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Old 03-02-2006, 11:12 PM   #1
MysidiaDrakkenbane

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This is an ongoing tale that I had started for my EQ1 character, Mysidia. Now that I had retired her and started her in EQ2, it was time to start another story and another adventure with her. This story will use all of my alts as well as my husband's character. Feedback is most welcome...good or bad. I should also note that there is a smaller story going on within the Norrath EQ2 story. This will be explained at a later time.
 

           The world had long been ruined. The shredded lands that were torn from the shards of Luclin fractured an already racially torn world. Some had picked up whatever pieces they could manage and survived the harshest terms that Norrath had laid out for them. It wasn't enough that the world they knew was gone, but with Luclin destroyed, the gravity shift sent forth cruel seasons coupled by titanic tidal waves crashing into the bleeding land.

           Those that did survive were never the same. They wrote down their stories and accounts for posterity, but ask anyone who was still alive today of what happened, and all of them tear up and turn their heads away. Their heart wrenching silence was enough to tell its own tale.

           The Vah'Shir were no more. Whatever traces of them remained in the Kerran and it was they who told the stories of yesteryear. One particular Kerran, Feja, had an unusual job on her hands. This job was passed down from mother to daughter… and it was unlike any job any Kerran had seen.

           A woman elf had survived the cataclysms and the destruction of Luclin, but she lay in a coma, frozen in the time passed. The Vah'Shir spoke of a forgotten kingdom in the realm of Kunark but with Luclin's blast, that too had been destroyed.

           Not that there was much of it left. Feja had heard of a great battle between an ancient race called Rydians against the mighty Iksar. The war was never finished. The cataclysms happened before they could regain closure, one way or the other.

           When Feja was a young cub, she remembered looking at the sleeping woman with a strange curiosity. Sure, the woman looked like she could pass for your common wood elf, but there was something unusual about her.

           The woman's skin was paler. Her hair had a strange white streak in the front on the left side. She was taller than your average wood elf. It almost looked like she had High Elf in her…somewhere.

           But years pass, as they always do, and Feja grew older and had cubs of her own. Still, she kept her promise to her family that she would be the caretaker of the wood elf. Honor and Duty above all else.

           One of Feja's joys was to be out in the garden attending to her medicinal herbs. Her role as one of the tribe's Mystics allowed her to mix work with pleasure. Nature always appealed to the calm Kerran. Since her travel, with her family, from Refugee Island, her mother had begun instruction to her being a Mystic. And from day one of her teachings, Feja felt like this should have been her path all her life. It fit her, tremendously.

           The only thing that gnawed at her was her inability to revive the sleeping wood elf. No medicinal herb, spell, or charm could awaken the sleeping woman.

           And it was one day in the spring, that her cubs came running out to her.

           "Momma! Momma! The lady is moving!!", her eldest said. She stopped and wiped her paw like hands on her apron, looking at them both perplexed.

           "I told you two to stay out of her room and leave her be.", Feja said cross.

           "We did, Momma. She started to make noise on her own and we went to go see…", the daughter said.

           Maya and Kay'je were always getting into some sort of trouble. But that was expected of Darkfury cubs. Every last one of them, including Feja, were always curious and getting into mischief. That's why Feja isn't too hard on them when something does happen. Darkfury's are fiercely curious by nature, but they're just as fierce on the battlefield.

           Feja carefully entered the wood elf's room and saw her lying peacefully on the bed. She closed the door behind her and walked over. The wood elf opened her eyes and looked at the cat-like woman with the disorientation that the coma brought.

           The wood elf tried to speak, but years of not using her vocal chords, only thing that came out was air. She swallowed and tried again. Nothing.

           "It's all right. You're safe.", Feja said walking over to her. She sat on the bed and felt her forehead and leaned over to hand her a small cup of an herbal tonic she made.

           The woman lifted her head and took a sip. She wrinkled her nose as the bitter thick liquid hit her tongue.

           "I know. Not very appetizing, but it will help you get your strength back."

           Feja stared at the woman for a short while before putting back the cup on the table. Violet eyes? What wood elf has violet eyes??

           The woman looked around and furled her brow in curiosity. Feja began to understand.

           "You're in Nettleville Hovel.", Feja said patting her hand. "Get some rest. There will be plenty of time for questions later.

           The woman struggled to speak and Feja heard her peep out a name.

           "Machene.", she said before she fell into an exhaustive sleep.

Message Edited by MysidiaClash on 11-20-2006 05:46 AM

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Old 03-04-2006, 02:12 AM   #2
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           Feja sat in her kitchen looking at a few items laid out before her, on her table. In her furry fingers, she held a very small but delicate ring. The ring itself, was beautiful. It was intricately woven into a rather unusual but eternal pattern. There was no end or beginning. On the thicker part of the band was in the inscription "Bound by eternity."

           It had been several days since the woman had awakened and Feja learned her name to be Mysidia. Feja was sure the ring was hers. It was small enough to fit her wood elven fingers and delicate enough to be made by the elves. She deducted that it was her wedding band.

           Mysidia had been asking questions. Far too many for Feja to really answer. She didn't want to frighten Mysidia with the news. Fact was, Mysidia had been asleep for a very, very long time. How do you tell someone to pick up the pieces of a life that is long gone? How do you break it to someone expecting to return to a life that isn't there, anymore?

           Feja looked at her own wedding band and touched it with her finger. She couldn't imagine what she would have been like if it was her in Mysidia's situation. Feja decided that she should tell her. Closing her eyes, she got up from the table and carried Mysidia's things in her arms.

           Mysidia sat out on the balcony with her eyes closed and her hands resting gently on her knees. It was early in the morning, just about the time that the Hovel was waking. It was quiet and a good time to meditate. Mysidia began to calm her mind and push it outward just as her training had taught her. She searched for that feral energy she always felt, in nature. She tried to become "attune" with it, once again, but found it to be resistant. Her eyebrow furled and she grew confused.

           Nature had never behaved that way before. Something was…different, amiss. She closed her eyes, trying it again. She thought it was just her being in the coma for too long and she was just out of practice. She took in a soothing breath and let it out slowly, allowing the sun to warm her face. She pushed her mind outward again, finding that stable naturalistic energy, the green beacon within nature itself. …Nothing. Not even a shred of calm.

           "You're meditating again. That's always a good sign…", Feja said walking towards the balcony. Mysidia got up and wiped her hands on her pants. She smiled trying to hide her confusion. She was going to have to work harder at this than she thought…

           Maya came trouncing in after her mother with that carefree bounce children always have. Mysidia looked down at her and gave her a warm smile. The young Kerran looked back and smiled in return. Mysidia noticed the two small gold hoops adorning the child's ears.

           "Well, don't these look pretty!", Mysidia exclaimed.

           "Thank you. I turned 8 the other day and Momma said it was time for my first piercings.", she said proud.

           "They're lovely.", Mysidia said and smiled. She looked over at Feja and saw the bundle she carried in her hands. "What's that?", she asked.

           "These were with you when you were found…", Feja started to say. Mysidia's eyes lit up when she saw her epic scimitar peaking out of the cloth it was wrapped in. She carefully unwrapped it on the bed and ran her hand gently down the blade.

           "Wow! What's that??", Maya asked.

           "This is the Druid Epic sword.", Mysidia said proudly. She remembered the day she received her status symbol. She proudly held it to the sky and the guild she was with, triumphantly cheered with her. It was a long time waiting and she had worked very hard to get it.

           Over the years, it had grew somewhat rusty and held the smudges of neglect along the blade. Mysidia wrinkled her nose a bit seeing it in this state. She carefully picked up and held it in her hand and closed her eyes, trying to focus her will in casting the effect the blade had.

           She opened her eyes to see the blade sitting stone cold in her hand. No leaves of magic swirled around her. There was no green aura around the blade. It was as if the magic was gone. She looked up at Feja with such confusion and a worry. Before Mysidia could ask, Feja handed over the ring.

           Mysidia froze. She looked at the ring gleaming in the sunlight and tears began to form in her eyes. A thick lump clenched the back of her throat and she found it difficult to swallow.

           "I thought I had lost it…", the words fell out of her mouth. She placed the sword to the side and grabbed the ring to hold it in both hands.

           "Your wedding band?", Feja asked.

           Mysidia only nodded, feeling the tear fall off her cheek. She placed the ring on her left hand and held it out for her to see.

           Maya was making sounds off to the side and the daze that Mysidia was in was broken and she looked at Maya playing with her sword.

           "Maya, put that down! You'll hurt yourself!", Feja yelled.

           Mysidia stared at the dull blade and then at her ring. She felt heaviness in her heart. Her blood ran cold. She began to place all the pieces together and panic began to creep into her mind. All of it, the lack of meditation, the lack of magic from her weapon, the subtleness in which Feja had been dodging her questions… She slowly looked over at Feja and began to read the message in her eyes.

           "Feja, how long was I asleep?", Mysidia finally asked.

           Feja sighed and sat down on the bed, patting a seat next to her. Mysidia slowly sat down and Feja began to fill Mysidia in on the 500 years she lost.

 

 

           Pergy was a rather sassy wood elf. She found her living, after Refugee Island, working as a barmaid in the local pub in Graystone Yard. The racial tension between dwarves and elves had lessened since Luclin's destruction. Sweating the small things just wasn't important anymore and either race began to lose the reason why they didn't really like one another to begin with. And besides, the dwarves got along with Pergy. As long as she kept slipping them free beers here and there, she could stay.

           Being a barmaid wasn't the life she really wanted for herself. She always pictured herself to be an adventurer seeing the distant lands that the patrons used to boast about. But the pay was good and she had rent to pay and her own mouth to feed. Adventuring was fun, but it rarely paid the bills. That was her mother talking. Practicality had to take precedence now. Norrath was a different place and different times called for different strategies.

           And it was usually the same scene every night. The dwarves used to boast to the barbarians and vice versa. Usually a fight or two broke out, but nothing serious. They were usually too drunk at this point, to do any real damage. They couldn't even see straight, let alone, swing with a proper aim. But whatever the patrons destroyed, the always ended up paying for it. It was men being men, after all.

           It was usually around the hours right after sun set that a rather quiet barbarian walked in. Pergy knew him. He always did the same thing, night after night. He'd drink himself into oblivion playing with the ring he always wore. It tore at her, really. No matter how much she had talked to him, she couldn't get him to shake this "ghost."

           In their talkings, she had learned a great many things about the barbarian. She learned that he was older than anyone in that bar. And it was because he was placed with a special task. He was to protect a special child of Tunare and because of that, he was given longer life than a barbarian was normally given. It was his wife, from what Pergy gathered.

           She picked up her tankards and walked over to his table in the corner. She put one tankard in front of him and sat down opposite of him.

           "Sitting in the corner today, Mach? Trying something different for a change?", Pergy said and began to take a swig from the mug.

           "You don't drink on the job, Pergy.", the man said and took two huge gulps from the tankard.

           "Change is good.", Pergy said and let the topic drop. She watched him twirl the ring on his finger.

           "She must have been a hell of a woman.", Pergy said and took another drink, not keeping her eyes off the ring.

           "She was..", he said softly. He was larger than most barbarian men, but certainly not the largest Pergy had seen. His face was covered in woad of a dragon. His green eyes were somber as he eyed the ring. As he took another long swig from his tankard, the adornments of his goatee clanged against the mug. He was rather handsome for a barbarian. With the few times she saw him smile, she could tell that he could have been a very light hearted companion. But the demons and ghosts of his past kept him in a thick cloud. He ran his hand over his bald head, feeling uncomfortable under her gaze.

           "You worship Tunare, yes?", he asked. She nodded. "Why does She keep me under Her torturous thumb?"

           "Tunare doesn't work that way. She's not evil in any sense nor does She find joy in others pain. You made a promise to Her, right?", Pergy asked. He nodded. "Then She still has purpose for you. If your promise to Her was fulfilled to Her satisfaction, She would have released Her blessing on you and allowed you to pass on."

           She watched him struggle and shift in his seat. "Instead of [Removed for Content] your life away in a tankard, every night, trying to undo Her gift..", she said lifting his chin, "Why don't you find out the reason WHY She is keeping you alive…"

           He took another swig from his tankard and nodded slowly, acknowledging her comments. She was right, after all. If Tunare did have another purpose for the barbarian, She would keep him alive until She was done with him. But why him? He didn't even worship Her!

           "Ok, so the change might be too big, I understand. We'll start small.", Pergy said and snapped her fingers. She pointed to the table and a young boy brought two more tankards. She pushed one tankard towards him and kept the other to herself.

           "Instead of wallowing in depression over ghosts, Mach… Tell me of the days of Mighty Halas. This round is on me."

           His green eyes lit up and a wide grin spread over his face. And he began to tell his adventures that he and his wife met before the cataclysms tore the land apart.
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Old 03-06-2006, 11:54 PM   #3
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          Mysidia could have hardly believed her ears. Five hundred years, were simply, gone. She didn't know where to begin, on picking up the pieces to make a new life. There was so much to learn, so many things had changed. She was obsolete. "Druid" was merely an umbrella term, now. She had to make a decision of what she wanted to be, Warden or Fury.

           Feja suggested visiting the Hierophant in North Qeynos for some direction. But even that was a task in of itself. Qeynos, as a city, had dramatically changed. Everything looked different, smelled different, and sounded different. And the moment Mysidia saw Trolls walking freely in the city, her eyes nearly jumped out of her skull.

           Austforbeer, Feja's husband, had come home from his monthly excursions for trapping. When Feja told him that Mysidia had woken up, Aust decided to gently break her into the new Norrath. When he saw Mysidia's expression, he leaned over and explained that some races betrayed Freeport. It was just odd to consider a Troll…good.

           "Tell me the Iksar don't have the same privileges…", Mysidia began to say. But the moment the words passed her lips, she saw one making his way past her on horseback. She felt her blood run cold and she quickly grabbed for her tarnished epic weapon. Aust quickly placed his paw hand over hers and shook his head.

           "Things are different now, Mys. It's not what it used to be.", Aust said in a serious tone.

           She simply couldn't believe it. She crisply remembered being on the barren wasteland that was Lake of Ill Omen with her army behind her and her scimitar brandished towards the heavens. She remembered the sound of horse hooves thundering around her and the smell of fear that clung thickly to the humid riddled air. She remembered the sound of metal clanging and the cries of her people around her. It was like yesterday for her.

           And the race that had plagued hers, nearly made hers extinct due to religious sacrifices, oppression, and war, was allowed to walk freely in Qeynos? She couldn't begin to describe the feeling of betrayal that crawled into her heart. It took everything she had to simply let the hilt of her sword go.

           "Aust, what happened to this place? Has the world gone mad?", Mysidia asked confused. Her violet eyes were filled with pain and confusion. She looked up into his cat like face searching for an answer, ANY answer to make sense of it all.

           He sighed giving it some deep thought and considered it best to just bring her to the nearest scribe library for her to catch up. Feja summed up things well enough, but she wasn't 500 years old and couldn't give Mysidia the details she sought for.

           "One thing at a time, Mysidia. Let's get you squared away with your profession, first. Then we'll head to the Elven grove for you to register…", Aust said coming up with a mental "to do" list.

           "Register?... For what?", Mysidia asked.

           "For the census. Antonia Bayle likes to keep an up to date record of who's come in from Refugee Island.", Aust said as they continued their walk.

           Mysidia simply shrugged it off. There was entirely too much to learn in one sitting. Her head began to pound.

           The rounded up a hill and Mysidia began to notice a wood elf sitting in a grove of trees talking to a small group of individuals. Mysidia gave a faint smile as she remembered her training early in her life and how the image before her reminded her of that very much.

           The wood elf excused the small group, as though she were teaching a class. Everyone cleared out and Austforbeer approached the Hierophant who was still sitting on the ground.

           "Ah, Austforbeer. What a wonderful surprise.", the High Priestess said.

           Aust bowed in respect. "Hierophant Aldad, may I introduce to you, Mysidia Drakkenbane."

           Mysidia bowed gracefully and deeply. "Revered Hierophant, it is an honor.", she said.

           "Welcome, Mysidia. Well met. What is it I can do for you two, today?", she said giving them both a warm and genuine smile.

           "Mysidia has come from a long journey and needs to brush up on some of her Druidic skills. I was hoping you would be kind enough to educate her and fill in some of the gaps…", Aust said delicately.

           "Of course! I would be happy to teach Mysidia.", she said and patted the ground next to her. "Come, my child. Sit and let me help you."

           "I will leave you two then and come and get you in a few hours, Mysidia. I have some hides I need to start tanning for crafting. Ladies.", he said and bowed again. Then he turned and left.

           Mysidia took in a deep breath and sighed giving the Hierophant a nervous smile. She was about to have a crash course in Druidship.

 

           About an hour or so before sunset, Austforbeer came back with his backpack full of tanned hides. The following day would be devoted to crafting leather armor to help pull in some money before the fall hunt. That was when his craft pulled in the most money but was also the most competition for his line of work. He figured he'd bring Mysidia with him so that she could learn the lay of the land and he had an extra set of hands helping him bring in the hide harvest. Two sets could work faster than one and he could kill two birds with one stone, figuratively speaking of course.

           He came around the hill and saw Mysidia in a deep discussion with Aldad. When Mysidia caught Aust's eye, she gave a recognizing smile.

           "Did we get some questions answered?", he asked the two of them.

           "My, yes. Mysidia has a wealth of old world knowledge so it was rather easy to train her. She has decided the path of the Warden.", Aldad said and smiled.

           "So many things are different, but the core of it is the same so it wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be.", Mysidia said and stood up. She began to gather her bags when Aldad saw the scimitar strapped to her side. Her eyes widen as she recognized the blade immediately.

           "Is that what I think it is?", Aldad asked and looked up into Mysidia's eyes.

           "Yes.", Mysidia said and handed the blade over to her.

           "I've never seen one up close before. This is extraordinary! It's in such great condition. Surely, this must be a family heirloom.", Aldad said with an eagerness in her voice that was clearly reflected in her eyes.

           "You could say that.", Mysidia said gently. "It certainly was passed down through the ages."

           Aust held back the chuckle and reminded that they had best be going. Mysidia took back her sword and thanked Aldad graciously. Aldad sat there for a few moments trying to calculate Mysidia's words. She looked at Mysidia's appearance and gave her an odd look. She knew that sooner or later, Aldad would  put two and two together…that was, if the Rydian stories were passed down through the ages, as well.

           Mysidia didn't really have to be careful of her identity anymore. Any ties holding the Iksar to her, were buried along with whatever remained of her kingdom. While although it pained her to think the life she knew was over, she could freely walk around with her head held high and not have to worry about an Iksar recognizing her. The religious sacrifices were over and she took some small sadistic joy in knowing that the Iksar were homeless too. Now perhaps they'd know HER pain and feel what SHE felt when she was banished from her homeland.

           That night, Mysidia lay awake in her bed. She began to twirl her wedding band around her finger and found herself lost looking up at the shattered Luclin. A quick breeze wisped into her bedroom and the faint smell of fall was in the air. And for a moment, just a brief moment, she caught the familiar scent of home.

           She began to realize that Rydia wasn't destroyed, just lost and now, ultimately changed. Like so much of the rest of the world, it was fractured and contorted into something else. Something new. She embraced this thought. Nature always accepted change. Change was good. And out of the birth of new, Mysidia found a calm in her she hasn't felt in a very long time.

           In the morning, she thought, she would start to look at where her linage had gone. If there was anything left from it, she would find it. She certainly was patient enough. She placed the ring back on her finger and decided that it was time to find out what happened with Machene. She prepared herself for the worst; finding his grave among the thousands that were more than likely there. Dead or alive, though, she would find him. Nothing would keep her from the truth. Even if it meant the forfeit of her own life.

           With her silent vow in mind, she closed her eyes and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

Message Edited by MysidiaClash on 03-06-200610:55 AM

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Old 03-08-2006, 12:23 AM   #4
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The next morning, Mysidia was up with the dawn, packing her things into various bags. Feja thought it time that she got registered with Willow Wood and got a place of her own. Not that she didn't take a strong liking to Mysidia, but the small house they had was large enough for just her and her family. It was getting cramped keeping Mysidia there.

           

Mysidia didn't take offense to it, either. She knew it was time. She was strong enough to fend for herself and it was time to actually start making a life in the new world she was in. If nothing else, she was resilient. Not that she didn't have much say in the matter…

           

Maya and Kay'je had taken to Mysidia and bonded to her. She enjoyed the cubs' company and expected tear filled eyes when it was her time to leave. Maya took it the hardest. The girl was picking apart Mysidia's brain with questions about being Druid.

           

Feja and Aust were never domineering on what path their children should take. They left it up to them to decide what profession they'd like to go into. Kay'je had taken an interest in being a monk. Maya, on the other hand, just seemed to be content being her, for a while. But when Mysidia woke, it seemed more than ever, that Maya's fate would walk down the Druid path.

           

Mysidia bent down and gave Kay'je a long hug and a kiss on the cheek. When she gave Maya the same hug, Maya's eyes were filled with tears.

           

"But, why do you have to go?", Maya asked, pleading her to stay.

           

"Because, it's time. It's not like I'm going very far. You guys can come and visit when ever you want.", she said wiping the tears off of Maya's furry face.

           

Maya sniffled and wiped her nose on the back of her hand. "Promise?", she asked, her voice shaking. Mysidia nodded to reassure her.

           

"I have something for the both of you.", she said and dug into her pack. She pulled out a book and handed it to Kay'je.

           

"What's this?", he asked eyeing the intricately carved cover.

           

"This is a Vah'Shir story book. Your great-great-great grandmother, Belle, had one just like it. It has all the tribal stories that were passed down from generation to generation, in here.", she said and placed a gentle hand on his head. His eyes grew wide and he ran into the house to read it.

           

Both of the children knew Mysidia's past. They knew how old she was so her saying she knew Belle wasn't a huge surprise to them. In Kay'je's eyes, though, it was extremely cool that Mysidia knew Belle. If Belle were alive, she would have been extremely proud of how her family turned out. She was one of the first of the "Darkfury" Tribe and a powerful Beastlord. But like the race, that class also died out in Luclin's destruction.

           

Mysidia unclipped her Druid epic and bent down to hand it to Maya. She placed her furry hands on the hilt and handed it over. "This, my dear Maya, is for you."

           

"Wow…", she whispered, her eyes full of wonderment and surprise.

           

"One day, a few short years from now, when you've completed your training, your mother will hand you this. I hope one day you will make it shine again, like it used to. Young Maya, you have a gift for nature and a thirst for knowledge. Never lose it. Tunare rewards all Her children and never forgets them.", she said and gave her a kiss on the forehead.

           

Mysidia mounted the horse Aust provided for her to borrow. Aust mounted up on one next to her. Mysidia drew up her reins and looked down at Feja. She gave her a warm smile.

           

"Thank you, for everything. Belle would have been proud. I know I am.", Mysidia said and grabbed Feja's hand.

           

Feja gave a knowing smile and backed away from the horses. Mysidia nudged hers into a trot and Aust wasn't far behind.

           

"You know, Maya will be talking about that for weeks.", Aust said trotting up to her.

           

"I wasn't joking. Your daughter has a rare gift. I have never seen a child pick up nature's workings as quickly as she has. Nurture it, Aust.", Mysidia said and they galloped towards South Qeynos.

 

           

Mysidia's lodgings were meager, but it was hers. She set up the few pieces of furniture she did get and looked around somewhat content. She mentioned something about it still needing a woman's touch and Aust knew better than to go into too deep. Something about women and their decorating sent them all into such a tangent on thorough description of why a mirror should be where it is. He didn't understand it and he wasn't about to start.

           

It was about mid-afternoon when they were on their way towards Graystone Yard. Mysidia kept the conversation going with various stories of what life was like before Luclin cracked. It was more for her benefit than his. She was extremely nervous about what she would find and this helped her keep her mind off the obvious.

 

           

Aust knew this, of course, and just let her talk. He enjoyed the stories greatly, anyway. When she got to the tale of her battle at Ill Omen, Aust shook his head hardly believing what he heard.

           

"I just can't put together the fact that I have an Empress in my company.", he said looking at her.

           

"Why is it so hard to swallow?", she asked with an amused smile on her face.

           

"It's just that…well.. you're here. Nothing about you even remotely gives away your secret.", he said and thought about his words, "…no offense."

           

"None taken. Empress. All it is, is a title and a word. My birthright gave me that title. It means little without the power behind it. Look at the High Elves. How many of them had the title Lord or Lady? And they had to start all over. Birthrights give men titles. Respect give men power. But why is it so different for me?", she asked.

           

"Because I've never met one in person.", Aust mused. Her words were right, however. Unless you had the kingdom and power behind it, Empress was only an empty word and title.

           

The entered through the large wooden gate and immediately, Mysidia knew herself to be in Barbarian and Dwarf country. She always had a particular fondness to Dwarves. It was all that attitude in a little package. She related to it, on some level.

           

Aust pointed out the sign towards the docks and they both nudged their horses in that direction. Various Barbarians were selling their wares and shouting out into the thick dim of the crowd of what was for sale. The stench of roasting fish and tanned leather clung thickly to the air as they passed through invisible clouds of aged swill.

           

They finally reached a Dwarf with a short temper and a long braided blonde beard. His face carried the lines of an older man but apparently with age did not come patience.

           

"Dismount yer horse. Ye givin' me a crick in th' neck lookin' up at ye.", he said in a cranky tone.

           

Mysidia dismounted and walked over to his crude wooden desk that was being destroyed by the harsh weather and salt water. He took out a small piece of charcoal and a form from one of the drawers.

           

He looked up her for a brief moment. "State yer name….Wait a minute. Yer not a Dwarf or Barbarian. Yer in the wrong place, lass. Willow Wood is on the other side o' town.", he said and began to dismiss them.

           

"No, Master Dwarf, I'm not here to register for the census. I'm here looking for my husband.", she said with pleading eyes.

           

Aust chimed in trying to put the situation as delicate as he could. "We believe he has passed on…", he said and hung his sentence out hoping the Dwarf would pick up the hint.

           

The Dwarf looked at Mysidia up and down for a moment and squinted his eyes before waving his hand. "Come on, then."

           

They handed their horse reins to a small Barbarian boy to tie to the posts, while the followed the Dwarf down the wooden pier and off on a trail that lead them towards several hills. With his short stubby hand, the Dwarf pointed at the narrow trail before them and instructed them where to go.

           

"When yer done there, come back ta see me. I have some paperwork for ye ta sign.", he said and left them.

           

Mysidia and Aust made their way down the trail and began to see a small wrought iron fence surrounding a large graveyard. The closer the two of them came to the graveyard, the more unreal the situation became.

           

Thousands, literally, thousands of gravestones dotted the hills before them and Mysidia's eyes were filled with horror. Mysidia placed a hand on the small fence and just stared at the graveyard. Her heart hung thickly in her chest. The hopes of finding her husband alive seemed bleak at best. The worst of her nightmares was starting to come to fruition.

           

"I'll…wait here.", Aust said not sure of what to say. He watched Mysidia numbly walk through the gates. She was completely overwhelmed by the entire situation. Where to start? It seemed her mind was ready to walk, but her feet couldn't move.

           

"Most of the graveyards here in Qeynos are by alphabetical order, starting with your last name.", Aust said hoping to get her moving. Mysidia looked over her shoulder and nodded.

           

"Gods… there are so many of them.", Mysidia said stunned.

           

She began to peruse up and down the isles looking at all the names. Many of them were foreign to her. Only a name here and there looked familiar, but even then the faces of her past began to meld into one another and she couldn't distinguish a "Whitewolf" with a "McCully."

           

It took her over an hour to walk through the graveyard. She stopped when she saw a familiar name. Aust watched her drop to her knees and hang her head. His heart ached seeing her fall. At least now, she could start the healing process and move on. He couldn't imagine losing his beloved Feja and tears began to come to his eyes when he tried to place himself in Mysidia's shoes.

           

He saw her making various hand gestures over the grave and figured she was doing some ancient Rydian ritual honoring the dead. It was about another hour that she had gotten up and wiped her face. She turned and walked out of the graveyard and her eyes betrayed on how much crying she really did.

           

"You found him then…", he asked placing a hand on her shoulder. She looked up and shook her head.

           

"No.. I found my brother, Kryimsson.", she said and quietly walked away.

 

           

Pergy had went about her day the same as she always had. She got up, washed up, got dressed, and headed down to the local market to see what the fishermen caught that morning.

           

She had cleaned up from the night's brawls and took inventory of what she would need from the local brewery. She locked up her tavern and walked out into the town before her. A few people waved to her and said their "good mornings". She walked down the pier and began to look over the fish when she noticed two strangers on horseback riding into town. She didn't pay the Kerran much thought as she had seen him around before, selling his furs and leather armor. The elf looking female, however, caught her interest.

           

She shrugged to herself and continued to shop for her fish and inquired over several of the larger ones when she watched the two follow the Quartermaster walk off into the distance with them. She paid the fisherman and placed the large fish in her basket then went on her way towards the brewery next door.

           

"Ah, Pergy! My favorite customer.", a large burly Barbarian said.

           

"That's because I'm your highest paying one, Marth.", she said sarcastically. She walked over to several bottles on the shelves and ran her finger down a few of the price tags.

           

"Ah…a new shipment just came in, Pergy. With some mighty fine…collectables.", Marth said delicately. She knew what that meant. He was back into the smuggling business and had some items he needed to get off his hands right quick. She decided to indulge and nodded for him to continue.

           

She followed him into the back and he took the burlap tarp over a large wooden crate. Several smaller and very delicate looking bottles were lined in the bottom and all of them were filled with a very dark purple looking liquid.

           

"What is it?", she asked picking one up.

           

Marth looked around to see if anyone was around. He leaned over to her ear and muttered "Rydian Ale."

           

"What?", she asked. She had never heard of it.

           

"Rydian Ale, Pergy. You've never heard of it? It's a very old and ancient recipe from a forgotten race. Rumor has it that the Iksar banned this from their lands, hundreds of years ago.", he said trying to intrigue her.

           

"So why are you acting like its such a big secret? Iksar lost their lands, remember?", she said shaking her head annoyed.

           

She watched another customer enter and saw Marth grow impatient. She waved her hand over and said "Fine. Sign me up for two bottles and make sure your delivery boys deliver it to the BACK this time? They nearly took out my door frame yesterday. Or do I have to tag that on to your tab as well?", she said grabbing one of the bottles and leaving the store.

           

Marth followed her out and she placed a couple of coins in his hand. Pergy shook her head. "I should just take this off your tab, with what you owe me..", she said. But he did have two little ones to raise so she did it for them.

           

Marth walked back inside when she noticed the two strangers talking to the Quartermaster again. She noticed the woman had been crying and the Kerran being sympathetic to her. She began to overhear their conversation.

           

"Is all of the dead buried here? There aren't anymore…lost?", she asked wiping her face.

           

"As far as I know, aye. Look, why don't ye come back inna 'bout a week or so? Th' Census Taker will be around then an' ye can ask him.", he said handing her a handkerchief for her face.

           

"Couldn't you check the books one more time? Please?", she asked begging him.

           

"Wha's th' name again?", he said annoyed.

           

"Drakkenbane. D-r-a-k-k…", she began to spell it out. Pergy ran up to the woman and looked at her.

           

"You don't mean Machene, do you?", she asked the two of them.

           

           

Mysidia flashed around at the smaller woman. She grabbed her shoulders and gravely looked at her. "Yes! Yes, that's my husband!"

           

"He was here a few weeks ago. He mentioned something about heading to Thundering Stepps to finish up a job he had. He should be back in about a month.", she said trying to calm Mysidia down.

           

"Tunare be praised!", Mysidia said and embraced the woman. "Tell me, what is your name."

           

"Perguita. But they call me Pergy around here.", she said feeling the elation coming off of Mysidia.

           

"Pergy, I need you to do me a favor.", she said and took off her wedding band. "I need you to give this to Machene when you see him and tell him I'm looking for him. He can find me here…", and she wrote down her address in Willow Wood.

           

Pergy looked at her wedding band and smiled deeply. "He still has his, you know."

           

Mysidia's eyes filled with tears as she smiled at Pergy. "Thank you.", she said and got on her horse. She looked down into the basket and noticed and recognized the bottle.

 

"What's that?", Mysidia asked looking at the purple liquid.

 

"This?", she picked it up and handed it to Mysidia. "Marth said it was Rydian Ale. He likes to get oddities from time to time. The men like it when there's something special on tap.", Pergy said and shrugged.

 

Mysidia opened up the bottle and smelled inside. She laughed and closed the bottle handing it back to her. "That’s not Rydian Ale. Your friend merely rebottled some old Elven wine and sold it at a higher price."

 

"Are you sure?", Pergy asked looking at the bottle confused.

 

"Believe me. I know Rydian Ale, and that isn't it.", Mysidia said and nudged her horse away.

           

Mysidia felt a large weight lifted from her shoulders. This was the worst day and best day of her life. She lost a brother but found out her husband still lived. So many emotions ran through her that she didn't think. She just grabbed her reins and kicked her heels up, running her horse out of Graystone Yard.

           

Aust cursed and grabbed his horse sending his into a thunderous gallop after her. It took him several minutes to catch up with the emotionally driven woman. He grabbed her reins and slowed her horse down.

           

"Whoa, whoa, just where do you think you're going?", Aust asked Mysidia who was too excited to really think straight.

           

"To find Machene. He's alive, and I'm going to find him.", Mysidia said and grabbed her reins from Aust.

           

"Are you kidding? You'll get killed out there. Thundering Stepps is no place for someone who's starting their lives over. Listen, you know he's alive and Pergy seems straight enough to deliver your message. You will see him again. But if you go and find him now, he'll be burying you before the week is out. That isn't something you want, is it?", Aust asked her looking into her disappointed face.

           

"No…", Mysidia said sadly.

           

"In the morning, you can come and help me hunt and I'll show you around. When you've got a handle on things now, you can gallop through Thundering Stepps to your heart's content. For now, though, it's better if you just hold up on it for a little while.", Aust said and gave her a smile.

           

He was right. She didn't know anything outside the walls of Qeynos or the dangers that now lurked there. The world was different and no doubt, the monsters were different too.

           

But that couldn't kill her mood. Machene was alive. Along with the tears of grief, she cried tears of joy. Her life wasn't in complete shambles. The one thing she was dreading didn't happen, and no matter what happened to her now, it would never completely destroy her spirits. Her love was alive and that's all she really needed.

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Old 03-08-2006, 11:41 PM   #5
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The first night in her apartment was a rough one. She wasn't used to the sounds or smells of the place and her bed wasn't as soft as the one she had in Feja's house. When she realized that trying to sleep was more of an effort, she got up.

 

It was a few hours before the sun rose and she found herself staring into the fireplace, watching the glowing embers of wood lull themselves into the eternal ashen slumber.

           

She allowed her mind to wander to times passed. It was right before the cataclysms hit. Her and her army had pushed back the Iksar from the site of her old castle and she was remarkably surprised they had rebuilt it. Of course, they added their own touches to it, replacing Rydian statues with theirs. But the architecture was the same and they even used the same materials, making the walls a glistening white that shimmered with silver bands.

           

She placed a hand along the cold marble with a loving touch. Xerbius, Mardock, Kryimsson, and Machene all walked into the large throne room hall. Machene looked up at the extremely high ceilings and whistled.

           

"Was this really yours?", Machene asked impressed by what he saw.

           

"Yes. Minus the Iksar statues, of course.", she mentioned.

           

 

Mysidia made her way towards the throne and turned around, slumping into it. She was greatly exhausted from the battles she had fought in the few quick weeks. She had pressed her troops as much as they could be and they all could have used a much needed rest.

           

"Send the troops on their leave.", Mysidia said and waved a hand. Xerbius walked up to her and gave her a smirk. He reached out and touched a few dirt smears on her face and noticed how dirty her hands were.

           

"Hmph", she muttered. "You could use a bath yourself, cousin."

           

The bards all came walking in and just like those before them, they all stared up at the impressive walls and ceilings. Everyone gave an approving smile, happy to see their home rebuilt.

           

As if in unison, they all looked at one another and nodded. The broke out their instruments and began to play the tunes of old, filling the halls with the haunting music. And while although the Iksar statues were standing silently in their mocking presence, nothing could have torn down the spirits of the Rydian people. They overlooked the stone sentinels and continued their haunting songs, their voices chanting and echoing off the walls.

           

Mysidia gave a soft and approving smile. Calm washed over her face and filled her eyes, a calm that Machene had never seen before. And while although he appreciated the look, he couldn't help but feel his heartstrings tug when he heard the voices sing in praise and unison. He began to see the remnants of what Mysidia had been telling him in the stories, when they traveled.

           

The tenor bards sang in their native tongue, their voices swelling, rising and falling, playing the acoustics of the hall as if that in itself was its own instrument. Gooseflesh began to rise on Mysidia's skin, as she felt each note deep within her heart.

           

Then, the women bards chimed in with their haunting voices singing in the Common Tongue. "…but believe there is a place….a place where we belong."

           

The song ended in a series of chants from all bards that delicately worked their haunting magic over the stone walls. The voices echoed and moved around them like a sensual velvet blanket that comforted your soul.

           

And like clockwork, as if Nature heard the song Herself, the sun began to set in the throne room, bathing the place in a warm angelic light. Kryimsson and Xerbius sucked in their breath at the beauty around them.

           

Mysidia couldn't keep the tears from falling off her face now. Machene walked over to her and wiped one from her cheek. "Was this what you were talking about? The song of praise?"

           

She could only nod. Indeed, a place where they belonged. For the first time in her life, that she could remember, peace entered her heart. She no longer feared what lurked around corners. She could lay her head down knowing that she was home. Her soul sighed in relief. She closed her eyes and two more tears fell.

           

"I am… home.", she said.

           

Her dream was quickly thwarted when she heard a fist pounding on her door. She cleared her throat and saw the sunlight pouring in. She surmised she must have fallen asleep while daydreaming.

           

She gave a stretch and grunt as the stiffness of sleeping in a chair quickly set in. She hobbled over to the door and opened it, seeing a very annoyed Aust looking impatiently at her.

           

"I told you that we were starting at dawn. You aren't even ready yet!", he said and threw his arms up.

           

"I was up, but I fell asleep again. Give me a minute.", she said and walked over to her changing room.

 

In a few moments, they were on the road. Aust noticed how quiet she was and looked down a tad guilty. "I'm sorry if I was harsh with you, before. It's just a pet peeve of mine when people are late."

 

"Huh?", Mysidia said and looked up. "Oh, it's not that. I had a rough night sleeping."

 

"Nightmares?", Aust asked and moved his horse next to hers.

 

She paused for a moment, trying to really think of something to say that would make him drop the topic. Talking about the past with Machene was painful enough. Realizing that her dreams would never be true again, was something else. She finally said, "Ghosts."

 

Aust saw the slight look of pain her eyes and discontinued the conversation. Instead, he changed the subject about the dangers that lay outside Qeynos gates. When he got to the topic of gnolls, Mysidia laughed.

 

"It's nice to know not everything has changed.", Mysidia said.

 

When they got outside of the gates, Mysidia's heart sank deep into her gut. Everything she had memorized had been completely rearranged. There wasn't much left that held some semblance of the world she knew. There were various scorch marks on the newly growing fields around them. The air smelled different. Even the birds and insects called out differently. Mysidia felt completely alien and alone.

 

Aust nudged his horse into a canter and Mysidia followed suit. They traveled over several hills. Mysidia began to notice the bushes and roots on the ground. Nothing struck her as familiar. When they rounded one of the guard towers, Aust told her that it was only another couple hundred yards towards the first forest and suggested that they rested there.

 

Mysidia thought it best to begin to learn the foliage and the things she could use for medicinal purposes versus the ones she couldn't. Some things began to become familiar to her as she placed varied pieces of produce in her bag.

 

Suddenly, her nature sense was tingling for her and she got the distinct impression she wasn't alone. She slowly turned around to see a wolf baring his teeth for her. She froze. Wolves aren't supposed to attack Druids. They were allied with us. What in the w-- Before she could finish her thought, he lunged for her, teeth snapping shut.

 

"Whoa!", she said and quickly got out of the way. "Wolf, you have it all wrong." But nothing was going to talk him down. His eyes were red and full of fury. Every ounce of anger and hatred he had came pouring out of him through thick lines of saliva drooling in an anticipation of his easy meal.

 

He lunged for her again. This time, nicking her thigh. She tumbled back grabbing the small wound, shocked. Her totem, the very spirit that encased her, had deserted her and turned against her. No…she couldn't believe it… She wouldn't.

The smell of her blood sent the animal into a foaming frenzy. He came at her again and bit her arm, this time, never letting go. The snarls and growls were enough to make her stomach turn.

 

She took the hilt of her dagger and jammed the end into his muzzle, causing him to yelp and stumble back off of her. She struggled to get onto her feet, feeling the blood rush down her arm and drip off her fingers. The animal was about to lunge at her again, when an arrow came flying through the air and found its mark in the wolf's lung. The animal fell out of the sky and rolled over on the ground, dead.

 

Aust ran over to her and helped her up. "Are you all right? You could have been nearly killed!"

 

"I only meant to harvest what was in the bush. I didn't know that wolves…", she said looking horrified at the animal.

 

"Yes, wolves..and bears too. And if you're not careful you'll end up being their supper.", Aust said pulling the wolf off to the side and getting out his skinning knife.

 

"Gods…has this whole world gone mad?", Mysidia asked, then she began to heal her arm.

 

Nature had turned Her back on the Druids. The proof was lying bleeding on the ground, being skinned by the ranger. It was no wonder she couldn't align herself with the energy within it. The energy had deserted her class. If wolves and bears had become chaotic, who knew what else the world of Norrath had in store for the kingdomless empress.

 

She shook her head disbelieving but decided for her own safety, her sword and shield would be coming out of her pack.

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Old 03-09-2006, 06:20 AM   #6
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Awesome read, always enjoy stories about druids, keep up the good work
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Old 03-09-2006, 05:38 PM   #7
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Thank you. I appreciate any feedback, good or bad. I'm like a puppy! I work better with praise!They had gathered a few pelts during the afternoon, but Aust suggested that they'd be able to really get their numbers if they waited for nightfall. Aust, exhausted from tracking and skinning, rolled out a blanket and curled up comfortably on it. Mysidia gave a small smirk as she watched the sleeping cat man taking a nap in the afternoon sunlight.Mysidia then turned her attention to the wound on her arm and she ran her fingers over it gently. She had used her magic to heal the wound closed, but placed a salve on it, she created, to minimalize scarring. Aust had watched her whip up a batch of this salve as though it were nothing. He suggested that she talk to Feja, when they got back, and give her some of this old world knowledge. Mysidia said she'd be happy to.Wolves, bears, badgers, anything that spoke of the wild realm of nature, had all gone mad. Whatever energy the Luclin shards brought, plagued the animals' mind with some kind of blinding rage. None of the animals recognized her as a worshipper of nature. They either gave her strict indifference or wanted to tear her throat out. She felt abandoned by this thought. Everything she learned and knew, was wrong.Growing bored with just adjusting herself to the new world, Mysidia decided that the only way to really learn about it was to be out and about in it. She figured an hour or two exploring wouldn't cause too much harm. To keep the attention from herself, she decided to shape shift into her beloved wolf form to get around.Standing off to the side of their camp, she closed her eyes and began her spell to complete her morphing. When she opened her eyes, four white paws and a long bushy tail took her place. And like so many times before, the world opened up to her a new realm of smells and sounds. She had the distinct curiosity to explore every one of them, but she knew better.She found out, however, that even in this current state, the animals knew better. They could recognize the illusion form she had but didn't recognize her as a Druid. Odd, she thought.She padded her way down into the valley and over a hill, getting used to being on four legs. She had almost forgotten how much fun it was to just tear into the earth beneath her and run as fast and as far as she could. Wolves have incredible stamina. They could chase prey for miles before bringing it down. They drove it into exhaustion before doing so. This gift was given to her the moment she traded two feet for four paws.She saw a large patch of boulders in the distance and decided to bound up them to get a better look. With little effort, she bounced from rock to rock until she reached the top. What she saw only furthered her alien feeling. Nothing was the same. There wasn't one tree, one rock, one landmark that had remained of the old world. She may have just as well walked through some kind of dimension door. The landscape showed no difference.Her wet coal black nose twitched under the slightest breeze and her ears swiveled around to catch whatever sounds she could. She could hear various travelers on the streets nearby and whatever animals were foraging for food. She could also hear the distinct snarling of a pack of gnolls in the distance. Snorting in disgust, she climbed down the rocks and decided to investigate.She had her fair share of gnolls in her life. Five hundred years didn't change much about them. They still stunk of dank fur and death and they still clung to the tribal life they had before. Their coats, at least, got some variation, she thought. There wasn't much variation from what she remembered. She figured it was due to inbreeding. It would have explained their intelligence…or lack there of.Two perky ears and two violet eyes carefully peered over a small hill at a group of unsuspecting gnolls. The hair on her body began to stand on end and she held back the urge to just charge in there and take them all on. If the wolf she had encountered was the lighter end of what she would face here, in Norrath, she had to rethink her strategy on taking on anything at all.Sitting on her haunches, she closed her eyes and slicked her ears back, deep in concentration. She began to chant the words of an existing spell and releasing energy into those words. When she opened her eyes and peered over the hill, thick choking vines had come up out of the ground and attached themselves to the bipedal gnolls. If she had the ability to smirk, she probably would have.Trotting proudly down towards the small group, she sat on her haunches again and decided to chant, yet another spell. The smallest tinge of frost clung to the air as she began to finish her spell. When she looked up four huge ice bolts came shooting out of the sky and destroying the gnoll group with a devastating ice crash. Three lay dead and only three remained of the group.She released her wolf form spell on her and stood with shield and sword ready. She released the vine spell and the three remaining charged her with a ferocious cry."You will pay for that, earth worshipper!", one of them snarled to her."Even after 500 years and you still spout the same words.", she said rolling her eyes.One came around the side of her and tried to sweep her leg. Her arm flashed back and quickly made the gnoll think he should have gone another way. The blade met his furry arm and red blood began to immediately run down.The remaining two charged her at once. One jumped up in the air and drew his dagger. The other charged at her front. Without thinking, she lifted her shield and pushed off the jumping gnoll to the side and came in low with her blade towards the other. The sickening sound of flesh giving away was heard and she heard the gnolls intestines drop to the ground. The gnoll yelped and fell over. His body gave a few spasms before death finally took him.The one that drew his dagger charged at her again and the other from behind. It was your classic pincer attack and it appeared that Mysidia had taken on more than she could bargain for.The gnoll swung the dagger, and his aim was true. A clean cut slice scraped down her shoulder and she fell to the side feeling the familiar pain of the blade pierce her senses and flesh. She took off her shield and flung it at the dagger carrying gnoll, causing his head to slice off from his body. The headless body twitched and fell and the head rolled down the small ridge.With her shield gone, Mysidia placed both hands on the hilt of her blade. The gnoll grimaced at her and she noticed that the gnolls' incisors had grown considerably in 500 years.The gnoll drew his sword and quickly swung it down. Mysidia was forced to one knee, but she held the blade above her head, stopping his sword from ever coming near her. She pushed off, causing the gnoll to stagger back.He came at her low this time and she swung it to meet him. Sparks flew up as they battled one another."You fight well for a tree hugger.", the gnoll barked at her."I'm out of your league, dog.", she hissed back.They went back and forth, swinging blades, and continuing their battling dance. No matter what she did to the gnoll, he countered and vice versa. Finally, what seemed like forever, the gnoll made a grave mistake and pushed forward. Mysidia stepped aside and slashed at his back. The gnoll fell to his knees and dropped his blade."Kill me quickly. I have no regrets.", he said knowing his fate.Mysidia raised an eyebrow and granted him his request. With a swift movement, she sliced down, severing his head from his body.Mysidia wiped the blood splatters off her face and looked around at the corpses around her. Aust came thundering down the hill with his bow in hand."You really have a death wish, don't you?", he said looking around."You worry too much.", Mysidia said and picked up her shield. Aust looked at the six bodies on the ground and watched dumbfoundedly as Mysidia walked towards her horse."What the hell was that?", Aust asked pointing at the group."Afternoon amusement?", Mysidia said and shrugged."I think perhaps your husband has rubbed off on you a little TOO much.", Aust said and walked towards his horse."That's not necessarily a bad thing.", she said and grinned. She wiped her blade off with a cloth and placed it back into her sheath."Let's get out of here. We have a lot of ground to cover and I'm bored.", Mysidia said and kicked her horse into a gallop."The world has gone mad, indeed. Druids pretending to be Warriors…What will happen next, Wizards pretending to be Rangers??", Aust said and followed suit.
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Old 03-10-2006, 12:38 AM   #8
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"Is that Blackburrow?", Mysidia asked as they came over top a hill. There was a rather dilapidated wooden entrance in the shape of a crude bestial mouth. The doors were held together by crossed over wooden pieces, which looked like scraps. It didn't seem like the door was very sturdy, which would explain the groups of gnolls that milled around on the outside.

"Yes.", Aust said quietly as he studied each gnoll carefully. The gnolls hadn't seen them yet so they both pressed on closer to the group. Gnolls relied on their sense of smell more than their eyesight. And since both Mysidia's and Aust's scent hadn't caught up on the breeze, the gnolls didn't even bother to look up from what they were doing.

"I can't believe after all these years, it still stands.", Mysidia said in a low murmur. She began to read Aust's movements and kept her voice barely above a whisper. In the years that she had been with Machene, she taught herself to read the body language of whomever she was hunting with. She could tell that she had to be on her guard now, coming this close to them.

Aust dismounted his horse and quickly retrieved his bow and arrows from his horse's pack. "You have the ability to meld into hide yourself in the shadows, yes?", Aust asked looking up at her.

She sighed frustrated, "I've been practicing. It's not currently done the way I remember.", she said and dismounted.

Aust went into his bag and took out a small carved statue. She looked at it for a moment and her eyebrows furled with great curiosity as she saw whips of colored light swirl over it, causing parts of it to blend into the colors around it. He turned around and handed it to her.

"Here. This totem I bought will help keep you hidden amongst them.", he said as his image slowly started to shimmer into nothingness.

Mysidia looked down at the totem confused. She shrugged and closed her eyes, trying to activate the magic she felt in it. She used her older methods that she remembered, to activate it. When she opened her eyes, nothing.

She sighed, frustrated, and tried again. This time she decided to go at it the same way she summoned the bolts of ice that killed some of the gnolls. When she opened her eyes, nothing. She could still see herself. She cursed under her breath. Aust was impressed with her colorful use of the Common Language. He surmised she could probably put many drunken barbarians to shame. More than likely, that's where she got it from.

She wiggled her entire body and pushed her lips tight, full of determination. She closed her eyes and focused on the magic of the item itself, instead of trying to manipulate the magic within it. She felt her skin get increasingly cold, almost to the point of pain. When she opened up her eyes, she didn't see anything. The image of her former self was gone. It worked.

"HA! HA!", she said and skipped around happily. She figured something out herself without having to ask a barrage of questions. She watched as the grass beneath her feet bent but nothing betrayed what bent the grass. She skipped happily around, not paying attention to where she was going or what she was doing. She also didn't see the rock in front of her and she tripped and fell square on her derriere.

Aust laughed outright. "So graceful, are the Rydian's.", he chided.

"Cut it, fur ball, or I'll smite you hip and thigh.", Mysidia said getting up completely embarrassed. She thanked the gods that the invisibility she placed on herself hid the 30 shades of red she had become from the embarrassment.

She lifted her chin and walked straight over towards the front door of Blackburrow. Aust shook his head as he followed his overly confident companion. They both made it in without incident, although a few times he had to make a small noise or two to remind Mysidia that now was not the time to attack or be brave.

Once inside, Aust shimmered into sight again and Mysidia waved her hand to release the spell on her. Aust turned to arm his bow and arrow and shook his head.

"Are you always this brash?", he asked slightly annoyed.

"Are you always this conservative? What… do you want to live forever?", Mysidia asked and winked.

Aust was about to answer when the simplicity of the question stopped him. She couldn't understand. She didn't have children to raise. Although living for the moment always appealed to him. And a little bravery never really hurt anyone…did it? Even if it hurt him, he had her. She could easily heal any wound inflicted by sheer bravery. Perhaps he should ..live a little.

He began to pluck out his arrows and the gnolls began to drop like flies. Each one he took aim on, Mysidia would concentrate to cast, but every time she'd get close to releasing the spell, the gnoll would fall over dead. Mysidia's jaw dropped. This ranger was single handedly taking out the entire gnoll camp.

"Where were you 500 years ago…?", Mysidia asked stunned. "Tunare's teeth, you could have won the war for us."

Aust gave a small chuckle and continued to take out a few more gnolls. When he saw the coast was clear, he continued to make his way in.

"What exactly are we doing here?", Mysidia asked.

"Some of the Qeynosians enjoy gnoll pelts.", Aust said getting down to skin one. He looked up at the confused woman. "Hey, I don't make the market, I just sell in it."

Mysidia began to kick at the ground looking for something to do. She could have at least had SOME entertainment helping to kill the gnolls, but Aust quickly disposed of them and Mysidia was left to her own devices.

"Don't wander too far. Gnolls don't exactly like you.", Aust said putting a hide in his bag.

"Gnolls don't like anyone.", Mysidia said and picked up a rock. She took aim and threw it at a large boulder. It bounced off and rolled down a carved corridor. Mysidia picked up another rock and did it again. She winced when she heard a rather loud crash the second time. She looked over at Aust who was still busy skinning away. Good, he didn't hear.

"Ouch! Would you MIND? It's strange, I know, but some people don't LIKE having a lumpy skull.", a small velvety voice said and echoed in the corridor. The voice held a small purr, but it wasn't a cat's purr. It was an animalistic reverberation, though. Mysidia immediately got her sword and shield ready, obviously taken off guard that anyone else was around.

Out of the darkness, a small figure began to make its way towards Mysidia. The figure wasn't any taller than your average dwarf but much thinner. Mysidia turned her head from side to side to get a better look.

"Oh put those down. I'm not going to attack you.", the voice said and came into the light. The figure that followed the small voice shocked Mysidia indeed. A small rat looking figure, dressed in a robe walked up to Mysidia. The rat had a pair of tinted glasses on and the look on his furry face wasn't exactly happy.

"What in the nine hells, are you?", Mysidia asked completely stunned and confused.

"Do you live under a rock or something, lady? You've never seen a Ratonga before?", the rat humanoid asked her.

She was about to answer when Aust came up beside her. "Ah, James! Well met.", Aust said and shook the little rat's hand.

Mysidia stood back and looked up at the large cat man and then at the small rat man. She shook her head and began to walk away. "I can't take much more of this. The insanity of nature is driving ME mad."

"What's eaten her?", James asked watching Mysidia walk away.

Aust took in a deep breath and sighed. "Nothing, yet. With her attitude, though, give her time."

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Old 03-10-2006, 05:32 AM   #9
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Wonderful story Mysidia, and congratulations on Treasure Chest!
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Old 03-10-2006, 05:34 AM   #10
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OMG. I made it to the treasure chest??? *Eyes wide* Wow.
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Old 03-11-2006, 01:23 AM   #11
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LOL came to give you gratz only to find I was beaten to it! :smileyvery-happy:
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:50 PM   #12
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Mysidia, James, and Austforbeer remained in Blackburrow for most of the day. They had gained a few trinkets to sell on the market and Mysidia got some of the training experience she needed to help advance to Thundering Stepps. She was more determined now, than ever, to find her husband.

James was an unusual character. He was full of wit and sarcasm, but his tiny purring voice was a constant reminder of the human he was not. Still, he was good at his job and he seemed to take particular enjoyment in blowing things up. A little TOO much, Mysidia noticed.

She couldn't help but take some amusement in watching his nose twitch with anticipation and glee as he cast his spells on the gnolls they had crossed. Mysidia knew she was in good hands and she didn't have to work as hard killing those that opposed them. They knew their jobs and could do it well.

They had come to a large waterfall and Mysidia looked over the rickety crudely made wooden bridge into the depths of the collecting natural pool below. Spray from the waterfall dampened her face and began to curl her blond hair.

"That's a long drop.", Mysidia said looking down.

"Yep, sure is.", James said and stood on the rope of the bridge. He took a flying leap off of it and laughed going all the way down. Mysidia raised an eyebrow at Aust who looked at her.

"And you call me crazy?", Mysidia said and followed suit. She plunged feet first into the water and felt exhilarated as the cold water crashed against her skin. She shot up and gasped for breath, looking around for her new Ratonga friend. She swirled around in the water to look for him and found him backed up against the wall, out of the water.

She noticed the wary look on his face and she turned around to see a HUGE spider staring right at her with round black eyes.

She blinked at the rather large insect and sighed knowing what was about to come. The spider lifted his legs and snapped in to bite her. Using her legs, she shot herself back under water. She unsheathed her sword and swam back towards where James was.

"That…", she said breathing heavy, "..is a very large bug."

"Actually, spiders aren't bugs at all…", James began to say. The huge splash that Aust made caused them both to stop the conversation and look into the water. James leaned over to Mysidia and placed a hand on the side of his mouth.

"Two silver pieces says that Aust gets bit. He's a magnet for poisonous animals.", he said and watched the water. Mysidia chuckled.

"I don't think so.", Mysidia said and pointed to the edge of the water where two paw prints indented themselves into the dirt. Aust, knowing what was down here, used his stealth to keep the spiders at bay. It didn't stop the one from keeping his eye on Mysidia, though.

James noticed the angry spider and said, "You just spread joy everywhere you go, don't you?'

"You want to end up as fodder, rat?', Mysidia looked down at him annoyed. "I'm sure we can find a snake or two to appease."

James quickly bit his tongue as Aust made his way towards them. Aust motioned for them to use their invisibility abilities. Mysidia got the totem out of her pack and looked at it. The swirls of magic weren't on the totem anymore and she frowned looking at it.

James, curious as to why Mysidia had no idea about the item, took it from her hands and shook it. Sparkles of energy swirled around it as if it were charged up again. Mysidia's eyes widened a bit as she noticed the magic.

"Ooo…", she said hypnotized by the magic ribbons.

"She's addicted to sparklies. You really make it easy for me, Sid.", James said and laughed before shimmering away. She refrained from turning the rat into a turnip and simply used the totem to hide her form.

All three of them made it through the caverns with little effort. Mysidia grew curious as to why Aust wasn't collecting pelts anymore. Her curiosity was quickly quelled when they dove into the water and came up behind a rock into another cavern.

"Ok, all I need is that jug, over there, on the hook.", James whispered. Mysidia peered over the rock and saw the jug, but also saw the massive group of gnolls and a rather large one standing in the middle of them. She watched them all mill around, unaware of the three of them. She sat back down and shook her head.

"Oh sure, I'll just snap my fingers and summon the jug to me.", Mysidia said sarcastically.

James looked over at her with his dark liquid eyes wide. "Wow, you can do that? Really?"

Mysidia looked at James with an odd look. Was he serious? Hearing the tone of his voice, he was. Mysidia shook her head and gave a soft chuckle.

"And they call your class the enlightened ones…", she said as she turned around peering over the rock again.

She eyed the jug hanging on the hook and pursed her lips together trying to come up with a plan. She noticed some of the ceiling above the gnoll group, was loose, towards the back. She nodded slowly and turned around, her back to the rock.

"All right, we have shot at this. Aust, do you see those loose rocks above them?", Mysidia said and nodded back behind her. Aust carefully looked and nodded.

"Good. Do you think you can hit them with one of your arrows?", she asked. Aust nodded again. "I need you to knock them down but quietly. Your arrow can't make a single sound coming out of that bow. Can you do it?"

Aust looked down at her, the dark lines of his tiger pattern giving him that predator look, even more so than usual. "I'm a ranger. It's what I do."

"Good. When Aust does that, James, I'm going to need to you to root the big guy to the ground. The three of us can take out his minions, leaving him. When that happens, I want the two of you to jump into the water while I slip in the back and grab the jug. Don't worry, you won't drown. I'll place a spell on both of you to allow you to breathe under water.", Mysidia said and began to quietly chant her spell.

"What makes you think the gnoll will follow us in?", James whispered.

"Gnolls anger easily and don't think about the consequences of their actions. They just kill first and ask questions later. You both will need to swim as fast as you can and as far as you can. By the time the gnoll realizes what he's done, he'll be too far in to do anything about it and drown.", Mysidia said and closed her eyes finishing her spell.

A trickle of white light surrounded the three of them and Aust took in a deep breath feeling strange. He could breathe, but there was something more to it. The water breathing spell was doing its work.

"Ready?", Mysidia whispered to Aust. He gave one nod and knocked his arrow into his bow. Mysidia closed her eyes and said a silent prayer to Tunare. She could already feel the adrenaline thumping through her veins.

"Now.", Mysidia said and Aust released his arrow. Just as she planned, she heard the larger rocks fall to the ground and a few gnolls yelped from having the ceiling cave in. Just as she had hoped, all of the gnolls turned to see the commotion and Mysidia and James jumped from behind the rock.

"James, now!", Mysidia yelled and James quickly waved his small paw hands to release ghost like chains from the pillar of energy around him. The larger gnoll looked around frantic as he felt himself freeze into position.

The gnolls, frantic and scattered from the surprised attack, all flashed around and prepared themselves by unsheathing their blades and yapping at the two of them. Aust climbed up on a smaller rock and took position with his bow and arrow.

"Aust, release them!", Mysidia yelled up to him and the Kerran ranger's nimble fingers quickly sprayed the arrow rain down on the group of gnolls. Several of them, Aust got a direct hit and they quickly fell over dead. There were a few stragglers and they charged Mysidia with the ferocity of a cornered animal.

Mysidia swung her sword and readied her shield. With a quick movement, however, she moved her hand off to the side and a large lightening bolt came shooting through the rocks and singeing the one gnoll's fur. He yelped like a wounded dog and fell to his knees. Aust quickly ended his life with an arrow shot through his neck.

James fell behind Mysidia and began to form a ball of light in his furry small hands. He rolled the ball back and forth a few times before quickly releasing it as ribbons of powerful energy roped off of him and seriously wounding the second gnoll. Mysidia followed through by slashing through the gnoll, hearing his rib cage give way to the saber Mysidia brandished. That gnoll made no sound as he fell to the ground.

The third gnoll charged without thinking and pounced on Mysidia, knocking her to the ground. Mysidia panicked as she felt the breath get knocked out of her. She struggled to get the fighting gnoll off her while trying to fill her lungs with air. She coughed and sputtered, rolling her body from side to side.

A fireball came shooting through the air and crashed into the gnolls back, the gnoll was thrown from Mysidia and fell a few feet ahead of her. Mysidia rolled over to the side and stayed on her hands and knees, trying to breathe. James helped her up to her feet and she turned around seeing the large gnoll growling and snarling at them.

"Come, she elf, feel the power of Bucky. Free me and your death will be swift and painless.", the gnoll growled and spat at her.

"Bucky, Fippy, what's with you gnolls? You want to strike fear into the hearts of men? Start with your names. I refuse to fear anything called… Bucky.", Mysidia said and staggered off to the side.

She walked around the large bolder and took out the totem. She shook it, reactivating the magic held within and used it to hide herself from plain sight. She picked up a large rock and threw it as hard as she could, into the large pool of water. She turned to them both and nodded her head.

While although it was difficult to see Mysidia in her invisible state, you could make out her shadow against the rock when she nodded. James and Aust looked at one another and jumped into the water, just as Mysidia stated earlier. James released the spell on Bucky and just as Mysidia predicted, the gnoll charged after them in the water.

Mysidia carefully snuck around the back of the boulder and grabbed the jug of gnoll brew from its hook. She placed it carefully in her pack before making her way into the water.

James and Aust quickly swam towards the larger chamber of water ahead of them. Bucky was hot on their tails… literally. But just as Mysidia had said, Bucky stopped short realizing what had happened. He quickly turned around and made a beeline back towards his camp.

His efforts were an exercise in futility. The faster he swam, the faster his body used up the oxygen in his lungs. Paws furiously clawed at the unforgiving water in front of him. Bucky struggled in the water around him, his arms flailed in terror. He held a paw up to his muzzle as he struggled to get up on land. But it was too late. He needed 30 seconds of more oxygen than his lungs could give.

Mysidia swam over to James and Aust as they all watched Bucky struggle with the inevitable. Quickly, the frantic movings of the gnoll stopped and only a small series of twitches remained of the drowning animal. Mysidia released the invisibility spell on her and she shimmered into view. Aust and James both looked at her with an intense unbelievable look. Her plan had worked.

James looked at her in slight horror as Mysidia regarded the dead gnoll with a numbing indifference. She handed over the tightly closed jug to James as she turned around and made her way towards land.

And Nature, doing what She does best, quickly cleaned up by sending Her piranhas to dispose of the water flushed corpse. Mysidia could vaguely hear the sound of flesh tearing from bone as the three of them left Blackburrow.

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Old 03-15-2006, 02:11 AM   #13
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James, Aust, and Mysidia galloped away from Blackburrow and they began to make their way towards the mage tower. James had some business there and Aust said it was a particularly decent spot to harvest a few herbs for Mysidia's tonics.

It was well into the evening, right before the sun had retreated over the horizon. Mysidia looked up into the creeping purple sky and peered closely. She grunted and looked down closing her eyes, trying to take a nap in the saddle.

"What is it?", Aust asked her.

"Rain.", Mysidia muttered through exhaustion.

"What about it?", he asked curiously. Mysidia drew her cloak around her tighter to keep in the warmth and opened her tired violet eyes to look at him. She nodded towards the sky.

"We'll have rain by night fall.", she said and tried to shift in her saddle to find a comfortable position. It was then that James laughed.

"Are you insane, Mysidia? It's the dry season here, in Antonica. There won't be rain for a few more months, yet.", James said shaking his head.

"I'm telling you, it's going to rain.", Mysidia said looking down at the rat wizard riding on a smaller horse beside her.

Aust gave James a look. "What James meant was since the destruction of Luclin, the weather just hasn't been the same. It doesn't rain here. Not this time of year, anyway."

"And you're both wrong. Look, I may not be the Druid I used to be, but even a first season Druid could tell you when it's supposed to rain, and it will.", Mysidia said settled into her saddle closing her eyes.

Once they reached the forest near Windstalker Village, they stopped and decided to set up camp for the night. Mysidia was busy toiling creating a makeshift tent to keep herself and her things dry. James just laughed watching her work harder than she really had to. He really thought they were safe from the elements of the weather.

Aust thought it wise, on his part, to place his pelts and other belongings in a safe and dry spot, just in case. James shook his head smirking at Aust.

"Not you, too.", James said.

"Well, she is a Druid, James. It never hurts to be safe.", he said and continued his work.

Before Mysidia laid herself down to sleep, she shifted herself into a wolf form so that she could pick up on any unwanted scents. Gnolls had a tendency to attack while others are sleeping and who knew what else lived in the forest when the sun went down. She had already seen a few dark furred wolves wandering around.

It was late into the evening when the first drops of rain fell. Mysidia lifted her wolven head at the first "pats" of rainfall. It didn't take it long to fall into a steady downpour. It wasn't a thick rain like a good spring rain, but steady and heavy enough to soak James who was trying desperately to stay warm by the dying fire.

James rolled over and saw Mysidia sitting on her haunches. Her ears were pulled back slightly and her tongue lolled out causing her to look like she was giving James a rather large grin. Smirking would have gotten her point across, but wolves can't smirk. She panted a little bit to demonstrate a chuckle.

"Laugh it up, Sid. Sure. Pick on the poor drowning rat.", he said and scowled. His fur began to hang down giving him a miserable appearance. His robe clung to him, completely drenched. Even his whiskers beaded rain drops.

Mysidia sniffed inside her tent and brought out an elvish wool blanket. She padded her way over to James and dropped the blanket in his lap. She sat on her haunches and nudged the rat with her muzzle.

Elvish wool is slightly different than the rest of the world's. It got wet, sure, but somehow it held the heat in and kept everything underneath it dry. James smiled at her thankfully and he covered his entire body. Mysidia lay next to him to allow some of her body heat to soak through the blanket and warm her furry companion.

The evening had a few quick scares, but nothing that held any real danger. The fire, as little as it had gotten from the rain, still held off the animals at bay and it appears that the rain kept the gnolls safe in their caves. Only the occasional creak of the treants or a wolf howl shattered the low dim of the rainfall.

And with every sound, Mysidia was up and investigating. She knew she wouldn't be sleeping well on this trip. She took it upon herself to be lookout during the night.

In the morning, Mysidia had released her wolf form and managed to get up into her saddle. She tied a rope from her horse to Austs and decided to nap in her saddle.

"Didn't you get any sleep last night, Sid?" James said jokingly.

"No. Funniest thing, really. At every sound, I would get this violent jerking next to me with a rather scared "squeak" coming out from under the blanket.", Mysidia said as her eyes stared hard into James. He quickly closed his mouth and Aust laughed.

She wrapped her cloak around her and threw on her hood. "Wake me when we get there."

They spent the majority of the day traveling over fields and rough hilly terrain. Then they came to a stop and James and Aust were whispering to one another.

"There she goes. It's sad to think her ghost will never fully rest.", Aust said looking out in the distance sad.

James turned around and poked Mysidia in her saddle. She stirred a bit and noticed that they had stopped traveling.

"Are we there, yet?", She said rubbing her eyes.

"Shhh!...and no.", James said hastily.

"Then someone best be on fire for waking me.", Mysidia said cross. She unhitched her horse and walked over to where they were looking. In the distance, Mysidia could make out an incorporeal figure lightly floating across the field in the distance.

"What is that?", Mysidia asked staring at the figure.

"Holly Windstalker's ghost. She roams the country side, night after night. When Norrath plunged into chaos, so did her soul.", Aust said sadly.

"I knew her. She was such a proud Ranger. A bit of a zealot, but very skilled. She had such passion about the animals around her. Nature to her was everything. To her, we were guests in Nature's house and she would spend great lengths in explaining why. I had the privledge of being warmed by her campfire. It's so sad to see her in this state, now.", Mysidia said with a heavy heart.

She turned to Aust with her full of concern. "Can't a Cleric help put her soul to rest?"

"Many have tried, Mysidia. It appears that her spirit is tied to the lack of Nature Magic on Norrath. It would explain why you had difficulty with a few of your older spells. I would suspect that when everything returns to normal, her spirit will disappear completely and return where it came from.", Aust said and nudged his horse down the path, away from Holly.

Mysidia stood next to her horse and watched Holly's ghost wander around without purpose. It was sad to see such a powerful Ranger, dwindle down to nothing but a fragmented spirit with no purpose.

And then it hit Mysidia. Tunare had turned Her back on Norrath, but it would seem that She has completely disregarded Her children as a whole. Tunare would have never let Holly wander the world like this, before the cataclysms. And now it would seem, that She held some indifference to Her worshippers, letting Nature itself revel in the chaos.

Mysidia began to do something that she never thought she would do. She began to question her faith.

James, as if reading her thoughts said, "Now you understand what we have all been feeling. There is no longer the terms of "black" or "white" anymore. We have all been placed in the plain of Medium. We are all on the same level, now."

Same level, with an Iksar? Mysidia held her tongue on that thought. She would NEVER let herself be on the same level as those beasts. So long as she had a breath in her body, she would never allow herself to be on their level. She would sooner allow them to sacrifice her body on their altar, than for her to be level with them. No, there are no shades of gray concerning this. There were only realms of right and realms of wrong.

She mounted her horse and kicked him up into a canter, catching up with the two of them. And she rode on in silence until they reached the tower.

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Old 03-15-2006, 03:08 AM   #14
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Nicely written.  Looking forward to the next chapter.
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:11 PM   #15
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The fog hung thickly over the dew spattered grass, creating a most dismal morning. The air was chilly, but only because it was damp and the sun refused to try and peak through the fog. Even the air held the stench of soggy earth and must as a result from lack of sunlight.

Mysidia was awake in her saddle as they rounded the hill. She could barely make out the road in front of them with the fog as thick as it was. She suggested she "wolf" it from here on in, but Aust said it wasn't necessary. The path they were taking them, didn't take them any where near hostiles and he had traveled it many times, so he knew the way. Still, that didn't keep from Mysidia being extra cautious at the sounds around her.

Even though the fog was thick, the closer they approached the Tower of the Oracles, you could simply feel the energy snap around you. The carefully nudged their horses up the steepest path to get to the tower and Mysidia suggested they ride around for an easier route. Aust stated that gnolls took the other side of the mount and it would take several hours down that way. It seemed to Mysidia, that with chaos plaguing the land, the gnolls were just as bad.

They dismounted their horses and were greeted by several wizards. The higher ranking one looked at the three of them and bowed respectfully. They all bowed in return.

"Ah, Brother James, to what do we owe this pleasure?", the Erudite said. His voice was soothing and calm and his eyes were that of cobalt glass.

"Revered Sileto.", James said and bowed. "I was wondering if I could speak with you or one of your colleagues for a moment regarding an item I have come across."

"Of course, by all means.", he said and waved him inside. The high elf wizard that was standing next to him was starting to get flustered.

"They're at it again.", the high elf said annoyed.

Mysidia turned around to see two guards getting into an argument. Aust pushed the horses closer to the tower so that they wouldn't get hurt.

"What's with them?", Mysidia asked watching the argument quickly get heated. Mysidia had heard several insults in her day and she's even used a few, but with the ones that they were tossing around, they even raised her eyebrows and one actually made her eyes widen.

"They always do this. They argue over anything, apparently and it continues to escalade into a brawl. It does not stop until one of them falls from their injuries. We've had to keep a healer on hand because of this. It was either that or have buzzards flying around due to the blood loss and stench.", the Erudite said and waved his finger towards the sky.

"No one dies, fortunately. Once one of them is patched up, and back out for his paroling, they're at it again. It is quite bothersome. The locals actually have made a game out of it, those sick thugs. Placing bets on which one would win.", the high elf said and sighed.

"Why doesn't Antonia just change their assignments?", Mysidia asked turning her attention from the guards to the wizards.

"Antonia, while although a just and fair leader, takes her time with everything. Including reassignment.", the Erudite said gently.

He waved his arm to beckon for Aust and Mysidia to join them. "Come. Come in from the cold and join us for a hot cup of tea. That language is not the sort a lady should be listening to."

Mysidia bowed in respect but mostly it was to hide her smirk on her face. Granted, the insults being flung around were ones she had never heard before, but she was no child. Still, she accepted their hospitality.

Once inside, Mysidia was immediately swept away at the sheer beauty of the architecture. The tower was made of fine white marble and intricately decorated with rich purple and yellow tapestries spiraling all the way to the top. There were several rooms on the first floor and all of them appeared to be the bedrooms of the wizards. There was a narrow staircase that went up and around and a small eating area off to the side. It was small and humble, but wizards needed few things in life. As long as they had a place to study and books to occupy their mind, they cared little for finery.

Mysidia noticed that the high elf had taken a particular curiosity towards her and she couldn't keep him from watching her every move. The erudite motioned for James to join him and Aust excused himself outside. Mysidia threw him an annoyed look.

"What?", he asked feeling her gaze.

"Don't tell me you entertain what they do.", Mysidia stated as she nodded towards the door.

"You seek out fighting with gnolls and you get on my case for wanting to watch a fight. You are an odd one, your majesty.", Aust mocked.

"Violence without purpose is nothing but barbaric. The world could use a few less gnolls. What Norrath doesn't need is another injured guard. It's that guard that keeps Qeynos safe and that includes your wife and children.", Mysidia said and sighed.

Aust shrugged. "You're here. You can make sure he's back out to do his job in no time."

Before Mysidia could argue he left. Mysidia made a stray comment about the fortitude of men in particular. The high elf walked along side of her.

"Does he think I will just heal the world? I'm not some Gnome he can stuff in his pocket and take out whenever he feels like.", Mysidia said in a huff. She then realized what she said and added, "No offense to anyone you know."

The high elf gave a chuckle and said, "None taken."

"Is there a reason why you have watched me since the moment I have arrived?", Mysidia asked outright. The high elf, growing flustered, looked down and blushed a bit. He fiddled with his robe not entirely sure what to say.

"I… am sorry.", he began. "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?"

The curiosity got the better of her so she had to allow him. "Go ahead."

"You …are Rydian, aren't you? You see, we are studying the old world before the cataclysms and we have reached the part in history where the Rydian Empire was flourishing what was called Kunark. I really did not mean to pry and you do not have to answer if you don't want to, it's just that I'm absolutely fascinated by your culture…well…the Rydian culture because I still don't know if you really are one or not…", the high elf babbled. Mysidia couldn't help but chuckle at him. She placed a hand on his arm to calm him down a bit.

"To answer your question, yes, I am Rydian. And it was Rydia before it was Kunark. After the Iksars ran us out, they renamed the continent. "Kunark", in their ancient language meant "Conquered." It was a stab at us, really.", Mysidia explained.

The high elf's eyes widened and he drew in his breath due to his excitement. "I knew it! You are too tall to be any elf I've ever met and too elvish to be a half elf.", he said and stopped. "But you're not really elvish at all, are you?"

Mysidia paused. She realized that the barrage of questions that the wizard had would require some explanation.

"I will make a deal with you. First off, what is your name?", she asked looking at him. Of all the High Elves she had ever met, this one was the most emotional. The expressions on his face quickly betrayed any thought that ran through his head. You could just see what he was thinking. And because of this small observation on Mysidia's part, he grew embarrassed again.

"I am SO sorry. I am Tain'thar.", he said extending his hand.

"Mysidia", she said and shook it. Tain's eyes grew wide and he quickly, and rather clumsily, got down on one knee to show respect.

"Your majesty.", he said.

She pulled up on her hand to make him rise to his feet. "Oh, get up. I haven't been knelt to for a very long time and even when I was, it was still strange."

Tain, not sure how to act, began to fidget with his robe. It was obvious he was a younger elf and still deep within his training.

"How about you muster up some of that lovely tea Sileto was talking about and I will tell you all you want to know…And even a few things those books won't have.", Mysidia said and winked.

Message Edited by MysidiaClash on 03-16-200610:55 AM

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Old 03-17-2006, 12:54 AM   #16
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*sips his tea*

More, please!

(incidentally, Mys- I like your weather descriptions particularly... gives it a live feel).

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Old 03-17-2006, 01:24 AM   #17
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~* Bows *~ Thank thee, sir. I usually try and write a chapter a day, when I can grab an hour or so. I have some ideas I've been kicking around so I might even post two chapters today. =)
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Old 03-30-2006, 01:08 AM   #18
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They stayed the night up at OracleTower and in the morning, they were refreshed and ready to head out towards WindstalkerVillage.

James and Aust had bade their farewells, which left Mysidia to give hers. She gave a long warm hug to Tain. She went inside one of her pouches and handed him a small bottle with a dark purple liquid inside.

Tain took the crystal bottle in his hands and gave Mysidia a very curious look. “What’s this?”, he asked looking the bottle over.

“It’s my last bottle of my brother’s strongest brew. You had expressed that you wished you could have experienced some of my culture first hand. We enjoyed strong ale almost as much as we enjoyed our art. But don’t drink it all at once. The last elf that tried went blind. My brother had a tendency to brew it stronger than usual.”, Mysidia said and gave a half smile. It pained her to know that the last threads of her family were being kept in a fragile crystal shell.

“Oh, I don’t think I could take this from you…”, Tain said humbled at the gift.

“Please. I want you to have it. It’s nice to know that there are a few people left willing to keep alive old traditions…even if its through miswritten history books.”, Mysidia said. You could hear the tempered pain in her voice. No matter how many years had passed, it still stung a little.

Tain took the top off the bottle and ran it under his nose. He blinked a few times as the pungent aroma filled his nostrils and for a moment, you could see his pupils dilate.

“Oh…my…”, Tain said and started to sway in place. The Erudite wizard held him up for a few seconds while Tain regained his ground.

Mysidia laughed as she mounted her horse. They all waved to one another as the three of them cantered down the dirt beaten path.

It was nearly mid day when they finally were well into their travels. Mysidia was just drinking in the sights around her trying to remember the land that once was. For brief moments, she could recognize the world she knew in various boulders she remembers passing so many years ago. But like with most everything else Time touches, the terrain had changed and she was trying to learn where she was. Getting lost was not on the top of her To Do List.

When they rounded the corner, the wind picked up and carried a scent that was all too familiar to Mysidia. The scent was pungent enough to be that distinctual. It hung thickly to the wind like a tight hug. The moment it hit her face, she snorted and turned her head. The scent of Death usually does that to people.

“What’s wrong?”, James asked noticing her reaction.

“Ugh. Death. What could possibly be out that way for there to be such a stench like this? I don’t remember hearing about any recent battles…”, Mysidia said wrinkling her nose.

“They’re undead, Mysidia. After the gods turned their backs on us, several people formed sects and began to worship whatever suited their fancy. Some of the religious sects were peaceful, some were violent, and some were perverse, however, none of them lasted long. People need something to believe in, even if somewhere in the back of their minds, they know it to be false. All Norathians crave unity of some kind and faith can be a powerful thing that way. It’s easier to unify under one belief than anything else.”, James explained.

“You don’t have to tell me that faith is powerful. Entire races have been decimated for “faith”.”, Mysidia said in a snarkish tone.

James knew what her tone was about but didn’t really ask for her to specify. He knew what she was, but he didn’t really know who she was. And had her situation been his, he probably would have felt the same way, which is why he let the comment go.

They trotted up a large hill that overlooked a valley below. Mysidia rode her horse under the large tree to give her horse some well deserved shade. The sun was rather warm that day and she could smell the sweat coming off her horse.

Out in the distance, Mysidia could see a black plume of smoke. It was too small to be a simple campfire and it was large enough to send the warning signals it needed to.

“Where is that?”, Mysidia asked, jumping off her horse. She walked over to the saddle bags she had made from furs she got along the way and opened a few of them up, getting out her armor.

“That looks like it’s WindstalkerVillage…”, James said numbly. He knew deep down, that it was the village. They had problems with bandits before. Several humans broke off from Qeynos and Freeport to form their own alliance. They vandalized, robbed, and even pillaged some of the smaller villages on the outskirts, but Windstalker always had remained safe due to the guards that lived there. The bandits had tried to raid in the past, but their numbers were always held back because of the guards. Could it be that the bandits had risen enough numbers to pull off their biggest heist? James looked worried.

Aust turned around and saw Mysidia nearly dressed in her armor. She swung herself up in the saddle after watering her horse. She tightened her bracers on her arms and looked at them both.

“What are you planning?”, Aust asked.

“To see if they need any assistance. Plumes like that means whatever was done is over with. Black smoke means aftermath. How far is it from here to the village?”, Mysidia asked.

“Twenty minutes, fifteen if we ride hard.”, Aust said.

Aust had turned to James to ask if he was ready to leave. When Aust turned around to acknowledge their decent, Mysidia was already gone, tearing up the ground with fast moving hooves.

It took Aust and James nearly the entire run to catch up to Mysidia. She was flying her horse hard, trying to get to the village. The closer they came upon it, the graver the situation had become.

The stench of charred flesh, heat, and burning wood clung thickly to the air. Warped lines of heat distorted the view making it difficult to focus on the chaos around them. What Mysidia could make out was various people trying to find safety and helping those that could not walk on their own.

Mysidia quickly jumped off her horse and tried to help any and all she could. She looked at several of the women, who were badly beaten. Their open wounds on their faces were aggravated and bleeding. Scorch marks on their skin suggested they escaped their burning buildings with their lives.

She bent down to one that was in better shape than the rest and handed her several potions from one of her packs.

“Are you a cleric?”, she asked the woman. The woman shook her head. Mysidia quickly went over the particulars of how to apply the potions and what to look for. She then shouted to the women and asked who were clerics, shamans, and druids. A few of them raised their hands and she helped them attend to their wounds so that they could attend to the others.

“You all are going to have to set up triage. Work on only the ones you can save. Don’t waste your time on anything else.”, Mysidia said in a serious tone. She then turned to one of the younger women who appeared to be in shock at the carnage around her.

“Hey, what’s your name?”, Mysidia asked in a soothing tone.

“Sheena”, the girl said. Her voice was quiet and small, nearly lost among the dim of the chaos around her. She held her hands close to her dirt and tear streaked face. Her lip, bleeding, trembled under her building hysteria.

“Sheena, I’m going to need your help, okay? I need you to gather several long sticks to make litters for the wounded. Do you think you can do that for me?”, Mysidia asked placing a hand on her shoulder, hoping to knock Sheena out of her fog. The girl numbly nodded as the tears budded up in her eyes.

James and Aust came riding up moments later and Aust automatically went to see if any bandits were looting from the burning homes. James looked up at the Rydian woman, confused and stunned.

“How could this happen?”, James asked looking around.

“Later. I need you to tie the horses together and attach the litters that are going to be made. You are going to put the wounded on the litters and help take them to safety. That girl”, Mysidia pointed to Sheena, “will help you carry the wounded. The cliff we were on is safe enough for everyone. I have a healing team already tending to the wounded so you shouldn’t have to carry that many. I will meet you there when the threat here is over.”, Mysidia said and turned away.

Whether it was five hundred years or a thousand, time couldn’t change the nature of man. Where there was chaos, greed prevailed and usually controlled the desperate. Survival is a dangerous thing to play with. The moment you survive your catastrophe, life itself isn’t good enough and the greed immediately sets in. It explained the bandits that [Removed for Content] the village blind. It explained the two factions between good and evil. It explained a lot of things, including the motion of the world itself. Time will never change the nature of man so long as the spirit of competition still resides in them.

Mysidia withdrew her sword and walked deep into the thick of the carnage. Thick billows of smoke blew across the blood drenched path. Mysidia could barely make out a few strong bodied men, walking in a line, towards her. They fanned out across the path creating a body shield roadblock. They were bandits, and they had planned years for a raid on Windstalker. They were not about to give up their prize so easily.

The fact that the woman approached them alone intimidated some of them. She was either insane or just that good. Judging by her armor, she appeared to be Druid, and Warden or Fury, which alone is worth apprehension. If you can taste it, feel it, see it, hear it, smell it, see it above you, or stand on it, they can control it or manipulate it.

Mysidia didn’t say a word. She didn’t falter her steps nor did she speed up her movements. She simply walked up to one of them and sliced outward, gashing one of the men across the chest. The sound of metal slicing through bone meekly made it over the rushing sounds of fire. The man grabbed his profusely bleeding chest as he dropped to his knees.

The leader of the line of men growled at Mysidia and his dirt lined face sneered into a grimace of contempt. “That there was my brother, missy.”

“Oh…really?”, Mysidia said looking down at the man, “sorry to bring him into past tense.”

The bandit yelled on the top of his lungs and charged Mysidia, brandishing his daggers along with it. Mysidia swung her shield up to block his hand and shoved her arms to push the larger man back.

Aust and James both watched Mysidia and James shook his head in disbelief. “She has no fear, that woman.”

“No, an’ she never did either.”, a voice said behind them. Aust flashed around and unsheathed his weapons, not expecting to hear anyone behind him.

The man was larger than most Barbarians, Aust had ever seen. He easily towered over the Kerran and had short black hair and a scar over his right eye. His armor was dusty and blood stained, although by the looks of the man, it was probably more from his victims than it was from him. And his two handed sword was strapped securely to his back.

“How would you know?”, James asked, annoyed. He didn’t exactly like it when people snuck up behind him.

The man grinned and chuckled a bit at the rat. “Because… I’m ‘er brother, Kryimsson.”

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Old 03-31-2006, 03:14 AM   #19
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It was pouring in Freeport and the sound of wet scraping boots echoed through the dirty streets. It was a cold rain and the breath of all the inhabitants could be seen. The cold water pricked the flesh just enough to let you know that it was indeed a winter rain. Not cold enough for snow but warm enough just to keep the water right above freezing.

A dark elf woman, poorly dressed, ran through the streets. Her dark black hair hung in light curls as the water beaded off the strands and dripped onto her soaked woolen cloak. Her clothes were torn and tattered on the ends and her blue-black skin was darker than usual due to the temperature.

White ghost vapors poured out of her nose and mouth as she frantically ran through the streets, trying to keep her bundle in her arms as dry as possible. She bounded up the path and skittered down a dark alleyway, thrashing her back to the wall, trying to catch her breath.

She pushed a black strand of hair away from her face and sank down to her knees, feeling her pulse race through her body. Her silver gray eyes scanned the street out in front of her before uncovering her bundle. A soggy loaf of bread and a bit of dried meat lay in her lap.

She hungrily tore at the bread and stuffed her face, while keeping a sharp ear to the noise around her. She should have been more careful. Granted, she stole the food she was eating, but she should have been wiser in choosing her victim. In her line of work, there were only two kinds of assassins, those that were paid well for what they did, and those that starved. And being that she held on to her family’s curse, it was rare she was paid for her profession.

As she bit into the chunk of meat, she heard a few guards voices echo off the buildings around her. She sank deeper into the darkness and unsheathed her daggers for protection. It wasn’t that she wasn’t very good at what she did. She was, it was just that her family name wasn’t what it used to be and people didn’t want to deal with that kind of reputation.

She watched the guards run past her and she smirked smugly in the dampness around her. She lived to see another day, yet again. Bristlebane was watching out for her. She flipped the dagger up in the air and caught it before putting them back in their sheaths. She stepped out into the street to watch the guards turn the corner and she chuckled as she realized she had won again.

She turned around and started to walk when a huge ogre blocked her path. She froze solid, realizing that it was his meal she stole. She swallowed hard feeling the white fear creep up into her throat as her eyes widen.

The huge ogre raised his fist and pounded it on the top of her head, causing her to fall unconsciously in the winter rain.

When she came to, she began to feel the headache that the large lump began to bring on and she groaned slightly. She felt the chains on her wrists and ankles and she grumbled realizing she had been captured. Much like everyone else in her life, it seems Bristlebane had turned His back on her too, leaving her at the mercy of the law… Whatever law that was in Freeport, anyway.

“Good, you’re alive.”, she heard a man’s voice say. She looked up sharply to see a human male sitting in a chair by the door. He took his iron gauntleted fist and banged it on the metal door behind him.

The woman scooted herself towards the slime covered concrete wall that helped form the cell she was in. She rubbed her dirty hands over her hair to feel the large knot, causing her the pain. Grumbling, she folded her arms and just waited patiently.

Moments later, a dark elf male dressed in a vibrantly purple and yellow robe, came in and waved his hand to dismiss the human. The dark elf woman rolled her eyes and began to grow uncomfortable being in that cell.

The ogre walked in just as the human was leaving and this caused the woman to curse under her breath. The dark elf male turned around and growled at the woman, causing her to cower a bit.

“I told you not to harm her.”, the dark elf male said in a strict voice.

“Look! She lives.”, grunted the ogre. The dark elf male scowled.

“What am I doing here?”, the woman asked.

The male turned around and barked at her, “It must NOT speak! It must learn its place!”

He walked over to her and took her chin in his hands forcing her to look up at him. He looked her over for a moments and grunted in some kind of acknowledgement.

“There is no denying you, child. You are your mother’s daughter.”, the male said. He pushed her chin away and walked back towards the chair, taking a seat.

“You knew my mother…”, she said softly.

“Yes. I knew your whole family before The Rendering. Before the Tier’Dal turned their backs on you.”, he said smugly. She knew he was in his glory. It wasn’t often that a Tier’Dal male was allowed to berate a female so. Usually, it was the females that were superior, but situations being as they were, this male had and edge over her due to her family name, dishonored as it was.

“What is it you want with me?”, she asked.

“Since this has bearing on your situation, I will permit the question. You carry your mother’s namesake in both first and last name, Akahsha. The Darkskye’s have been disowned from the Tier’Dal since your mother aligned herself with the Rydian Empire. A pity she never cleared it before she died.”, he said waving his hand at her.

Akahsha blinked at him through waves of contempt. She hated her race almost as much as her mother did. Arrogance made her blood boil.

“However, what if there was a way to reclaim the standing of the Darkskye namesake and place you back into the ranks your family once was before the dishonorment?”, the male said and grinned wickedly.

“Who are you?”, Akahsha asked.

Seeing the annoyance flicker in the male’s eyes, she quickly broke her gaze and bit her lip.

“Val’eth Sulkar.”, the male said. “Now, do you want to clear your family’s name or not?”

Akahsha laughed. “How is that possible?”

Val’eth got up and back handed Akahsha across the mouth. She yelped and tears began to form in her eyes. She licked her lips and swallowed the blood she tasted.

“Do not mock me, you insignificant whelp!”, he said angrily. His red eyes burned like fire against his black skin. Akahsha made a mental note to place his name on the list of people she would be getting back to at a later date. She had a special torture in mind for Val’eth. Something with hot pokers and diseased ridden rats came to mind…

“The queen lives, I’ve been given word. I thought you would like to know that…”, he left his words hanging. She looked up sharply and her ice silver eyes shined evilly in the darkness.

“Ah, that got your attention. Yes, Her Majesty is alive and well, and wandering through Antonica last I had heard.”, Val’eth said, his voice almost a purr.

“She is heavily guarded. An attack on her won’t be so easy.”, Akahsha said licking away her blood.

Val’eth folded his arms and sat with an oily smug smirk. “She is without her Catta Thaeja. She is vulnerable and ripe for the picking.”

Akahsha toiled over the news in her mind and tried to hold back her excitement. If she appeared overeager, he would give the job to someone else. Under eager and he would think she didn’t care.

“What do you get out of this?”, Akahsha asked.

Val’eth grinded his teeth at the lack of manners from Akahsha, but years on the streets would do that to anyone, so he allowed it to pass. “The Overlord currently has a female Tier’Dal for his right hand. The Overlord fears no one, but knows full well that news of the Rydian Queen would stir up some of the older Iksar and just might start a rebellion. He likes his control right where it is. If something were to happen to the fallen queen, his majesty might look upon my family a bit favorlier than N’Velex.”

Akahsha grinned. For the first time in years, she felt the calm evil spread across her body like a warm comforting blanket. She hadn’t felt this calm in a very long time.

Her voice, in a velvety purr said, “Where might I find this queen?”

Val’eth grinned in return. “Excellent.”

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Old 03-31-2006, 10:00 PM   #20
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Interesting... the plot thickens!  :smileywink:
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Old 04-01-2006, 02:20 AM   #21
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The bandits kept coming and it didn’t look like they would be letting up any time soon. The leader, the brother of the one Mysidia killed, kept calling for reinforcements, and like magic, they kept showing up. How long could ONE Warden hold out for? It seemed she had the stamina of a warrior running through her blood. Oh…if they only knew the truth..

But truth be told, nearly an hour into the fighting, the beads of exhaustion started to form on Mysidia’s brow, and she began to feel herself grow dizzy with it. Between the heat, the spell casting, swinging her one handed blade, and defending with a large round shield, it was apparent that five hundred years of sleeping did nothing to keep her in shape.

One of the men got a lucky shot and slashed at her thigh, she cried out, dropping to her knees. Saying a quick healing spell, she began to feel her skin stitch itself so that she could continue on her fighting for survival. Sparks flew as she used her blade to block an oncoming blow from one of the larger men.

She yelled as she pushed back and the leader was actually surprised as the tenacity and ferocity the Warden fought with. There was just no giving up with her.

There were three men standing around her, including the leader, and Mysidia could see more coming in the distance. Austforbeer and James were no where to be found. They were knee deep in getting the wounded to safety.

Mysidia began to see the severity of her situation. She didn’t think she could hold out for much longer. Her eyes scanned the crowd for someone to help her and the tears of desperation clung to her eyes.

It was the same situation all over again…

In the thick of summer, nearly 500 years before, the Rydian army had pushed back the Iksar all the way to the mountain ridge. The final battle would determine the outcome for the Empire, one way or the other.

Each side had rounded up as many as they could find. For the Rydians, their numbers had suffered greatly between the invasion years prior and the war itself. Mysidia had rounded up elves, humans, and barbarians to help her. She was pooling in all of her resources just to keep afloat and they appeared to be working.

The dust clung to the humidity nearly choking out the sunlight. The stench of sweat and stagnant earth filled the nostrils of the men and women willing to die for the Rydian cause. Sweat poured down the face and neck of Mysidia as she trotted her horse, Thaeja, through the lines of troops.

Her speech was unforgettable, yet no one wrote it down for posterity. And the fighting began as it always did and continued well into the evening hours. Bodies of the injured came pouring in and the Healing Team Mysidia set up was working over time to keep the warriors upright. When Team A was exhausted, she switched out with Team B and kept it going. There was constant buffing and healing going on from the support teams she had set up.

The Rydians were winning and the Iksar were ready to retreat into the caves they once came from hundreds of years ago. The morale of the Rydian army was high and the whoops and hollers of the fighters could be heard dotting over the sounds of the Iksar screams and the metal clanging. Lightening bolts shot from the wizards fingers. Roots sprang up from the ground to hold the Iksars in place. Wolves, bears, and tigers swarmed from the Shaman, Druids, and Beastlords and arrows danced their silent song across the sky. It was an impressive sight.

Mysidia sat proud on her horse and witnessed the glory of her kingdom. Kryimsson rode up on a large grey charger and sat close to Mysidia. He too had a very large proud grin on his face.

“We are making history today, brother.”, Mysidia said. “Soon, our dream, our home, will officially be ours once again.”

“The Tribunal is pleased to see justice done.”, Kryimsson said nodding.

“Tunare is overjoyed, I’m sure.”, Mysidia said.

“Coming down to join in on the fun? I hear the Iksar are down to their last 3 commanders.”, Kryimsson said grinning.

“In a bit. I was going to ride down to see if Mardock’s team needed anything.”, Mysidia said.

Out of the corner of her eye, she looked up towards the horizon and saw what only could have been a mass black cloud of evil. Her face blanched as she saw the gathering oozing over the plains below her vantage point.

“Gods…what the hell is that?”, Kryimsson asked looking at the moving mob of blackness.

“I’m…not sure…”, Mysidia said as she tried to peer closer. For a moment, the mass moved as though it were compiled of separate entities, but for the majority of it, it moved slowly and fluidly as though it were made of black ooze. Once the land was touched by the blackness, it was no longer seen since the mass had stretched back that far.

Machene thundered up the mountain pass to get to Mysidia. His armor was blood stained and his horse panted under the summer heat. He wiped his brow with the back of his gauntleted hand.

“Orc! Thousands of them! We must pull back, Mysidia. We can’t fight the Iksar and Orc together. We need to pull back and regroup.”, Machene said.

“Orcs? Here??”, Mysidia said confused and shocked. “What are they thinking…?”

Mysidia sat on her horse and her eyes darted around on the ground as though she was thinking quickly, and she was. She looked up sharply at Kryimsson and Machene.

“Kryimsson, gather as many men as you can spare and form new ranks on the right flank. Machene, ride hard to Xerbius’ troops and have him meet me behind the new ranks. I will ride to the rangers and have them replace the wizards at a further distance so they can still hold the left flank. The two of you will meet me there. GO!”, she said and snapped her horse into a hard charge down the mountain.

There was no way in the nine levels of hell she would pull back, not when she had come so far..since THEY had come so far. She waited her entire life for this moment. Her people waited longer. She couldn’t give up now. All those lives would have been lost in vain.

She thundered down behind her troops and rode Thaeja hard towards the rangers. She almost reached them when Thaeja reared up, throwing her from the saddle. She got up and was about to mount when she saw what caused Thaeja to rear.

A thick band of orcs came charging towards her, weapons at the ready. Before Mysidia knew it, she was surrounded and fighting for her life. This was different than all the times she had charged into battle. Her back was against the wall, proverbially speaking, and she had no one around her to help her. Everyone was starting to get confused with the Orcs being around. At least the good news was, the orcs didn’t discriminate against the Iksar, either.

“Your age is over, Rydian. Throw down your weapons and die mercifully.”, the orc sneered at her.

“I will do no such thing. I will die fighting for what is rightfully mine!”, Mysidia screamed as she began to carve her way into the orc hoard. Sweat beaded off the dirty blonde strands that hung in her face. Tears came down her cheeks as she knew deep within her heart that today was the day she would greet Tunare in the afterlife.

Machene had made his way to Xerbius and had delivered the message. He was riding back when he caught a glimpse of Mysidia surrounded. She was no longer holding her own and was in grave danger in losing her life.

A scream tore from Machene’s lips as he charged his horse into the hoard around her. But it was no use, the numbers were far too thick and he could only watch pitifully as Mysidia was overrun. A large orc kicked Mysidia down and his hammer met the side of her head. Mysidia lay limp and motionless.

And as quick as it happened, it was over. “The queen is dead, long live the queen!”, an orc mocked. The rest of the details were inconsequential, not that Machene remembered much after that anyway.

The stories that were passed down stated that the Rydian army was run through and everyone had scattered to the four winds for their own survival. What wasn’t spoken of was the Beastlord named Belle Darkfury that scooped the barely breathing Mysidia and took her to safety to nurse her back to health.

And it seemed the cycle was about to repeat itself and Death came back to claim the life that was cheated from him 500 years ago.

Mysidia had a blade at her throat and she was using all of her strength to try and push the blade back, but the leader of the bandits was much stronger than her and it was taking all her strength just to keep herself alive. She had closed her eyes, waiting the fate that she knew was coming. She said a prayer in her native tongue.

What she thought was going to happen, didn’t. She heard a muffled cry from one of the bandits and both leader and she turned their attentions towards one of the other men in the bandit group. A very large barbarian slashed the human across the back of his knee and used his boot to stomp down the human in front of him. Using the human as a stepping stone, literally, the barbarian walked over the bleeding body and with a quick twist of his ankle, the barbarian snapped the human’s neck in half.

“Ah, no need to be prayin’ to Tunare now, Siddie. I dunna think she would be too ‘appy with ye tossin’ around frivolous prayers.”, Kryimsson said and grinned.

“Kryimsson!!”, Mysidia cried out and her heart filled with extreme joy. Her insides wanted to burst out with the elation she felt. Kryimsson took one swipe and cut one of the bandits in half. Then he pointed to the leader of the bandits and pointed to the blade that was at Mysidia’s throat. He moved his hand casually in a “shooing” manner to get the leader to back off.

The bandits had their hands full with the Warden. They knew full well that with a properly armored warrior, there was just no beating the two of them. They all dropped their weapons and ran off towards the hills.

Mysidia bolted and flew right into Kryimsson giving him a huge hug. Tears of happiness fell off her face as she sobbed. She held on to Kryimsson as though her life depended on it and just sobbed like a broken hearted child.

“Siddie, it’s alright. Calm down now.”, Kryimsson said in a soothing tone. He knelt down to look into Mysidia’s tear filled eyes.

“I..I thought you were dead…”, Mysidia said confused. “I…I saw your grave… I saw it! I did.”, she said between sobs.

“What ye saw was a headstone with me name on it. I have been to strange places, Siddie. Places most don’t know about. The Tribunal sent me on a pilgrimage for me to pay for past sins. When’a come back, the place had changed. I figured everyone else started over, why not me? They buried some other man in me place. New world, new life.”, Kryimsson said giving a brief explanation.

“Come on. Less’ get ye out of th’ heat. Yer face is beat red.”, Kryimsson said. Mysidia jumped into his arms again and he carried off towards the hill of the wounded.

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Old 04-06-2006, 04:22 PM   #22
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this story is great please keep it going
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Old 04-11-2006, 12:22 AM   #23
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Sorry this took so long. Work's been really hectic lately. I promise I'll try and get back on the ball with this. Enjoy.

It had been a few weeks since the Windstalker village had been pillaged. Mysidia tried to get them back on their feet as much as she could. All of them, Kryimsson, Mysidia, Austforbeer, and James, helped them rebuild their houses and farmlands. Mysidia began to help the women tend to the crops and she shared her Old World knowledge with the women in creating potions and salves to help with every day bruising and healing.

The village was no where near to where it was before, but Mysidia felt confident enough that she gave them a good head start in getting back to where they were.

That night, they stayed their last day in the village. And the villagers, being so thankful for all of their help, held a banquet in their honor. There was a huge roaring bonfire next to the lake and the families that could, and did, play instruments, all brought them out to the bonfire and began to play their music.

Kryimsson leaned against a fallen tree and watched the bonfire with heavy eyelids. James was passed out cold next to him and Aust calmly sat next to Kryimsson on the other side holding a small cup in front of him.

Mysidia looked over to her companions and recognized right away the symptoms. Kryimsson was back to brewing his Rydian Ale and it appeared James couldn’t hold his liquor.

She walked over to them and sat Indian style off to the side. “Kryimmie, is that your personal brew?”, Mysidia asked smiling.

“Aye.”, he said giving her a sloppy smile.

Mysidia held her tankard out and Kryimsson gave her a healthy pour. She took in the aroma and allowed the tangy liquid to pass her tongue. She sighed as she felt the familiar warmth creep down her throat and crash into the pit of her stomach. She licked her lips for a moment and her brow furled a bit, slightly confused.

“Something is different…”, she said moving her tongue within her mouth.

“Aye. It appears th’ bushes dunna have th’ same berries I used to use. I had ta improvise.”, Kryimsson slurred. He took a long swig from his tankard and chuckled to himself, obviously drunk.

“Methinks I broke ‘em.”, Kryimsson said looking at James. Mysidia looked at the ratonga, drooling onto the ground beneath him.

“He’s going to be hating life, tomorrow.”, Mysidia agreed. She looked over at Aust who took the sips from his cup slowly.

“Is something wrong, Aust?”, Mysidia asked.

“Yes. I can’t feel my tongue.”, Aust said looking into his cup, confused.

“Kryimsson does brew it a bit strong. Have you ever been drunk before?”, Mysidia asked, not sure of Austs drinking habits, if he had any at all.

“Yes, I have. However, not after three sips from my glass.”, Aust looked over at Mysidia, his eyes glazed over.

“Drink it slowly, then. It’s bad enough James is going to be hungover tomorrow morning. The last thing you want is for him to complain and you to be hurting.”, Mysidia said finishing up her tankard. Aust whistled as he watched Mysidia down her glass.

Kryimsson winked at Aust saying, “Siddie’s had more practice.”

Kryimsson, not wanting to start a scene, asked Mysidia in their native tongue questions as to what happened.

“Where’s Machene?”, he asked in Rydian.

“He’s alive, thank Tunare. He is in Thundering Stepps last I heard. Aust tells me I’m not strong enough to venture in there, yet so until I am, I wander out here.”, she replied.

When Kryimsson heard that Machene was still alive, he stopped using Rydian. He wasn’t sure how Mysidia would react if he brought up something as painful as Machene’s death.

“What happened, then, Siddie? Last I heard, ye were buried with Rydia in the Shatterin’.”, Kryimsson said, his eyes full of tears.

“If it weren’t for Belle, I would have been. I was surrounded by Orcs, the moment I went to the left flank. I never reached the Ranger troops in time.”, Mysidia said looking at her tankard.

”I was surrounded and brought down before Machene could get to me. I imagine he thinks the same as you thought.”, she paused for a moment. “From what was told to me, I slipped into a deep coma and just slept through everything. I woke up one morning to find myself in a strange room, in a strange bed, and my personal effects were gone. I expected to wake up on the warm grasses of the Plane of Earth with Tunare smiling at me. I was not prepared to find out that not only did She turn away from me, but that every god and goddess abandoned Norrath and fell silent to our prayers.”

“Who could have seen this comin’, Siddie?”, Kryimsson asked. For a brief moment, you could see a moment of lucidity flash across his eyes.

“I don’t think anyone could have seen this coming. Not even Mardock.”, Mysidia said sadly.

“Mm… Mardock th’ Wise?”, James slurred as he sat up. He wiped the drool off his mouth and swayed in his seat.

“He was last time I checked. You know him?”, Mysidia asked gravely serious.

“Yeah.”, James said and burped. “He lived in Castleview Hamlet for a while. I juss know of ‘em. I… I’m tired… I’m… I’m gonna sssleep now.”, James said and fell over to the other side. Small vibrating snoring sounds could be heard shortly after.

“I think I will join him. I’m not feeling so well.”, Aust said and decided to turn in for the night. Mysidia watched him stagger off towards his tent and collapse shortly before entering it.

“Now why did you go and ruin perfectly two decent adventurers like that, Kryimsson? You know what kind of a mess they’ll be in, in the morning.”, Mysidia said and shook her head.

“Bah.”, Kryimsson scowled playfully. “Hangovers are good for th’ soul, Siddie.”

“Then yours will have no problems staying on the good side of the afterlife, brother.”, Mysidia chided.

Kryimsson’s face grew serious and sober for a brief moment. He shook his head and looked down.

“Ye canna believe what’s beyond this place, Siddie. There are… strange places. Other realms…”, Kryimsson said.

“I knew something happened to you. What made you turn away from pickpocketing and make you pick up a sword and board? You were proud to say you were the best backstab this side of Halas…”, Mysidia said.

Kryimsson sat up straight and shifted uncomfortable in his seat. He mulled over his thoughts for a moment before speaking, and he decided to use the Rydian tongue again, so that it wouldn’t cause unwanted ears to give attention.

“After you fell and the Rydian army ran through, it didn’t take long for me to visit The Tribunal. They were less than happy with me.”, Kryimsson said in Rydian.

Mysidia laughed. “I’d imagine so. You were a cut throat and a thief, Kryimsson. I don’t imagine that’s looked highly with The Tribunal. You were insane to take them as your patron God.”, she replied in Rydian.

“I explained that to them, Siddie. I only killed those that deserved it and stole what I needed from them, and not a penny more. Mardock came and spoke on my behalf and presenting my case to them. It was looking bleak until Mardock came through. So, to make up for past sins, they sent me to another realm to finish quests and help others. I decided that my life as a rogue ended the moment I was summoned to them, so I chose the life of a warrior instead. When I came back, I came back to this…”, Kryimsson said and waved his hand around.

“I tried to find you, but alas… I’m a Bezerker, not a scout.”, Kryimsson said took another long swig.

Mysidia looked up sharply when she heard several people sing extremely loud and very off key. She looked as they all swayed sitting down. She looked over at Kryimsson and scowled at him.

“Kryimsson! You went and gave them your brew, too??”, Mysidia said cross.

“Aye, jus’ a wee bit.”, Kryimsson said, returning to the Common language. He grinned widely from ear to ear, causing his scarred eye to glisten in the firelight.

“Now the whole town is going to need a tonic. You can’t be handing out your brew, brother. We can take it, but most common folk can’t. And now, I’m going to be up early brewing the tonic so that the people will at least be able to function tomorrow. Who knows what ailments they’ll have in the morning. Really, you must think ahead before doing something like this. I…”, Mysidia said rambling on, scolding her brother.

Kryimsson popped the cork to a bottle and held out his hand. “’Nother round, sis?”

Mysidia stopped and held out her tankard. “Huh? Oh,…yeah.”, she said and nodded.

 

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Old 04-11-2006, 01:02 AM   #24
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*holds out his tankard for some as well*
 
(No worries, I've survived SCA brewfests. If you have to ask what's in it, you cant handle drinking it...)
 
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Old 04-11-2006, 02:29 AM   #25
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Ekuth wrote:
*holds out his tankard for some as well*
 
(No worries, I've survived SCA brewfests. If you have to ask what's in it, you cant handle drinking it...)
 

*Coughs* Pennsic *Coughs*
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Old 04-11-2006, 02:51 AM   #26
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[Removed for Content]... got it in one! :smileywink:
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Old 04-13-2006, 12:24 AM   #27
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It had been a couple of days out from Windstalker Village. Austforbeer had told Mysidia he had to return home with the pelts they had collected so that he could get them tanned and on the market before the first frost had settled into Antonica. He left her in the capable hands of Kryimsson and James.

Mysidia hated to see Aust go, but she knew that he had a family to take care of and she probably kept him a little too long away from his tailoring duties anyway. They parted ways and Kryimsson, Mysidia, and James continued down the path.

The passed The Coven forest and rode quietly up the path ahead of them. Kryimsson looked at the bears and wolves in the distance with a worry on his face. Mysidia looked over at him and shook her head.

“Don’t worry about them. So long as James carries that torch, they’ll stay their distance. Nature may have gone awry, but basic survival instinct still causes fear of fire in animals.”, Mysidia said looking out into the darkness.

The air hung heavy, as if something foreboding lie waiting up ahead. There was a snap of cold that clung to the moisture in the air and Mysidia found herself pulling her cloak around her, tighter.

Since her near run in with death at Windstalker, she had been giving her magical studies a bit more attention. She had been trying to remember her spells of yesteryear, hoping that one of them carried over into this new life. She could conjure fire, strike down foes with an ice bolt, freeze enemies, and even call the power of earth to wrap vines around their ankles. Everything else, was a complete and new mystery with her.

She didn’t count “wolf form”. She had a feeling that, that particular ability would never leave her, no matter how mad things have gotten. Wolves may have forsaken her, but she would never give up her affinity for them.

In riding down the path, Mysidia began to concentrate at her hand, hoping to bring forth barbs, like she once did many years ago. She snapped her fingers, trying to feel the tiny spines prickle up on her fingers, but no.

She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Instead of trying to “align” with the power that resided in earth, she decided to go with the flow of the chaos, hoping that this would “unlock” the spells she once could do.

Chaos is a strange and powerful thing. Delve into it too much, and it will consume you. Stand apart from it and you will never understand its true meaning. Chaos brings change in some form or another. Be apart from that and you will always remain static. And stasis in Nature means extinction.

Mysidia remembered those studies as a child. She remembered the Druidic Clan she resided with while Mardock went to find out if the Iksar was looking for her, then. Mardock was as much a father to her as anyone else could be. When her mother gave her to Mardock for him to raise, he had to take on the fatherly role.

Mysidia wasn’t too much younger then. She was alive and could remember vividly her mother and father being forced over a stone altar and watched horrifically as their hearts were cut out and thrown into fiery cauldrons. The Iksar were savage then. They worshipped savage gods that had savage appetites.

To keep Mysidia safe, Mardock had a powerful enchanter place a mind block on her, to block those memories out as well as a few other vital tidbits. Mysidia followed Mardock blindly for years before the block finally broke. She was never angry at him, however. She understood why he did what he thought he had to do. Some memories you really don’t ever want to keep and some information is simply too dangerous to know.

Mardock had brought her to the Tribal Elder, Belle Darkfury. Mysidia had known about the Vah’Shir, but never had seen one until then. She looked up at the tall graceful looking cat woman and smiled. Belle had taken her under her wing to teach her the ways of the Druid and to polish her developing fighting skills.

“Each tree, each rock, even the blades of grass, they all tell a story.”, Belle used to say. “You simply have to “listen” to it to hear them. Try again.”

“It’s so hard, Elder Belle. I can’t seem to grasp the energy, like you said.”, young Mysidia said.

“You have been blessed by Tunare, child. Feel that energy within you and use it to fit into the energy around you. It is the ebb and flow I speak of. The rhythm of all life.”, Belle said as they both sat on a grassy hill overlooking a beautiful valley. The wind gently ran its invisible hand over the tall grass, causing it to sway and fold under its touch.

“How is it you know so much about this? You are a Beastlord.”, Mysidia asked confused.

“My mother was a Druid and I understand the energy that you use. I simply feel it in the beasts around you. You feel it in all life. You have to listen to the heartbeat of Nature. Feel her blood flow through you.”, Belle said looking down at Mysidia.

Mysidia closed her eyes and concentrated. She began to feel her own energy ripple on the waves of nature around her. She didn’t fight the alignment, she simply blanketed hers over it. And for a moment, the alignment cradled her.

She heard everything! The ants whispered. The trees softly giggled and sang as the wind tickled their branches. The birds joined in a beautiful chorus. Belle was right. Every living creature had a story to tell, if you listened hard enough.

Now Mysidia had to align with a different kind of energy within Nature. Nature can be benevolent but you cannot have one extreme without having another. Nature is based on balance. Disrupting the balance causes chaos which forces change. Mysidia had to keep herself centered while trying to find that even flowing rhythm deep within the chaos.

And for a split second, she felt her inner soul move to the same dance that she was so familiar with. As if deep, underneath all the chaos from The Shattering, Nature was waiting to right the wrongs and become whole again.

“Mysidia!”, she heard James’ voice yell. She opened her eyes and released her mind from her meditative work. When she did, she felt her body pull ahead of her and a hue of red light surrounded the three of them. An astral lion roar could be heard in the air around them and Mysidia flashed around confused.

“What did ye do, Siddie?”, Kryimsson asked.

“I’m… not sure…”, Mysidia looked at herself, holding her hands out in front of her.

“I feel..different.”, Kryimsson said looking at himself. “Like I could take on a whole troop of… somethin’…and not be hurt.”

“You just may get your chance, there, big guy.”, James said and pointed into the distance.

Mysidia recognized the smell immediately. Death. And from the closeness of it, undead were nearly on top of them. She could hear the faint sound of bone hitting stone in a walking pattern.

Mysidia grunted. “Skeletons.”

“We’re close to Stormhold. It doesn’t surprise me.”, James said looking out. He took the torch and threw it into the distance, off to his side.

“What ye go do tha’ for, rat? I canna see!”, Kryimsson exclaimed.

James nudged his horse over to Kryimsson and waved his small paw like hand over Kryimsson’s eyes. Kryimsson blinked and tiny orbs of light danced around them for a few moments before disappearing.

“Now you can.”, James said.

“Sister, this could get messy.”, Kryimsson said dismounting his war horse.

“With you, it always does.”, Mysidia said dismounting hers. James followed suit.

With the horses at a safe distance, Mysidia shadowed herself into wolf form. Her image shimmered for a few moments before four paws and fluffy tail took her place. Her violet eyes scanned the darkness ahead of her to easily see a small troop of undead milling around in the distance.

“We’re in for quite a fight”, Mysidia’s voice said into both of their heads. One of the tricks she made it mandatory to learn, was how to communicate to those around her while in wolf form. The visit to Oracle Tower proved to be more than useful and did a great deal more than simply teach an eager pupil of her history rich past.

A small leather bound book, hidden back in one of their book shelves provided Mysidia with just the instruction she needed in order to accomplish this task. Unfortunately, it took a great deal of effort and she found herself drained of her energy if she continued to use it. She decided that short sentences would be the best option at that point, until she found a better method of communication.

“How many do ye see, Siddie?”, Kryimsson asked trying to adjust to the spell placed on his eyesight.

“Twenty. Maybe more.”, Mysidia echoed in his mind.

“Ye best stay back, rat. I dunna think th’ cloak yer wearin’ gives ye much support against those undeaddies.”, Kryimsson muttered.

James took a defensive stance behind Mysidia. Kryimsson adjusted his head from side to side to crack his neck and Mysidia lowered her wolven head, teeth bare.

Undead are funny creatures. They all seem to be off their own world until you are close enough for them to sense your presence. It took the skeletons until the three of them got within 20 feet for all of them to turn their heads at once.

Kryimsson wasted no time in jumping in and he swung his two handed sword over his head, toppling one of the skeletons to the ground. All of the skeletons attention was on the three of them, now, and an ear piercing shrill exited their skinless skulls in a demonic unison.

James began to blast his spells away, causing several to catch fire and a few more to have several bones crack.

Kryimsson jumped back and kicked one into the ribcage, causing it to fall back. He placed his sword behind him to catch the skeleton from hitting his back. He whirlwinded around him slicing through dry bone, but it did little to deter the swarm of undead. They feel no pain, so the shock to their system was non existent.

Mysidia was busy on her own, weaving spells of healing with those of damage. When she was done with one, she was starting on the casting of another. She was starting to see herself become overwhelmed.

“Sis, if ye got a fancy trick in yer pocket, I sure could use th’ help o’ here.”, Kryimsson said with his voice serious.

Mysidia looked over and saw the swarms of undead continue on their relentless path to make the three of them fresh converts.

“Get close”, Mysidia echoed in their heads. The two of them stayed close to Mysidia’s side as she lowered her head and concentrated with her violet eyes shut. She began to align herself with the chaos of the land, like she had done before. This time, she forced her energy on the plants around her and hoped they would comply.

Her entire wolven body shimmered with a brilliant green light. Hundreds of tiny green orbs hovered around her body and began to meld with her fur, attaching themselves to her body. When the last few orbs became part of the green light armor she had, she lifted her muzzle to the sky and howled out as loud as she could. Kryimsson and James covered their ears at the ear drum piercing sound.

Huge thick vines shot up out of the ground and skyrocketed towards the stars above them. The moment the vines got their “Breath” of fresh air, the swooped down towards the skeletons and began to quickly weave themselves between the skeletons’ legs. The skeletons, not realizing what was going on, tried to walk forward, but found themselves tied to the ground, literally. A few of them reached down to use their skeleton fingers to try and pry themselves from the overgrown vegetation, but it was no use. Mysidia had all of them exactly where she wanted them. Stuck and frozen for them to pick off.

Kryimsson and James stared at her for a moment and then stared at the ground where the vines shot up.

“Impressive.”, James noted.

“Neat trick.”, Kryimsson agreed.

“It’s not easy keeping this up, gentlemen.”, Mysidia noted and her entire body, still cased in green light, shuddered under the pressure of holding the spell. Wolves can’t sweat like humans can and had she been in her humanoid form, sweat would have been beading down her brow. Instead, thin lines of transparent drool dripped generously from her growling muzzle.

Kryimsson swung his sword up ready to fight and James raised his paw hands above his head, summoning a huge group of lightening bolts to shoot at the skeletons around them. Several of them turned to dust and several more were in a mangled enough position for Kryimsson to finish them off with little effort.

When the last of the skeletons were defeated, Kryimsson went around collecting whatever treasure that dropped and Mysidia fell back on her haunches, lowering her head with her ears down, and panting.

James looked at Mysidia and placed a hand on her head. “You did well, Mysidia. I think you are getting the hang of it. Take a few minutes to catch your breath. I imagine that was quite a feat for you.”

With Mysidia still weakened, she slowly lifted her head and watched Kryimsson pick up the spare coins that were littered about. James watched him for a few moments and raised an eyebrow.

“Old habits die hard?”, James noted sarcastically.

Kryimsson shrugged. “We all have our burdens to bear.”
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Old 04-13-2006, 01:27 AM   #28
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*claps*  Nicely done.  You give a good description of what (in my AD&D days) would have called True Nuetral... 

And nice!  Little girl forced to watch as her parents are sacrificed in front of her eyes... hehehee:smileywink:

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Old 04-17-2006, 11:57 PM   #29
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Raevenwolf Bloodfang was a sneaky and calculating Swashbuckler. Ask her of her profession, however, and she’d cough uncomfortably and mumble out the word “Merchant”, then quickly carry on her way.

Truth be told, she was a lucrative pirate back in her day. She was mighty Captain Wolf of the Siren, and she was extremely proud of her ship. You see, the crew, was entirely made of women. In her mind, a woman can do a job as well as a man. She understood that men were more physically apt at certain things, but stealing? A woman could be better at this than men. Flash a smile, hike up a skirt, laugh at all their jokes and before you know it, you have their pouch of coins in your hands.

She was good at what she did and she lived a rather rich life. But like with most things in Norrath now, her ship wandered too far to Zek and before she knew it, it was completely overrun by Orcs. She watched with a heavy heart, her ship burning on the sea in front of her on the beaches of Zek. As a sore reminder, she carries a scar on her left cheek.

Other than her facial reminder, she was rather pretty for a pirate. She had red hair that she always kept back and piercing blue eyes. She was half elf. Her mother was an Elvish Druid and her father was a Dwarven blacksmith. It would explain her foul mouth and short temper as well as her height..and her distinct affinity for deep rich ale.

The Bloodfang family lived in a secluded haven deep within the mountains of what is now Thundering Stepps. With The Shattering, her village fled for safety within the mountains. The Dwarves accepted her for a time. They realized it was far better to be alive than to keep up a petty squabble between the Elves and Dwarves.

Raevenwolf grew up as other Dwarves did. She learned the blacksmithing trade and even picked up a few wood working skills from the neighbors around her. Her mother’s Druidic arts, however, she had no interest in. Having a skill with a blade pulled her fancy more and before anyone knew it, she was deadly with duel handed fighting.

Like with all children growing up, getting away with anything they could always seemed to be on Raevenwolf’s To Do List for the day and one way or another, her mother would have to scold her for whatever she took from whomever’s path she crossed.

Eventually, her village sent her out to hunt and capture what she could. One day, she met a human Captain bringing over refugees from a near by island. When she saw his ship pull in, she knew then, that a life on the seas was where she wanted to be. And nothing was going to stop her.

She built The Siren with her own two hands and with the guidance of her neighbor woodworkers. They would give her suggestions of how to do something, but they let her finish her task. As long as her hands were busy, she wasn’t getting into trouble of stealing anything. And for a while, this satisfied everyone in the village.

The time came where The Siren was finished and Raevenwolf was determined to set out on her own. With the money she stole off of travelers she came across, she hired herself a crew and off they went. It took them seven days to sail out of the caves they were in. The river they were on narrowed in various places and it made it hard to maneuver the ship.

That was twenty some seasons ago. Raevenwolf was determined to build a bigger and better ship and resurrect the spirit of The Siren once more. She needed help to do so..and money.

Raeven rarely snubbed her nose at Fate. She knew that things happened for a reason and when a golden opportunity fell on your lap, you took it! She never thought, however, that the opportunity would present itself in a Barbarian named Machene.

The moment she met Machene, she liked him. He never said much but always finished the job, and in some cases, record time. She would hire Machene to go out and collect certain things that Raeven could mark up in price at the market. He never asked what they were for and in turn, she never asked about how he got them. It worked out for everyone.

When things were secure enough in her shop, she decided to head out with Machene and join him in hunting down the curiosities she sent him out for. This started the long discussions she used to have with him.

“You never follow me on a job, Raeven.”, he muttered.

“Tha’s ‘cause I ne’er had th’ time to.”, Raevenwolf said. When she spoke, she spoke with a rich Dwarven accent, obviously proof of where she lived. And in looking at her, it was strange to see a Half Elf with such a distinct dialect. It was part of her character, however. She never bothered to try and change it and Machene didn’t really care.

“Why this one?”, Machene asked boarding a ship.

“Why not?”, Raeven asked and winked. “I dunna make ye nervous, do I?”, she chided.

“Hardly. I just don’t like having people looking over my shoulder when I work.”, Machene said.

And it came to pass that this particular hunting mission, several Shamans expressed their need for griffon feathers. So, like usual, Raeven and Machene negotiated his fee.

“Are you serious? I’ll be lucky if I can make rent this month with that amount.”, Machene said cross.

“Yer rent is four times lo’er tha’ that, Machene. What ye do with the rest o’ th’ money is not me problem.”, Raeven said raising an eyebrow. “An’ besides, wha’ is it ye do with all tha’ money? I dunna see ye at th’ tavern as much any more.”

Machene grunted but didn’t reply at first. He twisted the ring he had on his left hand and said. “Saving for a trip.”

Raeven watched him for a few moments while Machene mulled over his ring. She guessed it was a wedding band but Machene made no mention of a wife. She knew better than to ask so she left the topic alone.

They set sail for Thundering Stepps and reached the salt blasted docks a few days later. The wood creaked under the armored boots of Machene. Seagulls shrilled in the crisp sea air and Raevenwolf walked off the ship and took in a deep breath, catching the scent of salt and fermented seaweed.

“I miss this.”, she said with a large smile on her face.

Machene walked a few steps and placed his large hand on his stomach. He had a green tinge to his face as he looked at the short red headed woman.

“You’re cruel.”, he managed to get out.

“I told ye. Ye shouldn’t drink tha’ much on a choppy sea. Winter is a cruel wife for a sailor.”, Raeven observed.

“But the beer was good.”, Machene said pleading his case.

Raeven burped rather loud and placed a fist to her chest and held a satisfied smirk. “Aye. ‘Twas.”

Machene looked up into the sun beaten sky and muttered something as he dug through his pack. He took out a crude container and screwed off the top. A thick bleached white substance clung to the walls of the container and Machene took off his gauntlet and smeared some on his hand. Raeven watched curiously as the huge bald man slathered up his head with the white cream.

“Wha’ in Cazic-Thule’s name are ye doin’ to yer head?”, Raeven asked.

“Keeps me from getting sunburn. Here.”, he said handing her the jar. “You might want to use some, yourself. Fair skin and sun don’t exactly mix very well. And once that sun gets a hold of your skin, your armor is going to become extremely uncomfortable.”

Raeven took a hold of the jar and gave it a sniff. She wrinkled her nose and snorted as the scent of old oil wafted into her nostrils.

“No thanks.”, she said handing it back. Machene laughed.

“Suit yourself.”, he said putting it back into a bag of his.

They walked all day to get to the griffon fields. Machene had remembered this place to be flat lands that received entirely too much rain. Now the lands held the scorch marks of Luclin and craters left in it’s angry wake. But Nature flourishes no matter what and Life always manages to find a way. It continues to go on, whether you’re ready to or not and where there were craters and scorch marks, grasses began to dot on the barren earth.

Centaurs kept to themselves due to repeated hunting from the humans. Their trust for bipedal species lessened greatly and learned to simply become isolationists. Still, you could catch a few of them scampering to make a kill to bring home to their families.

And up in the sky were the large beasts which Machene was paid to hunt. Their heart stopping screeches were heard for miles around and their unmistakable sound of large feathers flapping echoed off the rocky mountains around them.

Machene looked at the weapons Raeven had on her and he went into his pack and handed her two small one handed swords.

“Here.”, he said giving them to her. “You’re better off using these.”

“Wha? Where’s th’ merchant we’re goin’ to steal th’ feathers from?”, Raeven asked looking around.

“We’re not.”, Machene said securing his sword to his back. He paused for a moment and looked down at the tiny woman. “Did it ever occur to you that I actually obtain your goods through legal means?”

Raevenwolf paused for a moment and looked up at Machene confused. Machene shook his head and grabbed his bow and arrows. He knocked one in the bow and pulled back, taking aim on a huge griffawn in front of him. The large beast hovered in the air having its attention turned to a lioness on the ground.

“Are you ready?”, Machene asked not taking his attention off the flying beast.

“Aye.”, Raeven said softly, unsheathing her swords.

Machene let lose the arrow that found its mark square in the beast’s shoulder. The large flying animal screamed as it angrily looked right at Machene. Swooping in and screeching to the sky, it landed with a mighty jolt to the ground, causing a few vibrations. A large gust of wind kicked up dust and debris and Raeven found herself holding up her arm to block any from getting in her eyes.

Machene unsheathed his two handed sword and charged the large hybrid, making sure he stay clear out of the way of the beast’s large beak. The beast’s body was large and muscular and carried the deadly claws of the lion that made up half of its linage. A fury of feathered paws swatted at Machene as he tried to take a swipe at it with his sword.

Raevenwolf crept along the back of the beast and took no time in burying her two swords deep within the back haunches of the griffawn. The animal screamed and flashed its head around to see what caused it such pain. Raeven cursed and darted out of its eyesight.

“Wait until I get its attention before you go and [Removed for Content] it off!”, Machene yelled. He slashed down and caught the side of the griffawn’s neck. A large steady stream of red blood gurgled out of the fresh wound and the beast turned his head and swiped at the Barbarian with its paw.

Sparks shot out as the claw scraped down the front of his armor. Machene tried to jump back quickly but was too slow in reaction. He looked down and looked at the large dent where the claw was. He raised an eyebrow and considered his luck. That could have been his chest. He made a mental note to thank the dwarf that made him the chest piece weeks earlier.

Raeven took a running jump and leaped effortlessly on the back of the animal and with her swords shinning in the afternoon sun, she drove them deep into the thick muscled back of the griffawn. The beast swung its body to the side and Raeven yelled as she felt herself being tossed to the ground. She fell off and smacked her backside on the unforgiving earth beneath them. She grunted as she felt the fresh bruise cover her lower back. And for a moment, the pain caused her eyes to blur.

Machene drove up with his sword, causing a quarter of it to be driven into the lower jaw of the beak. And he quickly unsheathed a dagger from his belt and drove it deeply into the throat of it in a quick and fluid motion. The bird beast screeched, lifting its head and calling out to the sky. Then it swooped its head down and snapped shut at Machene’s head.

Machene narrowly missed having his head snipped off, but felt the tip of the beak cut the back of his head. He could feel the blood trickle the back of his neck and stick to his armor as he moved. He couldn’t see the gash, but he knew it was big enough to cause him great discomfort.

He jumped and grabbed his sword, slashing down as he landed. A huge wound sliced down towards the chest area of the hybrid and blood poured out, soaking the ground beneath them.

Cursing, he placed his gauntleted hand on the back of his head and pulled it to his face to have a look. A large red stain covered his hand and he scowled for a moment. He would live to see another day, but he was dreading the headache that would ensue this incident.

Just as the griffawn was about to come about Machene again, Raeven jumped up on its back once again, and swiped her swords up. She quickly plunged both of them into the neck bone and felt the animal stiffen at the sudden paralysis its body was in.

In a thunderous stumble, the beast collapsed to the ground causing yet another vibration in the earth underneath them. Machene took his sword and swung it up, having the tip point at the ground and drove it deep into the throat of the beast. Death quickly came to the suffering animal.

Raeven sheathed her swords and walked down the head and beak of the griffawn and landed right in front of Machene.

“Tha’ was intense.”, she amused and a wild fire caught her blue eyes.

“I take it you approve.”, he said grinning. He took his sword out and a final spray of blood splashing against his armor.

“Who knew legal could be so much fun?”, Raeven said grinning wildly.

Machene gathered the feathers that Raeven requested and they began to make their way towards the village for the night.

The moment they reached the village, Machene made camp and threw up his tent. He spent the last hour before bed cleaning his armor and examining the damage he took during the day. He took out yet another salve and applied it generously to the wound he took on the back of the head.

“Yer an odd Barbarian.”, Raeven noticed as she gingerly took off her armor. She frowned as she saw the distinct red mark of sunburn on her arms and hands.

“What makes you think that?”, he said wiping the blood off his armor.

“Yer a Berserker and yet ye ‘ave more salves an’ potions than most Shaman’s I know.”, Raeven said as she eyed his pack.

“A few tricks I picked up.”, Machene said in a tone that he didn’t want to explain anything further.

“Knowledge like tha’ canna make ye a lot of money, Mach.”, Raeven said yawning.

“Money means little in the grand scheme of things, Raeven. It’s nothing but a distraction.”, Machene started to explain, but Raeven was already dead asleep.

Machene laid his head down on his pillow and looked down at his ring that seemed to gleam in the firelight from the campfire. He looked up into the night sky and gazed at the fragmented Luclin that shone its eerie shattered light. For a brief moment, he saw two familiar violet eyes looking back at him and he pictured the smile that went with it. Then he heard Pergy’s words…

“Find your purpose.”

He closed his eyes and fell asleep.
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Old 04-18-2006, 01:07 AM   #30
Ekuthh

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Nice!

Should be a... passionate.. reunion. :smileywink:

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