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Ties That Bind (chapter 10)

qari

Ties That Bind

Chapter Ten

The Alliance

“You didn’t see what I saw,” Qari screamed as Calidorn carried him through the forest. “I will kill them all.”

Calidorn tried to calm the man down, but Qari was having no part of it. He had seen the vile and nefarious manner in which the monkeys were feeding on the blood of humans. The mere thought caused him to once again fight back the urge to vomit.

Bynn appreciated the man’s enthusiasm for killing the monkeys, but realized that it was not the right time to make a stand. Silkwood was close enough that the elf believed the group stood a good chance of making it before the monkeys completely washed over them. Bynn threw the magical trident to Qari when he had finally calmed down enough to be put down by Calidorn. “I promise, you will get your chance at revenge,” Bynn offered, “But not now.”

Calidorn and Batoonsta never slowed in their dash for safety. The elephant man and the minotaur were far slower than the elves and Qari, and they had no intention of being overtaken by the blood monkeys. Vaidon stayed with Bynn and Qari as they argued.

Finally, Qari conceded that the fight would come another day. However, that notion was abandoned as the man saw Rolo getting chased by three wild monkeys. The anteater would be killed if no one intervened. Bynn let loose two quick arrows, and two of the creatures fell. The last monkey grabbed Rolo’s tail and set his feet against the pulling anteater. Qari drove his new trident through the creature’s chest, and urged Rolo to safety. Rolo followed Calidorn and Batoonsta.

The salvation of Rolo had cost Qari and elves their advantage. The blood monkeys were closing in on the group. “Vaidon, go with the others and send help as quickly as possible.” The female elf hesitated and almost argued, but something told her that Bynn was right. They would need help. She sprinted straight for Silkwood, but the monkeys cut her off. A half dozen of the creatures darted between her and the path to the elven city. Vaidon never slowed as she continued to run directly at the beasts. She cut down two with one mighty swing of her sword; however, the others clawed and scratched at her as she passed. The wounds were not nearly fatal, but they were certainly painful. They also slowed her down, which allowed more monkeys to get in front of her.

The demon monkey led the charge on Bynn and Qari. Bynn knew that the great monkey was somehow protected from his arrows, so he continued to launch arrows into the horde of blood monkeys that followed their master. Qari ran right at the demon monkey as the elf’s arrows thinned the troops.

“More blood for the monkey god,” the demon shouted as he leveled a stone club at the charging human. Qari lowered his spear in the hopes of skewering the beast. The demon monkey easily parried the attack, but it did not account for the magic of the trident. Qari wretched the stone club from the demon’s clutches. Instinctively, the man pulled the club free and swung it at the face of his foe.

There was a sickening crack as the club hit the monkey in the left eye. Blood poured from the shattered socket where an eye was resided. The demon monkey dropped to his knees and clutched his bleeding face. The blood monkeys hesitated; their lord had just been defeated. Qari aimed another strike, but before he could attack the monkey disappeared in an eruption of blood.

Bynn grabbed Qari and took advantage of the blood monkeys’ confusion. They may make it to Silkwood after all.

The monkeys in Vaidon’s path were too far away to know about the defeat of the demon, so they continued form in front of the elf. Vaidon was injured; every step sent waves of pain through her legs.  The monkeys in front of her would kill her if she continued; however, the monkeys behind her would kill her if she stopped. Vaidon had no choice but to press forward. Suddenly, the jaguar appeared and slaughtered the monkeys in the elf’s way. Vaidon stumbled and the great cat leaped over her and killed the monkeys behind her. Then the jaguar took her collar in its mouth and carried her off as if she were one of its cubs.

Bynn and Qari quickly followed on the same path the jaguar had opened for them. As the duo neared Silkwood, they noticed volleys of arrows raining down behind them. The elves were driving the monkeys away from the city. Batoonsta and Calidorn were already resting when Qari found them. Rolo was curled into a tight ball next to the elephant, and Qari jumped on him and buried him in a hug. Bynn found Vaidon sitting with her back against the giant jaguar as the beast lay on the ground. The jaguar gave a low growl as Bynn approached the wounded female, but Vaidon gave him a soothing pat to show that it was alright. The good news was that everyone was safe. The bad news was that Tira Al Lung had been right about the monkeys.

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Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Gathering the Magic

swamp witch

 

The crickets were chirping and the frogs were calling. The sound of the small wooden shelter, anchored to the shore by a worn out rope, was steady and somewhat comforting. The green light glowing from inside was far less comforting, and coupled with the steady cackling laughter it was downright terrifying.

However, the man who slowly walked toward the boat house was not easy frightened. He was Rainor, and he was on the hunt. As he approached the door he heard a voice from inside say, “Come in!”

Rainor, the powerful mage, was only to happy to oblige the swamp witch. He opened the door and walked in, without fear or hesitation.

“I saw dat you was a-coming,” a small dark-skinned woman stated without turning around to give any regard for the man. Her dark eyes were focused on the green flame.

“Good,” Rainor answered, “Then this should go smoothly.” As he spoke, he looked around the shack. There were herbs and cattails, as well as skulls from many animals and even some from humanoids. Then his eyes settled on several small dolls. Rainor was curious about the dolls, for they exuded a strange magical appeal. The mage made his way over to the dolls as the witch continued to look into the flame of her green-flaming candle.

Rainor scanned the dolls, and was amazed. They were very detailed, and he even recognized one of the dolls as Jericho, the king of Shadowmire. The city of the therians was not far from the witches hideout, so it was not surprising that she, too, knew of the lion king. Then, his heart went into his throat as he quickly grabbed a doll that was an exact replica of Rainor himself, dressed in the same clothing that he wore at that exact moment.

“How did you?”

“I saw dat you was a-coming,” the witch repeated. This time she turned, and looked at Rainor. She was not unattractive, or at least, there was a time when she may have had a chance to be pretty. However, those days were many years and many baths behind her. Her teeth were rotten, and she was caked in swamp mud. Still, when Rainor looked upon her, he wanted her. Something stirred inside him as her chest heaved in heavy breaths.

She was casting spells on him, he realized. Rainor exploded in anger, furious with himself for underestimating the wicked swamp hag. He kicked her in the stomach and doubled her over. Then he grabbed her by the hair and threw her into the corner.

The witch laughed in the mage’s face. She repeated the same words over and over, “I saw dat you was a-coming.”

Rainor held his doll over the green flame, “You think it is funny? I will burn this place into the swamp.” The green light seemed to have no effect on the doll at first, but suddenly it burst into bright green flames. Rainor fell to the floor of the shack, barely able to breathe. Pain shot through his entire body; it was as if every inch of his skin was being stung by a wasp.

The witch’s laughter continued as Rainor writhed in pain. He felt the wood from the floor on his cheek and watched the burning doll. The Doll. The mage mustered his strength and lunged for the doll, which was on fire but did not seem to be consumed by the flames. Rainor snatched the doll and smothered it under his body. The pain lessened but he was far from being alright. He was still dying.

The witch stopped her laughing and started some incantation which Rainor had no intention of staying around for. With one magic word, the mage teleported back to the safety of his study. All he wanted to do was sleep, but he knew that to give in to that urge was to accept death. Rainor would never so readily give himself over to that fate.

He found potions of healing and one that stopped that effects of almost every poison. Rainor quickly popped the corks, and poured the liquid down his throat. Then he passed out.

Rainor woke three days later; his head foggy and his body weak. Where am I? What happened? He wondered. He saw the answer as he looked on the ground and noticed a small doll that looked just like him.

 

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Ties That Bind (Chapter 8)

Qari

Runt of the Litter

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Ties That Bind

Chapter 8

The Cave Tree

Calidorn’s broad fingers tinkered with Qari’s bird skull helmet while the two talked about their past. Qari explained how his tribe had been slaughtered by the blood monkeys while he was away. He explained that all of the surrounding tribes had suffered the same fate. Rolo was out searching for food; it had been a while since the anteater had been allowed to freely hunt. However, now that his master was safe Rolo enjoyed romping through the forest without a saddle.

“What about you?” Qari asked. “Did the monkeys take out the others in your party?” Calidorn had explained that he was part of a mining expedition that had found this cave particular cave.

Calidorn shook his head. He fidgeted with the helmet and attached some adornments. “No, not the monkeys.” The elephant man handed the bird skull back to Qari. “It was the jaguar.”

“Yeah, the jaguars are bad,” Qari put the helmet on, and it fit perfectly.

“Not the jaguars,” Calidorn picked up his hammer as the memory came back to him. “THE JAGUAR.” Qari didn’t understand what he meant, but when Calidorn did not elaborate he knew better than to pry.

Instead the small human decided to change the subject. The past was filled with too much bloodshed. “So how far back does this cave go?”

“It goes pretty deep. I shrunk down as much as I could, but still couldn’t slip through a few places.” Calidorn’s eyes seemed to lose the sadness in his eyes.

“Wait, did you say ‘shrunk down’?”

“Oh, yeah!” Calidorn grew to stand about eight feet tall. Then he shrunk back down to around four or so feet high. Qari was amazed. Calidorn just laughed. “Want to go exploring? I bet you can fit through some of the cracks that I couldn’t. You are skinny.”

So the two new friends set off to travel deeper into the cave. Qari trusted that Rolo would be safe. Anteaters survived in the wild on their own all the time. Further and further they went, and it got cold to the shirtless human. Calidorn offered the man a cloak to help with the chill. “Gets cold down here.”

They passed over a small underground stream. “I have been able to get fish out of here sometimes. They are small, but at least it gives me something to eat other than fruits and roots.”

“How long have you been surviving down here?”

“Somewhere around a moon cycle,” Calidorn answered. At first, Qari was amazed at how the elephant creature had made it so long. Then he realized that he and Rolo had been running for almost two weeks. It was intriguing the lengths living creatures would go to ensure survival.

Calidorn led them to a small crack in the wall. Qari would not have even noticed it if it was not pointed out to him. “I have heard strange sounds through this crack. I know it leads somewhere.”

“Go it alone, eh?”

“As I said, I can’t fit,” Calidorn laughed. “You don’t have to go, if you don’t feel comfortable.”

Qari chuckled nervously. “I will go. If I don’t come back, take care of Rolo.” He was only half kidding. With a deep breath, the small man slipped into the small crack. He had been in a cave the whole time, but being unable to move in any direction except sideways was overwhelming. Qari considered going back, but he heard a sound that he was all too familiar with; monkeys.

Anger drove him along. Hate pushed him through even though it took the skin off of his ears and cheeks. Qari climbed and climbed as he made his way toward the sounds of his most hated enemies. Finally, he saw a small light up ahead. He cautiously poked his head out into a large open chamber which spilled light into his crevice.

What he saw nearly took his breath away. He was midway up the wall overlooking an open cavern. In the middle of the cavern was a large tree. A small opening in the top of the cave gave enough sunlight to keep the tree alive. Strewn throughout the tree were abyssal plant vines. Their smell washed over the small man, and nearly made him swoon. He covered his face with the cloak Calidorn had given him earlier.

Monkeys leaped from the opening into the tree and climbed up and down. At the base of the tree, Qari saw something that he did not expect. There were about thirty humans and elves sitting under the tree. What are they doing? Why are they just sitting there? Qari wanted answers. Some of the men at the bottom of the tree were tribesmen. Could some of my people have survived? Qari hoped, but he needed to get down to them.

Suddenly Qari heard a powerful call from the opening. He looked up to see a spider monkey with blood red eyes. The beast hooted and barked and all the monkeys rushed up the tree and followed him. In a matter of seconds, the cavern was completely quiet. Qari courageously jumped from his perch and grabbed hold of a branch. He quickly climbed down, making sure that the cloak stayed wrapped around his mouth and nose.

When he reached the humans and elves, he puked into the cloak. The abyssal plants had caused them to be lulled into a near catatonic state. They were sedated and did not even notice the small human that had climbed down among them. Worse than that was the fact that they were covered in blood sac oozes and leeches. The blood sac oozes where heavy with the life essence of their host. Qari realized that the monkeys were using them to harvest blood. He could see scars and some fresh wounds where the monkeys had pulled the oozes and leeches away.

Qari sank to one knee and contemplated just staying there; giving up hope. He realized quickly that he had to get away from the effects of the abyssal plants, or he too would become a feeder for the monkeys. If he had more time, he would have killed every one of the damned souls under the tree. However, he had no weapons and no time. Qari climbed the tree and made a leap back to the crack. He had to catch the ledge and maneuver his way back in, but he managed it with some difficulty.

Qari stopped about halfway back to Calidorn and cried. He let out all of the anger, hurt, guilt, shame, regret; all of it. His eyes were red and puffy when he stepped out of the hole, but he had a plan. He was going to kill every blood monkey he saw. There was no more running. It was time to hunt.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Zoe and the Outcasted (3)

Machination

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Zoe and the Outcasted

Chapter 3

Metal Among the Trees

Chaff was cloaked in an old robe that once belonged to Zoe’s father; hiding his unique appearance. He and Zoe made their way through the streets of Pinevale without any notice at all. They had considered making their way around the city, but decided it would be faster to cut straight through. Also, they hoped that Pinevale’s magical energies would drown out the power of the gauntlets. The minions did not dare attack inside the walls of the great city. Their reasoning was sound, and nothing bothered them.

However, they had to travel through dense forest to get from Pinevale to Locwood, the home of the orcs. The major road was dangerous, as many displaced orcs sought easy prey. A fourteen year old girl and a harvester would be no match for a group of robbers. So, the duo was forced to take their chances in the pine forest.

Both Zoe and Chaff were amazed at how beautiful the pines grew. The admiration did not last long before the minions of Rainor stormed over them. It was as though they had been waiting for Zoe.

There were thirteen of the winged beasts, and they ranged from tamarin to gorilla. Chaff ripped off his cloak and raised his bladed arms. Zoe raised her magically armored hands. The rubies encrusting the gloves glowed red, and Zoe herself seemed to radiate heat. The winged minions hooted and screeched at the display of magical power. Their excitement was short-lived.

From each gauntlet sprang a flaming whip, ready to do the girl’s bidding. Zoe spun her new weapons around, getting a feel for their length. One of the gorillas attempted to take the gauntlets, but he was met with lash after fiery lash from the whips. The other minions hesitated before staking their claim on the magic item. Chaff was not interested in letting them regain their composure. The harvester sprang on them with his scythe-like arms cutting several of the smaller monkeys down among the pine needle floor.

A few of the quicker, smaller winged monkeys manage to escape the carnage. A large and hairy orangutan with tiny wings was not so quick. Zoe wrapped him in her burning coils as he attempted to flee into the forest. The dying creatures cries could be heard in both Pinevale and Locwood.

The battle with the minions was over as quickly as it had begun. However, there was a new problem. The dried pine was igniting from the flames of Zoe’s gloves. She dispelled the whips with merely a thought, and started trying to put out the flames. Chaff used the old robes to smother the blaze, and eventually all of the fire was out.

Zoe and Chaff were exhausted and covered in soot and ash. They needed to rest, away from the still smoking remains of their forest fires. Chaff led them down a small trail. The trail ended at a strange, vine covered tree. Chaff leaned against the tree, and threw his head back into it.

Doink

The strange tree wasn’t a tree at all. Zoe started pulling vines away, while Chaff cut, In no time, they had uncovered a large metal humanoid. The sculpture must have stood nine feet high and carried a huge axe, which was half buried in the earth. Its legs were wide cylinders, like an elephants. The arms and torso seemed to have giant springs cleverly worked into the metal frame. Zoe could not get a good look at the face, it was too high.

“I wish he would lean down so I could see his face,” she pouted.

Chaff’s heart dropped into his stomach as the metal giant slowly dropped down to one knee. It put its face down at eye level to Zoe.

“Stay back, fiend!” Chaff tried to sound brave when he finally gained his composure.

“He won’t hurt us,” Zoe stated with a certainty that the harvester felt was unwarranted.

“You don’t even know if it is a ‘He’ at all.”

The metal titan turned to Chaff and spoke in a voice that was deep and strong. “I am a he.”

Zoe and Chaff spent hours asking the creature questions. Most normal people would have grown weary of answering the non-ending barrage of questioning, but this was a machination. He was created by Rainor during the War of Hoarded Magic. This particular machination, which Zoe named LJ, was clearing a path through the forest for the orc army when the war ended. He was left with no more orders, so he had been sitting and waiting for someone to come along and give him a purpose.

Zoe and Chaff had no problems giving him orders. Once they had learned of his purpose, they asked him to cut down a large pine tree. LJ readied his huge axe and turned his torso. The great spring inside groaned under the strain, but LJ continued to turn. Finally, in a motion so quick and powerful that Zoe and Chaff hardly registered it, LJ let the tension loose and sliced through the pine in one chop.

“Yeah, he can stay with us!” Chaff stated and they shared a laugh. Even LJ seemed happy to once again have something to do with himself.

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Demon Wrought (Chapter One)

Larkin Dane

Demon Wrought

Chapter One

Traps

The Troy children in the city of Dorsi had their noses pressed against the glass of the windows. Each breath created a foggy patch, as the excited little faces peered out into the dark streets. The adults were all out celebrating a victory of some sorts, and the kids wanted to try to catch a glimpse of the action. The youngest child, bored with the lack of action at the window, danced to the music that could be heard throughout the entire town. He jumped up and down on the bed, swinging his arms in wild circles.

“Ouch, Paris!” Andromache squealed. The little boy had accidently hit his older sister while dancing.

“Sowwy,” Paris stated automatically, with absolutely no regrets or contrition.

“He is only three years old, Anne,” Helen, the oldest daughter, scolded. “It couldn’t possibly have hurt you.” The magic of the moment was lost, and the children moved away from the window.

Anne pouted for a moment, and then responded to Helen. “You may look like mommy, but you ain’t her.” She ran to her bed and jumped under the blanket.

“All of you need to be in bed; Pollux and Castor, you two especially.” Helen pointed at the twins. “You have a big tomorrow.” The two boys grumbled as they went to their beds. “Paris, stop jumping around and go to your bed.”

“I wanna sleep wit you!”

“You can sleep with me, buddy.” Priam grabbed Paris and gave him a big squeeze. “Let me talk to Helen for a minute and I will meet you in my bed.” Paris grabbed his crab toy and ran to Priam’s bed.

Helen shook her head, “He may as well not even have a bed if you are always going to let him sleep with you.”

“He won’t always want to be around,” Priam said as he escorted Helen out of the bedroom. “Just like you.” Helen looked confused. “I know you are planning on sneaking out again tonight, and I beg you not to go.”

“What do you know of it?”

“I know that since mom and dad started letting Hector go out during celebrations, you have been sneaking out as well.” Priam was calm; concern clear in his voice. “Hector is a young man, and that is a lot different than a young girl going out. The world ain’t right nowadays.”

Helen grabbed Priam by the arm. “You better not tell mom and dad,” she whispered sharply.

“I haven’t and I won’t,” Priam pulled his arm free. “But this is the last time. If you do it again, I am telling.”

*****

Ale and music flowed through the tavern, and the party had even spilled out into the streets. The Crab Trap had not seen this much business since Memkin had bought the former brothel three years back. The married women of the town had dubbed the whorehouse, “The Crab Trap” and Memkin decided he liked the name, so he let the name stand. It was only fitting since Memkin made some of the finest crab dishes on the coast. He stopped trying to keep up with his gourmet cooking on this night, and just churned out food as quickly as he could. Everyone was too drunk to even taste it anyway.

A group was dancing around the tavern, led by a handsome figure with slightly pointed ears and wavy hair. His motions were smooth as he spun the ladies of Dorsi around in twists and circles; a feat which enchanted the women, but make the men incredibly jealous. He was called Berg, and he had been a hero earlier that day.

Finally after many dances, Berg had to take a seat. He plopped down next to one of the soldiers who had fought beside him earlier that day. The man’s name was Randy, but from the look on his face Berg doubted that Randy knew his own name.

“You alright, Randy?”

Randy slowly turned his head toward Berg. “You know, man…” the smell of alcohol forced Berg to turn away. “… All you care about is fighting and fucking.”  Randy pointed his finger in Berg’s face while he still clutched a bottle of ale. “It ain’t right, man.”

“Ah Randy, it’s all you care about too. However, I am actually good at both of those things.” Berg patted the man on the leg and started to move along. “Oh, and don’t call it ‘fucking’; the ladies don’t like that.” Randy just nodded. He had already forgotten what Berg was talking about.

Berg was being called over to a table by man who happened to be sitting next to a beautiful woman. He decided to go on over. “Come here, Berg,” the man, Ricci, motioned for him to sit. Ricci was the leader of the city of Dorsi, but the women next to him was definitely not his wife. “So tell us exactly what happened on the bridge today.”

Berg shook his head, not wanting to give away any battle tactics. He attempted to diffuse the question politely, “A great victory for us.” He patted the table and stood to leave. Ricci grabbed his arm. Berg was so surprised by the action that he did not immediately react.  However when the man did not let go, Berg started to get angry.

Ricci pulled his hand from Berg’s skin, and rubbed it with his other hand; almost as if to warm it up. “I need to know what happened out there today.”

“If you want to talk to someone,” Berg spat, “Then you need to talk to Larkin. I ain’t telling you shit about what happened.”

“Come on, Berg.” Ricci coaxed. “Everyone knows that you are the brains of the operation. Larkin is just the muscle.” The woman next to Ricci reached out to stroke Berg’s arm, but he pulled it away without taking his eyes off of Ricci.

“Well, you can take that up with him.”

“Oh, I plan to.” Ricci smiled. “I plan to.”

*****

Larkin hovered over his wife, Dani, as she lay on her back in their bed. She chewed on her bottom lip as he stared into her eyes. Larkin always made her nervous when he looked at her like that. “Was it alright?” she asked, just like she did nearly every time the two made love.

“Perfect,” Larkin answered. “You are perfect for me.” He raised himself higher and kissed her on the forehead. His necklace swung and hit Dani in the chin. The two of them shared a laugh.

Dani grabbed the charm on the necklace, and studied it once again. It had been a while since she had really looked at it. “I still don’t understand why you wear this thing.” She ran her fingers over the whale etched on the medallion. “I mean, daddy gave you a charm but you never wore it.”

Larkin laughed. “Your dad gave me a pineapple charm that was the size of my hand.” He put his hand on Dani’s chest. “You know as well as I do that he only got me that because it was expensive.”

Dani feigned offense. Then she laughed, “It was so gaudy. Man, that thing was hideous.”

Larkin rolled over onto his back and looked at his whale medallion. “This means something, baby.”

“I know. I just hate that it is the symbol of the Knights.”

“The whale represents gentle strength, which is what this city is known for.” Larkin was talking to himself, just as much as he was to Dani. “Gentle strength. The Knights of the Coast were once the epitome of that strength.” Larkin dropped the necklace back down to his chest and looked Dani in the face. “Some of the knights I saw today had skulls on their shields and armor.”

“What exactly does that mean?”

“It means they are no longer even trying to hide their demonic nature.”

*****

 “So your dad was a demon?” a young man asked Berg. Apparently the ale had made everyone forget themselves.

“I am sorry, boy,” Berg said perplexed, “What is your name?”

“Hector.”

“Well Hector,” Berg decided to hand out life lessons, “It is probably past your bedtime, and you really need to calm down on the ale. However, since you so rudely jumped right into my life story; I will tell you.” Hector smiled wide. “I seriously hope you have nightmares from this,” Berg added. “Seriously.”

 

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Ties That Bind (Chapter 7)

Vaidon

Runt of the Litter

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Ties That Bind

Chapter 7

Blood in the Water

Bynn made his way once again to the tethering pole, where the elves placed a boat full of goods for the trolls to take back with them. For years Bynn had wanted to fight the trolls, but knew better than to go against the highborn council. Batoonsta had informed him, with a lot of time and effort, that there were seven total trolls. One of them was always hidden in the water. The elves had to take him out first.

Bynn was responsible for that troll. He had sneaked to the troll boat, unseen and unnoticed. Vaidon and Batoonsta waited in the forest for the signal. If they could successfully destroy the entire troll force, then may just keep Silkwood from a war.

Bynn slowly drew back his bow. He was silent and steady; his skills honed over the years with Kaa in the dangerous forest. He waited until he saw an unnatural ripple in the water, and let his arrow fly. Bynn’s shot was perfect. The trolls on the small boat did not even stir. Still, the elf had to make sure that the troll did not survive. He started to make his way to the body, but the water started churning violently. Bynn knew that the blood had drawn the piranha, so he got back out of the water as quickly as possible.

The piranha disturbance alerted the trolls. Vaidon and Batoonsta charged out of the forest. The elf was much quicker than the minotaur and her footfalls much lighter. The ground seemed to shake as the minotaur thundered toward his former allies. One of the creatures looked over the side of the boat and called to his comrade. An arrow went straight through his neck in response. Bynn dropped his bow and quickly climbed on the boat with five angry trolls.

“What the…”

“HOW DARE YOU?”

Bynn did not back down at all as he drew his swords; one long and one short. He put the blades into a fine display, hoping to keep their attention as his two companions approached. However, drawing the attention of five trained troll warriors was very dangerous. They had Bynn quickly on the defensive with spears, swords and even a trident. Finally, Vaidon cut one of the trolls down with her two handed sword. She had named the sword Riven, and Bynn realized how fitting that name was as he watched the creature crumple to the deck in two separate pieces.

The odds were almost even, and the trolls realized it. More elves could be pouring out of the forest at any moment. One of the creatures dropped his weapon and jumped for the safety of the water. Batoonsta caught him by the ankle just as he entered the water. He swung the troll into the side of the boat, crunching several bones. The minotaur was not done; he pounded the troll three more times before tossing him into the water for the fish.

Bynn still had his hands full with two trolls poking and prodding at him. The trident seemed to be magical. Every time Bynn parried an attack, his sword would want to stick to the three-pronged spear. The elf had to concentrate and yank his blade away or risk being disarmed. This gave the other attacking troll a distinct advantage, and Bynn had to dodge the sword instead of parrying. Vaidon was in combat with a troll carrying a spear. She was having a hard time getting close enough to do any damage. Batoonsta was trying to make his way onto the boat, but was not as agile as the elves.

The troll’s confidence was bolstered when they realized that no more elves were joining the fight. Their joy was short-lived as the minotaur climbed onto the boat. Batoonsta nudged Vaidon out of the way as the troll jabbed his spear in their direction. The great bull-headed beast stopped the momentum of the spear with one hand, and then snapped it with his other forearm. The troll did not even have time to digest what had transpired for Vaidon’s blade sliced him from his right hip up to his left nipple.

Bynn was relieved as the last two trolls were killed by his lover and the minotaur. He was exhausted. The fight had taken all of his energy, and without help he would not have lasted much longer. “Thank. You.” He managed between heavy breaths. Bynn sheathed his swords and leaned on the rail.

“Are you alright?” Vaidon asked. She didn’t realize how draining it had been on Bynn to fight against the magic trident. Bynn just waved her concerns off and pointed at the weapon.

“Magic.”

Batoonsta nodded and pointed at a case that was tucked away in a corner of the deck. Vaidon sheathed her sword on her back, knelt down and opened the case. She looked to her lover and smiled. Bynn took the non-verbal cue and made his way over.

“Is that…”

Batoonsta nodded and smiled. A smiling minotaur was a sight that most Delphians never got to see.

Bynn picked a beautiful bow from the case and held it up. The elf could feel the magic course through his arms and into his chest. It seemed as if the bow were made for Bynn. Batoonsta was so proud of himself for leading the elves against the trolls. Now, with magic weapons in hand, it was time to search for truth of the blood monkey attacks. The minotaur looted the trolls and threw them into the water.

 
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Posted by on May 18, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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Ties That Bind (Chapter 6)

Calidorn

Runt of the Litter

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Ties That Bind

Chapter 6

Alliances

Time was running out for Qari and Rolo. The man’s feet were starting to break down from the constant wetness. They needed a place to find rest, and Rolo found it. Qari thought the anteater had finally gone mad as he plowed into what appeared to be solid stone covered in vine. However, the man and his mount plunged through the tangle of thick vines and into a cave.

The cave seemed to go deep into the earth, and Qari dismounted to further explore the shelter. There was no immediate threat, and the man feared to venture too far into the darkness. It appeared that for the moment they were safe. Rolo curled tightly into a ball, ready to sleep. Qari unbuckled the saddle to allow his trusted mount to get more comfortable. If they didn’t rest, they would die anyway. The man pulled off his shoes and tried to dry his feet the best he could. The steady breathing of the animal lulled Qari to sleep as well, but he did not fight very hard against it.

As the two exhausted creatures rested, another figure slowly crept from the deeper darkness of the cavern. He was short and squat with a long trunk protruding from his face along with two white tusks. The elephant looking creature hovered over the anteater, and stifled a laugh at the way the beast used its tail almost like a blanket. Then he went over to Qari, and had to cover his trunk at the stench from the man’s feet. He shook his head, ears flopping from side to side, and slowly went out into the forest.

*****

Tira Al Lung watched the ceremony of ants with a grin on her face. Kaa and a few of the other highborn elves would not let the troll incident ruin the children’s ritual. The only girl taking part in the ritual did not even flinch as she held her arm over the fire. Sonnen, Vaidon’s brother, struggled but did not cry out. Women were naturally more tolerant of pain, for they had the burden of giving birth. Kaa and Bynn silently cheered the young elves, while Tira sneered. Vaidon seemed to be the only one that noticed that the visiting elf seemed to be enjoying the torture of the children.

Once the children were finished with their rite of passage, they were escorted back to their homes. Most of the elves followed suit. The highborn elves stayed behind to meet with Tira Al Lung.

“You started a war with the trolls,” one of the elders stated. “Why?” The question was simple, but it was on everyone’s mind.

“The elves were already at war with the trolls, you were just losing the battles over and over again,” Tira did not back down. “The trolls are the least of your worries at the moment.”

“Then what is our problem?”

“The blood monkeys,” answered Munkus. This was the second time he had met with the elves in a very short amount of time. “The monkeys are looking for war. You will need to use the Heart or they will feed on your blood.”

“We haven’t had an effective earth mover since Drind was killed by the violet dragon,” Kaa offered. He hoped to dissuade the council from being too hasty in its decisions.

Tira raised her eyebrows and offered, “I am proficient in earthen magic. Perhaps I could use the stone to help set up defenses.” The highborn elves seemed excited at the proposition of an earth mage using the Heart of Carinth to aid them in battle.

Kaa was not so excited. “We don’t even know if this elf speaks true.”

Bynn turned to his one-armed hunting master and said coolly, “This meeting is supposed to be for highborn elves. We will make the decisions on how to handle this information.” The young elf regretted his comment as soon as he said it. The damage was done, however. Kaa left the hall, and an angry Vaidon followed him. She shot Bynn a nasty look as their eyes locked.

Tira Al Lung, with Munkus at her side, laid out defensive strategies. The younger of the highborn seemed enamored with the female elf from the neighboring island. With the support of the groundling, her loyalty was never even questioned. At least, not by the elves that made the decisions for Silkwood. Bynn only half heard the conversation; he was too worried about Vaidon and Kaa. When it came time to vote in favor of giving the Heart of Carinth to the foreign elf, he did not care enough to vote either way.

As soon as the meeting was over, and the magical stone placed in the hands of Tira; Bynn ran to find Vaidon. He found her changing out of her dress and into her hunting clothes. “What are you doing?” Bynn asked, even though he was sure he knew the answer. Vaidon did not even respond to him. Being ignored only made Bynn all the madder. He had learned his lesson, however, and held his tongue. “You aren’t going alone.” He started taking off his festival apparel. Vaidon made sure that he did not see her smile. She wanted her lover and best friend by her side on the hunt.

“Father wants me to validate the ‘lady’s’ claim about the monkeys. It should be easy to find proof if the monkeys are on the warpath, but it will be dangerous.”

Bynn was almost completely nude when Batoonsta, the minotaur, walked into his chamber. The elf had his sword in hand within a heartbeat. Batoonsta raised his huge hands in submission. He motioned for Bynn to come closer, and the elf did but with extreme caution. Minotaurs were not to be trifled with.

“Iww a woll,” Batoonsta concentrated as he tried to convey his message, without a tongue. Eel-Eye had cut it out many years ago. Bynn did not understand, and the poor minotaur repeated the message over and over.

“He wants you to go and kill the trolls that are waiting for their leader to return.” Kaa had entered the room while Bynn and Vaidon were listening intently. “I think it is a good idea. If the trolls do not return at all, then perhaps they will not know of our treachery. If we are lucky, they will think the deaths were an accident. However we cannot allow a single troll to survive.” Batoonsta nodded at the older elf’s wisdom. The minotaur patted his own chest and motioned outward. He would lead them to the trolls. He would finally have his revenge, and his freedom.

*****

Qari woke with a start. “How long have we slept?” he wondered. It was dark, but he could still hear Rolo’s steady breathing. “Everything is alright.” He wiped the sweat from his forehead, and reached down to feel his feet. Fear returned as he felt something strange covering his feet. He ripped off whatever had him, and the rustle of motion caused Rolo to wake.

“Now you have gone and woken up your friend,” a deep grumbling voice resonated in the darkness. “And you ripped off the leaves.” A small flame sprang to life deeper in the cave, and the elephant face was illuminated.

Rolo stood up his back legs, with his massive claws ready for a fight. Qari pulled a bone knife from his belt and went next to his anteater companion. The elephant creature did not move at all. He let the small human have a moment to work it all out. It didn’t take Qari to realize that if the creature wanted him dead, he could have easily killed him while he slept.

“I mean you no harm,” Qari started. “We just needed a place to rest. We will leave.”

“Don’t leave. Your feet need to heal. You need food and still you could use more rest. Are you hungry?”

Qari was very hungry, but he was still not convinced about the elephant’s motives. Rolo, who had much better instincts, dropped back down to all fours and walked over to the elephant man.

“Now that you are awake, we can start a small fire. My name is Calidorn. What is your name?”

“Qari, and this is Rolo.”

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2013 in Penn's Diary

 

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