Tag Archives: vaidon

Fixing Up

I realize that I need to update some of the links on the site. I also realize that I have a couple of unfinished stories lingering around out there. Ties That Bind is nearing completion and I have been putting off ending it due to the fact that I enjoyed the characters so very much. Demon Wrought is just getting started, and I am waiting until the summer to really try to tackle this more adult project. Zoe and the Outcasted will not take very much time at all, but I simply have not had time to run with it.

All in all, the site needs some love from me. I have sketches to add, and stories to link. I really want the site to be easy to access, with information no more than two clicks away. I will get there. Stay with me.


Posted by on April 8, 2014 in From the Desk of the Author


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Ties That Bind (Chapter 11)


Ties That Bind

Chapter 11

Illusions Fall

The demon monkey stared out from one eye into a stone bowl of blood as he sat curled upon his throne. He didn’t recognize his reflection. Perhaps it was the battered and empty socket or the elongated canines, but Morgath was no longer familiar with the image that stared back at him.

“You promised no more pain,” Morgath angrily accused his reflection. “You said it would go away.” There was genuine sadness in his voice, the kind of sadness that makes someone do something they know they will later regret. Morgath didn’t care about regret. The monkey knocked the blood bowl from his throne, tired of the hunger that never seemed to be sated.


Kaa was the first of the Silkwood elves to reach the small group, and he was quickly followed by about a dozen archers. “You have to get out of here,” he called to his daughter, Vaidon.

“We just got here,” Qari argued as he picked some prickly seeds from Rolo’s fur.

Vaidon, who could hear the sincere concern in her father’s voice, stiffened. The jaguar sensed the tension and mistook her rigidity; with a growl, he placed himself between father and daughter. Vaidon had no time for the overprotective cat, and pushed its face away with both hands as she made her way to Kaa. “What is going on?” she asked.

“Tira plans on taking Silkwood,” Kaa answered quickly. There was no time to mince words; Tira Al Lung would surely greet Bynn and Vaidon any moment. “I don’t know her exact plan yet, but I will find it out. Until I do, I don’t want you in the city.”

“We need food,” Calidorn stated plainly, “All of us.”

Kaa threw Bynn a satchel full of food. Then he reached over and took the quivers off of two of the elves and passed those to Bynn as well.

“Thank you,” Bynn managed. He knew to trust Kaa through years of hunting next to him for so many years. There was fear in Kaa’s eyes, the kind of fear that Bynn had not seen even when the hunter had looked upon the face of a dragon. Something had happened while they had been away, but there was no time to discuss it now.

Vaidon gave her father a hug, and Kaa wrapped his arm around her. One of the elven archers gave a bird call signaling the approach of Tira Al Lung and her servant Munkus. “I love you, daddy.”


Tira approached just as the group had escaped into the woods. Immediately, she sent Munkus after them. The lion-like groundling dropped to all fours and started giving chase.

“Looks like you were too late,” Kaa teased. “I told you not to doubt my daughter and Bynn.”

Tira was tired of Kaa and his constant taunting. She was tired of her elven form. Tiranis was longing to break free from the simple elven skin she had been wearing. Then it happened; a combination of too many emotions and a one-armed elf laughing in her face caused Tira to lose control to Tiranis.

Kaa didn’t even try to run as the noble elf in front of him dropped down to her knees and started her transformation into a purple dragon. He knew something was evil inside of her, and now he knew what it was. The elven archers looked on, paralyzed in fear.

Still Kaa kept pushing Tiranis, even as she changed. “Bynn already killed one of your kind, and you will be next.”

Tiranis turned her head slightly as she remembered her mother. In an instant, the purple dragon was on top of the elf. She ripped him apart, partly for her mother but mostly because it had been so long since she had tasted the blood of an elf.

The elven archers did not even raise their bows. They were terrified, both of fighting a dragon and of attacking a noble elf. The confusion gave Tiranis a chance to speak. Her words were truthful and also laced with magical influence. By the time she finished her speech, the elves fully believed that a dragon was their only hope for survival against the blood monkeys and the vengeful trolls.


Munkus quickly caught up with the group using a combination of teleportation and natural speed. The jaguar turned to fight the groundling, hoping that it would buy the others some time to escape. The two great cats fought a terrible battle, but it was a fight that the jaguar had no hopes of winning. When Munkus realized that natural weapons would not be enough against such a large opponent, the groundling resorted to his earth magic. The jaguar was confined in a tangle of vines. Tiranis’ instructions were clear, “Do not harm them. I want them alive.”

The jaguar’s sacrifice was successful, however. Bynn, Vaidon, Qari and Rolo, Batoonsta and Calidorn all got away from the dragon and her groundling pet.


Posted by on July 6, 2013 in Penn's Diary


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Ties That Bind (Chapter 8)


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.


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


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Ties That Bind (Chapter 7)


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…”


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.


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.


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


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Ties That Bind (Chapter 6)


Runt of the Litter

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Ties That Bind

Chapter 6


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.”


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


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With the Heart of Carinth in her possession; can anything stop Tiranis from lording over the entire island?

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Posted by on May 10, 2013 in Penn's Diary


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Ties That Bind (chapter 5)


Runt of the Litter

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Ties That Bind

Chapter Five


Qari hopped off of Rolo, his anteater mount, and knelt down to grab a giant bird skull. He pulled off the little flesh that still clung to the bone, but the carrion had done a fine job of cleaning it. Qari put it up to his face and nodded. With a little work he could make a fine helmet out of the skull. A few paces away lay the bones of another great bird. Qari picked through the bones, grabbing any he felt were usable as tools or makeshift weapons.

The small man’s concentration was broken as Rolo nudged him with his nose and grunted lightly. Qari scrambled onto his mount and raced into the brush. The monkeys were close. They were always close. Qari had gone to three separate tribes, and each one had been decimated by the foul blood beasts. Qari was beginning to think he may be the last of the Jakan.

Still, he survived. However, his nerves were raw. Qari could not afford to dull his senses for even a moment; and it had worn on him. They had to dodge monkeys during the day and hide from jaguars at night. Rolo had lost a lot of weight, and Qari was concerned for the anteater’s health. He knew they could not keep up the current way of living. So they searched for a haven, a place to rest.


The elven settlement of Silkwood was buzzing with excitement. The piers by the rivers were decorated with strands of colorful flowers; as were the bridges connecting the major houses to the temple. Most of the children were showing off the wooden masks they had fashioned themselves. A few of the older boys and one girl were wrestling with one another; fearfully reserved about the ritual they were about be part of.

The three major houses of Silkwood were all decorated for the Festival of Serynade. One house hung cloth banners of white and gold to represent the maiden, Serene Serynade. The Tor house was covered in dark purples, grey and black. This was to represent Uchiro, the demon dragon that plagued Delphia so very long ago. The last house was decorated in light blue and green, to evoke images of cleansing and growth. The smaller, more natural homes placed torches in the ground in front of their hovels. However, the grandest decoration was to be seen at the temple where The Dance took place.

Bynn was getting ready for the annual dance. He buttoned his finest vest and turned to Vaidon, “Too tight?” He had put on a good deal of muscle in the past year, and was feeling slightly constrained in his finer clothes. He found his hunting gear much more comfortable these days.

Vaidon pulled the bottom of the vest, and then lightly brushed her love’s chest. “Luckily, it is your arms and shoulders that have gotten so big. The vest still fits fine through the chest.” Bynn flexed his arms proudly; Vaidon pretended she didn’t see him. “How did the delivery go?” she asked.

“Uneventful,” Bynn said with a hint of anger is his voice.

“Just the way I like it,” Vaidon said quietly as she pulled her hair back in a ponytail.

“Well, I don’t like it at all!” Bynn spat. “I don’t understand why we have to give the damned trolls anything at all. I know what you are going to say, but it is a stupid and outdated custom. We can kill dragons; I think we can handle some trolls.”

“Outdated custom?” Kaa asked as he entered the room. “Keeping the trolls in the sea is an outdated custom? But you love dancing with my daughter with your pretty little mask on, don’t you?” Vaidon went to her father and tried to calm him by grabbing his arm. It did not work.

Bynn did not help anything by arguing further with his mentor. “Yeah, I do like to dance. I also like to keep the things that are mine; not give them away in fear.”

Kaa had not called Bynn “boy” in several years, but he used the term now. “Boy, I thought you were smarter than all of this. If your father wasn’t lost in the pollen rain he would have told you about these things.” Bynn did not even flinch at the reference to his father’s drug addled state; there was too much truth in Kaa’s words to warrant an appeal. “I taught you how to hunt, but I did not realize I had to teach you how to think.”

“You are drunk, father.”

“I haven’t had a drink since I lost my arm,” Kaa stated. “Listen, both of you. I want you to understand why we have the customs. We are surrounded by water, and our city sits on the river. A war with the trolls is not worth it. We have very little that they want: a few capybara boots, some weapons, poison frogs, and a few plants.”

“Well, it is more than that,” Bynn argued.

“Not much more,” Kaa answered quickly back. “To avoid a war that we could not hope to win, I would give so much more than they require of us. They do not ask for our women and children. They do not ask for elven sacrifice or slaves. You must be able to understand things on a deeper level. Yes, we could easily defeat the small force that comes to claim the troll tithe; but we would lose the war that would surely follow.”

Bynn felt foolish. “The idea of them taking what is not theirs just does not sit well with me.”

Vaidon chimed in with a tale her mother had told her regarding the troll tithe. “Think of the anteater. It does not destroy full colonies of ants, but eats only a small portion from many different sources. The anteater and the ants both survive. The anteater does not ask too much, and the ants have plenty to spare.”

“Very well said,” Kaa smiled at his daughter and hugged her with one arm. “Bynn, do you know why the young people go through the agony of the ant bracer?” Bynn had worn the ant bracer just a few short years ago, and the mention of it still caused his eyes to water. Bynn had been the first highborn to take the ant bracer in hundreds of years. Kaa made him take it in order to venture back into the forest. Vaidon had taken the bracers when she was much younger, which allowed her to start hunting with her father at an early age. She had handled the torture better than most of the older boys that had joined her on that day. Her brother, Sonnen, would be taking the bracer tonight.

Large ants, over an inch long with sharp pinchers and venomous stings, were captured and placed in thick leaves of the abyssal plant. The abyssal plant caused the ants to become lethargic and still. It was the same plant which Bynn’s father had become addicted to. The leaves were strapped to the forearms of those who wished to take part in the ceremony. Then the participants would hold their arms over the fire; not close enough to burn but just enough to make the ants come out of their stupor. That is when the pain began. The ants would bite and sting, sending waves of intense pain through the body.

“It is a sign that one is ready to go out into the forest,” Bynn answered.

“When the ant stings and bites, it also inoculates the victim. You see, the ants give you what you need to naturally fight off the diseases carried by the mosquitos and bite flies of the forest.” Kaa knew that he had just dumped a lot of information on the highborn elf. He decided to let those lessons sink in. “There is always something deeper than the sting, Bynn. Remember that.”


The Dance was in full swing, all of the elves clad in their wooden masks. There were images of piranha, parrot, jaguar, elephant, toad, and a multitude of others. One of the elders wore the mask of a strange creature with two large horns protruding from the nose; although none of the other elves had ever seen such an animal. Bynn looked regal and stunning in his fine dragon mask. Kaa had crafted it for him after the encounter with the large violet dragon. Kaa poked fun at himself this year by wearing a bird mask and strutting around like a one-winged terror.

Vaidon looked stunning. Bynn couldn’t even remember what mask she wore; he and plenty of other elves were too busy looking at her legs. The dress had Vaidon had chosen was cut high on the sides, accentuating her lean and muscular legs. The two lovers spent many hours dancing together.

As Bynn was spinning, he noticed a very looking mask. He got his bearings and looked again. “Who is that in the troll mask?” Bynn whispered to Vaidon.


The question answered itself. The elves split the dance area, moving away from the troll that had made his way to Silkwood.

“Don’t stop dancing on my account,” the troll laughed. He jumped and kicked his heels together. “Who wants to dance with me?”

“I do,” Bynn had his swords in hand in an instant.

“A hero?” the troll laughed. “Batoonsta, we have a hero.” A broad chested minotaur stepped out from the crowd. Eel-Eye, the troll spread his arms wide; baiting Bynn to attack. The elf stayed his sword. “No? Then to business; where is my boat and where are my goodies?” The elders started bickering amongst themselves; shifting blame from themselves.

Bynn had personally delivered the boat. He had taken it to the beach and fixed it to the same pole that had been fashioned for just that purpose so many years ago. The pole was topped with the image of crab, but his shell was a humanoid skull. “He lies,” Bynn said smoothly.

“First you fail to deliver on your end of the deal. My uncle will not be pleased.”

“I don’t give a damn about your uncle.”

“Oh, but you will,” the troll chuckled. “You draw swords on me, yet lack the courage to strike. We will find destroying your home an easy feat. I may even enjoy the spoils of war,” he nudged Batoonsta and motioned to Vaidon. The minotaur turned from the troll and shook his head in disbelief.

Bynn put the tip of his sword to Eel-Eye’s throat. He heard Kaa and Vaidon both softly plea for restraint. The highborn elf turned away from the troll, determined to let someone else parlay with the foul creature.

“You may as well strike me down, elf. War is coming rather you like it or not. Who will defend you against the rising tide?” the troll was strutting through the elves; most of who had never even seen a troll. “Who dares stand against us?”

The “s” was cut short as a dagger plunged into the troll’s throat. “I stand against you,” an elven female stated as the troll crumpled at her feet. “I am Tira Al Lung, and I will fight against the trolls.”


Posted by on May 4, 2013 in From the Desk of the Author


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