Here are the elements for August
"don't be afraid"
a new life
a bright sun
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.
Index of Previous Grab-bags
Don’t be afraid,
though fear might come easy.
Here we are
under the wasteland,
with nothing but grains.
But you know why we linger,
don’t you, my child?
We hope that one day;
we’ll see the bright sun.
That new life will spring,
the Circle go on.
Nice poem Red. It can actully both fit the Wolfriders who went to sleep during the long wait for the palace, and the sun villagers when they sought refuge after the vulcano went off.
ooooohhh, like the poem!! Very nice!
*tries to kick muse back to work*
Fae, you are aware that kicking the muse is not always a good thing? She/he might turn on you...
Thanks for the feedback!
But, eeeh... pink = very hard to see...
I love the poem Redhead!!
I know, I was just using it because it's a sweet color. I prefer this and the blue one.
Nice poem, Redhead Ember.
Okey, here's my story.
Revelations – part 2
Satekh reached his hand to his cape after he had packed the essentials. He turned his head and met the violet eyes to his lifemate, Louros. She sighed heavily and looked at him with tears in her eyes.
“Do you really have to search for The Dark Prince?” she asked.
“Only to find out what he plans to do. I know that he doesn’t want to give up now,” Satekh said before he walked slowly toward her and held her close to him.
“I’m doing it for Optarh.”
“I know,” Louros replied and held him closer to her. She didn’t want him to go out there alone. But what could she do?
“I don’t know how long it will take, but I promise that I’ll come back to you,” he whispered. Then he turned and started to walk.
“I’m coming with you,” Louros suddenly said once Satekh reached the door. He turned around and looked surprised at her. Louros was also surprised that she managed to say that she wanted to stay with him.
“I would feel much safer if you stay here,” he said after a while.
“It’s safer here for you and I don’t want to put you in danger.”
“As long as I’m with you, I will be safe,” Louros said.
“And I don’t want another mate than you.”
Satekh sighed after a moment before he looked at Louros again.
“If you’re sure, so…”
He didn’t say more until he saw Louros dressed herself and put on her cape to. Both were ready to go while it still was dark. Satekh stood still for a moment while he thought; he did this to help Optarh. But since he didn’t say a thing to Optarh about this, it would look like a betrayal. He touched the amulet around his neck, and took it off.
“Forgive me brother,” he whispered and placed the amulet at a little table in his chamber before he and Louros were on their way to the unknown and started a new life together.
They stared as they gaped at Satekh, Optarhs twin brother. To them it was a surprise and a shook; he was so like the warrior chief, but his brown eyes were the only difference from Optarhs blue eyes.
“Chief Optarh has a twin brother?” Daredevil said confused. Everyone stared confused at each other before they stared at Satekh again.
“I know it’s difficult for you to understand,” Satekh said as he looked at them before he turned his head and looked back.
“I’ll explain everything to you, but not here!”
He didn’t need to explain why. What the elves had all in common was the hearing; they could barely hear the sounds of running feet approaching and it was not the feet from elves.
“I know this mountain better than you,” Satekh said as he turned his head back and looked at them before he started to run away from the hall while waved to them.
One dozen ninjas ran through the corridors and into the hall. The sight they met was fallen ninjas. They looked quickly at each other before they nodded to each other. The gaze in their eyes was clear.
Find the traitor!
His cell had been empty when they discovered the open door, and now the fallen ninjas. But he couldn’t have done this alone? But what if he actually had managed to get allies into the mountain? They would find out when they catch him.
They looked around in the dark corridor one last time before Satekh looked at them and took a deep breath.
“Tell us the truth,” Topaz commanded with a shivering voice as she held her arms across her breast.
“You betrayed chief Optarh and now you’re helping us. What is actually the truth?”
Satekh sighed while he looked at Topaz.
So, Karel finally have gotten a child? he thought while he almost smiled.
“For those who know the whole story, I’m a traitor in their eyes. But I had to take the chance to help Optarh,” he whispered.
“Tell,” Topaz asked after a while.
“During the first war we had against The Dark Ones, I was the last one who fought against The Dark Prince. And it was there it all went wrong. The remains of old magic from the High Ones came out of control and exploded. How Optarh and I managed to survive the explosion is still a mystery. During the explosion The Dark Prince managed to get away in time and everything was over then. But the war had cost a lot of elves who had died or fled because of the curses that they received during the match. Optarhs daughter and Erakhals oldest son was among them who fled.”
He took a deep breath again before he continued.
“Many people gave me the blame because The Dark Prince had managed to escape. Optarh wanted to help out of that problem, but what could he do?”
“What do you mean?” Topaz said confused.
“We weren’t just brothers,” Satekh replied.
“But since the day Optarh became chief, I was his advisor. That’s how many looked at us after the war; Chief Optarh and his adviser, Satekh. Not the twin brothers Optarh and Satekh.”
“Still no answer from Topaz?” Sharika asked carefully as she rode beside Optarh. Eight of the nine chiefs who were riding at the unknown!
“No,” Optarh replied and shook his head after he had tried to send to Topaz.
“She’s still out of range!”
Optarh almost felt cold as he and the other chiefs rode through the darkness in the forest. He tried to stay calm so the horse didn’t get nervous, but he could sense that the horse was nervous and with good reason. His horse was more used to be ridden through the beautiful green landscapes and through the grains under a brighten sun. Not a dark forest where it looked like a nightmare. Optarh turned his gaze to the side as he heard something from the trees above him; he let out easy sigh when he saw it was only an owl.
Sharika stiffened as she heard a howl from a wolf in the distance. Her body trembled as she tried to breathe calmly.
“Come on,” Arthel whispered impatient. Sharika did as she rode beside him. She turned her gaze to the side for a moment. Her eyes widened suddenly; a luminous figure moved among the trees, he was at the same height as Erakhal, his skin was dark and his black hair was tied into a ponytail on top of his head.
Sharikas face became paler by the sight and screamed. Arthel, Optarh and the others quickly turned their heads and felt that their blood quickly disappeared from their faces while their eyes widened. The spirit, turned his head in their direction and stared at them long before he suddenly disappeared, leaving eight trembling chiefs alone.
“D-d-did you see the same thing as me?” Tathar asked trembling after a while.
“K-Karel?” Erakhal asked confused.
**I don’t understand this!** Toron sent to Sturkas while Satekh told his part of the story as Toron stared at him.
**Neither do I!** Sturkas sent back.
**I see the likeness. It’s the same height, the same color at the hair. But the eyes is the difference. I see it, but I still can’t believe it!**
**Our chief has a twin brother? Why did he never say it?**
**Because in your people eyes, I’m nothing more than a traitor!** Satekh sent suddenly and looked toward Toron and Sturkas. Both were silent. Satekh sighed quietly before he continued.
“While Optarh mourned the loss of his daughter with Erla, I had a feeling who said that The Dark Prince wouldn’t give up. He wasn’t finished yet, but the question was when his next move would take place. It was during the time where I got the blame for to not stop The Dark Prince and Optarh didn’t know what to do.”
He made grimace and placed his hand at his left shoulder. After a moment he continued.
“He was in the middle of a conflict with himself. As a chief he had to make a decision that might make others happy, but as a brother he didn’t know what to do. While he thought, I also thought what to do. I wanted to help Optarh, but how? Finally I decided to find out where The Dark Prince was, try to win his confidence and find out what his plans were…”
“… and then you would reveal the plans to Optarh and help him there!” Topaz finished for him.
“Yes,” he replied slowly. He held his tears back as he closed his eyes. He didn’t tell the part when he went out one day and saw his brother face his tribe and the other eight chiefs. Optarh had taken the most difficult decision and declared that since the ‘traitor’ went over to the enemy; Satekh was no longer his brother. He never had a brother.
Since then, both of them had their challenges with going on. But eventually he realized that Optarh never could deny the bond between them, he knew his brother to well. And Satekh decided that he wouldn’t give up his plan to help Optarh. Satekh was determined that no matter how long it would take, he wouldn’t let The Dark Prince get away with what he planned to do.
Satekh lifted suddenly his head; he could hear running feet that approached.
“No,” he whispered and gripped his shoulder again, fighting against the pain.
“Be ready for battle again,” Toron whispered low as they all leaned against the wall. Sturkas held his Sais ready, he wouldn’t miss a fight. Topaz held her sword while she was trembling by fear and closed her eyes. She wished that she could avoid this. She wished that her father was here and could help them as he always did. She wasn’t used to this.
“Don’t be afraid!” whispered a voice into her ear. She stopped to shiver, the voice seemed so familiar.
Father? she thought and tried to look from side to side. She didn’t saw him, but she could swear that it was his voice she heard.
The running feet approaching and the elves held their weapons ready for a fight again.
A short story that suddenly came to me. No, they did not give their names. And yes, 'brown grass' is grain.
Will try to read your story asap, Cleo!
“Don’t be afraid, sweet cubling. It’s only that brown grass waving in the wind.” The young Wolfrider looked up at his mother. Smiling, she ruffled his golden-brown hair.
After the death of her Recognized, she had fallen into a deep pit of despair, never wanting to come out of it again. The tribe had let her be, for a while, understanding and respecting her loss, her mourning. But after some time, they had come.
Had come to try to drag her out of that misery, trying to get that happy smile back on her face.
Nothing had worked.
Until that day. That day she first felt the cub inside of her. She had all but forgotten about the cubling, absorbed as she was in her loss. Carefully, she had felt him move around. And the moment her soul touched his... it was most beautiful. She had felt some of herself in the cubling, and even more of her beloved. It was as if his spirit had given them a little push in the right direction, out of the misery of mourning.
That day, when she finally emerged from her den, the whole tribe howled. Howled for the loss of one of their beloved tribemembers, and for the joy of welcoming not one, but two Wolfriders in their midst. A smile bright as the sun appeared on her face that day, never to leave it again.
Whew, ok, I made the time to read yours right now, Cleo! Wow, gripping!! Very good!! Now go on and write the rest, I wanna know how this is gonna end!!
I lov your Storie Cleopatra!!
Aww what a sweet story faeriegirl!!
Thank you faeriegirl and WolfMoonSky.
Very beautiful story, faerie.
Sweet story faerie!
Aaawww. I love it
Okay, here goes - flash fiction in the box....
The sun was bright; Shale squinted against it, unused to being abroad in daylight. Moonhide’s distress, however was troubling his sleep and he had to find out what was going on. He tracked the wolf to her whelping den and Moonhide’s mate growled and whimpered outside as the elf appeared.
Shale scratched the black wolf’s head, “I know, Eclipse. It’s first litter for us all.” It was a poor explanation and a poorer comfort. He picked the late summer’s deposit of burrs, grass grains and seeds from the distracted wolf’s coat as the pair waited outside the den. “Don’t be afraid. She’ll be fine. Rain will be here if he’s needed and after all, don’t wolves drop cubs all the time? Natural as breathing.” He wondered if he spoke to ease his Eclipe’s distress or his own. “A new life,” he continued. “Probably several. And one day, Moonhide’s cubs will befriend my own cub,” he scratched the wolf’s heavy ruff.
There was a change of tone in the wolf send from the dean and the two males looked at one another. Shale laughed and ducked into the den, his wolf friend’s silver fur glowing in the diffuse light. “Four,” he breathed happily, touching each damp little bundle as they sought their mother’s warmth. “New life.”
Aww very cute ^^
Another great snippet, Tymber!
As short as it is I see several complementing contrasts in it:
- the contrast between the two friends, the deceased chief and Shadow, considering their ways of life and leadership - and what they achieved
- the contrast between death (Wildthorn) and new life (Snowspring) and how it mirrors the life in the Palace and in the forests
- the changes Shadow will bring to his tribemates' lives once more (the hints are clear enough) and the changes his daughter will bring to his own life
You started with the dead ... and ended with new life. And between there is a decision made. I love both the scenes in the beginning and in the end - a perfect clasp (vocabulary?).
I hope Cleopatra will draw the birth scene ... pretty please!
aww so cute!!
Thank you WolfMoonSky and faeriegirl
And once more your story inspired art, Tymber ... and the art affected the story!
I love this, Cleopatra! Shadow is an incredibly proud, caring father and his little Snowspring is a cutie. It's great that she has Daddy's shiny black hair now - and the forest home they will return to is in the eyes of both of them.
Beautiful poem, Redhead. I like the picture you are evoking - a mother, soothing a fearful child, nurturing hope and a new beginning.
I could see Rainsong and her cublings while crossing the Troll tunnels (tho it was a short time only). But more than anyone else I see the Mother of Memory - either after the Volcano eruption ... or even better - during the time they fled into the Troll Tunnels from the Human invasion.
There's just a background picture for you, Redhead
click to see full sized
Many thanks for the nice comments Don't forget that I've only chosen the picture, tho - the awesomeness of the art is all Wendy's.
Beautiful little story, faeriegirl - touching and comforting at the same time.
I like the start - a tender moment between mother and cub.
I love the middle part, the first touch of amother with the growing new life.
I ... miss an end ... somehow.
Don't misunderstand me - the last sentence is lovely, evoking a smile of my own. But there stays a feeling that I've read two stories
- the flashback, nicely rounded
- and the prologue ... standing alone, open
- missing an epilogue, a return to prescence and a sort of conclusion ... both watching the rising/stting sun or something like this.
An unknown Wolfrider ... an unknown cub ...wonders whether I might be able ... hhmmm...
Well, this was the story as it came to me No idea if and when I can/will add to it
Hey, never mind my nitpicking, faeriegirl ... it's great that you find time and inspiration to write again at all! I'll wait and see whether this will be continued or stays a flashlight from the past.
... that's what I missed to add for a nice closure
Lovely first entry, Firethorne. You created a perfect mood - both with the description of the envirionment and the feelings of the two males, Wolfrider and Wolffriend, waiting for new life to be born. You are drawing parallels to Shale waiting for fatherhood of his own without saying it. Shale welcoming the cubs, seeing and touching them is such a sweet scene.
And a sad one as well ... thinking that he will never see his own cub, never will touch him.
If the saying is "a day late and a dollar short", Who gets the $14 or so from be being a month late with this?
Well, hopefully I'll get this months one out in the next 15 days. Enjoy!
The king and his few surviving guards were out of breath. It seemed that centuries of sitting on a throne or standing next to it seemed to have an adverse effect on a Troll’s ability to run for extended periods…. Perhaps it was something to do with the Throne itself? Couldn’t be the inactivity, after all, a throne is made to be sat upon by the King, and the king can’t sit without his guards standing by…. But the small harried group wasn’t much in the mood for debating the issue, they were too busy running from their greatest fears!
The king knew that there was a point in battle when it was suicide to take any more of a stand, when the likelihood that he, as a leader, would have to kill for his own defense instead of out of pleasure. With the fall of the Destroyer and the very weather tearing his forces to but a fraction of what they were, that time had come and passed so they fled. In his hasty retreat, the King spared little thought in whether any of the warriors could be saved, and set his guards to collapse the tunnel behind them—not just once, but every few hundred paces along this main shaft connecting that far stretch of the mines. Abandoning a few unused tunnels and warriors that were more than likely dead already was far better than risking his kingdom! He just wished he had destroyed the main line from the beginning…. His thoughts, addled by failure and fatigue, began to turn and twist, searching for some new way he would find some sort of recovery from this, some vengeance he would be successful in reaping!
And he backtracked through his memory to what had been the root of the whole thing: the traitor Patchsmith! With a sort of twisted glee his mind raced with renewed vigor, coming up with new ways to inflict the greatest amount of pain and suffering. He would envision an idea and discard it, feeling it was too merciful in that it would not be enough, or would outright kill the Traitor. Nothing he could think of was bad enough for him!
The overall pace of the small group had slowed, as the great amount of collapsed tunnels and increased distance made the King less fearful, and fatigue began to slam the crew in waves.
Back in the thick of battle, scattered groups of Trolls began to find themselves without a leader. Some panicked and attempted to flee back through the tunnels, only to find themselves denied by cave ins. A few even tried to start digging their way back in.
A few squads remained unaware that anything was amiss, and sought out the destruction of house after house, setting fire to grain fields and other crops. Even as the Elves started to come out against them, or leave before they got there, these warriors stuck to duty and kept on fighting.
A rag-tag band of warriors had made their way to the mouth of the valley and tried to hold a sort of line, but without the reinforcement of the Destroyer, or more warriors, they were failing in their goal, and Elves began to make their way out of the valley and went on into the forests and fields beyond.
The few left scattered throughout the valley, leaderless, wandered aimlessly and goalless, either too weak minded to make their own decisions or too horrified by the utter defeat they had witnessed when Skyfire and ice rained down from the skies.
The Destroyer was raging, however. It had been wounded, perhaps mortally, and its collective mind almost emanated hatred at its attackers. The warriors that had be formed into it had committed themselves with the promise of invincibility, a promise that had been broken as it felt the grip of age begin to wear on it, and now again as this new enemy tore at it with fire, fang, ice and stone!
A hapless Troll warrior tried to attend to its injuries or assist it in some way as it hurled chunks of wood, stone, and forest floor in an unstopping tumult at the cliff side where its attackers were hidden. The Troll cried out as he found himself hurled at the stone face, splattering with the force of the impact, as such was the rage of the great beast.
The trio huddled behind the outcropping, Hail trying to form some sort of additional barrier between them and the onslaught. They almost could not hear sendings over the noise as boulders half the size of a house thudded into the cliffside. He was still finding that there was a difference between being taught how to do things and actually doing them, and as he weakened further he realized it wouldn’t be long before their little bit of shelter would be gone, or they would be buried under debris that was raining down from above!
**Do you think you could uproot or break off a tree or two, make spears out of them and pierce the creature, Cliff?**
**I am unsure as to how effective it would be, but I can attempt such a task. Shall we retreat to some place we could work together on this? I am not adept at sharpening wood.**
All things considered, it sounded good. Hail abandoned the barrier and worked quickly on some special armor for Cliff, forming thin fibrous strips in a lattice around him. The thought was that it would give the Elves something to hold onto while giving some small amount of protection from the maelstrom of missiles flung up from the creature below. The strands were firm but shouldn’t break when hit.
Blueriver was already climbing on Cliff’s back, and as Hail finished his work he followed suit. Cliff bounded up into the air, attempting to dodge as many stones and wood chunks as possible. Having made it through, Cliff raced as far and as quickly as he could, the raging Destroyer following at an incredible pace.
The Destroyer had spent ages sleeping in its web, and seemed to hurdle through the woods with limitless energy, even as its lifeblood trickled down its back and left a trail behind it in its wake. The trio would not have much time to work on their plan, it would seem. Cliff had finally decided he was far enough away and used his great momentum against a tall, thin tree, which snapped off at the ground and in the middle where he’d hit it. Unfortunatly, this rendered the trunk too short to be useful, so Cliff ducked around the falling tree and pushed onward to try again.
A similar tree presented itself, and Cliff “landed” in a hurry on its upper branches, attempting to use the trio’s combined weight to snap the tree over. It protested, groaned, and finally gave way, leaving a nice long pole as big around as Hail’s head. The three hit the ground and Hail set to work, pulling stones up from the ground and shaping them into loops, attempting to do the work of a wood-shaper in a destructive sort of brute force way. The loops extended up from the ground, wrapped around the branches and withdrew back into the ground, snapping the branches off fairly cleanly.
The Destroyer’s thunderous footsteps could be heard approaching, crashing through the trees. There wasn’t time to sharpen the trunk itself, so Hail formed a point of stone around the broken end, with several leaf-like razor sharp edges flowing from the tip. Leaving Hail and Blueriver behind, Cliff hauled the massive spear up into the air in a lazy circle.
The Elves tried to find a clearing to draw the beast out into, but the best they could do was some shorter, young trees that had only grown about head height. Something had come through and burned or otherwise cleared the area, or perhaps this had been a clearing at some point and the wind had spread seeds… it was unusual either way, but Hail would take what he could get for now.
The Destroyer was far faster than the Elves could hope to be, even in its weakened state. It came crashing into the young trees and actually gained speed, as they were nothing to push over. It bore down on the pair, who bolted in opposite directions at the last moment, too quick for the massive beast to follow either. Aided by its many legs, however, the Destroyer slowed faster than Hail had figured on and went off after Blueriver.
Unlike his previous sortie, there were plenty of rocks in this soil, smooth stones that had been washed down by a river at some point in the past. Hail was starting to realize he didn’t know much about the valley he grew up in, much less the rest of the world that stretched under the cliffs and out of the valley, and out beyond the cliffs above! He’d not traveled on his own this far down the valley and it was all unfamiliar to him when he thought about where he was in it. He shrugged it off for the moment and began to work on stones as he ran, sending small rivers of snakelike flowing stone coursing alongside him, trying to keep up with the beast ahead.
Previously, it had seemed as though there had been eyes all over this thing, and once the Destroyer knew where you were, there was no point anywhere around it you could be and not be seen. Cliff’s fire had seared off most of the flesh from the left rear of the beast, and Hail inched into the new blind spot with his stone snakes, but couldn’t keep up! Thinking quickly, he formed part of the stone snakes into enormous versions of the legs of a small jumping bug known as glouden, snapping the “snakes” into spears and propelling them much faster than he could have thrown them.
The stone missiles hurdled after the beast, most of which sunk into the body of the creature one after another. He hollered after it when he noticed it wasn’t slowing in its pursuit of his companion. It seemed like Cliff was sure taking his time with his attack! After the pace of everything that had happened up to this point, Hail didn’t seem to notice that Cliff had barely left moments before.
**Hail, dodge right!** came a thought from Cliff.
Hail reacted without even thinking, leaping to the right, landing on all fours and finding himself at home running in this manner: A part of him had started to grow, a part of him he, and his kin, had ignored and repressed for generations, and with his heart racing, hands and feet flying, here in the thick of battle, that urge tore itself free of sleep and burst forth! A snarl that had been caught in the back of Hail’s throat erupted into a roar!
His eyes never left the creature, it was his prey! Cliff’s spear was a blur, and it was obvious now why it had seemed so long before he had returned. Cliff had flown high and far, and built up speed as he dove in at the Destroyer. The spear impacted the creature in its blind spot, tore completely through and pinned it to the ground, stopping it cold.
Blueriver continued running into a thicker, taller stand of trees as blue-green light began to light up the night sky. The spear had done some serious damage to the creature, and the power that had created the creature was undone, sending bolts of vile looking blue-green skyfire arcing over the trees, searing the ground, and even set fire to some undergrowth.
The flashes drove home the fact that there was still a raging battle outside this “small” one Hail was involved with. Rolling smoke reflected the light and blotted out the stars. Hail noticed this, as well as many things around him he would have ordinarily missed, but only the things directly related to him and the behemoth were important. For the first time in his life… indeed, perhaps in the lives of anyone he knew, Hail’s world coalesced into the sharp definition that only came through the Now of Wolf Thought.
Soaking up every detail of his prey he now circled, Hail watched as sections of the beast tore itself apart. Cadaverous tissue fell to the ground in congealed, steaming masses, while other parts of the beast reformed into more recognizable structures. Three large masses and dozens of almost humanoid forms broke apart from the previous Great Destroyer. Urged on by a force he’d never known, Hail leapt in, stone daggers slashing and tearing into Troll flesh. The Trolls that still had some sense about them, the ones that were still able to function on their own, scattered. Some came at Hail, some followed Blueriver, and others took off into the night, either to get away from Cliff or to find something to kill. Several Trollish masses had either been too wounded in their former form to move of their own volition, or had been too much a part of the hulking mass to work independently, so they wandered or sat idle… easy prey for the wolf that drove Hail!
Tearing at throats, slashing at eyes, sparing little time to do more that take each figure out of the battle, Hail became a force like the storm he’d hidden from not so long ago. Dedicated warriors attempted to swarm him and were torn apart by stone shards erupting from the ground.
“Hail! HELP ME!!!” Blueriver was not having even a fraction of the luck Hail was having. The dissolution of the Destroyer helped to slow the menacing horde, but was far from stopping their bloodthirstiness, and Blueriver had already been running for some time now. Hail smoothly changed his course in the melee, hoping he could get to her in time.
Cliff made his entry to the fight, pushing a white hot plume of flame before him to engulf some of the slower Trolls. The flame was searing; the ancient warriors’ twisted flesh popped and charred mere moments after contact. Cliff’s flame went out and his claws plowed through Blueriver’s pursuers.
Hail pushed through the brush with only a couple pursuers on his heels, ignored by him at the moment. Hail hadn’t paid much attention to his tracking lessons when he was younger, but this new tune playing in his bloodsong brought Blueriver’s trail into focus; the subtle perturbations in the soil, the light scuffs in the bark, the bent leaves… Even without the racket from the chase he could have found the path!
He pushed onward, joining now with Cliff’s path of destruction as his friend had plowed through the trees. Hail was much slower than Cliff, who had outpaced him already. The forest lit up around him as unseen flame belched forth up ahead through the haze. It seemed as though war-fires had broke out all over the valley and were attempting to slowly choke it to death, but this flame was characteristic of Cliff’s fireballs, and Hail hoped that it meant Blueriver’s assailants were meeting their end.
Hail broke through the undergrowth into a clearing to find Cliff tearing a limb from a fallen Trollish form and his other companion slumped against a rock exhausted. Other than the two that were following him there were no threats in the immediate area. Hail whirled to meet them, forging a short pike out of his stone daggers to plunge into the first to burst into the clearing. Hail attempted to fling the Troll up and over, only to find that fatigue had affected him far more than he realized. The dead weight of the Troll’s body crashed into him and the two forms rolled, causing the lighter Hail to be flung away from the short spear stuck in his former assailant.
The second Troll came into view before Hail had regained his feet, pushing on fueled by ages of rage. The ancient Troll warrior crushed Hail to the ground and began to pummel him with his flailing fists. Cliff’s tail snaked out of the darkness and slashed at the Troll, knocking it from its perch with a reverberating crunch of shattered ribs. Hail’s own beaten body refused to raise itself. Pain registered, but he found himself too tired to care, and tried to allow himself to pass out. A small part of him wondered if he would ever see the bright sun shining on the cliffs above, the valley at peace, and his friends standing with him to see it….
A single tear crept down Patchsmith’s nose silently in the dark. A Troll’s patience was something that few other creatures of this world could comprehend, much less equal. Humans could live an entire lifetime while a Troll tunneled a short distance in the dark, with nothing but the sound of his pick as a companion, and little to show for his labor but a few specks of shiny metal or perhaps a glitterstone.
Patchsmith himself had chosen to sit alone in the dark on many occasions, little more than the soft light from a glowstone or the slight patter of dripping water, but that was by choice, and he could leave when he wanted to hear the sounds of others again.
He had no idea how much time had passed since even the drone of far off mining and forgework had cut off, leaving pure silence. The cell he had been placed in had been used for years, placed such that no free heat or water would trickle by to soothe an inmate’s torment, and indeed not even a whiff of another soul remained in the cell to remind its lonely inmate that others existed outside this pitch black space. Patchsmith hung immobile from his frame, cold and alone in the dark silence, stripped of his station, his leathers, and his name.
During the period before the distant sounds had grown quiet he had mumbled to himself, telling himself not to be afraid, or making up stories to keep some hope of freedom within his grasp… but little by little that hope began to flee, and elude his frantic prattle. The babbling turned to crying, and the crying to silence, the only comfort coming from those far off picks and hammers doing work.
But when those sounds died off so abruptly, the sense that he had been left behind began to clutch at his heart with cold black fingers. It seemed even his tormentors had left him to starve in the dark without so much as an explanation, that he was doomed to spend a short time going mad as his body consumed itself before tasting oblivion. So starved was he for some sort of contact or sensation that even this touch brought elation to his soul, so that dark grip of doom toyed with him, unable to drag him down until even its touch could bring no joy. Patchsmith had become his own tormentor, even just to have some form of company.
Those tears had dried long ago. He had hung numb to everything; head drooped motionless so long that the random patterns swirling in the dark in his eyes had formed a grey blank of nothingness. Even the thought of how time seemed to have stopped had left, and he had given himself over to death, unseeing, unhearing, unfeeling. As this last single tear fell free and dropped into the abyss, Patchsmith felt himself fall after it, arms open wide to embrace the end.
Numbed as he was, he felt and heard nothing when small but strong fingers pulled knots apart and unlocked his manacles, so his body fell to the floor unchecked. Miniature hands and feet climbed his thigh and crept up to his chest, and there the tiny Preserver sat, waiting. It leaned forward and pushed on Patchsmith’s nose, trying to get his attention. Make wrapstuff? the preserver thought to itself, unsure if the Troll was too far gone to awake on his own.
The swirling mists of Patchsmith’s vision had become a hurricane of frantic patterns. Only when the preserver leaned close, pulling and prodding at his eyes did the fog start to clear and the darkness begin to register once again. It was nearly an hour before Patchsmith attempted to rock his head from side to side, trying to clear the fuzziness from his thoughts and make any attempt to realize what had happened, but the silent creature trying to coax new life into him was one of the few creatures that could understand patience better than even a Troll had ever experienced.
*giggles* No, sure it's not the inactivity... LOL!!
Very nice battle scenes!! And glad the Destroyer is Destroyed!
Cute little preserver... aaaaawwww!!!
I loved this, TrollHammer!!
WOW - ... exciting, horrifying and touching. An awesome chapter, TrollHammer!
The fighting scenes were well pictured, even in random details like the tecnique making of the giant spear. Some of the visions you evoke remind of a horror movie - the Destroyer falling apart, partly changing back. Last not least Hail breaking down - you almost let us fear for him ...
But what really impressed, really touched me was the description of Patchsmith in his dark, lonesome cell. The different states he's going through, how he looses everything, hope, sensation ... conciousness.
... and then a glimpse of new hope brought back by this moving little Preserver. Musings? Once more you made me feel for a Troll.