In the conflict between human and "non-human", a few must stand up for what is right.
*The setting of this campfire is not modern day, it is the typical age of travel by foot or horse, and fight with sword and other early weapons. I thought that would fit the story better.|
*The main conflict, is between human and non-human. Humans don’t even call simple magic users human, and magic users, non-humans, and half-humans are persecuted by most humans.
Humans, are of course, human. Non-humans, are other creatures, ex. Shapeshifter, werewolf, centaur, elf, vampire, as their category suggests, anything that's not human. Now magic users are simply humans gifted with magical abilities, Normal humans just won't reffer to them as human. And half-human is any character who has one human parent, and one non-human parent, like Pinder. If you have any questions about any of this, feel free to email me.
It is hard for non-humans to travel in human territory, and hard for humans to travel in non-human territory. The majority of humans feel that non-humans are beneath them. Non-humans and the magically gifted are simply trying to survive and mostly avoid humans, but some have formed alliances and are fighting back. Our characters of course, will be the ‘good characters’, people of both sides who are tired of the fighting and discrimination around them. We’re going to take this story all the way to the end, and end the human/non-human conflict.
*My character’s traveling companion, Pinder, was inspired by a few of my friends from India. He’s just an extra character, because I couldn’t figure out how to start the story without him. If someone would like to write as him as a character, that would be fine with me. If not, that’s fine too.
*The Patrolmen are various groups of human soldiers that have the ability to sense whether or not a person is a magic user or non-human even if they appear to be human.
*At the moment I'm looking for four people other than msyelf to write in this campfire. Here is the list of characters so far:
1. OneWriter ~ Adriana Jestic
2. dragon17 ~ Dormang (I'Ashqy I'Ghur)
3. **Stew Monster** ~ Pinder
4. mexarican11 ~ Bash Wilder
5. vincentryane ~ Miko Nyx
**Here is the information it would be helpful for you to provide in your first post:
Species: (human, non-human, or half-human, and if non-human or half-human, what species or race)
Description: (what your character looks like)
Other: (any other information you’d like to include about your character)
*One more note to anyone who wishes to join. I want this to be serious, and to work. When you make an addition, make it a useful addition to the campfire please. I give you 5 days to make your addition, then I will skip over your turn. If I have to skip your turn more than three times, on the fourth time I will replace you with someone who wants to write, unless you email me telling me the reason that you can't write, then I'll be completely willing to work something out with you to keep you in the campfire. *
|Name: Adriana Jestic|
Description: Adriana is about 5 feet 5 inches tall, with straight, shoulder-length brown hair and dark blue eyes. Her clothes are usually plain looking, dull solid colors or simple designs.
Other: She has a strong feeling of injustice toward the common views of the world. She’s seen the pain humans have caused to all those they consider non-human, and she feels that it is most certainly wrong. When she was 10 years old, her father killed a young elf without provocation, and from that time on she knew she didn’t want to be like that. She hated the way most humans acted and killed for no reason. She met her friend Pinder 6 years later when she left home thinking that there was no solution for the hate of the world. She rescued him from his human captors, and shortly afterwards he rescued her from non-human attackers. She would give anything to stop the human/non-human conflict, even her own life if she thought it would make a difference to stop the pain and suffering of others.
It had just started to rain when two more people walked into the nearly deserted inn. Walking through the door, Adriana looked around with distaste. This place was more like an unkempt tavern than an inn. “Well Pinder, it looks like this is as good as it gets in this town,” she said as she slid the hood of her traveling cloak back off of her head, revealing her straight, dull brown hair. She turned to look at her companion as he too removed the hood of his very similar cloak. He was a good seven inches taller than she was, with hair that didn’t curl, but waved in smooth locks as black as the raven’s feathers. His skin was darker also, a warm, rich color, with wide, deepest dark brown eyes. He laughed softly at her remark.
“We won’t be here long. It will do.” They walked to the front of the place, where a rough, narrow counter wrapped around the area where the woman who was evidently in charge this night stood.
“We need a room please,” Adriana said politely. Pinder stood silently behind her. The woman looked first to him, then to Adriana.
“I asked for a room. We don’t have enough money for two,” Adriana told her. She had little patience for these people. The woman seemed distracted by Pinder.
“So he’s…?” The woman began her question but never finished. Adriana was staring into her eyes, calmly and silently. Though Adriana was quite a bit younger than the other woman, the air of persistence and unwavering demeanor about her was commonly her most useful tool. It seemed to stun many people who didn’t expect much bravery from such a plain girl.
“He’s my friend,” she said. Anyone could easily tell Pinder wasn’t from this part of the world. For some reason that seemed to raise questions in some people’s minds that they wouldn’t normally think about if he looked like everyone from their town or area. Adriana knew she had to keep these thoughts at the back of their minds and not at the fore, because Pinder couldn’t afford for anyone to figure out he was half shape-shifter.
“Oh, does he speak the common tongue?” the woman asked.
Adriana sighed. “There are many “common tongues”. Many that you certainly can’t speak. But as to your question, yes, he speaks our common tongue very well.” With that she handed the bewildered woman money for a room and held out her hand for a key, which she was handed with some reluctance. Pinder turned, and Adriana followed him to the upper floor where the guest rooms were. He was laughing at her again.
“I swear there must be magic in your eyes,” he whispered to her. “Sometimes I believe you could stare down a swordsman and never flinch.”
“No magic. Simply plain, human eyes,” she laughed a little too. “You know that by now.” They both knew that. The Patrolmen all had the ability to tell if a person was a magic user or non-human, and she had confronted them many times.
“Yes, I know. But that is good for you. You don’t have to worry.”
They had reached the door which their key fit in, and she stopped to stare at him before opening the door. “If I could you know I would change that. I would rather be anything but human. And if the Patrolmen ever catch you, you know that I will die with you.”
“No, you won’t.” Pinder’s voice was solemn. Adriana glared at him for a long moment, before he smiled. “Don’t turn those eyes on me,” he said as he playfully turned her face away with his hand on her cheek. At the same time he took the room key from her and unlocked the door. Adriana just shook her head as she followed him in. “Besides,” he continued, “I may not be able to hold forms as well as a full shape shifter, but I can always disappear from soldiers in time to keep you out of trouble.”
Anything on that subject was a losing battle with Pinder. She should have known that by now. In a way he was right. The three forms that he had mastered were creatures of his native land. A Bengal tiger, a large golden brown eagle whose name she couldn’t pronounce, and an earth colored, venomous sand snake served him well. At any time he sensed the Patrolmen were near. He could easily fly away into the trees or slither off into the grass. If fighting was the necessary measure, the claws and teeth of an adult tiger were formidable to any opponent. These creatures he could imitate well, and for a long period of time. Although he could take the form of many creatures, anything beyond those three and his form would quickly slip back into the human shape.
As Adriana lay down to sleep, she wondered how much longer they would be traveling. There was no where to escape the persecution of human beings. And there were few places where she could be with non-humans that wouldn’t attack her. There had to be a way to change that. They just had to find a way. Surely there were others somewhere who felt the same.
|Name: Dormang (I'Ashqy I'Ghur)|
Age: early 30s
Description: He's shorter and thicker than most of his kind, standing 6'3" and weighing almost 400lbs. He's the only Draconian with black scales and horns, and his eyes are violet-red. Other than his chin horns, which he usually shaves, he has been experiencing random horn growths.
Other: Dormang has decided to try to live a normal life, and so his history is unknown to all but those he trusts to tell. He's recently escaped from prison, and is trying to lay low.
- - -
It wasn't much. By the Shadi, it was never as much as he was used to. But it was a living, and that's all he wanted to do. Just live. No more adventures, no more near death escapes, no more running or killing or sneaking. And by the Shadi no more love. Just live.
'I shouldn't have gotten this far,' he thought to himself as he piled the fourth sack onto the stack and hoisted it up, using his tail as a third arm to get it onto his shoulders. 'I've should've died years ago.'
In truth, he should have. His race was a notoriously short-lived one, mainly because of their behavior. They were warlike, brutish, temperamental, and highly independent, all of which usually didn't make things go well. Most reached their mid 20's before they were brutally killed in some way or another. Never just plain died. Their bodies were too strong for that. Always killed, a Draconian death.
But Dormang was different. His parents had always said so. He was quiet, more in control of himself, more patient and thoughtful. He also had an innate will to survive. He had escaped his slave masters by age 7 for the Shadi's sake. He had lived for 6 years on the streets of that racist town on his own.
"Keep moving, you stupid lizard!" His boss shouted, and kicked him in the rear. The old geezer Obadiah couldn't hurt him, not by a long shot, but Dormang still broke himself from memory lane and jogged off to the wagons outside.
Out there were the few men that he could call friends. Antonio and Eron, two brothers who were down on their luck and had desperately needed jobs. Fanis, the eldest worker in the mill, his thin stature and old age belying his strength. Maurice, the jokester, even when Obadiah was around. Somber Brios, who secretly had a mischievous streak and was known to put rats in Obadiah's stew. Even Devin, who he didn't like very much, could still be considered a close acquaintance. Dormang moved to the last wagon, which was currently being loaded up by his, dare he say it, best friend, the one who had taken him in and helped him get a life started. The grey-blue werewolf finished tossing in his sacks and looked to Dormang.
"That the last batch?" He asked.
"Yeah, Sylas, it is." Dormang answered as he tossed his sacks in. Sylas reverted back to his human form and wiped his now sweating brow.
"Good, cause I'm starving." He waited until Dormang was finished before he spoke again. "You want to stop by the inn and get something to eat with me and the boys?"
"It was the friar of orders grey as he walked forth on his way, hey!" His drunken friends sang and shouted in unison. The rest was incoherent, as they stumbled and laughed and smashed mugs together. They had the weekends off and this was their night. Dormang and Sylas walked behind them, their bodies strong enough to withstand the weak human ale. They laughed quietly at their friends as they caroused down the street, stopping to help those trying to get into their homes. Most lived by themselves, except for Fanis, who had a strong old woman for a wife and a babe named Esmeralda. He was the least drunk of them all because of it.
After having to carry Maurice into his house because he couldn’t even get to his door, Dormang and Sylas continued on the road to their homes.
“They hate us.” Sylas said, all manner of the mood before gone.
“No, not everyone, just those that don’t work with us at the mill.” Which was just about everyone, Dormang thought.
“Be thankful that they tolerate us. Most places would’ve sent us to the Patrolmen on sight.”
“I know I know. Its just…”Sylas trailed off.
“I heard what Obadiah called you. Why do you take that? Why do any of us take that?!” He was raising his voice now. “I’m sick and tired of being called an ‘overgrown mutt’. You know the Withers’ son spit at me this morning? Did you see all those leering faces staring us down like we were a bunch of demons? Every weekend they do that. EVERY. I’m through with being treated like some kind of sub-person. Like an animal.” They paused in their conversation, walking in silence for a while. Dormang knew what was going on. He knew the question his friend wanted to ask him. He could see it in his eyes all the time now, the urge to retaliate and get back at the people. Sylas looked him in the eyes and knew that he knew.
“All the men at the mill have agreed to help me. They’re tired of being mistreated because they have befriended us.” Sylas glanced around as if to see if anyone was eavesdropping. “We’ve been hiding weapons around the mill.”
“Weapons?” Dormang said in surprise.
“Yeah. We saved up and bought us some those few times the traders came through. We’ve got enough for everyone, including you.”
“You know I refuse to fight anymore.” Dormang answered sternly.
“I can see it in their eyes. Any day now these people are going to turn on us. So why not we do it first?”
“Because we will do no more than prove to them what they already think is true. I will not be a part of this.” Dormang said, and suddenly noticed that they were at their houses. Simple homes, and they lived next door to each other. Dormang went towards his door. He made to go inside, but Sylas stopped him.
“Dormang. Any day now…we hid your weapon in the hay-bin next to our arm-wrestling table.” Sylas patted his shoulder and gave him a weak smile. Dormang kept his somber demeanor and went inside, slamming the door in his friend’s face.
Dormang rinsed the rag out in the basin of water and washed his snout. What was Sylas thinking? He was going to get them all killed, not just he and Dormang. But was he right? No, he couldn’t be. Besides, Dormang had refused to fight since he had returned to civilization. Never again would he raise another sword…would he?
‘Would you?’ A voice said. It seemed to come from everywhere, and yet nowhere. Like it originated in the deepest recess of reality, or his mind.
“No. I won’t. I will not destroy my life over something as petty as this! Not again!” he answered the voice. Everything fell silent.
He must be tired, he told himself. He lay down and extinguished the candle, slowly, fitfully falling asleep. His dreams became nightmares in the dead of night.
Species: Half-Human (Half-Shapeshifter)
Description: He is 6'2 with dark black hair that doesn't curl. His eyes are wide set and deep brown just like his richly colored dark skin. His clothes are plain and very simple.
Other: He's had it hard being half-human. Running away from problems is not what he wants to do. After being rescued by Adriana, they became close friends, and ventured everywhere together, just trying to get away fromm all of the massacre and blood. He rescued Adiana also, and that brought them even closer, resulting in the best friends that they are today.
Pinder listened to Adriana's breath as she sleeped. He thought back on all of their adventures, escaping Patrolmen.
He never completely understood why Adriana had taken him with her until after he'd rescued her from her captors. That's when he realized that he couldn't let her go out on her own. Sure, she would be safe with the other humans, but she didn't like them, and she would just come back to find him again. He would miss her too. All of the nights spent in the rain and under open skies were something he would never forget. And even some of the crazy things they'd done to survive were unforgetable. It was as though if they were seperated, you wouldn't know where one ended, and where the other started.
Pinder sighed and closed his eyes, falling into a light sleep.
|Name: Bash Wilder |
Species: Half-human (Half-Demon fox)
Description: Bash has red orange hair that with the right combination of light and wind looks an awful lot like it is on fire (it falls just above his eyes. He also has dark emerald green eyes, and a slight tan. A full blooded demon fox could easily hide its appearance by taking on the appearance of a human. However Bash isn’t so lucky it takes a lot of concentration for him to hide his red fox ears, fortunately for him the ability to hide his tail takes a lot less effort. He stands at about 5’10 which is tall for his kind, and has a lean build. He tends to keep the hood to his tan cloak up at all times to hide his ears. Unless he is in a town or city full on non-humans.
Other: Fox demons have many abilities however Bash has only inherited a small number of them as far as he knows or can control. The first and foremost is his ability to create and manipulate fire, the second is the ability to move through most solid objects at will. Other than that Bash has no idea what his demon ancestors were capable of.
|Name: Miko Nyx|
Species: Non-human (Witch/Sorceress—Angel of Death offspring)
Description: Although Mally is not human she has the appearance of one, including her bother, sister, mother, and father, but the similarities abruptly end there. Her cold whit eyes are a quick giveaway to the fact that she isn’t human although she is the only one in her family with that particular trait (believed to be inherited by the angel of Death’s mother, Nyx, herself). People say that her hair is as black as the Dark itself and is kept in either a ponytail in the back or is just let down. She can always be seen wearing black eyeliner around her eyes. She has multiple piercing on her ears, mostly containing small loop rings and has a stud on her left nostril. Mally has a ring lip piercing on the right of her lower lip and two more on the left of her lower lip. She wears a choker around her neck wears a black shirt with the top cut off a couple of inches below her shoulders and is held in place by two small straps on each side. Her skirt comes down to her ankles and is split up her right leg. She wears black boots that have buckle straps. Her weapon is a Scythe that was given to Miko before her mother’s death.
Other: Miko has a quiet person most of the time and can be cold and calculating when she does communicate with others. This doesn’t get in the way when it comes to people she likes or is used to being around. She has the abilities of Darkness which has passed down from her mother and in battles has no mercy and even seems to enjoy the killing, which she has inherited from her father. Her hate for humans seems to be unequal to any other because they were the cause of the destruction of almost all of her kind. Normally, her trust is bought only by a blood exchange of the thumb to signify a type of bond. Miko’s temper is only raised when she sees or hears anything about humans. She is extremely sensitive when it comes to her parents since her mother and father were killed by humans.
Miko sat at a table out in a busy human village hugging her legs as she pondered about why she was the way she was. Miko felt extremely uncomfortable even in the black hooded cloak she was wearing. She was often criticized and made fun of by even her own brother and sister and without her parents around to comfort her she felt low. The only thing that kept her even a little at ease was to be alone. She couldn’t even think of going to anyone else for comfort. Humans were out of the question. Even the thought of them made Miko’s blood boil. Even non-humans weren’t of any comfort to her, because they even found her scary. She saw her sister coming and she looked up. It was her sister, Mally.
“Miko, are where have you been all day? Come on, your brother and I have been searching for you. You can’t just run away whenever you please, especially here. What if someone catches you? You’ll be killed on sight!” Miko stood up and brushed past her sister. She hated her sister the most out of her family. Ever since her mother died Mally has been trying to take her place and Miko hated that. Mally grabbed her by the shoulders and was about to give Miko and good scolding when a whistle blew. Patrolmen were pushing through the crowd and were coming directly towards the tow sisters. “Miko, move, Now!” Miko cast a quick glance at her sister and Mally gave her a stern look and nodded her head. Miko ran in the opposite direction as the soldiers, her hood flying off in the process. People were gasping in horror as they saw Miko’s white eyes and some were even trying to catch her. Compared to her humans were extremely slow. Where is my brother? As if answering her question she heard her brother’s voice yelling.
“Trevor!” She called out as a group of patrolmen were tackling him.
“Miko, run! Get away from here!” Tears started to flow from Miko’s eyes as she watched her brother being killed in front of her. Someone then grabbed her from behind.
“Got another one!” A gruff voice called up. “That makes three.” Three? That means that her sister had been caught as well and was probably dead too. With all of the grief inside of her she screamed as loud as she could. People felt as much as heard the scream. That man behind her sunk to the ground, dead, with blood coming out of his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Miko ran with all her speed out of the town to follow her sister and brother’s last wish for her.
| It was either very early morning or very late night when Adriana was awakened by Pinder telling her to get up. She drowsily looked over to see him gazing out of their room’s window, which was open now. “Pinder what are you doing?” she asked as she put her feet on the floor. Something was wrong, she could feel it.|
“The Patrolmen are here,” he whispered. “I have to leave.”
Adriana was immediately moving around, throwing her cloak back on over her clothes. They’d been through this before. She had to leave by the human way, and he had to flee some other way…
A loud crash downstairs drew their attention, and Adriana paused to listen. The sound of soldiers shouting at the management and many bodies moving around. “They’re already in the building,” Pinder hissed. When Adriana turned to look at him, he was already leaning against the window sill.
“Where will we meet?” Adriana asked hurriedly, moving to the door.
“Just travel out of this town. Use the roadway, don’t do anything that might make them suspicious of you. I’ll be watching over you, and meet up with you when I can.” With that, his body shifted, blending without seam into a large, brown eagle who’s feathers glinted soft gold in the moonlight. The eagle that was now Pinder, looked back at her one more time, and then spread it’s wings and flew away into the night sky.
Adriana stared after him for a long moment, praying that he would be safe. Then she left the room, and walked slowly down the hallway and down the stairs to where they had entered the inn earlier, trying to look like an average human just going about her own business. A Patrolman was questioning the woman who Adriana had paid for the room. Adriana walked past them without glancing their way, and continued on to the door.
“You, wait there,” one of the Patrolmen told her. She paused as he strode up to her, looking menacingly down on her. “You aren’t allowed to leave until we’re done with our questioning. Where are you going?” He stared into her eyes, but Adriana stared unflinchingly back.
“As you can see sir, there is no magic in my blood,” she spit her words out angrily. The man actually drew back, surprised by the forcefulness of her voice. “As to where I’m going, my mother lives in the next town over, and I am traveling to visit her. Now, you’ve already interrupted my sleep. Why don’t you just let me go on my way?” He gazed at her for a moment longer, then finally chuckled nervously and turned away.
“Go on then. Travel safely.”
Adriana made no comment in return, simply opened the door and walked out into the town. Outside, there was more confusion than she had expected. Patrolmen usually traveled in groups, but this was an unusually large number. She slipped away, trying to go unnoticed by the people who rushed back and forth in the streets. She just had to make it out of town, that was all.
|Dormang awoke to a loud pouding on his door and a faint voice calling his name.|
He quickly got out of bed and put on an old worn tassel, one of the few things he had left of his homeland, and went down to the door.
"Hold up! I'm coming!" He yelled as he came to the door and opened it. A group of five patrolmen were standing on the other side. Two had their weapons at the ready, spooked by his appearance. The leader controlled himself better, keeping his arms at his side.
"Are you Dormang Malkovich?"
"Yes sir. Is there a problem?"
"There's been a complaint about the non-humans in this town. We've been ordered to take you into custody until it can be sorted out."
"Complaint? Who filed a complaint?"
The innkeep Marla, and another who wishes not to be named at this hour." Dormang could already guess who. He heard shouting from a couple houses down and looked out the door, praying to the Shadi that it wasn't Sylas.
Sure enough, the werewolf was shouting at the group of Patrolmen at his door. Dormang could see that he was steadily increasing in size, his arms getting hairier by the moment. Dormang made to move over to his friend, but two halberds inched closer to his face.
"Please sir, we would like as little trouble as possible. We know about your agreement with the people of this town."
"Please sir, stand down!" Dormang could hear a Patrolman yell, and he turned again. Sylas had grown about a head taller than the tallest Patrolman there, and his face protruded from his head like an oddly shaped muzzle. 'Oh no,' Dormang thought.
'Oh yes.' A voice said, the same voice from that night.
"No." Dormang whispered.
"What was that, sir?"
'He's going to kill them. Just like you should. They do not deserve to live.'
"Excuse me?" the Patrolman said, hand on his sword now.
'Taste the blood again. Kill again. The leader looks like the one who ratted you out.' Dormang shook his head and looked at the Patrolman. For a moment he looked nothing like him, broad nose, dark skinned and square jawed. Then he shifted. His nose thinned and elongated, curving at the end like a hawk's beak. His skin turned pale, and his chin stretched. He opened his crusty lips and smiled evily with crooked, pointy teeth.
"Come, you stupid lizard. We'll carve you up and feed you to our dogs! Come! Stupid lizard, stupid lizard, stupid lizard..." Dormang heard, but his lips didn't match.
"No! Stop it! Get out of my head!" Dormang screamed and clutched his head.
"Take him in." The Patrolman really said, but Dormang heard "Kill him!"
Dormang slammed his fist into the lead Patrolman's face, crushing bones and teeth. Blood sprayed from his mouth as he sprawled to the ground, unconscious, maybe even dead. One Patrolman stabbed at his heart with his halberd, but the blade scraped off the metal, leaving a gash instead. Dormang grabbed the haft and spun, flinging the the man into the other wielding the halberd. He grasped it with both hands and thrust, spitting another Patrolman along the length of the blade. The last came at him with a strangely shaped axe, and Dormang parried with the spike that had grown out his elbows last week. He sent a right hook to the man's face, crushing more bones and sending him into the dirt. He quickly picked up the lead Patrolman's sword and stabbed the halberdier trying to stand again. Dormang could hear the last of the Patrolmen at Sylas' door scream in agony as they were killed. Sylas emitted a piercing howl, and Dormang added to it with a bestial roar such as he had not done in years.
'Yes! Yes! The killing begins again!'
|As Pinder flew over the town, he saw the fight break out among the other non-humans and the group of Patrolmen. There were two who caught his eye, a Draconian and a werewolf who were shouting and killing any Patrolman who got in their way. He noticed when Adriana quietly snuck out of the town and into the forest he was soon to be flying over. Pinder circled a few more times over the town before entering the misty air over the trees. He hoped that Adriana would be okay alone in the forest. He knew that she was tough, but he still worried about her safety. |
Pinder flew north for about an hour, stopping to land in an old scraggly willow tree that had long lost its leaves. He didn't dare shift back to his human form yet, because the hills were swarming with traitors and Patrolmen. The shapeshifter settled in to wait until Adriana came across the tree where he rested.
|Bash could hear the commotion long before he even reached the walls of the city his ears twitching every time someone yelled in pain just before there death. Judging from the smell and sounds there weren’t a large number of non-humans in this particular city but a couple of them were putting up quite a fight. Bash sneezed as the distinct smell of particularly powerful dark magick filled his nose. He never liked dark magick although he did try once or twice, all it ever did was kill or cause pain. Still… it must come in handy at times like these. Bash thought almost regretting giving up on dark magick. His thoughts were broken by two distinctive sounds. The first was the sound of a number of armored beings in tight formation heading towards the city walls heading in his direction, probably using the cover of the forest to sneak up on any unsuspecting non-humans. The second sound was a single person the faintest hint of dark magick emanating off of this person, meaning they weren’t human or at least not human by human standards… and judging by her current path she was about to run right into the rather large sounding group of patrolmen. Rolling his eyes Bash ran ahead positioning himself between the what was now identifiable as a girl and the oncoming patrolmen. Keeping an eyes on the scythe hanging from the girls back, Bash tackled and held the girl down behind a bush covering her mouth as row after row of patrolmen passed by. Bash could physically feel dark magick tugging at his insides and he could feel pressure on his skin a couple cuts and bruises popping up at random places throughout his body. Taking a moment to, for the first time in his life be grateful for being half demon (makes him pretty resistant to dark magick) After the patrolmen were a safe distance away Bash attempted to explain himself… Which is difficult to do while dogging swings of a scythe that for whatever reason he couldn’t phase through.|
“I was…” Bash bairly had enough time to duck his head before the razor sharp blade whizzed pass his head. “…just trying to…” This time bending all the way backwards in a way he didn’t think he was capable of and would surely be feeling later. “save you from those patrolmen! Look I’m not human either.” Bash said revealing ears and a tail. The woman stopped swinging but did not lower her blade…
“From the looks of it you don’t have much to your name at the moment do you? Here come with me, ill buy you some food and we can get acquainted us hunted need to stick together you know. What do you say?”
|Miko starred at the person standing in front of her with her blank eyes for an elongated time and finally lowered her scythe. She calmed herself to stop her dark magic from emitting wildly. She still had trouble controlling it but this time it had seemed to help her for once. This man had just saved her and protected her from those patrolmen. Her scythe seemed to disappear from her hand just as she heard the sound of patrolmen shouting and advancing towards her. The group was only of four infantrymen. She turned back to the man and acknowledged his ears and tail. |
“I’ll take care of this. I have a score to settle.” She said in a quiet menacing voice. She recognized the leader as the one that had killed her brother, Trevor. The man tried to stop her but Miko took off before he had the chance. She knew the group was after her and darted into a nearby dark alley. The patrolmen suddenly turned the corner into the alley in pursuit. They were fully armed and were approaching Miko with weapons drawn.
“State your name and race!” One of them called out.
“It probably can’t even understand us.” Another infantryman said with arrogance. Miko’s anger renewed with an even farther hatred for the people that wiped out her family. She glared at the troops with her white eyes making them shuffle with nervousness and she started to slowly approach them.
“Halt!” The leader called out once again, shaking. He knew this situation would not conclude peacefully. Miko let out a mocking grin at the infantry’s cowardice. The head infantryman suddenly lunged forward, stabbing, with his sword. Miko dodge to the side in a swift motion and swung a small steel wire from her sleeve, severing the man’s head. The men gasped in horror as their captain’s body fell to the ground but the disciplined men stood their ground. The steel wire seemed to move by itself and continued to emerge from Miko’s sleeve and form into a larger blade. The patrolmen watched in awe as Miko took out several small cylinders and put them together forming a six foot rod.
“A scythe!” One of the men whispered. “We have angered Death herself! She’ll kill us all and drag our souls down to the Underworld.” One of the guards turned to run but froze in his tracks. His body seemed to be paralyzed and wouldn’t move. A soft voice drifted to the patrolmen’s ears.
“There is no escape. Only death is the means of escape. Repent for the death you have caused. The only way you’re leaving will be by your souls flying away from your pathetic corpses.”
“Witch!” A guard called out and charged at her. He swung horizontally at Miko’s body but was blocked by her scythe. She kicked out one of his legs causing him to drop to his knee. Miko then took her scythe and stabbed him with the blade. She swung him in a circle and slammed the guard back to the ground, dead. The two remaining guards rushed her at the same time. They didn’t notice the fire starting to emit from the blade until they were upon her. Miko swung the scythe with such ferocity that she completely shattered the sword of the guard in from. The force knocked him back to the ground but the second guard swung at Miko’s head. She ducked and swung around to stab him and then flung him into the air behind her. She turned and slammed down the man to the ground, making him bounce high off the ground. Using her blade Miko raked the man and threw him behind her again. The body hit the remaining guard directly behind her and knocked him down again. She spun her weapon and plunged the pointed end of the scythe into the patrolman’s chest. She broke down her weapon and concealed it within her cloak again.
The man with the tail and ears ran in the alley and looked around at the dead men.
“How many must die because of this prejudice?” Miko said sadly. “How could the humans be so naïve? Is there not a single human being who can hold feelings of compassion for any creature besides their own?” She suddenly fainted and the man caught her before she fell. Some where inside of her was happy for once in a long time. Someone had finally been able to catch her when she fell.
| Adriana paused at the edge of the forest, staring back the way she had come. Her heart was racing, and not from her quick escape. She could hear the scuffle; the battle going on between a few non-humans and their human adversaries. The feral roar that echoed through the dimness of the gray night overpowered the howl of a werewolf. She bit her lip. The sound sent chills down her spine, she’d never heard a noise like it before, and it intrigued her. But most of all, she knew that these were the sounds of a creature in desperate battle, and she yearned to go back for she knew two creatures at least were fighting for their lives. Why didn’t they run? Surely they would flee the town for the forest and trails.|
Pinder wouldn’t approve of going back, she thought. Still, she knew he would wait for her. He would still be waiting when she was done, and she was sure she could be in and out again in no time. She wanted to help them, even though she wasn’t sure of what help she could be. Yes, Pinder would be angry with her for going back, but she was going none the less. With her mind made up, she darted back toward the town.
It didn’t take much searching to find the source of the commotion. Adriana recognized the form of a werewolf, but the other creature she had never seen the likes of before. Although she had heard of draconians, she had never seen one before because she and Pinder traveled mostly along human roads. She had come to find that humans were especially cruel toward non-humans without any semblance of human appearance. The two of them, the werewolf and draconian, fought side by side. However, while they were preoccupied with other opponents, another Patrolman was coming up behind them on the side of the draconian.
Adriana ran forward, and scooped up the blade of one of the men already fallen. She feared she wouldn’t make it to the Patrolman in time to stop him. He was raising his sword to strike down the tall, black draconian… but just an inch closer and she could strike him!
“Look out!” she screamed just as she dove to make a swipe with the blade. Her weapon cut through the tendon at the back of the man’s leg and he screamed in shrill agony as he fell. But at the same moment the draconian spun to face her, and the tip of his tail whipped across under her feet, knocking her to the ground.
Adriana gasped as she sat there in the dust, looking up into angry red eyes. Suddenly she felt the terror of what she’d just done. The Patrolman lay on the ground moaning in agony, while the werewolf killed the last of the Patrolmen they’d been fighting, and she sat gazing up. Yes, she had only been trying to help, but these two had probably taken enough abuse by humans that maybe they didn’t care, or wouldn’t take time to consider her actions. She made no move to rise, and she pushed the bloody sword away from herself. “When they figure out you’ve killed their men, they’ll send more,” she said bluntly. “Your best chance is to flee. You can’t stay here.”
|'She was planning to kill you.' The voice spoke. In the accident that had preceded, Dormang had managed to regain control of portions of his mind.|
'She wasn't, Dakros, and you know it.' His body had frozen in place, unable to move because of the mental struggle.
'She had the sword in her hand!'
'She attacked the Patrolman, she saved us.' Dormang mentally spoke, and parts of his body regained a bit of their feeling. His head twitched and the girl looked up in fright.
'She was trying to kill you you fool! Kill you!' the voice of Dakros said, suddenly failing.
'Away, demon, before you kill us both.' Dormang said, and with a final mental push, regain complete control of himself. The echoes of Dakros' screams of defeat as the girl spoke. The violent tint returned to his eyes.
"When they figure out you've killed their men, they'll send more. Your best chance is to flee. You can't stay here."
"You are right, human." the wounded Patrolman beneath him tried to crawl away, voice barely heard in the screaming. Dormang stabbed down at him with one of his swords. Two houses suddenly caught on fire. "Sylas!"
The werewolf paused in mid-howl as he stabbed another Patrolman, and he looked at him.
"We have to go, now! Get the rest of the men and let's go!"
"Where?" Dormang turned back, but the girl was gone.
"There's a special grove in the northwest, we can go there. Go! Look for the men!" The werewolf nodded and dropped the sword, bounding off on all fours. Dormang ran in the direction of the mill, gathering his friend as he passed them by. He found the twins Antonio and Eron, surrounded by Patrolmen. They danced and attacked around each other, both their blades striking deadly. They looked like they knew how to fight. When they broke through, he called them over and they kept going. He found Devin right before he was struck down and killed by the Patrolmen. He could still hear his screams as they ran by, approaching the mill.
When they reached the mill Sylas waved them over to the rest. Obadiah lay at his feet with a pitchfork in his chest.
"Couldn't be helped." Sylas said. "Where's Devin?"
Dormang shook his head. "Come on!" He said and headed off into the forest. The others followed, the fires spreading to over half the town.
_ _ _
Maurice and Eron doubled over, panting loudly. The others stood up, but sweat still poured from their faces. Dormang and Sylas looked back anxiously.
"We cannot stop, we must keep moving."
"Maybe you can keep this pace for longer, but were still just humans. We cant do the same." Maurice said inbetween breaths. Dormang started to hear crying, and he turned to see Fanis begin to gently rock a bundle of cloths. Dormang stared in regret.
"My wife's gone, and I couldn't leave my little Esmeralda."
"It's ok, Fanis." They all sat down, accepting the unexpected break.
"We could stop by the port city, drop you off." Sylas suggested after a long moment of silence.
"And abandon you? Never! You're all like my sons. I couldn't just leave you."
"But it'll just slow us down."
"This IT has a name, and HER name is Esmeralda. Don't forget that you're still human deep down." Fanis said stern and harshly. Sylas, even as a werewolf, flinched at the man's tone.
"I'm sorry Fanis. He didn't mean it like that. Unfortunately, he's right. You can't bring her with us." Dormang interceded before the old man's choler rose any further.
"No buts. You want your daughter to live, right?" Fanis nodded. "You want her to grow up and live a good life, find a good man with a good name and land. You want her to marry and be happy, right?" Fanis nodded again, sadly. "You always said you wanted to be a grandparent." Fanis sighed.
"You're right. I should go." his daughter had stopped crying and had slowly fallen to sleep. He looked back at her and smiled.
"Don't you worry, we'll be alright. Your boys are safe." Dormang said, smiling with him. Fanis had to choke back a tear.
"Alright. We go to Scoll. I'll take her and raise her there. But I'll never forget you. Any of you."
"We know you won't." Maurice said with his ear-to-ear smile. They all laughed and smiled. Sylas ears pricked and his head rose up sharply. Dormang sniffed the air. They all tensed.
"What is it?" Antonio asked.
"Somebody shouting orders."
"And I smell steel."
"Patrolmen." Sylas said.
"We must move." Dormang said and took Esmeralda from Fanis. "We'll move faster if I carry her." Fanis hesitated, but let her go. "Let's go." Dormang said, and with that, they began again, turning slightly east toward the port city of Scoll.
|Adriana ran as quickly as she could back toward the forest and the road leading out of the town. She kept looking back over her shoulder. Phantoms of dying men's last screams echoed so strongly in her mind she thought she might vomit, but she kept running, and then finally slowed to a walk when she could run no farther. She walked along the road, and met no travelers comming toward the town, and none leaving it. Silently she wondered if others, non-humans, were fleeing within the forest rather than taking the road as she had. If Patrolmen found a lone human wandering the forest at these hours they would surely be suspicious, so she had chosen this rout instead. Pinder on the other hand might have chosen the forest, but she knew he would come looking for her because he would understand her reasoning.|
The running and short fight along with the encounter with the draconian and werewolf had drained her strength. Soon Adriana found herself paused in the middle of the road panting quietly. When she stopped to catch her breath, she couldn't keep back her morbid thoughts. The feeling of the sword she had held cutting through human skin and muscle... the man's desperate scream as he fell... and the draconian's last strike... she shuddered. At least she had helped some creature. The draconian and the werewolf had escaped at least. Raising her head to stare up at the sky that was now bright with morning light, she took a deep breath to steady herself. Then she peered around herself, to the forest so close to her path.
Pinder has to be in there, she thought. There was no use in her trying to find her way through there, she would only succeed in getting herself hopelessly lost. When would Pinder find her though? Deciding she couldn't walk any more, she sat down at the side of the road to rest. Again she had to push horrid battle scenes from her mind. No matter how badly she wanted peace she just wished that the transition could be made... well, more peacefully. Her thoughts however, were soon interrupted.
Foliage rustled behind her, and she gasped as a hand clamped down on each of her shoulders. Startled, she jerked and stood, spinning to face what she assumed was her attacker.
"Pinder!" she sighed. He did indeed look angry at her. A scowl darkened his features and to her surprise he shook her once.
"Don't ever do that to me again!" he snarled. "You worried me sick! I waited for you a while but then came searching, and couldn't find you anywhere on the road where you were supposed to be. You could have been killed back there do you know that?"
Stunned by Pinder's uncharacteristic anger, Adriana stared at him. Usually she could handle any person's mood, but this night had taken its toll on even her emotions. The expression on his face softened as an unnexpected tear slid down her cheek. "I helped them Pinder," she whispered. "But it was horrible. That man..."
"I understand," he said in a voice that was once again calm. "Try not to think of it, that time is passed now. Just be glad you escaped with your life, and forget the rest." His hands fell from her shoulders and he looked her over once as if to make sure that she really wasn't wounded. "We can rest here for a while longer, but then we need to move on."
|The group slowed as they reached Scoll. Dormang could smell the coast and food and wine. |
"Scoll." Fanis said in relief.
"What about the guards?" Sylas said, pointing to the two soldiers standing at attention near the gate. A third walked the parapet.
"I can get past them easy." Fanis said, taking his babe from Dormang. He stood there for a moment, hesitating, not wanting to go. "I guess this is goodbye, then."
"Take care, old man."Sylas said and patted the man's shoulder carefully.
"Alright. You boys stay safe now, you hear?"
"No problem, Fanis. You just worry about yourself and your daughter."Maurice said, ear-to-ear smile reappearing on his face. Brios nodded silently.
"We can" Antonio said.
"take care" Eron said.
"of ourselves." Antonio finished. Fanis smiled sadly.
"Alright. I hope to see you boys in better times."he said and slowly, reluctantly turned and walked towards the gate.
"May you live that long, friend." Dormang said to himself.
"Ok, lets keep moving before they catch up with us." Sylas said, and they began their run again.
_ _ _
The grove was no more than twenty paces from the Dropping Daggers, a strange waterfall that was so cold and fell so fast that it was deadly. The grove was surrounded by tall, healthy looking trees, and flowers of every color sprung here and there. In the middle was a low stone block, carved with swirls and shapes of whatever long lost people lived here before. Dormang and the men stopped in the middle, all panting loudly. Eron and Maurice both collapsed to the ground from exhaustion. Antonio doubled over, sucking in breaths, while Brios forced himself to stay upright, placing his arms over his head. Dormang and Sylas sat on their haunches.
"You sure they wont be able to find us?" Antonio asked between breaths.
"The waterfall should help mask our scents. The grove, however, makes those who stay within it disappear."
"How do you know that?" Brios said in his quiet tone.
"I found this place once while I was on the run. The men following me ran by not more than ten paces from the outermost tree and didn't see me at all." Brios nodded, then slowly sat down. Dormang looked at each one of them until his eyes fell upon Sylas. The werewolf sat with his snout down, staring at the ground.
'He caaaaauuuuuuuused thiiiiiiisss.' Dakros said faintly, and Dormang suddenly felt a burning anger. Quickly he stomped to him and grasped his neck, his eyes turning a smoldering red.
"You." Dormang snarled and raised the werewolf up above him. The men stared at him in fear. "This is your fault."
"Dormang." Sylas choked.
"You. If it wasn't for you, none of this wouldn't have happened. Fanis wouldn't have lost his wife and Devin wouldn't have been killed. We wouldn't have had to run or kill or sneak away. Your fault!" He said, squeezing harder. Sylas' response turned into a choke.
"Dormang." Brios said
"I should kill you right now! You spineless mutt!"
"Dormang!" Brios rose his voice, higher than anyone had ever heard him. His voice was clear, deep, and stern. "Will you kill another? This will solve nothing."
"Does it matter? I've broken it already."
"Then you will only prove that you cannot control yourself." He couldn't quite figure out why, but the anger dissipated at those words. He dropped Sylas and his eyes returned to their violet hue. "We all chose this. We knew what the outcome would be."
Dormang shook his head and walked over to the other side of the grove, leaning back on one of the trees. He glared at Sylas as the werewolf regained his breath.
"P'rar da Shadi for'rix zu, pa'ra no mi tak." Dormang said in his native tongue, which meant, "Pray that the Shadi forgive you, because I will not." Sylas looked at him with regret and pain in his eyes, but Dormang closed his.
"Alright, everyone needs to try to get some sleep. We've got a long day ahead of us." Brios said. The rest found trees to lay back on or simply slept on the ground, the grass unaturally soft, and went to sleep.
|Bash caught the woman just before she hit the ground. His right ear twitched as it picked up the sounds of more guards, probably having heard the battle. |
“Looks like its my turn” Bash smiled revealing four extremely sharp and intimidating canines. A group of six patrolmen turned the corner and stopped in there tracks, there faces looking as if they were ready to murder him.
Looking around Bash realized how bad things looked. With dead patrolmen strewn out across the floor and an unconscious woman in his arms there was no talking his way out of this one.
The first two patrolmen attacked yelling with there swords over there heads, obviously inexperienced. Bash didn’t move until the last moment, taking one step forward and trusting both of his arms up hitting the bone called the ulna (not hard enough to break anything just so they drop there weapons. Eyes wide with shock the two retreated, picking up one of the swords bash placed it into an empty holster hidden on his back under his cloak.
“Hope you don’t mind if I borrow this.” Bash laughed waiting for the next assault. The remaining four patrolmen cautiously circled bash swords drawn, obviously more experience.*Note-Demon foxs and gravity don’t always get along, so Bash can jump higher than normal people of the same strength and he will fall slower if need be. Things like that.* The four patrolmen jabbed at Bash from four different angels each cutting through the air making a very stubble sound, this sound alerted bash to the swords position and allowed him to jump and land right where the swords intersected. With a smile Bash delivered a kick so hard into the side of a patrolman’s head that he spun into one of his comrades. Hanging in the air for a couple seconds Bash prepared to finish the fight. When the sound of a lot more patrolmen was heard, the first two must have went for help.
“Sorry guys looks like I can’t play anymore, next time ill be sure to take care of all of you.” Bash said with a hand behind his back. In his hand formed a ball of black and white fire, the ball hardened and Bash threw it onto the ground exploding into a massive smokescreen. In the confusion Bash scooped up the woman and jumped up to a nearby rooftop. The best way to escape was always rooftops, as bash jumped from rooftop to rooftop he could see a pond a reasonable distance away from the city. With a considerable amount of effort Bash jumped the massive city wall and headed to the pond.
|Miko awoke to find herself next to a pond the next day. She almost dared to smile when the previous night’s events rushed through her head and she sat up quickly to get a better bearing on her surroundings. It was then she saw Bash next to the pond fishing. Miko stood up and saw that the area was beautiful. She had remembered a place like this when she was younger. Back when there was no danger. Her reflection of home reminded Miko of her now dead family. The only person that was physically alive was her mother but that was as alive as she could be. Miko’s mother, Evilyne, is no longer of a sane mind. It wasn’t the entire humans fault with that. A non-human had teamed up with the humans and brought down Evilyne. They didn’t kill her but sometimes Miko wished they had. Seeing her mother constantly out of touch with reality was much more painful. Now the only two people left Miko cared about were gone. Last night was no where near good enough to even wet Miko’s thirst for revenge. All of the humans must suffer. I will rid this world of them all. Miko looked back at Bash and wondered where he stood in this conflict. If he had hated the inferior beings with as much disgust as she did. She walked up to him and saw his revealed ears flicker in her direction. He spun around and upon seeing Miko he smiled. |
“Have a good night’s rest?” Miko didn’t answer but just sat down next to him.
“Thank you.” Bash pulled a fish out of the water and set the flapping trout on a cloth next to him.
“Unless I got here by some other means like sleepwalking or someone else brought me here I’m just guessing that you brought me here away from the danger.”
“We are never safe from any danger. Especially, now that the Patrolmen are out of control.” Miko turned towards Bash with a serious expression on her face.
“You call these people Patrolmen. Who are they?” Bash looked at her with a surprised look. Everyone knew who the Patrolmen were. Even small children knew about them.
“You’re not from around here are you?” Miko scoffed.
“That is irrelevant. I requested information on these Patrolmen and if you can’t provide me any then just say so.” Bash stared at her for a while then coughed.
“Look, I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m not used to someone like you. Let alone the fact that you don’t seem accustomed to being here.”
“That is not what I asked…I don’t know what you are addressed as. Tell me.”
“Sort of demanding aren’t you. Don’t you know how to ask for things properly?” Miko put her hands on her head.
“You are a difficult specimen.” Miko looked at Bash again. “May…I…know your name?”
“See, you can do it.”
“Shut it!” Miko’s cheeks started to flare.
“Fine, my name is Bash Wilder. There, now what is your name?”
“Why do you need that information?” Bash scoffed.
“Are you serious? You ask someone their name so it’s only polite to give them your own name in return.” Miko looked as if she was pondering this fact.
“Okay, then. My name is Miko Nyx. Is there anything else you need?” Bash started laughing and Miko only reddened in the face again. “I don’t see anything amusing here.” The sound of the bells of an approaching caravan disturbed Miko and Bash’s conversation.
|Once again, Adriana and Pinder were walking along the road. Adriana had seen no one yet, going either toward the town they had just come from or away from it. “Pinder?”|
“Yes?” he answered.
“We left the town without getting the supplies we needed.”
“I know.” Pinder didn’t seem overly concerned about it. Truthfully Adriana wasn’t either, but she felt the need to point it out. “As always when we’re in such a situation, I will hunt, and we will fill our canteens from somewhere. As I flew before, I noticed a pond not too far from here. We’ll have to go off of the road to get there though.”
Adriana simply nodded her agreement. Pinder was a more experienced traveler than she was, and she trusted him. So when he veered off of the given path, she followed him without question. Together they slipped quietly through the foliage toward where Pinder said the pond was.
Suddenly, Pinder threw his arm out to stop Adriana. “What…?”
“Shh,” he warned. He touched a finger to his ear, indicating she should listen. First faintly, then ever steadily growing louder, she heard the bells of a caravan… probably human. They looked at each other in silence, then Pinder handed his canteen to Adriana and she nodded. “We need the water, so we can go quickly on our way… Even if they should be hostile don’t fear, I am always nearby. Walk straight in the direction we were going, and you’ll find the pond.”
Adriana walked away, and on impulse glanced back over her shoulder to see a sandy brown snake slithering away into the undergrowth.
Following the path Pinder had indicated, she soon stepped out into a small clearing. To her surprise, two people already stood by the water. Eyes wide, she stared at them and they back at her. The man had ears something like she’d seen on a fox, and the woman had eyes like ice. Both of them were tense, apparently because of her appearance. Adriana was frozen in place. She didn’t want to frighten them, she didn’t want to be the next victim of the violence she’d seen…
And so the three of them stood there as the caravan bells drew closer until they were upon them.
|Dormang awoke to birds chirping and the slight sound of the morning breeze. The sun was high overhead, nearly noon. Dormang sat up. Everyone else was still sound asleep, the magic of the grove keeping their fears at bay and their dreams peaceful. Except for his, of course.|
He had dreamt of his days in the Gladiator's Arena. It was the last fight of his contract, against a human gladiator named Kasul. In reality, Dormang had had almost no problem killing him, but in the dream, he took Dormang to his knees. As he looked up into Kasul's eyes, he saw instead his own face, three pairs of horns crowning his face, his eyes blood-red, his teeth blacker than black. He didn't awake with a start, only a silent gasp. He was used to the nightmares Dakros would bring upon him. Dormang closed his eyes and ran his knuckles down the top of his snout, then stood and left the grove.
Kneeling by the base of the waterfall, Dormang threw the ice-cold water on his face, waking him up further. He found the hardest rock he could, brought the swords over, and began resharpening them, though the Patrolmen's blade was barely dulling. They were made like that, tough, to withstand whatever the Patrolmen came against. The sharp scraping soon woke Sylas and Brios. Sylas still kept his distance from him, stretching and then moving to the opposite side, splashing water into his face as well. Brios walked over to Dormang and put his hand on the draconian's shoulder.
"Put yourself in my position, and then ask that question again." Dormang replied harshly, never taking his eyes off his task. Brios said nothing and returned to the grove, waking the rest. They all drowsily awoke, yawning and stretching and lazily standing up.
"Good morning, everyone!" Maurice said brightly. He went over and sat down at the edge of the pool. "When do we eat? I'm starving." The blade slipped against the rock akwardly as Dormang heard the question.
|Miko stood unmoving as Adriana starred at the girl who had just come into the clearing. Bash heard a hiss come from Miko’s throat and he lunged for her to prevent her assault. He was a second too late and missed as she dashed for Adriana who jumped back as she was approached. Miko swung her sharp nails towards the girl’s face when she her hand was caught by another person. Pinder’s voice was surprisingly calm even against the strain of holding Miko’s arm back.|
“Stand down. We have not done anything to harm you so why are you attacking?” Miko realized that the person defending the human girl wasn’t human himself. She jumped back as Bash ran up.
“Why do you defend this inferior being that causes chaos in this world?” Miko hissed. Adriana stepped forward, appalled to be addressed in such a manor.
“It is because we are friends.” Adriana stared into Miko’s eyes and found it hard to do for long because the eyes of Miko were mostly all white except for the pupils being a light shade of grey. Pinder broke the silence.
“Look, I know that there is confusion between us right now but we need to keep our hostility in check. There are people coming and to see us fighting each other would only cause panic.”
“He’s right, Miko. Control yourself. Can’t you see that these two aren’t like the others?” Bash called out. Miko hesitantly backed off and strode towards the pond. “I’m terribly sorry about all of this. My friend has had nothing but horrific memories of humans all her life. Just recently her two siblings were killed by Patrolmen in a town not far from here. She’s still recovering.”
“We were in that town as well.” A middle aged man strode up with a woman and two children.
“Do you know what happened?” Adriana asked.
“The only thing I know of is that one of the civilians of that town reported a deadly trio in that area. Beings of the like no one hasn’t seen in centuries.”
“And what is that?”
“They are referred two as Nyx.” The woman spoke up. “I’ve heard about them in legends. They’re practically descendants of the angel of Death but they became extinct about four centuries ago. That’s why we left when we heard about them being in the area. Nyx are despicable, ruthless, killers.”
“Do you know that the description of one looks like?” The man spoke once again.
“I don’t know about the ones that were cited in the city but according to legend they have hair as dark as night itself and that their power is deadly. There are a few that are linked to the Mother of Death. Those beings have distinctive eye color.” Bash, Pinder, and Adriana felt shivers run down their spines as they looked towards Miko who was standing out by the pond.
“What is their eye color?” Adriana asked feeling a lump in her throat.
“The eyes of a true Nyx descendant are the white eye color they have. I’m told that if you look directly into them for too long your soul will be pulled out of your body.”
“But enough of that mumbo!” The man boomed. “It’s just folklore. We don’t even know if they exist or if that sighting was true.” The man looked at all three of the Bash, Pinder, and Adriana’s face and followed their eyes to see Miko. “Who’s that over there by herself—Wait, are you telling me she’s one of them?”
Bash shook his head. “No, she’s not the same as the legend says she is. If she were a ruthless killer I would probably be dead already. Like I said she’s just confused by yesterday’s happenings. She knows that people fear her and that’s why she is staying over there so she will not frighten you.” Bash turned towards Miko. “Miko, come over here.” He called. She turned around.
“I’d rather not.” Miko called back.
“It’s okay these people know who you are.” Miko stood in place for a little while longer and then finally walked up to everyone with her head down. Bash put his hand under her chin and raised her head gently. “Don’t be afraid to show who you are.” Bash then turned around to face the others. “Does she look like a hostile person to you? She is just a female with the same emotions as anyone else. She is, actually, not that much different.”
|When Adriana looked at this non-human woman, she could not see the monster that the human man described. She saw only a girl, frightened and grieving for the family which she no longer had. Just as the first time she had met Pinder she had not seen a stubborn and beaten slave, but a courageous, if tired, man. The attack didn’t bother her. It unnerved her, yes, but that moment was past. Adriana had been attacked before by non-humans, she couldn’t blame them for hating the race that had tortured them all their lives, but she meant to prove that she wasn’t like that.|
The man and his wife stared openly at the Nyx. The two children, young enough not to fully understand their parent’s inherited fear, stared up at them with wondering eyes. “You’ll let us go in peace?” the man asked. The Nyx’s companion, looked about hesitantly. He apparently didn’t want conflict. Adriana knew, and believed he knew too, that these people would only spread the rumors, and bring harm, even if unintentionally. “It’s alright, go if you want,” he told them.
The family turned away, hesitant to present their backs, and quickly fled back to whatever group they were with. Adriana stood a little closer to Pinder as she watched them go.
“You can’t let them do that they’ll tell everyone where we are!” The Nyx said frantically. “She started after them but the man grabbed her wrist.
“It’s ok,” he told her.
“I suggest we go now,” Pinder said softly. The two strangers looked at him, and in turn at Adriana. “Travel with us?” he asked.
“Why?” The Nyx woman snapped.
“Protection in numbers,” Adriana replied. “I swear I don’t mean you any harm, and Pinder is a good hand at a fight in a pinch.”
“And what use are you?” The Nyx asked.
Adriana paused, considering her words. “None to you I suppose. But really, we need to leave here, and quickly. I don’t think the average family would have any ill will against us, but they might tell others what they’ve seen. There’s no staying here now. I’m Adriana,” she added. “According to your friend you’re Miko? And you are…?”
“Bash,” he said without hesitation. “And Pinder?” He asked, having heard Adriana say Pinder’s name before. “What an odd couple.”
“I could say the same of you,” Pinder replied good-naturedly. “Come now, I’ve seen the land from the air, I can show you a path if you’d like.”
|"We could always head for Whitemoss." Sylas said under his breath, but Dormang could hear him. The draconian rose to his feet, sword in hand.|
"I should kill you, you know that?! We are not attacking a town! Why you would even think?!"
"I wasn't talking about attacking it, just taking a few things that we needed."
"So we steal from it instead?"
"Yes." Silas said tenatively. Dormang opened his mouth to say something, then snorted in apparent disgust. He tried again, then shook his head, growled, then left the circle.
"Wait! Where are you going?" Maurice yelled to him.
"I can't think with the smell of wet dog filling my nostrils." Dormang yelled back over his shoulder and disappeared into the treeline.
"Let him go." Brios said.
_ _ _
Dormang stalked through the forest, anger seething through him. He walked on for what he guessed were a couple hours and finally climbed up into a tall tree. He slowed his breathing and closed his eyes, using an old Talon tactic for focus. Eventually he slipped into the trance like state, and replayed the events of the night before in his head. Parts were missing, but he could piece it together well enough.
They had been gathering those weapons for weeks, months even. They were planning on attacking the village. That meant that Fanis' wife knew the danger of their revolting. Dormang wondered if Sylas had stoked his anger on purpose. His people were legendary for their explosive tempers. The thought angered him further. What went wrong then? Why had they acted so disorganized after the fire broke out?
"Fire? I wonder who started that..." Dakros whispered mockingly. Dormang sneered at him, but the question urked him anyways. Who had started the fire? He delved deeper into his memories, going through and picking out every little detail. He had gotten to Devin's death and then paused there. Why was he alone? The twins of course would be together, but there were enough for pairs, and Sylas had brought Brios, Maurice AND Fanis. So what was Devin doing?
"Let me help..."
Dormang could see Devin's death as though he were reliving it, every detail stretched to extremes. People's screams, the cackling and roaring of the fire, the smell of burnt wood and flesh. Devin was struck in the back of the thigh as he was running away, the halberd sinking deep into it. His cry of pain was multiplied to ear-splitting clarity, and then the vision zoomed in, and Dormang could see every detail of Devin, every bead of sweat from his bald head, the stains on his white shirt and the red-brown vest. Every hair stood out in unbelievably stark contrast to his dark skin, along with the wood of the snuffed out torch smoking in his hand. It rolled away as he was brought down, and you would only catch a few seconds of it before it tumbled into a flaming wreck of a wagon.
Dormang reeled from the intensity of the memory, and fell out the tree, landing hard on his back. Animals panicked and fled from his interruption to the peacefulness of the forest, and he lay there for a moment, dazed, before he numbly got back on his feet. He shook himself and turned, speeding back to the grove.
_ _ _
When he had arrived he found them gone.
"They made for Whitemoss, i can assure you." Dakros said and cackled.
"Silence demon!" Dormang snarled and ran off in the direction of Whitemoss, hands on both swords.
|That last comment had Miko a little agitated… holding Miko back, Bash replied with a smile. “By all means lead the way.” |
Pinder nodded and began to lead the way Adriana at his side. Bash decided keeping Miko a safe distance away for the time being was the best course of action, followed ten feet behind while Miko trailed a step behind him not happy about the new additions. Bash could smell the irritation radiating off of Miko, and could sence some anxiety from Adriana although from what had almost happened to her it was surprising how calm she was, Bash could see a large amount of bravery in the human and although Miko couldn’t see it yet a human would be a great asset to there little group.
“So what’s our heading?” Bash called ahead breaking the uncomfortable silence.
“I was thinking we should head to a non- human city seeing as patrolmen may be looking for us.” Pinder called back over his shoulder.
“I agree, but do you have a disguise of some kind for you little human friend? Fighting Patrolmen is one thing but fighting a city full of pissed off non-humans is another thing entirely. I don’t know if I would enjoy having to fight my own kind for the sake of my comrades.”
“That’s ok we have it covered, we have been doing this a long time.” Pinder replied with a smile.
“Or we can drop the human off at a human city and we can solve all our problems.” Miko retorted. From Mikos point of view it looked like Pinder had randomly jumped at Adriana. But that was because she hadn’t heard the comment Adriana had mutterd under her breath. Pinder looked back to see if Miko had heard when his eyes reached Bash, Bash flashed him a knowing smile followed by a slight shake of the head indicaing he had heard but Miko hadn’t. Bash could tell him and Pinder were going to have there work cut out for them keeping Miko and Adriana from bumping heads in the future and the thought made him smile almost laugh.
|Miko felt uneasy as the newly formed group treaded on. Bash and her kept their distance. Miko knew why Bash was hanging behind. It was to keep Miko in check—keep her from attacking again. Miko quickly turned towards Bash.|
“Look, you don’t have to lag with me. You can go on ahead and talk with your knew friends. I won’t kill them so you don’t have to worry.”
“They can be your friends to, Miko. They want to help us out. All of—”
“I don’t need anyone’s help!” Miko snapped and Adriana and Pinder spun around at the commotion. “I’ve lost all of my family, my possessions, and my life! There is nothing that anyone, even that pathetic pare can do to help me. I’m just as dead as my mother.” Miko paused for a moment. “Oh, my goddess. Mother. She’s doesn’t know about my sister and brother’s death yet.”
“I thought you said your family was dead.”
“If their mind is dead then their body is just a filled capsule carrying trash. My mother is gone. She can’t think straight anymore and with the death of my two siblings then she’ll surely die of shock.”
“How old is your mother?”
“She’s only twenty-nine. Why do you want to know such meaningless information?”
“Never mind. Look, we have to go now. We’ve already held these two up long enough.” Bash grabbed Miko’s arm but she yanked it free.
“Look at you! You’re pathetic. You are following these two but clearly it should be you that should be in control. Go. Your presence, right now sickens me.” Bash growled and slowly made his way to Adriana and Pinder.
“What was that about?” Adriana asked but Bash remained silent and she let it drop. As the sun fell over the horizon the group walked on in silence until it became too dark to see the path clearly.
“We’ll have to camp in the nearby forest tonight.” Pinder called out.
“Right,” Bash called back. “I’ll tell Miko.” Bash turned to find her but saw that she was no longer behind the group. He looked around with all of his senses on alert but couldn’t detect Miko. “Miko!” He called out. Just then an idea hit him and he quickly turned and sprinted back towards Adriana and Pinder who had already started a fire. “Hey!” Bash called out when a sudden gust of wind blew out the camp fire.
“What’s going on?” Adriana barely managed to keep herself heard above the loud blowing wind.
“I don’t know. I couldn’t find Miko either.”
“She’s come to kill us.” Bash wanted to say otherwise but he just didn’t know anymore. Then a loud cracking from the trees above was heard and someone landed in front of the group with a tremendous force. The shockwave from the landing could be visibly seen. The person was a woman with long black hair and nearly resembled Miko perfectly. The woman turned to Adriana and electricity could be seen forming in the woman’s hand.
“Where’s my sister?” Pinder stood in between Adriana and the assailant.
“Stand down. We have not harmed you in any way.” Pinder said his voice calm.
“Your type seems to always take an aggressive approach.” The woman realized that Bash was behind and attempted to spin around. Bash predicted her move and dodged her electrified hand. Then he hit her on the side of her neck. The woman crumpled to the ground with a grunt. “She caused all of this?” He lit the campfire again when another gust of wind came and blew it out. “What the—” H turned and was instantly pinned by Miko.
“What happened?” Miko hissed. Pinder and Adriana ran up to the two people.
“Miko, we only knocked the woman out. We really didn’t have a choice.” Adriana called.
“What are you—” Then Miko caught sight of the woman. “Mally!” Miko rushed to her sister. “Why is she unconscious?”
“She came at us with electricity and we acted before she did.”
Mally slowly came to and instantly put her hand to her neck where she was hit. “Ow!”
“Don’t move so suddenly.” Miko said quietly.
“Miko? Is that you?” Mally asked.
“Yes. As you can guess, I’m curious in finding out how you made it.”
“I managed to escape quite easily. They obviously underestimated me and my lighting abilities.”
“What about Trevor?” Mally looked at the star stricken sky.
“They have him. He was taken away so I think the humans want him alive for some reason.” Bash strolled next to the sisters.
“Do you mind if I join you?” He asked Miko.
“Little sis, is this your mate?” Miko’s face reddened. She was about to answer when Bash got the first word.
“Of course. We are very close.” Miko turned to Bash with a surprised look on her face. “I’m just kidding! But at any rate we’ve been partners since the incident. I’m glad to hear that you and Miko’s brother are alive. She was really in the dumps lately.” Pinder and Adriana also joined the three.
“Wow, today has been quite the day.” Adriana spoke. “Is your whole family against humans?”
“No. I’m afraid it’s just Miko. She takes after Father. He didn’t like humans either. He said that they were like a virus and that they just spread infection wherever they go. So where are you all headed?
| Adriana looked at Pinder, then glanced at Bash and Miko.|
“A non-human city hopefully. Perhaps Sharume?” Pinder replied first.
“I’ve never been there,” Mally said.
“It’s a peaceful little town,” Pinder assured.
“But we would have to go through Whitemoss to get there,” Adriana warned.
“There’s nothing saying that we’re going with them,” Miko said quickly to Mally. “We just… met up, a while back.”
“We wouldn’t have to go through Whitemoss, we could just go around it,” Bash offered. Miko shot him an angry glance.
“Pinder and I have traveled that way before,” Adriana told him. “It’s a lot quicker to go through Whitemoss. If you camp a safe distance away from it the night you reach it, you can get up early the next morning and walk through it and out in well under a day, and be safely away from it. And the people there are friendly enough as long as you can imitate human appearance somewhat.”
“Some of us aren’t trying to be something we’re not,” Miko snapped.
“Sister,” Mally chided.
“I…” Adriana’s voice trailed away, hurt.
“She isn’t trying to be anything she’s not,” Pinder said. His voice was dangerously low, but only Adriana could recognize the hint of anger in it. “There are some very… volatile humans, yes. But there are also those who would have peace. Adriana has proven to me time and time again that her judgment is good and her motives are pure.”
“I’m not your enemy,” Adriana assured her quietly. “And I have no want to be anyone’s enemy. I truly am sorry for your losses, but I’m not one of those humans. And I for one, believe that this will never end until someone stops running from it. Someone, some human and some non-human, have to stand up to it. If anything’s going to change it has to start somewhere, doesn’t it?”
Miko stared at her. This time, Adriana didn’t look away. “We have no reason to hate each other.”
Bash finally spoke again. “So, what will it be? Sharume?”
|It was when he reached the edge of the grove that he noticed there were no tracks in that directions. He stared around in bewilderment.|
"Where in the Shadi did they go?"
He retraced his steps to the inside of the ring of trees. The few things they had brought with them, basically weapons and keepsakes, were missing. He checked the area where Sylas had been sitting a few hours ago. It was cold. That means that they had left anywhere between an hour or two hours ago. That would give them ample time to get near to Whitemoss. Then Dormang remembered something.
They didn't know where they were.
Dormang had led them almost on instinct. Only he actually knew where the grove was. Even then he hadn't traveled in a straight line for the express reason of losing anyone following them. From the grove's position east of the road, Whitemoss would've been southwest of here, but only he knew that. So that still left the question:
Where did they go?
He moved up to the edge of the pool, searching for tracks.Years ago, it felt like forever, Dormang had first found this grove from a friend he had worked with. It had a small, natural cave behind the waterfall, right into the rock of the cliffside. he followed the bank to the left, searching for any tracks leading up into the secret entrance.He found some fresh ones, but what grabbed his attention where the faint outlines of old bootprints in the dirt. That meant not so recent, but at least a day or two ago someone had used the entrance. A branch creaked slightly as a bird hopped its way down it.
He rolled left as the arrow hit the spot where his neck should have been, and he spun quickly to throw a knife, only to realize that there was no throwing knife. He had left all his gear tucked away in a chest in his house. He cursed as he leapt into a tree to avoid the next two arrows. He spotted one of his assailants as he did so, clothed in green and brown leathers. A hood concealed his face and he held a crossbow in his hand. He quickly strung it and fired, but Dormang was already moving, hopping from tree to tree. He fired off twice more, but missed and panicked, fumbling for his sword. Dormang launched at him, ignoring the arrows being fired by the two others and threw a left hook as he did so, forcing them both out of the trees and onto the ground. With his bone crunching punches he quickly turned the man's head into a bloody pulp, then rolled again behind a tree to dodge more arrows. They struck the corpse with a meaty thump, and he heard one curse. Dormang glanced quickly around for the crossbow and instead found the quiver, which he gladly slung around his shoulder. When he saw the crossbow lying about eight paces from the body, he froze, listening. He sniffed the air as an eastward wind splashed against his face, and caught their scents. One human, and one elf. One slightly left of him, moving down the trees no doubt, and one behind him, on the other side of the trees. He figured his plan in the brief moments that they closed on him.
Bursting from his spot on all fours, he grabbed up the crossbow and leapt into the grove again. Knowing he would disappear, he slid to a stop, loaded the crossbow as quickly as possible, then burst through the other side, hoping the assailant was still where he had last spotted him.
He was, thank the Shadi, and Dormang dived left and fired. The bolt took him right in the chest, pinning him to the tree, and he slumped down, breaking himself free and falling to the dirt, dead. Dormang loaded the crossbow and sniffed the air again, catching the scent of the elf where he had been before. He crossed through the grove again, found the elf and fired. She jerked her head back, and the bolt hissed into the tree. She fired her intricately carved bow, but he jerked to the side, letting the arrow hit the ground behind him.
"This ends one way." He growled to her, and her eyes narrowed. She dropped from the trees, making almost no sound, and shrugged off the quiver and dropped the bow. Dormang did the same with the crossbow and quiver. She pulled two leaf shaped swords from her back scabbards, and he pulled his battered Patrolmen's swords from his. They both took defensive stances.
"You killed the Twins. I will not take you lightly." she said.
"Where their men here? Where did they go?" He asked, but he knew she wouldn't answer. She rushed at him, and she made to strike, but a voice barked from the direction of the waterfall "Stop!"
They both paused and turned to look at the man. He was average height, well built, but looked native to Scoll. He had short, cropped black hair and a lupine face. He wore a vested doublet with black hide leggings, high boots pulled over them. One arm was completely armored, along with thigh-guards, and a bright green emerald pendant hung from his neck. He had met the boy before, right before prison. He seemed troubled, but content back then. Now his face shone with anger and cruelty and a sickening malice. And his eyes were not the intense dark brown that had slightly intimidated him before. They were shades of orange, red and yellow, and they danced like fire. Literally. He could see the flames curl around his pupil and the inside of his iris.
|**Darkrose will be away for a while, and she has asked me to write Miko’s part until she returns. So until she’s back I will label my parts “Adriana” and “Miko”.**|
“It’s the best and safest place we could go.” Pinder said.
“It sounds like a plan to me,” Mally agreed. Here eyes were on her sister.
Miko sighed. “Fine. Sure.”
The long walk toward Whitemoss was filled with conversation between Miko and Mally, and Pinder and Bash. Adriana walked beside Pinder, listening to him and Bash form plans to go through Whitemoss. Slightly ahead of them, Miko and Mally caught up on a few things.
“When we reach Whitemoss later today, Adriana or I can go in and buy traveling cloaks for the three of you… Mally, Miko, and yourself,” Pinder was saying to Bash. “We don’t have much money, and I doubt you do either, but if we pool our resources together I’m sure we can manage it.”
“So you’re sure this place is fairly peaceful?” Bash questioned.
“I’m sure of it,” Adriana assured him. “The people there aren’t nearly as suspicious as the ones in the town we were just in…”
“That’s good then.” Bash seemed cheerful. Adriana stared at Miko’s back. She and Mally talked in hushed tones. Adriana thought of how horrible it must be to lose one’s family. There was nothing she could do or say for Miko though. She would have to find her own peace.
The sun was low in the sky when Miko spotted Whitemoss in the distance. “We’ll stop here,” she said.
The five of them put together their money, and leaving the rest of the group behind, Adriana continued on alone. Nothing seemed unusual when she walked into the town. She found a small shop and purchased three plain traveler’s cloaks without event, as she turned to leave, the woman who’d sold her the garments spoke up. “Miss, it’s getting awfully late, surely you’re not going on traveling?”
“No,” Adriana lied. “I have a room nearby.” She smiled kindly. “Thank you for your concern thoug.” Then she turned and left.
Bash and Pinder had built a small campfire, which they all now sat around. Miko watched the way Pinder stared alertly off into the fading evening for Adriana’s return. “Why do you follow her?” Miko asked before she thought about what she was saying.
“I don’t follow her. We follow each other.” His reply was calm, not angry as Miko had suspected it would be. Bash and Miko had fallen silent. “Maybe if more people made friends with people outside their own… groups… the world wouldn’t be in the predicament it’s in now.” He looked away from the spot he’d been staring at in the distance and smiled at her. “If Adriana and I lost each other, we would lose kindred spirits. Those are harder to find than you might believe.” Then he looked away from her again.
Miko scowled at him.
“There she is,” Mally said, pointing. Miko looked to where her sister indicated and there was Adriana’s figure approaching in the gathering darkness. When she arrived she tossed each person their cloak and gave what money was left back to its respective owners.
“We’ll go through early tomorrow morning. All you have to do is pull up the hoods on those and we’ll all stick pretty close and talk and laugh like old friends just traveling through.”
“And suppose someone asks why we’re traveling with cloaks and hoods up in the middle of a sunny day?” Miko asked skeptically.
Adriana shrugged. “We’ll tell them your from some temple or another, traveling to a different one. Many of them keep their heads covered at all times outside of their temples.”
“Hmm.” Miko looked at Adriana as she folded the new cloak on her lap.
|Miko put on her cloak and caught up with the others who had already resumed walking. When Miko saw that Adriana wasn't talking with anyone Miko pulled her aside. "A-adrian-"|
"Adriana," Miko let ou a big sigh. "Look, I'm..." Miko looked as if struggling with her next choice of words.
"It's okay, Miko. You've had a hard time."
"No, it's not okay. I talked about prejudice some time earlier and I started doing the same thing. You may have forgiven me but it will be some time before I will amend for what I have done." Everyone else noticed that two of their companions weren't with them and saw that they had stayed behind.
"What do you suppose they are talking about?" Mally asked.
"They're making up." Bash said. "Maybe finding you has cheered her up."
"I don't think I was the only one. She really hasn't had other people around her, asking her to be their friend. She's not used to that type of behavior. She was always working too hard to try to be 'the best.' Now I think she's beginning to realize that not everyone cares if she is strong or perfect but that they see her as a person." Miko and Adriana jogged up with the group.
"Sorry, about that." Adriana apologized.
"It's okay." Mally turned to Miko. "Sister, it is time for you and I to take different paths again."
"What? Already?" Miko started but Mally put a finger on her lips.
"You have your journey and I have mine. I feel justified in leaving in the hands of your friends. I have to save your brother's silly butt again." Both of them giggled.
"He just can't stay out of trouble, can he?" They laughed again.
"Okay," Mally turned towards the others. "I will be leaving now. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for reassuring me about my sister's safety. I wish you the goddess' blessings on your journey." A sudden strong gust of wind blew through the trees and soon dissapeared along with Mally.
"Hey," Pinder put a hand on Miko's shoulder cautiously, fearing Miko's short temper. "Are you okay?" Miko turned around. There were tears on her cheeks but a small smile on her face.
"I'm fine." She wiped the tears from her face and cleared her throat. "Okay, it is time to advance through Whitemoss."
"With kindred spirits! Or at least we can start making them." Bash added in.