Elsewhere Tales

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The Little Princess

Postby Cailin » October 13th, 2011, 7:11 pm

Seldi stared out the palace window watching the nightingales flit from ledge to ledge as sun set over Ulgarth. It’s going to be a busy day tomorrow, her father had told her, so Uril will be waking you bright and early. She turned and scowled at the new silk gown laid out on her bed as though the garment had offended her. Blue... her favorite color, but she despised it all the same. Tomorrow would be her ninth birthday, and the whole day promised to be a non-stop bore-fest full of nobles and their boring children who could barely string two interesting sentences together. If someone called her “Little Princess” one more time, she was going to poke their eyes out. Seldi ran to the bedpost to examine the notches marking her growth. She pressed her palm flat against her head and stood up straight against the post. When she stepped back, her hopeful look faded; she had barely grown an inch since last year.

Everyone was taller than her now, even some of the younger kids. Seldi moaned and flung herself onto the bed dramatically. Her mother had said “a small body can hide a big heart”, but Seldi knew that for the adult lie it was. She sniffled, suddenly feeling very lonely. Mother wasn’t here, and hadn’t been for five months now. But why? She wondered, turning to look at the painted ceiling. Why couldn’t she at least come for her birthday?

The tap of a pebble against the window pulled Seldi from her thoughts. Another pebble bounced off the glass and Seldi rushed to push open the window and look down into the courtyard.

“Shell!” Her voice jumped up a pitch as she saw the sandy-blonde haired boy waving up at her. He was the blacksmith’s son and apprentice, but most of all he was Seldi’s most favorite partner-in-crime. Shell looked up at her and held a finger to his lips. He then pointed to the flower-covered lattice just outside her window. Seldi ran back to her closet and threw on her favorite adventuring gear: a pair of riding pants, a cotton tunic, a pair of leather boots and a wool hunting cloak that was far too big for her. She snatched up her sling-shot on impulse and easily made her way down the lattice. Grinning, she looked up at her companion, who plucked an errant flower petal out of her mussed hair.

“Happy Birthday, Dork.”

Seldi stuck out her tongue but laughed as they ran off into the palace's outer garden. “It’s not my birthday yet dummy.”

Shell shrugged, kicking a stone out of the path as they walked. “I know that. But it’s almost your birthday so here, I made you something.” The boy handed her a small leather-wrapped parcel, smoothing his hair flat against his head as he watched her unwrap it.

It was an arrowhead. Seldi beamed at him as she held the crudely hammered tip in her small hands. “You made this?” He nodded nervously. “Well... it’s AWESOME!” She flung her arms around her friend, then immediately punched him in the arm.

“Ow, what was that for?!” Shell reached out to punch her back but she darted out of the way too quickly.

“You’ve ruined my birthday. Now all the other presents are going to be dumb because I got the best one first. Obviously.”

Shell grinned, and Seldi turned the arrowhead over in her hands thoughtfully.

“Think it will stick into the apple tree if I throw it hard enough?”

Shell smirked.

“S'only one way to find out.”
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Re: Elsewhere Tales

Postby Cailin » November 2nd, 2011, 12:47 pm

Hasten knew something was amiss the moment he opened his eyes. Revenants did not dream, yet here he stood at the top of a snow-covered hill overlooking a cemetery full of crumbling headstones. Could this be some side-effect of Stoyla’s regeneration invention? He wondered. Cautiously, Hasten scooped his hands into the snow; it certainly felt real enough. The cold hardly bothered him, and though he held the snow in his palm there was no heat within him to melt it. Were all dreams this vivid? Suddenly struck by curiosity, he headed down the hill, his black boots crunching in the snow.

Hasten ran his cold fingers over the chiseled inscription on the face of the most prominent tombstone, squinting at the cryptic message. When he saw the raven perching atop a nearby headstone he flinched, eyes narrowing into blood-red slits. Though there was certainly no need to be alarmed at the presence of such a bird in a dream, Hasten could not resist the instinct to draw Blessed from its scabbard. Having very little experience with dreaming, he could not be sure if this was indeed the harmless sort or something more sinister. The radiant blade shown brightly with a warm golden light, stinging Hasten’s eyes as he held it out in front of him. The raven ruffled its feathers in agitation.

What’s this? An abomination eager to die?

The voice echoed all around him, as though the snow itself were speaking. It was a soft voice, feminine and regal, but there was no mistaking the icy hate lingering in every word. Hasten tightened his grip on the sword with such force that he could feel the skin of his palm sizzling through the wrappings. He hissed through his teeth, now glaring at the raven.

“I fear neither death, nor you!” With a quick slash he slashed Blessed towards the raven, who deftly took flight to perch on the branch of a dead grey-barked tree. The voice chuckled as his blade clattered uselessly against the tombstone, the radiant light causing the snow to shimmer and melt in an instant.

The mortal world is filled with brave words and useless struggle. Your pride is as purposeless as your wretched existence.

Hasten snarled, whirling around with frightening speed in search of the voice’s source. “You know nothing about my purpose!”

The air stilled. His chest suddenly burned, causing him to double over in pain as he bit back an agonized cry.

I know more than you think, dog; more than your “allies” ever have. I wonder what they would think of you if they knew who held your leash?

Hasten’s eyes widened as a streak of panic overwhelmed him. He staggered back, ignoring the sizzling pop sound of Blessed’s hilt burning his unprotected hands. How could she know? He fell to his knees, sinking into the snow as his muscles drained of energy. The raven looked down at him, its eyes glinting as it snapped its beak before diving forward to consume him.

Two deep-red eyes snapped open. Hasten shuddered, looking down at his palm. Aside from an unpleasant burning sensation there was no obvious wound. His eyes flickered to the faces of his companions as they awakened as well. None of them seemed to notice his troubled expression.

Arora groaned, wiping a smear of blood from her cheek as she turned to Hugh. “Ravens?”

Hasten froze, listening intently. It wasn’t the same dream, he noted with relief, but it was similar enough to prove the vision was not an isolated experience. Arora glanced in his direction as they discussed their experiences, and for the briefest moment Hasten feared that she could see the fear written all over his pallid face. The door opened then, and whatever thought Arora may have been about to express was interrupted by the appearance of Stoyla. Arora never did ask what happened in his dream, which allowed him to avoid the lie he would have told her. Guilt settled heavily in his chest like a stone.

Within moments Rowena began to bray her report over the speaking stone, and while the party’s attention was directed towards her Hasten wordlessly melted into the shadows and slipped away to his quarters. He should have told them everything right then, gods knew he wanted to. At least, some part of him did. Ten years of holding back were finally taking it’s toll, and just when he was so close... Hasten flung Blessed on the ground, scabbard and all.

He could still go back and --No. He couldn’t change the course now...not if he ever wanted to be free.

And yet the Raven Queen’s taunt lingered over his head. “...what they would think of you if they knew who held your leash?”

A wave of self-loathing washed over him. He strode across the room and plucked Blessed from the ground, unsheathing it with utter disgust as his own reflection stared back at him.

The blade slid across his palm as though it had just been pulled from a forge. His flesh burned and shrank away from the radiant energy, charring black and curling like paper as the blade cut deeply into his hand. Instantly the room was filled with the acrid smell of burning flesh. Hasten held back the scream bubbling up inside him, dropping the blade only after his hand begun to spasm uncontrollably from the white-hot pain leaping down his fingers.

The wound brought with it a renewed clarity. This was the reminder he needed; this was undeniable proof of what he was. Being surrounded by the warmth of the living for so long, he had very nearly forgotten the truth: he would never be one of them.

Finally the rush of guilt and hate-filled shame ebbed, and the pain in his chest eased enough for him to pick himself up off the floor. Hasten began to bandage his hand delicately, unable to look away from the smear of blood still bubbling upon the radiant blade.

Now the blade was covered in a viscous blend of slaad and efreet blood, and Hasten smiled with satisfaction. His hand still ached beneath the bandage and leather, but he was grateful for the reminder. The Pandemonium Stone lurched and writhed around them, providing such a welcome distraction to the turmoil in his mind that when Deomin seemed about to abandon the fight, Hasten stepped out of the shadows at last.

"We don't have to leave," he said quietly, "no one can stand against us."

"That's right!" Arora shouted, gripping her hammer with all the righteous zeal she could muster. "I won't leave these people trapped here for one more minute! They've waited long enough."

Deomin paused, looking to Wrenn -- and Hasten slipped back into the shadows once more.
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Re: Elsewhere Tales

Postby Cailin » December 30th, 2011, 12:23 am

“Are you sure you’re not secretly an exiled Amazon Queen or something? Because your legs are--achk!”

“Amazons usually kill their mates. Are you sure you wish to draw that comparison?”

Even with her fingers pressing into his trachea, Victor couldn’t deny that Rowena had a fierce sort of beauty to her. She had sharp features, high cheekbones, and shrewd eyes. Victor made a mental note to add “crazy strong hands” to that list, just as soon as she stopped strangling him. And if she didn’t... well there were worse ways to die.

Rowena waited until he had turned a suitable shade of red before dropping him back onto the bed with a smirk as he coughed and shook his head.

“My mistake. And might I say your hands are...”

She raised an eyebrow, cracking her knuckles thoughtfully. “You’re going to comment on my hands now?”

“Haaa... only that they’re lovely. In a menacingly bone-crushing feminine sort of way.”

“You’re lucky I like you, Blackwood.” Rowena allowed herself one long languid stretch before pulling Victor towards her with a smile.

“ROWENA! The Quorum has returned!”

Victor hit the back of the wall with a thud as the small speaking-stone on the desk bleated out the alarm. He groaned with some exaggeration as Rowena began haphazardly tugging a tunic over her head as she tore around the room snatching up bits of clothing and armor.

“Goddamnit...where is my belt?!”

“You threw it out the window in the heat of passion...”

Rowena frowned, fixing him with such a venomous glare that for a moment he believed she would actually follow through with her earlier threat.

“Not one word about this. To anyone. Got it?”

“Anything you say, my little flower.”
Her belt floated out of a pile of discarded clothing, and she snatched it out of the air with a huff.

“I’m serious.”

Victor smiled, bringing a finger to his lips as Rowena threw on the last of her armor. “Not a word. See you tonight?”

Rowena paused at the door, staring down the hall. “I’m on break after dinner.”

That suited Victor just fine.
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The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Spoilers: Episode 105)

Postby Cailin » March 5th, 2012, 2:04 am

A cold wind rolls in from the East. The ground lurches violently as center struts bend, break, and collapse sending a tremendous shuddering crack echoing throughout the ship.

Thunderstrike’s back is broken. With the main supports destroyed, the rest of the hull begins to buckle, groaning like a wounded beast. Her windows burst, sending glittering shards of glass raining down into the golden churning sea.

With a furious roar Rowena bolts to the engine room, weaving through the maze of splintered beams and debris until she arrives at the core.

“I’m not going!” Stoyla bends over a cracked containment crystal, her skin blistered from the raw arcane energy pouring out of it. Rowena grits her teeth, steadying herself against the door-frame as the ship rocks again. Stoyla clutches the ship tightly, the light of the broken arcane core blazing brightly in her dark goggles. “It’s not over yet! I can still save her!”

Rowena snarls. “Are you insane!? The Quorum ordered a FULL EVAC! If you stay here you’ll die!”

Stoyla tears the goggles off her head and hurls them across the room angrily. “I said I’m not leaving! If you want to go, then get out!” With a flick of her wrist a small clockwork orb rolls up the now slanted floor, leaping up to rest in her palm. “I’m going to try something, and it might not work!”

Rowena grabs her wrist firmly. “Stoyla, you are getting out of here or so help me I am going to drag you out!”

Several things happen in the span of a heartbeat. The orb begins to make a strange clicking whurr, the room is engulfed in violet light as Stoyla looks up at her, and Rowena’s vision explodes in a burst of flame and sparks, a high pitched whine rings in her ears... and everything goes dark.

“Initiating emergency transport!”

Somewhere in the darkness, a slow smile reveals a row of startlingly white, sharp teeth.

Moments later, Thunderstrike vanishes.
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