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A Story Into Time: Chapter 11 The Gate

 

Gilgamesh holds up his diary considering the value mortals place on memories, and the fact that they often forget the details, or causes that formed them in the first place. Placing it aside he looks up at a scholar who is quietly placing books on shelves in a vast library. The scholar was the keeper of the books and plainly the Rolodex of the information hidden within each one. Gilgamesh has spent the last few hours testing this individuals knowledge by grabbing out random books and asking the man questions about its contents. He found it interesting that a normal mortal could remember so much in details pertaining to books they had not written verse the diary he held which was filled with lost knowledge that had been so clearly written about years prior.

Gilgamesh’s eyes narrow on the scholar and he bellows out in the silence of the library,”Book Keeper, I apologize for interrupting  your work yet again but I was wondering are you actually a human? I on–” He is cut short as the Scholar shushes him before responding in a rather cold manor.

“Yes, for the thousandth time yes…I am a human, I have read all of these books, yes I know the contents of each one, and how many times must I ask you to keep your voice down?”

The Scholar  is wearing a red boarded white cloak with yellow lace and a small hat. He has a large piece of glass dangling down from his neck and without noticeable  reason has flower peddles of several kinds stuffed and slightly protruding out of cuffs and his neckline. His nose is a bit red from sneezing most likely either from the dust on the shelves or the peddles themselves.

“Surely there is more to you than other mortals…for you have the ability to retain the scriptures you have dedicated your life to preserving.” Gilgamesh stands and begins to make his way over to the Scholar before asking,” Whats your name?”

“My name is Soba and yours sir?”

“Gilgamesh” The immortal responds.

“Ah yes, Gilgamesh is a strong name of the first true king and halfbreed…First one to unite the realms; though cruel was his ambition, he ended up saving the realms from the Darkling hoards. He believed the world owed him a debt for his protection and claimed everything he desired as his regardless of who it belonged to. His greed is what drove the alliances apart and eventually returned the power to the darklings which caused the mortals from all realms to reunite again and  create the gate. Granted this is roughly about 200 years after Gilgamesh’s dynasty collapsed. You see never wed instead had a collection of mistresses that would raise his children. Most royalty these days are decedents from  Gilgamesh this is true of most human and Elf races. The dwarfs however purged all mix-breeds in their society and thus ended any chance of a mix blooded heir. I find it comical now days that the races with decedents hate mix breeds of today most houses dont even acknowledging the fact that they are not pure. Granted its such a mass percentage it would never be noticeable.” Soba informs the curious onlooker without even looking in his direction nor being asked too.

“Fascinating, and what of the Gods of those times?” Gilgamesh inquires.

“Gods? Oh those days were full of the Creator, and  the First Gods he created placed in charge of the planet more so then the people on it. Though still worshiped and admired they are not of sound body like ours in this age. The ground, the Earth was a god as well as wind, the sun, and night. Gods of various means, from water to weather. Some stronger than others but they all had to work together for the planet it survive. Granted disagreements would happen resulting in wounds we can see still to this day. ”

Gilgamesh very curious as to what he meant by the scars of their battle questioned what he was referring.

“Well its hard to tell all the marks made, but the Earth God shows the most ruminates, both offensive and defensive. The mountains for instance were clearly an attack against the Wind disrupting their movements and forcing them to slowly tear them apart…over hundreds of thousands of years. Vast dried lakes and rivers a battle between the Sun and Water. Rivers cutting through the Earths skin. Some say these Gods never left and instead became silent letting Zeus and the others run things.” Soba is slightly getting excited about using his knowledge to inform what he deems is an ignorant warrior.

Gilgamesh begins to scour the books on the shelves it was only at this point he realized that most had not been touched in many years as dust had piled high on them. He also noticed he and Soba were the only ones there and had been the duration of his visit.

“I see not many venture into your hallways of knowledge here. Seems like such a waste that only you know the extent of knowledge locked away in here, perhaps you should consider educating the masses on what all can be gained here.” Gilgamesh suggested.

Trying to contain his laughter Soba turns to face Gilgamesh for the first time. “I perhaps would waste my time with such an endeavor if people cared for more for truth over satire, but most of the locals would rather watch a play that has a vague stretched truth verse actually learning the details of history. Its my personal opinion that history has far more to teach us than the present.”

“You sir are by far the most interesting and useful mortal I have come across. I wonder if you would consider writing the lore of the Immortals?” Gilgamesh inquires. ” I would even be willing to offer you the option of witnessing first hand the miracles we will preform for the masses.”

“Immortals? Lore? The way you bring it up sounds as if you are one of them. Either way I have devoted my life to History again I state that is my personal opinion that History has far more to teach us than the present, or those that dream of future conquests. I would be lying if I said you did not brighten my day by being willing to learn but my days as a student have passed many years ago. I am honor bound to remain here and aid others who seek the truth of the past. ”

Gilgamesh is obviously disappointed by Soba’s response yet respects his choice. He does not press the issue further rather changes subject.” What can you tell me of The Gate?”

“The Gate is a door to the worlds largest prison more or less. Old magics of Gods, Elves, and Man combined with the craftsmanship of the Dwarfs creates a force unlike any other ever conceived. Though with all that it was not enough to keep the hoards sealed away forever. Blood magic was the last and most powerful barrier, Making it impossible to open. Each noble race sacrificed and drained dry one of their own to place this seal the door for all times.   The Gate its self is nothing but a massive stone door with three locks and three keys. One key was given to the world of Humans, who raised the armies.  The elves whom magic helped force the darklings inside. The dwarfs for creating the this great feat, but the Dwarf blood line that responsible for opening the gate had perished and their key passed on to the God Hades upon his soul passing. It was once rumored that many had attempted to open the door but the door will not open unless all noble blood lines are present and spill their blood, so any attempt to open the door has all ended in failure and normally death to those that attempted. Common misconception is that every last of the darkling races and kin were locked up inside but this is plainly the thoughts of fool. Not everyone was locked away but those who remain free stay in hiding as they are normally killed on sight…for good reason. ”

Gilgamesh a bit agitated by the complexity of the task he sent Madea on realizing she most likely ended in failure.

“Thank you Soba, I leave this for you to keep here with your books and history. ” Gilgamesh removes a dagger placing it on the table. The inscriptions on it cause Soba to rush over to it with curiosity. ” One day I shall return and wish to speak with you again about the past perhaps I can convince you then to travel with me and teach me even more about the past and what treasures knowledge can be given.

If you do not mind me asking where you managed to find such a unique item? Throughout my years I have never seen anything like this.” Soba lifts up the blade and feels entrancement of  power surge through his body.  Soba hears whispers emanating from the blade causing him to become a bit dizzy as he unsuccessfully tries to figure out what its saying. His hand begins to become numb as crystals begin to form. Gilgamesh knocks the blade from Soba’s hand releasing him from the trance as tiny crystals cover his palm like fish scales.  Soba is a bit alarmed as well as fascinated by the transformation that took place.  Gilgamesh apologies shocked at the outcome and unsure as to the cause. Gilgamesh picks up the blade and wraps a cloth around the handle and returns his gift.

“Study this all you like and if your ever in danger please use it to defend yourself, if you ever need my help just spill blood with the blade and I will return as soon as I can.” Gilgamesh prepares to disembark, ” I have had it ever sense creation and thus have no real idea as to its origin but its purpose…it kills Gods. ”

“I have no use for a weapon Gilgamesh, I look after books and artifacts. This artifact is truly a rare and mysterious piece. It will take months to research it properly, and you say it was designed to kill Gods? I find this unlikely though since I have never seen scripture displayed in layer upon layer on the blade I can not disprove that at this time.” The crystals begin to flake off of Soba’s hand and hit the ground as nothing more than a fine white powder.

“Either way sir I will have many more questions for you the next time we meet and perhaps even more relics for you. ” Gilgamesh states before giving his final fairwells and exiting out into a city where a Monk runs by screaming “its people.” He sees a red eyed Cecil for only a moment in the crowd disbarking from the play that had just finished. Gilgamesh charges forth into the crowd. Its not long before Gilgamesh stands alone looking around confused shaking his head before heading towards the Castle in the center of town.

Madea arrives at the doors that stands over two hundred feet high and about 80 foot wide. A crease in the center divides the doors. She approaches the gate this causes the hair on the back of her neck to rise and she shivers run down her spine. With each step she feels as if gravity itself doubles. This eventually forces her down on one knee and she struggles to stand once again. Finally her hands touch the doors carvings causing her flesh to peel off of her hand. She pulls her hand back and hisses as her wound begins to heal.

“This…is fucking incredible….how did mortals create such an impressive enchanted prison.” Madea grins in excitement and fear.

The door is fashioned from various stones and metals. It looks as though stones had been carved to represent skulls and bones in various patterns and warnings in every language. They run from the top of the door on down. The crease has three small locks on it. Madea only has one key in her possession and this brings her some curiosity as to how one key could possibility open this door. Also above each lock is a finger sized hole. Taking her key she shoves it into the first slot and attempts to turn it. It was at this point the door hisses and the various patterns change on the doors to form words.

“ONLY THOSE WHO CLOSED THIS DOOR MAY OPEN IT.”

Madea reads the statement and growls slightly, placing her finger into the hole above the lock the key rests in, trying to figure out if there as a trigger or release only to find her finger is stabbed then crushed. Shocked by the sudden pain she attempts to pull her finger out but it will not budge. She takes her wand and waves it at her hand causing her skin muscle and bone to peel and break off at the base of its extension.

Blood gushes from her wound only for a moment before a new finger beings to grow. She shakes her hand a few times and glares in frustration. She goes to remove the key but it will not budge. She screams in rage and raises her wand to the door. Knowing her abilities are specialized in organic matter not the magics and barriers that make up this lock nor door.  Mustering up her energies she attempts to cast a spell on the door  to tear apart and crumble. Failure as the door reflects the spell onto her increasing it ten fold. Her body twists and distorts before all her joints dislocate and bones crumble. She screams in agony during the process..then waits a day to heal.

Once Madea can stand again, she grunts and attempts to pull the key out one last time as the sun fades in the sky and gives way to nightfall. She grunts and begins to hobble away without the key still injured each step causes horrific pain but her face shows little sign beside tears that roll down her face uncontrollably. Frustrated by her leaking eyes she waves her wand until her tear ducts are damaged ceasing the flow.  She glares up at the mountain ranges deciding not to take that rout and begins to head away from them and heads out into a vast desert.

 

 


Liar And Chief

Liar and Chief
By Shoeless B. Wonder
Message approved by everyone with compassion.

Lies are clearer than water
Nation plunged in false fear
The earth bleeds black
As greed grins form ear to ear

Dropping a noose around truth
White house cast in shadow
Morals lost their worth
Backwards falls the last domino

Cruel the words a leader spews
Insulting all those who disagree
Wishing to destroy true reality
Enslaving masses through each decree

NO money for the sick,
No money for the poor,
No money for the vets,
ONLY HAVE MONEY FOR WAR

Promises broken go unanswered
Build that wall my fools
The leader forces his demands
Depending on his many tools

Bombs drop far away and innocents die
Stories spin to make it more than race
Truth discredited by liar and chief
Science is loosing to ignorance

Leave it to religious to be jealous
Narrow views brought to light
Burn through every bit of principles
Make no mistake, there will be a fight

Those who live in fear of the unknown
Cowards who call to kill what they have never met
Harming those who look different than you
Will be buried along with ideology you set

I hope you one day realize
Toxic people with horribly toxic ideal
Will only poison the world
That we are all spokes on the same wheel


A Story Into Time: Chapter 6 Drunken Monk and Noble Dwarf.

A elfin  man weeps over an elfin women’s body lying on a bed. The bed sheets from her waist down are covered in red blood as the sounds of new born babies cries can be heard emanating from the other room.  The elfin women name was Aeardis, she wore a smile on her face as her blue eyes remained looking  off to the right towards the door frame.  Her right hand lies off the bed as if reaching out towards the cries of the children.  Her hair was the most elegant shade of black, that it almost has a glow in its shine. Her lips were once a pure ruby color, but now were faded pink.

The elfin man was named Gaerben, he had blond hair and crimson red eyes. Unlike most males in the noble families he had kept his hair short and tight. As the hair of the elves normally indicated the power of the nobility.  As each house held a power over a different element. Water or ice was the house he had belonged too as he abandoned his house to join his wife’s house of fire. Gaerben soon found out that with the tragic loss of his wife his family would suffer for ever.

The bed frame matched the imagery of fire captured in the mask of wood. With fine detailed work of elves can be seen in every aspect of the home. The bedding itself was made from layered silk over fine sand base providing a soft yet firm retreat for slumber. The rest of the room was made out wood lightly chard to bring out the true sent of the wood, as well as making it easier for the tiny bits of hell’s ivy carved into the wood.

Gaerben covered his beloved’s face under the silk sheets of their bed.Tears turn to ice as they slid off of his cheeks, carefully he wrapped up her body and would wait for her relatives to claim her. His red eyes flashed as he swallowed his sadness and left to check in on his future hopes. Stepping through the door frame he saw a his sister in law looking down at the elflings as if they are cute but toxic keeping her distance.

Gaerben,” you came quickly Resha.”

Resha,” They are cute they look like her when she was born, ah I remember the day.” Resha was wearing a green gown with gold lace her eyes and hair matched her sister though she was older and a bit taller. Her face carried the scars and bruises of an abusive husband leaving his brand. Her hair had been singed and was shorter than it was suppose to be but still reached her shoulders, so still socially acceptable. Her voice had a permanent bitter cold tone of a breaking soul.

Gaerben,” Indeed, what do you think your father will do?”

Resha,” Have you named them yet?” Ignoring the question that she wished not to answer

Gaerben,” Snowy and Ash, Aeardis picked them”

Resha,” Picking the names from humanity? She was always a rebel….so which ones which.”

Gaerben,” that will depend on which house they take after.”

Resha,” Neither….mix houses never have the skills to remain among the nobles…yet you and my sister both knew this. With her passing I doubt my father will allow you to stay here for long. Never was to fond of the bond you two shared. ”

Gaerben,”Will he throw out his own grandchildren?

Resha,” yes, expectantly if they follow your house blood line. I suggest you return to your home land and take them with you. ”

Gaerben,” it’s not likely that my mother would allow our return either for turning my back to their ideals. ”

Resha,” I am truly sorry, you always did seem like a good soul; maybe a little unorthodox, but you did love my sister which is more than I can say for my marriage. Guess you can say I was jealous that my baby sister got to marry out of love instead of out of duty.”

Gaerben,” Tis the fate of most I am afraid.” he says with sincere tone knowing her husband was a warrior through and through always looking for a war, ” given the choice I wouldn’t change anything I have done. ….”

Resha,” Now then,” she pulls a spell book out of her left sleeve and hands it too him. “I know your fire skills are next to none, but should your daughters take after my blood line this is the book of our house. Teach them all you can for you will not always be around to defend them. Darkness will always find a way to touch all that can not produce light. ”

Gaerben takes the book looking over it as the cover was hot to the touch scattered with magical symbols of fire. Nodding he says thank you, before placing it in a bag of heirlooms. Also in the bag was his wife’s training wand and robes from her house, as well as robes and metal hand fans from his house.

Resha,” it is a rough path you are on, I do not envy the hardships you will have to undertake. Stay towards the mountains the nature of the earth elves and dwarfs should grant you safe passage to your home along the sea. As they tend to keep to themselves. May your strength guide you to safe travels. My father shall arrive soon and thus we will commence the burial I hope you will attend. ”

Gaerben,” We all will…” placing down a blanket he wraps the new born babies together with their heads sticking out. Placing it around his chest he hums a sweet tune of the sea to calm his daughters as  Resha ties a belt around his waist and the blanket containing the offspring. Once finished he places his hands over the back pack tossing in a coin purse with his small fortune in gold and other coin as well as a dagger with some spare clothing. It was at this point that a fat white haired elf burst through the door rushing past Resha and Gaerben and straight into the room with Aeardis. With tears of loss and anger he kneels down next to the bed lifting up Aeardis in his arms uncovering her face.

Gaerben and Resha stay back as their king mourns over the loss of his daughter. Soon a younger male elf with black hair arrives. He was in his late middle ages for his kind. Carrying two wands on each hip that had be forged into the handles of long thin swords which was standard for a fire dancer warrior; their highest class of fighter.

Resha,” greetings Tagule the news is grave, we have lost our baby sister.” Resha bows to her brother as

Tagule,” Foolish child…..knew this would be the out come if they reproduced a fire body can not house water…”  Tagule turned his attention to Gaerben.” Are you satisfied now that you slayed my sister? Forbidden your union was and the law you two just ignored it now look at what has come to pass, I should slay all of you right now, for spitting on the traditions of our house you have no right to this. ”

The King,” Silence your words Tagule…stave off your rage for later, we have business to attend to. ”

Tagule spits in Gaerben’s face before walking out of the house as the King exits the bedroom carrying Aeardis covered in a fresh thick blanket. Not even glancing at his daughters husband nor his grand children as he walks by nodding to Resha to follow him to the resting chambers of their blood line. Gaerben removes a small cloth from his pocket and wipes the saliva off of his face.

Resha followed and shortly after Gaerben. The wall of the tomb had figures of past leaders and those who had been burned to ash. In each of the statues had their hands held out to hold onto the ashes of those whose glory they mimic. The room smelled of fire and at its core sat an open pit from which the King placed his daughter fighting back the tears. It wasn’t long before the whole tribe arrived to pay their respects.

King,” Aeardis, was my last born. Suffering the same fate as her mother before her. She had her mothers heart so kind, and innocent few will ever match. Though she often strayed from our paths she never left our hearts. Aeardis my dear, you will be missed by all and the world has lost its brightest flame today. A flame that could never be tamed, that shall burn through our memories till the day we become one with the ash. ” It was at this point he began to chant causing the pit to burst into flames soon the rest of the clan joined in causing the flames to turn a bright gold color and increasing the heat to the point it was able to actually turn the body to ash.

Gaerben, joined into the chant as well causing the flames to give off a light blue tinge on the out most flames causing the King to glare at him. Gaerben did not care about the King’s disapproving gaze as his wife turned to ashes. Within an hour the fire faded and only ashes remained. The tribe began to disperse just like the flames soon all that remained was Resha, the King, Tagule, Gaerben and his two sleeping daughters.

Resha bent down to the ashes that out lined her sisters body, Placing a bowl down around the ashes that were once Aeardis heart. She then gathered the surrounding ashes, and placed them into an urn. The King and Prince loomed over Resha’s actions with curiosity.

King,”Resha what are you doing.”

Resha,” We both know…that her body, and blood were of our ancestry, but to lay claim to her heart would tarnish who she was. Her heart belongs to Gaerben and her children even. Tradition or not. ” Resha then places the ashes of Aeardis heart into a smaller urn, which colors reflect water and fire spiral.

King,” You have no right! ”

Resha,” I HAVE EVERY RIGHT!! I have always done what you thought was needed, beaten for the pleasure of the husband you demanded I marry, Abandoned the desires of my heart and soul, for the best of this family but make no mistake I may share your blood and flesh but you are not my family, only my ruler.  Aeardis was allowed to live a life from which you yourself said you could not tame. She was given a life to make a family in spite of you. This is what she wanted, its whats right. Do as you see fit but for once know this…I will do what I feel is just. I will do what I want and you be damned father!” Closing the second urn she stands up shoving the larger urn into her fathers hands then she begins to walk towards Gaerben. Tagule goes to cut her off but the King after placing the urn sternly in his left arm pulls Tagule back with his right.

Resha,” May her heart continue to guide you and yours till the day you join her in the light. ”

Gaerben,” Thank you…”

King,” Make your peace sir and humbly leave my kingdom you have done enough to our reign. As for you Resha we will talk more about this tomorrow but the sun has fallen and we shall all follow its lesson.”

Gaerben,” For what its worth, my King, you will always be spoken of in a kind light to your grand daughters and I hope one day for your sake you can accept that life may not always meet your expectations but that it never was suppose to.”

King,” Your half wisdom means nothing here water born. ”

Tagula,” Keep this in mind, should I ever see you again. I’ll send you to the light and those murderous poison of children too. ”

Gaerben turns his back and exits the tomb holding onto the heart of his angel. The fire that will keep him and his daughters warm till the day they reach the light. Gaerben returns to his home looking over all memories and hopes him and his wife once shared. Grabbing his bow and arrow ties the quiver to his belt and carefully places the bow strap around his shoulder making sure the string doesn’t cross over the bare skin of his children. With a sigh he departs out into the world towards the mountains.

The night passes to day and Gaerben has made some good distance from the city. Upon the road towards the mountains he sees a body shaped lump lying on the ground in the middle of the way. Closing in on it he notices that its still breathing carefully he removes his bow and loads up an arrow covered in ice magics, he whispers softly a spell causing a thin barrier around him and his children. Taking half steps till he sees an empty bottle of rum just out of reach of the man. He also notices that the man is a human far from his home. Putting his bow up he kneels down next to the man trying to wake him.

The human remains unconscious so Gaerben flips him over noticing the man is carrying coconuts. Which reminds Gaerben of home but also tells him that his man is some sort of wanderer.  Gaerben waves his hand around a bit to condense the water in the air into a small ball which he drops on the humans face, waking him.

Human,” Who what….ug…my head…”the man grabs his head before actually looking around to see a Gaerben standing above him confused by the site of a water elf male with two children strapped to his chest in the fire lands.” erm…Hello water elf?”

Gaerben,” Greetings drunk human? My name is Gaerben, what may  I ask your doing out here? and what it is that you are called in your home country?”

Chuck,” Chuck, my friends call me chuck….you know, just one of those wandering monks you see every so often…guess I got a little sauced last night and wondered out here.” Chuck was in his early twenties and his head was shaved balled at one point and was in need of a new slice soon. His voice was friendly for the most part and a little horse from the shouting the night before. He wore well worn tan clothing and smelled of the night before. He smiled brightly standing up to eye the sleeping children then looking around he noticed that there was no company for the gentleman he just met.

Chuck,” I mean you no harm you can have the mother come out of hiding, your youngens look like they were born yesterday. They will be hungry soon. ”

Gaerben,” …..its just us, heading to the mountains how about yourself?” Gaerben had not even thought to pack milk or anything to feed the youngsters, though he knew back home that coconut milk was often used when a mother was unable to provide. Not a perfect match but might be useful.

Chuck,” Mountains, nah no thanks not my kind of traveling, but isn’t that a very rough way to go carrying two little ones?” Chuck was sort of alarmed by the mans choice of the mountains as trolls and rock devils were on the rise lately.

Gaerben,” Unfortunately its the quickest way back to our new home. Do you think I could perhaps purchase some of your coconuts for the little ones?”

Chuck,” erm….got anything to trade? ”

Gaerben,” only thing I can afford to spare is coin I am afraid.”

Chuck,”Alright then, I’ll sell you six or so should buy you some time to make it to a mountain market. 5 bronze chillings please

Gaerben,” Seems a little steep there monk.”

Chuck,” Your right but a mans gotta drink” Chuck snickers at his own comment as Gaerben hands him only 4 coins.”Alright fair enough.”

Gaerben,” Well, take care and safe travels my friend.”

Chuck,” may Poseidon keep you safe.”

Gaerben heads off towards the mountains as Chuck sits down tries to shake the feeling of guilt of not following. Once Gaerben fades from sight Chuck stands back up. The sun’s heat bares down on the land below causing no remorse for the dehydrated drunk. Chuck was not exactly sure of how far a town was from where he was at. Knowing that the fire elves would not harbor him with any kindness and the gnomes were still another two day hike at least. Sighing, he stands up and makes his way off in the direction of the mountains. Thinking soon he will run into Gaerben and the children.

A Few Days Later

“Alright stone dwarf…..that’ 24 shots too ya!.” Chuck says fighting back the urge to burp but knows its a losing battle. He is sitting at a table in a brothel having a drink with a stern looking dwarf who is slightly drooling on himself from the right side of his mouth. Between the two is a large bottle with a skull and cross bones drawn on it and under the drawing an inscription that reads “Black Diamond”. Black diamond was a powerful yet common drink among the mountain folk, it has many uses other than just getting snickered. From lantern fuel, goblin/bat repellent, medical treatments, cooking and cleaning.

Chuck slouching but keeping his composure speaks at a semi serious tone to the dwarf, ” You give yup yet?”

Dwarf,”Yeah like I would ever give in to a middle lander like you.” The dwarf pulls himself a shot of the Black Diamond liquid and slams is back letting out a belch. The two had begun to draw a crowd as they continued their drinking contest, some even began to place bets, but when the shot number hit 35 the dwarf and the monk both fell backwards off their stools and landed on the floor out cold.  Displeased by the lack of a winner the crowd dissipated.

Gaerben,” Chuck….”Gaerben whispers in Chucks ear before shaking him. He is a rather tall and lengthy water elf with short blond hair wearing the robes from the elf fire nation. strapped to his back is two babies wrapped in a dark grey wolf skin blanket.”, Chuck…wake up….it seems you pissed yourself again…” Frustrated Gaerben forms a small ball of water to begin dripping on chucks face similar to that of rainfall. Some time passes before Chuck shoots up smashing his face into the ball of water. Gaerben disburses the water orb as Chuck coughs out some water and blows his nose all over his face before smearing it off with his hand and whipping it on his pants.

Cursing as he began rubbing his eyes trying to get a look at where he is exactly. Seems someone had tossed him into an alley next to bar he was the night before it was well shaded. Looking around he could see the sun had yet to reach the top of the mountain sky. Still a bit drunk he stands up looking over at Gaerben with his two daughters.

Chuck, ” Aye, whats the big idea waking me up before the sun has even risen.”

Gaerben says in disgust,” Just get yourself cleaned up you stink. Honestly, I don’t know why I just don’t leave you in a pile of your own waste.”

” its simple its cause you’re a good guy for the most part. Leaving me to my own devices would not be what a good guy thing to do…..” Chuck gives a shit eating grin after his very true statement.

Chuck,” Perhaps I spoke too soon…whats with the rush anyway.”

Gaerben states with a bit of urgency,”Rock golems are on the move again this town is most likely their next target.”

Chuck,” You need to relax some, I know you have some kids to look out for but jeeze we have only stayed one or two nights at a time in this mountains, I mean seriously come on now, everywhere you go people say they are in danger from something. Hate to break it to ya but the world is not a safe place you can’t keep running every time some joker says the worlds going to end.”

It was at this moment that Chuck noticed a pair of large feet attached to a short stubby legs. Standing up Chuck looks past Gaerben. Chucks eyes bring the being in focus he sees the dwarf he had been in a contest with the night before out cold face down in the the dirt with a bit of blood covering both pairs knuckles.

Gaerben says something about rather being safe than sorry, but Chuck isn’t paying attention as the dwarf from the night before was fully dressed in armor and weaponry, now was in nothing but under garments. Chuck pats Gaerben on the shoulder and points over at the dwarf sleeping soundly. Gaerben turns to look over at the dwarf shrugging and looking back at Chuck.

Chuck,” ya that is all good and all.” responding to whatever comment Gaerben made before directing the conversation over to the unconscious company. ” So, no wet awakening for my competition?”

Gaerben, ” Seems someone robbed him didn’t want him to think it was us, dwarfs have a tendency to smash first and ask questions later.”

The babies snore in their wolfs skin carrier attached to Gaerben’s back. Chuck looks down at them as he passes picking up a twig off the ally floor. Using the stick Chuck begins to poke the bare feet of the dwarf, causing the dwarf to giggle in between gentle breaths. Chuck smiles in amusement and continues to prod the feet as Gaerben sighs knowing there was no talking Chuck out of the things Chuck does. Gaerben begins to look out in the street and the busy streets. The dwarf begins to try and kick the stick in his sleep forcing his feet to collide with one another. Chuck then jams the end of the stick in between the toes of the dwarf forcing the dwarf to wake up with a forceful laugh. Rolling over the dwarf sits up seemly unfazed by the night before.

” Good morning champ, seems you lost time to pay up!” Chuck says with a welcoming grin.

The dwarf looks at the monk with a bit of a glare on his face before seeing the two sleeping elves attached to Gaerben’s back. Before saying anything the dwarf looks down noticing he was next to nude and that all his armor/weaponry was missing.

Dwarf, ” Damn the Gods…..You didn’t win last night you drunk fool, my memory serves me correctly I won and you owe me but more importantly, I’d like you to return my belongings.”

Chuck,” What use would I have for armor that fits a dwarf I am2 feet taller than you it wouldn’t fit. Besides I am monk we don’t use swords and spears.”

Dwarf,” Hmmm….you Elf women return my stuff!”

Gaerben sighs again before turning around to look at the dwarf. The dwarf looks confused as a water elf man stands before him. Gaerben speaks in a bit of a harsh tone,” Look here dwarf, I didn’t take your stuff, and you both passed out last night at the same time, you at least didn’t piss yourself so I think that would make you the winner. Now my name is Gaerben, these are my girls Snowy and Ash. That monk is named Chuck,”

” Hey he didn’t win we tied I guess. ” Chuck says as readjusts his pants in the front.

Dwarf,” Aye My name is Grendel, now that we have all met, did either of you see what happened to my belongings. ”

” I woke up a bit before you did thanks to my friend here ” The monk wraps one arm around Gaerben who glares at Chuck till chuck removes his arm.

Gaerben states plainly,” Friends is a bit of a strong word for our relationship don’t you think.”

Grendel,” Ah so that is a no then.

Chuck,” Now that is not nice, who gave you coconuts to feed your children? Helped you and your family climb to the top of the mountain.”

Gaerben shakes his head,” Point made now can we get you cleaned up so we can move on before the Rock Golems arrive.”

Grendel begins to snicker, ” Rock Golems ha ha ha ha.” The dwarf busts out laughing. “Now they have been resting for thousands of years. Who told you that nonsense. Besides we would feel the ground shake long before we could see them.”

Chuck,” See told ya! ”

Gaerben agitated responds,”Fine then maybe the rumors are all false doesn’t mean staying put is the best option.”

” As prince of the Stonefoot clan I demand you tell me why an elf man of the water clan is wondering through my kingdom with a water elf and fire elf offspring. Also why the hell you chose the company of a Human “monk”…I have to assume you wish to leave my kingdom for the slave trade the humans have opened up.”

Chuck,”Prince….yeah right the only they your prince of is this ally.”

Gaerben,”Prince? Sorry I didn’t recognize you sooner I saw you as a child at a ball many years ago. Your beard has grown in nicely. As you asked, and I am in your lands I am required to respond. “He bows slightly agitated about the interrogation but he shares his story, but Chuck interupts and tells Gaerbens story.

Grendel having heard the story in the entirety nods then stands up. Looking over at the four. “Well that is indeed a story, Now if you four would be as so helpful to help me locate my armor.

Gaerben takes a few steps away from the two drunks in thought about how the theft of Grendel belongings is becoming his concern. Debating on just abandoning the two drunks and continuing on his path, but should the prince take offense it could create even more problems for him.

Chuck,” Well, you must excuse Gaerben, he has a lot on his plate right now.”

Grendel,”Water elves are so fickle to begin with surprised to see one in the mountains; let alone a dishonored noble.”

Grendel stretches and Gaerben decides to remain quite but to follow the two. Grendel begins to dust himself off as the smell of urine finally hits his nose. He turns and looks at the monk in his soiled clothing. Chuckling to himself Grendel leads Chuck to a small hut on the edge of town. To call it a hut was a generous observation as a large piece of rock metal sat across four large boulders forming some sort of roof door to a spacing in the middle of the rocks. Grendel and Chuck climb up a boulder to the top as Gaerben just watches. Grendel lifts up the metal rock handing the weight over to Chuck. Then Grendel jumps down into a small hole. A few moments later Grendel yells out to go ahead and close the top. Grendel lays his shoulder into one of the boulders and with a couple of big pushes is able to slide the boulder out of the way to make an entrance. Chuck jumps down and enters as Gaerben waits outside in the shade of a large boulder.

Chuck,” High class place you got here “Chuck looks around the small boulder made dwelling, he eyes a nap sack and some spare cloths. the dwarf tosses some small pants to the monk. “Think these are a little wide and short for me. ”

Grendel,” So wear shorts and find some rope or something. Either way if your going to help me then give my nose a break. ”

Chuck, ” Huh? I thought you were a prince….this doesn’t look like luxuries a prince would have.”

Grendel,”I am on a pilgrimage, every Stonefoot when he comes of age must head out into the world alone and take on the challenges of the mountains. Not everyone returns. You going to put those on? Because by mid day your piss pants will be so sour no one will want to be anywhere near you. ”

Chuck,” Oh right…thank you?” Chuck turns his back to Grendel as the dwarf searches his cabin pushing another boulder wall a bit to uncover a small hole containing a hatchet and a small knife and a bit of spare gold. Chuck changes though the waist size of the new pants are very large compared to the athletic tone body of the monk. Chuck looks around for something to tighten them with, but fails to see anything useful.

Grendel,” Ready? ”

“I guess,” Chuck replies holding up his pants on either side like a child who is wearing their parents clothing.

Grendel,” Ha ha ha….you look a bit odd, but It will do for now.”

Once they exit  Grendel pushes the boulders back in place making sure the flat metal stone was secured on the top. Taking a quick look around before Grendel finds an arm sized stone, and orders Chuck to drop his piss pants on the ground. Once Chuck does comply; Grendel drops the stone on top of the soiled garments and they head back towards town stopping off at a local merchant, to ask some questions. Gaerben tags along though remains distant from the two. As the two enter the merchant the elf man takes his daughters into his arms for awhile rocking them as they slumber. He smiles lightly moving the hair out of this faces with a gentle touch. He returns them to their carrier.

Merchant,” Welcome to ‘Whendom’s Wears’ my name is Whendom how may I assist you?”

Grendel,”Well someone stole my armor last night has the Stone Fledglings symbol on it, for those Born to the Stonefoot clan.

Whendom,” I don’t know I see many armors of different clans in my shop…” his voice is cocky as if he knows something in particular.

“Well perhaps you have seen the armor we speak of.” Chuck says with a smile and happy tone.” You wouldn’t happen to have some rope you would be willing to donate to a worthy cause would ya?”

Whendom ignores the question about rope but does respond,” These days people want so much stuff for free….it costs money for everything these days. Information being one of the most profitable.”

Grendel,” Well how about this, ” Grendel says as he slides two gold coins over to the man?

Whendom,”That does help, there were two human teenagers here not too long ago the youngest was wearing the armor you mentioned.  They bought a canteen and some climbing gear.”

Grendel,” Didn’t happen to mention which way they were heading did they,”

Whendom,” My memory is a bit unclear on that matter,”

Chuck,” Well, what will it cost to get some twine?”

Grendel slides a third coin over to Whendom but keeps his finger pressing it down with most of his strength. Whendom goes to grab it; although realizes quickly that the dwarfs hand wasn’t moving.

Whendom,” Said they were heading to the sea because they had never seen it before. Not exactly sure what city they are heading too, though I doubt they will get very far.” Whendom attempts to take to coin again as Grendel nods over to Chuck, and with a sigh the shop keep cuts off about three feet of twine placing it on the counter. Grendel lifts his hand off the coin so Whendom can collect it as Chuck grabs the twine.

Chuck,” thank you sir for your donation.”

Grendel,” Donation….yeah.” Grendel says as he turns to leave with a smart ass tone to his voice.

Chuck ties the string through the four loops in the “pant’s” waste line. Tightening the best he could before double knotting a  bow on the front. He turns and follows Grendel out of the wear shop before they both head down the path towards the sea. There was only one trail leading to the sea, but most wouldn’t consider it much of a path. It was known as the Sharp Canyon Passage way. Renamed after the last major war of the mountain tribes, do to the canyon walls being mostly destroyed by magic users verse the Stone Throwers. Both tribes still live on either side of the Canyon neither one cared much for the other living opposite of them. Do to the war large shards of stone reach towards the sky all over the canyon bottom, its not uncommon for ropes and flesh to be shredded as people try to climb down to the bottom. In fact most dwarfs take a series of chains and a sturdy hammer. The chains didn’t normally break, and the hammer was used to chip sharp edges down as they made their way to the bottom.

As Grindel and Chuck approach the drop off for the canyon they see Gaerben up ahead he is looking down a thick rope attached to a rock leading over the edge. Below the Children dangle dangerously over several spiked rock outlets.  The rope so far seems to be holding up to the weight and movements of the kids. Snowy and Ash begin to wake up and make cute sounds to one another, as they try and wiggle their arms free.

 It was at this moment that that Tagule had caught up to Gaerben unsheathing a sword and spear of flames. The gems embedded in the weapon glow bright orange and can clearly be seen through the flames. He spins through the air kicking Gaerben in the chest knocking him down. Tagule cuts the rope and Gaerben grabs it before it slides off the edge, lowering the babies closer to the death below. Tagule uses this moment to shove his spear through the chest of Gaerben. Grendel gets ready to charge Tagule as Chuck slides next to Gaerben also grabbing a hold of the rope. Chuck begins to pull the babies up as Gaerben chokes on his own blood..

Gaerben coughs out blood but speaks to Chuck,”Go…take them…run…they wont ever be safe…please…I beg you protect them.” Chuck continues to pull the babies up and once they are up he turns to Gaerben who final breath gurgles out in a bloody mess.

Tagule knocks Grendel down and makes his escape as his mission was complete. The man who murdered his sister is dead. Grendel makes his way over to Chuck whom leans over to pick up the babies. Shocked Chuck looks down at the babies who burst out into tears, but with a little rocking and mild humming he tames their screeching. He looks down to Gaerben,” I will do my best…,”he monk vows.

Grendel and Chuck bury the babies father, they make their way back to town as the sun begins to set. Chuck rocks them both trying to get them to sleep, as Grendel works on finding food and lodging for the night.

Grendel returns to Chuck who is currently and carefully pours some coconut milk into Ash’s mouth. Grendel could not find any lodging but did manage to get a hold of goats milk and some more coconuts. Grendel begins to feed Snowy and Chuck can not help but laugh at the current situation. They head to a remote path just outside of the village. This way; they thought they could avoid curious eyes. Just as night fell and their fire begin to smolder they were approached by a man with purple hair. The man didn’t speak a word to them yet tried to communicate using his hands.

Next thing either of the two remember is day break their heads ache as if they had drank all the ale a tavern had to offer. Looking around they see no sign of the babies nor the man they met the night before.

“WHAT THE FUCK, SNOWY, ASH WHERE ARE YOU,” Chuck shouts frantically. He begins to wonder around looking for any indication of which direction that man could have gone. The stone paths give no clues as to the rout the purple haired figure could have gone. Grendel joins the search and they head off down the paths out of town.

19 years later

“You couldn’t hit a barn door with an ax if your were standing at arms reach.” Says a rather drunk human Monk to an even drunker earth Dwarf. They had been drinking and arguing for days, mainly about their skills in various computations of “what if” scenarios. The monk was dressed in only tattered pants, bald head, and glazed over eyes. To his side a well crafted long bow and quiver. The dwarf was dressed in heavy armor from neck to toe, a pair of tower shields lay leaning against the table with the horn of a helmet holding them in place, but only just. The helmet had the design of the rock tribe on them as well as the horns from a cave owl a rather vicious and large creature that is closer to a bat than an actual owl consumes Dwarfs on a semi regular bases.

“Chuck, if that is true I would still be better off than you, who wouldn’t have been able to find the damn barn.” The dwarf says with a big of a sickly belch following.

“Ha ha ha, you wish Grendel, just admit it…” he belches even louder than the dwarf ” as long as I am around you will always be second best. Second best at drinking. ,” Takes shot slamming it down next to the four empty bottles of dwarf liqueur.” Second best in aim, “Lifts if his bow and grabs and arrow shooting it across the bar and through the empty part of the handle to a mug.” and last in charming the ladies, mainly because you insist on wearing that old collection of armor everywhere you go, and well you smell like molding flesh of the walking dead.” He stands and grabs a wench planting a kiss on her lips before spinning her away and smacking her on her ass. She laughs as she spins back bumping into the bar counter. almost knocking over a pitcher of mead. ” Ah yes that makes you First in stench….” he pours them both a shot which the dwarf takes reluctantly.

Grendel struggles to stand, but does so and pokes the monk square in the chest. “YEAH, your in-intelligence second if you can you think me beat,” Slams his elbow on the table and demands an arm wrestling match. It was at this time a group of three dwarfs walk up to their table. The monk slams his elbow down and grabs the dwarfs hand. They begin. Veins popping and teeth gritting their muscles flex. No clear winner to be seen. The crowd looks on surprised such a thin monk could contain enough strength to quell a dwarf of nobility.

“what kind of dwarf grammar was that?” Chuck asked as he slowly begin to use his reach to advantage.

“Gentleman,” said the dwarf who was the center of the three that had just arrived. He was dressed in an apron and had some flour on his pants. As the other two were royal dwarf guardsmen suited in armor and armed with spears. They however were ignored by the two drunks and their contest; which was the current important matter. Sadly the dwarf would not understand this.

Grendel shouts,”Shut up, you gargoyle raping piece of horse shit,”

The Dwarf who was in all honestly the owner of the establishment was taken back by the statement he assumed was directed at himself. The store owner now pissed slams his hands on the table and gets the drunks attention.

The store owner shouts,” GENTLEMAN CAN I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION”

“Excuse US we are having a friendly match here, give us a minute it will be over soon,” Just as Chuck responded his arm had managed to pull Grendel’s position into his favor and swiftly ended it. They turn and look at the three dwarfs next to them. Chuck spewing out a few more words,” Don’t think he liked your calling him gargoyle raper or a piece of horse shit…”. He leans over and smells the top of the owners head,” Though you were right….this man could very will be a piece of shit, or is hygiene something they do not teach dwarfs. ”

Grendel,” Aye,…well…fuck you for starters..I am not the one who hit on a gargoyle..and what in the Gate do you three want.”

The guard on the right speaks up,” Prince Grendel, the roads to the south have reopened your brother the king would like you to help reestablish the routes to the the closest towns. ”

Store owner adds,” AND PAY YOUR DAMN BILL YOU DRUNKS, MONK just because your a friend of the prince doesn’t give you the same authority,”

Chuck was taken back about the being called a friend,” Friend nothing I am his spiritual council and self appointed private guard, and as such you should serve me as well as you serve him….and as freely. ”

Guard on the left places his hand on Chucks shoulder then chimes in,” The King says your also cut off till you finish your appointed task. So, you will have to pay your bill on your own tonight. ”

“I will do no such thing, respect the blood line of the Stonefoot clan, we shall pay for nothing within our kingdom…” Grendel protests,

Guard on the right begins again,” Just a reminder the kings wife is with child and your the last of 14. 8 of which have a claim to the throne before you. You’re royal blood is without question, your usefulness to the kingdom however is under the kings advisement. Most of the other bars and taverns in town have already barred you two from them. I suggest you pay up or I by the kings orders I shall have to bring you in.

“Ooooo…..you and your pointed stick could try. “Chuck says with a bit of a smirk as Grendel raises his hand to Chuck.

Grendel pulls out his coin purse and begins counting, “one….two…three….what what do we owe?” Grumbling as last thing he wanted to see was his older brother and his precious throne room.

“56 gold pieces for the last three days of food and drink,” the dwarf owner says with a bit of pleasant surprise to see a coin purse out.

Grendel’s eyes widen as he just turns his coin purse over pouring out forty or so making it hard to count as some roll off the edge of the table and else where. Grendel grabs his helmet and shields holding one with each arm. Monk and him make their way to the exit as Grendel shouts,” AND keep the change. “The store owner begins picking up all the coins as they exit into the large mountain village.

The village itself was built in a dead volcano and light rained down from the massive opening above. Inside the village were many different buildings chiseled out of massive stones or walls. The ground had been carved to form roads and paths leading too and fro. The outside of the mountain had some of the best defenses any realm had ever seen. From avalanche traps, archery stations and flaming catapults set up throughout the sides. Shops and homes lined the walls of the great hidden city and around them was one of the longest stair cases. The stair case wrapped around the inside of the volcano a total of five times. Giving access to the city as well as the embedded buildings. The buildings were spaced about 80 feet from each other as well to allow for more growth if needed and to prevent armies from using the small edges of the buildings to reach the strong holds as the stair case was set to collapse in the event of a siege.

Only way in and out was the very top and the paths leading those up, out and in were all set to crumble with a pull of a cord that leads to the Kings throne room. The Village of Volcano Pass was the largest of the dwarf tribes topping off at just 27,000 most all of which were armed and trained. As was tradition being this close to the Gate, which resided on the other side of the vast mountain range. The city had been struggling with the raids of supply roads though the dwarfs were good at defense, open combat always proved a challenge, often they would rather starve then be slaughtered in combat. Though the village had large storage abilities their remote location made it hard for them to properly stock up.

Another thing that set this village apart was the kings palace. Made from one 6 story tall diamond and width had yet to be determined. It once jutted out of the wall of the volcano as a misshaped mass. Generations of craftsmen have molded it into a palace that the other kingdoms covet. Not only was it in a precious stone but the detail work of the history of the realm and tribe line the pillars and walls as you make your way to the throne room. The throne room itself had massive chandlers that reflected light causing vibrant displays of color. The throne itself looked elegant but standard to sit in the front but behind it was a porcupine style display of jagged diamonds in a cluster type order. Spiral stair cases lead up to the kings personal lodgings and behind the throne are several pillars dedicated to the royalty that has lost their lives over the ages. Each pillar dictates the life and glory of the royal blood. The room stretches on for longer than eyes can see. Though they are currently in construction of widening the area.

Do to this diamond it has awarded them a lot of advantages, from diamond edged weaponry to a steady supply of wealth. Most in the village work on individual crafts doing their best to prefect their skills. The King is often well praised by the people though every ruler has those who disagree, Grendel once attempted to challenge for the throne when his brother decided to end the treaties with the other mortal clans. Their were many political issues; from improper distribution of trade of goods from the elves and the humans continued trade of slaves, formed around this decision and it did put a mark on a rather glory filled reign. Shortly after the elf clans broke apart returning to their homelands. The hostility towards the Gods grew after many suffered from the fracturing alliances, their prayers never being answered.

“Well, days of heavy drinking shall make this adventure extra special. ” Chuck says on a sour note.

Grendel lets out a sigh,” Suppose your right anyway the sooner we leave here the quicker we can return.”

“Well since we were not given a degree by the king we shouldn’t have to do anything, perhaps that guard is just sending us to do his duties.” Chuck says doing his best to sober up before heading to the crude elevator system they have established.

Grendel snorts,”Either way it will give us some praise and thus keep the king and others off our backs. Even perhaps earn us a few months of free ale.”

“Who can turn down free ale….remember when we met?” Chuck asks as he tries to sort out the details after years of burring the memory with bottle after bottle.

“Yes, and we did what we could to find those babies that were taken so many years ago.” Grendel steps on to the elevator followed by Chuck who stretches his arms. Grendel pulls on a small rope that dangled down, beyond ear shot of the two a small bell chimes near the mouth of the former volcano. A few dwarfs groan as they push a mass of rocks that were netted and tied as the counter weight to elevator off the edge of a cliff. This action forces the elevator to lift off the ground at a semi rapid pace,the dwarfs at the top wait for the arrival of the elevator.

“Yes but I can’t even remember what they looked like anymore, perhaps instead of just re-establishing the trade routes we should venture out again and try and attempt to regain our honor. I only say this cause we haven’t ventured out in almost two decades.” Chuck says trying to find a more pressing purpose to their soon to be travel.

Grendel leers over at Chuck before giving his response,” Our honor is intact it was never our duty to look after those children. Honestly after their father met his end we should have turned them in to the King and let him decide their fate. Yet you convinced us to waste four years searching for children no kin to us. We gained nothing to show for it and while we were gone my father died and my brother took over. If we hadn’t returned when we did I would have lost more than just the respect of the family for traveling with an outsider and missing the memorial. Making it to see my brother crowned as the new King. Finding those children would not reinstate their favor, but fixing the trade routs will, and thus we shall return home.”

Chuck face gave no shade to his anger over the round about denial of his suggestion. “Fair enough my friend, perhaps after we fix the trade routes I will move out on my own, the stench of dwarf has left its mark on my nose anyway. Some fresh air and traveling will do me some good I think. ” He says this as he remembers holding a dying mans hand as he asked him for his help. Help he failed to provide. Chuck thought for a moment perhaps he drank so much because of this, as a monk a man’s dying wish is not something to be taken lightly.

Grendel looks a bit bewildered from the monks proposal. ” You wouldn’t make it three weeks without me. Things have changed from then to now, people have grown intolerant, and darklings have begun to organize. The world will fall into war again but this time it will be everyone for themselves. Not to mention the creatures that call this world home.”

The elevator reaches the top and they step off. They turn to the dwarfs manning the elevators pulley systems they all grab a hold of one massive rope that is attached to the rocks and help pull the rocks back up to the top forcing the elevator to descend. Chuck,”Oh didn’t take you for the kind to worry about outsider living or dying. You are welcome to tag along but honestly I will be fine.”

Silence befalls both of them as they concentrate on lifting the rocks. Once finished Grendel pats Chuck on the back,” You are not going to let this go are you?” Chuck shakes his head and they make their way over to some sleds and they head over to a smoothed out groove leading down the side of the volcano. Chuck goes first down picking up great speed before it levels off at the base he pulls the sled out from under himself. Grendel thinks to himself about the past….wondering why that water elf’s death wish means his only friend that he would head out on the prayer of death. Grendel and Chuck began to remember the first day they met, and the story of that day that changed their lives forever.

(( ))

Grendel hears Chuck shouting from the base of the volcano, snapping out of it he climbs onto the sled and meets up with him. He pats Chuck on the back again. “I will go with you my friend, perhaps we can find Tagule if nothing else and make him pay for the three lives he ended.” Grendel says this assuming his babies died long ago as well.”

Chuck just nods having not given up faith that the children are alive, yet admits to himself the odds are slim and is grateful that Grendel has decided to join. They head out and hit several mountain cities and the City of the Sea, where the water elves lived informing them of the trade routs being reopened. After several weeks they finally exit the mountains into the plains, where men reside. They were told a few large roaming hoards of Orcs remained the the area, but through their travels to the first small village they saw no sign of current movements. They are hit by a cloud of dust which leaves coughing and covered in white soot.

They begin to brush themselves off before heading towards the town. Their first thought and desire was to see if they could get some fresh food and ale. They head to the local tavern which is erupting with good cheer, they find walk up to the bar dropping their belongs beside them. It was at this point that the Chuck would notice a large man and two girls sitting at the bar, not seeing Kross hidden on the other side. They watch Cecil Kross the room and plop down next to them. For the first time in ages Chuck smells the scent of coffee in the air and his mind fills with memories of the sweet young girl that made him into a man. They had drank the coffee to recharge, and thus continued. It was the first and last time he had ever smelled that curious aroma till now. He watches as the coffee is passed out by the small group. Jealous he became tapped Grendel on the head as he was in mid order with the bar tender about food and ale.

Chuck bursts out,” BAR KEEP GIVE ME SOME OF THAT COFFEE!” Before stomping up to the group startling the girls getting Argos attention whom sees a dusty bald monk wondering forth. They turn and look at him. Argos gets up and Kross begins refilling his cup. Chuck however takes no notice to anything but the girls. A bit of tear begins to form in his eyes as he reaches over and grabs both the girls in an unexpected embrace. Argos brings his fist down on Chucks head, knocking him out cold. Causing the girls to shriek as they are pulled off their chairs by the now unconscious chuck.

Grendel stands up and rushes over to his friend and the group. “Wait….hold on there giant, my friend means you and yours no harm. By chance are the names of you two girls Ash and Snowy.”

Argos answers for the girls,”It might be but what concern is it of yours.”

Grendel,”Well the man you knocked out was friends with their father. He has been looking for them for a long time.”

Chuck begins to drool on the ground as he is a misshaped unconscious mass on the ground. Snowy and Ash look at each other confused as Kross looks over at Cecil who is still sipping his coffee.

Kross with a leer and disgruntled tone in his voice,” Don’t think this gets you out of telling us what you mean by the end of the world, but do to recent events we can wait till later….”

Cecil very coy responds,”Ah yes please do tend to that…”

Kross stands up with a cup of coffee and kneels down next to Chuck. Grendel tells the hole story to Group as Chuck comes around do to the aroma of the coffee. Kross hands the cup to Chuck once he is sure that Chuck can drink it safely as it was still very hot. Chuck takes it as he rubs the welt that has already formed on the top of his head.

Snowy looking at Ash and Ash looking at Snowy both state the same thing,” SO we are sisters? Twins?” they both reveal a smile either never having any sense of a biological story.

Ash with respectful tone,” Thank you, Grendel….Thank you Chuck…It is a pleasure meeting you both again.

Snowy with an over excited tone,” SISTERS, YES……wait….our parents our dead…and our uncle killed our father?…..

Chuck with help from Kross stands,” Yes yes I have some things that belong to you both….” stumbling slightly as his makes his way over to his belongings…he opens up his bag of random items. He pulls out an fire elf sorcery book, and a pair of ice daggers as well as cloaks for each…he walks back over and hands them to snowy and Ash. Ash is drawn to the daggers and snatches them before Snowy has a chance to even look at them. Snowy following in suit snatches the book. Chuck places the Cloaks on the bar counter.

Chuck smiles and says in a relieved tone,” Yes, these belonged to your parents. The book is written in elfish, and contains some very powerful noble magics. As those daggers are enchanted. The cloaks will help you manage your abilities as they grow. I was hoping to find you many years ago, but now is better than never.”

Snowy looks over at chuck, and gives him a hug, thinking maybe the cloak could help her contain her fire.

Kross now turns his attention back to Cecil,” Alright, now Cecil explain. what you meant?”

Argos is wary of Chuck and Grendel trying to figure out what they could possibly mean to do now with the girls. As he would not let Ash wonder off with strangers regardless how convincing their stories are. Slave traders are always on the look out for young girls of various races. This being said Chuck and Grendel move over to join the group to find out more about what the girls had been up too over the years. The girls introduce them to Argos and Kross. Though neither Agros nor Kross are fully paying attention to them as Cecil sighs and then begins.

“You know how people hate the Gods right…well…Lets just say they found a way to silence them forever. There are these 12 beings that have been given the ability to kill Zeus and the rest, they well have decided to complete their appointed tasks after dispatching those who gave them the ability to do so. ” Cecil explains. “They each have unique weaponry, skills, and magics. They are very very dangerous and honestly their plans for the realm will end it. I am limited in the level of involvement I can risk at this point. So I have a big favor to ask of EACH OF YOU HERE,” raises his voice to get the attention of the Girls, Grendel and Chuck.
“Save the Gods..Save the realm…or I fear the world will be plunged into endless war and darkness.”

Kross coughs,” Save the GODS are you fucking kidding me….Gods don’t just die. ”

Cecil responds calmly,” Wish you were right….but soon the sky will rain blood, and Their city will crumble and fall from the heavens.”

Argos shrugs off the concept and questions,”How could you possibly know this? Ares would never fall in battle, nor would many of the other Gods. You spin good tales my friend but tales are all they are. ”

Cecil hesitates but then states very plainly,” The Wind tends to share a lot to those that will listen, matters not if you believe me or not…for tomorrow you will see for yourselves. So enjoy your evening for now, I on the other hand have had too much to drink and I need to lay down. ” Cecil gets up and walks out of the tavern as the rest stare at each other a moment.

Grendel speaks up,” Aye saving the Gods would bring much glory to the Stonefoot Clan, that is if they actually need saving.”

Chuck yawns,” Honestly who believes a blind imbecile that listens to the wind. The wind doesn’t speak to anyone. It’s only the wind. ”

Argos chimes in,” Well that man saved this town…I owe him my thanks and even if this all turns out to be false I can at least look into it for him.”

Ash nods to Argos statement,” We owe him our lives this being said, I will follow you Argos.”

Snowy looks to Kross who states,” Well then all I know is in the last 24 hours I have seen more unexplained and amazing things to fully deny the possibility that what he says is true. Has unfathomable as it may be. Saving Gods isn’t a wise use of my time though…No profit in it.”

Snowy gives very disappointed eyes to Kross who can not help but look away,” Well then I shall go with you Sister!!!”

“I made a promise to look after you two so I guess I am coming also,” Chuck says having rediscovered a sense of integrity.

Kross now the odd man out debates briefly separating ways though he often doesn’t trust anyone, leaving the one that he does is a pain he is not willing to bare. With head held low he speaks,” Alright if you all want to go on a fools errane I shall join you on the greatest con ever known. Now where do we begin?”


A Story Into Time Chapter Two: The White Raven

“Kross…..Kross…..Wake up already…..” A young blond haired girl with blue eyes stands at the edge of a bed. She was wearing a white summer dress with bright blue flowers sowed into the design. She seemed to be no older than twelve and had a very innocent look about her. Standing roughly at 4’11” she begins playing with her hair forming into pig tails. This exposed her ear showing that of elf kin in her ancestry.

In the bed is a man in his mid twenties presumed to be fast asleep his hair though black in color had a bit of a sliver haze to it. Hanging off the bed frame near his feet was a large black leather jacket; well worn, to its side lays a cloak and well crafted sword. Random other belongings are strung about the room.

“KROSS…. WAKE UP….”, she screams at the the top of her lungs having no effect on the already awake but unmotivated companion. He remains still with eyes firmly shut. He controls his breathing so she is none the wiser to his ruse. After she gets frustrated with him she goes over to his jacket and removes some coins for breakfast. Slamming the door as hard as she can when she departs.

Once she left he sits up groaning in discontent. His scared body shows many story’s but few he remembers or wishes to share. He shuffles around the bed blindly for his shirt sliding it on he notices a faint odor coming from it. With a sigh he tosses  legs off the side of the bed still in desperate search for the motivation to tackle on the rest of the day. He stands. The wood of the floor is cold and unforgiving as he shuffles his feet around to the foot of the bed where he grabs his jacket and sword. Checking his pockets he figures out the amount she stole with a bit of a smile, “finally learning something” he whispers to himself. Sliding the jacket on the inner right hand pocket of the jacket slaps against his chest with a thud. He pats the outside of the the jacket pocket making sure the contents were not disturbed. Making his way to the door he picks up a small bag of belongings, though he honestly questions why he drags the bag around at all as it has nothing of value inside it. He gives his eyes a sturdy rub to make sure he has the appearance of just waking up. He opens the door letting in a rush of noise and light.

He makes his way to a stair case as he makes his way down the rise of idle conversation increases. He peers out across the chamber of the Horse Hoof Tavern. The building was named this based on its shape which was pretty much a U consisting of rooms for rent by the night or hour. The center of the horse Hoof Tavern was a mass bar and eating area, given it was the only place within a day of traveling to get hot food the locals kept it pretty well supplied with traffic and commerce. He spies the girl who woke him up prior showing off her new dress to the wench dropping off the girls breakfast. Eggs, bread, and some small radishes . A tall glass of milky water to wash it all down with. Kross begins to slowly make his way across the crowded dining area to the small table that the girl had claimed in the corner. On his way he eyes some decently sized coin purses one of which he acquires without notice. Slipping into his pocket shortly before he sits down rather abruptly staring at the girl.

“Well, how did you manage to get me something to start the day, Snowy?” he asks attempting to slide her plate of grub over to himself before she has a chance to eat it. This attempt fails as she gives him a glare showing his actions are a death worthy crime, lifting up a fork with a threatening stabbing motion.

“Should you have woken up on time Kross you might have seen my new skills at their peek performance, But since you cant get up you will never be able to see. ” She says smugly before biting into a radish. She finishes her bite before continuing “You going to keep your promises this time or am I to be disappointed again.”

“Snowy, its clear your skills are truly surpassing mine. What do you want from me, I told you I would take you to where the White Raven flies, its not my fault we haven’t seen it since we arrived. I can not control it, I am not a druid or some sort of elemental. ”

“Kross, Why do you make promises you can not or don’t intend to keep.” She says with a sullen tone. “And why haven’t you commented on my dress? Don’t you think its pretty?

” I didn’t comment on your dress cause as elegant as it may be it can not improve you grace, as you are the most elegant of all. ” he says hoping the over exaggerated compliment will keep him out of her cross hairs. “Have you heard anything interesting going on in the area we might be able to pick up some spare cash for our travels.”

” Well they say that the orcs are moving in from the northwest cutting off the supply line to the mountain folk. They could very will be planning on trying to retake the dwarf strong hold in the mountain. Also someone mentioned a cloaked women appearing and disappearing in the woods not far from here, others had claimed they saw the same witch craft. Other than those only labor options mostly dealing with harvests. ” she says nodding happily to the compliment.

“Disappointing” he waves he wench over to order the same but coffee to drink instead. He is denied the coffee as its a rare privilege that the small town can not afford. Kross sighs having heard the ill news. The wench leaves and he turns his attention back to Snowy who has managed to pile all  her food on top of her bread chuck and is attempting to cut through it with a poorly forged fork.  Kross leans in and assists against her dismay she lets him. Once chopped up she shovels it into her mouth as Kross’s order is returned to him he pays the wench with a little extra before eating for himself. Snowy waits for him to finish before she pipes up.

“Snowy, Thank you for the dress….and sorry for not thanking you sooner its truly lovely.” She mentions while admiring the bright colors of it. The thought of its future in her care brings a bit of sadness to her tone. Since they travel so often it will be impossible for her to keep its glory pure. She knows the colors will fade, and it will get dirty with in a short amount of time.

“Glad you like it but to be honest I can not remember buying it for you” he says a bit confused. Having only a loose memory of the day before making him feel a bit off. His body is weak as if he had been fighting the day before and he cant really remember much from it but does remember seeing the dress in a shop. Though doesn’t remember seeing that shop anywhere in town.

“Well, It’s gorgeous anyway,” she says taking no concern over his statement. As he has been trying to teach her that acquiring doesn’t always involve coins.”Whats the plan for today?”

” Suppose we should find that White Raven so you can get your feather and thus we can move on to a civilized town that has coffee. Though tomorrow it might be best to move on encase those orcs decide to head this way. Go fetch your bow and arrows; then we shall search the wooded areas near by. “Kross says reluctantly as he could easily just crawl back into bed.

Snowy nods and then takes off up the stairs to her room to collect her things, as Kross talks to the tavern keeper about reserving one more night, and pays in full using up the last of the coins he stole this morning. On their way out he pick pockets two more and places the now empty purses in a third victims pocket. Snowy leads the way out the door as the missing purses begin to get noticed. Shouting and a impending brawl they leave on their way out. Kross smiles at the ease of his slight of hand, and how the blame will never catch up with them. They head to the edge of town to the woods where they begin their search of this fabled white raven.

Once they reached the woods their disappointment was confirmed as the wooded area was barely 4 acres, and filled with thorny bushes and lifeless pine trees. It wasn’t long until Snowy tore a small hole in her dress; instantly fumed, she chanted a spell releasing a burst of flame in all directions around her scorching Kross briefly as well as singeing the thorny bushes. Kross glares at her a moment for his scorched hair before they continue searching every inch of the trees for the raven. They find nothing of true value, nor any sign of the existence. Kross did note that the wooded area was very void of life and sound, though didn’t mention it as he didn’t want to startle his young friend.

Kross looked towards the sky and was surprised to see another rarity, two seraphs, that flying above. He silently waved Snowy to look up at the oddity as well. Snowy looked up in awe having only heard stories. Kross noticed that these Angelic beings did not fully resemble their own kin. As almost all seraphs have either grey or white wings, these two had different colors all together. One was golden in all senses of the word as the Other was black with ash colored skin. They were pretty high up and seemed to be searching the area as well. Kross instincts kicked in as he grabbed Snowy and they moved closer to a large tree for some kind of cover.

“These are not normal, and seem to be also looking for white raven or something else. Either way best not be confused for whatever they are looking for.” He whispers feeling uneasy about not knowing nor having the advantage of cover nor high ground in this case.

“Kross, they are so majestic though, maybe we can help each other.” She said with innocence and curiosity feeling her voice to a near foolish tone.

“Snowy, take it from me…Gods and Angels are not to be trusted, they always have an agenda. Often don’t like others knowing what they are. My gut tells me those two either have been banished or are not what they seem. Can’t explain it…” Kross says with caution and guidance. He gets this sudden feeling almost painful that he could have seen these two before but the memory escapes him. The Seraphs glide down closer to the forest before taking off as if they caught the scent of whatever they were looking for. They head directly towards the town they had left earlier that day. It was at this moment Snowy felt something brush her face, turning she saw it. A single white feather drifting ever so carelessly down to the ground.

Snowy bends over and picks it up with a big smile on her face before turning and looking up at the tree. She sees no bird but Kross remains still. Snowy turns to show him the feather but he ignores her.

“Kross, Look at this.” She says with glee but it fades quickly as he remains still. She jumps up to wave her hand in his face and yet gets no response. She looks at his chest and its not moving. Freaking out she begins screaming at him as he stares off ahead. She turns to see what he is looking at. A man in his early thirties dressed in white, with white hair and white eyes stairs back her.

The man stood roughly 6’2″ and had parallel scars running through each eye. He held a staff with scripture she had never seen on it. His cloths were the whitest white she had ever seen, instantly she wanted to give him some color but she too froze. It was at this moment she realized she couldn’t feel the wind, hear the movement of the forest that.

“erm….Hello? What have you done to Kross,” she asks while thinking of a possible spell she could use.

“Snowy, I mean you nor your dear friend Kross any harm. You went in search of the White Raven, here I stand before you. If you wish to free Kross just brush that feather against him. ” The man says in gentle and soothing tone.”

Snowy does touch the feather to Kross who instantly grabs his sword, unsheathing pushing Snowy behind himself for protection. Snowy how ever almost falls over stumbling off to the side.

Stay back Snowy, Who are you? “Kross waves the sword back and fourth with quick motion demonstrating a brief display of of his striking speed.

“As I have said I am the White Raven, and unless you plan on stabbing a harmless blind man with that sword I suggest you put it away. ” The white figure responds with parental tone that makes a chill run down Snowy’s spine, as if she had heard this voice many times before. She turns and stares at the figure bewildered as she had never seen this man before. Kross on the other side sees flashes of his past causing his eyes to widen as he lowers the weapon.

“White Raven you may be but again I ask who you are. You say you are harmless but my experience has taught me is any blind man that walks alone is not a man who is harmless. ” Kross says soundly having coned many people in his day, and from time to time taking on a blind man persona for certain ploys. The man before him had whited out glassy eyes that hardly blinked. The man’s staff and clothing were too pristine for a believable blind man who had been stumbling around over the years. Stainless, dust less and seemingly un-ruptured nor sown makes as far as he could tell. Also the clothing was well pressed and wrinkle free.

“Excuse me Mr. Raven…..how…how did you know our names?” Snowy asks shyly poking her head  out from behind Kross whom has yet to sheath his sword.

The man’s eyes narrow into a glare for a moment as if annoyed by their questions, wishing they would just accept the reality before them. “Shhh, Snowy I knew your names from watching you two talk to one another this morning in the tavern. First I have a name, but I haven’t used it in so long I barely remember it.  Cecil, you can call me Cecil, I am one of the last great masters of healing magics. ” he says calmly.

“Kross healing magic is forbidden, has been for centuries, since the rise of the necromancer. I do not believe you for if you truly were a master of healing magics your eyes would be more than a facial feature. Also If you had been at the tavern this morning I would have seen you. ” He says crassly ready his sword.

“You mean you didn’t?…. And they call me blind…..so perhaps a demonstration, follow me,” he says rather cheery as he takes off on a steady pace down the path towards the town they had left previously. Kross and Snowy look at each puzzled a moment before walking a safe distance behind him. Kross watches him closely trying to detect wither the he is actually blind or not. Cecil does move seamlessly across the path occasionally stepping out of sink with the rest but abruptly returns to the previous line of walking.

 

 

 

 

 


The Eye of a Rose

The Eye of a Rose

By Shoeless B. Wonder

The eye of a rose
Sees futures untold
Treasures it keeps
Wrapped in it’s inner folds

When it first appears
It’s nothing more than a hole
Inside it’s beauty held
Till its strong enough to show it’s soul

As time goes by
It’s petals do fall
The secrets come in view
Slowly revealing them all

Once there is nothing left
It’s color’s darken till they fade
The eye will turn and look down
Displaying  nothing but shade


Numb to Death

Steady are my days of solitude
Constant stream of nothing’s wrong
Still nothing is right to conclude
Now wondering if this was me all along

Age has made a stronger will
Thoughts have dried my quill
Life buried my sense of passion
Love has left this soul ashen

To work, To home, I don’t feel alone
For friends are a temporary tone
Though company isn’t ever a concern
As time forgets to let them return

Blank ambition for a tired mind
Leaves not one thing to find
It became clear to me instead
That as a whole, I am dead.


Chapter 13: Darkness Falls

A  drunk stricken in fear bursts open a taverns door of a small village near the mountain range. The town was known for being the last place to pick up supplies before heading towards the mountains. As well as the first place to rest after leaving the mountains. The town had only about 30 locals a few cottages, a market, with and inn, and a temple dedicated to Hermes. Finvilla was the name chosen for the town by the travelers long ago, but the locals call it Haven.

Drunk,”The DEAD are walking this way.” The drunk was wearing a torn up shirt well aged and stained with pants that the buttons had broken on years of drinking prior. They stayed on by the grace of a thin bit of twine tide slightly to tight around his waist the race of the man could have been a human at one point but years of drinking caused his skin to look worse for wear.

Bar keep,” quit your nonsense, we are not running out of here again for a false looming danger so you can raid the place….not this time fool me three times shame on me…fool me a fourth…shame on you. ”

The drunk stumbles a bit before crashing into the counter of the bar panting heavily.

Drunk,” You have to believe me everyone they are coming from the across the mountain divide.” He reaches out to grab the inn keeper and pull him close as Argos, Kross, Ash and Snowy huddle around a table near the fire overhearing the commotion. Cecil is no where to be seen and Kross had gone in search of him around the town twice with no luck in locating him. Snowy begins to shiver at the thought of walking dead as Ash begins to get angry at the drunk whom is scaring her sister.

The Bar Tender pushes the drunk off of himself, causing the drunk to fall and crawl his way over to the table where our heroes gather. Snowy scoots her stool over towards Agros as Kross brings forth a cruel look of curiosity. The drunk manages to crawl his way up the table looking at the group.

Drunk,” Hurry save the children…Run before the dead our upon us.”

Argos, ” believe me, they can handle themselves you should make your way to your chambers and sleep it off.”

Kross,” Army of walking dead perhaps our healer has gone to try and take them on solo. ”

Argos, ” I doubt it, though he is one to do things on his own I believe he would have informed us,” he says as he pushes the off the table and causes him to fall down next to Ash

Ash,”SMELLY DRUN-”

Snowy,” SHHHHH….he….is…..right there ” Points in heightened alarm.

The drunk crawls over to Ash trying to use her stool to steady himself. As she brings her metal clasped fan down solidly on the top of his head. Causing the drunk to grumble loudly and sober up a moment from it looking up at ash his eyes begin to water as the appearance of relief fill his face.

Drunk,”Ash?…..” He says before looking over at Snowy,” Snow?……..my God is…it…you…..?  ” tears now pour down his face. In broken sobs he wails apologies, in between drunken stupors.

Ash,” How do you?….Wait…ARGO”

Snowy,” Ewww…the smelly guy knows our names…I think I am going to be sick….I am too young to have a stalker. ”

Ash,”GROSS SNOWY”

Argo,” Sir I think we would like you to explain how you know these two now…rather than later. ”

Kross,” How about we start with a name…and go from there.” Kross has his hand on his blade but its hidden by the table. Unsure of what to make of this stumbling fool and how he is connected to the two elf children.

Drunk,” I am Chuck….my friend Grindle and I were left in charge of them till a purple haired mute stole them from us. ”

Argo,” Purple haired mute?”

Snowy,”Left in charge of us ?”

Ash,”Who would leave us in a drunk’s care?”

Kross,” Round of ale for the table please think we are going to need.” Chuck smiles pleased by the offer of free ale and not being scared off.

Chuck,” Well….during my wandering days.. I came across a male water elf…” The ale is delivered as chuck fills them in on the story of their father, and how he met his end. Kross sinks down into his chair a bit during the mention of the thieving of the armor of the dwarf.Chuck finishes his ale then helps himself to Ash’s as Snowy drank hers down in a hurry having never been allowed to have any before, her cheeks have become rosy as Ash shakes her head. The taste of the ale was bitter and caused her to almost gag as she sipped it before.

Snowy,”SO our Dad was a water elf….” she says with a bit of disappointment as she looks like one but only knows fire magics.

Ash,” Can’t be sure this guy is telling the truth for all we really know he killed our dad and traded us. I mean look at him he is a useless drunk.”

Kross is about to chime in as Argo places his hand on his should to silence him as this is Snowy and Ash’s choice to believe or not. Kross shrugs off Argo’s hand but does remain silent.

Chuck,”This is true but I do not want anything from you but to get you out of here before the undead army arrives. ”

Snowy,” DADDY SLAYER…..”she says all serious before cracking up do to the ale. Argo leers at Kross who again shrugs at Argo.

Argo,” The last necromancer was slain decades ago and the rest of the zombies were dismembered a few ages after. ” Trying to prove this man was full of smoke and mirrors. Unbelieving of the tale just spun by Chuck. .

Kross,” Last necromancer was not slain, Agro…not sure who taught you that lie, but the last necromancer was locked in the gate with the darklings and other “evil doers”, he says in a slightly condescending way.

Chuck,”Hello….did you not know? The gate is open!!!!.