa0e]

I did a quick search - it's in a few grab bags - but also seems to be in this thread, beginning [url=http://elfquest.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=380745#380745][b:2bbec1aa0e]here.[/b:2bbec1aa0e][/url]

Hope that helps?[/quote:2bbec1aa0e]
yay, it's got parts 1 through 4! just part 5 missing, but that's in this thread... :D

Cleopatra

[quote:c864c24935="Cleopatra"]
[b:c864c24935]Tymber:[/b:c864c24935] First of all, direct all negative comments to Tenderfoot (with her permission, since she's helping me right now). *points at Tenderfoot*
[/quote:c864c24935]

[quote:c864c24935] Grin Cleo - trust me! I don't mean it as bad things! Just suggestions! I swear it! :) If the story was bad, I wouldn't have bothered reading it! It was an entertaining story, there were just parts that I thought could have been more descriptive! But considering it's being translated, it's amazing none the less - because there's going to be things lost in translation! :)[/quote:c864c24935]


Okey, then it was only a little misunderstunding for me. Grin
But I promise you Tymber, that I am trying as best I can to my grab bags.


[quote:c864c24935="Cleopatra"]
Except for these, I'm glad you thought it was interesting! :D[/quote:c864c24935]

[quote:c864c24935]Very much so! :)[/quote:c864c24935]

Me glad you like. :D

Just hoping my next story will be great. But everyone have lots of time.

Btw, Tymber, your story was great. :D Wonder what next will happen.

Redhead Ember, your poem was so beautifull. I liked it very much.

Tenderfoot, as always, your story was really awsome. And the scene about Bearclaw and the spider made me laugh so much. And that with payback time, Grin Hmm, makes me wonder what would have happened if One-Eye played dead...

Sofia, your story was good. I am wondering about what's will happen next.
[/quote]

Tenderfoot

[quote:67f64ed285="faeriegirl"]oh, Tenderfoot, quick question:
was there a thread dedicated to the Iron Burden? I'd love to reread it without searching through lotsa grab-bags...
if not I'll just have to search :P[/quote:67f64ed285]

As Tymber already said, they are posted in Strongbow fanart and fanfiction thread. They are also posted on Elfae, Nev's site, and TEAM Moonshade, Elftanner's site.

But I plan on making a thread for all the stories, a Medieval EQ thread. So then you'll be able to read all the stories! :D

And I'm glad you liked it so much that you wanted to re-read it!

krwordgazer

Cleopatra, your second part is great! I lke Optarh's tribe, and the springing of the hidden trap was very funny! And your Dark Ones are creepy! :D

Anyway, I've got mine for May now. . . Just a little indulgence of wishful thinking, inspired by a pairing WiseShaman came up with. It's a what-if story, this time, asking the question: What if a certain red-haired tracker had been in the right place, at the right time?

So without further ado, here is:

RIGHT PLACE, RIGHT TIME


[u:f6bfec0a77]Elements:[/u:f6bfec0a77]
[i:f6bfec0a77]Permission
Eyes Meet Eyes
A Tragedy
A Coin
A Bug
A Flame[/i:f6bfec0a77]

The two human males were penetrating deeper and deeper into Holt territory. Redmark was shadowing them, slipping along behind the scruffy pair in the early morning light. The humans were heavily armed, and Redmark had few doubts as to their purpose here. It was only a short while ago that they had destroyed Woodhue's eye. Failing to kill him must have made them angry, and they wanted more blood.

Redmark eased through bush and bramble till he was ahead of the two. He knew he must be careful lest the sun, slanting through the leaves, catch his hair like a flame and give his presence away. He wanted to see where they were going and to search for any means to stop them in their tracks. Their path was leading them to the river.

A splashing noise caught his ear-- too big for a fish. Redmark silently pulled himself up to a treebranch to get a look ahead. What he saw made his heart hammer in his chest.

A pile of elfin leathers, with a short bow and quiver, lay at the edge of the water. They were Crescent's.

And she was only a few heartbeats away from being found.


Redmark's mind raced. No time! No time to send for help-- not even a wolf-friend could get here that fast. All he could do was send to Crescent-- *Cub! Get out of the water! Hide!*

A [i:f6bfec0a77]whoosh[/i:f6bfec0a77]! in the water told him she was responding-- but the two humans heard it too. With gutteral shouts they picked up their pace, scrambling through the undergrowth, gesturing to one another to hurry. Crescent was on the bank, scooping up her leathers. Redmark saw her head come up as she heard the humans shout. Where was her wolf-friend? Did she have permission to be out here alone?

No time to wonder.

He could probably kill one of the humans with his spear, but the other could still attack. Crescent had been fishing-- she had a spear, too-- but she was young and inexperienced. Was there anything else that could be done? His thoughts racing, Redmark was hardly aware that his eyes were following the upward path of a small beetle rushing up the tree trunk in front of him. His gaze lifted. And there it was.

A beehive, hanging deep within the branches above. The bees inside were still asleep, waiting for the morning sun to penetrate the darkness under the canopy of leaves. Two upward leaps, and Redmark was beside the hive.

"Sorry, little friends," he breathed-- and hurled the hive as hard as he could into the path of the humans. The hive broke, and angry buzzing filled the air. At the same moment Crescent's spear whistled by below him. But she had thrown too soon-- Redmark could feel her panic. The humans were still out of her view, and the spear soared harmlessly past them.

*Get back in the water, Crescent-- quick!* Redmark sent, running along the branch pathways. He leaped from the last branch, headfirst into the water, as the humans behind him cried out in surprise and pain.

*What!?* Crescent sent back in surprise, and then *Oh!* as she heard the bees. There was a splash, and the maiden was under the water beside him. She had her leathers and quiver in a bundle under one arm, her bow in her other hand. *We’ve got to let the current take us away from here!* Redmark sent. *The bees will deal with the humans.*

*Humans!* Crescent sent as they drifted downstream, still under the surface. Her shocked eyes were dark smudges in the shadowy water. *How? We're inside the Holt boundary! Humans don't come here!*

*They did this time,* Redmark sent grimly. His lungs were beginning to want air.

Crescent began to surface, but he shook his head, taking her arm to hold her beside him until they had drifted a little further, and the trees hid from view the spot where they'd jumped in. Then they both rose, gasping for air. They could hear screams as the bee-stung humans pounded through the underbrush. At any moment they might figure out to head back for the river themselves, to escape the stinging. Redmark and Crescent left the water and slipped away through the undergrowth till the sounds of the humans faded.

In a small clearing Crescent stopped. She pulled on her wet leggings and tunic, then stepped into her boots. "Thank you," she said in a small voice.

Redmark's breath came out in whoosh. The thought of what could have-- would have-- happened if he hadn't come along right when he did-- "You could have been killed!" he burst out.

Her eyes flashed. "I wasn't breaking any rules!" she snapped. "Mother and Father knew where I was!"

"Without your wolf friend?!" he cried. "Did you have permission for that?"

"As a matter of fact, I did!" Crescent snapped. "Thank you for helping me, Redmark-- but I'm going home now."

"Cub, wait!" Redmark grabbed her arm. "The rules have changed! We have to tell Bearclaw-- make him see--"

Angrily she shook him off. "I'm not a cub! Now leave me alone!"

"Leave you [i:f6bfec0a77]alone[/i:f6bfec0a77]?" Astonished, he gazed at her. Fiercely her eyes met his.

And then--

Redmark's thoughts stilled. Crescent's eyes were filling his consciousness, sweeping him into a swirling stream where he no longer knew who he was, where he was. Nothing existed now except-- her.

"Ulm." Crescent’s eyes were huge. "You-- are Ulm!'

Redmark couldn't speak. Softly he sent her own soul name back to her. He discovered that she was in his arms. She lifted her face to his.

"See?" Crescent laughed, her eyes alight. "I'm not a cub anymore, am I?"

At last Redmark found his voice. "No," he breathed. "No, I guess you're not."


Back at the Holt, all unaware of the terrible tragedy that might have been, Moonshade knelt under the Father Tree, stitching at a piece of leather in her lap. On a branch above her, Strongbow sat, his bow over his shoulder, looking down with fondness on his lifemate. They both lifted their heads as an excited sending came to them. *Mother! Father! Guess what's happened!*

Bearclaw hurried over as Moonshade jumped to her feet, and Strongbow, with a rare smile, leaped down from the branch to take her hand. *Our cub!* he sent.

Bearclaw's eyes moved from one to the other. "Strongbow, what is it? Talk!" he commanded.

Strongbow was still smiling. "Crescent-- sending. She and Redmark have--"

"Recognized!" Moonshade finished breathlessly. “Our little Crescent!"

Bearclaw's face split into a huge grin. "Crescent-- and Redmark! What do you know?"

Other tribe members began to gather around, the news spreading joyously from one to another. Bearclaw fished in a pocket of his leathers and pulled out a small shiny object. Holding it in his hand, he looked down at it with a smile.

"What is that?" Joyleaf asked, taking her lifemate's arm.

"The trolls call it a 'coin,'" Bearclaw said. "It's made of gold. I'm going to bore a hole in it and make Crescent a necklace, as a gift for the cub she'll be carrying when they come back."

Joyleaf smiled warmly. "What a wonderful thought, old badger."

Strongbow and Moonshade nodded.

And not far away, in a little cave among the trees, Redmark and Crescent held one another tight. The tribe would have to be told how bold the humans were becoming, and new precautions would have to be established. But that could wait until tomorrow.

All that mattered now, was Now.


THE END.

Cleopatra

[quote:a3b1b85891="krwordgazer"] Cleopatra, your second part is great![/quote:a3b1b85891]

Thank you so much, KR, I hoped you guys would like it.

[quote:a3b1b85891]I lke Optarh's tribe, and the springing of the hidden trap was very funny![/quote:a3b1b85891]

Hope it made you to laugh of that scene. I laughed a while I wrote [b:a3b1b85891]that[/b:a3b1b85891] scene. Grin

[quote:a3b1b85891]And your Dark Ones are creepy! :D [/quote:a3b1b85891]

Oh, they will get more creppy. But I'm not telling when and how. :twisted:

Kr, I liked your story of Redmark and Crescent. It was very sweet. And how Redmark taked the bees to the humans made me laugh. Grin

WiseShaman

Great job [b:f2b9e7fc57]KR[/b:f2b9e7fc57]

I've always thought old Red and Crescent would have recognized if she had stay in the picture.

You did an awesome job as always~!

krwordgazer

I'm glad you two liked it-- but reading over it again this morning, I realized I'd made a mistake. Crescent would have heard the humans shouting, as she came out of the water. I have changed it so that she reacts appropriately. :)

WiseShaman

Wow, just finished the piece by Tymber and that was really good! I didn't see a problem anywhere!

I liked the three-way recognition between the twins and Skyshade. I don't feel so alone now when I had Redlance/Nightfall/Leetah/Cutter pull off the four-way! :D

Nightsea

KR, you have a typo (get rid of the h...hurled AS hard):
[quote:ac204a0bd7]and hurled the hive has hard as he could[/quote:ac204a0bd7]

I like that the couple share the news of their recognition
by sending. But I'm not sure about "Guess what" That
seems a bit too like a modern teenager instead of a newly
recognized adult Wolfrider.

Your story also doesn't mention Nightfall at all. I would feel
terribly sorry for her without her Redlance. Maybe if you keep
up this alternaverse, she'll wind up recognized too? Or doesn't
she exist here?

Excellent use of the coin element. Bearclaw would be the one
to have something from the Trolls.

It was enjoyable, as always.
--Nightsea

krwordgazer

Thanks for the head's up on the typo, Nightsea. It's fixed. :D

As for "Guess what" -- Crescent's original sending to her parents, in the graphic novel [i:bdef1976c8]Wolfrider,[/i:bdef1976c8] was "Mother, Father, guess what I have. . . for. . ." and then it's cut short as the humans kill her. I shortened it to "Guess what?" here, to keep it as close to the original as possible (the whole ending scene is a close parallel to the original) -- but if that seems too idiomatic, I could change it to "Guess what's happened?"

Does anyone else have thoughts on this?

Finally, as to Nightfall-- this whole scene took place hundreds of years before she was born. In Elf West, where Shaman introduces this love interest, Nightfall and Redlance form a three-mating with Crescent. I would have no problem with the idea in this story, that hundreds of years from now, Nightfall will form a three-mating with Redlance and Crescent. However, I have no intention of continuing with this as an alternate universe. It was simply a moment of wishful thinking, as I said above. :D

faeriegirl

[quote:028283c05a="krwordgazer"]
As for "Guess what" -- Crescent's original sending to her parents, in the graphic novel [i:028283c05a]Wolfrider,[/i:028283c05a] was "Mother, Father, guess what I have. . . for. . ." and then it's cut short as the humans kill her. I shortened it to "Guess what?" here, to keep it as close to the original as possible (the whole ending scene is a close parallel to the original) -- but if that seems too idiomatic, I could change it to "Guess what's happened?"

Does anyone else have thoughts on this?
[/quote:028283c05a]
I think it would be a good change :) but I loved the story anyway :)

krwordgazer

[quote:f4f673cef0="Tymber"]I wasn't aware that Redlance was so much older than Nightfall![/quote:f4f673cef0]

Uh, well . . . :oops:

I just looked through [i:f4f673cef0]Wolfrider[/i:f4f673cef0] again, to be sure-- and Crescent's death apparently takes place about 15 years before Nightfall is born. Sorry about that-- the events in Wolfrider begin about 400 years before Cutter's birth, but I'd forgotten exactly how the timeline played out. But I'm not sure how old Redlance is-- considerably older than Crescent, anyway. She's about 17-18 when she dies, by the looks of her.

Anyway, thanks for the lovely comments, everyone! And I will go back and make that change of "Guess what?" to "Guess what's happened?"

manga

I think "Guess what?" was just fine. *shrug*

That was a cute story, Wordgazer. I guess "Two Choices" isn't your only "What if" after all! We've brought you to the Dark Side. Alright! ;)

krwordgazer

[quote:fc18ded672="manga"]I think "Guess what?" was just fine. *shrug*

That was a cute story, Wordgazer. I guess "Two Choices" isn't your only "What if" after all! We've brought you to the Dark Side. Alright! ;)[/quote:fc18ded672]

Heh, heh. "Two Choices" was only my [i:fc18ded672]first [/i:fc18ded672]what-if. I also wrote "Angry Young Glider," which was about Rayek being raised in Blue Mountain. :D

Thanks for the kind words, Manga!

MrsGrizzley

It's fun on the Dark Side. *grin* We have fudge and brownies, and if you're really good, I can bake up my famous Chocolate Chip cookies, with two kinds of chocolate, pecans, and ground flax seed meal in the flour. *grin*

Mrs. Grizzley

manga

Mmm. Cookies... *distracted* ;)

Darn, I had a feeling there was another "What ify" thing you'd done that I was missing. Sorry, Wordgazer!

Tenderfoot

[quote:7873379050="Tymber"]That was unexpected since mine had been posted for awhile! Wasn't expecting any new comments to the story![/quote:7873379050]

Then you must accept another comment: :thumbsup: Me likes! I liked the way you described how Skyshade felt... like staring at muddy water and a crystal clear lake, side by side. She was the muddy water, right?

And I liked your short-story too Grin

And [b:7873379050]Redhead Ember[/b:7873379050], your poem was sweet and full of emotions. And I liked the part with Brill wanting to meet Ember. That would've been a cool moment!

[b:7873379050]Nightsea[/b:7873379050], why did it have to be so short? Me want to read more! First I have to encounter oral exam, then I'll have the time to read the whole Vytha story. Ooh, link! *distracted* *packs suplies and goes over to camp*

And [b:7873379050]Jeb[/b:7873379050], I like that illustration! :P And your story was so... first I was :D then :) then :? and then :( and finally Unhappy . But at the end, I went :D again!

[b:7873379050]Cleopatra[/b:7873379050], you already know what I thought about it. But I can also describe it with only one word... hilarious! Grin

[b:7873379050]Kr[/b:7873379050], you just got another fan! :D *builds camp in thread* Ooh, I think that could've happened for real if only he'd been there. Heh, I actually dreamt of something like that only nights ago, but there Redmark was a cub and alone. Dropped the beehive at the shaman... Naughty boy, eh? Grin *glues self to Kr* Mesa want more!

And... what, no more? Is that everything? :( Oh well, I'll just have to wait for June then.

MrsGrizzley

Looking over the May list . . . with a slight bit of alteration (the bug and the coin) the two halves of Sunsparks' story would actually fit. Though if you consider Leaf as a pest and the equal chance that a second Recognition would shatter Sunspark as being the edge of a coin . . .

I dunno. Just struck me as strange.

Mrs. Grizzley

Embala

Sorry for being so silent lately - I hadn't left the time and energy to deal with epic stories (and poems). Still playing catch up with all the writing taking place last month. I'll surely have to return several times to this thread to do everyone justice ...

Already managed to read and comment Sofia's unusual, dark but beautiful and enthralling story ...

Redhead, this poem was quite clear and of epic lenght - tho I fully agree with Wordgazer [quote:184bb02521]Redhead, your poem encapsulates The Discovery very well! Nice wording, nice rhythm and imagery.[/quote:184bb02521] I wonder whether you are going to change your style Wink
... now I'm thinking about a "shortening" collage - definitely something new Grin

... will be continued

RedheadEmber

Quote:
Embala


Redhead, this poem was quite clear and of epic lenght - tho I fully agree with Wordgazer [quote:81f92c2a6f]Redhead, your poem encapsulates The Discovery very well! Nice wording, nice rhythm and imagery.

I wonder whether you are going to change your style Wink
... now I'm thinking about a "shortening" collage - definitely something new Grin

... will be continued [/quote:81f92c2a6f]

Well... I'd say my writing style changes pretty much between every poem...

But... I'm glad you liked it... and... I'm still looking forward to the collage!

Embala

Wonderful written, Tenderfoot! Moonshade's return was heartwarming ... everyone must love cute lil' Crescent. I love the describtion of the Strongbow/Moonshade relationship even more :D
There's fun ... Joyleaf and Bearclaw... One-Eye and Bearclaw - Bearclaw is gooood for fun! :D
The ending was a shock, tho Surprised

And I'm angry about you ... very angry .. more riddles --- solving nothing :x
Nastybad prosething writing books - me forcing reading on!
Even been automatically looged out reading this one!


Tymber, your characters have totally caught me. I enjoy every part of the story. Now - there's hiding some fire between the relationship of Shadow and Joybringer - practical and wolf-chief and haughty firstborn. When the tribes stay together *hope so* there will be more than one confrontation ... and new insights for both wolf- and star-mind.

jeb's gift for this story is just wonderful - love Skyshade embracing Recognition :D I'm note quite sure they have done already - there might be no threemating, but there is - and will be! - more between them. And their understanding of the other can build a bridge between the tribes ... as well as the child (twins? - wolf and star... just playing with possibilities)

Adding a Preserver was quite a surprise ... hhmm - when they should are the "tools" of the Trolls I wonder how they managed to use them. Anyway - this little one looks like being a joker for further developement.

Last not least - your shorty was a fun read. Looks so easy ... when it is done Wink

This little story about Kahvi and Vok was beautiful, Nightsea. You pictured them perfectly. My impression was that Kahvi is still very young and Vok the elder ... if not in years than at least in attitude. Love it!
... and the bonus for me was that it could be ANY situation before freeing a tribe mate from the Trolls ...

Hope you don't mind when I simply quote my comment for your awesome sequeL, jeb :)

Quote:
Embala

... I love everything in it - and it wouldn't be possible this way without this desperate, imprudent lie. Twinstar's compunktion and doubts - Stillstep's emphatic intervention - Joygleam's loving reaction - just perfect! I would like to hear more about them - and the cub :D


btw: interesting discussion about the coin!

Still unfamiliar but interesting, Cleopatra, you have action, comic, secrets (like Hawkeyes magic) and a love story (unusual recognition). I like it ... and being curious where it will go.

It's only ...I'm always picturing kind of Lord of the Rings / Star Wars settings and characters :? I remember Rainflower's wonderful drawings for ElfWest. Couldn't you coax your sister to give some of your elves - and perhaps the Dark Ones - a face, too?

... will be continued

Tenderfoot

Quote:
Embala

Wonderful written, Tenderfoot! Moonshade's return was heartwarming ... everyone must love cute lil' Crescent. I love the describtion of the Strongbow/Moonshade relationship even more :D
There's fun ... Joyleaf and Bearclaw... One-Eye and Bearclaw - Bearclaw is gooood for fun! :D



Thanks, Embala! I also liked how it turned out, tho I have to admit that I was struggling with the reunion. Luckily, my class is a bunch of monkeys, so there's always hope for me. Surprised OMG! What about summer vacation? NOOO! I'll be struggling myself to death! Oh well, I can think of something by myself. :P


Quote:
Embala

The ending was a shock, tho Surprised



:twisted: Aren't I just cruel? But there's a reason for this, and it will be revealed later. Yes, later!


Quote:
Embala

And I'm angry about you ... very angry .. more riddles --- solving nothing :x
Nastybad prosething writing books - me forcing reading on!
Even been automatically looged out reading this one!



Heh, I've gotten a preservers name! I know, I should have put a warning at the beginning... wait, I did!
But it's your own choice, of course. If you want to stop reading, that's okay. Even though the real fun is starting now... *whistling innocently*

Oh, and I'm sorry about you being logged out. :oops: :roll: Eh... Working with the one for June, and I must say that it's... long. Already at 22 pages in Word and not done yet... *hides from mad readers* :peek: Is it safe to come out now?

Embala

[quote:771979701e]Eh... Working with the one for June, and I must say that it's... long. Already at 22 pages in Word and not done yet...
[/quote:771979701e] What a surprise! :roll: [quote:771979701e]*hides from mad readers* Is it safe to come out now?[/quote:771979701e] It will be definitely unsafe if you don't solve all this secrets before you decide to leave the Scroll (in case you'd ever do) ... or before I die at old age! (Consider that I could be your granny ... tecnically) ... my ghost will haunt you! :twisted:

Tenderfoot

Then I'll definately write longer segments! Some of the secrets will be solved very soon, that I promise! But some others, at least one, will be solved in the future of the Grab Bags. I can say one thing. *looks from side to side, whispers* It'll take about 30 years (NOT IRL!!!) to solve one of them!


And I hope you don't die before that! :( Then I would be sad! Dunno if you could've been my granny, though, since my oldest grandmother is 82 and I'm 16.

But please don't haunt me! I like spirits and ghosts, but there's something different when they're paying a visit! I was visited by my grandfather once, and he scared the sh*t out of me! Surprised

And I would never, ever leave the scroll! Over my dead body!




Oh, and about funny Bearclaw, that's a must! I think that if life had been easier for him, he would've been more like this in the original. Now it's Mantricker who has to take all the blows, and Bearclaw can watch and learn. Or, can he...?

Embala

That was great, Wordgazer! Love it!

I like that Redlance has found a clever, less violent way of fighting the humans. So much himself!
Don't know what else to say besides joining the other's praise :D


Quote:
Tymber

---
But I love the wolf and star-mind thing you mentioned... I may have to steal that! ;)
---
Not a bad idea about the suggested possibility...! And you know me, I love adding ideas that readers suggest! :)
---

I would be flattered :D


Quote:
Tenderfoot

And I hope you don't die before that! :( Then I would be sad! Dunno if you could've been my granny, though, since my oldest grandmother is 82 and I'm 16.

That's sweet of you ... and just think of me as the youngest granny you can imagine Wink

Cleopatra

Quote:
Embala



Still unfamiliar but interesting, Cleopatra, you have action, comic, secrets (like Hawkeyes magic) and a love story (unusual recognition). I like it ... and being curious where it will go.



Thanks, Embala. When it comes to Hawkeye's magic, we will soon now what kind of powers he have. Just be a little patient please.

Quote:
Embala


It's only ...I'm always picturing kind of Lord of the Rings / Star Wars settings and characters :? I remember Rainflower's wonderful drawings for ElfWest. Couldn't you coax your sister to give some of your elves - and perhaps the Dark Ones - a face, too?



Well I am trying as best I can to describe my characters, but I promise to try to doing it better.

You wanted some drawings? This is not from Rainflower, but maded by me, so I hope you like it. I'm sorry that I not have a picture of Hawkeye and the other's yet, but I promise to work with it.

Well, maybe not what you guys have imaged, but this is how I imaged The Dark Ones. This one is the leader who attacked Hawkeye's tribe when they were hunting. Well as you see, I thought they should be like ninjas.





I just couldnt resist, Tenderfoot, but here's a draw for your story at may. Hope you like it.

Embala

I'm only skimming over the ElfWest thread, so I remembered Rainflower's art but wasn't sure whether you are drawing at all. Of course i appriciate your first illustration for Hidden Powers :D

Your drawing for Iron Burden made me giggle again - so funny!

Thank you for both, Cleopatra!

Cleopatra

Glad you liked my draw's. :D

*Go happy dance* :banana:

Tenderfoot

:clap: I like it! Thanks, Cleopatra! You're an angel!

Tee hee... Bearclaw looks just like how I pictured him... tee hee

Cleopatra

Aaww, thank you, sis.

*Hugs*

[quote:c6b137631b]Bearclaw looks just like how I pictured him[/quote:c6b137631b]

Glad I maded it so. :D Maybe what we never have seen in the original story's, but maybe that's how he was when he was scared? Grin

Embala

Late - but not too late! Finally managed to finish the illustation for Redhead's poem :D

No Distance



Rather different from what I planed at first thought ... developed sort of a life of it's own while building it. And quite different from the former collages again ... Hope you like.

RedheadEmber

:jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :jump: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :wave: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :banana: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :bow: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

Am I getting my message through? :P :D

Embala

Got it! Grin :banana: :oops: :D

Embala

[quote:52613bf2a1="Tymber"] It was nearly night when Skyshade looked up at the stars she saw something fluttering in the sky. “A bug,” she muttered.

Warsong and Wardance, who were on either side of her, glanced upwards. “That’s a rather large bug,” they said in unison.

The bug continued to spiral downward until it crashed into the soft snow not far away. Skyshade stood and put her leathers back on, smiling at the twins she sprinted away to see what it was.

She was surprised when she saw what appeared to be a light blue humanoid looking butterfly.

She was more surprised when it looked up at her and said, with an unusually high pitch voice, “Oh! I find Highthing!”

Warsong and Wardance came to stand behind Skyshade, their eyes wide.

“By the Sacred Hall,” Warsong muttered.

“A preserver,” Wardance finished.

“A what?” Skyshade asked, confused.[/quote:52613bf2a1]

[img:52613bf2a1]http://i43.photobucket.com/albums/e364/Etumla/Berryseed_onGround.jpg[/img:52613bf2a1]

faeriegirl

Nice!

Embala

Glad you like :D

I took the easiest (and only posslble ) reference - [url=http://www.elfquest.com/gallery/OnlineComics/OQ/OQ16/DisplayOQ16.html?page=1]Petalwing[/url] from OQ #16.