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Fantasy Novel: Feedback Please

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Fantasy Novel: Feedback Please

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Sun Mar 05, 2006 10:15 pm

I'm writing a fantasy novel. I have been talked in to posting it here. However, I am well aware that even what I have of the novel (43 pages, 12 point font, double spaced, 1" margin on left and bottom, .5" on the top and right) is way too big for one post. So, I will be posting about one scene twice a month. Hopefully, I'll be able to keep up with it. I'll tell everyone if I have been slacking and don't have a scene, but I know that will be a long time from now since I already have almost 10 scenes. I have gotten reviews on what I am posting, but I have not changed anything, and will not change anything until after my first draft is done. So, here's the opening, which I have been told is my weakest scene that I have so far. Comments (for this and all scenes) will be greatly appreciated.

Title will go here when I think of one.

It was a cold evening, but the skies were clear. A tall elve was making his way to the little town just over the next hill, the town named Valish, at the entrance to the Dwarven Pass through the Rainbow Mountains. He had very dark brown hair and eyes, but a pale complexion, and by the shape of his eyes and ears anyone who saw him would know he was a quarter human. He wore a long black cloak over his mage robes, hiding his status as a mind-ice mage, and he moved as someone used to traveling, no movement wasting any energy. He was very alert, with no smile anywhere on his face, causing people to wish to avoid him. He was a stranger to the people, yet he seemed to know his way around, which frightened them.

As the sun set, he came to the inn at the entrance of the town; Mountainside Hideaway said the sign on the door. He went inside, and walked straight up to the innkeeper, a short man with a friendly face and large muscles, not fat, but definitely not skinny either.

"What may I do for you this evening, Sir?" asked the innkeeper.

"Where are the elves who make their home in this town?"

"Same place they have been for as long as anyone can remember, just past the blacksmith." he answered.

The dark stranger strode out the door, and down the main street. Walking through the town, he could smell dinner in the homes, and the wood fires. At his passing, a dog started barking, and curious children peaked out of the windows. After the blacksmith, he turned left, and there was the house, just as it had always been. It had two stories, two rooms on each floor. A small chamber was built on one side, just one floor. The elve knocked at the door, and another elve answered. This elve was young, with silver-blond hair, and his eyes glowed golden in the light from the doorway. The stranger spoke before the young elve could get a word in.

"Is this the home of the descendants of Monpelar Pilmaphin?" His voice was low, not allowing anyone else to hear his words except that youngling at the door.

"Yes, it is" came the startled reply.

"I am his brother, may I come in?"

The young elve stepped aside, and let the stranger in, closing the door behind him. Then he knocked the stranger down with a giant hug, and said, "Dorimpal, we have been waiting lifetimes for you to come back."

A red-haired, green-eyed woman came in saying, "who is it Junilmar?"

"It's Dorimpal, Shamina." The man who opened the door answered.

"Dorimpal? He's alive? The legends are real?"

"That's right Shamina," answered Dorimpal himself.

Shamina took one look at him, and then ran back into the living room. She came back out with a picture, and held it up to Dorimpal's face. Then she squeaked, and went back into the living-room with the picture, and called out, "Linatima, get down here, there's someone important you need to meet." Then, Shamina came back into the kitchen/dining room, and set one of the three extra places at the table. Down the ladder and into the kitchen came a young, six year old child, with golden hair and green eyes, like her mother's. As he was introduced to her as her father's uncle, she looked him up and down curiously.

"A bit young to be a sibling of my father's parents, aren't you?" she asked in that blunt way of the very young. Dorimpal laughed.

"Thank you. I was given a very good gift, so I look much younger than I really am."

"Could I have that gift someday?" was the natural follow up to that, which her father answered.

"Maybe, but there's a lot of responsibility attached, and it really takes a certain type of person."

Just then, Shamina called out, "Dinner's ready". Junilmar and Linatima sat down at their places, and Dorimpal, as is customary with the elves, went to Shamina to help bring the food to the table. Once everyone was seated, they each said one thing they were thankful for, and then passed the food around to serve themselves. Dorimpal noticed that there were two extra places at the table.

"Why do you have three guest chairs?" He asked.

Junilmar and Shamina exchanged a look, and Junilmar nodded. Shamina answered, her voice full of sadness, "We have two older children, but they are not here."

Dorimpal became concerned. "Where are they?"

Junilmar answered, "We should eat first."

The dinner was excellent, roast deer with cinnamon sweet potatoes, buttered corn, and kolti, a pear-like fruit, with syrup. Milk was their drink. Dorimpal was reminded of his mother's cooking (oh how he missed it all these millennia). The table was a beautiful purple wood, polished for protection. The chairs were the same wood, with armrests and blue cushions on the seats. Just touching it, Junilmar could tell it was at least as old as the family's holding in the town, and that it was sustained by a discreet magic.

All four elves helped clean and put away the dishes before going in to the living room. The living room had a fireplace on the other side from the entrance, and couches all along two walls with a few small tables scattered between. On the last wall was a big chair with a comfortable rug, obviously to be used for stories, on one side and a ladder to the upstairs on the other. They sat in the couches, and Dorimpal looked to Shamina for the answer to his previous question.

"They were taken from us eleven centuries ago," Junilmar answered for Shamina, who was all choked up. "The humans decided that all mages must go to the mage-school from their equivalent age of seven to eighteen human years. Recently, it was added that mages cannot be trusted on their own, so they will be auctioned off as slaves for friends of the king when they are through with mage school. Redocamar and Kishalana were just auctioned off today, but we don't know where, nor to whom."

"I will find them," Dorimpal promised. “Is the custom of the visitor giving a story after dinner still in place?”

“Of course,” Shamina answered. Lina brightened instantly. Dorimpal stood and walked over to the chair, and the three younger elves sat gracefully in a semi-circle on the floor, with Lina in the middle of her parents, Shamina on the left, and Junilmar on the right.

“Has she heard the family legend?”

“No, she has not.”

“Hear then, the legend of two brothers, twins, Dorimpal and Monpelar Pilmaphin. In the elder days, there were many dragons. The evil dragons had a stronghold in the west, while the good dragons were in the east. There was an uneasy truce between them. One day, the king of the evil dragons sent a werewolf assassin into the east. This assassin gained the trust of the good dragon’s royal family, and slew them in their sleep. The day after the bodies of the royal family were discovered, the eastern nations woke to see the armies of the evil dragons at the boarders. They mustered as many as they could, but the evil drove the good all the way back to the eastern shore. They broke into the sanctum and scattered the Stones with which the world was made.

“Dorimpal was a Morshun, a group of elves who are historians. They take on the guise of travelers and mages. Most are trusted by elves, but only the royal family trusted Dorimpal.”

“Why?” asked Lina.

“Because Dorim, as he was called, had power of mind as well as that of ice. In the past, many of the dark mages were also mind mages, and had used those powers for ill. Monpelar, however, was the heir to the throne, and he knew he could trust his twin. He was also a mage, having powers of earth and light. Dorim told Pelar that they needed to send an assassin as well. They could not find someone else they trusted, so Pelar handed the throne over to his younger sister’s husband and went with Dorim. The new elven king was to fight and send an obvious attempt at assassination to distract the evil side from the real attempt. Using their powers, Dorim and Pelar snuck into the evil dragon’s castle and slew the royal family, and every other dragon they met on the way out. They met up with the obvious attempt, and helped to clear the land of all the dragons. And that is the story of your ancestor, Monpelar, and his twin, Dorimpal.”

“Why do you say my ancestor; was he not your ancestor too?” Lina asked.

Shamina looked horror-stricken, but Dorimpal laughed.

“Nay, and I’ll tell you the last bit of the family legend. When Monpelar went to settle in the lands of the humans, who had freed themselves from the werewolves during the war, Dorimpal found out he was the last Morshun. They had thought those two dead, so the king had disbanded the Morshun. Despite the pleadings of the queen, Dorim’s brother-in-law would not reinstate them, but bid Dorim to take the castle that had been his home for centuries, Kolatim. Hidden there is a secret that allows Morshun to sleep for lifetimes without aging.”

“Then you’re not really my father’s uncle are you?”

“I am, but many times removed.”

“Why did you wake up?”

“Lina!” Shamina chided. Lina looked guilty.

“I need to find the Stones that were lost, to return them and stop the spread of the sholi. I was hoping to get the help of your siblings in recovering them. I need ten mages, and they will be able to help me find some others.”

“Why them? Why now?”

“Those two are related. Because only now have other mages appeared who are powerful enough to handle the Stones once we find them, and have enough else to actually get to the Stones, which will have been hidden very well by the evil dragons.”

“Is being a Morshun always dangerous?”

“Not always, but very often. Still want the secret?”

“I’m not so sure anymore.”

By this time, the fire had burned low, and Lina was bid goodnight and went to bed. The adults stayed up late talking until a few hours before the sun was to rise. When the family woke up in the morning, Dorimpal had already left, and they were left wondering if they had really seen the family legend.

So, changes that I plan on: making Lina more inquisitive. during the story is supposed to be her time to ask questions, it's at other times when it's rude, so take out Shamina's reactions... stuff like that. There's more, but that's the stuff that is definitely decided on. Also, Lina is 600, not 6, but she looks like she's 6 because of the way elves age... I'm going to reword that bit to make it more apparent. Any other suggestions?
Last edited by miyumi on Sat Apr 01, 2006 6:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Tue Mar 07, 2006 10:05 am

Update:

feedback I've gotten on this part so far (If you agree with it or don't agree with it, speak up!):

-dragons should be harder to kill
-main characters need peers
-details (like the table and chairs) are good

results: definitely try to give more of an idea of the struggle Dorimpal and Monpelar went through to kill the dragons, but I have to make sure it doesn't take the focus away from the story... need to rework that part anyway since it's changed so many times that it currently has some contradictions (ummm, yeah, the brothers are part of the royal family of elves that was supposedly wiped out by assassins... still working on the details of the backstory...).

main characters will get peers, that was always planned. Those who have power tend to hide it for the sake of those who don't, or they abuse it and don't care that they frighten other people beyond being pleased about it. As a rule, in this world, those who have power don't talk about those they know have power, understanding their desire for privacy and the desire to roam the streets without people running away in terror. Again, unless they're the type to abuse their power.

Any comments? New observations? Agreement or disagreement with current observations?

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Remæus on Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:21 am

Dragons should be quite nearly impossible to kill. They're dragons. Dragonhide... huge... blah blah... but they're animals.
Ludwig von Mises, The Theory of Money and Credit wrote:Perpetual vigilance on the part of the citizens can achieve what a thousand laws and dozens of alphabetical bureaus with hordes of employees never have and never will achieve: the preservation of a sound currency.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:06 am

Yes, I will be making the difficulties more apparent. They were always there, I just didn't write them well. That is kinda the point of showing other people- to see if what I think I wrote and what I actually wrote are the same.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Thu Mar 16, 2006 9:31 am

Comments in bold this time, I use Italics in the story. Sections that actually start out with three stars in the middle, I will put the three stars, because some suggestions in the past have been about where to add stars. Also, if the section has an extra enter in the word document (I'm usnig tabs for paragraph breaks as is proper, not full lines) I will write "(extra space)" so that you know. I started it a bit late, so this section seems early, but it really isn't. So, here's the next part.

* * *

"1850, do I hear 1850? Come on let's hear 1850-"

"1850!"

"1900, do I hear 1900 for the beautiful lady?"

"1900!"

"1950, can I hear 1950, how about 1950 she's healer and fighter 19-"

"1950!"

"2000! Do I hear 2000, can I get 2000 for her at 1950 going for 2000 going once, going twice-"

"2000!"

"2050, for the elven healer, 2050"

"2050!"

"2100? Anyone for 2100? The most powerful mage in three thousand years, going for 2050, can I hear 2100? Going once, going twice, sold to number 256."

She was very beautiful in her deep blue mage robes with yellow trim. Her eyes at the time were gray, but you tell that they were not always that color. Her hair was gold, not blonde, not yellow, not brown, but pure gold. Her face was expressionless, and anyone who knew her knew that meant she was either scared or mad, usually mad. She was very mad, because she had a spell on her that wouldn't wear off for an hour, a spell that prevented her from using her magic.

The man who won the poor elve looked very shifty, with slanted eyes and very pale skin, and he was dressed all in black, despite the sun. He made his way to the back, and collected her. Then, he ran without paying, and threw her on a nutmeg horse, jumping up behind her. She thanked God that he had not bothered to get the protection, so she could use her magic against him once that first darn spell wore off. They galloped to a group of horses with other females, some of them might be mages, all of them drugged. The horses all followed the nutmeg, and they galloped south into the plains, away from Caleb.

The man who had lost paid for her, and jumped on his horse, racing to catch up with them. He was large for a human, standing just under the height of the elven mage he had tried for. He had chocolate brown hair, and was wearing the typical traveler's clothes, namely, camouflaged cloak, green shirt, tan breeches, and a belt with pouches. His cloak, while the normal colors, was abnormally large, and hid the fact that he was wearing a long, regal sword.

The thief had a considerable head start, and they ran for an hour. They stopped ahead, and the man spurred his horse faster. All of a sudden, there was a flash of light, and a panic among the horses. They looked like they were going to run, but their training held. It took the man ten minutes to reach there, by which time the other ladies had all gathered around two bodies, that of the thief, and that of the elven mage. Ivan checked the mage, found she was still alive, so he pulled her on his horse. He saw that the others weren't going anywhere, and went back to Caleb, passing a group of law enforcement on the way. Good, they will make sure the other women are taken care of, at least until they heal. The officers already had seen the figures, and saw that he was carrying the newly stolen mage. One stopped to question him. The man, Ivan Kaltor, told the officer that he had paid the last price he had bid for this mage, and what he had seen. With that, the officer hurried to catch the others of his unit.

When Ivan reached the town, he found that a crowd had gathered. It seemed a thousand eyes were watching him, and the crowd was eerily silent. He didn't pause, he just slowed his horse to a walk and approached the mass of waiting people. The crowd parted to let him by, and he slowly made his way to the inn where he had spent the night, the Mage Palace. Quickly going in, he sent a runner for a healer. It didn't take long, the healer had been at the door of the inn when the runner found him. In the meantime, Ivan had placed the mage on the bed in the bedroom, planning to sleep on the couch.

The healer, dressed in the green robes with blue healing symbols all healers in the human lands wear, looked her over, and then said, "It is a problem with her gift, the only thing that can help her now is rest. She is lucky she lived through that. The man obviously tried to rape her, and her magic protected her. She should sleep for the next day, and wake up tomorrow evening. Time will heal the rest."

"Thank you", Ivan said, and handed the healer the usual coin.
But the healer waved it away, saying, "I did not do anything, there is no cause to pay me", and left without the coin. Ivan closed the door behind him and went to bed, dreaming of his beloved, whom he had been betrothed to as a child.

(extra break here)

He woke up just after dawn to a pecking on his window. He opened the window and let the pigeon in, giving it the customary gift of berries for the message. It was from his friend, and it read “Got my mage, on my way to Caleb. Stay put, I’ll be there in a few days.” He wrote a quick reply saying that he would indeed wait for his friend, and sent the pigeon on its way. Glancing to make sure the elve was okay, he then went down to get breakfast.

“Hey, nice catch you got up in your room. Care to share?” He ignored the rude person, and sat down by the master of the school, with whom he was friends.

“What can you tell me about my new mage?”

“Aside from the obvious? Her name is Kishalana Pilmaphin. She has a twin brother whom it would behoove you to find, as those two were very close. She is strongest in water, and has very strong empathic powers that go with it. As such, she has a hard time harming others, but she will if necessary. Her weapon of choice is a staff, but she is also very good with the katana and the bow. Indeed, because of her electricity powers, she can move so fast she’s invisible, so she can use any weapon or no weapon at all. She and her brother learned extraordinarily fast, even for elves, so they took every single class ever offered in the school, including many that are not offered anymore, and have not been offered in over a century. The past two centuries, they’ve been teaching classes while waiting to be sold. They have been trained to work with anyone, and to double with any other mage.”

“What about her personality?”

“She is named after the tiger, and she seems to emulate it. However, I can only tell you that is how she is now. Remember, she has been at the school longer than any human has been alive. If you want to know about her early years there should be records...”

“No, that’s okay. I’ll learn about her the normal way.”

A messenger came in and announced, “Message for Safcon Ivan.” Ivan blushed at the knowing look of the master, who was the only other person in the room to understand Safcon, and went to retrieve his message.

“And how is the lady doing?” the master asked.

“As it is with future wives, cannot stop talking about the wedding and home afterwards, wants it to happen now but is resigned to waiting for the day to come.”

“Does she realize what it will entail?”

“Not really. But that doesn’t matter, not as long as we love one another.”

“You need to warn her.”

“She goes to live with my mother in two weeks, until the wedding, so she has a chance to back out. I doubt she will. She’ll be perfect in that role.”

“I think you may be a bit biased about that.”

“Most definitely. I know my mother will straighten her out in no time.”

Knowing Ivan’s desire to keep his identity a secret, the master left it at that. Ivan went back to his room, and read the message. Then he whirled out the door and raced down the street to the house of one of the nobles. He went around to the servants’ door and knocked twice, then once, and then thrice. The door opened, and he was pulled inside. There in the kitchen, mending his favorite shirt, sat his love, Lady Catherine.

“Cat, my love, what are you doing here?” He asked in wonderment and concern.

“Checking to be sure there are no other women in your bed,” she teased.

“Alas, you have caught me red-handed,” he smiled.

“Surely you jest!” She cried.

“Only in part,” he replied. “The mage I have acquired is an elven maid, and she had need of a healing rest, so she got my bed, and I the couch.”

“I shall have to meet her,” Catherine said.

“Then you shall have to wait until I know she’s alright.”

“Why, what happened?”

“The man who won the auction left without paying. When he got what he thought was a safe distance, he tried to rape her. However, her magic protected her and killed him. That knocked her out.”

“She’ll have to stand trial?”

“No, for the man was a thief, and he tried to rape her. Even mages are allowed that much. Plus, I paid for her, and none would dare try to take my mage from me.”

“I need to be there when she wakes up. It would be better for her to wake to a woman’s face than a man’s, after what caused her to pass out.”

“Then get you in some peasant garb, for you cannot be seen like this. But first,” he leaned over and kissed her, “Now change!” She stepped into a side room, and just then he realized what she had been mending, and went to inspect it.

“How did you get it back? I thought it was going to be thrown out.”

“It was. When you came in with it torn, I knew it would go to the junk pile, so I had the servant who does laundry rescue it. It should be done in a week or two.”

“You’re doing a fine job on it.”

“Thank you.” Then her voice caught a twinge of fear. “If your father ever finds out we are friends to servants...”

“Say no more my love. We will do what we need, no mistake about that.”

She came out, dressed as a washing-woman, who would have gotten off work for lunch. They went to the inn, and the master invited them to have lunch with him.

“I heard he had another woman in his bed last night?” Cat asked, giving Ivan a small push at the word “he”.

“He did, but you should not be jealous.”

“I’ll be the judge of that. Is she pretty?”

“She’s an elve, you know how elves are.”

“More pretty than me?”

“None can match your radiance, safcon,” Ivan quickly cut in.

“How does she like you?”

“She hasn’t gotten to meet me. She’s been unconscious the whole time.”

“You mean she’s still here?” She got very loud.

“Yes.” Ivan looked very ashamed.

“You will take me to see her.”

“Right away.”

They got up and, with Cat towing Ivan behind, marched up the stairs to Ivan’s room. As soon as they got in, they dropped the act of Righteous Anger and Properly Shamed. Laughing, Ivan caught Cat up in his arms.

“You were wonderful darling! Good thinking, the jealous lover act.” He kissed her thoroughly.

“Thank you Love. I’m just glad you caught on quickly. Now, I do wish to see her.”

“Of course.” Ivan opened the door, and Catherine walked into the bedroom, catching her breath when she saw Kishalana.

“She’s so beautiful!” she said, voice full of awe.

“You’ve never seen an elve before, have you?”

“No. The poor dear. How old is she?”

“1800.”

“That’s their equivalent of 18, isn’t it?”

“Yes, but they don’t really age after 3000, unless it’s to look wiser.”

“She’ll always be like this for us.”

“Well,” and Ivan smiled, “she’ll be awake for most of it.”

Kishalana started to wake up, so Ivan went out to sit on the couch.

“Where am I?” Kisha asked. “Who are you? What happened?” Her voice was quavering with fear, but musical.

“You are in The Mage Palace in Caleb.” Cat answered gently.

“What happened?”

“Ivan chased down the man who tried to steal you and found you unconscious and the thief dead. He brought you back to the inn. That was yesterday.”

Kisha took a moment to digest that. I don’t remember why I passed out, I don’t remember anything after he threw me on the horse. Maybe it had better stay that way for now. Cat noticed that her brow was crinkled, as though trying to remember something.

“Who are you?”

“I am betrothed to Ivan.”

“Where is he?”

“In the other room, on the couch.” Kishalana started to get up. Cat stopped her, “Don’t, I’ll get him.” Cat went into the living room. “My love, she is awake and she wants to see you. I’m not sure she remembers what exactly happened.”

Cat preceded Ivan in, and introduced him to Kisha.

“I am glad to see you are awake, I was worried you might have been hurt deeper than the healer saw. Do you feel okay?”

“Yes master.”

“Please call me Ivan.”

“Yes Ivan.”

“Rest for awhile, you had a hard day yesterday. I’ll go get you something to eat.”

“I should be serving you.”

“As a mage, not as a servant. I wish to consider you a professional under my employ.” Kisha couldn’t respond to that. Ivan left the room, leaving Cat and Kisha together.

“He’s so... regal”

“Yes, he can have that affect on people. He really was worried about you.”

“He was uncomfortable.” Cat looked very surprised, so Kisha added, “I’m an empath.”

“Right, water mage. He’s never had a slave before, and he’s not sure quite what he’s doing. He’s never seen a slave who was treated well, but he cannot treat you poorly, so this is entirely new ground for him. Plus, he doesn’t really agree with slavery.”

“They why...”

“He needs a mage.”

“Oh.” She thought for a minute. “I wish all people who owned slaves didn’t agree with slavery.”

“If that were the case, my dear, slavery wouldn’t exist.” Ivan entered then, knocking before. He had a platter with a bowl of chicken noodle soup, a roll of bread, and a glass of milk. Kisha’s eyes brightened, and, after thanking him for the meal, ate with relish. The other two went out into the living room.

“She’s so young!”

“I told you, she’s like an 18 year old in all things.”

“She’s an empath.”

“I know. Her skills will be very useful to us.”

“Be gentle with her. Maybe I should stay until the two of you get more accustomed to each other.”

“You may stay awhile, but don’t forget, you have to-“

“Go live with your mother and learn my duties, I know. However, I know something you don’t about that. One of the things said to be ‘good’ about your mother is that she is never on time for anything, taking hours to get ready for anything, and days to get ready for a trip.”

Ivan laughed, “That is the truth. My mother really isn’t suited for much of anything except looking pretty. Very well. If you delay a few weeks, it will make you seem that way as well, which is what we are aiming for. You’ve done a very good job so far, my love; even my good friend Master of Student-Mages is questioning my choice in you. If he questions, it means father will be pleased.”

“I have worked exceedingly hard at it,” she replied with distaste coloring her voice.

“Patience my love. Once I inherit, we can drop the illusions we have worked so carefully on. Stick to our plan!”

Suggestions recieved for this section:

-correct mix-up on where I introduce Ivan's name
-foreshadow the rape a bit better while riding away
-smoother transition of pov
-small reminders of who's who
-new paragraph after "If that were the case, my dear, slavery wouldn't exist"; as is, it looks like Ivan said that, when it's really Cat.

-good dialogue
-good imagery

I didn't put the wording suggestions and most of the grammar issues, but please don't assume we caught any of them. Go ahead and ream me out. I'll fight back, but in the end, many suggestions will be adopted into it.

And before anyone jumps on me about the auctioneer's comments of Kisha, yes, she does have peers, the auctioneer knows she has peers, but he's trying to get a good price. He's supposed to make her sound better than her actually are. But, she really is extremely high up.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Fri Mar 31, 2006 4:14 pm

I forgot to say:

Any suggestions for a title will be greatly appreciated as well. I haven't gotten any additional comments on the above section, and the next one will be posted tomorrow.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Sat Apr 01, 2006 4:36 pm

In Colon, the morning of the day before, Kilmar bought Redocamar. When he collected Redocamar from the pen, Kilmar stuck out his hand and said, “Hello, my name is Kilmar,” with a big grin on his face. Redoc knew right away he would like him.

“I’m Redocamar, you can call me Redoc.”

Kilmar paid and a spell was place so Redoc would be unable to harm Kilmar with his magic. They then went to Kilmar’s rooms in the local tavern. Redoc looked at his new master. Kilmar was a fighter through and through. The man had flaming red hair, and was average height, with a heavy build, completely muscular. Every move he made spoke a warning- here is one who knows how to use a sword. His green eyes twinkled, and his face showed more laughter than tears.

Kilmar also studied Redocamar from up close. All he had been able to see from his place in the crowd was that the mage had the gray robes of rock with green trim, signifying plants. Redoc had hair that never seemed the same color twice. In pure sunlight, he had brown hair with bits of light brown and red. In the light that came in from the window, only the brown showed. Closer to the firelight, his hair was brown with red highlights. His eyes were brown right now, but Kilmar knew that elven eyes are always capable of changing color depending on the mood.

Redocamar cleared his throat. “So, you’re my new master. What are we doing?”

“First, you’re going to tell me about yourself. Do you have any family?”

“I only know for sure about my twin sister, who is being sold today as well. However, our parents were both alive and well when we were taken.”

“So you have one sibling?”

“That I know of.”

“Would you like to go see your parents?”

“I would.”

Kilmar’s eyes twinkled. “We can do that, after I see how my friend made out. Let’s go have lunch.”

(extra space)

A few days later, they galloped into Caleb. Kilmar led the way to an inn just inside the gates, a wealthy looking place. Looking at the name, Redocamar recognized it as the one that was commissioned a few years earlier by the Royal Heir. They went inside, and a man stood up to greet them. At the table sat an elf, and when she turned around, both her face and Redoc’s lit up.

“Kisha!”

“Redoc!”

She jumped up, and they met each other running, and Redoc caught Kisha up in a hug. Both were crying. Kilmar and Ivan grinned, and then greeted each other.

“What are the odds of that?” Kilmar commented. Ivan just shook his head. Catherine was there, and she looked like one who has just seen the salvation of her charge come walking through the door. The five sat down, and Ivan made introductions all around. Kisha looked nervously at Ivan.

“May I have some time with just my brother?” She asked.

Ivan realized right away why she needed it. “You two stay here, and the three of us will go up to the rooms. We have to discuss our plans.”

“Thank you.”

When the others had left, Redoc took a long look at his sister. “Something happened.”

“Ivan is not the man who won the auction.”

“What happened to the other man?”

Her voice shook as she answered. “I killed him.”

Redoc took her hand, and Kisha told him what happened, including right before she passed out. Despite the gentle prodding of Cat and Ivan, she hadn’t been able to talk about it with them. When she finished, they had both been crying, and Redoc took her in his arms.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “If I had known...”

“No, we need to be able to use our powers openly. We could not have done anything else.” She smiled. “Ivan is a good master, and won’t have me call him master. He treats me as he would his highest employee, and I feel in him the hope that we can be friends. Tell me of Kilmar.”

“Kilmar is a warrior. He has a code of honor that is really high, but no one really takes him seriously because he loves jokes.”

“You two will have fun together,” she teased. Redoc blushed.

“What are these plans they need to talk about?”

“I can’t talk about it here. We need to go up to the rooms.”

Once they got up to the rooms, Kisha motioned for Redoc to take a seat, and she went to see if Ivan would let her talk about it. When she came back out, Redoc asked, “So?”

“How much do you know about Kilmar aside from his personality?”

“I know that he’s nobility, but that’s about it.”

“Kilmar is the heir to one of the lesser human thrones, and Ivan is the heir to the high throne.”

“What!?” Redoc leapt up as he shouted, incensed that the man he was starting to consider a friend was really the enemy.

Kisha pushed him back down, “Hear me out!” Redoc perched on the edge of his chair, his entire body as tense as his emotions. “They don’t like the slave laws. However, if Ivan’s father knew that, he would take them out of their lines for the throne. So, they’ve been pretending to go along with the ancient tradition even though they feel like, now that humans are getting powers again, the laws are not necessary.”

“What do they plan to do?”

“There I’m a little vague, but I know that they want to eventually have something similar to what we elves have in place. That way, there will still be some control over the mages. I also know that they’re going to get there gradually, because they don’t want the peasants in an uproar for fear of renegade mages, which was the reason the slave laws were originally instated.”

Redoc had relaxed as she talked, and now he nodded.

“Makes sense. Then, he and Kilmar took us as slaves because...?”

“Because their parents think it will be good for them. They chose us because we have the potential to help them, both because of our heritage as elves and because of the powers we each have.”

“Hmmm.”

“It’s really amazing all they’ve done. They’ve managed to get the people so thoroughly on their side that the servants hid Cat. They’ve managed to make it so their betrothed are suitable to helping them achieve their goals, and the two women are already firmly entrenched in the plans. Even going as far as Cat pretending to be a simpering, good for nothing female like Ivan’s mother. They call Ivan’s mother the ‘royal ornament’ because all she’s good for is being shown off.”

“Wow.”

“Yeah. They’ve gotten most of the lower nobility’s support, and the support of about half the upper nobility. All of the heirs for the various thrones love them. I believe the whole gang will inherit when Ivan turns thirty, which gives them twelve more years of behind-the-scenes work before they can start the gradual law changing.”

Redoc sat, digesting all this information. Then he looked at her. “Are you sure you can do this?”

“Yes.”

He got up and took her hands, and looked her deep in her eyes. “Show me.”

She opened the link between them, both the twin link and the empathic link that was possible. She felt the familiar gold-green of her twin, warm and loving. He withdrew slowly, and broke the link. He had seen what he needed, and knew that she had already healed from the rape. He also knew that he had been the cause of the last bit of healing. When the link had been broken is when Ivan, Kilmar, and Catherine came out of the bedroom.

“Cat here has to go become a royal ornament tomorrow,” Ivan said. “Kilmar and I were wondering if you two would like to go see your parents?”

“Of course we would!” They exclaimed together.

“Very well. We will go there, and then split on our errands.”

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Je Suis INSANE on Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:25 pm

Stop freakin'! No worries, I read everything in my section(Thank you, Eric).


Well, the plot overall is fantastic. You might want to add a little more conflict in the beginning maybe? There should be something more around when Dorimpal tells the story, you could flashback? I love flashbacks they have so much more description then when characters tell it.

In this paragraph...

“Aside from the obvious? Her name is Kishalana Pilmaphin. She has a twin brother whom it would behoove you to find.."

I find the list of Kisha's attributes too unnatural (in and out of setting). Unless you have already made it clear that this is normal for the character. It might be more interesting for the audience if you broke it up with dialogue back and forth from the two 'friends'.

I'll add more helpful helper stuff later.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Thu Apr 13, 2006 10:35 pm

First, thank you for replying. Critiques are very welcome, and you've definitely brought up things that haven't been mentioned at all yet.

More conflict in begining? I don't know, I'll see... definitely a possibility though, I'll let my imagination wander around that idea for awhile.

Flashback? Good idea! But it will only be for a short bit of it, because the whole story really is another novel, and this is just basic history to set the stage for the current time. It has relevance in the rest of the novel, which is the only reason I put that and not a funny story... unfortunately, the way I introduce it makes it necessary for me to come up with other stories, but I made them... well, you'll see

That description of Kisha, I'm thinking of cutting it out altogether, or just making it an Ivan asking "what do I absolutely need to know about her before I mess up somehow?" sort of convo, and he'll learn everything else the natural way. That was really my ideal for how Kisha will turn out, but she doesn't seem to be agreeing with me on that, so I'd have to go back and rewrite it anyway...

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Je Suis INSANE on Fri Apr 14, 2006 9:55 am

The flashback would make for a better way to recap what happened in the other novel.

(Which even though you did not mention that there was another I could tell that Dorimpal's character was too well thought out to just have appeared in this one.)

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:00 am

there is no other novel, not yet, and I don't actually plan to write it... but I did think up the entire thing, so it's in my brain in first-sketch form. I may end up writing it if I ever finish this one.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Sat Apr 15, 2006 7:23 pm

* * *

(extra space)

Dorimpal swore. “What do you mean you can’t tell me where they are?” He demanded of the clerk. “You were there!”

“Sir, this was three days ago. They could be anywhere by now. Look, they went back to the inn, that’s all I know.”

“Can you at least tell me who bought him?”

”Sir, my job is not to make sure of the person doing the buying beyond being sure that the money is paid. The person buying wouldn’t even be able to get in to bid if he didn’t have some proof of his loyalty to the high king.”

“A description maybe?”

“The inn-keeper sir, you’ll have much more luck there. Please sir, I can’t help you anymore. Though, if it will ease you somewhat...”

“What? Anything you can tell me.”

“I can tell a good man when I see one, and that man was a good one. This mage is in good hands, and you don’t have to worry about him. The man who got him, well, he seemed to be the type who was looking for a comrade to go adventuring with, and just happened to need a mage as well.”

Dorimpal sighed. “I can see you can’t tell me anything more. But you have helped ease my heart a little. If only it were that simple.”

Dorimpal made his way to the inn the clerk had pointed out. It was no good trying to look into who had attended the auction. Those who had come out with mages had been scattered to the winds by now. The crowds were thick, and it took some time to go the short distance, further increasing his impatience. By he got to the inn, he was ready to go tearing in there and demand to know what had happened. Knowing that would be a bad idea at best, and might get him found out and arrested at worst, he stopped at the door, a little to the side, and counted his breath until he felt able to handle his own impatience.

Entering the inn, he found the keeper sweeping. The common room was surprisingly empty, but then again, everyone was probably outside in the crowds. The innkeeper looked up in surprise when the door slammed shut.

“Can I help you with something?” The young man asked.

“I’m looking for information on the son of a friend of mine. He is a mage, and was recently bought at auction. According to the clerk, the man who bought him was staying at this inn.”

“What did he look like?”

“He’s elvish, with earth and plant abilities.”

“I know that mage. Well, the man who has him did mention a friend in Caleb. The man’s name was Kilmar.”

“Kilmar...”

“Sir, he didn’t give a last name. I can tell you that the friend he was going to meet is another traveler who was staying at the Mage Palace in Caleb.”

Dorimpal thanked him, and arranged to stay at the inn for the night. Unbeknownst to the innkeeper, Dorimpal was thanking him for a little more than just what the man had said. This man had a very open mind, and when he found out who Dorimpal was looking for, a very clear picture of both Redocamar and Kilmar came into his mind. The picture was so vivid and so up-front that it didn’t go beyond the rules for Dorimpal to look at it. He very much liked what he saw in the young man, and thought that Kilmar might be useful in the quest.

He set out for Caleb the next day, and a couple days of travel took him to the city. He had no trouble at all locating the inn Kilmar had gone to, and the innkeeper knew a bit more. He rejoiced to find not only had Kilmar found his friend, but that Kilmar’s friend had bought Kishalana. Then he found out that he was five days behind them, and they had gone somewhere west and his heart sank. Now he would have to go back to searching for their paths. This was not going to be easy...

(extra space)

* * *

(extra space)

Nine days after Dorimpal left, Linatima was out tending the garden. While she was pulling the weeds out of the bean bed, she saw four figures coming up the road. She ran to go get her mother.

“Poshina! There are four people coming, and two are elves in mage robes!”

Shamina came out, and when she saw who was coming, she ran to hug her children.

“Kisha! Redoc! You’re back!” They ran to greet her as well. Then, they introduced Ivan and Kilmar. Ivan bowed formally.

“May we request lodging for the night?” He requested.

“Of course you may!” Shamina exclaimed, wondering that they even bothered to ask. Then she blushed, realizing that it was required since they were strangers. She covered it by calling Lina over.

“Lina, come meet your older siblings.”

They hugged her as they were introduced, and then all trooped inside. The sun was just kissing the horizon on its way down.

“I was just about to put supper on the table. Your father will be on his way shortly. Lina, would you go run and tell him we have guests?”

“We can take care of supper, Shina.” Redoc offered.

“Would you? Thank you Redoc.”

“We’re glad to Shina,” Kisha said.

Lina ran off to go get her father, and the rest of them went inside. Redoc and Kisha went into the kitchen to finish cooking supper and setting the table, while Kilmar and Ivan went into the sitting room with Shamina.

“It was very kind of you both to bring our children back for a visit,” Shamina said awkwardly.

“You do realize that we can’t stay, don’t you?” Ivan asked gently.

“Of course I do! If you didn’t have something you needed with mages, you wouldn’t have bought them!”

“It was mostly chance that each of us happened to need the type your children are suited for, we have been friends for awhile,” Kilmar said.

“We were as surprised as they were that we had happened to buy twins when we are so close,” Ivan added.

Kilmar looked kind of guilty. “Actually, when talking with Redoc about his sister, I figured that Kisha fit the description you had given of what you were looking for.”

Shamina laughed. “It doesn’t matter whether you knew what you were doing, what matters is that it happened.”

A long silence stretched out before them. Finally, Kilmar broke it.

“When we were talking about what mages we’d need, we decided then and there that after meeting each other and the two mages, we’d find some way to get in touch with their parents. We were, at the time, thinking of two sets of parents of course.”

“Of course,” Shamina said.

They were saved from another uncomfortable silence by the arrival of Junilmar and Linatima. Introductions were given all around, and then dinner was ready. After dinner, they gathered in the sitting room. Kisha took the chair first. As she told her story, little watery figures appeared, and she paused in appropriate places for the scene to play out.

“Ivan, Kilmar, it is tradition that after dinner, the guests tell a story. Since you two did not know of this tradition, I will tell one to give you two time to think of your own. Once, long ago, when Redoc and I were young, just over six hundred, a strange and very short man came to stay in the village.” A funny little man comes walking down a lane, with a great tree beside him to emphasize his smallness. “Soon after this man arrived, strange things started happening. One night, a cow got loose from the pasture and ate one woman’s lilies.” A scene with a woman scolding the owner of the cow brought some laughter from her audience. “Another, all the hens got released from their cages.” Another with people running everywhere trying to catch chickens. “Suddenly, things started going missing, and none could guess where they had gone. Then, one day, while Redoc and I were playing on the pond,” here she had her and Redoc, as much younger, dancing, “the strange little man saw us and went to get us out, thinking we were in danger.” Little man comes in from farther away and gets into the pond and swims. “He swam out to where we were and was surprised to find that we were not standing on rocks, but on the water itself.” The man stops short and can’t swim any longer. “He cried out, and that’s when we finally noticed him. I was startled, and we both fell in to the water.” The two child-mages stop dancing and whirl around. The spell is broken and they sink instantly. “Treading water, we saw the little man swimming furiously away. We pulled ourselves back up and dried ourselves off. The next day, it was noticed that the little man hadn’t come back to his home, and in the house were all the missing items.”

As Kisha got up, Ivan and Kilmar looked at each other, got up and went to the kitchen for a discussion. Redoc took the chair.

“Instead of a story, I’m going to give you,” gesturing towards Lina, “a chance to ask some questions about mage school.”

“Did they keep you locked up?”

“Most of the students, they didn’t, but Kisha and I would escape nightly to go talk to one another, since they keep the girls and the boys separated. They tried to lock us up at night in various types of rooms, but it never worked. Finally, they gave up and let us share a bedroom.”

“Were there many other types of mages there?”

“All the teachers are elves who had the misfortune to be in the land when the law was put into place. There were dwarves, gnomes, and a few trolls. In the last couple centuries, there started being some humans, and when we left, there were almost as many humans as all other races combined.”

“Did they treat you well?” Shamina leaned in to catch the answer better, an anxious look in her eyes.

“It really depends on which teacher you’re talking about. They all treated Kisha and I well, some of them because they treated all students well, some of them because they were afraid of us. They did not dare mistreat students to where we could hear about it, especially when we became the teachers.”

“Were you given a choice about staying on as a teacher or getting sold?”

“Actually, no, and we were very surprised they chose to sell us. I think they really needed the money. Shina, we both sold for more than 2000. Most mages are less than 1000.”

Kilmar and Ivan came back in, and Shamina asked them if they were planning to stay another night. They answered that they could stay one more night, but not more than that. Then she told them that they could wait until the next night for the story, as it was time for Lina to go to bed. Lina said good night, with hugs to everyone, and went upstairs.

When Shamina came down, Ivan addressed them. “We need to talk to you about something.”

Shamina sat on a couch beside her husband and he took her hand. “What is it?”

“We have a plan to get rid of this whole slavery business, hopefully before your daughter must join the school, definitely long before she’s sold.”

Junilmar was startled. “How did you know?”

“Your actions and reactions... lots of little things give it away. But I would have guessed anyway. Her siblings are so strong, surely she must be at the least a low level mage.”

“Magic works by some many factors though...”

“One of which is genetics. The thing is, we need the help of your older children.”

“How will you be able to accomplish this at all?”

“I am the heir to the High Throne, and Kilmar is the heir to the lesser throne that rules over this part.” Their eyes got really big.

“We thought you two were...”

“Totally in favor of it? We have to put on that act, in order to actually gain our thrones. In the meantime, there are little things we need to do. Kilmar is going to go find another of the stones that you have to test for magic, while I’m going to try to get your king to consider an alliance after I take the throne.”

Shamina spoke up. “Queen.”

“Hmm?”

“Queen. Our queen. The throne passes to the oldest child, male or female, and currently our ruler is Queen Shimara. And judging by the fact that you count her as our primary ruler, and not the human kings, I think she’ll agree.”

“Thank you for correcting me.” He mused on what that could mean, and then looked directly at Shamina. “How do you know what she will think?”

“She married my best friend.”

Ivan got very quiet then. The others continued talking, and Ivan joined in after fifteen minutes. They talked about their plans, and received suggestions. They hadn’t finished when they decided to go to sleep, knowing that they would have the next day. They only stayed two nights, and then Kilmar continued west while Ivan and Kisha went east, agreeing to meet back at the house.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Tue Apr 25, 2006 3:23 pm

thought you guys might like some visual references. Image tags aren't working, so they're in my personal gallery if you're interested. Very easy to find, three maps

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Mon May 01, 2006 2:55 pm

It's the first, and therefore time for the next section.

* * *

[extra break]

Dorimpal saw the stricken look on the faces of his brother’s descendants when they saw he was the one knocking on the door after Lina was in bed. “They’ve been here then, and you forgot to tell them. I take the blame for it, I never though to ask you to tell them. I didn’t think any humans would face the parents of those they hold as slaves.”

Junilmar recovered first. “They were here and have left, but they’re going to come back here. They guessed it will take them about a year or two to finish what they’re doing.”

“Where did they go?”

“Do you know who bought them?”

“Only first names.”

“Come in then, it’s a long story.”

Dorimpal entered swiftly, and while the other two sat on the couches, Dorimpal paced up and down. They told him about the Ivan and Kilmar’s lineage, and then about Ivan’s desire to end the slavery of the mages. As they outlined the plan, Dorimpal sat down.

“They figured on a year or two for all this?”

“No, just the first part. Once Ivan and Kisha have the consideration, maybe going as far as cooperation, of the elves they’ll come back. And Kilmar and Redoc are to come back after they visit the unicorn and receive their answer. They thought that would only take them a month, but then I reminded them that the unicorn will probably require them to do some small quest.”

“Maybe more than a small quest. Was the agreement that no matter what, they’d be back here in two years?”

“Not really, but they did agree for no longer than three.”

Dorimpal sighed. “At least you didn’t completely mess up. I have some business of my own in the elven kingdom. I’ll probably run into Kisha there, she should be able to tell me how things are with her brother no matter how far apart they are. I can only hope I don’t have this much trouble finding the others I need.”


* * *


On the other side of the mountain pass, an elve dropped straight in front of them. Kisha motioned for Ivan to stand back while she talks to the elve.

“Who goes there?” The strange elve ask.

“My name is Kishalana Letaphin,” Kisha replied, “My friend and I would like to see the royal family.”

“What purpose have you with our rulers?”

“I wish to see the Consort, as he is a good friend of my mother’s, and my friend wishes to talk to the Queen about a possible alliance.”

“No tricks! We know well the humans have no desire for us to be allies, and as long as they continue to hold captive our people, we will not ally with them.”

Ivan stepped forward to speak. “My uncle wishes no alliance with you, and would disinherit me if he found me here. However, when I arrive at the throne, I fully intend to get rid of the slavery of elves within my lifetime, and lay the groundwork for the removal of all slavery in the future. In order to accomplish this, I will need the help of the elves.”

The elve’s eyes got very wide. “I hope you forgive me for this, but I need to get permission. In the meantime, you sir cannot see the path.”

“I will go blindfolded then, fully aware that you need to keep defenses in place.”

He was blindfolded then, and Kisha led him, following the new elve. Kisha gazed at the emerald green of the leaves, and made a promise to herself that she would come back to the forest to make her home when she was free. She was led to a stone tower rising gracefully out of the ground above the trees, but so well camouflaged that it could not be seen except at its base. Warning him of the step, they were taken into a waiting room. Their guide left them for a time, then came back to bring Kisha with him, leaving the prince alone.

Kisha was led into a room high in the tower. There, she saw a looking-glass, with the figure of the Queen. Kisha bowed, and was told to rise. Then the Queen grilled her, asking about her childhood, about the school, and about her new master. Kisha was feeling a little faint when the Queen was done. Finally, she smiled.

“Kisha, my beloved has told me about your mother, and I’ve heard all the stories about your childhood. I hope you understand that I have never seen you, so I had to make sure you were who you said you were before I could take into account what you then told me about the humans. It seems the time for freedom has finally come. I will see both of you, and then consider the alliance.”

“Thank you, majesty,” Kisha said, bowing a little.

“Kisholu,” the Queen said, addressing the strange elve, “I will send an escort to bring them to the city. Please make them comfortable for their stay, and give Ivan my regrets that I cannot allow him to walk through my lands without a blindfold until he really is an ally.”

Both elves bowed as the Queen faded, and Kisholu escorted her back to Ivan. They were led to a suite and asked to stay there. Kisha then told Ivan that the Queen had interrogated her to be sure she was really who she said she was, and how it was hoped by the elves that the alliance would be possible. They waited three days, and finally their escort arrived.

For the next week, they were led through the elven lands on foot, with Ivan blindfolded during the day. They stopped at ancient temples, where the temple-keeper led them in the daily rites which every elve knows. During their solitary trek, Ivan had been asleep and Kisha on watch for the Sun-Greeting, and Kisha had gone off alone for the Moon-Greeting. Ivan was privileged to observe them for the first time, and Kisha was thrilled at having a high-rite. After the Moon-greeting, Kisha would request a look in the pool every elven temple has, and she would check on her brother to see how he was doing.

“You know,” Ivan said one night, “We learned that elves worship the sun and the moon because of the greetings, but after having seen them, I understand that you’re simply greeting them as brother and sister... so what is it all about?”

“When God created this planet using the stones, he put brother-sun in the sky to light our way during the daytime, and to keep us awake when we’re supposed to be. He then gave us sister-moon for the nightwalkers, so they might also have a guide, and for those who sleep, so they might have a guardian. The rites thank them for doing the job that God gave them to do. After all, they deserve thanks, for without the sun, there would be no life, and without the moon, the night would be very dark indeed.”

“The rites are beautiful.”

“At one time, humans had them too. But over the years, you humans have lost the connection you had to your elven ancestors. It might only have been a few generations to us elves, but to you, ages and ages have past.”

“And now we do to mages what once werewolves did to us...” He mused on that, and other similar things throughout the trip.

[extra break]

weird, I copy-and-pasted this from Writely, and it put in the extra breaks and everything...

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Remæus on Mon May 01, 2006 3:53 pm

Because Writely is good like that.

=)

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Thu May 18, 2006 8:17 am

When they arrived at the palace, they were invited to wait in the garden for the Queen and her sons. As they sat by the pool, Kisha explained to Ivan that it is a mark of trust for them to be allowed alone in the garden, with the plants and animals in easy reach of Ivan. The elves know that many humans do not take the great care with other living things that elves do. They had not been gone long when the Queen came out, with her two sons. One of the two was larger, obviously a warrior, while the other was more graceful, like a dancer.

“Welcome Ivan Kaltor! I am Shimara, and these are my sons. Komachinu is my firstborn, and Falmin is my second.”

Falmin, Kisha thought, Falmin is his name.

“Thank you for your hospitality,” Ivan said, kissing the hand that was offered him.

“Kisha!” Shimara said, “The latest I had heard of you was when you were taken! It is good to see you are well. I regret that my husband cannot be here to meet you today, but I am sure he will be able to see you before you leave. After all, visits like this take a great deal of time.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty. I look forward to meeting my mother’s friend.”

Each son then stood forward to welcome them. Both of them kissed Kisha’s hand, and Kisha blushed at Falmin’s touch, so lightly that only an elven eye could see. Komachinu scowled slightly at that, but said nothing. They were invited to dine with the Royal family that evening, and were shown to their rooms to get ready. Elvish custom said that they wait three days before any state discussions took place, so Ivan retired early.


That night, there was a full moon. Kisha went out to watch the moonlight playing on the lake in the city. Softly, a song started. Kisha recognized it, and joined in after the first three notes.

elekun takupelso
monelemar yorn pilmok ilasu
elnoki nympso velunish
borelish hentu borelish
elemar ak delon wenosu


As she sang, she followed the voice, and finally she came across Falmin, who was following the sound of her voice. They sang the last line together. Falmin smiled at her.

“You have a beautiful voice,” he told her. “Thank you for joining the song.”

“You have a beautiful voice, highness. Thank you for starting the song.” The appropriate response, but the tone suggested she meant every word. “Do you come to the water every month?”

“Every month without clouds.”

“It is said that in the pools with nymphs, no clouds ever cover the full moon.”

“You have not seen for yourself? But you are a traveler, no?”

“Just because it doesn’t happen while we are there, does not mean it never happens. I have not meant a nymph to ask her.”

He took her hand, and led her down a path that followed the stream. When they got out of the city, the path turned away from the water. He motioned for her to stay silent, and they followed the stream into the forest. Finally, they came to a clearing, and there was a waterfall, with a pool below it. They hid behind one of the gigantic trees, and Falmin started singing again. At Elnoki nympso velunish, liquid laughter rang out, and nymphs came. Joining the song, they started a twirling dance. No person with any nymph in their blood, no matter how small the link, could ignore the call to dance if they are within hearing distance, and Kisha was no exception. She startled Falmin by stepping out from behind the tree, and the nymphs beckoned to her. Stepping on the water, she joined their dance and song. Falmin was startled out of singing, but he had just finished the chorus again, and it was appropriate for him to stop singing. They started doing a circle dance, and as they danced, they started being lifted along the waterfall. It took two times through the song to get to the top, and then the dance spiraled downwards. Falmin had come out from behind the tree, drawn by their beauty, but they didn’t notice him until they touched the water. Then, the spell was broken, and he joined in for one last time as the nymphs broke away and Kisha returned to him.

“You have nymph in you!” He was clearly surprised.

“Of course I do, I’m a Pilmaphin.” They started walking back down the stream, towards the city.

“Many go by that name.”

“My descendant was Monpelar. My twin and I are the direct descendants of him, first child to first child.”

“Does Ivan know?”

“He knows my name, but does not understand the significance.”

“Will the Pilmaphin return the noble line to her people.”

“For now, I serve my people better by helping Ivan with his goals.”

“And after?”

“Who knows?”

They walked along for awhile, when Falmin stopped, and turned around, looking for something.

“What is it?” Kisha asked.

Sholiso!”

“Climb that tree” she shoved him toward the most concealing tree, and he quickly scaled the trunk. She caught a bit of movement across the stream, and saw Dorimpal climbing another tree. She didn’t have time to think of that. She ran, and jumped onto the middle of the stream. Shadows detached themselves from the forest and surrounded her. A dry whisper rasped “Pilmaphin, surrender”.

“Never!” she shouted, lighting herself up and making the clearing light as day, using her water magic to completely submerge the sholiso. Dorimpal turned the water into ice before vacating his tree.

“They’re still alive?” He asked her.

“I know better than to kill them with magic.”

“Good.” Then he raised his voice. “You may come down now, highness.”

“Who are you?” Falmin demanded.

“Dorimpal Pilmaphin your highness, head of the Morshun,” he responded, bowing.

Falmin lowered himself from the tree. “Why is it important not to kill them?”

“Because that will just make more,” Kisha answered.

“But only when you kill them with magic,” Dorimpal added.

Then Falmin and Dorimpal both looked at Kisha. “How do you know about the Sholiso?” Falmin asked.

“Eleven centuries in a school; we got bored and looked into some of the more obscure stuff.”

Dorimpal was startled. “But the only reference is...”

“In tomes so old no one can read the language? Redoc and I spent a little over a century working it out. One or the other of us can read any written language.”

The two men digested that for awhile, and then Dorimpal glanced at the moon. “It’s getting late, we need to head back to the palace. Walk silently.”
They swiftly made their way back, and were stopped by the night guard at the gates. Falmin stepped out of the shadows and proclaimed himself, and the guard paled and let them through. When they reached the palace, Dorimpal forestalled any conversation by telling them he would see them in the morning and bidding them good night. Falmin and Kisha looked at each other, and Kisha shrugged an answer to the question in his eyes.

“I guess I’ll see you in the morning,” She said tentatively, reaching her hand out slightly.

He kissed her hand, and then put something in it, closing her hand around the object. “Good night, elemar-nymp.”

Kisha blushed as Falmin walked away, and watched him until he was out of sight. Then she sighed and shook her head to clear it of her thoughts. Then she looked at what he had given her. It was a necklace, with a beautiful silver pendant. In the middle of the pendant was a large Alexandrite gem, with small Helidor gems ringed around it. The beauty of it caught her breath, and she lost herself for a moment, until a cat ran by breaking her concentration. Realizing she was very scattered, she sought her own bed.

[extra space]

The next morning, Kishalana awoke to the sound of someone knocking. Opening the door, a servant was there.

“The crown prince Komachinu requests your presence at a breakfast with himself, his mother, and his brother. He is aware that you were out late, and so breakfast will not be served for another hour, unless you get there sooner.”

“Please tell the prince that I am honored to take breakfast with him and will be there as soon as I able.”

The servant bowed and left, and Kisha quickly washed her face and got into her mage-robes. The prince was being very generous, and courtesy demanded she take as little time as possible. She made her way down the hall and stopped short upon hearing loud voices coming from the royal suite. It was Falmin!

“Mother, I want a chance! Please!”

“Your brother has expressed interest. You need to allow him the first try. You know this.”

Kisha backed up. Then she ran back to her room, took the necklace off the night table, and put it on as she went back. Then she knocked on the door, and was let in.

“Good morning Kisha!” The Queen said, greeting her with a kiss to each cheek.

“Good morning your majesty,” Kisha replied, as she kissed the queen back.

“Please Kisha, I asked you to call me Shimara yesterday, and I mean that.” Shimara smiled at Kisha.

The two princes greeted her, and had very different reactions to the necklace. Falmin smiled nervously, and Komachinu glared at him. Kisha knew there would be a big discussion, but she had made her choice. Komachinu had no chance, Falmin did. Shimara was slightly troubled by this, until she realized that maybe Kisha was simply afraid of rule.

“Why has your husband not joined us?” Kisha asked as they sat down, thinking that maybe the only reason she hadn’t been told the day before was due to Ivan. She was partly right.

“He is just a little sick. It is nothing, and will clear up with some rest.”

“Would you like me to take a look at him?” Hope flickered in Falmin’s eyes when Kisha said this.

“Don’t worry about it, the healers have seen to him already,” Komachinu answered. The Queen didn’t contradict him. Kisha resolved to talk to Falmin about it later. He certainly thought she was worth something.

“Thank you for your concern Kisha,” The Queen said, “I assure you there is nothing to worry about. The healers have everything well in hand.”

It was then that Kisha realized there had already been a discussion, and the Queen and Heir did not trust her training. She had admitted that she learned many types of healing arts from Dwarves, Trolls, and Humans. She had also admitted that when her elven teachers had taken her as far as they could go, they had allowed her to experiment on animals to find her limits, and that she still hadn’t found her limits, other than being unable to raise someone from actual death. These people knew every single thing about her, and didn’t trust.

Falmin smiled nervously at her as the food came. Correction. The Queen and Heir don’t trust me. Falmin trusts me. She smiled a genuine smile back.

They focused on other matters as they ate. Kisha had them laughing with tales of the pranks she and Redoc played at the school, and Komachinu told of the hunt for a particularly dangerous boar. Falmin had nothing to contribute, and ate quietly the whole time, except for the occasional comment about the story. When Kisha left, she smiled to herself. He doesn’t do frivolous conversation. Everything he has to talk about it too serious to be brought up at dinner according to Royal custom.

[ooc]Pronunciation of the song:

ehl-ay-coon tah-coo-pehl-so
moh-nay-lay-mar yorn pihl-mahk ee-lah-su
ehl-noh-key nimp-so veh-loon-eesh
bore-ay-leesh hehn-tu bore-ay-leesh
ehl-ay-mar ahk day-loan way-no-su

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Fri Jun 02, 2006 1:38 pm

That afternoon, while Ivan and Shimara discussed the current state of affairs in the human kingdom, Kishalana was walking the gardens when Falmin came up to her.

“My father...”

“Has a small illness? Unlikely, we don’t get small illnesses, and your mother should’ve remembered that I know that. What level healers do you have working on him?”

“No less than level fifteen in their minor healing power, but none of them are greater than twenty in their main one.”

“Doesn’t surprise me. However, if he has what I think he has, they will be enough to get him through this.”

“Would you at least check?”

“Hmm, do you think your mother has expressly ordered me to be kept out?”

“Probably not. She doesn’t figure you to be the type to go against a request.”

“Even after the stunts my brother and I pulled?” She stopped his protests before they began, “I know she knows they were just stunts by a couple of bored students who had finished for the day and still had energy. My real question is, can you get me into his room without arousing suspicion.”

Falmin smiled. “That’s the easy part. When the head healer learned you were here, he wanted you to come in. The Queen doesn’t realize you were asked for by the one in charge, and in these matters, his desires come before hers. She thinks it will be an occasion that could lose the alliance.”

Kisha laughed. “Not likely! More the other way around if Ivan were to find out I wasn’t given the chance to help an old friend of my family’s.”

Falmin led her through the garden, and into a side door. “We have him in here, so that when he’s well enough, he might walk in the gardens without strain.”

She nodded, knowing that if he really did have what she thought he had, that was undoubtedly the best course of action. She quickly found her way to the bed, and there she met the head healer.

“It’s kaloche,” he told her. “He’s been like this for a week now, and he isn’t getting any better. He’s stopped getting worse, but he should be improving by now.”

“How long did it take him to peak?”

“Five days.”

“Hmm, two days over the time...”

Kisha bent over him, and woke him up.

A thin, weak voice said “The sky! I want to see the sky!” Then he started coughing.

“My friend. I am here.”

“Shamina?” cough, cough, “No, hair’s wrong” Larger cough, “But you sound like her.”

Kisha smiled, “She’s my mother. No, don’t move, don’t speak, I’ll tell you. I’m Kishalana. Redoc and I have gotten out of the school, and both of us are in positions to get rid of the slavery. Now, you need to get better. Do you really think lying in bed like this will do what you need to do?”

“The sky!”

“Help him up!”

“But-” The head protested, and Kisha cut him off.

“Did you or did you not want the advise of another healer? Let him out of the room, and into the fresh air. Then, you need to open the windows and air this room out. It’s too stuffy in here, and if it stays this stuffy, you all will catch it.”

“But you didn’t do anything!”

“I tested the air, and him, while we were talking. That none of you noticed is because of my level of control over minutiae in larger power workings.” Her voice turned softer as the others took the Consort outside. “You did very well getting him to this point. The only thing you didn’t do was let him get fresh air when he had stabilized. I understand that in colder weather, when you’ve seen this before, fresh air can’t be had until later on when they’re stronger. It’s not cold outside, it’s summer! Sun and warm air will not hurt him now, as the snows and frigid air of winter, or the cooler air of spring and fall would’ve. He knows it’s summer, so he couldn’t understand why you wouldn’t let him outside. You made him think he was worse off than he was, which very nearly put him there.”

A look of dismayed understanding crossed the healer’s face. “My treatment was making him worse...”

Kisha laid a hand on his shoulder. “Don’t feel guilty about it. We’ve never seen a case in the summer, which made you extra-cautious. Better a cautious healer than a dead Consort.”

They followed the other healers and the Consort out into the garden. Kisha directed them to a bench across the path from some honeysuckle, where he could smell them without it overwhelming him. He smiled.

“Honeysuckle, my favorite... thank you.”

Kisha sat down next to him. “Sire, I’m not going to lie to you. You were progressing quite normally until a couple of days ago, when you started to believe it was worse than they were telling you. You must remember that part of our healing is our own ability, and among us, what we believe about ourselves often becomes reality.”

“Is it bad?”

“You haven’t gotten any worse, and you’re over the peak. You should start seeing an improvement.”

He lightly touched the bandages over his eyes, where boils had broken out. “I’m not going to be seeing anything soon.”

“With the healers helping you along a little every day at the pace they have been, you’ll be able to see in four days. Or, a couple healers can back me up and you can see tonight.”

“How many? How drained will they be? I won’t let you needlessly drain the healers for me.”

“Depends on their abilities. Could be as little as one, as many as three.” Now she was addressing the head healer. “I can change helpers in the middle, and have only ever caused one healer to black-out due to over-draining. After that, I learned to gauge the strength of those I’m working with.”

“But how will we know when someone else is needed?”

“I’ll tell you.”

“Don’t you have to trance?”

“No. I do have to warn you that the first person to help me will be useless for anything more than a minor infection for a day, and anything major for two days.”

“We can’t do it then. We have no healers to spare.”

Falmin spoke up then. “Would it only sap the healing abilities?”

“That’s right. Any other abilities will still be fully functional.”

“I can be first then. I am not really allowed to do anything major anyway.”

His father didn’t like that. “No son! You can’t get weak.”

“Please Father. I never use my healing ability, except the minimal to keep it up to par.”

The Consort sighed. “As long as we are sure that no harm will come to any, it would be good to get my sight back.”

Kisha reassured him. “I promise. I also promise that this will help speed your recovery in general.”

“Very well then.”

Kisha gently unwrapped his bandages. Then, she placed her hands on his eyes. Feeling Falmin’s support and getting a good look at his strength, she went in and started combating the boils. To her healer-vision, she saw the angry red spots surrounded by the sickly yellow-brown. Taking a deep breath, and adjusting her hold on Falmin’s abilities, she went in closer.


Meanwhile, Ivan and the Queen had finished their talk, and were startled to discover Dorimpal in their midst.

“Who are you? Why are you here?” Queen Shimara asked.

Dorimpal bowed. “My name is Dorimpal Pilmaphin, and I have come to request that you reinstate the order of the Morshun.”

Shimara’s eyes got really big. “It’s true!” she whispered to herself. “They really can stop aging!”

Aloud, the Queen said, “Why have you chosen now?”

“Because the time is right to get rid of the sholiso.”

Shimara dared to hope. As Queen she said, “Get rid of the sholiso, and then I’ll consider your request.”

“Do I have your leave to request whatever help I might need?”

“Anything you need, yes, but if you fail you will pay for anything you are given.”

Dorimpal bowed. “Very well, my Lady.”

“Until Morshun are allowed, I am Your Highness to you.”

“Yes your highness,” he bowed again and disappeared.

Shamina realized that she was flustered, and couldn’t properly be Queen like this. “I must meditate,” she told Ivan. “Will you dine with me tonight?”

Ivan bowed. “Of course, my lady.”

They parted, until later. Ivan went to find Kisha, and Shamina went to meditate and control her feelings on this revelation.


Ivan found Kisha just as she was relieving Falmin. She had able to fight half the boils before Falmin started to look tired. Holding her ground against a reemergence of those boils she had already cleared, she requested a new helper. As soon as the new helper came in, she gently eased Falmin out, and continued her attack. As the sun started to set, she had finished, and the Consort looked out at the setting sun with wonder at its beauty. Kisha smiled wearily, knowing what it is like to be able to see again after ten days without vision, and to be greeted by a sunset like this, that was just phenomenal. That’s when they noticed Ivan.

“What have you done, Kisha?”

“I have given this man the ability to see now, so that his recovery might be more speedy, and so he doesn’t have as much of a chance to slip backwards as he has already done once. I have done what I was trained to do, and what no other healer currently alive is capable of.”

Ivan’s tone was soft, and concerned for her. “I have been invited to dine with the Queen again tonight. I suggest you take what rest you can find.”

“Yes master,” she said weakly from lack of strength. “I had planned to do so.” She looked at Falmin. “I had hoped for a quiet dinner with a friend.” Falmin blushed. Ivan nodded, satisfied. They escorted the Consort back into the sickroom, where he immediately fell asleep. Ivan went to his room to get ready for dinner, while Kisha and Falmin went to the prince’s sitting room for a private meal.


* * *

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Remæus on Fri Jun 02, 2006 10:05 pm

Good to see another chapter.

=D

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Sat Jun 03, 2006 10:52 am

Thanks. :D

I know the last two have been a bit late, but I haven't actually missed a post yet... I'll try to do better. The fifteenth... maybe I should set myself a reminder.

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Tips: 0.00 INK Postby miyumi on Sun Jun 18, 2006 10:54 am

Redoc and Kilmar reached the Rainbow Marsh three months after leaving Valish. They both agreed that it would be better to set up camp in the daytime then try to do it in the dark, so they took the first campsite they found within the mists. They only had one tent, because one of them would be on-guard while the other was sleeping. The campsite was right by a giant willow tree, uncommonly large. Kilmar picked up his bow and started off.

“Going hunting?”

“Yeah, we need food.”

“Okay. Hunt by the elven laws, or you’ll bring us trouble.”

“Got it.”

While Kilmar was out hunting, Redoc consulted the tree. Kneeling at its base, he put his palms on its trunk.

::We wish to talk to the unicorn. We seek advice.::

::What do you wish to ask?::
The tree’s voice was male, and very old. He realized that this was the tree that had been planted by Dorimpal, before he slept the Morshun Sleep, to keep the unicorn company.

::My friend is human, and in a position to end the slavery humans have started. To do that, they need a way to find mages such as us elves have. I have agreed to help him get to whatever the unicorn can point out to us, for his heart and motives are pure.::

::Do you swear not to harm the unicorn?::

::I do.::

::Does your companion?::

::I swear for him. May it rest with me if he does.::

::Very well. The unicorn will come when she can. In the meantime, rest well and fear no evil. Set watch only for the coming of the unicorn.::

::Thank you. May your roots dig deep.::

::And your trunk grow tall.::


As he came to, he saw that it was completely dark. Talking with trees always took very long, for they ran on a slower time. He stretched his cramped muscles while walking over to the fire. One pheasant was being kept warm to the side. Kilmar had obviously eaten. Redoc sat down by him with the pheasant.

“How’s the tree?” Kilmar still didn’t quite believe Redoc would talk with them.

“He has given our message to the unicorn, who will be here as soon as she can. You must swear not to hurt her. I took the oath for you with the tree, so it will come back on me if you do.”

Kilmar’s eyes got wide. “Hurt the unicorn! I would never! What kind of monster would do something like that?”

“You’d be surprised.”

Kilmar was silent for awhile, obviously troubled by this. “Can I take first watch tonight?”

Redoc frowned slightly. “We don’t need to watch out for anything, all we need is one of us to sleep lightly enough to wake if she comes, which I doubt she will tonight. I do that already. If you have something you want to do, go ahead and do it. I know I have something I have to do.”

“Oh.” His mind wandered. “Mind if I sit here awhile, or do you need privacy?”

“Go ahead. I’ll go elsewhere when it’s time, if you’re still up.”

Kilmar stayed where he was as Redoc cleaned up the remains of their dinner. His eyes never left the flames, which made his eyes appear red. Who would hurt a unicorn? Well then again, many do not like being unable to own things of beauty, and unicorns are impossible to keep penned up. I guess attempting to capture it would count? I wouldn’t want to capture her, unicorns are most beautiful when they run free. Kind of like people. Okay, so a lot like people. A tree. Huhn. He believes he talks to trees, but even he admits that not all trees can be approached. What makes certain trees able to talk? Where will she send us? These questions plagued him, and he fell asleep where he sat. He didn’t even notice when Redoc snuck away at moon-rise, and snuck back an hour later.

He’s still sitting there? Redoc thought, when he came back. He may be there all night. I don’t think I’ve seen him take this much time to think over something. Sure, I know, he probably uses his watch-time for that, but I’ve never seen him kept awake by his thoughts before. He shrugged, and went to bed.


For three nights, the two stayed in their campsite. On the fourth night, Redoc was woken up by a gentle bell sound. The unicorn! He went outside, and bowed at the majestic beauty that was in front of him. A being of pure light, the unicorn glowed softly from within, a bluish tint to her glow.

“Thank you for coming, my lady.”

::Do not wake your companion. You wish a stone such as your people has, one that can tell who has what power. There is such a stone, but it will not be easy to get it from its caretakers. The gnomes have two such stones. One they are using. The other, I know not what they plan with it. Good luck on your quest.::

Redoc bowed again. “Thank you my lady, you are very kind. Wind at thy feet.”

::And sun on your back::

Redoc watched in awe as she turned and ran off, her hooves making a sound like small bells, very softly, her mane and tail flowing behind her. As she ran out of sight, the soft light of false-dawn brightened the mists, making her seem only a spirit. Redoc sat down by the fire, getting it started for breakfast.

When Kilmar appeared at the tent-flap, Redoc didn’t look up from the fire.

“She came,” he said.

“Why didn’t you wake –yawn- me?”

“She told me not to. She said that the gnomes currently have two fakon-malshirso, and that we should look to purchase one of theirs. She could not give us what price they’d want though.”

“The gnomes? The gnomes have two? I didn’t even know they had one!”

“Every race except humans have one.”

“Why not humans?”

Redoc shrugged. “My best guess is that when they were found or given, the humans still did not have any power.”

“Found or given? I thought you studied history.”

“I did. What races are willing to tell humans, and many things that aren’t allowed. But the fakon-malshir races are particularly secretive about. Poshino probably knows.”

“Your father? Why wouldn’t he have told you?”

“I wasn’t old enough to know when I was taken away from them, and they didn’t get a chance when we went to visit.”

“Oh. So, the gnomes. What do you know about them?”

“They are clever merchants, and love to invent things. Extremely talkative and prone to practical jokes. But don’t worry about pick-pockets in their realm, they are very honest.”

“So if anything goes missing, it would be on account of the outsiders?”

Redoc nodded. “Unless it’s a gadget... which neither of us have. The gremlins like to live among them, and they are fascinated by anything technological that they haven’t seen. But they are also honest in their own way, and while you’ll never get the one you lost back in working condition,” here, he smiled mischievously, “you will get a brand-new one, possibly even an improved one.”

Kilmar laughed at that one. “Shrewd businesses-men hey? Then we’d better be careful not to show interest in that fakon-malshir.

“Finally decided to trust what I say?”

“I thought about it last night, and realized that I need to trust you or it was useless getting you. What was she like?”

“You’ll see. I consulted the tree again this morning, knowing you’d want a look, and she’s agreed to say goodbye. We’ll see her in passing as we leave.”

They packed up their campsite, and went south towards the large mountain in the center of the continent. At the edge of the mists, they heard a ringing neigh. Looking to their left, they saw the unicorn, posed on the rock at the entrance to the marsh. Kilmar cupped his hands around his mouth.

“Thank you!” He shouted.

::You’re welcome::

He started at the reply. He had never heard anything speak in his head before. Redoc raised an amused eyebrow, but said nothing. Instead, he turned and waved goodbye to the unicorn.

Just for him, the unicorn said, ::Fly free noble one. In time you will be constrained::

Redoc nodded, and both turned and went on their ways.


After one week of travel, they arrived at the base of a smaller mountain. Kilmar had questioned why they didn’t go to the largest mountain in the kingdom, and Redoc explained that he had a friend who had been sold only a year earlier to her family, and they lived in this smaller mountain on the other side of the lake from the main mountain. They entered the tunnel at the base of the mountain, Kilmar somewhat cautiously, Redoc with restrained excitement. Redoc kept walking ahead and then stopping when he realized that Kilmar wasn’t keeping up.

“Why are you nervous?”

“Gnomes traditionally dislike humans. Can’t say I blame them for it.”

Redoc sat down. “Hmm, if we make it seem as though you belong to me instead of the other way around, you’ll be better tolerated.” He jumped up again. “If we do it that way, would it make you feel better?”

“Better, but not secure.”

“All right.” Redoc handed his pack over to Kilmar. “You are now my bodyguard.”

“Mages need bodyguards?” Kilmar gave the pack back to Redoc.

“Many mages, when doing higher workings, need someone to notice short-range physical attacks.” Redoc pointed at the pack on the ground.

“Why do I carry the packs?”

“Because if you did belong to me, why wouldn’t I make use of your strength and spare myself. They can’t see how strong I am under these robes. Most mages are very weak.”

Kilmar picked up the pack, a scowl on his face. They continued down the tunnel, which was really empty and long. And dark. Finally, after half an hour of walking underground, they exited the tunnel into a large cavern filled with light, people, and buildings. It was a city, except it was underground. On the ceiling was a giant glowing rock. Must be magic, Kilmar thought. Redoc noticed Kilmar’s stare.

“Gnomes specialize in electricity and rock powers, as those are the two types most common among them. The person we are going to see is Gneau. She has both, and in large quantity. She was both a good student and a good friend of Kisha and I.”

He led Kilmar down the street, to a small kiosk by the entrance. The gnome behind the counter was gnarly and old.

“HowmayIhelpyoutoday?” His whiney, high-pitched voice rasped out.

“IamlookingforGneau. Couldyoudirectmetoherplace?”

“Whatbusinessdoyouhavewithher?”

“She’sanoldfriendofmine. Pleasetellmewhereshelives.”

“Metheratthemageschool? Isthismanthenyourmaster?”

“Hehaslearnedhisplace,Ivouchforhim.CouldyoupleasetellmewhereIcanfindGneau?”

“Straightdownthisstreetleftatthesecondfountainthirdbuildingontheleft. Secondfloorrightsidethirddoor.”

“Thankyouverymuch. Pleasantday.”

“Andtoyou.”

“What did he say?” Kilmar asked. “Why did it take so long?”

“Among the gnomes, you must ask a question three times to get an answer if you’re an outsider, but they’ll get really mad if you don’t answer their questions the first time. They speak common, it’s just so fast you can’t understand it, because they’re always in a hurry. Plus, they have a strange accent, which doesn’t help. Don’t worry, once Gneau sees you, she’ll speak normally, just with her accent.”

“Okay. So, he told us where to go?” By this time, Kilmar was puffing at the pace Redoc had set, but he saw the need to stay at that pace. Any slower and they would’ve been blocking traffic.

“Yes.”

A gnome came careening out of nowhere straight into Redoc, her black hair flying behind her.

“Redoc! Itssogoodtoseeyouhere!”

“Gneau! Iseeyou’rewearingyourskates.”

Gneau proudly lifted her feet to show off her roller-skates.

“Ifinallyperfectedthedesignlastweek! Comecome! Wemustgotomyhome. Youhaven’trentedaroomyet,haveyou?” She took off her skates, and started leading him to her home.

“NonoIwantedtoseeyoufirst. Didn’tknowwhereyoumightlivesoIwantedtogetaroomcloseby.”

“Don’tbother! Staywithme! Who’sheandwhyishefollowingus?” She had finally noticed Kilmar.

“He’smymasterandgoodfriend, KilmarLunnot.”

“Hefriendofyou? Thenhefriendofme!”

“Hedoesn’tspeakgnome, canweswitchtocommon?”

“Notherebutathomewecan.”

Presently, they came to a quaint apartment building made out of bricks of varying shades of red, brown, and orange. The bricks were arranged so that the colors made a picture of some contraption that appeared to be a sheet billowing out in the wind with a basket attached at the bottom.

“Whazat?” Kilmar asked.

“Andyousaidhedidn’tspeakgnome!” Gneau challenged Redoc.

“Hedoesn’t. Letsgoinsohecanunderstandyouranswer.”

They went inside, and up to the second floor. Gneau opened the third door on the right and ushered her two guests inside. Closing the door, she bowed, and speaking very carefully said, “Whell-come tyoo mah hohme. ootside hyoo saw a peekture of the flhighing bahsket mah grahndfahtere invahnted.”

Kilmar bowed back. “Thank you for your hospitality and explanation. You say your grandfather invented it? Did he build this place?”

“Noh, mah grahndmahtere built eet fohr heem. Mah fahtere and mahtere leeve ihn thee uhppahrtmahnt bhi thee dohr.”

Redoc then said, “A flying basket is a contraption which allows people to fly without magic. Gneau’s family specializes in non-magical transportation.” Gneau nodded enthusiastically.

“I see,” Kilmar stepped back as Gneau tackled Redoc again.

“YoumusttrytheseskatesRedoc! Iknowyourfeetwillfit!”

“I am sure they are very fun, but right now we need to rest and allow Kilmar a chance to get his bearings.”

“Hohkay.” Always speaking in that strange accent, sometimes speeding up to where she had to be reminded of Kilmar, Gneau chattered on about the various inventions that had come out, and Redoc filled her in on the future human-kings’ plans. As he listened to it, Gneau’s accent seemed to disappear to Kilmar. He realized it was because he was getting used to it, and shrugged it off as a necessary change.

“So, you wish to find another fakon-malshir? And the Unicorn has told you we have two, is that right?”

“That is correct. But she didn’t know what you are doing with it.”

“That’s closer to the truth than you know. It is this very city that has the second fakon-malshir, and it was originally given to us for safe-keeping against the time when humans had magic again. However, the mayor has gotten greedy, and it will be hard to get it back from him.”

“Greedy how?”

“He has made it a law for all born within this city to be tested with this fakon-malshir, and has charged for the use of it. Originally, the charge went toward maintenance, but now I fear it is just going into his bank.”

Kilmar finally felt comfortable enough to join the conversation. “It will be purchased at the freedom of the gnomes within the human lands. Isn’t that enough?”

“Hmm, his daughter is currently captive in your father’s house I believe.”

“My father has a number of gnomes. I make sure they are treated well. I could bring a message from him for his daughter, and the promise of her freedom in her lifetime.”

“If you can make it within his lifetime, I’m sure it will help much more.”

“I don’t know...”

“You can,” Redoc interrupted. “Remember the difference in aging? We know it will happen sometime within the next fifty years, because you can give her back as soon as she belongs to you. That and the promise of the rest of the gnomes following in the future should get us what we need.”

Gneau glanced at the watch on her wrist!

“Ohshoot! Ihavetogo! Excuseme, pleasemakeyourselfcomfortable, seeyoulater!”

“Bye!” the two answered.

“Where is she going?” Kilmar asked as the door closed in the draft she created as she whizzed out on her skates. Redoc swore.

“She’s going to take her turn at holding the light. With how powerful she is, she’ll probably be there for a long time... a few days at least, maybe up to a month if she wasn’t able to hide her power...”

Kilmar blinked. “Just how powerful is she?”

“If she were to call lightning to her limit, she could at the very least level a city with it. But don’t go spreading that around. We don’t like people to know how much power we have, because it would scare them to death. They’d put even more restrictions on us, and then we’d never be able to take care of those who have gone evil.”

Kilmar whistled. “Damn that’s strong!”

“Yeah, slightly stronger than my sister...”

“How strong is your sister?”

“Not far behind Gneau in electricity. As strong as Gneau is in electricity, that’s how strong Kisha is in water.” and how strong I am in rock, but he doesn’t need to know that. “For both of them, their other power is slightly weaker.”

“Wait, if Gneau is stronger than Kisha in electricity, how is it that she was teaching Gneau?”

“Gneau is younger.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Once you get past a certain point, no one is really capable of teaching you what you can do, all they can do is teach you how to find your limits, and make it so you can find your limits without hurting anyone. Anyone who has gotten past that point is capable of teaching anyone else past that point. By the time she was sold, Gneau and Kisha had been helping each other find their limits without hurting anything.”

“Oh.”

“She also helped me out with rock, like I helped her.”

“Were there any other students like this.”

Redoc paused. Should I tell him? Technically, I have to. Hmm... “Remember what I said about people with power desiring obscurity?”

“Oh. You don’t have to tell me then.” Kilmar sat back, and was soon asleep on the couch. Redoc thought back to the school days. Kisha was lucky. She had two female friends who could help her, Dew and Gneau. I just wish Pachek had been a plant mage. He was great. So big, and so clumsy at first, he was close to being the most graceful of us all when we were sold. He’s due to be sold... three months from now. I wonder how he and Dew are doing. Heh, I pity the person who buys Pachek. Especially if it’s a person that wouldn’t be missed. Anyone else, well, they will get a big headache and feel very stupid for having wasted their money. But a truly bad person, like the man who took Kisha, wouldn’t stand a chance. They’d wake up with no hands, no feet, and no chance to reproduce. And track all they want, all Pachek has to do is teleport away... come to think of it, he may already have done so. After all, he was only sticking around because of our group, and he was the last one who still has to be sold.



NOTES: writely put in the space between unindented paragraphs, but I don't know if they did the extra spaces where I'd have a break in text... and I really don't feel like going in and doing that so:

one is between the scene where Redoc talks to the tree and the scene where he talks to the Unicorn and the other is right after saying goodbye to the Unicorn

and of course, I stopped at the third.

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