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2004-12-18 18:24:50  -  Dynn's Adventure
I told Gama i'd post this Friday, but I got a case of the nerves for some unexplained reason (well ok, I still have them but at least i'm not juggling the .doc file with Dynn's Adventure on it between the Recycle Bin and My Documents anymore ;P). Still to nervous for it to go on Freddyshouse, so be kind and let me know if you like it/hate it ^_^

Anyway, as usual the 'Word' version can be found here: Here.

But for those who don't have Word, here's the entire thing... I would seriously recommend downloading the word file though, I find it much easier to read with each paragraph starting from a new page rather than the rather jumbled mess :)

Edit: I was just checking it over to make sure everything was in the right place. I seem to have messed the forum's layout up a little (noteably the stuff at the bottem) but in any case it looks... sort of respectable... readable at the very least, why do forums insist on stifling my creativity by stamping a word-count on posts :P

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Wind was blowing, a stiflingly hot wind which made it difficult to breath comfortably. The man sat against the wall. His face at the very least shaded from the burning sun, he came from Midgard a realm known for it’s heat waves and he was finding it difficult to cope in this strange land of Atlantis. God’s Damnit to hell! As if it wasn’t bad enough he was stuck in this town while his armour was being repaired, there was precious little entertainment either.

“I will never understand” him said in between laboured breaths. “Why some people tolerate this” he gave a weak laugh

“Men can tolerate much when they need to” the old man next to him said slowly. “Though I imagine the allure of great power helps to strengthen their resolve”

“You speak of a man who has knowledge of such things” he replied, the old man turned to him for a moment, gazing at his with paling eyes that seemed in stark contrast to the rest of his body, which while old, was still quite taut and muscular. It was almost unsettling. Finally the man smiled and turned back to the horizon.

“A story, eh? Very well. Are you old enough to remember the Great War? The turmoil that engulfed Midgard when an army led by a man in black who had no name almost succeeded where countless generations of Celts and Britons have failed?”

“Nah” he replied “I was a babe at the time, taken with my mother to the safety of the Shrouded Isle… though my father died fighting that war”

“Indeed, I have yet to meet a warrior of Midgard who has not lost somebody in that terrible two war” he paused, then shifted into a slightly more comfortable position “The story I tell is a long one” he said, almost in warning. When no protest was heard he continued. “This particular story you will not likely have heard. It concerns a key figure in the war. A young Shaman apprentice named Dynn” There was a weak laugh

“Forgive my rudeness old man, but as I recall Dynn was a Master Shaman. Not an apprentice”

“Humour an old man, I am simply spending my final days trying to be of what little use I can” the younger man sighed; he wasn’t an overly polite person. He himself would be the first to admit this, but for some reason he didn’t particularly feel like brushing this old fool off… and there was nothing better to do, if anything it would be amusing. He gave a sigh of defeat.

“Very well old man, tell me this story. I will listen” The old man smiled again.

“I’m glad, this particular story took place a few weeks before the Great War had even started with an unlikely couple. An old man whom had formerly been of the house of Eir, and a young shaman apprentice who was just starting to make his way in the world…”

Dynn’s Adventure: Before The Fall
It was snowing quiet fiercely as it often did in the outer frontier, not quite strong enough to be called a blizzard, but not far off. Two figures made their way through the foul weather, following some unseen path. In fact the path was there, merely covered in snow making it invisible to the naked eye.

However the two beat it’s path never straying more than a few metres from it as though it was one they both knew well. Both were wrapped in heavy cloaks made from the furs of various different animals, small trails of vapour leaving their mouths as they talked about various nothings and nobodies as they trawled up the sloping hill towards their final destination.

Bledmeer Faste, mighty defender of Odin’s Gate. Protected on each side by mountain ranges impassable to the most seasoned of travellers. Even with their view obscured by the snow they could still make out the huge blue banners waving fiercely in the wind warning all who would dare try and assault it of the inevitable death they marched towards. As they drew closer they could see the constructs around the walls as men moved up and down the wooden scaffolding repairing the damage done from the last siege. More so were working on the great wooden doors reinforcing them using various crafting techniques, and even magic. As impressive and alive as the keep seemed neither man paid it much attention. It was a sight they were both used too, and their current topic of conversation was far more engrossing anyway…

“Breath in… and out… slowly, don’t rush it. Good. Now. Feel the earth beneath your feet it is filled with life. The tiny plants which grown on it’s surface and the animals which burrow underneath it.” The hairs on the back of his neck rose, he could feel something. The raw surging power of the earth was his to tap into; he could almost hear the slight hum in the background as the power was diverted into him, a gift from Ymir herself! Through the blackness of his closed eyes Dynn could see a glow “Everything is connected” the voice continued over his shoulder “Ymir’s power flows through all. Borrow a fraction of that great power, the power of our mother earth. Now focus it between your palms. Try not to over-think… Just allow it to happen” the humming intensified… and then there was the pop. Everything was quiet, even the snow and wind which was blowing outside the keep. He stood there with his eyes closed, praying to every god he could think of that he hadn’t screwed up again. It was so very quiet, and then there was a sound. Somebody breathing? He opened an eye cautiously; staring back at him was another eye. He blinked. So did the other eye.

“Umm…” he mouthed quietly, the other eye blinked once and then pulled back. Though not very far. In truth it could have moved all the way to the farthest ends of Myrkwood and still be too close for Dynn’s liking. Dynn was a Shaman, that was about all there was too him. Not especially powerful, he was around average size for a kobold. Maybe a little taller, his hair a normal shade of light blue, his eyes a darker shade of the same colour, but again. Nothing out of the ordinary. All in all he wasn’t the sort of person who stood out in the crowd. Even his clothing was nothing more than the dull brown tunic, which stopped just short of his knees.

“Sorry, I was just wondering if I could see what was wrong with you” the female kobold attached to the eye apologised.

“You don’t have to be so blunt you know” Dynn said folding his arms with a huff, the women smiled at him in a curious fashion.

“I just don’t understand. Bolt-Type spells are just about the most basic type of spell a Shaman can use. It’s something on which most other cave magic abilities are based. You shouldn’t have ever been permitted to adventure by yourself without mastering it first” they looked at each other for a moment they let out a synchronised sigh

“It’s not that I couldn’t. I passed every test I was given by my trainers. By the temples own standards I was more than ready to go out by myself, it’s just that out here I don’t have a whole lot of reason to use cave magic. I’m probably just out of practice” he said with nervous laugh.

“And one day the Vendo will build a tower which reaches all the way to the moon” she retorted.

“Master Asta, please…” he complained, Asta was… unique, and in stark contrast to Dynn, standing slightly shorter than her male student her eyes were a shade of purple rarely seen on any creature, even more of a rarity among the kobold. Her black hair was only tied back loosely, but it was her dress sense that really drove her into the category of unique. It would have been wrong to call her an exhibitionist; she kept all the right parts covered. It’s just she could have done a better job covering them.

She was just as unique in her approach to all other things he was quickly learning. He’d never met a Master Shaman like her, then again she was only a year older than Dynn was and already held the prestigious title. a normal shaman like Dynn could struggle his entire life and never achieve such an honour. But the way she acted was just… unique. Not that he was complaining. Despite everything it was nice to spend some time with another Shaman for a change. But she still confused him. Even by Kobold standards her sense of humour was nothing short of weird, though he got a strange feeling that underneath it all was some sort of kindness. After all, she had only come to Bledmeer with a convoy brining fresh supplies, and she had offered to give Dynn some tutelage even before she’d learnt his name. Though it was difficult to tell if she was instructing him of teasing him for her own amusement.

“I know you don’t want to hear this Dynn, but I honestly think you’d be better off returning to the temple. You’ve got potential. However…” she paused “How can I put this best…” she paused again. “I suppose the best way is just to say it. Your travelling with a Healer, your power can’t really grow under him and as you’ve demonstrated they’ve even begun to dwindle in some cases.” Dynn bit the tip of his tongue slightly he had been dreading this “Obviously I don’t need to explain in too great a detail, but despite the general effects there are only a few key similarities in the magic’s used by the houses of Ymir and Eir.”

“I know,” he said sullenly, trying to find words to match what he was feeling. “It’s just that… well, with so few people willing to defend the frontiers. I feel like I’d be abandoning my…”

“Duty?” she finished, he looked at her for a moment and then turned his attention back down to his feet.

“Yes, but it’s not just that. It just seems like I’m learning more out here than I possibly could have at the temple” she smiled, he was right of course. He was developing at a rate almost as fast as she had, given a few more years maybe… She cut off her train of thought. True, Dynn had some talent as a Shaman; it was something that you would expect from the son of Lady Unni. However, all that talent wouldn’t amount to anything if he couldn’t master the basics. She could, of course. Order him. But what good would that do? He needed to be open and receptive to the training. She smiled slightly understanding his situation quite well in fact. Maybe if she’d been more open to the idea when he’d… The feeling of somebody entering her personal space interrupted her thoughts. “Master?” she stared at him for a moment, then raised an eyebrow as if to ask what he was doing. Dynn blushed slightly and pulled back “Sorry, I thought you’d fallen asleep”

“I was thinking, regrettably women don’t have the natural advantage of having two brains so it takes us a little longer to come to a conclusion” she said offhand

“I have two brains?” Dynn asked innocently, she waved a hand and smiled slightly

”Never mind” she replied, making a mental note that banter wasn’t one of Dynn’s strong points. “In any case, I don’t really have any objections with you staying out here. However, I would ask you give some serious consideration to coming back with me.”

“Yes Master Asta” she looked at him for a moment. Then sighed again. He wasn’t listening to her.

“It’s not like you’ll be the first person to ever come back to the temple after having left” she continued in seemingly vain effort.

“Appearances have never been that important to me Master” he tried smiling himself, Asta just shrugged. She could understand why he was reluctant. Indeed, it was most likely his fault. Not that she blamed him too much he was really quite charismatic…

“TWO APPROCH!!” A voice called out, almost instantly two lines of men carrying bows and dressed in armour dashed out along opposite sides of the wall and took up defensive positions. A full second passed before the first groan went up

“Bjorn you idiot!” one yelled “if your going to call an alarm at least make sure it’s something we can shoot at!”

“Good for practice?” the elderly man suggested as the others trudged back into the warmth of the central tower. Unlike the courtyard, which was protected from the protesting weather and cold by magic, the upper ramparts were under no such protection. Even though all the men were seasoned veterans it didn’t mean they enjoyed rushing out into the cold for no reason.

“I suppose we should be thankful” one mutter as he passed above the two kobold’s heads “Thorson had a full house” Asta smiled slightly

“Poor Bjorn, maybe next time I should warn him?” there was a brief flash as the spiritual gatekeeper phased into view, followed by a pair of figures wrapped heavily in cloaks. The shorter of the two pulled down his hood to reveal soft Norse features, his hair and beard as white as the snow which blew around the keep in a mad flurry. But his most dominate feature were defiantly his eyes, twin pools of pale blue. They radiated an almost intense calm and right now they were staring directly at Asta. She didn’t turn away, though she suspected if she couldn’t have even if she’d wanted. Slowly the set of eyes moved over to Dynn who smiled and held up a hand in greeting.

Archeon waved back, and then turned to his companion whom he had left with some time early in the morning. This man was younger than the Healer with fierce red hair, and equally fierce red eyes. Unlike the first man his facial features were much stronger, suggesting he was born into a family of proud warriors. They exchanged a few words then the lord shook Archeon by the hand and left for the warmth of the inner tower. Archeon watched for a few moments then turned his attention back to the two Kobolds who were now walking towards him.
“Master Asta” he said with a polite nod “You decided not to leave for Mularn?”

“Greetings Mast… Umm… Archeon” she corrected herself quickly “Unfortunately it would appear the siege at Nottmoor Faste continues, safe passage is all but impossible. So I decided to spend some time with Dynn”

“I’m glad,” he said with what seemed like a sigh of relief “I often worry I’m not able to provide my young friend with guidance in the ways of Ymir like a Shaman could” Asta wasn’t too surprised by this. Whatever Archeon’s reasons for taking Dynn on as his apprentice he seemed to be well aware of the inherent problems it would hold for the younger shaman. He turned and looked at Dynn for a moment before speaking… “Well?” he asked “If you want I will happily release you from my side so you can go and train with your kind”

“You would… you wouldn’t mind?” he asked slowly, the Healer shook his head.

“Do not misunderstand, I would miss you. That much goes without saying. However it would probably do you some good to spend some time with your peers, there is only so much I can teach you after all” he suddenly closed his eyes, appearing to concentrate. Then opened them again with a smile “Bjorn!” a man’s head peered over the ramparts down at them “Friends are coming, sixteen of them!”

“Thank-you Mister Soulfire” he said with a smile of relief “I think I’m in enough trouble for one day as it is” Archeon looked back down at the two Kobolds

”In any case, if you’ll excuse me I think I’ll go inside for a bit. When you get to my age it’s not healthy to spend so much time in the cold. Master Asta” he nodded again and turned towards the tower entrance. Asta scratched an itch on her nose then shrugged

“Well you heard him Dynn if you want to go you can”

“Why do I get the feeling that the moment he heard your offer my mind had been made up for me?” he muttered quietly, feigning annoyance.

“Well you know what they say about Healers, they can do teeeeeeerible things to a mind” They stared at each other for a moment “Well… I thought it was funny”

“Why are you a Master again?” this last comment was met with a smart smack around the head

“Because I’m smarter, stronger and prettier than you. Speaking of which I’d better go get changed. If there are people coming I certainly don’t want them to see me looking like this. I am supposed to be a prodigal Shaman Master after all” she said as she looked herself over, she turned around and wondered off muttering under her breath “Later Dynn” she suddenly said over her shoulder “Give it some thought!”

“I will” he replied, trying unsuccessfully to suppress the distinctly unholy thoughts which were currently bouncing around in his brain from watching the female kobolds hips swing from side to side in the leather thong she was wearing. He sighed and sat down, leaning against the cool stonewall. He instinctively reached under his cloth shirt and pulled out the small trinket. It had been a gift from his mother, the Lady Unni. Whose skill in the Shamanic arts was said to be unsurpassed in history, not for the first time it seemed unnaturally heavy. Though to the casual observer it would appear not to have any special properties to Dynn it held an absolute power over him; the constant reminder of the legacy to which he was expected to live up too. Not for the first time he felt like throwing it in the nearest river and changing his name just to get away from it. He sighed and slumped against the wall allowing the amber trinket to fall back under his shirt.

Edited by Archeon on 2004-12-18 23:13:56

2004-12-18 18:25:21  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
High above, at the very top of the tower Asta sat on the edge of the stone wall leaning over backwards to look down at the young shaman, he was doing something she couldn’t quite make out… She sighed and leaned back to a safer position.
“Will he come?” she asked simply, Archeon wasn’t looking. In fact he was gazing in the opposite direction. She almost considered looking herself to see what he was looking at, but then reasoned that she probably couldn’t see far enough. Though she was considered a prodigy that didn’t mean she was anywhere near the level of Archeon yet.

“I would imagine so” he said turning his attention back to the shaman “it is better he does, news of my… presence here will no doubt have been relayed to my own peers by now. I’ll more than likely have to find somewhere else to frequent for a while.”

“A great shame” she said watching him closely “To be hunted by your own house” there was a slight flicker in his eyes. Or was there? Had she just been imagining it?

“It is the price I pay for treason,” he replied simply.

“The high-council are just afraid to displease the house of Eir” his eyes moved again, slowly gazing around the scenery. “Where will you go?” she asked, unsure on how to continue the conversation. She felt that he was waiting for her to say something.

“Where ever I am needed I suppose. At a guess I will likely travel to Nottmoor and aid in the repair work. You heard it was retaken correct?”

“Yesterday, I was busy with Dynn. But if I didn’t have an excuse he would have thought it was favouritism or something stupid like that. Speaking of which…” Archeon shrugged slightly

“He is free to choose, a mind as strong as his I would have little influence over”

“Really?” she asked in mild disbelief, strangely Archeon avoided her gaze. She smiled slightly

“I never did take pleasure in exerting myself over the minds of others as my Kin do” Asta yawned quietly as she leaned forward to stretch her back.

“I pity you Healer,” she said straightening up again “Your kind are a dying breed, I only wish I knew what it was they were hunting you for” this time it was Archeon’s turn to smile

“My young friend, I’m not so stupid as to try and out talk a Kobold of all things. I surrender to your superior verbal ability, but the secret for which I am hunted will travel with me to my grave”

“That’s not an answer you know”

“I’ll take a line from my other good friend; when you become old your allowed to be enigmatic. Like how when your young you…” he trailed off “Uhh… something, something, something” he said recovering awkwardly.

“Can get away with murder” Asta finished “Lady Unni’s used that one on me plenty of times… Well in any case I know it must be something important. Any apprentice could have done this supply job, but there are only a few people who would know you by your face” he smiled again

“The world doesn’t revolve around me Master Asta, though you do hold the title of Master your not much different than Dynn. You still have quite a ways to go yourself” she looked at him quizzically

“What’s that supposed to mean?” a little annoyed at the off hand comment, of course she knew she was nowhere near as powerful as he was but he was making it sound like all that work she’d done to attain her current title had been for nothing!

“It’s not so complicated, I mean…” his eyes half closed for a moment, yet another smile crossed his bearded lips. “I mean that compared to Dynn you still have much to learn, and the same can be said for Dynn”

“I’m still lost” This time Archeon sighed

“Well… it doesn’t so much matter, as strengthen my conclusion” he was suddenly staring at Asta so intensely it made her feel like squirming. “Asta, remember that simply because you hold the title of Master now doesn’t necessarily mean you know everything. You should never stop trying to improve yourself, only that way will you ever truly be the master of anything”

“And what about you Archeon? Are you a Master?” the Healer shrugged in an offhand manner

“No more or less than any other man of my trade”


“It was once a well known saying amongst Healers; a man is no more or less a Master than those he shares his trade with… of course, most of the people who know that saying either choose to ignore it or are dead”

“I think you should listen to yourself more often, I could have sworn you said it was impossible to out talk a Kobold just five minutes ago” Asta replied, feeling utterly lost to the whole conversation. This wasn’t supposed to happen to her, she was a Shaman Master Damnit!

“Maybe I should, but then it’s much easier to ignore what we tell ourselves. Good evening Master Asta. Please convey my fondest regards to Unni for me” he gave a slight nod and then exited through the door closing it behind him. Asta just sat there for another ten minutes before finally opening her mouth again.

“Damn, why do I always come up with the really good retorts after the person I want to direct it at has left?” she asked herself, scratching her head.

“This feels nice” Dynn said dreamily, it was a beautiful day. The sun was high, in the distance the birds could be heard singing. Though what surprised him most was the temperature. Dynn had quickly learnt like most who spent more than a few days in the outer frontiers to pad the lining of his armour with thick furs to help keep out the intense cold. Midgard was typically a cold place even on a sunny day like this, but Dynn found himself almost uncomfortably warm under his armour, which explained why at that exact moment he was busy pulling his armour off with one hand while holding the reigns of his horse with the other.

“I’m surprised you can actually ride a horse like that” Asta commented, watching in amusement at the acrobatic feat which was taking place in front of her.

“It’s not that difficult, you should try it” Dynn said, as their horses made their way slowly along the path which in turn followed the lazy flow of the river towards Jordelhiem, and ultimately the temple of Ymir which lay within.

“Pass, it’s too cold for my taste”

“Suit yourself” he replied still looking around. The landscape was familiar. It should be, he’d travelled this path a good many times on various errands and adventures. But the creatures… the trees… it all seemed different, maybe a little smaller and less imposing. “Two years, eighty six days” he muttered quietly under his breath.

“Hmm?” Dynn jumped slightly, he hadn’t realised Asta’s hearing was so good.

“Nothing, just the number of days I’ve been away from Midgard” Asta looked at him curiously

“I’m surprised you kept count”

“I’m surprised you didn’t” she paused

“Well… I was only away for a few weeks and… SHUT UP!” she suddenly shouted, she probably would have thrown something at him if anything were to hand.

“Sorry Master”

“And stop calling me Master!”

“Sorry… Asta?” he said, trying out how it sounded. She sighed in despair he really was totally oblivious.

“It must be strange,” she said, changing the subject. “In a way I’m jealous, since I was inducted as a Master I’ve spent so much time teaching I’ve hardly left Jordelhiem, let alone travel like you have”

“It wasn’t really care-free travelling you know, I came pretty close to dying more than once. I owe my life to Archeon several times over… it’s a shame he couldn’t come with us” Asta sighed

“You shouldn’t think about things like that, he couldn’t have come with us even if he’d wanted. He’s an exile remember, and a wanted criminal” Dynn laughed nervously.

“Oh yeah, I keep forgetting that. Nobody treats him like a criminal so it’s easy to forget he can never enter Midgard again”

”You know what he did right?”

“Not really, he didn’t speak much about that sort of thing and I only really found out about it from another shaman when we were attending to the repair work at the Albion Mile Gate. What did he…” he stopped, trailing off as though asking the question was uncomfortable for him.

“Oh, various things” Asta replied, her mind going through the rather thick file she’d memorised on Archeon and his numerous crimes against Midgard “To say the least I could spend the rest of the day listing off every little crime he’s apparently committed. So you’ll forgive me if I just sum it up with the one. He’s wanted for Treason of the first order; knowingly plotting against the realm of Midgard”

“Plotting?” Dynn said sceptically, Asta just replied with a shrug.

“Don’t ask me, the exact details are only known to a few people as far as I can tell. Who knows? Maybe he was plotting something ominous?” Dynn sighed, was it just him or did Asta have a terrible sense of humour? “Laugh Damnit, or I’m going to make you run the rest of the way back!”

“I would, but I don’t want to injure myself” Dynn replied, sarcastically. He flinched slightly, but was surprised to find Asta was actually smiling. “Master Asta, please stop doing that…” he said slowly, he would have preferred she throw something at him than smile that way…

“Oh don’t mind me,” she said, still smiling almost manically “I’m just thinking about all the fun things I’m going to make you do when we get to the temple”

“Me and my big mouth” Dynn groaned. There was silence for a while, but Dynn still couldn’t shake the feeling he’d abandoned Archeon. Finally Asta broke the silence

“Oh for Ymir’s sake! He can probably move around faster without you tagging along anyway so stop worrying about it” Dynn looked up at her from where he was slumped on the neck of his horse “Think about it this way, Archeon had survived in the frontier’s for a good fifteen years before you came along. He’s probably fine… probably” Asta said, though from where Dynn was sitting it looked like he was trying to convince herself as much as anyone else “Besides” she added “You’ll get to see your mother again right?”

“Yeah… I suppose I will” Dynn said sullenly, the pendent around his neck suddenly started weighing him down again. She wouldn’t say anything of course, it wasn’t uncommon for Shaman to return to the temple every now and again to receive further, or more advanced training. But basic training? That was rare, if it happened at all… What would she say? Nothing of course, she would totally avoid the subject – just like she always avoided asking him about his life as a shaman in general, she could find out in a number of ways but it would have been nice if just once in a while she asked him directly how he was progressing… Not that he’d be able to answer he like this.

“Hey!” his train of thought was interrupted by Asta, her face seemed sterner than usual “You should be thankful you even have a mother you know? Not everyone is so lucky!”

“I know” Dynn said, mistakenly thinking she was referring to the fact that his mother was The Lady Unni of the temple of Ymir. A fact he was forever trying to forget. “That’s sort of the problem though” the next thing he knew he had been struck by something heavy and fallen off his horse. “Oi!” he protested holding the hammer in one hand while rubbing his sore arm with the other.

“What?” Asta shrugged, thankfully all the anger she’d been feeling up to that point had dissipated the moment Dynn fell off his horse “I wasn’t doing a very good job of cheering you up so I decided to just distract you” she continued, making up a hasty lie to cover up why she’d actually thrown it “I want that back by the way”

“Damnit, what kind of a woman are you?” Dynn groaned, pulling himself back up onto his horse. Like most Shaman hammers this one was hardly used and was more for decoration than actual combat. Though, it seemed slightly heavier than his own which was sort of worrying. “Shouldn’t you be using a lighter hammer?” he asked, handing it back to her.

“Lighter?” She looked at the hammer for a moment before hanging it back on her belt then smiled “Poor Dynn, is the girls hammer to heavy for you?” she teased, cooing at him like you would to a baby.

“NO DAMNIT!!!” Dynn yelled at the top of his voice, feeling utterly stupid. He’d thought he was getting better but if he found a girls hammer heavy…

2004-12-18 18:25:42  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
His eyes opened slowly, He’d been hit by something? An arrow? His body ached with a subtle numbness, his vision was heavily blurred and he had a headache to top it all off. Poisoned arrow, he finally settled on; his pulse was faster than usual, and he seemed to be running a slight fever, which suggested some kind of plant based toxin, most likely a root of some kind. He shifted slightly and looked up at the sky, it was still noon so it had likely been weakened with something. Wolf spit would certainly explain the loss of vision he was experiencing. Done by a cheap merchant to increase the amount per barrel? No it was too precise for that. It was done… intentionally! His mind snapped into focus as he instantly dispelled the effects of the remaining poison in his system.

He had been aware of a pair of Shadowblades following him, a clumsy couple half cloaked with crude magic, sloppy work likely done by his own house. Though it was unlikely it was those two, even now he could feel them stumbling around somewhere to the North. He looked around cautiously, judging by the foliage on the trees and the general lack of snow in the area he could assume he had been carried closer towards Midgard. Slowly he shifted himself into a sitting position, taking special care to act as though he was still confused and dazed from the poison. He was sitting on the edge of some sort of fire, if you could even call it that; it was more like a smouldering pile of leaves providing only minimal heat and very little else save the thin line of white smoke which wafted lazily into the canopy above.

Shifting his weight slightly he continued his observations of the area, leaning against a tree quietly sat a man, or at least Archeon thought he was a man. A figure in any case, clad in dull leather armour… maybe? Archeon had to double-check to make sure he wasn’t seeing things. He seemed more like an extension of the tree than anything else. Everything about him was… indistinct. He wasn’t so much looking at him, as not looking at him. But at the same time Archeon knew he was watching him, it was all very disturbing. He was no fighter, while he could easily avoid the children the temple of Eir sent out after him this person looked to be on his own level, if not higher. Shadowblades – he remembered – were trained in the arts of paranoia, most were highly untrusting, tense and had as little contact with others as possible only joining with others of their kind when it suited their needs. He had even heard rumours on his travels that some Shadowblades had lost the ability to speak all together, preferring to use various hand signals and gestures on the rare occasions they needed assistance. Though he seriously doubted that was true.

He shifted his weight a little further into slightly more comfortable position, his extremities tingled a little as the flow of blood was properly restored into them. He looked back at the figure that continued to not look at him. The message was clear, if he moved then his throat would be cut. Oddly enough this made him feel a little more at ease, it wasn’t unknown for Shadowblades to steal money, even from fellow realm mates. If it was just a passing thief the loss of his purse would be a small price compared to the risk of him being brought back to Midgard in chains. There was a slight rustle behind him, to which he turned to see a female figure stepping though the bushes carrying a small dead rabbit.

“K… Kelda?” he almost yelled in surprise, the young women looked at him for a moment then smiled. It was a kind smile much like his own, in fact she looked almost exactly like a female version of her brother – save the blond hair which she had inherited from her father and fell tied together in two low ponytails, though while her eyes were the same tint of light blue his own were, unlike his which held the glow of serenity within them – Kelda’s held the twinkle of mischief which turned the kind smile into the grin of somebody who’s just pulled some form of prank.

“So you finally decided to wake up”

“I thought you were still playing the daring invader in Albion?”

“I was dear brother, ‘The Green Flash’ struck down many a pig in the name of justice and freedom for Midgard. But killing people all day doesn’t pay the bills and I have to find some way to finance my fletching. That’s when I thought to myself, who do I know that has lots of money?” she paused, as though thinking about it that moment

“And?” Archeon asked, almost irritant at her jovial attitude. She hadn’t needed to shoot him with a poisoned arrow…

“And then I realised I didn’t know anyone with lots of money, so I just decided to turn you in for the bounty” Archeon sighed, he would have liked to belief she was just joking. But Kelda was family, his sibling none the less! In any case he was reasonable sure he was all right… maybe…

“It must have been quite the purse to drag you away from creating a legend for yourself” he said, following her with his eyes as she sauntered over to the shadowy figure “I hope I’m at least worth enough to fund you for more than half a day” she smiled as she sat down next to the figure.

“I’m hurt brother. 500,000 gold pieces would last me at least two. By the way you’ll have to forgive my silent guardian here, he’s a little on the shy side” she said casually slinging an arm around the shadowy figure’s neck and giving him a slight squeeze.

“You haven’t changed much I see, still chasing fame and still hanging around with people our father wouldn’t sit at the same table with” at this she poked her tongue out at him.

“Better than not ever bringing a girl home, you can’t fool me Archeon Soulfire. You just became a Healer because you couldn’t get laid!”

“Alright, enough fun?” Kelda shrugged

“Fair enough” she laid her head absentmindedly on the figures shoulder, and then rolled her eyes. “Brother, brother, brother. I was shocked enough when The Archeon Soulfire was sent into exile for treason of all things, but with a bounty this high… I’m honestly amazed. Is it true you jacked off on some god’s Alter? All that sexual repress…”

“Thank you Kelda” Archeon said, cutting her off mid-sentence. His eyes shifted slightly and focused on the Shadowblade again. There was something about him, which made Archeon uneasy… Kelda looked at Archeon… then at the Shadowblade… Then back to Archeon, and finally back to the Shadowblade at which point she just laughed… sort of. Kelda’s voice didn’t so much carry, as just be. It was as though it didn’t consider it appropriate manners to let the ears know which direction it was coming from and just entered the brain through the service entrance. But then she’s always been that way hadn’t she?

Archeon hadn’t been born into a noble family, or a family with any kind of heroic legacy to be proud of. They hadn’t even been a family of established Healers. His father, now long dead had been Guardsmen, as had his father before him, and his father before him and so on. An unremarkable family, which did an unremarkable job, in a Fortress named Atla. Plain, ordinary and above all unremarkable folk, whose greatest aspiration in life was to one day retire and spend the rest of their days fishing.

In fact, Archeon had been the first person in over sixteen generations with the ability to wield mana. He could remember his father, gushing with pride telling him so often how much like his mother he was. His son! The Healer! He could still remember that tearful day when he had been accepted for Seer training at the age of six, and later when he was finally given permission to travel to Jordelhiem and train at the temple of Eir. He had promised his father he would become a great Healer and spread the name of their family across the land… That was the last time he saw his father, he returned to Fort Atla fifteen years later. Right after the incident, he had needed family. Somebody to comfort him for the terrible sins he’d committed. That was when he learnt that a Molvart raid from the Shrouded Isle had killed his father. He was so torn with grief he had nearly renounced Eir that day…

“Strange isn’t it?” Kelda said suddenly “When was the last time we actually saw each other?”

“I know the feeling, it brings back all sorts of memories” he replied, they’d wrote letters of course. Bonds between siblings were difficult to break, but with both of them spending abnormally large periods of time in relative isolation it was rare they would actually meet face to face.

Kelda while possessing some talent with mana had nowhere near enough to become a dedicated user; instead she had become a Huntress. Unlike their Shadowblade counterparts they balanced the fine line between the light and the shadow. It was a role, which seemed to naturally suit Kelda despite her often-questionable personality. She could be seen to have a similar mannerism to his, though she had an edge of wickedness to her he lacked. Sighing slightly he allowed himself to lean against the tree behind him, his cloak billowed slightly in the wind and wrapped itself around him as though to comfort him. Memories were like an old wound, every now and again they would flare up bringing with them all the pain and suffering of when they had been first inflicted before settling down again, leaving only a lingering feeling of frustration and regret…

“Actually the real reason we’re here is to let you know. The house of Eir aren’t the only ones looking for you anymore” Archeon looked up at his younger sister, who at some point had leapt into a tree and was now gently rocking back and forth upside-down by her legs. Her face turning a slightly deeper shade of pink.

“They aren’t?” he was cautiously curious, he hadn’t even been aware anyone outside the upper circle of the House of Eir was aware of exactly what it was he had done anymore.

“No” she said, letting herself drop from the tree. Executing a quick flip before landing on her feet with almost feline agility, suddenly her face had taken on a more serious tone. The ever-present smile for at least this short period was gone. “That’s partly why Wind is here”

Slowly the large doors creaked open and she walked through into a room so vast she couldn’t even see the ceiling in the flickering torchlight, it was hot. Worse than that, it was a dry heat. She had barely taken three paces in and already she could feel sweat forming on her brow, Steam gushed through the thermal vents threatening to bubble over at any moment and flood the room with boiling water – and to top it all off there was row after row of blazing torches which lined the blood red carpet which cut it’s way through the centre of the cavern.

Still, it was impressive. She mused as she made her way towards what looked like a golden throne. They seemed they moved every few days now, and every time they did the Master’s room became more and more extravagant. She looked with disinterest at the two trolls, which knelt at the base of his throne like a pair of lapdogs. Two of the four generals, Earth and Fire. Even in a kneeling position they were still taller than most Trolls he had seen, you could almost mistake them for a pair of boulders, it was unnatural. There was no sign of the fourth anywhere no matter how hard she looked. It was just as well. He made her uneasy even when she did know where he was.

She stopped just short of the base of the throne and dropped to one knee. Her lose ebony black hair coursing over her ears, ocean blue eyes still searching. Almost desperately, she didn’t like the way he could appear as if out of thin air before she was even aware of his presence, he was worse than the master in that respect.

“You summoned me my lord?” she asked, her eyes gazed at the floor not wanting to look into those eyes of his which were just about the only feature that could be made out in the flickering light which danced across the walls. For a full ten minutes there was silence, save for the hissing and bubbling of the vents. All that time sweat was steadily accumulating over her body dampening her clothes.

“How do you like this one?” he asked finally in a voice, which sent a slight shiver down her spine. There was nothing about him that didn’t fill her with terror, even when he was talking normally his voice, his posture. Everything about him screamed that he could jump up at any second and kill you for no better reason than he was bored and seeking entertainment.

“Very regal sire, most befitting a ruler such as yourself” she steeled her will and looked up, desperately trying to control her instinctive urge to turn and run. He was smiling, that calm little smile of his which indicated he found something amusing.

“Indeed, I thought you might enjoy it”

“You summoned me?” she asked again, perhaps a little too eager to get this over with. There was a shifting sound, then footsteps as he descended from the throne to her level.

“Wind has decided to leave our ranks,” he said, holding out a hand, which she dutifully took.

“My lord, but he’s…” she started as she rose to face him. But stopped herself from uttering the words long considered forbidden, the answer to the unspoken question was already playing through her mind. Water was anything but slow; you couldn’t be if you wanted to be a Runemaster.

“The younger of the Soulfire siblings who attended him, I believe you knew her?”

“Kelda Soulfire my lord, she’s as troublesome as her brother” he seemed curious for a moment

“There is… animosity between you?”

“You could say that lord, I dislike her general attitude”

“Quite an uncommon one, when you consider her lineage”

“Indeed, you could call her the proverbial black sheep of the family” he walked off and was now looking up at one of the torches, a few moments passed before he spoke again

“I shall be assigning you the task of finding Wind and making him suffer, you’d like that yes?” she was quietly sombre, she was not the ideal choice to hunt down the Shadowblade – but then what was the best way to catch the wind? Not having to take him alive made the problem simpler, but that held little comfort. “It is likely that he will have sought out our main target in order to warn him”

“I see, then you still wish to meet him before you proceed?”

“I can understand your concern a little, they do say he who is too greedy will inevitably destroy himself, and yet…” he raised a hand covering his face, his breathing almost hard. “I would very much like to meet him all the same, even if it means I have to risk everything we have worked so hard for over all these countless years” his voice was now soft, but even through that softness she could tell he was excited by the simple thought of it. “Be honest,” he said, his voice still soft “Do you think me foolish?”

“In truth, I would think you more curious sir. If I were in your position I might do the same thing myself…” she said trailing off

“But?” he asked, turning his attention back to her. She swallowed her fear and gazed back at him

“And yet… I am not in your position, and must be as realistic as possible for the sake of your goals. I find it difficult to believe that one person, especially somebody like him could be any sort of threat” silence, he turned his back to her again. The blood red crest displayed on the back of his pitch-black robe. A perverted form of the Hammer, which adorned the banner of Midgard.

“Hmm… indeed” he finally said, “I still find it hard to believe myself at times, and yet even before I read the scriptures I knew it would be this way… very well…” he chuckled quietly to himself before turning back “Fire! Earth!” he said sharply, any trace of humour gone from his voice “Gather my armies, and prepare!” slowly both trolls rose from their positions in unison and lumbered towards the door. For a brief moment Earth fixed Water with a steely glare then continued past. She allowed herself a small smile, not bothering to watch them leave. “Water” he continued “Whom I value more than any other of my generals. I shall entrust this difficult task to you.”

“And should he be travelling with Archeon my lord?” he paused for a moment, then sighed

“I suppose I had kept some vain hope they had some hidden manner in which to track him, it would have been much simpler to steal him from them than it would be to track him down. But it would seem I overestimated their ability… or maybe underestimated their incompetence… Of course, should you run into the elder Soulfire by all means capture him”

“Understood my lord, then if you’ll excuse me” he gave her a slight nod of dismissal she was worried though. She worried for what would happen when they met, and after that. The master might not be able to keep his own blood lust in check, and if that happened. She shook the thoughts from her head; it wasn’t the place of a sacrifice to think such things.

2004-12-18 18:25:57  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
“Breath in… and out… don’t try and force it… just allow it to happen…” Dynn opened his eyes reluctantly and looked over at Asta who was currently staring intently at one of the wooden stumps at the other end of the room. “Why have you stopped?” she asked, not taking her eyes off her target. There was a brief flicker, and then with a movement almost too fast for Dynn to catch a small blue bolt flew from between her hands crashing into the wooden stump and turning it into little more than toothpicks. There was silence for a moment; she still wasn’t looking at him.

“I’m sorry,” he muttered quietly, finally Asta turned to him.

“Dynn…” she said slowly, this was starting to get to her as well. A part of her wanted to say something to at the very least comfort him, the other part demanded she maintain a distance. Mastery of a bolt, even the most rudimentary type was one of the most basic requirements for a Shaman. It was something Dynn should have mastered even before he’d joined their house, indeed she’d spoken to those who had instructed him when he was still training as a Seer and he had mastered it. So what was different?

“Why can’t I do this?” Dynn said looking at his hands as though he had read Asta’s mind. This frustration was driving him to the brink of his patience; he knew he could use a bolt. He’d used it countless times before. So what was different?

“Maybe we should consider a different approach” Asta said thoughtfully “Going right back to the beginning and starting everything from scratch” He looked at her for a moment as if in disbelief, then the look changed to something else. Acceptance? With a sigh he closed his eyes, the slow methodical beating of the giant drums located in the central hall. Always manned by a pair of giant trolls. The sound, which echoed all this way infected his mind and surged through his body like burning fire, each beat seemed in time with his own heartbeat

“Starting from scratch…” he muttered quietly, he could already hear the laughter. The son of the great Lady Unni was a failure as a Shaman. He almost felt like crying. “It’s not fair” he said his voice now almost a whisper.

“No, no it’s not. But you can’t just give up either. That would be worse” he looked so sad, she genuinely wished she knew what the problem was. If you looked at it from a point of numbers the bolt was just a single spell out of many a Shaman was expected to learn, and Dynn was extremely proficient in the use of all his other magic types. Still, it was similar to a symbol of their house. Like a Healer who couldn’t heal, or a Spiritmaster who couldn’t summon a spirit. So what was wrong? …

“Lets do something else to take your mind off it, I’m sure with practice you’ll get it” she walked over to her discarded robes and fished out a small skinning knife from the pocket, which she promptly used to cut her forearm. “Now, I’m wounded. Make with the healing, preferably before I become the first Shaman Master in history to accidentally commit suicide” she walked back to him and held her arm out for him, there was quite a lot of blood coming out even though she’d taken care not to pierce any of her major arteries. Dynn didn’t seem to be doing much be staring vacantly at her. “Hello? Dynn? I don’t know if it’s escaped you attention but I am bleeding here” she said, a little perturbed by his attitude.

“Hmm? Sorry” Dynn he finally replied, taking hold of her arm. He made a few gestures, there it was. She could feel his mana easing it’s way into the wound. Pulling the two bits of skin together and sealing it. Unlike battle damage, which more often than not was caused by impact against the armour, damage caused directly to the skin required a different, more precise type of Healing. The fact that he could do it even in this obviously depressed state with seemingly little concentration and effort spoke volumes about his talent.

“I’ll be going to my room now” Dynn said gloomily, starting towards the entrance. Asta looked at her arm, she felt like she should be realising something. But all she could see was quickly drying blood not even a slight scar. Suddenly she yawned and realised she hadn’t really slept much since she’d gotten back. Maybe she should get some rest as well, that might shed some light on things.

“Dynn” she called, as he was about to pass through the archway into the corridor, he stopped and half turned. Not looking at her directly “It’ll be alright” she said with a forced smile “these things always work themselves out in the end”

“Thank-you Master Asta” he said quietly before leaving. Asta turned around herself and walked back to her bundle of clothing, picking it up she threw the robe over her head and allowed it to drift down over her, putting her knife back in the pocket she turned around and almost bumped into an elderly Kobold.

“Master Asta, good day” the figure said, Asta smiled sheepishly

“Lady Unni… Hello… I mean good day… I was just” she motioned half frantically with her arms “I mean with your son…” Before her stood the Lady Unni, high Gjytha of Ymir and arguably the single most powerful Shaman in all of their history.

“Oh? You were taking advantage of your position were you?” she leaned closer as though sharing some kind of secret “I don’t blame you” Asta’s entire face went a fierce shade of blue as she blushed furiously.

“Of course I wasn’t!” The older kobold smiled, her features were remarkably similar to Dynn’s – though that was really the other way around. Dynn’s features were similar to hers. She was older of course, and unlike Dynn her eyes were… more like Archeon’s. It was difficult to describe, but there was a subtle different. Archeon’s eyes were like standing water; Unni’s on the other hand were similar to a fast flowing rapid. They were more brutal, more primal, and more intense. “He’s…” she stumbled, still recovering from the abruptness of the old kobolds words “He’s been having trouble with his cave magic”

“I see” Unni said simply, though she didn’t seem to be paying attention as she reached down and picked up the other kobolds arm. Pulling the sleeve of the robe back to reveal the dried blood that still clung to it. “Of course, the teachings of Ymir require a degree of intimacy. But I hardly think it’s necessary to be half naked in order to do it”

“I just don’t feel comfortable wearing a robe, that’s all.” Asta muttered “besides, they do say people were more prudish back in your… I mean back then when you were… that is…” Damnit! She’d talked herself into a hole again

“One thing I have always admired about you dear child is you spirit. It burns brightly. I would imagine that is why my old friend brought you to this temple in the first place. How is he by the way?”

“He asked me to convey his regards, along with a lot of gibberish” Unni’s smile seemed to widen slightly, though it could have just been a trick of the light

“I see… well that certainly explains a lot” she replied, releasing Asta’s arm

“Master?” Unni shrugged

“I think what my friend is trying to say is that you should think for yourself. If he and others like him and forever handing out answers then what will happen when he is gone?”

“Master, I didn’t even tell you what he said” Asta said sceptically, the old kobold just kept smiling

“But the fact that you called it gibberish proves you didn’t understand his meaning. Trust me on this; Archeon is more dexterous with his tongue than he allows people to let on. Think on what he has told as, as well as my own son’s problems. I entrust him with you for the moment”

“Then you know what the problem is?”

“Shall we simply say I have made an educated guess?” she replied, with an enigmatic shrug. “Try to sleep. We old people might be… prudes, but at least we understand the importance of a good nights rest”

“Yes Master” Asta grumbled, honestly this was deep. What was the point in being called a Master if she was still treated like a kid? Then again, maybe that was it? Maybe she did just need some sleep? It would all probably make sense in the morning.

Everything was quiet; three figures were trudging up a small ridge. Even though the snow was deep none of them seemed to have having any trouble moving, though one was looking decidedly sheepish.

That one was in fact Wind. If he ever uttered a word he would currently be complaining. Archeon couldn’t help but feel sorry for him; to a true shadow-walker like Wind whose very survival was based solely on the element of surprise, travelling in such a manner must have been deeply unsettling. Yet it was the fastest way back to Midgard. He looked behind them, really it was quite picturesque. The early morning sun was only just starting to rise over the tree line, streaking the sky a glorious collage of oranges and reds, it was so beautiful he almost felt like crying. Midgard, the realm he loved so very much, and yet he was cruelly forced to never set foot on its soil again. He sighed a little, life just wasn’t fair.

“How long has it been?” Kelda asked suddenly, unlike Wind she seemed fairly comfortable standing in the open and didn’t seem to be paying much attention to her surroundings. He looked at her blankly for a moment, for whatever reasons his mind not being able to put the sentence into the correct context. “Since you’ve been this close to home” she elaborated.

“Oh? I stopped keeping count; it just made it more painful. But I suppose it must be somewhere in the region of fifteen years or so now”

“That’s not like you” she said as they cleared the ridge, a small gasp slipped between her lips at the impressive sight in front of him. “Mjollnir Faste” Kelda whispered. Archeon was a little surprised, his little sister more often than not laughed in the face of tradition. But he supposed even she held some things sacred.

“The Lord is a… good friend of mine” he said, picking his words carefully, remembering the numerous pilgrimages he had made in his younger days, he had even been granted the rare honour of being allowed to view the Hammer of Thor who’s sacred power effected all in Midgard imbuing them with Thor’s will to fight.

“Is there anyone out here you don’t know?” she asked

“Nobody likes to be alone, even an exile like me” There was that word, exile. It still puzzled her, Kelda could remember hearing so many rumours regarding Archeon’s branding as a traitor and his subsequent exile. According to some (mostly Healers) he had tried to assassinate the head Gjytha, according to others (older Healer’s who considered themselves his friend) this was rubbish. Some said he had said the wrong things, some said he had said the right things but to the wrong people. Some said he was a traitor with a heart blacker than any demon’s, some said he was a hero willing to sacrifice his honour for the good of the realm… It suddenly occurred to Kelda that for everything she had heard, she didn’t actually know what he’d done to deserve exile.

“Hey Archeon…” her voice sounded like a small child trying to ask for a treat. “Why were you… I mean… you know?” He looked at her thoughtfully for a moment, then turned to Wind

“You didn’t tell her?” he asked quizzically, the reply was a simple shaking of the head. Though it could just have easily been mistaken for Wind scanning the area for enemies. He paused for a moment, as if thinking.

“I suppose you of all people have a right to know, how can I put this… I suppose it all started a good six years before I was actually exiled” he started in a tone of voice which suggested it might take a while for him to fully explain himself “myself and a few friends were exploring a recently unearthed tomb. You’ll forgive me to sound arrogant over this, but I’m told at the time I was considered quite the genius which was why I was included in the party in favour of a more experienced Healer. The tomb itself had little history to speak of and the Head Gjytha back then thought it would be a good thing for me to experience… I almost wish she’d sent some other poor soul in my place, but I dread to think what might have happened if…” he tailed off for a moment, Kelda thought he was simply recalling some bad memories before he continued his story until she noticed he was focusing on something in the distance. Whatever it was it appeared Wind could feel it as well, they looked at one another in almost silent agreement before Wind twisted his head slightly in the general direction of Mjollnir.

“What? What is it?” Archeon’s look of fierce concentration was replaced by his usual complacent smile.

“Nothing much, would you like to visit that?” he asked pointing at the tower “Something tells me you’ve never seen Thor’s Hammer?”

“This is hardly the time to be sight-seeing” she replied, frowning at him.

“Above all else” he said slowly “The most sacred duty of a Warrior is to defend the Hammer of Thor, and the Horn of Valhalla. Even for somebody like me, that takes priority over all else”

“What are you talking about? There hasn’t been an assault on either fortress for over thirty years, you’re the only person between the three of us who’s been alive long enough to see one” she looked in the direction the other two had been looking she didn’t see anything.

“Trust me Kelda, something bad is coming. Something you don’t want to be out in the open for”

It was a cold morning, still twilight and already the early morning serenade of the city could be heard. Dynn wasn’t a Shadowblade by nature, but he was a Kobold and as such excellent at sneaking. Which is why currently he was loading a pack onto the back of a horse filled with various supplies for a journey. He had grown tired of all this, it wasn’t that he was giving up he was just going to solve this problem his own way. He’d continue to practice and given time he’d understand what it was he was doing wrong, but right now he needed to leave the temple. A place of spiritual rest, the half submerged building currently did nothing but fill him with self-loathing and regret. Tightening the last strap he climbed up onto his mount and spurred it on.

This city was his home, he had been born and raised within its walls and it was a part of him. However, it wasn’t where he belonged. He missed it all, the breath-taking beauty of the snow-covered scenery, the crisp cool air, and of course the attitude of the people who inhabited the outer realm. He was going back there, he was going back to Odin’s Gate!

“Oh, you finally made it” his train of thought was interrupted by a sing-song female voice, he looked up and groaned

“Master Asta? What are you wearing?” he was a little surprised to see her blush slightly, but it was true. Asta seemed to favour robes and cloth clothes, he’d never actually seen her wearing armour. Like everything else she wore though it was worryingly figure hugging and sending a fresh wave of unholy thoughts crashing into the tidal defences of his mind.

“What sort of a question is that” she asked accusingly “Most normal people would ask what I’m doing here” he sighed, it had been pestering him in the back of his mind that something like this would happen. “In any case, let’s get going. If we hurry and go cross-country we can make it to Svasud Faste by Nightfall” with that she turned her horse quite smartly on the spot.

“But…” he started; she turned over his shoulder and stared at him.

“But what? You think you’d have been able to sneak out of the temple without somebody noticing?”

“But…” she’d already kicked her horse into motion.

“Come along Dynn, if I’m forced to sleep on the floor I’m going to use you as a mattress”

“Your taking advantage of your position again” she smirked.

“What are you going to do about it?” about a dozen things Dynn actually could do flashed through his mind in an instant, however. When he played the scenarios through in his head all of them ended up with one conclusion. Asta could kick his ass and he knew it.

“Freakin’ Valhalla” he muttered under his breath. “What ever happened to the days when a guy could sneak of a city without some overly perky prodigal genius following him?”

“Stop being such a melodramatic little drama queen, any idiot can play the part of an angst-ridden, self-harming rebellious teenager. A real man smiles no matter what the situation”

“A real man would have found a way to stop you following him” she paused to think this over for a second.

“Your probably right… Ok, let’s go!” she cheered, raising her hand in some kind of battle salute. Dynn just groaned.

2004-12-18 18:26:18  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
She sat quietly at the stone table, a small mug of clear steaming liquid in her hands as she absentmindedly looked at the map; compared to the intense heat of his chamber the damp coolness of this place was actually quite pleasant. Did he do it because he knew she disliked the heat? It was certainly something that would amuse him, and the Master had precious little to amuse himself with. Probably why he was so intent on their current course of action.

His army was currently assembling, as planned in the Vendo caverns. A few young adventurers had stumbled too deep and found them, but they were swiftly disposed of. No doubt in time a party of more experienced warriors would be sent to investigate the unfortunate deaths, when it suited the council of course. Most likely they would file it away until such time as it could be used to a political advantage.

“Local councilmen commissions party to discover cause behind loss of promising young warriors…” she muttered to herself reciting the possible headline from her head, there was a grating sound as Earth shifted his head to look in her general direction. He glared at her for a moment before she turned her head back down to the map. They hardly spoke to one another unless they absolutely had too, and in truth about the only thing stopping him from trying to kill her was the will of their master, who ironically was the reason he loathed her so much. She turned her attention back to the map. As she had expected, Wind would be impossible to find with something as simple as a runic tracking spell – she would have to find him the old fashioned way. Or more accurately, she would have to find Archeon. The Healer was most likely less proficient in hiding his presence then Wind or Kelda, with a tracker and a few men she might be able to find them… Still…

There was a roar, interrupted from her train of thought she looked up absentmindedly. Standing in the doorway was a large Vendo; his fur caked with blood and several weapons protruding from his body. With a roar he rushed towards Water who remained sitting, just as it seemed like he was going to reach her there was a flash of arcane light, which sent the beast hurdling backwards into the nearby wall. Taking a sip of her drink, she looked at Earth who hadn’t really made any effort to defend her.

“Be a dear Earth and kill that wrenched animal would you?” she asked. The large troll muttered something in his native tongue before slowly lumbering forwards at the Vendo; the creature seemed to be in shock, as though it hadn’t noticed the abnormally large troll. The size difference really was quite laughable. She turned back to the map, not particularly interested in what was going to happen next. There was a squelching sound, and then a pitter-patter as flecks of blood bounced harmlessly off the protective barrier she had hastily put around herself in the unlikely situation that she hadn’t been able to force the Vendo back. She turned back to the troll for a moment that was holding the remains of the Vendo in one hand looking at it thoughtfully, he really did have no sense of aesthetics.

Looking back to the map a third time she groaned, getting trackers through Svasud Faste would be difficult at this time. She would have to wait for his order to start their invasion, after that it would be easier. He was playing a dangerous game, betting the aspirations of his clan as well as his own life. She shook her head and smiled again, maybe it wasn’t him she was concerned for but herself, after all if he did have his way then she would… well, it didn’t do well to think about it. A man wearing a dark uniform with the same twisted blood red hammer on his shield quietly entered the small room and silently placed a piece of parchment at her side, she nodded slightly but waited until he had left to view it. An assault on Mjollnir? Had he known about this? He couldn’t have possibly planned on this happening could he? She flicked the small piece of parchment into the air and manipulated the wind to blow it into Earth’s bloodstained hands; he viewed it briefly and then left without a word.

An assault on Mjollnir would draw a great many warriors, not just the showy weaklings who spent more time posing than fighting, but the true attested warriors who dedicated their life to combat, she kicked her staff which was leaning against the table in frustration, as it clattered to the ground there was an explosion, followed by a cloud of smoke and rubble filling the room. She groaned and laid her head on the table; this was the fifth accidental discharge this week alone. She’d have to get the damn thing looked at again. It was also ironic that the strongest of the four generals… well, three she corrected herself. Had a faulty staff. It just wasn’t heard of.

Dynn looked up at the starry night sky, Asta had been right. He hadn’t even realised there was a small trail leading through the mountainous area between Svasud Faste and Jordelhiem, they’d made it in record time. Now they were just resting their horses while Asta bargained with the fortress guards for accommodations, he wondered for a moment if that was wise. Still, she did carry the title of Master, which would be some leverage in bargaining. He gazed at the horses for a moment as they drank from the lake, and then past them. There was a dull glow coming from the mountain ranges. This whole area was becoming more and more saturated with evil it seemed, Darkness Falls – the gates of hell. Many a good man had perished seeking the treasured seals from within its cold embrace, Dynn had never been himself. But he would have liked too someday. True, many a man had died, but many had made their fortune as well.

“Dynn!” Asta’s voice cut through the silence like a knife, he turned to watch her running down the slope so quickly she seemed only half in control of her movement. She skidded to a stop just short of him, bending down slightly to recover her breath “We’ve got to put our little journey on hold I’m afraid, an enemy marches on Mjollnir” Dynn groaned, there had never been an attempt on the gigantic fortress all his natural life, and now on the eve of his journey? What were the odds? Still, if it was a call to arms he could hardly ignore it. Reluctantly he rose to his feet. Pulling his own pack from under his cloak he started reaching into his saddlebag and pulling out as much as he could, Asta did the same.

“You know it’s hardly fair” he said quietly, still stuffing his pack with various supplies ranging from dried food, to glass vials.

“Don’t talk like this is my fault” she replied, she closed her pouch and returned it behind her cloak before pulling out a few bread rolls and was about to stuff them into her mouth before Dynn stopped her “Oi! Don’t come between a lady and her food” she complained

“Fine, but when you throw up don’t come crying to me” he replied, she snorted. Putting two of the rolls back in the pouch, though stubbornly keeping hold of one. They turned around and started back up the ridge, leaving the horses to their own devices. They were trained to return to the temple of Ymir in any case, so there wasn’t much to worry about.

Kelda lay asleep against the wall snoring gently using Archeon’s cloak as a blanket. She didn’t wear a cloak of her own on accord of the noise it could make flapping about, and her small hunters pouch didn’t contain much more than a few tools and sparse supplies which Kelda insisted could last her for at least a week if she rationed herself. Equally Wind was off somewhere, Archeon would have liked to think he was collecting information but who knew? As for the Healer, he was currently sitting at the small vacant forge repairing his armour as best he could with the limited supplies he had. It was hard to believe that there was a large army from Albion less than a days travel away from him; even more disturbing was that at current there were seemingly few people barring the guards who were on duty, watching over the walls with the casual vigilance of professionals.

“Ah, but for the glory of Midgard” he muttered to himself biting away a piece of thread, he held the hauberk up for inspection. All things considered it was a good job, he would have preferred to make his repairs in a keep equipped with a larger forge with a proper materials merchant, but that couldn’t be helped now. Laying it to one side he leaned back slightly on the small stool and looked up at the starry night sky, it was totally cloudless and perfect. But he had an unsettling feeling he looked over at Kelda. Rather surprisingly Wind was sitting next to her, they looked at one another for a moment before Archeon broke the silence.

“Did you find anything interesting?” he asked in a hushed whisper so as not to wake his sister, the dark figure might have shrugged, indicating nothing much. Unless you counted the large army of invaders “I’m too old for this” Archeon muttered, pulling the hauberk over his chest he stood up slowly. “How many?” he asked, not particularly wanting to know, a hand was extended and a series of fingers shown. He frowned; unlike Kelda he had difficulty understanding the Shadowblade straight away, but as usual the message was clear enough. “I suppose I had better let somebody know, that’s why you let me see you correct?” no sooner had he finished the sentence than Wind melted into the wall returning to his state of non-being. Archeon shook his head in amazement, he was looking directly at the Shadowblade, he knew he was there and he still wasn’t entirely sure his eyes weren’t playing tricks on him. He doubted he would ever win Wind’s trust, but for the moment at least he seemed to be friendly… or at the very least, non-aggressive towards him. He looked over his shoulder in vague amusement towards the large main gates. “Oh, it seems Dynn is coming this way. I wonder if he finished his training already?”

The inner courtyard of the fortress was awash with people, and noise.

“To think” said Kelda, quietly – though above the background din. “I made a special note to return home each year to visit the town fair, but this is more entertaining than one hundred fire breathers” she had grown bored of doing whatever it is Hunters and Shadowblades do when they are working and was currently sitting on the upper battlements next to Dynn with her legs swinging gently over the edge, as if poised to slip off at any moment.

The Warriors had finally come, they stood around in the middle of their own little circles vying for attention – their armour gleaming brand new in bright colours, claiming how they had travelled alone into the depths of some dangerous area and slain evil. How their names were known far and wide in places the young Shaman had never even heard of.

“I guess I’d have to agree” Dynn said, he was surprised to meet Kelda. Archeon had rarely spoken about his family, but for some reason she did remind him of Archeon. Maybe it was just the old Healer was just more matured than his younger sister?

“I mean half these ‘Shadow-walkers’” she almost spat out the word commonly used as a mark of respect for the strongest of her kind. “Wouldn’t even know an infiltrator from a nightshade” she looked around for a moment then pointed at one Kobold who’s armour was so black it in fact made him stand out more than blend in “Him for example, he’s never left Midgard in his life. Is most likely from some rich family and spends most of his days running his mouth off in some tavern”

“How can you tell?” Dynn asked in genuine amazement at the Norsewomen’s prediction.

“His weapons mostly, look closely at them. There isn’t a chip anywhere along the blade of either his axes”

“They could be new?” he countered, she shook her head in a knowing way.

“That style of axe is about three years old, most crafters make their hatchets smaller to allow for better control and speed.” She explained, “Even if that wasn’t the case, you can also tell from his armour. That’s even older, and it doesn’t have a single blemish” she pointed to her own dull green chest piece, which Dynn noted had been patched and repaired in no less than twelve different places “More to the point he was kicked out of the temple of Loki, no way even a newly trained Shadowblade would make such a show. If you took off his left glove I’d be willing to bet you’ll find the brand of expulsion on him”

“Wow, you really are amazing” Dynn said in awe, he wouldn’t have even thought of things like that. Kelda smiled and ruffled his hair in an affectionate manner.

“Nah, I’m nothing special. It’s just something you learn with experience. Archeon and Wind are much better at it than I am”

“Oh… you mean I could learn it eventually?”

“Sure, there are plenty of good warriors left in Midgard. However…” she looked down again, watching her legs kicking backwards and forwards for a moment “Every day more and more die and these…” she made a motioning gesture with her arm towards the people below “will be the ones who will take their place” She shrugged, then pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged them slightly “Maybe I’m just being a doomsayer though? What do you think Wind sweetie?” she asked, looking over her shoulder. Dynn almost jumped at the presence of the shadowy figure standing slightly behind them, Archeon sure picked some strange travelling companions. The Shadowblade made an odd gesture, suggesting he wanted nothing to do with the conversation.

He looked around again; Archeon was still nowhere to be seen – and Asta, being the highest ranked Shaman in the keep at present had been obligated to join the war-council taking place at that moment up in the large central tower where the relic was located. He looked down at the people below him, seven or eight were now standing on boxes trying to assume leadership roles, demanding all others shut up and listen to their plan which would surely bring them all great honour and victory. It annoyed him slightly; he turned his attention to the upper ramparts at the people sitting up here as well. They seemed to be similar to Kelda in that they viewed the people below as amusement more than anything else, he felt a little sheepish in truth. He wasn’t sure he totally fitted in with this group of people – but then again he was dead certain he would rather be up here than down there.

2004-12-18 18:26:35  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
“Rush them?” Asta echoed, not sure she had heard correctly. She looked over her shoulder at Archeon who was leaning against the wall next to the door, arms crossed. His gaze slowly travelling from one end of the room to another. He hadn’t said a word since he entered, the other Healer named Argon hadn’t been impressed. The moment he recognised Archeon threats and demands were made, like a child throwing a tantrum. In the end he had been told to settle down, but even now there was an eerie static in the room. It was quite obvious that Argon was unhappy with the other Healer’s presence, but he covered it up much in the same way he covered his contempt for the young Shaman Master – with paper-thin charm. She had been a little surprised when Archeon was invited to join them, personally by the Lord no less. Or maybe not, it seemed like to most in the room Archeon’s status of exile meant little to them

“Our reports clearly state that we are heavily outnumbered” the representative from the house of Odin said in a quiet authoritative tone. In truth Asta felt a little like a fish out of water, though she was in theory these men’s equal – with the exception of the Healer she could tell that she was deeply out of her league. Not that Argon seemed to notice…

“Have you not seen in the courtyard this morning? Our warriors are powerful!”

“They aren’t warriors” the representative of Tyr said sternly “not by any stretch of the word, they are just children with big mouths”

“They are Midgard’s finest!” Argon said defiantly, then as an after thought “The house of Eir is under no obligation to remain here” unsurprisingly the keep lords eyes narrowed just slightly, he kept his peace but the message was painfully clear to all in the room.

“While the house of Eir is indeed a vital part of the realm, that by no means makes you a master-tactician good sir,” the representative skald said calmly, even he seemed to be straining to maintain his composure.

“Agree. Healers trained in peace. Not war” the large troll representing Modi’s house rumbled out.

“I know enough that without the aid of Eir’s servants you will fail in your defence” Argon said darkly.

“Even with the aid of the Healers, if we rush in like fools we will be slaughtered down to the last man. The wisest course of action at this point is a defensive siege; we have no reason to go on the offensive and it will not be long before a proper army can be raised to fight back this menace” the representative of Tyr said, there was a general murmur of agreement. “What think you Lady Shaman?” he asked, looking at her kindly. Asta smiled weakly

“Well as you said good sir” she said indicating to the troll “We are trained in the arts of medicine and such, I don’t know enough about tactics to presume I know better than one who has made it his way of life” The Warrior nodded at her in thanks.

“Perhaps you misunderstand” Argon said, pretending he hadn’t heard Asta “We leave, you die. Is that simple enough for you?” There was a crash that shook the room as the great lord brought his large hammer down with a thunderous roar.

“What would you have me do then? If I comply with your demand, all here will die! If I fail to comply with your demands, all here will die! Healer perhaps you fail to.”

“Master Healer” Argon corrected him; there was a collective gasp around the room. Few positions commanded higher respect than to be Lord of one of the two fortresses, which bore the relics. To interrupt one in such a rude manner was unthinkable to most in the room.

“Leave Healer, be gone from my keep before I lose what little patience I have remaining for your foolishness” Asta was impressed, she had never really associated Norsemen with intelligence save a short list of exceptions; this lord was quickly working his way up that list.

“So be it” he said with a shrug which suggested this was what he had wanted all along, quietly he turned around and started towards the door “regrettably I must inform you the House of Eir has decided to withdraw it’s support” he stopped next to Archeon “As for you traitor, I will pray to Eir your death is suitably painful”

“Archeon is no traitor!” Asta yelled, unable to contain herself any longer “It’s your corrupt house which betrays the realm!” Argon turned slightly

“Oh? What’s this? The Muddling child thinks I care for her words? The house of Ymir was low enough in my expectations as it was, but to think one such as yourself… pathetic” he said with a smug grin.

“What!!” Asta yelled, green strands of light started to worm their way out of her eyes. To hell with politeness, she was going to kick his ass right here, or she would have but a hand was placed on her shoulder. The representative Runemaster looked at her sympathetically, then nodded for her to watch…

Like a wraith of death Archeon had risen from his position, quick as a flash his hand was around the neck of the other Healer.

“Listen” he said in a voice, which sent a shiver down her spine “And listen well Argon, you may brand me a traitor and strip me of the little honour I had. But I will not sit idly by and allow you to mock the good name of the Shaman – they are by far greater and more worthy of praise than what the house of Eir has made of itself” Argon was clawing at his arm trying desperately to release the grip as his face turned a dull blue. Though Archeon and Argon were seemingly of similar height she noticed that the ‘Master Healer’s’ legs were scrabbling and kicking frantically to get some footing as they dangled helplessly in the air.

“Pugh… please… let me go” he moaned.

“Master Healer, that is enough” the lord said sternly, nothing. There was a slight cracking sound below Argons choked sobs and moans “ARCHEON!” he yelled more firmly this time Archeon dropped the other Healer unceremoniously on the ground. Glaring at the lord for a moment. That was when Asta noticed it, Archeon’s eyes were different. They had gone a deep blood red, and were filled with such an incredible… it wasn’t something, which could be described in words, but as a feeling. The feeling of death, even though that steely glare was focused elsewhere Asta still felt she was going to die, so much so she had to raise her hand to stop herself throwing up. The eyes shifted down… slowly to the Healer gasping for breath on the floor, Argon’s own eyes met those pools of death for just a moment and then screaming he fled from the room. For a brief moment there was silence. Then as though the world had been pushed back into motion Archeon collapsed on one knee, his breath heavy. One hand held to his forehead pushing back his white hair, which was falling around his eyes hiding them from view.

“I…” he gasped between breaths “I am sorry… my lord…” The lord looked at him for a moment as thought he was weighting up some unseen risk. Finally he shrugged his broad shoulders in defeat.

“I shouldn’t pass judgement” he said slowly “I was about ready to wring the little… persons neck myself” he admitted.

“Aye, me and all” the representative of Tyr muttered.

“Still…” slowly, using the wall for support Archeon rose to his feet “If I had not been here… Argon might have been more reasonable”

“You know that’s a lie better than anyone Archeon” Asta said, he looked up slowly at Asta. She was thankful his eyes had returned to normal… that was if a word like normal could have been applied to Archeon’s eyes in the first place. At least they weren’t red anymore.

“Asta…” his breath was still heavily laboured “…Sorry” with that he fell forwards and collapsed in a heap. Asta was by his side almost instantly.

“It just seems to be exhaustion” she said, she turned to the Lord who was now standing by one of the windows, looking down at the scene below.

“Please wait here” he said suddenly “I will go down and try to reason with the Healer’s directly. With some luck at least a few will not have forgotten their place. Young Master… Asta was it? Ask to guard outside to help you take Archeon to some quarters, if he has any dire needs see to them. Then return here, we would value your wisdom”

“Right…” she said quietly looking at Archeon’s limp body “I’d better get the guard to carry him” she said, considering how futile it would be for her to try and lift him. There was an awkward silence in the room as the lord left. One of the men looked up with a shrug.

“Oh well, I was sick of putting up with the house of Eir’s crap anyway” he said,

“Aye” replied the Dwarf representing the Thanes “Besides, we’ve got the legendary traitor Archeon on our side”

“And after this we can turn him in and have a feast to celebrate our victory” this brought about a laugh, Asta wondered for a moment why they seemingly didn’t worry about the house of Eir’s desertion, and then it hit her. They did, they just didn’t show it. It was now beyond their power, so all they could do was sit helplessly and make jokes… and it tore them apart.

It was the following morning but there were so many clouds in the sky it was impossible to make out the sun. At the very least it wasn’t raining… Yet. Below in a clearing well short of any arrow the gleaming white tents of the Albion army were pitched, even this early she could see a few going about their morning business. She turned her attention to inside the keep, many people still slept. A good number of the people who occupied the upper-ramparts were awake and currently chatting quietly over various small fires.

Though the Fortress was large, and there were many rooms most of those were dedicated to supplies. There were a handful of guest quarters for high-ranking officials; she’d wished she’d accepted the keep lord’s offer of a proper bed. Her back was killing her. But she didn’t want be given special treatment. Indeed most of the other high ranking Warrior’s she had spent the night with planning their defence were even now sitting on the ramparts happily talking with their subordinates.

How many people would survive the coming battle? If any? The representative of Thor had said this was the type of battle in which heroes were forged, but frankly their chances of survival were quite low. She counted three Healers… three… of the twenty of so who had arrived in their white robes with golden ornamentation only three had stayed – and they were already busy looking over a small number of people complaining of various aches, she had a suspicion that it was more likely a rouse in order to have one of the three pretty young girls run their hands up and down the effected area, which was more often than not – the leg. Yet they all seemed to smile, it was healing in a way she supposed.

“Man, if anyone asked me to do that I’d probably punch them” she mused to herself

“A lucky thing I can heal myself then” a voice said hoarsely, she turned around to see Archeon. He was still feeling weak? He looked at himself “My apologies, I thought some fresh air might do me a little good”

“You should be resting” she chirped like a den mother, to this he simply smiled.

“While I value your opinion Asta, you don’t have accurate enough information on my… condition to be prescribing any type of treatment, in any case I have mean’s to regenerate myself if need be. Though I was hoping I would be able to save them”

“Ways?” he leaned over the wall slightly and looked down at the rows of white tents.

“Mystic crystals, potions. Perhaps you’ve heard of the compressed mana theory put forward by the house of Odin’s? The effects are still quite weak compared to the old magic, but sufficient to allow my own natural regeneration to… kick in, as it were” she followed his gaze to the enemy camp. “Worried?” he asked simply.

“Not particularly. If I were to die here it wouldn’t be so bad. But still… when you consider how far I’ve come… how far I’ve yet to go… I thought it was reasonable enough, but I’m starting to wonder” Archeon smiled slightly, as though he found something amusing.

“You, and all the others down there in the courtyard sleeping. Know war only as the council dictates it to you, trained to believe you are invincible.” He paused, allowing her to take it in “However, the stark reality is quite the opposite. People are starting to realise this, those that survive will be forever changed.” He was still looking at the rows of white tents “I wonder” he mused, almost to himself “How many of them have been told similar things? How many of them will change today?”

“I don’t know why you bother yourself with what those animals” she said, he smiled again.

“But was it not at one point when your own race was considered nothing more than animals?”

“That’s different and you know it”


“Well to start with we Kobolds never forced you into slavery, maybe your right in some respects, but you can’t change the fact that given the chance they would just as happily reapply the bonds which chained us so many generations ago”

“True, and I would give my very life to defend this land of Midgard which I hold so very close to my heart, yet still. I pray for the day we might find a way to co-exist without such things as war between us”

“Hate breeds hate as you said once”

“Indeed” they watched silently for a while, a figure crawled out of one of the tents and stretched. He jerked suddenly and fell over, at the same time another figure broke from cover and started dashing towards the fortress only to be shot down by an arrow, a few men ran up to the body now lying on the ground trying to pull the arrow from his leg – what looked like a brief conversation and then they ran him through spilling blood over the land before laughing and wandering back to their camp. “Fools” he muttered sadly “every last one of us”

It was several hours later; though they couldn’t see it the sun was soon reaching its peak. Just beyond the walls rank upon rank of Briton stood in gleaming metal armour. They were closer now, but still out of harms way. Nestled between them, like eggs in a nest were siege weapons. Rams and Catapults, ready to be moved forwards. The courtyard inside was strangely silent, all the talk – all the boasting had ceased, slowly people were realising there was a very good chance they would die. A few had attempted to run, but where could they run too? In the end they stood sullenly near the back ranks hoping on hope that the true Warriors who occupied the areas closest to the door would defeat the enemy for them.

Even a few Valkyn.

None of it mattered anymore, they were brothers in bonds of death, all standing silently awaiting the inevitable. Archeon was standing in the courtyard as well now, in a central position so that he could effect as many people as possible, the less experienced Healers and Shaman had been positioned around the walls given responsibility for smaller groups, but he was going to have to bear the brunt of it. That in itself didn’t worry him too much, he was still feeling weak from the mental exertion it had taken to regain control of his body. But if something happened, he might not be able to contain himself.

It was totally silent; save for the occasional shifting and coughing of people as they waited, suddenly there was an explosion that sent a small jump through the ranks… then another… and another. He couldn’t tell for sure, not being able to see over the walls but he was reasonably certain those would be the drums of the minstrels, then another sound. Slowly at first, but rising quickly like a wave. A cry from the men outside the walls, pikes forwards they charged the walls as to impale any hidden figures and the war machine of Albion was on the move.

Still the people inside the keep held their collective breaths, the ranks of Archers and magic-users squatted on the ramparts keeping their heads down until given the order to attack. Slowly a giant hammer rose at the front of the ranks, it held there for a moment. As though waiting for something, then he heard it. A thump! As the ram smashed into the braced door, the wood screaming in protest. The hammer descended, and a cry went up.

“OPEN THE GATES! FOR THE GLORY OF MIDGARD!!” the brace on the door was quickly drawn back and a surge of human flesh crashed into the door, the sheer force of the assault forced the door – and even the ram behind it to crash backwards as wave on wave of Warrior charged through the gap into the unsuspecting mass of Albion men, at the same time the archers rose from behind the ramparts, quickly switching between firing and reloading positions sending a near continuous hail of arrows down on those that should have been supporting the front-line troops.

The first tactic was indeed daring, by using the entrance to the holy fortress as a choke point they could not only maximise the damage they did to the enemy (as well as minimising their own) – but they also saved the doors from taking unnecessary damage. Archeon laced his fingers together and pushed them out hearing a resounding crack from each one, then closed his eyes and went to work!

The clash of metal upon metal, the cries of those who had fallen, but were no slain. He heard it all, white hot little wingless butterflies encircled those who were struck, and he felt it. He felt it all.

He felt the blade, piercing the lungs of the ordinarily kind representative of Modi, knocking down friend and foe alike in his blind rage.

He felt as the hammer cruelly snapped the Kobold skalds leg in two leaving it broken and useless,

He felt the burning heat as wizards launched flaming mass after flaming mass into the ranks, threatening to devour all in their flame.

Still he endured, his body twitching at each new impulse of pain shooting through it. He felt the dwarf being cruelly stamped on by the Saracen. His head felt like it was torn apart when he realised one of the Norsemen’s head had been completely removed by the pike.

For a brief moment he felt cool relief as his own efforts overlapped with that of one of the Shaman.

He bit his lip to stop himself screaming out in pain as several blue skinned creatures remarkably similar to Kobolds, jumping upon a troll. Lashing the giant creature with fierce tenacity, while screaming heart-chilling war cries.

Still they came, the men and women fought on – and all that time Archeon silently bore their pain.

About an hour later there was a pause in the fighting, as the men of Albion pulled back slowly. As such so did the forces of Midgard, dragging what wounded they could between them. As the great doors swung closed again Asta breathed a sigh of relief, dropping to her knees exhausted. She looked around; there were many wounded too.

“Hey…” somebody behind her said, through gasping breaths “You’re a Shaman master… try to set a good example” she smiled slightly, forcing herself onto her feet again. Dynn looked just as terrible as she must have, his face a mask of fatigue – sweat gleaming on all visible parts of his body, even his armour was torn and battered in several places.

“You look… like you had fun” she said, trying to return the joke. He smiled weakly.

“I accidentally found myself getting… caught up in the assault… sorry Master” he dropped onto his butt, and then fell over spreading his arms out.

“Oi” she muttered, still struggling just to stand “You’re a son of Lady Unni… try to set a good example” she fell over herself, both too exhausted for words.

2004-12-18 18:26:54  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
He hadn’t realised it, but it was raining. He lay there, breathing heavily – the battle had seemed to last an eternity, and a short while at the same time. The near endless sea of Armsmen had finally backed off, offering at least a sort time for them to recover. He didn’t try to move though, right now it would be counter productive to try an exert himself too much. There was very little bravado now, save for the occasional joke cracked by one of the older warriors to help keep their minds off the bloody carnage they had just wrecked.

“Are you alright?” he opened his eyes wearily, one of the Healers was kneeing next to him. She seemed tired, but could still move unlike himself. He envied her youth.

“Well enough” he said, as she helped him sit up.

“That was amazing, I’d heard you were powerful. But that defied belief!” she said, almost jumping with enthusiasm. Archeon looked at her for a moment and smiled.

“It’s nothing which can’t be obtained without practice and dedication” he replied.

“Wow, you mean I could become that strong?” he rested a hand on her shoulder as gently as he could.

“You’ve taken the first step towards that strength today”

“At the cost of exile though… Master Argon said if we stayed, we could never come back,” she said, suddenly with great sorrow. Archeon shrugged

“That young man is little more than a puppet on a string, I would not worry too much about the scorn of your house. Eir smiles on you, and your companions based on what you do, not what other people think” she looked around for a moment.

“Will you be alright by yourself?” he nodded

“Go, I will rest here for a short while then join you” she nodded, and walked off into the mass of bodies. There were so many wounded, even the more experienced warriors were doing their best to help with the little medical training they received. The day was far from over yet, slowly he rose to his feet, using his own large hammer to support him like a crutch. Realistically? He asked himself, Realistically, could he keep this up? He had been weakened to start with, and now he had almost totally exhausted himself with the first assault. Next time it wouldn’t be so easy… he pushed the thoughts from his mind, and looked over the scene again. There was too much at stake for him to die in a place like this, he still had to warn the council about…

“THE WA-URG!!!” a voice yelled, suddenly he felt an impact, which forced him to the ground again. The twitching half-dead corpse of the man who had just attempted to warn them had fallen on top of him. He lay there, feeling the warm lifeblood of the man seeping across his body – it was almost like a dream, concussion… he tried to focus, but lacked the strength to dispel it yet. Damnit! He tried to move his arm, desperately reaching for the small purging crystal in his pocket – but to no avail, he was too weak to shift this heavy armour-laden body – or his own for that matter, all he could do was twist his head slightly… even now… he couldn’t see… his mind… blank…

With that, he passed out.

Kelda had been on the other side of the fortress when the man had fallen off the wall, but already there were infiltrators streaming over the walls on her side as well.

“Crap” she muttered to herself pulling out her twin handed sword and cleaving one of the black clad assassins in half, there was a smash on the door – the another – and another. “Double crap” she yelled, from this position she couldn’t tell for sure. But it was likely the rams were back up, pounding on the great door. She dodged out of the way of a pair of thin knifes, and struck back with her own sending the assassin over the edge into the arms of the Warriors below, that was the key here – she didn’t have to focus on killing them, as long as she could knock them down into the courtyard they would be helpless.

“Throw them over the edge” one of the military archers yelled over the fray. Ordinarily she would have made some kind of smart-assed remark, but right now there was too much else to do. There were screams, as assassin and archer clashed – using her free hand Kelda grabbed one of the infiltrators and hurled him over the edge, next to her a chunk of wall exploded sending a cloud of dusty and stone into her, blocking her vision for a moment. The next thing she knew there was a figure bearing down on her, and she didn’t have time to react – she could even see the smirk on his face as he rushed towards her, before he jarred to a sudden halt. As if out of nowhere Wind was crouching with his twin axes deeply imbedded in the gut of the attacker, with a quick jerk he slashed outwards before delivering a back heel kick that sent the wounded man, and the man next to him over the edge. In the same spinning movement the pair of axes were replaced with throwing knifes which bore down on their targets with pinpoint accuracy. Wind’s style of fighting was one of a man who hated waste, every movement had a purpose, it was clear to see from the way he was spinning and twisting his way through the enemy ranks he was incredibly powerful.

Not that Kelda noticed, she had drawn her bow again and was targeting the source of the explosion which had blinded her – a hastily constructed ballista being operated by yet another black clad figure, it was as though their numbers were endless. Quickly putting an arrow through the figures head she cried out as something struck her from behind, she felt helpless as she skittered on the edge trying to maintain her balance before falling over herself – luckily for her, as with most assassins she had been properly trained in the correct ways to fall, but still the impact sent shocks through her legs. Reaching behind her back she felt the small hole in her armour – too small, the blade was likely poisoned. She made a mental note to scold herself for this later – but for the moment she had to find one of the seers before she was unable to move.

“Kelda! Are you ok?” she turned around, bringing her sword with her and almost taking off Asta’s head in the process if the kobold hadn’t raised her shield in time.

“Sorry” he apologised, thankful she’d been able to slow the blade down enough for Asta to block the remaining momentum “Not really though, you won’t be chance be able to cure poisons would you?” Asta didn’t even bother to reply, already making a few gestures “Hey? Where’s the other little guy?” she asked, above the roar of the desperate battle taking place overhead.

“Dynn passed out from over-exertion, like most of the others have” she yelled back, there was a crunch which had a sickening finality too it – and then, like a sea of silver tumbling over itself in an effort to reach the shore the Armsmen came.

“Shit, Shit, Shit!” Kelda muttered, her voice now totally inaudible in the chaos of battle. It was obvious at this point the battle was lost, no way they had a chance of holding off so many people with only a handful of weakened Shaman – Either she, or Archeon had to survive in order to warn the council, but she couldn’t even see her brother in this mess… “SHIT!” she yelled again “Asta! Grab Dynn, we’ve got to get out of here”

“Get out of here? Where the hell can we go?” Asta yelled back.

“How the fuck should I know?” she looked around desperately as the gleaming silver wave was slowly pushing back the defenders of Midgard – it wasn’t even a battle anymore, the Midgard lines were broken in several places – and even from above, more infiltrators had setup ballista’s and were firing heavy bolts taking out several men at a time. What could she do? What the hell could she do? …

He marched into the room with the air of somebody who is in control, his black cloak covering his face from view. Marching down the room he stopped at the head of the table at which 11 aged men and women sat of various different races, they were supposedly meant to represent each house, but politics had fast become a ‘house’ in it’s own right, with only a few people who sat at the table having any sort of connection to one of the twelve great houses – one was missing, he didn’t know which – he hadn’t cared enough to know how to put names to faces with these people. But had he not directed otherwise? Slowly he took a breath, it would have been more poetic to kill them all at the same time – but oh well. Slowly he leaned down on the oaken table, it creaked slightly at his weight. Or was it protesting being touched by such evil.

“Gentlemen” he said, with a disarming smile they couldn’t see. Addressing the high council of Midgard. “I believe it only polite to inform you what little control you had over this realm is no more” one of the men rose to his feet.

“You cannot do this!” he shouted, but his voice… it had a slight tremble to it. No sooner had he finished than his body was engulfed in flame, the other members watched in horror as the man thrashed around, his pleas for help falling on deaf ears as the burning fire seared, and then melted his old leather-like skin. Finally the fire died out, leaving only the charred remains of a once noble and honourable man in their place. His body splashed out over the table like spilled milk.

“I can” he said simply, addressing the burnt corpse. “And I have” he pulled back from the table, these quivering fools ruled Midgard? Would wonders never cease?

Water stood outside the room patiently waiting as screams echoed from behind the door, finally they opened and her master walked out. Steam trailing from his clothes, before the doors swung closed again she observed that ever last one of the council members had been burnt to death.

“Mjollnir?” he asked simply, without directing his attention to her.

“Fallen, my lord” she replied, his eyebrow rose slightly in surprise. He hadn’t expected that to happen. “The house of Eir withdrew its support for some reason,” she continued.

“I see… I noticed one was missing?”

“The representative and high-Gjytha of Eir my lord, I felt you might still have some use for her considering this turn of events” he nodded in approval.

“Indeed, well done my general. Where is she now?” Water gestured to a woman wrapped in a pure white robe being held in the corner by a troll wearing similar black armour to his own. He cocked his head to one side and admired her, she was indeed strikingly beautiful – and her eyes held an as yet untold fury. He walked up to her and gently pulled the gag from her mouth.

“DOG!” she instantly spat out “You will rue the day you crossed the house of Eir!” the man burst out laughing.

“And what will you do priestess?” he asked, still laughing, “any would could have opposed me have died at the failed defence of Mjollnir, you are a leash with no dog to walk. A foundation with no house to go upon it…” he paused, mostly for dramatic effect. “You. Oh grand priestess of Eir… are Nothing!” he raised a hand and placed it gently on her cheek. She was defiant, but he could feel it. Her heart was stained with the same darkness as his. Worse, it was a different kind. She lived only for herself, not willingly give her life for any cause, she simply desired power for it’s own sake… Perhaps he could use her? He looked at Water out of the corner of his eye; her face was one of indifference. No – he couldn’t use her like that, but still… “Oh great priestess of Eir… I shall grant you…” he said, still watching Water “life” Water seemed surprised, the priestess on the other hand seemed to sigh inwardly as relief washed over her face – maybe even saying a small prayer to the gods.

“Of course, the House of Eir will happily continue to offer its services to…” she started, but was cut off with a gesture. He now turned his full attention on her… waiting for it, that moment.

“And in turn… I shall grant that life to my men” there it was, it was as though all the strings holding her face together had suddenly snapped, he enjoyed that look. She began to stammer

“You… you cannot do this!” a wicked smile crossed his face.

“Oh virgin head of the house of Eir” he said mockingly “you shall conclude your miserable life cursing your existence as a whore to my men” he made a gesture, at which the troll picked her up and carried her away. Her screams of bloody vengeance falling on his uncaring ears. Water’s face was… Disgust? Amusement? Maybe a little of both. “You feel I handled that poorly?” he asked.

”No my lord, it really is quite brilliant. Breaking her spirit at the same time as keeping her detained so you can later probe her for information, I would not have thought of it myself” she replied.

“Maybe, maybe not.” He said slowly, before turning around and moving towards a hole in the wall which had been broken down to by-pass the magical seals which protected the main door of the council chambers. “It would seem we have accomplished the most difficult part of our plan, now there is only really one thing left I want”

“Indeed lord, I will of course continue the search” Water replied following him out into the burning wreckage of the city which was once called Jordelhiem…

2004-12-18 18:27:09  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
“Lumin dear, let me down a little more” a female voice drifted up through the hole, the large troll complied with a grunt – allowing more of the rope to slip through his hands. There was a crash from below. “Yes, ok I think that might be enough sweetie” the voice said again.

“Sorry” the troll’s strong voice rumbling like a train in a tunnel.

“Don’t worry about it Lumin, she’s a sturdy girl. You couldn’t pierce her shapely ass with the sharpest of blades,” Wolf said with a laugh, patting the eight-foot pile of living rock on the back. The Warrior muttered something under his breath in his native language.

“I heard that!” the bodiless voice called up “Don’t think I don’t understand what you just said!” unfortunately for Lumin, the troll equivalent of ‘Under-your-breath’ was more like the dull rumbling of a stampede in the distance than any sort of quiet.

“What did he say?” a younger voice said from behind the pair, the great troll turned around slowly. Looking the young Runemaster in the eye.

“Should have just eaten you,” he drawled out slowly, it was a fairly common misconception that trolls were stupid creatures. In fact they were, on average smarter than the Norse (on account mostly of their long life spans) – however, their tongues being decidedly less fleshy than that of most creatures had difficulty’s working it’s way around the subtle inflections and tones, which made up the Norse language which was considered a linguistic medium among the four races of the alliance. Vixen smiled weakly

“Oh right, sorry Lumin” the giant troll shrugged.

“Not problem”

“So” she continued, walking past the troll and trying to look down the hole herself “You are eventually planning on going down right?” Wolf looked at her.

“Well that’s what Ariel’s doing, to put it simply – if she gets eaten, and we run like hell”

“I heard that as well!” the voice called up “I know when we said our wedding vows we kept out the bits about you protecting me, but I thought some degree of loyalty was implied”

“Well when you stop using your stupid maiden name and start using mine maybe I’ll consider it Miss Ravenblade” he muttered quietly

“What was that!?”

“Yes dear” Wolf called down in the timeless tone of the submissive husband. They had been following these tunnels for hours now, if not longer. In a world with no sunlight – time had very little meaning, illumination coming exclusively from torches and the odd phosphorescent rock. That was what had drawn them to this place to start with, light was pouring out of this hole – though it wasn’t really light. More like a glowing mist, neither magic-user could identify it as anything other than powerful. The Norse Berserker looked over his shoulder at the pair, Vixen the Runemaster and Archeon the Healer. Both were still young, children really in comparison to the three – yet their power continued to amaze him.

“Well it seems safe enough” Ariel’s voice drifted up, a few seconds later there was a squealing sound of something small dying “More or less”

“You people need to re-evaluate your definition of the word safe” the young Healer groaned in protest.

“I’m with Archy on this one” Vixen said, using her pet name for the Healer as she usually did “All three of you are crazy”

“You’ll have to forgive me if I take the word of my wife over your own” Wolf said with a laugh “Honestly, do you think any great discoveries were made by people who turned around at the first sign of something they didn’t recognise?”

The last person down was Lumin, or more accurately he dropped and/or jumped down causing the earth to shake and a huge dist-cloud to rise up obscuring the young Healer’s view, there was a bright flash and suddenly the dust forced against the walls by what could only be described as a gust of wind.

“I thought they taught Runemasters not to waste mana with silly displays of force?” Archeon asked. Vixen just shrugged.

“And I always thought Healer’s were supposed to respect the dead,” she countered, pointing an upturned finger at Archeon’s feet. The Healer almost screamed in panic when he realised he was standing on a corpse. Instantly rushing behind the Runemaster. Vixen smiled, as he looked over her shoulder. She’d met up with Archeon a few years back in one of the quieter bars in Midgard, he was slightly shy at first – something, which she’d mistakenly assumed was a crush on her. But It was just how he was, he took naturally to the ways of the Healer which was why right now he was on his knees saying a few hasty prays for the soul of the person he’d just stepped on.

“What do you make of this?” Wolf asked, ignoring the comical scene-taking place behind him. He tapped the wall with the base of one of his axes, dust and mud crumbled away to reveal a shimmering ice-like substance under neither.

“Looks like a diamond” Ariel said,

“Nah can’t be. It breaks off easily enough” Wolf replied holding a small chunk in his hand “Vix? Could you?” he tossed the piece to her, which she promptly caught.

“Vixen” she corrected in frustration “It’s not a very long name to start with you know”

“I’ll bet that’s short for something and all, right ‘Archy’?” Wolf mumbled the Healer shrugged indifferently at the obvious taunt.

“I’d tell you but…” he stopped short with a shrug, gesturing towards the now fuming Runemaster

Fine, Fine. Vixen could you please?”

“Give me a minute” she grumbled, reaching into her bag and pulling out a few complex looking tools; Like any good Runemaster Vixen had an almost insatiable thirst for knowledge – indeed, in her spare time she had already become a proficient spell-crafter, occasionally dabbled in Alchemy, and had even been a member of the research team which had developed the first standardised ‘mana-recharge’ stones, the effects of which were still rippling through the world of magic-users.

While they waited for her to finish the others milled around aimlessly.

“Where do you think this place leads too?” Wolf asked breaking the silence, Lumin said something fairly long winded in Trollish as was his general manner when he wanted to say more than a few broken syllables. Archeon didn’t understand the language very well himself yet, but it was obvious Wolf and Ariel were both fluent.

“What did he… sorry… What did you say?” Archeon asked, curiously. Lumin grunted something else Archeon couldn’t understand.

“He said he was starting to feel hungry and would we mind if he ate one of you?” Ariel translated for him.

“I’m busy, make him eat Archy” Vixen muttered in a distance voice, obviously absorbed with her study.

“Actually, you two are too skinny for a meal. He’d much rather eat one of us” Wolf said, still wondering aimlessly behind Vixen. “Hey kid” he poked her with his foot “How much longer do you want to take?” Vixen looked up from her squatting position a little perturbed.

“Well if you’d like to do it I can lend you my equipment” Wolf smiled sheepishly, something he tended to do a lot.

”Ahh, well when you put it that way. Don’t let me…” he paused, in the same instant he span around and had pulled out his twin axes. Lumin and Ariel had followed suit pulling out their weapons as well, shields held at the ready.

“What do you think?” Ariel asked in a hushed whisper, the usual telltale trace of humour gone from her voice. Lumin muttered something.

“I agree with the big guy, I’d rather not stick around to find out” Archeon looked over at Vixen, her eyes were fixed on roughly the same spot at the other threes – she must have been able to sense something as well, but why couldn’t he? Too late he realised that he couldn’t feel any life force beyond the mist, not even the residual amounts in the monsters they had slain on their way down.

“Sorry” he muttered, “I didn’t realise”

“Apologise later, do your job now” Wolf said giving his axes an experimental whirl. Still staring intently into the mist

“If it makes you feel any better Archy, that rocks some kind of crystallised life-force. Going by that assumption we can probably say the same for this mist. It’s no wonder your senses were messed up,” Vixen said, quickly packing her things away with one hand while drawing a few mystical symbols in the ground with the other.

What happened next? … Archeon didn’t know, it was all a horrific blur… The first to die was Lumin, whatever it was jumped out of the mist and back in so quickly nobody had any time to react – the with a roll the Trolls head rolled off spraying dark grey blood over the surviving four… After that… He had somebody on his back… Ariel, she had lost an arm – but he was holding back the blood with his mana… he ran… he ran and he didn’t stop until he collapsed in that fateful chamber… those words Wolf had spoken etched into his heart. “Save my wife… go!”

A few hours later he had even failed in that, he had failed utterly and completely…

“Urrgg…” he groaned, reluctant to open his eyes in fear of the sight he might see. But he opened them all the same.

Corpses… masses upon masses of corpses… Midgard bodies, Albion bodies. Hundreds maybe even thousands of them. Slowly he lifted the heavy weight from his back, and stood up. All these dead… he stumbled forward, almost drunkenly towards the entrance to the inner sanctum, the doors ripped from their hinges, by the ram while had been carelessly left behind. He made his way up to the very top of the dizzyingly high tower, to the room which housed the most sacred of relics, as expected even the magical seals had been of little help – so it was no surprise to see that the relic was gone. He knelt down and said a prayer for all those who had died in vain; oddly enough he didn’t really feel like crying. He supposed he had been sub-consciously aware that any defence conducted in this manner, regardless of how valiant the fighters was doomed to failure.

Without the support of the house of Eir, it was doomed. Even with the efforts of the Shaman… The Shaman? Dynn! He looked out of one of the slit windows, which aerated the room. It was no use; from here he could see the bodies but make out no individual faces. Not that he particularly needed too… Dynn would be dead, along with Kelda, Asta – even Wind most likely if he’d hung around. All of their deaths were his fault, wasn’t he the one who had first introduced Asta to the ways of the Shaman? She would probably still be a beggar on the street if he hadn’t, but she would have been alive! Dynn? How could he have been so foolish as to allow him to study under him? It wasn’t something that he should have done! Kelda? She would most likely still be in Albion furthering the legend of ‘The Green Flash’ if not for him.

He fell limp, and wept. He wept until he could weep no more, and still he continued. All the grief and suffering he had endured for all these years escaped him at once. He yelled the secrets he had sworn to safeguard at the top of his lungs, he threw his hammer – lodging it into a nearby wall and beat the ground with his fists until they bled freely. He tore the armour from his body hurling it down the spiral staircase, and finally in an act of mad grief threw himself down the same stairs…

Until finally… he lay there, beaten, bruised, naked and crying. Countless years of suffering and sacrifice leaving his body in the forms of half-mad screaming and self-abuse.

When he opened his eyes again it was dark, with nobody to light the torches he could only make out a dim outline of himself in the moonlight…

“Look at yourself…” he muttered finally “If they could see you now they’d probably laugh” he had survived once again, once again fate had cruelly cheated him of his release. Though could he honestly expect a warm welcome into the hall of Valhalla? He was a traitor to his realm, a powerless old fool who cared more for his own life than that of his friends… He didn’t care anymore, there were plenty of weapons lying around – and with his advanced knowledge of medicine he could quite easily end his life in a quick and painless manner… No… he finally decided, even though the bloody madness was over he still had to warn the council. Maybe… maybe then he would find some measure of peace…

One by one he salvaged his discarded armour pieces, and once more climbed the great tower to recover his lost hammer. Finally he found the Lord’s corpse, he had died in what seemed like an attempt to recapture the ramparts, his great chest filled with holes from arrows and knife. The body weighted a great deal, but slowly he carried it to the entrance of the keep. Painstakingly he dug the hole with the hands which less than an hour ago had been beaten to a bloody pulp, until he was finally satisfied. Gently lowering the great mans body into the hole, he covered it back up and lodged his great hammer at the head of the simple grave.

“I am sorry Lord Ravenblade,” he whispered, as he knelt in prayer “In the end I was unable to save you either…” he rose to his feet and turned around, the path to Svasud Faste was a relatively short one, easy to make by foot. Reluctantly he placed one foot in front of the other, each step weighting heavily on his heart. He didn’t want to look back at the broken keep, he wanted to remember it as when he saw it with Kelda… proud… and utterly invincible…

Weight… something… on him… on his chest…. He opened his eyes and looked up, Asta was leaning on his chest sleeping peacefully… Where was he? The air felt strange somehow.

“Welcome back to the land of the living… figuratively speaking of course” Kelda said, coming into his field of vision.

“Kelda?” he asked, not wanting to move. Not sure he was capable of moving.”

“Yeah, Wind’s here as well. When the inner-gate was broken down we dived into the Hell-Gate, couldn’t find my brother – but it’s a fair bet to say he brought the proverbial farm.” Her face was grim. Despite the casual nature of her words they were laced with bitterness and grief “He was such an idiot trying to take it all on himself like that” she kicked a small rock and watched it bounce a short distance.

“Where…” he started.

“Darkness Falls, pretty deep actually. We’ll be safe for a while – again, comparatively. You’d probably have kicked it too if not for her” She gestured at Asta “You had a pretty bad wound, I’ve got a fair amount of endurance but I’ve never seen anyone work with such dedication. She point blank refused to stop until she was certain you were alright” there was a groan, Asta opened her eyes and looked around.

“Whatever she’s told you was a lie,” she murmured, before closing her eyes again and returning to her original position. Kelda looked to the end of the hall, so far the denizens of the underworld had left them alone, but it was only a matter of time before they started to take interest and she didn’t much relish the prospect of getting out of here when burdened down with Dynn and Asta, especially in their weakened states.

Wind suddenly appeared by her side, she’d gotten used to it ever since she met him. She liked him a lot, and not just because he had saved her life. He had an odd sense of honour, it was heavily suppressed but it was still there. It was a shame the Shadowblade training required one to suppress their emotions in such a manner, Kelda had a sneaking suspicion Wind would be quite the charmer without it. But then, Kelda mused. He would likely have a mistress, or a string of other girls after him. Maybe.

“You said Archeon wasn’t here?” Dynn asked quietly, Kelda nodded.

“Yeah, we couldn’t find him. But then you’d have been hard pressed to find anyone in that chaotic bloodbath” she replied “I was keeping an eye on his position, just in case – but I lost him after those infiltrators came over the wall. Then again if he is… you know” she said, surprised at herself for not being able to say it directly “Not that I like the idea, but it does solve one little problem… sort of…”


“Originally we were going to warn the council about a plot to take over the realm, I’m not talking your half-assed ‘get a big army, fight, fight, fight’ operation. This thing has been in the planning for over a decade, at the very least. Their leader…” Kelda shivered slightly, at just the memory of him “Has an interest in Archeon, I wish I knew the exact details of what makes my brother so important, but with Archeon… well whatever it is he wants is beyond his reach” there was silence, then Dynn spoke.

“So what now?” Asta asked sitting up abruptly, sitting on her legs in that manner only females could.

“Isn’t it obvious? We get out of here. This place makes my skin crawl” she replied calmly.

“I agree” seconded Asta “The longer we hang around, the more chance there is something will happen” Slowly Dynn rose to his feet, he was still a little sore in places but he could at least walk. He looked at Kelda, she was doing something strange on the ground – finally she raised her hand and called out a single word.

“ODIN!” Dynn had to cover his eyes to shield them from the blinding flash of the mana reaction Kelda had just invoked, for a brief moment there was silence, none of them could speak. Finally Asta managed to find her voice.

“Kelda… What the HELL! Is that!?” she asked, pointing at the quivering lump of meat and bone which occupied the space where the… the… she couldn’t bear to think about it. Kelda wasn’t paying attention anyway; she was simply staring in shock at the lump that was now convulsing in violent spasms. She could even see the heart beating… Even Wind turned in mute disgust.

“Please tell me… “ Dynn said, trying hard not to throw up “That, that doesn’t happen often” A sound came from what must have been the inside-out wolf’s mouth, there was a squelch and the heart stopped pumping. They all watched for a moment, in horrified fascination as the carcass lay there. There was a popping sound, and suddenly the entire mass seemed to implode on itself sending up a spray of blood…

“Kelda… please…” Asta said, desperately scrubbing at her face with the edge of her cloak in an effort to remove the blood “No more summoning!”

“Technically it’s not summoning, and I was certain that the glyph would contain it!”

“It did contain it, it just contained it inside out!” Asta yelled, they stared at each other for a second before Kelda finally looked away

“Fine, no more summoning” she looked back, a forced and very thin smile on her face. “Just for the record…that’s… Uhh… never happened before” she said weakly.

“I’ve never been so happy to have an empty stomach” Dynn commented, Kelda pushed the repulsive now-still mass to the side using the tip of her foot with a reluctant sigh, she shrugged and turned to catch up with Asta and Dynn who were walking off. Suddenly her head snapped around at Wind who was looking at the mass in which might have been morbid interest, as though some thought was working its way through his head. “Go on, say it!” she snapped “I dare you” he looked at her, his eyes uncompromisingly cold as ever, and yet she could see it. With that he turned around and started off behind them, she snorted with disapproval “Just wait ‘till I get a new dog” she muttered under her breath, she hated it when he was right.

2004-12-18 18:27:30  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
Fort Alta was burning, the simple hometown of some of the greatest hero’s the realm had to offer. With so many people killed in what was being described as the ‘Tragedy of Mjollnir’ there had been little resistance making their conquest all the much easier. Amidst the destruction he walked, the walls torn down he could see the ocean from his position. Naliten would most likely be difficult, it being the only way out of Midgard at current there was a strong possibility it was defending by the few remaining members of the Midgard Army. He turned to his aide, who walked a few steps behind him, poised with a roll of parchments to take down anything he dictated.

“No messages from the Naliten force yet?” he asked casually, as he watched a mother desperately begging his men not to kill her or her child.

“No my lord, however there was a message from Lady Water”

“Oh?” he turned to look at his aid, unfortunately missing his soldiers running the child through before it’s mothers eyes. Pausing only to appreciate her screams of grief. “So soon?”

“Yes lord, she says that she couldn’t find the corpse of Archeon, Kelda or Lor… Umm… Wind anywhere” His eyes narrowed slightly at the aide’s near mistake, which would have cost the man his life.

“A turn of luck I suppose” he had killed several dozen of his men in rage when he’d learnt Archeon had been present at Mjollnir. He was having a good day, an interesting day. He did so much like burning villages to the ground, and to learn that Archeon might still be alive filling him with near-anticipation. It made his blood itch just thinking about it “Does she have any clues as to where they might have gone?”

“Not yet lord, she informs you that she had taken a tracker team and will be out of contact for a while” he paused for a moment, in his scheme Water was almost as important as Archeon… Still, she was highly competent even if faced with a small army of invaders he had little doubt she would bring Archeon back.

“Find the man in charge, inform him that I will be travelling to Naliten myself to oversee its destruction. He is to continue as planned; once this town is levelled he is to proceed to Spindhalla and purge it – be sure to eradicate every last one of those filthy spiders” the aide bowed silently, then left without a word.

The Captain wiped the blood from his blade with slow deliberate movements, they had been lucky – if it hadn’t been for the small army which was accompanying the refugees who had escaped Fort Atla they would likely have been wiped out here. Even the Healer’s were cooperating with their requests, which made a pleasant change, though he probably wouldn’t have tolerated any back talk at this point.

“I’d have never dreamed it” he said wearily to his second “That Midgard would fall in this manner”

“Midgard isn’t destroyed until there’s nobody left sir” the other man said dutifully, watching the few remaining refugees walking through the portal that magically linked the mainland of Midgard to the Shrouded Isle of Aegir. Their job was almost over, once the last man was through he and his squad would destroy the gate and sail to the Isle in the one boat, which hadn’t been sabotaged. It wouldn’t give them much time, but it would be something. Perhaps they could forge alliances with some of the natives there like they had the Valkyn? In any case, it wasn’t something a simple soldier should worry about. “Sir” he looked up from his thoughts. Walking along the beach was a lone figure, the Captain wouldn’t have thought much of it if not for the fact he was clad head to toe in black armour, over his shoulder was slung a huge blade which the Captain would have thought more at home in the hands of a Troll, this gigantic cleaver of a sword appeared to be crafted, however like the armour it was pitch blade with thin licks of red flame running up and down the edge of the blade.

“My” the captain called out “Quite interesting attire to be walking the beach in, and by your lonesome no less” the figure looked at him, a smile on his face.

“You are… in charge?” he asked slowly, he didn’t have any real accent to speak of. Though it sounded like Norse wasn’t his native tongue.

“Aye, I’m in charge. What of it?”

“I like to leave the commanding officer of an army until last, so that they might see the fate of their men.” The captain spat and rose to his feet, giving his own sword and experimental spin he reached down for his shield before he remembered he had shattered it on the head of a Troll not too long ago. No matter.

“Why is it?” he muttered to his second, so the figure advancing towards them couldn’t hear “Evil always seems to be wearing black? Is there some kind of dress code we don’t know about?” the second smiled grimly

“They say it’s supposed to intimidate sir” the captain spat again, this time the trail of phlegm would have hit the figure if he had not stepped aside, he smiled again. His cold red eyes, almost glowing in the sunlight.

Less then ten minutes later the small coastal outpost of Nalitan was in ruins, he looked around at the smouldering wreckage of the portal thoughtfully. These Warriors had been good, holding him off long enough for the portal to be destroyed. He looked down at the body of the half-dead captain; a thin smile crossed his face as he hoisted the man up with a single arm. The men looked at each other for a moment, one of the Captains eyes had been gouged out but the other still had a fierce look in it.

“So Captain, I wish to know – what is the price for treason?”

“Death…” was the single word he managed to force through his crushed mouth.

“I see…” he appeared thoughtful again “Yet you have caused me a great deal of trouble, would it really be justice for me to let you off with such a light punishment? I have a much better idea” without a word he brought up his other hand and pushed it into the captain’s remaining eye, destroying it completely. With a primal scream the man brought his arms up instinctively to nurse the wound.

“I… will not betray Midgard!” he managed in between screams.

“Yes, yes – and you will be honoured in Valhalla, I have heard this on more than one occasion let me assure you,” he said carrying the screaming and thrashing man as though he were nothing more than a paper mannequin. He stopped at the waters edge “However, before such a time. I will allow you to watch me conquer this land you love so much… or then again” he drove the mans head into the water, the salt content further agitating the wound, he smiled as the thrashing increased, the arms now desperately trying to get his head above the water. Finally he dragged him out again, the man gasping for breath, blood running freely from both his eyes. “You!” Argon had been hiding; such bloodshed was well beyond his limited sphere of experience. He thought he had been unnoticed, that thought changed when the thrashing body of the captain was dumped in front of him. “Yours and his life are bound” he said simply.

Argon looked up, his mind too clouded with fear to understand the meaning of the words. The dark figure seemed to sigh in frustration.

“By that, I mean if he dies I will kill you…” still nothing; he found it difficult to believe that the same house could produce somebody like Archeon, and somebody like this. They were at totally opposite ends of the spectrum. “So I suggest you heal him before I lose my patience and put you out of my misery” he said, looking down on the shivering fool. Slowly, painfully slowly Argons mind started to move, he looked over the wounded man who had passed out from shock.

By the time he was done the sun had started to set, the man’s wounds had been grievous. For the first hour or so he didn’t think he would be able to do much more than prolong the man’s life, luckily for him he had managed to survive.

“I… I have finished” he stuttered, for a moment the man seemed not to hear… Looking instead at the single surviving boat. Finally in a slow and deliberate manner he walked over and surveyed the Healers work, it was detestably sloppy with a great many shortcuts taken which would likely result in the man’s wounds opening again in due course. “s…sir?” he frowned, his train of thought interrupted. Under ordinary circumstances he would have simply killed the Healer, but why should he? This man was completely pathetic, a snivelling example of the filthily cancer which was the entire reasoning behind his clans aspirations.

“My lord!” he turned his attention away from the pair to see one of his men dashing down the side of the ridge, he clumsily slipped and skidded down the sand until eventually making it to his side where he nearly fell over himself to kneel at his feel. He waited for the man to catch his breath, before speaking.

“You may rise” the man did, not looking his master directly in the eyes – but more skirting around the devastated town, which was littered with corpses. He suddenly remembered himself and snapped off a salute.

“Spindhalla has been purged with flame my lord”

“Excellent, and where is my army now?”

“Marching on Gaplen Master, the commander informed me to tell you he will have the region taken before you return”

“Ambitious” he said with a smile “There is more?”

“Yes my lord, Lord Fire sends word that as anticipated the forced of Albion and Herbina have become aware of Midgard’s weakened state, the outer frontier is in turmoil” he nodded.

“As expected, I trust he will not engage them unless forced. But send him a message reminding him that at the moment we simply need to keep them out of the inner-realm in order to consolidate our position.”

“Of course my lord, right away”

“One more thing” he said “Strip these two of their armour and weapons, and put them to work some place. Make sure whoever is in charge knows that if this one dies” he gestured as the sleeping Captain “they are to kill the other one on the spot”

“Understood my lord” he walked over to the portal ignoring the vicious shouts of the soldier for the Healer to carry up the sleeping blind-man. Perhaps… he placed a hand gently on the remains… yes, he smiled to himself. The portal had been destroyed, but the magic, which formed the portal, was still there. Thin and delicate as a spider’s web, but maybe it could be repaired. In any case, as it was he didn’t have much to fear from the Shrouded Isle – true he wouldn’t be able to get to it, but the same was true for them. In any case, there was plenty of time left. He gazed out over the dying light of the sun as the last traces of red light bounced off the ocean. Red… the colour of his eyes, the colour of his clan – and the colour of the lifeblood which was currently draining into the ocean from the days carnage.

All that was left was to find the vessel…

The Gem glowed a pale yellow, not a Shadow-walker Archeon had little need to learn the arts of concealment and camouflage, however. He knew a thing or two when it came to survival – the trinket (a small prize from some far off dungeon in his early days) was capable of generating sufficient heat and light for his needs considering he had been unable to find anything resembling dry wood. He looked down at the bowl, which held the ‘food’ he had gathered, not for the first time questioning the practicality of his vegan diet. Even to his relatively bland pallet the assortment of leaves and grasses was unappetising. When he was first exiled Archeon had quickly discovered that very little edible foliage grew in the frontiers, most of his meals had come from the kitchens of various keeps as he had travelled between them. Unfortunately in the current chaos he couldn’t exactly walk up to a keep and ask for supplies, he would most likely find himself being drafted, assuming they had not already fallen. He simply couldn’t afford not to keep moving.

He had quickly discovered that some unknown group of soldiers had captured Svasud Faste and Yggdra Faste, so he had taken refuge in the small cave to try and figure out some way of getting back into Midgard, but he feared he was already too late. Well there wasn’t much he could do about it in any case. He leaned against his pack, attempted to get as comfortable as he could against the hard earthen floor and closed his eyes.

“Hello?” he looked up at the figure standing in the semi-light of the yellow orb. Was he dreaming? “You look hungry” the figure said, she pulled something out of her pocket and offered it to him “Here, your still a vegetarian right?” he blinked a few more times, the figure straightening out and put her hands on her hips. “Honestly, Archy. I’m pretty sure I’ve told you more than once it’s rude to ignore people”

“Vixen?” the figure smiled

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Your alive?”

“I thought that much was obvious, I’m here on business though. You wouldn’t happen to know where I can find a Lord Konera would you?” casually he took the piece of fruit she was offering and started to chew on it, his mind quickly slotting the pieces together in his head.

“You must be… Water? Yes?”

“Deceptively sharp as always I see, it’s more of an alias than anything. My Master felt that it would be appropriate; four generals, four elements, something along those lines” she shrugged “I tend not to argue with him, it’s not healthy. But I’d prefer it if you didn’t use it though” he nodded slightly “So Wind told you did he?” she asked, sitting down next to him.

“Not really, I got the impression he knew more about me than he should have”

“He was travelling with your sister as I recall”

“I never told Kelda about any of this”

“Because you wanted to protect her?”

“Because I knew she’d do something stupid”

“Yes…” she said with a sigh “That does sound like your idiot sister”

“In truth, I’m a little curious. I would have thought she’d recognise you”

“You and I both know Kelda’s still a child, gifted I’ll grant her that. But easily influenced” there was silence as they looked at each other; she’d aged remarkably well, Archeon noted. Probably due to her magic. “You know,” she continued, cocking her head slightly and looking at him in a knowing manner “You led us on quite the little chase, up to Svasud. Down to Yggdra, and then this deep into Odin’s in under a day, I don’t mind saying I’m pretty impressed. You even managed to avoid the invaders charging around like children in a sweet shop”

“I just know a few good shortcuts,” he said simply, not giving anything away.

“So do you want to talk about old times?”

”I’d prefer current events”

“Whatever happened to Ariel anyway?” Archeon paused

“… She died,” he said, biting back the painful memory.

“I see… I heard the Guardian was quite territorial,” Archeon laughed dryly.

“No, it wasn’t that…”

“Then…” something seemed to click “oh… wow… no wonder you do these kinds of things to yourself”

“Thankfully the high-council knew a little about your clan”

“His clan” she corrected. “I was born to serve”

“In any case, they agreed to protect me.” Archeon continued “However, when the current Gjytha of Eir”

“Ex, might be a better term” Water replied impassively.

“She’s dead?” Archeon asked, he didn’t particularly like the Gjytha but he hadn’t wished death on her.

“Nope… but lets just say she’s lost one of the principal qualifications required of a Healer, anyway. Continue”

“Right… so when she was appointed and learned of him… she wanted the power, after that the best the council could do was put me into exile and not tell anyone the actual reason, the house of Eir alone couldn’t do much. But if one of the other houses, like the Shadowblades caught on”

“They’d probably try to extract his power for themselves” she finished for him “And over time fewer and fewer people knew the real reason until eventually for all intents and purposes you really were an exile” there was a pause “You know, if you’d just come to us you’d have been treated well” she said almost sadly.

“I’d sooner die free, than as a slave in my own body”

“It doesn’t work like that” he paused, wondering what she meant.

“Alright, I’ve indulged you. It’s your turn” she shrugged

“Fair enough I suppose, I was looking for Wind and your sister and to be honest I have”

“Had” this time, he corrected her

“Have” she countered, “we searched the bodies at Mjollnir. I would have recognised either of them” Archeon’s mind lost it’s footing, he had just assumed… one man alone… he gave a sigh of relief.

“Thank Eir” Water looked at him, he really hadn’t changed much. Even now he was obviously trying to hold back the tears.

“Hey, don’t start crying. We’re trying to have a serious conversation here” he didn’t seem to be paying attention “Odin help me, I’m trying to establish a complex friend/enemy relationship here and you’re too busy crying to pay attention” she rolled her eyes in helplessness. There was a cough.

“Sorry” Archeon said “I lost myself for a bit, please continue establishing this relationship”

“Thank-you” she muttered, just as Archeon’s mind had lost it’s footing when she told him his sister was alive, she had lost hers with him just being himself. That was probably, she thought to herself. What she liked about him, for whatever reason he was wildly unpredictable to her. She coughed herself “Like I was saying, I’ve been ordered to kill both of them and capture you. I was hoping I could talk you into coming peacefully; I’m not lying when I said you’d be treated well… I can make sure of that”

“I know, but you know I won’t come willingly all the same”

“I know… I had to try though” they both stood up, knowing what was going to come next. Both seemed reluctant.

“You’re asking me to betray my realm”

“Not in so many words, your realm has fallen. Ours has taken its place. That’s all he wants, to make Midgard strong again. Even you can’t deny that if things continue as they are Midgard will likely fall in a few more generations. We’ll be back in chains, back to being slaves!”

“Maybe. But as long as people like me continue to exist that will never happen”

“Right, because you’ll continue to plant those silly little seeds in children, so they can rush off and die young. But that’s ok, because they’ll have died for the glory of Midgard right?”

“Yes, that’s enough” she spat in a rather unladylike fashion, tightening the grip on her staff.

“Your just putting off the inevitable you know? Right? Archeon Soulfire?” at that Archeon smiled.

“Read a book Vixenia Thorson. That’s what being a Healer is all about!” then nothingness…

2004-12-18 18:27:43  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
No, there was something… a thought… a sense of self… there was an explosion of colour, freeing her from the dark prison of her empty mind. She blinked a few times, still feeling the after effects of the mesmerisation. Something had happened… she shook her head a few more times.

“Oh right… Archeon” she reminded herself flatly. Looking around the cave, as she’d expected there wasn’t a trace of where the Healer had been trying to rest. However light was pouring into the small cave, was it already morning? She bit the tip of her tongue in frustration and walked outside, she had expected him to improve – but by this much? He was still surprising her. Both soldiers in her four person party were staring helplessly into the distance, the tracker himself was lying on the group drooling slightly, she wondered over to the tracker – kneeling down she clicked her fingers a few times in front of his eyes, bright sparks of mana discharged with each click but there was no response. His mind had been wiped.

She had seen it in Archeon’s eyes though… he knew as well as she did that even with efforts like this she would eventually catch up with him.

”That really didn’t go as expected” she muttered to herself rubbing her eyes slightly she turned around and used a pair of relatively weak bolts to knock the other two out of their trances. She was feeling strangely refreshed, it was the same feeling she’d had when she’d known Archeon before, that enjoyable sensation of life that seemed to radiate from him. “Take him inside, light a fire and get him warmed up” she said to the Warriors who were still trying to shake off the after-effects of the bolts.

“Yes Ma’am” one said, struggling to get to his feet. She frowned, that stupid Earth… Had he deliberately given her a pair of buffoons in the hopes that she’d be killed out here? She turned away from them, not wanting them to ruin her mood too badly.

Still, she felt sorry for him. She hadn’t realised the full extent of what he’d done. But when you took it into account it explained a lot, Archeon was by nature self-damaging. He believed he was born to bear the burden of the world so others could revel in it’s pleasures, it was what got him up in the morning, and allowed him to collapse as night with a smile on his face. His had chosen this path of exile and suffering in the hopes that by burdening himself with it he could spare others… As well as penance for the sins he might had committed.

“You don’t have to punish yourself you fool,” she muttered behind closed eyes.

He breathed deeply; it was great to be back in the open. Back in Midgard! They’d finally managed to get out of Darkness Falls, it had been difficult and dangerous – the final leg of their journey was done at running pace past the weaker inhabitants with two demonic knights on their trail, giant red swords blazing in an effort to stop them. No doubt even now they would be punishing the lesser demons that had failed to block off their path. It had seemed like weeks, but as Kelda pointed out. Was more like a few days – and so now they made their way by foot along the base of the mountains heading towards Haggerfel. Along the way Kelda had vanished off for an hour or so before returning with a small wolf cub that was now playing around between their legs, he was a little surprised at two things. One; that she had tamed the wolf cub so quickly, and Two; the cub actually seemed to like Wind who was once again walking in an extremely sheepish manner in the open. His obvious frustration only amplified by the small cub, which would occasionally run in circles around him barking excitedly before dashing back off into the greenery.

“Dynn, for Ymir’s sake stop breathing so loudly. You’ll burst my ear drum if this keeps up”

“Sorry” Dynn replied, “I just never realised how clean the air was.

“Yeah, lay off the kid Asta – it happens on everyone’s first time” Asta snorted slightly, blowing a loose strand of hair out of her face. Kelda smiled, watching the small cub clumsily try and sneak up on a small beetle, she smiled when the pup fell on its nose while the beetle made good on its escape and flew off. He might make a good hunters companion, maybe. It had been hard to tell with Odin as well. She looked at Wind, who was for a change looking directly at her. There was something in his eye she hadn’t seen before, or maybe not noticed. Something implied, their silent conversation went back and forth for a moment before they unanimously nodded in agreement. She bent down quietly and picked up the small cub.

“Sorry guys, this is where we part ways” she said brightly, Dynn had hardly heard the words and was in fact turning around to ask what she had said. But Kelda had vanished.

“Huh? Did I miss something?” he asked Asta, suddenly finding himself alone with her. The young Shaman Master was flicking through a rather dog-eared book as if looking for something.

“Hmm? Oh, it’s probably Archeon” she said offhand.

“What about him?”

“Well I’d imagine by now a search party will be clearing up Mjollnir…” she said, that hadn’t really come out like she’d meant “Umm… by that I mean… well you know, Fortresses aren’t like one-time use things… they’ll need to clear out all… I mean… well, you know?”

“Right, cleaning up the mess and assigning new troops?” she hit him around the back of the head with her book.

“At least I tried to make it sound more humane, oh crap. I’ve lost my page,” she grumbled, opening the book again and trying to re-find her place

“Sorry Master, it’s just thinking about it…” he stopped walking, looking down at the ground “… I mean we were really lucky weren’t we? If it wasn’t for Kelda we’d probably be dead” Asta stopped, looking around at him.

“That’s what they call a near death experience, if it makes you feel any better it was the first time I’ve been through anything like that either”

“She could have taken us with her though” he muttered in protest.

“It’s natural for you to want to go, but look at it from Kelda’s point of view. She’s Archeon’s sister.” she turned around continuing down the path while still flipping pages in an effort to find her place “I’m afraid no matter how kindly she glosses it over Kelda views us two like waste baggage, she’s far above our level”

“And you’re alright with that?” Asta looked over her shoulder at him, holding her arms behind her head.

“Not really, but again. If a group of children came up to you and demanded you take them with you to a dangerous hunting ground would you? You’d have to do more than just let them tag along, right? You’d have to watch their backs, as well as fight for them. Because they certainly couldn’t hold there own… With seers like us, it’s a little different. But in the end it’s basically the same. We’d have slowed them down.”

Dynn sighed, shoving his hands in his pockets and started to skulk down the road gloomily. Asta felt like groaning, he was such a kid about these things. If anything she was the one who wanted to sulk, she was fast realising the only major different between herself and Dynn was their attitude… well that and Dynn’s problem, she’d almost forgotten about it with everything that had happened. What was she going to tell Lady Unni? At least she had a few days breathing space, she’d likely be happy enough her son was alive. But still… It didn’t matter; they still had a lot of work to do. She could worry about explaining to Lady Unni after all of that, from what Kelda had told her they’d need to speak with the council directly which meant those horrible constricting and frankly embarrassing formal robes, Asta wasn’t shy – but she liked to think she chose to dress the way she did, she defiantly didn’t like being forced into that stupid dress and have her hair made up in that stupid manner which made her look more like some kind of warped display piece rather than the Warrior of Midgard she was supposed to be. She needed to take her mind off things…

“So” she said, forcing a smile onto her face “It’s been a while since we’ve been alone together” Dynn grunted, still thinking about how Kelda had just run off without him. “I wonder if our horses made it back ok?” she was such a slave to her whims, but it wasn’t fair all the same “I heard from one of the maids your hung like an Svendo” he’d been Archeon’s apprentice for two years, if that didn’t entitle him to attend the burial what did? He looked up for a moment.

“Hmm?” To his surprise Asta just sighed

“Never mind Dynn, pretend like I’m not even here”

“Sorry, I’m just annoyed Kelda ran off”

“Thank you so much for explaining that too me, I was having difficultly figuring out what today’s little sulk was about”

“I wasn’t sulking”

“Sure you weren’t”

“I don’t get your problem sometimes”

“Like you can talk, at least when I’ve got problems I don’t shun everyone around me and act like my life is one big melodramatic play”

“What problems could you possibly have to think about?”

“Oh” Asta smiled; at least he was talking now. “Lets see, to start with this; I’m going to have to explain to your mother – who by the way is a very scary person when she’s angry, why I still haven’t been able to help you with your little bolt problem, secondly I’m going to have to address the high council regarding the little matter Kelda brought to our attention, on top of that to said address I am going to have to wear a dress! A FORMAL DRESS!! Do you realise how degrading it is to have to squeeze myself into that thing just so the perverted old farts on the council have something nice to look at while I’m talking? And do you have any idea how much those things make my underwear ride up my ass? I’ve also known Archeon for longer than you have so I defiantly want to attend his burial. But I’m going to have to settle for praying as his headstone… Oh, and it’s also getting near that time of the month so apart from not being able to use magic over the next few days I’m going to be having irrational mood swings, all for the privilege of being able to bear children!!” At this point Asta’s voice was a shrill shout, she took a few short breaths. That had felt good.

“Ok, Ok. You win” Dynn admitted grudgingly “You’ve got more problems than I do”

“You missed the point. What I’m trying to say is that everyone has problems. What separates them is how they deal with those problems.” Asta continued, her voice as calm as though she had never been shouting in the first place. “In your case you go into a sulk and whine a lot, you shouldn’t do that if you can help it.”

“I’ll try master…” Dynn said slowly as if he was thinking something over “Wait… you said you’d known Archeon for longer than me?” Archeon again, he was obsessed. She decided. Had he even listened to a word she’d said after ‘Archeon’?

“Well yeah, pretty much since I was a kid. He was the one who… what?” she realised Dynn was looking intently at her.

“You never said”

“So? It’s private… I don’t like to talk about it” she muttered folding her arms; the scenery was relatively peaceful all of a sudden. For a while they just walked in silence. “Fine… I’ll tell you, but don’t go telling anyone else or I swear to god I’ll neuter you in the most painful way I can think of”

“I’m not your pet you know…” Dynn started, but he didn’t finish. He was curious.

“I never really knew my parents, a few images, broken memories but that’s about it. So it wouldn’t be any understatement to say that I’ve been an orphan for as long as I can remember” Dynn rubbed his head slightly, suddenly the reason Asta had thrown that hammer at him that time on the way back to Jordelhiem made sense. “More to the point, I was a beggar and a thief… mostly a thief, you had to be to survive by yourself. So one day I was… well I had stolen a loaf of bread and was being chased through the city – I’d been dumped in Jordelhiem by the way,” she added “so I was being chased through the city by the baker with his rolling pin, trying to knock several bells out of me. I wasn’t looking where I was going and crashed into Archeon, or more accurately I ran into his leg and fell over. I was pretty small back then, and I was scared. The baker caught up with us and started to threaten me, to my surprise Archeon stepped in his way and offered to pay for the loaf, as well as for any others I had stolen. Imagine that…” she said trailing off, her voice was slowly becoming wistful, maybe a little sad “I was the scum of society, everyone looked down on me. Even my own parents abandoned me, he was the first person who had ever stood up and protected me… I didn’t really understand it back then, I can still see his face clearly in my head. He looked like some kind of angel, holding out his hand for me to take… and I bit him…”

“You bit him?” Dynn interrupted, Asta blushed slightly

“Just a little… he was only bleeding… severely…”

“You bit the guy who’d just saved your ass?” he repeated in disbelief

“Hey! I was scared, like I said this was a first. I didn’t know what he wanted, but he picked me up by the rags I called clothes and started to carry me, I reacted pretty much on instinct, I bit, I scratched, I kicked… by the time we got to our destination the arm of his robe was ruined, and his arm itself was bleeding in more places than I could count – and yet, I don’t remember him crying out in pain even once, I don’t even remember him flinching. He just took me into the temple of Ymir, just like that. Even I knew that Healer’s almost never lowered themselves to visit the Shaman’s temple.” She sighed. “Next thing I know I’m being trained as a Shaman, he always came to visit at least once a week. I still don’t understand why to tell the truth… Then when I was about eight he stopped coming, I later learned he had been branded a traitor and thrown into exile. Of course, there was no chance he could have come to see me. But I liked to believe if he could have, he would. When I think about it more the week before he did seem to be dropping small hints something like this might happen, maybe that was why it didn’t hit me so hard? After that I pretty much poured myself into my training, became a Master and then started teaching myself.” She shrugged “Of course, that’s just a brief summary. Plenty of other stuff happened in between, but that’s private as well.”

“Wow… That’s kind of strange when you think about it…” Dynn said slowly “Umm… well not strange, but unusual” he hastily corrected himself

“Remember your promise, you promised not to tell a soul!”

“Actually Asta you started before I could…” quick as a flash Asta had applied a headlock on him, grinding the young Shaman’s head between her arms and chest

“WHAT?” in a voice which could have probably set fire to his hair.

“I swear on any god you care to name I’ll never let anyone know” he managed to get out quickly, trying to keep his mind off what his head was currently being forced against. She released him and stood back smiling sweetly

“Oh good, a man doesn’t break his promises now”

“Yes Master Asta…”

“And stop calling me Master, its just Asta! You’ve started doing it again!”

“Sorry Asta…”

“Better, now come along. If we don’t hurry we’ll be forced to sleep in the open, after all those insomnia fuelled nights in hell the last thing I want to do is be stuck in the middle of nowhere without a proper bed”

“Right Asta…” She walked slightly ahead of him; maybe her step was a little lighter. Almost a skipping motion. It felt good to share something like that. She wasn’t totally sure why she’d been so reluctant to talk about it before… with anyone really.

“What was I thinking?” grumbled the Healer, his body was numb with cold, and the wind was blowing so intensely he couldn’t hold even a fraction of it at bay with his mana field like he normally did. He wasn’t even sure he was going in the right direction anymore, but he knew he couldn’t stop to make certain. Vixen… Water… whomever, and her group would be on his trail, and thanks to the Runemaster’s magic they could move faster than he could. He was also way past his estimation of a day, which he felt would be the amount of time it would take for the tracker to regain the bulk of his memory.

He knew her too well, she wouldn’t wonder around in aimless circles. She’d likely have settled down and rested, while he on the other hand was moving on pure guts alone. Each step could have been the last before he tumbled from exhaustion and in this weather, if he did that he would most likely die!

“Like a child” he continued to grumble, he knew his complaining wouldn’t get him anywhere but it was helping to keep his mind active, giving him something to focus on other than the dull throbbing sensation pulsing up and down his legs. Once he was through this forest he could double back on himself, with a little luck they might run into a group of invaders, which might slow them down a little more. Of course, that was about the entirety of his plan. He still had no idea where to go from there, he was thinking like a hunted animal. He stopped at the edge of a clearing, were the gods trying to prove a point?

As if in response the speed of the wind increased dramatically, it’s frigid cold slapping him in the face.

“I should have been an Armour crafter” Archeon continued to mutter, pulling the now tattered cloak around his body as best he could. With luck this wind would … stop?

He looked around, his mind too numb with fatigue to realise or understand what was going on. Everything was silent; snow was gently drifting downwards as though there was no wind at all… He tried to put one foot in front of the other, but nothing. Slowly he looked down to see blue tendrils working their way up his leg, with a sigh he fell forwards collapsing in the snow. He had been caught…

2004-12-19 22:52:49  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
Too long...got headache of all the scrolling. And im still not in it :-(
Warhammer - Sanzor - *Inactive*
Eve Online - Sanzorz - Amarr *Active!*
WoW - Sanzor - Draenei Shaman *Active*
Daoc - Kindar Battlespirit - Norse Warrior *Inactive*
Age of Conan - Sanzor - Conqueror - *Inactive*

2005-06-08 12:00:50  -  Re: Dynn's Adventure
grrr i want the next part ....
I drive fast, I turn fast, I do everything fast. I even break fast. I tend to confuse people with my sudden changes of heart. Sometimes I even confuse myself, which tends to cause problems.