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Old 12-09-2006, 03:06 AM   #1
valkry

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Hate and Lies

"Feel the Hate. Hate will sustain you.”

My mother told my little sister and I, over and over since we settled in Freeport. Not at unusual advice for a Ter’Dal to give her offspring, but my mother lied. I don’t know if she lied to us, hoping to protect us, teaching us to sound like the other Ter’Dal, or if she lied to herself as well, hoping if she repeated it often enough, her words would come true.

I didn’t find out she lied for many years. Then again, everyone in Freeport lies about everything. Never tell the truth, even if truth couldn’t possibly hurt you...always take the chance to practice your lies. The ability to lie ‘truthfully’ is life and death here. We are expected as citizens to follow the Overlord’s example, but few can meet that standard of ruthlessness. We all have something we care for too much, something that must be kept secret, kept safe. We protect that part of our spirit, lying, stealing, killing, even twisting what we hold most dear…just to keep it safe from the Overlord’s eyes. True evil, or true good, are absolutes, impossible for the average person to obtain, so the average Freeporter lies like they breath, without thought, but as if your life depends on it.

My mother told me other things, but I didn’t understand what she really told me till much later. She would tell us “First, check the wind.” When I was a Militia recruit, I thought I understood. I thought she was giving me tactical advice she had learned from my father, but I finally realized that she was telling me to understand the politics, the emotions, mental pitfalls of every situation. My mother was a warrior, same as my father, but she fought with her words and her mind. If people saw what they expected, they would often fail to see that one thing that could truly harm you.

So we learned to build layers of lies. My sister and I keep the lies that my mother gave us, the lies she told to protect her babies. This is our inheritance from her. All in all, it is a good legacy, she kept us safe in a world gone mad, found us a place where we could grow up. That, and my aunt’s tunic have allowed me to keep safe my weakness….my family. My real family, not the lies and half-truths, the truths barrowed from another family, the truths never spoken.

My father. Or should I start with myself? The lies are so intertwined, I am not sure which layer to deconstruct first. If I pull a metaphorical thread, will I be able to ease it free, untangling other threads, or will I just make a knotted mess of the tale?

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Old 12-09-2006, 06:53 AM   #2
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Mwhahahahaha!
 
Now I get to lurk and pick at details!
 
Mwhahahahahahhahahaha!
 
:smileywink:
 
Good start.  Hope it's as dark as you forebode.
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Old 12-09-2006, 10:02 PM   #3
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Truth:

Maybe I will start with what I know is true. My name is Zazha Celestine. I am a trooper in the Freeport Militia, fighter-light armour. For Overlord’s taxation, I am the head of my household. My parents are both dead. My mother, Ja’Dee, was a caster who died shortly after I completed boot camp. She had birthed me in the days after the moon exploded, I gather I was unripe, but came because of the chaos. My father was on the moon. He was using the spires to travel from the mainland to Faydark, so he could be with my mother at my birthing. He never made it and I was early. My mama once said she could feel when he died, but she never talked much about men.

The lies must have started right at my birth. My mother was an intelligence agent – a spy if you prefer. She was good at what she did. I am still not completely sure what mission she was on. It is possible she was working so many sides; she actually had 3-4 completely different and conflicting missions at one time. You must admit, sending a woman, noticeably with child, would be a good distraction for a mission. She said that the mission had run too long; she should have had time to get back to the Antonica before I was due.

Can you imagine what she went through? Alone in unsafe territory, knowing that your handler, your lover has just died. Then when the first belly cramps start, you pray to any god that will listen to make the baby wait, you talk to your child, begging for a day, even a few hours, just time to find someplace safe for the two of you. You try to decide if you are safe asking for help, but realize that your spells and illusions have a good chance to fail when the pain hits, and you would be unable to explain away the questions your rescuers would have. So you find a small cave away from people, light a fire to ward the stray animals, and deliver your own child.

She told me later that we stayed a few days in the cave. As soon as she could feel the mana growing in her, she would cast yet another illusion. My infant eyes didn’t work very well, but like all babes, I knew what “Mom” smelled like. My first lesson, after how to feed, was to learn that appearances had little meaning. She said I started the habit of taking a little sniff whenever I first meet someone, in that cave. She would set me down, leave the cave, change herself to a Koada’Dal, to a Troll, to anything she could think of, and walk back into the cave. As she picked me up, I would look at her with wide baby eyes, take a big sniff of the air, giggle and snuggle up to her. “Check the wind, Zazha, check the wind.”

Once she knew I wouldn’t accidentally betray her, she altered herself to look like a Koada’Dal, packed up her belongings, made a sling to carry me in, and started walking. Eventually meeting other refugees heading to Butcherblock. As more and more joined the  line of the displaced, she stopped even having to lie about me. She had explained the very bluish infant as the result of being a slave from Crushbone. See give enough truth, and people will believe that my mother was  [Removed for Content] by a Tier’Dal. They won’t bother to notice that my ears are too round for me to be the child of two elvish races.

 


Ekuth wrote:
Now I get to lurk and pick at details!
 
Think you might have wanted a different word choice there, I was never much of a passive 'lurker.' Honestly, I really was more of an active 'stalker' type. Now if you are going to offer up muffin-sacrifices then feel free to lurk/stalk away.
As for the picking...didn't your mother ever tell you, "If you pick at that, it will NEVER get better?"
 
Good start.  Hope it's as dark as you forebode.
 
Actually, I don't think it will be quite dark enough for you. You are a 80%-pure-organic-European-dark-chocolate kind of dark. I think I'm more of the good-ole-American-Hershey's-milk-chocolate dark. My tale might be a bit more morally ambivelant, butI am hoping that you will be interested enough in your mysterious women groupies to keep reading.


 

Message Edited by valkry18 on 12-13-2006 02:13 PM

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Old 12-12-2006, 04:31 AM   #4
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Entry to Freeport:

By the time the three of us finally got to Freeport, I was toddling and speaking. So my mother had been coaching me what to say when we got to the city.

“The THREE of us?” Yes, I know, it was just Mama and I, but now is not the place to tell how I got a baby sister on the refugee trail. Remember what I said earlier about undoing knots? Sometimes you must stop, and come at it from a different side, tease loose a different thread, so you don’t draw the knot tighter. This is such a place, be patient, I will explain my sister’s existence, but not at this time. Now where was I?

By the time the three of us finally got to Freeport, I was toddling and speaking. So my mother had been coaching me what to say when we got to the city. I was able to tell anyone who asked my name, if asked, but I was to hide in my mother’s skirt, if asked any more. I understand now, that my family name would open certain doors for us, but might close more, if anyone looked too closely at my sire’s history.

This is why my mother had us camp just outside the city wards before we finally entered Freeport. If anyone bothered to ask if we needed help, she would just plead exhaustion, that we were just going to camp for the night, then push on to the city in the morn. Women sometimes looked with understand at us, men often looked relieved that they didn’t have to assist some wench with two little brats.

Rumors made it back from the city, and my mother lived for rumors. She knew before we entered the city that the Overlord was in power, that the Temple of Marr had been destroyed, and that the city’s personality was attracting the most ruthless of folks. It was not unusual to see Tier’Dal or even Ogres and Trolls walking the streets.

I always found it odd how Mom would describe “Life Before.” When she explained that she often traveled in Freeport the guise of a Human, just to avoid attention, or prevent comments by strangers when she was out with “Him”…my father, but never referred to by name. She described a large Tier’Dal city, and slightly smaller towns the Ogres and Trolls called home, even there the races mixed only slightly. Those “Evil Races” were rarely seen in Freeport in the light of day.

Anyway, Mom as always, checked the wind first, then we went to the city. When it came our turn to approach the guards processing the refugees, it was a Tier’Dal female who called out “Next!” We approached her table, “Name.”

 My mother slightly pushed me forward, I proudly said “Zazha Celestine” in a clear voice, and waited, as a small child will, with the innocent belief that everyone in the world is nice.

The guard looked up, straight in my face, and made a small snort of disgust. She then looked up at my mother, “This is yours?”

“Yes, I’m Ja’Dee Celestine. Her father & I are citizens of Freeport.”

“Where is the father? Let me see the other one, what is its name?”

My mother pulled the wraps back from the baby, revealing a sleeping blue face and downy white wisps of hair. “Oopzofia Celestine. We were separated, I had hope he made it back here to our home.” My mother gave an address. I’m sure I most have aided my mother’s tale by looking lost and confused for the guard. Why would my mother act like my father was alive and give Zoffie the wrong last name?

“Unless he was here to guard the house, I doubt anything is left, that ward is now home to Gnomes and Rats.”

“Please, My sister-in-law was a member of the Militia, Rolyes Celestine. Is there any way to contact her or her husband Dolelen?”

“Ma’am, she’s not on the current roster of the garrison.” Even I could see that the nasty woman got a bit nicer after Mom mentioned my aunt. “I’m sorry. If it can be proven that your sister-in-law is one of the dead, and that you are the legal heir, you can see if she had any belongings stored in the Militia House. Maybe there is something there that will be of use to you.”

She handed my mother a slip of foolscap with an address, “Look, I should assign you quarters in Longshadow Alley, but it might be better to put you in Beggers Court. Longshadow is home to the Tier’Dal refugees. The Human and partial Elves live in Beggers. If your man is alive, you’ll find him there. If not…well, the baby could pass, but Beggers is probably safer for her,” pointing at me. “She takes after him in looks, let’s hope she takes after him is size, she’ll probably need to. Next!”

Message Edited by valkry18 on 12-13-2006 02:14 PM

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Old 12-14-2006, 03:12 AM   #5
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Begger's Court:

“Zazha, baby, hold STILL. Do you want me to make it worse? Zoffie! Stop playing with that candle and bring it over here to Mama, then get me some more water from the bucket.”

I was laying on our table, pulled up next to the fireplace. Mom was trying to clean the wound on my face. “You are very lucky I paid attention to Rolyes when she talked about tailoring. The men just laughed about her crafting habit, but that girl never met a craftskill she didn’t love. I think she almost had the McManus Clan talked into adopting her, just so she could learn how to brew Shamanic potions.” Mom was rambling, but I don’t think she was really upset. I think it was to interest me in tales of the past, so I wouldn’t squirm so much. Not that my cheek really hurt yet, but I was so angry that I had trouble laying still.

The guard at the refugee indoc stations was correct. I needed every bit of my size, for I was always in a scuffle. It started when I comparable in age to a Human of five years. Little children try to be independent, try to be social, and but little children are also very cruel in an innocent sort of way. I was teased, by the Human kids, about being mixed-blood. I was teased that my father left my mother, even though most of the “families" in the Court were lucky to have one adult who even noticed the children. I was teased because my mother and sister were Tier’Dal and should have lived in another ward. I eventually was physically tormented, again usually the Humans-since they were bigger; and I learned to fight back. I didn’t really care what they said about me, or even my father, who was no more real to me then a favorite story character; but I couldn’t let them hurt my lil’ sis or say anything against my mother. If I even thought one of the bigger kids was going to bother my sister, I made sure they decided it was more important to punish me.

This incident was the worst, so far. I now appeared to be seven or eight. I had been caught by a gang of ten to twelve year old Human kids. I tried to get past the gauntlet they had set up along the stairs from the north court to the south court, but they had me trapped. I knew I couldn’t jump over the side of the stairs, so I had to try to get past them. If I made it past, I could out run them and get into our room. I almost made it down, with just a few bruises, when one of the older boys got mad that I was still trying to escape. He caught me with a stiff arm shove as I tried to pass him, and I slammed into the wall splitting my face open along the left cheek. I couldn’t tell if I screamed from pain or to express my tiny impotent rage at being abused again, but it was loud and shrill enough that a passing guard bother to stop to investigate. My attackers scattered.

When my mother opened the door to our room, she saw a uniformed Militiaman, then me…blood streaming down my face, ruining my one shirt. I honestly think my mother paled at the sight of the sentry, instead of my injury, but the guard assumed it was my wound. He explained that I had been attacked by local bullies. “I wasn’t able to see which children were in the group that beat her, and if I did…it would be very hard to charge them, since I didn’t actually see the assault.” My mother tried cleaning my face with a cloth, to see how injured I was, as the Human continued, “And honestly, Ma’am, if one of them was punished…I imagine the rest would make life even harder for your girl. She’s a trooper, this one. If she can stick it out a bit longer, I suspect they’ll get tired of her. She walks around the courts tomorrow, with her head up, uncowed, and that scar showing…they decide she’s not worth the effort.” My mother thanked the Trooper as he left, then set to work treating my wound.

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Old 12-21-2006, 02:50 PM   #6
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Nice one :smileyhappy:

I like the level of detail that you are throwing into the story, well done. I also like the perpective of where you are coming from. A childs point of view is often missed and can show why they are who they are. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more from you. Oh and thank you for the story so far :smileyhappy:

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Old 12-21-2006, 08:47 PM   #7
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Thank you, I was worried that it seemed a bit lacking in the descriptive details, but I didn't think it worked to explain too much, as most of the story so far is her repeating stories her mom has told her. The daily detail should increase now that we are getting to events she can partially remember (and I get back into the practice of writting).
 
The part of the Half-Elf scar was unfortunately too easy to write...still paying for the bills for taking my 5 yr old son to the emergency room to get his chin stiched, but it did offer me a nice refresher into a child's view. I got to explain for my son what had happened during my 'stiches' incident to help calm him for the process (it worked, he fell asleep TWICE on the table) but I got to see the late-night healing from both the child and the mother's side. I have also been & watched my parents perform very very minor surgeries on my brothers & I (although usually the kitchen counter, it had the best lighting).
 
Much of this story will be influenced by my children and my own concerns as a mother. The next chapter will be dealing with the child-care issues that so many working parents face everyday: how can I keep my kids safe & growing/learning if I have to leave to provide them food/clothes/shelter, what if I can't find someone to help me care for them?

Message Edited by valkry18 on 02-02-2007 02:34 PM

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Old 12-26-2006, 08:38 PM   #8
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Parenting:
 
We were very lucky, we did not have to raise ourselves. Most ‘homes’ of the childish horde of Beggar’s Court had parent(s) who were gone before firstlight, and only took time to eat the food the little ones made, before falling asleep. The older children would care for the lil’ ones as best as they could, but its almost impossible to act like a parent, when you’ve never really had an example to follow.

Mommie had been an adventurer. I’ve always assumed that adventuring is how she meet my father. If we were talking about Before, sometimes she got a weird look on her face. I couldn’t even guess what emotions she was trying to suppress, but I knew it meant the topic reminded her of him, so we don’t talk about. She has told us that sometimes she and Rolyes would patrol together. Mom usually brings it up as a way to remind Zoffie & I to work together. “When a bard and an enchantress work together, their skills can compliment each other, but if they don’t plan how to help each other, they can render each other useless. Each of you needs to find your strengths, and use them to both of your advantage.”

I understand part of the reason she didn’t try to get back into adventuring was her concern for Zof & I, but childishly, I hoped that the other reason was, that she didn’t want to adventure without him. She described what Rolyes went through to find someone to watch her daughter, when she adventured. The Bard’s Guild was able to watch the children of bards who were on Guild missions. Other times, Dolelen would be taking a break from his adventuring and watch their girl, or maybe a guildmate could watch the child for a bit. I think my mom might have watched her…Flame, that was my cousin’s name, was already starting to train as an enchantress. I think Mom must have really cared for the human girl…but I can only guess that is the reason my Mommie gets a scarily flat look in her eyes.

Mostly Rolyes would stay in Freeport, so she could be near Flame. Mommie told us Auntie was a craft-fiend. Dolelen and my father would gather supplies and drop them off for Rol. She would craft up everything from food to clothing to pottery to plate-mail and sell it to the merchants. While she was trading with the vendors, she would shop for things the men needed in the field. When she had a good amount, she would make sure that her girl would be safe for a while, then meet up with the men, trade equipment and run home. “That girl was a Half-Elf pack-mule. She would load herself up with so much stuff, that the only way she could move was Bardic music. She would work herself into a ‘zerker like frenzy somehow, singing her strength and speed songs at the same time, grab the letters from the local mail-bard, and sprint all the way home to Free.”

So Mom copied Auntie Rol and found work close to home. When Mama had to go to work, Zoffie and I were sent out into the courts. The courts were (normally) better then being stuck inside our tiny inn room. She would leave for a few hours, come back and make lunch for us, then leave for a few more hours.

The morning after Mom stitched up my face, Zoffie and I sat at our table eating morning bread. Mom pulled my shirt down from the fireplace. Last night, after washing it the best she could, she dried it in front of the coals. She laid the shirt on the table next to me and spoke tenderly, “Here, Za, I’m afraid it’s still a bit damp, but if you get out in the sunshine, it should dry pretty quickly.”

She stopped us inside the door and turned to look at me. Kneeling down, my mama gentlely lifted my chin so I looked straight ahead. “Baby, you must be strong today. Remember what the militiaman said, “Head up, uncowed.’ Let Hate sustain you. Feel the Hate, don’t act on it, but hold it in your heart. Find every one of the children that hurt you, don’t do anything to them, but look good on their faces. Learn their faces like you know Zoffie’s and mine. Look into their eyes and let each of them know they are marked, but don’t do anything….yet. Hold your Hate, let it grow, cold and black in your soul, till you are ready to act on it.” I almost didn’t hear what was next, as she tipped her head towards the floor, but it wasn’t me she spoke to. “She is your daughter alright, no fear. Help me teach her to survive that trait.”

Looking up again, her purple eyes pierced me to my soul. “Lovey, they beat you yesterday, because they controlled the situation. You MUST control it, check the wind, always. Do not let them hurt you because they call you ‘half-breed.’ That is you power. The Human depends on strength of arm, the Elf on strength of mind. You must learn to use both, but depend totally on neither. Breeding is done to improve a characteristic in a type of animal...well it works with people too.”

She  hugged us each with one arm, “Now, both of you, be extra careful today. Don’t be mice, running to hide, be like stray curs, always wary and ready to defend. When I get home later, we will plan out the mission.

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Old 12-27-2006, 08:51 PM   #9
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Facing the Stairs:

I was cold. We tried sitting in the morning sunshine on the steps in front of our home, but the inn keep kept giving us nasty looks. The south court gets the afternoon light, but was usually shadowed in the morning. I was just too cold wearing my damp shirt to stay in the shadows, so Zoffie and I would have to pass the stairs to the northcourt.

“Zazha, we could snuggle. I’m pretty warm”

, Thanks sis, but if we snuggle, then your shirt will get wet & you’ll get cold too. We need to go the upper court, so I can be in the sun. We can sit near the dock, then you can watch that girl trying to sell off her grain. Maybe we can try to earn some money as couriers, then you can buy her flour and make us some good bread.” I was jabbering, trying to be brave for my sister, as we walked to the west set of stairs. “They won’t hurt you, Zof, but stay behind me. If anything happens, run back to the house, OK? We’re taking these stairs, some Halfies live in the northwest area, they might help if there is a problem…the Human vendors by the east side probably wouldn’t.”

’Zofia, nodded solemnly at me, then told me, “There’s no one there.”

I stop moving, and look at my sister. “Dor’Vnoff told me, they didn’t get up yet, they thought we’d be hiding.” She looked up at mewith her bright lavender eyes all serious

My tummy got all yucky and suddenly my cold wet shirt felt like Ihad been playing too hard in the sun, all warm and sticky feeling. Dor’Vnoff was ‘Zoffie’s imaginary friend. She only talked about it when she was scared, or something bad could happen. It was my fault, she was so scared. “If Dor’Vnoff says its safe, then we go. Ready?” I give her the biggest smile I can fake, she brightly smiles back, and I head up the stairs.
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Old 12-27-2006, 09:06 PM   #10
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Very good SMILEY
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Old 12-28-2006, 02:39 AM   #11
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Indeed.  Shaping up very nicely.

More, more, more.  (when you get time to write.  Having two little ones of my own (boy, 4 and girl, 2) I understand the pressures of parenting.) :smileywink:

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Old 12-28-2006, 05:13 AM   #12
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Tainda, Good to see you back with us, Ekuth...we missed you.  Actually, I really am having an easier time writting now...because I'm overworked. I get down-time at work that I don't get at home. The problem I ran into was Zazha and the story really have taken on a life of their own. I'm still surprised that of the six alts, Zazha decided to tell this story, I would have thought she was too quite. It's been in my head for 2 years now, but I thought it would be my main telling the tale. The other problem is the story is insisting that I write an event that I'm guessing will happen in 10 or so chapters.  Since it is a pretty significant event, I'm trying to alternate between the current timeline and the future events (so my chaotic self can edit it a bit more then usual). I should have the current posting ready at 9:30 (Central time)- my morning break-time, unless my work internet is down. I just need to get in game for a bit and check  my memory of a few of the good citizens of Beggar's Court.

Message Edited by valkry18 on 02-02-2007 02:34 PM

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Old 12-28-2006, 07:55 PM   #13
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valkry18 wrote:
Tainda,



:smileyvery-happy:  I have 3 favorite writers now
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Old 12-28-2006, 08:36 PM   #14
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As promised 9:30AM Central Time SMILEY

Of Half-Elves and Humans:

We made it past the stairs. Zoffie’s instincts were correct, it was too early. The other kids weren’t out yet.

We settled ourselves in a corner across from the dock. Sitting in the sun and writing words in the dirt. One of the advantages of being a caster’s child…you very rarely found illiterate offspring of Arcane users. Sometimes practicing our words this way, got us hired to write and deliver messages, but not today.

Reana opened her shop soon after we sat down. Mommie says she drinks too much, but that she’s a nice girl anyway. I like her ‘cause she always seems happy. There aren’t a lot of happy people in the Courts. We try to buy our food from her, she doesn’t charge quite as much as some of the other storekeepers.

While Zoffie played in the dirt, I was trying to do what Mom had told me. I tried to watch everyone who came into the north court. After sweeping the court with my eyes, again, I was turning back to check on Zof, when Reana caught my eye. She motioned me over to her booth. I quickly got up and went to see what she needed. “I see they got you too.” She made a gesture that might look like she was brushing a stray hair from her face, but up close I saw that she actually traced a finger down the scar on her upper lip. I don’t think I ever saw Reana look sad before. She said a word I didn’t know, but I got the feeling if I repeated it, Mommie would make me chew on a bunch of soapwort weeds, it sounded like a pretty bad word.

“Now you know why we call ourselves ‘Blood’ sometimes. It’s not that we shortened ‘Mixed-Blood’ like they,” she nodded in the direction of a human vendor,” think. It’s because so many of us have been bloodied as we grow up. Hey, you wanna earn a few coins? Play Erolissi for me, and take this over to the barkeep. He’s pretty decent for a Human and kinda cute in a big musclely way.” She hands me a couple muffins wrapped in a cloth.

“Could Zoffie do it? She wants to grow up and be a cook like you.”

“Sure, I always wanted my own sous-chef.”

With Zoffie trying to help Reana, I spent the rest of the morning watching people. When the older Breeds noticed my face, they all seemed have their jaws tighten up on them. The older Humans mostly didn’t notice it, or they made ugly faces as they talked to themselves. “They think you did it to yourself, like the jewelry the older Breeds wear. They think you maimed yourself...they can’t believe their lil' darlings could hurt a smaller kid that way.”

I did see a few of the kids from the stairway. I waited till I knew they saw me, slowly turned my head so they could see the angry red line of stitches down my face, then turn my head and stared straight into their eyes. A few of the older ones, mostly the boys, rolled their eyes or looked unimpressed. The girls and the younger ones, seemed ashamed and stared at the dirt, unable to hold my eyes. Gordinus, the one who stiff-armed me, stared right back at me. Neither of us would look away, but a group of guards past between us, and when they moved out of the way, he had walked off.

Urielius stopped and sat with me for a while. Uriel use to play with Zoffie and I, when we were all littler. Only now, he’s old enough that he’s started adventuring, and I’m still just a kid, and Zof is an even younger kid. He sat down on the step, and caught my chin in his hand, tilting it so he could look at the scar. “Your mom did a good job sewing it up. Once it heals you should be a pretty as ever.” Uriel is getting sorta weird lately. Since his voice got all funny sounding, then really deep, he’s been a goof…doing stuff like staring at me, or saying I’m pretty, or and lately just looking at me real sad like. I had asked my mom about it, but she just told me ‘He’s growing up, and you aren’t yet, Baby.’

I tried to shove him, so he’d stop being so weird, but he’s so big now, I couldn’t even budge him. He just rubbed his thumb on the side of my chin, looking all dopey at me, then got that sad look for an instant and tried to rub my head to muss my hair, but I was able to wiggle loose.

“Hey Kiddo, wanna see what I found today?” Zoffie was all excitement now. “I found it in the Graveyard. I was fighting undead there, and one of them had this.” He reached into his pouch and pulled out an old dirty coin. Rubbing at the dirt with his thumb, the raised part of the coin showed, “I think it’s from the old Marr temple. Can you keep it for me Zoffie, maybe clean it up?” I gave Uriel a big smile; he knew how much Zof loved hearing god-tales.

Then the guards at the gates rang the bell for watch turnover. “Oh! I’m late! Wait, are you gonna be able to get home safe? I can walk with if you need me to.”

“Thanks Uri, we’ll be fine. I’m smarter then Gordinus.”

“Love to your mom, then,” and he ran off to the bank.

“Zoffie, come on!” I pulled her up and started walking quickly toward the east stairs. If I timed it right, we could safely get past the stairs, even if the older boys were setting a new trap.

There they were, the older boys lurking on the stairway. ‘Too bad boys, your plan didn’t work.’ I had to work to keep from grinning as I walked down the steps, at least till I saw the stain on the wall from my blood. I could feel their stares, but they couldn’t touch us and we all knew it.

As we crossed the lower court, the guard we had darted in front of, spoke low enough only Zoffie & I could hear. “Pretty slick, trooper, using the watch patrol as a shield.” I glanced up and realized it was the same trooper who brought me home last night. He didn’t smile, but there was a gleam in his eyes. Zoffie and I ran back to our inn room, to Mommie and our lunch.

Message Edited by valkry18 on 12-28-2006 10:15 AM

Message Edited by valkry18 on 01-02-2007 10:32 AM

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Old 12-28-2006, 11:15 PM   #15
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Library:

Mom was already there when we got to the room. “Come here, let me look at you.” She pulled us so we stood in the dim light from the candle. I thought she was going to look for new ‘ouchies’ but she started fussing with Zoffie’s and then my clothes. Zoffie seemed be fine, but when she looked at me, “Just won’t do, the stained shirt, the skin, the hair, all right think, disguises, what can we do?” She started fussing in the trunk she kept old clothes and rags in. “Here, Lovey, put this on.” It was an old robe. Mom didn’t wear it because it shrunk and showed her legs to just above the ankle.

I slipped it on, and she arranged the hood on my head, examined me, pulled the hood back down, pulled my hair into a knot on the top of my head, then put the hood back up. “That fixed the hair, but you still look too Human. Hmm…” She handed each a piece of cheese and some bread. “Eat this while I see if I can mix some make-up for you.” With puzzled looks on our faces, Zof and I ate what we had been handed.

Mom was fussing around the room, playing in the fireplace, getting things from her food stores, and her medical herbs and scrolls. Finally she knelt down in front of me and pulled our candle close. She even lit a second and third candle for the extra light. Zoffie looked at me totally puzzled, and I shrugged. Why would Mom waste three candles at once? “Hold still, I’ll try not to hurt your cut, but I need to do this so you can pass. She rubbed something that smelled like melted old fat on my stitches, and then starting at my hair, on the other side of my face, she rubbed the goop she made all over my face and painted it down my neck.

“Look at Zofia. What do you think, Zoffie?” I turned to my sis and Mom pulled my hood back up.

“She’s blue, she looks like us, Mama.”

Good. This might work. Zoffie put on this cloak, Zaza, you’ll have to wear gloves, the paint won’t stay on your hands. Come on, I’ll explain on the way.”

Mom led us to the gate. Zoffie and I hadn’t been into the city yet. Only citizens can use the gates and we were just kids. Mom walked straight up to the guard, shows proof of her citizenship and started walking through the gate. “And them?” the sentry questioned.

“They are of no importance, mere apprentices, I will vouch-safe them. I am going to the Library, then perhaps shopping for reagents in East.”

“Very well, Overlord be praised,” and the sentry waved us through.

We walked through North Freeport as Mom explained fully. “That was wonderful, you looked like my servants. I can’t tell you how important it is that you keep your heads down and don’t speak to anyone, even if they talk to you. I will talk for you. You are both tall enough to be a full-grown Tier’Dal, but anyone who looks closely at you, especially your faces, or hears your voices will know you are just kids.”

“When we get to the Library, I will gather up a few books on different subjects. Read them if you find anything that interests you, if you have questions, if find something important to you, write it on the foolscap I will give you, and try to remember to hold your pencil like I showed you, not in a fist.”

I’m sure if I had looked around at all, I would have been awestruck by the Library, but I can say it has the most beautiful floor I have ever ever seen. A very tall thin brown woman with a funny voice talked with Mommie. “So Ja’Dee, business doing well?”

“Why yes, Millanoria, I was actually lucky enough to find these ‘Overlord’s Children’ fostered to a Northwoman. She was quite willing to accept a reward for finding my ‘lost darlings.’ It might be a mistake, but her man was a broken shaman, since he couldn’t adventure anymore, he taught the fosterlings to read. I might be able to make useful apprentices out of them. If not, well I don’t have to carry my packages or do housework anymore. .” The tall woman laughed with Mom, then she got us settled at a table far in the corner.

My mother was a professional questor. She would pour over tomes in the Library, researching the old lore and legends she knew, then make a deal with a group of adventures. They would do the field investigations, and there would be a sharing of profits from the venture. If Mom could have investigated her own quests, she could have made much more gold…the adventures getting the ‘Overlord’s share’ of the profits, since it was their lives at risk, but she managed.

In this case, her profession was a blessing, she could place any old subject in front of us, and no one would notice. I was a bit shocked to read the first book on my stack. It was about a group of strange fighters…they didn’t use swords or armour. Somehow these fighters trained their minds, not just their bodies until they could fight without any weapons, until they became their weapon.

I was reading so intently, I almost screamed when Mom put her hand down next to the book, flipped to another page, pointed a passage and said, “I believe you should focus on this section.” Mommie had found text on how the fighters would train themselves to fall great distances and not get injured. I wanted to run to her arms and hug her, but I remembered to pretend I was servant-girl. My Mama understood why I kept telling her I was sorry last night, sorry that I couldn’t jump the stair-rail to escape.

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Old 01-03-2007, 08:33 PM   #16
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Visions from the Past:
 

Over the next weeks, I read everything I could on the Monks, and pestered Mom with questions when we where home. I was fascinated that they could do so many tricks. I wanted to figure out how to be a monk, but Mommie explained that there were no monks in Freeport anymore. She didn’t know if all the monks had died, or if they were just someplace else.

One day she even took us to the east section of the city. We walked up a huge hill almost right up to the Overlords Keep. We stayed far back from the guards, but they ignored us anyway. It seemed like they must have many citizens who want to bask in the Overlord’s presence, even if it’s just the presence of his walls. It was near lunchtime, so Mama had us sit at something called an ‘amphitheater’ and eat our bread.

As we ate, she pointed out where things had been Before. She told us that Aunt Rolyes and some of the other bards would hold concerts in the theater, that people would got to a bakery just south of the theater, and get muffins or fish rolls to eat during the concerts.

The Monks had a guild house in the same square. She pointed out where the Ashen Order house would have been. When the lands buckled and the sea surged, the house was destroyed as the coastal part of Freeport dropped into the sea. We just sat there, Mom described how the scene had been. Zoffie had gotten sleepy from a full tummy and was napping, using my lap as a pillow. Looking down the hill to the docks, my mind could see the monks training in their yard.

I watched as the ghost-like men and women came and went. Their clothes were so strange, just a material the color of the road dust in the courts, not even leather. They didn’t wear shirts, just little cloth harnesses. The women had wrapped their breasts, but I could see so much of their bodies. I could even see that the Humans of both sexes had woad body paint on their chests and bellies like the Barbarians wear. Their pants were tied snug at the waist and loose in the legs and seat. Some wore the legs cut long, but tied at the ankles; others just had the legs wide and loose. All of them wore headbands or a waist sashes in bright colors.

I watched a few sparing matches. It surprised me that I could recall the names for some of the moves I saw; ‘The Lion’s Claw,’ ‘Snake’s Tongue,’ ‘Maiden’s Dance,’ ‘The Sword of Grass.’ Some of the moves were described in books I read, but I hadn’t read anything on monk weapons, or how to fight an armed foe, yet I knew the ‘Disarming Wind’ when I saw it. I watched mesmerized, trying to burn each movement into my memory.

Zoffie wiggled on my lap and I looked down, shifting so she could sit up. When I looked back the monks and their guildhouse were fading into nothing. I couldn’t force the images to come back to me.

Mom took us through West Freeport, on the way to the Library. We passed the Coalition’s building and Mom quickly explained the represented trade skills. I knew that Zoffie was going to try to be a provisioner, and I thought I might like to try tailoring, maybe I could make myself one of the monk outfits, or at least the hand-wraps some of the monks wore on their fists.

Just before we got to the Library that day, I told Mom I needed a book to help me keep my notes neat. She bought Zoffie and I both simple journals from one of the Library scribes. After I saw how much the scribe charged her, I would have told her not to buy it, but I couldn’t say anything or we’d be found out.

I opened my journal, stared at the creamy white page. Silently, I promised my Mom I would be careful and not waste any space; I would guard the treasure she gave me. I wrote in as tiny of letters as I could manage, switching in and out of languages to find the smallest word I could for each idea. If the Tier’Dal word for push took five letters and the Halasian word took only four, I used Halasian. I’m sure a stranger wouldn’t have know what to think if they read it, I don’t think there was a single line that contained less then three different languages. I drew sketches of the clothing and weapons I saw, made diagrams of the different moves, noting countermoves I saw used. There were no spaces, lines squished into the lines above and below, yet I managed to tuck numbers in the jumble, so I could attach more notes to that particular item or move later.

I continued writing every detail of my vision when we got home. Mom seemed to understand something had happened. She asked Zof to do my chores, pulled a small table near the fireplace, lit a candle and placed it on the table so I could write easier. I can’t remember eating or even when I stopped writing that night. I just know I woke up in the morning snuggled up with Mom and Zoffie, still wearing my day shirt, and later when I looked at my journal….I had written things I was sure I never knew, and couldn’t even remember seeing the day before.

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Old 01-03-2007, 08:36 PM   #17
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Practice, Practice, Practice:
 

We continued like that for a few years. When Mom had to deal with the adventurers, Zoffie and I would take to the courts, and then we would all go to the Library together. Zofia read mostly god-tales, but she was still pretty young, so Mommie didn’t need to help her learn how to fight, yet. I tried to read about regular fighters, but I couldn’t understand how they could move with all that metal on. It just seemed silly to me…put on heavy armour, so you can hit each other over and over and not really get hurt, but must work for others. Zoffie and I also read up on tradeskills.

In the mornings, I would risk sneaking to the north court. The north court is covered with terraced steps like the south court. In the south, the steps run in even rows, like the Halfling farmed Karana in the old stories. The north court has steps that arc back into themselves, like currents in the water at the dock.

 I liked the north court because I could find spots where the steps made little walls, four, five, even six steps high. I trained like the monks; jumping off the walls over and over and over and over and over. Reana and the others must have thought I was buggy, from the blow to my head, but since I could still talk and seemed to think normally most of the time, they just left me alone. Even if I wore gloves all of the time now, and my normally dark brown skin seemed a funny blue-brown and prone to blemishes…well I still wasn’t as strange as ‘Queen Antonia” who haunted the south court telling everyone she was the Overlord’s ‘Wife.’

I’m sure the glass merchant thought he was getting by with tricking a stupid Breed. I would buy the poor quality sand the adventures would try to trade to him with my courier money. He didn’t realize that I would take the sand to our inn room and store it in a special bucket. We put the bucket next to the fire, so it looked like a way to put out anything that accidentally caught on fire.

Most of the days I could avoid the bullies. I tricked them a few times. They expected me to skooch in front of the guards again to get past the stairs, and figured out how they could cause me to ‘accidentally’ fall down the steps, right in front of the sentries. Gordinus came very near tripping the leading trooper, as Zoffie and I trailed behind the patrol. We’d also sneak down the other set of steps as the guards passed through the gauntlet.

I know some of the people in the courts helped protect Zoffie and I. The thugs would try to watch what we did just before lunch, so they could set the trap in the right location. Reana would distract the kid who was suppose to watch us, by offering a loaf of bread or muffin for the kid to make a delivery for her. No kid in Beggar’s is going to turn down food, so she’d ruin their scouting attempt.

The Human Trooper, Titus, and a few of the Breed guards helped when they could. They would never be able charge the bullies under the Overlord’s Laws, but the sentries could get in the way all they wanted. Often it was stopping, to take a quick look over the entire north court, before they moved to the south court. I don’t think the Human guards even noticed, but it was enough of a delay to stop the patrol for a moment, and let Sis and I get into the position where we were in the guards’ safe-aura. Titus seemed to have decided Gordinus needed extra attention. Many times the bolder thugs were too busy explaining to a patrol that they were not responsible for a petty theft or other violation of the Overlord’s Law, to have the time to bait half-breed children. No one would expect a Human guard to abuse his position to harass Human youth, in retaliation for the injury of a Half-Elf child.

Every few days, they would catch me…either because they got lucky, or because I’d let them. Zoffie would run, and I would try to keep them distracted, then when she was safely away, I’d retreat. Early on, they would get me pretty good, but I’d see the monks in my mind, and practice what I had learned. I mostly used the avoidance movements, to let my foes think I was growing into my Elvish reflexes. Once or twice a fight, I’d try an attack. The time wasn’t right…yet, so I didn’t use my full power in the hit, just a sparing tap, enough that they knew they had been hit, and I could feel how the movement should work. They’d assume it was a lucky blow, but I knew…I knew!

In the evening, we all would work at tradeskills. Mom would carefully write out scrolls, Zoffie would make dinner. She is a very good cook. I’m not so good as a tailor…I could make stuff look decent, but I ended up with lots of tiny holes in my fingers, or I did at first. Only Mommie, Zoffie and I knew that at night, when it was too dark to read or sew, I would smash my bare fists into the sand over and over, first a few minutes, but then up to an hour or more at a time. After a while my hands got so hard that I couldn’t stab myself with a needle if I tried, but it was a bit difficult trying to sew when I couldn’t feel the needles through my calluses.

Urielius was the one who helped me figure out I wasn’t a tailor. He would stop by to visit some evenings after he had been hunting. He had his own room at the inn at that time. I think he was a bit lonely without all of his family, but he didn’t want to visit them too often, because he was suppose to be an adult. So he’d stop by and look in on the widow and her kids.

He’d bring us things he foraged and we’d use them to craft. Uriel was trying to learn alchemy, so he’d ask Mom for help, and always forget to take home his materials when he was done. He knew Mom wouldn’t let him pay her for the help, so he supplied her components. Zoffie always sent him home with enough food that he ate very well for an unmarried man.

I had been making bags from the skins he brought, and had even made him a few pieces of leather armour. I had just finished getting the new skins he brought that night soaking; you have to clean, soak, possibly de-hair, and then pound each skin to make them into usable leather, before you can even make anything with them. I sat down at the table to watch what Uriel was making. He had a small cutting tool, tiny tongs and a coil of wire. “Uri, what is that?”

“I’m trying to see if I can make a protective amulet” I sat and watched as he cut, twisted then crimped the wire into a single interlocking chain, then wrapped a green/black stone tightly in wire and fastened it to the chain. “This would be much easier if I had nimble fingers like you ladies.”

His voice dropped to a whisper that only I could hear, and he caught my gloved hand under the table, “Please wear this for me. I know what a total Orc Gordinus is,” and slipped a bracelet on my arm. I traced my fingers over the mesh of wires. “It’s a band of chain-mail, you know, like the smiths make. It’s only copper, not tin, but I figured it could be ‘protection’ for you, like chain-mail is for fighters…. or at least richer fighters then me.”

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Old 01-03-2007, 10:08 PM   #18
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Oh Boy Valkry - this is really, really getting good!!Can't wait to see where you go with this next...Aktad
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Old 01-03-2007, 11:08 PM   #19
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A truley fantastic read :smileyhappy: I am seriously enjoying this. I really love the avid detail. Its like I am there watching them all. This writing quality and story is better than film.:smileyhappy: keep up the great work :smileywink:
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Old 01-04-2007, 01:25 AM   #20
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Aktad, preview of coming attractions are currently on view at:
 
 
Danous, thank you for your appriciation of the details. I am trying hard to show that Zazha is still only a tween in relative age, and Oopzofia is "aging" at and even slower rate, yet they are starting to become the women they will grow into shortly. I am always afraid that the geek adult I grew into will show through too much, that I will start using too adult of words, or play up a detail a child would ignore. Then my 4 and 5 year old kids will go on in detail about something important to them, and I will be stunned by how detailed their stories are, and how their vocabularies evolve to include phrases my husband & I use (my son's use of the nerf'able words is SOLELY my husbands fault :smileysad: I have worked very hard to /filter my language).
 
The level of detail might even increase in the next few chapters. Zazha's story will get a bit autobiographical in a fantasy-realm kinda twisted multiple-personnality sort of way. Should be fairly easy to pick out a prior career of mine from the tale (bit like Ekuth's medical jargon).
 
/full curtsey

Message Edited by valkry18 on 02-02-2007 02:35 PM

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Old 01-04-2007, 05:02 AM   #21
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Getting better by the entry Valkry. Keep up the awesome work.
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:03 PM   #22
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Thanks for the update and the input, I can see where you are going with this in the childhood thing though. Although I do not have children of my own, I have alot of neices and nephews whom are very young :smileyhappy: I must say thought that you are very talented. In regards to the geek in you showing through in the story, you have done amazingly so far, An adult style tale from a child concept. Once again a truly thrilling read. The term to filter out your language when kids are around is always hard, believe me i know. However you are telling this tale with both precision and grace. (BTWm I too am an adult geek) In the meantime however, I sincerely look forward to reading more from this epic tale that is full of such colour and detail that can only be told like you have told it. Keep up the good work :smileywink:
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Old 01-05-2007, 03:32 AM   #23
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Meditation, Music, and Broken Dreams:Zofia had made some coffee that night. After we finished our crafts, we all sat by the fire, cups in hand, to relax and enjoy the silence. My coffee was really more sweetened milk, with a hint of coffee, as was Zoffie’s. Mom would tease us that “Coffee will stunt your growth.” My mom had a very wicked sense of humor, at the time we could all see that Zoffie and I would tower over Mom when we reached our full growth.We ducked behind the privacy wall for the privy-chair, and changed into our sleepdresses. I love my sleepdress. It wasn’t very pretty, but it was so warm and cozy. I had save up the scraps cut away from the tunics and breeches the fighters would wear under their leather or metal armour. They wear quilted layers of a thick fabric made from plant fibers, or woolly grazer hair if you can find it, matted together. The thick padding kept the blows on the armour from transferring to the body as easily, and the material was so thick it could hold the sweat away from the skin. Having soaking wet clothes and leather or metal rubbed against your skin isn’t a nice feeling.Even though it kept fighters cooler, the flannels would keep sleepy girls nice and toasty in bed. So I pieced the scraps together for our sleepdresses. Fortunately, when you cut out the pieces to make a set of padded flannels for large Human man, the leftovers are still pretty big pieces on a small Elf body.Zoffie and I crawled into our bed & snuggled till it was warm enough that she rolled over and went to sleep. I wanted to practice a new trick I read about. The Ashen Order would use the way they breathed, to help them control pain. I was trying to work out how they would slow their breath, and breathe so deep that the belly would rise and fall, not just the chest. I figured out that if I breathed very slow and very deeply, I could take one full breath for each two Zoffie took.‘Rise….and fall….Rise….and fall….Slowly.’ “Mrs. Celestine? Can I ask you a question?”“Mmmhmm.”“I think you know that for a long time, I’ve hoped to someday be your son-in-law.”“I thought so. I can’t think of any man who would love or care more for my daughter.”‘Rise… and fall…Rise…and fall’ “But that’s just a nice dream, isn’t it? Even though she’s years older then I am, by the time she’s finally a woman, I’m going to be an old man.”“I’m sorry, Urielus. You are probably right. I wish I could reassure you, tell you that she is sure to be mature in 15 cycles, that you would only be 40, which isn’t old at all for a Human. I could remind you that a man with a few years can better care for a wife and children in ways that a young man can’t, yet.”Have you ever just listened to the music of speech, not even heard the words, but listened to the individual sounds blending? It’s easiest with a language you don’t speak, you don’t have to try to understand it…youjust listen.’ “Uriel, if I had realized she would grow up so slowly, I would have discouraged you when I first realized you loved her. I’m sorry, she favors her Human side so much in appearance, I really thought she would age like you.”“Is that why Zoffie seems so much younger then Zazha, even though only a couple of years separate them? Zoffie is more Elven then Human?”“Unfortunately no one can tell how fast a mixed-blood child will mature, some favor the Human side and age quicker, some the Elf, and often the child who was only a baby for a few months, will take years and years to ripen from a child to and adult. Infrequently, the body can age at a quicker or slower pace then the mind.‘I knew the adults were talking about something serious, but I couldn’t decode the message in the words. I just heard the deep rumble sounds he made and her counter-point of airy higher pitched tones.’ “Sometimes I think Ayr’Dal are truly the children of Innoruk and Erolissi. Its no wonder their lives are unpredictable…no other race has children born only of extreme love or hate.”It was like a duet of a brass horn and a flute.’ “What do you mean? I mean, I understand that old hostilities resulted in many mixed-bloods from [Removed for Content]…but… didn’t all the races have to deal with that evil of warfare?”“Yes, but not to the degree that the Ayr’Dal do. While the physical act is possible between almost any two races, rarely are children born from the violent coupling. With some pairing it is not even possible to create a new life, or the offspring /mother do not survive. Only the get of Human and Elf racial variants regularly live and thrive.“But Humans have forced themselves on other Humans, or they marry and raise children in loving homes...”“Yes, but within a single race, the parents are likely to have degrees of emotions for each other, from love to hate. Half-Elves are the product of either love OR hate, never a middle-ground.”“But, why?”“Because there are no casual emotions between the races that will lead to children. This is hard to explain without sounding insulting, so forgive me, that’s not my intent. Humans are more emotional then Elves. Perhaps it is because you know you have a limited time, you try to experience everything as fully as possible. We know that we do not have to rush our life events, so we spend more time planning out actions. The Human reacts, the Elf reasons. ‘I tried to join in, pacing my breaths to fill the percussion part, not heavy drumbeat, like for marching or dancing, but a soft steady rhythm.’ “So if a Human and an Elf willfully mate, if is because the emotional ties are so intense, so overwhelming that the Elf has literally lost his or her ability to reason. Why would you logically permit a situation to exist were you know that you will watch your beloved grow old and die…not grow old together, but grow old without you…where your children will die before you, and maybe your grandchildren? But at the time, what you feel is so strong, you think to yourself, ‘If we can’t have forever, it is better to have now, then nothing at all.’ ”‘Slow…even…my body’s music providing the framework for the tune…breath…heartbeat.’ “Only now, Urielius, you find yourself in the Elvish role, you can foresee the future, she is too focused on the now. Are you willing to wait for my daughter, would you deal with the heart-ache and the years alone, for the brief moment of shining happiness? Or will you find another, someone you may not love as much, but who you can build a lasting happiness with?”‘It is so quiet, I wonder if I am still in my bed, in our room. It feels like I floating in the ocean…feeling the rise and fall…the waves? Or is that my belly? Does it matter? Rise… and fall…Rise… and fall.’ “You made that choice once before. Mrs. Celestine…what would you do if you were me?”“Uri, honey, you are the closest I have ever come to having a son, so I will answer this like I was your mother, instead of hers. You deserve to find a woman who will love you as a man. You started noticing she was a girl when you were what, eleven seasons? My daughter thinks of you as her best friend, besides her sister. She thinks of you as a big brother, not a future mate. “I don’t think she even understands why women look at men that way. I’m sure it is partially my fault… I would not call my luck with men good. I gave up on men. Maybe it is something she will grow into, but I would not tell you to wait for a girl who is not yet a woman, who shows no interest in you, or any man or boy.”“So I should just give up?”“It has to be your choice, but if I were you…I would avoid this family, I would tell myself that Zazha is ‘like a little sister’ till I believed it. I would throw myself into my work, and when I came home at night, I would look at all the pretty young women who live in the courts.“You are a strong, kind, good looking man. You have caught the eye of a few ladies, but your never noticed because you only thought of my daughter.”“Who noticed me?”“Reana for one. She seems to like the Human boys. You two would be good for each other. She may not be who you would chose, but you could have a good life, if you chose to love her. Take the food you forage to her, instead of bringing it here, see what happens.”The song changed. The music was not voices anymore, stillness interrupted by random but not loud percussion. The melody... the interplay of three sets of breaths, then two.’ The air was cold as she lifted the blanket, but my mother was warm as she lay down next to me and wrapped her arm around me. I felt her chest rise and fall against my back. I took a deep breath, almost a yawn and noticed the distinct way her skin smells when she’s warm. ‘Mother.’_________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ____________ Danous, Go to bed. Now, Mister! What in Norrath are you doing up at 4:03 in the morning anyway? Read the story when it's light out, then you won't have to waste candles.:smileywink:
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Old 01-05-2007, 12:41 PM   #24
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Great entry, Valkry. Keep up the great work, and keep giving me something besides my own stuff to read over and over. SMILEY
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Old 01-05-2007, 04:43 PM   #25
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:smileyvery-happy: Great entry :smileyhappy: Once again you have outdone yourself in every way. I seriously look forward to every entry that you post.

On a side note, I couldn't resist reading till that time, but then again, I am in the UK so the time zone is different.

Once again thank you for such a fantastic read. It is a privilage :smileyhappy:

Good work :smileywink:

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Old 01-05-2007, 11:24 PM   #26
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Thank you again for your kind support. I wanted to let you know that I might not be updating the story for a few days. I will be working on another piece of creative writting tenatively title "Employee Input for Annual Performance Review." Unfortunately while this piece will require a bit of effort to get the details and the tone just right and has the potential to be fiscally benefical, I don't believe it would well suited to this forum.

Danous, assuming you are on Runneyeye, keep your eyes open in BC, FP, CL or Nek. The girls would be happy to say hello, and if you want to stop by Zazha's room (they still live in BC), I'm sure Zoffie will have some fresh muffins and coffee to share. (Look for me late in the day though.  I'm in US, but I decided I enjoyed you Brits too much to leave when they had the US deportment a couple years ago.)

 

Woot, I just notice...page 2!

Message Edited by valkry18 on 01-05-2007 10:25 AM

Message Edited by valkry18 on 02-02-2007 02:36 PM

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Old 01-05-2007, 11:26 PM   #27
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Noooooooooo! SMILEY
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Old 01-08-2007, 06:01 PM   #28
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Thx :smileyhappy: i'll look you up :smileyhappy:

 

 

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Old 01-08-2007, 08:39 PM   #29
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Changes:

The next few months and years saw many changes for the residents of Beggar’s Court.

Gordinus and the older boys advanced from bullying small children for fun to bullying adults for profit. They joined up with the local thugs-for-hire, Favonius Seneca, Manius Galla, Crispin Luvinius. As the influence of “The Gang” spread in Freeport, the newer members were sent out into the city, and the harassed youngsters of the courts, breathed easier. While the men still lived in the Beggar’s, they were only seen coming and going through the courts.

Trooper Titus was transferred into the main part of the city. While not actually a promotion, a movement to the heart of the city is considered an advancement, a position of greater responsibility.

Urielius started spending more time talking to Reana. After a few weeks of stopping and talking every evening when he came back from adventuring, they started spending their evenings together. It was about two years later that Reana and Urielius got married.

I too, made changes in my life. I spent the next season learning to be an armoursmith. I had the patterns for the arm and leg protectors I had made for Uriel. I thought I could use them to make up chain or plate guards, once I learned how to work metal. My tailoring wouldn’t go to waste, padding and harnesses were needed to make armour work. I could take advantage of that fact that I was too strong and my hands were too tough to be a fine seamstress. I could use my strength with smithing. If pounding out the leather had made my arms get hard, how much better would it be to pound on metal.

Check the wind first. Always gain knowledge before making an action. It was no surprise that the Library didn’t have many books on smithing, but there were some. I was able to read them before Mom said I couldn’t go with her any more...I was just too tall to be believable as a Tier’Dal servant. Zoffie could still pass, she was tall for a Tier’Dal, but she looks completely Tier’Dal, no mixed blood to see.

When Mom and Zoffie would go to the Library, I would take the dock and go to the Graveyard or the Sprawl. I didn’t try to hunt, just gathering up forage, especially the ore.

Other days, I would go to the Coalition workshop in the courts. The Tradesman’s Representative gave me a few hints on smithing and pretty soon I was able to make candleholders for our house. We still didn’t have many candles, but you could light the room better if the candles were up on the walls, with a reflective backer, then just sitting down on a table.

After making a few sconces for the house, I tried a set of iron knuckles. I’d had a few near run-ins with the more restless residents of the Graveyard, and figured if the walking dead couldn’t feel pain, and least they couldn’t move as fast with broken bones. The weapon proved to be most useful. And profitable…you would think the walking dead would lose more of their valuables, concidering the condition of their clothing and packs. But miserly in life, miserly in death, I guess.

It seems that with the extreme number of folks to be buried right After, they citizens  were worried about covering the bodies to prevents disease. They didn’t understand that without the proper rites, the dead would not stay in the earth. Unfortunately, the names were lost with the lives, and as time passed there was no way to convince the dead to stay at rest. Since we couldn’t perform the correct rites for them at that late date, the only way to stop them is to damage and further defiled the bodies to the point they no longer works.

I often wondered if my aunt or uncle were buried here. We were never able to locate information on either of them. Mom thinks they might have been on the moon, with Him, but we will never know for sure. I forage here often, maybe if Rolyes or Doleleen are here, I can at least put them to final rest.

We were finally able to claim the belongings in the bank, but it took years and years to be declared legal heirs. Unfortunately, there was not a lot of cash in the accounts, and most of the stored items had decayed. Mom wasn’t lying, Rolyes had pieces to make all kinds of crafts…the ore was still good, but I’m kind of glad we weren’t able to get to the mummified fish any sooner. We did find her old Militia tunic. Mommie was really happy to see that, she said it would help show our family’s continueing loyalty to the Overlord.

The Graveyard sentries would warn youngbloods to avoid the more powerful undead: the Marr knights. Even though most of them should have had the proper rites… they did have well crafted tombs indicating they died Before… still they walked. There was a rumor that connected the Marrians to the Overlord, but no one will say more about it, and neither shall I.

Some how I never ran afoul of the Marrians. I should have. I had a bad habit of watching the forage too closely, and watching the undead not enough. Most of the time it wasn’t a problem, but I had realized far too many times I had left myself get boxed-in under a tomb, only to see a Knight walking past.

At first I assumed they couldn’t see me, only later did I realize how orc-brained that was. The walking don’t use their eyes to see, their eyes usually being fairly useless by that point. Somehow their unlife allows them to sense the true living. I still don’t understand why, but I do not bother the Marr followers. I have been close to them, and seen other adventurers further away from the Knights get attacked. I even blindly stumbled directly into the path of a Knight. As I realized he must have seen me, I stopped, squared my shoulders, adjusted my foot position, taking a ready stance and waited. The Knight continued walking, adjusting his path to walk around me. Even thought I know it can’t be true, I swear that as he past me, he looked into my eyes and it wasn’t a unliving twitch, but an actual, purposeful, formal nod of his head.

Message Edited by valkry18 on 01-08-2007 02:46 PM

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Old 01-08-2007, 08:43 PM   #30
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Wooot!!
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