Here are the elements for October:
A great fire
First encounter with alcohol or dreamberries
A trick or a treat (you pick which!)
A mistake or misapprehension
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.
Here's my contribution... (with its amazing unimaginative title...)
A Poem of No name
Troll play trick
While fire roars
Restrained at the edge of the dessert
With no way back
They were alone
Now other elves taste
The wonder of those wonderful
If anyone is bored
They sing and they dance
Still think it's too long Embala... :P
That's cute Red. :D
Thank! :D Well... my initial plan of having an element per line didn't quite work... but almost... :D
I'll start off with the nitpicks: You called Berryseed 'Berrybuzz' when Shadow shows it to the pridewalkers at first meeting.
oh, and in the names-list: Rainbringer is lovemate of 'Lionbelt', shouldn't that be Lionheart?
...guess you should watch out with Spearclaw, don't go calling him Bearclaw :P (even his soul name is close to Grenn!)
for the rest: Love it! Maybe the emotions of Joybringer's death are a little overlooked, but there was action needed for survival. Maybe next month?
I'll start off with the nitpicks: You called Berryseed 'Berrybuzz' when Shadow shows it to the pridewalkers at first meeting.
For the love of...! Okay I am going to officially hire you on as my editor! As my editor you will watch for when I get the names wrong! :D[/quote:0464da660e]
Glad to help :) Sure, I'll do it ;) Yay first peek at new stories! :D You probably don't mind if I read them twice, first for the story then a second time for nitpicks :P
oh, and in the names-list: Rainbringer is lovemate of 'Lionbelt', shouldn't that be Lionheart?
Originally his name was going to be Lionbelt... So when I changed it to Lionheart, I forgot to change the lovemate status for Rainbringer. Originally Lionbelt was going to named as such for basically having a huge belt buckle type thing, that was the shape of a lion head. But as I wrote the character, it seemed he would be more strong, phsyically rippling muscles, and so Lionheart seemed more fitting, and thus the belt idea was dropped! Thanks for catching that as well! [/quote:0464da660e]
again, no problem! glad to help :)
...guess you should watch out with Spearclaw, don't go calling him Bearclaw :P (even his soul name is close to Grenn!)
Ha! What's funny is those Soul Names are based off names of people I know...
*long list of explanation, check the previous post for that*
Ah, the good ol' days.[/quote:0464da660e]
that's cute! I like how you get inspiration for the names from so many people... don't think I could do that ;) (and someone's really got that name? Cool!)
...and I think you're not the only one who made that 'I'm so original' mistake ;) *hugs*
That's a nice puzzle you have here, [b:0d848e35f7]Redhead [/b:0d848e35f7] :D
Short enough? Think it'll fit well for a background pic ...
Any preferenes for a background pic?
- something about dreamberries ...
- the misapprehension ...
- the dance ...
Anything else you'd like to see ???
Have a nice(?) idea for a real collage, too ... only one problem: Does anyone know a picture of a bored Cutter ... of any elf being bored? :? ... I'm afriad I must go with the "dance" for the last illustration
... let's see if it is still too long for fitting in the collage! :P
[quote:9c60b7efb6="Embala"] Does anyone know a picture of a bored Cutter ... of any elf being bored? [/quote:9c60b7efb6]
For some reason my mind goes right to issue 5.
Scouter could possibly be bored here:
Then I thought there was one of Cutter "brooding" that might have looked bored, but it doesn't.
Maybe playing with the lodestone from issue 2?
Last thing that came to mind was Cutter in the window in issue 6:
There might be something useful from their council at Blue Mountain where they're resting.
:D Thanks for the input, jeb!
Scouter was the only one I figured out, too - hoped to go with Cutter, tho.
There's a good chance that one of the "Cutter bored in window" will function ... :D
EDIT: It definitely makes a nice background pic!
It even makes me believe that these are Cutter's reminiscences!
I like it a lot Embala. :D
That's always been one of my favorite pictures, and you make beautiful use of it!
[color=red:fc7bbff84e]Nice 8) [/color:fc7bbff84e]
Thank you all for the nice comments on the background picture. :D
Hope to enjoy you with the collage even more - a puzzle for Redhead's puzzle
Special thanks to [b:2f848c2aee]jeb[/b:2f848c2aee] for helping me with the "being bored" element!
Love it Embala. :D
[color=red:cd066e88ba][size=18:cd066e88ba]Nice! 8) 8) 8) 8) [/size:cd066e88ba][/color:cd066e88ba]
A big hug for G0lden the faithful :D
*waves at Redhead* :banana:
The pictures follow the timeline. Only after posting I realized: with slight changes they will go with the poem!
Everyone can decide which one (s)he prefers
I love'm both Embala. :D
[color=red:761018d007][size=18:761018d007]Dat I [i:761018d007]liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike![/i:761018d007][/size:761018d007]
*Waves back to Embala* :banana: [/color:761018d007]
:jump: @ Redhead :banana:
... just made a detailed comment on Tymber's story ... and lost it because I was logged out!!!
:headwall2: ----- [b:d6b8cdc523][size=24:d6b8cdc523]GAAAA[/size:d6b8cdc523][size=18:d6b8cdc523]AAAAHHHH[/size:d6b8cdc523]HHHHH[/b:d6b8cdc523] ----- :crash: ----- :shootme:
[quote:d6b8cdc523="faeriegirl"]I'll start off with the nitpicks: You called Berryseed 'Berrybuzz' when Shadow shows it to the pridewalkers at first meeting.[/quote:d6b8cdc523]... and refered to it as "she" several times
Love the part about Joybringer's death, Shadow's reaction - his fierce strike-back as well as his grief (both for his loss and his mistake) - and Daymist's reaction - this (initial?) irreconcilability fits as far as we know her til now.
The mourning for Joybringer was indeed overlooked - for very comprehensible reason, tho ([size=7:d6b8cdc523]and IRL issues[/size:d6b8cdc523] :P ). I'm pretty sure there must be a return to this tragedy - neither Shadow nor Daymist have come to terms with it. Maybe ... there will be a conclusion in the Palace - once when story and elements will lead to it.
btw: there's still a Howl for Sungazer missing, too ... (just a reminder)
The newly introduced Pridewalkers are too fresh to say much - right now I'm feeling rather ambivalent about them
- First of all - like the idea of catblooded elves very much - I love cats :D
- They seem to be rather different - adding another culture could be sparkling! Wolves and lions ... Lions eat wolves ...
- It feels strange that they have this king/subordinate-thing going ... calling one of them not by name but by a title only (that's how I get it so far ... let's see how it develops)
- I'm really irritated by the title "Sire" ... does it refer to him as a [i:d6b8cdc523]noble[/i:d6b8cdc523] or as the [i:d6b8cdc523]sire[/i:d6b8cdc523] of all cubs being born during his reign? 8)
Wondering why Stillgreeze is medicating the child with household remedy when there is a strong healer available ... ookaaaay - it's for the element - but still not logical. Well ... it would make sense when the Pridewalkers would receive own Dreamberry bushes as a gift from Vineweaver - so that they could use it for themselves the next time ...
It's a neat idea to use real-life-persons/pets for soulnames inspiration - and a good trick to remember them easier. But - I'm rather suspicious of these IRL reference lately ... better you take care of them or an elf will loose his soulname eventually :twisted:
[b:d6b8cdc523]Loosing[/b:d6b8cdc523] a soulname - this never happened before, right? Some elves had to search for it - but loosing again? Just imagine this would happen to someone - by physical/mental trauma ... by magic ... by ??? - maybe one of a recognized pair ... that could be interesting ...
[quote:b4af154a58="Tymber"]Undoubtedly they have already mourned for Sungazer, since they had some peaceful time of traveling. So that story will probably be one of reflecting on the past - maybe when mourning Joybringer.[/quote:b4af154a58]Being aware of the time passed ... so I'm hoping for a Howl in the style of a reflection, too (like Cutter did for Bearclaw) - just to let the reader share the mourning and give Sungazer a proper farewell.
This took me a while to write down. Thinking about school. Comments will come soon and I hope you enjoy.
[b:f00103d991][size=18:f00103d991]Back to normal[/size:f00103d991][/b:f00103d991]
Since the day The Dark Ones tried to attack the warriors’ village, but failed, the warriors hadn’t seen them since then. So the days had passed peacefully, like it never had been a war. Some of the warriors’ was on their guard posts, others worked with their weapons and armors. The elves who weren’t warriors’ took their daily duties, or some of them were babysitting the children. And the upcoming warriors’, like Xin-Jing, used their days to train.
Hawkeye had won more respect among the warriors’ after what he had done for them, so now he more welcome and safer. But the only thing that could make his days happier was the joy he and Xin-Jing shared together. They shared their moments with Alborn and Lilac, that they were happy that they were waiting a child. Alborn and Lilac smiled of them, remembering how much joy they had together when they were waiting Xin-Jing to be born. Now it was easier for Hawkeye to control his powers, since he now could concentrate better and didn’t need worry about the recognition anymore.
It’s was only Optarh who didn’t took time for himself to relax. He knew all too well that the peace they lived with now wouldn’t be long. When he was alone, he used the time to think out a solution to how they could end the war once and for all.
Some of the children had once asked him:
“Since it is peace now, does it mean that the enemies have given up?”
He wasn’t sure what he should say, he only knew that the enemy just was more careful now.
Immediately he could hear running feet’s and saw a figure who ran out the village, presumably to go for a hunt. He sighed easily and shake his head. He hated to do it, but this time he had to stop that elf to go for a hunt alone. The warrior chief had many powers like the High Ones, especially to get elves, animals etc, to solidify and make them immovable. And right now he had to do it, and it was for a really special reason. A plaintive cry was enough for him to know he had stopped her in time.
“Chief Optarh,” Xin-Jing complained.
He carefully flied towards her and stood against her.
“You go home,” Optarh said while he kept his arms crossed.
“But”¦” Xin-Jing said with a pleading voice.
“No. You know the rules,” Optarh said and pretended not to let her go at the first.
“Life-bearers’ shall not go hunting when they are with child.”
“But I’ve only been with child in few days. Only a little exceptions, please,” Xin-Jing begged, blinking innocent with her eyes.
Optarh shook his head.
“You know that there can be accidents at hunting? Or that you could be damaged if you were fighting in the war? That’s why life-bearers must take it easy and take care of themselves and the life she bear. You or the child could get injured.”
If you only knew, Xin-Jing thought when the chief finely loosed her and she went mad back to the village. If only Toron and Sturkas had been here, they would surely have been with her if she wanted to hunt and watch after her so she wouldn’t get injured.
(Yes, since we know how it is going with Xin-Jing and others right now, you probably wonder how it is with Toron and Sturkas, and why they are not back yet. Well, to figure it out, then we’ll turn the time back to the day Xin-Jing and Hawkeye came together.)
“It’s stopped raining now,” Toron said as he looked up at the dark sky. If they started to walk now, they would reach to Hawkeyes village before it started raining again.
And if we really reach to the village before it’s starts to rain again, Toron thought, then Hawkeyes brother will not get the chance to try to kill me.
Sturkas crawled out of the small cave they had found the night before so they could sleep through the night while it rained.
The two friends started immediately to walk through the forest silently. Hey didn’t say a word at the time, which was pretty boring. Especially for Sturkas. His eyes widened and a smile came. He had an idea.
“So, what do you think we meet first?” Sturkas asked.
“Wolves or elves?”
Toron smilet. He knew Sturkas all too well.
“Shall we make a bet?”
Sturkas nodded eagerly.
“Let’s play for the first dreamberries we find this year. You mean elves, and I mean wolves,” Toron said.
“All right,” Sturkas said and slapped hands with Toron. Now the trip wouldn’t be so boring after all. Time passed and soon they would reach the village.
I’m going to win this bet, Sturkas thougt and grinned satisfied”¦
”¦ but not for long.
“Wolves! I win,” Toron said with a grin.
“Stupid animals,” Sturkas grunted.
“The howling comes from over there,” Toron said while he listened and pointed to the right side and immedialty began to go and see.
“Always, always is it me who loses all bets. Ugh,” Sturkas grunted while he followed Toron. Not long after they saw a flock of wolves surrounded a tree and looked hungry up among the branches.
“I told you,” Toeon said with a little triumph in his voice while he pointed at the wolves.
“Yes, yes, thank you, I have seen them. Captain Toron is the wisest. Captain Toron knows everything.”
He grunted and looked up at the trees.
“It must be elves up in the tree,” Sturkas said after a moment while they looked at the wolves who hadn’t noticed them.
“HELP!” cried a voice that belonged to a woman.
“Told you,” Sturkas said.
“Don’t imagine that you won.”
“It’s unfair. Always you shall decide.”
“You are just a bad loser, Sturkas.”
“You and your good ideas,” Moonlight said as she looked down at the wolves from the tree she and Starfire was trapped in. She looked down at her blue dress and wondered if it had been destroyed after she and Starfire had climbed up to the branches. Thank the High Ones it was all right.
“Just look for fish in the net, you said. Not difficult at all, you said. Nothing dangerous goings to happen, you said. But now we sit trapped here without someone to help us. We should have taken some of the warriors with us.”
“Excuse me,” Starfire said as she blinked with her light blue eyes and saw at Moonlight.
“But if you had done as I said when it came to the wolves, we would have returned safely home, but no, Moonlight begin immediately to scream because she did not bother to listen what a hunter has to say. And besides, what could the warriors have done?”
“They could have helped us,” Moonlight snorted to answer.
"So you believe now that the warriors will protect us for the easiest things we do?"
"I would have felt more secure."
"Well, you didn’t at least in the village after Hawkeye ran off, despite the fact that Blindeye refused him to go."
The wolves began to howl against them while they were discussing. The howl made them to shiver.
"So ... do you have any suggestions to what we do now?” Moonlight asked slowly.
"Only one thing to do," Starfire replied and drew a deep breath before she began to cry.
She was going to scream again as she swore that she heard that someone was nearby. That there were elves, she wasn’t sure at first, so she had to hush at Moonlight, trying to hear better.
", It’s unfair. Always you shall decide,” said one of the elves with an angry voice.
“You are just a bad loser, Sturkas." said the second elf with a angry voice to.
Starfire looked down at the hungry wolves, then to the forest where she swore that she could see two elves and looked down at the wolves again. This was the only chance she had now to call for help to her and Moonlight.
“Hey, could you two please come and help us a bit? When you at least can be agreed?” Starfire cried against them. Fortunately, it looked like the elves had heard her and it didn’t took more than a moment before they came to help.
“Coming,” cried one of the elves. He had brown hair, tied up with a blue bond, matching his blue shirt. The other elf had red hair, green headband at his forehead and green shirt.
That was nice of them, Starfire thought while she turned her head and looked at Moonlight with triumph.
"Here you have our warriors. Our rescuers," Starfire said and then immediately looked down and saw Toron and Sturkas fought a small battle against the wolves.
"Stupid beast. Destroy the bet, " Sturkas said as he struck one of the wolves on the nose and saw the wolf run off. Toron had fought against two wolves and was now fighting against the last wolf that was present.
"End of the council for today," Toron said and kicked to the wolf and saw it flee to the forest.
"You can come down now. The council is postponed,“ Toron cried up against the branches, waiting for the elves who would climb down. Sturkas immediately turned his head and looked toward a wolf who tried to sneak his way towards them. A simple "Boo," got the wolf to speed up and turned against the forest and did not return to the elves again.
"Thank you," Starfire said and immediately climbed down to the ground again. Moonlight had more trouble to come down than she had to get up. She leaned forward and began to falter. It was some of the stupidest things she could do, for she leaned too far forward, and immediately lost the grip she had around the branch and fell down. Toron was quick to reach his arms out and Moonlight fell right into his arms.
"Got you," Toron said in the moment she fell into his arms.
Moonlight's blue eyes met Torons green eyes as she blushed.
"Thanks," she said softly.
"Not that I needed your help of course."
"Your mother is right, Himerish," Blindeye said to his son that he held in his arms and smiled at the little round face who looked up at him.
"I worry and rush me for nothing. Especially for your uncle."
Blindeye went silent, thinking back on the last time he saw his brother and how they almost had quarreled.
[i:f00103d991]"Blindeye, it's my decision! You do not have any right to say what I can or can’t do. I'm a grown-up man, not a child!"
"Maybe not, but you're still my brother and I can’t bear the thought of losing you."[/i:f00103d991]
He sighed heavily. He had acted like an idiot then. He had been furious since he discovered that day Hawkeye had leaved. He had been angry the first few days, but eventually he realized that Hawkeye would not have been safe if he remained. But he wanted to have clarified this misconception with Hawkeye. Get ready that Hawkeye was right in that he had to go and that Blindeye had no right to deny him. That was that bothered him most now. Guilt feeling.
"I just hope everything is okay with Hawkeye," he said to himself.
"I'm sure he's okay," Sunshine said as she came out of their house. She carried a tray with two cups and a jug.
"Dreamberrywine," Sunshine said before Blindeye had time to ask what it was she had there. He smiled at her and realized that she had planned a little rest for the family they were now. Sunshine was on her way to fill the goblets, as Daredevil ran past them, probably because he had been out on the ramp remaining shrimp again, and almost ran over Sunshine and spilled dreamberrywine on Blindeye. Blindeye cried out in surprise and shielded immediately Himerish with the other arm so the dreamberrywine didn’t get spilled over him.
Himerish began to laugh as he looked up at his dad standing there whith dreamberrywine dripping down his face. He growled and muttered curses as the others didn’t hear. Sunshine giggled a bit of her lifemate and was going to get a dry shirt and a new west as they saw that Starfire and Moonlight came back with Toron and Sturkas behind them. Blindeye had soon forgotten he was splashed with wine and immediately had all the elves gathered around Toron who answered their question about why he was present. Once started Topaz and the other to ask how it was with Hawkeye. Especially Blindeye wondered how it was with his brother.
Toron and Sturk didn’t know what to say at first. Should they tell Blindeye that Hawkeye had been recognized? Or should they let Hawkeye tell if he get the chance to meet them again? The two elves only needed to look at each other before they nodded and told how it was Hawkeye.
"He's fine," Sturkas said.
"He learns to control his magic with the chief, so he is safe."
Blindeye did not know what to say before he and the others were aware of how much Himerish were laughing and had hiccups.
"What’s so funny?" Moonlight asked. It was only then Blindeye remembered that he was still contaminated with dreamberrywine and looked down at Himerish.
"Oh no," Blindeye said as he saw some stains from the wine on the carpet and his mouth.
"I think he’s a little drunk," Sunshine said. The elves around them began to laugh while Sunshine took Himerish in her arms and carried him so she could heal away the worst of the dreamsberries from Himerish. Babies should not have something with so much dreamberrys at young age.
"So it’s not happened something serious with my brother?" Blindeye asked after a little while.
"Relax. The enemy have never get the chance to do something, " Toron said.
"So he is much safer than you realize."
More was not said before they all heard a loud bang.
Following the ground shook and several elves fell on the ground and sat up bewildered when it was over. As soon as it began to thunder and the rain fell down the village and down to the elves that were out.
"You said whaaat?" Blindeye asked, glaring daggers at Toron and Sturkas
Both felt suddenly uncomfortable.
"What do we do now?" Sturkas whispered to Toron.
"Now ... we run," Toron said and soon the two elves were chased by Blindeye outside in the rain.
"Come back here!" Blindeye shouted.
"I'm not finished with you!"
(For details, I just say that Toron and Sturkas were not killed by Blindeye. But they decided to stay in the village for a few days to try to calm down Blindeye and assure him repeatedly that everything was all right with Hawkeye. The only thing they didn’t know was that Xin Jing, and Hawkeye soon was going answer the call from recognition together later in the evening.)
The Dark Prince was furious. Since the new tragedy, he had locked himself inside his own room and shouted out his own rage. Exhausted he sat in his throne and looked into the flames, which was the only thing that lit up the room. He hated to admit it, but now he felt powerless, just like the first war he had against the elves for several hundred years ago when the powerful explosion happened. During the years that passed, he had lived in darkness and tried to cure himself of what he could and rested to gather strength. Until the day that Hawkeye was born and he could feel the powerful forces of even the longest distance.
He realized that the war was becoming hopeless. He did not want to lose this time either as last time, but what could he do? He had to turn to in one way or another. But how?
Again he stared into the flames and thought. He was at least glad when some of his ninjas had told that Optarh had refused the other chiefs to join in the war and help for fifteen years ago, that would otherwise have done the situation more difficult.
His eyes widened out. The other tribes. In particular, Hawkeyes tribe. They were not many. He stood in front of the fire with his hands behind his back. So clearly Optarh were expecting a new attack from them against their tribe, but was he prepared for another strain, which was previously controlled under Karel, could be attacked? He imagined elves who were attacked in the flames, a village who were burning, a fire, which became larger and larger. As large as the hate he had against Optarh.
"Xin Jing. You're not still mad aren’t you? “ Hawkeye asked as Xin-Jing came in the room and slammed the door shut and sat on the edge of the bed.
"It's not fair," she said for a little while.
"Why can’t I hunt when I'm with child?"
Hawkeye didn’t answer the question. Xin-Jing sighed as she loosened up the band in her hair.
"Because you or the life you wear can get injured," Xin-Jing said and gave a new face on what she thought about exactly that rule that applied to life-bearers.
"Can’t you try to look at it as a positive thing?" Hawkeye asked careful while they lay down in the bed together. Since they had responded to the recognition bid, they had never slept alone anymore.
"They think only for your safety."
"Of course they do,” Xin-Jing said and sighed heavily.
“For us, the children is the most precious thing we have. But why must we use the time to get boring? "
"Try to calm down, Xin-Jing. It is surely not as bad as it might look like."
Xin-Jing replied with a growl. Hawkeye was trying to think up something to calm down Xin-Jing. His eyes lightened up as soon he had got an idea.
"Hey, what do you have behind your ear?" He said and wiped away her hair.
"Ah, a flower," he said, holding a red flower in his hand. Xin-Jing giggled at him.
"So you are not angry now?" he asked hopefully.
"No. I'm not angry anymore."
"How do you do it when someone is with child in your tribe?" she asked after a while.
"I don’t know actually," he answered honestly. It was in fact true, for ever since he, Topaz and Moonlight were born it had not been several recognitions until after their parents died and Sunshine and Blindeye then recognized each other after that.
"I dont know of the time for those who were hunters, but those who weren’t, they only made their duties. Okey, almost all, "he added.
"Almost all?" Xin Jing asked curious. Hawkeye smiled to see that he had aroused the curiosity of her and get her to forget about being restrained for a while.
"After a season had passed and it was obvious that Sunshine was with child, she never get the chance for a moment of peace before Blindeye protested that she should not do hard work. It was just before she almost couldn’t go and pick mushrooms before he protested and was worrying for her and begged that she had to be careful and think of the child no matter what she did."
"Poor woman," Xin-Jing laughed.
"But it was better after Himerish were born and Blindeye proudly showed him to us."
His smile disappeared and Hawkeye looked down.
"You miss them, do not you?" Xin-Jing asked as she looked up at him.
"I really miss them," he said after a while.
Although he now felt more welcome among the warriors, he still missed his tribe. They were more like a family.
Family. How would they react if he would get the chance to meet them again, that he was recognized? Would they accept Xin-Jing? Would they treat her as part of the tribe?
"Hawkeye? Hawkeye, " Xin-Jing asked, waving one hand in front of his eyes. Coming back from his thoughts, he shook his head and was back and looked at Xin-Jing.
"You looked thoughtfully out."
"I just thought about how the others will react if I tell themthat I am going to be a father."
"They want to be happy on your behalf," she said and put her arms around him.
"Why should they not be?"
Me like! Just noticed a few nitpicks... hope I can find them all again ;) lots are just typos, so don't worry ;) [b:69d5b7ddea]your text|my suggestion[/b:69d5b7ddea]
Since the day The Dark Ones tried to attack the warriors’ village, but failed, the warriors hadn’t seen them since then. So the days had passed peacefully, like it never had been a war. Some of the warriors’ [b:69d5b7ddea]was|were[/b:69d5b7ddea] on their guard posts, others worked with their weapons and armors. The elves who weren’t warriors’ took their daily duties, or some of them were babysitting the children. And the upcoming warriors’, like Xin-Jing, used their days to train.
Hawkeye had won more respect among the warriors’ after what he had done for them, so now he [b:69d5b7ddea]was[/b:69d5b7ddea] more welcome and safer. But the only thing that could make his days happier was the joy he and Xin-Jing shared together. They shared their moments with Alborn and Lilac, that they were happy that they were waiting a child. Alborn and Lilac smiled of them, remembering how much joy they had together when they were waiting Xin-Jing to be born. Now it was easier for Hawkeye to control his powers, since he now could concentrate better and didn’t need worry about the recognition anymore.
Immediately he could hear running [b:69d5b7ddea]feet’s|feet[/b:69d5b7ddea] and saw a figure who ran out the village, presumably to go for a hunt. He sighed easily and [b:69d5b7ddea]shake|shook[/b:69d5b7ddea] his head. He hated to do it, but this time he had to stop that elf to go for a hunt alone. The warrior chief had many powers like the High Ones, especially to get elves, animals etc, to solidify and make them immovable. And right now he had to do it, and it was for a really special reason. A plaintive cry was enough for him to know he had stopped her in time.
“Chief Optarh,” Xin-Jing complained.
He carefully [b:69d5b7ddea]flied|flew[/b:69d5b7ddea] towards her and stood against her.
“You know that there can be accidents at hunting? Or that you could be damaged if you were fighting in the war? That’s why life-bearers must take it easy and take care of themselves and the life [b:69d5b7ddea]she|they[/b:69d5b7ddea] bear. You or the child could get injured.”
If you only knew, Xin-Jing thought when the chief finely [b:69d5b7ddea]loosed her|let her go[/b:69d5b7ddea] and she went mad back to the village. If only Toron and Sturkas had been here, they would surely have been with her if she wanted to hunt and watch after her so she wouldn’t get injured.
“It’s stopped raining now,” Toron said as he looked up at the dark sky. If they started to walk now, they would reach [b:69d5b7ddea]to|--[/b:69d5b7ddea] Hawkeyes village before it started raining again.
And if we really reach [b:69d5b7ddea]to|--[/b:69d5b7ddea] the village before it’s starts to rain again, Toron thought, then Hawkeyes brother will not get the chance to try to kill me.
The two friends started immediately to walk through the forest silently. [b:69d5b7ddea]Hey|They[/b:69d5b7ddea] didn’t say a word at the time, which was pretty boring. Especially for Sturkas. His eyes widened and a smile came. He had an idea.
Toron [b:69d5b7ddea]smilet|smiled[/b:69d5b7ddea]. He knew Sturkas all too well.
“The howling comes from over there,” Toron said while he listened and pointed to the right side and [b:69d5b7ddea]immedialty|immediately[/b:69d5b7ddea] began to go and see.
“Always, always is it me who loses all bets. Ugh,” Sturkas grunted while he followed Toron. Not long after they saw a [b:69d5b7ddea]flock|pack[/b:69d5b7ddea] of wolves [b:69d5b7ddea]surrounded|surrounding[/b:69d5b7ddea] a tree and [b:69d5b7ddea]looked|looking[/b:69d5b7ddea] hungry up among the branches.
“I told you,” [b:69d5b7ddea]Toeon|Toron[/b:69d5b7ddea] said with a little triumph in his voice while he pointed at the wolves.
“You and your good ideas,” Moonlight said as she looked down at the wolves from the tree she and Starfire [b:69d5b7ddea]was|were[/b:69d5b7ddea] trapped in. She looked down at her blue dress and wondered if it had been destroyed after she and Starfire had climbed up to the branches. Thank the High Ones it was all right.
“Just look for fish in the net, you said. Not difficult at all, you said. Nothing dangerous goings to happen, you said. But now we sit trapped here without someone to help us. We should have taken some of the warriors with us.”
"Only one thing to do," Starfire replied and drew a deep breath before she began to [b:69d5b7ddea]cry|scream or cry out[/b:69d5b7ddea].
"I think he’s a little drunk," Sunshine said. The elves around them began to laugh while Sunshine took Himerish in her arms and carried him so she could heal away the worst of the [b:69d5b7ddea]dreamsberries|dreamberries[/b:69d5b7ddea] from Himerish. Babies should not have something with so much [b:69d5b7ddea]dreamberrys|dreamberries[/b:69d5b7ddea] at young age.
Xin-Jing replied with a growl. Hawkeye was trying to think up something to calm down Xin-Jing. His eyes [b:69d5b7ddea]lightened|lit[/b:69d5b7ddea] up as soon he had got an idea.
ehm, yea, I hope that's all :P anyways, love the addition![/b]
Finally managed to catch up - like the new installment, [b:6117c049bb]Cleopatra[/b:6117c049bb], especially the return to Hawkeye's tribe.
Only one critical addition:
It's very believable that Hawkeye is running from his big brother - half fearing his temper, half for playful mood. But two experienced warriors?
- It's more probable that they would dodge his first attack, catching im from both sides and holding him ... "calm down ... no use to overreact ... everyting's ok ... a.s.o" til he becomes reasonable again
- Or ... they are running ... but then you should make clear that it's by the purpose to give Blindeye the chance to calm down this way ... not for (even the slightest) fear.
Okay, I'm not ready to comment everything right now, but I have read and looked and gotta say that I love everything! :D
Me, I'm still working on my grab bag with BIG problems. Gee, I think something must be wrong with me. I used to be one of the first, now I'm the last one :?
Don't worry, Tenderfoot. You're not the last or the only one struggling. I still intend to write something...sometime...I hope... :?
*offers muse bait* :hug2:
*sigh* I'm completely stuck. I know what's happening, but I can't get it down on the paper (or computer). The words are balling up in my head and won't get out. I even tried banging my head on the wall and on the table, but I only received a major head ache and weird looks.
Ooh, muse bait! *grabs*
[b:14220e2633][size=18:14220e2633]Inferno ”“ part 1[/size:14220e2633][/b:14220e2633]
Aroree pried her eyes open as she awoke with a gasp, sitting up with a bolt. Her hand flew up to her mouth and she tried to stifle her frantic breathing. She closed her eyes and tried to will her panic away. Her kind heart was true to her and slowed down enough for her to breath normally. Swallowing hard, she lowered her hand to her chest, letting it rest above her heart. What had wakened her? She blinked and looked down at her hands. They were trembling. She trembled. Her entire body shook from tangling with sheer fear. But what? What was there to be afraid of?
Her eyes darted across the room, scanning it for the source of her fear. Dark forms lay still in bed, low snoring arose from the sleeping silhouettes. Aroree blinked and swallowed hard while eying the sleeping forms. No one moved. From endless nights laying awake, she could tell by simply cast a glance on someone if they were sleeping or not. And she was the only one who was awake. She pulled at the blanket to cover herself again, barely noticing that the night wasn't as cold as it normally was, when she stopped in mid-movement. If she was the only one to be awake... Her eyes wandered over to the chair next to the door, where one of the older nuns would sit each night to make sure the novices slept and didn't talk. Now the chair was empty. They weren't being watched over. And that thought disturbed Aroree a little, but right now her thoughts were elsewhere, so she lay back down again.
She sighed and turned around, facing little Redmark in the bed next to hers. His chest was slowly raising and falling and his breath was even. He slept peacefully, his cheeks rosy from playing in the sun. Aroree smiled at the sight. Three turns of the seasons had passed since Redmark came to the cloister, almost four. At that time he had been an infant. Now he was a small child, a toddler in someone's eyes, but more special than many grown-ups she had met during her short life. Sira Ekuar had said that he was very wise for his age. Still, he had a child's mind and had started complaining about being the only child in the cloister. He was lonely. And Aroree understood him. She had lived for almost nine white-cold herself and even though she was a mere child, she had more duties than Redmark had. She simply didn't have the time for playing so much. And the two of them were the youngest. With no other children to play with, Redmark was often left with Ekuar and old Latin scrolls in the library. No surprise, the boy didn't appreciate it that much.
Blinking sleepily, she turned over on her back and glanced up at the rocky ceiling, trying to go back to sleep. She wanted to get as much sleep as possible. Prayer time was going to be hard if she stayed awake for much longer. Her eyelids slid close and her breathing slowed as she let sleep take her again. Then she stirred and her eyes unclosed yet again as she sat up with a pondering heart. Something was wrong!
She took a quick glance across the room and noticed this time that a few beds were empty. Frowning, she lay the blanket aside and swung her legs over the edge of the bed, her feet touching the cold stone floor. She stood up from the bed and started walking when she heard rustling behind her. Turning around, she saw Redmark stick his head out from the blanket. The soft red hair on his head that usually was silkily, was now curly with sweat. He looked at her with tired green eyes.
“What is going on?” he yawned, rubbing his left eye while hugging the blanket.
“Not now, Redmark,” Aroree whispered as she walked over to the door, opening it and peeking out.
She heard the distant sound of footfalls and voices. She frowned. What was someone doing up at this time? It wasn't time for praying yet and the meal would be served after that. Why didn't they stay in bed to catch as much sleep as they could? She was about to walk out the door and find someone to ask, when she heard a muffled gasp behind her.
“Aroree?” Redmark said, his voice anxious and thin.
Aroree turned around and saw him by the window, standing on one of the chests and peeking out. Closing the door, she hurried over to him.
“What is it?” she asked and eyed him, then looked up.
Her eyes widened. The sky was red, blood splattering it and bathing the world in its extreme color. It was like Redmark's rare hair, but without the softness. This red color was harsh. Fog blacker than the abbess' hair and the darkest night rose, tangling with the blood.
Running footfalls could be heard and the door was torn open, a nun hurrying inside.
“The town is on fire!”
The novices were crowded by the windows, their eyes wide with fear as they stared at the burning town. Thick smoke rose from the left corner, apparently where the fire had started. Flames licked the dry buildings. When the wind changed direction the flames followed and moved deeper into the town. Loud cries could be heard, people screaming and crying for help. Some already lay still, their bodies spread around like fallen apples. The youngest novices sniffled and turned away, hiding their faces in their hands. Aroree closed her eyes to protect them from the smoke as much as the horrible sight and turned around to walk away from the window. She wanted to lay down in her bed, pull the cover over her head and wake up to find out it was nothing but a bad dream. But she knew this wasn't a dream. This was reality, real life.
Forcing her tears to stay behind her eyelids, she lifted her skirts and picked up her pace. Then she felt something tug at her dress. Turning around, she opened her eyes and looked down, her eyes widening sightly. Little Redmark stood in front of her, his wide green eyes blinking up at her innocently. Both of his tiny hands gripped her dress, clinging to it for dear life. He sent her a desperate look and Aroree was about to ask him what was wrong when he moved his head. He gazed at the window and flinched, then turned back to her with teary eyes. And then Aroree understood.
[i:14220e2633]He knows![/i:14220e2633] she thought. [i:14220e2633]He understands![/i:14220e2633]
Her hand flew up to her mouth to stifle a loud gasp, a low moan slipping through her fingers. The boy trembled and blinked several times. Tears streaked down his pale face and his lip quivered. A pained mewl escaped his lips as he looked up at her with eyes wide and questioning. Aroree locked eyes with him and her breath hitched. The intense fear and pain were clear in the green pools, but there was something else... something that shook Aroree to the core. The confused pain and betrayal in those innocent eyes, the pained question evident.
Why...? How could someone do this? How could something like this happen? Aroree choked on a sob as she bent down, reaching out for the boy.
But just as she was about to touch him, the door opened yet again and a small group of the younger nuns entered the room. The novices immediately turned away from the window, glad to have their attention turned to something less depresive.
“The injured are on their way,” one of the nuns said.
“We must prepare everything for treatment. Hurry!”
Aroree looked up as the novices exited the room, heading off to prepare spare chambers and halls for those who were coming. The way concern was written all over their faces, she had a feeling there wouldn't be time for neither meals nor prayers today. A heartrending scream from close by broke into the sleeping chamber and Aroree turned her head to the window.
[i:14220e2633]Blood spattered sky...[/i:14220e2633]
She was immediately hit by a wave of nausea and her hand flew up to her mouth. With one last apologetic glance at Redmark, she tore her dress loose from his grip and ran after the others.
Sticking her head out from the herbal room, Winnowill saw the nuns and novices scatter and do their best to prepare the cloister for the injured that were coming. A blur of black and blue. Even Aroree was among them. The abbess wanted to stop her, to protect her from the harsh truth about life, but knew it was no use. She turned around to gather the herbs that would help for burns when she caught a glimpse of something light out the corner of her eye. She turned again... and she nearly dropped the herbs.
She ran down the stairs three steps at a time, forcing her legs to move just as fast as the older ones'. The women scattered in the hallway and the eldest nuns ordered some of the young novices to help with finding herbs. The younger nuns went to the empty halls to make beds and the older novices hurried outside to help the injured ones. Aroree followed them, ignoring the elders' wishes for her to help with the beds. She knew they wanted to shield her, but that was only neglecting the truth and hurting her more. She wanted to help. She could help. Sister Yeyeen passed by her and Aroree was a little surprised that she wasn't inside with the nuns. Sister Yeyeen was young, but used to the sight of blood. Ekuar had once told Aroree and Redmark that Sister Yeyeen was a nobleman's daughter and that she had helped treating wounded knights. Her knowledge would surely be useful right now. Aroree made sure to stay close to her as the cloister's doors opened and the melting warmth hit her like a wall of flames.
Her hands flew up to her face and she whined, the poor sound ending in a cough as smoke infiltrated her lungs. She rubbed at her eyes with the heels of her hands, trying to dig the smoke out. The cloister was so far away from the town. If the fire gave her this much trouble, how had it been for those who were coming now? She removed her hands again and blinked, tears flowing freely. Everything was a dark blur of blue, black and red. She blinked again and shook her head, lifting her arm and letting the sleeve cover her face to protect her from the dangerous smoke. It was still difficult to breathe normally, but it was better.
Even though her eyes were teary, she could still see the forms of the injured ones coming closer. To her horror, she saw children among them. Small children. Adults were limping, children by their side or in their arms. A wagon pulled by those who weren't too injured was filled with still forms and crying women.
Aroree looked up at all those who were passing her, both elders and children. Most of the young ones were crying and an old man looked behind him. If not for the dirt in his face, she could have sworn that he was crying. He carried a little child and was followed by other families, some so badly injured that it was a miracle they could walk. Others were brought in by wagons and she could hear the church bells in the distant. The little child with the old man started crying and she wanted to give him a hug, but was briefly stopped by a hand on her arm.
“Do not just stand there!” she heard someone say.
“You are old enough to help! Now come!”
Aroree nodded at the nun and followed her back inside the cloister, lifting her skirts as she ran. There was no time to waste. Lives could be depending on them!
The novices helped the injured ones to get inside the cloister and then laid them on the beds. Some of them had injures so minor that even Aroree could be trusted with treatment, like small burns, coughing and broken bones. She watched Sister Yeyeen splint a young man's arm and clean it with herbs before she wrapped it in clean cloth. It was easy enough and she really didn't mind, though she needed help with splinting the bones. First because it was too difficult, second because she was afraid of making it worse and didn't feel well if she made someone cry. So she basically followed Sister Yeyeen around the room, watching as she splinted arms and legs. The older novice then moved out of the way and let Aroree come through. Ekuar had once told her that her smile was enough to calm down even a dying knight. Aroree hoped she wouldn't have to prove that fact, she was comfortable with just making Redmark stop crying if he hurt himself or had a nightmare.
She gave the young man a reassuring smile as she patted his arm, telling him there was no need to be afraid. Her smile grew bigger as she realized he wasn't listening to her at all, his eyes basically glued to Sister Yeyeen's curved form across the room. Aroree lifted her hand and covered her mouth to stifle the soft giggles. If he was able to be attracted to Sister Yeyeen, then he wasn't as ill as she feared. She placed a few herbs on the pillow beside his head for him to eat when he turned back to resting.
Then she stood up and walked over to the next bed, where a boy was laying. A novice was discussing with him and by the frown on her face, Aroree could tell that the boy was a handful. He had a red stained cloth around his head, dark, wild curls sticking out everywhere. He leaned on his arms and tried to push himself up into a sitting position while glaring defiantly at the novice. Aroree tried to hide a small smile. He sure was testing the limits. The novice returned his glare and placed her hands on his shoulder, shoving him gently but firmly back down. The boy struggled and ended up in a half sitting, half laying position.
“Leave me be!” he yelled.
“I have to find my sister!”
He slapped the novice's hands away and tried to sit up again, only to be shoved back down.
“I have to! Let me go! I have to find my sister” he cried.
“I promised father I would look out for her! I have to!”
The novice placed a hand on his chest and shoved him back down again while arranging his pillows. Now the boy started wailing.
“Please!” he cried.
“She won't make it on her own! She's too little! I have to find her! Please!”
Aroree moved closer, seeing that the boy's legs were covered with cloth; he wouldn't be going anywhere soon, and that openly stressed him. Now she started pitying him. He had given his father a promise and was afraid of the consequences. At the same time, he was worried about his sister. Aroree was about to say something to console him, when he suddenly broke down crying. He shoved the novice away and buried his face in the pillow, his body trembling as he cried loudly. The novice reached out for him, then slowly pulled her hand back. She looked at the boy for a few moments, then sighed and walked away while shaking her head. Aroree tilted her head and looked at the boy, sadness filling her eyes. She felt so sorry for him. He even reminded her of little Redmark, the way he used to hide away so others wouldn't see his tears because he didn't want to be a burden. Aroree hadn't been able to console him as often as she wanted to and she felt bad because of it. With this boy, she wouldn't lose. Walking closer, she sat down on the bed beside him, reminding herself not to touch him. Apparently he didn't like it and it would only break her chance to gain his trust.
“Hey,” she said with a low voice.
“What is your name?”
The boy jerked and stopped trembling immediately, lifted his head and looked at her with dark eyes.
“Why do you care?” he snapped back with a thick voice.
Aroree looked at him with a soft face and reached out, gently stroking his curls away from his face.
“Because I want to know.”
The boy glared at her and sniffed, and for a moment it looked like he was going to shove her away too. Then his eyes suddenly softened and the tears stopped flowing.
“Jelianoleh,” he said and sniffed again.
“It is nice to meet you, Jelianoleh,” Aroree said with a smile.
“I am Sister Aroree. Are you hungry?”
Jelianoleh opened his mouth to say no, but a sudden growl from his stomach gave him away. His cheeks turned a bright red color and his eyes darkened even more. Aroree just smiled and patted his arm.
“Would you like me to find you something to eat?”
Jelianoleh didn't look up at her when he nodded, very fast, as if ashamed.
“I will be back shortly,” Aroree smiled and nodded while standing up.
The nuns and novices that had meal duty looked up as she entered the room, smiles spreading on their faces.
“Sister Aroree,” the oldest said and nodded.
“Is there something I can find you? A piece of bread, something to drink, soup?”
Aroree just smiled and shook her head. The older ones had taken a liking to both her and Redmark and complained about how skinny the two of them were. Even though the cloister rules were strict about how not to eat outside meals, the older nuns often saw fit to sneak them a little extra food.
“No, thank you,” she said.
“But I would like something for a boy, a victim of the fire.”
At this the nuns and novices straightened and looked directly at her, pausing in the middle of their work.
“He has lost his sister and is afraid of how his father will react,” she said.
“Now he is hungry. Do you have something for him?”
“Let us see,” the oldest nun said as she wiped her hands off and walked over to another table.
“Oh, poor thing,” one of the novices said.
“He must be taking the loss of his sister really hard.”
“Yes, but he will find his sister. I do not believe she is dead.”
A nun was about to reply when the oldest walked back and smiled at Aroree while handing her a little bag.
“Here,” she said.
“It is not much, but it has taste.”
Aroree smiled and nodded as she took the bag.
“Thank you,” she said and curtseyed.
The nuns and novices just nodded and smiled at her as she went back to the hall and the boy. By the time she came back, he had fallen asleep. She placed the little bag with food next to his head and smiled before going back to treat the others. An old woman seemed to be favoring her right arm and Aroree walked over to her to find out what was wrong, but stopped before she had come halfway. Crying... someone was crying...
Aroree frowned turned around, glancing at the occupied beds that filled the room. Jelianoleh was still asleep, so he couldn't be the one who cried. But who was it then? Her eyes wandered over the injured humans and elves, each one seeming to have different injuries. Elders, young people, parents and children. Men and women, boys and girls. She felt a lump in her throat that only seemed to grow each time she saw a new victim. So many lives destroyed by a single fire, so many families torn apart, so many losses...
Taking a deep breath, Aroree closed her eyes to clear them from the tears that threatened to come. She opened them again and turned, then stopped short as her eyes landed on a bed on the right side of the room, near the entrance. A little boy was sitting on the sheets and weeping loudly, his hands in his lap and his shoulders shaking. His pointed ears seemed to be too large for his little head, his hair was as dark as coal and his skin had various dark shades.
“Mother,” he sobbed.
Aroree sent the boy a concerned look before she turned to the old woman, blocking the sore crying out. The boy wasn't hurt. He would have to wait. And this decision tugged at her heart.
A woman was lying still in the bed, her chest barely moving. She made strange and funny noises while breathing, like wheezes, and her wild dark curls lay flat against her head. Cloth covered the left ankle and most of her right leg, red stains seeping through. Her skin had an odd color, being almost black at the end of the cloth. The rest of her was... yellow. Aroree felt a wave of nausea coming and her hand flew up to her mouth and she swallowed hard.
Aroree closed her eyes as she moved over to another bed where a young girl lay coughing. She tried to give her a smile, but the girl was constantly rubbing her eyes and coughing, her body shaking in spasms as she retched. Aroree frowned and tilted her head. The girl couldn't be much older than her, no more than 13 white-cold. Another cough sent her body into a new wave of retching and body spasms. Aroree licked her lips, wondering how she could help the girl. She looked around the room trying to catch a glimpse of Sister Yeyeen, but she was busy treating an old man who looked like he could be the girl's father. Aroree turned her head to see if anyone else could help her, but everyone were busy. Then her face suddenly lit up and she lifted her skirts, running out of the room as fast as she could, leaving faint cries behind.
She ran into the passage and made sure not to bump into the few nuns she met on her way. She rounded a corner and a large door appeared. Using all her weight to push it open, she hurried inside and glanced around the room. Other injured were laying in beds and novices and nuns were doing their best to help them overcome the pain. A few beds had a white cloth on top with strange forms underneath. Aroree swallowed as she turned away. She would rather not know what was under them. Forcing her eyes to scan the room, she squinted and frowned in concentration. Her face lit up as she found the old brown cloth she was looking for and she bolted across the room.
“Sira Ekuar!” she said, making sure her voice wasn't too loud to spare the injured ones of more pain.
The old elf turned to face her and gave her a small smile. Aroree grabbed a hold of his arm and tugged, trying to make him come with her.
“Sira Ekuar, would you please help? There is a girl who is coughing all the time. I think she has problems with breathing.”
The elf's eyes widened a bit, but quickly gained the warm look again as he nodded.
“Of course,” he said.
“Show me where she is.”
Aroree nodded and turned around, walking back the way she came. When they passed the door, Ekuar reached out and grabbed a little bag with herbs, giving the child a small smile. Aroree was about to open the door again when a voice caught her interest.
“... should not be exposed for this!”
“So true, but what can we do?”
“Keep him away from them and make sure he stays inside.”
Aroree turned back, trying to see who had been talking and wondering who they were talking about. It couldn't be sira Ekuar. After all, he was perhaps the most skilled one when it came to injures. But she couldn't find the source of the voice or the reason for the words, so she just turned again and made Ekuar follow her.
They hurried back to the other room where Aroree pointed out the girl from earlier. Ekuar walked over to her and smiled, telling her that everything would be alright. Aroree watched with interest as he took out three leaves from the bag and crushed them, rubbing them between his fingers till they became a dark powder. The priest reached over for another bag, being just out of reach. Aroree hurried over and grabbed it, holding it up to the old elf with a smile. He smiled back and took it and filled it with the powder. Then he took another cloth and held it over the opening, tying a band around to prevent it from loosening.
“I want you to hold it to your mouth and breath deeply in whenever you get problems, little one,” he said and handed the bag over to the girl.
“Do you understand?”
The girl grabbed the bag and nodded, giving them a small smile. She closed her eyes and lay back and Ekuar sent Aroree a thankful look.
“Thank you for telling me,” he said with a low voice.
Aroree just smiled and the priest patted her head before he returned to the other room. She saw that the girl was using the bag and that it helped. She even offered her a weak little smile, which Aroree returned. The girl nodded and clenched the bag, then closed her eyes. Smiling, Aroree walked over to the next row of beds...
”¦ and froze.
The bed to the girl's left where the yellow woman had laid was empty. The woman was gone. The dirty sheets weren't changed; she could still make out where she had been laying. Swallowing hard and looking up slowly, she locked eyes with Sister Yeyeen, who glanced at her over her shoulder. The older novice's face had a soft look and she closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. Aroree swallowed again and forced herself not to look at the bed again. As long as she didn't look, no one could tell it had happened. She tried to will the nausea away along with the memory of the woman and turned around, only to find herself completely frozen yet again.
In a corner of the room, half consumed by darkness, a tiny face looked out at all the injured ones. The large, wide eyes were filled terror and the heart shaped were partly severed. Aroree felt as if her insides were on icy fire and a gasp escaped her lips.
“Redmark!” she choked, and thoughts she had hidden inside her mind forced their way back.
[i:14220e2633]“... should not be exposed for this!”[/i:14220e2633]
Redmark had never witnessed such tragic events in life.
[i:14220e2633]“Keep him away from them and make sure he stays inside.”[/i:14220e2633]
His eyes were fixed on something behind her and she turned. The bed. The woman. Gone. Aroree's eyes widened and she turned again, choking on a gasp. Without being able to control herself, she rushed over to where the little child stood and knelt by him. She grabbed a hold of his arm and looked at him with concern. He barely registered her grip on him, just kept staring at the bed. Aroree glanced at the bed again, then turned back to the child. He seemed to be lost all of a sudden. Again she looked at the bed, the image of the woman appearing in front of her eyes again. She had looked so young, so lost and so... alone. Looking at Redmark, she felt the same loss, seeing that they were so alike. Could that woman have been... his mother?
Redmark finally turned to her and she jerked at his look. His green eyes were large and teary, but it almost seemed like he looked right through her. They were scary... empty. The soft, red, silkily hair on his head was still a bit curly; no one had taken the time to help him this morning. His lip quivered and tears streaked down the pale face.
The way he had looked at her when they first discovered the fire, how he mewled and whimpered so poorly, it made Aroree want to hit herself.
Redmark understood what had happened and he understood that the woman in the bed was gone, perhaps even understood that she would never come back. And it all came down to one single question.
Why...? Why hadn't they made sure to keep Redmark away from the injured ones? Why had the nuns wanted Aroree to help when she was still nothing more than a child? And why did Redmark have to look at her with those eyes full of loss?
She locked eyes with Redmark and tried to pull gently at his arm, wanting to get him out of the hall and shield him from the sight. The boy looked up at her with teary and empty eyes. Then they darkened, as if a cloud passed over his face. He yanked his arm from Aroree's grip, turned around and bolted out of the room. Aroree raised her hand and reached out for him in a silent plead for him to stop, but it was no use. She could only watch as he tried to run away from the truth about life.
Aroree kept following Sister Yeyeen around the room, checking on those who had had their arms or legs splinted. Treating them with herbs had helped to ease the pain, but only physical. She could still hear the boy crying in the background and she really wanted to console him, but she didn't have the time yet. There were so many who needed her help that she couldn't just do whatever she wanted. People could die if she did, and that was the last thing she wanted. But now that she stood in front of a man with an infant in his arms, she longed to be with someone she knew she would be able to help.
“Please,” the man said and held out the infant.
Aroree watched as Sister Yeyeen carefully took a piece of the cloth between her fingers and removed it from the girl's face. She frowned slightly. Her forehead was blank with sweat and her breath was coming in short and rasping gasps. She was very pale and had a yellow tone to her skin. Aroree swallowed. One glance at Sister Yeyeen's troubled face told her what she already knew; the girl wouldn't live through the day.
“I am sorry,” Sister Yeyeen said with a low voice.
“But there is nothing I can do.”
“But you have to!” the man said.
“Please, I beg you! You have to help her!”
Sister Yeyeen locked eyes with the man, then closed her eyes and shook her head slowly. If it was possible for the man's eyes to grow any bigger, they did now. They were wide and filled with tears as he looked down at his daughter. Then he broke, his entire body trembling with crying. The man was clinging to the still form in his arms, tears streaking his dirty face. He looked up at Aroree with pleading eyes, his entire body trembling. Aroree felt a lump in her throat and swallowed. She had barely registered that little Redmark was at her side. He had managed to sneak back inside the hall without anyone taking notice of him and was now looking at the infant with large and teary eyes. He looked up at Aroree with a tear streaked face, the pained question evident in his too sad eyes.
He wanted her to help. He wanted them to help the little girl infant, even though he knew it was impossible. There was nothing the could do. Aroree knew this, but she didn't want to be the one telling Redmark, to steal the last he had of hope and childish innocence. She looked down at him and tried to smile, opened her mouth to say something consoling, but the only thing that escaped her lips was a choked sob. She turned to the man again and looked at the infant and how her father seemed to be clinging to her for dear life. She could hear the struggling breath become pained, see the girl's skin slowly turn paler. She wouldn't live through the day. Aroree took a deep breath and turned back to Redmark, only to find the spot by her side empty. He was gone.
Winnowill stood up from the altar and sighed deeply. There were so many injured in the cloister. They wouldn't be able to save everyone and she hated to admit it. She especially felt sorry for the little ones, those who had just started their lives. And the parents that lost their children... no parent should ever have to bury their child. But there was nothing that could be done and right now she could only hope that praying to the High Ones would help.
Winnowill turned around at the pained cry and froze. Little Redmark came running into the room. What was he doing here? He was supposed to be kept in the sleeping area, away from the injured ones to be spared! The boy sobbed and stopped right in front of her, grabbing her dress.
“Mrs. Winnowill, please help! You have to do something. Only you can!”
“What are you talking about?” the abbess said as she knelt, grabbing the boy by his shoulders and checking him over.
His red hair was curly with sweat, so it was obvious that he had been by himself since he woke up. Tears streaked down his face and his cheeks were so wet they nearly shone. His green eyes were red-rimmed and swollen... he had been crying for a long time. Winnowill frowned and fastened her grip on Redmark's shoulder, forcing herself to stay calm. Someone had hurt him, perhaps without knowing, but the wrongdoing had still been done. What she wondered about now was where he had been all the day. He couldn't have been with the nuns, as they would have sent him to the sleeping area immediately. The novices were busy with learning how to treat the injured ones, perhaps too busy to take notice of a lone child. She would have to take care of that later as she was pulled back to the now by Redmark shaking his head and clinching her dress, looking up at her with pleading eyes.
“Please. Make her better. Like me.”
Winnowill stared down at the little boy, wondering what he was talking about. If he had been with the novices, chances were big that he was marked for the rest of his life. He had most likely seen those who died and like everyone else she knew, he wanted them to live. If he had seen someone who was so badly injured that there was no hope for them and he had come to her for help... shouldn't she fulfill this one wish? Besides, wasn't this what she longed for? But then there was what others would say. Would she risk everything for just one person? She looked Redmark deep into his eyes. One glance was all she needed and she sighed. Giving him a small smile, she grabbed his hand and hurried after him.
Winnowill stepped through the door with Redmark the moment the infant's eyelids slid open. She stared up at the ceiling with a glassy look, then took a sharp breath as her eyes seemed to roll backwards. The man's eyes widened and he screamed, hugging his daughter to his chest and sobbing uncontrollably. Redmark immediately started to run and Winnowill followed, stopping in front of the bed.
“Give her to me,” the abbess said and reached out for the infant.
Without waiting for an answer, she tore the girl out of her father's arms. She spun around on her heels and ran out of the room again, leaving a shocked father behind with two consoling novices and sore childish crying.
Her footfalls echoed in the passage as she hurried through. A few nuns were heading towards the herbal room, but had to sidestep not to be run down by the abbess. They sent her strange looks and eyed the still form in her arms, but by the look on her face, she clearly didn't have the time for questions. They just shrugged and continued down the passage.
“Come on, little one,” Winnowill mumbled as she entered her own chamber and closed the door behind her.
She hurried over to her bed and laid the infant down, swiftly removing the blanket and putting her hands over the tiny chest that had now stopped raising. Her eyes closed and she swallowed, allowing the wall inside her to fall once more and immediately a sudden warmth filled her hands, spreading throughout her entire body. Her fingers tingled and her heart jumped with joy at being allowed to feel this gift once more. She was unaware of a small creak behind her, engaged in the task she had set upon her.
She was pulled back to reality by a sudden cough. Looking down, she saw the little chest raise as the girl took a sharp intake of breath and let out a helpless wail. Winnowill sighed and lifted the infant, hugging her to her chest and looking up. She whispered a silent thankful prayer to the High Ones and when she turned around, she saw Redmark standing in the doorway, his smile almost too large for his little face. She smiled. A little boy who seemed to outshine the sun that was now blocked by dark clouds.
Aroree looked at the crying man and felt tears build up in her eyes at the sight. He was half sitting, half laying in the bed, his left arm still outstretched after Mrs. Winnowill had taken his daughter. His right hand was clinging to the sheets that were now sodden by his tears and his entire body was trembling. He seemed to be so lost. Aroree swallowed hard, her left arm hugging her right one. She had always believed men to be so strong, those who never gave up when life became harsh. That all men were knights was something she had decided to be true. She couldn't remember when this decision was taken, but it had stuck with her for as long as she had lived. But now that she looked at the man in front of her, she didn't know what to believe. This father had lost everything. He was... broken.
And when you broke, you gave up.
That was something Aroree couldn't understand, something she couldn't forgive. From the earliest of her memories, she could remember her father telling her to never let go, her mother sitting by her crib and singing about holding on and be strong. She had believed them, and this very thought of how everything would turn out for the better if she just believed was what had kept her alive the first years in the cloister. If what she believed in turned out to be wrong, then what was there to believe?
Aroree sighed, wondering whether to say something or not and looked up. Her eyes drifted across the room, as if it was a giant scroll she could read the answer on. Turning her head slightly, her bleary gaze landed on the door and her breath hitched. Sister Yeyeen and the man must have heard her, for both of them raised their heads and looked in the direction of the door, their eyes widening slightly.
Winnowill stepped through the door with little Redmark by her side, the boy smiling through tears. The abbess had a small smile on her face too, so little that it would easily go unnoticed for those who didn't know her or hadn't been in the cloister for the past three years. But it was there, and it was a real smile. And in her arms... a giggling bundle of life.
The man's eyes widened even more, if that was possible at all, and his breath hitched. Winnowill came closer, the infant in her left arm as Redmark had claimed her right hand as his. They stopped in front of the bed and Winnowill let go of Redmark to fasten her grip on the bundle before holding it out.
“Smoke was blocking her airways,” she said.
“We must thank the High Ones we had the right herbs for her treatment.”
The man reached out with trembling hands and Winnowill placed the tiny girl in his arms, watching him as he slowly retreated to a sitting position on the bed. He stared down at his daughter with wide eyes and slightly open mouth, as if he didn't believe it to be true. The girl giggled softly and reached up, grabbing a handful of his hair within her tiny fist. Just then the man broke down crying and Aroree felt tears run down her cheeks as she saw him smile. He smiled. He wasn't broken. And the girl survived. The corners of her mouth tilted upwards in a big smile and she looked at Mrs. Winnowill stroking Redmark's soft hair.
Belief was all that was needed.
Aroree looked up at the nun in front of her and shook her head.
“But Sister Aroree, you have been here the entire day! The sun is setting and we have helped as many as we can. There is nothing more we can do. And though we really appreciate that you have been more of help than the older novices, you are still a child.”
Aroree just shook her head again.
“I am fine, Sister Sybbyl. Really,” she quickly added with a small smile when the nun frowned.
“I like to help.”
“But you need rest, Sister Aroree. You have done more than we would have asked you to.”
“I do not mind it.”
The nun sent her a stern and clear look, lowering her voice slightly so that the two boys and one girl in the bed next to them wouldn't be able to listen. Aroree had to force herself not to giggle at the boys and girl's curious looks and the way they seemed to crane their necks and stretch themselves as far as they could to be able to hear what they said.
“If you do not rest, the abbess will have my head.”
Aroree hid her smile and sighed, then straightened and nodded slightly. She knew all too well the consequences of the abbess' temper. Everyone did.
“I will do as you wish, Sister Sybbyl.”
The nun nodded and turned around, taking two steps before she stopped and glanced at the three children. They quickly retreated their heads and she continued to walk away. Aroree smiled and shook her head, then sent the boys a special look before she walked over to the door. Perhaps the nun was right. She had been working the entire day and she knew others had had breaks. There was nothing wrong in leaving, she was a child after all and all the injured ones had been seen to and treated. Now they were just checking on them, doing the regular stuff. She was free to leave, although she would have preferred to stay behind and help.
She walked past a few beds, but stopped when she heard sore childish crying and sobs. Turning to her right, she saw a little boy sit on a bed with the sheets tangled around his ankles. He was crying loudly and kept mumbling while fidgeting with the sheets. Aroree froze as she recognized his cries; he had been crying in the background all day while she helped and treated the others. He was the boy she had felt so sorry for, and while she looked, she recalled she had seen him before. He was the child on the old man's arm, one of the first ones to come to the cloister, the one she had wanted to hug. He had been crying all day... and still was. All tiredness was gone in the blink of an eye, as if washed away, and she walked over to him with determined steps. She would not let him down this time!
“Do you need help?” Aroree asked while looking up at the novice in front of the boy.
The older girl turned around and sent her a helpless look.
“He is crying for his mother all the time!”
Aroree gave the boy a smile and he suddenly stopped crying, looking her up and down. His eyes seemed to scan her and he had a serious look on his face while he eyed her. Then he started to cry again and tried to shove them away.
“Not mother!” he sobbed.
The novice sighed and turned to Aroree with a sad look.
“He has been like this since I came,” she said.
“He will not calm down.”
“Is his mother here?” Aroree asked and looked at the novice, glancing at the boy out the corner of her eye.
“I fear she is not,” she said and shook her head.
“There is no woman who misses a little dark haired son.”
The boy gasped for breath and let out a long and helpless wail, grabbing the sheets and swinging them back and forth before him at the novices while yelling at them to go away. The sheets made a whipping sound as they snapped to and fro, not doing much of anything but creating a diversion. The novice put a hand to her forehead and sighed before she turned and walked away. Aroree ignored the sheets and walked closer, trying her best to keep her smile.
“Hey,” she said, lifted her hand and waved at him.
The boy sniffed and stopped swinging the sheets as he understood that Aroree wouldn't go away. Instead he dropped them and started to cry again, turning away from her to face the wall.
“Mother!” he sobbed.
Aroree reached out an arm, wanting to give him a hug, but jumped when something touched her shoulder. Her yelp hitched and she turned her head, looking up at the wrinkly face of sira Ekuar.
“Oh, sira Ekuar,” she sighed.
“You scared me.”
“Pardon me, Sister Aroree,” he said with a small smile, which turned to a frown when he glanced at the boy.
“What is bothering the child?”
“He cannot find his mother,” she said and turned around again.
“He has been here the entire day.”
“And no one has come for him?”
Aroree shook her head.
“But he was one of the first ones to arrive and he was carried by an old man,” she said.
“Do you think they are related?”
She looked up at the priest, who frowned in deep concentration.
“Hmm,” he said.
“I too remember the old man. He was limping badly.”
“Is he here now?”
Sira Ekuar shook his head.
“He left after we had splinted his leg. He said he did not want to be a burden and that he had to find his family.”
Aroree frowned and turned back to the boy.
“So he is all alone,” she mumbled.
The boy looked up the two of them with a tear stained face and sobbed. He clinched his pillow and glared at them, daring them to come closer.
“Go 'way!” he cried.
Aroree took a step backwards and hid behind Sira Ekuar, but the priest did not move at all. The boy sniffed and scowled, trying to will the two of them away. He didn't want them there! He wanted his mother! The strangers should leave him alone as he wanted to! His desperate frown turned to an angered one when he understood that they wouldn't go. He growled, then fastened his grip on the pillow and lifted it. If his target had any idea of what was happening, the target was dumb. With a grunt of effort, he flung the pillow across the bed and watched as it connected with the priest's face.
Aroree gasped and her hands flew up to her mouth as she watched the pillow fall down to the floor. The boy wailed and covered his face, starting to cry again. Sira Ekuar had an astonished expression on his face, though he didn't seem to be angry. In fact, it looked like he found it quite amusing.
“I will see if I can find something that will calm him down,” he said and turned around, a small smile playing around his lips.
Aroree could only stare wide-eyed at the boy with an open mouth, a feeling she hadn't felt many times before filling her entire being. Anger. Anger at the disrespectful boy who didn't even accept their attempts at helping him. Darkness flashed in front of her eyes and she opened her mouth to lash out at him, but stopped when a soothing voice reached her ears.
“Why did you do it?”
She glanced down at Redmark, who stood by the side of the bed. His face was blank and he sent the boy a soft and clear look. The dark haired boy trembled and he gave off the air of an injured animal. Aroree's eyes widened as she understood.
[i:14220e2633]Trapped. He feels trapped![/i:14220e2633]
“Wrinkly man is dumb!” the boy snapped.
“Sira Ekuar is wise,” Redmark replied.
The dark haired boy scowled and reached forward, pinching Redmark's arm hard. Redmark yelped and flinched and Aroree rushed forward, but the redhead didn't take his eyes off of the boy.
“Sira Ekuar is wise,” he repeated in a soothing tone.
“He wants to help you.”
“I don't want help!” the boy cried and retreated to a sitting position.
He started to cry again and covered his face with his hands, his shoulders trembling while he sobbed and cried and screamed, all at the same time. Aroree winced when she saw a red spot take form on Redmark's arm; the boy was stronger than she had thought, even though he couldn't be older than Redmark. The redhead looked at the dark haired boy for a moment, then carefully climbed onto the bed. He made his way over the sheets and sat down beside him, doing nothing but sitting there and watching him. The boy gasped for breath and glanced at Redmark, pausing in his crying for a single second. Redmark carefully held his arms out by his waist; the universal no-harm gesture. The other boy cried out and collapsed in his arms, flinging his own arms around him and sobbing hard.
“Mother!” he wailed.
By the time sira Ekuar came back, the boy had calmed down thanks to Redmark's way of approaching people the right way at the right time. He was now sitting still on the bed and sniffing while Redmark sat next to him and patted his foot. The priest sent him a thankful smile when he came closer with a cup in his hands.
“Here,” sira Ekuar said to the boy and held out the cup.
The boy took the cup and lifted it to his mouth, taking a large sip of it and swallowing. When he lowered the cup, his lips were bright purple and he stared intensely at the liquid content. His eyes had a strange and distant look and Aroree frowned in concern. She looked at sira Ekuar, but he only gave her a small reassuring smile.
“Warm dreamberry sap,” he said.
Aroree turned back to look at the boy. Slowly, very slowly, the corners of his mouth tilted upwards in a foolish smile. He eagerly drank the rest of the cup and handed it back to sira Ekuar, his cheeks colored purple.
“Now,” sira Ekuar said and sat down on the bed.
“Will you let us help you?”
The boy's expression immediately changed and he started to cry again, wailing helplessly and even louder than before.
“Mother! Father!” he sobbed.
But suddenly his voice fell into hiccuping sobs and his hands flew up to his mouth, trying to stifle the high-pitched sounds. When failing, he let his hands fall down again and continued to sob, small hiccups infiltrating his crying now and then. Aroree frowned as she looked. She hadn't heard of anything like dreamberries before, but when she saw how the boy reacted on it, she quickly came to a conclusion.
She didn't like it.
Not at all.
The little boy wept uncontrollably and Aroree just sat on the edge of the bed, not knowing how to comfort him. Redmark glanced at him with clear eyes as he reached out and carefully patted his shoulder. That's what Aroree did to make him feel better. It should work with the other boy too. Aroree gave the redhead a little smile as she too reached out to touch the boy and slowly rubbed his back.
“There,” she mumbled soothingly.
The boy sniffed and gasped a few times before the weeping stopped. He lifted his arm and touched his cheek, rubbing his eyes and drying the tears. As he did, Aroree saw shades of light skin appear from underneath the soot. She moved her hand to his head, resting it on the soft hair while smiling. But when she removed her hand, she saw that it was spotted with black marks and dust. She looked at the boy once more and frowned. Where she had rested her hand, the hair was now a lighter color. Taken aback by this, she let her hands stay on the bed and leaned slightly over to him.
“What is your name?” she asked.
The boy stirred and moved his head slightly, looking up at her with one eye that reflected the sky on a cloudy day.
[color=red:d0b1fdf7f6][b:d0b1fdf7f6]SKYWISE!!![/b:d0b1fdf7f6] I'm speechless... I [i:d0b1fdf7f6]had[/i:d0b1fdf7f6] begun trying to guess who the boy was... that [i:d0b1fdf7f6]wasn't[/i:d0b1fdf7f6] my guess!
But wonderful story![/color:d0b1fdf7f6]
[quote:d0b1fdf7f6]Even Aroree was among them. The abbess wanted to stop her, to protect her from the harsh truth about life, but knew it was no use.[/quote:d0b1fdf7f6]
[color=red:d0b1fdf7f6]Love how Winnie clearly cares about the children in your story... albeit in her own way! :D [/color:d0b1fdf7f6]
AAAAAAWWWWWWWW.... Love it!!! Redmark is just too cute! And Aroree too! And Ekuar is my hero! And Winnowill, I knew she had some good in her! :D
I had a sneaking suspicion that the boy was not who he seemed, and I was pretty sure the truth would come out when they cleaned him up!
I am also liking that in this story Winnowill might have a chance to become the great healer she might have been.
Ofcourse he wasn't what he seemed, nothing or no-one ever is in Tenderfoot's stories! :D
Wow this is good Tenderfoot. Now Skywise enters the picture, wonder how his story will play out. To think that Redmark got Winnowill to help an infant was great. Can't wait for the next chapter. :D
Cool reveal, Tendermark.Based on your last story, I totally thought Skywise was dead- especially since you... spoiler alert!
....described what i figured were the deaths of Shale and Eyes High in Sept, and mentioned 'their son.' Did somebody lie to Mantricker? Also- Winnowil as a functioning healer is really interesting. I like how she's in conflict between her natural abilities and (chrisitian?) faith. And I want to know what's laying waste to all these villagers!
Say- you seem to have a complete backstory figured out! Have you collected these in a single thread? Because they are gonna be interesting to read from the start to the finish, once you are done!
Haven't had time to answer at my story. Sorry. :oops:
[b:c5f2126c79]faeriegirl[/b:c5f2126c79], I admit that I maybe didn't have so many right words. English have never been mine strongest side, and I didn't have the best teachers at my school, but I really try work with it. But I am glad you liked it.
[quote:c5f2126c79="Embala"]Finally managed to catch up - like the new installment, Cleopatra, especially the return to Hawkeye's tribe. [/quote:c5f2126c79]
*Bows* Thank you.
Only one critical addition: [/quote:c5f2126c79]
Hang on a sec, there's someone else who wants to answer your question. I just have to translate it first!
It's very believable that Hawkeye is running from his big brother - half fearing his temper, half for playful mood. But two experienced warriors?[/quote:c5f2126c79]
[quote:c5f2126c79="Sturkas"]Hey, aren't two experienced warriors allowed to have som fun?[/quote:c5f2126c79]
- It's more probable that they would dodge his first attack, catching im from both sides and holding him ... "calm down ... no use to overreact ... everyting's ok ... a.s.o" til he becomes reasonable again [/quote:c5f2126c79]
[quote:c5f2126c79="Sturkas"]But where's the fun in that?[/quote:c5f2126c79]
- Or ... they are running ... but then you should make clear that it's by the purpose to give Blindeye the chance to calm down this way ... not for (even the slightest) fear.[/quote:c5f2126c79]
[quote:c5f2126c79="Toron"]Hey, she only writes what we tell her to.[/quote:c5f2126c79]
Amen to that! Now, does this answer your question?
Wouldn't dare to object two experienced warriors ... and translating [b:428396efa3]Cleopatra[/b:428396efa3] who could sent them on me. :shh:
Noticed your long-awaited addition with joy, [b:428396efa3]Tenderfoot[/b:428396efa3]. Because of its epic length I'll have to come back for reading and commenting ... :(
Lunakat: I guess Tenderfoot is half predictable after all! I know I mentioned somewhere that I thought it'd be them, and that their baby son miraculously survived the murdering! *is happy she was right* but now I wonder HOW THE HECK DID HE SURVIVE??
Oh, and I thought she collected the links to all the previous stories somewhere on the forum here... (though for personal enjoyment I've already copied and pasted them in Word here :))
Cleopatra: If you want I'll betaread them for you... just pm me.
A great fire
First encounter with alcohol or dreamberries
A trick or a treat (you pick which!)
A mistake or misapprehension
Tied tight. The sweat on my palms
does not help the bonds losen, even
as the nearby bonfire blazes higher.
The tickle as my brow weaps beads of
moisture onto my face actually annoys
me more than the open wounds on my back...
if only I could reach to wipe the trail
It was all my mistake. The berries I consumed
were different than other forest fruit and I
should have known not to try them without asking
my elders beforehand.
Now the elder before me is a human and his
words mean nothing as he rattles his wooden
stick and points again to have me whipped.
The heat, the drumming, they lull me into a
blur of pain and misery that becomes ludicrously
boring. My death, when it comes, will be a relief
from this scene. Something within me defies these
tall one's fanatic hatred with a level of indifference.
I can't even bother to hate them
back, despite how they hurt me.
They are not noble animals, there is little grace in the
forms that dance and writhe around me. I would
have honored a mighty stag who gored me with his
horns, a boar that trampled me flat with mighty
hooves, even a river that swept away the very air;
but these flapping, cawing magpies seem unworthy.
They seem unreal; like a nightmare conjured from the
head-buzzing berries that had put me so swiftly to sleep
in the glade.
The rare treat of being alone in the forest now
is shown as a trick...I felt safe and I dared much
and now I shall pay for my folly.
I give one final struggle with my bonds. The
feel of the rough stone pressing against my chest
reminds me vaguely of my lifemate's solid form
which I will miss greatly. I send my thoughts
of love one final time, knowing I am out of range
but wishing the feelings will carry through somehow.
My tribe, my pack, I am sorry to leave you. I never
wanted to think about the end, yet here while I face
it I can only think of the past.
Flashes of hunts and howls...glimpses of snowflakes
falling...sunlight on my bondmate's soft fur in the
shadows of the den...bending stalks of grass under
my running cub feet...the faces of my parents and
siblings...finding my balance on the treelimb as
it sways...the songbirds and happy bugs singing
in the Newgreen seaso!!!!!
Many moons later, a voice whispers, "Cutter...those skulls..."
noooo... you did NOT just have Redlance killed!
Oh no...there were many skulls on the Pillar of Sacrifice...
many moons before Redlance was tied there!
Redlance followed a buck into the forest to get
captured and would have had more experience with
dreamberries than my poor protagonist who was
caught while sleeping off the unexpected effects
(the suggested element said 1st experience).
I gave my elf no name and no gender...so it could be
any of the skulls.
That way, if anyone wants to make art for the story...
they can create any character image they like!
:D yay! Redlance lives! *huggles Red and Nightsea*
at least one of the skulls was Crescent's... but yea, there were more :( so sad for those... never named!
WOW ... you started with a bang - and eded with one. And everything between kept me captive, breathless while reading. That was worth the long wait, [b:aca8365667]Tenderfoot[/b:aca8365667]! :clap:
This was intense, [b:aca8365667]Nightsea[/b:aca8365667]. I'm lacking words to describe my feelings ... I'm seeing pictures while following the poor youngsters thoughts - pictures I wish to create.
No space for misunderstandings - the circumstances fit for neither Crescent nor Redlance and the last quote implies a time lap. It's selfevident that it tell the fate of some unnamed elf long ago - many possibilities for creation but much editing effort too. anyway ... I'll definitely lack the time :( .
[i:aca8365667]Maybe I should consult a therapist ... I'm always drawn to the tragedies ... [/i:aca8365667] :?
[quote:ca5aa8d315="Embala"]I'm seeing pictures while following the poor youngsters thoughts - pictures I wish to create[/quote:ca5aa8d315]
You did create them...in your mind as you read along.
If you've no time to create them in any other way, I completely
Thanks for the feedback, folks!
-a great fire
-first encounter with alcohol or dreamberries
-a trick or treat
-a mistake or misapprehension
Pike lay in the long grass at the edge of the meadow, his head propped on the roots of a large tree. He was watching the shadows lengthen in the long afternoon of midsummer. Game was plenty and the elves were able to take their leisure in a way that was impossible the rest of the year.
But something was eating at Pike, a restlessness that he had never felt before. He supposed it had something to do with the length of the days and the lack of ways to fill them. Or maybe he was just anxious to join the hunt. He was almost ready. He spent most of the short nights working on his skill with his weapon of choice. He liked it so much, he’d even renamed himself for it. But he hadn’t yet hunted with it, waiting only for Bearclaw to give his consent. And waiting.
Pike hoped that he would be allowed to join the hunt before the winter came. Now would be a good time to learn, when prey was jumping from the bushes. While the game was fat and happy and slow.
Pike sighed and was about to fall asleep in the warm sun, when he heard rustling close by. He stuck his head up to see over the grass.
“Oh! Pike! I didn’t see you there!”
It was Longreach, one of the oldest of the elves. Pike liked Longreach. He served as the memory of the elves and often filled the long nights of winter telling stories of the tribe’s past. Maybe he could help pass the time and ease Pike’s mind now.
“Hello, Longreach! I’m glad to see you! I was just wondering if you had time for a story.”
“Not today, cub.” Longreach smiled and stroked his beard, looking at Pike. He had always felt a soft spot for the youth. Many dismissed Pike as being too simple and withdrawn to be of much interest, but Longreach felt that there might be something there, beneath the surface, that the others were overlooking. He raised the bag he carried in his hand. “I’m on a little errand. Perhaps you would like to join me?”
Pike nodded and stepped in line behind Longreach. They walked through the forest to the edge of the area that defined the holt’s boundaries into a small glade. Pike was pretty sure he’d never been here before. The glade was filled with small bushes covered with round purple berries.
“What are these?” He pinched one between his thumb and forefinger, feeling the springy firmness under the tough tanned-soft skin.
Longreach set down the bag he was carrying and smiled.
“These are dreamberries.”
“Do they make you dream?”
Longreach chuckled, one of those looks on his face that grown-ups would get sometime that Pike could never figure out. “You could say that. Dreamberries have the wonderful ability to make it feel like everything’s right with the world. They allow your mind to relax and allow you to look at things in a new way. Taken at the right time, and in the right frame of mind, answers can become clearer. Other times, they just make things fuzzy.”
Longreach plucked a ripe berry off the bush and held it up so the sun hit it, making it glow brilliantly. “And to a storyteller, it makes the story come alive. It allows his audience to become one with the story, to see it as if it were happening right now. It teases things from the mind, long forgotten, to be shared and passed around. It allows the voices of our ancestors to talk to us.”
Longreach winked and tossed the berry into his mouth.
Pike wasn’t sure how he felt about talking with his ancestors or remembering long forgotten things. It seemed like what was, was. It belonged in the past and didn’t need to be held on to. But his curiosity had been stirred. Longreach noticed him staring at the berry bushes and held out a hand, a few ripe berries nestled in it.
“Want to try?”
Pike reached out hesitantly, half exhilarated, half scared of Longreach’s glowing description. Longreach let the handful of berries tumble out into Pike’s palm. They were warm from the summer sunshine that slanted through the trees. They smelled of the rich aroma of the leaves that covered the forest floor in the autumn, a musky earthy smell but with just a hint of sweetness, like the promise of flowers in the spring.
“Go on!” Longreach cheered, “It’s quite a treat!”
With a shrug Pike rolled the handful of berries onto his tongue. With one last uncertain glance at Longreach, he bit in.
The juice exploded in his mouth, the bitter skins giving way to a tangy sweetness that he tasted not only with his tongue but with his nose and his head. They were good, but he didn’t see what the big deal was.
Longreach tossed Pike the bag.
“Then help me pick some.”
To Pike’s confusion, Longreach did not help with the harvesting, instead just standing nearby with his arms crossed, watching Pike intently. Pike bent over the bush and began picking, when suddenly the world tilted, ever so slightly.
“Ohhh, suddenly I don’t feel so good.”
Pike sank down to the grassy ground. Longreach clapped him on the back, roaring with laughter. “Well, they’re not for everyone.”
While Pike sat cradling his head, trying to stop the spinning world, Longreach went on with the harvesting, enjoying the work and the slowly deepening of the evening colors. He had almost filled his bag when Pike began screaming.
“Ahhh! I’m on fire!”
Pike batted at his boots, fighting invisible flames. Longreach looked him over, but could find nothing wrong. “No, cub, you’re fine. Look!”
Pike stared at his feet with wide eyes. The flames were licking around the bottom of his feet. He could feel the incredible burning heat. He tried to quench the flames, but it just added to the fire that was steadily creeping up his legs. He would be completely consumed soon. Why didn’t Longreach do something?
The flames were burning around his middle now. He struggled to draw in breath against the heat of the air around him. It filled his lungs and burned up his throat to fill his brain. The world around him was slowly being blotted out by the flames until all he could see was dancing flickers of orange and blue.
Longreach watched in confusion as the cub stood and began tearing at his clothes, then his chest and his eyes. Not knowing what else to do he held the boy tightly as Pike struggled with something Longreach couldn’t see. Then, suddenly, Pike went limp.
To be continued in November's Grab-bag...(hopefully)
FINE! Pike's start as a dreamkeeper and dreamberry lover - love this idea :D Though ... it doesn't look like he've found his "true love" in the dreamberries right now Surprising use of the [i:0b9163da41]fire[/i:0b9163da41] element!
[quote:0b9163da41]To be continued in November's Grab-bag...(hopefully)[/quote:0b9163da41]You don't have a choice!!!!
Wow! Cool story!
...just... you used both names, Longbranch and Longreach... ;)
and yea, you'd better continue! :)
Oops, I thought I fixed that. I will now. (I never know which name to use, anyway. :roll: )
Gotta love 'late' submissions! Enjoy!
Bearclaw was bored. And he, like his sire, always turned to mischief when bored... The humans had gone away after a great forest fire, so he couldn't play tricks on them.
Bearclaw didn't really remember that much anymore about the fire, he had only been a cub of a few white-colds back then. But his father had gotten the news of the fire quickly, and gotten the whole tribe to the lake before it got out of hand. Luckily, the wind stood right and the fire never reached Father Tree. But the careless humans left anyway, for the little prey that was left was claimed by the Wolfriders. Mantricker had enjoyed those times, having to cheat the humans out of their catches every time was his favourite time of day.
Wandering around the Holt, Bearclaw kicked around some stones, not really caring which tree they hit or rebounded to.
It didn't help either that he couldn't go anywhere far alone... He still was treated like a cub, regardless of his two eights of white-colds.
But even lost in thought, Bearclaw couldn't be surprised. He'd heard one of his tribemates come after him, and quickly climbed into the nearest tree, an old big oak. It had many branches, so the climbing was easy. Bearclaw laughed when he saw the wolfrider on his trail. The figure in the red hood could only be one person! Quite possibly Longreach hadn't even followed him, but was just on his way to the dreamberry patch, to collect berries for the next howl.
"Got you!" Bearclaws smile almost split his face in half. "Where are you going? Can I join?"
Longreach smiled. It was obvious the cub needed some distraction... "Sure cub, follow me to the dreamberries!"
This should be fun, Bearclaw thought. He'd never tasted dreamberries before, his father said they were only for Longreach the storyteller. The berries help him tell his stories, but they've got no other use...
Well, we'll see about that! Bearclaw would finally taste those legendary berries, and find out other uses! He'd be remembered in howls for eights of eights upon eights! Bearclaw the dreamberry elf!
Unnoticed by the young elf, he and Longreach had arrived at the berry patch. Longreach grabbed a few berries and tested them for ripeness by just eating them. "Yup, these are just fine! Here, try these." He handed Bearclaw a few of the purple berries.
"Be careful though, everyone reacts differently to them."
Bearclaw immediately popped the berries into his mouth.
"Tastes weird! But how do you mean, everyone? Only storytellers ever eat these, right? And you're the only storyteller!"
Moments later Bearclaw wished he'd never asked, for Longreachs laughter filled the air.
"The only storyteller, you say? And how about the elf who taught me? And the elf before him? And before him? All the way back to the time of Timmorn Yellow-Eyes we go, we storytellers!
And the reason why I'm the only one enjoying these berries these days... Ask your father. He... does not enjoy them."
Bearclaw laughed. "So because he doesn't like them, they're reduced to pure story-helpers... That's my sire alright!"
By now, Bearclaw did start to feel the effect of the dreamberries. It felt... strange, new, but not bad. In fact, he quite enjoyed it...
"This feels good! Is it always like this? I feel great! Lightheaded, lighthearted... How come my sire does not like this? It's great!"
"He does not become as light-feeling as you, dear cub. The only thing dreamberries bring him is a headache... Which you may also get, especially when you've had much berries and their effect wears off. So be careful.
In fact, you could be storyteller material... Most elves I know of do not feel as we do when we eat the berries. They make our heads light, which enables us to remember the old stories easier. That's what dreamberries do. Wonderful things, aren't they?"
Bearclaw punched him on the arm. "Me, storyteller? Those berries must be messing with your head! No way... Look for someone else!"
Longreach got up. "It's getting late, cub. Come, help me gather a few handfuls of dreamberries for the howl tonight. We should be heading back to Father Tree soon."
Reluctantly, Bearclaw got on his feet. "Whoa! The world is spinning around!" Quickly, he sought support from Longreach, a there was no tree nearby.
"Th- that part of the dreamberries too?"
He felt as well ad heard Longreach laugh. "Sure is! Now come on, you haven't had that much that you can't shake it off."
And indeed, the strange dizziness didn't last long. Bearclaw learned how to distinguish ripe dreamberries from jus-not ripe ones, and they collected more then enough for that night.
"Who knows, maybe we could even convince my sire to let the tribe enjoy dreamberries again! He doesn't have to eat or like them! Surely he knows what a mistake it was to ban them... They belong to the whole tribe, whoever wants them!"
Smiling broadly, Bearclaw walked alongside Longreach back to Father Tree. He would be the dreamberry elf indeed!
Quoting myself once more
Bearclaw is... Bearclaw