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Thread: Tales of Amn **Hot Topic**

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    A New Suit

    Kien rang the bell, and summoned a joyous looking man behind the counter. His lip spread almost completely across from side to side, and fashioned a mustache that’s a century out of style. “How may I help you sir?”

    “Is Mrs. Erae taking up residence here?”

    “Well, that’s confidential information I believe,” the manager managed a small smile as he rejected Kien’s question.

    Kien took the package from under his arm and placed it firmly on the desk in front, “Then I assume she is, and I trust you’ll deliver this to her.” After examining the manager’s face and noticed the hesitation, Kien added a little more motivation, “It’s something that belonged to hers, and I’m returning it. And just for the record,” Kien showed the man his identification, “I’m a local inspector. So I trust you’ll do what a law enforcer will ask of you. If you kindly.”

    The manager quickly fashioned his face to a smile, and nodded, “Yes of course, I’m a good Samaritan.”

    Kien pushed open the door of the humble little inn, paying no regard to the farewell the manager had left him with, which was much too sweet for his taste. Checking the sun now up in the air, Kien gave an estimate of a little in the afternoon. The walk to the city would a laborious one, made worse by the crowd that’s heading back to work after lunch. However, even as Kien’s squeezing through the filtering wall of flesh, he knows quite clearly, his destination will be a lot worse.

    The “Office of Public Safety and Welfare” is the one place you do not want to be to get either of the two qualities advertised. Several rooms were squeezed uncomfortably onto each and every floor, which made the hallway the literal equivalent of a “tight squeeze”. Luxuries such as safety exit have been blocked with walls in favor of creating more office space at the end of the hallway. The northern and southern stairways still lacked its railings, and if Kien still trust its intuition, a few nails would be loose on there too. As Kien often told his sister, it was the place where nothing made sense, and that’s also when he concluded for her, that justice will be forever twisted. The only place that might have passed the inspection of a safety officer would be the cells in the basement, with its nicely placed stone walls, and space big enough for two but for the luxury of one. However, considering that most of the people in there are either on death row or dying, no one’s too eager of using the place as their office.

    Not like anyone is really using their office anyway. As Kien entered to what has been often described as the no man’s land. People were walking with incredible force and speed to destination in all corners of the building. Papers flew, files were mixed, and the sound of someone yelping after a cramp had struck his hand, a lesson for all children to have a good working habit. Converging at the center of this small universe, was Mr. Straussler, his hand outreached into the only available space around him, as he pointed his finger in three-sixty-degrees and yelled commands coded with a heavy supplement of what Dia once labeled as “an articulation of unpleasantness”. Each command was followed by a puzzled look and obedience that spells out doom and distress.

    “Why is Mr. Straussler in a bad mood?” Kien remember asking this question on his first day.

    “Mr. Straussler in a good mood? Now I know an oxymoron when I hear one,” the receptionist answered that time.

    To this day in fifty years, Kien had only seen Mr. Straussler smile once, and that was during his divorce. Kien made his way closer to the Chief of Command, waiting for the order to be yelled at him. A wish he soon got.

    “Holy shit Kien!” the man yelled to him on first sight, “I must congratulate you son of a gun. I heard you got killed and crawled yourself out of the Nether just to come to work. That better be the reason, because it ain’t, I sure stored some *** whooping for your sorry little buns.”

    “I was just released from custody this morning, and took a nap before coming here,” Kien tried to reason, but who was he kidding?

    “Well did you hear that?” He turned to a female elf staring at her file, startling her with the question. She probably didn’t hear anything, but nodded anyway. Going against Mr. Straussler is treason in this universe, as Kien’s about to learn, “Ain’t you a little smartass?”

    “No sir. But I was wondering whether anyone’s taking the case of Markl Linte.”

    “Well, **** me Kien. Do you think these people are running around for a circus? Was the quote, early bird gets the worm? Well, you know there’s a second part to that? It’s the late bird can go kiss my ***. The case been taken already, and it’s been settled. The man named Markl was the murder, and that is that. Now everyone’s onto the second part of the game. We are preparing for the court cases, or should I say were, because you just walked in all high and mighty and demanded the world’s attention to yourself. Since you walked in from your fancy little nap princess, why don’t you go back to your firm and suck in all that mold in the air? And while you are at it, why don’t you draw some circles on your chest, and go to the shooting range where the elves are practicing their targeting. I bet that will be more than what you’ll contribute to this place,” Mr. Straussler was into it, and when he’s into it, it means someone’s getting it.

    Kien’s not just going to sit tight for this one to blow over, he got to pass the ball back in the court. He needed this case. “With all due respect Mr. Straussler – ”

    “With all due respect?”

    “Yes with all due respect sir, I think the case deserves a second look,” he was firm in his request, but Mr. Straussler stared back at him unwavering. Kien needs to sweeten the pot, and he’ll have to do it in a roundabout way, “It’s a big case sir, we got to give the public a thorough report. A proof read over the material wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Also, I believe the defendant needs a representative.”

    “The council already assigned one!” Mr. Straussler made the easy dismissal, clearly still unsatisfied with the offer.

    “I meant a representative that the defendant will agree to, isn’t that something we valued, to provide choices? You assign me, and I’ll make sure to drill the case so hard, and provide evidence so solid that you can take it and present it to the front page news.” Good, Kien thought to himself, now that he brought up the topic of publicity, it will be easier to move onto more attractive bargaining chips, “The place will get a lot of publicity, and you’ll get plenty of funding.”

    The eyes of Mr. Straussler sparkled at the mentioning of funding, and he coughed briefly in thought. “How would that funding exactly go about?”

    “Well…” Kien took the time to think up a few quick things, “Using publicity, you could reveal the poor state of our work place, the danger we face, and the lack of a proper management system, and guarantee that public safety would improve if provided the necessary improvements.”

    “How about sewage system for this building?” Mr. Straussler was always keen with the sewage system, because he’s the only one brave enough to use the toilets situated in the building.

    “Yes, better sewage. We all needed that.”

    “Hmm…” Mr. Straussler is not talking, a good sign. After a minute or so of greedy consideration, he hollered out, “Hemlholtz! Hemlholtz! Where are you, you bloody dwarf?!”

    The scream surprised him, and Kien stepped back a feet or two before settling down. However, speaking of the devil, as Kien looked around, he could not locate the short man, not that there is a chance even if he was there. The sea of people had swallowed the first floor in its entirety, and the only chance to spot Helmholtz is if he could swim through it. And if Kien remembered correctly, the man can’t swim to save a duck.

    “Helmholtz!” Mr. Straussler continued, but his voice was soon covered up by the chattering in the building. Among many other things that can peeve the man, having someone louder than him is equal to a direct insult. He was never an elf of patience, who really is when you have the power not to? “Alright every single bugger in this room, drop what you are doing, and shut up, unless you can tell me where that dwarf is!”

    The workers froze, their eyes scanned right and left, puzzled at the Chief’s outburst but not surprised. All of them stopped questioning the mental construction of Mr. Straussler, it’s a void. “Helmholtz!” Mr. Straussler tried again, and let his voice bounce on top of the heads and out through the window. The response was poor.

    “Did all of you become blind? Look for him!” Now that’s a command that can be understood, and the people gladly followed the first sign of clarity.

    Then the door opened, and in walked a platter with a mug filled with hot coffee. A whistle came beneath it between the lips of a dwarf, which everyone remembers as the lovable Helmholtz. It took a while for him to notice the eyes of the entire building was on him, and took him a few while more to halt his step, “What? Izis a burglar drill?”

    “Where did you go?!” the chief was high on adrenaline, and low on sympathy.

    “You tol’ me to get ya some fresh coffee,” Helmholtz replied, without ill intent.

    “If I told you to jump off a bridge would you?”

    “Maybe, depends on whether it’s a hot day,” Helmholtz did not meant it as a sarcasm, it was an area of speech that he is not quite developed in. He just spoke his mind, innocent in its reply, but malicious in the eyes of Mr. Straussler.

    “I guess someone has to be funny around here. But it sure as **** isn’t you,” Mr. Straussler would have gone on if Kien didn’t put a cap to it.

    “So what was the point of getting my partner here?” Kien asked.

    The chief diverted his attention back to the earless elf, and with an irritated tone, he replied, “Because he’s your partner, is that even a question?”

    “Sorry, dumb question.”

    “You bet your *** it is. Better do better than that out there on the field.”

    Kien didn’t retort, instead he motioned for Helmholtz to come closer. The dwarf squeezed his way in and placed the platter somewhere on the desk in front of the chief. Having drained a bit of his energy, the chief calmed down, giving the two a good look, “I got to say, I’m reluctant to do this. But as justice demands it, we’ll serve it, I grant you permission to reopen the case, purely for the sake of assuring all the evidences are solid. The case’s a cooked fish, so don’t try to catch a new one. As to whether you can become Mr. Linte’s representative in court, it will be a matter that I will leave to you lovers to decide, all I need is a signed agreement to it. Also, since you are reopening the case, I will have to tell this to the detective who was responsible before you, and Valham knows how much I despise that. He may wish to have a little chat with you later, but I hope that’s all it will be. I don’t want any inner conflict in my firms; it makes me look like an idiot. And if I’m the idiot, I assure you, you will be dead. Now get your *** out of the place before you stink the air up. ”

    After Mr. Straussler’s done, he diverted his attention to the staff of the building, still glued to their spot, and his anger swelled up to his throat again, “What are you all miscreants waiting for? My face isn’t made of gold so stop staring! And if it is, it’s mine, so don’t look at it either! There’s work to do! Get a move on, do I have to order everything? And Adam, go take a piss, your pants are wet! Sally go get Adam a fresh pair of pants from the closet!”

    “There isn’t a closet sir…” Sally replied.

    “Well, I thought they taught kids how to problem solve at school! If I see Adam walking around in his underwear, he’s fired! And it’s all your fault!”

    “Why am I fired?” Adam asked.

    “Because your biological juice is dripping in front of my desk! Go take the piss!”

    Kien took that as a cue for him to leave as well, and without saying so much as a farewell, or good luck, he left the office behind him with Helmholtz. Once the two made their way out, the dwarf turned to Kien and asked, “Did I do anything wrong?”

    “No you didn’t my friend,” Kien comforted the dwarf, “But nothing’s ever right in there.”

    The Magician of the Other Cell
    The Penitentiary in Monark ran beneath the city in a labyrinth. No one really knows the layout, except the original engineers, some of whom still resides at the entrances as warden. Most of their times were spent trying to communicate the brilliance of their design to a younger generation, a useless struggle to continue the tradition. The labyrinth will most likely be sealed off once the last of them passed into the Nether, because now on days, the place stays mostly uninhabited. The humans were the most common costumers, and their input often went beyond their output. At one point, the place was fully populated. Now that they no longer walk the land, the place became the outhouse of darkness. Not that it meant anything really, since everyone’s fate in there was to meet the blade by the neck. Unlike, of course, someone could say otherwise.

    Kien knocked the door to the Southern entrance, and saw a pair of eyes appear behind a slit opening, “Password.”

    Kien displayed his identification, but the door remained shut. “Password.”

    “Stop messing around and opened the door, or I’ll report you to the management.” Having stayed in the labyrinth for majority of their work, the wardens themselves are eccentric, and out of touch from society.

    The door creaked open, and revealed behind a thin statured man, with long braided beard touching the floor. His blue eyes rested within sags of skin that gloomed over Kien by the entrance. An Original, that was the term the department used for the engineers of the dungeon. The old fellow didn’t budge from his spot, and made no attempt to invite the stranger in. Kien pushed himself in and took a seat on a chair that was uncomfortably small.

    “I need to see a particular prisoner that was recently transferred here, Markl Linte is the name,” Kien spoke his demands and waited for the old elf to reply.

    The warden trotted along the floor, his feet dragging on the ground below as he made his way to another door within the room that leads deeper into the labyrinth. Without a sign of apprehension, he entered through the door and shut it behind him. Kien was left sitting for an unbearably long time, and he was wondering if the warden had forgotten about him completely.

    A moment later, the door reopened and the old man peered from behind with an air of mischief. In some ways, the engineer never grew up, and maybe it’s a good thing. He beckoned for Kien to come, and Kien obeyed, with a small bit of doubt taped to the back of his head. He entered through the door to witness an array of glasses, set on the side as they ran down the pathway in the center. The glass were like the display window of museums, except most of them were empty. Only most, because one of them was occupied by the familiar figure of Markl Linte.

    “Five minutes,” the warden informed Kien.

    “No, don’t limit my time. This is not strictly visiting, but strictly business. Order from above,” Kien refused the warden’s restriction.

    The warden was clearly not happy, but chose not to push any further. By the look of it, it seems a wave of sleep just overtook his consciousness, and he’s going to go back and pass out. Kien examined Markl, from head to toe, and was slightly assured that his attitude didn’t seem to change from the first time he met him.

    “Always wondered how those animal feels behind the glass at the zoo,” Markl, a well trained entertainer.

    “You’ll get to feel how those animals feel in a slaughterhouse soon enough as well,” Kien jested, with a hint of spite.

    “Strike where it hurts, don’t you?”

    “I meant no ill. But let’s not debate that. Let’s get right to the point, my partner’s waiting outside for me.”

    “Partner?” Markl raised an eyebrow at this.

    “Strictly business, and falls short from what you are thinking. Let’s skip ahead and why don’t you just tell me why they want you? Murder was what I heard, is that statement still valid?”

    Markl shrugged, “Seems so. At least they haven’t confirmed with me on any changes.” He took a look around the room he’s in. Beside the glass that set in front, the sides were covered with sturdy plate, and the glass was at least a foot thick, so thick, that a noticeable distortion is present to Kien’s figure when looked from one side. Beside the physical barriers, the hoaxes and barriers put on the place was enough to strike fear in any magician. No escape, that’s the message.

    Kien scratched his beard, and examined Markl up and down, trying to make an initial opinion whether the man was capable of crime at all. However, Markl didn’t like Kien’s glances, and retorted, “I’m a bit frustrated at the situation, and as much as I love the attention of an enthusiastic audience, I’m not particularly fond of being stared at like a jewel on display.”

    “Don’t praise yourself too much. You are in too much dirt to shine through,” Kien enjoyed to be in the upper hand of things, it’s time to get back at the trickster, “So tell me, who did you exactly murder?”

    “I believe you meant, accused of murdering,” Markl knows Kien phrased it intentionally, but he still wasn’t pleased with the sound of it, “But if that’s the case, it is the Minister of Affairs.”

    Kien didn’t reply right away, as he mind became blank. Wild possibilities floated around, and he couldn’t find any to settle down upon. “The Minister of Affars?!” He asked loudly, edging closer to the glass that separated the two. “Crowford Bil?”

    “Seems so.”

    “I know you had a little argument with his son Oliver, but why did you go and kill him for?!”

    “Well, then I think the point is, that I didn’t!” Markl was frustrated with the tone that Kien had kept up with. Although, Kien didn’t intend to implicate anything this time, just a slip of the mind and the wrong words leaked out.

    “What did they have against you?”

    “Nothing,” Markl paused when he said this, then reconsidered his answer, “At least, I was told of nothing. But I suspect something must have triggered it for them to warrant an arrest.”

    “How about your representative? Didn’t he at least update you with the case?” Kien seemed wary of the situation the more he learns about it, a strange sensation that things are set in stone.

    “You mean that majestically grand individual? Yes, he told me that the execution will be painless,” Markl bore a grin, a mix of lightheartedness and skepticism.

    “A common misconception.”

    “Or so I’ve heard,” despite his situation, Markl was at peace with himself, “You know, if I was given the chance, I would have proved my own innocence.”

    “Oh? How?”

    “What you are about to do, but with more class.”

    “Is that a question of my professional abilities?” Kien was surprised that Markl still had the energy or will to continue this conversation with that tone, but he was partly at fault as well. It’s time to throw a curve ball, “How do you know that I will be helping you?”

    “Why else would you spend your time stuck under a basement, that doubles up as sewage system?”

    The topic of sewage came up twice today, and Kien didn’t like the topic very well, nor does he enjoy being in a place similar to one. “Maybe taking a tour of the jail cells, to improve my knowledge of the justice system.”

    Markl scoffed at this, “You want me to tickle myself and laugh? As great an actor as I am, I am not particularly keen on keeping up the act against an unshaven, single elf that lives in the boundary of poverty, and has the manner of a troll. Maybe it was your sister who I am talking to, maybe we can be more civilized and mature enough to carry some proper communication.”

    Kien put his hand close to his heart, and mouthed an “ouch”, before speaking once more in a jesting tone, “To think you were endlessly praising me before, I guess that was all an act.”

    “I mean please,” Markl put his hand up, signaling he had enough of this, “First of all, that sounded remotely strange to my ears, second of all, if it wasn’t for your sister, you would made a fool out of yourself up stage. ‘She’s not dead’,” he mimicked Kien’s words back on the stage, “I’ve seen boys in puberty with more confidence than that. I just don’t want to say it out loud yesterday to save your some face, so can we please move on to better things to talk about?”

    “Alright,” Kien’s had enough as well, or maybe not, “how many days you got before they pop your head off like a cork in the bottle.”

    “Could you stop with that?”

    “Fine, how many days before a piece of iron severe your neck.”

    Markl sighed, he give up, “Three days.”

    “No trial?”

    “There is a trial, two days from now. If I’m guilty, I’ll be executed right away the following day.”

    “Want me to defend you on court?”

    “That sound strangely like a threat.”

    “Maybe because it is one. Every trust the man who you just pissed off?”

    “Who else better right?” Markl sounded sarcastic, but followed with a sincere voice, “Kalea trusted you, and I trust Kalea. So I think I’ll take this bet.”

    Trust me because of Kalea, that logic sounded strange but valid for Kien. He wasn’t about to question how Markl came to know or even trust Kalea, it was talk to be done after, with Kalea present preferable. With that, Kien’s done what he needs to do, “Alright, if anything comes up, I’ll be sure to update you on it. And if your old representative ever shows up again, you can fire him, and tell him Mr. Straussler said so. He’ll never question it.”

    Markl give a wave of his hand and knocked on the metal door behind him to signal he’s finished. The two elves stepped out from that room, one into darkness, the other to truth.

    The Unwelcoming

    There was no one at the door when Kien walked through the front door of the giant mansion that rested on the east of Monark. Jokes and slandering aside, he was uneasy from what Markl told him. Markl Linte didn’t just go and knock off a regular Joe from the slum, he got himself tangled with the big fish. He murdered the Minister of Affairs, Mr. Crowford Bil, or so everyone believed he did. A later chat with the dwarf told him that there was enough evidence to pin Markl, and witnesses too. Not that it mattered, because in Monark, you are guilty until proven innocent. If Kien leave things the way it is, the guillotine is what Markl will see.

    The house was far from empty though. The fact he was ignored only signified his unimportance in the whole scheme of things. People are running about, trying to catch new clues, to no doubt, push Markl further into the pit. As Mr. Strausller said, you don’t catch a new fish, when you got one cooked.

    No one talked to Kien or asked who he is, the polite introduction was a mannerism fit for the inexperienced. One glance at Kien’s badge which he pinned just before he entered the door, warded away the other inspectors like bug spray to black flies. “I thought Mr. Straussler said the case was close for good… before I asked him,” Kien was irritated at the crowd which was running about the scene, no doubt ruining more evidence than they could find.

    “These are private eyez,” Hemlholtz reminded Kien of the workings of the city, “All want to get in on zer big pie.”

    “And they got into this building with Mr. Straussler’s permission?!”

    “Private eyez have private dealz,” Helmholtz was glad he could teach Kien something new, “You don’t question it.”

    Not that Kien needed to genuinely worry really, because most of the locations with the evidence were fenced off, off limit to private owned business. Unless of course, Mr. Straussler was insane enough to sell those as well. The mansion was sectioned off into groups using rules that Kien assumed was arbitrary, their boundary marked with a redline and labeled with numbers. From what Kien could see, these sections were sold to private eyes like land rights. Whoever thought of selling these was no doubt a green eyed goblin, but whoever thought of buying these possessed a stupidity that deserved to be cheated

    And to Kien’s disbelief, a fight actually broke out in front of him when someone seemingly overstepped the boundaries. “Hey kid, watch where you are stepping on!” A beastkin in a suit, a strange get up. His eyes reflected yellow, and orange fur stripped with lines of grey. When he bare his teeth in the argument, two row of fine white showed its beauty and ferocity. He had short ears on top of his head, triangles dipped in black at the corner on top. Like any other beastkin Kien encountered, this one is not in the best of mood, “It’s against the rules!”

    The “kid” was really a kid elf. Angular chin smoothed out in curves. His eyes were wide hazel, embedded within the white background of his face. How someone as young as him could be a private eye speaks out about the flaw of the system in the city. He was nowhere as tall as the beastkin, nor as muscular. “I’m sorry sir…I was too busy following these footprint that I forgot about the boundaries…”

    Although Kien tries not to be prejudice with his judgment, but he still feel the need to stand behind his own kind, even after he made the promise to cut all ties from them. As he watched the argument becoming heated, and possibly growing to be physical, Kien slowly progressed toward the scene with the mindset of “rescuing” the kid.

    “You broke the rules, and there are punishments for breaking the rules,” the beastkin was just about getting reveled up.

    The elf looks hesitant in his reply, “I wasn’t aware that there was any punishment for breaking the rules…”

    “Of course there are!” a mixture of anger and joy, something only a beastkin can manage, “The punishment is that we divide your sector with everyone else! Isn’t that right?”

    Now that he has gotten the crowd involved, and added that bit of favor, the hungry eyes of the private inspectors were reflected by their hungry replies, “Of course! Divide the sector!”

    The young elf was helpless, but still felt the need to retaliate somehow, “That seemed awfully unfair.”

    “Too bad kid,” the crowd was unified on this one, “You got to play by the rules. We need order, especially for this kind of business. So don’t you go and break some, and be selfish about it.”

    “Yeah, absolutely don’t be selfish about it,” the words came from Kien, who manage to make his way through the crowd, and make his presence known.

    The beastkin took a glance at Kien, and then at the badge pinned near his heart, “Glad that there are some officials that understand how things works here, would you like to lecture this youngster about the way we ran things?”

    “Sure thing Mister…” Kien paused and looked around the beastkin’s clothing for any name tag, but seeing none he continued, “Tiger, I got things under control.” He turned toward the young elf and leaned his head right and left, as if in self-questioning, “Here’s how things work kid. If you step out of the boundary and into someone else’s zone, you are out. And for punishment, you’ll going to have to accompany me to a trip to a place where real evidence are.”

    The youngster’s brow was wrinkled in confusion, “What do you mean sir?” And Kien could not believe how dim the fellow is. Before he could try to explain himself, the beastkin interrupted him, “What do you mean! You can’t do that!”

    Kien scratched his beard and shrugged, “Can’t I? I didn’t know. Why don’t you talk to Mr. Straussler and find out if I can. A real charmer to talk to that one.” Kien loved to pull out Mr. Straussler, the ultimate period to an argument.

    “Maybe I will!” The beastkin was running way above his head, and Kien just hope the fellow doesn’t hurt himself.

    “Be my finest guest,” Kien waved a goodbye to him, “Come along Helmholtz, and grab the kid. We are going up stairs behind the restricted zone.”

    The young elf remained quiet until he reached the end of the stairs, after which he asked, “Sir, am I in trouble?”

    Helmholtz took the pleasure of answering, “Disrupting investigation, I think that’s a crime fitting to label ya as one of those Tainted fellows. I’m afraid son, it’s ze death penalty for you. Betta prepare a towel to wrap ya head with.” As the dwarf said this, he patted a hatchet on the side of his belt.

    It was a bizarre reply, especially when Helmholtz spoke it with a grin that spread from side to side. The boy came to the conclusion that the dwarf is either psychotic, or horrible humorist. He give the short reply "Oh" just in case he's the former.

    Kien pulled his upper lip in and smiled, Kien always thought Helmholtz's humor always slightly missed the mark, but he was never the one to point it out and hurt the man's heart, only playing along when he should.

    Kien walked past a sign post that alerted in big letters "With permissions only". Glancing over his shoulder, he realized that the boy had stopped short before it, looking down toward the laces of his shoe. "You are permitted, now look up and step over. What's your name?"

    "Kanvis," The boy answered. As he took a step past the sign post, he looked around in awe as if he has just stepped into a new world.

    "We are still in the hallway," Kien responded to the boy’s behavior as he pushed the door to his left, marked in the middle with bronze plate as "The Office".

    As he walked into the room, he was greeted with two short figures, both of dwarves’ descent. “Kien Cephalon, here under permission from Mr. Straussler to check on the case,” Kien identified himself before any question was asked, “Here is my partner, and…,” he looked to Kanvis thinking of an appropriate title, “prodigy.”

    “I didn’t know the public detective have prodigies,” the two dwarf spoke at once, and only now did Kien notice that the two were twins.

    They were both dressed in plates of bronze, and wearing a checkered patterned quilt that Kien thought was in bad taste. They carried the typical beard, which was braided near the end meticulously that each braid was no thicker than a straw. Their eyebrow was shaven, revealing a set of eyes that rested deep in their skull, shining in amber.

    “Then I am first of its kind,” Kien pushed the subject matter away to focus on more serious topics, “Now would you kindly guide me through the evidence that has been examined so far?”

    Before the dwarves could answer, the door behind Kien was pushed open, frightening the group quite a bit. A middle-aged elf walked in, bearing a similar hair style with Kien, but was clean shaven. His angular jaw met in a chin that curved slightly to hold his thin lips. His nose fell straight down, and ended with a point, that occasionally expanded as the man sniffed and flared his nostrils. His eyes were big, but drooped in boredom and roofed with a set of eyebrows that appears as thin as threads. His finger was slender, to the point of bony, and the rest of his body was merely an extrapolation of his hand. His faerie was a splitting image of himself with a more profound bundle of hair and a hint of obvious grandeur (ignorance is what Kien calls it). “You must be Kien Cephalon, Mr. Straussler told me all about you,” the man extended his hand, reaching out like tree branches , “I’m Inspector Solomon.”

    Kien took the inspector’s hand, and felt it tighten in a painful clutch. “A pleasure to meet you.”

    “The pleasure’s all mine. To be able to meet such a fine enthusiastic colleague who was kind enough to proof read my work.”

    Kien turned over to his shoulder and met the eyes of Tania. Ah, the word went up in both of their head, so he was the one responsible for solving Markl’s case. In that case, the situation can only grow more awkward. “I have much to learn, and was wondering if you would like to guide me along with some of your logic in solving this case.” The persona Kien have to put up made himself feel sick, and Tania flew away, obviously unsatisfied with the act.

    Inspector Solomon let go of Kien’s hand and put it into his pocket. He briefly took out his pocket watch and took a long look before dropping it back, and faked an expression of excitement, “Of course, I would love to. Where shall we begin?”

    Kien’s eyes followed Tania who rested herself on top of a pen holder by the desk. It was the most obvious destination to go, marked by a touch of blood. “Where ever you would like to start with, an overview of the situation would be nice. Such as where was Mr. Bil when he met his unfortunate time, predicted timing of the death, the instrument used, witnesses, and evidences. Anything really.”

    Not really. Having arrived at the scene when things already gone stale and crawling with vultures, he’ll need to rely on Inspector Solomon’s personal recount of the process, which could be a compilation of nonsense, and Kien wouldn’t be able to tell otherwise. Mr. Straussler was right on this one, the late bird does need to kiss some serious *** to get the information it wanted.

    Inspector Solomon coughed several times as if to clear some throat, but both men know he was just wasting time. He gives the two dwarfs a wave to pardon them from the room. When they were alone, he pulled out a pair of gloves from an inner pocket of his jacket and slides them on one at a time, taking his sweet time. “It’s a very complicated process I’m afraid,” Inspector Solomon held a pained expression on his face, as if having to talk about the logic of investigation had stirred up some headaches, “Maybe I can just go over the basics of things?”

    “It’s alright if you dump all the information on me, think of me as a blank pages of a journal,” Kien had to plow as much information from the man as possible, and “the basics of things” is just not going to cut it. Helmholtz give Kien a questioningly stare at his analogy, and Kien will later admit, it was a bad one.

    After putting on the gloves, the inspector nodded a few times and moved in a circular path around the room, as if trying to recollect the events that had occurred, “It’s incredibly complex.”

    Kien rolled his eyes when the inspector turned his back to him. If he really wanted, he would have read the inspector’s mind. However, Kien doesn’t want to resort to that on his first meeting, he believes in choices, and the consequences could be dangerous if Kien “accidentally” stole something he wasn’t supposed to. “Horrendously complex,” Kien added to the inspector’s statement, with a sliver of mockery laid on top.

    “And most secretive,” the inspector nodded, and his fairy pacing about his head to the rhythm of this nods.

    “Dwelled with mystery.”

    “An act that should not be committed.”


    “A case that should not be left unsolved.”


    “An event so evil, capable only by the hands of a Tainted.”

    “Those buggers of blight.” Kien felt he was getting the hang of this, but it’s getting him nowhere.

    “It was the treasurer of Mr. Bil that reported the death. After which I quickly came about and issued a full house lock down.”


    “I knew it was an urgent business, no time was left to waste.”

    “An absolute role model.”

    “And so – ”

    “Can we just get to the point,” Helmholtz broke the trend, and Kien actually felt slightly peeved that he did, “I mean, if this is all we are doing, I might as well go catch myself some snooze.”

    “Helmholtz, this is no way to speak to such a respectable inspector as Mr. Solomon. Apologize to him at once,” Kien kept the role up.

    “It’s quite alright Mr. Cephalon. Dwarves are known to be harsh and rude bunch. I pay no mind to such creatures that are lower than us,” as he insulted, he towered over Helmholtz and purposefully stared down at him. The look made Helmholtz’s hands itching to grab his hatchet and chop some decent sense into the conceited elf.

    “But the case, what happened next?” Kien distracted Inspector Solomon’s attention away from Helmholtz.

    “The usual, I solved it and made the arrest shortly afterwards.”

    “Well…”Kien dragged the sound, with the hope of possible baiting out more information. When the hook returned empty, Kien made it more direct, “How did you exactly manage it?”

    “Well…” Inspector Solomon dragged the sound as well, “It’s a complicated process. Harline, could you go downstairs and ask the guards if there are any teas being brewed currently? I feel thirsty.”

    The faerie fluttered around in circles around Mr. Solomon, before the inspector opened the door and let her out. Once he closed the door, he resumed, “So anyway. As I was saying, it was a – ”

    Mr. Solomon never got to finish that sentence as he felt his mind go blank and his vision turned white. All that he remembered was of his head falling down to the red carpet below him, and an explosive pain near the side of his head.

    Kien rubbed his knuckles and shook his head, he saw Tania looking him disproving him, “Honey, you know he isn’t going to spill a single bean.”

    “I’d say ya should ‘ve done it earlier,” Helmholtz stepped over the inspector’s head and walked over to the desk posted a few meter in front of a large one piece window.

    “You think it might be shady if his faerie come back and see him like this?” Kien asked in curiosity as he dragged the body to the west side, where a sofa had being conveniently placed beside a shelf of books.

    “Well, with the right luck, I think you might convince her that he collapsed form heat stroke,” Tania held a skeptical look, and her lips tilted to the side with doubt, “But I got to say. I didn’t exactly like his attitude, treating you like a child. I think he’s younger than you.”

    “I don’t ‘think’, I know he is younger than me.”

    “Now that is definitely in appropriate, pulling out his identification card like that…” Tania puffed her cheek slightly, “and his wallet…”

    “Tania, truth be told. You are hardly helpful here.”

    “Then tell me how you are going to resolve this situation.”

    “Simple, I’m going to take his memory of when I punched him.”

    Helmholtz popped in, “Why don’t you take his memory regarding the case as well?”

    “Tania, explain to Helmholtz exactly why that is not possible.”

    Tania flew closer to Helmholtz’s nose and swung from side to side. The dwarf’s eyes crossed as he tried to stay focused on her. When Tania spoke, it was in the tone of a lecturer, those that Kien hated especially during early days of school. “Memories aren’t just facts. Along with memories are often emotional attachments. For example, is the glass half empty or half full? A famous question, and depending on the context, you might reflect on the situation positively or negatively, a natural biased associated with all things viewed in first perspective. If Kien was to steal the memories of the inspector, it is true that he will obtain the information with regard to the case at hand, but nothing stops him from adopting the same emotional context the inspector carried when solving those cases. In worst case scenario, Kien would hold onto the same belief as the inspector, which will result in him convicting Markl as the perpetrator.”

    “Ah I see,” the dwarf nodded and shook his head as he relaxed his eyes from their crossed position.

    The soft bang on the door broke all of them out of their concentration. It was Harline. Helmholtz looked at Kien eyes wide, then at the inspector still out of the cold on the sofa. “Now what?”

    Kien shrugged, “I would say panic, but I think that’s not the word to use right now.” He looked toward Mr. Solomon, and with a burst of effort hoisted the man up and sat him up straight on the sofa, with one hand resting on the wooden arm rest. He pulled out a copper framed chair from nearby and sat across from him. “Tania, could you tell our little friend that Mr. Solomon and I are engaged in a very heated conversation, and that we can use a little bit of time to cool down. Helmholtz, open the door for her if you please.”

    With a sigh, Tania flew toward the door, as Helmholtz held it open a crack. Harline was just about to dash in when Tania manage to get a hold of her hand and pulled her out. Through the crack, Kien could hear Tania’s voice carrying over. “Mr. Cephalon and your master are engaged in a conversation and just had chased me out. I don’t think it’s appropriate to enter as of now. Why don’t we go outside a bit, and have a civilized conversation?”

    Kien heard her stress the word 'civilized', followed by an icy stare toward himself. It was the second time that someone implied Kien was crude, and he started to wonder if the accusation have substance. Harline looked over Tania’s shoulder and saw Mr. Solomon resting comfortably on the sofa, with a nod she agreed to Tania, “Let’s.”

    When the door closed once more, and they’ve waited enough time for the two faeries to get out of ear shot, Kien stood up and motioned to Helmholtz. “Let’s get to it, I’m assuming either this is the scene of the crime, or they decided to slaughter the dinner in his office. Look at all that stain on that chair.”

    “Ya go take a look at that, I’ll make ma way around zer room to see if anything’s left behind.”

    The room was illuminated by a one piece window that replaced the Southern wall. It bent around in a soft curve, stretching from west to east. There was no curtain in sight to prevent the light from entering, but that might be the appeal, to be constantly be bathed in the warmth of the sun. At night, sunlight will be replaced by the artificial light source on the ceiling, luxury of the rich. The desk that Kien noticed before rested in the middle of this curvature, and its shape was uncomfortably angular. The papers and various wares remained untouched on its surface, and had gathered dust because of it. The rest of the room was pale without decoration. The western side held two shelves of books with the same binding, and Kien can vouch that the content within was equally monotonous. Beside it rested the sofa with Mr. Solomon, and a leg rest padded with the same red leather as the sofa. The eastern end was occupied by only one thing, the world map. A traditional piece seen in so many offices, that Kien wondered whether it was because of the love for geography or world domination. Typical, was all the comment Kien could muster from his brief glance.

    He went and examined the desk in detail, and noticed quite clearly that the paper had being ruffled about. One of the documents that was clearly placed on top contained a unfinished manifesto on trade. However, it wasn’t the politics that Kien was interested in, it was the water mark that seemed to stretch diagonally. With care, he lifted the paper up using one of its corners, and noticed that the watermark isn’t watermark at all. Unless, blood had became the new ink for it. Written clearly was the words, ’Markl did it.’

    “I think I found Mr. Solomon’s aforementioned, ‘complex evidence’,” Kien called Helmholtz over and showed him the writing.

    “Izis zer Minister’s writing?” Helmholtz examined the characters.

    A few glances at the pieces of manifesto told Kien it was most likely the Minister’s handwriting, “Probably.”

    Helmholtz handed the sheet back to Kien, “Zat pretty much settlez it doesn’t it? In hiz dying breaz, Mr. Bil wrote the name of hiz killer. Itiz az clear az red on white.”

    Again, Helmholtz’s off sense execution of humor, but Kien didn’t respond back this time. He examined the paper once again, this time with more attention to the characters. The blood was already dry and gained a dark brown hue from the time it was left in the open, but the stroke was clear, like those of ancient calligraphy.

    “I have more doubts than ever now,” Kien spoke out his mind.

    “What do ya mean? zisis conclusive evidence. Can’t be nothing more clear and crisp than what the minister wrote there iz there?”

    Kien put the paper down, “That’s the problem.”


    “The minister has absolutely beautiful handwriting, but if his handwriting is still beautiful when he’s dying, then that’s a problem,” Kien points to the chair, “See that? How much blood there is? You think anyone has the sweet time to write nicely on the back of this paper the name of the murder?”

    “Maybe he’s compozed,” Helmholtz took a guess.

    “Maybe…” Kien scanned the table and noticed a pen resting in its holder, “Then, think about this. Why would the minister write this in blood when there is a pen already resting on his table? I understand there’s a need to add drama to the situation, but wouldn’t instinct tell him to use the pen, and save some blood to make him last a bit longer?”

    “Zen what are ya suggesting?”

    Kien couldn’t really give his reply, “I’m not sure. I guess we’ll look at things further.”

    “Sure zing partner,” Helmholtz left Kien alone to his task again as he ventured around the room once more.

    Kien paced around the desk, as his eyes moved from one corner to the other. The damage was well contained, within the vicinity. Whoever killed the Minister did it with precision. The blood barely splattered beyond the chair except for some drop on the desk. Kien’s eyes looked around the drop, and set its target on the candle stick. He lifted it up, and noticed the detailed care the smith put to carve the pedals of chrysanthemum that decorated its base. The candle was in white wax, but wax being caught on the bottom contained numerous dots of red. Kien’s finger moved over them and picked at them with his fingernail, and to his disappointment, they were just wax. Kien shook his head at how paranoid he’s getting and placed the ornament back onto the desk.

    After having satisfied with his examination of the top, he moved down to look at the bottom. The desk top was made of one piece of wood, a rare luxury now that most carpenters just nails pieces together. On the bottom were two slots, which Kien put his finger through and felt a “slide-and-lock” mechanism constructed within them, possibly allowing for attachment of another platform for storage purposes. It’s most likely removed to allow more leg space, which for Kien was always a wise choice. Another solid piece of wood was attached to the front, hiding the person’s bottom portion from the visitors. Kien never understood the true reason for this attachment, what was there to hide down there anyway? He didn’t spend too much time dwelling with the question and moved on to the drawers on the side.

    He pulled at the drawers and was amazed that they are still locked. He was sure some curious investigator would have cracked it open with a wrench. However, he prefers more of a subtle way of doing things. “Helmholtz, can I have the hatchet.”

    The dwarf walked over and handed it to him, and Kien used it to make some effective hammering to the slits where the lock is. When the wood finally give way after a dozen more blows, Kien pulled the drawer open to reveal the treasure he uncovered. Again, he was surprised.

    Several envelop rested within it, with the first being stamped in dark black, ‘Confidential’.

    It would be a shame if no one reads them, Kien thinks to himself as he pulled the top one out and wrapped the strings that kept it locked. He pulled the pages inside out, and several sketches fell to the ground. He bent down to pick it but stopped when he saw what the sketch was of.

    It was an elf. A very familiar elf. The elf'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. Other may know him as the “magician of the other kind”.

    Kien knows him as Markl Linte.

    His eyes darted to the pages he held in his hands, and his eyes scanned the words neatly written in black ink:

    Joseph Pylori

    Alias: Kevin Steinosky, Rick Charm, Markl Linte, Caine Eisenwall, Philip Blain

    Immediately report all sightings.

    Do not approach without aid.

    Wanted for murder of 32 innocents.

    “Iz zis also a problem?” Helmholtz asked as he scanned the document with Kien.

    Kien was quiet, his eyes drifted through the window to the neatly laid marble walkway that made its way to the front door of the mansion. Several servants went about brushing the path clear of dirt, unwavered by the death of their master. The marble shined clear, blank of the earth it pressed upon.

    Blank in its existence.
    Last edited by Moratorium; 08-02-2011 at 03:56 AM.

    Because Calculus is magical, the constant Euler constant appears when we solve this differential equation. -James Thomson, Biology Professor

  2. #52
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    Talking 11 EXP - I'm hoping for a reaction from Kinrai! (hint: 3 names)

    Although she needed to mend the wounds she undoubtably inflicted upon Oren and Amelia, Vita didn't budge. It wasn't because she feared the moment of apologizing, and it certaintly wasn't because she thought they would shun her. No, it would only prove her naivety if she didn't believe that the people around her knew she was struggling with her emotions. What bothered her was more simple, more innwardly troubling: acting irrationally.

    There was no reason for her to have snapped at Amelia, for her to have shared her unproven theory of her death, and certainly no reason to not see Oren as her sole friend -- if not best friend. Logically speaking, a best friend would be someone who understands you almost better than you understand yourself, and that was Oren. And Elrik had a point. Her life was her own, and instead of waiting for death to approach her, Vita should spend her life...well, living! As long as Vita lives, Oren will remain by her side, and she would do anything to make sure he wouldn't perish before her. Was that kind of like how a mother felt?

    The thought of "felt" only burdened Vita even more. Feelings. Emotions. Instincts. All three of these qualities linked to the most mysterious part within Vita: her heart. Well, realistically, the mind handles how you react, be it reasonably or with empathy. But instincts are irrational, and you certainly can't define the branches of love under one meaning. Also, no book can convey the tightening in Vita's heart as "friend" was linked to Oren. Was that where instincts come in? Inctinctively, Vita could have connected her tightening heart to "guilt." So...her heart felt "guilty" for never considering Oren as a friend? Or, more spiritually, Vita's soul was conflicting her outer self. Was that it?

    Each new thought only confused Vita even more. By the time she noticed something flailing in her peripheral vision, her eyebrows digging deep into her skin, sinking dangerously close to her eyes. Of course, her eyelids responded in turn, narrowing her downcasted eyes. All too soon, Vita's mind triggered the image of a hand, and, focusing on it, Vita recalled that she wasn't alone. Rather, the blonde haired elf -- who identified himself as Kinrai -- had taken note of her as well (though he actually had the courage and time to greet her). Still, Vita didn't readily speak up, and when she did, it was in the form of a question.

    "Pardon my poor memory, but I don't recall directly meeting you..." Her voice trailed into temporary silence as a short flashback played in her mind. Hadn't she backed into someone while...speaking to Amelia? Darkness and slow timing made it impossible for Vita to catch the person's appearance, but... "Unless...forgive me, but was it you, Kinrai, whom I collided into earlier? If so, I apologize, even if many hours have passed since then."

    Suddenly, the topic was changed, and Oren once again was brought to mind. A green fairy -- most likely Kinrai's, hovering so close to his right shoulder -- had taken note of the absence of a fairy near Vita. However, the way the green fairy phrased her question unnerved Vita. Why did the inquiry sound like Vita was being asked if Oren was alive or dead? Certainly, "don't" could also apply to whether or not your fairy abandoned you, yet the way Vita's heart skipped a beat only confirmed her dramatic interpretation. It was almost too much for her, trying to assess the words as well as what those words inflicted emotionally. How could anyone remain calm in such circumstances?

    "Issat, was it? To answer your question, my fairy, Oren, is attending to a few acquaintances at the wish of a companion we met upon entering Nayru. And to you, Kinrai, my presence here--"

    Peering at Issat, Vita couldn't ignore the utter horror all over Issat's face. One would have thought she saw a ghost, but then again, corpses were just as grotesque. Granted, the arena was being tidied up, yet the signs of carnage and the odor of death still lingered in the coliseum. If Elrik hadn't been around to distract her, everything that Vita had witnessed would have made her wozzy long before the death-match ended. An outsider like Kinrai, who had missed the whole battle, couldn't even tell that what he now witnessed was the resolution, the aftermath of chaos. Vita could only guess how barbaric they imagined her to be now, Issat trying her best to not seem disturbed.

    "No need for such formalities, Issat. I suppose I should resume my explanation as to why I came to the coliseum. It was not, as the both of you may presume, because I find entertainment from such displays of bloodshed. On the contrary, I came to speak to a recently born moon elf, who you may have seen departing moments ago. He -- Elrik -- on the other hand, seemed intrigued by the tournament, though he claimed it was because of the brilliant teamwork of Falteer, Balthazar, and the leader of the two, Nilak."


    Oren and the Weiss family were still yawning from "storytime," finding it hard to be excited without any children around -- well, that wasn't true. There were plenty of kids in the audience, but those kids didn't belong to their group. Therefore, sleep was tugging at their eyes, and Oren was the first to crack. He detoured them from Moonlight show, and not a moment too soon. Elves were rubbing their eyes from staring at bright words with a dark background for too long. Already, the crowd was diminishing, the only ones left were those trying to calm their children or discuss which stories were their favorite. Lights were returning, and new activities were beginning.

    Only Amelia enjoyed every moment of the Moonlight show. As they strolled around Nayru, Amelia confessed that if she had reunited with her family sooner, she would have loved to share such moments with a younger Fieyira. According to her, Fieyira as a child would have appreciated "storytime" more than she did now, which placed all the guilt directly on her. Not that Amelia intended to make Fieyira feel as if she matured too quickly. In fact, Amelia was pinpointing her own shortcomings -- that is, not being around her son long enough to learn about his wife and daughter.

    Oren was bad at reading the mood when he gets distraction, and he startled Amelia by shouting: "Hey, lookie! The Moonpearl -- whoa, it's fast! How does anyone win when they can't keep up with it?"

    "The Moonpearl race already begun?!" Fieyira could hardly hide her excitement as well.

    "Most of the racers must be trying their best to win." Mien stood on the tip of her toes, but there were no participants lined at the start of the race.

    "Oh, I see Minathiel!" Xan pointed enthusiastically, like any fan who spots a celebrity, but he immediately choked on his words. "--Not that she interests me. Her beauty cannot compete with my love for you, sweetheart."

    "Nice choice of words."

    "Hmm...I suppose we can wait and see who wins, but...I'm worried about Vita." Amelia glanced with concern towards the coliseum.

    "Vita? Isn't that the name of Oren's ma-- friend?"

    "Grr...that's right! Vita left me behind! We should all march up to her and tell her what's what!"

    "I agree! Let's go, to the coliseum!"

    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

  3. #53
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    It was silent for a while, Kinrai quietly observed as the female moon elf's eyes raced from one end to another. Before the moon elf managed to respond, Kinrai averted his eyes towards the aftermath that resumed in the arena.
    He caught a glimpse of a priestess roaming the arena, sending the souls of fallen beasts into the Netherworld. The Tainted never received the blessing of being sent into the Netherworld, such were the laws.
    Priests and priestesses were a rarity in Amn since all of them were moon elves who were already scarce. Also not all moon elves possessed the talent of ”sending”, it was a natural born talent among some of them.

    The lone priestess approached the enormous Cyclops's carcass and let out a silent prayer before pressing her hand on the carcass. Her hand had a glowing glyph in it, the form of the glyph resembled a star (David's star). As the priestess's hand touched the skin of the Cyclops, the glyph in her hand projected right into the skin.
    A few seconds later the glyph expanded immensely, enveloping the Cyclops wholly. A blinding light erupted from the glyph, forcing Kinrai to shield his eyes with his arm. Once the light was gone, so was the corpse of the Cyclops. Only a single star floated upwards from the spot where the mighty giant once lay, the sending was complete.

    Kinrai had forgotten about the Moonpearl race for the moment. There were enough distractions to share for everyone at the moment. He finally turned his head back to face the moon elf. For a moment Kinrai thought she still hadn't even noticed he was there. The slight expressions that formed on her face showed just how absorbed she was in her thoughts. Then the long awaited reaction finally appeared. The moon elf seemed reserved, her first words only containing a single question about Kinrai's identity. Kinrai was about to answer but kept his mouth shut when the moon elf continued.


    So it was her who Kinrai had bumped into in the darkness of the Moonlight show, and thanks to that he had encountered that positively annoying nameless one. She was quick to apologize for bumping into Kinrai in which he responded instantly.

    Kinrai: ”Please don't apologize. It was no one's fault, besides no harm befell on either of us.”

    That was when Issat made her debut and caused a slight distraction for Vita. Vita's reaction was exactly why Kinrai had scolded Issat, the way she suddenly became silent indicated that something had happened to her fairy, at least that's the conclusion Kinrai came up with.
    Fortunately he was wrong. Vita's fairy, Oren, was just away for the moment.

    After a brief pause Vita explained why she had came in the first place to such a brutish place, especially during the night fights which were the most violent. Kinrai's first expression proved to be wrong since Vita told that she didn't care for bloodshed, instead she came because of a new moon elf. That's also when Kinrai remembered that a new moon elf was born tonight, rather ironic if you think about it.

    The new moon elf, Elrik, was the one who made the ”dashing exit” on a jellyfish summon. Kinrai was surprised of it since Elrik was clearly an adult, he had forgotten that moon elves were born as adults. The existance of moon elves was hard to understand so the people of Amn generally didn't bother too much with the details. That's why moon elves remain to this day as rather mysterious individuals. Kinrai became even more surprised as three, all too familiar names were mentioned.

    Kinrai: ”No way.. !! I missed my seniors and master in action?! Tch.. just my luck. Guess I can only blame myself, everyone knows Nilak fights during the night. I would've never thought Falteer and especially Balthazar join the fight though. I thought he had quit the coliseum fights altogether..”
    Issat: ”Looks like they aren't down there anymore.” Issat said while looking down towards the arena.
    Kinrai also checked the arena again and saw no one there, even the priestess was gone. A slight trail of green dust lingered in the air above the coliseum. Kinrai knew what the trail was and pointed towards it, he was speaking to both Vita and Issat.

    Kinrai: ”See that trail of dust? Elfaan, a summon that enables you to fly, leaves that trail whenever it's used. The trail is headed towards Valham's nest.. Hmm..”
    Issat: ”Why are they going to Valham's nest?”
    Kinrai: ”That's what I'd like to know.”
    Issat: ”You sound like you want to go after them, master Kinrai.”
    Kinrai: ”No, I don't. I trust Nilak, I'm sure it's nothing.. Oh! Um, you never told me your name by the way.” Kinrai said to Vita.

  4. #54
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    An elbow smashing straight in his face sent him staggering, only a pair of helpful arms keeping him standing.

    “You okay there mate?” somebody said as they pushed him up, rubbing his jaw Andrim nodded “I’m fine, did you see who it was?”
    “No, kind of hard to say, everybody got their masks on, makes it difficult to recognize people, see?” The man was right, it was impossible to tell how old he was, a fox mask shrouding his face and clothes in many merry colors covering the rest.

    “Yes of course” Andrim said after a pause, slightly embarrassed.
    “No point chasing after anyone today anyhow, things like that happen. No real moon festival without a few scrapes and bruises if you ask me, or drunken fights, or fireworks, or masks. Speaking of masks you don’t have one, lost it eh? Don’t fear because I just bought one in case I come across an unfortunate bugger like you, no go on take it. I saved you from plunging right to the ground so you take it and be grateful now” the man said and shoved the mask into Andrims hands before disappearing in the crowd.

    Staring dismayed at the mask he turned it over a few times, it was one of those many sold by the stalls, crudely made to represent a dragon, the scales, eyes and jaw hastily painted on the wood with narrow slits for eyes and a hole for mouth, been a while since he wore a mask and the aspect did not please him “Still, he helped me so just for me to oblige him” he thought as he put it on and finished the knot that kept it in place. Trying to get used to the narrowed vision the slits in the mask caused he chanced upon Minathiel standing on her podium. Holding an opened golden box in her hands he realized that the moon race must have already begun. He wondered exactly how many of the racers complain about bruises and the like tomorrow, Minathiel in her infinite wisdom had forbidden the use of pallas and summoned creatures but had forgotten that a shove here or an accidently placed elbow there was all that the contestants needed to gain an edge, and with everybody wearing masks they would not likely suffer any consequence.
    Smiling faintly he recalled the words he had just heard “no real moon festival without a few scrapes and bruises” That phrase rung true to him, it did fit the moon festivals of his past.

    “Tales of the past, 135 years ago”

    The buzz about him felt far of as he stared at the elf that had appeared on the podium, having almost finished her speech which he hadn’t caught a word of, staring at her made him feel as wobbly as the first time he had sneaked into his father’s wine storage. A swift slap on his head woke him up of his daydreaming “Stop staring and get ready, we’re about to start”
    Sighing at Enria he massaged his head, his friend stood stretching in preparation for the race, her dark skin standing in contrast to her friends white “Oh calm down Enria, can I help that she’s a perfect beauty? She’s practically made to be stared at”

    This nearly earned him another smack as he ducked beneath it “I told you not to call me that, now you’re just trying to annoy me”
    Noticing Minathiels speech coming to an end Andrim took position and grinned at his friend “So what if I am?” the last words were being uttered, soon the race would start.
    “Then, you might come to regret it” she said as a moon priestess gave the golden box containing the moon pearl to Minathiel who opened the lid. A blue round light, shining brightly swiftly immediately escaped from it and flew away, no signal was needed for everybody to start running after it, Andrim felt surge of adrenalin well up as he spurred forward only for him to fall down because of somebody’s outstretched leg.

    Lying in a heap he saw how Enria waved at him and ran off. Swearing he got up and ran after her, if that was the game she wanted to play he wouldn’t do less.
    Soon he had caught up to the other racers, jumping over other fallen participants and avoiding the others elbows and tricks while planning a bit of mayhem of his own, finally he caught up to Enria. Having not seen him yet, her full attention focused on finding the pearl they both turned the corner and he saw his chance. As they rounded the corner he gained speed and a well placed tackle sent her into the mass of people, seeing her drown in it while attempting to get back up, screaming curses after her friend. Laughing he ran away before she got up. The rest of their time was spent on chasing the moon pearl while giving and taking blows equally, the moon race having evolved to more of an private competition of who could hit the other one the most instead of who could catch the pearl. Still they tried, occasionally, but every time they thought they would catch the thing it speed up and flew away, taunting them and everybody else.

    Panting and gasping for breath Andrim slowed down at a fountain and threw his head down in the water, washing away the sweat and dirt of the day. Shaking of the water from his hair he saw Enria coming, just as exhausted as him

    “Tr, Truce” she gasped as she threw herself down in the fountain with him. After several minutes when both felt like they wouldn’t drop down dead anytime soon he turned to her “Speedy bugger that thing, almost caught it several times but it just gets faster”

    “Not the only one believe me Andy, whoever made that thing is a bastard, it’s clearly mocking us. And the bruises you given me doesn’t help either”
    “You who started it En, I’m starting to believe you entered the race just for the chance to beat me up”

    Smiling she stood up, staring at the sky hoping to catch a glint of the moon pearl “I guess that’s half true, but hey I like the blessing as much as anybody else” she said with a shrug.
    “So you only partly wanted to beat me up? Thanks. Wait, there it is!” he said and pointed at the blue light appearing suddenly appearing from an alley in front of them, screams around signifying the approach of others who chased it “up for another race?”
    “Of course, may the best elf win”
    And they were off again on what that night had seemed like an endless chase after the pearl, something which had felt like an eternity.

    “Current time”

    Seeing Minathiel standing on the podium now, smiling benevolently at the crowd, her part in this over until somebody caught the pearl. Seeing her wearing that white dress of hers which almost shimmered in the moonlight and her hair down waist length he couldn’t help but sigh at the folly of youth, she was beautiful no doubt, but looks wasn’t everything he reflected as he saw the faces of the crowd, foxes, wolves, dragons, giants, sverts, pallas, lions, tambas, butterflies, eagles and all other manners of beasts.

    Seeing all of them chatting, drinking and having a good time with their friends he strode off to some quieter parts of town, the momentary attraction that he felt to the festival and moon race now gone, he wished now for nothing more than for it to end. Coming to a decision he changed course for the smithy where she was, the moons would soon complete their cycles and it was soon time for his part.

  5. #55
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    Talking 14 EXP - I LOVE Vita's last comment! <3 :D

    Moments before Vita's lips parted to string together a conversation, she focused on Kinrai to gather her scattered thoughts. Before today, Vita wouldn't have so much as glance at another elf, and if she did, it was accidental. In such a short time, Vita learned that life is full of complexities, living beings having many levels to them. If you don't tread carefully, a sensitive friend one day can become a hateful rival the next day. Vita only had to reflect on her own actions and unpredictable spikes of emotion to realize that certain things trigger negative reactions. Thus, Vita felt determined to study who she wished to speak with, looking for telltale signs of unease or interest.

    Kinrai clearly had diverted his attention from her to the blood soaked colosseum below. Taking adventage of the interval of silence, Vita followed his gaze and realized they weren't alone. Below was a young moon elf with hair like an inverted midnight sky, carefully tied in five flowery loops. Peaking out admist her silky locks were translucent pearls absorbing the remains of the three moons' lights. Blue, red, and a dim gray bounced off the moon elf's snowy hair. Despite her youthful features, the glint in her eyes suggested a deep sorrow and an untold truth, intensified as her hand began to glow and she whispered her prayer.

    It was the first time Vita witnessed a priestess perform the sending of spirits. Who would have guessed the spirit would take the form of a star? To the naked eye, the spirit was beautiful to witness, yet the priestess must have known she had taken a risk at blessing a Tainted. For a second, Vita could have sworn the priestess took note of Vita and Kinrai, the only eyes who witnessed what she did, but even if she did, the priestess didn't acknowledge them at all. Still, the whole experience left Vita feeling shaky and...weak.

    Oddly, Vita's voice didn't hint at her vulnerability at all, other then an apology or two. Kinrai sympathized with her, waving away their little collision as harmless. Forgetting about the priestess, Vita couldn't help but wonder how Kinrai would have responded if he had gotten injured. No doubt he would be frank, but there was the possibility that he'd forgive any harm given accidentally. His words reminded her of Oren.

    As for Issat, she was certainly more blunt than Oren, ans certainly more skittish. Was it common for the absence of a fairy to signify the fairy's death? Perhaps the notion of fairies following their master wherever they go was part of the reason Oren despised the concept of a master-servant relationship. Sarcasm was the only time Oren called her "master," which made Vita feel guilty for ever taking him seriously in such respect, or in general, really. But why was she thinking of Oren so much?

    Out of everything that was said, Kinrai's face lit up the most as Vita described her reasons for being at the colosseum. Apparently, the three warriors had a connection with Kinrai, stirring emotions and memories within him. Nilak was obviously Kinrai's master, but his use of "seniors" caused Vita to question how well he knew Falteer and Balthazar. Even Nilak was addressed as someone "everyone knows," which would explain how Elrik learned Nilak's and the Nalik's apprentices' names so quickly.

    "Balthazar joined the fight after saving the spectators from a rampant boulder" were the only words Vita could offer before the subject changed.

    After stating the obvious, Issat seemed to no longer mind scanning the colosseum. Then again, the priestess had cleaned away the grotesque remains of the prior battle. Kinrai joined his fairy to confirm her statement, most likely as a hopeful gesture. There was no one. Just as Vita was about to say her farewells and search for Oren and the Weiss family, Kinrai's eyes locked on something. Unable to contain her curiousity, Vita motioned her eyes in the direction of Kinrai's raised finger. As she did, Kinrai stated that Elfaan allowed for aerial transportation, yet with a major disadvantage: anyone could follow you to your destination. Kinrai seemed to be contemplating just that, his tone as he mentioned "Valham's nest" eerily foreboding.

    "Vita Vero." Vita thought it was unnecessary to dwell on her introduction anymore than that, considering how late she introduced herself.

    Instead, Vita couldn't ignore how Kinrai was denying himself of solving Elfaan's mystery.
    "Mysteries will remain mysteries unless you take the first step. If you wish to know the reason why Nilak, Falteer, and Balthazar may be headed towards Valham's nest, chase after them. I don't think it's a coincidence that you noticed the trail left behind by Elfaan. Also..."
    Vita lowered her eyes from the sky, having had taken a last look at dust winding towards Valham's nest, and fixed them on Kinrai's own eyes.
    "...Trust should never get in the way of the truth."

    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

  6. #56
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    ((Thread has been stickied! Should remain stickied for as long as this thread is active and/or the quality level remains high. Keep up the good work, this is the first topic in a year or so I've thought was good enough to Hot Topic!))

  7. #57
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    (( Whoa, probably one of my longest posts ))

    Tale of Tolbi the Unlucky Fairy

    Our tale starts at the beginning of the Moon Day, very early in the morning. Inpa was sleeping quietly, rolled up in a curb under the sheets. Tolbi was snoozing in a small lantern hanging from the ceiling. This was his abode, his own slice of heaven. Inpa made the lantern a long time ago and the thing was still intact which was a miracle of sorts. Inpa's creations had a bad habit of.. ”disassembling” themselves after some time. Of course the self-entitled inventor never admitted this, he had his pride after all.

    The house they lived in was above average when it came to quality. Inpa still lived with his mother and father, both high elves and in prestigious roles in society. Both of them wanted Inpa to follow in their footsteps, too bad Inpa had other plans. Enough of Inpa however, the hero of this little story is his sidekick: Tolbi the fairy.
    If you wanted to describe Tolbi with a single word it would be ”scaredy-cat”. In a sense, Tolbi is the opposite of Inpa but that has never been a big problem with these two. Tolbi's appearance is rather flamboyant, especially to someone who has never seen him before. He has bright pink hair spiked upwards with a few locks thrown in front of his face, overall his hair looked like the mixture of a tornado and a hurricane. His body is riddled with black tattoos, all of them Inpa's work. Of course Tolbi wanted these tattoos, Inpa would've never.. ever done them without Tolbi's approval..

    A sudden loud crack from the ceiling woke Tolbi up, he had always been a light sleeper. Curious that he was, Tolbi opened the door of his lantern and fluttered his way through the small crack in the window. Once he got outside, the first thing he experienced was a blinding effect caused by the sun. After his eyes adjusted, he continued his journey to the roof.

    Once Tolbi reached the roof, he saw a magnificent beast standing gallantly on top of the round roof. Red and yellow feathers almost radiated on the figure's sturdy build. Tolbi gulped loudly before realizing he was staring at a phoenix, a new-born(since it was still small when compared to an adult one) phoenix at that. The phoenix was chewing something. Judging from the tail that hanged from the beak, it was most likely a ”ratatouille”.

    Tolbi backed down as silently as he could. His tiny feet could barely make any noise anyhow but he was terrified of this beast in front of him. Unfortunately for Tolbi, the phoenix noticed him and started staring at him intently. Tolbi gasped before launching himself at full speed upwards towards the nearest tree. The phoenix observed Tolbi closely but didn't give chase. Tolbi flew all the way to a certain someone's tree-home since he knew this guy would keep him safe. Once he arrived, he noticed the silent dark elf was carving something out of a small piece of wood. Tolbi approached him cautiously before shouting:

    ”Good morning, Balthazar!” Tolbi was going for a very cheery voice in which he succeeded.
    ”..” Balthazar however ignored Tolbi completely and just kept carving the wood.
    ”Sheesh! Why do you always have to be so rude?”
    ”.. Fly away, bug.” Balthazar responded without stopping his business.
    ”B-b-b-b-bug?! I'm not a bug!! I'm Tolbi, Inpa's fairy for your information! You can't have forgotten about me!! Besides I'm not even nearly as obnoxious as Inpa is!”
    ”.. Yet you manage to cause twice as much trouble as he does. Go away.”
    ”Agh.. !! You can't treat me like this!! I AM- Umph.. !!” Balthazar grabbed Tolbi and brought him in front of his face.
    ”Keep it down unless you want to be that phoenix's next lunch.”
    Tolbi let out a huge gulp as he saw the phoenix from earlier circling above in the sky. The beast was definitely after Tolbi, there was no doubt about it.

    ”I'm too young and handsome to become lunch.. !!”
    ”.. You'll be fine, just keep quiet.”

    Just then the phoenix swooped down and snatched Tolbi from Balthazar's hand.

    Balthazar only let out a depressed sigh.

    He pulled out one of his swords and hopped on one of the branches of the tree he lived in. By using the earth element, he created platforms along the tree trunks which helped him in catching the phoenix. The bird was fast but thanks to Nilak's training(especially the one which involved a Moonpearl), Balthazar found it easy to follow the phoenix through the forest.

    Eventually he managed to get close enough in order to leap on the phoenix's back, forcing the bird to land due to too much weight. As both the phoenix and Balthazar started falling, Balthazar struck his sword into a tree trunk in order to slow down their descent. Once they finally stopped, leaving an enormous scar on the tree trunk, Balthazar grabbed the phoenix from it's throat and stuck its beak on the tree trunk.

    ”Bad bird.”
    (( Man, this guy's lines are always so compelling and complex ))

    Only after punishing the phoenix did Balthazar notice Tolbi was nowhere to be seen. He surveyed the nearby surroundings but couldn't find even a trace of pink. Balthazar wasn't going to start searching for Tolbi though, he was confident the little guy could manage on his own. After all forests were the ideal place for fairies.

    Leaving the phoenix alone in its ”suffering”, Balthazar went back to his tree-home. Now he was finally able to continue carving that wooden statue of his. He had several of these statues in his home, all were made by him. Some of them resembled people such as elves and the beastkin, but most statues were animals. The one Balthazar was now working on was to become a colossus, one of those cursed beings who lived in the Chasm of Terra.

    Half an hour later Balthazar was finished with his latest work. He placed it on one of the numerous shelves on the tree trunk before sitting down, back against the tree trunk. He was planning on taking a nap since there was nothing else for him to do right now. Unfortunately the marketplace had already awoken from its nightly slumber and a certain obnoxious fellow was closing in..

    ”HEEEEEYYYY!! Balthyyy!! What.. ?! Are you STILL sleeping?!”

    We know how Balthazar's and Inpa's tales progress so instead we cut back to the hero of this particular tale, Tolbi.

    Becoming the phoenix's lunch was not the ideal way to start a day but it looked like fate itself was hell-bent on keeping Tolbi away from safety today. The forest of Auburn spread itself in full glory underneath Tolbi and he was only able to look at it longingly. How much longer would this torment last? When would the phoenix decide to finally eat him?
    That was when Balthazar intervened and managed to take control of the phoenix. At that instant, the phoenix's grip on Tolbi loosened up which allowed him to make his escape. Tolbi plunged downwards and vanished into the lush sea of trees underneath. He landed on one of the branches and hid behind a small cloud of leaves.

    Tolbi didn't let out a single breath, he was like a statue. After he was completely sure that the phoenix wasn't after him anymore, Tolbi sat down, shivering while trying to calm himself down. In reality the phoenix hadn't given chase at all thanks to Balthazar.

    ”O-okay, I'm still alive. Y-y-y-you're still alive Tolbi! Ha-.. ! Ah.. ” Tolbi was shaking so much even the branch itself was shaking.
    In the end, Tolbi fell asleep simply from exhaustion.

    Next time Tolbi opened his eyes, he noticed he was no longer on the branch he had fallen asleep on. Instead he was tied into a tiny pole which still managed to be taller than Tolbi himself. He could see a bonfire in front of him and green bulbs of light dancing wildly without a care in the world around it. As his eyes finally adjusted, he noticed the figures were fairies! Sadly Tolbi didn't realize that these ”fairies” were actually pixies who deeply hated fairies.

    ”Hey guys! I'm awake now so can you untie me, please?”

    Everything around Tolbi came to a halt, every single one of the pixies stared at Tolbi with contempt in their little eyes. Tolbi slowly gulped before letting out a quick ”welp!”. One of the pixies approached Tolbi and poked him with a stick. The pixie's face was full of disgust, Tolbi felt like he was some sort of plague to these people.

    ”Um.. Can yo-.. OW! That hurt!”
    The pixie who had poked him now poked him harder.
    ”Cut it out! OW! OUCH! OWWWWWW!!!”
    ”Noisy! Shut up! SHUT UP!” The pixie yelled at Tolbi.
    ”HOW-OW!-AM I SUP-OUCH!-SED TO SHUT-OUCH!?!” Tolbi yelled as he was being hit by the stick more and more often.

    Finally one of the other pixies took the stick from the violent pixie and threw it away.

    ”Stupid Noal! The more you hit, the more he screams!”
    The violent pixie bowed down slightly, as if being ashamed and then walked away. The female pixie who had scolded the violent pixie just now turned to face Tolbi. She had a stern look on her face, it was obvious she didn't particularly care for Tolbi's presence.

    ”What are you doing here, fairy? You should know well that us pixies don't get along with the likes of you.”
    Tolbi was silent at first, he was only staring at his feet because he was so scared. Finally he mustered enough to strength to speak.

    ”I'm sorry.. !! I didn't mean to disturb the tranquility of this place!”
    ”Spare me from those sweet words of yours. Where is that pathetic ”master” of yours, aren't they supposed to be near you all the time?”
    ”Um.. he's sleeping, maybe. Although since it's evening he's probably doing something destructive against our society.”
    (Tolbi wasn't that far off since Inpa managed to break down a few walls thanks to his newest invention)

    The look on the female pixie's face told it all, she couldn't believe what she was hearing.

    ”Yet you still leash yourself to such a pathetic elf?! There is no point in that! Why do you willingly deny your freedom?!”
    ”.. Because I like him”. Tolbi answered with a slight smile on his face. ”He's more than just a master to me, he's my best friend too. I actually feel sorry for you guys, you'll never get to know what it's like to have a master.”
    This was the last straw for the female pixie. She grit her teeth before slapping Tolbi.
    ”Fool! This is the reason why we can't live in harmony! You're nothing but a slave with no free will!!”
    Silence fell down on the scene, it was like someone had pushed the pause button. No one moved, not even Tolbi. After the silence became nearly unbeareable, Tolbi opened his mouth again.

    ”W-well, I think we're done. Can I go now, please.. ?” Tolbi asked with as sweet as voice as possible. The female pixie did not warm up to this, instead she only yelled:
    ”Never! If you won't listen to reason, then we just have to force you to!!”
    ”Wha-.. ?!”

    That was when the female pixie motioned for the others to get something, Tolbi couldn't quite make out what it was though. This was his final chance to escape, he had to make it count. During their conversation, Tolbi had managed to get one of his hands free.

    Once the pixies looked the other way, Tolbi quickly teared his bindings apart and lunged up into the sky. Soon he could hear the flapping of wings behind him, the pixies were actually tailing him with the female pixie in the front. Tolbi gasped and started zig-zagging through the tree branches. Night had already fallen on Amn so it made Tolbi's escape even harder.

    Then something unexpected happened, whether it was a good or a bad thing was debatable. The phoenix from earlier had managed to get out of the tree Balthazar had stuck him in and was now chasing the pixies. Even worse, the phoenix managed to snatch the female pixie who was leading the others. Tolbi saw this as his greatest chance to escape but something inside him refused to co-operate. The phoenix ascended high above the trees and started heading towards its nest. Tolbi cursed his conscience before speeding after the phoenix.

    The female pixie noticed Tolbi approaching but refused to react in any way, she was busy gnawing the phoenix's talons. Eventually Tolbi caught the phoenix and grabbed onto its tail feathers. He had no idea what he was going to do now but he had already passed the point of no return. Tolbi managed to pluck out one of the feathers causing the phoenix to shriek and halt its flight. Now the radiant beast was staring at Tolbi, and Tolbi would've soiled his pants if he had ones.

    ”Oh, brother.. Some hero you are.” The female pixie sighed.
    *Sob* ”W-well excuuuse me, princess!! Come say that to my face once you're up against a beast 6 times your own size!”
    ”If you don't have the guts to do it, why'd you even bother to try then?”
    ”How about showing at least SOME appreciation for my heroic attempt?!”
    ”How about you take some responsibility and act like a man!”
    ”What are you, my wife?!”
    ”In your dreams.”
    ”More like nightmares!”

    The phoenix rolled it's eyes before shrieking again in order to signal the bickering ”married couple” that he was still the threat here. Tolbi gasped yet again and successfully managed to nearly choke himself. The phoenix shrieked once more before lunging at Tolbi with it's beak wide open, the beast was going to swallow Tolbi a whole.
    Tolbi screamed in terror before speeding upwards in order to dodge the oncoming attack. The phoenix saw this and made a sharp turn only to meet with Tolbi's foot which buried deep into the phoenix's eye. The bird shrieked again, this time out of pain, while simultaneuously letting the female pixie loose.

    Before the phoenix managed to counterattack, Tolbi flew above it's other eye and plunged his foot straight into it. Now that the phoenix was blind, Tolbi dove straight back under the safety of the trees. Since the phoenix was blind, it wasn't able to chase after the two. Tolbi landed on one of the branches and the female pixie landed right next to him.

    ”Eh? Um, you too! No wait, what am I tal-.. Oh. ”
    The female pixie closed in right next to Tolbi and kissed him on the cheek.
    ”Wow.. That was nice.. Um, what's your name?”
    ”Shila. We're even now. Goodbye.”
    ”Wh-wha-.. wait! My name is Tolbi! Hope I'll see you again!!”

    Shila left in a rush, leaving Tolbi alone to dance in joy. It was like Tolbi's eyes had turned into hearts.

    ”I LOVE BEING A HERO!” He shouted before heading back to Nayru.

    Back in Nayru, Inpa had just arrived to Balthazar's home only to notice he wasn't there. He kept observing the Moonpearl race which seemed to only get more intense by the second. Surprisingly one of the contestants looked like he had quit the race since he had been standing on the colosseum for a while now. Inpa shrugged before noticing a pink light in the distance. A smile grew on his face as he recognized who it was.

    ”Tolbi!! Where have ya been? Haven't seen you all day!”
    ”Huff-puff.. You'll never believe the things that happened to me today, Inpa..” Tolbi said as he landed on Inpa's shoulder to relax.
    ”Heh! Try me. I had a pretty exciting day too.”
    ”Okay! So I woke up and..”
    Once Tolbi finished his story, he noticed Inpa was still actually awake and listening. His hopes were crushed in an instant however.
    ”Huh.. I'm hungry.”
    ”Wha-.. ?! That's your reaction to my story?! Didn't you listen to me at all?!”
    ”Hm? Yeah I did. Something about getting me food.”
    ”And now you're getting me food because I'm your master and I'm hungry.” Inpa said with a devilish grin on his lips. ”Otherwise I'll turn you into a ladybug and.. poke you with a stick!”

    Tolbi lunged downwards with Inpa right behind him. Inpa kept making hand gestures that resembled the way he did alchemy, as if he was seriously going to turn Tolbi into a ladybug.
    Calm down people, it's just me.

  8. #58
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    Verse Three
    Nayru, City of the Elves – Past Midnight


    Quite a pleasant event this Moon Day festival, isn't it? Have you enjoyed it? We started off with the ever sparklicious parade where everyone adorned their masks and partied like no tomorrow. When it comes to partying with a cause, the elves are clearly the most 'let-loose' types. The parade was filled with magicians hurling fireballs and acrobats dancing in the sky. The second event was a lullaby for the children: the Moonlight show where the oldest ones told great tales of the past, even though Amn didn't have much of a history yet. Last but certainly not least was the Moonpearl race where athletes of all types raced through the city in search of the Moonpearl which would grant them the blessing of the Moon Goddess.

    Just so you know, the Moonpearl race is still on. The racers seem to be lazier than usual. Perhaps they had a little too much of ale in the carneval? One of them even managed to cause sustainable damage to a few houses thanks to his newest 'invention'. While the boy wonder was causing havoc, another elf with a more sinister intent brought a strange piece of metal that reflected moonlight to Nayru's best blacksmith. Whatever his intentions with the metal are still remains to be seen. Another of the contestants, a boy with a lot of hatred towards his father, met the girl whose whole existance was still a great mystery to many, and even to herself. Their fateful meeting was about to change both their lives, but how?

    Meanwhile the unbound thief was headed towards Nayru, crossing over the dreaded Onomu's lava pits, with her awkward, furry companion. Lastly the earless elf was caught up in a devious magician's act with greater consequences than he had ever imagined.

    Looks like the heroes of our story are busy indeed. Now then, I wonder, are the 'anti-heroes' as busy as well?


    Falteer was silent for a long time, his mind was racing like a wild horse. Nilak knew that what he was asking was something that no one could decide light-heartedly. For a moment, Nilak even regretted asking Falteer to join him. Both their, and Balthazar's, lives would change drastically after the confrontation with Valham. They would no longer be considered heroes. Falteer would lose his title as the champion of the arena, Balthazar would lose his home and subordinate: Inpa. Heavy sacrifices like these were not something Nilak was used to ask of others. Suddenly he let go of Falteer's shoulder and turned around.

    Nilak: ”You shouldn't come, Falteer. I value you as a friend more than a pupil, and I could never ask a friend to do something like this. You.. probably won't see me again.”
    Nilak was silent for a while before Falteer suddenly responded.
    Falteer: ”I value you both as my master and as my friend, and I could never leave a friend in trouble. I swore an oath and I intend to keep it. You can count on my support on this, Nilak.”
    Nilak smiled before patting Falteer on the shoulder.
    Nilak: ”I'm glad you're with me. I will explain everything to both of you once the time is right. Now let's go, we have work to do.”

    Nilak and Falteer, on top of Elfaan, flew off towards Valham's nest where Balthazar was most likely already waiting. Anxiety kept growing inside Nilak's heart as the two approached their destination. He knew what he was doing and why he was doing it, Kinos had made it all too clear. Suddenly, as they were flying, Nilak found himself back in Monark with Kinos standing in front of him.

    In the Past

    Nilak opened the old wooden door and stepped inside the quarters of Kinos Alte, the elven representative of the Elder Council. Kinos himself was busy reading on his desk which was filled with all sorts of documents. The room was very organized, every file and piece of furniture seemed to be in a specific spot. The word 'uptight' crawled into Nilak's mind before his actions came to a halt by a rather cold greeting.

    Kinos: ”You finally arrived.”
    Nilak: ”Screaming fans can hinder one's path greatly, elder.” Nilak said jokingly. Unfortunately the audience this time was a grumpy old man with no sense of humor.
    Kinos: ”Hmph. Since you're here, I presume you read my letter.” Before Nilak managed to even open his mouth, Kinos already continued:”Good. I have a mission for you, one that only you can accomplish. If you succeed, Amn will go through a metamorphosis which will transcend us into a new age, an age without the so-called guardians of Amn.”
    Nilak: ”An elaborate speech, elder. Somehow I doubt my mission has anything to do with fancy words though.”
    Kinos looked at Nilak with an empty gaze before turning around and facing the window which revealed the whole of Monark.
    Kinos: ”As you know, the dragons are supposedly connected to Amn's balance. Their deformations were caused by the banishment of Xarxes which apparently shook the balance 250 years ago, or so they claim.”
    Nilak: ”Everyone knows that, it's pretty much the first thing they teach to children these days.”

    Kinos sighed and his posture dropped slightly.

    Kinos: ”Yet I strongly doubt the truth of the matter.”
    Nilak: ”How come?”
    Kinos: ”I simply find it unbelievable that these five dragons are connected to the very balance of Amn. If they really are connected, then why can't we see anything different about them as Amn keeps slowly changing? In fact I suspect that their deformations were caused simply from Xarxes's separation from them.”
    Nilak: ”Really?” Nilak said with a hint of disbelief in his way of speech.
    Kinos: ”I believe the five dragons are connected to each other, not to the balance of Amn nor Amn itself.”

    Nilak raised his eyebrow, he was already aware what Kinos was about to say next.

    Kinos: ”If my theory is correct, who's to say the dragons know everything then? Who's to say that they are god-like beings who guard us? Who's to say they aren't just greedy beasts who want to control us?”
    Nilak: ”Why would they want to control us? What's the point?”
    Kinos: ”To keep us from entering the Netherworld.”
    Nilak: ”What?”
    Kinos: ”I've been studying the Netherworld for a long time now and I am now certain that it is NOT the world of the dead, not all of it at least.”
    Nilak: ”You can't be serious. How could you know something like that? No one has ever been to the Netherworld.”
    Kinos: ”That is the key here. The only thing we claim to know about the Netherworld is that it's the world of the dead.. and this knowledge came from the dragons.”
    Nilak: ”What about Lurkers, the undead souls? You've seen them just like I have. You can't deny their existance as well. I don't see a reason to doubt the dragons.”
    Kinos: ”Lurkers.. because of them I've been doubting myself for a long time. However, how can we be sure that they come from the Netherworld? Have you ever seen a Lurker emerge from the barrier in the Chasm of Terra?”
    Nilak: ”No, I haven't. No one wants to be in that place, it's far too dangerous.”
    Kinos: ”Indeed. As you know, the dragons were the ones who created the barrier that prevents entry to the Netherworld. When Terra fought against you and created the chasm, the barrier was destroyed. What happened next? You wouldn't know since you were out cold but I do. Terra vanished from the face of Amn, the colosseum plunged into the depths of the Netherworld and thousands of people along with it. Then, out of the blue all the dragons gathered to Chasm of Terra and barred entrance from everyone.”
    Nilak: ”That's understandable be-”
    Kinos: ”No it is not. There were still people there, Nilak.”
    Nilak: ”Wha-.. ?!”
    Kinos: ”When the dragons arrived, people were still trying to escape from the enormous blast that Terra created. All those people were pushed back by the dragons which caused them to fall into the Netherworld. What kind of guardians do something like that?”

    Nilak remained silent for a moment.

    Nilak: ”Perhaps the taint from the Netherworld already caught those people, hence the reason the dragons stopped them?”
    Kinos: ”The taint.. Yes, perhaps if we achieved a new age, we could also forget all about that term.”
    Nilak: ”What are you talking about? Even if the dragons vanished, there still would always be Tainted.”
    Kinos: ”That term is as flawed as it can be. Who are we to judge others when we might accidentally do the same thing as them? If you succeeded in this mission, you'd be branded as a Tainted without a doubt. You would be branded for life because you helped me in achieving a new age, for making Amn a better world. I would also be branded as a Tainted since I am your accomplice, my death would be imminent with no chance of a fair trial. If someone heard our conversation right now, we'd be branded as Tainted immediately.”
    Nilak: ”Your words are dancing on the boundary of being a Tainted. Though I admit, it's easy to become a Tainted these days.”
    Kinos: ”People live in fear of being branded as a Tainted. Why is a boy who stole an apple in order to feed her sick mother considered a Tainted and killed for it? His intentions were good, even if his actions weren't.”

    Nilak fell silent again. Kinos was the one who handled the executions of Tainted. Nilak couldn't even imagine what sorts of cases Kinos had to go through with but the example about the boy and apple touched Nilak's heart. To imagine Kinos had to handle such cases caused a flame to ignite inside Nilak.

    Nilak: ”That would be wrong in more than one way. I'd stop the execution at all costs.”
    Kinos: ”So we understand each other. Alas we've sidetracked from the actual matter at hand. Will you help me bring Amn to a new age?”
    Nilak: ”So.. basically you want me to slay all the dragons, don't you?”
    Kinos: ”Correct.”
    Nilak: ”Why can't I just remove their soul crystals instead?”
    Kinos: ”We are changing the world, Nilak. It means we must make radical decisions. The dragons must die, all of them.”
    Nilak: ”.. Even Valham?”
    Kinos: ”.. Even him.”
    Nilak: ”Mentioning him managed to make even you hesitate for a bit.”
    Kinos: ”He has treated us well for what he is, that is all.”
    Nilak: ”Fine, I'll help you but only on one condition.. I will only remove their soul crystals. Accept my terms or I won't help you.”
    Kinos: ”Tch. You're too soft. I have no choice though, you're the only one who's capable enough to fight against the dragons. Report to my messenger whenever you've defeated a dragon.”
    Nilak: ”How do I get in contact with the messenger?”
    Kinos: ”Use this beacon. Pour some magic into it and it'll summon him to you. After you do it once, he can instantly teleport between you and me at will.”
    Nilak: ”How is that even possible?”
    Kinos: ”You are aware how summoned beings can be bound into items? The messenger's soul is bound to these beacons which have a connection with each other. That is how he can be in two places at once.”
    Nilak: ”Sounds handy.”
    Kinos: ”It is, but it is also a great sacrifice for the one who wishes to be bound.. but enough of that.”
    Nilak: ”As long as I can keep my privacy I'm fine with it. Well, let's give it a try.”

    The beacon lit up suddenly in Nilak's hand and before you knew it, the messenger was standing a few feet away from them. He was clad in a dark robe with only half of his face visible. Based on his skin color, he looked like a moon elf but oddly his eyes were bright green in color.

    ???: ”You called?”
    Kinos: ”Nilak, meet Reed, my faithful messenger.”
    Reed: ”Or 'errand boy' in layman's terms.”
    Kinos sneered while Nilak laughed a bit.
    Nilak: ”Looks like we'll be working together, Reed. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
    Reed: ”I'm honored to be working with you, hero of Amn.”
    Nilak: ”Oh, please, call me Nilak. No one calls me that, at least I hope no one does.”
    Reed: ”Then it is obvious you haven't walked the streets of Monark in a while, Nilak.”
    Nilak: ”I've never been too fond of large cities.”
    Reed: ”That is quite understandable with the way things are right now. May I take my leave now?”
    Kinos: ”Yes, you may go.”
    Reed nodded and vanished as quickly as he had entered.

    Nilak: ”I think that's about all we have to say to each other. Until next time, Kinos.”
    Kinos: ”Next time we meet, Amn will be a different place altogether.”

    The past fades back into memories..

    (( OOC: Quick reminder! Reed is the '???' character who talked to Nilak in my 3rd post if I remember right. ))

    There were still a lot of unanswered questions even in Nilak's head, but he was sure of one thing: He had to know whether the dragons truly were the guardians of Amn. Simply asking from them would be futile, at least that's what he thought, thus a more direct approach had to be taken.

    It was already past midnight, the forest of Auburn was silent. Valham's nest was already visible and Nilak managed to spot Balthazar near it. As the two landed next to the nest, Nilak nodded to Balthazar before turning his attention towards the nest. The nest was enormous and resembled that of a bird's nest, with the slight exception that a strong wind seemed to circulate inside the nest, like a hurricane of sorts. Nilak hopped on the edge of the nest and noticed it was empty.

    Nilak: ”Looks like Valham isn't here. He'll come soon though, I'm sure of it.”

    Just as Nilak finished talking, an enormous shadow appeared above the trio. Nilak could feel an immense wind pushing him down, he just barely managed to keep his footing. The majestic wind beast landed next to its nest and extended its four wings to their maximum length. Another blast of wind hit Nilak which caused him to drop down from the edge of the nest, he was still able to land on his two feet. Green eyes and green flame that kept erupting from the dragon's mouth caught Nilak's attention each and every time. He could only stand and watch at Valham who finally spoke.

    Valham: ”So you've come..”


    Issat's bluntness certainly made an impact on Vita, perhaps even creating anxiety in her. You couldn't really tell these things, especially from someone who you had only known for a few minutes. When Vita introduced herself and told why Balthazar had joined the fight, Kinrai couldn't help but grin. Balthazar reminded Kinrai of some last minute hero who always comes when all hope is lost. It would appear Balthazar was still in great fighting condition even though he had retired. Kinrai wouldn't know since he rarely saw Falteer and Balthazar in action. Of course he could come and watch Falteer's fights but he wasn't too fond of the brutality of some matches.

    It obviously bothered Vita how Kinrai had denied his interest to follow Elfaan's trail of dust. If felt like she was instructing Kinrai what to do next, even though she was just giving advice. Somehow Kinrai got the feeling Vita was interested about the trail of dust, much more than Kinrai himself was at the moment. Finally she looked Kinrai straight into his eyes and told him never to let trust get in the way of truth. Was Kinrai doing that right now? He wasn't sure himself, he was still struggling with the question. Before Kinrai made his decision, he replied to Vita.

    Kinrai: ”I know you probably meant it as a piece of advice but it felt like you were demanding something from me there. Let's not do that since we don't know each other well enough yet, okay? In any case..”
    Issat: ”Now who's being rude.. ? You need to learn how to take advice from others.”
    Kinrai: ”.. In any case, guess I'll go take a look. You two still managed to convince me in the end, heh.”
    Issat: ”I'm glad you changed your mind. It's always nice to see Nilak.”
    Kinrai: ”Yeah, he has that something what we others don't.”

    Kinrai jumped up and hopped back on the edge of the colosseum before turning back to Vita.

    Kinrai: ”Want to join me, Vita? If you do, you might even get to meet Valham.”

    Vita looked like she had fallen in her throughts again. Perhaps she was supposed to meet someone here, and thus hesitated leaving? In the end she still joined Kinrai. Both of them, and Issat of course, left Nayru and started following the trail of Elfaan's dust through the vast forest of Auburn.


    Valham's voice was booming, it even managed to shake the ground.

    Nilak: ”You.. were expecting us?”
    Nilak asked confused after Valham had greeted them with a rather ominous tone, as if he already knew what was going to happen.

    Valham: ”I knew this day would come, and I am glad I can finally lay this farce to a rest.”
    Nilak: ”So it's true? The dragons.. really aren't the guardians of Amn?”
    Valham: ”Truth is often unpleasant, just as it is now.”
    Nilak: ”Then why? Why do you pose as guardians of Amn? Why do you deny us entry to the Netherworld.. ?”
    Valham: ”You know your path, and once you reach the end of that path, you will know the answer to that question.”
    Nilak: ”I never get a straight answer from you. Guess that's just part of the whole 'guardian' facade.”
    Valham: ”I can not be more than myself.”
    Nilak: ”Yet you pose as a guardian of Amn!”
    Valham: ”.. If you intend to save the youngest of your students from witnessing our battle, I suggest we start.”
    Nilak: ”No.. ! Kinrai's here?!”
    Valham: ”And he is not alone.”

    Nilak turned around and scanned the woods around him. Meeting Kinrai here was the last thing Nilak wanted, and the fact that he had company meant less time for Nilak, Falteer and Balthazar to remain incognito.

    Valham: ”Never turn your back to your enemy. Is that not what you always taught to your students?”

    Nilak heard these words and knew Valham had already started attacking. Before he managed to react at all, Valham's tail crashed into his side and sent him flying. Falteer managed to duck and avoid the tail fortunately. Nilak quickly recovered his balance and flew back next to his students.

    Nilak: ”Falteer! Balthazar! If you see Kinrai or anyone else.. knock them out post haste! The less witnesses there are, the more time we have to escape! I'll try to come up with some kind of plan to deal with Valham!”

    Valham roared, causing the nearby trees to sway, and rushed at Nilak breathing several green fireballs at him. Nilak summoned his fourth Magic Art weapon: Kyn. Kyn is a wind whip which is extremely fast, it's excellent for countering multiple projectiles. Nilak started slashing the incoming fireballs with the whip, and rather than destroying them he just averted their path. Just as he managed to counter the last fireball, Valham already reached Nilak and slashed him with his claws. Nilak tried to dodge but Valham was way too fast and managed to tear Nilak's chest.

    Before Valham managed to continue the onslaught, Falteer intervened and plunged his sword through Valham's right eye, blinding it completely. Valham roared in pain and backed down a few steps. Encouraged by Falteer's attack, Nilak lashed his whip into one of Valham's horns and jerked himself on the beast's head. Once on the head, Nilak summoned his strongest blade: Angelic Hymn in order to strike it through Valham's head. Just as he was about to swing, Kinrai yelled from the distance with Vita standing next to him.

    Kinrai: ”Nilak.. !! What the hell are you doing!?”

    Nilak's movements came to a halt as he heard Kinrai's voice. He raised his head and looked at him, he knew Kinrai wouldn't believe anything he'd said right now. Nilak also realized he was about to kill Valham instead of taking his soul crystal.. it was like something was directing his movements, he would never kill Valham out of his free will. Valham used this as an advantage and grabbed Nilak into his hand. He slammed Nilak straight into the ground before grabbing Falteer and doing the same to him, knocking them both unconscious. Valham extended his wings yet again and looked at the three remaining people.

    Issat was petrified of the sight, she couldn't move nor talk. Kinrai felt threatened, he wasn't sure whether Valham had gone berserk or what, but the dragon looked like it could attack at any moment. Balthazar was standing only a few feet away from Kinrai, he might be the next target. Balthazar didn't seem even slightly flinched of the sight.

    Kinrai: ”Get back Vita!”

    Kinrai quickly pushed Vita behind him, trying to hide her as best as he could. Unfortunately that was all Kinrai managed to do before he could feel an immense pain in his neck, resulting in him losing his conciousness. Issat quickly flew away, rushing to get back to Nayru in order to get help. She was still in great shock and wasn't even sure what had happened.

    Valham looked at Balthazar silently. They were both unusually calm when compared to in what kind of a situation they were. Neither of them seemed to pay any attention to Vita in the background, perhaps they hadn't actually noticed her?

    Valham: ”Only you remain.. What will you do?”
    Last edited by Takesh; 12-02-2011 at 05:03 PM.

  9. #59
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    Balthazar arrived early to Valham's nest. He landed down near the nest and kept watching his surroundings. Valham clearly wasn't here yet. The nest itself looked like it actually belonged to some sort of wind god thanks to a vicious hurricane inside it. No doubt their opponent this time around was something more powerful than any of them had ever fought before.

    It didn't take long for Nilak and Falteer to arrive. As they landed Balthazar nodded to both of them before turning his focus back to the nest. Nilak also pointed out Valham wasn't here, but he was certain Valham would arrive soon. As if on cue, just as Nilak finished talking, the wind dragon arrived.

    Valham was always a sight to behold which managed to stun even the most veteran of warriors, including Nilak. The first words to come out of Valham's mouth indicated that he was already aware that the trio was coming. Balthazar didn't bother to question why Valham knew such things, but as the conversation got further, the more Balthazar lost his faith towards the dragons.

    The very first question coming from Nilak was directed to the dragons true nature on Amn. Valham's answer was more than vague, but Nilak kept on and bombarded him with more questions. It seemed that somehow Nilak's motives were connected to the Netherworld rather than the dragons themselves. Nevetheless by the end of the conversation, Nilak was convinced that the dragons were not actual guardians of Amn who they had always claimed to be. Balthazar himself still needed more proof, something about Valham's words ringed "wrong" to him.

    After being alerted by Kinrai's presence, Nilak dropped down his guard which was a fatal mistake. Valham instantly took the opportunity and crashed his tail into Nilak. He quickly recovered though and ordered Balthazar and Falteer to knock out Kinrai or anyone else who came upon the scene. On the mean time Nilak would try to come up with an efficient way to fight Valham.

    Instead of rushing to battle against Valham, Balthazar moved out of the way and observed the surroundings. He summoned his Rocka Bongas and started laying traps around the battle area. Meanwhile Nilak and Falteer fought Valham and Falteer even managed to blind Valham's right eye. Unfortunately both of them were knocked out soon afterwards by Valham.

    At the same time Kinrai had arrived to the scene and as you might suspect, he was as confused as one can be. His fairy was in shock of the scene and flew off immediately, not even realizing his master had been knocked unconscious by one of Balthazar's traps. There was still someone with Kinrai, a female moon elf, but Balthazar didn't notice her. Instead now he was alone against Valham. Retaining his usual calm nature, he only kept staring at Valham who inquired what Balthazar was going to do now that both his allies were out. At first Balthazar didn't say anything, but Valham seemed to be waiting for an answer.

    ”I fight.”
    ”An elf of few words. Very well then.”

    Valham roared again before summoning the four winds on his side. Valham hadn't used magic at all against them yet, it appeared Balthazar would be getting the special course. Balthazar himself fused his katanas into a single one with dual blade through alchemy. He needed one of his arms free, just in case.

    Valham started attacking by forming some sort of rotating blades from the wind, there were at least a dozen of them circling around Valham. Soon he launched all of them right at Balthazar and thanks to the immense speed of the wind element, they reached Balthazar in the blink of an eye. He had no time to react before he was already getting sliced by the wind blades. After all the blades passed, they flew off into the distance only to circle back right towards Balthazar. At the same time, Valham attacked again and shot green fireballs at Balthazar.

    Balthazar was not about to get sandwiched by blades and fire, there'd be nothing left of him if that happened. He quickly summoned his Rocka Bongas back and placed a trap right underneath himself, a trap that launched you into the air with immense speed. Balthazar activated the trap immediately and got launched above the treetops, thus avoiding the fire and the blades.

    While above the treetops, he summoned Karmac, a raccoon with the power over sandstorms. The difference to normal raccoons in his appearance was that he had a multitude of tails and the more tails he had, the more powerful the sandstorm would be. Karmac's limit for Balthazar at the moment was only four tails, and that was exactly the amount Balthazar demanded. Karmac hopped on Balthazar's shoulder, waiting for orders. Before giving orders though, Balthazar called out Elfaan so that he wouldn't just fall to his death. Once Elfaan arrived, halting Balthazar's fall, he turned to Karmac.

    "Give them hell."

    Karmac squeled once before vanishing from sight. Suddenly Valham's nest and the surrounding area was completely engulfed into a sandstorm. The storm was thick enough that you couldn't see past a few meters ahead of you. Balthazar was just as blind as anyone else inside the sandstorm, but he still knew exactly where Nilak, Falteer, Kinrai and Valham were. This was all thanks to the 'traps' he had laid all around the battleground. He had laid pressure plates underneath all of them and these pressure plates kept sending signals in the form of sound to him constantly.

    Balthazar plunged right into the storm and rode Elfaan all the way to Valham. The dragon was trying to pinpoint Balthazar's location at the moment. Since Balthazar had the advantage at the moment, he concentrated on making as powerful of a attack as he could, just like against the cyclops earlier. First he quickly plunged his dual-bladed katana into Valham's hind leg, alerting Valham and causing him to turn around.

    Balthazar then quickly ascended and then descended, giving him momentum which was crucial in order to hit hard. He clad himself in stone armor and ram himself straight into Valham's side. The immense speed and power of Balthazar's attack sent Valham flying. He crashed through numerous trees before landing on the ground.

    While Valham was busy getting back into the fight, Balthazar searched out Falteer and Nilak. Once he found them, he jumped off Elfaan and checked their condition. Both probably had a few ribs broken thanks to the beating they got, Balthazar was still sure they'd both be able to fight. He grabbed Nilak from his collar and started slapping him in the face. After five slaps Nilak finally woke up, Falteer got the same treatment. Once both of them were back in business, so was Valham.
    Suddenly Valham unleashed an even more powerful roar which managed to disperse the sandstorm completely. Balthazar tried to call Karmac to his side but to no avail, and soon he saw the reason why. Valham emerged from the forest with Karmac hanging from his mouth.

    Balthazar cursed in his mind, he had no idea that Valham was able to find Karmac so easily. Valham soon spit Karmac out from his mouth, there was still a glimmer of hope that Karmac was still alive. He also pulled out Balthazar's dual-bladed katana from his hind leg and threw it away. Now the three were standing together against Valham.

    "Now the real fight begins."
    Last edited by farag0n; 12-10-2011 at 05:20 PM.
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  10. #60
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    During the time Direya had been wriggling the knife out of the table the smith had completed his work, now admiring it. The knife was out of the table, it felt like Direya was just giving the direction and the knife doing the actual work. Just a little bit more, one last nudge. Catching a movement in the corner of her eye she quickly let go and fluttered away just as the smith turned and swore as he saw how close to freedom the spirit within the knife had come.

    Dragging it out the last inch he swiftly set it in place and locked the iron clasps around it again, all the while it was humming violently as if in protest. Making sure one last time that it was securely locked he returned to the forge to admire his work. The moon metal was now absorbing the last of the light, their shapes bearing no reassembly from the mere lumps of metal they spawned from. Fluttering about Direya made rude gestures behind Drefs back, she had almost made it. She had to wait for Andrim now.
    Removing his mask Andrim opened the door into the forge, the heat within hitting him square in the face. Raising his arm to shield from it he could already feel sweat drops tinkling down his face, standing by the forge, red-faced but proud stood Dref. Not seeming to worry about his missed moon festival any more. Behind him was Direya, seeing Andrim noticing her she gestured frantically, Andrim didn’t need any of that to understand what she meant. It meant he had to act.

    Pointing to the left he cast a glance to the place the knife had been locked, nodding he walked over to the moon metal which shone brightly. Having absorbed the strongest part of the moonlight as it reached its highest point at the stroke of midnight. A ring and a letter opener. Both shimmering with a soft pleasant light. Turning the unadorned letter opener over, it was still warm to the touch, he nodded in agreement. It was well made with no decorations, the only decoration the slight light it cast. A useful item. The ring was its opposite, richly adored with handiwork in the form of leaves and branches which together formed the symbol of the moon goddess. It was a beautiful but useless thing.

    “You done well, this is just what I needed”
    I did didn’t I? So pay me and go now. Thanks to you I missed the moon festival. Though I got to admit” he said as he watched his work, a slight smile on his lips “that having the chance to work on metal like this doesn’t come often. An interesting property of moon metal is that it can dissolve if using the correct method, just like water. But instead of steam it becomes light which absorbs into the nearest moon metal, raising the quality of it, both in durability and beauty. I am glad you brought me so much of it”

    As Dref had stared at his handiwork and explaining one of the properties of moon metal as if Andrim wasn’t fully aware of it Andrim had walked over to the workbench. Unfastening the hinges on the dagger as the smith talked “I see. Direya has he or his fairy been talking to anybody else?

    “Nope, not a word”

    “I see. Then there is one last thing I wish to ask you smith. If it becomes of a higher quality when using more moon metal why is part of my metal still here?” he said as he put the knife on the bench, feeling it vibrating sharply as he held it in a steady grip while he obscured the view of it with his body.

    “What are you two talking about? What does it matter who I talked to and of course there’s nothing there I’m not a thief. Let me see”
    he said as he came to the bench himself. His eyes widening as he noticed the knife and tried to pull away but Andrim had a firm hand on his shoulder.

    “I thank you for a job well done and I am sorry” he said and let go of the knife as it propelled straight into Drefs throat. Moving a hand towards it as if to pull it out he slowly fell over as Andrim let go. The spirit within the knife which the smith had been using for so long to cut his metals had killed him. No, that was not true. It was he who had killed him he knew as he watched the blood seep through his wound. Never forget that.

    A scream of terror and hatred alerted him to Drefs fairy who darted towards him, fists raised in a vain attempt to inflict injury to the one who killed her master and friend. grabbing her in his fist he felt her struggle in vain, trying to bite and cause whatever injury she was able to. After a few minutes her movements grew duller until she finally stopped moving, she had died together with her friend. Leaning down he put her resting near Drefs face. Taking care to position her body as to make it look natural.

    Hearing a wretched sound he saw Direya about to puke, holding out his hand just in time before it hit the floor, no traces could be left. It was a mere stain on his gloves but still unpleasant to know it was there. “Direya I like it if you get used to this. We can’t leave traces of us here and you can’t be like this every time we have to dispose of someone. This is merely another of the stepping stones towards our goal. We can’t have him telling he did these for us, you know that. If you can’t handle the death of innocents after all this time leave. For this is the road I walk. What about you Direya? We have conspired treason for so long and killed those deemed tainted before” he said as he scooped up the last three pieces of work the smith had produced in life. Bending over the smith, keeping a close eye on the knife in case it decided to go for him he found a key chain. Walking over to a locker he found the correct key and opened it, inside there was a myriad of metals and bars. He needed to have something out there so it seemed as he had been working. Settling for a piece of iron he placed it onto the anvil. Taking a last look at the scene of his crime he nodded to himself. No traces of them were left. Hopefully everybody just assume that the smith had lost control over the spirit in the knife and that his fairy had flown of somewhere. “But can you continue killing innocents Direya?” he finished softly.

    “Shut up Andrim. I know what we have to do, still” she said as her face turned a suspicious green color once more “I will never get used to seeing people die, it remembers me of that day”

    Sighing Andrim put on his mask once more as they walked out, making sure that nobody paid them any attention when walking out of the house. “I understand my friend. Believe me when I say that every time I see somebody die it makes me remember her, that accursed elf, the fireball consuming Inrya, that deep wound she took for me, the blood, gushing all over-“

    “Andrim snap out of it” She said as he flew in front of him, snapping her fingers. “Don’t remember just that, remember the time before that”

    Waking up from that horrible picture of her dying he smiled at Direya as he offered her his shoulder which she gladly took “Thank you. I always become like this during the moon festivals. You’re right, I should remember her as she was” He said as he wished he could do that, still those few moments before when she died were deeply etched in his mind he knew.

    I visited our dark elf companion” he said as ways of changing the subject and having something else to occupy his mind with “Though visited is a strong word. I took a mask and it was etched with signs within, forcing me to her house and before you asked yes, I checked this mask already. She assured me of the dark elves support in me taking the position for the high elves when we succeed”

    “WAIT WHAT!? I thought you said you weren’t interested in power and wouldn’t use this as a chance to gain it! That was what you said Andrim!“

    “Calm yourself. I merely made her assure me to find out their intentions. Tell me Direya, do you believe they want somebody like me, next to no political influence and with far too much knowledge about their activities? Of course they don’t. If they had said no to me I feel assured, but they said yes in order to make me feel secure. They know they can promise whatever they want. Because they will get rid of us when we’re done”

    Direya stopped her tirade, a few moments paused.

    “Wow. Sorry, should have known you wouldn’t break that one promise. So, what do we do?”

    “Do? Absolutely nothing. Their plans do not matter for now. We deal with that when the need arises”

    The pair while conversing had walked far away from the festivities, making sure nobody was around to hear them. Also none of them was in the mood for festivities any longer. There were few people here, most of them making their way towards the festivals or stumbling about in a drunk stupor. Andrims clothes fluttered as a strong gust of wind hit them. Direya barely had time to grab hold of Andrims shoulder for dear life. Shielding her with his hand he fancied hearing a faint roar in the distance.

    “Direya did you hear that?”

    “Hear wh” she stopped mid sentence as another faint roar and that same unusually strong wind took hold of them again. “Was that Valham? Is somebody actually crazy enough to annoy a dragon?”

    “That is for us to find out” Andrim replied as he started running towards the direction of the protector of the elves. If somebody actually was stupid enough to attack Valham he doubt there be much he could do, they be squashed in an instant. Still he had to check for himself he knew as he rushed through the forest, wasting no time with chitchat he lit a small flame in his hand and ripping of the mask to see clearly. Jumping over roots clinging for his feet’s and ducking under branches grasping for his head the pair eventually emerged into the glade where Valhelms nest stood and the sight of what transpired stunned him.

    There stood Valham, bleeding profusely from one of his eyes and from cuts on his body and fighting against him stood Nilak and his two apprentices. Watching the scene stood a moon elf and lying by her Kinrai, unmoving. Rushing over he knelt over Kinrai.

    “This can’t be happening, not now” he muttered as he checked his pulse, fearing the worst. Heaving a sigh of relief as he found the pulse he stood up and took hold of Balance, one in each hand. He wasn’t sure how Kinrai had gotten knocked out but he was in no danger, Nilak and his two apprentices were soon to be though. Casting a glance at the silver haired moon elf, an uninvolved civilian he guessed

    Move him somewhere safe” he said gesturing to the unconscious elf “it’s far too risky to have him lying here. He’s the son of the council elder Kinos, if anything happens to him I hold you responsible after this is over” With that he rushed off towards Nilak, the most likely mastermind behind it all.

    Harrying him with a continuous stream of attacks. Having noticed him in time he blocked of Andrims assault. “Killing in the coliseum was not enough for you? Now you have come to kill Valhelm. You even dragged Kinrai into this you miserable excuse of an elf!” he spoke as he felt the rage growing within, hastening his attacks.

    Nilak was his superior in magic, his only chance was to give him no time to use his spells and hope he could overpower him. A prospect getting less likely by the second he knew as Nilak blocked his attacks again and again. Taking a risk he jumped back as he put balance together into one and threw it at Nilak praying he not have the chance to use his magic. Grasping for his sword he unsheathed it and jumped back at Nilak slashing his sword at him, hoping the change tactic caught him by surprise.
    Last edited by Befram; 12-11-2011 at 09:10 PM.

  11. #61
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    Socially, Vita was unprepared for the different types of beings she would encounter in life. Most of her time was spent around Oren, a straight-forward fairy who won't hesitate to speak his mind. Vita's first summoning was Margni, a magical beast who wanted her life more than the possibility of serving her. The first elf she truly spoke to was Amelia, and her first interaction with another moon elf was with Elrik. Both elves seemed philosophical and willing to help Vita grow emotionally. Basically, prior to meeting Kinrai, Vita only had four people she could use as examples for proper communication skills. On top of that, all of her examples were oddballs. Was that why Kinrai felt offended by her comment? Was it uncommon to push your beliefs upon others? For some reason, Vita felt like it was better to shut up and observe those around her, rather than imitate them.

    On the other hand, Vita couldn't stand back and watch Kinrai walk away from fate. Moments before his comment, Vita saw the excitement in his eyes and the blissful smile on his lips at the mentioning of Falteer, Balthazar, and Nilak. Kinrai's expression changed several times in the short interval that followed Vita's announcement. He went from looking like a child gawking at having his hand shaken by his role-model to a hint of disappointment on his face. Overall, Kinrai seemed to be conflicting with himself over what was right and wrong, what he should and shouldn't do. The whole ordeal was too much for Vita, and she simply blurted out what she felt like he needed to know. Now she doubted herself.

    "I...I apologize." Again, there was a painful throbbing against her chest. It seemed to come from where Vita's heart was located. Why was she so...agitated? "I spoke out of turn."

    Surprisingly, Issat stood up for Vita. "Yes, I was merely giving you advice, Kinrai. I..." ...don't want you to make the same mistake I nearly made with Margni.

    Closing her eyes, Vita took a deep breadth to clear her mind. At the same time, Kinrai agreed to follow Elfaan's trail. Releasing a sigh of relief, Vita was able to rid her unease as well. Whatever takes place at the end of the Elfaan's trail, at least Kinrai would know the truth before it was too late. Besides, something felt...wrong, as if something bad would happen. Why would anyone head off to Valham's nest? Even Vita herself stayed away from Valham's nest. And what did Kinrai mean by his last comment?

    "Something...?" Her voice was too low for Kinrai to hear, especially because he was back on the wall of the coliseum. He also seemed to be speaking to her as well. "Eh?"

    Astonishingly, Kinrai wasn't concerned at all. He even spoke about meeting Valham, as if a dragon, even one as calm as Valham, would invite anyone to their nest so easily. She didn't readily admit it, but Vita was always...disturbed by living so close to a dragon. Perhaps it was because of Margni, but dragons just seemed so mysterious, as if they're hiding something. In any other scenario, Vita would have refused Kinrai's invitation, especially while Oren wasn't by her side. However, that was before she met Kinrai. What if he saw something unexpected happen to Nilak, or anyone Nilak brought along, such as Falteer or Balthazar, or both? If all three of them were at Valham's nest, and something happened...!

    "I will accompany you."

    *** Near the Start of the Moonpearl Race... ***

    "...Ahaha! I forgot how to get to the coliseum..."

    Oren, who had frantically zipped off in the direction of the coliseum, had paused midway and returned to the Weiss family. Despite his general knowledge of his surroundings, without Vita, all his confidence in directions vanished. Indeed, without Vita, Oren was just one of many people -- well, fairies -- who were directionally challenged. Of course, Oren didn't want to admit that to other, and he didn't have to prior to meeting the Weiss family. After all, why would a guide need guidance? Why would a wise elder need to seek knowledge from another wise elder? Vita was the one who always needed Oren's advice, so why would he, the wise and knowledgeable Oren, need help with something as simple as directions to the coliseum?! It was laughable! It was paradoxal! But above all else, it was true.

    "No need to worry. It happens to the best of us." Mien giggled softly to herself. She wasn't mocking Oren. On the contrary, Mien was sympathizing with Oren. There were plenty of times when her work had been compared to Amelia's fine sewing skills. Only when Mien admitted her mistakes could her skills grow as well. Granted, Mien had to grow a lot more to become a master of creating magical clothes like Amelia, yet she was a lot closer than she had been before.

    All the hope within Mien's evergreen eyes encouraged Oren, and that same hope became a twinkle in her husband's golden eyes. Up until now, Oren hadn't truly looked at Fia's parents, but they really looked like a tightly knitted family. Even their clothes mirrored each other. The theme for the Weiss family was as green as the forest of Auburn, etched with a silver that glittered from the moonlight. Fia and Mien were wearing dresses with silver hems, Fia's outfit differing by including silver ribbons on her arms, legs, and around her neck. They truly looked alike, as mother and daughter should. Mien's only distinct feature -- besides her eyes -- was her pitch black hair. How Fia's caramel hair wasn't affected was a mystery. As for Xan, he was wearing green pants with silver hems and, as if planned -- and, knowing Amelia, it probably was -- a peach colored shirt with a hint of yellow that matched Amelia's dress. Oren wanted to ask if wearing identical clothes was a family tradition, but he kept his mouth shut. Besides, his mind was wondering from what mattered the most: finding Vita!

    "Okay!" Oren was pumping himself up. "Let's go! Mien, you--"

    "Oh my gosh! Look over there, everyone!, it can't be!" Flustered, Fia kept glancing back at her family and what she was pointing at with shaky fingers. Somehow, she managed to ignore the fuming anger on Oren's face at being interrupted. "It's. A. Floating gold coin! Aha, I found it first!"

    Without a single word of explanation, Fia sprinted off with amazing speed. Luckily, the crowd surrounding the starting point of the Moonpearl Race had diminished significantly, making Fia noticeable even at a distance. While the rest of the Weiss family strolled along with light laughter exchanged amongst them, Oren bolted after Fia. How could the people who were supposed to help him get distracted so easily?! The thought that he got distracted himself crossed his mind for a second, but it was only for a moment. A few seconds of observing your companions was a completely different matter than rushing off after some enchanted piece of gold. What if Vita was waiting for Oren? What if she...if she...abandoned him?! Shock transformed Oren's face into an expression of horror, hidden by the elaborate mask still concealing his face. Never-the-less, his accumulating speed was enough to send the elves blocking his path falling to their knees.

    "Fia! How can you forget--"

    "Ah! Such a beautiful fairy!"

    Beautiful was right. Even Oren, upset as he was, found himself gapping in awe. How could Fia confuse a gold coin with a gorgeous fairy?! Her hair was an exquisite collection of aureate locks that rivaled the morning sun. Azure irises that could make the sky jealous met Oren's own eyes. Was that a wink?! Without realizing it, Oren found himself not only speechless, but blushing a hue as bright as his eyes. Angelic wings fluttered gently behind her, delicate enough to appear as they were carved directly from the sun's own rays. If she were bigger, Oren would have been blinded by the stunning fairy. Instead, he was grateful that her petite size allowed even someone like him stare upon her heavenly being. And yet, there was something familiar about the fairy. Taking a closer look at her face and dress, Oren couldn't help but think of...

    "--You look just like Minathiel! How cute!"

    All of sudden, the atmosphere changed. Oren snapped out of his trance and immediately regretted it. Sparks seemed to crackle around the fairy, far more frightening than if a lightning bolt had struck Oren right there and then. Actually, the thought didn't seem like a bad idea, but then he thought of Vita. He had to meet up with her, and yet...why couldn't it be the other way around?! His beautiful, gorgeous, angelic, stunning fairy became a monster in such a short amount of time, and it was all Fia's fault!

    "Who DARES compare Mina to Minathiel?" Oren could of sworn the sky was getting darker and someone was cackling in the distance. "Mina looks NOTHING like that imitating witch! Mina hates Minathiel! Minathiel WISHES she had Mina's good looks! Hmph!"

    "Aww. I take it you aren't Minathiel's fairy?" For some reason, Fia seemed unfazed by Mina's -- that had to be the fairy's name, considering how many times she mentioned it -- bitter attitude and shrill voice.

    "Ha! Minathiel WISHES she had Mina's good looks!" It took a moment, but Mina finally realized that Fia had spoken to her. "WHAT?! MINA?! THE FAIRY OF THAT OLD HAG?!"

    "Ahaha! M-Mina, y-y-you're faaaar more pr-pretty th-an...Minathiel-l." Whether it was true or not, Oren was willing to do whatever to calm Mina down. What if Minathiel heard what was being said? Or worse, her fans?

    "Hah! Of course! Mina's beauty is on a completely different level than Minathiel! Still, there are so many fools who compare Mina to Minathiel." Mina shot a glare at Fia, who finally seemed to understand that she had put Mina in a foul mood.

    "I...apologize if I offended you, Mina." As a bonus, Fia forced a smile on her face.

    "You sure did offend Mina. Fool!"


    "Eh, well, now that that is settled, I need to find Vita. Come on, Fia!" If Oren didn't put an end to Fia's and Mina's bickering, he was certain a fight would begin.

    "Hm? Vita? Is she your master?" Mina finally calmed down.

    "No. Vita is my friend." Why was he still speaking with such a crazy fairy?

    "Aho! Friend, eh? Mina has a friend as well. His name is Elrik. Mina and Elrik are close, so close that our very lives are linked. Is it the same with your friend?"

    "...Yes. Many elves would call Vita my master, but she's different from other elves. I'm all she has ever had in terms of a family--"

    "Mina is the same with Elrik. Aho! This she a moon elf, like Mina's Elrik?"

    "How..." Oren suddenly thought of Amelia. Didn't she tell him why Vita had departed to the coliseum earlier? "Then...was Elrik born today?"

    "Yup, and he'll be here soon."

    *** Back to Vita ***

    "How...could this be happening?"

    Vita had witnessed the tremendous power of Nilak, Falteer, and Balthazar, yet...why were they fighting Valham? More importantly, some heated words must have fueled Valham's wraith. Nothing was worse than angering a dragon, and the three warriors were learning that lesson the hard way. Not only was Nilak swatted aside by Valham's tail like a common house fly, but the frightening roars coming from Valham was unlike anything Vita had heard before. Anyone who listened to such a roar would know to back off, yet Falteer continued the bloodshed by stabbed his sword into Valham's right eye-socket. Tons of blood gushed forth from the wound, leaving only one eye to menacingly pierce the heart of anyone who dared to stare at it. Still, that wasn't enough to stop Nilak, who's eyes had a crazed look upon them. Did he truly...was he really trying to...murder a dragon?!


    Oddly, Vita knew it was a bad idea to bring Kinrai to Valham's nest. When you choose truth over trust, your heart is wounded the most. Even Vita was suffering. The forest of Auburn was her home, yet as the battle before Vita continued, the damage dealt to her home worsened. Nilak's wind whip was bad enough, sending the green fireballs aimed at him into nearby trees. If the onslaught continued, all the creatures scattering about to live another day would be killed instantly. It was just like at the coliseum: innocent lives would be sacrificed for a meaningless battle. And now, the hero who prevented those deaths before, who made sure the boulder wouldn't crush the blind spectators, was standing before Valham: Balthazar.

    ”Get back Vita!”

    Everything that followed Kinrai's command seemed to happen too quickly for Vita to follow. She was falling backwards. An explosion. A cry of surprise. Thud. By the time Vita could properly grasp the situation, Kinrai was already knocked unconscious. A few burn wounds appeared on his skin, but there were no severe wounds present. Balthazar kept fighting, unaware of Vita's presence. So much happened in so little time, yet Vita took no part in it. Even when she was about to check Kinrai's pulse, someone else beat her to it. Andrim took charge of the situation while Vita stood by helplessly. All she had were her thoughts. No one paid her no mind. That was how Vita felt until she realized Andrim was speaking to her.

    "Understood. I'll..."

    But the rest of Vita's words never left her lips. What was this? Vita knew Kinrai's life was in danger, being unconscious in the middle of a battlefield, and yet...what was this?! Andrim only seemed concerned about the life of someone with status. The son of Kinos is far more valuable than an unknown moon elf. Was that what he meant? What if she were the one lying unconscious on the ground?! But Vita quickly calmed her heart. Unlike Andrim, Kinrai didn't hold the bias views of someone with status. Why else would he push her out of the way directly before getting assaulted by some sort of trap?

    "You..." Andrim was already heading off in the direction of Balthazar, Valham, and the two who had been unconscious, Nilak and Falteer. He wouldn't hear her, yet Vita blurted it out anyways. "...smell like death."

    "Psst. Vita, bring Kinrai over here where it's safe."

    Hearing such a familiar voice nearly brought a smile on Vita's face. Lifting Kinrai up and wrapping his arms around her shoulders, Vita turned towards the voice. Not only was Elrik waiting for her on his giant jellyfish, but so was Oren, the Weiss family, and who she believed, based on Elrik's prior explanation, was Elrik's fairy. She wasn't alone. She wasn't invisible. And for the first time since arriving at Valham's nest, Vita knew the future wouldn't be so grim.

    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

  12. #62
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    Nilak saw himself standing on a rocky platform high above the ground. He looked around and realized immediately that he wasn't in Amn, at least he thought he wasn't. The sky was red and the world itself was nothing but black mountains everywhere. Oddly a single source of light escaped from the red sky, it looked like a magnifying glass. Suddenly a figure appeared in front of him. At first it looked like a demon with red eyes filled with rage, but eventually it formed into his youngest student: Kinrai. Kinrai had his 10th blade in hand, Wrath, which meant he wasn't fully himself. He started walking towards Nilak, his intentions were quite clear.

    ”NILAK! There's nowhere else to run! You single-handedly destroyed Amn.. just look at it!!”

    Kinrai pointed out the bleak world around them. Nilak backed down a few steps, he couldn't believe that this world was actually Amn.

    ”Now face your punishment!”

    Kinrai was like an angel of vengeance rushing right at Nilak. Nilak couldn't do anything and soon Kinrai's blade pierced through his stomach. That's also when the whole world shook suddenly. Then it happened again but it felt like it came from a different direction. Then again, and once more. Nilak noticed how both his cheeks started hurting, as if he was being slapped at. The last shook snapped him out of his nightmare.

    ~ … ~

    Nilak's eyes jumped open and he saw Balthazar holding him. That's also when Balthazar let go of Nilak and turned around in order to give Falteer a beating. Nilak held his jaw for a moment before laughing a bit though his laughter didn't feel quite as jolly as it usually was. His mind was still clouded right now by the nightmare. Did he saw into the future? Or was it just his subconscience trying to show him the error of his ways? He had no time to think of such things now. No matter what would happen, he was determinated to defeat Valham. He stood up and faced the gallant dragon again.

    Nilak noticed there was sand here and there, and he also saw Karmac lying on the ground. He knew Karmac was one of Balthazar's more powerful summons and was amazed just how powerful Valham actually was. It was always nigh impossible to locate Karmac in a sandstorm but apparently Valham managed to do it with ease. Before their fight against Valham continued, Nilak was faced with yet another problem: a new witness, a hostile one at that.

    The words the witness shouted at Nilak hurt him, involving Kinrai into this was indeed something that Nilak didn't want to happen. He turned around only to meet a blade coming right at him. He managed to block the strike however. The attacker was fueled with hate so predicting his attacks was rather easy for Nilak. What he also noticed was that the attacker kept attacking in quick intervals, as if trying to prevent Nilak from using magic. Rather smart since if Nilak could access his magic, he'd have a great advantage.

    Suddenly the attacker backed down, only to quickly lunge at Nilak again. It was a surprise attack meant to catch the opponent off guard and land a deadly hit. That was when Falteer intervened by shooting a small spark from his finger into the attacker's side. The spark was powerful enough to cause the attacker to halt his movements for a moment, and it was all Nilak needed to rush right next to the attacker. He held his hand over the attacker's chest, forming a powerful wind inside his hand.

    Nilak: ”I am sorry.”

    Immediately after that Nilak launched the attacker with a huge surge of wind into a tree nearby Kinrai's location. He was hoping the blow would knock the attacker out or at least render him immobile. Now he turned to face the opponent he had come to defeat in the first place. Balthazar had been busy distracting Valham and now Nilak and Falteer would join him.


    Issat finally reached Nayru and rushed towards the palace. The horrifying situation Kinrai was in kept flashing in her mind constantly. Once she reached the palace, she flew right inside and finally caught up with Minathiel who was sitting on her throne in the main hall. Minathiel noticed Issat almost instantly and stood up in order to catch her. Issat landed on Minathiel's hand and dropped down on her knees, panting heavily. She had used all her strength to fly here so she had difficulty speaking coherently.

    Minathiel: ”What is it, fairy?”
    Issat: ”V-Valham.. is in danger.. !! Help.. please!”
    Issat fell on her stomach on Minathiel's hand, still breathing but barely conscious.

    Minathiel didn't hesitate in calling out the guards of the palace. If Valham was indeed under attack, the palace and Nayru itself could be in danger. She ordered the guards to seal the city entrance, or rather change it so that the staircase to Nayru was never-ending.
    The rest of the guards were commanded by guard captain Cirno to guard the trail that lead to Valham's nest. Liana, Kinrai's mother, soon arrived to the main hall due to the sudden commotion. She rushed to Minathiel's side and almost immediately noticed Issat on her hand.

    Liana: ”Issat.. !! Are you alright? Where's Kinrai?!”
    Issat raised her head slightly in order to speak.
    Issat: ”Kinrai's in danger.. ! Nilak.. Nilak betrayed us.. He attacked Valham.. !!”
    Liana: ”My god..”
    Minathiel: ”.. We don't have any time to waste. Liana, please project me into the nightsky so that every citizen of Nayru can see me. We must alert everyone of the situation.”
    Liana: ”Understood, your Highness.”

    Liana placed her hand on Minathiel's shoulder and formed a watery silhouette of her which she sent high up into the sky. Once the 'copy' Minathiel reached the sky, it grew in size so much that it was impossible to miss her if you still were in Nayru.

    Minathiel: ”Citizens of Nayru! Our guardian, Valham the wind dragon is under attack! He has protected us for centuries, now it's our time to protect him! Those of you who wish to protect Nayru, assemble in front of the palace! From there we shall march to Valham's nest and vanquish this evil that threatens our protector! That is all for now. Let us pray we aren't too late..”

    The silhouette vanished soon after and the warriors of Nayru started slowly moving towards the palace entrance.

    Liana: ”Why.. didn't you tell them that Nilak is the attacker?”
    Minathiel: ”I apologize, but I don't trust that fairy saw what she claims to have seen.”
    Liana: ”But she has no reason to lie, your Highness.”
    Minathiel: ”There is also no reason why Nilak would attack Valham. Please, take care of her.”
    Minathiel handed Issat over to Liana.
    Liana: ”Wait! Where are you.. Please don't tell me..”
    Minathiel: ”I must see this with my own eyes.”
    Liana: ”Then I must come with you! As your advisor, I can't simply stay ba-”
    Minathiel: ”Hold. You must take my place for the time being. Someone needs to stay here and maintain control. Guard captain Cirno will assist you, I'm sure he's already on his way here. Don't worry, I'm not about to fight anyone.”
    Liana: ”But.. what if someone attacks you.. ?”
    Minathiel: ”I am not helpless in battle, you know that. Besides I will take two guards with me, just in case.”
    Liana: ”Yes bu-”
    Minathiel: ”Enough, Liana. Regain your composure, you have a city to protect!”
    Liana: ”Y-Yes, your Highness!”

    With that, Minathiel head off towards the stable where her palla was waiting.


    Nilak finally managed to form a plan of sorts, it was time to move on to the final phase of this fight.

    Nilak: ”We have to take this battle to the sky! I know it's risky, but only there we have a chance to pull Valham's soul crystal out. Also.. ”

    Nilak glanced towards the woods where Kinrai was and saw him being carried away by a female moon elf. Nilak was more than certain there were more people somewhere in the forest, people who were in danger of getting caught up in the battle.

    Nilak: ”.. that way no innocents come to harm.

    Since you're the agile one, I entrust you to pull the crystal out Falteer. Meanwhile me and Balthazar will do our best to distract Valham. I will use my wind and ice magic to halt Valham's movements while Balthazar deals damage, thus creating an opening for you Falteer. Expect plenty of magic, Valham is undoubtedly going to use everything he has against us while in the sky. Now then.. Let's move out!”

    Once the plan was set, the trio launched up into the sky. Valham soon followed them, slowly calling the winds to his side again at the same time. Once all the combatants were on the same level, Valham spoke.

    Valham: ”I commend your courage. Not many would willingly take a battle against a dragon to the sky.”
    Nilak: ”Guess I like to test my limits.”
    Nilak said and summoned Aeolus to his side.
    Valham: ”That may summon forth your own demise.”
    Nilak: ”Enough with the speeches. Let's finish this.”
    Valham: ”Very well. You shall experience the limitless power of the winds. Come forth winds of the world, let us do battle once again!”
    Valham yelled and suddenly the whole area became much more windy than usual.
    Nilak: ”Attack! Give it all you've got!!”

    Nilak ascended a bit before summoning a whirlwind which surrounded Valham. He was about to use the same tactic he had used against the Tainted bandits. However before Nilak was able to proceed, the whirlwind suddenly dispersed completely. Valham roared once before using one of his wings to produce a powerful gust which hit Nilak. Instead of normally just pushing Nilak, the gust of wind enveloped him inside a sturdy ball of wind. Nilak tried to get out but the wind sphere wouldn't break apart, instead it started cutting him randomly. It was like being whipped except the whip was invisible.

    Meanwhile Falteer circled around Valham while remaining hidden as best as he could. Thankfully Valham was busy with both Balthazar and Nilak so Falteer was successful in getting very close to Valham's tail where his soul crystal was located. The soul crystal was not in the tip of the tail, instead it was etched into the larger side of the tail.
    Simply cutting the tail wouldn't do, the soul crystal had to be carved out. As soon as Valham unleashed another powerful gust of wind, Falteer dashed and sinked his blade into the side of the soul crystal. Valham roared in pain and also in fear since Falteer had gotten so close to his source of power. Valham immediately summoned Pathnak, a wind wyvern, to his side in order to deal with Falteer.

    Pathnak rammed right into Falteer's side who was desperately trying to carve the soul crystal out. Falteer was sent flying backwards and Pathnak continued his attack by chomping on Falteer's right arm. Falteer started hammering Pathnak's head with his other arm in order to fend him off but Pathnak persisted. The pain caused by Pathnak's razor sharp teeth was unbearable, at this rate Falteer would lose his right arm completely. Nilak saw this and finally managed to release himself from the wind prison.

    Nilak: ”Not good.. Hold on Falteer.. !!”


    In Monark, Kinos was pacing around his office with a perplexed look on his face. You could actually notice sweatdrops forming on his forehead. The lack of information from Valham's battle was seriously driving Kinos on the edge. It was crucial that Nilak succeeds and escapes, he was the golden thread holding the operation together. Finally Kinos took out a beacon and summoned Reed, something had to be done. He had to know what was going on and Reed was the ideal scout. Reed arrived shortly after, bearing the same dark robe as last time.

    Kinos: ”Reed! I need information! How is the battle faring against Valham? Go! Return to me as soon as you can. Also.. assist him if you deem it necessary.”
    Reed: ”As you wish, elder.”

    Reed vanished and used the beacon in Nilak's possession to transport himself to Auburn. Unfortunately the welcoming party for Reed was one very angry dragon and a wyvern, however fortunately both of them were occupied with Nilak and his companions. That's finally when Reed realized he was in mid-air, and that he did not possess the ability to fly.

    Reed: ”Oh my, I clearly chose the wrong time to crash the party. Little help, please?”
    Reed said with a rather calm voice before starting to drop down. Nilak turned around and couldn't believe just how wrong everything was going for them right now.
    Nilak: ”What the.. ?! Reed! What are you doing here?!”
    Reed: ”You know, I'd love to chat more but right now I'm falling to my deaaAAAA-- !!”
    Nilak: ”Hold the fort Balthazar and Falteer! I'll return shortly!”

    Nilak swooped down and caught Reed before descending all the way down to the ground.

    Reed: ”Such a heroic feat, Nilak! Bravo!”
    Nilak: ”Uh.. Yes, thank you. Now what in Valham's name are you doing here?!”
    Reed pointed up before speaking.
    Reed: ”I believe we should chat once you've dealt with the angry green dragon over there. Agree?”
    Nilak: ”.. Yeah. Well since you're here, scout the area and make sure we won't be bothered. And please.. don't let any innocents get in harm's way.”
    Reed: ”You handle the big bad dragon, hero. I'll take care of things here.”

    Nilak nodded and launched himself back into the sky in order to face Valham. Reed on the other hand turned to scout the area. Thanks to his special kind of vision, one that can sense magic, scouting for him was easier than most since he could locate people who possessed magical talent.
    It didn't take long for Reed to notice several magic spots in the nearby vicinity. Three large gatherings were close, two of them were mobile. The immobile one was clearly trying to remain hidden, from the looks of it a summoned creature was being used. Reed swept off a bit of sand from the ground and looked at the direction of the immobile magic spot.

    Reed: ”In order to 'keep the innocents out of harm's way' you need subtlety. Such a shame I just SUCK at being subtle.. Well, at least right now I suck at it.”

    Reed sinked his fingers into the ground and pulled out an earth golem, twice the size of a normal elf. The golem was a mix of roots, soil and rocks, if looked from afar you'd think the golem was just an odd formation created by earth. The golem was not an ordinary summoned creature since it didn't possess a soul, it was just an animated piece of earth with no mind of its own. Reed repeated the procedure two times, totaling three earth golems standing in a neat row right next to him. Reed clapped his hands twice before announcing orders.

    Reed: ”Off you go then my earthly.. things! Kill everything on your path, especially that one particular gathering of magic. So sorry Nilak, but you're just too soft at times like these. How fortunate I'm here to correct that!”

    Reed clapped his hands once again before turning his attention to the two mobile magic spots. One of them was still some distance away, it would take longer for them to reach this area than the other spot. Thus Reed turned his attention to the second mobile magic spot and started moving towards it. Unlike a moment ago, this time around Reed was going to find out who were coming before initiating his attack.

    He brought his right hand in front of him and soon a yellow eye emerged inside it. Reed then literally removed his arm from his shoulder and threw the arm towards the direction of the magic spot. The arm became alive and slithered its way towards its destination. He did the same thing to his other arm, he just sent it towards the gathering of magic which was the furthest distance away.

    Reed: ”Oh, I do so hope there are only honorable warriors here. It would be quite dishonorable to attack a, literally, unarmed man after all.

    .. Ah, what an excellent joke! They should really hire me into one of those comedy shows back in Monark. I'd just KILL the audience! .. Oops, I did it again! Ah-hah! I'm just too good at this.”
    Last edited by Takesh; 12-26-2011 at 02:19 PM.

  13. #63
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    As he slashed downwards at Nilak a sharp hot pain hit him in the side, flinching instinctively he stopped his movement. Frowning he turned to see the cause. Falteer, he hoped Valham keep the both of Nilaks apprentices busy.
    Hearing Nilak apologizing he turned his attention back, eyes widening as he saw the ripples around Nilaks hands. Before he could react the ripples formed into a storm hitting him straight in the chest, lifting him of his feet as he lost grip of his sword and was hurled backwards at a sickening pace. The last things he registered were Nilak hands outstretched and his own sword caught in the storm hurling straight at him. A sharp pain, and then darkness.

    Direya left Andrims side when he charged into battle, watching over Kinrai instead. Andrim was tough enough to take care of himself, at least she hoped he as she threw a fleeting glance at the battle between the champion of the arena and her friend. Hearing a voice nearby Direya saw what seemed to be, yes it was a giant jellyfish!
    The moon elf seemed to know the summoner as she cradled Kinrai and carried him to behind the jellyfish. Curious Direya followed, carefully poking the creature, it did not just look like but felt like a jellyfish too. She had never bounced on a jellyfish before, she had to admit she was curious. In the past she might have tried, but who knew with summoned creatures. It might eat her for all she knew if she tried. And getting eaten by a giant jelly would be a lousy end.

    Peeking over the creature it seemed that Kinrai was out of danger, no scary cannibalistic or psychopathic elf’s here from what she could tell. None of the tale signs were there, blood paintings, mad gibbering, drooling or any seasoning of the unconscious elf. She turned her attention towards Andrim just as he was flung away from Nilak. Closing her eyes as the sword soon followed him she didn’t dare to peek until a few moments had paused. Heaving a sigh of relief at the sight, the sword had missed. Getting skewered by one’s own sword was almost as lousy an end as to be eaten by a giant jellyfish, just almost though.

    Fluttering towards him she winched at the sight of the sword, a bit to the left and he’d been a goner. Experimentally kicking and slapping Andrim only produced a groan and her almost being smacked into oblivion by him. Frowning she gave up her efforts. Seeing as Valham and the rest had gone skywards she knew there was only one useful thing she could do now. Scram back to town as fast as possible and get some help, even if Andrim woke up right now unharmed from the impact with the tree and fit for fight he’d be no use in the sky, except for making a bloody mess when falling down.

    As she was about to fly away something caught her attention, Nilak heading down cradling a new elf in his arms. Furrowing her brows she felt something was very out of place here, hadn’t there only been three of them before so where had Mr. Four come from? Setting down the elf she had already named Mr. Four on the ground he turned back to the battle. It became even odder when Mr. Four summoned up golems from the earth. Cocking her head she watched as three went away through the forest, crushing anything in their way. The other one was instead heading towards the giant jelly where Kinrai was, not good. Mr. Four was not yet done, his arms dropping of and slithering of somewhere. Changing her plan she returned to Andrim and resumed kicking, slapping, biting and dragging everywhere in hope waking him up. A flutter in the eyelid encouraged her and with one last kick at his nose he opened his eyes.


    Groaning Andrim opened his eyes. His back felt agonizing and strangely his whole face stung as well. Direya was right before his eyes shouting something incoherently. Shaking his head he motioned for her to slow down, doing so she took a deep breath and spluttered it all out again, slowing down enough for him to understand. “When you attacked Nilak that moon elf carried Kinrai to behind a giant jellyfish where two other elves were. Then Nilak swooped down with an elf I named Mr. Four in his arms, after Valham and the rest started flying. Then Mr. Four summoned a bunch of golems who went away somewhere, but one of them is heading for the giant jellyfish where Kinrai is. Then his arms fell off and went somewhere but the golem is still heading for the jellyfish and Kinrai so get up and arrest, stop him or whatever before the jelly breaks!”

    “Ugh, he’s still here?” He muttered as he staggered up and heavedhis sword out from the tree and turned his sight towards the golem which had already reached the jellyfish and started to pound it.

    Andrim was not surprisingly unfamiliar with that particular summoned creature, there were so many variants and species that could be summoned it take a life time to know just a fraction of them. So he had no idea how long that jellyfish could last against the stony fists of the golem but he did not want to find out. Why hadn’t that elf taken him further away? That question had to wait for later. Making his way silently to the elf Direya had named Mr. Four, her habit of nicknames still persisting even after all these years.

    His first steps towards the elf were careful but soon gained vigor, the original painhe felt when awakening was already fading, not disappearing but it felt like nothing had been broken. A bit of pain he could deal with, broken bones less so. Lucky for him, even luckier was he that the elf was without arms as Direya had said. He was still not up for a fight at present if could be avoided. The elf didn’t even notice him, too caught up in watching own golem until it was too late. Grasping the clothes by his neck he jerked him backwards, pressing the steel of the blade at his throat. “Listen and do so closely, I got neither the mood or time for games. Unsummon your golems this instant or I kill you. Your choice, prison or death”

  14. #64
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    For a moment, Elrik reminded Vita of an old man. The moment she strolled over and rested Kinrai against the nearby tree, Elrik began pacing back and forth. At times, he paused long enough to respond to his puzzling movements. Unfortunately, all that was uttered was the same profound sigh, as if his mind was too filled with multiple thoughts to speak actual words. Even more troubling was that Vita was the only one concerned about his behavior. Everyone else was resting and chatting like a family (which, indeed, literally applied to the Weiss family) at a picnic. Even Oren, who often interrupted Vita whenever she was pondering over more than one thing at a time, was busy discussing how a festive night turned into such a disaster. His listener, Mina, hardly seemed interested. Of course, she did nothing to help Elrik either.

    Finally, Vita couldn't take it anymore. An incredible, yet hazardous battle with a dragon was happening not too far from where they all were hiding. Most people would panic or take action, alerting the dangerous battlers of their location. Judging from what happened to Kinrai, it was better to be invisible than seen as a threat. Still, relaxing underneath a tree and relying on a giant jellyfish for protection wouldn't keep them safe for long. There was also the scorched trees sizzling all around them. Vita knew that the best option was to coerce a solution from Elrik, or face a harmful alternative.

    Vita thought it was best to discuss her unconscious companion, but it caused an uneasy expression to appear on Elrik's face. Hoping to redeem the conversation, Vita pressed forward on another matter.
    "I am expected to keep Kinrai safe based on what I was informed of regarding his status from Andrim."

    "I know."
    Elrik pressed his fingers on his forheead, rubbing an ache only known to him. The way he rustled his own hair and sighed proved that he knew they were in over their heads.
    "I didn't expect for Kinos's son to be involved in this act of treachery."

    "Kinos? Are you saying Kinos Alte's son, the elven spokesman for the Elven Council, is this young man."
    Amelia gestured to Kinrai, who slept soundly, his head bobbing against the tree trunk as he breathed. Anyone could tell from how his posture remained poised even after being knocked out that Kinrai was special. Still, what were the chances of meeting someone as special as the son of Kinos? It was almost as unbelievable as...well, assaulting a dragon!

    "Kinrai may be Kinos's son, yet..."
    For some reason, referring to Kinrai as Kinos's son truly disturbed Vita. Her eyes and clenched fists clearly showed her fustration.

    Bemusement was once again present in Elrik's speech.

    "I...I may have spoken with Kinrai for only a short while prior to the current situation, yet he never once let on about his status. I sensed from him an independence from his father, not so much from when I spoke with him, but rather, when I was ordered to protect Kinrai by Andrim. Honestly, while Kinrai wasn't as openly familiar as Amelia was with me, he wasn't quite as..."

    "Arrogant? Assertive? Militant?"
    Elrik was obviously enjoying himself.
    "Any of those adjectives would fit Andrim, but what I find interesting is that the roles could be reversed. Kinos's son could be the brash, law abiding citizen, yet he isn't. Why is Andrim so protective of Kinrai? How come Kinrai doesn't flaunt his status? These are the questions that I can't answer with mere observation!"

    "Do you plan to interrogate Kinrai when he regains consciousness, or will you try to converse with Andrim? In either case, I doubt you will accomplish your objective without a miracle. For one, how will you encounter Andrim? It is not as if Andrim will be sent flying over to us--"

    As if on cue, the trees around them began to rustle violently. The sudden surge of wind was unusual, since none of them truly felt it. Granted, a breeze passed by, but other than that, only the sound of leaves colliding could be well as a solid thud on the ground nearby. Something...or someone had been literally blown away. Unbeknowest to the group, the very person Vita had spoken about had just crashed nearby. Too bad that was the least of their problems.

    "Hmm, I wonder if we've reached our limit."
    Elrik glanced up at his giant jellyfish, which quivered in pain. His summoning was being harassed.

    "Perhaps I should investigate."

    A hint of curiousity twinkled in Elrik's eyes, a sight that also differed from how Vita had envisioned his personality.

    "Everyone, please remain behind. I will be performing a...risky summoning."

    Oren seemed to understand right away.
    "Vita! You can't be serious! That monster--!"

    "Oren, do not worry."
    Vita couldn't help but smile, but she quickly replaced her smile with determination.
    "Margni won't disobey me."

    Without waiting for anymore words and distractions, Vita rushed out from underneath the giant jellyfish and out from hiding. Immediately, three enormous golems loomed into view. Any summoning would have trouble trying to take down three golems, but Vita could bet on Margni's pride that he wouldn't back down from any challenge. Actually, the bigger the threat, the better the chance Vita had to keeping Margni in check. That was all the reassurance Vita needed to follow through with the summoning.

    "I call upon Margni, serpent of clouds..."
    Vita closed her eyes, breathed in deeply, and let the ribbon waver slightly in her hands.
    "...Aligned with wind and water, to awaken from slumber and come to my side."
    The ribbon began to shake and shred apart. "I abide by our contract, and bind him until our conditions are met!"
    Time was almost out, and if Vita didn't finish her statement of dominance, she couldn't be certain if Margni would attack her as well.
    "I call upon the destructive nature of ice to bind Margni into submission and thus fulfill my portion of our contract! Now, release his spirit!"

    Suddenly, the force emanating from the ribbon became too strong and Vita's grip was loosened. Any words she forgot to speak was lost in the booming sound of Margni's presence being called forth. Obviously, he wasn't pleased with Vita's act of defiance -- that is, the icy chains around his form that would tighten the moment he even dared to aim his fangs at Vita. Worse, he seemed disappointed that Vita looked perfectly fine, the only cause for alarm being the gigantic golems right in front of him. Obviously, he thought he had been beckoned to take away Vita's dwindling life. Why else would someone who Margni considered beneath him call upon him?

    "How shameful to be bound by the lost soul I met upon that fateful night. Tell me, child. How has time bestowed upon one such as you the confidence as well as arrogance of life?"

    Vita ignored the distain in Margni's voice.
    "I have friends now who need protection. Thus, the contract isn't violated, since I have not called you for my own protection. If I had, I would have contradicted my side of our contract and thus given you permission to do as you please. But nevermind that. Are you capable of handling the situation?"

    "Ha! No need to rouse my hunger. I have not tasted such a meal for quite a long time. Why else would I have sought a lost soul such as you in the first place?"

    Filling the air with laughter, Margni rammed into one of the golems and chomped at its right side like a beast that had been starved for years. Sadly, the meal was a difficult one, for the golem thrashed and hardened its body from crumbling. Then there was the problem of the other golems, who evidently found Margni to be a better opponent than the jellyfish they had been banging at for awhile. Even with Margni's swift maneuvers and lithe frame, a serpent will always be a serpent. Brains or not, both of the golems charged at Margni and managed to yank at his tail. In an instant, he was incapable of moving.

    "Insolent souls! The forsakened truly have lost more than their will to live to be risen from the very soil many have trampled upon. But I shant allow such lowly slaves to get the better of me!"

    While Margni spat insults at the golems, they continued wringing Margni's tail until the prey decided he had enough. Coiling the rest of his body around one of the main golems irritating him, he managed to trick the dumb golems into punching their own ally. All it took was timed movement and a few bites, but one of the golems tumbled backwards, apparently too damaged to get back up. It was only then that Vita spotted Andrim.

    "Are you planning to murder that suspicious man?"
    Vita was certain her voice was loud enough and that she was close enough to be heard.
    "I assume he is responsible for the golems, but are you really willing to murder an armless man? What if he knows the truth behind the battle with Valham?"
    The words were coming faster than Vita had planned, and she accidentally blurted out, "Did you consider the value of the lives you took recently? Are those who are highly regarded in life the only lives worth saving to you?"

    It almost seemed pointless to interrogate Andrim. Perhaps that should have been left to Elrik, yet something just What exactly did Andrim hope to protect? Did he only entrust Kinrai's safe-keeping to her simply because of who Kinrai's father happens to be? And what about Kinrai? Moments before passing out, he discovered Nilak, Falteer, and Balthazar, the latter being not too long ago the hero to many spectators, trying to slay a dragon! Also, if Vita wasn't mistaken, Valham wasn't the one who brought harm to Kinrai. Just who were the good guys and who were the enemies?!

    All Vita knew was that Andrim could be yet another threat. If she kept questioning him, who knew what he would do next. The best option was to just say what he wanted to hear.
    "...Kinrai is safe. I won't let him die."
    For now, Vita would do her best to survive and protect everyone who managed to touch her heart. However, she wasn't about to leave, not when such a mystery was in front of her.

    "The desire to protect, eh? Very well. I shall cease the advancement of these petty golems, but do keep in mind this one fact: time does not aide the living."

    "Do you suggest we leave? If we do, the truth will undoubtably be distorted."

    "The fate of the living solely belongs to the living. However, many will suffer very soon, regardless if Valham survives or not. Only haste will save those present from being marked as traitors, though I do believe another words is used. Leave, or become Tainted. Choose wisely."

    Vita shifted her gaze from Margni to Andrim. The longer Margni remained summoned, the more exhausted she felt, not to mention the icy chains keeping him behaving properly. But still...was leaving the only choice?

    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

  15. #65
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    As the battle between Valham and Nilak and his students raged on, events that would eventually change everyone's lives were taking place on the ground. Minathiel was rushing through the forest as fast as she could on her palla, she would soon arrive to Valham's nest to lay witness to the tragedy at hand. Reed was the small sparkle that lit the bonfire of chaos and soon he would pay for his crimes. Not long after Reed had dispatched his golems, and arms, Andrim dawned upon him.

    Reed: ”I really should've thought this through. A smart elf would hide in this situation. And I am smart, I doubt anyone would disagree with that. So why is it that I'm standing out in the open and talking to myself when I should be hiding? What a fascinating riddle.. I'm smart yet I can't accomplish the things I should, what am I? A philosopher! Haha! I did it aga-ugh.. !!”

    Just then Reed's overdrawn monologue came to an end by Andrim. Andrim was hovering a knife on Reed's throat, there was not a single moment of hesitation, Reed would've noticed it if there was. Andrim demanded Reed to unsummon the golems or he would die here and now. Before replying, Reed observed Andrim a bit more.

    The way Andrim managed to surprise him suggested this wasn't the first time Andrim had done such a thing. His grip on the knife was firm, it was certainly not the first time he was holding a knife against someone. Andrim also managed to retain an eerily calm demeanor in a situation like this. Oh, and not to forget, Andrim just attacked an unarmed man which seemed to be endlessly amusing for Reed.

    Reed: ”Aren't you an interesting fellow.. So blunt and strict, just like my daddy who I never knew, nor met, nor who even exists. Such is the sad fate of us 'moonfolk', the paradoxes of Amn.”

    Reed could feel how the blade inched closer to his throat, it appeared Andrim's patience was running out fast. In the distance Reed could also hear the sounds of some large beast battling against something. The thought that his golems had ran into some wild beast in the forest crept up in Reed's mind. He sighed, knowing that if that was the case, his plan to halt the movements of the citizens of Nayru and Minathiel had failed.


    That's when Reed spotted one of his kin further away, the thing that caught Reed's attention was the enormous serpent next to her. It looked like his golems were still alive, that would probably change soon though. The serpent looked far stronger than your average summon, especially since the summoner herself had to actually bind the serpent with a chain made of ice.

    Much to Reed's surprise, the summoner started talking and was actually trying to convince Andrim not to do any harm to him.. Well, at least not yet. The female moon elf was closer to the truth than she probably realized, Reed indeed knew the reasons behind Valham's assault. However not soon after that did the moon elf's speech start sounding like accusations towards Andrim which incited Reed's interest only further. Was she trying to achieve something with these accusations? In the end she told Andrim that Kinrai was still safe, it seemed Andrim was more than interested in Kinrai's well-being.

    Reed: "Oh my, interested in Kinos Alte's son are we? Just what is it you're after I wonder. This is quite heartwarming though, this lovely moon elf is trying to convince you NOT to kill me! I've yet to see such a day in my life. Thank you kindly, lovely lady! If it isn't too much to ask.. would you part me with your name?"

    Not soon after that did Minathiel arrive to the scene.

    The first thing Minathiel saw was Andrim holding Reed at knife-point. On the edge of the clearing she could also make out a moon elf with her summoned creature next to her. She was fighting against three golems but looked like she was doing fine for now. Minathiel instructed both her guards to keep an eye on the battle and assist the moon elf if need be.

    [End of edit]

    Minathiel recognized Andrim, knowing people was almost a requirement for someone of her status, but she had never seen Reed before in her life. At first she just assumed Andrim was comprehending a Tainted. She immediately approached the two but her movement came to a halt when she noticed an ominous shadow lingering in the nightsky. Squeezing her eyes a bit she finally saw the shadow was Valham and from the looks of it he was indeed fighting someone. Minathiel covered her mouth with her hand from the initial shock.

    Minathiel: ”Gods.. !! Nilak.. what have you done.. ?!”
    Minathiel's guards stood next to her and they were just as shocked as she was.
    Reed: ”YES! I just LOVE that face! That look of utter horror.. if only I could somehow feast on it. Can you see that.. assailant of mine? Ngh..”
    Minathiel turned to look at Reed. She was now certain this elf was nothing more than a Tainted, a crazy one at that.

    Minathiel: ”Tainted one, what is your name?”
    Reed: ”I'm honored, your Highness. My name is.. Ramvil. I beg your pardon but I'm not a Tainted, far from it.” Reed was lying through his teeth but the others couldn't possibly know his real identity.
    Minathiel: ”Hmm.. You're Andrim, correct? Tell me why you apprehended this.. Ramvil. What is his crime?”

    Andrim's knife was already next to Reed's skin, it was nearly cutting it already. Whether this was because Andrim was ready to kill Reed or because of Minathiel's sudden apperance, no one knew. Nevertheless Reed was anxiously waiting for a response from Andrim.

    Meanwhile in the sky, all the combatants were exhausted from the fighting. Valham was bleeding heavily all over, Falteer's right arm was badly chewed and Nilak had a large wound on his chest. Balthazar was still holding up, his stamina was the greatest of the three however even his stamina was nothing compared to Valham's. The dragon was still just as vicious as he was in the beginning of the battle, hence why a battle against a dragon should never be a long one. Nilak knew now were the final moments to finish this battle, the trio wouldn't hold much longer.

    Nilak: ”It's time for our final attack. Falteer, cloak yourself in lightning and dash straight into Valham's soul crystal. You MUST get the soul crystal! I.. I will use Angelic Hymn to greatly injure Valham from his side, it will buy you time. Balthazar, kill the wyvern.. throw everything you got at it. We can't allow it to intercept us. Also.. it has been an honor to know you two.”
    Falteer: ”Do not speak such words yet Nilak. Our journey is only about to start!”
    A smile formed onto Nilak's lips.
    Nilak: ”I suppose it is.”
    Valham: "You know you can't win, yet you persist. Admirable, yet so very foolish.."

    Soon after a flash of lightning hit Falteer, enveloping him into a lightning-like cloak. Nilak summoned Angelic Hymn to his side and dashed right at Valham. Valham retaliated by scorching Nilak with his green fire. The fire burned viciously on Nilak's skin but there was no time to stop, he pushed on and finally sinked his blade into Valham's stomach. The dragon roared in pain before starting to claw Nilak's very skin off. Valham's movement came to a sudden halt however, it was as if his will to fight vanished instantly. Soon Falteer emerged from behind Valham, holding his green soul crystal, the Emerald, in his hand. Pathnak had been slain by Balthazar right around the same time. The trio had won the battle against the oldest of the dragons.

    Soon Valham started dropping down, crashing straight into the dense forest of Auburn. Nilak couldn't say anything at first. He knew Valham wasn't dead yet but the wounds Nilak inflicted on him were fatal. Only time would tell whether Valham would survive or perish. Nilak turned to face his student and a smile grew on his face again.

    Nilak: ”You.. you did it, Falteer! And I'm glad you were able to deal with the wyvern Balthazar.”
    Falteer was panting heavily while holding out the Emerald.
    Falteer: ”I.. really hope we aren't doing another dragon tomorrow. I think I'm going to be sore for a few days.”
    Nilak: ”Ha! Not tomorrow but soon nonetheless. Gather your strength Falteer and Balthazar. We have a long night ahead of us. Let's go check up on how Reed is doing before we take our leave.”

    Falteer started healing all three of them on their way down to the ground. The biggest wounds would have to be treated differently though, such as Falteer's arm. It didn't take long for them to spot in what kind of a situation Reed had gotten himself into. The elf who attacked Nilak earlier was holding Reed, and even Minathiel had stumbled upon the scene. Further in the edge of the forest Nilak could also make out a moon elf with a serpent summon on her side. The situation was bad to say the least. Minathiel would certainly alert all the races of Nilak's betrayal, however Nilak had no intentions of harming her. Once the trio landed, Minathiel turned to them, her face was filled with sadness.

    Minathiel: ”Nilak.. what madness drove you into this.. ?”
    Nilak stayed silent, he just kept looking at Minathiel.
    Reed: ”Well, this is rather awkward.. Ugh!”
    Andrim's grip on Reed tightened, shutting him up.


    Voices. So many different voices, and only one of them sounded faintly familiar. Somehow the conversation about Kinrai was registered even though he was unconscious. Then sudden silence followed by very faint sounds in the distance. It was impossible to distinguish what was creating the sounds. Kinrai didn't know whether he was awake or in-between, everything seemed like a complete blur. His eyelids felt heavy and the pain in his neck kept pounding like a blacksmith's hammer on a weapon.

    Kinrai: ”Ngh..”
    Only a silent sigh escaped from Kinrai's lips.

    What? That all you've got, Kinrai? Nilak betrayed Amn, he betrayed Nayru and most importantly.. he betrayed you, his beloved student. Is that the only response you're going to give him?! Are you going to just lay down and die?! If that's so then I'm taking charge. Keep on sleeping Kinrai, I'll handle this one. They will all pay dearly for their treachery against you.

    Kinrai's whole consciousness started burning, all he could see was fire filled with hatred, an endless fire which consumed everything around him. With a single burst of fire, his whole body was engulfed in fire. He stood up and looked around him. His eyes were serious and cold, nothing like they had been before. All these faces were unfamiliar to him, not that he even cared at this point. Something had taken control of him, something that only saw contempt towards others, especially towards his father: Kinos Alte. He activated his Magic Art, a circle of blades appeared around him and his hair turned silver.

    The wheel stopped on the 10th blade, Wrath. Suddenly Kinrai's whole right forearm was engulfed in some kind of black substance before the blade formed into his hand. The blade was black as the moonless sky, arching in different directions in order to cause as much pain as possible.. it looked like it belonged to someone thoroughly sadistic. The black fires were not on the blade since Kinrai still lacked the experience to wield a black fire. Kinrai looked at the blade for a moment before turning his eyes back to the unknown faces around him.

    Kinrai: ”Don't follow me if you value your lives.”

    With that Kinrai rushed off from under the jellyfish summon and soon met with Vita. She was battling against three golems with her summoned creature, a ruthless serpent which certainly wasn't the friendly type. Just as Kinrai was about to continue his pursuit for Nilak, he halted his movements and yelled out as if he was in pain. The real Kinrai was trying to prevent this rage-consumed spirit to stop from possessing his body. He even managed to gain control of his body for a short time.

    Kinrai: ”Vita! .. Stop.. me.. !! AAAAAAAH!!!”
    Suddenly Kinrai's eyes turned back to those cold ones from before, his whole demeanor seemed to change.
    Kinrai: ”Nonsense. Stay out of my way!”

    Before Vita could respond, Kinrai rushed off towards his destination: Valham's nest. It didn't take long for him to reach the place, such was his pace. He didn't react to the presence of Minathiel, Andrim, Falteer, Balthazar nor Reed at all. He could only see Nilak who was standing only a few dozen feet away from him now. The look on Nilak's face was devastated, Kinrai looked exactly like the demon from his dream. Minathiel was just as stunned while Reed seemed actually fascinated about Kinrai.

    Minathiel: ”Kinrai.. ? Is that really you?”
    Nilak: ”No. It's not him.”
    Kinrai: ”What do you claim to know about me, Nilak? Don't you recognize me? It's me in flesh and blood, your beloved student!”
    Minathiel: ”.. You're right, something's wrong.”
    Kinrai: ”Shut up you foolish wench.”
    Minathiel: ”How dare you.. !”
    Nilak: ”I didn't expect.. Damn it all!”
    Reed: ”Looks like Nilak here knows something we don't. Care to enlighten us?”
    Kinrai: ”There is nothing to tell. This is me, I am Kinrai.”
    Nilak: ”No, you're not, not anymore. We banished you for a reason. The one you see right now is the manifestation of Kinrai's hatred towards his father.. a spirit of wrath. He-”
    Kinrai: ”That's enough! No more of this meaningless babble!! Just die, all of you!”
    Reed: ”I like this guy. He keeps things nice and simple.”
    It was disturbing just how calm Reed was. After all Andrim was holding a knife to his throat and Kinrai had gone berserk and would probably attack anyone who approached him.
    Nilak: ”Balthazar! I need you to restrain Kinrai! Falteer, keep in the back and get yourself properly healed!”

    Pillars of fire erupted everywhere around Kinrai before he rushed at Nilak. Nilak summoned Angelic Hymn to his side again and blocked Kinrai's attack. Kinrai's assault only gained more speed from the block, he was slashing at Nilak from every direction. Nilak sinked his blade into the ground and surrounded himself with spikes of ice, thus forcing Kinrai to back down.

    Kinrai: ”Coward! Face me!!”
    Nilak: ”Balthazar.. !! I need you now!”
    Last edited by Takesh; 01-29-2012 at 09:30 AM.

  16. #66
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    Instead of shutting up as was the way most react when threatened with their throat being cut up this elf babbled, pressing the blade closer he’d hoped that shut him up. Keeping a watch around him in case the elf had any other friends he spotted the moon elf again. What was she doing? The question was quickly answered as an enormous serpent was summoned, emerging from the ribbon until the entire serpent was outside. This didn’t seem to be a regular summon, as to his knowledge most summons didn’t wear chains. Those chains didn’t’ leave much to fantasy about the nature of the beast.

    To his surprise and annoyance, instead of running away to hide once she set the serpent against the golems she confronted him. She had moved Kinrai to somewhere safe and stopped the golems for now. She’d done more than he could have hoped for. But this was neither the place nor the time.”Do you realize where we are elf? This is no place for an interrogation, and even if it were I am in no way obliged to answer your questions. I thank you for saving Kinrai and stopping those golems, but surely you don’t expect me to answer out of gratitude? After all” he said with half a smile “somebody who truthfully values life as much as you would not see saving one as a way to bind a chain of gratitude onto somebody else. But as long you keep the golems occupied I will keep him alive. And for you be quiet” he said, the last part directed at his captive.

    Just as Andrim was about call Direya to come out from wherever she was to get reinforcements what happened next stirred his feelings more than any loose accusations the moon elf could have made. Minathiel and her guards emerged from the forest into the clearing. Sending her two guards to assist against the golems her face contorted into shock and horror as she saw the fight in the sky. Staring evenly at her Andrim fought a battle of his own inside. Fighting so as not to make his feelings show, a fight he almost lost as she called him by his first name. His arm stiffened in response and nearly cut Ramvils throat open.

    Pushing down his anger deep within with the rest where it kept smoldering, potent but patient, waiting for its time, as it had done for decades now.

    “Lady Minathiel. His crime is what you sent your guards to struggle with. His crime is to send his golems to kill innocents, two who are the moon elf fighting the golems now and Kinrai Alte. Also, his association with Nilak who carried him down here, most likely in order to slow us down with his golems. His crime is, Lady Minathiel, murder attempts at not only elves but I suspect conspiring with Nilak, Balthazar and Falteer to kill Valhem. I carry out the sentence myself here and now to dispatch him and his golems but I am eager to know if anybody else is behind this”. Nilak and his apprentices were relentlessly fighting Valhem, having betrayed all the elves in doing so. But something felt wrong, if they had betrayed the elves why hadn’t Nilak killed him while he had the chance? He should not care about the death of an elf he did not know if he had betrayed the elves. “Just something I believe is worth exploring, my lady”

    Every word felt like bile in his mouth, being forced to stand here and actually speak politely to her. Hiding his every feeling behind a façade of loyalty.

    An ear shattering roar alerted him to the magnificent dragon plunging down to the earth, the shock of his fall making itself felt despite the distance. The trio had succeeded, and damned themselves forever. He had no connection to Valhem but like most elves he treasured his presence, soon that feeling get torn out of all elves and by then nothing would stop them from tearing the trio apart in return.

    The trio headed down to the clearing where everyone present waited for them. Andrim could only feel contempt for the priestess, instead of performing her duty she asked them for reasons that no longer mattered. The law was clear. Tightening his grip on Ramvil once more he shut him up, “if you don’t have anything of value to say don’t say it”. The situation was tense enough without him adding fuel to it, Minathiels guards were away and there was no saying what happen now. Despite his contempt for Minathiels lack of action he had tasted Nilaks skill and was not eager for a second try, even if he was wounded. Yet he could not be completely passive. “Lady Minathiel, what are your orders? If we wait any longer they will have time to heal themselves”

    Before she could answer the situation exploded, but not in the way he had imagined. Out from the trees an elf rushed out, Andrim felt a bolt of shock and joy as he recognized the elf as Kinrai. His expression changed into one of intense hate and cold eyes promising nothing but death to those who tried to stop him by the strangely shaped blade he held, he looked more demon than elf. What had happened to him? The truth quickly dawned upon him as he listened to the others conversation, he had given up on keeping Ramvil quiet as he added his voice to it.

    Andrim had heard of Kinrai’s anger against his father but for it to take such a form... It was more than he could have ever hoped for. Before he could decide what to do in this new situation Kinrai attacked Nilak, summoning pillars of fire which Nilak rushed through. They quickly exchanged slashes before Nilak forced him to back down as he summoned spikes of ice around him. Considering his options Andrim decided to stay put. Kinrai was clearly out of control and not safe to stand close to, and if he sided with Nilak he be siding with a tainted which was out of the question. He had let his rage overtake him before as he rushed Nilak, rage and a hope of Valhem being able to kill the other two before he was overtaken, he would not repeat that mistake, nor did he want to lose Ramvil.

    No he would wait until the situation progressed and he had a better view of it, intervening in case Nilak truly tried to kill his pupil. Also he had other things to occupy himself with. “Since no matter what I do Ramvil you don’t seem able to be quiet, courtesies of your guardian moon elf as without her you be dead I assure you as you have not yet dismissed your golems. So tell me now what is this all about, why did Nilak attack Valhem and what are you doing here? His apprentices being here I can understand, but you, you I do not know of. Exactly what is your part in all of this? Are there anymore unknown conspirators you haven’t mentioned? And don’t lie, you got your magic in your golems, I got mine in knowing whether you speak the truth or not” Nothing but lies, yet he hoped Ramvil believe him and give him something that he could use.

  17. #67
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    Exhaustion was one of the words that came into Balthazar's mind as the fight against Valham kept dragging on. Once on the sky, Valham even summoned help for himself in the form of a vicious wyvern known as Pathnak. It felt like the dragon's power was limitless since he just kept throwing more and more powerful hits at them.

    Towards the end of the fight Falteer's arm had been badly chewn by Pathnak, he wouldn't be able to use his arm for a while now. Nilak had also taken a bad hit to his chest by Valham. Balthazar was only completely covered in bruises thanks to the power of the earth element that protected him at all times. Without it he would be bleeding just as much as his companions.

    Eventually Nilak called for both Falteer and Balthazar to back down a bit in order to briefly go over their final attack against the dragon. Falteer had the most strenuous job, he had to get the Emerald from Valham's tail. Balthazar on the other hand had to deal with Pathnak while Nilak attacked Valham. Balthazar only nodded before forming his fists into sizeable stone battering rams.

    With these two lodged into the end of his arms, Balthazar proceeded to hammer away at Pathnak. At first he missed nearly every strike because of Pathnak's speed, however he only needed one good hit to hammer the wyvern into oblivion. Pathnak counterattacked every single blow Balthazar threw at him, fortunately Pathnak's attacks were limited to simple pecks though. Thanks to that Balthazar kept going like a wild beast, not even flinching from the attacks.

    In the end the situation would turn out worse for Balthazar. Eventually his body just wouldn't be able to withstand any more punishment. Then the chance presented itself, Valham had been taken out by Nilak and Falteer which managed to break Pathnak's focus on the battle at hand. Balthazar took advantage of the situation and smashed his stone fist right into Pathnak's jaw. The blow stunned Pathnak completely and left him vulnerable. Balthazar immediately continued by throwing a few blows into Pathnak's stomach before dealing the coup de grace and launching(literally) his stone fists into Pathnak's head, KOing the wyvern instantly.

    ”He won't bother us anymore.”

    Nilak was overjoyed of the fact they actually won. Falteer looked very beat-up, they would all need some rest after this. Unfortunately Nilak told both of them to ready up, their journey was just about to start. Before they left, Nilak wanted to check up on the surprise visitor who he had to save earlier: Reed.

    As they were descending, Balthazar fell deep into his thoughts. He was clearly troubled of what they had done. The morality of their cause was the biggest problem right now. Balthazar would go to any length for Nilak, such was his nature and the oath he took but what if his own moral code would begin to blur because of it? Even though Balthazar doesn't look the sort, he's a character whose intentions have always been for the good of others, albeit his methods are crude at times.

    Were they really helping out people right now? If only Nilak would tell more to them, it might set Balthazar's heart at ease. Now was not the time to ask such questions though, it seemed there was quite a situation on the ground. Reed had been apprehended by the same assailant who had attacked Nilak earlier. Getting hurled into a tree hadn't slowed him down much apparently.

    ”The guy's persistent.”

    Also, much to Balthazar's surprise, Minathiel Amar, the elven priestess was also there. Sadness and confusion were evident in both her voice and expression. Reed apparently wanted to be Mr. Obvious before he was shut up by Andrim, again.

    ”.. Your choice of allies worries me sometimes, Nilak.”

    More surprises were inbound since only moments later an enraged Kinrai jumped out of the thicket and rushed next to them. Minathiel was the first to question whether he really was Kinrai, and to be honest, Balthazar thought of the same thing. His Magic Art was active, you could see it from his silver hair and that brutal looking sword. Also his attitude was way off from the usual, it was much more intimidating and.. frightening, even. Not that it really surprised Balthazar, Kinrai had just learned moments ago that his tutor is assaulting one of the dragons, the beings next to God on Amn.

    Nilak soon explained just what was going on, apparently Kinrai wasn't even himself right now. It was hard to imagine someone could harbor a hatred so deep that it could manifest into an actual being with a conciousness, let alone that thing taking control of a person. Nilak's explanation seemed to only enrage Kinrai even further, clearly driving him off the edge and going completely berserk. That's when Nilak yelled out to Balthazar that he needed his help in restraining Kinrai.

    First a dragon, then even your own pupil, Nilak? Balthazar understood why they had to restrain Kinrai but.. his rage was unleashed because of them in the first place, wasn't it? Once Nilak yelled out again for Balthazar's aid, he finally nodded and took out his katanas.

    Nilak had managed to fend off Kinrai for the moment with his circle of ice spikes. While Kinrai was taunting Nilak, Balthazar hopped behind him and slashed at his back. Kinrai took the hit but immediately retaliated by hurling a dozen fireballs at Balthazar. Balthazar managed to block the fireballs with his stone skin ability. Kinrai followed up the fireballs with a dash, pointing his wretched blade at Balthazar. Both their swords clashed as Balthazar blocked the attack with his katanas. Before Balthazar managed to do anything, Kinrai already slashed at him again.

    Balthazar managed to dodge the strike and at the same time summoned a new creature to his aid: Ozmo. Ozmo's appearance was nothing more than a ball of light, however his ability was to absorb the light coming out of his target and making a perfect copy of it. Hence in just a flash there were two Balthazars standing next to each other.

    ”Think you can handle two of me?”
    Balthazar said, clearly trying to taunt Kinrai into attacking either one of him.

    Kinrai swallowed the bait and attacked, however Balthazar didn't expect Kinrai to attack both of him at the same time. Kinrai sent out an enormous surge of fire from his hand right at the copy Balthazar. At the same time he started dashing towards the real Balthazar, holding out his wretched blade ready to swing. Ozmo was overwhelmed by the intense fire but managed to get away from it before burning up too badly.

    Just as Kinrai was about to reach Balthazar, Balthazar smashed his foot into the ground causing a slight tremor which made Kinrai lose his balance. Ozmo attacked first by running behind Kinrai and putting him into a sleeper hold. Balthazar then buried his fist right into Kinrai's stomach before grabbing his head and slamming it into the ground, face first. In order to restrain him further, Balthazar summoned vines that tied Kinrai's legs and arms into the ground. Ozmo retreated at this point, vanishing completely out of sight.

    ”Hurry up, Nilak! He won't stay still for long!”
    This was one of the few times Balthazar actually raised his voice. This was a clear hint that he was more than serious of his claim.


    Meanwhile Inpa was staring blankly towards Valham's nest. He had heard Minathiel's speech earlier, it was pretty much impossible to miss. Tolbi was standing on Inpa's shoulder, he was holding his chin while in deep thought. The two had been standing there for a while now. You didn't hear stuff like this everyday. Valham was under attack by some unknown people? Who would dare to fight against a dragon? Tolbi had always thought dragons are near immortals, like gods of some sort. To imagine if someone could actually defeat one, the thought caused shivers to run down Tolbi's spine.

    ”Please don't get any funny ideas about going there. I don't want to die yet, Inpa.”
    ”Pfft. Like anyone could even hit you.”
    ”Yeah, but YOU can get your butt blown into million pieces which kinda affects me too.”
    ”.. Are you saying my butt is too big, Tolbi?”
    ”W-what? How.. how in Valham's name did you make that kind of connection?!”
    ”.. It's true! You think my butt is too big! Well, too bad for you 'cos I like big butts and you can't do nuthin' about that!”
    ”Ngh.. Of all the possible elves, why did I get a moron like you.. ?”
    ”Correction: self-proclaimed genius inventor, not moron. Plus I'm a handsome devil and smooth as a new born baby's butt with women.”
    ”What is it with you and butts all of a sudden?! And what does THAT have to do with anything?!”
    ”Don't blame me, you're the one who said my butt is too big.”
    ”I NEVER said your butt is too big!”
    ”Ha! You just said it!”
    Tolbi grit his teeth together, again Inpa had managed to make a fool of Tolbi with his 'witty' wordplay. The only comfort Tolbi had was the fact that Balthazar got the same treatment every single day. That brought another question into Tolbi's mind, just how is it possible that Balthazar hadn't boiled Inpa in oil or worse yet?

    ”Well, this is better than heading to Valham's nest. Even if-”
    ”Great idea! Let's go!”
    ”WHAT?! NO!! NOOOOOO!!! YOU.. !! I HATE YOU!!”

    With that Inpa started jogging towards Valham's nest, completely oblivious of the events that were transpiring there at the moment.
    Last edited by farag0n; 02-10-2012 at 06:30 PM.
    Calm down people, it's just me.

  18. #68
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    It was clear Balthazar didn't like what they were doing. It was definitely the reason it took some time before Balthazar jumped in and distracted Kinrai. Nilak hated it too, he would never raise his sword against Kinrai but it was the only option now, otherwise Kinrai would undoubtedly kill Nilak. Right now Kinrai's hatred was practically overflowing, his wrath was unstable and his power kept increasing by the second. Nilak could only hope Balthazar would be fast enough, Nilak had to reserve his strength for the sealing and thus couldn't help. While Balthazar was fighting Kinrai, Minathiel turned to Nilak.

    Minathiel: ”Andrim. I give you permission to interrogate Ramvil. I agree that he knows more than we do. Use my guards as you please.”
    Nilak raised his eyebrow for a moment, then again he thought that enclosing Reed's identity was probably for the best. Minathiel's speech gave off the impression she was about to do something unexpected.
    Nilak: ”No.. You can't.. !!”
    Minathiel: ”What did you expect, Nilak? That I just stand still and let you go? I will allow you to seal Kinrai's wrath, after that you will be judged. It is my duty as the elven priestess to bring forth justice.”
    Nilak: ”Justice? .. He was right. No matter what we do, the moment we stumble away from the 'right' path, we are nothing but criminals who everyone wants dead. People make mistakes, no one is perfect, and yet we still judge others as if we're better than them? There's no justice in that, only fear that gives birth to new fear.”
    Falteer: ”So that's why..”
    Now Falteer finally understood Nilak's motives, he still had small doubts but he trusted Nilak. Nilak was after a revolution of sorts, he was going against the system that had been functioning from the very beginning of Amn. Falteer chuckled lightly, he knew only Nilak would be able to win a battle of ideals on this scale. Something was still a bit off though, just what exactly was the dragons' role in all this?

    Minathiel: ”I gave you the benefit of the doubt, I gave you a chance to redeem yourself. Why have you not answered my question yet?”
    Nilak: ”Because there isn't an answer that would satisfy the law. If we go by law, I have nothing more to say for myself. All I'm supposed to do now is face my judgement, and that is the last thing I will do. I will complete my mission and no one will stand in my way, not even you Minathiel.”
    Minathiel: ”Then there is no need for further discussion. I hereby declare you Tainted, Nilak Venotre. May the Netherworld greet you with open arms.”
    Reed: ”It's like watching an old couple fight.. to the death! Enjoy the show, won't you.. Andrim.”
    Only moments before Andrim had asked about Reed's motives in this fight. He also claimed that he would know if Reed lied. Reed would give his answer soon, first he wanted to see the fight.

    In an instant, Minathiel summoned four water copies of herself. She froze every water copy's arms so that they could wield ice magic. As a last touch, she created small whirlwinds underneath all of them so that they could move at amazing speeds. This was Minathiel's style, rather than putting herself on the battlefield, she relied on others, just like a mage should. Nilak grasped tightly on his blade, his body was nearing its limit. This fight had to end fast. What surprised Nilak was that the water copies didn't move, they just hovered right above the ground as still as statues.

    Nilak: ”.. Why aren't you attacking, Minathiel?”
    Minathiel: ”I told you. First you will seal Kinrai's wrath, after that we shall fight.”
    Reed: ”Bah. You're no fun.”
    Nilak glanced at Reed before he was alerted by Balthazar. Kinrai was finally down but not for long, that much was evident from Balthazar's voice.

    Nilak rushed past Minathiel's water copies and knelt down next to Kinrai. Minathiel observed the situation with a keen eye. She had turned from a confused little princess into a stern believer of her cause, it was one of her best traits as a leader. Nilak summoned a new blade for himself, Faron, a straight sword with the emblem of a dragon in the handle. As he grip the blade, it started glowing, pulsing with power. This was because Nilak was pouring magic straight into the sword, it was needed in order for the seal to be effective.

    Nilak: ”In order to seal the wrath inside Kinrai, I have to use this blade. Don't try to stop me, this is the only way. Forgive me Kinrai, I did not wish to do this again.”
    Kinrai: ”Kinrai's hatred will never go away. I've etched myself deep into his heart, one day Kinrai will give in and I shall be reborn. Eventually this little trick of yours becomes obsolete.”
    Nilak: ”Enough of you. Kinrai is strong, he won't let it happen again.”
    Kinrai: ”Even the strongest falter, and that is all I need. Until next time, 'master'.”

    Nilak raised the Faron blade and plunged it straight through Kinrai's back. Kinrai yelled out of pain before going limp, color vanishing from his skin and his eyes becoming as lifeless as stone. Nilak didn't remove the blade, he left it there and looked at Minathiel.

    Nilak: ”This will take some time. The sword will slowly suck the wrath in itself and once it's done, the sword will shatter.”
    Minathiel: ”And then?”
    Nilak: ”Then we need a healer who can resurrect Kinrai. After that the sealing process is complete.You should still make sure that Kinrai is himself once he is revived.”
    Minathiel: ”I understand. Now it is time for you to face your judgement.”
    Nilak turned around and whispered into Balthazar's ear.
    Nilak: ”Balthazar.. Take Falteer with you and go. No buts, I'll catch up soon. Head for Palo, Ik'har is our next target.”
    Minathiel: ”Your apprentices will share your fate, Nilak. They won't leave this place.”
    Nilak: ”Yes they will.”

    Nilak created a gigantic whirlwind which engulfed all the water copies. This was only a short distraction, the water copies would probably be unharmed once they land back on the ground. Nilak motioned Balthazar to leave, and soon both Falteer and Balthazar were no longer seen. Minathiel frantically tried to find them but to no avail, they had escaped for the time being. Furious, she turned her attention back to Nilak. The water copies landed back on the ground and formed ice spears, ready to throw them at Nilak.

    Minathiel: ”They can't escape, no one can escape the law.”
    Nilak: ”That's why I will destroy it.”
    Minathiel: ”.. You've gone mad! It pains me to do this since you were once considered the hero of Amn but you give me no choice.”
    Nilak: ”I was a hero as long as I did exactly as you pleased.”

    Nilak coughed violently and fell on his knee suddenly. His body was at its limit, the whirlwind was the last straw.

    Reed: ”Oh my, this looks bad for my team. Don't you think so too, Andrim? How about we even the odds a little, hmm? Don't worry, I bet you'll like it just as much as I will.”

    Reed's arms had been close by this whole time, and now they finally appeared. They shot right at Minathiel who could barely even saw them coming. The arms clutched right into her throat, slowly starting to strangle her. They also extended and bind her arms so that she couldn't do any magic. The water copies were thus rendered useless since Minathiel couldn't control them anymore. Reed grinned deviously as his eyes were fixed at Minathiel.

    Reed: ”Say.. Why don't we make this a tad more interesting, hmm?”
    Reed lowered his voice for the next part, he didn't want everyone to hear what he was going to say to Andrim.
    Reed: ”I noticed something about you when you answered to Minathiel. Something about you changed.. that calm, cold demeanor of yours seemed to twitch with.. contempt? Perhaps you have a grudge against her? I won't make any hasty assumptions, but that alone would make you a very interesting person in my book. In any case, you wish to know what my part is in all of this, correct? I'll answer, I wouldn't want you to call me a liar, now would I?”

    Reed took a deep breath and then continued, still strangling Minathiel slowly. Nilak was unaware of the situation, he was still too fatigued. Only the moon elf was without a restriction, she would also hear Reed's next speech.

    Reed: ”Don't worry about Minathiel yet Andrim, we'll get to her in a jiffy. Now then, what's my purpose here? Hmm.. Well, let's just say that there are certain people in this world of ours who want Nilak's little rebellion to succeed. I represent these people.. anonymously of course. I suppose I am an insurance policy of sorts. There are lots of big players in this game, I wonder if you can even imagine the scale of things right now? The look on your face tells me you don't.”
    Minathiel: ”Release.. me at once!”
    Reed: ”Oh my, I suppose I should do something about you priestess. Say.. Andrim, time to prove your loyalty to Minathiel Amar and the elders. What is Minathiel's fate? Your choice.. Heh heh.”
    Minathiel: ”Andrim.. ?”
    Reed ignored the moon elf's presence nearby however he knew she might try to interfere.

    Meanwhile in the depths of the forest of Auburn.

    Valham had crashlanded on a small clearing, he was still alive and breathing. The location was one of the toughest to get into because the trees were sturdy and plentiful. It was hard to navigate through them without getting hopelessly lost. Valham's surroundings were covered in burned trees, it was caused by surges of fire that escaped from his body at a random rate because the Emerald was removed. He would live if he could rest now in peace. Unfortunately his rest was denied from him since winged creatures suddenly descended from the sky and circled him. With his functioning eye, Valham could make out who they were.

    Valham: ”Inuiks.. What is.. your purpose here?”

    The leader of the pack descended all the way down and landed near Valham's head. The Inuik had all the same traits as every other Inuik: eagle head, human torso and bull's legs. However this Inuik had black feathers oddly mixed up with the normal white feathers. It clearly suggested he was someone of more importance to them. The leader peered into Valham's eye before responding.

    ???: ”Your death, God of Winds.”

  19. #69
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    Vita decided it was best to examine the situation that seemed ever changing around her. Her immediate surroundings consisted of one fallen golem, one severely injured golem, and one idiotic golem who constantly aided Margni in the destruction of the injured golem. Therefore, it wouldn't take much longer to finish all three of them off. Keeping a safe distance away from the action was a collection of finely dressed men. Vita could only assume their role was to observe, since they hadn't budged once. Not that it bothered her. For all she knew, the men wouldn't know who to attack. After all, Vita kept her restraint on Margni despite her growing exhaustion.

    Wiping away sweat and stifling her panting, Vita gazed at the location where the hostage and Andrim stood. Having had decided to ignore the question regarding her name, Vita turned away from Andrim. She did, however, glimpse the knife threatening the armless criminal, which seemed ironic in so many ways. Instead, Vita made note of who might have sent the observers. Stepping down and away from a palla was a beautiful woman. Curled locks of gold wavered around a white dress with actual gold accentuating her attire. Vita knew the woman was familiar, but when she figured out why, Minathiel began interrogating the hostage. It turned out that his name was Ramvil, an accomplice of Nilak and the others. Minathiel wasted no time claiming he was a Tainted, at which Margni couldn't conceal his laughter.

    "There is little humor in these events. Besides, that...Ramvil, he may very well be Tainted. I have heard there being many forms of Tainted. I am still not convinced the authority of someone such as Minathiel could convert an elf into a Tainted."

    "Do keep your stubborness to a minimum. Moon elves have but their intellect to be proud of in terms of innate capabilities. You will soon discover the power of law, and the consequence of breaking it."

    Margni paused, tilting his head for a reply that never came. There was no use arguing with a creature like Margni, and Vita discovered that she was still bothered by someone else: Andrim. In a way, Andrim was like Margnil. Logic over truthfulness, and hostility over hospitality. The difference was that Vita couldn't restrain Andrim. In order to get any information, keeping Margni active and relying on Minathiel's authority were Vita's only options. Of course, neither of these options seemed to be working. Margni could easily deal with the golems quickly if so desired, but he found Vita's fatigue more interesting to rush things along. As for Minathiel, she might have better luck interrogating a killer clown.

    What was even more infuriating about the whole scenerio was how Andrim addressed Minathiel. Honestly, was status such a powerful weapon? From the way he addressed Minathiel to the way he earnestly recounted all that he witnessed. Besides, the guards that Minathiel supposedly sent to help Vita were standing idly by, no doubt inching closer to look all the braver. At any rate, Vita now knew where Ramvil came from, what his relationship with Nilak and the others might be, as well as the possibility of another ally or so behind the scene.

    ******Slightly Elsewhere******

    Oren decided to pick up the duty Vita suddenly dropped: waiting for Elrik to respond. Back, forth. Back, forth. The moment Vita ran off to investigate...what was it again? A crash? Whatever decided to beat up Elrik's jellyfish? Or was it the guy named Andrim? Well, Vita's absence rekindled the strange pacing of silence. Elrik paid no mind to what was happening to his jellyfish, his focus mostly on Kinrai. So, when Kinrai finally did utter a sound, Elrik was the first to hear it. Before speaking a single word, Elrik bolted to Kinrai's side to check for any other sign of waking.

    "Hm. His heart rate seems just right. It's no longer slowed. In fact--!"

    Suddenly, Elrik threw himself backwards, as if some force knocked him to the ground. Oren was just about to ask what had Elrik all in a panic when Elrik stood on his feet and blocked Kinrai from view. Even Mina knew not to overstep her curiousity, yet Oren was certain he saw red skin before fire swallowed Kinrai's body. Mien clutched onto Xan's arm and managed to shield Fieyira's eyes from the flames engulfing Kinrai's body. Still, Amelia screamed in terror and Mien couldn't control her quivering body.

    "Okay. This is clearly a sign that none of you are safe here anymore. Quickly, get on the jellyfish." Elrik took a deep breath and hauled everyone on the jellyfish. Elrik's eyes widen as Kinrai rose to his feet. All the words Vita used to describe Kinrai fell flat based on what was now present. Murderous eyes. Raging flames. Humorless lips. The blades swirling about Kinrai's body weren't very inviting either. Obviously, Vita would have to find her own way out of danger. But how?

    "Oren, you must stay here and alert Vita. Tell her the Weiss family is no longer in harms way!"

    Oren's face grew pale as he took in the obsidian contraption on Kinrai's right arm. Truly, Kinrai looked every ounce of a monster. Any other time, Oren would have fled, staying out of the way of such a dangerous person. But then he thought of Vita. Vita, who hardly knew the definition of friendship, let alone what having a friend means. How would her fragile heart interprete Kinrai's...wraith? Knowing time was running out, Oren gave a quick nod to Elrik before zipping off towards Vita. Unfortunately, so was Kinrai!

    ******Back to Vita******

    All around her, the ground and sky vibrated with such a force, Vita couldn't help but kneel down from the shock. Not only had a dragon as treasured as Valham been defeated, but the cries of the native animals filled Vita with dread. Smoke rose into the air, signalling a spontaneous fire undoubtably belonging to Valham. The beaten up threesome were finally done with what they came to do, but no cheers greeted them. In fact, Vita could almost imagine herself tearing them apart with insults, only someone stopped her. Kinrai.

    "Kinrai, you are--ah." Joy was instantly replaced with confusion. No, there were other emotions as well, but Vita couldn't place them. All she knew was that her heart felt like it was being shredded into specks of dust. Something trapped away the Kinrai Vita had come to know. A split personality? Another soul? Vengeance? The icy chains on Margni started to falter with each step Kinrai took away from her. It took all of her remaining will and the arrival of Oren to keep the icy chains from vanishing completely.

    "That's not Kinrai! Don't you dare think you've lost him, either!"

    "I've lost him...?" For some reason, it took awhile for the meaning to register. Kinrai was physically present, but mentally...was he still there? There was something truly frightening about the Kinrai Vita just met. Destructive. Forlorn. As if all that mattered were those that betrayed him. As if all other ties were long forgotten. And what were Nilak and Minathiel saying? What did Andrim think of the person Vita was suppose to protect?

    "Vita, get a hold of yourself! Do you want Margni to end your life right here, right now? If so, how is that fair?!"

    Slowly, Vita began to regain her composure. In order to block out what was happening to Kinrai, who was targeting him and how Kinrai in turn defended and assaulted his opponents, Vita locked on the remaining golems. Without speaking a word, Vita glared up at Margni before rushing at the least injured golem herself. The wild one. Not only stupid, but truly aggressive towards its prey. It didn't take long for the dimwit to switch from Margni to Vita, pounding into the spots Vita previously stood. Meanwhile, Margni played with the wounded golem, tiring it out and adding to the pile of its crumbled remains.

    Just as Vita was about to finish off her golem with Halo of Antics, Vita stopped herself. Hearing Nilak's name, Vita's head jerked towards the source of the call. Balthazar. Struggling from Balthazar's grasp was Kinrai, struck in several areas and incapable of moving thanks to a net of vines. That's when Vita realized how much she missed. Clones of Minathiel on standby. An ominous blade raised in Nilak's hands. Nilak, a proclaimed Tainted, was about to stab Kinrai! But why? Was it true? Was there really no trace of Kinrai -- the REAL Kinrai -- left inside his possessed body?

    "Oh, how I wish to engrave that expression of horror upon my mind all the while these forsaken events carry forth, but the conditions of my summoning are over. Farewell, my skittish morsel."

    Only rubble remained of the three golems summoned by Ramvil. Oren began rambling about how Elrik escaped with the Weiss family and that leaving would be best, but Vita didn't budge. No matter how Vita looked at Kinrai, he was dead. Killed by the very elf he came to meet. Worse, Kinrai didn't want to come originally. And yet...

    "It was my fa--"

    "...Good thing there are plenty of healers. Kinrai will be resurrected in no time! So, there's really no reason to stick around. I mean, no offense, but you're healing skills suck, Vita."


    "Yeah. There was that time my wing--"

    "I am not referring to healing. Oren, is it true Kinrai can be revived?"

    "That's what that guy said."

    It took them both surprise to see the state Minathiel was in. Choking. Gasping for air that wouldn't come. Even without knowing the details, Vita was able to make the connection between an armless Ramvil and the arms that stole Minathiel's breath away. Worse, all the other eyes were locked on Andrim, as if he was expected to act. Would he? The scent of death proved that murder was nothing to Andrim, or at least watching someone die. Then there was the way he treated those of status. Would he act for Minathiel's sake, or do something entirely unexpected? At any rate, Vita wasn't in any condition -- mentally, mostly -- to risk not only Ramvil, but Nilak, Balthazar, and Falteer ganging up on her. But it was wrong to just stand aside, like those useless guards.

    "Enough..." All the drama had practically taken Vita's voice away, so she tried again. "Is it not enough?! Valham has been slain, bringing with his defeat the lives of many animals who resided in the now burning trees. And Kinrai. I have no idea what has happen to Kinrai, but I know what will happen to Minathiel. Does her death have reason as well? Will I be next? Then Elrik? The Weiss family?" Somehow, tears began to form around Vita's eyes, but she didn't blink them away. "I...I should have never brought Kinrai here, had I known how horrible his master and seniors would be! But that match in the coliseum, when Balthazar saved the lives of the audience from that stray boulder--! All of you are despicable!"

    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

  20. #70
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    During the short time Andrim had spoken to his captive Balthazar had joined the fray with Kinrai. Realizing Minathiel spoke to him he tried to pay attention to both to the battle and his supposed ruler. Something he found to be but a waste of time, he already had his full rights to interrogate his captive. But he couldn’t refuse a slight smile as he listened to Nilaks explanation with half an ear.

    The moment one stumbled from the slight path, people make mistakes, nobody’s perfect. What an explanation, he could imagine it. “I just made a small mistake, nobody’s perfect; I killed Valham in a moment of confusion!” Ridiculous and even more amusing as Nilak was finally officially tainted, the fall of Valham, added with the blow he’d taken both from the wind and the imminent impact with the tree which still felt sore left him little sympathy for the champion. Not even Ramvil refusing to answer him and mouthing of bothered him much.

    As Minathiel prepared for battle by summoning four water elementals Andrim took a few careful steps backwards, he had no intention of getting dragged into their fight if avoidable. During the time all this had transpired Balthazar had somehow made a copy of himself, only for both copy and original to be swept away by Kinrais flames. Just when it all seemed to be over for Balthazar the apprentice slammed his feet down making Kinrai lose his balance.

    Then it was truly over. One of the Balthazar’s held Kinrai as the other Balthazar rammed his fist into Kinrai’s stomach before slamming his face down into the earth and summoned vines to hold him down.
    Nilak finally took action, summoning a blade pulsing with power. And with a hearth sinking feeling in his gut Andrim watched as Nilak killed his own apprentice. At least it was a clean cut, the healers should have no trouble to close it and then resurrect Kinrai. Something Nilak himself confirmed. Still, Andrim had to force himself to shut up. Logically he knew Kinrai would be fine, yet emotionally he’d never been able to accept that somebody dead could be resurrected.

    Either way, Nilak would pay. In the state he was in he had no chance against Minathiel. Andrims previous action to take a few step backwards proved a good idea as Nilak launched a furious whirlwind to throw the elementals upwards, not enough to cause any harm to them but enough for his two accomplices’s to run off. Andrim didn’t even bother to try to stop them, as for now they were not important and he was not stupid enough to try to fight the arena champion’s two apprentices at once even if they were injured. Balthazar had proven that he was far from harmless yet. Unlike the current state of his master, that whirlwind appeared to have been his last act.

    ”Oh my, this looks bad for my team. Don't you think so too, Andrim? How about we even the odds a little, hmm? Don't worry, I bet you'll like it just as much as I will.”
    Raising his eyebrow Andrim suddenly remembered something as two arms jumped and restrained Minathiel, swift and agile as snakes. Direya had said that he had dispatched his arms somewhere. Before Andrim could act out on his last ounce of patience having run out for this man who kept giving him reasons to kill him at every chance his captive spoke once more. This was a waste of time. He didn’t know if what he had said was true or not, and while this organization he spoke of could be something to look deeper into in the future it was enough to know he noticed his hate for the priestess. This had turned out pretty well after all. He would kill Ramvil and earn Minathiels trust. That was before one fateful forming of letters escaped Minathiels mouth.


    She’d dare call him by his first name! Finally something snapped within him, he was tired of pretending, tired of having to wait, tired of having to be patient and tired of having to make plans. The opportunity was right there in front of him, it was his time to act at last. That was, he knew as he watched the moon elf and Minathiels two guards, if he was allowed to.
    Taking a breath he lowered his voice, if anybody besides Ramvil heard this he’d be in trouble.

    “Ramvil I almost wish I killed you the moment I saw you. But I make you a deal, conceal us somehow. Use your arms to produce a sandstorm, make us invisible I don’t care. I give you thirty seconds. If you can’t I be forced to fulfill my previous threats”

    He didn’t even know if it was possible for Ramvil to do something in his current state, but if he couldn’t then that was that. Counting in his mind he was interrupted at the count of twenty three by a soft voice. He hadn’t noticed the moon elf returning back to Kinrai’s now unmoving side. Her voice shook but whether from sadness or anger he couldn’t tell. Andrim couldn’t help but pity her despite the harsh words he’d said to her earlier, a naive moon elf who came into a situation which had nothing to do with her. Before he could respond everything went black. Blinking did not change the darkness, but he could still feel Ramvil and his dagger. Yet it was as if somebody had stolen all light from the world, well not quite all he had to admit as he snapped his fingers to produce a flame. Fery red and orange dancing at the tip of his hand. Minathiel was there too, so was her water elementals who now stood still, but everyone else was gone.

    The land was not so very different from the glade they’d been in moments ago. Yet something felt wrong. Even with the light of his fire his surroundings seemed dull and dark. More so than the clouded night sky above should make possible. Letting Ramvil go, somehow he had fulfilled his part, Andrim took a few steps forward and bent down to further inspect the grass. Even with his fire just above the ground he could not see any hint of color. All the grass was in different shades of black and grey, not a single green strand to be found. The trees were similarly lacking in color, only being in white and shades of grey. And beyond his light the shadows danced, what worried him was that he couldn’t tell if they were real or not. Were they truly just the shadows created by his light in this strange place or something else entirely?

    That didn’t matter now he decided as he set his eyes on the prize. Besides his footsteps and the wind there were no sounds to be heard, maybe those shadows outside were just that, shadows. But then why did they make his hair stand on end? Pushing the thoughts back in his mind he bent down.

    “Truth be told Minathiel I’m not quite sure what to say. Should I scream at you, curse you, maybe I should insult your parents? I dreamed of this moment for so long but now that it finally is here I feel strangely calm. But by now you should wonder how a simple servant of the law could do this” Seating himself down he placed the dagger beside him and wriggled his now free hand in between Minathiels throat and the arm choking her, he wouldn’t let her pass out now.

    “For you to understand I need to tell you a story. I’m not sure how much time we have so I try to keep it brief but I want you to know why I’m doing this”. He settled himself down a bit more comfortably before continuing. “131 years ago my companion and I had just finished one of our usual speeches in the very city we were in tonight. You see we were against this system you cherish so. Where a single elf, a high elf, can together with the council hold power over all elves. Then there’s you Minathiel, the moon priestess also holding a considerable amount of power, also a high elf. By now you should understand what I’m saying. That was what we protested against, the power we high elves hold. What we wanted both in the council and the priesthood was a dark and moon elf representing their own kind. Perhaps the dark elves and moon elves earn the equality and respect they deserve then. Who knows, but it was what we wanted”

    Plucking some grass he carefully scrolled it between his fingers before he blew away the strands, soon lost in the sea of gray and black. “How that would turn out, we were never allowed to know. While we walked back from that speech 131 years ago, an elf, I never learned his name, assaulted us. Enria she…” Breathing in he continued, he wouldn’t stop now
    “She sacrificed her own life to save mine, as did my fairy Inrya. After that I killed the bastard but for them, the injuries were far too great. Of Inrya nothing but ashes remained and Enria had her head cut in half. They couldn’t be resurrected. Afterwards, I needed answers, but no matter how long I searched I never figured out who was responsible. Maybe the bastard acted alone, but there was one thing I realized. Who had the most to lose? You, for one did have everything to lose. Of course, now I realize we couldn’t possibly have changed anything with simple speeches, but perhaps you were worried. Perhaps we were an annoyance so you sent that elf. I wonder, did you?”

    Suddenly he grew aware of how the shadows had crept closer towards them, trying to stretch their flickering forms towards them. His fireball had somehow faded in color and the light with it. Focusing it grew in size and turned into its original orange and red dancing shape and the light returned with it, reinforcing the line keeping the shadows at bay. Were they truly just a trick of the light? And was it equally a trick that his hand seemed grayer as well? Upon closer inspection all color on him had dulled. He wasn’t in the habit of wearing colorful clothing but even the brown on his shirt and robe had turned into a brown grey mix. He’d better finish this quickly, something was very wrong with this place.

    “I am aware that it’s possible you didn’t do it. And if you didn’t, even if that elf was a single madman, even if somebody else sent him, they did it to protect the order you two represent. And if I kill you I hurt whoever did it, or I get the one responsible”. Removing his hand from Minathiels throat he grasped his knife, studying it. Funny how such a small thing would soon plunge so many elves into despair. The moon elf from before crossed his mind, what had she called them, despicable? One couldn’t help but smile at how right she was. He truly was no better than Nilak.

    “This is your last chance to stop Andrim. If you do this it will mark all elves”
    Direya fluttered into view, as everything else her usual deep blue color had faded into a dull light blue.

    “So you managed to come. This here is Enrias fairy that I formed a bond with after her death. My companion and conscience for over a century. You know Minathiel even after what happened she always tried to talk me out of this, you should be glad. I can’t say what I do to you if not for her. As for your question Direya, no. You know it’s too late. Now is it anything you wish to say to her before I finish this?”

    “Only this. If it was you I never forgive you, still, but I am sorry it had to end this way. If only for the rest of the elves"

    “Truly spoken” Andrim said as he further fuelled the flames until they were almost too hot even for him to hold at arm’s length. His hand itself would have long since gotten burnt if not for the magic that fuelled the fire acted as a barrier between the flames his hand, but the rest of him was a different story.

    “Before I kill you Minathiel I want to tell you some last things. Have no hope of getting resurrected, I make sure that won’t happen. And I want you to know that you almost survived today, I would have slit Ramvils throat if not for one thing. You calling me by my first name. That’s all it took for me to change my mind. Now, it is time for you, the moon priestess to die in this forsaken place with not even your goddess of the moon to watch over you” With a grimace he brought the flame closer to him, setting it between himself and Minathiel. Satisfied he did what he dreamt of for so many years.

    Raising the dagger he savored the moment until he brought it down with all the force of a century of emotions finally broken free. The light swiftly fled Minathiels eyes as her life seeped out from the wound. That was not the end of it though, he continued, stabbing and slicing, focusing on maiming her face and brain beyond repair. Blood sprouted but any droplets that got close to staining him instantly turned in the heat of his flame. If only his teachers knew he use one of their lessons to turn water into vapor for this one day. Satisfied with his work he extinguished the flame, cleaned his blade on the corpse’s clothes, spit on it to get rid of the rest of the blood and stood up and summoned his flame once more.

    The former moon priestess was in a sorry state, not only for the injuries but as her life left her so had all color. She was now equally colored as the rest of this cursed land. This was a sight he never would forget he knew. But he couldn't allow himself to savor the moment just yet.

    “You’re done?”

    Direya had had her back turned towards him during the whole process.

    “Yes and no. Because now it is up for me to either die or be allowed to live” Walking towards Ramvil he braced himself for what he was about to do. While he hadn’t been looking Ramvils arms had came back to him and sat well and fixed on him. One would never have imagined for them to have been separated mere moments ago.

    “Ramvil, I don’t trust you but for the moment I have to. If I come out of here unscathed with Minathiel dead questions might arise and I can’t risk being suspected. You on the other hand are a different story, everyone already believe you to be tainted. So, you managed to overpower me and then killed Minathiel, that’s the story I wish to tell. Of course I need some injury to show” Trying not to think of what he was doing he turned the dagger towards his chest and rammed it inside. Sagging down on his knees he waited for the shock to disappear and be replaced with, ah there it was. Clenching his teeth he tried not to cry out as he drew out the dagger. Keeping one hand on the wound to stem the tide of fluid escaping him.

    “Andrim what the hell are you doing?!”

    “What I need to in order to avoid suspicion” He threw the dagger to Ramvil before continuing, forcing his words through his teeth’s. He thought he hadn’t stabbed himself into anything vital but he was beginning to doubt his anatomical knowledge.
    “The roles are reversed. You could kill me now, only to take the blame for both mine and Minathiels deaths. Or you let me live and take the blame for her death and we could discuss your offer in the future, but I will not take the blame for her death. My faith is now in your hands.
    Last edited by Befram; 03-12-2012 at 07:48 AM.

  21. #71
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    A few weeks ago

    Riverna, the city in the sky, homeworld of the Inuiks. There are 5 main islands that the Inuiks use, the rest are smaller ones which mostly contain single establishments. On one of the main islands resides the palace of the current shaman: Yiazma. The shaman's role before the banishment of Xarxes was to choose who were the next sacrifices. The shaman was also the only one who was allowed to make contact with Xarxes. These days the shaman's role is just to lead the people and act as their guide like any leader. Yiazma became the shaman over 50 years ago, right after the last shaman had been murdered in mysterious circumstances. The culprit was never found and the only evidence they managed to dig up was a single piece of black cloth with blood on it.

    Yiazma was resting in his quarters on the top of the palace. Suddenly the door to his quarters opened and in walked a figure clad in a dark robe. Only the elf's bright green eyes could be seen underneath his hood. Yiazma recognized the person and showed them where to sit before looking out of the window and towards the city. The city was bustling with Inuiks since it was still early morning. The morning was the only free time the Inuiks had since the rest of the day was committed to work. After you were done with work, you'd return home and pretty much go to sleep instantly. Vacations or days off were unknown to them, in fact those words were largely unknown to everyone on Amn.

    Yiazma had the mark of the shaman on his forehead, like every shaman before him. The mark was a small golden disc which reflected sunlight brilliantly. Yiazma was clad in the traditional Inuik robe which exploded with color. Shades of purple, green, blue and yellow could be seen all around the robe in varying forms. It was hard to keep your eyes away from it.

    Yiazma: ”Renault, you've returned. How fares Monark?”
    Yiazma's voice was stern, filled with dignity and unshakable pride.
    Renault: ”Well, the Elder Council is more than concerned of you and your people, shaman.”
    Renault's voice however was the exact opposite, the way he addressed Yiazma as shaman was almost mocking. Yiazma however brushed it off, he was not one who could be swayed with words.
    Yiazma: ”Concerned as in they worry about our health, or that they fear we might start a war?”
    Renault: ”The latter one I'm afraid.”
    Yiazma: ”I see. Did you have something else?”
    Yiazma wasn't the talkative type. In fact his personality was similar to that of Kinos Alte's. Renault had gotten used to his type of personality through his years of service however.

    Renault: ”In fact I do have something. Kinos Alte, the elven spokesman, is devising a revolution with Nilak Venotre, the elven hero. I'm certain you're familiar with him.”
    Yiazma: ”Nilak Venotre.. Yes, he was the one who fought against my son in the old colosseum. I believe he was also partly the cause of the old colosseum's destruction? What does this revolution have to do with me and my people?”
    Renault: ”They are attacking the drag-.. Gods. They plan to take their soul crystals and use them to open the barrier that seals away the Netherworld. The whole of Amn will be against those two in their endeavor. They need support.”
    Yiazma: ”.. Why should I bother myself with the elves? Their business is not mine to deal with, even if it affects the Gods.”
    Yiazma's disdain towards the elves was clear from his words. Inuiks in general didn't care much about the other races. Renault sighed first before finally sitting down next to a small desk.

    Renault: ”.. Alright, let's play it your way then. You owe me a big favour, shaman. Lest you've forgotten how you came to be a shaman.. ?”
    Renault nibbled the side of his hood, boasting a grin in the darkness underneath it.
    Yiazma: ”You're brave for challenging me with that, Renault. However if you want our relationship to stay friendly, I advice you to never threaten me again.”
    Renault: ”With friends like these, who needs enemies? Isn't that right, shaman?”
    Yiazma: ”.. Hmph. When will they initiate the plan?”
    Renault: ”Caught your interest, shaman? During the night of the next Moon Day, about two weeks from this day.”
    Yiazma: ”Very well. You may take your leave, Renault.”
    Renault: ”Before that.. If the need ever arises, don't hesitate to summon me with this. Just pour some magic into it so that it activates, that's all you need to do. Farewell, shaman.”

    Renault handed a beacon to Yiazma and then vanished into thin air. As soon as Renault disappeared, an Inuik stepped inside Yiazma's quarters. The Inuik bore both black and white feathers, he had a very royal look about him. Before the Inuik managed to speak, Yiazma opened a drawer and dropped the oval shaped beacon there.

    ???: ”Father. Are you really going to help the elves?”
    Yiazma: ”To an extent.. You will take the lead and assist Nilak if need be. If the plan actually succeeds and Nilak manages to collect all the soul crystals.. Then you will strike him down. That will make you the new hero of Amn and we may proceed to resurrect the God of Skies.”
    ???: ”Nilak is powerful Father, probably the most powerful elf among the people of Amn. I don't think I can defeat him.”
    Yiazma: ”You fought Terra and survived.”
    ???: ”And yet I lost.”
    Yiazma: ”Terra was a monstrous human being, the fact that you got out with minor injuries is remarkable enough. Nilak was seriously injured during his fight with Terra.”
    ???: ”Yes, but Nilak also managed to injure Terra. Their battle was much more even than mine and Terra's.”
    Yiazma: ”Who says your fight must be a fair one? Overpower Nilak if need be. Strike a blade into his back while he's not watching. It is as simple as that.”
    ???: ”But Father.. !! That's-- !!”
    Yiazma: ”Enough! You are my son, Loki, the most powerful Inuik to ever have flown in the skies of Amn. Believe in yourself! Believe in me! Believe in the Gods!”
    Loki: ”.. Yes, Father.”
    Yiazma: ”Soon.. Soon everything will be back to the way it was. Our fathers are smiling to us.”
    Loki bowed before leaving the room.


    In the depths of the forest of Auburn an execution was at hand. Valham was barely breathing, such was his exhaustion. The fact that these Inuiks had suddenly arrived, as if on some cue, made Valham wonder just how far had Nilak sunk? Had he become a merciless dragonslayer? Or was there someone else who wanted the dragons dead? The proud Inuik leader finally talked after observing Valham for a long time.

    Loki: ”I, Loki, the son of Yiazma the Shaman, shall send your soul to the Netherworld where the God of Skies shall devour it and regain his strength.”
    Valham: ”You.. believe that Xarxes, God of Skies as you refer to him, is without.. his strength.. ?”
    Loki: ”He is, God of Winds. It is our duty as his loyal followers to restore him to his full might.”
    Valham: ”You will only.. doom yourselves by releasing Xarxes from his.. prison.”
    Loki: ”Herecy and lies coming from the mouth of a God. How could you betray your own kin?"
    Valham: ”I never betrayed my kin for he never was one to begin with.”
    Loki: ”Your words make no sense. Rest now, and become one with the God of Skies!”

    Loki raised his spear high up, signaling all the Inuiks to attack. In an instant, twelve spears pierced through Valham's skin.. and thus, Valham was no more. The surges of fire that had earlier escaped underneath Valham's skin suddenly activated into a constant stream of green fire. Loki ordered everyone to back down, he wasn't sure what was going on. The stream of green fire gathered into a single spot and formed into a very hazy figure, as you can expect if the figure was made of fire. The figure had a humanoid form and a pair of golden eyes, there was not much else one could make out. The green fire 'sprite' looked at Loki for a while before blasting off into the direction of the Chasm of Terra. Loki was in awe, he couldn't believe his eyes.

    Loki: ”.. Was that the soul of the God of Winds? .. Hm! Leave no trace of your existance here! No one must know until the proper time comes. Our next target is the God of Eternal Fire!”

    Reed could hear Andrim almost snicker at Nilak's justification for doing what he had done. Admittably, Reed agreed with Andrim. Nilak's out cry about people not being perfect was overshadowed with the simple little fact that he just killed Valham, one of the beings regarded as gods in the world of Amn. If it was anyone else who had for example only stolen an apple or such, it would've worked. It appeared as if Nilak had lost common sense in his pursuit of the truth.

    Reed was surprised of how calculative Andrim was. Then again it made sense, Andrim would've been a fool to attack Minathiel in the presence of all these witnesses. Andrim told Reed how much he would want to see him dead, yet still Andrim wished to strike a deal with Reed. Andrim gave Reed thirty seconds to conceal them from view of the others. Reed didn't hesitate in acting.

    Reed: ”So be it, Andrim.”

    Suddenly darkness started seeping from underneath Reed's cloak, quickly enveloping the whole world around the three of them. Only moments later everything turned dark, the only light was coming from the fire Andrim had lit on his hand. Reed took a few deep breaths, it had been some time since he was last here: the Dark Realm. The Dark Realm was Reed's own slice of heaven. It was a place which felt like home to him. The trick to the Dark Realm was that even though the world around seemed different, it actually wasn't. All three of them were still in the same place, in Valham's nest, only they had jumped on another layer so to speak. No one else would be able to see them here.

    The best way to recognize the Dark Realm was how every single color had been replaced by different shades of gray and black. It was like experiencing a bright light after a long sleep except instead of light it was darkness. Andrim seemed confused at first, and so was Minathiel. Who could blame them? The Dark Realm was a place where your own imagination was your greatest enemy. The feeling of isolation and loneliness were common, something which Reed had learned to deal with.

    Reed: ”I suggest you keep this brief, Andrim. This place is not good for your health.”

    Andrim lost his interest with Reed momentarily and even let him go. It seemed Andrim had thirsted for revenge against Minathiel longer than Reed had thought. At first Andrim was at a loss what he would say to Minathiel, yet the words still didn't stop. Andrim had regained his calm composure and was clearly on top of things. Reed grinned devilishly in the background, his light green eyes glimmering in the darkness. He was enjoying what he saw, and wouldn't dare to interrupt Andrim now. Minathiel on the other hand could only listen to Andrim's tragic tale.

    Andrim's speech was interrupted every once in a while as he checked his surroundings, his mind was clearly playing tricks with him. Reed stood still and only observed. Andrim's tale didn't seem to have an effect on him. However the more Reed knew about Andrim the more he became interested about him. Andrim certainly had the potential and attitude but Reed had to see how he would deal with Minathiel.

    Andrim revealed how he actually had the similar ideals as Nilak had, however he was only concerned about the elves. He was against the Elder Council system too, to an extent. He, and his late lover, wanted equality between the dark elves and the high elves. It was rather interesting since Andrim himself was a high elf, it was rare to see a high elf concerned about dark elves. The first step toward this goal was to have a dark elf council member. Their protest however ended in a tragedy caused by an elf who still remains anonymous. Both Andrim's lover and fairy were slain by this mystery elf and this is how Andrim began harboring hatred within himself, just like Kinrai.

    Andrim's reasoning led him to believe that the mystery elf was an assassin sent by one of the higher-ups, Minathiel being one of them. Soon after that Andrim's fairy appeared, it seemed she had been sucked into the Dark Realm too. She was against Andrim's actions, acting like a conscience to Andrim which he admitted himself. Her complaints fell to deaf ears though. Moments later Andrim ended Minathiel's life, she never had the chance to say anything back at Andrim. Reed clapped his hands lightly, his arms had slithered their way back to where they belonged.

    That was finally when Andrim turned his attention back to Reed. Andrim was blunt and said immediately that he didn't trust Reed.

    Reed: ”Distrusting me was one of the smartest things you've done today, Andrim.”

    Nilak's eyes flung open and he raised his head. He had somehow lost conciousness but he still hadn't fallen on the ground, he was still on one of his knees. Nilak slowly got up and saw Reed, Minathiel and Andrim had disappeared. It was puzzling to say the least, only moments ago Minathiel was about to attack Nilak and yet now she was nowhere to be seen. The thought that Reed had his hands in this passed through Nilak's mind, it certainly wouldn't be surprising considering how mysterious he was.

    Nilak could see how the forest had become quiet all of a sudden. Birds didn't sing their songs, water didn't run in the rivers, the wind didn't play with the leaves of the trees.. It was as if the whole forest had frozen still. It felt like it was mourning Valham, but why? Nilak was sure Valham was still alive unless.. Nilak brushed off the thought.

    Nilak: ”If only there was another way..” Nilak's attention was suddenly drawn to the only witness of this whole ordeal.

    The moon elf and her fairy were still on the scene. She had finally opened her mouth only moments before Balthazar and Falteer had escaped. She confronted the three of them instead of judging them right from the spot like Minathiel and Andrim. Perhaps she wasn't as familiar with the law, nevertheless her words stung like a blade through Nilak's heart. Undoubtedly Balthazar and Falteer felt the same. It was one of the reasons Nilak felt so fatigued all of a sudden. It also appeared she was the one who told Kinrai to come, Nilak wasn't mad though, he didn't have the right to be mad about that.

    Nilak: ”.. I know you must hate me but I beg you, grant me a single request, moon elf. Not for my sake, but for Kinrai's sake. Please take him back to Nayru. He needs a healer who can resurrect him. Liana, Kinrai's mother, is a good healer, she will undoubtedly do everything in her power to resurrect Kinrai.


    Please help Kinrai, he is struggling to contain the hatred within himself. You saw it, didn't you? He needs someone who he can trust since I'm no longer that person. The more people there are who he can trust, the better he can contain that hatred. That wraith inside him is more powerful than I remembered. It must never be allowed to awaken again, lest Kinrai will be branded as a Tainted.

    Lastly.. Don't let him come after me. I know it won't be easy but.. I never want to fight him again.”

    Nilak had a pained expression on his face.

    After finishing his speech, Nilak turned around and faced the forest of Auburn.

    Nilak: ”I am deeply sorry for the grief I've caused. There is no hope of salvation for me anymore and I don't intend to beg for mercy. My mind is still clouded and thus I have to keep going. Mark my words, if the words of a Tainted one still matter to you, moon elf: I am not out to destroy the world of Amn.”

    With those words still hovering in the air, Nilak dashed into the thicket and soon resumed flying. His destination: the treacherous Nihil Mountains where Ik'har the ice dragon resides.

    Back in the Dark Realm

    Andrim continued and told Reed he would be suspected immediately if they just left like this. That's why Reed was to take the blame for Minathiel's death. Reed nodded silently and grinned as Andrim plunged his knife through his own chest. Andrim was more thorough than you'd imagine, he was more sincere than he let on. Direya of course shouted out but her concern seemed to fall on deaf ears again, Andrim was dead set in what he was doing.

    Reed: ”So, I caused that awfully painful wound on your chest and killed Minathiel? Aww.. I thought you'd want to take the credit for such a remarkable feat.” Reed said jestingly. He took the knife Andrim threw on the ground and knelt down next to him. Reed brushed the knife gently across Andrim's cheek before hiding the knife underneath his robe.

    Reed: ”Since you spared my life, I will spare yours. After all it's awfully hard to repay your debts to a dead man. Besides I'd love to welcome you to our little group of misfits and liars, you're a perfect fit among us! Ha!” Reed let out a short laugh before facing Minathiel.
    ”Now then.. only a few things remain I need to do here. First off..”

    A black blade grew from Reed's sleeve, mere inches above his arm, as he walked towards Minathiel's now deceased corpse. Even though Andrim had been thorough in making sure she couldn't be resurrected, Reed felt the need to finish the job so that nothing could bring her back. With a swift swing Reed cut off Minathiel's head. He followed the swing with a quick thrust through her heart, cutting it in half. The amount of blood would've shocked your average elf but since everything was the shade of gray, even blood seemed less intimidating. There was not even a slight hesitation in Reed's movements. It proved he had done it before, and most likely numerous times.

    Reed: ”Oh my, looks like my charm was too much for her to handle. She is awfully pretty though, shame such beauty was gone to waste by such an archaic mind. Oh well, you win some and you lose some. I deduce that Minathiel lost here." Reed said as he watched Minathiel's head roll around before flat out bursting out into laughter. Once his laughter settled down he continued. "Killing business is always so awfully messy with my skills though. If only I had the fire element I could just burn them to ashes and sweep them aside. Now then..”. Reed walked back and knelt down next to Andrim. He took a small white oval shaped object from his pocket and placed it in one of Andrim's pockets.

    Reed: ”Keep that with you, it'll make it easier for me to contact you. You can summon me with it if you just pour some magic into it. Use it if you deem my presence necessary. Try not to summon me into a situation where I might not walk out alive, okay? Good.” Reed tapped Andrim's cheek a few times with his hand before getting back up and turning around to face the darkness. ”The next time we meet you'll meet our leader, and I might even part with my real name to you. We can discuss about your initiation in more detail then. Take care now, Andrim. Oh! Keep an eye on Kinrai, won't you? It never hurts to now where that boy is headed next. Au revoir!”

    Suddenly the darkness lifted taking Reed with it. Andrim landed back with Minathiel's corpse where they had initially been: Valham's nest.

  22. #72
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    Tale of Askari Part 2 (20 years ago)

    The female elf crouched. Carefully she placed her gloves before her on the ground before she started to fiddle with her cloak. Against the sand of Onomu her skin had an eerie black color. Askari’s eyes narrowed slightly. He had only one chance. One chance to attack and make it back to town with something worthwhile. If he messed this up than Ajabu would never even let him in again. His twin brother was not as kind as his mother. He didn’t have an endless patience like Zuri, nor the never ending kindness. Ajabu wanted to be the best and he was not about to let his twin brother drag him down even if this meant sending the said brother away. Askari wondered for a moment if the rest of the family would miss him if he left. It would surely solve a lot of problems around the house.

    The female elf had now unbuckled her cloak and was spreading it out on the ground. She was moving her hands and there was a sudden flash of blue light. Unintentionally Askari shot backwards, his instincts telling him to run away from this strange display of power. He restrained himself immediately. What if she heard him? Trying to again be as quiet as possible Askari moved forwards again and peeked to the elf. She had risen again and fastened her cloak around her neck. Within seconds she was moving away from the beastkin. Nothing in her behavior was giving away that she had heard him.

    Askari let out a quiet breath which he had been holding for a couple of seconds. There was still a chance then. He crouched low and slowly started to follow the elf. He wondered briefly where she was going and how she had ended up in this deserted part of Onomu. There were not much strangers here and when they came they always moved through quickly. This elf seemed to share the same idea as the rest. She was walking with firm steps as if she had a pinpoint destination in mind which she was trying to reach before nightfall. Whatever this destination must be Askari was sure it wasn’t a village. For all he knew there were no villages around. Although… if he had wandered east like planned he should have closed in on Paku by now, but surely he hadn’t gone that way right?

    He ducked away behind a slumbering volcano as the elf slowed down her pace for a moment. She glanced around for a moment and then returned to her former walking speed.

    He needed a plan.

    Taking is eyes of the elf for a moment he scanned the landscape. If she was to continue north (or he assumed it to be north) like she was doing now she would eventually reach the rock formation that was now rising up in the distance. If he could manage to follow her unnoticed to that place he could overtake her while she was walking between the rocks. That way there would be less chance for her to escape, and thus more chance for him to collect his money. Askari nodded to himself. This was quite a suitable plan.

    He continued to follow the elf from the side for about an hour. During that time the elf didn’t increased her speed nor did she slow down. She seemed to have found herself a good pace and with determination she placed her steps. She hadn’t glanced around anymore, though she had pulled up her cap again, presumable to shield herself from the sand. Askari was getting optimistic. With her cap up like that there was no way she could look sideways without turning her head. This gave him the upper hand. If she would move her head he could hide before her eyes would reach the spot where he was residing. The rocks were getting closer, but at the same rate as the rocks grew bigger Askari’s nervousness grew. Could he actually attack her? They were very close now. Just a little bit longer.

    “You can come out now! You’re kind of obvious.”

    Askari abruptly came to a halt. Peeking past the hill he was hiding behind her looked to the elf. She was still walking forwards like nothing had happened. Still he was sure it was her who had spoken. He glanced around to look if there was anyone else around, but there was nobody. His gaze returned to the elf. Maybe if he just remained quiet for a minute or so she would think that it had been her imagination? He would be able to catch up in no time if she walked on like this. Yes, this probably would be the best course of action.

    The elf rubbed her eyes. She must have realized her mistake. Her fatigue must have taken a toll her. However suddenly the elf spun around on her heels and stared directly to the place where Askari was hiding. He ducked and pressed himself down to the ground. His breath hitched and he clamped a hand for his mouth to silence the sound. How did she know he was here? It was just not possible.

    Yet the elf called out. And she called out to him, he was sure of it.

    “Look 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 while 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 two hours.”

    The words died down in the empty land for a moment everything was quiet. Askari looked down on his hands. Somewhere in his head his mind was telling him she was right. His head slumped down on his chest. He had failed again. Suddenly though his eyes flared up again. At least he could still try something. Quickly he rose to his feet and sprinted to the top of the hill. He looked down on the elf. She was staring into the distance as if she had completely forgotten about him.

    “How did you know I was here?” He asked with a slightly trembling in his voice. Immediately the eyes of the elf were on him. He almost felt how she was taking him in, her eyes darting over his gawky figure. He knew he was dirty with sand and sweat: the result of a daylong search. A daylong failed search.

    Her face split into a smirk. “Well you were stamping around like an angry tamba so it wasn’t actually that hard.” She said while pushing her cap back. “You can’t escape my ears.”

    Askari’s face dropped, his spirit crushed. Well that proved again that he was a good for nothing hunter. Of course the dark pointy ears of the elf were especially good, but still telling him that he sounded like and angry tamba stung. It basically meant that she had heard him since the beginning and that she had just been waiting for him to come out to attack. Instead of him trapping her, she had woven a web around him.

    “So, what are ya doing here? I don’t recall a village being close by.”

    Askari looked away stubbornly. He was so not going to tell that he was lost. “I–”

    “You are lost, aren’t you?”

    Seriously could she read minds? Suspicious Askari glared to her. The elf laughed. “What’s so funny?” Askari said irritated.

    “Getting lost in your own country,” The elf hiccupped, “that is just too funny.” Askari frowned. Sure, it was a bit weird, but to laugh about it was weird too.

    “So,” the elf stated suddenly rather serious, “where do you come from?”

    Askari continued to stare down on her. Like he was going to tell her that. What, did she think he was stupid or something?

    “Oh come on don’t stare at me like that. It won’t help you and it won’t help me.” She smirked to him. “Or do you still think you have a chance in stealing this?” She petted her money pouch.

    No, he didn’t believe that. Askari was pretty sure that if he decided to attack right now he would end up death on the ground. He didn’t think this elf would hesitate to kill him. A sigh left his lips as he gave in. What was there to lose anyway? It was not like there was anything for him to return to now. Slowly he made his way of the hill towards the elf. She didn’t seem the least worried about her situation which made Askari think even more that she was probably stronger that she looked.

    “That is a good boy.” The elf mused. Askari gave a snarl and the elf pulled a straight face.

    “So you are lost.” The elf pointed out again (much to Askari’s dismay who rather had that she would stop remembering him of that fact). “The question is: can we get you home?”

    Askari gaped. Of all the things she could ask of him she was wondering if they could get him home? He shook his head. “I don’t think so.” He mumbled. “I don’t know which way I came from.”

    “No biggie.” The elf waved his comment away. “At least,” she tilted her head a bit to the left, “as long as you know where it is on a map.”

    “Sure I know that, but I don’t have a map with me-”

    “That is great! Well then where do you live? What the name of the town? Man I’m really glad I met you. I was beginning to think that there was nothing out here. That would be no good man. It would have been wasting my time.” The elf chattered as she unclipped her cloak again.

    “Eh…” Askari stared to her. She suddenly seemed to burst with energy.

    “I mean I knew that had to be something out here, since I found some traces now and then from Beastkin, but I never actually found the village. Everybody told me there was nothing here, but, you know, I just couldn’t believe that and here you are.” The elf looked up. “Nah anyway please show me where this town of yours is.”

    “I told you.” Askari said. He was getting fed up with this elf. “I don’t have a map so I can’t show you for I don’t know the directions.”

    “Who cares if you have a map or not.” The elf returned. “Unless you have a special, very interesting map that is. Me and Nyx would be glad to take that, wouldn’t we Nyx?”

    Immediately Askari was on guard. There was another person here? Someone who he hadn’t noticed. How could this have happened? Or was she bluffing? She must be for there was no one around. Askari was about to believe that she had tricked him when he saw two frail wings appear out of Vice’s hair. The wings moved a bit as if they were stiff and then a small fairy rose out of the white locks. Of course. Elves always had fairy partners with them.

    “-but since you clearly haven’t we will use mine.”

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

  23. #73
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    Ever so blissful was Inpa's journey towards Valham's nest. He kept skipping along a blurry forest road not even realizing he had missed Valham's nest an hour ago. Tolbi was skeptical and kept looking around his surroundings, he didn't seem content with how long the journey to the nest was. However Inpa shut Tolbi up immediately and kept skipping along. The little fairy would just have to trust his master's sense of direction for now.

    However after another hour had passed, Tolbi couldn't help but notice how the woods had become much darker. Even though the sun was barely even glimpsing from the horizon, it still should be brighter than this. The trees were in much thicker formations, it was hard to see through them. Now Tolbi was certain they had ventured too far into the forest of Auburn. He started pulling Inpa's ear in order to catch his focus.

    ”Inpa! INPA! Look around you! Do you have any idea where we are?!”
    ”Eh..” Inpa stopped his jolly skipping and started checking out his surroundings. After what seemed like ages to Tolbi, Inpa gave his answer based on his superior academic knowledge. ”We are in the forest of Auburn, Tolbi.” The imaginary crowd went wild because of Inpa's genius-level intellect.
    Tolbi slammed his own hand into his face and nearly cursed. ”Thank you Captain Obvious. Anything more you could add into this brilliant deduction of yours.. ?” Tolbi said with much sarcasm in his voice.

    Inpa held his chin with his hand and put on his 'puzzle face'. An immense brainstorm was taking place inside Inpa's head, and Tolbi only sighed fearing the worst. Once Inpa was ready, his eyes lit and he pointed his finger towards south.
    ”Did you notice how the whole forest has gone silent, Tolbi? Also did you notice how the animals seem to be running towards north? See here!” Inpa pointed towards a rabbit that raced through the forest as if it was escaping something. Soon Tolbi noticed lots of different wildlife were doing the same thing.
    ”I bet something big happened in the south and the animals are escaping it.” Inpa pointed out before Tolbi managed to reply.
    ”You're not thinking of going there.. are you, Inpa?” Tolbi said with obvious dread in his voice. Inpa grinned as a response before he started walking south.
    ”Ugh.. I should've seen this coming. A-anyway, how did you figure that out? Wait.. Do you actually pay attention to your surroundings.. ?!”
    ”Nah. I just read the script.” A loud crash was suddenly heard as the 'fourth wall' was destroyed. As soon as Inpa finished his sentence his eyes lit again. ”Wait.. YES! Now I got it! I'm going to be the world's first young genius inventor and ace detective! In other words: YGIAAD! Or geniatective!” Inpa's face was beaming with pride.
    ”I think you're the only elf who is capable of going from smart to mind-numbingly stupid.”
    ”And I'll turn you into a numen if you keep at it.”
    ”NO! Anything but a numen! Those slimy things are disgusting.. !!”

    It didn't take long until the two of them started hearing unfamiliar voices further down. Inpa's steps became much more careful and silent. His back was lowered as he sneaked closer to the source of the voices, careful not to step on a dry branch. There was a small clearing right ahead of him where the voices emanated from. Tolbi had hid himself in Inpa's hair, the little fairy was scared as always. Inpa finally found a bush to hide behind and observe the situation at hand.
    As soon as he saw that magnificent beast that had once flown in the skies lying on the ground in a near-death state, Inpa let out a short gasp. He covered his mouth quickly though so that he wouldn't be heard.

    Soon Inpa noticed the smaller figures surrounding Valham. ”Huh.. ? Inuiks? What are they..” Inpa's silent question was answered brutally by the assumed leader of the pack. Suddenly all the Inuiks launched up into the air only to plunge down on Valham like a rain of spears. Inpa couldn't look at the carnage that was taking place. He found himself short of breath as sweat drops swum down his face. He could hear as the spears tore through Valham's skin, the sounds made him tremble from fear. ”Wh-what if they find me.. ?” That's when Tolbi emerged from Inpa's hair to see everything himself.
    ”L-Look Inpa.. ! Look what's happening to Valham!” Tolbi pointed out the sudden surges of flames that emanated from Valham's body.

    Inpa turned to look at Valham again and saw how some sort of hazy humanoid figure made of fire had appeared. Inpa's eyes grew large as he kept staring at the odd phenomenon hovering above Valham's now deceased body. ”What in.. What is that thing?”
    Soon the figure dashed through the air into the direction of Chasm of Terra, leaving nothing but the corpse of Valham behind. The Inuiks seemed just as baffled as Inpa and Tolbi were. The leader spoke again and Inpa listened closely:

    ”.. Leave no trace of your existance here! No one must know until the proper time comes. Our next target is the God of Eternal Fire!”

    Moments later the Inuiks left and Inpa was left with his jaw wide open. He couldn't believe what he just heard. Just what sort of conspiracies were at hand here?


    Nilak's orders had been swift and just. Balthazar was never really given a choice whether to escape or not. He would've stayed, in fact he would've preferred to stay and instead let Nilak escape. It felt wrong for him to just abandon his mentor.

    Balthazar hoped Nilak wouldn't be driven to the edge by Minathiel. If that happened Nilak would have to.. Balthazar brushed off the thought. Falteer was walking slowly next to Balthazar while holding his side, a constant swirl circling his side. They had ran through the forest for a few hours before slowing their pace because of Falteer's wound. Falteer was doing his best curing the wound but it was persistent. The wound looked better than before though.

    ”How's the wound?” Balthazar asked Falteer as they walked forward a thin forest road. Falteer looked at Balthazar and chuckled lightly. ”Huh. You always seemed so cold and emotionless, Balthazar. It feels weird for you to ask such a thing of me.” Balthazar couldn't deny what Falteer had just said. He certaintly didn't look like the compassionate type but only a complete prick would ignore a companion's condition. ”Wouldn't want to ditch you into the next trench we come across.”
    Falteer had a scared expression on his face. ”Your jokes are cruel, Balthazar.. ! Do not worry, I'll be fine once I get some rest. I think I can manage at least to the basin of the mountain.” Balthazar nodded and kept walking.

    Balthazar could already make out the exit of the forest. It had been some time since he had been outside of Auburn. The thought of witnessing the grassy plains between Auburn and the Nihil Mountains again warmed Balthazar's heart which was still full of worry for Nilak. As if sensing Balthazar's concern, Falteer spoke up. ”Nilak will join us soon, don't worry about that. That's when I'm finally going to ask what the purpose of this emerald is. Actually I'm going to ask a lot more than that. It's about time we hear it from Nilak himself what he's up to.”
    Balthazar nodded silently thinking he would do the exact same thing.


    Both Inpa and Tolbi were speechless. The things they had heard, this was something huge and couldn't just be left alone. ”The God of Eternal Fire.. you don't think it's-”. ”Faen.” Inpa finished Tolbi's thought. ”The.. The Inuiks are after the dragons.. !!” Inpa said, his voice slightly shaking. Tolbi could feel a shiver run down his tiny spine. ”W-We need to tell everyone about this! Especially Nilak, Falteer and Balthazar! They are strong so they can defeat the Inuiks, right.. ?” Inpa didn't reply to Tolbi's question, he was shaking and looking down on the ground with terror filled eyes. Tolbi fluttered in front of Inpa's face and looked at him square in the eyes. ”S-Snap out of it, Inpa! I know you're afraid but we gotta get going!”

    ”I couldn't do anything. Why.. Why did Valham have to die.. ? Why did the Inuiks attack? WHY?!” Inpa screamed and nearly tore his face with his hands. Tolbi's gaze fell and a frown grew on his face. ”I-I don't know, but we need to move. We need to inform everyone, Inpa! There's no one else!”

    Inpa kept staring at the ground for a while. Balthazar's words floated around his mind. ”.. Life isn't always about butterflies and peace Inpa.” Inpa muttered to himself before he got back up. His hands were still shaking but he did his best to hide it. ”Yeah, life isn't always about butterflies and peace, but there's no way I'm going to let my life remain as gray as yours, Balthy. Let's go Tolbi! We can still make a difference! We can still save Faen!!” Inpa shouted and started running towards Nayru. Tolbi flew right behind him, grinning slightly.
    Calm down people, it's just me.

  24. #74
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    Talking 6 EXP!!! Sorry for the wait! :D

    Vita had given voice to her troubled heart, but to no avail. Balthazar and Falteer were probably out of hearing distance by the time Vita confessed how she felt about them. Nilak had been extremely weakened in his efforts to save his companions, his knees hitting the ground with a loud thumb. Just when it looked like he would continue to witness the events transpiring, his eyes closed shut. Oddly, the rest of his body never made contact with the ground. That left Andrim, Ramvil, and the supposed victim, Minathiel. They must have heard her, but no response came. They vanished. Gone like vapor.
    Now that all the main players in whatever sick game that had unfolded before Vita were gone, everything seemed so...quiet. Animals hopped over burned branches, heading away from danger. The birds in the sky chirped from a distance, as if signaling that fleeing was the best option. All the noises around her were fading. In the growing silence, the smallest of sounds became louder. Wind whistled passed the leaves held high upon many trees. The sound of breathing, in and out. Vita's own footsteps as she crossed over to where Kinrai rested. Everything quiet sounded louder, and yet...
    "I should have never dared you to follow that trail. Kinrai, I'm so sorry."
    Things were becoming too complicated. Wasn't it her goal to chase after the truth? Not a sound could be heard from Kinrai. If the truth could end life so quickly, was the path to the truth so precious? Yes, Kinrai could be brought back. He could live. But...what if it happens again? The rage that filled Kinrai's eyes was frightening. Was death the only way to sooth the rage? How many times had Kinrai been brought back from death? What was he battling? Those were the answers Vita wanted answered the most, but what would they cost Kinrai?
    " I doing the right thing?" Oddly, Oren hadn't spoken for awhile, and it was beginning to unnerve Vita. "Should I really...keep looking for the book, for Voco e Vorago?"
    Oren was hovering a few feet away, not looking at Vita. Margni had already returned into the form of the ribbon, so there was no reason to keep his distance. Still, Oren seemed as confused at Vita. Or...maybe Vita was asking the questions he had been asking himself for years. The spirit in his voice dropped significantly, and it felt like Vita should be the one cheering him up. Unfortunately, that wasn't her strong suit.
    "Everything you chase after has consequences. The bigger the goal, the greater the consequence. Margni can help you find Voco e Vorago, but the cost of relying on him could be too great. You shouldn't trust anyone with too much power."
    "Do you think someone with too much power may be behind--?"
    "I KNOW someone with too much power was behind what happened to Valham, because that's what leads to tragedies!"
    Suddenly, another voice besides Vita's and Oren's echoed from nearby. Pausing in the middle of responding to Oren, Vita glanced around her. Then her eyes locked on the person who caused Kinrai so much heartache, who stole away all the happiness that had been Moon Day: Nilak. He had regained consciousness, and he was also aware of her presence. Still, Vita wasn't about to carelessly engage in a conversation with Nilak. Even Oren clamped his mouth shut, the anger more noticeable on his face than on Vita's face.
    In the end, Vita didn't need to say anything. Nilak did all the talking, as if his words would repent his actions. At first, Vita wanted to push her palms into her ears, to block out any regretful words. Then, Kinrai's name was uttered, and Vita lowered her hands. Of course. Despite the suffering Kinrai endured, there was still a touch of responsibility in Nilak for his student. Or was it more than that? He knew Kinrai's mother, Liana, as a good healer. Was that common knowledge, or was that evidence that Nilak still cared for Kinrai?
    Vita wanted to know, and there was a way to discover the truth. The moons were no longer shining, yet Vita only needed to sample the truth. As wilder claims were tossed into the air, Vita activated Remnants of Infinity. In a moonless state, nothing about the environment would change. However, Vita could tell whether or not Nilak was lying, as if she was a lie detector.
    Nothing was a lie. Kinrai really was filled with hatred. He really needed someone to trust, and Nilak had lost that trust. What was it like to have no one? Hardly anyone knew that feeling of loneliness, to have no one to turn to. But Vita understood all the emotions that comes with lacking trust. Loneliness. Confusion. Fear. All those terrible, negative emotions that would undoubtedly lead to such fearsome emotions like hate. But the most shocking news of all was what that distrust lead to: becoming a Tainted.
    Nilak was already a Tainted...right? Did that mean Kinrai would also commit unthinkable acts? But then...could a Tainted care so much for the elf they hurt -- for the elves they will hurt? Would a Tainted feel sorry? If a Tainted elf was filled with darkness, Nilak still had light in his heart. Vita understood that much. There was still hope, just like there was still hope for Kinrai. Otherwise, why would Nilak's words ring true? Kinrai could be saved, yet Nilak wasn't aware that he could be saved too.
    "What are you hoping to accomplish?" Vita finally gained enough willpower to speak, but once again, they fell on death ears. Perhaps it was for the best. Nilak most likely wouldn't have answered her anyway.
    "Don't worry, Vita. Kinrai may have too much power for his own good, but that power isn't his own." Oren finally sounded reassuring, with a touch of optimism. "And as for Nilak, he isn't the one wielding all the power. I'm sure of it."
    "You're right." Vita glanced down at Kinrai. Without even lifting him up, she could already tell he weighed more than her. "What truly troubles me is transporting Kinrai to his mother..."
    "That and you don't have any idea where Liana lives, do you?"
    "...Well, I could--"
    Someone was screaming. It resonated throughout the forest, clinging to the air like an endless chime. Rising with the screams was a voice. Oren. Grasping her throat and covering her mouth, Vita realized the screams were coming from her. Still, she couldn't hold it back, as if the screams had a will of their own. Only when the coughs came, tears stinging her eyes, her throat closing from the strain, could Vita break free from the hysteria. Still, the shivering wouldn't stop, nor the cold chills shooting down her arms and legs.
    Minathiel? There were two...bodies. One was easily identifiable: Andrim. His chest barely moved, the rising and falling inconsistent. Different shades of crimson decorated his attire, gushing from a wound in his chest. But where the puncture was made, Vita couldn't tell. Oren was the only one who could take in the most detail, but even he couldn't stare too long at the corpse. A severed head scratched like a cat filing their nails on a tree. So much blood. Body parts were scattered nearby, also severed. Or were they? It was difficult to tell. There was too much blood. Too much. It was as if a red sea had formed. Too much!
    "Don't just stand there. Those two. Kinrai and Andrim. Help me lift them onto the jellyfish!"
    Vita glanced around, her eyes too sore to make out exact shapes. Before she knew it, Elrik's hands were guiding her to Kinrai and Andrim, helping her get them to safety. Minathiel couldn't be saved. Even though all the shapes blurred together, Vita recognized the golden hair, the pure white dress, distinct features that Mina also bore. But it was too much. Vita couldn't handle it -- even Nilak's request -- but thankfully, Elrik was nearby. He had heard her, and would help her. And for a moment, Vita didn't have to worry about the cost of being helped.
    Last edited by lokuri; 07-26-2012 at 05:42 PM.

    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

  25. #75
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    Verse Five
    Nayru, City of the Elves – Morning

    | ~ ~ |

    My how much has happened since the last time we saw. How have you been? I hope you're not too exhausted yet, we still have a long way to go. The sun is peeking from the horizon like a curious little child, completely oblivious of the happenings of the world. The heroes of our story met much strife during this long night dedicated to the Moon Goddess.
    A certain dark elf known as the hero of Amn conspired with a high authority in order to bring a new age to this world of ours. In order to achieve that the hero did the unthinkable and slew one of the magnificent creatures that guard the world of Amn, while simultaneously snatching its soul crystal.

    The truth of the matter however was only revealed to a young elf and his fairy, both who had been happily skipping along the forest roads of Auburn. It breaks one's heart to witness such a cruel act, and it confuses them even more since they don't know the reason for it.
    Nevertheless it would seem that the fire dragon's fate hangs on this boy's shoulders.

    The hero of Amn stripped away all his glory and threw it into the face of the priestess of Nayru, and the hero's youngest pupil. Enraged by this, the pupil gave in to his hatred and was consumed by it. The pupil was eventually defeated and killed in order to seal the hatred within. It was done by the same hero who everyone now thought was a dragonslayer.

    Then the elf with more sinister intentions, with the assist of a peculiar villain in the shadows, brought down his revenge on the one he hated: the priestess of Nayru. A dubious contract was established and the peculiar villain left the elf with parting words that hinted towards their reunion someday. The elf's survival was left at the hands of an elf not born of this world.

    The moon elf was entrusted with a heavy burden. She was to save two people, the hero's pupil that now lay dead and the plotter who had struck a grave wound on his chest in order to prove his innocence. Together with the help of another moon elf, a mysterious one at that, they brought the two back to Nayru in order to be healed.

    It is a sad morning riddled with conspiracies, lies and deceit. If the morning is as horrible as this, I can only wonder what the rest of the day will be like.

    | ~ ~ |

    For some odd reason, Nayru had fell completely silent. There were no stalls being opened by the merchant dwarves, the school bells did not rang, everything was as still as if time had stopped. The news of the priestesses's and the dragon's passing couldn't have entered the city yet.
    The real cause of the silence was fear, fear of the unknown that the priestess had forewarned about.

    Liana was anxiously pacing around the throne room. Guard captain Cirno was with her, standing gallantly like a knight, waiting for Minathiel's return. He was wearing a white shirt with a shoulder plate on the left side. He had white gloves with the emblem of Nayru, a large white tree with a single apple on one of its branches, etched on the backside. His left arm was clad in armor shaped like the scales of a dragon. He wore dark leather pants and a belt with a white buckle. His eyes followed Liana's movement. Minathiel had instructed him to assist Liana in her absence.

    Liana: ”What's taking them so long.. ? Something must've happened. What if.. what if she's-”. Liana had been like this from the moment Minathiel had left. Her endurance was quite remarkable when it came to worrying about others.
    Cirno: ”Please focus Mrs. Alte. Do not make any hasty decisions.”
    Liana became flustered when she heard Cirno call her with her ex-husband's last name. She thundered over in front of Cirno and looked at him straight into his eyes.
    Liana: ”Never call me that again. What do you know anyway?! Minathiel could be dead! I should've gone with her..”
    Cirno: ”My apologies Miss Liana. Drowning yourself in despair will not solve the situation. I already dispatched guards to look for her. All we can do now is wait.”
    Cirno's voice was calm, he had learned how to keep his cool in his line of duty. Liana sighed and started pacing around again.

    Suddenly the huge double doors of the palace flung open. Light covered the huge hall almost completely. Two moon elves assisted by a few guards came rushing inside. Liana gasped and held her hand over her mouth when she saw who the moon elves were carrying. Her son and the agent whose name Liana had forgotten were both in terrible shape. She motioned the moon elves to lay the injured ones on the ground. Before she asked any questions from the moon elves, she examined how bad the injuries were. Guard captain Cirno knelt down next to Kinrai and tried his pulse while Liana ripped open Andrim's shirt in order to see his wound.

    Liana: ”It's a deep wound but with my skills you'll be fine. You're going to need plenty of rest though.” Liana told Andrim before she covered the wound with a thin layer of sparkling water. ”This is going to sting.” Liana said before she forced the water into the wound. A loud hissing noise, as if a fire was being put out, escaped from the wound. Slowly but steadily the wound started closing up. ”Hold still for a while.” Liana said as she raised her hands off from Andrim's chest.
    Cirno: ”Miss Liana.. your son has no pulse. Moon elves! How long has he been like this? Can he still be resurrected?” Cirno demanded an answer from the moon elves. Liana started sobbing loudly as she looked at Kinrai. Healing strangers felt easy but when it was your family member, your own son, who was in such a state.. the task became much more harder.

    The moon elves told that there was still time to resurrect Kinrai. Liana was shaking all over before Cirno grabbed her from her shoulders. This time it was Cirno who looked at Liana straight into her eyes.

    Cirno: ”Miss Liana! Collect yourself, there is still hope. You can still save Kinrai.”
    Liana: ”Y-Yes.. Agh.. I never could've thought.. Why.. Who would.. ?”
    Cirno: ”Whoever did this will be punished Miss Liana. No one escapes the law. My men and I will hunt the Tainted who did this to the ends of Amn.” Cirno got up and turned his attention to the moon elves, leaving Liana to do what she did best. ”You two, I'm going to need some answers from you. Come with me.”

    Cirno and a few of his guards assisted the moon elves into another room of the palace. The room was Cirno's own however Cirno rarely spent time in the room. The room had only the necessities: a table, a few shelves and a red mattress on the floor. Cirno sat down on his chair and instructed the moon elves to sit on the other side of the table.

    Cirno: ”I am Cirno Raus, the guard captain of Nayru. Let's start from the beginning. Who are you two and what is your connection to this incident? Tell me everything, don't spare any details. Also if you have any information regarding our priestess, Minathiel Amar, it would be much appreciated if you told me.” Cirno's voice was stern and demanding, much what you would expect from someone in his position.

    Meanwhile Liana was chanting next to Kinrai's body. She was calling for Kinrai's soul which had escaped from his body when he died. Suddenly Liana's hands started glowing, they were radiating extreme heat. She had found Kinrai's soul and was now holding it in her hands. She carefully placed her hands on top of Kinrai's bare back which made the glow escape from her hands and enter Kinrai's body.

    For a moment Kinrai was also glowing all over and radiating extreme heat temperatures, his soul was settling back into his body. The heat brought life to all the organs and muscles. Once the heat reached the lungs it made Kinrai cough a few times. Liana smiled and tears of joy flowed down her cheeks. She had succeeded and Kinrai's life had been restored.

    Now she turned back to Andrim and saw the wound was steadily closing up. She took a small blanket which she used to wipe away the blood that had escaped from the wound. After she was done wiping, she put another thin layer of water on top of the wound. The water worked as a disinfectant which prevented any diseases to enter Andrim's body. Once she was done, she took a deep breath and slumped down a little.
    Exhausted from all this, Liana placed her head on Kinrai's back in order to rest for a moment. Kinrai would sleep for a while before he would open his eyes again.

    Wake up you damn nuisance. What a worthless body I was born into. What? Are you trying to say something, Kinrai? What is it? That you'll resist me? That you'll never let me take over again? You're a fool, Kinrai. You can't resist me. It's the same as denying who you really are. We are like the two sides of a same coin. I can't wait till we get to flip that coin again. That's when I WILL take over and I'm going to make sure to banish that weak will of yours to the deepest pits of the Netherworld.

    Nilak was speeding through the trees as fast as he could. Even though he was exhausted, he still refused to slow down. The initial distance when making an escape was crucial, thus he pushed his body to the limit again. In the distance he could already make out the large plains of green that covered the space between Auburn and the Nihil Mountains. Nilak's thoughts kept going back to Kinrai and Minathiel. He was both confused and worried. Where had Minathiel vanished to and would the moon elf grant Nilak's wish? In order to continue his mission, Nilak forced himself to ignore those thoughts. He forced himself to forget about Kinrai and.. the whole of Nayru.

    Suddenly a bright green flash flew by him and he had to stop his flight for a moment. Nilak was barely able to get a glimpse but he was sure the figure was humanoid. Nilak saw how the figure suddenly halted its movement and turned back straight toward Nilak. Nilak summoned Angelic Hymn and assumed battle stance in the air. There was no knowing if the creature was hostile. The being stopped a few feet away from Nilak. Now he was able to see it more properly. Its body was made of green fire and it had glowing yellow eyes. Nilak had never seen such a creature before.

    ???: ”Free me..”
    A sudden voice echoed around Nilak. The creature was speaking to him but its voice was everywhere.
    Nilak: ”What do you mean? Who.. What are you?” Nilak asked, lowering his blade at the same time.
    ???: ”Free me.. Bring me back together..”. The voice echoed again. It was as if the trees, the ground, the animals, everything around Nilak was speaking to him directly.
    Nilak: ”.. Who are you?! I will do nothing until I know that.”
    ???: ”Valham..”
    Nilak's eyes grew and he found himself short of breath. This being was Valham? How could that be?
    Nilak: ”How is that possible.. ?!”
    ???: ”Free me.. Bring me back together.. Valham.. is only one part..” Now it sounded like every separate sentence came from a different thing around Nilak.

    Before Nilak was able to reply, the being resumed its dash to northwest. Nilak would tell this to his companions and see what they'd make of it. Without wasting any more time he resumed his flight towards the plains.

    Finally Nilak reached the grassy plains known as the Calm. The region was true to its name. Nilak found himself lost in the sea of green as the wind kept brushing the grass. Instantly he remembered how he had trained Kinrai, Falteer and Balthazar here. It was a rigorous training which involved a lot of footwork and.. gardening skills. A short laugh escaped from Nilak's lips as he remembered how much Kinrai had complained about this training. In the far distance he could make out the small settlement of Lojak. It was truly small for there were only around 20 people living there, most of them elves.

    Small settlements like Lojak were all over Amn. There were a lot of people who disliked the bustling of cities and thus they moved away. Nilak kept running through the fields and eventually two familiar figures caught Nilak's eyes. Falteer and Balthazar were waiting for him at the edge of the Calm. The Calm was a small region and you could easily pass through it in a matter of hours, even less with a palla. It all reminded Nilak of how small Amn was in truth. Once Nilak reached Falteer and Balthazar, he waved to them and slowed down his pace.

    Nilak: ”I'm glad you two are all right. How's your wound Falteer?”
    Falteer: ”I'm fine. I can still keep going at least till we reach the root of the mountain.”
    Nilak: ”Good. We can make camp at the root then. Let's keep going. I have much to tell you.”
    Falteer nodded and followed Nilak.

    The trio passed through the small forest and finally reached the root of the mountain. Already the temperature started dropping even though they hadn't even started climbing the mountain. There was a mountain trail which they could use in order to get to Palo. It was an old road full of dangers which kept most travelers away. Still the dwarven merchants braved the road almost daily. Nilak had always been amazed by the greediness of the dwarves. Nilak motioned for them to set the camp here, between a few tall trees. The soil was hard and there was grass only scarcely here and there. Once the camp was set up, Nilak sat down next to the fire and finally told the two of his mission.

    Nilak: ”I'm sure you want answers from me so here I am. Ask away, I won't hold back anymore.”
    Falteer: ”Let's start with this emerald then. What is this thing's purpose?” Falteer took out the emerald that had been taken from Valham's tail and showed it to Nilak. Nilak took the emerald and held it between his fingers.
    Nilak: ”It's Valham's soul crystal as you already know. With this we can break the barrier that shuts us out of the Netherworld. Naturally we're going to need all the soul crystals for it. That is their purpose.”
    Falteer: ”Well, here comes the obvious question. Why in Valham's name do you want to go to the Netherworld? What do you hope to gain from that?”
    Nilak: ”First of all, I have two causes here. The first cause.. Well, I'm not the mastermind behind that idea. I can trust you so I will tell you, however you must never disclose his identity to anyone lest our mission is a failure. Is that understood?”
    Falteer: ”Of course. You can trust us. And especially Balthazar since he barely talks anyway!” Nilak nodded and gave a smile to them.

    Nilak: ”Kinos Alte. He was the one.”
    Falteer's jaw dropped before he was able to say anything.
    Falteer: ”Him.. ? But he's the most ruthless elf around who always goes by the rules.”
    Nilak: ”I'm sure he has given it much thought. Kinos is by no means a fool. His intellect is probably his most fearsome trait. Perhaps that is the very reason why he finds the law of the Tainted flawed.”
    Falteer: ”But what does the law have to do with what we are doing? And why now?”
    Nilak: ”The dragons were the ones who introduced the word 'Tainted' to us. They were the ones who gave us the laws we abide now. Now what if the whole idea of a Tainted person is false? What if that's only a way to manipulate us into their way of thinking?”
    Falteer: ”.. And thus keep us away from the Netherworld in fear of becoming a Tainted. Is that what you're trying to say?”
    Nilak: ”Yes. Do you understand now what I'm after?”
    Falteer: ”.. Those are only theories with no proof to back them up.”
    Nilak: ”Yes, well that is only the first cause. The second cause is Terra.”
    Falteer: ”Terra? What about him?”
    Nilak: ”Terra is still alive, I know it. I also think that he somehow managed to enter the Netherworld. He must be there.”
    Falteer: ”That could explain why no one has seen Terra since that day. It's been 50 years though. Terra is a human and humans don't live as long as elves do. Even if you find him, he's most likely so old that he can't even remember you anymore.”
    Nilak: ”I.. know. But he is my rival, and my friend.”
    Nilak fell silent as he kept looking at the fire. Falteer said nothing afterwards. The camp fell silent.

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