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 Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship

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PostSubject: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Tue Jul 17, 2012 4:10 pm


Ky’ly was squat, tracing the ground with his finger as he looked up the path which lead out of the forest. They were a mere two kilometers from Pashin and there was no doubt they were on the right trail. Despite his young sons best efforts Ky’ly was finding all the evidence he needed to keep tracking the three of them. He turned and looked at his Rangers, their faces almost as hard as his own, “I am certain they went to Pashin, it is the most logical stop for resupply and shelter. Though I have little reason to believe that would be openly welcomed it is not completely improbable, the little white bitch most likely knows people there from her former days of traveling with the filthy beast that raised her. I chose you Elves because of your loyalty to me as well as your skills among the Rangers. I will not hold it against any one of you however if you want to end your journey here. What we are about to do will surly come under scrutiny and most likely we will have to answer to the Prince or the Speaker himself for violating our own borders should we pass into the human provinces. Any of you that wishes to return to Silvanost may do so now.”

All twelve Elves simultaneously nudged their mounts forward and looked at Ky’ly with the utmost devotion and resect. Ky’ly looked across their faces and nodded before mounting his horse and turning towards Pashin.

The thirteen Elves broke from under the canopy of Silvanosts forests and across the plains, covering the distance to Pashin quickly. As they came upon the main gates two of the guards doing their normal checks approached and spoke, “What is your business this day?”

Ky’ly looked at the main and spoke, “I am hear looking for my son.”

The two guards exchanged glances and the superior of the two responded, “It requires thirteen Elves to find one son?”

Ky’ly maintained his diplomatic face and responded, “This is a matter of high importance and one that reaches to the Speaker of the Stars. My son was aid to the Prince, and has been betwixed by a Sorceress, forced to leave under her spell and we are tracking them. As you can image being that my son was aid to the Prince himself we don’t want any information being passed that should otherwise remain confidential. Extreme situations require extreme measures, and with a contingency of us we can spread out an more effectively cover larger amounts of ground.”

The soldier looked at him and could not argue with the logic. Nodding he spoke again, “How long is your intended stay?” Ky’ly looked at him and responded coolly, “No longer than is necessary to see if they were here and when they left.”

The guard nodded and marked it in the gate log, “Very well.”

Ky’ly nodded to the soldiers as the stepped aside to let them pass and Ky’ly sent a missive to all his Rangers at once, “Do your work Elves, I don’t want to be in this cesspool and longer than is necessary.”




Morning came for the trio and Olwa looked over as Branch stirred, look over at him and smiled softly, “One of Branches best nights sleeps last night.”

Olwa smiled and nodded as he looked up at the canopy of evergreen trees and spoke, “They are so strange, even though we reached them last night and got a good look at them they seem so strange and foreign, but also so amazing and beautiful.”

Branch nodded and stood, stretching her body and sat next to Pela who was still sleeping soundly, “Istar’ostring was tired last night, Branch could see it in her eyes.” She looked up at Olwa and spoke softly, “Istar’ostring is unique and special, worthy of your decision Olwa.”

Olwa looked at her with surprise and was about to speak when Branch interrupted, “Branch will find some breakfast, surly this forest holds game that can be harvested.”

She smiled softly and disappeared into the thick woods.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:50 am


Pela slept better than she had in a long time. She fell into a deep, restful sleep almost as soon as she closed her eyes. It was a few minutes after Branch left to get something to eat before she stirred. Finally her eyes sot open and she sat up looking around bewildered. When she recognized her surroundings and saw Olwa, she immediately calmed and let out a soft sigh. Stretching like a lazy feline, she sat up and looked over at Olwa, smiling.

”You should have awakened me instead of allowing me to sleep. I feel as though I have held us up from traveling.”

Glancing about she didn’t see Branch and concluded she was out looking for something to eat.

”How did you rest last night, Olwa? You look as handsome as ever but I am beginning to think it is some sort of charm spell you have cast upon me.”

There was a twinkle in her light blue eyes as she smiled at him now. Her well rested night was already showing. She stretched again then ran her fingers through her white hair.

”The climb will not be that easy today. The higher up we go, the steeper the incline. We will have to walk our horses most of the way in order to insure they do not slip and tumble with us on their backs. When we reach the top it will flatten out slightly and we will travel along the plateau for a while.”




Dark eyes watched everything the intruders did. He recognized the white haired human woman. While she had changed slightly, there was no denying who it was. But what the two elves were doing with her was a mystery. With her protector and guardian now dead, she would be an easy target to get rid of.

Or would she?

He remembered her ability to wield the cold magic. He remembered how she shattered his clansmen like fine crystal when they tried to attack her before. He could still hear the cries of those she froze to the forest floor. He knew better than to underestimate her. Like they had all done.

No. They would have to wait until the time was right before they could move. And from the looks of it, perhaps it would be sooner than later. They would have to separate the three. Right now, one was off hunting. That wild one would be tricky to catch. Perhaps impossible. But the male….there was no doubt they could catch him. And use him.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:04 pm


Olwa looked at Pela as she stirred and he moved closer to her. The thin lines from her makeshift pillow were etched into her face and he could not help but smile at this. As she spoke to him he blushed softly and whispered in response, "I know no such spells my sweet Pela, the only charm I wield is that I love you intensely."

He leaned over and kissed her softly on the lips and then leaned back as he looked up again at the trees, "Branch is out hunting, though we are strangers in these woods she has already been accepted by the trees and become attuned to this forest, it is something the elderwild can still do that the Silvanesti have lost. Though we are Elves, we are no longer a part of all nature, only the lands we choose to isolate ourselves in."

He turned and looked at her and there was a slight hint of sadness in his face at this remark. He spoke again, his voice soft and quiet, "Luckily Branch is teaching me again, 'to be an Elf' as she puts it... I can only thank the gods for her and her patience. Up until a few days ago I thought I knew everything there was to know about the land and it's forests."

As Pela spoke about the climb and what their day would entail he nodded in understanding and looked up the hillside. The density of the trees made even his Elven vision nearly useless and he spoke softly, "The land here is so daunting, and yet calls out to be explored. I have feelings that eyes are watching us, yet I can't see a thing. The very dirt seems to whisper an invitation but the shadows loom with such a heavy warning to those who might try and enter... it's fascinating and frightening all at the same time." He turned and looked back at Pela, "How soon before you suspect we will encounter Netherman?"

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:22 pm


Pela shrugged slightly

”They know we are here. They knew the moment we stepped onto their lands. It is up to them when we will see them. And we will. Until we do, we have to move carefully. They may be large, but they are more agile than one gives them credit for. After all, look at the place they decide to call home. It is a harsh and dangerous place. One we will have trouble navigating yet they walk it every day and are able to hide in plain sight. Bad Rock called it a gift from the Gods. While most Nethermen are not overly devoted to deities, they did tend to agree with him on that level.”

Pela looked around then back to Olwa and smiled.

”We will just have to be ready when they finally let themselves be known. They will be hostile and try to kill us right away. It is just how they are. They do not take kindly to having trespassers on their land. And we are definitely trespassing right now.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:30 pm


Olwa found little comfort in her words, and glanced again into the forests, searching for the pinkish hues that all Elves could see around living creatures. There was nothing but darkness in these trees and he found himself wondering when Branch would be back. It wasn't that he felt he needed her protection, just more that there was strength in numbers and though three was not much more than two, it was at least more.

He looked over at Pela and spoke softly, "I am going to start breaking camp, whatever Branch returns with we can cook over these coals before we snuff them, but I at least want to be ready to move when she arrives. Suddenly I am not feeling quite so safe."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:50 pm


Pela nodded in agreement. It was better to be safe and prepared to move than be caught unawares. Folding up the bed rolls, she walked them over to the horses and tied it behind the saddles while Olwa went about breaking down the rest of the camp. She was just getting ready to walk over to join Olwa when a sharp pain hit her so suddenly in the back of the head, she crumpled like a rag doll to the ground, the horses whining as a threat appeared in their company.

What happened next was nothing more than synchronized ambushing. For creatures that were so large, they were as silent as church mice and as efficient as any well trained contingent of soldiers. While they knew the Elf would hear them at the last minute when they made their move, they had to disable the sorceress before she had a chance to unleash her powers upon them.

When Olwa turned to see what happened to Pela when he heard her fall, he heard the sound of bodies moving and found himself surrounded by a group of six Nethermen. All of them had vicious looking weapons that ranged from very large battle axes to clubs with nasty spikes jutting out of them. All of them sported some shriveled up body part of an enemy they had killed and all of them had necklaces made out of the teeth from elves and humans.

When Olwa made a move for any of his weapons, the Netherman that stood next to Pela’s prone form lifted his large foot and placed it over her body. He spoke in a gruff, deep voice that was in broken common but clearly understood.

”Squash like a bug if you make more moves. Yes?”

It was obvious he was the leader of this band of Nethermen for his decorations were much more elaborate than the others and he had a few more scars than the others as well. And it was obvious he was enjoying this show of power over Olwa by holding Pela's life in his hands....or...foot as the case may be.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Jul 30, 2012 2:00 pm


Pela turned the instant he heard the sound, it was a sound he had heard before and knew it well. As he saw Pela crumple into her own footprints and the almost instant appearance of a trickle of blood in her snow white hair he was about to move when the six large bodies appeared around him. He was pondering all the scenarios, his mind raced thanks to Myth's training, calculating all the possible moves he could make. In mere seconds he had made a decision and as he twitched to act on it the single thing that could have stopped him did stop him, the threat on Pela's life.

She was out cold and completely at the creatures mercy. He stopped and his shoulders dropped as he gave in, surrender was the only viable option in this situation, nine Netherman against him was no contest, and Pela would be dead before he got three steps to his weapons anyway. The six Netherman around Olwa all laughed as his body language indicated his surrender and the one directly behind him put his foot in the Elf's back and pushed him to the ground. He was able to break his fall so as to not be harmed, and his hands were bound tightly behind his back. As he was roughly brought to his feet the leader of the pack was holding his swords and bow, "Make good daggers for me now yes?" He tucked the short swords in his belt and they did in fact look more like daggers against his large body. Looking at the bow he glanced to Olwa and gruffed, "How you kill anything with such small weapons is stupid..." He grabbed both ends of the bow and pushed them together, right before the tips were about to touch the limbs snapped just above the handle and he tossed the now useless weapon onto the ground as the group laughed.

"One of the Netherman in the party spoke, "What of the horses Glug'lug?"

Glug'lug looked at the three animals and spoke, "Put her on one so we don't have to carry... then we will feast on them this evening to celebrate her homecoming."

They laughed and did as they were bid, and began heading back to their village.


Branch was on her way back with four rabbits when she heard the commotion and stayed high in the trees. Though her vision was obscured she watched in horror as the Netherman treated her friends so roughly. She had an arrow noc'd and drawn, the bow string was tight and begged to be released as she sighted down the shaft, should she release the lead Netherman would have been pierced through the eye and dead before he hit the ground, however she knew that Pela and Olwa would be killed on principle within seconds. Though she kept the string drawn and the arrow sighted on the leader, she held her hand and decided she would only shoot if they killed one of her companions.

She listened to their broken common and was able to make out enough to understand their intentions. As they left she swooped in behind them and picked up Olwa's quiver of arrows before establishing a path to follow them. For such large creatures they made no footprints to follow, however Olwa was managing to drag his toes ever so slightly, just enough to give her a trail to follow.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Jul 30, 2012 3:29 pm

The trip to the village wasn’t as short as one would think it to be. And it was just as treacherous as Pela had said it would be. The horses would have been killed if not for the prospect of a good meal from them when the ‘celebration’ took place for several times their hooves slipped and they almost slipped to their deaths. Had it not been for the sheer strength of the Nethermen making sure they kept on the trails, the horses would have fallen to their deaths.

As they walked through the trees, the Nethermen would talk among themselves in their strange language and often those in front of Olwa would turn to look at him then smirk or laugh and say something to the other Nethermen. There was no doubt who they were talking about and Olwa could only imagine what they were saying.

As Pela limp body dangled over the saddle of the horse she had ridden since the day she got her, the leader of the group would poke her roughly from time to time and on occasion he would grab her by the hair and lift her face up to see if she was still alive and breathing. The blood from the blow to her head caused a large patch of her white hair to turn red and several drops fell to the forest floor. Still, she didn’t bother to stir and whenever Olwa tried to communicate with her using his mind it was as though he met a huge, blank wall.

Finally, as the sun was just starting to make the second half of the days trip, they slowed their pace slightly. Some sort of signal blared out through the thick canopy of trees. No doubt they had reached the outskirts of the village they were making the journey to. The trees began to thin out slightly and there was evidence of the Nethermen having walked over the area many, many times.

Finally they were greeted by their fellow clansmen and there was no doubt they were proud of the gifts the group brought back with them. Several war hoops went up, weapons rattled and chests were pounded upon when the group finally reached the village center. It wasn’t much different from a human village only there was a lot more space to it for obvious reasons.

Pela was still slung over the horses saddle looking as limp as she ever did when a large form came lumbering towards the group’s leader followed closely by another large form. Several words were exchanged and Olwa could tell by the look on their large faces the news that Pela had returned was met with mixed emotions, if you could say Nethermen had emotions. The one, who was clearly the Chieftain, seemed to congratulate Glug’lug while the other one seemed to be a bit troubled by the news.

Finally Glug’lug pointed towards Olwa and said something that made the others laugh. As the Chieftain’s eyes pinned the elf to the spot, the large figure walked over to the small elf and looked down at him, scratching his large chin.

”Glug’lug say you Pela lover. Too bad you no get any more chance to love on her. We make sure that tonite. Yes?”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Tue Jul 31, 2012 1:28 pm



Piramay drew in a deep breath taking in the scent of the sea air. While she was not entirely fond of the sea she had to admit that there was a certain appealing scent at times. At least until the wind shifted bringing the scent of fresh caught fish from the docks. In the latter case her nose wrinkled and she picked up her pace to get to her destination. She was in some non descript little port town on the southern edge of Solomnia.

Hood drawn and staff in hand people gave her wary looks but their gaze never lingered more than a moment before passing. Wizards while not common did frequent this particular port of call. The local apothecary was one of few that never asked questions and thus was popular to wizards studying less... savory practices. Stepping off the main road of the town Piramay stepped onto a worn path that led into the woods. Several hundred paces in set into the trees was a modest size cottage. Strange aromas filled the air and a strangly colored smoke flowed from the chimney.

Stepping up to the door Piramay red the markings on the surface. She lifted her free hand touching three symbols with her spread fingers and tapped her staff upon a stone to the right of her foot. The markings of the door vanished after several moments and the door opened allowing her to enter.
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:31 pm


Rayann had been working alongside her husband since the destruction brought on by Piramay had taken place. It was a long and arduous process and there was still a great deal more that needed to be done. On top of that, Ceridwyn was still as unresponsive as she had been when things crashed down all around them. And Aeolis spent every spare moment he could to try and will his own life force to somehow seep into his brides body to no avail. When he wasn’t with Ceri he was trying his best to work with his fellow brethren to clear the rubble and start rebuilding the city once more. To make things even more harrowing was to know Pela and Olwa had spirited off and Ky’ly was in pursuit now.

Madness. Sheer madnees. Would it never end?

Rayann knew that question was answered before it was done being asked. It would never end as long as Piramay lived and Kali was relentless in making sure the fire wizard was destroyed. Not to mention her own pursuit of power. Rayann shook her head as she realized the different transformations her daughter had gone through in the past two years. It made her head spin.

And then there was Shaer. Her son. Kali’s brother. Myth’s first born son. The child was growing so quickly and as he toddled around chasing his mother, father or grandparents, he babbled on tirelessly. It had become so constant that when he slept, the halls of the palace seemed to grow eerily silent when he wasn’t making any noise. And some of those noises were forming into words. His most used word, to Myth’s delight, was Dada. And why shouldn’t it be? There was no doubt Myth’s son idolized him already. The toddlers eyes lit up like the brightest stars when his father appeared. And if Myth wasn’t close enough to Shaer, the child purposely started making his way to his father so he WOULD be close by.

As the mid day chimes sounded once more throughout the city of Elves, Rayann paused and took a deep breath. Already she could hear her son as he made his way through the paths with his ever constant twin guards. Rayann had never been so glad for the twins as she was right now. And she never thought they would take their duties to her son so devotionally. There was no doubt they had grown rather fond of the child, even though he was not a pure elf, and had come to love him as though he were a younger brother of their own.

When Shaer caught sight of his mother he took off at a dead run and Rayann gladly leaned down to swoop him into her arms, hugging him tight and kissing his cheek. She was rewarded with his small arms circling her neck and squeezing as hard as he could then leaning back and kissing her cheek before babbling about again. She saw him grow excited as he began to wiggle about in her arms and she knew, without turning, who had caught her sons eyes. Leaning down and releasing the child, she turned as Shaer brushed by her and ran as fast as he could to his father, arms wide open, eyes bright and laughing happily to see his ‘Dada’.

As Myth scooped up his son and smiled brightly at the toddler, Rayann couldn’t help but share the smile. In all the destruction around them Shaer could always make them forget, even if for a few mere moments, and make them smile as though nothing at all had ever happened. When Myth walked over to join her, she closed her eyes as he leaned in and kissed her forehead, Shaer following suit. Laughing softly, she tussled her son’s reddish hair then looked up into Myth’s eyes. His green orbs twinkled slightly but she could see the concern just beneath their emerald surface.

”I believe your son is telling you it is time for the midday meal, Mela en' coiamin. We should not disappoint him. Besides, I believe your mother has everything ready for us.””
When she glanced back at the twins, ever present but discreetly distant, she saw one of them nod letting her know she was right. Looking back at Myth, she smiled softly.

”Shall we?”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 10:59 am


From beside the Seat of the Chief a large figure stood and walked towards the party which had brought Pela and Olwa to the village. He was decorated around the neck with a necklace which was brightly colored and though Olwa wasn’t sure what it meant he was certain based on the position the Netherman had stood from and the fact that very few other Netherman wore something so colorful that it must have been a symbol of prominence.

The massive figure walked over and placed a finger under Olwa’s chin and lifted his head to look into the young Elf’s eyes. He scanned the face of their captive and then turned to look at Pela’s limp form hung over the saddle of the horse. He looked at at Rock’Crunch, the Chief of their clan and spoke, “This one has strength in his eyes.”


Rock’Crunch turned from Pela and walked over to look. He roughly grabbed Olwa by the hair and lifted his eyes to his own, “He’s no more strength in his eyes than you or your brother Gore’Rock. Have the horses prepared for this evening.”

He turned to Glug’lug as he continued to hold onto Olwa, “Take that one and this one to the stake, bind them back to back.”

Glug’lug smiled a foul expression of satisfaction and grabbed Pela from the horses back, walked over to Olwa and grabbed him as well. Carrying both of them to a large, rough pole in the center of the area where the massive wooden chair that Olwa assumed was the “Seat of the Chief”. Around the pole were bones and the wood was stained with blood. Olwa knew that whatever this pole signified was bad news for them and inhaled deeply as he was roughly put on the ground and tied with his back to the pole. Right behind him Pela was propped up and her hands were tied to his own, with her back to the pole as well.

Glug’lug stepped back and looked Olwa in the eyes as he smiled a sinister grin again, “The pretty Elf is about to see Netherman hospitality yes?”

He laughed a rolling belly laugh and turned, walking away. The area began to fill with Netherman and Netherwomen who were gathering to get a look at the captives. Word was spreading quickly that Bad’Rock’s pet was back and many were curious to see if the rumors were true.

Gore’Rock had lead the three horses to the slaughter house and the three animals were killed and butchered. Several massive fires had been lit in the village center around the stake and the massive carcasses were hung from spits and roasted. As twilight came horns and bells began to sound calling the clan, a celebration was beginning that Olwa could not help but relate to… even Barbarians needed to recognize their victories.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:16 pm




As Olwa sat and watched the Nethermen and Netherwomen arriving, he would see there was definitely a pecking order that was adhered to, sometimes cruelly. If one of a lesser rank tried to go before those of higher ranks, they were beaten until they took their proper place and it didn’t matter if they were male or female. All in all, though, the Nethermen of this clan seemed to mind themselves and only those who forgot where they were and who they were around got the fist to the head.

Pela’s limp head rested back on Olwa’s left shoulder. He could tell by her steady breathing that she was still alive but she was still knocked out and most likely would be for some time. The blow to her head was quite vicious. And Branch was nowhere in sight. So basically, he was alone.

The clan feasted on the horses and once they were done eating they would walk around the captives, looking at them, saying something to their fellow clans members and laughing before nudging Olwa’s foot or reaching out to touch Pela. Some of the nudges to Olwa were outright kicks and some of the touches to Pela were none too gentle but the overall theme seemed to be not to hurt them too badly.

Yet.

Finally Rock’Crunch walked over to Olwa and Pela and squatted before them. His massive form was, if nothing else, intimidating. There were some similarities to him and Bad Rock but only in stature and over all bulk. Other than that, they were completely different. Rock’Crunch had a sneer about him at all times where Bad Rock seemed more thoughtful. And there was no doubt Bad Rock was more intelligent than Rock’Crunch. That look that usually could be found in Bad Rocks dark eyes was difficult to find in the mammoth before him now.

”You mounts make good meal for clan. For that, we no kill you yet. Besides….we want see pet’s look in eyes when she finally wake up.”

Gore’Rock had walked over to stand slightly off to the right as Rock’Crunch talked to Olwa. His dark eyes, which were full of intelligence, was more interested in Pela than Olwa. In fact, it almost seemed as if he was concerned with her well being as opposed to the rest of the clan who only seemed interested in wanting to see her skewered on a large pike.

Finally Rock’Crunch looked over at Gore’Rock and grunted, switching to his native language

”You look at her the same way your brother did. I should just kill her now and get it over with.”


Gore’Rock took on a look of indifference and looked over at Rock’Crunch. Gore’Rock was not as large as Rock’Crunch. In fact, he was rather small compared to many of the Nethermen and some of the Netherwomen. He shrugged his large shoulders and reached out to lift Pela’s limp leg and let it drop like a rag dolls.

”And where would the sport be in killing her now? She is defenseless. Besides, the others want to see you kill her the way you wanted to kill my brother before he left with her.”

Rock’Crunch seemed to contemplate this for a moment then he laughed a deep, bellow and spalled Gore’Rock on the shoulder.

”Then we shouldn’t disappoint the clan.”

Rock’Crunch stood up then and turned to address the clan. Raising his arms high and giving out a war hoop, the rest of the clan members quieted so he could speak. As the Chieftan spoke to the clan, Gore’Rock looked over at Olwa for a long moment, studying the elf intently. He glanced back at Pela then turned to listen to what Rock’Crunch had to say.

”My fellow clansmen it seems Bad Rock’s pet has returned. And she was kind enough to bring a hearty meal with her!”

Cheers celebration rose up again for a moment then quieted when the massive arms were raised for silence once again.

”She also brought slaves with her. Slaves we could use for trade or keep for ourselves. If we keep them for ourselves, we can eat them when we tire of them. If we trade them, they will bring us a heavy coffer. After all, it isn’t every day we are given the opportunity to trade for Elves.”

More cheering and noise erupted then quieted once again.

”As you can see, Bad Rock’s pet is not invincible as we were led to believe. She is just as weak as any other human….or elf. Thanks to Glug’lug for proving that to us. And since we know she can be hurt,….and that she bleeds…it means she can be killed!”

This brought a huge round of cheering and celebration that Rock’Crunch let go on for a little longer. When he raised his hands for quiet, it took a few more moments for the clan to settle.

”We will wait for her to awaken, after all, it would be unfair for me to kill her without giving her to chance to defend herself. Not to mention let you all miss out on the opportunity to feast on her flesh. So….we will wait for her to awaken and let her see that she is helpless as we tell her what we are going to do to her lover and the little wild one that thinks she is hidden from us.”

Rock’Crunch looked around then letting Branch know they were well aware she was out there somewhere. They may not know exactly where right now, but each hour that passed made the odds more in the Nethermen’s favor. Or so at least Rock’Crunch thought so anyway.

Turning to face Olwa, Rock’Crunch had a sneer on his face that spoke volumes of how he felt right now. Holding the upper hand was what he was used to…and showing he held it was something he enjoyed even more. With a gesture of his hand as he turned back to the clan and another war hoop from his lips, the celebration began again.

Gore’Rock stayed where he was as he watched the celebration begin again. As the clan began to celebrate Nethermen style, Gore ‘Rock turned to look at Olwa over his shoulder and spoke in common, keeping his voice low.

”I know you can hear me, elf. Wake her. Do whatever you need to do to wake her. It is the only way she will have the ability to defend herself. She will have to remember how the clan works if she is to survive.”

Movement caught Gore’Rock’s attention and he turned his head to see Glug’lug walking towards him looking suspicious. One more urgent message before he walked forward to meet the Netherman that attacked Pela.

”Be quick about it”

Glug’lug looked past Gore’Rock at Olwa as he spoke in their native language.

”Why are you hanging back here with the prisoners? The celebration is really getting going….and my sister is wondering where you are.”

Gore’Rock laughed and clapped Glug’lug on the shoulder as he guided his fellow clansman away fro Olwa and Pela.

”Then let’s find her so I don’t keep her waiting any longer.”

Glug’lug glanced back at the prisoners one last time then turned to look at Gore’Rock and laughed heartily as he walked away.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 1:31 pm


Olwa listened and watched, never in his life had he been as scared as he was right now. All his training, his time spent in learning how to deal with those outside his realm, not a single moment of it was coming back to him, he was simply scared to death and could do nothing more than pray that the gods find some way in their wills to spare him and Pela this. What on Krynn was he thinking coming here? Why did he think this was such a good idea when Pela proposed it? He knew she was capable of taking care of herself and he knew this was where she was from, but as the Netherman paced around him, as the Chief mocked him and tortured him with words, as he scanned the crowd that was only held back by the fear of their Chief’s reaction should they steal the pleasure of harming them himself, Olwa was truly out of ideas on how to respond.

He listened to Gore’Rock and was uncertain why this one was so interested, and he was even more perplexed why he seemed to be helping him by giving words of any kind about getting Pela awake. As the two walked away laughing and he was now no longer the center of their attention he turned his head ever so slightly and allowed his head to brush the top of Pela’s which was still resting on his shoulder. He moved his hand as best he could and pressed his palm into her own and inhaled deeply as he fought the pain of twisting his wrist in the rough rope and the places of impact from the mistreatment by the Netherman. He calmed his nerves, he pressed away the location and the sounds of celebration. Closing his eyes the glow of the fires faded and he whispered spidery words of magic. As a Ranger he knew little magic, but what he knew was for survival and being an Elf he could naturally tap into the river of magic that flowed over the whole of Krynn. He had no spells that could cause damage or set objects on fire, nothing that would create grand illusions or crush his opponents, but he, like all Rangers, knew how to use magic to heal, and though it was a huge risk, though it hurt him to his bones, he pressed his palm into Pela’s and the words caused a jolt of life to erupt from his palm into hers.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 2:35 pm






An audible gasp erupted from Pela’s lips as her head lifted quickly from Olwa’s shoulder and her hand closed around his. Instantly he would feel the cold return to her touch telling him she was at least conscious enough to know she was in danger. She was disoriented but at least she understood she had to use caution instead of lashing out unknowingly.

Her eyes were unfocused for a few seconds but as she blinked the clearer they became. And she could feel the magic coursing through her body letting her know something or someone had aided her. Craning her neck around she could see Olwa’s blnd hair and she caught a glimpse of the look in his eyes. He was nothing short of terrified.

But why?

Finally the sound of the celebration reached her ears and she looked over groggily as she saw the large bodies dancing around a huge fire. As she let her gaze move about the place she saw what was left of the horses on the spit and knew where they were. Or at least had a good idea. Only….she didn’t know what clan.

Until she caught a glimpse of some of the members and saw the brands they sported on different parts of their bodies. She knew it well and for good reason. It was similar to the brand Bad Rock had given her just before they left the village when he set out to protect her.

She leaned her head back and whispered softly to Olwa, squeezing his hand reassuringly.

”Say not a word. No matter what you hear or see. I promise I will do all I can to protect you from them.”

She held his gaze for a moment before she nodded and then took in a deep breath. The next thing Olwa heard was the sound of Pela’s voice rising high above the noise of the celebration and whatever it was she said, the whole clan suddenly stopped and snapped their eyes over towards her as though they were seeing a ghost.

”CRAG UL MASHOOSH!”

No one moved for a moment then finally a large form came lumbering out of the crowd and walked towards the prisoners. The rest of the clan moved a little slower behind the lone figure and kept their distance as they mumbled softly amongst themselves.

Rock’Crunch squatted before Pela and furrowed his brows. Obviously he wasn’t expecting her to awaken just yet and it clearly showed by the look on his face. He spoke in the Netherman language to Pela.

”Well. You are awake. And here I thought you would stay out for another day at least. After all, Glug’lug hit you pretty hard.”

Pela’s ice blue eyes were as cold as they ever were as she looked at Rock’Crunch and glanced towards Glug’lug before looking back at Rock’Crunch.

”Just goes to show you don’t know me any better than when I left here with Bad Rock, Oaf’Lug.”

Rock’Crunch grew angry quickly and he slammed his fist into the ground near Pela an Olwa.

”I AM NOT THAT NAME ANYMORE! My name is Rock’Crunch! But you will call me Chieftain!”

Pela didn’t flinch when the large, heavy fist was slammed into the ground near her but when she heard what the Netherman said, she blinked. Glancing around, she didn’t see Bad Rock’s brothers anywhere and she drew the obvious conclusion.

”You killed Bull’Rock and Gore’Rock? How? You were never the strongest or the smartest so something else had to happen.”

Rock’Crunch stood up to his full height then and thumped his chest with his left fist.

”I am the STRONGEST and I won fair and square. Ask Gore’Rock yourself. I did not kill him.”

Movement caught her eye and she saw Gore’Rock move to stand just behind Rock’Crunch slightly to the left. Pela looked at Gore’Rock then back to Rock’Crunch. She weighed her options very carefully now. Finally she spoke and her words brooked no argument, even though she knew she would get one. A big one.

”Untie me now. As a member of this clan, it is against the law to treat a clansman as an intruder when I have every right to be here as much as the next clans member.”

This caused a huge stir in the clan and the mumbles grew louder. Rock’Crunch looked over his shoulder for a moment then held his hand up for silence and it was given quickly.

”You are no member of this clan. You were Bad Rock’s pet and nothing more.”

Grunts and words of agreement rumbled through the clan and Pela scanned the crowd. Finally she saw what she was looking for. Nodding her head towards Glug’lug, she called to him.

”Glug’lug…..use one of the weapons you took from the elf to cut open the legging on my right.”

Glug’lug blinked then looked at Rock’Crunch. With the chieftain’s nod, he walked forward and drew one of Olwa’s short swords and marched towards Pela. He knelt down between her and Olwa and withdrew the sword. She felt Olwa flinch and she squeezed his hand reassuringly again to let him know it was OK. As Glug’lug reached forward to grab Pela’s leg, she pulled her leg back quickly and gave him a frigid look.

[o]”Make sure it’s only the leather of the legging and not my flesh you cut or you will pay.”[/i]

For a moment there was sheer terror in the Netherman’s eyes but he blinked it away, snatched her leg and carefully but gruffly cut a slit into her legging then grabbed it and ripped it open exposing her entire right thigh. Rock’Crunch gestured and a torch was handed to him. As he grew closer and leaned down the evidence was there for everyone to see. Glug’lug blinked and Gore’Rock jad walked up to inspect it for himself as well. As soon as the proof was seen, Gore’Rock turned and announced it to the crowd.

”She speaks the truth. Bad’Rock branded her with his brand. She is a member of the clan according to clan law.”

Rock’Crunch was seething now. He had no choice but to untie her. He glared at Pela then gestured to Glug’lug.

”Untie her but make sure the elf stays put.”

Glug’lug hesitated a moment then did as his chieftain ordered. Untying the ropes that held Pela’s hands tight, he double checked Olwa’s hen stepped back giving the human a wide girth. Pela let out a soft gasp and slowly brought her arms around and gently rubbed her wrists. Slowly moving to regain movement in her limbs, the whole clan moved back a few steps. She rolled slowly and looked at Olwa and spoke softly to him in the best elven she had.

”No worry, Olwa”

Rock’Gore moved forward to grab a hold of her and when he grabbed a hold of her arm, she spun around and wrenched it from his large hand.

”Do not touch me. Or have you forgotten what that will get you?”

She stood up too fast and she could feel the world spinning. Clamping down on her jaw, she forced herself to steady and closed her eyes for a moment to gather her center. When she opened her eyes, she saw the sneer Rock’Crunch had on his face.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:02 pm


Rock’Crunch narrowed his eyes as he sneered at her. Bad’Rock was clever enough to brand her in the clan, there was nothing he could do about that, however he could see that she was still groggy from the knock her head, a knock that had occurred half a day ago. She might be part of the clan but she was still the weakest. Of course he knew of her ability to make things cold, but he also knew she could not outright attack him, or any clan member for that matter. The laws of the clan forbade attacking their own without a formal challenge and even then there were rules for engagement. He was still in control of this situation and they both knew it.

Standing again to his full height Pela would be able to see that he was indeed MUCH larger than when she had left. He had scars and tattoos all over body now that were worn as all Netherman wore them, badges of honor and accomplishment, he was now a fully seasoned warrior of the clan, if it wasn’t obvious enough by the fact that he had beaten Bull’Rock to become clan Chief.

He paced deliberately to get one of the fires behind him and obscure Pela’s vision, all in an attempt to give himself the biggest advantage in this situation. He was just about to say something when cheers erupted from his left near the main gates. He turned to look four Netherman Scouts were approaching, two of which were carrying a limp form tied to a tree limb that rested on their shoulders. The limp body dangled lifelessly bound by the ankles and the hands. Quickly the clan moved to get a look and Rock’Crunch glanced back at Pela who suddenly had a pale look of dread on her face as she stared at the scouting party. Rock’Crunch sneered at her and spoke in his native language, knowing she would understand, “Looks like your other friend has arrived.”

He moved quickly and went to greet the party, but suddenly his face was confused and he spoke, “There were ten of you, why are there only four returning?”

The leader of the group looked up and there was a massive gash that went from above his right eyebrow and came down across his lips, over his collar bone, into his pectoral area and then ended only when the blade had clearly crossed his rib cage. The gash wasn’t deep but there was no question it was precise and had been made with a very sharp blade, “Chieftain, we found the Elderwild, she was fifty stone throws outside the wall, we engaged her and…”

He reached into a leather bag on his belt and placed six Netherman hearts at the Chieftan’s feet. Pela would immediately recognize this as the traditional way dead warriors were presented in honor to their leader before the hearts were burned. Netherman believed that all emotions and actions came from the heart, it was the only part of a Netherman’s body which was presented at death and then it was burned so their spirits could be transported by the smoke to the next world. Rock’Crunch looked down at the hearts at his feet and his brow furrowed in anger as he looked at Branch, “You present me the hearts to honor warriors that died to a puppy?”

He stepped forward and ground the six hearts under his massive foot and roared in anger, “THEY WILL WANDER IN ETERNITY IN SHAME!”

He looked at the two carrying the body and spoke, “IS SHE ALIVE?”

The two nodded and he roared, “Tie her to the stake with her kin!”

He turned and looked at Pela, his eyes were full of rage, “The laws of the clan permit you to stay, but as the Chief I assign you your duties, and I think what would suit you best is to head to the troughs and shovel pig shit! NOW GO!

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:18 pm





Pela’s heart leapt to her throat when she saw the limp form of Branch tied to the limb the four warriors carried. She quickly glanced at Olwa and shook her head ever so slightly then let her attention return to the Nethermen. She watched the exchange between Rock’Crunch and the four carefully. She could see Branch put up quite the fight but in the end, the sheer strength of the Nethermen won the battle.

But not the war.

And when she saw what he did to the hearts that were presented to him, her eyes widened and she let another audible gasp slip from her lips. But her gasp was shared with others from the clan. Especially the mates of the fallen warriors. She saw the look of sheer horror on their faces and knew they were distraught over what Rock’Crunch had just done.

When Rock’Crunch ordered her to the troughs to shovel pig mess, she curled her fingers into her hand and made tight fists to control her anger. Not only had Rock’Crunch just desecrated those of his clan in his own anger, but he had caused undo grief on those the warriors left behind. She couldn’t stand by and idly let this happen.

”No.”

Her one word was so soft she saw how Rock’Crunch didn’t think he heard her correctly. As the rest of the clan looked on and gasped at her blatant disobedience, a tense hush fell across the clan. With everything silent, her one word seemed to echo throughout the village and trees beyond.

”No.”

Gore’Rock was as surprised as the rest of the clan as Pela spoke the word. Still he didn’t make a move to intervene in any way. At least, not yet. He would watch this situation very carefully. No doubt it was going to get volatile in a matter of moments but until that time, he would make sure no one tried to intervene on any ones behalf.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 3:44 pm


Rock’Crunch stopped in his tracks as he was walking away at her word. He turned slowly to look at her and cocked an eyebrow. She repeated it again, ‘no’, and he stood motionless for a moment. There was a look on his face which was tranquil and quiet, the exact opposite of the rage that many expected. He calmly cleared his throat and leaned forward speaking softly to Pela, “I’m sorry… what?”

Pela looked at him and spoke again in Netherese, “no”.

He nodded softly and looked around at the clan, the air was so tense it could be cut with an axe and Rock’Crunch spoke to the assembled, “It appears that the pet is still an outsider, even though Bad’Rock placed a mark on her flesh. She is human, she is not Netherman, no goblin blood run in her veins, No Irda strength boils in her heart, no Ogre fury flames in her chest and gives her cause to see that the needs of the clan come first. I AM NETHERMAN! I AM HARSH, BUT I AM NETHERMAN! I WAS RAISED AMONG YOU, I CAME FROM THE SONS OF THE SONS, BORN OF THE MOTHERS OF THE MOTHERS! I CLAIMED MY PLACES BY MEANS OF THE TRADITIONS AND THE WAY OF OUR ANCESTORS!”

He stopped and the looks on the faces of the clan were clearly supporting him, despite his not honoring the six that died to Branches attacks. He turned and looked at Pela, his face was calm and deliberate in it’s focus, “This one however, she is only a quarter of what makes us what we are, yes, we all have some human blood in us, but it is the weakest part, the small part, the part that we have buried so that we could survive among the humans who shun us and cast us to these wilds. So be it I say, our strength to adapt and survive has elevated us to be greater than they.”

The clan hooted and banged their chests and he turned again to look at Pela, “But as since you have the mark of this clan, you have no choice but to follow the Chieftain, as per the laws of the seven written in the scrolls of the ancients.” He stepped a little closer and his face was as calm as she had yet seen it, “However, I suppose that since you have been gone so long it serves to reason that a reminder of our ways might in fact be necessary, defiance of the Chieftain is punishable by whatever means the Chieftain sees fit…” His hand came up and across her cheek with a loud crack. He had held back because he did not want to kill her, but the cracking sound echoed off the spiked walls of the village and rose to the stars as Pela flew back and landed with a thud on her back, knocking all the wind from her lungs.

“TAKE HER TO THE STABLES AND SEE HOW SHE LIKES BEING TIED TO THE FLOOR WHERE THE PIGS ROOT!”

Several guards immediately grabbed her and lifted her to her feet, intent on carrying out Rock’Crunches orders.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:30 pm


How quickly one is reminded of their place. Pela was no exception. Her head was still reeling from the blow she got from Glug’lug and now, it felt the impact from the slap to her face from Rock’Crunch. The pain was so bad she felt like she was going to vomit. How she kept herself from doing just that would be a mystery that would forever be hers to solve.

As she felt the guards roughly grab her and haul her to her feet, she struggled to no avail. She had refrained from using her magical abilities thus far because of the fact the clan would distrust her even more than they already did but she wasn’t going to let them treat her like this.

A sudden cold that actually hurt the guards hands caused them to release her instantly and they all stood back away from her a few feet. The sudden release caused her to stumble forward and fall to the ground. Her hands and knees burned from the scrapes they now sported from catching herself. Her head remained bowed for a long moment as she once more gathered her center. When she started moving again a couple of the guards approached and she yelled at them.

”Do not touch me. I shall get to my own feet without your help.”

Weakness was a death sentence to the Nethermen and she wasn’t going to show anymore. Forcing herself to her feet, she wobbled for a moment then glanced back at Olwa and now the unconscious Branch. Again she spoke to him in broken Elven.

”No worries….all ok. Promise.”



Gore’Rock stepped forward then and like Rock’Crunch he slapped her other cheek sending her sprawling once more.

”Quiet.”

The unmistakable metallic taste of blood filled Pela’s mouth and she grit her teeth before spitting some of it out onto the ground. Pela slowly got to her feet and swayed slightly before she half walked and half stumbled her way towards the pig troughs. Guards surrounded her on all sides to prevent her from escaping but they were still very leery of her and her abilities. Especially since they felt it.

But they were all thinking the same thing: Why hadn’t she used her powers to try and kill Rock’Crunch and the rest of them?

The offensive odor of the pigs hit her like a ton of rocks and she felt the urge to wretch once more, Forcing herself to hold it back, she glared at her guards. None of them moved until finally Gore’Rock stepped forward and shoved her further into the area. Her feet sloshed into the thick, putrid mud like manure. The pigs squealed and grunted at the intruder that was now in their midst’s and Pela felt her head swimming.

The next thing she knew her wrists were being tied to a rough rope then she was being pushed down. The cold, thick, nasty smelling contents of the liquefied ground came up to her waist as her hands were tied over her head. Gore’Rock double checked his work on the rope then whispered softly to her. Pela was on the verge of going out again and wasn’t quite sure she was hearing him correctly when he spoke to her.

”Now is not the time. But it will be soon.”

Pela gave him a puzzling look just before total blackness overcame her.


Gore’Rock walked back to the area where Rock’Crunch and the rest of the clan still stood. He could see that the Chieftain was glaring at the Elves contemplating on what to do with them. While he’s said he would most likely trade them Gore’Rock knew Rock’Crunch could just as easily change his mind. He looked at the Elves then looked at Rock’Crunch

”The hour grows late. Let us retire for the night and figure out what to do with them in the morning, Chieftain.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 11:55 am



Rock'Crunch looked at Gore'Rock and narrowed his gaze slightly as he pondered the small Netherman's words. There was no secret that he was alive only because Rock'Crunch didn't see him as a threat, however that didn't mean there was trust. Looking over at the two Elves tied to the stake Rock'Crunch stood silent and still for a long while before finally turning to the youngest brother of his greatest adversary and spoke, "Rock'Crunch agrees, we shall sleep off the mead and revist this in the morning."



Olwa watched as the two Netherman talked in their grunting type language and then left after giving him another hard glance. The Chief in particular looked at him like he was going to take great pleasure in watching him die, but for now there was nothing he could do but sit with these tight, scratchy ropes binding him to the stake and wait. When the two of them were finally gone and the village had settled down Olwa turned to look at Branch. He could see the faint, pink glow around her. Though he body was slumped over and lifeless she was in fact still alive based on this tell tale sign.

He leaned in and laid his head on her shoulder as best he could. He inhaled deeply and felt his eyes welling up and now that he was alone he began to cry. Never in his days would he have imagined that this was what meeting Pela's clan would be like. He assumed it would not be smooth and there would be conflict, but never brutal beatings and subjugation. Though as he sat alone in the dark it did make sense, the Netherman were one of the most despised species on the planet, no other race saw them as anything more than brutal, brutish barbarians that would sell any service for a few coppers. Given their lineage and the fact that they all carried ogre, irda, goblin and human blood in their veins it made sense that the variations from one to another would be amazingly different.

After an hour or so he composed himself and was able to focus again. He wiggled his wrist which had been rebound when Branch had arrived and the rope bit into his skin as he twisted and attempted to wiggled his hand loose. After a great deal of effort, and pain, he was able to slip the loop and reach over to Branch, touching her neck. There was dried blood in her hair from a blow to the head and he gingerly moved his fingers up to find the point of impact. It was swollen and bruised from what he could feel but there was no serious damage, he assumed it was done by the impact with the ground rather than the end of a club or rock. He then brought his hand down and placed it gently in Branches palm and again whispered the spidery words of magic, one of the few magic spells he knew, a magic spell that drew on the magic of the world and the grace of Mishikal. A faint blue glow burst from his palm and entered Branches.


Branch gasped as the magic entered her body and she instinctually tried to leap to her feet but the ropes griped and held tight. She let out a slight yelp as the pain hit her and she thrashed her head from side to side as she tried to orient herself. Olwa whispered, "Wisht Branch, wisht... we are in the Netherman Village."

Branch stopped and looked around at Olwa in confusion, her eyes focusing on his as they adjusted to the darkness quickly, "Olwa, Branch was waiting, outside there... Branch was going to come this evening, to help and free you..."

Suddenly she stopped and looked around, the realization hitting her like a boulder, "Where is Istar'ostring?"

Olwa inhaled deeply and gestured with his head towards the pig farm that was barely visible on the far edge of the village. Branch looked and said nothing, looking around again as Olwa reached to touch her with his hand again, "Branch, what are we going to do?"

Branch turned and looked at him and she narrowed her gaze slightly in disappointment. More and more she was showing her independence from her relationship as master/servant and she was speaking to him as an equal anymore, "Branch and Olwa are not going to loose their heads, Branch and Olwa are going to focus and remain calm."

Olwa looked at her and remained motionless, his eyes locked on her own. Turning her head again Branch could now see sharply through the darkness. She could make out the structures and the Chiefs domicile was obvious to her. She estimated that the inhabitants must have numbered in the high hundreds, maybe even into the thousands based on the high number of structures that went up the hillside to the north. On the very top was the large structure she assumed to be the Chieftains. After a long while of observation Branch turned to Olwa and spoke, "Olwa needs to slip his hand back into the ropes, and Branch and Olwa need to gets sleep."

Olwa turned and looked at her with confusion on his face, "What? Why? We need to get out of these ropes and get Pela and get out of here!"

Branch looked at Olwa and her eyes took on a slight look of anger as she whispered harshly, "Olwa needs to think! Is Istar'ostring going to leave even if Olwa goes and gets her? If we were to left here, would not these Nethermans track us down and kills us?"

She looked around again and then turned back to Olwa, "Branch and Olwa might not be understanding, but this is Istar'ostrings home! Ours journey was to end at this place, and for many purposes. There is none that could be said to make Istar'ostring leave here. The walk to get here was only the start of this journey Olwa."

Olwa inhaled deeply and felt very small. He was tired, and Branch was right, he knew Pela well enough that if they went to get her she would never leave now that they were here, not to mention they would be dead in hours if the Netherman were thrown into a rage about their leaving. He slipped his hand back into the knot and leaned back on Branch who in kind rested her head on his. She began to whisper softly in Elven, singing a song she used to sing him as a child to make him go to sleep... within minutes he was breathing slowly and resting. Branch looked over towards the pig stalls and whispered to the winds so Pela could hear, knowing that the young sorceress had learned the way of listening in this manner, "Istar'ostring... Branch is with Olwa, we are safe for nows. Though you are alones and most likely in something not pleasant, know that Branch loves you like a sister."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:06 pm


In the blackness of the night, Pela heard Branch’s words and while she never stirred or made any indication she was aware of them, Pela felt the comfort of knowing Branch had reached out to her. It would make all the difference in the world to the young sorceress.



The next morning brought more misery for the three humanoids. In the predawn hours clouds had gathered at the higher elevations and descended upon the Nethermen village now in control of Rock’Crunch and rain fell steadily from the sky soaking everything. As the village began to come to life, the inhabitants started their routines like normal. While there was celebration last night, that didn’t mean everything stopped in its tracks to allow it to go on for days.

Nethermen and Netherwomen sloshed past Branch and Olwa as they made their to gather food, wood and tend to the livestock they always kept on hand. More than one curious glance was given the Elves as they were passed but no one seemed intent on mocking them, kicking them or anything else for that matter.



It seemed like the hours crept by when finally Gore’Rock made his way past them. He glanced at them and again the resemblance to Bad Rock was incredible. Now that the light of day illuminated his features, it was almost as though a younger version of Bad Rock roamed the village. And the intelligence Olwa had seen in Bad Rock’s eyes was just as noticeable in Gore’Rock’s. A few other followed along behind Gore’Rock and when they looked over at the Elves, there was nothing but hostility and suspicion in their gazes.

A few minutes later, the whole group passed by the Elves again only this time, Pela was in the middle of them. The ones Gore’Rock took with him surrounded her and held the business end of spears towards her, giving her just enough room to move as she walked. She gave both Elves a glance but didn’t try to communicate with them and the bruises on her face showed why. Instead, she kept her head held high, her should squared and her back straight as she walked as steadily as she could to wherever it was Gore’Rock was leading her.

And it was all Pela could do to walk like that. Her legs ached from lack of movement and her arms. Gods her arms! They burned with pain from the lack of circulation and movement. She barely moved them as she walked for fear she would cry out letting her handlers know just how much pain she really was in. It was all she could do to curl her hands into fists then relax them again to try and make her arms and shoulders return to normal.

The track up the side of the hill that led to Rock’Crunch’s hut (if you could call something that large a hut) was one of the longest walks Pela was sure she had taken. The fact she smelled like the pig trough and the squishing each time she walked didn’t help either. The only thing she WAS glad for was the down pouring rain. It helped wash away some of the gunk that still clung to her after spending the night in the trough.

As she stood outside the Chieftain’s hut, Gore’Rock ordered her to sit and she shook her head slightly.

”I will stand.”

Gore’Rock sighed and reached over, forcing her to her knees to sit down. Pela resisted to the best of her abilities but she was no match for his sheer strength.

”No. You will sit.”

He pinned her with his dark, disapproving look and whatever words Pela was going to say died before they were spit out. Finally Gore’Rock cleared his throat and called out to Rock’Crunch.

”Chieftain….I have brought the pet as instructed. What do you wish done with her?”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:23 pm


Rock'Crunch walked out of the massive doorway as Gore'Rock spoke out. Coming into the light of soggy morning he looked down at her and then to the Netherman who brought her, "Go, leave me with her."

Gore'Rock bowed his head respectfully and he, along with the guards walked away leaving the Chieftain with her on the large stone steps outside his domicile. Upon observation it was obvious to Pela that the front of what once was her and Bad'Rocks home was still in tact, in fact the whole of the smaller cottage they once inhabited was still there. What was once the rear wall was opened up and the much larger 'castle' was built up all around it. It might seem odd that Rock'Crunch didn't follow the normal tradition of destroying the former Chieftains home and build a new one, in this case he left what was in tact and built anew all around it.

Rock'Crunch bent down onto one knee and looked down at Pela, even coming as low as he did his head was well above her own. He put his finger under her chin and lifted her face so she was now looking into his eyes. Netherman eyes, they were so unique and distinct, nothing could ever be read in them for they were nothing but large orbs of shiny black with the smallest white dot in the middle where the pupil was. His eyes were so shiny that Pela was reflected back on herself and she could see what a messy, filthy state she was in. Rock'Crunch stared a moment before speaking in his native tongue, a language of course that Pela understood fluently, "So little pet... have you remembered now the hierarchy in this village? Do you now know your place or does your Chieftain need to think up new ways of reminding you?"

There was no kindness in his voice, she was being spoken to as a subject, not an equal. There was no question that because she was part of the family which was defeated so he could ascend to power that she was seen as among the lowest of this clan now.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 1:36 pm


Pela stiffened when Rock’Crunch reached down and touched her chin to force her gaze to his. She grew colder to the touch but it was an automatic reaction from her body when she felt threatened than a voluntary act. Rather Rock’Crunch knew that or not was any ones guess and frankly, Pela didn’t care. It was as much a part of her as his hair covered chin was for him.

How many times had she looked into Bad Rock’s eyes like this? How many times had he spoken to her in this fashion to teach her not only the ways of the clan but of the world? So many times she couldn’t count high enough. And as she saw the way this Netherman had modified her former home caused a sense of grief and longing to slip into0 her very being. She missed Bad Rock. She missed his company. She missed his teachings. She missed his laughter. She missed her father.

She felt moisture sting the back of her eyes and she blinked several times to force it back. She would NOT cry before her clan but especially before THIS Netherman. With a subtle move she removed her chin from his finger and took a small step back away from him. The guards were smart in making sure her hands were bound behind her back before they left thus making it difficult for her to actually cast a spell that required a singular target. When she spoke, there was something in her voice that betrayed her bravado.

”I remember, Rock’Crunch.”

Her icy glare met his shiny, black orbs. She wasn’t as disobedient as she was the night before but she still held onto some defiance. That was something that had not changed since the last time he spent time around her.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:37 pm


He watched her carefully as she backed up, his hands were down at his side, at least from her angle, in reality his right hand was resting comfortably on the familiar grip of his secondary weapon, the one he wore on the small of his back, the same blade who's stroke made him Chieftain. As she said the words he looked out across the high valley that sat in the bottom four snow covered peaks. The mountain tops had snow on them year round, even at this point in middle-late summer they were white, though they were obscured at the moment by the clouds that had lifted slightly for the moment and ceased raining.

He inhaled deeply through his nostrils and squeezed the handle of his sword, even now he could take her head, claim self defense and end this whole situation. Though he was a Netherman however, he did have a code of honor when it came to the clan, and despite his distrust and dislike of Pela, she was part of the clan, and ultimately the clan law needed to prevail. She was part of the clan, marked as such by burnt flesh so it could never be removed, and ultimately he remembered that. Looking now down through the thin mist he finally spoke after the very long silence between them, his voice was gruff and deep, and sounded even more menacing because of the harshness of their native language, "You are permitted to stay, as Chieftain I will assign you to the kitchens of the Chieftain and you will report there immediately for instruction from Grub'Lug, Glug'Lug's sister is in charge of the affairs. She will see that you are assigned duties that fit your... size and stature."

He never took his eyes off the valley below, they were focused on the Elves that were tied to the stake, soaked in mud and rain water, "As for your friends, they are intruders and have violated our borders, they will be left to die tied to the stake as all intruders are. They are not to be fed or given water, any who are caught doing so will be punished by death...," he turned his massive head down now and looked directly at her, "Is that understood?"

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 2:55 pm


Pela was watching Rock’Crunch as closely as he was watching her. And she knew he was ready to strike her down with something, even if with his bare fist. It was simply the truth and she knew it well. When he ordered her to the kitchen for duty, she didn’t show any emotion and hardly any reaction. It was the same with the Elves sentence he told her.

She glanced back at Olwa and Branch for a moment. Their features were indistinguishable with the naked eye from here but she knew them well. Very well. And to think of them starving to death tied to a stake was unbearable. To see their bodies waste away and those she loved suffer such a terrible fate caused her to shudder inwardly. But outwardly she merely turned to look up at Rock’Crunch.

”Pity. They would make good slaves as they are well adapted to physical work. Both of them have strong backs. They might have made good pig trough cleaners so no one from the clan would have to do that work.”

Pela shrugged her shoulders and looked back at the Elves before she looked up at Rock’Crunch again.

”But you are Chieftain and I am sure you have already considered this.”

She paused just a moment before she spoke again.

”I would request a bath before I report for duty. I do not think you would want pig shit in your food. Would you? And I don’t suppose any of my clothes would still be anywhere in the village, would they? If not, I had a change of clothes in my pack on the horse you killed and ate. If you permit.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:13 pm


Rock'Crunch looked at her as she spoke, though he showed no outward signs her complete change of attitude and compliance after only one night in the pig stalls only made him all the more suspicious of her. Even though she was only six and a half years old when she left the village with Bad'Rock she was already incredibly clever and even at that age never did anything without intention. Her defiance last night only confirmed she was as strong willed as a burrow. Even now, they way she attempted to barter the Elves lives by presuming an alternative to his decision, he was not the most clever Netherman in the world, but he certainly was wise enough to recognize a slight of words.

"You may clean yourself and change, there is no reasons why we would have kept your clothing for nine years."

She looked at him and he spoke, "As for your friends, because that is what they are, I am sure you would like to see them as slaves... but I will need more convincing than your sudden change in attitude before I allowed something like that."

He scratched the hair under his chin and spoke, he wasn't sure why he was making this decision but he was, "I will give them the bare minimum food until I make a decision about them being our slaves..."

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Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship
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