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December 2009 Grab-Bag Writings and Art


Here are the elements for December:

A surprise
A headache
Lots of food
Contact (between two people)
An amulet or talisman

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.

Have fun, and happy holidays!


yay! *goes off to write*

*comes back*

oh, can I twist one of the elements? like 'no compassion' instead of 'compassion'? Not sure if I will need/want to, but just in case... ;)

*starts writing already* :D


AAARGH! Those elves! Those annoying elves! I need to write a report for my classes, due next monday and have to start still, but they keep running around in my head, demanding to be written first!!
*sigh* so I had no other choice then to do this... again, a short snippet about a 'hidden moment'. Hope you guys like it :) (oh, the Great Egg is kinda an amulet/talisman for the Gliders, right? I think so...)

Slowly, silently, the ponderous stone egg rotated in mid-air. The outer shell contains another egg - and within that, yet others - all floating and spinning in unison.
Egg sat still in his chair, almost a throne, weaving in the egg the symbols of the feast the Gliders were having at the same moment with the Wolfriders.
In his mind, he saw all the food and drinks, saw Leetah push the glass of wine, and Pike trying to help but only setting Cutter on fire. It didn’t matter to him, all he did was set everything to stone.
When the trouble-makers left the room, he kept his attention near his Lord. The feast continued with a few members less.
Now, his attention was drawn by something to his lips. He drank the fluid. And suddenly the world changed!
The egg got out of his control, changing shape and rotating wildly. His head hurt, he couldn’t get it under control anymore! Why did Winnowill do this?
It seemed like minutes, maybe even hours later that he felt her hands on him and her healing power flow through him, making the pain go away.
She sent.
“There. I have cleansed you - and now you can restore the Great Egg. I swear no one shall tamper with you again!” Then, she was gone, and he was once again alone.
Was it just imagination, or did he really feel something more than anger behind her sending? Something not felt in countless eights of time... compassion? Would she finally be turned around on her dark path now? Egg hoped so, for he had seen in the Great Egg foretellings of great disaster if she did not. But he could not tell anyone, only hope...

*goes off to try and write her report now* There! happy now, elves?


Nice! :D

Okay... my try...


This time
You ate too much

Your head hurts
Too many berries

Wrong contact
Leads to disaster

Does have its limits

The Loadstone
Everyone wants it

Elves are small
Does that surprise you?


Nice snippet again, faeriegirl!

Choosing Egg's encounter with dreamberry wine was fun (so not for him), watching him weave the feast in the Great Egg a nice insight and choosing Winnowill for the "compassion" element a big surprise. Too bad Egg was mistaken ...

One formal criticism: You should "de-cluster" the text a bit. Some space at the right place will structure even the shortest story, enhance the understanding ... and is a help for the eyes - especially older ones Wink

Surprised ... *Oooops* ... unusual ... funny ... surprising ...

... and now it's my problem ... :?

... Redhead! - always challenging!


Like your poem, Redhead!

and I tried de-clustering it at least a bit, Embala. Better now? And at first I wanted to stop at the compassion sentence... but the follow-up thoughts just came to me, couldn't leave them out... guess it works that way :) and I like it :)


Thankie! :D

And... Embala... I like being challenging! :twisted: but come on... can't be that hard to guess what the last one's about...


Love the poem Red. :D


I'm never (better is) quite sure what your poems are about. tho judging from the headline ...

... I've some ideas - - - buuuut ... Leetah definitely has no compassion on me ... she insists to be a problem! :x Looks like I've to ask the forum again:

Any scenes with Leetah compassion going "opps"? *Admits being lazy tonight*


Maybe... only close to "going oooops"... I'm thinking... her tendency to heal everything which is wounded...


for Leetah, I'm thinking of the scene in the Troll War where she tries to go heal a troll... and is stopped.


I supposed it was refering to this ... and it will totally NOT fit in my concept ... *sigh* ... problems are there for being solved, right? :roll:


They sure are!

and is my snippet better de-clustered now? ;) I edited the post with it...



I supposed it was refering to this ... and it will totally NOT fit in my concept ... *sigh* ... problems are there for being solved, right? :roll:

Maybe there's something here you can use:

Leetah after killing a troll:

When she confesses what she did with One-Eye:


Or how about the middle right panel here:

Just a couple of ideas.


good suggestions, jeb :)


Looks like I really got you thinking there! Tha's gooooood :twisted:


Really good suggestions, jeb - again! Seem that's my concept is causing the problems ... not the material. At least I've choices, now. Thank you :D

Of course you make us thinking, Redhead ... even when I'm a bit lazy at times <img src="/social/file/pic/emoticon/default/wink.png" alt="Wink" title="Wink" title="v_middle" />

My old eyes are grateful, faeriegirl ... works definitely better for me 8)


I feel I should apolgize ahead of time for a couple things. As this is my first Grab-bag, I'm unsure if there's lenght limits or whatnot. My plan for this story was simple, yet it seems to have grown into quite a monster and I've had to trim off some of my stray wanderings I would have liked to persue. As such, it may be rough in a few spots. I also feel bad that I'm posting it in two parts, but I'm at a break point and it'll be a few days before I can write some more, so I figure I'd post what I have so far. I also planned to add a couple other things, but that too will take a while. I apologize if this is a bit long winded or choppy. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have writing it! :)

Years before they time of Mantricker, before the trolls knew anything about machinery above a simple lever or block and tackle, Two-Edge was bored. It was happening more and more often, this endless, dull solitude wearing on and on into boredom. His conflicting mind loved the freedom solitude provided, but longed for companionship. Still, he trusted no one and could not unless they passed his tests and games. His mother had proven how untrustworthy elves could be, and men were... just too stupid and short lived. He had held out hope for the Trolls, but time and time again they'd disappointed him in his attempts to develop their honor system. They hadn't really proved untrustworthy to a great significance yet, just greedy.

His forge work was even wearing on him. It used to provide the solace and order his mind craved. The purity of metalwork could be trusted to great degrees. Centuries of Forgework had provided a lot of practice and a good outlet for his creativity, but you could only pound a piece of metal so many times before it wears too thin, beat a rock too much and it breaks.

His tunneling had also grown so extensive he wondered from time to time if he had forgotten some of the passages. They were as extensive as his intellect, as twisted as his mind, and laid out intuitively for his use, so to an extent he did not have to remember them all, but it worried him from time to time. Moreover, he had dug when he needed to go somewhere, and he usually only needed to go somewhere to observe his Elvin or trollish cousins. His tunnels reached as far as the so called "Frozen Mountains" to observe King Guttlekraw, Blue Mountain, the Sun Village, and Greymung's domain. There just weren't any more tunnels to dig, except for ore, and there wasn't a point to that unless he was going to smelt what he had already.

Bored, bored, bored.

The world was boring him, so he would bore the world. He'd bore a tunnel straight down. It had been done before at times, usually to connect living areas with other areas, or to follow a vein of ore, but none had just dug to dig. Wasn't anything better to do.

He dug and sang to himself, playing with new shapes for picks to make the work easier as he went, reworked his cart system for the tailings to work the shaft as well as the tunnels, and was content for a while. Here and there he'd run into groundwater that had to be dealt with, and he'd work some pipe or pump to spit it out some creative way above ground. He'd toyed with the idea of shunting it off into the lower caverns of Blue Mountain, just to have something to laugh at, but he didn't feel it was worth it just yet. He could always do that later.

The pointless dig of exploration continued for quite some time. The patience his troll's half provided prevailed, and the new effort kept his mind occupied as the heat built, the shaft got deeper, and interesting new forms of minerals, ores, gems, and metals came out of the rock.

The heat built to the point that he started to let quantities of groundwater into the shaft to cool things down from time to time. Even this grew to have less effect as the days it took to cool did not outweigh the short hours of digging that could be done before it was too hot to work.

He experimented with various coverings before settling on a suit of heavy leather interlaced with hollow vines he could fill with cool water. Outside of this he placed braids of sintered rope and spinstone, which seemed to be more resistant to heat. With this and a small amount of water trickling into the shaft, he could dig much longer to see where the heat was coming from.

He had a purpose now. Where was this heat that came from underground? It was far hotter than the day on the surface, hot as though an enormous forge was heating the very ground. Two-Edge had decided that there was some value in discovering the source of this heat, as it would have great value at his own forge.

The work continued for a few more weeks before he ran into another problem: his tools were overheating and had to be reworked more often. It was getting hot enough to soften the brightmetal his picks were made of! Still there was no sign of where the heat was coming from, but Two-Edge was determined to find its source and take it for his own.


High above his shaft, an older tunnel of his caved in as a couple Trolls mined their way over that tunnel.

The two cried out as they fell into what they were thinking was a cavernous pocket, and hit the tunnel's floor with a grunt. Usually, subterranean pockets were filled with sharp mineral deposits, and those that fell in usually ended up skewered.

Snubnose rolled into a crouch, peering into the darkness. The Glowstones hadn't been replaced in some time, and hardly gave enough light to show they were there. "Hush up yer whinin!" he snapped at Wartfoot, "we's fell into another tunnel! Ol' one by the looks of it."

Wartfoot continued nursing his wounded knee he'd fallen on. He whimpered to himself, muttering obscenities and drooling a little onto the cave floor. "...owowowowowow..." He had given up any pretense of being a mighty Troll-miner and curled into a fetal position, crying and whimpering.

"Shut your elfdung up and give me your glowstone! We don't know what's down here. It's probably just some old mine or cave-room, but there could be anything down here... ...snakes"

Wartfoot kept slobbering his lament as Snubnose rummaged around in his pouch.


he retrieved the glowstone from the inconsolable Wartfoot, bringing illumination to the tunnel


Wartfoot stifled himself mid-sob. There was no more frightening name to hear as a miner. The tales of stolen ore, tools, and killed workers struck such fear into Wartfoot his bruised knee was quickly forgotten.

"Finally, some quite!" Snubnose hissed his contempt for the weakling. "At least your fear of the dark had a purpose this time!" Glowstones were rare and valuable, but they didn't last forever. They were only used in passages that were used all the time, so torches didn't have to be replaced so often. Most trolls just used torches while mining, as they were portable and cheap. Any old root would do, dipped in fat, and as the king didn't provide such pleasantries as light, cheap and easy was the way of the miners. As such, glowstones usually ended up in the hands of those who could pay for them, or who were ruthless enough to take them from others.

Snubnose had found out about Wartfoot's glowstone years ago before he had come to be known by his current name. They'd been mining together for the better part of an age it seemed and he found some humor in Wartfoot's simpleness. Snubnose had found himself to be quite comfortable mining for others and just worked for one metal smith or another. He had no skill at the forge and despised gambling, so he was valued as a hard worker. He formed a team with Wartfoot to help him get away from the gamblers that were robbing him blind. The poor miner was pretty much worthless when it came to a match of wits, so he starved as his dinner was gambled away.

Later, Wartfoot found himself alone and accosted by the gamblers that had grown used to their easy pickings. Snubnose came upon them beating Wartfoot down an unused tunnel and jumped in to save him. Clobbered one with a pick handle and doubled one over his knee. Wartfoot was sprawled on the ground, passed out with his pouches strewn around him and his clothes torn. Snubnose spied the small glowstone (hard to see with the gamblers' torches) and set his foot over it as he turned to face the fighters. He didn't get halfway before one slashed at him and nipped half his nose off. Enraged, Snubnose brought around the pick handle upside the head of the gambler with a crack.

He ran them off, all the while holding the glowstone between his toes to hide it and keep it safe for Wartfoot. It mattered little to him of it's worth, and though he had many a laugh at the expense of Wartfoot's fears of the dark and nearly baby like nursing of his bumps and bruises over the years, they got along and he let no one know of Wartfoot's secret glowstone.

The glowstone had dimmed a bit since then, but still was plenty bright enough to see the tunnel around them. It would seem that this tunnel had to be as old as the trek from the Frozen Mountains if the glowstones were this dim....

Panic took Snubnose now as it had moments before with Wartfoot. If this was the tunnel that had been taken from where it was cold, was it before or after the Seal? If they'd opened a passage to the north, they had invited disaster!

Looking around from some sort of bearing, Snubnose pulled Wartfoot to his feet and tried to determine which way the tunnel had been dug. It had been rumored that the tunnel had been made by rock-shapers, but this one had the distinctive marks of a Troll-pick. They began down the path in the direction the digger had dug in, hoping for an easier way back to their respective quarters than climbing or digging their way back up to the tunnel above. They noticed odd cracks and holes in the walls, in which they could almost be certain they heard voices. They tried shouting back or banging the pick handle to get someone's attention, but it seemed that the sound didn't carry.

They came to a cross tunnel, this one carrying brighter glowstones and the appearance of fresh traffic. Rhythmic thuds and other noise could be heard in one direction, but the distinctive smell of the outside could be made out from the other branch of tunnel.

"Why'd we go this way, snub? If Two-Edge is down here, wouldn't we want to go the other way?"

"I just said that to shut you up, warty." he said dismissibly" I think this is the old Sealed tunnel that brought our clan here so long ago. I wanted to be sure we didn’t break the Seal" Snubnose explained, "but I don't have a clue what would be making all that racket down the one way, and I'm sure not going above ground, so I'm stumped!"

"Maybe the noise is from the cart shaft near Forge Hall?"

"I don't know, warty, but just keep quiet ”˜til we know what's going on. If we get mixed up in a fight with another band of trolls or something else, there's nothing keeping them from going back where we broke through and we won't have a home to go back to. If we made it back alive. Of course, you could be right, and it could be home anyway."

They continued down the tunnel towards the noise. The rhythmic sounds seemed unnatural, a surging thud that seemed beyond anything a Troll could accomplish alone, and it was growing louder as they made their way.

The tunnel opened to a brightly lit cavern. The dull grey light of the glowstones from the tunnel was drowned by the brilliant golden glow of the chamber. Around them the walls were lined with enough gold to buy Greymung's throne, crown, and the loyalty of every Troll in his domain. The golden walls were flat and polished, so that light was reflected evenly through the cavern and made it easy to see all the goings on. Great metal and wood structures with moving parts turned and gyrated in complex form. Tailings from a shaft a ways down from the shaft Snub and Wartfoot came from were carted down a track into other carts in the structures. The tailings were brought up and dumped into another structure and continued around and through all manner of different things.
The pair was dumbfounded by what they saw. No words were there to describe the spectacle and they could hardly believe their senses. They stood and stared around them.

Not a Troll was in sight.

Not a living thing was in site.

All the activity going on around them was moving by itself without a single attendant. No guards to keep others from taking the gold from the walls, not even workers to push the carts!

In another part of the cavern two forges and a blast Furnas stood alone and unattended, but obviously Troll sized.

"Snub, where are we?" Wartfoot whispered, almost inaudibly against the racket of machinery.

Snubnose didn't want to scare his friend with the possibility that this was, indeed, Two-Edges lair. He simply looked around him.

He saw that there was a path down from the tunnel to the cavern floor, which he took, keeping an eye on the shaft that the tailings were coming out of. He noticed that there were things he didn't recognize coming from that tunnel, such as a rotating shaft that appeared to run the length of it, and a round leather tube, like a shirtsleeve, soaked with water. Water, he noticed, was everywhere, in the towering equipment, in ditches running down other tunnels, in buckets and here and there on the floor. He peeked around the corner to make sure there was no one in sight, and darted across the opening, motioning Wartfoot to follow.

"Snubnose? Where are we?" Wartfoot repeated as he followed. For him, things made so little sense he gave up trying to take it all in and just followed. His foot brushed the cool moisture of the leather pipe and he noticed it was full of water, yielding but firm. The wetness reminded him of his thirst.

He tested the leather pipe and found it would support his weight. He stood on it to see better as he looked for some fresh water, instead of drinking it off the floor.

"Snubnose?” he whispered louder now, looking around. The leather pipe seemed to flex under his weight, and he bounced a little on it as he looked.

Snubnose crept forward, on the lookout for anyone. He rounded a swell in the wall and discovered a pile of metal tools by yet another forge. These seemed smaller than what a troll would use, and the work was unfinished with flaws in it, so he assumed that these were just practice pieces for whoever was working down here. He peered at the wall, looking at some of the gold inlay. It was thin. It was thin enough that he could tell that it was beaten into the stone of the walls and formed to the shape of the wall. He tried to peel off a piece to test this, but the work was so well done the foil could only be scraped off little by little, not worth the effort for now.

He looked at the mayhem in middle of the cavern, watching the material as it was sifted, washed, filtered, and separated. A little was starting to make sense to him, though it was still beyond him what made it all work. He knew it’s purpose, though: it was separating the crushed rock from the tunnel into basic parts, things needed to make metal, other parts that were valued for other reasons, and waste material, which was deposited in a pit in which the water from the leather pipe washed into. It didn’t fill up, so he assumed there was more to it than that.

“This is amazing! The work of a hundred Trolls done without a single one even watching!” Snubnose exclaimed. He wished he could understand it all, so he could bring it back and share with the others.

“Snubnose!” Wartfoot yelled, alarmed. Snubnose whirled to see Wartfoot fall over backwards onto the leather pipe. He’d lost his balance bouncing on the pipe. His weight impacting the pipe caused the leather stitches to burst, and nearly washed him out into the machinery.

Snubnose quickly pulled him out away from the flood of water that was now headed for the equipment. It was too hard to see what happened next, but the water caused the equipment to jam up and collapse in on itself, grinding to a halt. The shaft leading into the tunnel stopped, and the water stopped flowing out of the burst pipe.

“Now ya done it! Run!”


Two-Edge was getting close to taking a break. He’d been thinking about all the time he’d spent on this shaft and how little was coming out of it now. It was becoming evident that most of the world must be made of cooled lava, as that’s what this seemed like he was picking at. But where was the heat coming from? His mind roiled with more conflicts than ever.
Something wasn’t right. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it”¦.

Thousands of gallons of groundwater poured down the shaft onto him and the hot stone around him. The pump that had been pumping most of the water away had quit when Two-Edge’s machines had broke down, and the water had to go somewhere”¦.

He knew he was in trouble, and knew there was no way to make it, even as he fought his way against the flow of water streaming down the nearly endless shaft.

The water burst into steam and erupted back up the shaft in a geyser, taking Two-Edge with it.


Above ground, everything had been quiet, but the sudden burst of water and steam from a hillside put an end to that.

Two-Edge tumbled the rest of the way down the hill in a blur, his coverings helping to hold his body together as he hit the ground, trees, sharp rocks, and other things on his way down. His unconscious body came to rest face up in a small stream.


Far above, a stone of another kind was nearing the end of its wandering journey. A star had exploded eons ago, destroying a orbiting planet. The dead planet had shattered, sending shards of cold, powerfully magnetized stone across the universe, a piece of which had bounced its way to the planet of two moons, and streaked down at the half troll.

He had awakened from his tumble half dead, startled awake by a strange dream that he had become his mother. He remembered at least breaking an arm as he had come out of the crack in the mountain, but everything seemed to be intact, though still bruised and scraped up. His head was throbbing, racing to form some sort of coherent thought or remember everything that just happened. It all happened so fast! He looked up at the sky. Twilight had started just as he was waking up, and the sun was about to rise. As he gazed up at the fading stars he saw one pop into existence and move ever so slightly to one side. It was growing! He had seen the sky enough to know this wasn’t normal.

He had just enough time to make out something hitting the ground nearby, sending him flying.


He awoke once more, angry at the world. Part of him considered the foolish superstitions of the humans and was wondering if he had insulted the land by boring into it as he did, and this was it’s way to get even. He roared into a charge at the crater in the ground, tired of getting tossed around and getting beaten nearly to death.

“Be done with it, or be done with it! My life or let me be!” he screamed at the world, cresting the new rise in the ground.

He peered at the crater as the sun crested the horizon. Shattered wood, stones, and loose dirt lined the bottom of it. He stripped what remained of his leather coverings and attacked the crater, sending bits of debris flying. No tools to aid him, he threw the rubble to the sides, determined to get to the bottom of it.

Hours later, a bruised, tired, and frustrated Two-Edge fell into a slump in the bottom of the pit in the ground. He panted, muttering subtle insults at the stones around them. He used a scrap of his old outfit to wipe the sweat from his face, and threw the scrap away. It landed near the top of the crater, and started to tumble back down the side, it had a buckle weighing it down. He grabbed at it a couple times in his exhaustion, finally got a hold of it and threw it ahead of him in a huff, frustrations unceasing. He almost didn’t think of the clank the buckle made as it rolled a short way down the pile of debris and stopped suddenly and inexplicably on the side of a rounded stone.

Two-Edge stared at it for a moment, still not wanting to get up. The sun didn’t bother him as it did Trolls, and he’d been through so much he didn’t want to get up, but something just wasn’t right with what he was seeing.
A breeze picked up, blowing the scrap of leather a little, but it still clung to the side of the stone.

He rocked into a sitting position in the dirt, just out of arm’s length of the cloth. He inched forward, still not really feeling like getting up. He poked at the cloth and tugged at it, finding it firmly stuck to the stone. Sticky stone? This should not have made much sense, but for Two-Edge it was just another puzzle to be solved. Mysteries in stone he could solve, even if he had no clue how to solve the riddle of himself.

He picked up the stone and carried it back to his tunnels.


Years had passed, and Two-Edge was still engaged by what he’d gleaned. No longer bored out of his gourd, he’d spent all his waking hours exploring the implications and workings of the lodestone and the power he’d witnessed from the steam explosion that had ejected him from his caves. He didn’t have much room in his life for magic, and despised magic users of all kinds; however anything that had to deal with metal had value. It had seemed up to this point that metal was proof against magic so it followed that anything that interacted with metal could not be magical, and therefore the lodestone must not be magical. Most attempts to prove that failed, but he was gaining progress. He had found that the stone’s power could be transferred to brightmetal of certain types, especially any metals that it interacted with. Some minerals also interacted with it, but some metals and most minerals had no reaction when placed near it. He was fascinated with his treasure.

The lodestone’s pull on his attentions was greater than the interest he had in steam, however, and it would be quite some time before he would delve full force into that power. The equipment he’d been using in his various work sites had been powered by a combination of wind and water power. This had worked, but was unreliable as the seasons changed and wind would vary through the day. Now he’d torn down his wind power gatherer and rigged it up in the tunnel to the deepshaft. The deepshaft had been considered a total loss, as it remained flooded with boiling water. He found that this provided a fair amount of steam, which worked through that tunnel like a steady wind. He didn’t realize the significance that he’d invented a low-efficiency geothermal generator in the relative Stone Age of Abode, all he cared about was the fact he’d got something he could rely on while he studied the lodestone.

He began to realize that there were other stones from out of the ground that also exhibited the same actions as this larger one, but they were so weak he’d never noticed them before. This just reinforced his idea that there was nothing magical about the stone, that there should be some cause to the effect. He found that the force it projected was directional, and that some of the natural lodestones he’d found around lightning strikes had ring shaped patterns. He continued to probe the secrets of the stone.

He began to find that he could produce lodestones of his own, with different sizes and shapes for different purposes. The original stone became less special to him and as his understanding grew he started to search for more applications of the new knowledge.


Meanwhile, Wartfoot and Snubnose had gotten their nerve back, and were poking around Two-Edge’s lair more often. Things had gotten rebuilt, though it had changed quite a bit. The machinations stood silent, the water pipe was gone, and clouds of steam rolled out from the tunnel the pipe had been in. It appeared the cross tunnel that the old tunnel connected with was a vent of sorts to the outside, as a large amount of the steam rolled up the tunnel in a fog. “I’ve been in cold, dark, damp before, but this is ridiculous!” Snub had mentioned the first time they’d come down. They’d seen Two-Edge from time to time, working at a forge or tinkering with this and that. They usually backed away when he was around as not to get caught, but once they noticed an odd game of toss-knife he was playing. He was hitting the wooden target again and again square on, but the target was around the corner out of eyesight! It wasn’t possible, yet there he was, knife after knife, hitting a target he couldn’t even see.

They’d tried to recreate some of the machines they’d seen with varying degrees of success. Most of the problem was that between the two of them they had about the same skill at metalwork as a mup, and every time they got help the worker would claim the work for himself and leave them with nothing.

The started losing interest in trying to make names for themselves and decided they’d up their mining quotas and sneak ore. They’d already popped all the glowstones from the tunnel walls and got enough out of them to eat well for a moon. They were still reliving the tales of the expensive red meat they’d enjoyed, and the skins of wine they had downed. They had spent days at one point drunk out of their gourd, but when the dim glowstones ran out, they started missing this luxury, and got bolder with Two-Edge’s accumulations. It seemed that he either didn’t notice or didn’t care at first, and it became almost a game to see what he would do when he turned around and the pile had gotten smaller.
In truth, Two-Edge was vaguely aware of the theft at first, but when a small quantity of magnetic ore went missing, dung hit the fire.

He set a trap for the thieves. After the ore theft he used the mirror array to observe the cavern and watched as the duo came back for another haul. He thought for a moment about where they might go next, set up a mock dig, and hollowed out the floor around the dig site. He planted a variety of small gems “thoughtlessly” left in the pile of tailings, knowing they couldn’t resist the discarded goodies. In the false floor he poured a mixture of tree-sap and clay, and waited.

Sure enough they came back; Wartfoot darted over to the dig site, and broke through the false floor. He thrashed around a bit, getting stuck even worse in the mess. He started to yell out for Snubnose, who hissed at him to keep quite. He already knew Two-Edge was on to them, no sense letting him know they were there!

He pulled on Wartfoot’s tunic, trying to free him. He was careful not to fall in himself, but the concoction sucked at Wartfoot, holding him in place as firmly as if he was imbedded in the stone itself. Wartfoot would not quit thrashing about though, until both arms and legs were submerged in the goop and he could not help but lay limp.

He whimpered his displeasure, ruing the day they’d fallen through, regretting and cursing every trip they had made. Snubnose worked at freeing him and tried to shut him up, but had little success with either. His grip slipped free and he fell backwards at the feet of Two-Edge, standing silently with a grin on his face.

Terror struck him as he realized this was the moment of reckoning he had feared. Two-Edge’s pickaxe gleamed in one hand, his hammer hung from his belt near his other hand. The thick leather gloves Two-Edge wore would protect his hands from splintering ore, hot steel, or the yielding flesh of the two fumblers should he decide to beat them.

He crouched down next to the shaking Troll, the patience of centuries showing in the restraint he exercised. There was little value in what they’d taken, there was always more around to mine, it was the gall they had shown to invade his space! They deserved all they had coming to them”¦.

“Game time, my cousins!” his voice rumbled as though it came from the mountains themselves. “I’ve paid well for my fun, my ore, my gems, my game!”

“We didn’t mean to fall into your domain, Master Smith! The rock is vast, we couldn’t know we’d come through”¦” Snub was starting to babble and whine almost in unison with Wartfoot. The two were terrified, remembering all they had heard about this crazy genius.

Two-Edge seized Snubnose by his workbelt and drug him over to a cauldron of steaming liquid. The small pot smelled awful, and the occasional bubble that burst on the surface aided Snub in observing the consistency of the dark, vile smelling fluid.

Snub’s mind raced with all the scenarios he could imagine. He’d be forced to drink this stuff and die a slow, painful death from poisoning while his friend rotted in his sticky prison. He’d be forced to pour this stuff down his friend’s throat and watch him be eaten from the inside out! Two-Edge would drown him in this bucket of elfdung and laugh. Perhaps it would be worse than that!

Two-Edge deposited the frantic Troll in a heap next to the cauldron and glared at him with a smirk. “You could have ran, you should have ran! Leave your friend, leave him to me and run, run away! You did not, would not, for you cared for him. You have made your choice, but aid him you will, if he will allow it”¦” He motioned to the pot. “Haul this over to your thief-friend and we shall see what he chooses!”

Snubnose relaxed only a little, knowing that he was alive for now. He worried what would be required of him. Two-Edge escorted him as he hauled the heavy thing over to the hapless Wartfoot.

“Warty-Foot, Warty-foot, fear me do you? Your cries should bring far worse! Your fear may be the death of you!” His ramblings did little more than strike more fear into the already terrified Wartfoot. “Your choice is at hand, be freed by his hand, or die by your own! Sticky or stinky, here or there, you chose to come here, choose how you will leave!”

His ramblings fell on deaf ears. Wartfoot was attempting to thrash again, trying to tear his tunic off to get free from the gooey mess, but it had already soaked through to the skin. There was no way he could drown in the goop, it was shallow enough, but it was clear that there was no way he’d get out in his current frame of mind.

To Snubnose, Two-Edge explained: “There are two ways out for your friend- stay there ”˜til he dies and is carried away by the flies, or he can take the flies with him as he leaves free of the trap, for you poured upon him this crap! He must choose, you must explain!”

Then Snubnose understood what the crazed half-breed meant. He knelt beside Wartfoot to console him. “I don’t think the Master Smith is going to kill us, Warty. It’s a test of sorts. Listen to me, it’s going to be ok! Besides, I have another idea. Lie still.”

The miserable Troll calmed a bit. As best he could, he looked up at Snubnose. “What do I do, Snubbs? I can’t move!”

“What he’s saying is that this foul smelling stuff I hauled over here will get rid of this pitch you’re in, but you’ll stink worse than the offal we dumped in on that old codger last month! You gotta choose what you want me to do. I’m supposed to leave you here or dump that stuff on you.”

“You mentioned another option?” pleaded Wartfoot.

“It looks like if you move really, really slowly, you might be able to sit up and get up here. You gotta move slow, though!”

“I’ve been trying to move any direction I can think of! I can’t budge! I’m stuck here or I stink there where everyone will make fun of me! Ok, so now I’m starting to sound like crazy over there.”

Snub glanced over where Two-Edge had been standing, but he’d left them to their devices. He was sure he was watching from somewhere. It was starting to be obvious that Wartfoot was going to keep panicking and probably die in there.

He sighed. “Ok, tell you what. We’re going to change the rules.” He touched the sticky muck and tested it between his fingers. “If I get in there with you and slowly pull you out, will you not move a muscle at all and not panic? If you grab me it’s over for both of us!”

“Snub, you can’t, we’ll both get stuck! We’ll die in here!” He tried to thrash around a bit more and failing once more, went limp and tried to think about it. “You’d risk that for me?” He closed his eyes as he forced the words out, “pour it on me. Just do it!”

Reluctantly, Snubnose drug the pot of hot stench closer to the edge near Wartfoot. He was about to tip it over on his friend when he changed his mind and jumped in after him. He landed straddling Wartfoot, grabbed his arms and heaved hard. He was in it now! If he was wrong about this stuff he wouldn’t be able to reach the pot himself to get out.

He was making some progress, though. It was slow going, but gradually the smaller Troll’s hands oozed free of the muck and the arms followed. Little by little, more of the smaller Troll’s body came free, until he was able to stand on his own. It was becoming evident that they’d make it out soon, and stink free, too!

They slowly trudged their way to the side of the shallow pit and started to crawl out. Absentmindedly, Wartfoot grabbed for a better purchase to pull himself out, and grabbed the pot of pitch-desolver, dumping it them both.


Two-Edge followed his nose and the footprints of the pair up through the breach in his old tunnel. He was having a hard time remembering where this particular one went, and why it intersected with the vent he had punched for air outside. It was one of his, he thought, but he just couldn’t remember it. This bothered him a bit, but there was work to do. If he just caved this branch in, it would just slow them down, and if he just sealed it off, they’d just tunnel around it. He had to find a way to keep them from ever finding their way back.

He poked his head up into their mineshaft and inspected it. They really hadn’t gone any farther after they fell through, and their work was shoddy at that. He looked over the shaft a short distance and decided he’d do a little literal misdirection. Quickly, he mimicked the duo’s work offset a little at the junction by the main shaft and copied the old shaft precisely, just arm-lengths from where it would intersect his tunnel, and covered over the entrance to the original, leaving no trace behind.


Two-Edge was surprised to see the two invaders act as they did. He was used to seeing the greed and selfishness of his Troll-cousins in the past, but he hadn’t snooped in on them since before the lodestone fell. Quite a while before that, now that he thought about it.

He walked the length of the old tunnel, past the point where the thieves had stolen the dim glowstones. His own lit the way without their aid, but he could remember when he used to tunnel like this, just not this particular tunnel. It was a mystery that needed solved. He continued to walk.

He guessed that he had been traveling for the better part of a day in the dry tunnel, long enough he should have remembered doing this. It had taken at least a moon’s effort back when he’d done it, based on the age of it, but there wasn’t a clue as to what it was for. He’d tunneled from this tunnel, so he’d come from somewhere else. He wondered what he’d find, if it would be worth the trip.

He nearly fell into his own trap.

Paranoid as he was, he felt the crack of the flooring a moment before it was too late. The tunnel ahead of him was false, and he sat down hard on the edge of the cavern revealed as the tube of the false tunnel fell away. He suddenly remembered making it, that it was supposed to hold a traveler up until they were out in middle of the tube before it broke free, dumping the intruders onto the stalagmites below. Extreme, to an extent, but at the time it must have been necessary. He still didn’t know what it protected from.

He used the hidden door down the tunnel a bit and bypassed the cavern to continue on with his own journey of discovery. The tunnel was full of traps now, but he was on his guard and they were older, simple traps. Simple, dependable, reliable, and most often deadly, but it stimulated the memory in his twisted mind and he got the feeling he’d been running from something horribly despicable.

He slowed up the pursuit of his path and picked his way through his traps thoughtful of his next step. Had it been so bad he had blocked it completely from his mind? He remembered, painfully, his history with his mother, with all it’s wretchedness, and didn’t block it out, couldn’t as much as he wished. What could be so much worse than that?

He cleared his last trap, as he was now remembering how he’d laid it out, and peered through the gloomy opening at the end of his tunnel, and peered into the darkness.

Ahhh, that’s what this was all about! It was a den that had been used at some point by the Trolls when they had branched south one winter, before the two factions had split. Two-Edge had done his own exploring in his earlier years and had become trapped in this branch with no way out but to tunnel his way out or deal with the brutal Frozen Mountain Trolls. He could probably have held his own against them now, but then he had little experience and feared risking imprisonment again. Never again, he’d vowed, and dug his way free, trying to hide his escape in the dark crags in the ceiling. Later, he constructed the traps to ensure they could not follow, even if they did find his path.

He’d forgotten the passage because there were so many to choose from, and this was the longest, hardest route to use just to watch their inter-workings. It was obvious that they’d never come back here to date, as the cavern had grown thick with mineral deposits.

The trip had given him a thought, though. How had these brutal but beaten Trolls changed over the ages? Did they even now still work to tear down that palace of the elves, or were they plotting revenge against their brothers? Maybe something more drastic, something honorable? He’d go and find out for himself someday, compare them with the Trolls nearby.

Sometime the next day, after he’d washed, slept and eaten, he made a quick check on things, picked up a few tools he might need, and left to spy on the forest Trolls. They had spread over the years from where they had started after leaving the Frozen Mountains, to here nearly halfway to Blue Mountain. They had split into work groups, mostly made up of families, searching for treasure and ore. Two-Edge could not fathom their fascination with the gems they craved so greatly, the gold they ornamented themselves with. Gold had it’s purposes, and could be made into useful things. Layered on other metals it prevented them from rusting or breaking down if they had to be stored for years. Hammered flat, it could reflect light as needed, and one could see their reflections of images if it were polished flat enough. As in his lair when he spied on his thieves, subtle manipulations of a flat sheet of gold could correct for distance, and hold it’s polish for years without additional work.

Ore, he understood, and could not fault his cousins in the honest metal work that required the ore. He had mined quite extensively himself, and his tunnels spread just as far as theirs, though not all of them were constructed in mining pursuits. Finding his place in the world was all absorbing to him, and any work needed to be done to accomplish that end.

He moved over to his network of tunnels he used to spy on the locals. He kept most of these tunnels separate from the work tunnels, as they did not require the movement of large equipment or carts of ore and tailings. It also required stealth as he cut the paths, and some were quite small as a result, especially near high traffic areas and living quarters.

he made his way through the network, looking here and there in peep holes throughout the interlaced tunnels. At first, he could see no sign of this clan of Trolls, not a sign of life anywhere, so he made his way to the forges, which used to be worked in shifts, non-stop.

The forge-room was empty, the anvils had been taken and the hearths were cold. Every piece of equipment, tools, anything of value was gone, and had been for a few years, he guessed. He used a hidden door and swung down into the room, coughing in the dust cloud he had kicked up. All was as it had appeared; not a scrap was left. The only sign Trolls had been here was the cavern itself.


The locals had left this place at some point since the lodestone had fallen. This did not explain the presence of the two thieves, as it was days to reach the king’s throne room. They must have stayed here for a “work period” and hauled their treasure back to turn in for their pay, but if the Trolls that had lived here were too scared to stay, why would the gutless one be willing to almost gleefully stay here as he stole from the one he feared the most? Puzzles and puzzles, enough to keep Two-Edge from being bored for the time being”¦

To be continued...


TrollHammer, there are absolutely no limits whatsoever to grab-bag work, except that they have to be EQ-related. And you're not the first one to grow a mega huge story ;)
ok, now I'm off to eat breakfast and get going and read your story :)


*comes back* oooooohhh, intriguing story! *waits for part 2* you write very nice!

oh, and Embala: if you need more suggestions for Leetah-compassion, there might be something in the HY story where she gets into her powers?


Nice one TrollHammer! :D And... Yeah... there's no limits! Have you seen the monsters Tenderfoot grow? Surprised

Like this little word-play :D

[quote:052cf511a0]The world was boring him, so he wuld bore the world. He bored a tunnel straight down.[/quote:052cf511a0]


Nice story TrollHammer. :D


Like what I've read so far, TrollHammer. Snubnose and Wartfoot are an unusual, unequal couple - both funny and somehow touching.
Two-Edge just found Greymung's lost "kingdom" ... wonder whether he will encounter the Icetrolls. Some action afer so many insight wouldn't hurt.

A "formal" plea: your story is clearly structured in paragraphs but I wonder why you refuse to make real line gaps. The text will not be longer with it but the eye will hold the line easier. Maybe it's just me but I had to reread half a paragraph more than once just because I lost track of my position in the wink of an eye.


Thanks for all the help everyone, perspective help guide writings into better outcomes.

Embala, I hope you'll be pleased with the direction the next part will take, as it is intended to be the story I set out to write in the first place, but it felt like background was needed and buildup, and I ended up getting lost in the fun of writing. There should be plenty of action, though it'll have some cannon events revisited (that doesn't spoil things to say so, does it?)

It's going slow, there's so much going on this month. It shouldn't have to wait until next month, though. Just need a few hours of peace and quiet! Grin

Looking forward to some other stories too. I'll read 'em when I see em'! :)


Having background is good ... perhaps just a little too much of a good thing for a slow, non-english reader like me Wink

Take your time ... we'll be here.

btw: I havn't count if you've included all six elements already ... if yes you can continue in the next grab-bag ... with the new elements - just like Tymber.


I need to go through and read it all from the very beginning. I am so obsessive compulsive about stuff that if I do something out of order I will have to go back and redo it all in the right order or it will drive me absolutely nuts.

Tymber....turn me into an Elf. That would so totally ROCK!!!


I just blew through 472 pages in 4 days and that is WITH taking care of a 20 month old and everything else. I read A LOT!!! Books and stories are a MAJOR passion of mine. I just wish I could actually write worth a damn.

Seriously reincarnate me into an elf....LOL.


No...I read that many pages....I couldn't write that. You could take your personality and turn yourself into an elf....your features....coloring etc.


Are you gonna Elf BMR into the story! *jumps up and down* me too! me too! me too! pretty please? :awww:

anyways, nice new chappie!!! like it very much!! and what's that about you not being a good writer? Bad boy! you're a great writer!


and we all love the stories that come from that approach!!


...isn't that the only way to write? :)

I've been buying books right and left to 'get structured' and write well when I do...

Seemed to all go out the window and fall together as Tymber stated.

It's all good, seems to be more fun that way!

Next part of Lodestone is about ready to post, but I'm trying to figure out if I should wait for next month and adapt it? It's already certain that there will be a third part, and I can't be sure it will end there. What do you guys want?

Thanks for writing in, Tymber! I'd heard you were a good read, and you didn't disappoint! I'd looked a little for some samples, and always get lost in the threads. Looking forward to the next part!


well Trollhammer, what do YOU want to do with part 2?
You can always post it as it is now in January, if the new elements don't fit your story. Or post it now, and wait with writing part 3 till January... And if it happens to become an even longer running story: I for one would love to read more from you! So don't worry about that!


Way cool....see....I can't get my point across when braindead....LOL. And as far as writer's go ya'll have talents I wish I had!!! Geez Tymber you crank stuff out faster that just sucks you in and leaves you wanting more than anyone I know. Wink


Yes! isn't it GREAT how many stories there are possible with the same elements? I LOVE that!


Nice little interlude!

The pride discussing the arrival of the new elves ... different opinions about chances and risks coming with them. A chance to introduce the pride member ... starting to mold their characters.

I like how thee females are developing - not reluctant at all. Already like Shadestrike and Clearwater ... and Dawneyes' jealousy promises some spicey incidents.

Spearclaw's prefered occupation is discribed a bit drastically Wink , don't you think so too?

Looking forward how they all will handle the new situation - elves and humans both :D


Not sure if it is just Celtic lore or not but some stories of old indicate humans with Elvish blood....that alone could put an intriguing twist on an old story. Wink



Tymber....turn me into an Elf. That would so totally ROCK!!!


He turned me into a newt!

But I got better.


I don't want to be a newt...I wanna be an elf...LOL. I need to look up that whole Elvish descent thing and see where exactly that comes from....LOL.



Next part of Lodestone is about ready to post, but I'm trying to figure out if I should wait for next month and adapt it? It's already certain that there will be a third part, and I can't be sure it will end there. What do you guys want?

When your 1. part does not contain all the elements - you MUST post the rest ... rules <img src="/social/file/pic/emoticon/default/wink.png" alt="Wink" title="Wink" title="v_middle" />

When the elements are already done you could wait and try to adapt part 2 to the January elements ... what I would prefer personally due to lack of reading time Unhappy And when you cannot adept it you can always add it to the December thread in January - as already suggested.

And write another one for January ... Wouldn't mind to get another ongoing tale in the grab-bags :D

But all what really counts is : What do you want?

The real collage will take it's time ... more than Redhead's obvious poem suggests ... more than I'd have guessed - and birthday and Christmas preparations don't help finding time. Finally managed to do a background pic

click to see full sized



...isn't that the only way to write? :)

I've been buying books right and left to 'get structured' and write well when I do...

Seemed to all go out the window and fall together as Tymber stated.

It's all good, seems to be more fun that way!

Yep, there's nothing like it when the scenes just come to you. And if you're lucky somehow they end up fitting together in ways you didn't even imagine when you started. It's the greatest feeling. I'm almost like a junkie always trying to get that magic to happen again. :?


Like the pic Embala! :thumbsup:


Well, Part 3 is coing along faster than I thought, so there's not much of a reason not to hold back on part 2, besides, I've been called out as having not met the objectives, Wink so hopefully they're a little less subtle this time 'round. A word of warning: the story may have turned a bit... Trollish... :roll: .

Lodestone (continued)

Two-Edge had been watching his cousins for many turns of the seasons. He’d made trips to the north to observe the Trolls there, noting their stagnation and decline as a group with little to do but fight the elves that had showed up there. The war had already turned into a stalemate; the occasional Troll or Elf would make an attempt to break through the other’s defenses, end up dead, usually eaten by the enemies. That was, if the cold didn’t kill them first, or inter-tribe conflict. Two-Edge mused for some time how this seemed a reflection of the war in his own mind. Neither half of his makeup was allowed to rise over the other, nor, of course, could there be cooperation between Elf and Troll to work together for mutual benefit.

His mother had tried to meld the Elf with the Troll, and Two-Edge had been the result, neither one nor the other. She would not let him be himself, and pushed him to choose which he was. He had not been allowed to feel at home with either, the stories she had told of his father’s race showed them to despicable, vile creatures while she had shown herself to be just as evil as she said they were.

Two-Edge had witnessed some of the savagery, greed, selfishness, and other ill attributes she had mentioned, but he had also witnessed a code of conduct when these interactions took place. Even if the reason why they treated each other as they did was not as good as it could be, there was some small bit of honor that they clung to, it seemed. The Elves were nearly unpredictable in comparison. An individual Elf could appear to be honorable as they dealt with others, but another, such as his mother, could be a deadly poison dipped in honey. He could not discern the difference. In groups they could get a little more uniform in their actions, unify for a specific purpose at times. There were many events Two-Edge had witnessed when two Elves would not compromise on a direction when decisions needed to be made and the group would split, parts following the warring pair as they were told instead of deciding to follow one or the other based on their own motivations. This was a decision too, he figured, to follow as herd-prey. It did not set well with him, though.

He took a chance there would be an answer: “Voice? Voice, are you there? I have need to speak! My thoughts are at a peak!” He’d repeated the query increasingly in the last few years. He knew not who the Voice of the Dark was, and perhaps never would. He had lost track of the turns of seasons since he had been visited last. Perhaps the entity had died, or perhaps it had been a figment of his imagination from the crazier times of his youth when it had visited more frequently. Anymore, he hardly paused when asking, as had become habit as he passed certain dark corners of his lair when much was troubling him.

As he geared up for another weeks worth of eavesdropping he wondered what his own goal was in spying on them. In a way, he did feel that there may be some resolution to his own imbalance if Trolls could be an honorable lot. They did have some values as a race that appealed to him, such as their metalwork. This was something that could be trusted to be pure: time at the forge was time well spent and never wasted. Even in failure there was a lesson to be learned. Not so with some of the other pursuits of the Trolls. There was nothing that could be gained from a bout of gambling that could not be gained with honest work, and so much honest work to be lost when gamblers failed. He felt more of a pull to be kin to the Trolls, except he couldn’t help feeling that they should try to be more like him than he become like they. It was not so much that he was so much better than they were by some intrinsic value, but as he saw the madness around him he knew that it was worth the effort to find something better than the squabbling and warring he had dealt with his whole life when he was not at his forges.

He muttered to himself. “Madness within, madness without! Am I doomed to such madness as this? To choose one madness over another is madness itself, but I know nothing but this! For a moment’s peace I would do anything. Sever my arm, sever my leg! To be free from this curse of ill-fitting existence it would be worth it, yet this is madness itself, as I so love my one pleasure in steel. Still, here must be more than endless forge-work to sever me from my madness for such short moments! Will anyone be worthy of this unworthy soul?” he laughed to himself at the thought. “I am a fool. How is it that I find myself worth enough to require others to earn my companionship, yet I am not quite an Elf and less than a Troll! I am beneath them, and I feel they need to rise to me? More madness!!!”

He slammed three knuckles against a golden mirror as he passed so as to keep from having to see himself. It resonated like a gong as it fell backwards without as much as a dent for his effort, and a familiar stream of conflicting thoughts murmured through the back of his mind. ”˜Fool, not only was that a waste of time, you would have had to fix it later anyway!’ ”˜Heh, at least it fell over, I hope it scratched a little as it hit the floor’ and ”˜Aw, come on, not even a dent? You fail at ruining your own stuff!’ ”˜You’re going to have to fix that now.’ He even considered going back and stomping it or otherwise destroying it out of frustration, and gave up trying to resolve the frustration. There were times in the past he would have spent quite some time devising ways to inflict the most damage to such inanimate objects, even to the point of spending days grinding the dust of the items that opposed him. He’d mellowed a bit over the centuries and had a better purpose for the moment.

Having gotten back from a northern trek, he headed over to the den of the forest Trolls to spy on the king there. The forge work had become a little more refined than the last time he’d dropped some examples for them to examine. Most of the work had been put into making the steels more pleasing to the eye than to be functional. To be sure, knives had some usefulness for self-defense and the picks and hammers were more than just pretty things, but as much effort as the Mountain Trolls had put into functional weapons of war, the Forest Trolls had apparently put the same into ornamentation of importance. It would be such a one sided battle, but fortunately for these Forrest Trolls, the others had no interest in them at this time.

One of those examples he had given them years ago had been a test, a game, and a gift. Two-Edge had perhaps been too subtle when he planted the small curved knife years ago. He’d worked a bit more on it than it had appeared, and it should have dawned on these Trolls that such a simple knife should have unseen purpose. The king’s metal-smiths had looked it over, seen no knowledge to be gleaned from it, and returned it as an ornament of simple beauty. These simple minded Trolls had no foresight, no thought of what may be without it in front of their eyes, in their hands to understand worth. Even then, they had to be told what to do at times! If things played out well, and they proved worth, there would be a lot to hear from this Elf/Troll.

He had reached the Throne-room and set about to get comfortable for a day’s worth of observation. He noticed the havoc playing out below and was immediately absorbed into the activity. Troll society here in the forest had been fairly tranquil and routine up until the Elves had discovered them a relatively short while ago. Trade with the Elves had been good for both, allowing an outlet for some of the forge work that had at one time been just practice pieces, while bringing in items of comfort for the Trolls. Adjustments had to be made for the new activity, but the changes were embraced and the new order of things had asserted themselves fairly quickly. Day to day life had little excitement, so something big was going on now.

As he peered down from above the king’s hall, he picked up bits and pieces of shouted commands. Something was loose in the tunnels, that was proving to be a hassle for the guardsmen to capture or kill, it seemed. Greymung presently ordered a contingent of guards to the great hall and a room by room search for the intruder, though it was starting to sound like there was more than one.

As his excitement grew watching the events transpire, he became intrigued at what could be such a challenge to these Trolls in their own tunnels. It wasn’t any kind of all out attack, it seemed, but something small and wily had gotten past there defenses and was leaving chaos in its wake. Had one of the local Trolls decided to go rouge, or was it some kind of animal, perhaps dangerous?

The string of profanity that came from the mouth of this leader he watched was diverse and complex. It was hard to tell what he was specifically talking about, but interestingly enough it became evident he was using insults reserved for the Elves that lived above. The phrase “wolf-lovers” was the last clue that there was indeed multiple forest Elves that had assaulted the complex.

This had a spark of oddness to it, as there was only one Elf that mixed with the Trolls to this point. The two races did little more than trade besides this exception, so to actually witness an infiltration of one group into the other was a treat indeed! This would be a grand show of the qualities of both parties.

Presently, the intruders had been found and were soon to be brought before Greymung. The codger muttered to himself in anticipation of the meeting. It is true that the last unwelcomed meeting had been quite the boon to his kingdom, but that had been met on their turf, not an unwelcomed intrusion to their inner sanctum. Two-edge watched the events play out as two small Elves were brought before the aged leader. They couldn’t be much older than an eight or two of seasons, mere mups! Ah, the follies of youth! Some of the greatest accomplishments and failures had been due to action taken by younglings as they had not had their actions suppressed by ages of dull repetition and lecture by elders. Two-Edge himself fought to maintain some of this quality, under restraint, to engineer some of the games he played with his mother, and use as his major asset to combat hers.

Apparently, the duo had come down to retrieve/steal an ornament of jewelry! This was uncharacteristic of Elves, as they generally would either work toward the goal of some single ornamentation that would represent themselves, or would make such ornamentation from some great achievement, such as a test, a battle, a hunt or whatever. Few had metal ornamentation as it was mostly manufactured by the Trolls, so what they had they had paid dearly for. One of the two tried to reason with the mighty leader, while the other seemed to haughtily be looking for some way to get away and still accomplish whatever goal he had come down for.

The calm one questioned the ownership of the object in question. It dawned on Two-Edge that this was the mup of the Wolfrider’s leader, who had lost this particular bauble in a rigged game. He had little pity for this Elf’s father, as gambling has no honor to uphold anyway, but it intrigued him that this young one would try to get to the truth behind the story.

The result of the meeting enraged Two-Edge! The king lied about the outcome of the game, kept the item in question and enslaved the reasonable Elf! Instead of just booting the two out and lecturing his guards on security, he actually had the gall to take a hostage when he was in the wrong!

This action told Two-Edge what he wanted to know. These Trolls were not the honorable race he had been hoping they would be. There were some of them that could one day be salvaged into some semblance of the companions he longed for, but they were so far removed from the positions of power required to enact change. The attributes they held would be crushed under the weight of this corrupt society!

He had looked in on the thieves he had played with years ago and mused at their small battle to stay who they were. They still were jeered for the stink they had come back in from their venture, though the smell had only lasted a few weeks. He snickered to himself by that little game he’d made them play. Even breaking the rules they had shown resourcefulness, honor in compassion, and selflessness on both their parts. He had been holding hope that the rest of their brood were like minded, that he could finely find a home.

That hope had died today. They had been an aberration, like he himself. He had left some easy pickings for the two as encouragement for their good qualities, and had thought he’d pushed them to encourage the others to do likewise, but as the near eight-eights of Trolls stood by and allowed things to transpire as they had it was obvious they were all like their leader and corrupt.

He continued to watch the happenings with interest now for the young Elf that was forced to do the bidding of the devious Trolls. He seemed to be functioning with a considerable amount of restraint. Time and time again he was given plenty of opportunity to break his word and flee, perhaps even escape! Yet each time he could disobey and betray the trust he had put forth he did not. Two-Edge knew that the other young Elf would not have shown such a trait, but perhaps not all Elves were bad? This one showed great promise!

The weeks wore into moons, and the youngling grew as he plodded along doing the bidding of the Forest Trolls. This one may have ”˜enjoyed’ an eternity of servitude if his companion had not come back and worked at the little honor Picknose maintained. Two-Edge would not have let it come to that had this gone on long enough; there was no reason this honorable Elf should suffer a similar plight he had in his own youth!

As things had played out, Two-Edge had a lot to think about. Elf? Troll? Who he was had not come to any more resolution, and his disappointment and anger he held for his cousins had started to become like that which he held for his mother and the race she represented, yet the Elves had proven they could be as honorable as he had been attempting to groom the Trolls to be! The conflict had only gotten worse! Elf and Troll? Dung on both!

Two-Edge had decided that there was one more option open to him for companionship. He could put together his own kingdom with hand selected individuals that had proven themselves worthy. He could start with the two thieves he had played with earlier. It was true that they had stolen from him, but they had also shown kindness as they solved his little game. He would test them again, as it had been years since he’d played with them.

Wartfoot and Snubnose were still mining away at ore in a more suitable location closer to home. They were still loners as they didn’t fit in with the drinking and gambling crowds, and there was little else to do! They had no hobbies to speak of to occupy their time. Wartfoot’s only real asset beyond Snubnose’s companionship was the priceless Glowstone he treasured. As they spent most of their time alone in the dark, he’d worked up a lanyard and hung it around his neck. Nose-less or stunted, they were physically inferior to compete with the other workers for a mate, so they worked alone, telling each other tales from past digs, how they figured they had outwitted Two-Edge by escaping with their lives, or at times they would make up stories on how they would live if they struck it rich. One thing they both agreed on was that the adventures with Two-Edge’s cavern had been a major highlight of their lives, though it had been foolish.

They spent a lot of time in silence however, as they could only chew the fat of old tales so often without getting bored with it. It was such a time when Two-Edge came upon them and spoke.

“My honorable thieves, I have watched you for some time, and will allow you to atone for your crime. I have come to teach you much, but not about mining and such. If you wish to learn, my respect you will earn! The reward is great if you prove to be great!” He smiled, at ease with these two. He was almost giddy with the thought of company at long last!

The two scrambled for a way out, fearing his lunacy. Of course, at the end of a mineshaft there was no place to go so they ended up facing their worst fear, crouching with picks up defensively.

“You fear me? That is good, but you will learn to trust me! You will see, you will see!” The pair took some time to calm down and listen, and once they learned that they did indeed have nothing to fear from this Master Smith, they were absorbed by the riddles and rhymes. There were many times that Snub had to explain a point to the dim Wartfoot, but all in all they were relatively rapt students, seeing the value in serving this wise mad-one before them.

Weeks of teachings in the mineshaft stretched into seasons, but as the Half-Troll brought them good food to eat, ore to turn in towards their quotas, and wisdom they would need to exist away from what they had known all their lives, they were pleased with the break in the centuries of mining. Two-Edge had grown fond of his students, and the time grew near that they would be able to in turn teach some of the others he had hope for. He had seen so many like these two worked to death, by cave in or poverty, and would soon take them away from this literally dead end job.

Even Wartfoot was showing some promise to be able to function on his own one day. Two-Edge had turned this cowering, dim-witted creature and molded him into a keeper of wisdom, trustworthy of the keys to his secret lair. The two had learned to work honestly, judge the value of mined goods for themselves, construct machines to an extent, and understand the concepts of camaraderie, honor, and discipline on top of the kindness and kinship they had already shown. These former thieves had grown to love their teacher, and rarely questioned anymore when he asked for them to complete a task.

In his drive to teach these two how to be better than their peers, however, Two-Edge had let his guard down. The ore that the two had been bringing in was too good, too orderly, and had raised the suspicions of their overseer, who had investigated and found the three chatting away. He had informed the guard, who had told the king. Greymung had decided to play a game of his own, and constructed a plan to entrap the Master Smith to have him serve him. He had a tunnel dug up to the spot they met, just shy of breaking through. During a lesson period, he sent in the guard to cut of their escape and sprung the trap, sending more warrior guards in on the trio through the now breached wall.

Snubnose and Wartfoot sprung to their feet, ready to defend their master and teacher. Their carefully groomed loyalty and reinforced self worth enabled them to put up quite a fight. When it became obvious that the ambush was not well intentioned, Snub leaped into the fray screaming, pickaxe swinging! Wartfoot sidled up beside Two-Edge to defend his back, pick at the ready. These two had truly changed from weak-kneed cowards to the first of Two-Edge’s warriors!

Snub beat back the oncoming horde, beating them back up the tunnel they had dug. Two-Edge beat back his would-be captors with his massive fists, fueled by the rage of the betrayed. All the times he had helped them, the wealth of knowledge he had shown them through the tools he left for them, and they wanted more?

He pulled the hammer from his belt and began to crush these ill-trained guards as he moved back down the tunnel toward his hidden door. He yelled for his companions to follow, turning to see Snubnose thrown back into their mineshaft headlong into the wall. Snub fell to the floor limp, it was too dark to see, but it was doubtful anyone could have survived the impact.

His eyes grew wide. His friend, his new companion lay unmoving in the dirt, cut from a dozen blows as he had defended Two-Edge with his life! Two-Edge bellowed as he charged back down the shaft, Wartfoot in tow, to check on the fallen Snubnose. He rolled the lifeless Snubnose, tears streaming enough he could not see the full extent Snub’s crushed skull. There was no breath of life in him, but there was little time to mourn his loss as the endless multitude crashed down on him. He faced the breach, to see what could have defeated his student, and looked into the eyes of a member of the Old Guard. These ancient warriors had been around since the split between the Frozen Mountain Trolls and the Forest Trolls. While the guards were a relative joke compared to Two-Edge’s fighting prowess, these few elite warriors were still around for a reason, and though old, they more than made up for their lack of youth in fighting skill. The massive cleaver this one held would have hewn Snub in two had he used the blade against him, and it was becoming obvious that the attack was meant to capture, not kill the skilled Master. Uncertain, the warrior had slapped the poor Snubnose with the flat of the blade, and flung him far down the tunnel to his death.

Two-Edge faced this relic with his worn hammer, attempting to protect his remaining apprentice. He feigned a swing at the attacker, appearing to hurl his prized tool at the warrior-Troll. It connected with the upper edge of the breach and caved in the tunnel on the fighter, encasing him for eternity, he hoped.

He turned to charge back up the mine-shaft with Wartfoot to make their escape to find that Wartfoot was gone. He looked in the darkness around him and saw only the lifeless body of Snubnose. The commotion down the shaft told him he was not alone, however, and he made his way toward the noise, hoping to rescue or aid his underling.

Halfway to the mouth of the shaft the tunnel grew in brightness. The torches of the mob lit the way as he ran, and he could see it would be a fight any way things came out. He could see Wartfoot whirling at the mouth of the shaft, chipping splinters of stone from the walls at his assailants and drawing blood with his pick. Ages of oppression boiled up out of him as he fought with a fury even Two-Edge was unprepared for. Warty stepped out of sight as Two-Edge neared the entrance, to be cut off by another of the Old Guard. Two-Edge did not even slow his charge, and bowled into the master warrior at full force. The two tumbled out into the walkway, sprawling into a fistfight as their weapons flew out of reach. Two-Edge struggled to end this small fight to follow Wartfoot, but the elder combatant held firm, using a combination of holds and blows to keep him off balance and unable to get away.

Wartfoot could barely be seen in the haze of dust that had been kicked up in the scramble, but was still holding his own against the guards. There was still hope they would get away yet! Two-Edge whistled to get his attention as he jabbed his own antagonist in the ribs. A satisfactory crack followed as the warrior rolled off of him. He spun to his feet and ran to help Wartfoot, and raced down the hall towards him. A grinning guard peeked around the corner at him from that direction and struck a blow to the support beam, caving in a section of the hall and separated the master from his student.

Two-Edge whirled about as he was familiar with the layout. There was a path that led back and linked up with that passage not far away. The Old Guard was just regaining his feet from the tumble. As the Master Smith ran by, the warrior tried to block his path, ensnare him as he had been commanded. The enraged half-Elvin metal-smith struck him full in the face with his elbow, and grinned as he felt the guard’s sinuses and nose splinter under the blow. The Old Guard slammed against the stone inlayed floor with a thud as he passed out.

He rushed passed the fallen antagonist and down the hall, knocking the few remaining guards right and left as he left the carnage behind. Turning corners, he quickly followed the path he needed to get back to Wartfoot. But something was amiss! The air was getting stagnant. He rounded what was to be the last corner and found another cave in, weeks old.

This was too well orchestrated, it seemed. They had completely sealed him off in this stretch of tunnel, easy pickings in a few days as he began to weaken from thirst. For him to clear even one of these openings would take those few days, while he continuously fought off or killed the other Trolls sealed in with him. They only had to post a guard to wait until then, and they would have him.

This was what he assumed was their plan, with his poor students as unknowing bait. They could not know of the few secret doors laced through this section for his use. Frustrated with the extra time it was going to take to work through his own twisting tunnels, he grumbled to himself for his foolishness to not take his charges to his domain sooner. They had fought for him! At least one had died defending this lowly half-breed of Troll and Elf, and what had he done for them, led them to slaughter?

He writhed his way around his twisted passages to cut off the kidnappers. He felt he knew the layouts well enough and the likely place they would take Wartfoot, but as he dumped out in the passage where they were supposed to be, there wasn’t even a sound or other hint they had passed or were approaching. He stood, poised for action, wondering if he’d thought wrong about it or was just too early.

A moment of silence passed, and he moved back up the passage, thinking they just weren’t there yet.

Sobbing, Two-Edge patrolled the maze of surveillance tunnels around Greymung’s inner domain. It appeared that the multitude of his Trolls had grouped together in large halls, including the Throne Room. Not a single lone Troll was to be found anywhere in the area, seeking protection in numbers from the wrath of Two-Edge.

The problem was Wartfoot was nowhere within any of these masses of Trolls! Not a sign of his existence anywhere. It was even as though he had been removed entirely from the realm. Two-Edge had covered a large area, even to the extent of checking likely areas above ground. Wartfoot was simply gone!

“So called King Greymung, sad fool, ruler of fools! Where is your prize, where is my prize?” Two-Edge bellowed down unseen from the ceiling of the Throne Room. “Your prisoner, my listener, must return to me now!!!”

Fearful, the King pulled his remaining two Old Guard closer still, and the others around him snapped to attention. They had not a bit of a clue what to expect from the Master Smith, as their trap had been foolproof and straight forward. He had defeated half of the Old Guard, routed the contingent of dozens of fighters, and escaped their trap, but Two-Edge was no fool when it came to weapons and machines they knew. Would he crush them in their own caverns? They had thought so, and had brought in additional bracing for these areas they had fortified and occupied.

“Perhaps,” Greymung spoke, trying to keep the tremor out of his voice, “we should discuss this face to face? I rule here, and I do not deal with the unseen! Show yourself if you have a complaint! If you feel I have wronged you, that I owe you something, why do you fear approaching me?” The old king did not lie well, and all present could tell he knew Two-Edge was fearless and unafraid of him, but would not show himself. Many did not know what the commotion was about, but had come here for protection and to protect the others.

Two-Edge was blunt, as he knew nearly all this old leader’s twisted thoughts, and was in no mood for games. “Warty-foot! Release him!”

“Are you trying to say my feet are warty, Master Smith? I have never understood your games! Have you slipped even more into the madness that plagues you?”

“My only plague is the fools around me! I do not jest, my kingly pest! Release my student, sooner would be prudent!” Two-Edge’s sing-song rhymes were fading in and out as his injured, split mind flip-flopped between rage and madness enhanced by this attack and attempted capture. “For if you wait, your death will not!”

Greymung maintained his innocence in front of his masses. “I do not know of the one you speak! Perhaps this”¦ Who did you say, warty foot? ”¦is just a figment of your sad, contorted mind?” Greymung snickered to himself. “If we had dared take a student of yours into our own humble kingdom he would be a great asset, to be true, but he would be free to leave, if he wished. I would not keep him here against his will, or “take” him from you. It doesn’t seem that this supposed person would have had much choice if he was living under your rule. If you did not imagine him, perhaps this”¦ whatever it is”¦ ran away?” His smile grew and his words started to drip with malice as he began to feel he was gaining control of the situation. This half-Elf would have to come to him, and be captured by his guard! A voice could do nothing.

Silence fell for a moment. The guards and others there stood quietly anticipating the possibilities. Greymung appeared to relax, settling in his thrown as though unconcerned. The crowd’s tension was intense, as few had true faith in their leader’s capabilities. The great population of Forest Trolls had fled the outer kingdom, in some cases sealing off the return paths, as they felt there was little way for this king to protect them. As he slumped in his ornamented chair, they felt none the safer to being closer. He had brought some horrible wrath on them.

“Is that all you have to say, Master Smith? Perhaps you are forgetting your reason for coming here? Perhaps you meant to drop some trinket or contraption? It has been years since you left that silly toy knife for me! If you were to appease me with some small gift I would not have to become cross with you, as you have spoiled my calibrations that I have gathered so many here for!” The dismissive ploy had to be worth the air it took to speak, if for no other reason than to confuse this Tinkerer or at least these before him, as it was starting to sound as though there would be cause for celebration if the mighty Two-Edge indeed left them alone.

The silent moments passed. It felt as though there had not been anyone there to speak to, that Two-Edge had not himself been speaking to them, and they were standing there for no apparent reason. Hushed whispers started around the perimeter of the room, and confused questions circulated about what was happening. When the booming voice of Two-Edge spoke again, it jarred some individuals so greatly they fell to the ground while others nearly scattered out of panic.

“As you wish, my silly king! A trinket, a treat, a prize for the braggart? You will have all you deserve and more! I have given you more than you know already, and now you will know what I will give you: I bestow on you greatest gift I know! The same as I was treated with as a young mup, a gift of great knowledge played out in a Game!” His voice began to fade away in hearty laughter, a sickening, snickering laughter, that chilled everyone to the bone....

Greymung did indeed bring together a great feast of celebration! His halls echoed with the sounds of merriment: the Trolls that had been with him breathing easier for living another day, and the rest praising their wise King for outwitting the attack of Two-Edge. Guards and warriors had died fending off the attack, so it noted, but the rest of the great kingdom was safe, and the half-Elf that had caused so much trouble had been run off, or so it was said.

Few cared for the truth, for it was evident that there was no death here, no battle to be fought as they sang forge-song and danced in drunkenness when the wine was brought out. They had disgorged a large fortune in cutlery to the Elves for this repast before them, but it seemed that there were fewer around to need such pieces of brightmetal.

A dozen tusk-hogs turned over spits, while half as many horned grass-eaters lay steaming on hot-rocks, the meat literally falling to each side as it cooked off the bones. Hundreds of fat, small birds piled the stone tables high, while cask after cask of wine was rolled out to those gathered. The king was grateful that he had been able to re-allocate the resources so well amidst the chaos of the last few years and alleviated the fears of his minions. This was what the Elves would never understand: Trust was bought, maintained with wealth, and lost if you were not quick enough to maintain your power. He had sat on this throne for all these years because he had understood this for so long, not for some inherent blood-right or value in himself, but the appearance of worth! The promise of wealth!

He did not perceive the rolled eyes, the disgusted sighs, and the words spoken out of his presence when he rambled on about his great conquests, his amassed wealth, and the building loyalty of his followers. The others just went along with it, knowing that he did have the power required to end their lives if he felt the need, and few had any desire for his position, the ruler of this unruly bunch!

The wine flowed, the songs were sung, the food eaten. Greymung found that he lacked the motivation for a speech, could not find the pomp and circumstance to play to his audience. He did not truly feel that there was any real reason to be feeling good about the outcomes of this afternoon. He had succeeded in capturing a student of the Great Metal-smith himself, had secreted the feisty troll alive in his secret chambers, and kept his own life in the bargain! Without Two-Edge himself, though, the small victory was hollow. These simpletons around him may feel that a game with the crazed half-Troll couldn’t be all that bad, or would perhaps be forgotten, but the little cunning this small king had told him there was nothing good to come of this “game”, and he had to remind himself that Two-Edge was not raised by any Troll he knew of, so a game could mean anything.

A chill ran down his back. Not just a tickle of his spine, but downright cold shot from his neck to his rump, and even his beloved throne seemed to be chilled. It almost felt as though a draft had passed behind him. This chill did nothing to brighten his mood, and he shifted uneasily in his seat. As he did so, his hand shifted on the rest and something caught between his fingers. He glanced down at his hand and saw two bright and shining thin needles stuck in the gold of his arm-rest, right between each finger. He glanced around him and saw there were others, neatly and precisely stuck in the gleaming metal on either side of his wrist of the other arm and between each toe of his feet.

He quietly pretended to stretch and yawn as he knocked them aside out of sight. The message was clear: Two-Edge had spared his life for now, but would take it when he wanted it.

Two-Edge sat in his darkened room. He spent little time here, as he would sleep where he wished throughout the complex maze of tunnels he worked in. This was a place he had little desire to be most of the time. The room of his youth had not been a place of happiness, and he hated to be reminded of it. Still, when he was frustrated and confused, the familiarity of the darkness brought some small comfort, and the quiet at times would help him collect his swirling thoughts.

They raced in loops of worry, anger, conflict and mourning. He had dropped the whole subject of Troll or Elvin superiority; the path had shown nothing but blood and pain. His students”¦ his students! How could he have let such disaster befall them?

From the dark recesses of the room spoke a voice. “Brother of circumstance, what troubles you?”

Two-Edge had nearly forgotten the sound of The Dark. The irregular growl sounded quite aged, and even a little elderly, much as a human that was near the end of its years. The companion of his youth had returned at his time of need, just as before. It seemed as though there was some kind of bond between them, a glimmer of something that could be felt deep down in the recesses of his heart he’d locked away in stone. The Voice had called him Brother every time he had visited, but Two-Edge could not conceive of a reason why. He had no siblings, unless by his father before he had come to Winnowil, but this was unlikely, as his father would not have drawn a Troll-wench to him, if the Forest-Trolls were any indicator.

“Voice, have you finally come to me? Have you come to mock me as all others, or have you come to ease my suffering?” Two-Edge had suspected this real or imagined Voice may have ulterior motives for coming only when Two-Edge was troubled, but an unkind word had never been spoken by The Dark. The puzzles or thought exercises it had prodded him with only served to make Two-Edge strong, at least in the sense that he was more capable of dealing with issues afflicting him after each visit.
“I felt your need, and it awakened me from my long sleep.” The Dark explained briefly, then repeated, “What troubles you?”

Two-Edge was taken aback still by the sudden return of the Voice, and it took him some time to collect himself in the dark enough to speak again. Warily, he began to explain parts of what had happened these last eight of eight years or so. As he waded deeper into the narrative, he included more detail and even began to babble as he had when he was little. The Dark remained silent while he spoke.

Two-Edge began to sob and drool as he recounted Snubnose’s death and the loss of Wartfoot. His head sagged as he recalled the battle, feeling no victory as he told the darkened walls how he had beaten the Old Guard. He told of the conversation with King Greymung, and his threat.

“There is much to be thought of then! You have struck a bargain with the most ill-witted of fools! Sly, cunning, and lazy, this leader has spent his days honing his talents of deception, lies, and counter-treachery much as the smiths and warriors hone their blades for blood! You have held too tightly to the hope he could be changed for the better, but a centuries-old tree does not become a flower! A snake does not become a ravvit! There is nothing to be gained by dealing with him. None-the-less, you have suggested a game to show him his folly, have you pondered this much?”

“Voice, I am in mourning! Can this wait until morning? A game is not easy to comprehend after sending Snubby to his end!” The tears continued to flow as he sobbed in the dark.

The Voice was stern. “Metal-smith! What value is there in mourning the lost of one as another’s life hangs in the balance? You must work quickly! Your other student awaits your aid while you pour your tears on the floor!” The Dark had interesting perspectives on things, but these were easy to understand for their truth. So little like the Trolls was The Dark, so little was the nameless voice like anything Two-Edge had met, but the need behind the words mirrored his own, the need for companionship that could not be found.

They spoke for hours in the dark room. The voice had never shown any prowess at metalwork, no wisdom with machines, but understanding in working with how the parts of the world thought and worked together, or against the others, was extensive. This disembodied Voice must have traveled the world in search of peace, some unspoken need to be filled, much like Two-Edge’s need for self-definition and companionship. Split between worlds, both wanting him and hating him, this metalworker’s soul could not find rest for long. He felt that this had something to the kinship The Dark spoke of, but when questioned, the Voice would leave, returning only when Two-Edge’s world came crashing down again.

The prodding of the Dark guided the engineer into clearer thought, a purposeful drive toward Two-Edge’s goal of retaliation. The seeming mentor to the genius pried at intentions Two-Edge may not have been aware of at the time he walked away from the hopeless situation in the King’s throne room. It didn’t meddle, and it was obvious that the outcome that Two-Edge was quickly approaching did not settle well with him, but each must find their way in this world to be at peace.

The Master-Smith floundered in the sea of questions put to him. There were no short-cuts, and this was something that could not be done for him. He had to understand the ”˜why’ before he could figure out the ”˜way’ of this new game.

One morning, after a fitful night of sleep, he began to smile again with purpose”¦.

Greymung had all but tortured this rebel before him for all the knowledge that could be gleaned from his elusive prey. The stunted Troll had been surprisingly resilient, as the King had questioned those that had known him. The Troll they had described was nothing like the one before him. This stocky, silent student seemed to exude wisdom from years of training, and he had no doubt that the small one would have little trouble slaying him if he was not bound as well as he was. Unfortunately, the small one had bound his mind just as well, and nothing had been learned in the weeks since the battle.

Greymung had had to use the final trap he’d intended for Two-Edge to capture him, a retracting section of floor that dumped into a ancient chamber only he knew of. He’d stuffed the chamber full of a rare forest plant that seemed to put Elves and Trolls to sleep as it decomposed if there was enough of it around. A dried powder of which had been used to knock out Bearclaw in that game years ago when he’d swiped that bauble from him.

Things were going to have to change with this silent one today. He’d given him every chance to talk, and now he’d limit the number of chances Wartfoot had left. “Speak to me now, traitor! You have until my aid arrives to reveal the Master-Smith’s plan! What game does he intend to play?”

Silence was offered as an answer.

“We have had others in the past that would not bow to us, would not do what we wanted at first, but we’ve become quite”¦ expert at the art of persuasion! They all bow to me in the end! You remember the rock-shaper Elves, don’t you?”

For a moment, Wartfoot’s eyes got wide, remembering the dismembered hulks of flesh that formed many of the tunnels and chambers of this underground kingdom. By the looks of it, this very room had been carved by magic, not Troll muscle. He breathed deeply, reaffirming his resolve as he calmly retorted, “and where, oh king, are those very Elves you had so much control with?” He smiled to himself, knowing that the old Wartfoot would not have been able to put such a sensible statement together in front of this figure of authority, much less under threat of amputation! This sobered him, though, as his fears were still present, just controlled.

“You dare mock me again?!? We’ll just get started without my aid! A taste of incentive it is!” Enraged, he sent his personal dagger through an arc starting at his sheath and ending at the first knuckle of Wartfoot’s small finger.

(Definitely continued”¦)


Like the picture Embala. :D


This grab bag was really a challenge to me, but finally I'm done. This time we won't see so much of Xin-Jing, Hawkeye and his tribe. Hope you enjoy. Have to come back later and comment all of the stories later.

New Shed Pain

Her bare feet moved across the floor, with one hand on the wall she felt her way down the aisles. With the other hand she held her dressing gown of deep blue silk. She could see the weak sun rays trough the window, but it was too early to be dawn yet. She reached the door, her hand went immediately to the handle and pushed gently on it and was met by the sun rays and fresh cold air. After blinking sometimes with her eyes, she looked through the empty village and finally saw the one she was looking for. Her lifemate Optarh.

“Are you going out for a ride again, my lifemate?” Erla asked. Optarh immediately turned his head and looked at her as he kept a hold of white man from the white horse, which stood beside him. He was wearing a white tunic, a thin faint blue pants and black shoes on his feet.

“I thought you were asleep,” Optarh said while he smiled and saw her coming toward him.
“I’ll just have a little ride to clear the thoughts. While it is still quiet here.”

“I understand,” Erla said after a pause as she looked at that Optarh sat on the horseback.
“Have a nice ride.”

“I won’t be long,” Optarh said as he just began to stride before he stopped after two steps and looked back toward Erla.
“Want to join?”

Erla began to giggle.

“No thank you. But a another time perhaps.”

Optarh smiled and bent down to her and kissed her on her lips before he turned on his riding while Erla looked after him until she couldn’t see him anymore.


Hawkeye smiled when he walked through the doors, the bedrooms were the others were sleeping and could hear some of them snoring. He really was with his family again and not only a dream. He stopped when he heard a groan a few meters behind him.

Poor Daredevil, Hawkeye thought as he turned his head and saw his friend, leaning against the door frame, and held both arms over his stomach. When Xin-Jing had told they were going to have twins, they had celebrated the big surprise new with a big meal. And now, Daredevil regretted to eating too much.

“Oh, High Ones. My stomach,” Daredevil complained.

“That happens when you eat too much,” Blindeye said with his arms folded across over his chest when he appeared in the doorway where he, Sunshine and Himerish were aslepping.

“I was hungry,” Daredevil said.

With a smile Hawkeye left and let them continue their discussion as he continued toward the great room where they had gathered. He suspected that Xin-Jing was there when he had waked up without her. He could hear that something happened when he approached.

Just as he reached the door, he shouted as a plate flew past his nose. Not far from him stood Xin-Jing at the table and grabbed the plate.

“Got it,” she said and putted down the plate on the table.

Hawkeye looked over to the side and saw Sturkas throwing the plates over to Xin-Jing, one by one. Hawkeye always felt nervous when he looked at them. How could they take it so easy without worrying about to break something?

“One more,” Sturkas said and threw the last plate over to Xin-Jing.

“Careful now,” Hawkeye said right when Sturkas had thrower it. This time Xin-Jing didn’t get it.

“Oops!” Xin-Jing said as it flew past her fingers. The next thing that could be heard was the plate that broke.


Toron stuck his head out the door, staring hard at Xin-Jing and Sturkas.

“Next time I take the dishes,” he said quietly after a sigh.


Many thoughts were filled in Optarhs head as he rode and could see the sun rise up in the distance. Something had to be done. The war couldn’t continue like this anymore. He still remembered when he had met Topaz and the rest of the tribe and heard what happened when the enemy had tried to attack them.

It was difficult for them in the start to live among the warriors, but now it had begun to be easier for them. And this time, none of the Wise Council or some of the warriors had been hard against them as they had been to Hawkeye. This time they had managed to show compassion.

Optarh also had a suspicion of two elves, as we know all too well, really did what they could to get two of the small tribe to feel a little more comfortable. He had seen several times that Toron and Sturkas often glanced over at Moonlight and Starfire, and that they always blushed when they looked in their direction. He had to smile about it, no one could escape from the love.

Dew on the leaves began to glimmering in the sun’s rays hit them. Some of the drops gathered and began to resemble the large beads which began to roll down the leaves and fell to the ground. He looked to the side and saw the drops who began to gather together, just like his memories.


“You can’t mean it seriously, Optarh,” Erakhal said as he looked at Optarh who looked into the distance. The nine chiefs were gathered togheter alone to talk about something important, while the other elves were in Optarhs village. The words between the chiefs were not meant for their ears.
“It’s impossible that The Dark Prince have returned.”

His brown eyes showed mixed feelings, hatred, grief and simultaneously a desire for one thing: Revenge. Optarh knew how he felt it, it was also like that at the times when he thought of his daughter who fled her way without he knew why.

“I’m afraid that it’s true,” Optarh said and turned his face to the silent faces, four men and three women stared at him and waited for him to continue.
“Just only a few days ago I experienced that the Dark Ones tried to attack me while I was out hunting.”

The chiefs gasped.

“And I suspect that they have been here a long time, only that we had not discovered them yet.”

“It’s obvious that they are looking for someone we know and why,” Karel said slowly after a while.

“Yes,” Optarh said and looked up to the heaven.
“It’s clear that they will fight to get it. And they will get a fight.”

“Shall we fight in a war again?” one of the chiefs named Arthel. His green eyes were shining with his fighting spirit.

“I’m going to fight against him. Alone!” Optarh said.

“What? Have you gone completely mad? It’s the meaning that we should fight together. Don’t forget the promise we gave each other when we were chosen to be chiefs,” Arthel said while he threw a dagger in the air and it landed at his hand.

“I haven’t forgotten our promise, Arthel,” Optarh said slowly.
“But I don’t dare to take chances, think about, if too many are out there and fighting, I fear that someone then will take the chance to sneak up and take Hawkeye before we have time to blink. He’s only seven and don’t deserve to be protected all the time and live in fear.”

Optarh looked at their silent faces, they blamed him, but they also understood.

“I just want that Karel should be in his village with his tribe, and give Hawkeye a normal upbringing. His powers haven’t been shown yet, it can take time.”

“But what do we do when the time comes his magic begins to show up?” Karel asked careful.

“Send him over to me and I’l teach him to control the magic,” Optarh said slowly.

It was a long silence between the chiefs.

“We understand why you want to fight alone,” said one of the female chiefs named Sharika. She was tall and slender with lond silver hair and deep blue eyes. She placed her hand on Optarhs shoulder, then stroke slowly at the scar she had on her left cheek. It was from the first, and the biggest war they had been in. She was the one who fought on top of a horse as an arrow grazed her cheek and she fell off the horse and was rescued by Optarh.
“But we want only one thing from you, if you have trouble or something goes wrong, send to us, and then we will come and fight the last battle with you.”

“I promise,” Optarh said after a while. Then they were collected in a circle and bowed their heads and shared a lock sending together.

**High Ones keep you all!**


I promise, Optarh thought and sighed heavily. At that time, they didn’t know that Karel would be dead and his tribe reduced. And now, when they barely had begun to grow again, they were attacked. It couldn’t continue like this anymore. The next move had to come from him. And this time he wouldn’t do it alone. Not any longer.

He drew in the white mane of his horse and made it to stop. He breathed slowly as he closed his eyes and concentrated to send a lock sending. They were nine and they should always be the nine chiefs.

**Brothers and sisters!**


“Is he still mad?” Louros lifemate asked as he stood next to her and could hear trough the big door that The Dark Prince was furious, which was not so new. But they could hear that he really was furious, so furious that they were sure it would soon would blow fire out of his mouth.

“He was really furious when he found out that the Dark Ones failed again. And this time by a small group of elves,” Louros whispered as she pulled her brown hair behind the hood of her back.

“What else could he expect?” said her lifemate with a little grin on his face. Louros could see him smile, despite the shadow of his cap which concealed his identity, she could still see him smiling. Something he didn’t had done for a long time.

“Should we try to stop him? Before he does something he will regret later?” Louros asked and then looked over to the door as she puled the hood over her head.

“Like, to kill the ninjas for example?” he asked low before he placed his hands on the door and opened it.
“It can’t continue like this anymore.”

But just as the door was opened, they were both forced to jump in the side to not be trampled down by the ninjas who ran, rather fled. It was a shame for those ninjas. They were meant to be clever and intelligent, not cowards who made a fool of himself over and over again and be laughed by the elves.

They only saw the back of the Dark Prince as they rose up. They could hear him mutter to himself.

“I don’t have more patience for these fools,” he said quietly.

“My lord,” said Louros mate after a while. The Dark Prince waved his hand so he could continue.
“Maybe it would be better if we gave us for a while. Nothing seem to work soo”¦”

The Dark Prince turned quickly toward him.

“How dare you?” he snarled

**I think you shouldn’t have said that!** Louros sent to her lifemate. Before he could answer he felt a deep pain in his head, as if knifes went straight through his head. A black sending that was meant only for him, and not Louros. He grabbed his head with both hands as if he were trying to get it to stop.


Optarhs eyes were still closed after to have sent to the other chiefs. He opened his eyes slowly and felt the feeling to have done something right.

“Let’s go home now,” he said down to the horse and pulled it gently in the mane. They turned and stepped toward the village and felt peace and safety.

It didn’t took more than a moment before Optarh felt a terrible pain in his head and grabbd his head with one hand while he cried. The horse, who immediately noticed that something was wrong, began to rear up and Optarh fell immediately off and landed on his back.


He kept a silent scream as he held his hands on his head, praying to the High Ones that the pain would stop. In the distance he could hear Louros cry and begged the Dark Prince to stop. Finally he stopped, but the pain in his head was still there. He breathed heavily as he looked up at his master and could feel Louros hands on his shoulders.

“If you ever dare to mention this again, it will go worse than this,” the Dark Prince said and looked at him with a hard gaze. They shone with hatred and anger.
“But I also have use for you, so you are lucky that I’m let you live!”

He said no more, just turned his back to them again. Louros helped her lifemate up again and followed him out the throne room. They walked silently through the hall.

Whatever you plan, to do with, Optarh now, Louros mate thought as they went into their own chamber.
Then I’m here to stop you!


Optarh groaned as he rose up from the ground. His head was still hurt after what happened. Something like this, he hadn’t experienced for a long time. His horse looked down, as if it was ashamed that it had thrown him off.

“I’m all right,” he said to comfort as he patted its mane before he went up to its back again. His head began to spin and hurt again.
“Let us go home as soon as possible.”

As they stepped away from the forest, Optarh marked that something was in one the pockets of his pants. Carefully he took it out and his eyes widened when he saw the amulet in gold with a red stone in the palm. Memories came back to him, while tears gathered in his eyes. It belonged to him, his former friend, before he went over to the enemy. Optarh had completely forgotten it, but now the memory was fresh as he remembered when he had found it in a empty chamber.

Without he knew why, he took the amulet on himself and hid it under his tunic and continued to ride home. Everyone would surely say that it was too late to forgive what happened, but yet he had a little hope. Maybe it wasn’t too late to forgive?


I enjoyed the second part 2 very much, TrollHammer ... and considering the lots of food element it was a must-do for December grab-bag. Smile

Two-Edge tried a new path - for himself - for part of the Trolls ... and was betrayed Unhappy Poor brave Snubnose - the good ones always go too early, huh? But Wartfoot has undergone an astonishing developement ... hope the promised happyend is for him (can hardly be Two-edge when you stay canon).

The result of Two-Edge's game for Greymung seems obvious - the Icetrolls befalling his kingdom. But the way leading to it ...

Interesting that he has learned to respect Cutter before seeing him in BM, before meeting him in the Troll War. Wonder if this will have any effect of his attitude towards him in case your tale will lead far enough for them to remeet.

This mystic voice - The Dark ... I was tempted to believe in Ekuar, but he could not manage to be there every time Two-Edge is down. A Highone - trapped in wrapstuff? A stoneshaper - reaching him magically through the stony structures of BM? The all-knowing Egg himself? A less used one ... Brace? Or "just" one more part of his split mind ... (would be the least surpise for me?

Don't answer my questions here - just continue! :D


Like where this goes, Cleopatra. :D

Another flashback showing a glimpse of Hawkeyes background, trying to explain Optarh's choice for fighting alone ... and Optarh is finally calling the Chiefs (and tribes?) together again.

Another glimpse on the mysterious elves living in the dark realm ... I'd say this was a very clear hint to Optarh's lost friend ... soul-brothers, hmm?
It's a pity that I don't really understand what's meant with this ... [quote:98a3c1b4dc]Whatever you plan, to do with, Optarh now, Louros mate thought as they went into their own chamber. Then I’m here to stop you![/quote:98a3c1b4dc] ... seems important somehow. Will he stop the Dark Prince (think so) ... or stop Optarh's plans? This quote confuses me ...

Must admit that had general problems with reading and understanding this whole sequel. Rather often there was a sentence beginning this way - and ending quite different ... like two sentences with some "cut-out" parts. Or not a sentence at all ... or repetition of word sequences in the sentence.
Guess this comes from changing and rearranging parts of the story - blaming lack of time for editing. But it really lessens the fun when it's neccesary to reread every few sentence or make up your mind what could have been meant this time :(

Last not least ... So Toron and Sturkas started love affairs of their own? Wink Promises more fun!

Impatiently awaiting January :D OH ... and hoping there will be some more filling the December thread
(including a proper collage for Redhead's poem ... sort of :roll: )


Wow, Trollhammer, long read again! But what a read! Great! Love it!
...and I'm inclined to think the game has something to do with the Lodestone, as it hasn't entered the story yet and is needed before the invasion of the ice-trolls... can't wait till January for part 3!

and Cleo... wonderful read once again! Embala, I read that one part as going to stop the Prince's plans... as in, 'if you try to hurt Optarh you'll have to go through me' kind of thing... but could be me ofcourse ;)

Hope there'll be more stuff soon! And in January! :D


I hate it. It's rushed and not good and I hate it and... I'm so tired of working on it that I'm just posting it nonetheless.

Pride and Prejudice

The world was green. Golden light slipped through the clouds, giving the tall grass different shading and tones. Dark green, golden, light green, golden green. Lighting up the forest, encircling the open field. The sun cast golden rays down towards the earth below, enchanting living creatures on the bright side. But not everyone were gifted with such a blessing warmth. Tall trees formed a row of guards, small gates to the dark forest. The sun did not reach this place. The little that was of light cast long shadows, letting secrets stay in the darkness. Secrets that didn’t withstand the lightness of day. One could stand in front of the trees and stare as much as one wanted. The darkness would only stare right back.

But within the darkness, something stirred. A large shadow parted from the cloak of black and moved soundlessly, fluidly, but slowly, as if careful. It seemed to be moving cautiously, but something with the air about it gave off the feeling it wasn't necessary, these cautious movements; nothing could harm this shadow. Then the black fluid form stopped and dark green leaves were slowly pushed aside, making no sound at all as it peeked out with eerie movements. No one would have seen it if they had been looking, as it blended in perfectly, expertly. No one would have seen it, but the shadow would see them. And it did.

The shadow peered through the leaves, watched as small sources of light ran past its hiding place, but keeping a safe distance. The five of them were playing in the field, running across it while whining in cheerfulness. Two little ones chased three that were slightly bigger than themselves and one of the bigger ones were carrying the smallest while watching the littler ones. Two big ones. Two nearly big, three the size of its last one, and two little ones. Seven small ones in all. Perfect. It had studied them for as long as needed, it knew their routines. The biggest one would go out in the field with the the two biggest small ones and the second biggest would stay inside with the smallest one. The remaining four would be left alone to play outside and when the sun was halfway across the sky, all nine of them would gather for eating before parting again. The four small ones would not be looked after for several hours. It had plenty of time. But now the second smallest, a girl with blonde hair, was coming the shadow's way. It remained still. Now was not the time. Wait til later, for right moment. Wait for silence, for small one to be alone. The girl let out a shriek as she was lifted by the biggest of the small ones and laughed. The shadow barely moved as it let go of the leaves. It had found its prey. Now it would wait for the right time.

The shadow melted back into the blackness that hid the dark secrets of the forest, the sounds of leaves moving stopping as the fluid movements faded away.


He let out a content sigh as the wind picked up his hair, playing with the silkily locks in different shades of brown and draping them over his shoulder. The sun, the blessed warm rays, caressed his cheek and the corners of his mouth twitched upwards in a small smile. Small stones were kicked aside as hooves struck the ground and he was rocked gently back and forth, from side to side. He looked down and felt his smile grow even bigger. He loved how the rays from the sun were illuminating the horsehair and how the muscles seemed to be flexing under the blank coat of hair.

“Are you feeling well?”

One-Eye turned his head to the side and blinked. Longbranch was watching him closely, keeping his horse close to One-Eye's Nestrobber. The jet black horse was swaying from side to side as he walked, his eyes half closed, and dozing in the sun. The young elf smirked at this. His older brother had never been too fond of how laze his horse could be at times, and One-Eye had often been able to make fun of


Lodestone Part 3 (The conclusion)

Two-Edge was sweating profusely. After all these ages of time with nothing pressing, he had no assurance he could complete the first basic steps toward his new goal and still rescue Wartfoot in the confusion! It was a grand plan, and it would solve many issues, but much had to be prepared. He had pulled old power-carts from where


*wipes brow* whew, read it! but, hey! Tenderfoot, where's the rest?!?!?!?!?!
your epic length story just breaks off in the middle of a word! Now, I wanna read the rest, so you better fix it girl ;) *huggles* Great read!

*goes to read Trollhammers part 3 now, and watch Rush Hour 2 :)*


Just finished your story, Tenderfoot - and I love it!

Introducing new lovers ... new cubling ... starting to connect the cloister storyline to the King's family ... making the crime element even more mysterious - that was a lot for one story! And you did well - suspenseful, heartwarming and funny ... all nicely timed. :love:

But I have to echo faeriegirl - want to read the rest! Again too much for just one post Wink


Finally finished Loadstone - have to echo Tymber ... a long - very long - but worthy read!

I love your twists merging the OQ in your tale. I like the how Two-Edge built his game, his skillful ideas, his interest in Picknose, his caring for Wartfoot ... his sacrifice.

I'm feeling betrayed tho ... when you never will reveal the true nature of The Dark ... and the kind of "wonder" it offered. You have made up this mystery, Trollhammer - now you have to deal with! Wink

I definitely want to read more of this - seeing through Two-Edge's eyes and mind - centering on the Trolls instead of elves!

It's only ... if the sequals will have the same immense monthly lenght I've to quit Unhappy


Love this segment Tenderfoot Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! Sorry! For writing Embala first :oops: ! :D

Yay! Skywise came back (but... what happened to the other children?)


Whew! finally found the time to finish your story, Trollhammer!
And gotta echo Embala... love how you twist the OQ in it!
...and indeed, you do realize that someday you'll have to reveal who and what The Voice is, right?

Hope you continue in January and further! (ehm... just try to keep it in 1 part per month then? ;) Their length is epic! Just like Tenderfoot ;)


An unusual poem requires an unusual collage Wink

click to see full sized

This time you can address me, Redhead :twisted: ...btw: there seem to exist not enough dreamberries to give Pike a headache! ... so I did Evilgrin


Love it! Love it! Love it!! :banana:


Love it!!


:banana: :D :banana:


WOW Surprised

*Almost falls from her chair*

It's beautifull!!! LOVE THIS!! :love:



Finally finished Loadstone - have to echo Tymber ... a long - very long - but worthy read!
I love your twists merging the OQ in your tale. I like the how Two-Edge built his game, his skillful ideas, his interest in Picknose, his caring for Wartfoot ... his sacrifice.

I'm feeling betrayed tho ... when you never will reveal the true nature of The Dark ... and the kind of "wonder" it offered. You have made up this mystery, Trollhammer - now you have to deal with! Wink


Whew! finally found the time to finish your story, Trollhammer!
And gotta echo Embala... love how you twist the OQ in it!
...and indeed, you do realize that someday you'll have to reveal who and what The Voice is, right?

*Dark forboding smirk spreads across my face*
hmm... guess I did leave that part out... guess I'll have to write some more?


I definitely want to read more of this - seeing through Two-Edge's eyes and mind - centering on the Trolls instead of elves!
It's only ... if the sequals will have the same immense monthly lenght I've to quit :(

I did apologize before that it was long, but I'll apologize again that I had no idea that it would go this far at this time. It's been a burr under my tail for quite a while (well, a larger story that this would have been a part of.) Still, it was fun! Other storys will probably not be that long here. If I end up writing like this again I'll look at putting them elsewhere.

I love Two-Edge, as you probably couldn't tell :) and feel like I can draw some parallels from his character. It's actually kinda like thearapy to write about the whole thing. I've also not felt that the dynamics of the Trolls have been given a fair shake and is prime writing material, but I won't center on them exclusively. Thanks all for the encuragement!

Wouldn't want to lose you as an ally, Embala, so I'll try to cut back. :) Thanks for elaborating on Ooops! It's just the kind of thing I enjoy.


Trollhammer, if it turns out to get as big as now again, you might also consider spreading it over several months... with this length, all elements should be do-able to get in! ;)



Trollhammer, if it turns out to get as big as now again, you might also consider spreading it over several months... with this length, all elements should be do-able to get in! ;)

Again, I apologise, I was trying to challenge myself to get that all done in a month as a personal thing. Thanks again for the constructive critisism! It helps!

I was going to mention, in case there was some confusion, there was a typo left in that I've deleted. Right about there I'd had written (isn't working) as I changed moods in the story. It's gone now, but if anyone was wondering or got confused, Just thought I'd mention it.


I wondered for about 2 seconds about that, and figured that you weren't happy with something in the following text, then changed it for the better but forgot to remove the comment...

and it sure is a challenging goal, to write it all in one month! Maybe join NaNoWriMo next year? :)
...but like Embala said, the length is also challenging for the reader... you've probably noticed already, it takes some time for the comments to arrive!
(plus, if you spread it over months... more elements to use plus you get to annoy us with cliffhangers! :P)


No need to apologize, TrollHammer!

There is no lenght limit for the grab-bags unless someone officially says there is one. It is your story and you have every right to challenge yourself. And it worked out great! You will not loose a reader just because there is "slightly" more of a good thing Wink

The only reason why I'm complaining - NO, begging for mercy! - is that I do NOT wish to leave your story! How faeriegirl said: It&'s a challenge for the reader, too. And for me it's a matter of time ... what should be half an hour in my mother tongue is about three times as much in English :oops:

That makes half working day for the whole tale ... and when I'd be forced to choose between reading and being creative myself ... Unhappy

And I ditto faeriegirl's previous post - both the "irritation" and the "splitting" ... not so much the "annoying cliffhangers" Wink

Glad you like the real thing for Oooops. It's definitely NOT what I'm coming up for myself easily ... but Redhead has a talent to make me look for new unusual ways for my "art" more than once! I figured out it must be both funny and "modern" to go well with this poem :D

*huggles WolfmoonSky* Thanks for loving it! Armchairs are a blessing, aren't they? Evilgrin


Well, as I had little else to do with my 'free' time during the break from forums, I finished up the conversation with The Dark, explaining a lot. I finally feel good about taking a break on the story line for a bit to explore a non-EQ theme for a while. I will be back on it with a couple of planned stories when they feel well-timed and inspired.

I'm sitting on it for now until next month (Feb) to see if it'll fit in there, as I've already put in a story for Jan. This will give me some time to send it off to my 'editor' friend and get it back. I've been having trouble getting Two-Edge's voice right in the story. It's not AS long as the others, but it's still around 8 pgs.

Oh, and Embala, by all means, drop reading my junk and keep up on your own projects! Smile I wouldn't want to be the cause of heartache for all YOUR fans, of which I am one.


Why is everybody yelling? For some reason size=9 code seems to make everything huge. I edited mine to size=1 and that seemed to make it a good, small size.


Another place where I've to return ... fixing my collages and dropping another one.

Guess for whom?


Woohoo! YES! I loved those! *tackle hugs Embala*

off-topic: would anyone like it if I made my own thread to collect my snippets? And ofcourse add Embala's beautiful collages? ^^


Huh? where? If it is in that most recent message, it's not showing up for me if there's a pic there.


hehehehe... no, it's not here yet TrollHammer. But she has posted it on Tymber's temp forum too, and I've seen it there already Smile



Well, as I had little else to do with my 'free' time during the break from forums, I finished up the conversation with The Dark, explaining a lot. I finally feel good about taking a break on the story line for a bit to explore a non-EQ theme for a while. I will be back on it with a couple of planned stories when they feel well-timed and inspired.

I'm looking forward to read about the revelation of The Dark and other new stories Happy


Oh, and Embala, by all means, drop reading my junk and keep up on your own projects! Smile I wouldn't want to be the cause of heartache for all YOUR fans, of which I am one.

It is NOT junk ! *just a time eating monster*

When you insist on putting down your fiction like this, TrollHammer, I will consider it as fishing for more compliments Tongue

And it is inspiring to read - most of my collages are based on other member's poems and prose art!

Where is Tenderfoot?! Her novel stil ends in the middle of a sentence *grumble*

Finally managed to clear my posts in this thread (was good practice) and replaced the contributions for Redhead's poem with pics hosted right here in my new album. They might show a bit blurry ... click on the pic and they will show just fine in a new window (zoom available) Still practicing posting - Faerydae's tutorial is a lifesaver!

And here comes the new collage faeriegirl is longing for so desperately

The Egg Incident - inspired by her fine snippet

click to see full sized


Woohoo! Glad to see it back!!! :D


Its beautifull Embala


Glad you are satisfied now, faeriegirl *psst ... she poked me all the last week* Wink

Thank you, dear WolfMoonSky, glad you enjoy!


*huggles Embala* I didn't poke, I just repeatedly asked where it was! Wink Smile




Nice collage Embala Smile


: happy banana : Wink


No! No! No! Like diiiiiiiiiiis!!!
:Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge: :Dancing Børge:


Awesome, probibly the best one yet, Embala! As always you have a knack for fusing the imagery together in a form very pleasing to the eye.


Thank you, TrollHammer, that's a big praise *blushs*

When you like this one you must see some of my older ones ... i.e. Disaster and The Circle. I'd be curious what you think of them

I'll restore my thread step by step (and load the images to my gallery, too). Maybe you would like to visit.


Probibly will, when I've got a spare cyber-moment. Just loading pages is taking the few I have! Don't konw if this will even post as this page is only half loaded.


Dec 2010 Grab-bag elements:
A surprise
A headache
Lots of food
Contact (between two people)
An amulet or talisman
Floating above
Dewshine's face was still streaked with tears as she looked from the
remains of Nightrunner to the descending Tyldak. He landed beside
Winnowill, but seemed unsteady on his legs as they took his weight
from the air.

Again, she was surprised to feel a tugging sensation, as if her body
were a fish on a line tied to him and he was pulling her from the water.
She resisted motion, only turning to face him but not stepping ahead.
Her eyes closed to defend against the dizzy headache that gyrated
inside her.

Tyldak scowled at everyone assembled, but some part of him was filled
with compassion for the fragile yellow-haired being who grieved and
denied. Why must he recognize someone from outside, filled with the
essence of a beast? Where was his lovemate Vytha now and did she
not deserve more of his care than this ground-bound child before him?
Did this she-jackal not even feel the bonding between them? His eyes
missed the blue of hers, the opening to her sky-light soul. He wished
to fly with her, into her, and carry her into his own dreams of limitless skies.

His breathing grew faster as he trembled with yearning and his wings flexed
at his sides, agitating the air.

Voll had sent to the little group, yet none had responded. Tyldak's arrival
and fanning motions were the only audible answer. Voll's ancient thinking
patterns gave a jolt as he became aware that these were not his subjects
and that they would not instantly obey him. He had not led these elves
for eights of ages; had not earned even their trust. His brows drew
downward and he struggled to come to a decision about what to do next.
Winnowill was not beside him, she was instead reaching out to lay her
feather-white hand on Tyldak.

Cutter's throat felt raw from the howls he had uttered for Nightrunner, and
his voice was gruff. Speaking slowly, he looked at his group even as his
words addressed the Gliders, "We may not belong here, may not know your world best, but we have come for many reasons and we will not leave without answers. No talk of more death will serve either of our tribes. I think instead that we must talk about the life of the future." His words hushed at the last as he laid eyes on Dewshine and then moved to take in the tall, winged elf too.

"How can you suggest that there should be new life when you and your
entire band of curs all expire so swiftly?" Winnowill's sharp nails dug into
the brittle-boned forarm she had clasped and Tyldak hissed in pain and
looked abashed. She began at once to engulf him in her healing energy,
negating all the urgency in his desire. She could not change what she
now knew had happened, but perhaps if she delayed it long enough no
one but Tyldak would ever know he would sire with the outsider.
They would be ejected in short time and then he could fly and take
her like a prey-bird takes what it needs; in a rush of violent speed,
swiftly over with the necessary yet unpleasant.

Skywise held his talisman tightly as he stepped forward. "All things die to
make room for the new, even the mighty stars glisten and blink out. Why do
you worry about how long someone lives instead of how well?" He had meant to
sound demanding, to match her apparent anger, but standing next to his
soul-brother so soon after the wolfpack leader's death he had softened his words.

Voll had been thinking too long. As if the words exchanged around him had
been held off, he let the meanings finally seep past his layer of oil-protected
feathers and become cool raindrops that touched the skin. They were talking
about life, new life, and that meant that someone in Blue Mountain had recognized!
And what had the little white-haired one said, that lives should be well-lived
not long? Wasn't there some layer of implication here that he was missing?
Something like a pattern inside the center egg? If his Vytha were here
she would explain...Vytha! His own daughter...where was she?

Voll rose into the air, pushing his gliding skill as he lifted his heavy robes
and long sleeves up as well as his frail body. His arms extended and he
again sent, **There is new life in Blue Mountain. Is it Vytha who has
recognized at last?**

Some of the Wolfriders looked to Dewshine to see if perhaps her soul name
had been the unusual name in the sending.

Winnowill's face froze in horror as Voll reclaimed his memory of their offspring.

Tyldak took her momentary lapse in attention to shake off Winnowill's
clutching hand and he also rose to float before his Lord Voll. "I fear that
I have failed to recognize your lovely Vytha, my Lord, and instead some
impulse controls my attention toward one below. I do not want the contact,
and I daresay that she does not either. If you make them leave, she will die
and so will I as we fight to ignore the command of the High Ones' bloodsong.
If it is your will that we part to maintain the dignity of Blue Mountain I will
seal myself in my own chamber to await the end or again attempt to fly into
the Daystar."

Tyldak bowed his head toward his dark-toned chest in an awkward pose
as he maintained his postion in the air. His previous folly at trying to fly
to the golden orb had only resulted in the deep bronzing of his flesh and
an unconscious spiral to the clouds below as he had gone beyond the air
into the void. He had been lucky to wake when the dew hit his face, yet
he would prefer to plunge again rather than wait alone locked in a tiny cell.

"No!" Dewshine had not intended to say anything and her hand flashed to
her lips as if to stuff her sounds back inside.

Scouter was beside her and he removed his hat as he sighed. "I make you
this promise, Dewshine. If you will bear his child I will love it as my own,
because it will be part of you. Do not refuse this recognition, please. I can
not imagine any world would be better or more dignified without honoring life.
It will not matter to me if the cub has wings or your own sunny-gold hair,
I swear I want it to be what it will be and for us to be a family."

"There, you see, Tyldak, the ones below have a grace to rise as high as
your pride. I think perhaps this match is meant to bring new strength
and beauty to us. I was wrong to suggest they leave, instead
they are all most welcome!"

Voll's floating made his huge cape wave subtly like a piece of shadow
in the wind.

"Let us return again to our feast, where lots of food will fill our mouths
instead of harshness, and where passion will dwell again inside our hearts!"

Voll's gestures directed most of the Gliders below toward the dining hall
and only Cutter and Skywise remained beside Nightrunner's body when
the crowd had gone. With heads close together they whispered that
Nightrunner would rejoin the pack pelt and all and they would see him
outside as soon as could be.

Dewshine was silent and held on weakly to Scouter's neck even as they
moved to sit again at Voll's table.

Tyldak hovered off to the side, uncertain what he should say or do now
that he so obviously had a rival for his recognized. It had not occured to
him before, that like himself, she would love another. He had given no
thought to her beyond seeing with his eyes and feeling with his loins.
Looking at her now he could envision not only the aura of her being, but
he could hear a sound, a fluttering, repeating sound...Lree, Lree, Lree!
He knew her deeply, needed her intensely and could suddenly understand
why she was so loved. She was swift and fierce, shy and savage, full
of a wildness that he only mimiced hollowly.

Winnowill had left without being noticed. She was frantic to be with Voll
alone again, to surround him in a delicate egglike shell of forgetting. It would
take half an eight of days to again remove his thoughts of Vytha, and in
the meantime those with whom he spoke might also remember the pale haired
daughter of the Lord and Lady. But only she and Tyldak knew that she was
questing beyond Blue Mountain's slopes, a journey that had put her well out
of sending range now.

In her chamber, Winnowill placed a hand on the small cage she kept covered
on her shelf.

Inside the bat-winged preserver called Sootstreak, the last of its kind
in the Mountain, blinked tiny eyes at the moon-white face of its captor.

"If I freed you, and asked your help, useful one, would you do as your kind
is made to do and serve?" She seemed to talk more to herself than to the
shape-changed little flier. "I think not, after all. There is too much risk
of more awakening, more rebellion, and more of us leaving our safe nest before
the time is right if you were to be seen."

Replacing the cage, she slid a small bite of fruit between the stone bars
before she recovered it in dark cloth.

She waited for the sending or summons that Voll would surely issue. He would
only be distracted by the wolf-tribe for so long before he recalled that he
was missing a devoted daughter. She would rest and prepare to battle
his will again amid all the other webs she wove in the dark corners.
To be cont...
Vytha's tale is in this thread: http://www.elfquest.com/social/index.php?do=/forum/thread/permalink_461600/


Like the new Vytha chappie! Smile


I especially like the idea of a bat-winged preserver.


I like your version of Dewshine's and Tyldak's Recognition becoming known. Very descriptive, very good character insight.

I couldn't resist to try:

It's "heavily based" on one of Jeedai's Preservers he is showing in the Dollz Thread.


Cool picture!

I envisioned my Sootstreak as having his arms still and just having the
bat wings in the back, otherwise he has Tyldak's wings and I didn't
want him to be like the tree-wee that Winnie perhaps "practiced" on in the original
story. I think the colors are great though and will use them when I next describe
this preserver!

I'm glad folks are enjoying elements of my ongoing tale. I will continue more
of it soon and catch up with January as soon as I can (and yes, Feb. will get
a grab-bag contribution too eventually!).

I've been ultra busy of late, so will just have to try harder to keep
up with it all,


Better this way then? Wink

It's still Jeedai's doll with a little additions. He allowed me to "play" with his bugs for my collages ... and just for fun.

Thinking about it - now that there is REALLY an original character with bat wings - maybe Jeedai would do a real doll this way? With a more original topper? When you'd ask him ...?

Tymber, I don't remember Nightrunner's fate either - I bet it was NOT mentioned in the last contribution. I'm still badly behind with this story ... Unhappy ... but there seem to be at least two (more ore less independant) plot strands so far.


In Vytha's posted tale last time as Cutter explains to Leetah:
**Nightrunner has followed the trail to its natural end,**
Nightrunner, the old wolf-pack leader, was inside Blue Mountain
and he fell into the final sleep in the grotto. He never suffered
from a burning by human fire, but his eyes were not as keen anymore
and it was just his time.

I changed the formating, and yes I have explained before that it is
a holdover from a previous profession that makes me write in thin columns.
I'll try to make future posts on the forum fit in the appropriate format.

Your point about Cutter's voice was a good one. I reworded it.

But Winnowill in my alternaverse is a slightly different creature. There
is no Two-Edge and instead Winnowill uses her healer's power to force
a recognition with Voll (result=Vytha). Winnie's more of a "take-charge"
(in her own way), kind of gal here, and her ability to control other minds
makes her more dangerous and even perhaps more insane (in a different
way from canon) individual. Keep reading Vytha's thread (it is only 7
thread pages long--far less reading than most of the monthly theme
contributions folks already keep track of) and you will see how Vytha's
very existence changes my particular Mirror World of Two Moons. I even
provided a link to the thread in the posting so that you could follow the
multiple plot lines (which right now involve the Wolfriders meeting the
Gliders and Vytha with Rayek, Ekuar and the Go-Backs). The next
grab-bag I write will return to Vytha's direct plot line.

In my story I borrow liberally from the exact comic, but I twist, add,
subtract, etc. You'll have to keep comparing...which is hopefully fun!
Scouter's talk with Dewshine in canon is here:
See for yourself which part is quote and which is changed.

I like the second Sootstreak image, Embala. I'll have to see if Jeedai will
make me a custom "topper" and the rest at some point, but your illustration
is fantastic and I thank you very much for picturing this little being!



I do agree with Tymber on the formatting, though it doesn't bother me much. If that's your style, fine! Just have to remember your columns are thinner then the forum accepts, but no problems with reading here Wink (yes that's also why I didn't mention it)


....just bumping...
Tenderfoot, there's still story missing! (page 4)! It stops in the middle of a word!!


This is the last thing I wrote before my months long writing dry-spell began. I'm posting it in hopes it will be a psychological jump-start. This was written for Moonmoss, who asked that I include her character in a story sometime. I emailed it to her to see what she thought, but then she fell off the face of the planet. So maybe this will also lure her back. And if she doesn't like what I've done with her character I can always change the name later.



A surprise
A headache
Lots of food
Contact (between two people)
An amulet or talisman

The feast was one like no one had seen in a long time. There was rabbit and deer, fish fresh from the river and nuts and berries of more variety and greater quantity than anyone could remember. Everyone was joining in the festivities for the reason was one that had not been seen for far too long in the small Wolfrider tribe.

Bearclaw rose to stand in the center of the feasting elves and gradually the din of voices faded as all attention turned toward him.

“My friends, tonight we feast in celebration of the return of plentiful game and good harvest, but we celebrate for another reason as well. New life has come to the tribe!” He waited for the howls of approval to die down before turning to the couple huddled together over their newborn. “So, healer, have you decided on a name for your little nipper?”

“Well, yes.” Rain was a little uncomfortable to be the center of attention, but his soft voice carried so all could hear. “Both for the likeness and spirit of his mother we see in him,” he smiled at the fire-haired elf next to him, “and for the hope that he means for our tribe, we will call him ‘Spark’.”

A joyous cry rose from the gathered elves and echoed through the night.

Moonmoss tossed a few more dreamberries into her mouth, chuckling at her brother’s discomfort. She had never been jealous of Rain’s healing abilities, glad to be spared the responsibilities of the needs of the tribe. And she truly was happy for Rain and Sunset, that their cub was the first of what was becoming a new beginning for the tribe. But still, as she watched Sunset suckle her cub, she couldn’t help but feel the giddy warmth of the dreamberries diminish.

She needed to clear her head. Leaving the light of the fire she walked through the tall trees and dappled moonlight until the sound of her people’s voices faded away, drowned out by the constant hiss and gurgle of running water.

This was her special place to sit and think, where the mists of the falling water carpeted the river bank with patches of soft, springy moss. Entranced by the sound and the sight of the moonlight sparkling in the shifting currents, she didn’t notice she had company until a hand on her shoulder made her jump.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you.” Sunset said. “I noticed you had left the feast. I was concerned.”

“My head was buzzing a little.” Moonmoss sighed. “Too little dreamberries for too long. I guess I’ll have to get used to it again.”

Sunset nodded. “It was a bit much for me as well. Do you mind if I sit here with you for a while?”

Moonmoss shook her head and Sunset settled down on the mossy bank next to her. She adjusted the sling strapped around her body and Moonmoss watched as the cub, round and downy soft, emerged from the crumpled leather. She looked up to see Sunset studying her.

“Would you like to hold him?”

Moonmoss hesitated, then nodded. Sunset placed the bundle in her arms. He was impossibly small, his face, ears and hands perfectly formed in miniature. She traced the tiny fist and it clasped around her finger, his mouth making little sucking moves. “He’s beautiful.”

Sunset smiled. “Actually, I’m glad that I was able to find you here. There’s something I wanted to give you.”

She reached into the sling again and produced a piece of deer bone. It was part of the leg, cut cross-wise to form a perfect circle. The marrow had been removed and the bone allowed to dry, then the outer surface carved. Moonmoss could make out familiar vines and flowers from the forest and, hidden among them, small game and birds.

Moonmoss looked at Sunset in surprise. “Did you do this?”

Sunset nodded. “This is from the first stag brought down when the game returned. I made it to be a reminder that even in the darkest times, things can always get better. There’s always reason to hope.” She gestured to Moonmoss’s hair. “May I?”

Moonmoss nodded. She felt a tickling tugging as Sunset separated a section of hair and wove the silver strands together.

“I’ve had my share of lovemates through the turns, but recognition always eluded me. So, I feared, it would be with motherhood. Yet, here I am.” She finished the braid, then slid the bone band over the end to hold it. She sat back on her heels and met Moonmoss’ eyes. “And so it will be, someday, with you. But until then, I hope you will wear this as a symbol of the love that Rain and I have for you. This little one,” she stroked the baby’s face and he nuzzled closer against Moonmoss, “if he is anything like his parents, is going to be more than a handful. We are going to need all the help we can get watching over him. Would you be willing to be part of our little family and help us?”

The lump in her throat made it impossible for Moonmoss to do anything but nod, but it was enough to cause Sunset to wrap her in a tight hug, the baby between them mewling as his rest was temporarily interrupted. Moonmoss felt the tears forming, loosening her voice again.

“I will.” She whispered. “I will.”


I just have to love it!

Great story, jeb. You pictured the two women beautifully. I have a "soft spot" for unusual jewelry, therefore I like the idea and description of the bone ornament in special.


A really heartwarming story, Jeb. Little Spark.Luvlove


That was an beautifull story jeb!!Luvlove


Agree with the rest!! Very beautiful story!!


*shuffles in* As it seems like I almost broke the forum with the size of my December contribution, the ending was eaten. So here is the final part reposted, though it wasn't that much.

Longbranch leaned his back against the wall, watching the king continued the discussion with his councilors. The old ones seemed to be quite distraught, gesticulating wildly and making nonobjective points. Some even dared to rise their voices to the king, but Mantricker's cold glare silenced them quickly. The councilors were against the king's decision. They did not think One-Eye had any right to decide the human's revenge. He had been abducted by the man, yes, but he was still only a youngling. In their eyes, too young to handle such a decision. The others were on Mantricker's side, believing him to be right in his choice. The lad played a big part in this game of cruel acts. Of course he had a say in this matter! When one of the oldest councilors raised his finger at the king, prince Bearclaw slammed his fists onto the table and stood up, shouting to shut the man up. Moonshade said her brother was right, but was abruptly cut off by one of the younger councilors. The young man was quickly introduced to Strongbow's death glare as he too stood up, literally spitting words at him for talking to his wife like that. Another councilor retorted, which made Bearclaw raise his voice again to defend his sister's husband. In the end, this only led to everyone yelling at each other and Longbranch let out a defeated sigh.

“He was the one who took his sight!” one of the councilors shouted, pointing an accusing finger at the bald human.


Everyone turned at the sudden sound to look at One-Eye, who drifted out from the shadows.

“He was the one who saved it.”

“What do you mean?” a young councilor said.

One-Eye ignored his question and walked forward, eyes on the human. The man stared intently at the young elf, but his eyes were like a closed book.

“I cannot accept what you did, that you broke my trust. But I do not wish for you to suffer the way I did. Not even for my worst enemy would I wish such a destiny. But you... you once held my life within your hands and threw it away. Now I stand here, holding yours. I can easily throw it away.”

The elf stopped and looked towards the king before turning back to the human.

“But I will not.”

There was a sudden sharp intake of breath in the room, from who he couldn't be sure. But he didn't care, only stared at the human.

“You stopped them, kept them from taking my other eye. You spared me that sight. You saved my life and for that I owe you.”

Then he turned his back on him.

“Consider us now even.”

Mantricker glanced from the human to the elf, nodding.

“You are wise for your age, young One-Eye,” he said.
“Your reasoning wish shall be respected. But for what he has done to so many families, including your own, he shall be imprisoned. We will also question him on the whereabouts of the other abductors.”

The king nodded to the guards.

“Take him away.”

The guards seized the human's arms and started guiding him towards the door. But when passing One-Eye, he stopped short. The two stared at each other and the human smirkerd

“You have grown, little draug (wolf).”

Then he was led away, leaving One-Eye to stare after him.

Note: Father-brother is the Medieval word for 'uncle', aka the father's brother. At least it was like that in Norway, but I couldn't find a translation at all, so I had to make up a word myself.
Same goes for brother-daughter, which then would be the brother's daughter.
And when Ekuar called Aroree Miss, it was meant like 'virgin' or maiden', but I couldn't find a translation that fitted. Would Maiden Aroree do?


Yay! The missing 5 lines! Wink *giggles* Glad you have reposted them, though!


Thanks for the ending Wink


Thanks for the final part!!! I really liked it!!Happy