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Old 06-14-2007, 05:44 PM   #151
SilverclawII

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Heheh...

Methinks Akasha isn't going to like the sound of this when she finds out...but that's just me thinking.SMILEY

Looking forward to the next installment.

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Old 06-15-2007, 12:25 PM   #152
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/twitch

and don't think that you're off the hook either

Making me wait an entire week is jsut unacceptable

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Old 08-03-2007, 01:37 AM   #153
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page 2 obsecuriety.... /sigh

I don't think that i like your new job. it takes up too much of your time that should be spent finishing up this tale.

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Old 11-16-2007, 09:07 AM   #154
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I apologize for not updating this more often.Since the release of the new expansion, I've quit the game. Mostly due to the fact that they've changed quite a few things that ticked me off and left to the wayside the things that they SHOULD have changed and didn't. I spent a good amount of time on Mysidia as a toon and it's a shame to have it end this way.I'm also awaiting the birth of my son. I'm due December 13th so Machene and I had to quit and pick up games that we could put on "pause" when the need arose.I do still plan on writing on this story. Mysidia's tale is not done. But since my account expires on Nov. 28th, you won't be able to read it here.You will be able to read it here, though...http://mysidia.livejournal.com/I'll update it this weekend to where it's supposed to be at. And since I'll be taking care of my baby, I'll be able to write a bit more. My job won't be taking up most of my time.Hope all is well with everyone.
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Old 11-16-2007, 02:31 PM   #155
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Missing you already, but I, of all people, understand about new babies...

Will bookmark your website to tune in.  I've honestly considered doing the same with Kinslayer's several times, but then I'd have to learn to make my website work... lol.

Will be thinking of you.  Take care, Mys.

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Old 11-16-2007, 02:53 PM   #156
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Hope all goes well for you guys & good luck w/ the lil Rydian. (But don't let yourself get down if you don't manage to write as much as you hope after birth...babies suck out brain-cells when they feed. I know it's kind of a grim picture...lil tiny necro feeding off the zombie-like parent, but the time when my kids were little is just a 2 yr long blur that I have no memory of).

So get to work girl & write now...we are still waiting for the story.

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Old 11-16-2007, 11:20 PM   #157
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Grats and I'm not sure if i should be scared or not that your sonis due a week after mine is due or not. As to posting... you do know hon that after your account has expired that you can still post like I'm doing now. I've been meaning to resetmine but have not done so yet.
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Old 07-19-2010, 01:40 PM   #158
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*A faint click can be heard in the distance and the sound of a heavy wooden door creaking annoyed as a response. A tall Rydian woman walks in carrying a lantern. She coughs for a moment as the thick stale and dusty air assaults her nose. She peers up at a neglected bookcase and runs her finger over several of the books, left over time to do what time does: decay. She widely smiles, picks up a thick leatherbound book and dusts it off, wiping several years of grime away.*

Why hello, old friend. I wondered what I had done with you.

*Looks distant for a moment and smiles as she carries the book off into her study.*

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Old 07-20-2010, 10:39 PM   #159
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*smiles* 

-gets anxious waiting-

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Old 01-12-2011, 11:26 AM   #160
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I hope people are still reading these forums. As promised, here is another installment. Hopefully, one of many. Enjoy.

Five hundred and sixty years ago…

It was dusk in an ancient forest. Tall thick conifers towered the sky like giant sentinels silently witnessing a historical event. Deer quietly grazed on the forest floor, mist shooting out of their wet nostrils in the coolness of the oncoming night.

The wet thick scent of earth clung to the air and all remained silent, as if holding their breath for something monumental to occur. Two doe lifted their heads and watched a line of wood elves trot on horses approach a clearing.

A male Barbarian, gray from old age, sat waiting. His face was weathered with time and the sorrows of battle, and stained with woad from long ago. His eyes, however, were keen and alert.

Moments later, another line of horses began to come from the other direction. The trees seemed to understand what was taking place and began to blow a light breeze throughout the forest. Several of the wood elves looked up and peered at the message around them.

A male wizard sat on top of a large gray war horse. His long white beard was braided and beaded with blue crystal beads, matching his intense eyes. And although his beard was long and white, signaling his age, his face appeared to be too young to hold such a thing.

“Is this the child?” the male wood elf asked.

“Yes.”, the wizard returned.

The wood elves began to gasp and circle around them, looking for themselves. In the arms of the wizard slept a tiny baby girl, with her hand wrapped around part of his beard, sleeping contently.

“We of the Wolf Song Tribe will raise her as Druid, to learn the ways of The Great Mother, to be in tune with Her heartbeat and to listen to the song of Her breath. Tunare commands it.”, the male Barbarian said.

“So be it. We are forever grateful of your gracious nature, Bearsoul. If it is the will of Tunare, she will be raised as a Druid.” the wizard replied.

“Hail Mardock, Guardian of the Chosen.” Bearsoul called out to the woods. Everyone bowed their heads in reverence and the woods themselves seemed to quiet as if to give their own respect.

The tiny baby looked up at Bearsoul. Two shockingly violet eyes looked into his face and she gave him a warm toothless grin, giggling as she touched his chin. Bearsoul couldn’t help but love her immediately and a soft spot in his heart grew for the tiny child.

And so it was that Mysidia became a Druid of the Wolf Song Tribe.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++++++++++

Several years later, Mysidia was riding through the woods, that she grew to know as good as any Druid. Her usual companion, Joffrey, was a hearty Barbarian. They were friendly rivals of sorts and always managed to get into some kind of trouble. Mysidia was the mastermind of the pair, as her strong willed nature often “persuaded” Joffrey to follow suit. He simply couldn’t say “no” to her.

As they both rounded the bend and jumped their horses over the creek ahead of them, Mysidia reined her horse short. She lifted her head and smelled.

“Ugh! What is that smell?!” she said and quickly covered her nose.

Joffrey smelled and his nose wrinkled. “I don’t know, Mys. But whatever it is, leave it be. We can’t go and look. We are way too far away from home and I don’t think Bearsoul or Mardock would be happy on how far we’ve wandered.”

Mysidia pursed her lips for a moment, wrestling with the two voices in her head. Curiosity got the better of her and she gave Joffrey a grin before nudging her horse forward. Joffrey cursed under his breath and hesitated.

If he went, he was surely going to be in the same amount of trouble that Mysidia was going to be in. If he stayed, he couldn’t assure her safety. He felt personally responsible for Mysidia’s safety, ever since they were little.

In the distance, where the trees thinned to a visible line, Mysidia could see a plume of thick black smoke choking the horizon. She stopped her horse short and dismounted quietly, sneaking over a few bushes and using her abilities to blend into her surroundings. Her violet eyes gazed hard through the foliage of the wilderness around her.

“Tunare have mercy…” she seemed to breathe. “Joffrey, what…what is that place?”

Joffrey paused for a moment, recognizing it. In the years growing up with Mysidia, he came to know what she was, not so much who, but what. He was hesitating on telling her the truth, knowing that it would cause fury to rage in her heart.

Mysidia pinched his arm and thinned her lips out in annoyance. “OUCH!” Joffrey exclaimed and the moment his voice echoed through the trees, they slouched every lower to the ground, wincing.

“Shhh!” Mysidia persisted. “Well…? Are you going to tell me?”

Joffrey sighed. “It’s… a sacrificial altar.”

Mysidia grew dangerously quiet and simply watched in grotesque horror. She could barely make out the slaver dragging a fighting body up the steps of the flat top pyramid. She watched in helpless horror as the slaver bent the body backwards. After an Iksar priest said a few words in his native tongue, a curved blade was quickly shoved into the exposed chest and a beating heart was immediately cut out, only to serve as a burning effigy in the pyres before the priest.

“…Who…” she could barely make out the words. Bile began to slink its way up her throat and she found it very difficult to swallow or think.

"They’re Iksar.” Joffrey said looking down at his hands, knowing where the line of questioning was going to go.

“…and the slave?” Mysidia asked, her eyes full of sadness.

Joffrey shook his head, not wanting to answer. He closed his eyes. “Don’t, Mys…”

“They’re Rydian, aren’t they..?” she asked getting up.

“Mys…” Joffrey said looking at her. Tears began to form in her eyes as she turned her attention to the altar once again. The whole horrific event had been placed on a loop, as she witnessed the slaver bringing another body.

She clenched her fists tighter than anything she had held before. She could feel her fingernails dig into her palms, they were so tight. The screams from the altar subsided as another slave was sacrificed.

Joffrey looked up as the winds began to stir. Thick dark storm clouds began to form over where they were hiding. Joffrey shot up to his feet and grabbed Mysidia by the shoulders.

“No! Mys, you can’t!” he said, shaking her.

“Give me one good reason…” she said darkly.

“It’s not our place.” he said trying to reason with her.

Mysidia looked at him and furled her brow in confusion. Joffrey, as if reading her mind, answered. “Only Tunare’s Chosen is allowed to break the line of Neutrality. You are a Druid. Your first allegiance is to nature. Anything to bring it out of balance is an enemy to you. This…” he said pointing to the distance “...is not your fight.”

“When is Tunare’s Chosen supposed to come?” she asked feeling helpless.

“No one knows when he will be born. Bearsoul is one of three who know of the Prophecy. And good luck getting anything out of him.” Joffrey said nudging Mysidia’s shoulder in jest, hoping to break her concentration of the storm brewing overhead.

“Mysidia! Joffrey!” she heard Mardock’s voice yell.

Both of them winced as they looked over, knowing full well what was about to happen. One of the riders with Mardock, began to scold Joffrey. Mardock dismounted and looked to where Mysidia’s attention lay. He took in a deep breath, realizing what he was witnessing.

“Come, child. We have much to discuss.”, he said stern.

Mysidia returned to the tribe in silence. Joffrey went back to Bearsoul’s thatched hut and Mysidia walked sullenly towards Mardock’s.

Mardock closed the door behind them and placed his riding cloak on the hook. “You play a dangerous game, Mysidia. You could have been caught.”, Mardock started.

Mysidia sighed and rubbed the front of her forehead, feeling a headache come on along with the lecture soon to occur.

“We were just out riding.”, she started.

“Perhaps. When did it occur to you that a thunderstorm in midmorning would be an excellent idea, especially when there haven’t been any clouds around for two days?”, Mardock said raising an eyebrow.

"I got angry.”, Mysidia explained.

“I’m sure the Iksar at their temple would have loved to have heard that explanation.”, Mardock chided.

“Did you see what they were doing?!”, she said incredulously.

“Yes. I also know that it’s not your place, as a Druid, to interfere with matters such as that.”, Mardock said, pouring himself a mug of tea.

“Ugh!”, Mysidia exclaimed, frustrated. “Then who’s place? The Chosen? Why do I have to sit and wait for some magical being to come down and fix something that a simple lightning bolt could have solved?”

“And then what? You think crushing their altar would have stopped their religious practice completely?”, Mardock asked plainly.

Mysidia felt defeated. She didn’t have answers. She simply had rage for what she had witnessed. “It’s not right.”, she muttered.

“You have bigger issues to face right now.”, Mardock added, pretending he didn’t hear her little comment. Mysidia picked up her head and looked at him with the confused blank stare that most teenagers give their parents. “Joffrey is being brought before Bearsoul . Bearsoul is considering on postponing Joffrey’s Rite of Passage Ritual until the following spring because of that little display you did.”

Mysidia groaned. “Oh no…”, she said and dashed out of their hut. She ran as fast as she could towards the Chieftain’s home. She could barely make out the outline of Joffrey standing before Bearsoul’s throne.

“Ah, Mysidia. Your timing is impeccable.”, Bearsoul said with a glint of steel in his voice. Mysidia stopped and knelt before him.

“Please Great Chief, don’t do this…”, Mysidia started. Joffrey looked at her with fear behind his eyes.

“Is there something else you wish to add to this, Mysidia?” Bearsoul said giving her a hard look.Mysidia and Joffrey were the same age and both were coming upon the age for their Rite of Passage. Joffrey wanted to be a Shaman and Mysidia was going to take her Druidic Rites. Both Rites were performed mid spring, during the full moon. If Mysidia had said anything then, she knew that her ceremony would be put off until the following year. She didn’t want to, but if she didn’t, Joffrey would take the fall. He was only there to make sure she didn’t get hurt.

Mysidia looked up at Joffrey and she watched him shake his head slowly, as if to tell her not to say anything. He mouthed “It’s alright.”

Mysidia shook her head. “No… no it’s not.”, she turned to Bearsoul, “Please don’t postpone Joffrey’s ceremony. It…it was my idea.”, she finished with her head sinking down.

“You are taking complete responsibility, then?”, Bearsoul asked.

Mysidia sighed. “Yes, Great Chief. Joffrey came along only to make sure that I didn’t get seriously hurt. I wanted to go beyond the borders. He even tried to talk me out of it.”

Bearsoul paused at the honesty of young Mysidia. He knew that the ceremony meant everything to her and knew what it took to say what she did.

“Very well.”, he said, “Joffrey, you may go.”

Joffrey wanted to say something to benefit his friend, but the steely gaze of Bearsoul quickly changed his mind. He bowed, backed away slowly and waited outside the door for Mysidia.

“Mysidia, come forward.”, Bearsoul said. Mysidia took in a deep breath and walked in front of Bearsoul with her head down. “You have deliberately disobeyed the law of this tribe. Those boundaries are placed and kept for everyone’s safety, and by breaking that law, you have placed everyone in danger.”

“You didn’t see what I had seen, Bearsoul. Innocent people were being sacrificed and…”, Mysidia began to stammer.

"I am NOT finished!”, Bearsoul yelled. Mysidia swallowed her words. “As punishment for your disobedience, you are here by kept at the rank of Adept until the following spring, when your Rites of Passage will be initiated.”

Mysidia’s heart sank. She knew someone would be taking the fall, but she had hoped that being truthful would have softened Bearsoul’s heart on the matter. She was wrong.

“Consider yourself lucky, child.”, he continued, “Anyone else, and banishment would have been the punishment.”

Mysidia looked up in stunned silence. Only until then had she realized the severity of her situation. She bowed in reverence to the Chieftain and backed away slowly to leave. Nothing she could have said or done would have changed his mind. She took her punishment in stride.Joffrey turned to her as she left the hut. He heard every word Bearsoul said to her. His look was apologetic.

“Don’t.”, Mysidia said. “You deserve to move up in rank. My mistake shouldn’t cost you what you’ve worked so hard for.”

“You know what this means…”, he mentioned quietly.

She did. It meant that he would be leaving the Tribe the day after his ceremony, and back to Halas to be with his family. Joffrey only came to the Tribe to learn their Shamanistic ways and to continue the tradition in his family. Once his Rites have been given, off he went. Regardless, however, they were meant to part ways. She, however, didn’t know where she was meant to go. Mardock never gave her a straight answer.

She placed a hand on his arm. “You best head home. I have a feeling that Mardock isn’t done scolding me for this.”++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +

Mysidia laid in bed after several hours of scolding from Mardock. The world was quiet and the crickets chirped their evening sonata at the sleeping trees. Mysidia looked out her crudely cut window at the stars twinkling back their speckled light. The images of the sacrifices burned deep within her mind and it made it extremely difficult to get any sleep.

Mysidia tossed and turned, trying to push the images out of her mind. In order to make peace with the rage burning in her heart, she vowed that she would take out that altar…when the time was right…when she was strong enough. Right after her Rites of Passage….

Rage gave way to exhaustion and she finally fell asleep.

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Old 01-16-2011, 01:16 PM   #161
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Just finished reading a fantastic story, some parts ah didn't like but that was not due to the writing but to the content

Checked your LiveJournal for more after the introduction of Rockmon (you sure he's not a dwarf? SMILEY) but the LJ stopped before then

So, the latest entries are a prequel to the main story?

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Old 01-16-2011, 02:05 PM   #162
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Yes, the latest entry is a prequel. It will be explained why in a few entries. The LJ has long been gone and left behind. The people that read it left it long ago, so I didn't see the need to keep it up.

Time marched on, as it always had, and the early spring months warmed to mid spring. Mysidia kept to herself most of the time, as Joffrey was knee deep in preparing for his Rites of Passage Ceremony. Every day that wore on, the more everyone talked about it, the heavier her heart hung. She abandoned all curiosity for anything going on outside of the Tribal boundaries. Some of the Hierophants grew worried about her, as her depression grew on. But this was her punishment. Endure it or face banishment. She was helping one of the Herbalists tend to their garden when she looked up and watched as a caravan of horses and wagons started to enter camp. Several of the tribal members recognized the visitors and began to swarm over to them, greeting them with bright smiles, handshakes, and hugs. The majority of them were Barbarian and the few who weren’t, weren’t dressed nearly as opulent as they were. Mysidia surmised they were house servants of whatever family rode into camp. Joffrey came out of his hut, shirtless from one of his tattooing sessions. Mysidia couldn’t help but give a faint smile. As family tradition, and part of his family name, he chose the dragon to be tattooed onto his chest and arms. And since Mysidia hadn’t seen Joffrey in a few weeks, she was shocked to see a full grown beard upon his chiseled face. It gave him an aged look. It suited him, she thought. She wiped her hands on her apron and stood up to stretch out her back. She watched as Joffrey recognized the caravan and ran over to it holding a look of pure joy on his face. Upon looking at the banners that were carried, she vaguely could make out the insignia of a Dragon, among other Barbarian symbols. It was Joffrey’s family. She smiled, happy for her friend at such a heartfelt reunion. She turned and was about to finish the work she started when a larger Barbarian caught her eye. He was a foot taller than Joffrey and as wide as a tree trunk. His woad was extremely intricate and covered the majority of his face and bald head. From what she could gather, and much like the rest of Joffrey’s family, it too was in the shape of a dragon. It appeared to continue down across his chest and arms, but his clothing blocked the rest of it from view. His goatee was braided and well kept; not a hair was out of place. He seemed to be taking in her appearance just as intensely as she was taking in his. She blushed slightly, realizing that she was probably staring longer than what would be considered appropriate. She fumbled wiping her hands and smiled at him for a moment, before kneeling down and finishing her gardening. “Cousin!”, she heard Joffrey exclaim. In the corner of her eye, she could see him run up to the man she was staring at. “Joffrey. Gods, has it been 18 winters already?”, he said taking his arm in a handshake. “Machene. Is that really you? Karana’s teeth, you’re as large as a house!”, Joffrey said and hugged his cousin. “Baron Machene, now, my son.”, Joffrey’s father said. Joffrey couldn’t help but gape. “Baron, now? My, you have been busy. And what have they been feeding you??!” “Wooly mammoth steaks. Can’t get enough of them.”, Machene said and slapped his stomach. She quietly picked at the weeds that were choking some of the herbs, overhearing their conversation. She felt guilty eavesdropping. A necessary evil, she thought. She couldn’t help but notice that Machene kept watching her as they walked into Joffrey’s hut. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++ Two days later, Joffrey’s ceremony was underway. Everyone was joyously singing, dancing, eating, drinking, and praising their new Shaman. Before the Naming Ceremony started, Mysidia walked over to Joffrey’s hut and entered. She started to congratulate him when she stopped dead in her tracks. Machene was helping Joffrey fit his ceremonial furs on. “Oh.. I’m sorry. I didn’t know you had company.”, Mysidia started to say and turned to leave. “Mys, don’t leave. I want you to meet my cousin.”, Joffrey said and grabbed Mysidia’s hand. “Mys, this is my cousin, Machene. We were born the same season, so he’s more like a brother to me than a cousin.” Mysidia, remembering her manners, curtsied in front of Machene. “Your Grace.”, she said. Machene and Joffrey laughed. Mysidia quickly looked down and she could feel the heat of her embarrassment creep up into her pointy ears. “Oh, Mys, it’s all right. Titles mean little with us. He’s “Baron” in Qeynos. Here, he’s simply Machene Drakkenbane. You don’t have to address him as royalty.”, Joffrey said. Machene, wanting to ease Mysidia’s pride, took her hand and kissed it. “Mysidia”, her name fell off his lips “it is a pleasure.” She felt the blushing continue. Mardock came to her rescue when he watched the tiny events unfold. “I…I have to go. I just came to congratulate you, Joffrey. You’ve earned it.”, she said smiling at her friend. “Will you be at the Naming Ceremony?”, Joffrey asked. He knew how much it hurt her that she wouldn’t be participating in it. “I wouldn’t miss it.”, she said, faking a smile. The sadness behind her eyes spoke their own conversation, however. She left the hut and Machene watched her leave. “What’s her story?”, he finally asked his cousin. “Mysidia? She came to this tribe as a swaddling babe. Bearsoul and that man”, he nodded towards Mardock “raised her.” “She’s the tallest wood elf I’ve ever seen.”, Machene said. “That’s because she’s not. She’s Rydian.”, Joffrey said and finished putting on his ceremonial garb. Rydian..? Machene had thought they were extinct with the invasion of the Iksar. And with them so close to a sacrificial altar, he grew curious as to why this particular one sought asylum among a tribe of Druids and Shaman. “I know that look, cousin. She’s not worth the trouble.”, Joffrey said, his voice full of warning. “Trouble?”, Machene asked, grinning. “Follows that girl where ever she walks. She has absolutely no fear.”, Joffrey said fastening his boots. “That kind of bravery gets a man killed. She needs more than just Tunare watching over her. As much as I am her friend, I don’t envy the job Mardock has in front of him.” As truthfully blunt as Joffrey was, he wasn’t doing it for his cousin’s benefit. He was secretly jealous of the attention Machene was giving Mysidia. Joffrey kept his feelings to himself, as he was happy enough to simply have Mysidia’s friendship. However, anyone of the male persuasion, was not going to get any closer than Joffrey wanted them to. The moment had arrived and the entire camp was stirring with activity. Everyone was wearing their finest as they gathered in the courtyard of the tribe. Bearsoul, adorned in a pure white bear pelt, stood atop a stone fixture that seemed to have been there since the world was created. He raised his hands above his head, looking up towards the darkening sky as day gave way to night. “Children of Karana, and of Tunare, and of the Tribunal, we greet you. This night marks the end of the days of youth and the dawning of adulthood, where the fleeting days of innocence are left behind, and an age of wisdom begins. Joffrey of the House Drakkenbane, step forward.” Joffrey, walking tall and proud, quietly made his way and knelt before Bearsoul. Bearsoul lifted his hands and held them above the bowed head of Joffrey. “Since the dawn of time, Shaman have been a conduit from the spirit world to the world of men. We have given wisdom and council where needed, aided the sick and injured, protected the strong, and imbued the weak. We have communed with those who have passed and eased the passing of those ready to cross. And so continues the tradition for another Voice of our ancestors. Joffrey, at this time, do you wish to take on another name?”, Bearsoul asked looking down into his face. It wasn’t uncommon for Druids and Shaman to take on a name, to signal their Rites of Passage complete and announce to anyone who encountered them that they had done so. For Shaman, more often than not, they had taken on part of their name from either their family or from their totem animal that they had gone on an extensive vision quest to receive. Since Mysidia was not receiving her Rites of Passage that spring, she had not undergone the vision quest. She was undecided on whether or not to take another name. It was purely the choice of the individual and didn’t take away from the ceremony or those who were graduating and moving on. “Yes, Great Chief.”, Joffrey said. “Talon” Mysidia gave a small smile, approving of his new name. She looked and had seen a small symbol of an eagle around his neck, his totem animal. “So be it. You cast off your name of Joffrey from your childhood and embrace the name of Talon to signal your journey into adulthood. May your path be lit with wisdom, not just from the Gods, but from your ancestors and the wisdom of those who yet live. Rise, Talon, and be recognized by your Spirit Brethren.”, Bearsoul said and gave a proud smile, clapping his hands to signal the close of the ceremony. Everyone jumped up and gave a large round of applause. Mysidia watched as his family members all circled him to give him praise, handshakes, and warm embraces. Talon, seeing his childhood friend in the distance, parted the crowd and started to walk over. “Congratulations, Joffrey…I mean Talon.”, Mysidia said scratching her head, trying to get used to the new name. “You’ll have to excuse me. It’s going to take me a while.” “You can still call me Joffrey, if you want.”, he said looking down at her. “Talon…”, she said softly. “I like it. It suits you.”, she said beaming a smile at him. “Are you going to join us at the banquet?”, Talon asked. Mysidia nodded. “For a little while. Hierophant Strella has a laundry list of things for me to do tomorrow. I’ll have to get an early start if I’m to finish everything before supper.” Mardock walked up beside Mysidia and clasped Talon’s hand in a warm handshake. “Congratulations, Shaman Talon. May your hardships be minimal and the Gods bless you with happiness.” “Hardships give wisdom, Mardock.”, he said smirking a little. Mysidia turned to her friend and raised an eyebrow. Had he grown overnight without her looking? That comment wasn’t like him…or was it? They all walked over to the banquet hall and sat down at a rather elaborately decorated table. Food as far as the eye could see, lay before them, and the scents of marinated cooked meats, fresh fruit, and mead filled the air. Mysidia’s mouth watered. Talon took a seat next to his cousin Machene and across from Mysidia. Mardock was within earshot, but far enough to give his surrogate daughter room. The conversation was kept light. Mysidia, having never traveled outside of the tribe, asked a great many questions about Talon and Machene’s homeland, Halas. And once started on that topic, they took several hours speaking about their homeland. It was obvious they had great pride in where they came from. “So much ice and snow.. I doubt I’d make it through the first winter.”, Mysidia admitted plainly. “You’ve lived here your entire life then, Mysidia?”, Machene asked putting down his goblet. “Yes. I’ve never known a harsh winter.”, she said returning. “It’s a balance, then.”, Machene said. “Your summers here are just as brutal to me as the winters where I am from, to you.” Mysidia smiled and held up her goblet to acknowledge her endorsement of his statement. As the night grew, and the mead had really began to flow, the conversation grew more serious. Politics always seemed to the topic of popularity among men when their imbibing had gone to ridiculous levels. Mysidia listened intently, but kept her thoughts to herself. She knew better. She had barely stretched her legs beyond the tribal walls and knew very little on the world around her. She accepted her sheltered life, mostly because she knew of nothing else. One of the Barbarian women watched Machene and the attention he gave Mysidia. Mysidia could feel the woman’s gaze and grew uncomfortable under the scrutiny. “Mysidia, is it?”, the woman finally said, taking a long sip from her goblet. “I was hoping you could answer a question for me.” Talon and Machene looked up sharply at the woman and their eyes went wide. Everyone seemed to hold their breath when this woman spoke. “Of course, madam. I hope to have the answer you seek.”, Mysidia said innocently. She had no idea what trap lay before her. “I overheard you saying that you were Rydian.”, the woman said with a flat look on her face. Yes, ma’am.”, Mysidia said respectfully. “I was wondering how one could be so calm, knowing full well that there was an Iksar altar not two leagues from here. You do know what they sacrifice, don’t you, dear?”, the woman asked, with a steely gaze. Everyone gasped and Bearsoul shot a look over to Mardock, who in turn, shot a look of danger to the man sitting next to the rude woman. “Aunt Mara!”, Talon said standing up. “Mother!”, Machene insisted. Mysidia paused for a moment, collecting her thoughts. She could feel all eyes turned towards her, waiting for her answer. If she answered in haste, and gave away her obvious disgust for the woman, she would dishonor the Tribe and surely be banished for it. If she swallowed such an incredulous question, she would dishonor herself and the guests would never take her seriously. “I do know what they sacrifice, madam.”, Mysidia said calmly. “However, it is not my place to judge those who practice their religion as they were taught to do. I am sure some of my Druidic rituals would raise a few eyebrows in here. And yet, I am merely doing nothing more than communing with the Great Mother.” Mysidia rose from the table. “I would love to further our conversation about such matters, great lady. However, I have a very taxing day ahead of me tomorrow. Besides, I find that such conversations go smoother without the amount of mead that was consumed this evening.” She turned towards Bearsoul. “Thank you for the banquet, Great Chief. The meal was exquisite. Talon,” she said turning towards her friend, “I wish you wisdom and prosperity on your journey. May Karana guide your decisions and light the way towards your destiny.” Mysidia left and she could sense the smug look that Mardock and Bearsoul gave Mara. She could also tell that whatever reaction Mara hoped to get out of Mysidia, the one she received wasn’t close to the one she wanted. As she walked towards her hut, she heard footsteps running after her. She turned around expecting to see Talon running after her, and was surprised to see Machene instead. “I am so sorry…”, he started to say. Mysidia dismissed it. “It’s all right. Everyone had more than their fare share of mead tonight.” "I…hope this doesn’t effect our friendship. My mother’s thoughts are not my own.”, he said looking for Mysidia’s reaction.

She widen her eyes in a joking manner. “I should hope not. The cord was cut long ago.” Machene laughed, pleased at her acceptance. They stood before each other for a few moments. Realizing that their silence had started its journey in the uncomfortable department, Mysidia broke it with a smile. “Well, good night, Machene.”, she said turning towards her hut. And even thought Machene had smoothed things over with Mysidia, his mother’s question did more than she cared to admit. She had all but forgotten about that altar. The rage that lay dormant in the back of her mind began to grow and fester. Something had to be done. She simply couldn’t let innocent people be slaughtered in such a way. Even animal sacrifices were done away with, and they were the purest form of admiration to the Great Mother. Men have evolved and so did their rituals. The fact that they were Rydian didn’t matter to her. It was, however, the underlying factor to her rage. And rage, like any fire, burned through the corners of her common sense and she felt herself holding her breath, trying to calm it. Convincing it was working, before she knew it, she had a plan. She sat down on her bed and watched the moon climb the sky…waiting.

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