Wednesday, February 22, 2012

World's Over Journal XXVI Terrace Tale

The next morning I woke up to the pitter patter of bare feet upon the stone tile floor amidst the chatter of my two friends cooking. I could almost taste the air, as it was filled with the most intoxicating smell drifting up from down stairs to fill my the room. Quickly I dressed and fled the bed, flying my way down the stairs onto the main floor.

Side by side my two friends stood before a hearth built into the wall, which was in the side of the mountain. Atop the heated clay counter there were several eggs, some flat bread and a mix of various vegetables. 'Please have a seat over there at the table,' Toki said over her shoulder as I entered the room.

'Toki and I have just been discussing the passing of a legion through the valley nearly a hundred years ago,' Priscilla said, 'shall I bring you up to speed on the history Jane?' It was in that moment that I began to realize the little girl was not the same girl who had stolen away with us aboard the Bahamut, she was much, much more.

Nodding my consent I wandered into the next room nearest to the entrance to wait, there I sat down at a table and stared through the front window out into the garden. Near the cliff's edge of each terrace there was a tower surrounded by beautiful gardens. The one before me was built of thick stone bricks, it was almost seventy feet round, with many windows. The garden on Toki's terrace lay under the shadow of a canopy, there were avocado and mango trees amongst the willows. About the trees there were countless flowers, mostly the same blue, or purple roses which we grew in the forest far below. There were also many vegetable plants and berry bushes. In the distance, somewhere in the garden, babbled a brook. Priscilla walked up beside me and sat down, laying a plate on the table in between us.

'There is but one road in the valley,' Priscilla began, ' it was made by the hands of the last legion who past through on their way into the frozen Noth. When the peace treaty had been signed between Emporer and the Vampire Queen the legion along with their General, whose name is Akeldaen, had been set free from slavery in the Iron Cascade Citadel in far off in the South. The legion had crafted the road with their bare hands, they tore through the shrubs and carved their way through trees. Along the road now stood remnants of the legion, those whose souls had left them on their long passage, some were overcome with sorrow at the loss of so many of their kin in the centuries of slavery to the human king, others simply hid inside of themselves, forever silent. Several had awoken over the centuries, only one had remained in the valley, living with the Elves in the North Eastern villages, his name was Rojun.'

'General Akeldaen had sent scouts into the valley, ahead of the legion as to map the straightest road into the North. When they had at last made it to the boarders of the valley, a plan was already laid for their passage. A straight line they carved, day and night, endlessly their skinless skeletal hands worked. Where they had to fall Redwood trees the roots too were pulled up. The wood was cut into timber by the Elves and trolls, who had accepted the legions plan, though they really didn't have a choice, war with the legion or a road and wood. Akeldaen had been grateful for the help.'

As Priscilla told the story, it seemed to me that she had lived it, she was there for the whole endeavour. As the road was build, the trees clawed down with bony fists, steel claws and skeletal talons. For a moment I was scared by the intellectual strength of a little girl, whom every day seemed less so.

In earnest anticipation of,
Jane, Toki and Priscilla

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Charles & Edgarory Allyndran

When the three of us were finally sitting upon pillows around a low table in a room just next to the kitchen Allyndran began the tale of how she had arrived at the village. She was one of the first Demon to be accepted into the village, for her had existed only as fairy tale until she had showed up upon the road near the Southern boarder along of the mountains which encompassed the valley, where Edgarory's father Sevan had discovered her.

The first Demon were reported to the counsel of the three houses more than three thousand years ago by the warriors that manned the garrison before the Obsidian Gate, which was built to hold the evils of Lucifer and his Elvish followers behind it. From the walls of the Black Citadel the elves had witnessed the demons first hand, though nothing after that report ever came to the counsel, save for the week after the first, when a dead Demon had been brought North to the counsel as proof of Lucifer's twisted evils, for it was said that they were once elves.

Sevan had been a hunter, along with most of his friends, tracking a mountain sabre cat through an open glade near the road when they saw a young girl running towards them. When Edgarory had been appointed the next Red Marshes City's Travel Warrior his father had taken it upon himself to gain any news about the world outside the valley as to counsel his son. It was on just such a trip that Sevan along with his friends found themselves beyond the valley's Southern mountains. She was being pursued by three men on horseback and several on foot who lagged behind. Though they could not catch her, she was faster than their tired horses and knew how to elude the clutches of any enemy, for she had often been the prey of dangerous creatures who lurked in the darkness world below the earth.

As Allyndran had come within bow shot of the hunters, Sevan beckoned her to his side, she disappeared behind his great frame, hidden from the eyes of her captors. What transpired next was a great marvel to me, but it showed the bonds of love between the Elves and their Kin, the Demon. Sevan and his hunting party had challenged the right of ownership that the warriors had claimed, even though they were out numbered and knew nothing about the ragged looking, nearly naked red Demon which hid behind them, as a helpless peasant behind an impenetrable wall.

The lead warrior, a knight in shining mail with a white tabard over top bearing the crest of their city, an iron hammer in front of a water fall inside a silver shiled, in his hand was as shield and a javelin, the other held the reigns of his horse, at his side a double edged sword. The rest of his mean were equally prepared for warfare. 'Our claim to the Demon is true, all her kin are now under the service of our great city,' the knight said gruffly and half out of breath in the common tongue, which was English, 'release her to us and you won't be harmed elf.' As he finished two things happened, a flash of malice crossed the man's face which Sevan perceived clearly as hatred for his kind, and the warriors who had fallen behind the horses began to fall in about their leader. They were equally geared for battle, though tired from the long chase, behind them came a carriage, all about the slave wagon were Demons cramped in cages too tiny for their majestic frames.

Sevan put his hands behind his back to make it look like he was pondering over the words of the knight, but what he was really doing, was untying his bow and quiver filled with arrows and handing them to Allyndran. She took them, quickly tying the quiver to her belt, which was set about her tattered and dusty grey tunic, the Demon had never shied away from battle, save when it would spill the blood of any of their kin. Allyndran had been there when the war between the True Demon Udhere, birthed of magic from the lava pools deep under the earth, when the city of Twilight and Shadow was still Lucifer's. She had survived the battle at the Obsidian Gate, from the high walls she had shot arrows tirelessly even after fleeing for many days through the darkness, pursued by Udhere.

'I will give you this girl if you give me all the others whom you now hold captive there in the wagon,' Sevan began boldly 'Do you agree that any blood shed today is unnecessary, make true the deal and let us be done here.'

The Knight was not prepared for such a bold and intriguing request, for several moments he sat upon his war horse pondering, 'I know you will not give up the girl,' the Knight began, 'You have no choice but to kill us all, for if you let any of us leave this place alive, we will surely pursue your kind to enslave you just as we have done the thousand Demon who came crawling out of the darkness.' There were several Obsidian doors, magical gates, into the world underneath the earth. Men rarely ventured into the depths, just as rare was the coming forth of a so great a host of any immortal race. The Demon had come out of necessity, for the time had come for them to leave the darkness and the ever searching eyes of the counsel.

'We have the advantage, we are hunters who have the high ground, while your men are tired from their long, indeed you are not even sure of our number,' Sevan said bodly, yet there was regret in his voice 'Even if I die here, the Demons will go free.' With those words he stepped forward launching a Javelin in the direction of the wagon, he did not wait as it sailed through the air Sevan was already nearing the wall of shields as it came to rest deeply embed in the chest of the lead knight.

In that same moment arrows were fired from both sides, the hunters, whose number were nine stood their ground until their quivers were empty. Their aim was to kill the soldiers about the cages, so that if the tides turned against the men, they could not kill those trapped therein. The three elves firing from the woods were nearly invisible, for they stood naked in the forest, allowing their skin to shift with the sunlight and swaying of the forest undergrowth in the wind firing arrows freely. They were outnumbered ten to one, though almost ten men had fallen or were incapable of fighting by the time Sevan along side his best friend Jarkol meet the oncoming warriors. Sevan threw his sword at the foremost soldier, he ducked but the archer behind him took the blade full on in the face as Sevan sprang forward underneath the guard of the line of warriors coming at them, as he dove below the shield. Coming up from his role he pulled his sword from the dead man's body and spun taking off the head of the warrior he had past, pulling the sword from his mouth. Four men turned to face him, but he ran on towards the cross bow men near the wagon, protected only by three pikemen behind five men who formed a shield wall.

Of the four who had turned to give chase to Sevan, three were hit by arrows in the back, two by Allyndran. The another four of the thirteen men remaining in the charge of the archers standing in the dusty open glade, were doing battle with Jarkol who didn't even try to kill them. His attacks were merely parries ment to open up spots for Yirs to take down, who stood invisible in the forest behind him. Spinning and slicing the clumsy warriors quickly fell back as two of their comrades fell. Quickly they were dispatched, Jarkol turned to Allyndran, terror caught his eyes for a moment two warriors were stumbling towards her, as he had turned he had registered that all his friends were busy and could not come to her aid. The warrior closest to her stumbled more deeply than if he was overcome by weariness, as he collapsed Jarkol could make out the arrow protruding from his hip. The second warrior swung his shield down upon the young Demon with all his might, Allyndran leapt up and kicked the shield with equal force, her cloven hoof dented the shield and shattered the arm of behind it. The man fell doubled over in pain, in that moment terror seized him for he was not standing in front of a red horned little girl with a tail, but a powerful Demon. Allyndran closed in on him, standing above him as he knelt there helpless, she took his head off with one clean kick of her cloven hoof. She winked at Jarkol who turned back to the fight.

Nearly all the men were dead, Sevan had been wounded, two bolts through the abdomen as he had leapt over the shield wall and the pikemen, whose bodies he now stood over. They had immediately released twelve Demon who were held captive in the cages. One of the Demon, named Lirah who was a dear friend of Allyndran, was a healer who quickly looked after the wounds which Sevan had recieved, a fire was started, a bottle of rum was found and the arrows were broken off near the end of the shafts. In the end, Sevan would live, but Pireor lay dead pierced by many bolts near the edge of the glade, Yris had lost his left arm mid bicep which had been cauterized first while Jenon lay mortally wounded, she would not survive. A mound of dead warriors lay atop Drogna who had died holding the men captive in his grasp as Yris and the other archers had sent arrows into their backs.

That night they ate a deer which they had killed earlier that day, while Allyndran slept the remaining hunters and demon discussed their next course of action. The following morning Sevan, Yris, Jenon a wounded male Demon named Pelagor and Lirah went South along the road upon the horses they had freed from the warriors. They had guised themselves as knights of the Iron Hammer Cascade Shield, taking whatever weaponry suited them. The dead elves were laid to rest by the Demon and the men were burned in the usual manner a victor offered to the victims who lay dead.

Sevan and the others were never seen again, though more than a hundred and fifty Demon had made their way up the road and into the valley, for more than twenty years they had lived with their Kin in the City of the Red Marshes. The tale of the hunters who went beyond the road to rescue those being enslaved never faded into legend, it was always on their lips.

In all hopes of returning,
Charles with Edgarory

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

World's Over Journal XXV Majestic Hall

When I reached the top of the steps Priscilla was sitting upon her knees beside the large male troll whose spear was upon the ground as he too sat comfortably, cross legged under the shadows of evening's twilight. They were discussing historical events after the Last War as I approached. Toki saw the perplexed look upon my face, turning to me she touched my shoulder and with a fang filled smile said 'all will be explained in due time.'

Only after Toki had finished speaking did Priscilla become aware the two of us standing so near by. Maybe I had imagined this, but it seemed to me that Priscilla was deeply aware of everything around her, in ways I didn't yet understand, had she waited to acknowledge us until after she had finished her conversation, out of respect for the troll sitting beside her? 'Have any pleasant dreams Jane,' she asked with a brilliant smile and a kind wink, 'can you smell the feast, the sent is seeping through the citadel's front door and the windows above.' With that she got up and the four of us started off towards the main gates.

As we neared the gate Toki ran ahead of us the last few feet and put her four fingered hand upon the etched stone, after speaking softly the gates began to open. I looked away as the firelight from inside streamed out, the citadel doors were built into the site of the mountain, they were set upon a large flat stone courtyard which lay at the top of the dual crescent stair case. Beautiful and terrifying how large the citadel truly was, for I couldn't see how high up the last of the hundred terraces was, upon which was set a tower of stone surrounded by amazing gardens.

I turned my gaze from the twilight which had engulfed the vale towards the citadel doors, slowly my eyes adjusted to the fire light within. I was the last to enter through the threshold into the troll city. Inside the gate we stood amidst several pillars of stone in a shallow hall at either end was a crescent stair case which lead into the hall beyond. Beyond the pillars in front of us the firelight streamed set within a massive inner hall. We stepped forward together and slowly began to realize how large the hall was. The crescent stairs wound their way along the outer walls of the great hall as they grew larger and wider as they rose. There were several levels to the great hall which the stairs gave access to. Along each layer were many doors, some larger led into homes, storage spaces, armouries while other much larger doors lead you down passages to the upper terraces.

The lowest level of the great hall, beyond the pillars in front of us, was a large rectangular courtyard, filled with gardens of twisted grey trees with white flowers instead of leaves, a multitude of mushrooms and odd vegetables surrounded them amidst blue rose and black berry bushes. There was a pathway down the centre of the garden and one on either side along the walls wherein was set many hearths from which the fire light poured out from, lighting the courtyard. At the far end of the hall there was a large table upon a raised dais, there sat a very large and ancient troll upon a throne, he raised his hands and beckoned us forward.

As we walked through the majestic gardens, tiny fire bugs began to stream around us like a flying river of flame. They were pouring out from the hearths along the walls, which were now dark, they insects had been the fires we had seen. The stream of fire circled around us as they ascended on their way towards the table before the throne. When we finally reached the steps all the hall behind us was dark and empty, as if the moon had been availed by a tide of obsidian clouds passes over a sleepy beach.

There were three large tables atop the dais above which the fire flies circled, set in a triangle before the throne, each could seat more than a hundred people on each side; though no one sat there, the tables were set for a magnificent feast. The ancient troll sat there alone, silent in his tall stone chair, his hair was white and long, braided much like Toki's was. His lower tusks protruded out from his green skinned face, his yellow cat like eyes searched me for a moment until found Priscilla, they lingered upon her as a look of intrigue came over his face. Wrapped about him was a long brown robe over which was a red and white vest and matching kilt. He wore no jewelry or crown, nothing that would let you know he was any different from the rest of his kin, who had begun pouring out from doors on either side of the hall.

Battle maidens and blacksmiths came streaming into the hall, with them the young came as well, each of them bearing plates of pastries filled with fruit and meat or bowls of sauces, some spicy others salty, some were sweet. The colour pallet of food set out before us was astonishing, for the hall showed no sign of colour beyond the tan stone, grey tree trunks and wooden doors. The trolls were so unique from one another that it was hard for me to take in their individual features, for I was famished, and anyone that knows me, knows that once I cave in to the cravings of my stomach the world about me gets lost. It was a magnificent evening, I could not remember the last time I had ever seen so many smiles or heard so much laughter. Priscilla and Toki sat to my left, while Kensori who we met as the troll statue, sat upon my right.

After dinner we were ushered down many corridors and up several flights of stairs to a garden terrace. Toki's home was at the end of the terrace, built into the side of the mountain. Her simple two story stone home had two bedrooms upstairs and a kitchen on the main floor. Priscilla and I snuggled in to bed and fell fast asleep.

In earnest anticipation of,
Without Charles