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Thread: Tales of Amn **Hot Topic**

  1. #26
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    Verse Two
    ~Moon Day~
    Nayru, City of the Elves – Night


    The day was rather short in the end, wasn't it? Already we've reached evening, the moment everyone has been waiting for: Moon Day festival. People are gathering like flies around the plaza. All the grown-ups have covered their faces with different masks. It is a simple tradition which stems from a simple fairytale.
    A fairytale with a woman who was known as Moon Goddess, and who always wore a mask in order to conceal her power. According to the tale, the Moon Goddess was the one who created the three moons.

    There is much joy in the air, you can sense it. The other races aren't quite as festive when it comes to Moon Day however. For some reason elves see it as their duty, a duty which they do with a smile on their face.
    Not much had happened in the city during the day. Most people had only lingered in the marketplace in order to scavenge all the goods for the celebration.
    Then again shall we say, ”heroes” of our story here did not. Few of them had a productive day, one was able to save a person while the other was able to solve a case. Then there were those who studied, perhaps their goal was something others could only dream of? Then there was the one who was still searching for their origin, mystery as it is.

    Nevertheless, it is about time for me to put on my mask and join the crowd.


    Issat was starting to get impatient, she was hovering over the window which opened to the martkeplace and the colosseum. They were high enough to see the top row of the colosseum's crowd area. It had been several hours since the two had arrived into the library.
    Kinrai was muttering to himself the whole time without paying any attention to Issat. She gazed out of the window to see how the firefly lanterns started to lit up one by one. The spheres under the city were starting to become more active.

    There was an enormous pile of books near Kinrai, and the pile only kept growing as he browsed through the books. He had no idea that there could be so many maps.
    As yet another book slammed on the pile, Kinrai sighed deeply and looked around. There were still plenty of books left. Issat also sighed and finally decided to spoke. She was slightly hesitant since questioning your master wasn't a good thing for a fairy.

    Issat: ”Master.. ? Still no luck.. ?”
    Kinrai: *Sigh* ”No.”
    Issat: ”Maybe you should take a break.. ? You've been here all day. The Moon Day festival is about to start.”
    Kinrai looked at the books and then at Issat. Issat already knew what Kinrai would say the moment he turned his head.
    Kinrai: ”You can go, I'll be fine.”
    Issat: ”No.”
    Kinrai scratched the back of his head and sighed again. The conversation would be the same as earlier whatever he said at this point, so he just kept quiet and turned back to the books. After a short while, Issat spoke again.

    Issat: ”Maybe we should ask for help.. ? This is getting ridiculous.”
    Kinrai: ”No.. if I can't even find a darn book, then what good am I?”

    The weakness which Kinrai had strong within him revealed itself in the last sentence he had just said. Due to his father, Kinrai had always tried to prove himself.. to himself really.
    This happened often and was usually the reason why Kinrai ended up in fights or causing trouble in some other way. There was no turning his commitment, he would go all the way to the end just to prove that he could do it.
    Because of this, a certain event will transpire which leads all the way to Amn's future. Issat was about to speak again when finally, Kinrai led out a joyous outcry.

    Kinrai: ”I found it! I finally found it!! The map which has so much detail that I can safely travel the land..”
    Issat frowned slightly but still tried to look happy. The result was a rather awkward face which told the person wasn't genuinely happy.
    Issat: ”Great! Now we can finally enjoy the festival..”
    Kinrai: ”Heh.. Yeah, you're right. We have to stop by my house, my mask is there.”
    Issat: ”Let's go then, shall we?”

    Kinrai walked down the spiral staircase and reached the receptionist's desk soon. He took the book which had the map and showed it to the receptionist. Kinrai didn't want the whole book, only the pages where the map he desired was.
    The receptionist nodded, studied the book briefly and grabbed a piece of cloth from a container near her. Then with a slight puff and bright light, the map had found itself on the piece of cloth. She handed the cloth to Kinrai and spoke:

    Receptionist: ”There, done. Anything else?”
    Kinrai: ”That'll be all. Thank you.”

    The first fireworks were launched just as Kinrai stepped outside. They were of brilliant different colors which kept changing. Some of them had actual forms which they took. You could see a boat, the sun or even a dragon formed into the sky.
    Issat was as stunned as always, she never had enough of fireworks. People were gathering around the colosseum since it seemed space was starting to grow small in the plaza side. Kinrai jogged down the path back to his home.

    When he arrived, he opened the front door and went immediately into his room. He grabbed his mask from one of his drawers and put it on right on the spot. The mask was white with green etched into the left side of the mask. The expression on the mask was a happy one, both the mouth and the eyes were circled with thick golden lines. Also there was a golden ”X” on the right side of the mask.

    Kinrai made his out of his house and started jogging towards the plaza. He wouldn't want to miss the parade after all.

    Transition to Nilak

    Nilak was back at his tree home when the fireworks started. He had observed the bustling of the citizens of Nayru the whole day. He hadn't even bothered to get a drink from the high class tavern which was located in the edge of Nayru. It was usually the place he could spend some time, but not today.

    Nilak glanced upwards and saw the three moons nearing their position. There was still some time left until they would change, and another Moon elf would be born. Surprisingly, the birth of a Moon elf wasn't exactly celebrated. It was considered more of a natural phenomenon which occurred during Moon Days.
    The Moon Day was celebrated because.. it was celebrated. There was no real reason to celebrate it, but elves were determined to celebrate it.. even if the reason was only a simple fairytale.

    Nilak looked down at the ongoing parade. The music was so loud that anyone in the vicinity of Nayru could hear it. Naturally there was plenty of magic involved in the parade. Some spit fire, turned it into ice and formed it into a hulahoop which they would then throw up into the sky where it exploded into tiny crystals. Some formed holograms which resembled the moons when they were changed. Of course there also were plenty of animals there, all of them tamed as one can imagine.

    Nilak: ”It's so nice.. I'll miss this.”
    ???: ”He is getting impatient, as always. When will you act?”
    Nilak: ”Soon, I promise you that.”
    ???: ”Very well. I remind you, the crystal must be destroyed before dawn.”
    Nilak: ”I said soon. Let me enjoy from what little time I still have.”
    ???: ”.. Of course.”

    The figure vanished as soon as it had appeared. Nilak looked towards Valham's nest which resided in the outskirts of Nayru. It was barely visible from Nilak's home.

    Nilak: ”Soon the night fight will commence. Time to head for the colosseum.”

    Nilak jumped and flew through the air, hidden due to the parade's splendor, and arrived to the colosseum. He walked downstairs and arrived to Falteer's cell where Falteer was at the moment.
    Falteer possessed similar hair as Nilak, it was long and silver colored. Tonight Nilak wore a dark shirt with a collar in it, and which had purplish sleeves. The shirt was buttoned up all the way and it's sleeves were cut off from the elbow. He had his golden bracelet as usual in his left hand, the hand in which he held a sword when fighting. His pants were also dark and slightly loose, just to give enough room for flexible movement.

    Nilak: ”Evening Falteer. You did well on today's match against the Draken. Ready for the upcoming fight? I hope that blow you received from the Draken won't hinder your movement tonight.”
    Last edited by Takesh; 12-02-2011 at 11:06 AM.

  2. #27
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    Balthazar had been waiting for Falteer for some time now. Waiting around in the dungeon was not exactly pleasant, some of the ”residents” weren't in their right mind any longer.
    One thin as a veil fellow only kept giggling in his cell, it was unnerving to say the least. The guard nearby finally signaled that Falteer returned, and before Balthazar could say anything, Falteer inquired why he was there. The reason for his hastiness could've been because of the fight, or he was just curious. Balthazar nodded and spoke:

    ”Amnaste, Falteer. I came only to ask you a few questions regarding Nilak, it won't take long. Has he been acting.. odd lately to you? During those arena fights held at night for example? And are you aware yet what we are supposed to do tonight.. ? I'm not questioning Nilak, yet I don't like where we are headed.”

    Balthazar's questions were brief, but that was just like him.



    . . .

    Inpa was screaming like a new born baby while the beast drew closer. Then right behind him, a single arrow zoomed through the air. The whole situation became a complete blur for Inpa, he eventually fainted from the shock. Before he fainted, he however saw another beast attack the Tamba.. a Xeloain.
    Some time passed, and then the mysterious saviour came to Inpa. He asked whether Inpa was okay, and that's when he started opening his eyes. He rubbed his eyes a little before getting a better look of the elf.

    ”W.. what happened.. ? I-Is that beast dead?!”

    Inpa was still in a slight state of shock, thus he couldn't think rationally. His eyes kept flashing back to those bloody, sharp teeth of the Tamba. It didn't help that Inpa was able to recognize the ominous collar on his saviour.. the collar of a fugitive of sorts.
    He backed down immediately, struggling away if the saviour tried to grab him. With a scared look on his face, he stood up and started running as fast as he could. The saviour didn't seem to go after him, most likely he had no intentions of harming Inpa but Inpa wasn't able to comprehend that now.


    Balthazar was lying on his bed in his tree home. The celebration of Moon Day had started but he wasn't going to participate, much to everyone's surprise no doubt. Something was clearly bothering him, thus he couldn't sleep. Not that it would've been possible because of their mission tonight, and the immense noise created by the parade.

    The most amazing stunts and illusions took place in this very parade. All of the people which Balthazar could see wore a mask, another odd little tradition they had.
    Somehow Balthazar was expecting a certain young elf to appear, showing off his newest creation. Yet Inpa did not appear. At first Balthazar felt relieved but something seemed off. Whether he liked it or not, he had became fond of Inpa. His cheerful nature seemed to brighten up Balthazar's day ever-


    ”BAAAALTHYYYYY!!!! Now where's your mask?!”. Inpa screamed out loud next to Balthazar's ear.
    ”Awwh, you grumpy old man get up!”
    ”Grumpy.. ?”
    ”COME ON! You're gonna miss the party!!”
    ”I have no inten-”
    ”Oh shut it geezer! I got your mask already, look! Isn't it pretty?”
    ”Urgh.. !! It's pink..”
    ”Oh please, it's called being metrosexual! That hair of yours is also.. a tad too.. how should I put it.. ugly”


    Balthazar opened his eyes and noticed that the earlier scenario was a creation of his imagination. Inpa was nowhere to be seen, and the parade was still going strong. Perhaps he was down there, celebrating like everyone else? Balthazar glanced towards the direction where Valham's nest was, and then back at the parade. Judging from the location of the moons, it wouldn't be long until Nilak's and Falteer's fight would start. Slowly Balthazar rose and started heading towards the colosseum.


    ”Oh yeah, oh yeah! PARTY!! WHOO-HOO!!”

    Meanwhile Inpa was enjoying himself in the crowd in his usual cheery state. He felt embarrassed about earlier, he would've apologized his behaviour from the mysterious saviour if he had seen him again. Unfortunately he hadn't, so instead he was celebrating in the crowd.

    The mask he wore was huge, at least three times the size of his head, and it was really heavy. There were red feathers scattered all over the edge of the mask. The mask itself was covered in thick stripes of gold, silver and pink making it stand out quite easily. Then as if serving as cheeks, the mask had two black circles under the eyes. It was also covered with a glittery powder substance, it looked quite fancy to say the least.

    Last edited by farag0n; 01-07-2011 at 04:19 PM.
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  3. #28
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    ‘Sir, are you all right?’ Vice asked with a slight sign of worry on her face as she looked down on the owner of the library, who had suddenly collapsed on the ground. ‘You look really bad. I think you might have got a wrong drink somewhere . You need a doctor as soon as possible. Just wait here. I’ll use your back door and call him immediately.’

    ‘But I don’t –‘

    ‘Don’t worry sir; just lay still and everything will be all right. Let’s go Nyx.’ Vice gestured to her fairy to follow her through the door behind her.

    In the next room, which was just as dusty as the central room, Vice looked around hurriedly. ‘Oh I see now,’ she commented, ‘you don’t have a back door.’ She shrugged. ‘Well I’ll just create one then. Where is that book?’ The last sentence was directed at Nyx.

    'On your left.’

    Vice’s red eyes flew to table on her left were a book was displayed. ‘I’ll borrow this then,’ she said while snatching it off the table, ‘for an unknown period of time.’

    Her fingers moved at inhuman speed before clapped and pressed both hands against the wall next to the table. Under her hands a door started to form. Soon the chamber was empty with exception of a new made door and a red rupee, which looked to bright for this room, lingering on the table.


    While she walked back to the main square (after indeed asking a doctor to see that man) where she and Askari would meet again Vice skipped quickly through the beginning pages of the book. It looked quite complex as it started with a complete elaboration about magic in general. Concentrated Vice read the part about Earth magic, her element, as she navigated herself through a thick crowd back to a road with stones. Suddenly she slammed the book shut. ‘I’m so stupid!’ She cursed herself.

    ‘I know.’

    ‘You know, you are supposed to say something like: “no you’re not” or “don’t say that,” aren’t you my fairy, my, eh, support?’ Vice said to the fairy that rested on her shoulder.



    ‘You are stupid sometimes.’

    ‘Arg, Nyx!’

    While discussing the fact if Vice was stupid or not Vice fingers were constantly moving. First thing was that she lengthened her hair until it rested gracefully on her shoulders (Nyx was forced to fly up or otherwise she would have drowned in the flood of hair that sprung from Vice’s head). The color remained white, but now with a slight tint of blond in it. So faint that you weren’t sure if it was there or not. Her cloak was folded up with the book inside of it and tied on her back, her short jacket extended to one with long sleeves and that reached to her hips, her trousers lengthened together with her shoes until they were more like boots and reached over her trousers. Only the color of the clothes remained the same.

    When she was finished she stood before a small shop on the main square that seemed to get squeezed between two other buildings. How it managed to withstand the forces that were pressing on it was still an unsolved question.

    The shop bore the sign: Erak’s Amulets.

    It wasn’t strange, hence the name of the shop, that the shop belonged to Erak Tragras, a sturdy looking dwarf with brown hair and a long braided beard who absolutely loved money or any other kind of wealth. Inside it was so full that you could hardly make your way through the small pathways. Everywhere there lay or hung amulets. Amulets with protective spells, enhancing spells or destructive ones, also there were various other magical items present. On the left was a small counter where the owner was currently doing his calculations (read: counting his money for the four hundred and sixth time).

    When Vice entered the dwarf didn’t look up, but just said: ‘We’re closed.'

    Carefully Vice closed the door behind her and walked to the counter, trying to touch as less as possible. She knew from experience that nothing was what it seemed in this shop.

    ‘I said: we are clo-‘

    ‘I need a Xeloain fang.’

    A clunk resonated through the quiet shop as the dwarf dropped one of his red rupees on the counter. He looked up, his eyes narrowed. ‘We don’t have Xeloain fangs, they are very rare and almost impossible to get.’

    ‘I said I needed one, I did not ask if you had one.’

    The dwarf was quiet for a while before he sighed and picked up the red rupee from the counter. ‘What do you want Vice?’

    ‘What is that for kind of greeting to someone you haven’t seen for about fifty years?’

    ‘A greeting from someone who wished you would give back the money you stole from me.’

    ‘What?! Man, you still going on about that? And beside I didn’t steal it.’ Vice threw up her hands in the air.

    ‘Well you still own me those 50 rupees.’

    ‘Sure, sure.’ Vice sighed. ‘So where is my friend?’

    Erak looked up again, confused this time. ‘What friend?’


    ‘You sure we’re heading the right way?’ Askari asked for the second time as he still followed the dark elf. They had been walking for about fifteen minutes now and still no sign of a road with stones, which wasn’t a very good sign Askari figured. It couldn’t be true that he had wandered off so far, couldn’t it?

    ‘Yes, yes, just follow me.’ The elf said. ‘We are just taking a small detour.’

    Askari frowned. ‘What? I don’t have time for that you know.’

    ‘Come on, just a little drink. That can’t hurt anybody, can it?’ The elf smirked.

    ‘I really should get to that mart. You see Vice, my friend, she is waiting for me.’

    The elf stopped abruptly, making Askari bump into him. ‘Vice? You’re friends with Vice? And she is back?'

    ‘What?’ Askari looked flabbergasted. ‘You know her?’

    The elf smirked and raised his head up to the sky. ‘How does she do it? How in Arllith’s name does she always manage to get in my way?’ He looked down to the confused Beastkin before him. ‘Come on,’ he said while turning around and waving with his hand to another dark elf to make him disappear, ‘I’ll take you to the main square.’


    ‘You mean he isn’t here?!’ Vice practically yelled to the dwarf in front of her. ‘That dimwit! He got himself lost again!’ She rubbed her eyes. ‘And he doesn’t know the city at all. Guess I have no choice.’ She searched in her pockets and took out two yellow rupees. ‘I take two masks.’

    Erak studied the rupees for quite a while, bit on them and held them against the light before putting them in his purse and standing up.

    ‘You think I’m cheating on you, Erak?’ Vice said with a slightly amused voice.

    ‘Since it is you, yes.’ The dwarf only commented before strolling off. ‘What are you going to do anyway?’

    ‘Find him, of course. You have no idea how worse this guy is with directions. That guy even gets lost in his own country.’ She said.

    -----*flashback* -----
    ‘You can come out now!’ A younger Vice yelled to the emptiness around her as she walked on something that could be called a path. ‘You’re kind of obvious.’

    There was no reply besides from the wind that decided to blow a squall of heat, coming from one of the lava rivers nearby, in her direction and Vice sighed profoundly. She rubbed the dust out of her eyes before rolling them and stopping on her tracks. She turned to the side on her heels staring to the heap of rocks.

    ‘Look,’ She said to the heap, ‘you can continue sitting there and follow me every move waiting for the courage to step up and attack which perhaps never comes and this whole day will be a waste of time and energy for you will not accomplish anything. You can, of course, also come out now and we can have a normal conversation about when ether it is wise or not to follow a stranger for about four hours.’

    Again it was silent and Vice stared out over the emptiness of Onomu, the land of the Beastkin. To the volcano in the distance, far in the west where also Kalah was located, to the rivers of lava a bit closer that streamed all the way down to the Abyss if she had to believe the tales of the Beastkin. No, Onomu wasn’t a friendly land for travelers.

    ‘How did you know I was here?’ A sudden voice echoed through the silence and Vice focused her eyes back on the heap where a figure had appeared. He was tall and gawky as he stood there with the last sun on his hollow face. He looked like someone who hadn’t eaten a decent meal in quite a while. His fur was mat and dirty and his ears laid flat against his head, his paws firmly placed in the rubble.

    ‘Well you were stamping around like an angry tamba so it wasn’t actually that hard.’ Vice commented. ‘You can’t escape my ears.’ She added pushing her cap back, revealing her pointy ears. She smirked.

    The face of the Cheetah-like Beastkin dropped and he sighed.

    Vice frowned slightly and placed her hands on her hips. ‘So, what are ya doing here? I don’t recall a village being close by.’ Could it be a village that is not mapped down?

    ‘Eh… I…’

    Vice smile became more gentile. ‘You’re lost, aren’t you?’

    Depressed the Beastkin nodded and Vice bursted out in laughter.

    ‘What’s so funny?’ The Beastkin said irritated.

    ‘Getting – haha – lost in your own country,’ Vice hiccupped, ‘that is just too funny.’ She turned her head a bit to the side before stating at more serious tone: ‘So how well do you know this land?’

    -----*end flashback*-----


    Vice looked up from the masks she was examining and her eyes twinkled, but she remained on her place.

    ‘Eh hello?’

    ‘We’re closed.’ Erak huffed as he emerged from behind a great crate with defensive spells.

    I’m, eh, looking for my friend. Ah, I see she is already here.’ Askari said as he noticed Vice standing at the counter.

    ‘How did you know it was me?’ Vice commented as the Beastkin stepped towards her.

    ‘Your gloves.’ Came the serious reply.

    Vice looked stunned for a moment than she laughed. ‘Okay, very funny. Serious now, what was it?’

    Askari blinked. ‘Your gloves, really. They have this strange kind of smell…’ He trailed off. ‘Oh by the way,’ He looked up to Vice, ‘This guy, Kerim, he said that I should send you his regards and tell you that you should stop meddling in other people’s work, whatever that means.’ And he caught the mask Vice threw to him.
    Last edited by Fieryfly; 01-26-2011 at 07:44 PM.

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  4. #29
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    Kinrai ran home, back from school, filled with joy. Elves sent their children to school at the early age of four already, they were certain this would help in developing the children's skills even further before reaching adulthood. Whether this was a good idea, one can not say for it has always been like this. Kinrai was eager to show his results to his father who was most likely at home. He had just learned how to cast his first spell, a simple light which erupted from one's finger through magic.

    Kinos: ”Hmph. Why are you here? You still have school.”
    Kinrai: ”F-Father! They let me go earlier! I.. umm.. I cast my first spell today!”
    Kinos: ”At the age of four? Remarkable.”
    Kinrai: ”U-uhm.. t-thanks!”
    Kinos: ”.. What is it? I have no time for you.”
    Kinrai: ”O-oh! S-sorry!”


    Monark, the capital city of Zenith. The city which never seemed to sleep, it cast an everlasting shadow on the ”other half” in the root of the city. The upper city had multiple shops and a market area in the middle, the wealthiest ones also lived there.

    There, in the upper city, lay the large tower of the Elder Council. At the top of the tower resided three ”branches” which pointed upwards. These three branches were designated to the three elders: Garmilio, Ka'Tar and Kinos Alte.
    Twice a day the three would hold a meeting at the top of the tower. There they discussed the situation of Amn each and every day. The pressing matters at the moment were the Inuiks' dangerous behaviour, Chasm of Terra's barrier which separated Amn and the Netherworld and lastly the miscellaneous matters at hand.

    Kinos was attending to several crime investigations at the moment, most of which seemed to point to a single Tainted. Whether this individual truly was the cause of all the crimes, which included burglary, mugging and at least two known assaults, was uncertain however someone had to pay the price.
    It was already night, the moons were starting to turn into bright crystals in the sky. Kinos had no intention of watching the ”show”, he had other things to do than play all jolly and gawk at stars. Suddenly the door to his chambers opened and in walked a hooded figure. Kinos raised his gaze from the papers and examined the figure.

    Kinos: ”Well? You have something to report? Out with it, I don't have all night.”
    ???: ”He seems.. reluctant to our cause, and yet he agrees to do it.”
    Kinos: ”Hmph. As expected from someone like him. Off you go then, report me once the deed is done.”
    ???: ”Of course.”

    Just as the figure left Kinos' chambers, a whirlwind of fireworks passed by his window. The celebration at the market area had started. People were standing on their roofs and launching fireworks straight into the air.
    Down at the city level there were elven dancers dancing through the streets, each of them surrounded with different kinds of orbs which emitted light everytime the dancers' feet made contact with the ground. Back at the market area most of the elves were wearing their masks and dancing like no tomorrow. Those who possessed magical skills entertained others with their magic while the acrobatic ones made the most wonderous of stunts.

    The moons had completely changed into diamonds and were slightly emitting light. Soon all three moons ”exploded” with light and shot their rays into Amn. This was the moment a Moon elf was born into Amn. Where this individual was born is unknown but usually they ”landed” near Nayru, in the forests of Auburn.
    Kinos swiftly glanced outside but only sneered and went back to his studies.
    Last edited by Takesh; 01-29-2011 at 03:42 PM.

  5. #30
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    Striding amongst the crowded street Andrim once again noticed that every moon day the population spiked as elves made their way to Nayru, it being a much more popular place to celebrate in than the cramped Monark. It being the religious center of the elves with their ancient and supposedly pure priestess living here. The marketplace was filled with people laughing, eagerly anticipating the moment when the moon day would finally start. Some of the merchants had abandoned their stationary stalls for a more convenient and broader method of trade, dragging with them small carts on wheels selling everything from food to various trinkets and the masks that had become tradition to wear during the moon day.

    “Do I have a deal for you!”

    Turning his head to the source of the noise he noticed first now being trailed by a dwarf salesman with a cart in front of him, which seemed quite pointless with there being just one single mask in it.

    “You see” the dwarf continued “I had a good day selling all of my masks except this one. Now I do want to get back and refill my load with new ones but I got an annoying habit, it just feels all wrong if I go and refill without having getting rid of them all first and I can’t throw it away now can I?”
    “I suppose not” Andrim had a feeling of where this was going.
    “Precisely, and what do I see? An elf walking by himself without even a mask for comfort and I think to myself what if I were to give my last mask to him? So here you are” he said as he reached down into his cart, took it out and plunged it into Andrims arms before he could protest and removed himself as quickly as he had appeared.

    A bit surprised Andrim stared at the mask. He had been expected the dwarf trying to sell him the mask, not give it to him. The mask itself was simply made, a round wooden disk with a string to fasten it on the head. It was roughly made to resemble a leopard beastkin, fangs in the mouth and what the artist had probably thought a menacing look in the eyes which in fact reminded him of an angry cat, though admitely they could be quite menacing as well.

    It was a bit early but if he had a mask he had and put it on. After a few minutes of walking his formerly purposeful stride declined and an dullness entered his mind. Eventually he walked unsurely and slowly forward, he had the horrible feeling he had forgotten something important, a feeling he just couldn’t ignore. Steadily the picture of a female dark elf and the stone placed in the ground faded and became an desire for something else. He needed to go there and so went to a new direction without stopping until he stood before a house, hardly noticing it he opened the door and stepped inside.

    As suddenly as the dullness in his mind had come it disappeared, filling him with both surprise and irritation. This wasn’t where he had planned on going at all, rather how had he got here? The woman standing in front of him was a definite clue to why. Tall, long haired and dark skinned and clothed in an elegant dress which complimented her, but the elegance it might have shown was ruined by the mask portraying a rough faced dwarf. A dark elf. One he knew.

    “Happy Moon day Andrim” she announced happily as she took of the mask and placed it on a drawer next to her.

    Not sure how happy it is right now Melinda. Making me go here against my will by using your art on me. From what I remember you need some kind of medium for distances though” he said while trying to gather his thoughts, he felt a bit disarrayed.
    Taking the mask off he glanced inside of it and first now noticed the barely legible runes rifted into it. “Oh, that dwarf was an acquaintance of yours I take it”
    “You could put it like that. He’s a friend who knows when to listen to me. They’re truly the best kind”
    “You do realize you could just have told me to come over?” he said as he followed her example and placed hung the mask on an nail at the doorway
    Well yes but where’s the fun in that? Teaches you to take strange gifts, free at that! From dwarves you don’t know, did your mother tell you nothing?
    “Unfortunately she didn’t warn me about that particular piece of danger. But how did you know I was here? I just got here today”
    “You should ask another one of my friends for that, tall chap, good eyes. Got a picture of you
    “Not another dwarf at least”
    “Maybe he had stilts”
    “Well what?”
    Did he?”
    “….No” she admitted
    “Melinda please gets to the point. You wouldn’t have called me here for nothing so I take it you got something to tell me”
    “Oh I’m not so sure about that, if I’m bored someday perhaps. But you’re right, you remember the proposition you offered last time you visited them I hope?”
    “Good, because they have accepted it. Fulfill your part, or rather shouldn’t I say parts now? And you will have their support. As long you don’t try to become the next ruler of the elves. The consequences for that would be as they put it… What did they said? Oh yes would be as a thousand demons drilling your very soul with needles while piling of your skin”
    “… They did not say that”
    “You’re right, that's from a very poorly book I read recently, the consequences would be unfortunate was how they put it”
    “Sounds about right. Give them a hint that the feelings are mutual”
    “Threatening your allies? Oh I just love politics! Now with that said and done would you mind leaving? I am to have a cust**** here shortly and need to prepare”
    “What kind of cust****? The honest or dishonest type”?
    “Now I can’t tell you that, you just try to hunt him down for another feather in your hat, hence the reason I don’t want you to see him”
    “True” Andrim admitted as he went over to the door, stopping before it.
    Next time just send a message if you need to see me” he said as he turned the handle and stepped outside, the door slowly closing behind him.

    This day he decided, had been a good one so far. Now he just had to wait for Direya and Dref to be done and as long that didn’t go to ruin this day would have been perfect, or as close to perfect it could he reminded himself. Mixing with the crowd once again he played with the thought of heading to the graveyard but decided against it. He really shouldn’t do that against Direya.
    Putting up his hand he let out a yawn, first now realizing how tired he was. He and Direya had travelled the whole day, or rather he had, his fairy had just rested on his shoulder, and he himself hadn’t properly rested when finally arriving. He could use some rest.

    Walking to a nearby inn, he couldn’t really go back to his former home, he was told that they were all full. And thus an evil circle began, growing more and more tired for every tavern or inn he checked he was always told the meaning he had begun to hate during the last hour, the words were different but the meaning always the same. There was no room for him. By the time he had finished them all he was no longer tired but exhausted. He started regretting having noticed how tired he was. Think he told himself no taverns or inns and having no acquaintances to sleep at where could he go? The thought crossed his mind instantly in a flash of inspiration, the library of course.

    After a few minutes he reached the library, the old fountain of knowledge the elves safeguarded, past the receptionist and ignoring book and person headed for the second floor went up the spiral staircase to the second floor. The place was quiet with few people in it, each one of them buried in whatever world the book they read had. Looking around he noticed a chair in one of the corners and slumped down on it with a satisfied sigh. Closing his eyes his breathing slowly evened out into a slow and steady tact.

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________________

    Direya cursed herself convinced to stay here by Andrim, she should have known better than accepting this. The place was not warm, not even hot, the temperature was blazing! It felt like she would turn into a fairy crisp if it went higher, it didn’t do her mood any good either to see Drifs fairy seemingly having no problems with the temperature as he hovered over the blacksmiths shoulders. She had privately marked him as a smug bastard, she was sure she’d seen a smirk on his face at her discomfort.

    The smithy was in a square room which didn’t let out the heat from the forge where Drif was working making it a huge oven. Opposite to the forge a workbench made in some dark kind of wood, which kind she couldn’t determine, where several finer instruments were, small lenses of glass and chisels and the like. Most likely for the finer details of work a blacksmith might have.
    In the beginning she had been able to throw in a few comments to the pair, all of them ignored by the fairy that hadn’t said a word and most ignored by Dref. But now she was too warm to even make the effort for some unpleasant conversation. Him giving a hint she ruined his concentration also an reason she shut up. Not only was she not allowed to speak, the constant hammering onto metal had started to hurt hear ears, cling, cling cling. Again and again. Who was the idiot who hadn’t invented fairy ear mufflers? Everyone that’s who she thought grumblingly as she watched.

    Dref after having heated up the metal for some time and hammering it into the shape he wished finally stopped. Laying down his hammer and wiping of the sweat on his brow. Heading to another part of the smithy, Direya watched with interest, at least something new was happening, to a handle in the wall which he began to turn furiously. Confused at first she soon noticed the moonlight entering the room through the hole in the roof that was slowly opening, sending its light down onto the metal.

    Looking up she could now see all three of the moons clearly, shaped like brilliant diamonds sending down an luminous light onto Amn. The moon day had begun. And the moon metal eagerly drank its light.

    After having almost the entire roof sided away he picked up a small knife from a metal holder, loosening metal wires around it to pull it free.

    It was more akin to a surgical knife than anything else, the light glimmering from its edge, Direya didn’t knew why but she suddenly grew very uncomfortable. When Dref spoke it was in a manner which suggested he expected no answer, just wishing to went his ego “I now understand why he wanted me, this is a precision job. Not something like his father could perform” while slowly lowering the scalpel which started to give out its own light, a pure white one, the closer it came to the metal, until it finally reached and with a small spark passed right through it, making a nice cut right in the middle separating it into two identical pieces.

    Satisfied Drif turned to Direya “that’s the first steep. They are now so finely sliced that if I pressed them together they be one piece again. Though I” Suddenly he stopped as the knife lunged back onto the metal again. Swearing Derf pulled it back and with effort walked to the workbench and slammed down the knife up to the handle into it. “I hate when it does that”!

    “What was that?” Direya said as she drew nearer to the knife. She could almost swear she heard some muffled sound from it.
    “Just an ordinary knife. Quite well crafted but nothing special about it… Except the spirit trapped inside. Bought it from a moon elf years ago and since I used it for separating metal, passes right through them like butter. Only problem is that if it likes the taste it always tries to get a second one”

    Direya frowned upon this piece of information, she did not know too much about spirits but she knew that handling somebody else’s summon could be risky, she’d just seen proof of that. “What its name?
    “Who knows” He answered as he was picking up different tools, seemingly contemplating which one to use “it was years ago, I forgot. It’s just a toll anyway, I don't tend to name them”
    Just a tool. Flying away perhaps a bit hastier than usually she made some distance from the knife
    “It just moved by itself, what if it attacked a person?! If that’s a tool then I’m Valham!” she exclaimed angrily flying in front of him, her angry forms menace somewhat lessened by her height just being a few centimeters.
    It only does move like that rarely, it’s trapped in that form. What possible harm could it do? It only managed to do something because I held it and now it’s embedded in wood, name or no name it won’t get out of there any soon. Now get out of my way” Dref responded as he shooed her away with his hand.

    Angrily Direya flew of to gain some distance from the forge in the futile hope that the heat would't be quite as bad that way. Watching him as Dref decided on his tool and set to work on the two pieces of moon metal, shifting his focus from one piece to the other in a rhytm she couldn't quite follow.

    The two pieces of moon metal emitted a soft steady beat of light which eluminated Dref, and on the workbench unnoticed the end of the knife slightly vibrated, the sound lost in the forge.
    Last edited by Befram; 01-25-2011 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Forgot my Exp

  6. #31
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    Swiftly, wind gathered and took the form of a bird, which flapped its wings briskly against Vita's cheek as it rocketed through the tightly-knit crowd. Swiveling like that of an artful dancer bound by no obsticle, the bird took flight into the sky, dissipating as a scarlet twin etched itself in the night air in its place. Gasp of wonder and excitement vibrated amongst the idle chatter and joyful shouts, increasing in volume further in the distance. If Vita pressed her toes firmly on the ground and elevated her back, she would barely make out the mystical and fantastic participants of the parade. Of course, it was Oren, not her, who wiggled and bounced about to try and get even a glimpse of the festivities barricaded by families and friends who firmly stood their ground. Basically, the only method of breaking through the soldiers of stone -- that is, based on how pressed together and awe-stroken the crowd was -- was to appear far more appealing than the parade.

    "You certainly are a unique fairy, but someone so...tiny...well, I fear for your life." Vita face was grave, giving no hint of joking.

    Oren, who had proceeded to use Vita's head as a launching pad to get a better view without getting lost, suddenly turned slightly pale at the thought of being crushed by enthusiastic fans. After all, he certainly wasn't as agile as the wind bird the burst into flames moments ago. Still, there was a glint in his eyes that suggested he would not give up with a fight. Reversing his plan, Oren went from a hostile spectator who obviously didn't notice the scowl forming on Vita's lips to a beggar who tried his best to appear innocent and well-behaved -- the latter failing to convince Vita right away.

    "Benevolent master, who is most gracious, pleeeaaaasssseeee!"
    "...I cannot grant or deny your request if all you do is flatter, beg, and act obediently." Although her features were mostly placid, a strange throbbing from her heart caused her lip to twitch. For some odd reason -- no, perhaps it was simply Oren's odd behavior -- Vita felt a rush of annoyance.
    "Vita -- no, Master, please follow me so I may get a better look at the parade, please?" He eyed the parade desperately, forgetting all the while how deplorable such pitiful acting was in Vita's eyes.
    "No." The answer came before her lips could prevent them.
    "Wha- oppressive! You didn't even take a second to think about it! I'll report you!"

    "First, I know you detest calling anyone your master, so for you to not say 'master' mockingly, you are deceiving me. Secondly, was it not you who earnestly wished to assist Amelia? Even if we hurry to get a peek at the parade, it would take quite some time. Lastly, I do not want to have a master-servant relationship. Remember? I only take the necessities. I do not need a servant."

    All the while, Amelia, who had been leading, paused a few feet ahead of the bickering pair. She felt no consent to allow private matters remain private, proven when she glided effortlessly pass the relentless flood of people and waited patiently in front of them. When the situation became too akward to continue, Amelia clapped her hands together and merrily chuckled. Neither Vita nor Oren knew how to respond to this, so they simply stared at their elderly companion until she collected herself. Realizing she had the upper hand, she first adjusted the shawl she had given to Vita, her keen eyes noticing the faint signs of quivering. Then she cleared her throat, a pleasant grin on her face. Her tone was the embodiment of mirth.

    "My, I have yet to see a fairy and elf so fond of one another. Ah, and don't deny it. Why, the two of you have a closeness like that of dear friends."
    "...Friends? Well, I..." Now a new feeling was coursing through her, one she knew all too well. Fear.
    "Haha, you know how to judge someone's character well. Vita, you're right. You don't need a servant, but I know better than anyone that you'd be lost without me. So, from now on, we'll be known as friends, 'kay?"
    " are very important and precious to me, Oren, but I..." "I'm afraid. Love and hate aren't far apart, just as happiness and pain follow one another. Oren, if you get too close, you'll only hurt."

    Sensing Vita's growing unease, Oren decided to not press the matter any further. Instead, he pretended to be preoccupied with the festivities all around him, so as to bring more stress upon her. Besides, as he knew Amelia must be getting more anxious the closer she got to her family, leaving the both of them together might alleviate tension. That, or they would remain in unnerving silence while Oren bobbed in and out of wheeled carts and stalls. Luckily, he eventually spotted an actual target to investigate. There seem to be all kinds of shiny trinkets glittering flamboyantly even amidst the chaos all around him. Shrugging at the sight of Vita keeping her head bowed and Amelia folding her arms behind her like that of a mentor, he dipped and dived his way to his destination.

    "Greetings. Welcome to Fieyira's Enchanted Domain. Heh, sorry, I always wanted to say that."
    Eyes as auspicious as those belonging to Amelia gazed with admiration at Oren, at which blush came to his face without warning. This youthful elf, who was most certainly named Fieyira, laughed alongside the jingle coming from around her head. To be precise, the grand tune bleonged to golden ornaments dripping like teardrops from a wreath clinging to her locks of light caramel. Judging from her tanned complexion, she was a high elf, just like Amelia. Actually, the more Oren scrutinized the energetic merchant, the more she reminded him of Amelia, aside from a slightly more bubbly personality. Did he dare ask?

    "Say, Fieyira--"
    "Aw, you can call me Fia, though I'm glad you said my name properly."
    "Fia, are you related to -- that is, do you have a grandmother named Amelia?"

    For once, the mesmerized expression that in itself could have passed for a demure fairy quickly shifted to that of being stunned. After a few seconds passed, at which Fia's jaw remained stiff and unmoving, her hands rushed with a loud BAM! on the counter rising just at her waist. Surprisingly, none of her well-crafted good were even tapped in the process, as if she had memorized the order and placement of each object without fail. What came next could only be could only be compared to the blare of a screaming fan girl. During the duration of the lengthy and painful dialogue Oren had to endure, he learned the importance of pressing one's hands to one's ears.

    "No way! You know of my grandmama?! Oh, lucky, lucky! I struck a fortune my mother would be most proud of! I heard tales of her grandeur from papa many times! The talented seamstress who could sew such magnificent cloths in record time, each fitting for the passing seasons, as if she could foretell the weather as she journeyed across many lands. Ah, my mother, Mien, she is quite educated in magic. The fabric she sews each have an attribute of the elements, but they can only counter extreme elements. She deeply admires my grandmama. As for my papa -- his name is Xan -- he's an Auspice."

    "You know, my papa and mama met in the midst of duty. Papa was ferociously protecting the travelers who were headed to Qualus -- you must know merpeople are opposed to visitors. Well, mama was quite found of all that sparkles beneath the depths of Qualus. In the end, she and all the other travelers cut their visit short -- most were researches who deeply offended the merpeople -- but those two stayed hand in hand ever since. The only problem is that they are nomadic, so it must have been quite a disruption when I was born. Heh, but I'm sure it is a miracle. Because my birthday fell on Moon Day, we all gathered here to reep the benefits and also come together as a family."

    "Okay, now that I am done babbling about my family background, how about a gift? Since you listened so kindly, I'll give you a momento. Here!"

    Fluttering over to Fia's outstretched hand, Oren found himself looking at a petite mask of intricate design. A flat piece that had been warped into a curve as to fit perfectly upon a fairy's face could be seen, illuminated with a serene azure. If one watched carefully, it was as if waves lapsed within it, overcasted with a misty substance. Around the eye holes were golden rings, which slanted down in an alluring quality. The mouth was also lined with gold, formed in the shape of an oval. Reflected in the texture of water was Satir, Ura, and Pent, as if their positions in the sky materialized exactly in proportion upon the mask. Of course, Oren had to admit the best feature on the mask were thin, flexible feathers of gold that also had crystalline pieces similar to the base of the mask. Truly, for such care to be placed on something so miniature in size, it could be deemed a masterpiece.

    "Wow, you give away treasures as great as this just for listening to your story? Wanna be good friends?!" Oren immediately secured the mask upon his face, his upturn lips contradicting the mouth piece.
    "Well, I do hope you'll let me meet my grandmama. I take it you were traveling with her?"
    "Yup! Come on, let's hurry! I didn't know the moons were already reaching their peak!"
    Last edited by lokuri; 03-02-2011 at 12:51 AM.

    Nurarihyon no Mago!
    Inpa: "...I got your mask already, look! Isn't it pretty?”
    Balthazar: ”Urgh.. !! It's pink..”
    Inpa: ”Oh please, it's called being metrosexual!..."
    -- farag0n; Tales of Amn

  7. #32
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    // Falteer with Balthazar //

    Falteer inspected Balthazar closely as he spoke. There was some sort of urgency in his voice, but still reserved by the natural eloquence of his charisma, a patient and shortness in his speech. Noticing that Balthazar had finished, Falteer began to think back to the most recent encounters he had with Nilak.

    “I'm not the only one to notice the mystery surrounding him lately then? To answer your question, yes, I do believe he has been acting oddly, not the same as he would usually have himself, but I thought nothing of it.”

    Falteer observed Balthazar once more. What was going to happen tonight was all that he could think of. “Where are we headed tonight?, I know I have another fight tonight, along side Nilak, he hasn't told me anything else. What is on your mind Balthazar? I'm afraid he's been keeping me in the dark and you know more than that of I.

    However, I am not one to question his judgement, he is a great elf, I trust him with my life, I'm sure he has had his reasons for not notifying me for where we are going.”

    Falteer leaned against the filthy wall beside him, not that he cared, he wasn't one to fuss about living in such harsh conditions. “But seeing as you are here Balthazar, and are talking to me for the first time, I believe that this...situation...has gotten you uncomfortable, which, in all matter of fact, makes me feel pretty tense.” Falteer hadn't noticed that he didn't reply to Balthazar's other question, that of Nilak attending the night fights, he was certainly swamped in the present matter at hand, where the hell is Nilak supposedly taking him?

    // Falteer with Inpa //

    “H-Hold on a second!”. It was too late, the frightened young elf had already darted away in a shock of certain distress, he must have just been frightened because of the Tamba attack...or...Falteer noticed at the rugged collar cradling uncomfortably on his neck “Stupid fool...I should know better than to try and befriend those outside of my affairs" he cussed at himself.

    Standing up, Falteer brisked the dust off of his leggings, and buckled the arm bracers tightly around his forearms. “Jovan! It's time to go.” He clutched the vial of Tamba saliva in his hand and darted back to his master, to complete his deed.

    // Some time later... //

    Falteer was safely back in his cell, preparing for tonight’s festivities. He had acquired a red silk shirt with an open collar, which partially showed off a bit of his chest. The shirt itself was embroidered with a golden trim along the seams and in the openings of the wrists. For leggings, he chose to wear a tight fitting pair of black trousers which seemed to shrink around his ankles. It wasn't befitting of him. Like a normal prisoner, he should be wearing ragged, dirty, worn and bile-infused prisoner costumes to remind him of the person that he is.

    Falteer was startled by a familiar face, Nilak's, whom had already began speaking before he could realise he was there. Falteer eagerly jumped to his feet and quickly lowered his head in his presence, before raising it again, to greet him with a friendly smile.

    “Thank you sir, it is always a pleasure to have you spectate one of my fights. No Nilak, I'm quite okay, I had to wrestle with a Tamba today...a most hideous creature, so I believe what minor wounds I have had are healed.” Falteer approached his mentor and began to speak off of subject, without him even realising, it always had seemed to happen when he was with Nilak, he talked a load of nonsense.

    “I met somebody today, I couldn't get his name, but I felt I recognised him from somewhere before. He was pretty short, geeky and wore glasses, an elf, I saved him from the Tamba my mas-- Slave driver ordered me to kill.”

    “How are you feeling tonight anyway Nilak? I have noticed you have been...out of place recently. Balthazar talked to me today, for the first time. He expressed concern that we would be...leaving for some place tonight. Why was I not consulted about this my friend?.”

    Revenge Solves Everything.

  8. #33
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    Kinrai was fully absorbed with all the festivities, so much that he completely forgot the existance of Issat, his fairy. Not that she minded because she was nowhere near Kinrai, in fact she was flying around the parade like many other fairies. The fairies themselves created a fantastic light show above the parade. The moons had turned into diamonds and shot their rays into Amn, a moon elf had been born only moments ago. However, the festival was only advancing into the next part: the Moonlight show.

    The Moonlight show had always been the second part of the Moon Day festival. The whole city was dimmed so much that you couldn't even see the person next to you. This allowed the magicians to absorb the moonlight and then write it into the air, the text was blue with a strong glow as if it was a neon light. This was commonly used to express one's love to one another but it was also used to entertain everyone. Once the love expressions had been over and done with, the magicians started telling wonderous tales about the most mystical of places.

    As they advanced in their tales, they also drew pictures into the air which somehow related to the story they were telling.
    The children always loved the Moonlight shows and most of the adults did too because telling tales was the favorite past time of everyone in Amn. The Moonlight show was rarely used anywhere else but in Nayru.

    Kinrai was still ”grooving” even though the parade had already ended. This is why he bumped into someone, more specifically a moon elf who he had seen in the library. Kinrai himself didn't know this because it was pitch-black but he was still quick to apologize.

    Kinrai: ”Ah! Sorry! I didn't mean to bump into you! .. Uh.. Am I even talking to the right direction?”
    Weird One: ”You might be, if you want that I want that you know what I want, y'know.”
    Kinrai: ”W-what.. ?”
    Weird One: ”I like to eat pottypie Mister Bellyache.”
    Kinrai: ”???”
    Weird One: ”I am no longer here.”

    Kinrai had no idea what was going on but apparently the guy he had been talking to just left. The first story was about to end and the second begin. Kinrai calmed down and started listening to it more carefully. It was pretty easy since the only thing you could see well were the pictures drawn in the air. Issat couldn't locate Kinrai so she just flew over to some house's roof and watched the Moonlight show from there.

    Transition to Nilak

    Falteer was, as always, well mannered towards his teacher. This was one of Falteer's best qualities aside from his swordplay. Falteer lowered his head slightly and explained what he had gone through today. Nilak had a slight smirk on his face as he listened to Falteer.

    Nilak: ”Ah, as well mannered as always. You fought a Tamba? Well it must've served as a good warm-up for today's match, hmm? Haha!”

    Next up Falteer mentioned a young elf he had saved earlier. Nilak had a few elves by Falteer's description in his head.

    Nilak: ”Short, geeky and wears glasses.. ? It could be Balthazar's little friend. That would be Inpa however I'm not sure why Inpa would go even near a Tamba's lair. Hmm.. that Slave driver, he still keeps you in a tight leash Falteer?”

    Then the same question popped up which Balthazar had also asked earlier. It was bound to come sooner or later and now was the time to inform Falteer of it.

    Nilak: ”He did? I can imagine so. He must still be quite confused. Yes, we are leaving tonight if you're willing”.
    Nilak kept a brief pause before continuing, the things he was about to say weren't something which just rolled of your tongue.
    ”What we are about to do is something that will change our lives.. permanently. After the arena fight, we will head to Valham's nest and shatter the wind dragon's soul crystal. We will destroy every soul crystal left on Amn. If you're looking for a reason, like Balthazar, I am afraid I can not tell you. Not yet. All I can ask is that you place your trust in me. I apologize for not telling you this earlier.. I was still hesitating till today.”

    It was silent for a moment.. then Nilak continued.

    Nilak: ”Before you give your answer, think hard about it. You have until the arena fight is over. I believe you will make the right decision Falteer. Know that we will have no allies in this world, it will just be the three of us. Well! It's time to gear up, our match is starting.”

    Nilak strolled over to the armor stand and put on his dark purple vest and flexible pants. He tied his hair into a ponytail in order to keep it out of the way and walked out into the arena. A soundproof bubble had been formed over the colosseum so that the crowd's cheering wouldn't disturb the story-telling. Immediately as Nilak walked out, the crowd jumped out of their seats and started cheering as hard as they could. Falteer came right after Nilak and he also received a warm welcome so to speak.

    Announcer: ”Gentleman! Are you ready for tonight's blood filled fight?! This is what you are here for! Nilak and Falteer, the elven hero and the arena champion fight against the evil, twisted Tainted who we've captured! Tonight, there will be a 20-versus-2 fight! The Tainted are no farmers this time, they are real bandits who know their way with a blade! Good luck combatants! Have fun and let the crowd enjoy it too!”

    Nilak: ”Watch out Falteer.. these bandits are familiar with each other. They're used to fighting in a group, they will be using actual tactics against us. We have to reduce their numbers fast or separate them. Once their numbers are reduced, we can just finish them off with a strong blast. Your Magic Art will do wonders here.”

    With that short strategic speech, Nilak dashed towards the bandits. Before the bandits were able to react, one of their members was already hanging on a wall, skewered by a spear. The spear soon dissolved and formed back into Nilak's hand. He had just used the incredible speed the wind element can give and one of his Magic Art weapons: Kudoroi. Kudoroi is an ice spear which can freeze the enemy.
    Nilak had no time to waste since the bandits already formed up into a triangle and rushed towards him.

    Nilak: ”Tch. That formation has to be shattered..”
    Last edited by Takesh; 02-15-2011 at 06:43 PM.

  9. #34
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    // Falteer with Nilak //

    What Nilak had explained startled Falteer to the very core. Is this the real side of Nilak?. Falteer always pictured Nilak as a noble and good character, a person full of good intent and whom strived for the betterment of Amn. Falteer disregarded everything that Nilak had said up until this point in the conversation, all he was focused on was the objective that Nilak has now bestowed upon him, without the decency to explain the goal behind achieving such a devestation.

    Now he knew why Balthazar was concerned. This is the most outrageous stunt that Nilak has requested of his apprentices.

    Alas, Falteer trusted Nilak with his life, and if he were not to trust him now, he would be contradicting the words he spoke with such ease to Balthazar earlier.

    “What can be achieved through such travesty Nilak?, I trust you but this is too much...” but Nilak had already left leaving Falteer to argue with his morality. Falteer began to ponder on the details of what he had just been told.

    To take Valham's soul crystal? Is Nilak mad? Even if Nilak's reasons are justified with a cause, how the hell are Nilak, Balthazar supposed to fight dragons?! It is a suicide mission. Does Nilak really have no disregard for both mine and Balthazar's lives? Willing to commit us to death with not so much as a shred of care if we should perish?

    This is too much...

    Falteer shook out of his thoughts and returned to reality, noticing it was time for the next fight with Nilak. Falteer went to the armoury, as he would usually do, and equipped his armour and weapons, with no help from Jovan this time because he had him to fight along side.

    Nilak performed a prayer before making his way into the Colosseum pit, guidance from Valham, and the rest of the dragons of Amn.

    “Valham our protector,
    hallowed be thy name,
    give me this day your strength and courage,
    and deliver me from great difficulty,
    to rejoice in your arms as one of your children,
    and to please you lord, our grace,
    as I make a choice today that will change the fate of Amn forever.
    Shii'Ka Lai.”

    Falteer finally walked into the pits just as the announcer called his name, and took side beside his comrade, Nilak. He listened carefully to Nilak's strategic speech, this is what Falteer had always admired about Nilak, his confidence and battle-readiness, he had not seen anything like it before.

    “2 versus 20? Aren't we just a little bit under a disadvantage?”

    Like always, Nilak would lead the battle, quickly dashing towards the enemy tainted bandits, instantaneously impaling one to a wall with his impressive combatant skills. Falteer would proceed to follow, breaking off to the right allowing Nilak to take the bandits formation from the front, allowing Falteer to flank them using his magic art.

    He skidded to a stop, straight across from the tainted, and placed both of his palms to the ground. It was Falteer's chance now, to shake the ranks, and manipulate the metal in Amn's ground below try one of his newest techniques...

    “Nilak! Avert your eyes!”

    Falteer muttered a few elven words under his breath, and followed by a few moments of concentration, the traces of metal underneath his feet began to twist and warp. Electricity was surging through the metal in the earth, which acted like a conductor for his power.

    Falteer's power then surfaced from the ground, quickly ensnaring his opponents in place, followed by a quick unyielding flash of bright light which blinded the tainted, allowing Nilak a few seconds to shorten the ranks, but a few seconds was all that Nilak needed. The perfect combination which matched both Falteer's and Nilak's fighting style, this gave reason as to why they were a force to be reckoned with.

    “Nilak! Now is your chance!.”
    Last edited by Anglo; 02-15-2011 at 08:58 PM.

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  10. #35
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    In the past

    Nilak was training Kinrai among the treetops of Auburn. It was an excellent place to work your stamina and speed. Kinrai was instructed to catch a simple light blue pearl, the same one which was usually used in the last event of a Moon Day. The pearl was fast and it hovered above ground, couple that with the intensity of branches and overall visibility in the forest, and you got yourself a real challenge. It has been 3 hours since they started and Kinrai hasn't even slightly touched the pearl yet.

    Nilak: ”Come now Kinrai, you aren't even trying! You have to work harder with that speed of yours.”
    Kinrai: *Pant* *pant* ”S-.. surely you jest? You can't expect me to keep up with this thing, not here!”
    Nilak: ”What were you expecting Kinrai? That we drink tea and have light-hearted discussions about life? I am training you!”
    Kinrai: ”I know that! But this is just too hard!”
    Nilak: ”You are going through the same training both Balthazar and Falteer went through. Not once did they question me or complain about the difficulty of this trial. This is your fifth time complaining today.. ” *Sigh*
    Kinrai: ”B-but those guys.. they aren't normal elves like me! They are more like you! Born fighters!”
    Nilak: ”Kinrai.. you aren't born as a fighter. You become one. Keep this in mind, and will you finally at least try to catch the pearl?”
    Kinrai: ”Gah! *(%&=@!”
    Issat: ”Such language! Please calm yourself master!”

    Nilak laughed and then smacked Kinrai in the head. That was the punishment he got from cursing in front of Nilak.


    In the present

    Announcer: ”Oh boy! Did you see that?! Only seconds have passed from the beginning of the fight and already these two are dominating the battle! OHH! That is just nasty! Wait! Here comes Falteer! What is he going to do? This might be something we've never seen before!”

    Falteer: ”Nilak! Avert your eyes!”
    Nilak: ”?!”

    Nilak quickly looked away as Falteer was just about to unleash a new power of his. This was something even Nilak hadn't seen before, he was excited about the outcome of this skill. Soon a bright flash blinded the crowd and the bandits, leaving them complete vulnerable for Nilak's attacks. There wasn't a moment to lose, the bandits would quickly regain their sight. Falteer shouted for Nilak to act now which he exactly did. He switched his weapon into something more suitable for air combat: Aeoles, a double-edged wind spear.

    With Aeoles he summoned a massive whirlwind underneath the bandits which caused them to be launched right up in air. The whirlwind scattered the bandits so that they weren't bundled up in the air. However there were still at least 15 bandits alive and Nilak wasn't fast enough to go through them all in mid-air. That's where Falteer would come into play too.

    Announcer: ”WOW! There it is! The infamous whirlwind Nilak uses! Just look at that beauty! These Tainted are as good as dead!”
    Nilak: ”Falteer! Use this!”

    Nilak formed a sphere of ice and a sphere of wind in both his hands. He then combined the spheres (with wind as the dominant element) and summoned Elfaan. Elfaan is a small cloud which latches into it's target and gives them the ability of flight. Elfaan would enable Falteer to fly and attack the bandits with Nilak. After that Nilak shot right up in air and dashed into the middle of the whirlwind where all the bandits were. He slashed the bandits as many times as he could and exited the whirlwind only to lunge in there again shortly after, repeating the process.

    Nilak: ”We'll halve their numbers now and the stragglers will be easy to deal with afterwards!”

    – After the whirlwind settles down and both Nilak and Falteer land back on ground --

    Announcer: ”CAN YOU SEE THAT?! This is exactly why I love these nightly arena battles! And to spice things up a little.. Please welcome this little baby! Go get them heroes!”

    One of the gates opened in the arena and a towering giant emerged from the depths. The beast bore only one eye but had plenty of armor and an enormous hammer to compensate it. It was a cyclops, a feared beast which could tear apart a small village if it so wished. Their inhuman strength enabled them to smash boulders and throw them with ease. The cyclops were mostly found in Onomu, it was surprising how one had ended up here.. and worst yet, armed and alive.

    Announcer: ”Now THAT'S what I call a beast! Hyea-haha!”
    Nilak: ”What.. ? A cyclops?! What are they thinking? They are putting the crowd in danger too!!
    Falteer! Our primary target has changed! We have to deal with the bandits la- Ugh!”

    A bandit just leaped at Nilak who blocked the attack just in time. He kicked the bandit swiftly and used Aeoles to throw him in air. While the bandit was in air, Nilak formed an ice missile and threw it right at the bandit. The missile impaled the bandit, killing him instantly. The cyclops was already rushing towards the two of them while swinging it's hammer as if charging it.
    There was no time to make a plan, Nilak and Falteer were on their own now.

    Nilak: ”.. Let's do what we do best, Falteer! We have to make sure the cyclops doesn't harm the crowd!”

  11. #36
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    It seemed Nilak hadn't told Falteer what they were about to do today. However Falteer had also noticed Nilak's odd behaviour, in which Balthazar felt slightly relieved. So he wasn't the only one. Earlier today Nilak had approached Balthazar and told him of his plans for tonight. It came as a great shock which forced Balthazar to rethink his view on Nilak. Falteer inquired Balthazar of their destination tonight, but Balthazar did not answer.

    ”I can not tell you. I'm sorry, it's not in my place to tell you where we are headed. Nilak most likely wants to tell it to you himself.”

    Just as Balthazar started turning towards the door, Falteer told of his unwavering trust towards Nilak. He also expressed his.. tenseness which spurred from Balthazar. Falteer had hit the spot, Balthazar felt very uncomfortable about the situation. There was still uncertainty weighing his heart at the moment. He was trying to figure out a reason since Nilak did not tell him it. The fact that Nilak kept his ”cherished” pupils in dark worried Balthazar, it had not happened ever before.

    ”I do not question Nilak either.. ”. Balthazar cut his speech at that point, perhaps he wasn't sure of what to believe at the moment.
    ”In any case, good luck on tonight's match Falteer. I'll be watching.”


    During the Moonlight show

    Balthazar just arrived into the crowd to see both Nilak and Falteer fighting against the bandits. It was a rather one-sided battle, the two made short work of the bandits. People in the crowd kept cheering like crazy and demanded more blood. One particular guy got way too excited for his own good, he was starting to become a threat to others. Sadly for this fellow that Balthazar happened to be sitting right next to him. Just as the guy was about to jump up and hit someone, Balthazar knocked him unconscious with a single well-placed hit in the neck.

    ”Calm down.”

    Almost right after that Nilak summoned a whirlwind to demolish the bandits. He started sweeping through the bandits like hay. Soon after the announcer declared a new combatant who would arrive into the arena. It was an enormous giant, a cyclops, armored to teeth while wielding a huge hammer. Balthazar glanced towards Nilak who didn't seem least bit entertained of this new opponent. Rumor has it that the cyclops are powerful enough to break through a wall with their bare fists. That meant that if the cyclops felt like it, it could certainly attack the crowd and even the announcer.

    Unfortunately that was exactly what happened. For some reason the cyclops turned its focus on the crowd almost immediately. At first the crowd got excited but soon it became like a chorus of the desperate. Nilak and Falteer were surrounded with the remaining bandits so Balthazar had to step in. The cyclops grabbed a large piece of earth, mostly of rock, and threw it right at the crowd. Balthazar had to act quickly or the crowd was doomed. He created a layer of stone around his arms so that they could withstand a heavy blow. Then he jumped up and launched himself right at the incoming piece of earth.


    A loud crashing noise bursted out into the air when Balthazar's fist made contact with the piece of earth. The piece shattered into smaller ones which were still directed towards the crowd. Acting quickly while in the air, Balthazar kicked the pieces of rubble near him at the ones flying towards the crowd. When the pieces of rock collided, their direction also averted from the crowd. At least the crowd was safe for now. Balthazar landed on the arena, not far from the enraged cyclops. He slowly turned his head at the cyclops and took out his katanas.

    ”.. Come on, let's play.”

    The cyclops roared and immediately swinged its hammer at Balthazar. He was able to dodge the strike but when the hammer hit the earth, the afterblow shook the ground violently. This caused Balthazar to lose his foot momentarily, but he still was able to quickly lunge at the giant's kneecap and make a crushing blow to it. Sadly the blow only managed to loosen the armor slightly on the giant's leg. Balthazar turned around and saw how the cyclops was already rushing right at him, it really wanted to play with Balthazar.

    Balthazar was only trying to buy time for Nilak and Falteer to finish up with the bandits.


    Inpa was completely absorbed by the parade and by the time it finally ended, Inpa was still jumping all over the place. That's how he eventually got a few hits on his head because of angry adults who he knocked over. The Moonlight show just started and that's why Inpa took off his glorious mask. There was also a pink mask hanging from the side of his belt. Inpa looked over towards the colosseum and he saw the bubble which had formed on top of it. The night fights had just started probably, or that's what he thought.
    As the story-telling started, Inpa sat down and started listening intently. The stories were always amazing and simply full of fantasy.
    Last edited by farag0n; 02-18-2011 at 07:07 PM.
    Calm down people, it's just me.

  12. #37
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    Vita was filled with distraught, her heart pumping with such vigor; it might as well burst any moment. She was conflicting with her beliefs and her immeasurable relationship with Oren. Perhaps that was where the solution resided, buried deep within her complex feelings. She didn't want to leave remnants of herself behind, yet she already did so. She didn't want to lose anything or anyone, yet she would lose everything and everyone. What a cruel predicament, to be born from rejecting all ties with the world, yet upon existing, to find yourself attached to all that is around you. It was laughable. All this time, Vita thought she was fleeing from the world she was thrown into, and it took one word to discover she couldn't run: friend. Was she really so blind? And now that she could clearly see that which had been invisible before, Vita found she was incapable of staring Oren in the eyes. When she did dare to peek from the sheets of silver clouding her vision, Oren had darted elsewhere, out of sight.

    "Oh dear, I've hurt you greatly, haven't I?" Lifting her head a bit higher as she faced the direction of the question, Vita found Amelia staring with perplexity upon her face. It was as if she had just read Vita's heart and was debating with herself as to how she would correct whatever disturbed Vita. Finally, her lips cracked with a smile, then a light laugh, at which she gathered her arms behind her, straightening her back in the process. The whole transformation was startling, for Amelia took the role of a concerned mother who had just produced the medicine that would take away all uneasiness. She also commanded respect, placing Vita in the role of a small child that needed proper guidance.

    "Now, listen hear, child." Even her words had changed, becoming both bubbly and firm. "We both have fallen flat on our faces, and as such, I have risen first to offer you my hand. My greatest regret is that I should have caught you before falling, instead of tumbling along-side you." When she knew she had completely lost Vita, Amelia jumped a bit, cleared a throat, and began again. "What I mean is that I was born before you, as a mother, and I have even given birth. I should know more than anyone else how terribly sad it must be to wake up and find yourself utterly alone. Nevertheless, I tried to avoid my son through doubts and other petty qualms. As such, I unknowingly pushed my concerns onto you, and here we are, hiding from our loved ones, instead of embracing them and sharing our true feelings with them."

    "I do not know the reason you are hiding from Oren, but he is more than your friend: he is your family. You do not have to be tied through blood and marriage to create a family; your family is always by your side, even when you think you are alone. Even after death--"

    "Oren will not remember me after death!" Vita's impenetrable mask began to crack, giving way to a stream of tears. She believed most of what Amelia told her, finally appreciating her precious life as a gem surrounded by a sea of darkness. Even so, she knew she would eventually have to return to her origins.

    "You and I are different. How can I be a mother when I had no mother myself? How can I expand upon a family that doesn't exist? I am not a goddess. I was born from nothingness, and shall return to nothingness. What right do I have, then, to leave behind remnants in a world that is like a dream? Life gave me meaning, but death will erase all that I am. Besides, once I disappear, Oren will find another...master."

    Speechless, Amelia kept her mouth agape, wanting to comfort Vita, but unable to find the right words. All means of communicating was lost, which caused Vita's heart to erupt in even more turmoil, banging against her fragile chest as if seeking freedom from its tormentor. The whole effect made Vita jittery. She just wanted to flee, to keep pounding her feet against the ground until they became sore from blisters and literally sent her crashing downward onto her face. Instead, her leg jerked backwards, and her shoulders jammed into someone's back. Instinctively preparing to apologize, Vita for the first time noticed that all the dazzling lights from the parade and other activities were more or less extinguished. To make matters worse -- for apologizing, that is -- whoever she had collided into was no longer beside her.

    "How strange..." was her only comment on the short scenario before she found enough courage to continue with Amelia. "Please forgive me if I sounded rude, but I honestly cannot imagine settling down and being surrounded by loved ones. I am fine with chance encounters and contracted relationships, but...I can only relate to Pent, Ura, and Satir. I simply have a heart, is all."

    "You notice how the three moons take the guise of crystallized spectacles on Moon Day? That is how I see my life. Pent, Ura, and Satir have existed all this time, but only on Moon Day do they take a different shape. Do you understand? My theory is that I'm in a temporary form, and when my time is up, I'll--"

    That's when Vita finally noticed it: the aftermaths of the beam that gave birth to moon elves. Lingering in the sky were faint traces of light that combined into a majestic glow. Although the day of her birth was mostly a blur, the sensation she felt as she locked her eyes upon the sky was always the same on every Moon Day. There was another element to creating moon elves that also made Vita nostalgic, and it resided in the moons themselves. If you looked closely, just before the moons melted away their florescent costumes, you could see refracted light within them. Somewhere, enclosed within Nayru, was a moon elf wondering about the city. This could be her chance to confirm her qualms, or get a new outlook on being a moon elf.

    "My, if my assumption is right, I would say a moon elf was born not too long ago." Amelia nodded her head, acting as if she was talking to herself, but her tone indicating her comments were aimed at Vita. "If I was a lost moon elf, I would be delighted to meet another moon elf like myself. Yes, I wouldn't want another second of loneliness and shock to pass..."

    "Amelia, are you fine with me departing before meeting your family?"

    "I wouldn't keep you from living your life if you wish to follow what is important to you. Besides, Oren will keep me company."

    "I thank you kindly! Truly, I am filled with gratitude."

    "Yes, yes. Now, hurry, before you miss your chance!"

    Thanking Amelia one last time, Vita darted in the direction of where she assumed the moon elf would be waiting, but her goal wasn't so easy to complete. Not only did darkness of night make it hard to distinguish buildings, but swarms of families and friends enjoying the Moonlight show created impenetrable walls every now and then. At one point, Vita had to confirm if she was on the right path, at which she discovered she was heading away from her destination. Then there were times when she to wade with the tide of people, causing her to drift away. Time was also against her, for with every passing second, the remains of the light she was following dissipated from sight. Unable to fathom what she would do if she lost all traces to the moon elf, Vita scurried around and, with an apologetic glance to compensate for her actions, into people. The countdown came to an end just as Vita scrambled a few feet in front of the residential area and the colosseum in full view. Although she couldn't comprehend why a moon elf that was just born would enter the colosseum, it seemed like the most logical place to find him. After all, he wouldn't have a home that welcomed him.

    After investigating the surroundings of the colosseum, Vita finally found the moon elf. He was resting on top of someone's roof, focusing on the fight. Hurrying over to greet him, Vita prepared to shout to get his attention, but his...unique attire distracted her. The main feature of his outfit was a light blue fabric stretching from his shoulders all the way to his toes, held only by a golden button. It branched into kimono sleeves, which reflected the overall design: vivid firework prints with thick, black lines dividing them in a spiral effect. A jacket that looked as if it had been dipped in honey concealed only his shoulders, for the sleeves had been literally ripped off. Underneath the kimono coat is a dark purple vest with fancy, black buttons; it stops at around his upper torso, leaving his slim, athletic, lower torso bare. As if to blend into the background of his interesting taste in fashion, light tan trousers that gathered around his ankles was all that "decorated" his legs, leading into sandals with light blue straps and a black base.

    He must have sensed Vita gawking at him, for his eyebrows were furrowed and he glared at her. Then a staring contest ensued, broken by a sudden jerk of the head on his part. The silver strands he desperately tried to keep out of his eyes merely tumbled forward, sweeping his nose and cheeks. Somehow, dust must have collected around him, for he began sneezing so rapidly, each sneeze sounded like it echoed the previous one. When he managed to control his sneezing by clasping his hands over his mouth, Vita and several other onlookers couldn't help but laugh. His response? A bout of laughter on his part as well. His presence was calming, as if he knew how to read the situation and act the part. No doubt, he would be the life of the party, keeping even the most insecure guest entertained. Such people are dangerous.

    "Hey, miss, do you want to know which side is winning, or have you fallen for me?" The moon elf was teasing Vita, winking at her and motioning for her to join him. "Falteer and Nilak are amazing. They work so well together!"

    Taking her time to scale the house -- she didn't feel like getting scolded by the owners -- Vita peered into the arena, at which her heart skipped a beat. Looming with a colossal height and brutal strength that made ants out of those scattered around it was a Cyclops, a reddened eye from squirming, pulsating veins lodged into its head. The hammer in its hands could probably smash heads like oranges, and it didn't matter whose head would become the next victim. Oddly, her new companion didn't seem at all worried, and for just a second, his eyes flickered towards the audience, a smirk on his face. Suddenly, a boulder of a rock was lifted into the air by the Cyclops who, after stomping his right foot onto the ground for better balance, grew bored of his true opponents and made "friends" with the audience. Unfortunately, his method of playing was like a bear: one-sided and sucked the life right out of you.

    "You...did you know the audience would become the target of aggression by that Cyclops?! Please, answer me truthfully!"

    "You? My name is Elrik, and I'd rather not share my knowledge with people I don't know well." Again, every word and expression was taunting.

    "I call myself Vita Vero--"

    "Wow, you actually established a surname as well?" For a moment, Elrik seemed genuinely surprised, but the smile that followed proved he was stalling.

    "Elrik, if you knew lives would be threatened by death, why didn't you act? The barrier protecting them--"

    "Look! That's why."

    Rocketing with as much speed as the cruel rock was either a foolish or powerful elf from amidst the crowd. Even though Vita could hardly make out his features, he was definitely male and a dark elf. All the rumors that Vita heard about the combative prowess of a dark elf didn't amount to the courage and reflexive instincts of the individual who saved countless lives without any delay. What did the announcer think about the interference, then? He, of course, was both cowardly backing away from the attacks and improvising the new addition into the battle. Those who remained seated or returned to their seats at first had mixed feelings, all based on how the level of entertainment would be affected. Then, when the dark elf directly challenged the Cyclops, the majority of the audience cheered him and the other two on.

    "Falteer, Nilak, and now Balthazar. I heard they had strong connections to one another, but who would have guessed they would be fighting together? I think it's wonderful. The stronger your interaction with someone is, the more likely you'll encounter them later in life."

    "You do not have doubts about the impression you etch onto someone's heart?"

    "Why? Because I'm a moon elf?" Elrik chuckled to himself, but when he realized Vita didn't join in, he scratched his head and replied: "We are born free, as elves with hearts, so why not shape a legacy that no one else can follow?"

    Hoping to support his idea, Elrik tapped the birthmark on his left cheek. It was a snowflake that sparkled with as many colors as a rainbow. Beneath it was a glittering trail of broken lines that reached further than his neck without passing the length of his vest. "Did you know? Every snowflake is unique. Not one snowflake resembles another, and yet, to the naked eye, they all look the same. They also don't have names, and once they hit the ground or some other thing, they either melt away or merge with other snowflakes. Still, they can make an impression on someone's heart, and that's not a bad thing. Oh yeah! My birthmark also stops where my heart is, which is how I got the idea about snowflakes and moon elves! What do you think?"

    "I...I think you know more about this world than I do, despite having just been born." Finally, the anarchy within Vita's heart was ebbing away.

    Nurarihyon no Mago!
    Inpa: "...I got your mask already, look! Isn't it pretty?”
    Balthazar: ”Urgh.. !! It's pink..”
    Inpa: ”Oh please, it's called being metrosexual!..."
    -- farag0n; Tales of Amn

  13. #38
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    The feast outside started to go all out now the moons came closer to alignment. Soon the jugglers would perform their most skilled tricks, the dancers would dance the wildest and the fireworks would be the brightest. This all to honor the moons and in some sense also the newborn Moon Elf. The sound of laughing and talking people entered the little shop and the ears from the people inside. Vice stretched, swayed irritated with her now long hair and made a few moves with her fingers to create a piece of rope from a small line of her sleeve, to tie her hair up in a high ponytail.

    ‘Well let’s get to work than, shall we.’ She said as she unclipped the cloak from her back and spread it out over the counter. The only empty space in the store.

    No, no, no. This shop is closed. I need to go you know, to my wife and kids. They are waiting for me– Is that… ?’ Erak’s eyes almost turned into rupees as Vice casted ‘Summoning from the Abyss’ aside.

    Vice shot him a sideways glace. ‘Nah it’s a fake, obviously.’ She said gesturing to the book and seeing with some sort of content Erak’s eyes slightly dim. The dwarf licked his lips and he let his hand run over his beard.

    ‘Still a book as that. I could get at least four red rupees for that, maybe five or even six if I made it-’

    ‘Ditch it. It’s mine, obviously.’ Vice said. She pulled the cloak straight and looked over to Askari and held her hand up.

    ‘Neh Vice, can’t we do this tomorrow? I really want to go out and see Moon Day in Monark.’ Askari said fumbling with his own cloak.

    ‘Yes, get-’

    ‘As,’ Vice sighed, ignoring Erak, ‘this is the moment to do it. All those people,’ she gestured to the right were the outskirts of Monark lay, ‘are here.’ She moved her hands to point to the plaza outside. ‘And if they are here, than we can just walk around there.’ She punctuated ‘there’ as she gestured again to the outskirts.

    But... Well, you know, I’ve really been looking forward to this.’ Askari mumbled disappointed.

    ‘Could you sto-’

    ‘As, there will be lots of Moon Days. We won’t be finished so soon so we can always go another time.’


    ‘We could also do this another time than, not? If – If there are so many Moon Days to come…’ Askari looked up to Vice, who realized just too late that she had fallen into her own trap. She ran her hand through her hair and bit on her lip before smiling.

    ‘…’ She was silent for a moment. ‘Fine, you win.’ She grumbled then to an extremely happy looking Askari, who not only grinned because they would go to the feast, but also because he had won an argument from Vice which was something that did not occur often. His smile died down slightly though as he saw Vice’s flickering eyes.

    ‘Fine, fine,’ Vice repeated, ‘but then you have to wear –‘

    ‘Just what are you two talking about?!’ Erak finally managed to interrupt. The dwarf was almost steaming. He didn’t like it when people spoke of something he didn’t comprehend and hated it even more if they took away his precious time with the talking. He was a busy man, as he considered himself, who hadn’t time for chitchat. Vice and her friend had taken enough of his time today with things he didn’t know about. ‘You own me an explanation Vice.’ He huffed. ‘You come here; barging around like you haven’t been away, like everything was like it was fifty years ago. Well things aren’t the same! We have moved on. I demand an explanation!’

    Vice rose and looked to the exceptional irritated dwarf. When he ended his little speech she stayed silent for a few seconds. ‘Finished?’ She asked when there came no more words.

    The tension in the room rose and Askari’s ears moved around restlessly. He looked from Vice to Erak. The little dark elf seemed awfully big in comparison to the dwarf and not only because she was a head taller. Somehow her posture made her look bigger too as her red eyes looked merciless down in the brown one’s from the dwarf. Vice didn’t like to be ordered around by someone Askari knew. He didn’t know everything about her past, but enough to know this little fact. (Also because he had experienced it himself a few times, but he didn’t want to remind himself of that).

    Erak knew it too, but his frustration got the upper hand. ‘Not by long, but you can start by answering this.’ He snarled.

    Vice seemed to consider this and the shop fell silent. Sounds from outside suddenly seemed to turn louder and Askari shot a glance outside through the only window that was in the room. People were passing by dancing and singing as they went. When Askari made a soft longing sound Vice seemed to decide on something.

    ‘Fine,’ she said for the fourth time today which was awfully much for her, ‘but those fifty rupees will be let off.’

    Erak pondered for a moment. You never knew if that what Vice told you was the whole truth, but then again she didn’t lie either so there must be some sort of truth in her words. Next to that he couldn’t just live with not knowing. Yet fifty rupees gone was dreadfully much. ‘Deal.’ He spoke though and he stuck out his hand, the palm of his hand raised to the ceiling. Vice responded to this with placing her hand on his palm and turning her hand together with the dwarf’s around so that her palm was now pointing upwards. It was an ancient bargain symbol that was often used on markets.

    Immediately after the move Vice let go of Erak’s hand and turned to the counter where her cloak was still spread out. Slowly she pulled of her gloves and placed them next to the cloak. She placed her hands against each other and closed her eyes for a moment, than at blinding speed her fingers started to move. They tapped symbols on other fingers activating them on touch, turning them blue, and deactivating them again until suddenly Vice smashed her hands together and placed them on the left site of the cloak. Erak bowed towards the cloak not sure what to expect.

    Under Vice’s hands the cloak started to deform; the color drained away leaving a blank piece of cloth. First it seemed that that was it and Erak was just about to look up again to ask Vice what this was all about when lines started to appear on the blank piece of cloak. The lines seemed to be random at first, springing from Vice fingers. She removed her hands and pulled her gloves back on as the lines spread further. They swarmed out over the blank piece, which also seemed to expand more so that in the end the whole cloak was blank. The lines twisted and curled, going from thick to thin and thinner until the whole cloak was covered in lines.

    Erak bowed forwards, his mouth agape. ‘This – This is – This–’

    Vice straightened and looked down to the table. ‘A map, yes.’

    ‘But – But this is – I mean – A map of – How?’

    ‘I hope you are aware of the fact that you are not making any sense? It is a map, yes, a map of the western part of Amn. If you want to see that eastern part you have to be by my friend.’ She nudged towards Askari with her head.

    ‘But a map of whole Amn… How is that even possible? It would take years to map this down.’

    ‘Decades.’ Vice corrected the dwarf. ‘My father started this when he was young and it has taken him years to map down Naiyru. After that he started traveling the world in order to map it down completely. Yet he died long before he could complete his life work…’

    ‘I’m sorry.’ Erak muttered under his breath as he continued looking to the map. He moved his head closer towards Monark and narrowed his eyes. Although Monark took in more space than other cities on the map it was still too small to see anything clearly.

    ‘Oh come on. You can’t see anything like that.’ Vice commented as if she had guessed the dwarf’s thoughts. She placed the fingers of her right hand on Monark closed together. Then she moved her fingers away from each other, opening her hand and agape Erak looked how the lines unattached and swirled over the cloak again as if searching for a new place. Was it still a cloak actually, the dwarf wondered suddenly? Careful Erak touched the map realizing that the cloth had turned into think paper. When he looked back to the map itself he found himself eye to eye with a complete map of Monark just lying before him.

    ‘How – Just now – This – ’

    ‘You are starting to stutter again.’ Vice commented dryly. ‘What did you think? That an overall view was the best thing my father could do? No way, he invented this system that could zoom in and get as detailed as possible. Okay we can’t look inside people’s houses, but that is just rude. But mapping down little streets is no problem, which is why we should do it. Cities change, villages grow. Even with a completely mapped out Monark I still have to return here for the changes that this city went through. Well enough sightseeing.’ She made some moves with her fingers and placed them on the map. Within a minute the whole map had turned back into a cloak and Vice swung it over her shoulder.

    ‘Well let’s go, to that party then shall we?’ She turned to Askari and walked over to the door.

    ‘Wait!’ Erak called still looking down to the counter where just a moment ago the map had been displayed.

    ‘What now? I told you want you wanted to know, so I’m not obligated to answer again.’

    The dwarf looked up and stared to Vice’s back. ‘What are you doing here? I mean why drop by after fifty years? You said it yourself, cities change within a year. What took you so long? What is the reason for your return?’

    Vice turned. There was a short silence before she said: ‘There are some places that even I can’t reach. Still, they belong to Amn and so they belong on this map,’ She opened the door, ‘and I will find out how to get there!’

    A man said to the universe:
    "Sir I exist."
    "However," replied the universe,
    "this hasn't created in me
    a sense of obligation."

  14. #39
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    With a jerk Andrim woke up and fell from the chair as the library was illuminated by a flash of light from the fireworks outside accompanied by an explosion of sound. Making sure there was nobody around to have seen his ungraceful act he dusted himself of, embarrassingly aware of just how glad he was that Direya wasn’t there right now.

    Going over to one of the windows he watched the mass of people down there celebrating the moon festival, the sound of shouts and laughter drifting upwards with the occasional flash of light and sound from the fireworks being sent up. The moon festival was the day to let out all the energy and impulses that ordinary days would be shunned and despised, even crime was possible for who could ever find the perpetrator from such a mass of people? Then again he reflected as the coliseum with its circle of light above ,signifying that the night battles had started caught his view, murder was apparently allowed as long enough people watched and paid for it. No longer feeling the joy of watching the festival unfold he left the window and walked downs the stairs, exiting the library only to after only a short walk be grapped by random passerby’s and pushed in into the crowd that made the moon festival and carried away by the flood of people. Trying in vain to get out of this stream just got him pushed further and further in, he was as much able to willingly change his course as a ship without a steer wheel. It was as he was trapped in a mad monster carnival, no matter where he looked there was masks in different images meeting his eyes not a single natural one. One gigantic mask in particular riled him up, covererd in red feathers and painted in gold, silver and pink made him wonder how someone could seriously wear something that gaudy.

    Realizing though that compared to that mask he being maskless made him him stick out like a sore thumb made him attempt at another fruitless escape attempt out from the crowd. Giving up Andrim let himself be swept away. At last there came a small opening which he managed to squeeze through, almost throwing himself out of the crowd. Quickly making some distance before being swept away again he looked back, no matter how many times he experienced it the futility one’s own will had when caught always amazed him.

    Screams echoing in the night made him drop his fascination of the crowd and face not just one but several people running from the direction of the coliseum. Grabbing a man at random who was obviously panicked as he tried to break free, pushing him against the wall and holding him against the wall made him unable to escape “calm down, what’s going on, why are everybody running?
    The coliseum, they let out a cyclop! It’s going berserk attacking the audience!”

    Swearing in his mind he let go of the man and rushed to the coliseum, who in their right minds would unleash such a beast?
    Upon reaching the coliseum those who decided to run had done so while the rest were eagerly awaiting the battle between the cyclop, who had allowed this, Cyclops were known to throw their own rock skin at foes, the audience had been in danger the moment it sets its foot inside, trying to discern the elves down there he recognized Nilak and from the descriptions he assumed the other two were his apprentices, Balthazar and Falteer. With the cyclop around he couldn’t believe how the others in there, criminals of some kind surely, still attacked Nilak and Falteer, perhaps they had some foolish idea of having a chance to get out of there alive now. But Nilak and his apprentice’s problems weren’t his.

    Everyone listen” he roared through the coliseum, “I need you to get out of here in an orderly fashion, you’re no longer safe here” nobody stirring to his order, all to captivated by this rare fight he continued “As an agent of the Council I Order you to get out” Emphazing on order and council caught their attention, the thought of disobeying the council was something which made most people change their minds. "Not leaving will be taken as an direct disregard of council orders” This got them to finally move, though slowly and regrettably they got up and began to leave, and with a bit of help from his part those who didn’t listen begun to move as well, the power the council held over the elfs were simply amazing. Now there wouldn’t be any casualties except the bandits and gladiators down there. But those who participated here by their free will were at the same level as the bandits, nobody truly cared if they died.
    Last edited by Befram; 04-03-2011 at 10:00 PM.

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    The bright beam of light which Falteer had created allowed Nilak just enough time to summon a massive whirlwind beneath the bandit’s feet. In order to aid Falteer in this now aerial skirmish, Nilak summoned Elfaan, a small cloud which would allow Falteer the opportunity to take flight.

    Drawing his bow, Falteer jumped onto the cloud and used his psyche to navigate with the cloud. This was not the first time Falteer used Elfaan, he had to in fact use it in training, which both apprentices went through. Stretching three arrows across the bow’s string, Falteer expertly sniped three bandits mid-air. He then made his way into the middle of the whirlwind, using the cloud to help him not be knocked off balance. Putting away his bow, Falteer raised his fingertips and unleashed a flurry of lightning towards the bandits, causing a chain effect. Enough voltage circulated through the bandit’s bodies to ensure that they would be dead.

    The aerial battle ended quickly before it had even begun, and Falteer and Nilak landed back on the ground. There were still a few strings of bandits left to defeat however, but this was not the main priority now. Falteer heard the announcer the entrance of a gigantic, looming figure entering into the fray, a Cyclops no less.

    Nilak: Falteer! Our primary target has changed! We have to deal with the bandits

    Falteer heard Nilak’s newest orders, to eliminate the Cyclops that stood before them before it managed to destroy the entire Coliseum, but it would seem Nilak still had his hands full with the last remaining bandits.

    Falteer: “This is not good! We won’t be able to hold off much longer by ourselves unless we turn the tide no-”

    A few quick seconds pass and the second apprentice, Balthazar entered the battle to lend a hand, instantly drawing the oafish Cyclops’s attention to him. With the time that Balthazar had momentarily brought them, Falteer and Nilak engaged the remaining bandits.

    Unsheathing his sword, Falteer took an offensive stance and engaged the bandits, thrusting the sword deep into two of the poor bastards, at the same time. Falteer could see the announcer making a pun about ‘shish kebob’ right about now. Kicking the bandits that had been impaled with his sword, he regained his blade from their bodies and continued to eliminate the remaining source of bandits, flickering lightning bolts occasionally from his fingers whilst slaying any opposing forced in his way with his sword. The battle had been made easier because of the bandit’s damaged morale, obviously made from Nilak and Falteer’s overwhelming force of power, and it wasn’t long before the battle had ended.

    Falteer then drew his attention to Balthazar, who was still successfully holding the monster on his own. Impressed by this feat, Falteer quickly took his side beside him, assuring Balthazar that they would win this battle, and thanked him in the process. Looking behind him, Falteer could also see Nilak taking arms, to finish the final fight that would be fought by the three of them in this distasteful Coliseum.

    Revenge Solves Everything.

  16. #41
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    Announcer: ”O-oh no.. !! Umm.. Help!!”
    Nilak: ”What have you done.. !?”
    Nilak nearly cursed at the foolishness of the people who decided that unleashing a Cyclops was a good idea, an armored one at that!

    The announcer screamed out of fear when the Cyclops suddenly turned its attention towards the crowd. The Cyclops threw an enormous rock at the crowd, it would surely demolish everyone there. There was nothing Nilak nor Falteer could do, the remaining Tainted bandits were too much of a hindrance. Then a miracle occurred. Nilak's stern and silent pupil appeared to save the crowd from the rock. He single-handedly destroyed the rock so that the crowd would remain unharmed. Immediately after that he drew the Cyclops attention to himself, thus giving Nilak and Falteer the chance to deal with the remaining Tainted.

    Nilak: ”Balthazar!!”

    A smile formed onto Nilak's lips, the Cyclops's odds of winning just went down a notch. Falteer annihilated his side of bandits quickly, only bursts of lightning and bandits' screams could be heard. The announcer liked Falteer's style, he was watching Falteer's moves and at some point even tried to come up with a clever pun involving a ”shish kebab”.
    Sadly his effort went in vain since the crowd had been evacuated by someone. Nilak couldn't see who did the job but he was glad someone was brave enough to do it. Falteer soon joined with Balthazar to assist him against the Cyclops. Meanwhile Nilak finished off his side of bandits and also made his way to Balthazar. Once he reached the two, Nilak spoke out. He already had a plan how to dispatch the Cyclops.

    Nilak: ”Listen! We'll keep this one short and sweet. I will attack first and freeze the Cyclops's armor. You two come in next and shatter the armor. Don't hold back! That armor is thick, like we already saw when Balthazar hit it, and can take a really strong beating. Once we've dealt with the armor, concentrate your attacks at the beast's eye! Lastly, be careful.. and give the remaining audience a good show, hmm?”

    Nilak laughed and then launched himself right at the Cyclops. The Cyclops made a huge swing with its hammer which Nilak dodged by flying straight up. Nilak switched his weapon again, the roulette spinned and gave him the ice spear, Kudoroi, again. Nilak infused all the ice magic he could into the spear and launched it at the Cyclops. The spear crashed into the front armor, freezing it solid. The ice spread quickly and covered the whole armor. Right now the Cyclops had problems moving but the ice wouldn't be able to hold him still for long. This was the time for Nilak's pupils to act.

    – After the Cyclops's armor is destroyed –

    Announcer: ”Eh-heh.. C-can you see that? Now the beast is.. Right. G-great work, heroes.. !”
    Nilak: ”Looks like our announcer has run out of words.”

    The Cyclops was now unarmored and thus vulnerable to attacks. Balthazar and Falteer had made sweet work of the armor, it was in complete shambles on the ground. The Cyclops roared and swinged its hammer again. Even the beast knew it had to really start fighting now if it wanted to survive. Nilak knew the hammer would cause much trouble when attacking the eye, even the beast knew that its eye was their target. It would do everything in its power to prevent that.
    It looked like the Cyclops had to use the hammer with two hands, thus disabling just one hand would halve the efficiency of the beast's attacks. That was Nilak's next goal, he was confident his pupils would deal with the rest.

    Cyclops's skin is tough and hard to pierce through, thus cutting its whole hand would be hard. The best course of action would be to cut off the thumbs. Without thumbs, the Cyclops wouldn't be able to wield the hammer anymore. His plan was set, it was time to move. Nilak dove through the air straight at the Cyclops's left hand. Unfortunately the Cyclops saw Nilak and retaliated by giving Nilak one giant punch.

    The force of the punch was so immense that Nilak flew through the air and crashed through a wall. The Cyclops roared and changed its target. This gave Nilak the time to recover, and luckily attack the Cyclops from behind. He blasted off from under the rubble, latched onto the Cyclops's arm and made a swift swing which cut the thumb off. Before the Cyclops was able to counterattack, Nilak already cut the beast's other thumb.

    The hammer came crashing down, leaving the Cyclops completely open for attacks.

    Nilak: ”Now! Finish him off!”
    Nilak yelled out and lodged his spear through the Cyclops's right temple.

    – After the Cyclops's death –

    Announcer: ”YESS!! They did it!! I-I mean what else could've happened when this trio is involved?"

    Nilak landed back on the ground with Falteer and Balthazar in the nearby vicinity. He made a short laugh before rubbing his shoulder, the punch he received earlier had made some damage there. He turned and faced his two pupils, raising his thumb up to signal victory.

    Nilak: ”Excellent teamwork. Ha! Looks like I taught you two well! Hmm.. We need to hurry. Looks like the race is starting any minute now.”
    Nilak glanced towards the city and saw some bright lights illuminate the sky. The final act of the Moon Day was about to start: the Moonpearl race. Nilak turned to face Falteer with a rather serious expression on his face.
    Nilak: ”Before that.. have you made your decision, Falteer? Will you join me and Balthazar on this forsaken crusade?”

    ** Kinrai **

    Issat: ”Please wake up, master Kinrai! The Moonpearl race is about to start!!”

    Only loud snoring could be heard from Kinrai's mouth, he had completely fallen asleep during the Moonlight show. You couldn't blame him, the tales felt like bedtime stories. Issat pouted once and then gently nudged Kinrai's nose. She was far too small(and gentle) to make any impact on the snoring Kinrai. Thankfully someone nearby noticed Issat's desperate attempt to wake Kinrai and decided to 'help'. The high elf grabbed Kinrai from his ear and pulled it down hard. Kinrai's eyes shot open and he yelled out of pain.

    Kinrai: ”Wh-WHAT?! Oww!! That hurt.. !”
    Weird One: ”Oh my, I thought that was the doorbell! How silly of you!”
    Kinrai: ”Oh no, not you again.”
    Weird One: ”I am equally happy to see you too, Mister Bellyache McFartface”
    Kinrai: ”Please leave me alone.”
    Weird One: ”FLAP FLAP FLAP!! Look at me! I'm flying!!”

    The Weird One started running around and flapping his arms as if they were wings. Kinrai sighed before turning his attention to Issat.

    Kinrai: ”What is it?”
    Issat: ”The Moonpearl race is about to start, master Kinrai! You wanted to join, didn't you?”
    Kinrai: ”Yeah, I do! Let's see.. the contestants are over there. Make way for The Lightning Feet!”
    Issat: ”With all due respect, master Kinrai, but that title is not exactly.. Umm, actually nevermind.”

    Kinrai ran to the starting line which was located in the middle of the marketplace. There were at least 10 other contestants, most of them were dark elves. Minathiel soon arrived in a stunning white dress with golden linings, she looked like an angel who had descended from the sky. She was the one who would release the Moonpearl, the target of the Moonpearl race. As always, she was also the one who announced the rules for the race.

    Minathiel: ”Wonderful evening to everyone. Now starts the final phase of our beloved Moon Day festival: The Moonpearl race! The rules are as follows: the one who catches the Moonpearl first is the winner and receives the blessing of the Moon Goddess. You can only use your own speed, pallas and any summoned creatures are not allowed. Contestants, are you ready? I wish you all luck. Let the race begin!”

    The Moonpearl was set free from its golden box and it vanished from sight almost immediately. All the contestants zoomed into different directions in order to spot the pearl. Kinrai made his way on top of the colosseum, where he could see things better. Once he reached the top, he saw how a Cyclops was lying dead in a pool of blood with three figures standing near it. Kinrai couldn't make out who they were, thus he turned his attention back towards the city. He narrowed his eyes and started looking.. the Moonpearl glows with a blue light, that was what Kinrai tried to spot.

    (( OOC: Oh.. well it turned out long anyway. ))
    Last edited by Takesh; 05-20-2011 at 04:23 PM.

  17. #42
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    The Cyclops was pissed, more than it should've been. Did it actually understand Balthazar's taunting earlier? Who knows. Nevertheless the ground shook as the Cyclops swung its hammer. Balthazar was doing his best to dodge the attacks and also connect a few blows into the beast's armor.
    The Cyclops was about to swing again, and this time Balthazar wasn't quick enough to dodge. In a manner of seconds, he created a solid layer of rock around his arm, just like before and crashed his fist against the rampaging hammer. Sparkles flew as metal and rock collided. Balthazar was thrown back by the force but the hammer was also repelled back so much that the Cyclops also lost its footing.

    The layer of rock crumbled away from Balthazar's arm, he had to catch his breath for now. The Cyclops roared and was already rushing towards Balthazar. The thing's stamina was just something else. Thankfully Falteer just landed next to him to give a helping hand, giving a boost of confidence to Balthazar and also thanking him for stalling the Cyclops.

    Balthazar nodded and turned his focus back to the Cyclops. Nilak also arrived only seconds later. Just like always, Nilak took the leader's role instantly and devised a battle plan for the trio. It always surprised Balthazar just how fast Nilak was able to come up with strategies, just like the time in Onomu when they were fighting the Lurkers.

    Nilak told the plan, first he would freeze the Cyclops's armor and then Balthazar and Falteer would destroy the weakened armor. Nilak also mentioned the thickness of the beast's armor, which Balthazar knew from first hand experience. The armor was tough, that's why both Falteer and Balthazar had to do the job.
    Nilak threw a short laugh and told the two to give the audience a good show, in which Balthazar smiled a bit. Finally Nilak seemed himself, odd considering they were battling for their lives at the moment. Right after that Nilak flew off into the sky and froze the Cyclops's armor successfully with his spear.

    ”That's our cue. Don't fall behind now, Falteer.”
    Balthazar said jokingly before starting his attack.

    Balthazar sheathed his other katana, grabbed some sand from the arena and through alchemy changed his unsheathed katana into a stone hammer, a big and heavy one at that. Balthazar also reinforced his arms by creating another layer of rock around them, this enabled him to wield the hammer like his katana. The Cyclops was still struggling to move and was all open to attacks.

    Balthazar zoomed in and smashed the Cyclops's right kneecap into shreds. The Cyclops's fell on one knee in which Balthazar responded by jumping in the air and swinging his hammer right into the Cyclops's skull. A loud crack was heard as the beast's helmet fell off. Balthazar landed back on ground and started hammering the back side of the armor with everything he got.

    Finally the back armor crushed into shambles and fell on the ground. Balthazar still continued on, the armor had to be taken down before the Cyclops's gained its mobility back. He smashed the hammer next into the right shoulder and turned the pauldron into little pieces. After that Balthazar finally let go and took some distance, he had to catch his breath again. He was confident Falteer would get the rest of the armor in time.

    – After the Cyclops's armor is destroyed – (( Thought I'd use the same.. things as you did Takesh. Keeps it clean and simple to read ))

    The announcer tried to spout something but he was much too scared. Nilak commented about it but Balthazar didn't bother himself with the scaredy-cat. Now it was time to kill the beast, Nilak went ahead and cut off the Cyclops's thumbs so that it wouldn't be able to wield the huge hammer anymore. This gave an idea to Balthazar.

    He reinforced his arms again and grabbed the Cyclops's hammer. It was incredibly heavy and Balthazar had to muster all his strength just to hold it. Balthazar felt like he was trying to lift up a small house. Soon Nilak yelled out to finish the monster off. Balthazar started spinning around with the hammer, with momentum he would be able to direct the hammer into the right spot. He spun faster and faster and finally crushed the Cyclops's chest with its own hammer the same time Nilak had pierced the beast's skull. The hammer went in so deep it was impossible for Balthazar to pull it off so he just left it there.

    The announcer cheered as the beast fell. Nilak laughed again, bragging how well he had taught his two students. Balthazar smiled too but only briefly. Nilak mentioned the Moonpearl race which is why Balthazar also checked the sky above the city. Inpa had swaggered how he would join and, naturally, win the race.
    Balthazar wondered if the boy was going to actually go for it, although knowing the spontaneuos little guy that was basically pointless. He would definitely go for it and then sulk around the next day because he lost. It seemed Falteer was still unsure whether he'll join. Balthazar decided to leave beforehand.

    ”I'm going ahead Nilak. Falteer.. Na-den pedim ad.”
    (Until we speak again)

    With that Balthazar hopped on Elfaan and sped off towards Valham's nest.


    ”Okay! Time to test out my newest creation! . . The Speed Boots!”

    Inpa held two shoes high in the air, clearly trying to boast with them. The boots were made of metal, a very light kind of metal, and both boots had a pair of wings attached to them. The wings enabled the user to go faster and even fly if there was enough speed.. in theory. The self-proclaimed young genius inventor was more than proud of his newest creation. He was going to test the boots in, you guessed it, the Moonpearl race. He didn't hear the rules Minathiel spoke and thus did not know that using anything other than your own speed was forbidden. He walked over to the starting line with the boots on and waited for the starting signal.

    ”Be ready to be amazed by my speed guys.. !! I'm faster than lightning!!”

    The other competitors laughed and as soon as the signal went off, blasted off into the distance in order to find the Moonpearl. Inpa himself activated the boots and then gracefully zoomed through the crowd and crashed straight into a wall. The speed was more than Inpa expected, so much more that it was impossible to control it. Inpa tried again, everything around him became nothing but a blur and again his face was buried into a wall of a house. The young inventor would not give up however, he activated the boots again but before he was able to speed off, a strong hand grabbed him from his shoulder.

    ”You are hereby disqualified from the Moonpearl race for using forbidden equipment!”
    ”Eh? What? NO!”
    ”Did you not hear Lady Minathiel's speech? She told the rules and they forbid the use of anything else other than your own speed!”
    ”B-buh.. DARN IT! My experiment is all ruined!”
    ”I'm sorry.”

    Inpa left with a grumpy look on his face. He kicked the sand a few times as he walked down an alley. He decided he'd visit Balthazar, it's not like Balthazar actually did anything else other than sleep these days. Well, that's at least what Inpa thought. When he reached Balthazar's little branch of a home, he saw it was empty. Inpa sat down and watched the city with a slightly puzzled look.

    ”Where are you, Balthy?”
    Last edited by farag0n; 05-25-2011 at 06:18 PM.
    Calm down people, it's just me.

  18. #43
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    The two friends walked through the crowd of people on the plaza of Monark until they suddenly came by a clearing. Flames surrounded the area. A sudden burst of fire missed Askari just, scorching the hair on one of his ears. Shocked the Beastkin stumbled backwards, but then he smiled. In front of him a fire mage preformed his tricks. He winked to the Beastkin and laughed loud while releasing another blow of fire. Amazed Askari stared to the man as he began juggling with five fireballs. It was a somewhat cute sight: a tall Beastkin gaping like a little child to a street performer.

    Vice snickered. “Come on As, it is not that special.” She said. “These things have been done over and over again. It is almost getting old.”

    The Beastkin continued staring. The performer tossed all the five balls up in the air, spun around, caught them again and continued juggling. The crowd cheered.


    Again the Beastkin decided not to react.

    “As!” Vice said irritated that her friend ignored her. “Those jugglers are everywhere. Even you must have seen them back home. Come along we have more to do.”

    Askari stiffened and turned around to face the small elf. “As a matter of fact I haven’t seen them once at home.” He spat suddenly to her. “You know that very well Sirilia.”

    Vice eyes narrowed. “What did you say?”

    “I said you know damn well that I didn’t see those performers back in my home country Sirilia.”

    “I advise you to stop calling me that.” Vice voice was dangerous low.

    “Well I advise you –”

    “A wonderful performance! Drinks all around!”

    “…” Both Askari and Vice stared to the man that had appeared in front of them. He was tall in every possible way. His head oval shaped, his face elongated with a long pointy nose and a broad mouth, his body sinewy and his limbs looking slightly too long for some reason. He wore the most flamboyant clothing you could imagine and on his head, a bit cocked to the left, balanced a small party hat that flashed in all the colors of the rainbow.

    “Who are you?” Vice asked. She moved her stare away from Askari and directed it to the man.

    “Have a hat.” The man replied. He offered her a bunch of hats that mysteriously appeared in his hand.

    “I asked who you were.” Vice voice sunk a bit lower.

    “I’m the one that parties the most. Whenever there is a party you can be sure that I’m a present!” The man made a pirouette. “I have to say you two performed magnificent! So much tension, the emotion, the anger, it was all so raw and pure. Exquisite!”

    The two friends stared to the man and then to each other.

    “Let’s go As, this guy is nuts.” Vice said.

    Askari nodded in agreement. “What’s wrong with him anyway? I’ve never seen someone like that before.” He asked as they walked away.

    “Hee! You guys forget your hats! There is no partying without your flashy party hat!” Then the crowd closed around him and he disappeared out of view.

    “Finally…” Vice mumbled. “I believe that was one of the Nameless ones.” She said to Askari. “They’ve discarded their names for a new one, a one to which they have to stick closely. So that guy must be like the Party One or something. Anyway,” she turned to face the Beastkin, “I’m sorry. That wasn’t really… appropriate of me. I know you haven’t seen any Moon Day’s at home.”

    Askari looked down to his feet. “I’m sorry too for calling you that. That wasn’t really nice either.”

    Suddenly the two laughed. “So what do we do next?” The Beastkin asked.

    “We party of course.” Vice chuckled. “There is so much more to see in Monark then just the fire jugglers. There are tons of magicians who perform.”

    “No, actually I meant about the mapping.”

    “Oh, yeah, well we need to go back to Nayru.”

    “What?” Askari stared to the girl as if she was crazy. “But we just came from that direction. Shouldn’t we first redo Monark again, apply all the changes and stuff?”

    “There is not time for that.” The two halted near the act of two water magicians who made countless of sculptures from ice. “You see I finally figured it out.” She casted a glance to Askari to make sure that his attention wasn’t only drawn to the sculptures.

    There are tons of places that are hard to get to, but there are just two places in Amn where we, as normal earth creatures, cannot come: one is Riverna and second is Quallus. Now we originally thought that there were two ways to get there. The first was asking an Inuik or one of the merpeople to take us there, but this is highly unlikely to happen since the two haven’t accepted others for decades. The second was summoning a creature powerful enough to at least fly us to Riverna. But this also is unlikely to happen since I’m not powerful enough to cast a spell that big nor do I know of someone who can do that.”

    Askari nodded, his eyes still fixed on the mages. They had formed a sculpture of various objects that were spinning and swirling around each other in a never ending dance. He and Vice had gone over these thoughts again and again and again.

    “But,” Vice continued, seeing she still had the attention of the Beastkin, “we forgot something very simple. I noticed it when I skimmed through Summoning from the Abyss. There was a part about magic. You see the solution is very simple. I just need to change into an animal. Then I can just fly up to Riverna there and swim down the ocean.”

    Askari ripped his eyes away from the people in front of him. “That is not possible.”

    Yes it is. I just need someone who can teach me the earth skill Transformation. My affinity is earth so there shouldn’t be any problem with that. All I need is a teacher and where to find a better teacher then in Nayru.”

    Askari stared to her. There was actually a magic skill that let people change into animals? “But isn’t that dangerous?”

    “Tsk, does it matter? I have to complete my father’s work, you know that and this might me my only way to make sure that at least the outlines are all mapped down. Are you with me?”

    Askari nodded. “Do you even need to ask? Though... can it wait till those guys are done?”

    Vice chuckled. “Sure, we’ll leave tomorrow morning.” She said as she pressed on of her hands against the building they were standing close to. As she removed it a symbol shone brightly with a blue light for a second or two before disappearing.

    Askari frowned. “I thought you said you weren’t going to map Monark down today.”

    Vice grinned. “Can’t harm to edit a little bit, can it? I’m sure this building wasn’t here before.”

    ~At the same time in Nayru~

    In the library of Nayru a bright blue light could be seen. It came from an alcove in which only stood one wooden table. On that table there was a large piece of paper displayed which glowed blue on the right side. The alcove was strictly prohibited for any visitors other then the most high ranked members of the community and therefore a guard stood before the entrance.

    The said guard looked up when the light appeared, but didn’t move. A smile made its way over his lips and he knew that Amn was once again mapped down more accurate.

    A man said to the universe:
    "Sir I exist."
    "However," replied the universe,
    "this hasn't created in me
    a sense of obligation."

  19. #44
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    Watching the fight finishing he had to admit it, the rumors about Nilak and his apprentices were true. The cyclop had focused on the team of three and ignored the few people from the crowd who had decided to stay, their eyes filled with pent up bloodlust, content regardless if it was the cyclop or Nilak and his apprentices being torn apart. Why this slaugther was still allowed he sometimes wished he didn’t know, but it was a fact, the elves wanted a place where they be able to witness death and blood being spilled without having to risk themselves, savoring every second of the participants suffering. Heading towards the announcer, still screaming and cheering for Nilaks teams victory. Tapping his shoulder the elf turned around, annoyed to be disturbed in what was his moment of glory before recognizing him as the man who had evacuated the stadium.

    “Where is the leader of the coliseum? I need to talk to him and appreciate it if you cooperate with me. If you don’t I got authorization to charge you for hindering a council investigation”
    “He should somewhere in the coliseum, there’s an entrance over there” the elf said, pointing to a door at the wall behind him. So much for loyalty to the employer.

    Walking past the elf he swung the door open and peered in, the musky light from the torches lightning the way as he entered. Opening several doors he found nothing special, an armory, a few cells, a kitchen and servants who all had no idea where their employee were, this continued until he encountered an reinforced door which, to his surprise, had the key in the lock. Not having much faith in luck he held one hand on his sword as he turned the key and swung the door inwards. The torches were put out in there but he thought he could see a faint movement within. With a flick of his hand a small flame came to life just in time for him to see a shadowy mass jumping at him.

    Drawing his sword Hypocrite he barely managed to block something crashing into it, forcing him to jump back to the corridor to retain his balance. Coming out from the room was an Svert, a man high beast covered in fur with a hunched walk as it always were slightly bent, two long arms with clawed paws at the end swinging, one of them leaving a red trail behind it after cutting itself at his sword. These were just observations Andrim unconsciously made as he had his full attention on the creatures most distinct feature, its head. It was very much like an anteaters head, hanging from the mouth which protruded like a tube was an almost completely transparent tongue like organ hanging out.
    The end of it lashed with a hollow spike. Blinking the creature tried to focus its eyesight on Andrim, the sudden light confusing and paining it.

    A Svert was a night creature which was usually not dangerous to any sentient creature as it fed on small animals like rabbits or foxes, an odd habit despite its capability of hunting larger animals, but if exposed to light the creature went on a rampage, attacking anybody close by. Slowly approaching Andrim the Sverts tongue suddenly lashed out at him, ducking he barely avoided it as it flew past him and back again into its mouth as it missed. Despite its dangerous looking arms it was the tongue which he knew he had to watch out for, if it hit him the spike at the end would penetrate his skin and the Svert would begin to suck his blood out through it and in a matter of seconds he be fully drained. Keeping a careful eye at the Sverts tongue as it slowly advanced he reached for a torch and threw it at the creature which took a few fumbling steps backwards in panic at the sudden source of light, taking the opportunity Andrim rushed in and aimed a slash at the neck. Sensing the danger the Svert raised its arm which blocked his sword with its fur and skin forming a shield.

    Smiling faintly the sword began to glow and went alight, hissing in pain the creature tried to block out the light with its other arm. Letting go of his sword he grasped Balance, one in each hand, slicing the second arm, forcing it away from the throat he sliced it open with the other. Slowly the Svert fell over and soon lay in a pool of its own blood. Picking up his weapons he turned around as somebody spoke to him.

    “You might make a good gladiator one day”
    The slave driver, the leader of the coliseum walked towards him. Andrims body tensing might have given him away as the elf merely laughed “I won’t run anywhere, I got no need. One of my men has already informed me, you’re one of the council’s lapdogs and now you think you can arrest me isn’t that right?”

    “You exposed the public to danger when you let a cyclop in, they are known to tear their very body apart to throw boulders, if it threw a rock at the crowd it been a massacre. Also it’s not proper safety to let such a dangerous beast be in a room with the key left in”

    “That was merely my way of testing the quality of the dog that came after me. And you blame me about exposing the public to danger? You got to be joking, this is what they come for, the thrill of danger and death. I am merely the one providing it! And you want to arrest me for that? Don’t kid yourself, you could try to but I be out in a heartbeat, we elves love our laws but some of us love money even more and I haven’t gotten to where I am today without making a few friends. So either you can apologize and I ignore you killed my next fighter or you take me with you and I make sure to get out and make your life hell afterwards”

    Keeping the same calm face as always as the rage built within him at each word from this mocking man Andrim knew that every word he said had been true, for him to own the coliseum he was a man with no small influence and it just be a matter of time before he squeeze his ways through the laws and be set free, after that he make sure to pay Andrim back in full. Something he could not afford. His hatred for the coliseum and what it stood for had temporarily clouded his judgment, he realized now there was no way he be able to arrest him without anybody having died, even if they did he was not sure he be able to.

    “I understand” he said as he bowed “I apologize for killing your fighter, I was acting rashly and because of that I caused an unnecessary death”
    “Oh I suppose I can forgive you, move along back to your master now” he sneered, not even attempting to hide the glee in his voice.
    Standing up Andrim left, quickly striding away while hearing the satisfied laughter behind him, having to ignore his pride like that had happened so many times since he had started working for the council, and it still pained him just as much as the first day he’d been forced to do it. Entering the stadium on the way out the rest of the crowd had gone and so had Nilak and his apprentices, only the corpses of the bandits and the cyclop being the evidence of blood having been spilt here today. Looking up he stared at the moon, seeing it at its final stage he could only make a wish to it that all these years hadn’t been for nothing.

    The smith being too engrossed in his work to pay attention to the fairy Direya watched the moon light glistening of the metal as the man worked it, as the moons phase had begun to come to an end the metal had only become more and more beautiful by each passing minute, when it be completed she couldn’t imagine anybody not wishing to posses it. Fluttering of to the knife she ignored her thoughts of the metal, she had other things to do. Getting closer she could still hear the whispering of the knife which frankly freaked her out, living things she could deal with but a knife wasn’t supposed to talk. Afraid, annoyed, and angry at Andrim for forcing this part down on her she took a grip on the knife’s handle and began to slowly nudge it upwards, normally it be impossible for a fairy to get a knife stuck in a table loose, but as she dragged on it felt like something pushed it upwards from beneath, exactly what it was she didn’t want to know.
    Last edited by Befram; 07-05-2011 at 09:59 AM.

  20. #45
    Spyro’s Burning Cough Reputation: 11
    Jarhead4life's Avatar
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    Default My apologies

    (I want to first of all apologies to the people in this RP, but where the hell is everyone, this place is more dead now than it was when I was first complaining about this. Again sorry for the post to an RP I'm not apart of but it was the first one I saw. There's no new CSs on new RPs, there's no new RPs, and the posts completely stopped)
    I must confess that I feel like a MONSTER!!!

  21. #46
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    Default 4 exp

    (OOC: In this RP, there's a rule about post length. So people are just taking their time to write. And everyone in this RP is still here.)

    "We can't go on in this weather," the coachman give his last push at the cart only to see the wheel coming out and sink back down, locking itself within the groves in the mud, "the horses are tired, and I'm too old to do this, and we are bending around a very narrow path. Very dangerous I'd say. I wouldn't do it no matter how much you paid me." He looked back at his passenger, no longer sitting in the cart. Standing outside, under the rain beside him. His eyes gazed at the path ahead, then back again and nodded.

    The coachman loosen the rope on the horse, and tied it to a nearby tree, and went in along with the passenger into the safe vicinity of the cart. "Quite the weather," the passenger spoke as he settled into a cozy corner, and brought out some hard bread from his packet. He broke the break in half with a crack, and chewed it noisily, but neither seemed to mind.

    "It was just like that day," the coachman looked out through the flap that covered the entrance of the cart, "this same hellish weather, on this same road."

    "What is it?" the passenger asked in curiosity.

    "A passenger, rather a mad elf, tried to force me to continue going, but no way I would do it. No way, too old to risk dying early. When he couldn't convince me, you know what he did?"


    "He hopped out, and just walked ahead by himself. In this crazy weather, on this crazy road. But I don't blame him."


    "Because I knew him."


    "He was just that type of elf."

    "That type of elf?"

    "Yes, an earless elf."
    It fell, washing the world indiscriminately.
    The traces of evidence, the whispers of the heart, the memories of an earless elf.
    Amidst the pouring water, sprouts the lonely being.
    Stepping, steadily, towards the Festival of the Moons.
    A promise.

    -few weeks earlier-

    The Brand New Day

    The rest of the day at office was quiet normal, as normal as any crime department might be. The report on Gerald Silvertail kept Kien busy in his room, though he occasional heard the bustle and hustle Helmholtz made outside, possibly just messing about with the document to keep himself from falling asleep. No one reads the paper, especially not from such a small firm as Kien’s. In fact, even Kien don’t read them, his only responsibility is to put them into a folder and keep them locked inside a drawer. The confidential stamp does make the whole thing look valuable, but Kien knows, even black market wouldn’t buy it for 10 Ruppees.

    After the sun is about to set, Kien left the office and locked the door. The dwarf was already long gone, probably snuck out one hour earlier, or maybe two. He stepped down the stairs in the narrow hallway, taking note not to grind his cloth against the wall, which was covered in an unexplainable black dust that could be the perfect substitute for permanent ink. He sent several request for the place to be rebuilt, but no replies, mostly because his mail’s final destination is probably the trash can in the home of some rich snob, too busy drinking away and bathing in his luxury to care.

    The street was getting slightly busy, as most of the afternoon shopping were done right about now. This also means the busiest time for pickpockets. Several of the cuts on Kien’s cloth was the result of this time of the day, people keep suspecting he keeps his money somewhere within the layers of cloth he wore. Little did they know, that he doesn’t even have enough money to think about bringing out and showing it off.

    However, pickpocket is a dangerous profession in Monark. If you are caught, you are as good as dead, if it wasn’t a public beat down; you’ll be tied and sank under some giant mass of water. That’s the life of the tainted, the thoughts rang in his head. However, the word “caught” is really an interesting way to put it. Because often, when someone sees a Tainted stealing from the bag of a passerby, they usually would not call him or her out, simply because no one wants to be responsible for the death of someone else. Even as chaotic as the slum of Monark there is a strange need to keep things in order.

    Having no money on you has its good points, for one, you never need to worry about stealing. For two, you don’t need to pay attention to the shops set up nearby, because you can’t buy anything. Therefore, the trip home for Kien was usually a fast one. He trotted along until he reached his familiar home, and pushed the door while calling out, “Dia, I’m back.”

    His fairy, Tania, who had followed him quietly all day, drifts slowly towards the cloth stand, and sat on top of one of the hooks, bearing an expression of satisfaction.

    Leminite, Dia’s fairy, was the first that zoomed out the corner of the room and greeted Kien, as it pushed its face against Kien’s cheek. Kien wondered if his beard was a spiky place to grind one’s face upon. Dia came out of her room after; her long neatly cut hair gently swayed behind the seat of her wheelchair. “A busy day?”


    She wheeled herself up, and the Kien bent down to gave her a hug, before unwrapping his scarf and changing his overcoat into something more comfortable. Afterwards, he looked around, feeling as if something was out of place. “Did you buy these foods?” Kien pointed at a bag of grocery laid on the table, filled with the fresh produce.

    Dia shook her head, and gave a mischievous smile, “No, but guess who.”


    “He never liked to play the guessing game.” A voice to the right of Kien.

    He quickly reacted to the voice and spotted a dark skinned female leaning by the door, in her hand, she held a half eaten pear, while the other was placed naturally on her waist. A dark elf, with the class of a high elf. She had a superior air about her, and her eyes gave no signs of weakness. She wore a casual shirt, laced slightly near the edges, and stood inside baggy pants that covered the top of her shoes, which Kien could make our to be some kind of heels. She kept her hair short and straight, her bangs neatly trimmed, dark and smooth like fine silk. Her eyes are bright green, and her mouth always curled in a teasing smile. “Especially now that you can get whatever information you want with that ability of yours, I would say guess isn't really in your vocabulary anymore?”

    It was safe to say that Kien was slightly shocked, and his mouth hang slightly ajar.

    “Not that surprising is it? It’s not as if I came back from the dead,” she walked away from the door, one feet directly ahead of the other, one hand still maintained on her waist.

    “Close enough,” Kien finally spoke when she approached him.

    She opened her arms, he did the same, and the two shared a hug. She let go of him afterwards, and examined his face up and down, before turning to Dia, “Did he ever shave in these 50 years?”

    The two then women burst into laughter. Even Tania was no longer sitting quietly on the cloth hook, prancing around like a child.

    Times were always like that around Kalea, easy going, free flowing, and in a way, peaceful. She was an acquaintance of 50 years before, which Kien had always assumed to be like barrier. But it seemed as if Kalea broke that barrier and found him. Their first meeting was a century or so back, involving a dead deer, and a few misplaced arrows, the usual hunt. Kien wasn't sure why he chose to tag along, because he wasn't really into the hunt as much as his father, and his feeling seemed to be shared by Kalea during those days. Kalea never complained about his lazy habits, nor his sloppy ways during a hunt. In fact, all Kien remembered was goofing around and playing during it, Kalea being as much a culprit of it as he is. Neither Kalea nor Kien’s ability improved because of it, but they didn’t seem to mind. It was childhood.

    Part of Kien knew that Kalea wanted to be more like the high elves, and he guessed he just acted as a bridge for her to get closer to her wish. However, that was more than 50 years ago. Now they grew up, neither of them reminded each other of the old times. It was all business, as they say.

    "Long time," Kien spoke. The usual filler phrase, the workable one.

    "The usual filler phrase, the workable one."

    Kien smiled and looked down. And when he looked up he looked around, "Didn't bring anything with you?"

    "Left them in the central Monark, rent a place there. Dirty as an attic, but the lock still works. Wouldn't worry about that."

    Kien nodded, his hand in his pockets, his head, thinking of things to say. Meeting like this always tend to be awkward, especially after 50 years.

    A whistling sound took over the conversation, and all three of them looked toward the kitchen, a kettle was sounding. "Boiling water?"

    "Yeah, want to heat some tea."

    Kien walked toward the table, and shifted the bags around, "A lot of groceries here, I guess you are expecting a welcoming dinner."

    "Could I trust your cooking?"

    "Could I trust yours?"

    Kalea nodded, her lip bent slightly to one side in a smile, "Good point."

    "How about you sit down and talk with Dia a bit, while I go and sort something out with these. To catch up, and I don't know, talk about what two girls would talk about."

    "Gossip? Is that what you were thinking?"

    "That's would be stereotyping. But maybe," Kien lifted the bags and carried it to the kitchen, settling it down on the counter.

    Meanwhile, Kalea carried a chair beside Dia and set down beside her. Her hand reached over and held onto Dia's, and the two soon began their engaging conversation.

    Kien didn't' t listen in on what they said, it didn't really matter. As he glanced occasionally from time to time toward the living room, he saw the two ladies conversed with ease, and Dia laughed and gasped. Even just the simple things, like conversation, after 50 years of living in solitude, it was surreal.

    The Steam, the Roast, the Meat Stew

    The energy of the afternoon spread into dinner. Besides the clatter of forks and knives, were the sound of chattering. If you were to pass by at such a time and peaked through the window, regardless of how strange it might be, you'll think a festival has come. It wasn't the decorations, there was none, it wasn't the food, for it was Kien's plain meat stew and buns, it wasn't the crowd, for there was only three elves sitting in the a table of two by two.

    It was the energy, the warmth, the laughter.

    "Age old memories," Kien spoke to Dia, "Don't believe her, she tend to talk herself up a lot."

    "No I do not!" Kalea spoke in defense, "Hardly. It might be that anyone compared to you would be deemed amazing. For you are rather dull in person, much like the soup."

    "And what happened after that?" Dia asked in curiousity, her spoon hanging in her hand, hovering over the soup.

    "That was the end," Kien answered, "Happily ever after."

    "Hardly," Kalea shoved Kien on the shoulder gently, and points at Dia, "He just doesn't want to tell you it."

    "What is it?"

    "A dirty spot on his record," Kalea nodded.

    "Well, I don't think criminal record were kept when we were that young," Kien shook his head.

    "That night, Kien we into Madame Flaura garden with a shovel, and dug up all the Tagilen up, and when Madame Flaura woke up next morning to see her plant laying dead in their place, Kien was in some serious trouble."

    "He did?" Dia sounded in surprise.

    "It happened before you were born, and I doubt Kien's ever proud of it to ever tell you."

    "To make it clear, Madame Flaura did not have any evidence of me committing the act," Kien attempted to convince Dia.

    "And he still went to a year of youth correctional school," Kalea continued.

    "But that was wiped up the record," Kien ended it.

    Dia sat back, and thought to herself, "Wow, all that just for some fruits from Madame Flaura's garden."

    The other two also sat back in thoughts, then Kien spoke, "The fruits were damn good."

    Laughter breaks out.

    "How come I never get to do any of this?" Dia looked to Kien and asked.

    "Because he changed after you were born," Kalea spoke, her tone much calmer than before, "When you were first admitted to the academy, he dropped his job and went to work under the firm."

    "So I was the party pooper," Dia spoke with a hint of tease.

    "No, you just woke me from a dream that's all," Kien spoke, and he went back to eating ,slowly sipping the liquid of the stew between his lips, "It was about time I got a job, can't mess around forever."

    "Well, here's some big concept from a man who've cried so many times when he was little. He was a wimp," Kalea smiled.

    "Was he?"

    "Another story?" Kien sighed, but he was not against it.

    "Yeah, that time when we wandered the woods in the valley?"

    "Oh that," Kien nodded, and looked to Kalea, "But that story was rather long and plain don't you think?"

    "What is this one?" Dia asked Kien, "Have I heard of it?"

    "No, it's just a long rant."

    The Boy Who Cried Wolf

    Afternoon, fall, sunny.

    Two young elves, one high one dark. Running about, the usual business. Playing in the fields. No worries.

    Then it started with a bet. Always a bet.

    "I bet you wouldn't be able to pick that apple up top."

    "I bet you are wrong." Famous last words.

    The young high elf began climbing. His hands and feet are clumsy, not much of a hunter, but there's no way he'll back out on a dare. He's 8. Dares are sacred at that age. He started with a short ran, and pushed up a bit with his feet against the trunk and grasped onto the nearest branch, and pulled himself up slowly, taking more energy than he had expected. But with a grunt, he's up. One branch down, several more to go, made more difficult by the constant decrease in diameters.

    It was a bad idea, the young high elf thought to himself, but I can't chicken out, his age told him.

    He stopped and looked back down at the dark elf, "What's my reward for this?"

    "Honor," the girl replied.

    "Just honor?"

    The young girl's eye moved up in thought then back down, "And I'll buy you Mrs. Butterpot's gingersnaps."

    Mrs. Butterpot's gingersnaps, the boy could already feel it in his mouth, nodded, and went reaching for another branch.

    He'll have to pull himself up without support from his feet, and he only wished he had energy to do so. Bad idea, the thought went though his head again, but he shook it off. He made a jump, and grabbed onto the branch, the tree waved a bit as he did so. He pulled himself up a second time, looked around. There wasn't that much work after this, all he need was to be careful and walked up the crooked trunk of the tree, and he would get his apple and gingersnap.

    Crack. Always this time, a crack.

    The boy stayed motionless.

    It was a dry season, the branch was drained of moisture, like brittle bones, it cracked under pressure. The boy quickly attempted to jump back onto the lower branch, missed, and a sudden rush, he found himself flat on his bottom, and a dark elf girl laughing. He found himself crying. It wasn't the pain, but something about the situation made it seem like a fitting time to cry.

    "It wasn't such a big deal, why are you crying?"

    He didn't know, maybe it was just losing a bet. Pride is hurt, and he must of looked stupid when he fell.

    "Such a wimp," the girl sat down, a little away from him, on the grass. Watching him.

    But she got bored of that real fast.

    "Just stop it," she said in an impatient voice.

    He did. He was about to ran out of energy anyway, and he also thought it was enough.

    "I'll say you won, and buy you gingersnap, but I didn't lose either."

    He rubbed his eyes dry, and red, and he looked at her, "How does that work?"

    "We are both winners, that's what my father used to say to me when we make bets."

    "Does your father say that to you a lot?" The boy asked, now completely forgetting he has just made a fool of himself.


    "Then your father must be pretty weak."

    The girl threw a stick at him, "No he's not, he saved your pa once."

    "No he did not, he never said anything about it!"

    "No one want to admit defeat."

    "You are just making this up."

    "Fine, we'll ask our father about this and see who's right."

    Another challenge is set out, and they sat on the grass thinking just how certain they can win this one.

    "Hey," she spoke again, "Want to go into the woods in the valley?"

    "Valley? I heard there were wolves down there."

    "That's just what they say to scare you, like how my mother said there was a monster wandering in the dark at night to snatch children away."

    "There are?"

    "Of course not, that's just what they say to scare you, so you come home before dark."

    "That's pretty smart of them. I would of believed it."

    "Well, I didn't. And I can promise you there are no wolves in the valley. But there is something nice."

    "Really? What is it?"

    The lass picked herself up, and brushed away any grass that managed to stick to her cloth, "Come, I'll show you."

    "Alright, but no bets this time."

    "Sure, no bets."

    "But I still get gingersnaps."

    "Sure you still get gingersnaps."

    They trotted along, down a unpaved path, into a narrow valley, in the outskirts of town. Of course, being kids, they never bothered to tell anyone about it, it was a secret of their own. Their own adventure. It was a rather long way, but neither seemed to notice. One was too excited to show the surprise, the other too excited to see the surprise. In what to them seemed like a flash, several hour passed, and they found themselves standing by a small river in the middle of the woods.

    "This is it?" the boy sound a little disappointed at the surprise.

    "Not yet," the girl looked up and down the river, then up to the sky, "It should be here almost."

    "This better not be one of those surprises that pops up at you."

    "Now, this one kind of creeps up on you."

    The boy shivered, "I don't like that either."

    "Just watch," the girl began climbing a nearby tree, "It's almost here!"

    She hopped down, with much more grace then how the boy landed earlier, And knelt down beside the river. "Any moment now, look downstream."

    Both of them stared at the far distance, the girl with anticipation, the boy with confusion. He almost give in again when out of the blue, there's a streak of glimmer.

    "It's here."

    Slowly the glimmer approached, and the boy noticed what they were when it got close. Numens. Some say they were spirits, others just marks them as animals. A translucent worm, the length of a hand. They travel from river to river, almost undisturbed by barriers, as they are capable to move through both water and earth. Some called them Light Chasers, for their unusual habit of following the sun light where they go, although it was also known that they never manage to swim directly under sunlight either. The glimmer came from their silver blood, which is visible through their flesh, circulating in organized layout through their body.

    The silver light reflected upon their face, and the brightness stinging both children's eyes, but neither wished to close them. Although they'll learn later on, that prolonged gazing would have caused a hole to be burnt in the back of their eyes, but consequences didn't matter when elves were young.

    "This is better than Mrs. Butterpots' gingersnap," the girl gloated.

    "The only thing that's better."

    The boy put his hand in the water, and felt the numens slithering between his fingers, ticklish. Then, without hesitation, he stepped into the shallow water, almost getting knocked over by the force of the moving swarm. He laughed and moved about in a childish excitement. The girl hopped in as well and together, they walked along with the numens up stream.

    They did not realize how late it was getting, for the light of the numens have the curious trait of mimicking daylight. It was only when the ears of the boy picked up the sound of a growl did he stop and looked around, and realized that they had been here for quite a while.

    "Are you sure there is now wolves in this area?" He asked, for reassurance.

    The girl stopped and looked around, and she too noticed how late it was getting, "I think so." There was not as much certainty as before, and neither of them was comforted. "Let's continue with it up stream, it will lead us out of the valley. Then we can take the broad path. If you are scared."

    "Mhmm," He replied, completely ignoring the fact that she just implied he was the one who was scared, because he is.

    When the second growl came, both of them heard it, but neither of them deviated from the river, continuing to walk as if nothing happened. The boy reached over and took the girl's hands, which was moist with cold sweat. The girl returned the grasp, as she peered right and left without moving her head.

    When the third grow came, and the dark elf pin pointed the location, she sprinted, pulling the boy with her. He almost tripped from the sudden movement, and tumbled a bit as he reached the banks. Then it was a blur. Passing leaves, the drift of still air against their movement.

    They wanted to stop, but the sound of pursuit made them act otherwise. Sometimes, they can feel their breath right beside them, and the boy swore he felt their fur passing his skin, a warmth against his back. Can't look back, the boy told himself, never look back, it will slow you down. They made their way deeper into the wood, and they can no longer tell whether they are still traveling upstream or walking in circles.

    They only aimed towards the moon, they just want to get away.

    Neither of them known how long it had passed before the sound of pursuit faded. The two ran a little bit more before coming to a stop, making sure they are no longer being chased. The boy breathed out a sigh of relief, but the girl did not. Her face turned white, and stared down at the boy. He followed her gaze and found him staring at a bloody mess on the ground where he stood. Drip, drip. Then the pain hit him, and he screamed. Tumbling down as the adrenaline fades.

    A searing pain across his upper back, and legs, where cuts had been, then a shivering cold inside. He didn't remember when he had gotten them, neither did most hunters who've being attacked by a beast. Adaptive trait, but sometimes fatal.

    The dark elf came over quickly, and turned the boy over. The wound on the leg was nothing major, but the claw mark between his shoulder blade was clear. It was deep, but she was glad it didn't damage the spine, he can still have control of his body.

    "Is it painful?" She asked, then shook her head, dumb question, "How long do you think you can hold?"

    He's shivering, the shock still had its effect. She known others who've died from shock, she heard the stories father told her. The heart just give out, and they crumble. What would save them was rest, and a moments of peace.

    She wanted to stay somewhere to wait the night out, but he'll be in risk. No soft patch of grass to sit and rest, only danger awaits in the open forest. Need to get him away from this environment, out from the wood. It was her idea to come down here, it was her responsibility. She put his arm over her shoulder, and with some effort, picked him back on his feet. The boy winced, but didn't complain, only trembled, body paralyzed. She eased him onto her back, taking notice at how surprisingly light he was, but his skin was cold, wet with sweat.

    Got to stay calm, remember the basics. She skipped many hunts, but she remembered the basics. The forest only punish those who fear it, I must be in control. She keep repeating this over and over again in her mind. She took several steps, getting a feel of the balance. She might be able to pick the pace up a little. She jogged slightly, feeling the boy's chin bouncing up and down her shoulder, like a rag doll.

    She felt alone, but not scared. Her sense of duty overcoming her fear. Her pride and ability as a dark elf was at stake. A life was at stake.

    A corner, a shelter, something to give them cover. A long grueling time under the moon later, a slit between the rock formations, that's what she saw as the soil beneath her fear thinned to reveal pebbles. She sighed with relief, but then swallowed it back when she realized she was on the wrong side of the forest. The town is on the other side.

    She can't attempt to go back into the forest again, that would possibly mean encountering the wolves, or whatever they were. She'll have to get help from here.

    A fire, that's what she needs. It might create enough of a signal for the patrol to see across the forest. She hoped. And it will create the necessary warmth. It will also attract the creatures of the woods, but there's a cost to everything, and she's willing to pay for this one.

    He laid the boy down in between the gaps of the rock, and bit her lips slightly when she saw her hands covered in blood. She picked from the floor some dry leaves, and crunched it with her hands to form a tinder, and from her pocket she took out her flint, and strike it against another rock to create sparks. It took several tries before the tinder finally caught the spark, and slowly glow to a fire. She quickly fed it small branches from nearby shrubberies, and brought the boy closer, revealing his back to the flame, hoping it would clot the blood. He was pale already, and she was worried if it was already too late.

    She held him there beside the fire, afraid his head would suddenly drop down to her hand, and she would be alone in the wild. When he finally spoke, she almost laughed from joy. "Hey," it was soft, but it was a good sign, "I'm hungry."

    "Can't do anything about that. Maybe later."

    "Will our parents find us?"

    "Of course," she said it with vigor and certainty. They have to. "They be worried that we haven't returned, a search team will be out soon enough."

    He nodded, no more words.

    A rustle came from the woods, and the dark elf looked up to its source.

    "What was that?" The boy asked, softly, making no effort to turn back.

    "The wind," she replied. It was the creatures of the forrest.

    She eased herself beside the boy, until they were back to back. She felt that the blood still flowed, as the warm liquid seeped through her cloth and onto her back. She unsheathed the dagger hanging on her belt, and held it in front of her, her eyes continue to gaze into the woods, tracking the creatures movement.

    "Do you know any songs?" She asked.

    "…the ones my father sings."

    "Can you sing it?"

    "Don't want to."


    "It's stupid…"

    "I want to hear it."

    There was no reply. She continued to stare into the woods, and counted, five of them. She almost look back to see if he was alright when she heard it. It was weak, and she was pretty sure the tune was off, but she didn't comment, and listened till it finish. Her hand holding the dagger, sitting beside the fire, back to back.

    The past is like the wind,
    Infatuation, difficult to grasp,
    The wine, my escape,
    The mist, my company,
    The candlelight glimmers,
    A shadow cast,
    Still, I only see you alone in that mirror.

    The night, fallen cold,
    Memories, a dreams,
    Souls lay frozen,
    I endure the loneliness,
    But I can't bear heartache,
    I can't bear these wind,
    I can't bear that I'm empty.

    Long ago, I planted for you,
    Nine hundred ninety-nine roses,
    From the day I'm alone in the mirror,
    Nine hundred ninety-nine roses,
    When the flowers withered, I'm wasted,
    Oaths extinguished with the flowers.

    "You are right, it is stupid," she laughed, when he finished.

    "I told you so…" she barely heard him reply.

    "Your father is strange."

    She felt a movement against her back, then he spoke, "Who is in the woods?"

    "The man planting roses," she lied, "He's not going to leave until there's nine hundred ninety-nine of them."

    "I'm not a kid."

    "Yes you are!" she sounded agitated, but calmed down soon, "I'm a kid too. There's still so many more years ahead of us. So many years before we get to look down on the little ones. I can imagine getting old, year by year. Sometimes, it's like I've lived a lifetime just sitting here thinking. Do you think I'm weird?"

    "You are weird."

    She nudged him slightly with her elbow. The two then sat there without movement for a while. She felt his back slide down against hers slightly, and it frightened her that it did. "Hey are you still there?"


    "Stay awake with me okay?"

    "Mhmm…but promise me something."

    "What is it?"

    "If I were to die…"

    "Not if I can help it."

    "But what if…"

    "If you were to die, I'll find those responsible and make them pay. If it's the wolves, I'll clear the whole forest of them. If it's a man, I'll find him and rid him of nine generations of bloodline. If it is a sickness, or ill fate, I'll find god and settle the score."

    "…then let's not think about 'what if' then."

    "I'm not saying it to you just to frighten you. That's my promise to you until I die."

    "If you die, do I have to keep that up?"

    "You better."

    She felt movement again as the boy shifted where he sat, possibly to a more comfortable position. "My father told me people drift away when they grow old. How would you know we won't be separated when we grow older?"

    She did not reply right away, as she steadied her hand with the weapon. The wolves family got their formation and were moving out of the protection of the woods. Their fan bared, their eyes reflecting the light of the moon, emitting a strange glow. "I know. That song. That'll be our code. If one of us sing it, and the other reply, then we know we are still together."

    "What if we don't hear it?"

    "Then we look for it, until we found the reply."

    The fire beside them slowly fades, its fuel sleeping away into smoke. And again, the unpleasant shift of the boy's body, slumping down deeper onto the ground.

    "Let's try it," the girl spoke with eagerness, "I'll sing one verse now, and you return it. Alright?"



    The fire glows dim.

    Then, Now

    The past is like the wind,
    Infatuation, difficult to grasp,
    The wine, my escape,
    The mist, my company,
    The candlelight glimmers,
    A shadow cast,
    Still, I only see you alone in that mirror.

    Kien heard the voice and spun around slowly from where he stood. The night wind brush past him, refreshing. He absentmindedly moved the sand beneath his shoes, and looked up to see Kalea walking towards him from his house.

    "You didn't reply!" she called out when Kien's within earshot.

    "I forgot the song," he replied when she got close.

    She punched him in the chest softly, "You did eh? I sang it so many time when I was little that it was stuck to my head. Meanwhile you cleared your head of it? They say you had a perfect memory," she smiled slightly and stood beside him, lifting her head up to look at the stars.

    "I forced myself to forget it, it was my father's song, not mine," Kien put his hands in his pockets and followed her gaze up as well.

    "Did you forget the oath as well?"

    "The oath?"

    "You never told me what you want me to promise that night," she looked at him, there is not an expression on her face, as if this is all business.

    He turned to look at her and shrugged, "It's over a century old, and you expect me to remember it?"

    She nodded and looked down. When she looked up she looked resolute, "I got married."

    "Oh," Kien replied, then nodded. He wasn't sure it was the right response, but it was the first that came to mind, "I know that."

    "You do?" Surprised.

    "No, not really. But it was expected. How long has it been?"

    "Almost ten years now. Have a daughter waiting back home."

    "Why you came here alone? Isn't your husband worried?"

    "Probably," she looked away from him, toward a hill in the distance, "But I need a breather. Trying to be a high elf isn't as fun as you made it out to be."

    "Sorry for fooling you then," without her eyes to look at, he stared at her hair and how it shined even in the night.

    She shook her head, "No, don't start that. There's a lot of things to apologize, but I hate to start now," she took a step back, "I think I should get back to the inn, the manager might lock the door."

    He stepped forward, "You sure you don't want to stay for tea or something? Dia still want to talk."

    "It's alright," She took two step back, "I'll be here for a while, I'll drop by to visit some other time."

    "I see," his feet stayed where it is, "then good night."

    "Good night," nodded, waved, then with somewhat of cheerful tone, "your father's right." Walked away.

    The Purple Suit

    Early next morning, a knock woke Kien up. Twice in a row, a rare event. He stared to the calendar, and made sure it was the weekend. It's either someone else's crazy, or he's going nuts. "Coming," he mumbled, to himself more than the visitor.

    He put on a light shirt and opened the door, met with the morning chill and surprise. Kalea was standing there, shifting back and forth from one leg to another. "Got time?"

    Kien looked up to the sky and saw the sun barely peaked over the hills, and the moon is still faintly visible. "This early in the morning, and you ask me if I got time. I guess I do, depending on what you have in mind."

    "A trip to the circus."

    "Then I don't think I have time."

    "Can't even say yes to accompany an old friend."

    "You know I don't enjoy these kinds of things."

    "I know you don't, but Dia do, and I did promise her yesterday to take her."

    "You did?"

    "Yes she did," it was Dia's voice as she wheeled herself from her bedroom, all dressed up. Kien felt like he's being set up.

    "This isn't fair"

    "Hardly," Kalea give a mischievous smile, "A caring brother such as you wouldn't leave his vulnerable sister in the hands of the evil witch would you?" She wiggled her fingers in front of him as she said it.

    "Afraid not."

    "Then what's for breakfast?"She invited herself in, Kalea's way.

    Half an hour later, Kien found himself pushing his sister along the rock paved road of Monark, hardly enjoying the morning market. It was full of people, and for Monark, that means it was full of crimes. Worst of it is, he can't find them, and Kalea is hardly on the lookout for them. A shove there, and a tug, and by the end you walked from one block to another, you might as well have given your wallet to the beggar on the street, at least that way you know where it went.

    "Why the sudden interest in this?" Kien tried to start a conversation, to save him from the paranoia.

    "It was never sudden, I've always enjoyed these," she replied, looking about, oblivious to the condition of the city.

    "I know, but isn't Nayru popular with these? They have it almost every year."

    "True, but they never had a magician."

    Kien's puzzled, and wondered if Kalea knew what she was talking about, "Magicians? Isn't Nayru almost considered a capital of magic?"

    "A certain type yes," she nodded, obviously enjoying toying around.

    "Have you heard anything about this?" he asked Dia sitting in front of him.

    "No, but I trust Miss Kalea on this one."

    "Then you obviously haven't known her enough." A nudge came to the side of his ribs and he stopped.

    "I wouldn't waste a word on you about it. You'll just have to see for yourself. I'm sure you'll at least find some interest in it," she sounded confident.

    "Will I get a refund if I didn't?"

    "I paid for the tickets."

    "But not my time."

    "Oh please. As if you are going to do anything. Probably going to sleep till noon, then cook, and sit by a river or something and stare the rest of the day away there."

    "You read him like a book," Dia giggled.

    "Oh yes I did," Kalea nodded, proud.

    Yes, she did, Kien thought, "And it's a darn beautiful book."

    "With only a preface and an epilogue, and blank pages in between."

    "You obviously haven't read the whole thing."

    "You are right," Kalea nodded, "I tend to skip the boring bits."

    Kien smiled and shook his head. He must be masochist to find this enjoyable.

    "What a masochist."


    "You actually find this enjoyable."

    Read like a book.

    "So where is this?" Better change the topic.

    "Outside the city naturally, the street's are too crammed to put up any decent show."

    "A circus with style."

    "Has to be, because I like it."

    Once they've pushed through the street of Monark, it is obvious where the event is taking place. In the far edge of prairie, a tent was erected. The tent itself was not big enough to warrant any attention, but the crowd around it, that's the true focus. Young and old, men and women, large and small, and variations unnamed, walked around the grass as they visited the smartly set up stalls around it. It was as if the stream of people on the street erupted into the open ocean, and they waved back and fro in the same rhythm as the real one.

    "Guess he is good," Kien looked around, slightly impressed.

    "We should hurry, the show's about to get started, don't want to be trapped in these crowds forever."

    Kalea rested one of her hand on the handle of the wheelchair, and helped Kien wade through the crowd, until they were near the opening of the tent. A line as gathered as the ticket man checked each one off, one by one. Kalea didn't pause behind the last person in line, but continued to push past. Kien didn't know why, and tried to inquire, but Kalea told him not to worry. Once they've arrived at the entrance they made a sharp turn to the left, and continued around the tent, until they arrived at a section of the prairie that was barricaded off.

    "Off limits," a man dressed in orange checkered cloth, raised his hand and stopped the three.

    Kien looked towards Kalea for clues, who replied, "My name is Kalea, I'm here to meet Mr. Linte, with permission of course."

    The guard nodded, "Oh yes, Mr. Linte is preparing for his performance in his tent, to the right. But if I understands it, he in a bit of a difficulty."

    She thanked the guard, and motioned a confused Dia and Kien to come with her. They went on a little freshly laid stone path, and followed it to a purple tent. They heard some shuffling inside, and a shout, "No, no, no, this won't do," came a man's voice, a fresh clear one, but rich.

    They entered the tent to witness the chaotic preparation. An elf, in his middle age is attempting to take off a purple tuxedo as a short beastkind female attempt to keep it on. The man's hair was in slight disarray of grey and brown, but his face was a reflection of youth. He had a slender finger, possibly fragile, medium height, and an aura of mischief. The beastkind was a stern opposite, her large yellow eyes even shone in the day light, a ferocious pair resting within dark lining around it, a jaguar's face and temper.

    "Put on this suit in an instant, and I want no fuss from you," the jaguar exclaimed as she attempts to keep the suit on the elf, who attempt to dance out of it.

    "You are my manager nor my mother," the elf resisted.

    "Poor shame, because you could of used one."

    "A hard time?" Kalea gained their attention as she spoke.

    "As always dear," the jaguar spoke, and a smile appeared as she greeted. It was a strange smile, mainly because it looked to Kien as if she just bared her teeth. The jaguar looked behind Kalea to find Dia and Kien, "and you've brought friends," she nodded, and let her hand slip from the suit. "I guess, there are things you would like to talk to Mr. Lint about."

    "No really, just visiting."

    "Do not worry, I'll step outside. There are always fools out there to make me worry, take your time," she moved to the exit of the tent, then stopped, whipping around and pointed at Mr. Linte, "And you put on that suit nicely yourself, or I'll sew it to your skin with a needle," then she turned to Kalea, Dia and Kien, "now if you'll excuse me."

    The group watched the beastkind leave, and it was only when Mr. Linte was sure she was out of earshot, did he speak, "Is she serious? I mean, about sewing it in my skin?"

    "I don't see why not?" Kalea shrugged, and took a seat on a lavishly looking copper chair with a red cushion.

    Mr. Linte looked to Kien then back at Kalea, "Perhaps you would like to introduce…"

    "Ah yes," the dark elf stood up from her seat and brought Kien closer, "Kien, and Dia meet Markl Linte, and Markl, this is Kien and Dia."

    "A pleasure to meet you," the magician extended his hand, to which Kien received and shook. To which Dia received and was returned with a bow and a peck on the hand, to which Kien found slightly irritated. When he stood up, there was a great amount of enthusiasm beaming from his face, "Kalea has told me a great deal about you. She said you are the most accomplished detective in Monark."

    "Hardly." He never remembered ever being successful, in fact, he didn't even think of himself essential to the city in anyway. He felt more like a janitor with the lost and found box, that people came to when they need an item reclaimed. He looked to Kalea, who shrugged back.

    "Well, you'll have to tell me all the exciting stories that you've encountered, for I do love a story. So why don't you come and join the after party, to celebrate my last performance."
    "Your last performance?" Dia asked in curiosity.

    "Yes my dear, my last performance. I do believe any job has retirement, and it is something everyone looks forward to."

    Dia took a quick look up and down Markl, "but you hardly look the age."

    "You are right. But you have to understand, this is a very consuming line of work, and I do wish to take a rest. Possibly traveling the world after, or just enjoy my time. Much like how Ms. Kalea Evaeria is doing."

    Both Kien and Dia looked to Kalea, who replied, "I do have a job, my lines of work is never very busy, lots of free time."

    "Doing what?" Both Dia and Kien want to know.

    She smiled, and thought about it, "Confidential. Anyways, do you want to go to the celebration?"

    "I'm assuming there is no choice," Kien felt a bit wary about this, it's as if this is planned ahead.

    "Do not say it as if it is burden, do whatever you wish. It's simply my wish for you to join me," though the statement was directed to Kalea, it was Markl who replied, "if you do not feel well, or such events does not suit your taste, do not feel entitled to please this old man."

    He's hardly older than me, Kien thought to himself and was about to say. However, it was Dia who answered, "We would love to come."

    Markl Linte clapped his hand, "Splendid!"

    Thus, Kien's caught by three mischievous individual.

    "Then we'll see you on stage," Kalea rushed Kien and Dia to the tent exit.

    "Indeed, and I'll have to put on this suit before it’s permanently attached," he winked.
    The Magician of the Other Kind

    The three took a seat on the first row, so Dia could sit comfortably in her wheelchair and waited. Although Dia and Kalea are engaged in conversation like they always do, Kien didn't speak, and scanned the entire perimeter of stage and the crowd.

    There is something strangely puzzling when so many people are gathered together, which made Kien uncomfortable. As a detective, he learnt to hate the crowd, because if crowd represented anything for him, it's complication. If a thief ran into the crowd, you might as well put a blind fold and start looking for him. If a murder happened in a crowd, you can't tell who did it, and you can’t reach the site of emergency because the crowd will be opposing your movement. Helmholtz used to tell him of how bird swarm worked, it was called the swarm intelligence. They follow two rules, one, move if the bird beside it moves, two, move at a speed so it do not become separate from the swarm or bump into other members of the swarm. Just these two rules, along with a leader who initiate the movement could lead the swarm to highly sophisticated tasks, much like a swarm of ants. So the question often comes down to, who starts the movement. Unfortunately for Kien, it's often the culprit.

    Kien shifted his attention away from the crowd when he caught the sound of the announcer's voice. "Welcome lady and gentlemen, to Markl Linte's final production!"

    The announcer was tall, and chubby, wearing pants with straps, and hat with stripes. A red suits fit tightly around his bulging belly, and his chest heaved up and down as he spoke.

    "Tonight, you'll witness the power of the strongest magician in all of Amn, who've travelled the world with the human gypsies and learned the power to see the future, and raised by the dragons across all corner of the world and broke the limit of magic. His existence is legendary, his fame expand faster than a ray of light. Today is a day to be remembered, if he did not already blow your mind away. Now I present to you, Mr. Linte!"

    People clapped, but Kien did not, it seemed all too ridiculous. Even more so when Markl linte walked out in his purple suit. What did came as a surprise was his facial expression, which was emotionless, very unlike when Kien met him during his preparation. A façade of the magician.

    "Magic," Mr. Linte spoke as he took out a pipe from his pocket and stuffed in some tobacco leaves, "Is no longer an object of fascination, but of logic. And many of us believe that the mystique of it all can be broken down into facts. For now, there is an explanation for magic. Since this time, magic had became a subject of study rather than wonder. But I refused to let it be. And through my lifetime of magic, I have searched for a way to break the barrier of logic. One fateful day, I did. And this is a glimpse of just that."

    Markl suddenly took a strong breath. The tobacco in the pipe came to light and smoke sifted into his mouth. Then, after holding it for a second or so, he blew out a cloud. Then the sound of rumbling, and the ground shook as the smoke took the shape of horses and came galloping out. They raged along the stage, until finally, a man opened the flap at the entrance of the tent, and the rumbling horses stormed down the pathway between the seats and out into the prairies.

    Markl Lint did not wait for the crowd to respond. The ground begin rumbling, and slowly, steps begin to rise in an orderly fashion, spiraling around to the top of the tent. Markl still blowing on this pipe, took his time climbing up. As he did so, his speech continued, “There are heroes who rise with time, sages who grow only stronger through old age, and the wise whose knowledge never extinct through generations to come. The citizens will regard them with awe, and their names carved in plates of gold, and face recreated in marble. However, I am not one of them, and will not be. For there will not be awe, but fear. They will wish to forget, not remember.”

    Kien shook his head in disbelief, and looked to Kalea, his mouth forming the sentence, “What?”

    Kalea simply pressed her indexed finger on her lips to signal silence. Kien looked beside him to see if Dia was also engrossed in this absurdity, only to found her in a trance. With no one to share his thoughts, Kien left a sigh and looked up to Markl, who almost made it to the end of the spiral staircase.

    “Many of you might have already heard of my power, and willingly accepts it. But some will doubt it. And what I love more than to challenge that doubt. I will shatter it, like these stairs, and you doubt will scatter like the sands, while you will be left with no choice but to gaze up at me in fear,” as he spoke his last words, he stamped his feet, and the stairs beneath him suddenly fell apart into fine grains of sand. A current of wind soon came into the stage, its source unidentifiable, and in a blinding moment of turbulence, the sand wanders around the vicinity of the tent until it found its way to the flap of cloth guarding the door. Just as the horses were, they too disappeared outside. However, even without the stairs, Markl Linte stood amid the air, his eyes appears dull under the shadow of his hat. He looked down at the crowd, who gazed up to him like a messiah. A small smiled curled the end of Markl’s lip, as he continue to bath in the attention.

    Silence remained in the tent for several seconds as the audience, much like Kien, tried to figure out in their head just what happened. “What element does he know?” Kien asked himself, “Wind? And Earth?” It seemed logical. If so, then Markl Linte is certainly not someone to be looked down upon, it is often difficult even to master one art in Amn, needless to say two.

    “You must be thinking, ‘He knows the art of earth and wind’, but I must tell you, that is naïve,” Markl begin walking, each step he took in midair was responded with a gasp of the crowd. “How many years of magic do you think the elves went though? It’s naïve to think that we could only control two.” He snapped his finger, and out from his sleeve came out a lighter, to which he flipped open, showing the crowd a tiny leaf of flame. “Let’s me blow away that limitation today.”

    A flick of the wrist was all Markl Linte needs to send the lighter hurtling off to a distance. The audience watched it intently, their hand clasping on their seat to stop them from jumping up in excitement. “The result will be monstrous.”

    As if on cue, Kien saw the lighter burst into a cloud of red and glows stronger into white, and in that intense heat, two wings sprouted out. From where the lighter was thrown, outbursts a dragon of flames. His four wings flapped in dissonance as it tumbled in the air from one place to another. Kien heard the cheer of the crowd, but held his own to preserve that small bit of what he believed was “maturity”.

    Markl Linte did not laugh, not even a smile which he had shown before. He scanned the crowd, until his eyes met those of Kien Cephalon. That’s when he spoke through the chatters of the crowd, and seemingly to be directly at Kien, “I forgot to mention one small detail.”

    Then there was the sound of water. Kien finally left out a small, “How?” As water came gushing out from thin air, and Markl Linte, with a motion of his hand took control of the water and the eyes of the onlookers below. Kien watched, in a disbelief of another kind, as the water formed the shape of a giant hand and reached out to take hold of the flaming beast, smothering its existence. Markl Linte slowly drifted down from above, one hand holding the pipe, the other behind his back; all the while his eyes never left Kien’s. As the water resided, his voice started again, slow and certain, “I know them all.”

    The crowd stared him in silence, Markl Linte became their world.

    “My magic will always be a mystery. Never a study, always a wonder,” with a twirl of his hand, his pipe puffed away into thin air. “My name will not be carved into plates or gold, or my adventures be recaptured into statues of marble. Because my life cannot be recreated, and my name never forgotten as much as one would like to,” He clapped his hands twice, and instantly, a pair of gloves covered his hands.

    A long pause followed as Markl took his time to pull in the suspense of the crowd. “Because I am a magician of the other kind.”

    Now came the smile that Kien expected, spreading across Markl’s face. “Let the show begin!”

    The crowd’s voice resumed into chaos.

    The Walking Dead

    Markl did not perform throughout the entire show, as several others performers had come on stage, demonstrating their skills, be it in magic, storytelling, comedy, gymnastic, or physical abilities. However, none garnered as much applause as Markl. The crowd was slightly anxious, waiting for Markl to make another entrance, but as the show went on, their hope slowly dwindled.

    It may be that Markl would have never appeared on stage again, if it wasn't for the work of one mischievous youngster. The specific reason for his act was unclear, whether it was personal boredom, or a dare from friends, but no doubt, the act was done with malicious intent.

    It was during a display of ice dancing, when suddenly, a young elf magician thought it fit to suddenly crack the ice in front of a performer, causing the dancer to tumble and a snap was heard through the tent. The culprit and several of his friends snickered at their deed, as several magician rushed over to check the injuries. The crowd became silence as many stared towards the unfortunate development to this otherwise spectacular show.

    Kien looked towards the direction of the prankster, only to see a familiar face. Oliver Bil, the son of Monark's Minister of Affair. No one ever give the young lad a lesson of discipline, and his father, being in a status higher than most never blamed his son either to save face. The result is a hoodlum who had the social skill of a troll. Kien had several encountere with the boy, and on one occasion, made an unfortunate arrest of the kid. That event resulted in several loud shouts from the Minister, and Kien been hauled by the collar for an apology. It guaranteed Kien's life career as a lowly inspector, and the result of his 50 years of mediocrity.

    Of course, Markl Linte never knew any of this, or maybe he knew and never cared. The crowd watched as Markl walked out, his grim face clearly directed at Oliver. The tent was silent, as everyone waited for what will happen next. "Are you the gentleman who had injured my performers?" it wasn't a question, it was a threat for what was to come.

    Oliver knew there was trouble, he held a slight look of unease, but he wasn't about to just admit defeat. After all, what can an entertainer do to an aristocrat's son? "Yeah, what about it?" He held a haughty look, and crossed his arm. His head tilted high, and lips held in a smile that slanted to his right. It looked to Kien as if the youngster was proud of the commotion he had caused.

    Markl Linte took the gloves off his hand, then held them together to crack his knuckles. Oliver seeing this shifted his feet slightly, "What are you going to do? If you hurt me, your life in this city will just become harder."

    Markl give a short "hmph" at Oliver's threat, and continued to walk forward, his index finger pointing at the young lad's chest. "You use magic for such childish acts, and refuse to apologize. I will make sure you'll never be able to practice magic again and banish it right here. Exvanire."

    A blue sparrow shot out of Markl's finger tip, and struck Oliver solidly on the chest before he could retaliate. Oliver stumbled back in shock, then with a shaking hand he extended his own hand toward Markl and muttered a chant.

    Nothing happened.

    Oliver attempted once more, this time, his face clearly shaken from distress.

    Again, nothing happened.

    The crowd chattered at the new development, as they watched Oliver trying several more times to summon his magic to no avail.

    “So…” The voice of Markl rang through the stadium, this time, heavy and grave. The show was about to come to an end, the audience senses it too. The eyes of the spectators been dazzled for hours, and their mind free of logic. However, now, the situation has brought everyone to reality. "Now what will you do? Perhaps you should abandon magic and become a scholar instead. Maybe reading books will teach you about morality. Enjoyment should not come at the cost of another's misery. I advise you to step out of the tent, you've embarrassed yourself enough don't you think?"

    "You think you will get away with this?" Oliver sneered to Markl, even without magic, the boy's still a hard mouth.

    "No, but I'm certainly not going to let you get away with it, now," Markl snapped once more, and the sound of water came again, "I will only give you till the count of ten. Ten…"

    A count of three would of do, as Oliver, hearing the entrance of water, quickly scattered out of the tent with a discontent mutter. His friends followed, rowdy as they left. Markl waited until the flap of the tent stopped moving before giving another snap, and the sound of water soon seized. He looked back to see the dancer being attended by several of healers, and after going over to assure that things are alright, he turned to the audience.

    "You have witnessed a great assortment of magic at play, and I now am regret to inform you that this will be my last act of my career. Despite wanting to leave you with a bang like many other entertainers, I deeply apologize for this unsightly act that you have witnessed today," he paced around the stage, his hand behind his back, "So as a reimbursement, I will give you another demonstration. I must warn you, what you will see was said to be forbidden by many books of old, and I advise you to make no foolish attempt to recreate it. This is not magic, this is the art of death himself. Now I will need an volunteer of outmost bravery."

    Several hand was raised, and to Kien's dismay, Kien noticed one of them was Dia's. To Kien's relief, another lady was called. "Young lady in the second row, could you perhaps accompany me in this final act?"

    The woman pointed to herself for confirmation, to which Markl nodded. The young lady walked carefully between the seats and made her way down the middle corridor. Smiling briefly from side t side to those who wished her good luck. It was as if she was heading into an examination rather than as a magician’s volunteer. She stood in front of Markl, her face beaming, as she did several bows to the crowd. "Now if you please take a seat on this chair,” Markl grabbed the woman’s attention as a chair sled out behind the curtains and came to a rest in front of his feet. “It will be alright I promise."

    Kien stared on, unblinking, waiting to catch any sign that might give the magic away.

    "Now, this fair lady, what is your name?" Markl asked, taking the woman by the hand and facing the audience.

    "Patricia River."

    "Ms. River, let me ask you. How scared are you of death?"

    Patricia pondered for a brief while, then replied, "Not particularly frightened."

    "That's good. Then is it alright if I ask you kindly to take a visit to the Nether?"

    "The Nether?" Patricia asked in confusion, and so did Kien to himself, “What do you mean?”

    “Now this might sound bizarre but for a brief moment, I’m going to kill you.”

    Patricia give a nervous little laugh, not sure how to respond to such a comment, "I don't think I understand."

    "There is no need to. All you need is to relax, and I promise you that no harm will come to you."

    "But you just said you were going to kill me," she laughed a bit, still uneasy with what was happening, the crowd laughed with her.

    "There will be no pain I promise. And under the eyes of the good people of Monark, I promise you, your life is safe with me, now I just need to focus on me," Markl comforted the woman as he knelt down to her eye level. "Now don't be afraid."

    Patricia nodded and followed Markl's instruction, staring back into his eyes, and trying to calm her heart beat.

    “Good Ms. River. Have a nice trip," Markl breathed out, then took a deep breath. A blue smoke seemed to rise out of Patricia's body and into Markl's mouth. The audience watched in silence, following the smoke trail, dared not to miss any detail. When all the smoke was gone, Markl stepped back from the chair, Patricia fell to the floor from it.

    The crowd’s eyes was on Markl, waiting for him to make the next move, but it didn’t come. Instead, Markl quickly stepped forward without attending to the woman on the floor. Kien looked towards Kalea for a clue as to what was happening, however, all he saw was a perplexed look on her face. “Now, ladies and gentlemen, I need some verification. As a proof that my act was not a trick, I’ll need several capable hands who knows how to check for vitals. Now there is no limit as to who could come up and check, but I do advise you be respectful to the lady. So anyone?”

    The crowd shifted, and for a moment, there was several conversations, and slowly, people start coming up to the stage to get a closer look at the situation. Kien was going to just sit and watch the events unfold, but felt a nudge on his side as Kalea edged him to go up. After several unyielding annoyance, Kien give in and walked up the stage. He pushed through several members of the audience standing up there, and waited for his turn before walking closer to the woman. Markl was keeping a close watch beside the woman to make sure that his request was followed. However, Kien still had a feeling that this was certainly not what the woman signed up for. Now that Kien’s also beside the woman, he knelt down. Without so much as a hesitation, Kien moved his finger beneath the woman’s nose, and waited for any sign of warm air to come out. As he expected, there was none. It was strange for him to expect such a thing, but it could only be logical. A magician would be too foolish if his art can be seen through simply by a professional. Kien didn’t ponder too much on this as he moved to check for the other vitals. He lowered her head to the level of her chest, and could not detect any movement. He moved his finger to the carotid artery by the neck, waiting for the pulse to come, it did not come.

    It could be some kind of drug, there was drugs that could achieve this effect. Kien looked toward Markl, who stared right back, there seemed to be nothing to hide behind those eyes. Could he really have sent the woman to the Nether? The thought crept up to Kien, and he looked down to examine the body in more detail.

    To his fear, he noticed the distal limbs of the woman begin to turn blue as the body consumed the last bits of oxygen. It was a well known fact that without oxygen, the body will decay, and the first to go is the distal muscles, then the brain. If the time were to go beyond give minutes, it can be certain that the individual would already suffer brain damage from the lack of nutrition. Kien did a quick estimate of time, and realized that the total amount of time elapsed after the woman passed and already gone way beyond it. Even if it is simply a drug, if she could not take in air through other means, then several more minutes, she might as well be dead.

    “You need to wake her up,” Kien looked to Markl, but saw the magician had no interest in his suggestion.

    “Not yet.”

    “She’s going to suffer if this keeps up.”

    “No she would not, I promised her so.”

    Agitated, Kien stood up, “She’s going cold, she needs to get back. Even now, if you bring her back, she’ll go into shock because of the low temperature, so if you push it any longer – ”

    “Thank you for your concern, but there was never a casualty in my show, and I am not about to have one in my last performance. So if you please, take your leave, there are people waiting to confirm her condition.” Markl replied in such an emotionless voice that seemed to reflect nothing of what he was like when Kien first met him. This seemed like a beginning of a tragedy.

    “I don’t believe this,” Kien shook his head, “I can call in an arrest and put this show under lockdown.”

    By now, the argument was heard by several others on the stage, who’ve moved their attention from the woman to the two.

    “I recommend you not to inspector,” Markl did not budge from the threat, “rather, I strongly advise not to, for there will be consequences for your actions. And believe you me, I do hate the consequences.”

    “You can’t stop me,” Kien began walking off the stage, paying no attention to the spectators who focused their gaze on him.

    “Do you think there will be enough time inspector? If you were to go and call for aid, then I think it might really be too late for Ms. River. How about this, let’s play a game. In ten minutes, you can do whatever you wish to diagnose the cause of Ms. River’s death, and I will not interfere. In fact, I am willing to aid you with whatever request you want regarding materials and equipment. If in ten minutes you can make the diagnose and could link the death to me then I will revive her and be gladly handed to your comfortable jail cell. But if you can’t, you will make no comments regarding my magic.”

    “What kind of deal is that?” Kien responded angrily as he turned back to face Markl, “This is never about whether or not your reputation will be ruined. This is about a person’s life. And from what you just said, you are hope that she’ll not be diagnosed.”

    “Surely you jest. I simply wish that the death has no connection to me. Like they say inspector, time is ticking.”

    Kien took one look toward Monark, Markl was right, it will take a long while if Kien was to rush to the city to call for help. Thinking it over, Kien stepped onto the stage. He needs to know what the woman was affected with, if he knew that much, then there is a chance. He took one look at Kalea and at Monark again, maybe if…

    “I advise you not to send anyone to Monark,” Markl guessed his intentions, “If you do so, the deal is off, and you’ll be left alone dealing with the situation. Trust me Kien, you have seen my ability, there is no need to doubt. I will revive her whether you succeed or fail, only if you keep your side of the deal.”

    Kien breathed out slowly, and took a look at the woman on the ground. Her skin is pale white, and as his hand hovered over her body, the warmth of her body is already fading. He needs to react fast, he can’t just sit and wander around like he does at a crime scene. As Kien went about his business, Markl took care of the people on the stage, and invited them back to their seats. There was some groans of complaints, but with a bit of persuasion, Kien was left alone on the stage with Ms. River and Markl.

    Blood, that’s the first place to look for any trace of drug. Maybe Markl made her ingest a pill. Kien hoped it was a pill, because if it was a gas, then the trace would be lost. The chemical would of made its way straight into the brain, and Kien did not have any intention to open the poor soul’s brain in the eyes of so many onlookers.

    “I need a vial,” Kien looked to Markl, “And Grandifolia, Ulmaria, Vulgare, Viticis, Excelsior. Better dry than fresh."

    "Natural detector of poisoning? I see, will do, but it will not help," Markl's hand moved in a flash seemingly pulled out a vial, as well as the requested herb.

    Kien took it without a word, then look down once more before realizing he had forgotten the most important tool, "I need a knife, a small one. Sterile."

    "Why of course," just as simply, Markl produced the tool in his knife and handed it to Kien.

    Kien took Ms. River's hand, and made s small cut on the figure to squeeze two or three drop of blood into the vial. He might be careful, if Ms. River is indeed still alive, he can't make his surgical cuts as freely as he normally would a dead man.

    He took each herb and grinded it into fine powder. Then one by one, he poured it slowly into the tube, his eyes paying close attention to any chance that might occur to the blood upon the addition. As he emptied his hands of the last bit, he let out a sigh. It was no use. Markl was right, there was no poison in the blood. Could it really be a gas? There would be no way to tell unless he… He shook the thought away. Not yet, he had to check the alternative. A physical injury, maybe Markl manage to strike a pressure point and cut off the circulation. Bruises, discoloration, had to be something.

    Kien felt around the five phase of meridians, checking for discoloration wherever appropriate. However, that give no results, and he was left again to a dead end. Now what? He asked himself. It could be bones, but a quick physical inspection give him a negative. Of course not, the woman would of at least give some kind of response of she was damaged anywhere in her vitals. Even if it was swift, it would not be such a peaceful drop. What if it is really a gas that directly attack the nerve? Just a sniff, enough to knock her out. What kind of gas would that be to achieve such a fast response? Unless it was employed way before she came on…but wouldn't she notice? Something doesn't make sense. He needs to…He took off his glove, he's going to go in. "Tania," he called out.

    "Ready," came he reply.

    He gentled placed his fingers upon the woman’s forehead and closed his eyes. He wandered without a true aim, through blurred clips of memory. All he need is to locate her memories of the last few moments. If he could do that, he would be able to figure out the trick to Markl’s magic. Suddenly, he heard a voice, “What is your aim here stranger?”

    It was a familiar voice, but harsher than when he last heard it. From his experience, Kien immediately identified it as Ms. River, or rather her animus. It is her inner self in the form of a young man, whose lip carried an arrogant smirk as he gazed at Kien and his fairy, Tania. He still possessed the same almond eyes, and straight nose as Ms. River, as well as her stature. However, his shoulder was slacked and chest held out in a pose that leaks of egoism. “His presence is a good sign, as it indicates that she is still alive, at least for now,” Tania walked beside him, as she analyzed the current situation.

    “I know,” Kien replied. Whatever Markl did, it definitely did not send Ms. River to the Nether. In other words, it’s a trick. However, he doesn’t have long to ponder the possibilities. Since, Ms. River is here, or rather her animus, he should ask directly. It is definitely not the first time he has travelled into a living person’s mind, so it did not take long before Kien adjusted to the situation and begin to converse with the animus.

    “I am regretful in informing you that currently, you are in danger, and you need help. But fortunately, I am here with my partner Tania to provide it. So may I ask you to cooperate with us for a moment as we ask you some questions?” Kien put it out directly; there is no time for sugar coating.

    “I am regretful in informing you, that I don’t need any help,” the animus scoffed, and looked away from the two in dismissal.

    A difficult one, not the first time he’d encountered these kinds, but he is surprised that this is really Ms. River’s animus, just shows that you can’t judge a book by its cover. “I think you misunderstood. My question was simply asked out of politeness’ sake, if you do not choose to cooperate, I will send you away and search myself. I am regretful in informing you that this is my domain, and I’m a tyrant. So in the next three seconds, decide.”

    “Must you be so intrusive?”


    “Alright, I understand,” the animus agreed to Kien’s request, his hands up telling Kien to stop counting. He did not look pleased, as he twisted his mouth to one side and muttered something that Kieen could not hear but could guess, “Ask away, I’ll answer you to the best of my ability. Please don’t stretch it to beyond ten or so years, for I am not so certain about the accuracy to which I recorded them.”

    “That wouldn’t be a problem, all I need is the most recent events that has occurred.”

    “Should I recount them for you?”

    “No, I don’t trust you, go find the record and I’ll read it personally," this is more of a habit of Kien than neccessity, animus or anima cannot lie as they represent a person's true self. However, Kien always preferred to have something solid in his hand to consider it a proper trade. "In return, you can have this.” Tania revealed a leather briefcase that was hiding behind her, and slides it across the white floor toward the animus, “You can replace what you take out with that, and you’ll never have to see me ever again.”

    The arrogant young man took the brief case and walked toward his left. As he walks, a pedestal slowly raises from the floor. The wooden pedestal held only a single roll of parchment, to which the animus took and just as he was ordered, he put the briefcase in its place. The pedestal sank back to the floor as the animus walked away from it, leaving no trace of its existence amid the white plane. “Is this all you need?” He threw the parchment to Kien.

    Kien handed it to Tania who slides it open, as she examined the content. Moment later, she looked up, and shook her head, her eyebrow curved with worry, “This isn’t going to work.”

    Kien was slightly taken aback, as Tania’s expression reflected onto his, “What do you mean?”

    “There’s nothing here.”

    “Let me see,” Kien took hold of the patchment himself, and looked into it. Although Tania did exaggerate slightly, the situation was still far from ideal. The last few moments of Ms. River consisted nothing out of the ordinary. Kien summed up his focus and synched into her memory, but found himself remembering nothing except staring into the audience as he sat comfortable on the chair. Markl paced around left to right, and Kien followed his movement slightly with his eyes, taking notice of his gloved hand that was placed leisurely behind his back. Trying with all his might using his newly traded information, Kien could not remember any physical contact, or the smell of a gas, or anything! Markl did not even attempt to move closer. As the smoke rise out of his body, Kien couldn’t remember feeling tired, or dizzy. Then with no indication except Markl’s spoken words, Kien found himself tumbling to the ground. It was much too peaceful, like drifting to sleep. If this was truly the process of dying, then no creature would ever fear it.

    Kien pulled himself out and looked to the animus. The young man shrugged at him, face oblivious of the situation.

    Kien stood silently, his eyes fixed to the ground as his mind moved to try and fit the pieces together. It was chaotic inside Kien's head as he struggle to find out a reason, then something seemed to click. He is quite certain of it now, Ms. River did not die, but why he can't detect any pulse, and why her skin feels cold, he does not know. Kien feels slightly better that he had an idea now, despite the disappointing trade. However, he'll need at least one more bargain, "Animus, there's one more thing I need."

    "What is it?" The young man asked, agitated that the stranger had not left yet.

    "I do not need a complete set this time, I just need you to answer this question. Did Ms. River ever…"

    "Time's up," the voice travelled to Kien's year who focused his gaze on the animus. It wasn't the animus. It was from the outside.

    Kien isn't finished yet, he's not about to give in when he's already here. What can Markl do? This is his domain. He was about to open his lip to press on the question when the room shook. Then flame burst through the ground, breaking the smooth white floor into pieces. "We have to go, something's interfering," Tania warned Kien who nodded in acknowledgement.

    A carriage broke through thin air behind the two intruders. The two steed leading it heavily, as their front hoof slam the ground in unease. Mr. Mortis opened the door and greeted the two with a bow, and with one hand he pulled Tania in and Kien stepped followed after. Kien took one last look at the animus waving at them tauntingly before closing the curtain of the window. "Aren't we always in the heat of the moment, hold onto your seat, this isn't the time to cool down just yet," Mr. Mortis snapped the reins as the horses pounced into life, and accelerated into thin air.

    "Time's up," Markl informed once more as Kien opened his eyes and stared back.

    Markl smiled back, a satisfaction is clear on his face, "So, have you figured out?"


    "I see, well then…"

    The fire he saw before worried him. It seemed as if someone else other than him can also influence the mind. Could his entire trip be in the construct of another magician, rather than Ms. River herself?

    "But I do know one thing," Kien cut Markl off, he's going to bluff, nothing to lose now, "That it was a flawed deal you offered me. Because the woman's not dead in the first place."

    An amused look crept into Markl's face which Kien did not expect, "Are you certain of it?"

    No point in doubting now, "Yes, I am."

    "Let's say we leave the woman by herself, are you suggesting that she'll wake herself up without my help?"

    This is a question that Kien feared, because he is not certain of the real state Ms. River is in. How much can he trust his abilities? That it was in fact Ms. River's mind he communicated with. He struggled with the decision and as he did so, he glanced to the crowd and met the eyes of Dia. There was a strange smile on her lips that tilted slightly to the right. Kien knew that smile, now he's certain, even if he has no proof. "Yes, she will wake eventually," he give the reply with absolute confidence, "because she'll get hungry if she lies here all day."

    Some scattered laughter came from the crowd, and Markl too, chucked slightly.

    The two stared at each other, no doubt, wild thoughts running through their heads. At this moment, Markl spoke in a voice so soft, that it became a whisper once it reached Kien. "Just as Kalea expected."

    The magician turned to the crowd, "Lady and gentlemen, you have heard this gentleman's opinion, and whether you believe him or I is a matter limited to your own reasoning. However, for now, the show must end, and I too believe I should wake Ms. River, or my caretakers might trip on her body," He paused as he let the crowd to settle down their laughter, "So, on the count of two, by the clapping of my hands, please come back and join us."

    Markl made two crisp claps and breathed out at the end. A wisp of smoke shot out through his mouth and sinks into the scalp of the woman. A gasp was soon heard afterwards and Ms. River sat straight up, eyes wide, "What just happened?"

    The audience guffawed at her confusion.

    "Nothing miss, I was just trying to tell you a story, but it must have been boring because you dropped to sleep right after the first sentence."

    Ms. River stood up, still confused, but she manage make a reply, "Oh no, it must be me. I'm sure the story was wonderful. I am just awfully tired today. I something funny?" Ms. River asked as she noticed the reaction of the audience.

    "No, nothing much. I was telling them that the show was about to start. It seems the audience enjoys your performance much more however. You are talented individual miss, and set the bar for the show quite high. I do love my performers, and do not wish for them to be pressured so much by your show, so if you please, may you return to the audience with this gentleman."

    Ms. River was unsure whether to take it as a complement or not, and simply nodded, as she walked back down the stage. Once she went out of ear shot, Markl Linte turned to speak with Kien directly once more, "I hope to see you in the after party Mr. Cephalon, there are many questions that I would like to ask."

    Kien did not give an answer to Markl’s invitations, but as he walked down the stairs he couldn’t help but to think that it will be an interesting party indeed.

    An Evening Unsettled

    Kien have a strong dislike to formal wears, partly due to the amount of restriction the cloth offered, partly due to just how ridiculous it looked to him. It was all work no gain in the eyes of Kien, and with that mindset, he convinced himself to not to shave either. Therefore, having been forced to do both on the same day, Kien feels slightly estranged and somewhat humiliated.

    “It’s not as bad as you think,” Kalea tried to break Kien out of his foul mood, “So get rid of that furrowed eyebrow. You are going to a party not a trial.”

    “Might as well be, to be stared at by judgmental eyes about my appearance. In fact, trials will be easier to deal with, you only really need to watch out for that one rotten egg,” Kien adjusted his collar, pulling it away from his neck to allow his skin to breath. This did not escape Kalea’s gaze, as she quickly redid it, tighter than before.

    “Grow up for a change,” Kalea told him as she did the readjustment, “Be like Dia and behave yourself.”

    Kien stared to his side and saw Dia looking back with interested eyes. She wore a laced white dress, trimmed at the collar with a touch of blue. She was not at all displeased at the change, she seemed to fit right in. Then again, Dia’s wardrobe was never far from what she was wearing now. Dia was not very picky with what to wear, and always looked natural with whatever attire she put on. Some days, if she’s ever in a playful mood, she would wear Kien’s rags. With Kien’s amateur fashion sense, the cloth seems to fit her better than it had fit him.

    Both her dress and Kien’s suit was a “gift” from Kalea, but Kien now knows that Kalea plans to take them to the party from the get go. Kien wasn't the least bit grateful, especially now that he's sitting in a carriage which moved along the bumpy road and offered no comfort in doing so. He pulled the curtain away to look outside and spotted the night sky, whose star outshiend by the lights of the street. A bit further down was their destination, Convocation Hall. Normally, it was used for young mage who had graduated from their study of magic, but beside those special occasions, the place was rented out to whoever could afford it. It seems, Markl Linte could afford it.

    Now that he was close to his destination, the discomfort elevated. Kien continued to fidget with his cloth, as he tried to find a comfortable way to fit in. The fabric seemed rough to him as it grinded against his wrist and back, creating an irresistible itch. As he reached over to the sleeve with the mindset to roll it up, his hand came upon a small piece of fabric, stitched into the seams like a tag. He flip the sleeve over and took a look, "Alvis".

    "Alvis?" Kien repeated the word questioningly.

    "The name of the store where this was fashioned."

    "When did this become a trend? To put your store name on your product?"

    "Come back to civilization Kien," Kalea simply smiled in reply, "Now don't embarrass yourself once you are in there."

    The carriage came to a stop and the coachman opened the door, arms open to show them the way to the entrance. Kalea stepped off first, and helped Kien to ease Dia down on the ground before coming up by Kien's side, taking a hold of his left arm. Tania who was sitting on his left shoulder, fluttered up and took a new seat on the handle of Dia's wheelchair.

    The group walked up the red carpet, overlaid on marble stairs. The red matched Kalea's dress, which Kien just took notice right now. The carriage give too little light for him to see the details, but outside, her red dress absorbed the light of the street and Kien's attention. Her dress was in no way grand, composed of only two layers, red and white. The outer read curved around Kalea's body with easy, and draped naturally down the white underneath. Several white embroideries decorated the side of the dress and along the edge, that helped to make the red more easy on the eyes. It was a dress that reflected Kalea's love of freedom, unlike the giant mass that Kien often seen nobles wear.

    The doorkeeper greeted the them with a smile before opening glass door and announcing their entrance. "Countess Erae accompanied by siblings Mr. and Ms. Cephalon."

    "Countess, impressive," Kien commented without looking to Kalea, smiling slightly.

    Kalea nudged him on the side, "Oh, shut it."

    It wasn't long before several group of people had gathered around them, of course, their attention was to Kalea.

    "I didn't know you were in the city dear, if I had, I would made sure to invite you over for a chat," a woman with an overly fancy hat grabbed hold onto one of Kalea's hand, squeezing it tightly between her palm.

    "That's alright Mrs. Van der al. I only dropped by recently to attend to some business. I apologize for not being able to contact you before hand."

    "Oh no, darling, it's alright," the woman's hand remained on Kalea's, trapping her on the spot.

    "How was your husband," this time an elderly man asked, whose belly made the entrance into the scene before the face, "Is he well?"

    "Yes, thank you for the concern. He's just busy recently, with matters of adjusting the system of early study of magic. And I am here helping him with some of his contacts," Kalea conversed naturally with the man. "But I am not used to the busy schedule I'm afraid. As you can see, I am here now attending Mr. Linte's retirement party." She added, before the man could ask.

    "What is his plans?" A new man entered the scene, his figure was sturdy, and a handlebar mustache rested firmly above his thick lips.

    "Nothing much I'm afraid," Kalea give a dry laugh, and continued, "Simple cleanup I would think. I don't know much more than that. I'm sorry."

    Kien never found Kalea having to apologize so frequently in such a short time. A strange tradition the aristocrats have when in a conversation, almost like a play, acted out through improvising.

    "Please after, come and have a chat with me and the ladies, you do know how bored I am all the time, and I'm sure Mrs. Hensen, and Mrs. Meinke will like it very much too. It's being such a long time since we played cards," the woman intruded her way into the conversation again.

    "Maybe if I manage to find the time afterwards. I'll be sure to send a message to your household if the opportunity to arise," Kalea pushed the request away, now slightly uncomfortable with the situation. Kien and Dia felt isolated from the environment, and just as Kien predicted, this is much more worse than trial.

    "I have an idea for a reform of the system, would you perhaps drop by as I explain them to you. I think it would be more effective if you were to tell your husband about them, if you understand my situation," the sturdy man now pushed his way in.

    "That sound a delightful idea, I will see what I can do."

    Now the woman had edged several of her colleagues away, and stood square in front of Kalea, "Do you know this Markl fellow? Forgive me, but I hardly know the man. It seems he had sent out a invitation to most of the royals in the area to come to his party. It is strange don't you think."

    "I only know him through several encounters. I do not know the specifics, but from what I hear and my observation, he's a man that adores attention. So it is no surprise he would act as such. But please don't think of him as pompous, he's simply eccentric," Kalea backed away a bit, as she answered, pulling Kien back with her.

    “Eccentric he certainly is. I heard he had a bit of a ruffle with Minister Crowford’s son. Banished the boy’s magic is what I heard, is that true dear?” The woman pursued, oblivious to Kalea’s retreat.

    “It is possible, after all, he is a powerful magician.”

    “More powerful than Nilak?” A giant elf asked, his limbs thick as a tree trunk, and face more stern than iron.

    Kalea give a shrug, “I do not know, he is only an acquaintance.”

    “Well, whatever he did, he certainly took it hard. The poor boy’s now running somewhere in the city, and his father is just about to pull the remaining hair on his scalp,” The woman spoke with a puckered lip, and an inquisitive tone, that now Kien found unbearable.

    “Yeah, the poor soul,” This time Kien answered in Kalea’s place, which gained him several questioning stares.

    “Who is this man?” the woman directed the question to Kalea, clearly unsatisfied that someone has joined the conversation uninvited.

    “He is…” Kalea was about to speak, but Kien found the need to interrupt once more.

    “Her chauffeur,” Kien directed the answer to the woman, “I’m responsible in steering her free of troubles. Away from vultures, hyenas and what not.” For his second statement, Kien received a soft nudge to his side from Kalea. “They usually come in packs. Godforbid.” He added the third part for good measure anyway.

    “Just not too long ago, a group of them came, and we had such a hard time fending them off," Dia gladly joined in.

    "Absolute nightmare," Kien continued to add fuel to the fire.

    "Kien – " Kalea tried to interrupt, but the sibling continued.

    "Even after giving them several good wacks, they never seemed to back down. Persistent aren't they?"

    "Sure are. Even lost my ear to them," Kien pointed to the cavities on the side of his head.

    "That's enough," Kalea interrupted again, this time stern. Kien still had more to say, but know it isn't the time now.

    There was only silence after, as eyes became fixated on the trio. Especially Ms. Van der Al, whose eyes almost became circular, mouse hang slightly ajar. When she finally had put the effort in closing them, they opened again. "But what happened next?" She asked, a question that lack any malicious intent, only curiosity.

    "What?" was all Kien managed to say at the unexpected question.

    "How was the situation resolved? You left the story half explained," Ms. Van der Al was serious about this.

    "Well…" Kalea began to think of a resolution on the spot, but she was lost for words as well at the sudden request to continue the story.

    "Then I came in and aided their escape," a voice came through the crowd. As everyone turned, Markl Linte stood behind them, a smug on his face, and a glass in his hand. "That's how we came to know each other, isn't that right Countess Erae."

    "Quite right," Kalea nodded.

    "Now if you'll excuse me," Markl Linte waded through the crowd, "There are some private matter that I wish to discuss with Countess Erae and her chauffeur."

    "What kind of topic need to be discussed in private, especially at a party?" The sturdy was not about to let them free just yet.

    "A magician's secret," Markl Linte replied, "unless of course you could discuss some of your secret to the crowd, I'm afraid it has to be a private matter."

    The crowd didn't seem to budge, as they remained firm on their ground. However, this did not bother Markl in the least bit, who pushed through the crowd and out of the circle, "Countess, follow me please, we'll discuss the matter in the conference room above."

    "Sorry, pardon me." As Kalea took her first step, the crowd parted. "That you, we shall return to our interesting discussion at a later time, I promise." She nodded her temporary farewells and followed Markl up a series of side stairs to a second floor that encircled the first. Markl opened a room marked with "leisure", and called for the three to enter.

    The room was spacious, set up with red sofas on hand made carpet bought with the riches of unnamed investors. A fireplace burnt to one corner, giving a radiant of soft touches. Two pot plant rested in two of the corners, their green leaf charged with vitality. Resting directly center of the room was table crafted from fine hard wood. Several bowls of fruits and snacks were placed on top, untouched so far by the guests.

    "Did I interrupt your conversation?" Markl took a seat by the fireplace, and rotated it around so it faced the three guests, who took their seat across from him.

    "Hardly," Kalea grinned, "I was wondering when you would make your entrance."

    "A magician always comes on time."

    Kien look from Kalea to Markl, trying to guess the purpose of being alone in this room. He is grateful that Markl had helped with the earlier situation before, but there are still lingering distrust he held for the "wonder" mage. He only hoped that Kalea has more of a grasp of the situation than he does.

    Markl turned his attention quickly to Kien, and stroked his beard as he contemplated what to ask, after having decided on a correct question, be began, "How was your day?"

    "Fine," Kien doubted that's all Markl want to know.

    "I got to say, I never expected to meet the Kien Cephalon in Monark. When Countess Erae told me, I almost didn't believe it."

    "The?" Kien never though a definite article is needed to state his name.

    "You were something back then, walking out of Nayru like that."

    So he was referring to his abandonment in the old time, Kien thought. He hated thinking about that period of his life. It was a time of misery, for him, and for several others. "I think many people did."

    "Well, but you got out of death row, I'd say that's an achievement to be proud of."

    Kien didn't reply, his eyes gazing straight into Markl's, piercing as it ever was. Kien was never proud of getting out of Nayru alive, exactly the opposite. He looked to Dia, sitting quietly in her wheelchair, looking blankly into the pattern of the carpet. No doubt, thinking like he is. Dia sacrificed everything for him to be set out free, and afterwards, he couldn't do anything except running away with his tail tucked between his legs. He wasn't sure whether Markl knows this full well and is trying to provoke him or just plain oblivious. Either way, he's angry now, and he has a strong urge to make Markl aware of it, physically.

    "Can we move on to something else?" Kalea read the situation, and indicated for Markl, who nodded immediately in agreement.

    "I was interested in what you did today up on the stage," Markl started another topic, disregarded the last one as if it never existed.

    "You should keep your interest under control," Kien was still bitter, and his tone reflected it without sugar coating.

    "I'm sorry, if I offended you somehow from before. But please understand, I only want to express my admiration for your character."

    "You have an interesting way of going about it."

    Markl's mouth opened, then closed, trying to find the next best approach. Obviously, his initial one didn't work to his expectation. "I guess we started off on the wrong foot."

    Kien was about to speak, but this time Dia took the initiative and cut him off, "No you didn't. There are things no one would know. And it's only natural to have misunderstandings on initial meetings since we are still strangers in many ways. So don't feel that you've done something wrong. You have a kind character as shown by your willingness to apologize despite being unclear about the situation. So please, talk with leisure, and think nothing of it."

    Markl nodded, appreciative of Dia's words, then with a more casual tone he continued the conversation. "What you did upstage today was interesting. How did you manage it?"

    "How did you manage to wield all four elements?" Kien returned the question with another, his tone became defensive.

    "I see," Markl didn't seem to mind, "I guess I should posed the question another way. Even with your ability to steal another's memory, how did you obtain enough information to make a judgment?"

    Kien instantly became cautious when Markl stated his ability.

    Realizing that Kien was not able to reply as of yet, Markl continued, showing more cards up his sleeve, "I mean, at the ten minute mark, you were still in there, and I have to disrupt it myself, so I'm sure there are plenty of questions that remained unanswered in your puzzle. Yet you didn't seem to doubt you final answer, even when I asked you twice."

    "Dia told me," that was the only sentence Kien could construct while his mind went on a wild goose chase. Not only did Markl knew about it, Markl could interfere with it.

    Markl raised an eyebrow, "Ms. Cephalon told you?"



    "She smiled."

    "That's it?"

    "Am I being interrogated?" The series of question Markl asked made Kien feverishly agitated.

    "No, was just wondering," the magician stopped with his questioning. He pushed himself up from the sofa and walked toward the table in the middle, and plucked away a piece of chocolate that disoriented the pattern on the plate. "I am envious of the trust you siblings have. To think I have lost to a simple smile. I am far from my studies as a magician."

    "You are already well into your art. Having efficiently maximized it to the best of your ability," Dia complimented the magician in return.

    Markl chuckled, then sat back down to the sofa, his face at much ease now, "It reminds me then. Your smile managed to convince Kien. Then it must mean, you knew my ability, does it not?"

    "You guessed right Mr. Linte," Dia's face easily reflected her good cheer.

    "When did you know?"

    "When you first blew on your pipe, I had the suspicion. But it was only when the boy Oliver showed up, did I became certain."

    Markl laughed out in joy, despite having his secrets revealed, "You certainly are the prodigy they say you are. Having able to discern it so easily. I do not doubt your power as a mage."

    "If only power in magic is all that mattered," A slight trace of melancholy crept into Dia's face as she stared down at her knees, "If that was the case, Nilak would of being the representatives of the elves. But to rule over the people in this time and age, power of politics is greater. And Kinos is certainly a master of that. You, Mr. Linte, has the potential for both, and is up to you choice to decide which."

    "Then it's a simple choice. I was never a lover of politics, too devious a partner. Only heartbreak and quarrel with that one."

    However, despite his words, Markl looked as if he went into a phase of contemplation. Once he realized that the conversation has died, he quickly snapped back out, "Now then, we played enough hide n' seek with those nobles. How about we drop in on the party before people start reporting to the guards about missing elves?"

    As the group got up from their respective positions, the door suddenly opened. Behind it, stood a jaguar faced woman. Kien immediately recognized her as the one inside the tent during his first visit with Markl. He remembered her fierce feature from before, but now there seemed to be also features of distress.

    "I'm afraid you are a bit too late for that," She spoke to them, trying to break a nervous smile.

    However, almost right after, several uniformed man and woman stepped into the room, their hands on their weapons, and their attention at full alert. Kien recognized with one glance who they were, law enforcers.

    A tall expressionless female pushed herself through the crowd, eyes lacking in sympathy, her rank displayed in cold metal badges pinned on her right shoulder. She took one glance through the crowd then fixed her gaze to Markl Linte, then with a solid voice announced, "This is the Justice Bureau of Monark. Markl Linte, you have been suspected of murder."
    Last edited by Moratorium; 06-27-2011 at 08:14 PM.

    Because Calculus is magical, the constant Euler constant appears when we solve this differential equation. -James Thomson, Biology Professor

  22. #47
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    Talking 8 EXP - Elrik talks too much! >:O

    Flashes of lightning vibrated within the colosseum, creating fireworks from a lethal spell. Without a chance to utter their final words and barely a death scream, the bandits were struck down. The conductor of the ghastly, horrific sight was no other than Falteer. He whipped the bodies of bandits, shredding some and electrocuting others, leaving not an ounce of mercy. The sight was almost too much to behold for Vita, especially when death for entertainment held no meaning to her. Why murder the Tainted for all to see when such troubling deeds could be done immediately and out of sight? Yet when her eyes fell upon Nilak, the leader of the hunt, he spoke and acted with the necessity for survival. Suddenly, the battle against the Tainted was no longer a display of vigor and power, but a fight leading to life or death. While the bandits were of little threat, the Cyclops practically reeked of death. The colosseum would have been the final resting place for both the Tainted and the onlookers had it not been for Balthazar distracting the giant, but how long could one man hold out? Not liking the odds against survival, Vita glanced over at Elrik, only to find him still completely unfazed.

    "You are either an augur with confidence in your foresight or apathetic to what you see before you."

    "Are you worried about the audience?" Elrik chuckled for a moment before nonchalantly gesturing to the stands. "Even status can snap the entranced back to reality."

    Vita followed where Elrik's right hand motioned towards, curious of the individual he indicated. At first, all she could see was grumpy and slightly agitated elves marching halfheartedly, yet unyieldingly towards the exit. Then, as if his stance commanded all eyes to focus upon him, a young elf loomed into sight. His intense, dim gray eyes were darkened further by his furrowed brows, giving him a chilling demeanor. It didn't help that his black hair held no luster that comes from daylight, the night sky drenching him with shadows. Perhaps that was why he merely had to raise his voice for the audience to know the show was over? But that couldn't be the only reason. Elrik mentioned status, and status can be proven either by showing evidence or by declaring your position. The young elf most likely gave a speech to the spectators, one of which weighed threats over watching the tremendous trio.

    "His name is Andrim Dreizer, supposedly from the Council of Order. Well, I don't doubt that is true, but he has two sides, kind of like you."

    Vita was about to inquire as to how Elrik knew so much about Andrim, but she redirected her questions to the latter part of his comment. "Are you comparing Andrim Dreizer and myself to that of a hypocrite, or that our overall goal allows us to move without one-sided motivations?"

    "Hm..." A mischievous smirk, proof that Vita would have to figure it out on her own. "I know for a fact that you are seeking the Voco e Vorago, but you can't bring to light mysteries around you when there are still mysteries about yourself."

    "If you do not wish to answer--"

    "It's simple! Moon elves are born with developed minds, but our hearts take the longest to develop." Elrik patted his hand upon the upper left portion of his chest, where his heart resides. The grin that lit up his face reminded Vita a lot of Oren. "I can tell that you care deeply for those around you. However, you can't use logic to understand your heart. Feelings come from the mind, yes, but your heart is the gateway to your soul. Logically speaking, that wouldn't make any sense. Therefore, when it comes to the people important to you, act only on instinct. You'll have less heartache that way."

    Just like Oren, Elrik didn't wait for a reply. The way he could speak so whole-heartedly and then engulf himself with the final blows against the Cyclops was...well, interesting, to say the least. In a way, Elrik could be self-centered, ranting only to hear his ideas out-loud. Or he could have a short attention span, which would explain how he notices every little detail around him. Even so, he wasn't battling with himself like she was when it came to interactions. And he had a point. Everytime Vita's heart dared to grow wider and closer to someone -- even to someone as dear as Oren -- her mind would recall the contract she made with Margni. And then Vita would foolishly distance herself, keeping her heart aloof and her true feelings trapped behind her "logic."

    The frantic commentary of the announcer brought Vita's attention back on the fight. Chunks of frozen fragments that once combined into an impenetrable armor now left vulnerable spots on the weakened Cyclops. Apparently, Nilak had devised a strategy to make splinters out of the Cyclop's main defense, only for the Cyclops to recompensate its loss by thrashing Nilak into a wall. Balthazar then took the lead, distracting the infuriated behemoth long enough for Nilak to chop off its thumb. Hoping for a big finish, Balthazar strengthened his arms with his stone magic and, after some effort, swung the Cyclop's own weapon right into its chest. At the same time, Nilak thrusted his spear into the Cyclops's skull, and the...announcer went crazy. Vita joined Elrik in a round of clapping, but they couldn't compete with the energy flowing from the announcer, as if he wished to replace everyone who couldn't witness such a feat.

    "Amazing, wasn't it? Falteer and Balthazar didn't falter once as they were lead to victory with Nilak. But I don't dare to say that it was all due to Nilak's strategies. A great plan needs a great weapon, and a great weapon needs a great shield. Nilak was the planner, but Falteer was the weapon and Balthazar was the shield. Get it? Balthazar swooped down to protect the audience and his allies. Falteer went on the offense, knocking out multiple bandits with lightning and sword play. And of course, holding these two together--"

    "I do believe now that you admire the sound of your own voice. I thought the announcer was responsible for commentary?"

    "Perhaps I should be the announcer, then. I know I would not be frightened so easily. Not even Andrim would intimidate me." Elrik nodded, at which Vita locked her gaze upon the announcer. Sure enough, Andrim was currently barking at the shakened fellow, resulting in him nearly fainting and Andrim disappearing through a "hidden" door.

    "He certainly has more on his mind than the the stimulating display of carnage you found to be so intriguing."

    "Of course. He came to ensure the well-being and lives of the audience, whereas I came to see how united the trio could possibly be when facing such dangers. Now the question remains: what will those three fated to meet display next?"

    "You seem to know the answer already."

    "Who knows? And with those haunting words, I take my leave!"

    "Perhaps we will meet again?"

    "Sooner then you expect, my friend."

    With a snap of his fingers, a tundra of blue flames sparked in mid-air, erupting with such force that a heat wave filled the air. Suddenly, it became difficult to see, Vita's eyes watering the moment she wiped away the tears that clouded her vision. Blinking relentlessly, she was able to catch a blobbish, transparent substance forming at the heart of the flames before the stinging forced her eyes close. When the fire was finally cooled by the night breeze, in its place was see-through platform with two glowing circles in the center. Elrik hopped on it and, with a soft tap of his right foot on the upper circle, the platform came to life. Startled, Vita stepped back and realized she was mistaken. The platform was actually the top Elrik's summoning, which was a gigantic, yet strange looking jellyfish. One reason for its strangeness was the fact that the tenticles dangled like confetti beneath its cup-like base. Secondly, it emitted a cyan hue, dimming and brightening spontaneously (who wouldn't be irritated by being awe-struck one second and blinded the next?). And she couldn't ignore the shooting star marking the summoning as if Elrik needed visual evidence that the jellyfish was indeed his own summoning.

    "Oh, by the way...if you spot what looks like a floating piece of gold, that's my fairy, Mina. She gets mad easily, especially if you compare her to Minathiel. But overall, she's sassy and narcissistic, and she likes to talk in third person. If you find her, then we'll definitely meet again."

    And yet again, Elrik did as he pleases by informally saluting Vita and rocketing upwards into the sky, out of sight. In the middle of watching Elrik depart, a figure caught Vita's attention out of the corner of her eye. Standing a few feet away, the colosseum becoming his pedestal, was the elven boy Vita spotted in the library. She had caught him staring at Nilak, Falteer, and Balthazar for a moment, either out of respect or curiousity, before sweeping his eyes over the city. What was he looking for? She wanted to ask, but she had another pressing matter to deal with: making up with Oren and Amelia.

    Nurarihyon no Mago!
    Inpa: "...I got your mask already, look! Isn't it pretty?”
    Balthazar: ”Urgh.. !! It's pink..”
    Inpa: ”Oh please, it's called being metrosexual!..."
    -- farag0n; Tales of Amn

  23. #48
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    The Cell

    Kien wasn't sure which hit him first, the loneliness or the cold. Now he sat on his bunk bed, hands grasping tight onto his knee, shivering through the night. There were several instances where he felt inclined to wrap the bed sheet around him, but the thoughts of numerous parasite and bacteria embedded within it put the thoughts to an end.

    Unpleasant is an understatement. The experience was made worse when collaged with the memories that clung to his mind. The cell reflected the image of the cell of fifty years prior. The same cobblestones that laid out its structure, the same mold ridden wood that made the bunk, the same family of mice that scurried even in plain sight. The only difference being the moonlight that shown through a window a foot wide. There was no moonlight then, and Kien recalled the dread it brought having to stare into the unknown. However, now seeing the position of his current state, Kien wasn't sure which one he preferred.

    The cobweb expanded its territory from the usual corners to the edge of the walls, drifting from side to side from the breeze that slipped through the window. The banging of the iron bars that carried through the walkway between the cells, the music of a madman. Kien could only stare now, into the lock that kept him confined. His mind was free to drift in this disturbing peace. And all he could think of was Dia.

    How was she? Where was she? What is she doing now? No answers he could provide. He only waited as the questions developed into a fever that numbed all other thoughts. The occasional shiver would break his concentration, but as soon as it settled, he would be back again. He wanted to escape, either from this place or from reality. However, whichever path it took, he would dive into the events fifty years before. He forced himself to relive the experience of that first dungeon. He remembered the water that surrounded him which give no reflection, and the unrestraint imagination he had then. The possibilities he thought of, and the grim realization after that reality could exceed imagination. The memories. The memories curved so clear a picture, so explicit in its detail that he considered his gift a curse. Now, he prepares the slate for a new one.

    He tortured himself with the images as the moon fade behind the landscape and out came the sun, bringing to Kien, a gift of fatigue. The lack of sleep had worn him down, and he no longer stayed with logic in his head. Facts connected in his head like a tangled mesh, as he stayed between realities and dream. It was only when he heard the click of a lock and the loud screech of iron did he clear himself of the mess.

    He saw the door was open now, but his mind was unable to process it. "What?" was the only thing he found himself asking, and he was confused by it.

    "You are free," said the guard who opened the door.

    "What?" He asked again, with no real alternative that broke his current disorientation.

    "Countess Erae has bailed you out with appropriate alibi and donation, so if you'll be so kind as to gather your belongings and leave, it would be of great help. We got others who could use the room."

    "Oh," was Kien's reply. He looked around to see if he needed to bring anything with him, and fumbled aimlessly. There was no belonging that Kien could bring, unless the guard also meant his sanity, which he almost left by the bedside.

    He moved out the cell, and was guided to the exit. He dragged himself as he walked, still in the suit he wore the night before, but in a much worse state.

    Kien stepped out into the streets, and saw Dia waiting by the sidewalk; a smile came to her seeing his release. There was an overwhelming amount of joy that washed over him, clearing the doubts he had in mind, events of before seemed to have fade back into just a dream. He hurried over and embraced her, and looked her up and down, “Is everything alright?”

    Dia laughed slightly, and nodded, “I should ask you the question, you’ve been in there longer than I have.”

    She stroked the side of his face slightly, easing away the wrinkles of worry. “You eyes are bloodshot,” Dia commented as she let go.

    “So is yours,” Kien stood up, glad that things are alright. He looked to the side to see Kalea standing there watching, although her lips was curved in a smile, her eyes was still full of worry.

    Part of Kien wanted to blame Kalea for what happened, but he did not speak. He pushed Dia’s wheelchair down the street, paying no attention that Kalea followed. The tense mood followed them until Kien arrived back at his home. He helped Dia into the house and closed the door behind him, locking Kalea out.

    Kalea didn’t move from her spot, as she stared into the dark lines of the wood, patiently waiting. The door opened several minutes later, and Kien stepped out with a downcast face. “Let’s walk,” he told Kalea, closing the door behind him once more as he continued to walk through the streets of the slum. Kien led her down a trail, toward a miniature forest that managed to survive the expansion of the city. Kalea followed without a reply, her eyes stared to the pebbles that lay in front of her. She does not know where to start, but Kien didn’t care, his mind was made up.

    “Kien,” she broke the silence first, “I need your help.”

    She waited for Kien to respond, but he didn’t. So she continued."I need you to help Markl…To prove his innocence.”

    “No,” Kien give the short reply, providing no reason, only driven by intuitive emotions.




    “Kalea.” The sound of her name made Kalea stop in her step. It was the strain that Kien put in saying it that made the name seem like a curse. Kien stopped too, turning around to face her. “Look at me.”

    Kalea looked up from the floor, and saw the figure of a crestfallen elf.

    “I’m not that strong,” Kien continued in a mutter, his voice barely carried, “Maybe when we were kids we could try to do things that are beyond our limit, but now, it just costs too much. I don’t know who Markl is. You might, but I’m lost. I can’t be pushed by your suggestion anymore, we both grew up.”

    “You do know Markl, you talked with him, and saw his performance.”

    “And my conclusion is that he’s a trickster. A trickster capable of committing crime that I wouldn’t know about. Don't you see? I don’t care one bit about him.”

    “You can’t ignore this, it’s too important.”

    “And why is it important?!”

    “I don’ t know…” the uncertain reply, “I trust it will be.”

    The words sounds so familiar, Kien tried not to remember, but it still came. The beginning of a tragedy. “Stop it Kalea. It’s not fair.” Kien held his head with one hand, a buzz went off inside, causing a terrible headache. “Why did I leave Nayru? It’s so I can get away from all this. This complicated mess things had become. I wanted to live at peace. Be fresh. Be in a place where Dia and I don’t have to worry about one another. But you just came in, uninvited. And brought with you the world I hated. You expect me to just jump back in and embrace it? Did you forget what happened?! Who do you think you are?!”

    Kalea looked back at him with such pained expression that it stung Kien. She looked to the side, toward the city of Monark. “I thought I was your friend.”

    A mocking chuckle came through to Kien’s mouth, he shook his head and followed her gaze to the city, the city that he now called home. “I don’t know anymore.”

    The wind blew by them, harsh in its delivery. Kien’s mouth was dry, he wanted to be left alone, and Kalea stayed where she is. He spoke again to break the silence. “I wish I could forget, like everyone else. I wish I could snip apart the dreadful memories and cast them away. But I can’t. I have a perfect memory. Never knew perfection came with flaws. Last night, they kept on coming, my past played out in vivid detail. To be in the same situation as before, do you know how that is? I can't forget. I can't forget. I can't forget. Never forget. Not the cell, not Nayru, not the people. But do you know? I had enough of it. I don't want to be back to the way things were, because it wouldn't be the way things were. So please, play your game with someone else.”

    "You think it's just a game?"

    Kien hated the way she said it. It used to make him feel guilty to object otherwise. However, he was not about to be swayed this time, and the question only brought a mean spirit resting within him.

    "To be honest. I never thought otherwise."

    Kalea’s closed her eyes, her lips moved but no words came out. She wanted to hear Kien taking those words back. But Kien was right, she no longer can command him anymore, not since fifty years ago. She now tried hard to find words to say, an alternative to the trend she was so used to. When it did, it was a short, “Farewell.”

    A Game of Dress Up

    Kien stood alone, as the world tuned up the volume of early morning. He paid no attention to them, as his glassy eyes stayed unmoving on a pebble that revealed itself through the dirt. With an undying focus he stared to it, noticing the crack, and mosaic of red and brown that mixed in harmony to create it. Both he and the pebble were fixed in a trance, only to be awoken from a crack of a branch.

    Kien looked to the sound, and saw with surprise Dia coming to him in her wheel chair. Her hair rolled up in a neat bundle in front of her, with Leminite resting amid it. Kien only realized now, that Dia must have followed them to the woods, and she must have heard the argument. “That wasn’t very nice,” said Dia, without the ridiculing tone that Kien expected. “Not very gentlemen like as one would predict from your attire.”

    Ah yes, the suit. He still hasn’t changed them. It was just like Dia to bring that up in this mood. Kien used to hate it when she fooled around back in Nayru, but now it became a pleasant aspect to Dia’s character. “I should probably return this,” Kien took the restrictive garment off, and rolled it between his arms.

    “Only after a good wash,” Dia came closer to him and felt the dark fabric, rubbing it between her fingers to retrieve some kind of information from it that’s foreign to Kien, “It will need a good hard wash. So full of grime and dirt, and probably some stitching for all those time you tried to force it to fit your pose.”

    “I can’t imagine why anyone would like to wear this thing.”

    “I don’t think many would, not for comfort at least,” Dia took the suit from him and placed it on top of her lap. Leminite flew away from her lap and took a rest on top of the suit after. “But wearing the suit isn’t just for you. It’s a presentation for others.”

    “I think I’m satisfied with just having comfort, I don’t have to care about what other people think,” Kien took hold of the handles on Dia’s wheelchair and began travelling back into their shack.

    “You say that sometimes, but you realize how unreasonable that really is,” said Dia as she laughed, “Could a man live in isolation, sure, but would he lived a life that’s worthwhile?”


    “And maybe not. I think we live to be in the company of others, whoever or whatever that other may be. We don’t see ourselves as well as we think we do. We need a social reflection which can evaluate our actions,” Dia laid open the suit, and Leminite having given up the possibility of staying on Dia’s lap moved to her shoulder. Dia carefully folded the suit along the creases, taken care to flatten out the wrinkles, “We can avoid others to believe we are right, and we may avoid the ridicule society sometimes give us. However, without being in a world of ridicule, where would you find a world of appreciation? That’s what they call the ups and downs.”

    “What’s wrong with living in peace with no ups and downs?”

    “Nothing, if that’s what you wished. But everything if you forced yourself into it,” she handed the folded suit back to Kien, who took it and squeezed it between his arm pit. “You don’t look for comfort in a suit, you look for the stigma.”

    Kien let out a sigh as he saw the shack up ahead, and sped up slightly. Shortly afterwards, he would rest Dia in her bed and walk back to his own quarter in the living room. He would close his eyes then, but would not sleep. He knew there were things to be done.

    Because Calculus is magical, the constant Euler constant appears when we solve this differential equation. -James Thomson, Biology Professor

  24. #49
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    As the sky took in the joyful lullabies of the elven folk in Nayru, the three moons finally parted ways and started moving on their own course. Kinrai glanced upwards from the edge of the colosseum and observed the sea of stars which illuminated the nightsky. He was lucky enough to spot a shooting star flying among the stars, dodging and circling some of the stars. Issat was also looking upwards and only a modest ”Wow” escaped from her mouth.

    They said that stars glowed the brightest during Moon Days, whether that was true was hard to prove but anyone looking at the nightsky right now would agree. Standing on this very spot, looking at the nightsky on a Moon Day brought Kinrai some pleasant memories from his past. Now was not the time to reminiscence though, now was the time to catch the Moonpearl.

    Kinrai lowered his head and started surveying the city again. The city was bright thanks to the numerous firefly lamps posted on all the streets. There was a huge gathering of elves in the marketplace, it served as the place where the audience could gather. Kinrai spotted several of the other contestants running like headless chickens among the various streets of the city. There was even one who actually went so fast that Kinrai couldn't keep track of him.

    A loud sound emanating from behind Kinrai suddenly caught his attention. By reaction he quickly turned around and saw a moon elf in a striking outfit riding some sort of jellyfish. The moon elf was talking to another moon elf, a female at that. Kinrai was quite fascinated about the jellyfish summon, he was about to get a closer look when the jellyfish suddenly launched right into the sky with the moon elf on top.

    Kinrai: ”Did you see that, Issat?”
    Issat: ”Yes, he made a rather dashing exit.”
    Kinrai: ”Wish I could summon something like that.”
    Issat: ”With lots of training, you can one day.”
    Kinrai: ”Yeah, I hope Nilak is willing to teach me someday soon..”

    Turning his head, Kinrai's attention drew back to the female moon elf. He recognized her, they met briefly in the library earlier today. Did she enjoy reading and these brutish nightly colosseum fights? That was rare, then again first impressions rarely held the truth. Issat looked like she was scanning the area around the moon elf, she was most likely looking for a fairy. After much searching, she gave up and let out a depressed sigh. Kinrai waved his hand slightly to catch the moon elf's attention, she looked absorbed in her thoughts.

    Kinrai: ”Hi. We met earlier, didn't we? I'm Kinrai Alte, pleased to meet you.”
    Soon after that Issat inched closer to the moon elf, still looking for a fairy.
    Issat: ”Don't you have a fairy?”
    Kinrai: ”Issat! That's rude. Anyway.. enjoying the fight?”
    Kinrai pointed his thumb at the arena while Issat gasped and covered her tiny mouth. After all she always tried to be as courteous as someone could be. Issat bowed down and apologized immediately before introducing herself.

    Meanwhile in Monark

    Kinos was reading through reports of all the crimes for the past few days. Most of them were larcenies but a certain case where a father killed his own son caught Kinos's attention. The case was filed yesterday, it was finished the same day the murder happened which sparkled Kinos's interest. He read further and saw the detective on the case was..

    Kinos: ”.. Kien Cephalon. Hmm.. the name sounds familiar.”

    Kinos stood up from his seat and walked over to one of his wooden drawers. He started browsing through the files located in one of the drawers, eventually Kien Cephalon's name came up. Kinos took the file out and started reading it in front of the window which revealed Monark in its full splendor. The festivities were already over in Monark, the Moonpearl race was a delicacy of Nayru. The city had calmed down for now, however it would take only a few hours for the merchants to start putting their stands out again.

    Kinos: ”Hmph. So he's the infamous earless elf who caused that irritating ruckus 50 years ago. I still can't understand why he was released..”

    Kinos closed Kien's file, placed it back into one of his drawers and took the reports from his desk. With the reports, he walked out of his office and entered the dwarven council member's quarters in another ”bracket” of the tower. He knocked on the old wooden door once before opening it, the door screamed like it was in pain when it was opened.

    As Kinos stepped inside, the first thing he noticed was the snoozing council member face down on his desk. The dwarven council member's quarters looked quite similar to Kinos's quarters, albeit being more messy. There was a poster of the man himself on the wall, it was obviously painted when the dwarf was still young. The creaks the floor unleashed every time Kinos took another step would've woken up anyone, except a dwarf. Once Kinos reached the desk, he placed three of the reports on the desk and kicked the desk so that the dwarf woke up.

    Kinos: ”Wake up, Garmilio. The executions of these Tainted shall be carried out the day after tomorrow. None of them will be sent to Nayru since the colosseum is already filled with the Tainted. The executions will not be done in public. Use the new executioner and evaluate him, I want a detailed report about it. Is everything clear?”
    Garmilio: *Yawn* ”Yes, yes.. Who was the new executioner again?”
    Kinos: ”Dain Calrot.”
    Garmilio: ”Ah, yes, the dark elf. Oh, and before I forget.. Any news from Andrim Dreizer?”
    Kinos: ”He's keeping a close eye on things in Nayru at the moment. That is all for now.”
    Garmilio: ”I see. Now get some sleep workaholic, you'll get yourself killed eventually if you work this much.”
    Kinos: ”For the 100th time, stop pestering me about my sleeping habits for they are none of your concern. Remember to send those reports forward before the sun rises, I will also notify the beastkin council member about this.”
    Garmilio: ”Ka'Tar isn't here right now. She left several hours ago. I think she was heading to Chasm of Terra.”
    Kinos: ”.. Why?” Kinos asked with a chilling tone.
    Garmilio: ”She was very "hush-hush" about it so I have no idea.”
    Kinos: ”That immature child. How can she neglect her responsibilities so-”
    Garmilio: Silence! Even us council members have lives to live. You have no right to deny her that Kinos.”
    Kinos: ”.. Hmph.”

    Kinos walked out of Garmilio's quarters and back into his own. The expression on his face was displeased to say the least. He sat down on his chair and fell into a deep thought.

    Kinos: ”Foolish girl..”

    Sometime later in Chasm of Terra

    Ka'Tar was riding a palla through the thick forest which encircled Chasm of Terra. It wouldn't take long for her to reach her destination with the speed the palla possessed. Ka'Tar was in her usual clothing, a white robe with green lines tied around her body which leaves her legs bare. She also had her white hood over her head and a pair of white bracers on both hands.

    Arlith, the earth dragon, was usually found roaming this forest. Ka'Tar had no intentions on running into Arlith since she knew the dragon didn't like visitors. Most of the dragons didn't actually like visitors. Faen, the fire dragon, was the friendliest of them and she had a terrible temper.

    Finally Ka'Tar arrived to the entrance of the Netherworld, the core of Chasm of Terra. The ground around the barrier was barren, like a wasteland of sorts. Oddly shaped rock formations riddled the area, some of them were most likely sleeping Colossi. Ka'Tar wasn't afraid that one of them would wake up, Colossi are known to sleep for decades before waking up.
    The barrier was as vigilant as ever, it didn't allow Ka'Tar to even slightly touch it. Her eyes became mere slits as she tried to peer inside the barrier. In the end she couldn't see nor hear anything because of the black/purple surface of the barrier. It was like trying to stare through the thickest kind of mist you can imagine.

    Ka'Tar: ”Ugh. Now what? Stupid barrier, open up! I need to get inside!”

    While expressing her frustration, Ka'Tar hadn't noticed an enormous shadow lurking behind her. Once she finally realized it, her eyes grew large and she slowly turned around.

    Ka'Tar: ”Of all the luck..”

  25. #50
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    Tale of Askari (20 years ago)

    “Askari, Askari, are you lost again? Do you remember your way home?”

    Paws of the Beastkin stepped on the dry earth. Even in the soft sand his strides were loud. Not like the others whose paws seemed like wind in the dessert, only touching the upper layer of the sand, not leaving any tracks. It seemed to very simple, but for him it was impossible.

    “How long have you been strolling around? Do you paws feel heavy from the ways you roam?”

    Every Beastkin could walk soundless in the sand of Onomu. Hell almost every stranger could do it too. It was hardly possible to walk with much sound in this dry land. The only time when clear sounds were heard during walking was when you stepped on a rotten branch and caused a snap of wood, or accidently kicked a rock away. Of course ignoring the sounds that volcanos made when you walked passed them. Some were very suspicious of motion and could erupt by the slightest trembling of the earth. It was hardly predictable. Still most Beastkin could walk past them like they didn’t exist.

    He couldn’t.

    Everywhere were he went branches snapped under his feet as if they were waiting for him to come so that they could sneak up to him and lay themselves under his feet. Rocks the same. Volcano’s always erupted as he passed them. Nothing was quiet when he walked by. And that wasn’t the only thing that was wrong with him.

    “Askari, Askari, are you lost again?”

    The children around him all knew it. They knew what kind of a failure he was. They made a game out of it, trying him, testing him, looking how far they could go before he snarled at them. What could he do anyway?

    “Do you remember your way home?”

    The song they made was irritating, but scarily accurate. Askari narrowed his eyes and in a sudden move swung his head to the left. He bared his fangs. A dangerous low sound emitted from his throat. In a flash all the children disappeared, leaving only small clouds of dust behind. Askari swayed his head back and forth to make sure there was no one left before continuing his walk. He hadn’t set one step when he was interrupted again.

    “Ah the kitty has come home. How long did it take you this time to find the town back?”

    Askari looked up and stared in the yellow eyes of a tall Beastkin. His spotted fur held the same color as that from Askari.

    “None of your business Ajabu.” Askari growled as he tried to move past the cheetah.

    “You’re earlier then before though. I must admit I am surprised. I had guessed you would at least take another hour or so. Guess I lose that bet then.” Ajabu shrugged. “Anyway you can hand that over.” He held up his paw.

    Askari adjusted the bag that was swung over his shoulder. “I am perfectly capable of finding the house myself.” He said.

    “Sure you are. Tomorrow or something.” Ajabu chuckled and rose his paw demanding.

    “**** off. This is my prey. I’ll give it to mother myself.”

    Their eyes met and for a moment they simply stared to each other.

    “Fine.” Ajabu said. He turned away. “Come on then.” And Askari followed him though it was slightly reluctant.

    Their house lay on the far west end of the village and was in all sense a typical Beastkin house. It lay half buried in the ground to protect it from the heat of the day and the cold of the night. Most of the rooms lay further under the ground, the only light coming from the small shanks made in the roof. In the night you could see a few stars through it, sometimes even the moon. The living room was above the ground and meant to sit in during the morning and evening and was the place to receive guests. It was probably the only room the guest would see. Beastkin were very secure with their houses. It was absolutely unheard of that strangers saw the lower levels.

    As the two brothers arrived at the door they were greeted by two little balls of fur sitting on the door step. The two immediately got up and flung themselves towards Askari.

    “Did you catch something Askari?”

    “I bet he did.”

    “Is it big?”

    “It must be look at that bag.”

    “Is it tasty?”

    “Not yet, idiot, mother first has to cook it.”

    “But Haifa I’m hungry now, can’t we eat it now?”

    “No we can’t.”

    “Askari can we?”

    Two pair of eyes turned towards the cheetah and Askari couldn’t help to smile. They looked so expectantly to him as if his answer was the only thing in the world that mattered now. They were still so naïve, but that was only too expected. They were only just ten summers old, the youngest of the family.

    “Kafil, Haifa, get inside! You two still haven’t cleaned your room yet.”

    The two simultaneously turned around to face each other, both with a horrid look on their faces. Surely they had been hoping to get away from it if they stayed outside, but Askari knew there was no escape from their fate. If they didn’t do it now things would turn nasty. It seemed like the two had come to the same conclusion and after casting one last glance to Askari and Ajabu they sprinted inside.

    Ajabu turned to him. “You better hurry. I hope you caught something good.” He said before strolling inside himself.

    I know that. Askari thought. He clenched his bag tighter and took a deep breath before stepping inside.

    He was greeted by a refreshing coolness and the smell of fresh bread. The room he was in was quite spacious, but in the same time cozy. On his left there were seats and a table. These were the seats that were used when the family had guests. On his right there was the kitchen. A female Beastkin was taking bread out of the oven. Her fur had the same yellowish color as that from Askari though it was softer and less spotted. When he entered she turned around. Her yellow eyes penetrated the young man.

    “You’re late.” She said brusque.

    “I’m sorry mother.” Askari said with a slight bow. “It won’t happen again.”

    “Of course it will.” The woman said and Askari lowered his head even more, a pained expression on his face. “Now, what did you catch?”

    Askari lowered the bag from his shoulder and handed it over. After shooting him a last glance the woman opened the sack and looked inside.

    There were several seconds of silence and then she sighed. With one of her paws Askari’s mother rubbed her eyes. “Seriously I don’t have time –”

    Her words were cut off when there came a crash from a lower level followed by various shouting voices.

    Askari’s mother’s head snapped up. “Kafil stop scaring Haifa!” She shouted and she turned around. “Those two,” she huffed to herself as she walked off, “I swear if they broke something again… Why can’t I have a quiet afternoon? First stuff with Rim and now this and on top of that…” She looked back to Askari. There was more shouting coming from below. “Take this away will you. I’ll look what I can make with it later.” She said before disappearing to a lower level, leaving Askari alone in the room.

    He looked down on the bag that lay on the ground, but couldn’t force himself to pick it up. Another failure. Even though his mother didn’t say it he knew she was disappointed. And so was he. Disappointed that he had yet again failed his mother. That he had yet again messed up something she had asked him to do.
    He was the only failure of the family. Apart from Haifa, Kafil and Ajabu the family had three more members: Zubari, the first born who was a strong and fierce figure to see. He held the name of the family high by winning most of the fighting contests in town and doing good in hunting. Rim, Askari’s little sister of seventeen. She was a beauty and often surrounded by many guys. And then there was Kivuli who was thirteen, but so small that he was often mistaken for the youngest of the family even though Kafil and Haifa were three years younger than him. If it came to hiding he was the one you should talk to. He could practically hide everywhere.

    That made a family of seven children which all had to be taken care of by one person; Zuri, the mother of the bunch. Askari’s father had said farewell right after the last two were born, leaving Zuri with all the children. She held them on a tight leash, but the family wasn’t unhappy. Actually they fared pretty well.
    Except for Askari that was. He was the loser of the family. Someone had to be it. Days like these were common and Askari hated them. He wanted to prove to the rest of the village, to his brother, but mostly to his mother that he wasn’t worthless. If he just could get that one big shot he was good for the rest of his life.

    Maybe the morning would bring hope. Maybe change would come tomorrow.

    But the morning came like the morning came every day and it passed like it passed every other day. As the little ones went to school the three older males all went to their own business. For Zuberi that meant train and hunt. Though his hunts weren’t meant for the family. Zuberi was going to get married soon and all his effort went out to make sure he got a big stock of food ready. That left Ajabu and Askari with the burden of catching dinner though his mother was reluctant to give Askari that task. She had no other choice though. She herself had enough to do and no time to set out for a big hunt.

    “I take the western part this time. You take east.” Ajabu said to Askari as he flexed his fingers. The brothers were standing just outside the village ready to take off. The sun was only just peering over the horizon. “Maybe this time you finally catch something worthwhile eating.” He grinned. The east side was the most populated by wild in this time of the year. It should be an easy hunt, for a good hunter that was.

    “Shut up.” Askari growled to him.

    “Or what? You’re going to scratch me over my nose? Boohoo I’m so afraid.”

    “Shut up Ajabu, I’m warning you!”

    “And I’m warning you. Come back with something good, or don’t come back at all. You are a disgrace for the family Askari.” Ajabu’s tone was suddenly as cold as ice.

    Askari shot him dark glance, but knew that his brother meant it and that the greatest part of the village thought the same over him.

    Curtly he turned his back to Ajabu and faced the rising sun. Without saying a word of goodbye he set of in a quick pace. His paws left tracks in the dusty ground due his blunt walking speed, but it didn’t matter. He was determined this time; determined to find something good.

    Hours later Askari still hadn’t caught anything and he was visibly angry with himself. He crouched below one of the spare trees and carefully placed on the traps he had with him. It was one of his best changes to catch something. Stretching he stood up and looked out over Onomu. Despite the heat he was not sweating. His fur held him cool in times like these and kept him warm when the darkness fell.

    He narrowed his eyes suddenly when he noticed movement in the distance. A prey? He glanced around again and slowly started to walk. He tried his best not to make any sound as he crept closer and closer to the animal. This time he would succeed. He narrowed his eyes even more to see what it was that he was chasing, but the sun prevented him from getting a good look. Inexorable it decided to shine into his face and made it impossible to see any clear features. What was it?


    A volcano exploded right under his left feat and Askari cursed himself. In his inattention he had activated one of the many fire pits that lay dormant around him. Cursing himself and his bad luck he watched how the animal ran off at great speed. Again failed.

    Dejected Askari let his head hang. He had been at it for hours, but things just didn’t seem to work out. Maybe he should just go back?

    No! He could not do that. Not only would he have to endure the taunts from the village again he also would have to disappoint his mother again. Zuri did so much for him. She never said a bad word about him and always pretended to be happy with his findings, but he knew she was getting tired of it. No, he couldn’t come back without something decent.

    Another two hours passed and Askari was utterly and completely lost. Everywhere where he looked was dust and sand and sand and dust. He hadn’t seen a familiar spot for an hour now and he had followed the trail of something that he assumed was the track of a palla. How it came there he had no idea since palla’s didn’t live around here. Maybe it was from a traveler. It didn’t matter anyway. He was sweating like a tamba, thirsty and lost. The world just couldn’t get any better. His paws carried him further, further to unknown places and he didn’t care. Tired he halted and looked around for the fourth time this minute.

    It was no use.

    He shielded his eyes against the sand when a sudden blow of wind twirled a cloud of dust up into the air. Then he spotted him. A person, a sign of life it was almost unbelievable. His feet got a mind of his own and started running. He didn’t know why, but he needed some company. Maybe this person would know where he was?

    As he came closer he realized that the person was not a Beastkin and it was most certainly not a him. Her rank figure made her inevitable a female. So an elf it was then since she was too big to be a dwarf. And what would a dwarf do out here anyway.

    The person looked halted suddenly and looked around. For some reason Askari duck behind one of the piles of rubble, sand and rocks that lay around this piece of the land. If she was not a Beastkin meant that she couldn’t be trusted immediately. Trying to be soundless he crept closer to the person who had halted and took of her gloves. He did not understand why she would do that, but who cared. All her doings were unimportant as her cloak was blown away from her body and he spotted the purge that hung on her belt. It clearly was filled to the brim with something that could only be money.

    Suddenly his determination was set. Today he would come back with something good.

    A man said to the universe:
    "Sir I exist."
    "However," replied the universe,
    "this hasn't created in me
    a sense of obligation."

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