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Old 11-20-2006, 02:11 AM   #31
Ferunnia

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Chapter 12: Boarding The Ship

 

               In the midst of the slowly thickening rain that was falling as the storm brewed to its full might, we moved quickly to a small pier close to where the Captain’s ship was docked. Standing in the shadows of a large stack of crates, I could feel water trickling down my back from the rain, and salt spray was washing up and over me as the storm blew up nearly man-sized whitecaps in the small bay. Ereviz and I shared a look, then a quick nod, and we both headed towards the gangway leading to the deck of the ship.

               Out of nowhere, as we were within three of four paces of the rope and wood ramp, a large bearded pirate appeared seemingly from nowhere. Quick on his heels, two more charged us. A fourth pirate dashed up the ramp, his cries lost in the fury of the storm and the crashing of waves, luckily for us. I threw my belt knife across the quickly widening distance and made one of the luckiest hits in my life.

               The pirate stumbled for a moment, then tumbled head over heels off the gangway into the bay below as my knife struck him in one of his kidneys, just beside his spine.

               Ereviz met the wide swoop of the first pirate with his heavy kite shield, and brushed the man’s run towards me by deflecting his blow in my direction. I had already extended my blades and broke my staff down, having started the moment my dagger left my hand. We met with a crashing of steel on steel, and I was amazed and nearly thrown off balance for a moment as my first blade passed through his weapon with barely a tug of resistance.

               As I stumbled to one side of the bearded man, I dropped to one knee and slashed in a wide semicircle behind my back with my other weapon. I spun on that one knee and let my momentum carry me in a circle. I connected with the man’s thigh and a red line drew across seemingly in slow motion. A second later, as his weight switched from the other leg to the cut one, I saw the wound open widely, as a red grinning mouth, revealing muscle tissue and bone white, then the leg collapsed, nearly cut in half. The man screamed as blood gushed from the wound.

               At the same time, Ereviz was wildly parrying first one, then the other pirate and kicking, elbowing, and head butting each of them in turn. I saw one pirate fall back with his nose mashed across his face, and Ereviz turned sideways from the man to block a blow from the other pirate on his shield. A moment later, Ereviz, without even looking, caved in the first man’s skull with a backhanded blow, then shield rushed the second, still standing pirate.

               A moment later the fight was over, as the pirate tripped over the bearded one who was bleeding his life away and Ereviz crushed his chest with a mighty blow from his warhammer. Seconds later, the mewling from the pirate whose leg I had nearly removed ended as he passed out from loss of blood.

               Both Ereviz and I looked around to see if we had been observed, but neither his heat sensing nor my dark piercing eyes could see anything or anyone. We made our way hurriedly up the gangway and looked around. There was no one on the top deck, not even a scout in the crow’s nest. Then again, with the wind starting to make the ship buck like a wild horse, it didn’t seem a good idea for Ereviz and me to be above decks either.

               Slipping on the slick deck as foamy waves splashed over the starboard side of the ship due to the ship leaning that direction in the wind, Ereviz and I made it to the door leading into the poop cabin, hopefully where the captain was. We stood there, looking at each other, then nodded to each other. He stood back half a step and kicked the door in. I rolled in behind the kick and wound up in a crouch in the middle of the small room.

               There were five men sitting in the small room, which itself had three doors leading to other parts of the cabin. Cutlasses and daggers were drawn, and I met the group of pirates in the middle of the three paces square room. I dove under the table and then stood up with it, ripping nails out of the floor as I did so, thanks to the extra strength Ereviz had given me. I felt a small tug on my perception coming from the center room and yelled behind me, “The middle one!” as I parried attacks in a blur. Ereviz charged past us all, not even stopping as he snapped a blow off that put on of the sailors on the floor, his spine crushed at about the level of his hips.

               Erevz’s hammer smashed into the door once, then twice, and the door burst off its hinges. I was nearly in awe of his strength as he burst through the door and disappeared into the room beyond. I had my own problems to worry about though, and set to about me keeping the officers from gutting me.

               I noticed my blade would not shear any of their weapons apart, so I assumed every one of the officers carried a magical weapon. A blow came sliding in towards my face as two others aimed for my back. The fourth blow was aimed at my ankles. I hopped up and came down on the low blade at the same time as I spun in place on the steel weapon to sweep the two blades to my rear to one side. I slashed out behind me with my other staff section and was pleased to hear a curse as the pirate had to dodge backwards or lose his head.

               Using the momentary break in action to my best advantage, I kicked one of the two pirates in front of me in the face then spun and dashed forward to get behind the pirate whose blade I had stepped on. Pulling a close grip towards the blade on one section, I stabbed the pirate in the temple, then pushed backwards off him as he died. The other three stepped around the dead man’s body warily, and readied their weapons. Now that they weren't surprised, I knew I was going to have a hard fight on my hands.

Final Edit.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 12:17 PM

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Old 11-20-2006, 02:11 AM   #32
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Chapter 13: Ereviz’s Confrontation

 

               As Ereviz crashed through the door, a tall, sinister looking man stood up from his desk and pulled a long, wicked-edged rapier from the sheathe at his hip. His oily voice carried easily across the room, “Who are you, stunted filth, that you think you can invade my sanctuary and live?”

               “I am Ereviz, paladin of Brell, and I am here to avenge my brother’s death!” The dwarf charged across the room and swung madly at the pirate.

               “Know then, that Jermaine, black scourge of the Sea of Tears, will be your end this night,” the pirate said calmly as he dodged the blow easily then lanced back in with blurring speed. Ereviz barely got his shield up in time to block the blow, and his eyes widened as the slim weapon put a deep crease in this thick metal and wood shield.

               With a smirk at the look on Ereviz’s face, Jermaine went on the attack again, with Ereviz barely able to block his blows at times, and sometimes getting rents in his platemail armor when the rapier snaked its way past his guard. Occasionally, the pirate would stop attacking, and Ereviz would swing blows that most people would have died from before they saw them coming, but somehow the pirate anticipated his every move, and was back on the attack almost before Ereviz could set his guard.

               Somehow, the tough dwarf held the pirate at bay, wondering how he was possibly going to get his revenge if he couldn’t even touch the slippery man. Out of the corner of his eye, a glimmering caught his attention almost too long, and he had to parry wildly to avoid being chopped down by the now slightly red-glowing rapier. A massive bolt of lightning came down only a hundred feet from the ships and shed a bright light over the whole room, illuminating a large, blood splattered kite shield hanging behind the desk Jermaine had been sitting at when Ereviz entered the room.

               My brother’s blood. Ereviz thought, and with that one fleeting moment of insight, Ereviz let loose a barrage of blows that even seemed to worry Jermaine. The pirate captain, did a backflip onto his desk then dove aside as Ereviz’s warhammer crashed down a moment later. The solid oak piece of furniture almost seemed to disintegrate under the force of the blow, and the shock of the warhammer hitting the floor actually shook the whole room.

               What is this creature? The pirate found himself wondering. Most would have died within a few moments of crossing blades with me, but this one only seems to grow stronger the longer the fight goes on. I must end this soon. Jermaine reversed the momentum from his dive and rushed back in, quicker than an eyeblink. His rapier flashed three times in a moment’s time, and in midswing, Ereviz’s warhammer was deflected aside, his shield knocked wide to leave an opening, and the pirate’s weapon found a home in the right pectoral area of the dwarf’s chest.

               As the weapon hit home, Ereviz released a battle shout and his warhammer whirled through the air to smash into the pirate’s side. The impact drove the pirate captain across the room and into a wall. But instead of slumping down, broken, he hopped to his feet with a small laugh. Ereviz, not knowing what was going on, but sure it wasn’t good, dashed the few feet to the wall where the shield hung, then snatched it down and turned to meet Jermaine. The pirate looked confused for a second as the magic from the shield flared to life and surrounded Ereviz with a flickering blue aura.

               Ereviz himself snapped off a few words of a chant and blood stopped running from the deep wound in his chest. He still looked like something from a nightmare though, as his once shiny armor was now covered in a light sheen of blood and other things, and rents in his armor around the legs and arms showed still open wounds slowly oozing blood. A wild gleam in his eyes as he crouched into a battle stance brought the whole image together, and he looked like some primordial being intent on slaying whatever stood in his way.

               Jermaine chanced a glance around the room to see if he could get past the dwarf to the room beyond, but he had moved between the pirate and the doorway and was preparing to attack.

               “Ye know, if you’d only let them live this wouldn’t be happening. Why?” Ereviz grated through clenched teeth, “Why did you kill everyone on the ship you got this from?” He brandished the shield.

               A slow smile spread across the sly man’s face, and he taunted the dwarf by saying, “Ha! Is that what this is about? A few stunted degenerate sub-human creatures? I killed them because they deserved it! Simply for living and breathing in my presence. I hate you stubby misbegotten creatures. I’d still be happy as a smuggler if a dwarven ship hadn’t captured me and turned me into the port authorities.

               “I spent ten years of my life fighting to live amongst the most wretched excuses for living creatures on the face of Norrath. I dug latrines, had to work the wheel at granaries, and did more backbreaking menial labor than any man should ever have to do. So yes, I hate dwarves, you included!” As the last word left his mouth, he charged, blade a blur. Ereviz easily parried the blow, then his warhammer crashed into the side of the man’s head. Yet again, the impact drove Jermaine to the ground, but it was like Ereviz had hit a brick wall, the weapon made not a single dent on the pirate’s head.

               “Fool, you can’t touch me with any weapon made of man. No one can. I can’t be killed!” Again the pirate charged in and Ereviz set himself for defense as he tried to puzzle the man’s secret out. Behind him, through the door, he could hear Elhonna’s warcries and curses over the crashing of weapons and the fury of the storm blowing the ship around. An anguished death scream, followed by another let Ereviz know she was handling her part of the fight well.

               A door in the other room crashed open at the same time as Jermaine attacked again, and he heard multiple footsteps from the other room as he met the pirate blow for blow, the shield helping deflect blows that got past his defense, and its regenerative qualities healing him slowly even when he got hurt.

               Ereviz rained blow after blow on the pirate, his own natural quickness and strength augmented by the combat wisdom and extra strength the shield imparted. Blow after blow connected, and none of them did any good. The pirate simply took the blow, bounced off the wall or floor or assorted piece of furniture, then went back on the attack. As Jermaine seemed to lose some of his anger at the dwarven race in favor of thinking about battle, the fight became evenly matched again.

               They exchanged slashes and crushing blows in a continuing stalemate, their fight accompanied by the sounds of death coming from the other room. In a moment between lightning flashes, and when Ereviz was between Jermaine and the only light in the room, Ereviz connected with a blow and noticed a small flash from around the man’s neck as he absorbed the blow. He had almost forgotten what Elhonna had related to him about the man always wearing the cloak, even to bathe. Maybe if…

               With a roar, Ereviz threw his hammer, head over handle, and it glanced off the man’s skull. Following the path of the weapon, Ereviz crashed bodily into the pirate, taking a slash on the side in the process. However, he managed to do what he was trying to accomplish, and crashed to the ground with the neck-clasp and cloak wrapped around his arm. Jermaine lost color in his face and rage clouded his eyes as he screamed, “No! Give it back! Give me my cloak!” and slashed madly at Ereviz’s throat.

               Ereviz grinned grimly and took the blow on his shield, then shoved the pirate back as he dropped the cloak then stomped on the gem in the center of the clasp.

               “Nooooooo!” Jermaine screamed as the foot came down. The gem shattered, and as Ereviz watch the pirate, he fell down and screamed as his bones shattered, cuts opened, and flesh fell away. It seemed all the wounds he should have taken over the years came down on him all at once. At the last, the man simply fell to pieces, then dust, as if the cloak had been holding off the pirate’s death for many, many years.

               Ereviz picked up his warhammer and stomped quickly back into the other room. Elhonna stood leaning on her bladed staff, streaming blood from a dozen wounds, looking as though she was out on her feet. Around her, piled waist high, were the bodies of more pirates than she had wounds. She smiled slightly, then her eyes rolled back in her head as she slumped to her knees, unconscious, yet still holding her weapon.

               Ereviz rushed to her side and channeled all of his healing power into her wounded body. A few minutes later, her eyes blinked and she slowly stood, almost falling over, and using her staff and Ereviz’s shoulder to keep her propped up, they moved out of the cabin’s front door into the storm lashing the decks of the ships. Their forms were silhouetted in the doorway for a moment then they were gone.

 

* * * 

               Observers from the village at the edge of the bay ran out of their homes as three blinding strokes of lightning lanced through the windy, rainy night, followed by a massive concussion accompanied by a large wave that washed over the homes nearest the water. A couple of the survivors later related tales of two fleeing figures running across the main mast of the Captain’s ship as it listed over onto its side before sinking slowly under the lapping waves of the bay.

               Soon after the lead ship sank, the two other ships sank as well. Divers later reported burn holes in the bows of all the ships, and in the Captain’s ship, a massive hole that went straight through the center of the ship from the maindeck out of the bottom of the ship.

Final Edit.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 12:18 PM

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Old 11-20-2006, 02:12 AM   #33
Ferunnia

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This started as one massive chapter, but I thought it flowed better in pieces. Enjoy the new additions.
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Old 11-20-2006, 03:09 AM   #34
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Glade to see you got over your writters block there. As a helpful hint, lately when i've had trouble comming up with something new i reread Mysida or Ekuth's stories to get a clear head. The next part may be akin to just me but i go chain smoke 1/4 of a packj of cigarettes drink a pot of coffee and start to sip away at a 2lt bottle of Mt dew. not that i'd recomend anyone picked up smoking or anything but the nearly 2 months i went without writting was during that time i quit. Just can't get the brain to keep pace otherwise.
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Old 11-22-2006, 06:51 AM   #35
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Excellent writing - look forward to seeing what happens next  SMILEY
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Old 11-22-2006, 07:04 PM   #36
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Nice story.  Please, keep it up SMILEY
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Old 12-16-2006, 01:53 AM   #37
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Hello?!?
 
*listens for the echo.*
 
Please tell us you are still writting, just taking a bit of a break to plot out your ideas.
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Old 12-20-2006, 04:09 AM   #38
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Truth be told, I've been moving, and while able, grinding the rest of the way to 70 (finally). I'll be writing something here in the next week or so, so be on the lookout SMILEY
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Old 12-20-2006, 11:08 PM   #39
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/happy dance

I've been stuck putting in major hours at work, and I check every break for new posts...even got bored enough to post my own line, but all my fav writters seem to be on a RL uber-raid at once, so no story fix. Hop the move went well & you having missplaced too much stuff & gratz on 70.

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Old 12-26-2006, 09:57 PM   #40
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Chapter 14: Revelations

 

*Another chapter perhaps not for those with weak constitutions.*

 

               A storm blew heartily through the Thundering Steppes, the many peals of thunder showing where the place once known as the Storm Plains got its name. Through jagged mountain crevices and down gently sloping grassy valleys, past winding rivers now nearly overflowing their banks and streams already flowing freely above theirs the storm blew. Leagues and leagues of rolling plains gave way again to a towering mountain range, and through a small pass in this range the storm continued as the bulk of it slowly moved over the tops of the mountains that sheltered the small town of Thundermist.

               The storm blew over the top of the small circle of mountains that normally shielded the town and released its fury in the form of battering winds and sheets of cascading rain. The small dirt paths in the town turned to muddy slush within minutes, and everyone with a roof over their head thanked the gods for that small saving grace. Those few poor souls trapped in the deluge cursed the skies then tried to make themselves comfortable or busied themselves searching for some shelter from the rain.

               Through the sheets of rain, if one were to wander into the middle of the town, one would hear, between the rumbling peals of thunder, raucous laughter amidst cheerful music coming from at least half a dozen instruments. Walking up to the building one would see a sign depicting a centaur stumbling about with a stein of ale in his hand, naming the place the Drunken Centaur.

               It being the only inn in the whole small town, and with the storm blowing about shaking the building and rattling the shutters, it was no surprise to see the place packed to the rafters, with many traveling bards and minstrels playing music to keep the mood light in the overcrowded place where at a moment’s notice a knife fight would begin and moments later diffuse as a dozen of the combatants’ viewers would all at once pull the fighters apart. It was in this place that a certain dwarf and half-elf had made their way after certain incidents involving pirates and the such, and it was here that they spent the night telling of those deeds.

From one side of the dim, smoke filled room, a large hulk of a man watched the fine-[Removed for Content] half-blood and her dwarven companion chug down ale after ale as they roared jokes and nearly collapsed in laughter at each witticism. A large crowd had surrounded them and was merrily asking the duo to regale them with stories from their adventures.

               The man watched as the oddly familiar half-blood woman stumbled to her feet then sat on the edge of her table, blearily looking about a moment before launching into a tale so improbable that if it were to be believed, she would seem to have at the same time danced the swords with a master of the blade while drinking a fine glass of wine and never spilling a drop.

               The man knew of the swordmaster, and that someone should claim to have embarrassed him so made him simmer with even more anger than normal. Though the fact did remain that the swordmaster the woman spoke of had not been heard of by the order for years now did almost make the large man break out in a cold sweat. His mark, if she was telling the truth, was a swordswoman so deadly as to be almost invincible.

               Lorthim, as this man was called, silently contemplated his task. He knew that no one was as good a fighter after a gallon or so of liquor...Barring her being a drunken master of the Silent Fist clan. Of course she wasn’t one of that order though, or she’d have never been caught dead with a weapon strapped to her back or any armor covering her supple body.

               Lorthim had been told that if he could capture the woman alive, he’d be allowed to have his way with her until his employers needed to use the dark-skinned creature in their experiments. That would have been incentive enough for a serial killer and [Removed for Content] such as Lorthim, but there was also a hefty bounty on her head, to be paid in full by Lucan if she were delivered to the hands of Lorthim’s employers.

               Thoughts of torturing the trim figure weaving gracefully, though half drunk, through the tables as she shouted out tales of her past made the man’s dark eyes gleam with fervor. She fit his profile perfectly, small and slightly thin, yet full of breast and flank, dark skinned and light haired, but with a predator’s bearing, she was as close to feminine perfection as Lorthim had ever imagined. His lower abdomen tightened in anticipation as he stared at her and licked his lips slowly.

               Shaking his head to momentarily clear his thoughts, Lorthim glanced about the room then noticed a prickling at the back of his neck, as though he were being watched. He turned slowly to see the dwarf, now separated from his companion, looking very clearly in his direction, his eyes not seeming as bleary as they had moments before. The dwarf slowly shook his head, almost as if in sadness, then turned back to his drink.

               Wondering for a moment if perhaps he had given himself away by looking at the woman so longingly, Lorthim swiveled back around on his stool, and nearly bowled over backwards in startlement as he looked into the half-elf’s eyes from only feet away at the same time as a strike of lightning highlighted her features from the side facing the room. Somehow, she had walked right up, somehow gotten behind him, and sat on the other side of his corner table without him noticing it. Considering he was thought one of the best assassins and bodyguards in the lower wards of Freeport, that she had come upon him without his knowledge gave him his first hint that she wasn’t all that she seemed.

               Her voice broke his inward turmoil, “What do you want, lecher? Yes, don’t look at me like that,” she said as his eyes widened, due to her saying outright what most called him from the shadows, “I know who you are and what you do. Now, why are you looking at me like you’re a man dying of thirst in the middle of Ro, and I’m the only water within a hundred leagues?”

               He blinked at her, astounded that he had been so easily found out, when she surprised him more by leaning over and whispering, “I’m the Black Rose, in case they didn’t tell you that.

               His eyes bulged in sudden fear, and he knew then that he was dead, had been dead since he walked into the room. The black rose was two things. One, once a rose started dying it gave off a cloying scent, and when a rose was at its blackest, the scent was the strongest. The creature in front of him, from whom he could now smell the slightest lingering scent of rose perfume, was the other black rose, called that due to the euphemism of being able to smell death coming with the smell of dying roses. Her other nickname was Maiden of Death, as to this day her successful kill number was unmatched among the known assassins of Freeport’s underground.

               She was once a leader of the largest group of underground spies and assassins in all of Freeport, but was thought dead in the massive raid that destroyed the organization she was with. Lorthim had hoped she was dead, considering she had personally told someone she was going to rip his throat out and disembowel him before he could die of blood loss. After all, the rumor had finally gotten back to her that she was the one he fantasized about when he was [Removed for Content] women.

               That’s why she had looked so familiar as he stared at her from across the hazy room, but the smoke and the fact that her once waist-length hair had been shorn short - less than shoulder length - had blinded him to her identity. He started begging her with his eyes moments before words started streaming from his lips.

               “Please, Maiden, don’t kill me, I didn’t know it was you. I’d have never come here if I had,” he sputtered in a low, panicked voice. She held up a hand and his words cut off abruptly, as if she had torn the voice from him with that one small gesture.

               “Do not speak that name here, or ever again, do you understand me?” She continued only after he had nodded his head, “I want to know why you’re here before I decide what I’m going to do with you.” Lightning brightened the room and thunder followed nearly immediately, as if to bring home the ominous words she spoke. After the peal of thunder rolled through the building and the music could be heard again, the half-elf looked into the man’s eyes and calmly asked, “Besides either kidnapping me or killing me, what was it you were hired to do?”

               Lorthim paused to collect his thoughts then told her everything, except their offer of the woman’s body. He told her they were planning to use her in some magical experiment and that the whole thing was being paid for by Lucan and the Academy of Arcane Sciences. Then, after going into detail about the other facets of his job, from where he was supposed to drop her off to how the people who hired him had been magically following her when possible, he stopped and nervously looked at her before going on.

               His next statement made her face darken in rage and he nearly lost control of his bladder at the look that went over her face. “They told me to tell you that they have Loriana, whoever that is, if by some chance you should overcome me or such and no doubt refuse to hand yourself over to their gentle mercies. Obviously you don’t like whatever I just said,” he quickly added, “but whoever that is, please believe me when I say I had nothing to do with their abduction.

               “The fact that I know you can’t be lying is the only thing keeping you from becoming worm food,” she snapped angrily. She continued in a low voice full of the promise of pain for whoever had this Loriana, “If you know where she is, it would be in your best interest to let me know now, before I torture you to death to find it out.”

               "I don’t know, I heard nothing about where she might be held, only that I was to take you to Fallen Gate and keep you there ‘till they came for you,” he said quickly. She seemed to believe him, and that was good, because he was, for once in his life, telling the utter truth in the face of her wrath, which he definitely didn’t want to be the target of.

               He had time to start a hopeful smile as she stood up and started to turn, then her foot came out of nowhere as she continued to turn and he didn’t even have time to cry out before her heel crashed into his temple with what felt the power of a charging bull, sending him into the depths of unconsciousness.

 

* * *

 

               Ereviz walked up, staggering only slightly, which was a surprise considering the quantity of ale he had recently imbibed. He slurred only slightly as he asked, “What was that about girlie?” She turned to him and he took a step back at the look of pain and rage on her tear-streaked face. “What’s wrong, El?” he asked as he walked closer, sobering up very quickly, as nothing he had seen, not battle wounds nor any other thing they had experienced, had affected her this way.

               “They have her…” she whispered.

               “Who? Who do they have?” he asked.

               “My daughter,” she whispered. “Lucan’s men have my daughter.”

Final Edit.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 12:18 PM

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Old 12-26-2006, 11:20 PM   #41
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Nice addition! 
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:42 AM   #42
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Excellently done. 

I'm still reading, just had a dry spell where I couldn't get anything done.  Work, Holidays....

And then you people expect me to write on top of it all!  Sheesh!

Seriously though, DO keep writing.  You have good narrative flow and nice descriptions.  Your character development is coming along nicely as well.

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Old 12-28-2006, 11:21 PM   #43
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Chapter 15: Resolution

        Soft rustlings were the first she knew of consciousness. After what seemed an eternity, or perhaps moments stretched out seemingly forever in darkness, she could feel her body. Fleeting memories came to her, first in bits and pieces, then in a rush that left her cold and gasping in a pool of her own sweat. She was Loriana, half-elf and sorceress in training. Youngest student to ever grace the walls of the Mage’s Training Academy in Qeynos.

        And now? She wasn’t sure. She had dim recollection of walking towards her quarters at the Guildhall of the Justice Bringers. Part way there, she was accosted and before she could use some of her newly learned magic to defend herself, a large fist came from nowhere and slammed into the side of her head. Flickering memories showed her trussed up and riding, gagged in the back of a wagon that made her pounding head feel as if it were going to split open with each pothole sunk into and each ridge ridden over.

        At this point she remembered trying to summon up energy to escape back to Qeynos with the first spell she had been taught, a teleport home spell, but for some reason her energy kept fizzling out and she thought for a moment she must have been drugged before she passed out again. It seemed weeks had passed in that state, with her occasionally being given food and water when she was awake.

        Now she was confused, as she had woken up in a cool dry room, smaller than the room she stayed in at the guildhall, to the light of a candle. The walls were gray and plain, the floor stone. A iron-bound wooden door stood in one wall, and after a few futile tugs and pushes she realized it was locked. No windows or other openings offered any other means of escape. Tears started to flow down her young face and she almost broke down like any other child would in the same situation. She wasn’t the youngest mage trainee in hundreds of years for no reason, though.

        In a moment of clarity she tried what she had been unsuccessful at on the trip here, and gleefully felt her energies gather as she cast the spell to whisk her back to Qeynos, back to safety. Moments after the spell triggered she slammed into one of the walls of her small prison at nearly bone-breaking speed. Mewling in pain and frustration, she slammed her hands down on the floor again and again until blood ran freely from her battered knuckles.

        A voice interrupted her angry fit, “Now, now, you can’t be damaging yourself. That is for us to do.” A thinly-built man stepped from the door that had opened silently while she ranted and smiled evilly at her. “As a matter of fact, since you’re so full of energy, now would be a good time to start.”

 

* * *

 

        Ereviz was worried. Elhonna didn’t seem to have slept in the past four days. He was thankful that his spiritually summoned steed did not tire, as they hadn’t stopped but for moments since leaving the bar in the middle of the night with a storm whipping about their heads. Cold pelting rain had run down their cloaks and some, as is always the case with rain, had made it inside their clothes to chill them to the bone. On this, the fourth day of their journey back to the docks far southeast of Thundermist, the sky had calmed and now a crisp wind cut across the prairie Ereviz and Elhonna traversed. The sky was a leaden solid gray over their heads. The weather was no gloomier than the two adventurer's thoughts.

        Elhonna had ridden two horses to death and once she had discovered that she couldn’t find another one to steal or buy, had moved on foot towards her destination. She had been running on foot for close on a day and a half at a pace that would have killed a third horse, had she found one. I feel pity for anyone stupid enough to try stopping her at this point, Ereviz thought. All I can do is try to watch her back and hope we make it through this alive. It’s obviously a trap, but she either doesn’t see that through her anger or doesn’t care.

        “El, can you hear me?” Ereviz asked. His only reply was her breathing, a steady in-out that had nearly lulled him to sleep a few times already. Thinking she was still caught up in her own inner thoughts, her turned his head back to the fore and was nearly startled off his horse when she answered.

        Her voice was harsh, and she had to snap out words between deep breaths. “Yes, Ere, I can hear you. I’m just trying to think of why they took her, and what she could possibly give them that they would risk me coming back to Lucan’s lands to kill them all. I don’t know enough about what’s going on, and it’s driving me insane. I haven’t talked to the people who were taking care of her in over five years. I didn’t want to risk Lucan finding them out and using them to get to me, but it seems my efforts were for naught.”

        She lapsed back into silence after sharing those thoughts and Ereviz was left with questions of his own. After her revelation of having a daughter had nearly rocked him to his core, she had shocked him more by relating the circumstances leading up to the girl being in Qeynos. She had not elaborated much on parts of her story, but had filled in some gaps from what had occurred earlier in her life, over and above what she had related back in Nektulos Forest the first day they had met.

        After a few years of training at her mentor Matthias’ hands she had eventually fallen in love with him and he came to finally feel the same way. They were married only a few months before the Shattering, and she conceived their child perhaps a month before the moon Luclin exploded and rained hell down on the surface of Norrath.

        Soon after the planet calmed down, somehow Lucan found out who Matthias was and spent a fortune tracking him down and finally Elhonna and Matthias were woken one night by Lucan’s Militiamen bashing in their door. Matthias jumped to the attack while Elhonna crashed out the back window, Loriana in hand. Thinking of only the baby’s safety, both parents were willing to die that night to save the child. Elhonna, still holding the little girl-child had killed five of the guards in an alley behind the house when she heard cheering from the large crowd of guards pouring into her house.

        She later found out that Matthias, armed only with his hands, had killed twenty-seven of the three dozen men sent into the home that night. His sacrifice of keeping their attention was what allowed her to escape.

        Three days later she had to watch him smile sadly at her before hanging to death in the Execution Square of Freeport. She departed Freeport then to take Loriana to Qeynos and to leave Matthias’ final effects with his guild chapter there. Once at the Qeynos gates, Elhonna snuck into the city and left Loriana with the Justice Bringers and said her goodbyes to the child, knowing she might never be able to see her again.

        She later traveled out to the wilderness and perfected her fighting techniques, then her story remained much the same as she had earlier related. The sadness in her eyes as she spoke of Matthias let Ereviz know just how much those few short months of happiness had meant to her. Shifting his bunched, aching shoulders, he felt the shield strapped to his back shift a little. He still hadn’t cleaned the blood of his brother from it, and probably never would. He could understand fully the feelings Elhonna was experiencing now. He also owed her his life a dozen times over and a much greater moral debt for her helping him have his revenge on his brother’s murderer.

        Thoughts of both him and his brother, always working side by side, smithing weapons and armor at their father’s side made Ereviz smile sadly, much as Elhonna did when speaking of Matthias. They learned the finer arts of etching and tailoring the undergarments for their armor from their mother. They both wore armor crafted by the other brother. They made many trips to the Thundering Steppes to learn sailing and horsemanship from some of their parents’ human friends many times during their childhood. They joined the order of Brell’s Guardians at the same time to commence their training down the path of paladin-hood. It seemed they were nearly the same person, and Ereviz could recall the feeling going through his breast when he felt his brother die.

        He knew his brother was gone long before the correspondence came from the merchants his brother’s ship never met. His greatest shame was not being on that ship with his brother, to either die by his side or maybe, just maybe have made a difference and neither of them die. Considering how great of friends he and El had become, he’d gladly give his life to keep her from having to feel that a second time. He grimly held onto his reins and settled in for the rest of the ride to the docks on the coast of the Thundering Steppes.

 

* * *

 

        Elhonna was trapped in a hell in her own mind. Guilt and anger crashed through her mind like waves in the ocean. Her body was burning all over and pain lanced through her joints from the long run she was making, but she was beyond feeling those things. Her greatest question was ‘why’. What made them take Loriana? Was it just to get to her? Somehow, Elhonna did not believe this to be the case. Lucan and his lackeys never did anything for less than half a dozen reasons. Guilt that she did not even know enough about her daughter to know why she might be special threatened to eat Elhonna from the inside out. She ‘should’ have been there, not off fighting her personal crusade against Lucan and the many factions involved in Matthias’ death.

        She knew all this, but also knew herself well enough to know that she was fooling herself. She couldn’t have lived a happy life knowing the cause of Matthias’ death wasn’t fully experiencing the same pain Matthias had felt watching his family watch him die. She also knew Freeport was no place to raise a child, especially when the only parent the child had was living as an assassin and gang leader among other things. Elhonna wasn’t proud of some of the things she had done to advance her personal crusade, but she could at least say she’d never lost sight of her final objective: Lucan’s death. Her only flaw was a small bit of trust she had for certain members in her gang.

        Her whole dream of watching Lucan die in agony was dashed when a snitch in her officer’s organization ratted her out to the Militia. He died for his part in her downfall, but she knew then that she’d never be able to realize her revenge, and could only get in Lucan’s way when possible, and had almost lost herself in destroying Lucan’s plans as often as possible. Only after nearly being assassinated herself did she see the light and realize she needed to be with her daughter. Now that seemed to be beyond her reach too, as she was too late to prevent her only tie to an honest life from being kidnapped.

        However, her anger wasn’t that something she wanted was missing, her anger came from something she never realized she would be able to feel, a mother’s righteous anger. Her CHILD was possibly being tortured by some scum in a hellhole totally unlike the bright and cheery place in Qeynos she had spent her whole life. She could be in pain, scared, and confused, and her mother was coming to make whoever was at fault pay for it.

Final Edit.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 12:19 PM

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Old 12-28-2006, 11:30 PM   #44
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Thanks for all the kind comments. I'm glad to see my story has gained some measure of popularity (though I think I need to make a visit to Ekuth one dark night to find out how he can get his story in the Treasure Chest with one post SMILEY) Enjoy the story guys, hope you like the depth I've started putting into character development, and for those of you who like action, worry not. I like fighting too much to be like some people who start with good action then put too much into learning about the character and not having the character do anything SMILEY

P.S. Edited chapters 1 and 4....couldn't figure out where to go with the itching thing, and it got on my nerve. So I changed it a little. If you guys notice anything that's out of synch or deoesn't flow right let me know and I'll see what I can do. happy hunting and enjoy the read.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 12-28-2006 12:43 PM

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Old 12-29-2006, 02:40 AM   #45
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Ferunnia wrote:
Thanks for all the kind comments. I'm glad to see my story has gained some measure of popularity Its a wonderful tale. I only wish I could manage to convey the atmosphere of the scenes the way you do. I'm so jealous. (though I think I need to make a visit to Ekuth one dark night to find out how he can get his story in the Treasure Chest with one post SMILEY) I'm personally betting it involves a healthy bribe, but it might be some ancient magical spell...you know the whole sell your soul to SoE in a twisted publishing deal.
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Old 12-29-2006, 06:55 AM   #46
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(though I think I need to make a visit to Ekuth one dark night to find out how he can get his story in the Treasure Chest with one post SMILEY)

I'm personally betting it involves a healthy bribe, but it might be some ancient magical spell...you know the whole sell your soul to SoE in a twisted publishing deal.





I'm afraid it's neither. 

Other writers and I have speculated for some time that it appears that the mods, sadly, do not actually read our tales or select them for artistic merit, but rather simply by whichever post happens to be the newest at the time that they chose the Treasure Chest. 

If you backtrack this, you'll see it's a theory that bears out- also read the comments that are posted about the story under the Treasure Chest feature.  You can easily see that they are using boilerplate descriptions that actually say nothing of substance about the story itself.

Now what I would like to see is that the threads that are long running or really excellent (Tarvos, Mysidia, Astal and others) get stickied to the top of the forums to make it easier for new readers to the board to find the real quality stuff that folks post here.

I'm sure that the Traveler's Tales section has a mod assigned, but how active they are???? Is another matter. :smileysad:

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Old 12-29-2006, 09:34 AM   #47
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That does make a certain amount of sense. Seems to coincide well, too. Nothing against any of the writers in the Treasure Chest but when people with stories that I think rock don't make it after months on the forums and much time and work but people with one paragraph/entry can make it on a regular basis it makes me a bit sad that SOE isn't appreciating how its players feel...But I am used to that SMILEY Been playing SOE games since EQOA...(PS2 EQ if you don't know what I'm talking about.) Thanks again for the support and encouragement Ekuth, and anyone else who has stuck with me through my sometimes long absences.
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:58 AM   #48
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/hug.  SoE may not be paying attention, but we read, and we appriciate. Some times we lurk, sometimes we jabber on (that would be me), but we come back day after day, sometimes hour after hour, to check the site, in hopes of finding a new chapter.
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Old 12-29-2006, 09:26 PM   #49
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Only read up to chapter 9 so far.  A Pact is Made--you start to write in the 3rd person rather than 1st person.  Saying "she replies", "she said", "she does this and that" instead of using I.  Maybe edit so it goes back to the story being told from 1st person. 

So far, this is an amazing story.  You tie in the elements within EQ2 and your individual character so well I can imagine myself logging in and doing it myself ^.^  I have no other criticisms to give you.  I just request that you continue on with this story, no matter how many chapters it goes on for.  Now I am going to start on Chapter 10! :smileyhappy:

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Old 12-30-2006, 05:10 AM   #50
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First let me say thank you for your comments. I try to bring my readers into the story as well as possible, and with nearly everyone saying I do that well, I feel a true sense of accomplishment.Now, onto answering your question about my change of style.The decision to change from 1st to 3rd was one i agonized over for a while. Mainly, I decided to change the POV because I was adding another character into the story who was just as important to me (in RL) as my own. Ereviz was my duoing buddy from 25th level through 50. We also played some together in DoF. Then we raided every day together for many months and even though he's moved onto WoW, we still stay in touch constantly. I felt his character deserved a good bit of attention and I just couldn't do that well telling it from Elhonna's perspective. I jump through perspectives quite often the further I get into the story, so I hope it doesn't make an otherwise good story not as much fun for you. Thank you for your view on things though, and I'll take your words into consideration as I go further along.P.S. New chapter in 1-3 days.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 12-29-2006 10:35 PM

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Old 12-30-2006, 06:58 PM   #51
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Chapter 16: Awakenings

      “The crysssstal isss working assss planned, ssssire,” a reptilian voice hissed from one side of a massive ancient oaken table standing amidst a pool of sickly green light in a small stone-encased room far below ground.

      “Then the child is proving a fit catalyst?” a nondescript voice spoke from the other side of the table.

      “Gazzze into the cryssstal, ssssire, and look at the magical interlacccings. Ssssee them grow with each passssing ssssecond. The girl-child isss proving to be more fit for her role then we had ever expected.

      Two figures stepped into the source of the sickly green light, a massive distorted gem, which seemed to pulse and writhe every moment. A hulking figure with reptilian features tapped a long curved talon gently on the side of the massive, rough-cut emerald, and spoke to the humanoid, cowled figure which stepped up to the other side of the table.

      “Our masssster will be freed ssssoon if the child can keep thissss up,” the lizardman said excitedly.

      “Yes, but you must make sure she stays alive long enough to feed the gem to completion. I heard that her mother is also on her way. The girl’s power is massive and for the most part untrained, but it pales in comparison to the raw energy her mother can release. Without the safeguards in place we put on her as a baby, she would possibly destroy us all. After all, how do you think she became such a good fighter? It’s just her power bleeding over and shedding from her skin like sweat that makes her so ungodly strong and fast.

      The person seemed to have to think a moment, “She will be here within a week, if she sleeps little and can still move like she did when Matthias was with her. That man interfered too much for his own good. Surely he knew training her as he did would only let her control her latent powers. If she ever manages to unbind herself the world may die screaming. Well, we stopped him before he could teach her the final techniques of his art, thankfully.”

      A moment passed in silence then. “I want the child moved to Cazic. Our priests there will finish what you have successfully started. We can’t risk the mother interfering and stopping us from awakening the Avatar.”

      “Of courssse, ssssire. Conssssider it done, the lizardman replied, then walked out of the solid bronze door that constituted the only means in and out of the room.

      The figure stood there for a moment in silence, then reached up and pulled its cowl down to its shoulders, revealing a face from nightmares. No ears, a gash in its face where a nose should be, no lips, giving the creature a permanent smile reminiscent of a bare skull and eyes missing their eyelids, all surrounded by blacked, pus-weeping flesh that seemed to have been burned nearly to a crisp made up a face that would send most screaming from the room or make them lose their lunch on the spot.

      The figure seemed to have once been a man, but most normal people would have died from the extent of the wounds on the person’s face and what could be seen of the neck, where more of the blackened skin continued down towards the chest. A maniacal light entered the once-man’s eyes as he spoke lightly to himself and to no one at all, “How long, my Lord. How long must I wait to see you again? It has been centuries, my liege, how much longer must I wait?”

      New cracks showed in the man’s skin from speaking and fresh pus dripped down inside the robe. A wave of agony seemed to overcome him for a minute and he stood, head thrown back and mouth gasping silently for air that wouldn’t come then the pain seemed to pass and he shuddered then reached up to pull the cowl back into place.

      His voice now seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once as he spoke to himself again. “And when you get here, I will only ask of you one boon, that I may find where the one who caused me this pain and be able to do unto them what I have received.

 

* * *

 

      It wasn’t until the sixth day they had been traveling that Elhonna and Ereviz arrived back at the dock, pre-dawn lighting the sky in front of them and revealing yet more clouds on the horizon.. A gentle rain had broken and the duo was once again soaked to the bone. Ereviz’s spirit horse, sensing his exhaustion, adjusted its walk to keep its rider from falling out of the saddle. Elhonna looked around blearily, almost in a daze, and then walked up to the traveling registration office on the dock.

      She stepped back outside perhaps five minutes later, time enough for Ereviz to fall asleep and almost fall from his horse twice. He was just recovering when she looked up at him and spoke.

      “Thank you for coming,” she said, then walked down the dock to one of the many cargo ships about to ply its trade across the ocean. Ereviz followed her and stepped down from his horse as they approached the ship’s gangplank. After gathering up their saddlebags from his horse, Ereviz then dismissed the magical being with a thought. While he had done this Elhonna had obviously spoken with the ship’s captain as he was nodding and talking rapidly to her, no doubt telling her where to bunk down. Papers exchanged hands, and then Elhonna came to him and took her share of the saddlebags.

      They walked up the gangplank then to the main cabin aft of the ship. They passed through the weather-beaten door and then made their way to a small room two levels down. Moments after they stowed their gear, both were dead-asleep.

(P.S. Did an edit on a lot of the story. You'll notice I broke this down into a prelude and a main story now, as that's how I've seen it all along. Also, I clarified a conversation or two, but for my old readers, it isn't something that makes a huge difference, so I'm not going to list them. Feel free to read through it all, but I only changed what was said to more fit the situations, nothing at all changed, just maybe the way it was said, and a couple of words here and there that made more sense to me. Enjoy the chapter, I'm working on another as I type this message.)

(P.S.S. You'll notice I make the world seem a heck of a lot larger that it is in game terms. I think it's inherent in any game that the world not be prohibitively large (though I would like to see how a game with a world that's truely "massive" would work. You know, a full day to cross a continent on horse or more, something a little more realistic, but I digress. I make Norrath seem the way I feel it should be. A world, not a bunch of continents the size of Rhode Island. Hope it doesn't throw anyone, as I try to write in such a way as to make the world I envision viable. Enjoy the read and happy hunting.)

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 11:17 AM

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Old 12-30-2006, 08:18 PM   #52
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Chapter 17: Boarding

        Screams brought the pair out of bed with their weapons readied. They looked at each other then moved to the door in tandem.

        Elhonna whispered to Ereviz, “The hall ends at our door. The door opens in. I’ll jerk the door open, you go out and I’ll cover you, so I can attack over your shoulder.”

        Ereviz nodded his agreement and they opened the door. As Ereviz stepped into the hall, the temperature dropped suddenly and frost filled the air, then a blinding wind blew down the corridor and shards of ice deflected off the shield Ereviz was crouched behind. More and more ice blasted him to the point Elhonna thought he might be frozen solid, but he suddenly broke free of its hold and charged, sliding and slipping, down the hallway. As Elhonna stepped into the hall and followed him, he met a robed figure with a meaty thud and they went down in a tangle.

        Sprinting as fast as she could on the slick floor, Elhonna made her way to where Ereviz had just finished cracking the man on the floor over the head with his warhammer.

        “Not good,” Ereviz said. “We ‘ave spell-tossers on board. Means they’re serious. We gotta get up on deck and see what we can do.”

        “Aye, let’s hurry up there. I am not going to die here, not with Loriana needing me gods know where,” Elhonna replied.

        The pair moved to the stairs leading up the next deck and then moved up a deck without being attacked again. Screams and yells, along with the ringing clash of weapon on weapon could still be heard above-decks. Ereviz and Elhonna rushed to the stairs on the other end of the hallway they were standing in, then made their way up another level. Three doors down from where they came up, the hallway ended at a shattered door looking out on a scene of carnage and chaos.

        At least twice as many raiders had boarded the ship as there were crewmembers. As the duo dashed into the bright light of a clear, cool day, they both noticed a ship alongside theirs, many boarding grapples running from the invading ship to the one they stood on. Elhonna tapped the dwarf on the shoulder and pointed off the starboard bow, opposite of where the raiders’ ship was. He looked and saw about half a league in the distance another ship marked like the one that had boarded them. He spat then thudded his weapon down on the deck. The mystical energy coursing through it caused a small shockwave to spread out from his location, and many were the faces that turned in his direction.

        They only saw the dwarf though, as Elhonna was already on the move. As at least a dozen of the well armed and armored invaders charged the dwarf, Elhonna made her way to the largest knot of combatants still fighting on the deck of the ship. Most of the remaining crew were there, along with almost three times their number of opponents. Elhonna dove into the melee with wild abandon, almost as if she were venting her frustrations over her daughter’s kidnapping on the invaders.

        Her wrath was terrible to behold, as even though she took wounds, with every blow it seemed another of the men and women from the large, unmarked ship died. From behind her Ereviz could be heard singing battle songs and working on bringing down the small army that had attacked him. The battle’s tide seemed to be turning when a ball of fire streaked across the deck and exploded into the ranks of the crew and then washed over Elhonna. She was tossed, looking like a shooting star, trailing streamers of fire, over the railing of the ship.

        Ereviz gave an anguished cry then brought his warhammer over his head and swung it in one full circle before bringing it crashing into the deck. A dull thump exuded from the contact and all of the men still standing around Ereviz were tossed from their feet by a massive concussion of energy. Looking almost berserk, Ereviz whirled through the fallen men, smashing skulls and caving in chests. Moments later none were alive, and Ereviz moved to the rail to see if he could spot Elhonna’s body.

        A thunk in the rail near him made him glance away from the water, and moments later he saw a black-shrouded figure sprinting across the distance separating his ship from the newcomers, who had closed the distance swiftly. The figure ran on the rope attached to the grappling hook like it was a foot wide instead of a finger-width, then sprung into the air before Ereviz could even think about knocking the grappling hook loose.

        Dozens of lines followed that first one moments later, and strong-bodied men and women started pulling the ships together. Ereviz knew the situation was bleak: Elhonna missing or dead, half his ship’s crew wounded or dead, and himself half worn out from his previous show of power. He prepared himself to attack then threw himself at the figure that had alighted on the deck not three paces away.

        The person he attacked moved with a flowing grace and his glowing black and red sword flickered as he parried and riposted Ereviz’s attacks one after another. Where with the pirate Jermaine, Ereviz had felt that he was close to on equal footing, this black clothed person made him feel almost inferior, and he knew that couldn’t be normal. Regardless of how outmatched he may have been in the past he never let anyone make him feel outmatched. It had to be some kind of aura emanating from the man, and as soon as he realized that, Ereviz felt a weight come off his shoulders. He was able to move like his normal self again, and the stranger didn’t seem quite as unbeatable.

        A deep voice spoke from the figure’s cowl in a man’s voice, “Very good Sir Dwarf, not many can overcome my aura of despair.

        “A shadowknight,” Ereviz spat. “I shoulda known just by feeling yer sick presence.”

        In a single motion the man ripped the cloak and cowl from his body, revealing close-fitting enameled black armor decorated with a spiked skull motif. “And you, Sir Dwarf, are a paladin. From the markings on your breastplate, a son of Brell. How fitting that you should meet your end at the blade of a servant of Cazic-Thule. My name is Rathan Lightscourge, and I shall be your end!”

        As he spoke, Rathan sprinted forward, his massive two-handed sword coming down in an eye blink towards Ereviz’s unprotected head. Ereviz’s ancient shield seemed to raise upwards of its own accord and stop the blow. The impact put the smaller humanoid down on one knee, but the sword didn’t harm him at all. At this, Rathan backed up and seemed to prepare himself for a more serious fight. “I’m sorry, Sir Dwarf, I seem to have underestimated you. Now, en guarde!”

        “My name isn’t Sir Dwarf!” Ereviz shouted as he charged the man. Their weapons met in a clash of metal and Ereviz said to the man from a bare foot away, “Me name is Ereviz, so that ye know what name to curse when yer rottin’ in ‘ell!”

 

* * *

 

        She was floating. Her body felt lighter than air, but she knew this was just a deception. She felt water pour into her lungs, and they felt like they were burning from the inside out. A flickering green light showed out of the corner of her eye, but wasn’t there when she slowly turned her head to see what it was. She felt herself rising, though, and turned to look upwards. She could see the surface of the water she floated in rapidly approaching.

        Moments later, her head broke water and as she came out of the daze that had followed her short unconsciousness, Elhonna realized what had happened, though not exactly how. As she had felt the molten fire start to pour over her, an aura of energy had risen from her breast and surrounded her moments before she would have burned to a crisp. It didn’t stop her from being burned, though, and she could feel raw spots in her skin where the cold water of the ocean made her tingle with pain.

        Ignoring the burns for now, Elhonna turned back toward the ships and saw the second of the invader’s ship as the first line was tossed to her ship, then watched the figure run across the rope and engage in combat with Ereviz. Archers on her ship responded as dozens of other boarding lines were tossed, raining arrows into the newcomers’ tightly packed ranks.

        Elhonna swam over to the new addition to the fight and climbed up its hull to the railing. No one seemed to notice her, and she vaulted up and over the edge of the ship. As she stood upright, she looked around at the stunned faces of half a dozen of the crew of this new ship. Before any of them could move, she attacked without thinking.

        A moment later, she had a weapon in her hand, replacing the one she had lost when tossed overboard, courtesy of a man with a broken neck. A handful of moments later, the other handful of men were down. Looking around the deck, Elhonna noticed that her small fight had drawn only minimal attention; another few men peeled away from the rail closest to her imperiled ship and charged her.

        She worried not at all about them, but looked instead to the dark-skinned, bald-headed, robed man standing on the poop deck beside a man who seemed to be the captain of the ship. As she watched, the dark-skinned man held up a hand in Ereviz’s direction and Elhonna watched mystical chains whip across the separating distance and bind her friend at the feet of the black-armored foe he was engaged with. With a wild yell, Elhonna tossed her borrowed sword end over end towards the Erudite.

        A loud clang sounded and the Erudite was startled enough to fall onto his posterior. It seemed the mage had enacted a spell of protection, which kept him from being impaled, but the distraction was all Ereviz needed to break free of his chains and smash his warhammer into his opponent’s side, interrupting the killing blow the armored man had been aiming his way. Satisfied that her friend would be ok, Elhonna dashed towards the poop deck, pulling a decently made falchion from the arrow-riddled body of one of the invaders.

        Quickly cutting down five men and women who stood between her and her quarry, Elhonna made her way to the stairs and up them to stand within five paces of the mage, who turned to her and started an incantation. A small fireball whizzed past her as she tossed herself desperately to one side and rolled. She heard it fizz out as it impacted the ocean some twenty paces from the ship, but before it made that sound, she had closed the distance between her and the mage to only a few feet.

        An aura of flame flickered into existence around the mage as she drew close, but ignoring the burning she experienced, she brought her sword to bear in three swift, chopping blows. The first clanged dully as the mage tried to bring another spell to bear, the second, half a heartbeat later, beat through his magical shield and drew a thin line of blood across the man’s cheek. The third blow took his head from his shoulders an instant after he spoke the last word of his incantation.

        As he died a small spark jumped from his fingertips and expanded rapidly, encasing Elhonna in a shell of fire then exploding.

        Most of the poop deck disappeared in that blinding flash, and the ship listed and started to sink as water poured through the massive crater the blast caused in the rear of the ship.

 

* * *

 

        Ereviz realized Elhonna was still alive when he saw her toss a sword at the mage binding him magically. A moment before Rathan’s blade would have ended his life, the sword scared the mage enough to break his concentration, and Ereviz broke through the magical chains and brought his warhammer in a gleaming arc crashing into Rathan’s side. The blow took the shadowknight from his feet and sent him careening into the main mast of the ship. Ereviz caved in one side of the man’s evil-looking helmet, then tossed the broken figure over the side of the ship.

        He was happily going about helping the crew clean the decks and thinking of rejoining Elhonna on the other ship to finish the fight when a flash brighter than the sun encased the back of the enemy ship. When he was able to see again, there was no sign of the half-elf woman, and he felt his heart lurch. Anger overcame him and he crashed into the ranks of the enemy.

        Minutes later, as the last of the enemy surrendered in the face of his frightening onslaught, Ereviz slumped to the deck in defeat. He couldn’t feel her aura, which usually shone as bright as the sun to his magical sight. There was no sign of her body in the second enemy ship’s wreckage. It was like she had disintegrated in the blast.

* * *

        Two days later, feeling twice his age, Ereviz ordered the now captain-less crew of the ship he was on to continue sailing after having spent the intervening time since the battle repairing the ship, binding wounds and searching for his friend. He swore to himself that he would finish her quest and save her daughter. That was the least he could do.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 11:18 AM

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Old 01-03-2007, 01:10 AM   #53
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Working on an edit to the whole story. I'm seeing things I don't like as my writing skill awakens after nearly a decade of domancy. Some things aren't flowing properly and other things simply need to be omitted or changed. I'm typing away at the story, as always enjoy my work and feel free to comment on things you like or do not like.
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Old 01-04-2007, 02:39 AM   #54
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drum fingers on deskcheck forumgasp, sigh, heavier sighdrums fingers again....sigh, heavy sigh...Ferunnia, I'm just hanging on the edge of my seat here!?!??! I realize it's been less than 24 hours but.... sighI really like the story, please give us more Aktad
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Old 01-04-2007, 03:05 AM   #55
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Jack and Coke plus a carton of Camel Turkish Jades would prolly get me more motivated SMILEY Took a day to go bowling and just have some fun. Still working on that edit though, and as always, very appreciative to hear from any fans my story may have garnered.Also, I am going to use this post to list which chapters I've managed to finish editing. I'll give the updates on this post, so keep an eye out SMILEYChapter 1- Finished.      Chapter 8- Finished.      Chapter 15- Finished.Chapter 2- Finished.      Chapter 9- Finished.      Chapter 16- Finished.Chapter 3- Finished.      Chapter 10- Finished.    Chapter 17- Finished.Chapter 4- Finished.      Chapter 11- Finished.    All chapters after 17 I'm doing final edits before I post, unlike some of the older ones where I rushed them out.Chapter 5- Finished.      Chapter 12- Finished.Chapter 6- Finished.      Chapter 13- Finished.Chapter 7- Finished       Chapter 14- Finished.

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 12:22 PM

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Old 01-05-2007, 01:25 AM   #56
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Book 3: Fateful Encounters, and Solo Adventures

Chapter 18: Confusion

      A dark-skinned half-elven woman wakes in a hazy forest glade. She looks about, and sees massive trees of seemingly every type she’s ever seen, and many she hasn’t. Soft green grass covers the ground beneath her back, soft as a down mattress. Streamers of sunlight filter through the canopy of the trees, sending patches of ground intermittently into shadow and light, making the forest floor look like the dappled back of a fine horse.

      She looks around in wonderment, and having never seen such a picture of perfection, wonders how she knows that to be true and realizes something: she doesn’t remember who she is, or how she came to be where she sits. Crystal blue eyes frown in considerable confusion, and she leans up on one elbow from her prone position.

      Why can’t I remember? And how can I even be thinking that if I don’t remember anything? Or that thought. Logic still resides, but no memories. Why? Fast on the heels of that thought, a consciousness rolls through the woman’s awareness, touching her in nearly intimate ways, brushing against things never meant to be touched by a hand. It seemed years of worry and pain rose from her like a casually tossed aside mantle. Muscles in her back that had been unknowingly bunched loosened, worry lines disappeared from her forehead, and a look of utter contentment passed over her face.

      “Who are you?” The woman asks thin air, and is only barely startled to receive an answer, and only then because the answer reverberated inside her skull rather than entering through her ears.

      'I cannot tell you that, dear one. Just know this, you are safe for the time being. Now, sleep. Rest. Much will be made clear to you in the time to come.'

      She finds herself lying back down, almost against her will, but so at peace that she finds not the energy to resist the sensation of falling into a peaceful sleep for the first time, she feels, in many, many years.

* * *

      Panic brought her back into consciousness. At some point during her slumber, which seemed to last for years, or only instants, she remembered that she was supposed to be doing something very important, but could not remember what that thing was. She only knew that to not do this thing would be her end, and she didn’t know why she felt that way, which only made it worse. Nothing made sense, and she could only sit there silently, tears running down her face as she felt fear and guilt crash back down upon her.

      Moments after she broke down, one of the many puffy white clouds in the sky above the forest canopy moved, sending a bright beam of sunlight into the woman’s eyes, blinding her for a moment. When she could see again, she noticed something out of place. Where she had been lying on her side, head cradled on a small grassy rise, cool to the touch and soft as down, she now felt warmth, and a firmer softness, and looked down and realized her head was resting on a green dress so finely woven that the sheer craftsmanship it held caught her attention and held her gaze for a few heartbeats of time. In that time, it seemed the filigree running between the threads was constantly moving, almost like a river, while the many shades of green constantly shifted, creating a dapple effect much like that the light and shadows caused on the forest floor.

      She heard slow, steady breathing, and looked up from her point of vantage into the greenest eyes she had ever seen; eyes the color of the finest emerald, framed by hair the color of strands of gold, all tied together by a face so beautiful tears started flowing freely down her cheeks without her realizing it. The woman’s face she looked upon was the utter pinnacle of perfection, the mold it seemed that all women’s faces must have been cast from. The agelessness to the beautiful woman’s face spoke of wisdom from many eons of experience.

      “Who are you?” The enraptured woman managed to breathe, finally.

      The woman whose lap she lay in looked down at her and gave a slight smile. Speaking commenced in the half-elf’s mind again, 'Who I am is unimportant. Who you are, on the other hand…A thoughtful look passed over her beautiful features, Before I go any further, know this as absolute truth. The things that guilt you will not come to pass. You know not what makes you feel this way, but I can tell it still bothers you.' The unearthly woman herself seemed to withdraw inwards a bit at this point, and the half-elf in her lap looked at her in consternation.

      “Why do you look worried?”

      Another of those easy smiles that seemed to make the day brighter passed across the angelic features of the woman. 'Worry not about me, child. Let us  just say I am surprised for the first time in many years. For now, just worry about yourself. You’ve spent too long worrying about others, now for just a little while, spend some time healing, not worrying. This small respite is all I can give you before I needs be show you things you may one day hate me for.' The last of these thoughts were delivered with a feeling of sadness so profound the half-elf curled into the woman’s lap and cried like a child recently freed from the womb.

      'Look up at me child, and I shall let you know some things. Some newer, only of importance to you,  some old, so old, yet of import to all.  

      The dusky skinned half-elf looked up, tears still in her eyes, to listen intently to any words the woman had to impart.

      'The first thing you must know is this: You are neither alive nor dead. You are caught between, held in this place by two powers. One power is mine, and is controlled so that you can keep your original form, able to communicate, and learn. The other power, dear one, is yours, and it is a terrible thing. You were killed by being purified in flames, and this awakened in you something never meant to be seen in your world. Once your spirit was free of its earthly bounds, it tried to cast a spell which would have consumed all of your world.

      'For you must know, an essence comparable to that of the gods of the world you currently reside in has been resting inside of you. You are not of this time, or this place. You come from far away, if you like, an alternate vision of the universe we exist in. I know not how you came to be here, but your spirit seems to know this isn’t its home, and would bring about the end of Norrath to empower a spell powerful enough to bend time and put you back in your proper place. A handful of gods have kept track of your soul as it died, over and over in the past thousands of years.

      'Not once have any of them been able to communicate with it, only with the earthly incarnation it has chosen. Now your spirit rages, and it is because of this: you have a daughter. A child who holds barely a candle against the burning sun of your power, but one who is powerful enough in her own rights to bring about the rebirth of a god, if used properly. Right now your spirit can feel her essence being drained, used up in a foul spell-casting.

      'You have been brought here to try and learn how to control your spirit. Time will cease to flow for you as you are brought more fully into control of your powers. Your daughter will still be whole, protected for the most part by her own innate powers, and I wish we could do anything to find her. However great our powers of reckoning though, when one is shielded from seeing by the foremost servants of a powerful god, one has little choice but to relay what information one can deduce.

      'And finally, Know this, of old, Know this, which was once better thought left unknown. Your name is, and always has been Elhonna, because you would not tolerate any other title. You are one of the embodiments of pure energy from where you come. Here, in this alternate reality, your power is much reduced, but still are you a force to be reckoned with, and you will be trained in this place to overcome your own self-placed limitations and be able to save your daughter.'

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-17-2007 11:19 AM

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Old 01-05-2007, 07:27 AM   #57
Ferunnia

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Just curious as to whether the deafening silence stems from this chapter sucking or people having lives SMILEY If the chapter throws everyone for a loop I'll think of doing something about it. Just an experiment really. SMILEY
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:31 PM   #58
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Having lives, of course. 

Now be quiet and let me get caught up. :smileytongue:

Message Edited by Ekuth on 01-04-2007 11:32 PM

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Old 01-05-2007, 12:36 PM   #59
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Lol. Caught up, eh? Never! Muhahaha, you'll always be lagging behind toiling in the pits, pushing that pole, grinding that wheat...umm, who am I again? Yegads! Why am I holding a bloody whip? Ohhh, looking at it gives me tingles, I feel my thoughts slipping again...

Message Edited by Ferunnia on 01-05-2007 01:36 AM

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Old 01-05-2007, 07:21 PM   #60
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Wowie wee wow :smileysurprised:

Just keeps getting better and better! 

*sits contently in front of the screen, waiting for another chapter to pop up*

:smileyhappy:

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