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 Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 3:57 pm


Pela knew she had to tread very, VERY carefully right now. Rock’Crunch may have brute strength to back him up but he had some intelligence to go along with it. And right now, Pela was seeing that intelligence. And it gave her what she was looking for. Her words were curt if nothing else but they were not disrespectful. She knew better than that.

”Very well.”

There was no doubt his decision didn’t set well with her. She turned her back to him and held her hands out as best she could.

”Do you mind?”

There was a long pause before she felt the cold blade slide between her wrists and sever the rope. When she turned around to face him he still held the blade in his hands as though he were admiring it. Rubbing her wrists, Pela glared at him before she turned and headed to where she knew their things were located.

Her guards remained with her and were extra vigilant about her as she moved about the village. When she reached the area their things had been discarded to she gathered up the packs from all three horses without looking through them. There would be time for that later. Right now all she wanted was a bath and a change of clothes.

As the guards escorted her to the natural pool that formed at the bottom of small water fall where the waters from the upper elevations came close to the village, she glared at them before she disappeared behind the rocks for privacy. Kneeling at the run off section of the pool, she knelt and scrubbed her clothes and boots to rid them of the muck from the pig trough then hung them on a nearby bush. She would hang them out to dry when he weather finally broke for good. Knowing she was still being watched she carefully stripped out of her clothes and slipped into the cold water.

It was like being dipped into the rejuvenating waters of some mystical land for her. The cold water soothed her body, eased the pain in her muscles and even helped ease the thumping pain in her head. Several times she dipped below the waters surface looking like she was bathing herself. And she was. But she was also gathering something else. At the bottom of the pool were several rocks that were perfect for projectiles. When she would gather a few she would swim close to her dirty clothes and toss the rocks onto them. Of course she couldn’t spend too much time in the water so after a few short while she exited and dressed in her clean clothes. But before she dressed, she made some updates to her wardrobe.

The leggings she wore now had gaping slits in them so her brand could clearly be seen on her thigh. The sleeves that were short were cut off at the shoulders. The tunics were cut off so a large portion of her mid section was now exposed but her boots remained intact. The only change she made to them was wrapping some of the large leaves from the nearby plants to them to help preserve hem even longer so on days like today; they would be even more waterproof.

Taking material from her altered clothing, she twisted and braided pieces of them in her hair. When she emerged from the bathing pool she looked like a small, pale version of the Netherwomen that roamed about the place. Her arms clutched her things as she was led to the Chieftains kitchen. Glub’Lug sniffed at her disdainfully and showed her where she would be expected to stay. It turned out to be nothing more than a tiny closet with a dirt floor. Pela deposited her things there and turned to get orders from the Chieftain’s cook.



Gore’Rock watched the human move about the village closely. Her return was quite sudden and very unexpected. In fact, he thought for certain she died when his brother did. But here she was. Alive and well. At least for the most part, anyway. How long she remained that way time would tell. And from the looks of it, not very.

But why had she not used her powers yet? Surely she had grown in them just as she had grown in height. And from what he could see, she had matured a great deal in many ways. He couldn’t help but furrow his brows as he remembered the arguments his brothers would have over her. And the many times Bad Rock had to fight to keep her. In many ways, Gore’Rock blamed Pela for his brother’s death. Both of them.

But he wasn’t ignorant to the fact she just might be able to help him defeat Rock’Crunch. Yes. He would definitely see if he could use her to regain what was rightfully his.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Thu Aug 02, 2012 4:50 pm




Rock'Crunch made his way to the village center and came up behind Gore'Rock. He observed how the youngest of the 'Rock brothers watched her and could tell he caught him off guard as he approached, "You watch her as your brother watched her, only without the affection."

Gore'Rock glanced at Rock'Crunch with furrowed brows and responded, "No, she is nothing, merely my brothers pet."

"Dead brothers pet." Gore'Rock clearly held back his anger and Rock'Crunch smiled with satisfaction at the jab. He turned to look at the two Elves tied uncomfortably to the stake at the town center and spoke, "She pleaded for their lives, said we should make them slaves."

Gore'Rock turned and looked, nodding as he spoke, "That makes sense, they are her traveling companions. We would bargain for the lives of our clan just as she is bargaining for the lives of her friends."

Rock'Crunch looked at him almost annoyed, not at his words but at the thought he expressed, "And the humans or Elves would show us no mercy, they would kill us on the spot, why should we waver?"

Gore'Rock shrugged his shoulders as he looked at the prisoners, "We shouldn't, only that it never hurts to have more labor."

Rock'Crunch looked from Gore'Rock to the prisoners and furrowed his brow, "That is not our way, I should go crush them myself."

He seemed to be about to move and do just that when Gore'Rock spoke, "They are Silvanesti...," Rock'Crunch stopped and tottered forward slightly at the immediate stop in momentum, he turned to Gore'Rock, "So?" Gore'Rock pointed to Olwa, "That one has the mark of the Speaker on his shoulder armor. I don't know what that means, if he is royalty or not, but one bearing that mark would certainly be sought and if found to be dead by our hands... well we are only a four days ride from Silvanesti. That's close enough to surly see retaliation."

Rock'Crunch laughed and spoke, "The Clans would never allow it, they would fight like Netherman do!"

Rock'Gore looked at him and his face was reflecting the wisdom in his mind, "Consider how much the other clans hate you, would they rally to fight a common enemy, or allow our village to be razed to the ground and then claim the land by their own division to expand their territories. None of the seven clans have cooperated since a hundred years after the creation of the Greystone, why would they suddenly do so to protect a Silvanesti Prince, especially when it meant their biggest adversary was about to be destroyed without lifting a sword against you?"

Rock'Crunch furrowed his brows and spoke, "I was right not to kill you... again you show your loyalty, if only your brother would have been so smart."

Rock'Gore didn't seem too rattled by that statement, but inside he burned with hatred. His having more Irda and human blood than ogre and goblin gave him incredible intelligence for a Netherman, however it also made him much smaller and physically he was no match for one of Rock'Crunchs size. His brother Bad'Rock had been among the rare exception of Netherman, both size and intelligence, and those were typically the ones that rose to run the clans. In this case however, it was brawn, not brains that operated this village, it was the reasons that Gore'Rock was still alive.

Rock'Crunch motioned to Glug'Lug and spoke as he approached, "Take those two and dunk them in the river to wash off the smell, then shackle their legs and hands, and put them to work in the pig stalls."

Glug'Lug bowed his head and motioned for three other Netherman to join him, and carried out Rock'Crunch's orders.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 9:40 am


The days were excruciatingly long for Pela, Olwa and Branch. The outright hostility shown to all of them was nothing short of what would have been expected from a barbaric race such as Nethermen. While Pela wasn’t treated the greatest, she wasn’t treated as badly as Branch and Olwa were either. They weren’t outright beaten but they were shoved, pushed, tripped and handled roughly each time they could be.

Pela and the Elves were kept separated on purpose and she knew it. Rock’Crunch made sure they were able to get glimpses of each other from time to time and even then it was to make sure they could see the other treated unkindly. She wanted to run to the Elves and let them know it was going to be alright. Hold Olwa in her arms and comfort his terrified heart. Let Branch know she was going to lash out at Rock’Crunch when the time came but until then she would have to remain where she was doing what she was doing.

Glub’lug was as nasty as any Netherwoman could be to her. It was obvious she held no affection OR respect for Pela and more than once Pela felt her large hand slap her. Each time it was all Pela could do to hold back from lashing out at the creature. But she dared not. Rock’Crunch would know what she was capable of and he would be even more guarded around her than he already was. No. She had to wait for the time to come when she would be able to do what she needed to do.

Each night she would make her way to the bathing pool and let the frigid waters soothe her body and help rejuvenate her. And she would gather more rocks. At night she would use the crude tools the Nethermen had and create jewelry for herself made out of these rocks. Of course there were alternative reasons for doing this. The added weight allowed her to build up even more strength and stamina but, they were also going to help her when her time to fight came. And no one questioned why she was making the jewelry. After all, it was Nethermen tradition to adorn themselves with things they thought made them more appealing.

She even made a necklace for Branch and Olwa but she wasn’t permitted to give it to them. Instead, Gore’Rock did that. Of course he wasn’t all smiles and welcoming about it but when he delivered the necklaces to the Elves, he delivered the only message Pela asked him to relay and that was they were a gift from her. Hopefully they would know to keep them with them at all times and there was a reason they had been given them.

Rock’Crunch seemed perturbed by the gesture but again, since it was Nethermen tradition and Pela was part of the clan, he allowed the simple gesture. After all, Gore’Rock had made a good point when he informed the Chieftain the male would possibly bring them some hefty copper. He wanted it to seem as though they had treated the Elf with SOME kindness.

It was time for the mid day meal and Pela, as always, had to deliver the food to the Chieftain. Walking the heavy tray of freshly slaughtered meat and a pitcher of water over to where Rock’Crunch sat, she settled the tray down on the large table and then stood with her hands at her side waiting to be dismissed. She had adorned her left cheek with some colorful stripes that went from the side of her nose to her ear. The same colors Gore’Rock wore on his left cheek. Since Pela had been considered part of the ‘Rock family as Bad’Rock’s adopted daughter, she was allowed to sport the colors. To Gore’Rocks dislike.

”Your meal, Chieftain.”

Pela purposely did not call Rock’Crunch by his name. She called him Chieftain all the time as a way of letting him know she was reminding herself of her position in the clan.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:15 am


Rock’Crunch watched as Pela approached. Every day she had been carrying out her duties, and things were returning to normal in the village. As she brought his meal and set it before him he let her linger a moment before speaking, “You will never be Netherwoman, no matter how hard you try to disguise the pale flesh of your humanity it is still all you will ever be.”

She inclined her head respectfully, not saying a word and he spoke, “Go.”

Pela left and Rock’Crunch leaned forward, grabbing a hunk of raw horse meat and shredding a piece with his sharp teeth. He turned to Rock’Gore and spoke, “She wishes me to see her as an equal.”

Gore’Rock looked at Rock’Crunch and responded, “In terms of the clan, she is equal, in terms of rank she is not.”

Rock’Crunch furrowed his brows slightly as he dropped the raw meat back onto the platter and stood from his chair. He walked over to the window and watched Pela as she circled around the large domicile and down into the basement kitchen. In the week she was here she had adapted back into the village lifestyle without a miss, her clothing, her hair, the markings, everything in her appearance was as if she had never left, he could see she was trying hard to fit in. He sneered at this, she had been too weak to make it in the real world when Bad’Rock had died, this was her only fallback. Rock’Crunch turned to look again at Gore’Rock and he spoke, “She is now my pet, but I will not treat her with the kindness Bad’Rock did.”

“Nor should you, she is human,” Gore’Rock said as he reached and grabbed a hunk of the meat and put it in his mouth.

Suddenly the bell began to ring in the town center signifying the return of a patrol. One chime meant a return, two a return with prisoners or intruders. Rock’Crunch turned and looked at Gore’Rock and his sinister smile crept across his face, “I wonder what we have now?”

The two of them made their way to the massive door and in the distance through the clumps of trees that lined the roads to the main gate of the village a group of Netherman were coming along with several humanoid figures tied in chain gang style. Rock’Crunch grabbed the massive, ornately carved staff that signified his position as Chieftain and the two of them made their way to the village center. They arrived as the scouting party did and Rock’Crunch sat on the Seat of the Chief so the prisoners could be brought to him. There were five in total and Tree’Muncher, one of the largest and fastest of the Netherman approached. He was the leader of this scouting party and he bowed low and respectfully to the Rock’Crunch, “My Chieftain, I present you with a gift.” He placed five heads at the feet of the Seat and stepped back slightly. Rock’Crunch looked at the heads and he could tell immediately that they were the heads of Silvanesti Elves. He looked up again and saw that his Netherman were fresh from battle and he spoke, “There are two missing from your party.”

Tree’Muncher bowed his head again and placed the hearts of the fallen at Rock’Crunches feet. The Chieftain looked up at the Silvanesti Elves and spoke, “Our warriors have defeated you, and in such is the manner they shall be honored in their deaths.”

He nodded to Glug’Lug who retrieved the hearts and placed them in the large fire that constantly burned in the town center. He then turned to Tree’Muncher again and spoke, “Who are these Elves?”
The first Elf in the line looked up, his eyes were a firestorm of hatred and he spit the words as much as spoke them as he chimed in for the Netherman, “I am Ky’ly Pilininge of the Speakers Guard, General of the inner wall and First Ranger of Silvanesti. I demand that you release us and allow us to return to our forest!”

Rock’Cruncher lifted and amused eyebrow and turned to the assembled Netherman who’s numbers were growing by the second as was always the case when prisoners were brought to the village. Deep laughter erupted from the Chieftains mouth and the entire assemblage followed suit. After a moment when the laughter died down Rock’Cruncher spoke, his voice was deep and full of resolution, “It seems to me First Ranger that if you had never left your forests you would not be in our hills, and never would have been trespassing.”

Ky’ly furrowed his brow and spoke, “Our arrival here was with purpose and intent, we meant no harm to you or your …. people.”

Rock’Crunch narrowed his eyes now and spoke, “But yet you did arrive, and there is an unspoken agreement between our people, we stay out of your forests, you stay off our hills. We did not go into your forests, you came onto our hills, and now you are subject to our laws, and MY judgment.”

Ky’ly’s face showed his rage and he hissed, “Barbarians! I do not recognize any authority you may or may not possess!”

Rock’Crunch laughed as he spoke, “Do you recognize the chains on your wrists?” Ky’ly looked down and before he could answer Rock’Crunch spoke again, “Then you recognize my authority!”

He turned to Glug’Lug, “Suspend them from the stake, maybe a few hours off their feet would calm them.”

Glug’Lug showed a toothy grin of sinister satisfaction as he grabbed the chain and practically yanked the five off their feet with one half strength yank. At the top of the massive stake was an iron ring with a rope running through it that wound its way down and dangled about ten feet off the ground. Glug’Lug reached up and grabbed it, hooked it to the end of the chain and nodded to Tree’Muncher who walked around and grabbed the other end and with almost no effort pulled the five Elves off their feet and up the massive pole. They hung from the top down with Ky’ly the highest of the group, all five screamed in pain as the shackles bit into their wrists and the weight of each of them bore down on one another.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:01 am


Pela was as curious as the rest of the village was when she heard the bells chime out the scouting party was returning with prisoners. She fully expected it to be others from a neighboring clan that got caught across the border but as she weaved her way carefully through the crowd, she heard the voice that range out. She recognized it as human in nature and this made her even more curious.

Finally she made her way to the front of the assembled crowd and couldn’t help but blink and watch in stunned silence as Ky’ly, Olwa’s father….and five of his men….were presented before the Chieftain. Her heart dropped to her knees then jumped back to her chest where it beat wildly. He had tracked them all the way into Nethermen territory? Was he insane?

As she watched Ky’ly try and throw his authority around, she realized quickly his anger at Olwa’s departure had blinded him to everything but retrieving his son. And he not only placed himself but his men in mortal danger now because of it. Was he so intent on forcing his son to his own will that he foolishly caused the death of five of his men?

Yes.

When Olwa found out about this…..Pela realized just how dangerous this new situation had just become. It wouldn’t take Rock’Crunch long to put the two together and realize Ky’ly had come for Olwa and Branch. And when Rock’Crunch figured that out…..

Pela glanced around and quickly and saw the way the clan was reacting to these new prisoners. Especially when they were hauled up onto the stake to hang there until a time Rock’Crunch decided it was time for them to either die or be let down. And the latter didn’t seem likely to happen given Rock’Crunch’s need to assert his authority over others. Especially those smaller than himself.

Pela found herself between a rock and a hard place. There was no doubt in her mind Olwa would try to save his father. And when he did, it would give Rock’Crunch just the reason he was looking for to kill all of the prisoners. Or at least Olwa. Especially if he saw the mark on Ky’ly’s armor was similar to that of Olwa’s.

Without realizing it she glanced back to the area the pig troughs were located knowing she couldn’t see the Elves but it was an involuntary reaction and she couldn’t stop herself. What was she going to do? Surely there HAD to be a way out of this? But what?

Think, Pela…Think….it was not time to panic. It was time to calm and think. She didn’t have much time so whatever she was going to do she had to do it quickly. Still….her mind was drawing a blank.



Gore’Rock stood next to the Seat of the Chief and watched the human woman closely. He immediately noticed the recognition in her gaze when she spotted the Elves and in particular, the one that called himself Ky’ly. She knew him more than the others. He glanced at the suspended Elf once more and noticed the insignia on his leather armor. So. His words had come true. The Elves had come looking for their own. Now….would Rock’Crunch realize that as well.

And better yet, would he see Pela’s reaction?

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 11:34 am





Branch and Olwa heard all the commotion and the cheering shortly after bell had rung. Branch made an attempt to move to an open area and get a look at what was going on but suddenly felt the push of a massive hand and the world went black and cold as she stumbled forward and went face first into the muck. Lifting herself out quickly she gasped for breath as a hand grabbed her around the waist and lifted her off her feet. Blinking the slop out of her eyes she was completely off her feet and looking into the eyes of her guard, “Back to work Elf, the dealings of the clan are not your concern!”

As he set her, or more accurately threw her to the ground she heard the voice of her former Master, it was unmistakable and she knew it immediately. ‘By the Gods’ she thought as she got herself back to her feet and saw Olwa’s head snap in the direction of his father’s voice. “WISHT!” He turned to look at branch as she caught his attention and she shook her head ‘no’. The guards now were both looking at the two of them and their brows were furrowed, looking for any excuse they could find to bring their fists down on their captives.

Olwa continued to shovel pig manure and sling it off the hillside. His ears were open now and he was listening, one thing the Netherman hadn’t counted on was the Elves ability to hear much better than any Netherman ever could, and both Olwa and Branch were listening intently now as they did their best to work without making it obvious. The Guards now seemed even more intent on keeping them from looking out any of the windows that faced the village center. It had nothing to do with any sort of suspicion of connection between them and the Elves facing the clan, it was more that these two wanted to do something and it was in their power to deny it.

Several hours passed as the clan went about their business in the town center and mocked the five Elves hanging from the stake. The five of them struggled as best they could to breath and relieve the pain on their wrists by pushing their body weight up with the their feet as often as they could, but muscles could only be pushed so far and they would then drop and moan in agony as the metal pinched at their flesh.



Finally Rock’Crunch approached and signaled to Glug’Lug who released the rope and let the Elves down. They crumped in a pile at the bottom of the stake and the clan members who were nearby began to gather again to watch what their Chieftain would do. He walked up to Ky’ly and spoke, “Maybe some of the piss will be out of your voice now that you have seen the kinder side of our hospitality.”

Ky’ly looked up at him with defiance but said nothing. Rock’Crunch nodded in approval of his silence and was about to stand when he noticed a slight hint of gold gilding on the shoulder of Ky’ly’s leather armor. He rubbed the mud away with his finger and traced his finger over the royal emblem. A smile of satisfaction crossed his face and he turned to Tree’Muncher, “Go get the boy elf.”

Tree’Muncher pushed his way into the stall and grabbed Olwa’s chain, yanking him towards himself, “You’re being summoned by the Chieftain.” Branch instinctually moved to defend Olwa but found the back of her guards hand smashing into the front of her face more than she could resist and was flat on her back in the mud again. Her guard looked over her with a toothy grin and brought his cocked fist up to hit her again when Tree’Muncher yelled, “NO! Bring her too!”

The guard turned and looked at Tree’Muncher and then back to Branch, there was obvious disappointment on his face that he was being denied the opportunity to turn her head into a crimson stain on the ground. With a snarl he grabbed her by the chains on her wrists and yanked her violently to her feet. She wined as the metal binders pinched her wrists but she moved with the motion to ease the pain as much as possible.

As the two of them were led from the pig stall Olwa saw his father, knelt in the mud amongst the bones of the dozens of victims of clan justice near the stake. Ky’ly looked up at Olwa and there was anger on his face. Olwa wasn’t sure if it was his running away or if he was being blamed about his father’s capture as a result of his running away. Ky’ly spoke, “Son…”

A hand clubbed him on the back of the head and he went face first to the mud again as Rock’Crunch turned to look at Olwa with a smile that reflected his feelings, he was now holding every power card in the deck, and he knew it.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:54 pm


It took all the will power Pela could gather to move away from Ky’ly and not seek out Olwa and Branch. She didn’t dare. If she did then Olwa, Branch and Ky’ly would pay for her insolence and she wouldn’t let them suffer Rock’Crunch’s wrath. Not even Ky’ly. She promised Olwa she do all she could to keep his father from harm and this was the only way she could, right now.

As the hours dragged by, Pela kept her mind focused on the problem at hand. She had to find a way to get Ky’ly released, along with his men, and get Olwa and Branch out of slavery. With each scenario that she played over in her mind, the ending was always the same. Only the Chieftain had final say over prisoners.

As the sound of excitement reached her ears again, she stopped what she was doing and went out to see what new torment Rock’Crunch was doing that had the clan gathering once more at the center of the village. Once more weaving her way carefully through the large crowd of bodies, Pela made her way to the front of the crowd just as she heard Ky’ly announce to the world what connection he had to Olwa. Inwardly Pela groaned.

Of all the things Ky’ly could have done, that was the worst. And from the sinister smile that now crossed the Chieftains features, Pela could only imagine what he was going to do next. A thousand things passed through her mind at that point but there was only one she could see happening at this point. Blood against blood was always a sporting show for the Nethermen. It had been that way for centuries. Question was would Rock’Crunch do it? If he did, neither Olwa nor his father would have a choice but to participate or they would be killed by Rock’Crunch. Either way, one…or both….were going to die.

Just the way Rock’Crunch would love to have it end.

Pela stood, holding her breath, to see what Rock'Crunch would do. Praying to any God or Goddess that would hear her he merely put Ky'ly and his men to working in the pig troughs with Branch and Olwa.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:14 pm

Pela’s ears rang as the words came forth from Rock’Crunches mouth, “Blood to blood!”

The entire clan erupted in cheers as Olwa was yanked fiercely into the middle area near the stake and Ky’ly was yanked to his feet. Olwa looked up at his father and for the first time in his life he saw the look of fear on his fathers face. Tree’Muncher approached and threw two large spear shafts onto the ground between them and Rock’Crunch stepped forward, “You will battle to the death, and we shall watch.”

He looked at Ky’ly, “If you win, then they will go free.” He pointed to the men on the ground that had come with him, “If the whelp wins, then she will go free.” He turned and pointed at Branch who had now been pushed to the front of the crowd. Ky’ly’s face showed his hatred and rage as he looked at his former house servant. The red of his cheeks showed through all the muck and he furrowed his brows viciously at her. Turning to look at Rock’Crunch he spoke with authority, “I will not fight my own son!”

The clan began to roar in discontent and Rock’Crunch lifted his hands to quiet them, these were the moments of authority that caused the clan to love his leadership, he seemed harsh to outsiders, but in fact he was the epitome of what a Netherman should be, he was respected and even beloved by the clan, none had even talked of overthrowing him when he came to power. He had proven his metal and bested the former chief by way of a bloodmatch, and thus he was in the highest regard by the eyes of his clansman and clanswomen. As the clan settled down he looked at Ky’ly and spoke, “Very well, you don’t have to fight him.”

He began to turn and Ky’ly said loudly, “Then we are free to go?!”

Rock’Crunch sat upon the Seat of the Chief and laughed as he responded, “If you consider dying a means to your leaving, then yes.”

Ky’ly narrowed his eyes and spoke forcefully again, “You can’t…”

Rock’Crunch’s voice rose like thunder and he cut off the Elf noble, “I HAVE EVERY RIGHT! THIS IS OUR CLAN! OUR LANDS! OUR LAW! IF YOU DO NOT FIGHT HIM THEN YOU WILL ALL DIE, YOU LAST SO YOU CAN WATCH EACH OF THEM DIE BEFORE YOU, YOUR SON WILL DIE ESPECIALLY SLOWLY!”

Ky’ly’s eyes dropped, as did his shoulders… he could see it, there was no option here, the laws and ways of the Elves were four days ride away. On top of that he was here without the permission of the royal family, they would have no means to aid him unless the entire Silvanesti nation went to war with the Netherman. He looked up at Rock’Crunch and spoke softly, “Very well.”

Olwa looked at him with wide eyes and Ky’ly looked at him emotionlessly, there wasn’t even a hint of apology in his face. Pela and Branch would see that he intended to take his son’s life so that he and his men could live.

Glug’lug walked over with the keys and unlatched Olwa’s bindings and dropped them to the ground. He began walking towards Ky’ly who was looking past him into Olwa’s eyes.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 1:43 pm


Pela stood in stunned silence as Ky’ly accepted the challenge and saw the look in his eyes as he looked at Olwa. He had every intention of killing his son so his own life, and those of his men, would be spared. How could he? No, no, no, no….

”NO!

The silence that fell over the clan was as deafening as the cheering that had just been erupting throughout the village and all eyes turned to look at Pela. Those standing near her moved away slightly just in case she was getting ready to do something that would catch them in the cross hairs.

She saw the way Rock’Crunch looked at her and she wasn’t sure if he expected her to do this or if he was even more pleased that she stepped up to say something for these lesser beings. Either way, he was not disappointed that she had decided to step into the ring. One way or the other.

But her next words were surely to have taken him by surprise.

”As a member of this clan, and as the former Chieftain’s daughter, I challenge YOU, Rock’Crunch. A battle to the death. If I win, all slaves go free; if I lose….you may kill us all.”

She didn’t dare glance at Olwa, Branch, Ky’ly or any of the other elves for that matter. Right now, she needed to focus on Rock’Crunch and that was all she needed to focus on. If she dared to look at any of the others, she would lose focus on what she needed to do

She moved to the center of the make shift ring and turned her back on Olwa and Ky’ly. She saw the way Rock’Crunch looked at her, saw the way his black eyes settled on her and her alone. Knew he was already seeing her nothing but a red stain on the ground that would be washed away in the next rainstorm they had.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:06 pm

The look on Rock’Crunches face when she challenged him was the furthest thing from shocked. He glanced at Tree’Muncher and Glug’Lug who smiled smugly at him at this challenge and he stood to his full height as Branch screamed out, “NO ISTAR’OSTRING! YOU CAN N…”

She was silenced by a kick to the back that sent her sailing, she only stopped when the chain holding her wrists ran out and snapped her backwards landing her into the mud with a thumping sound distinctive of when a person just had all the wind knocked from them. She groaned softly as she rolled over and coughed into the mud.

Rock’Crunch reached down beside the Seat of the Chief and picked up a massive shield made of some strange black obsidian like rock. He reached and grabbed the extremely ornate and colorful necklace that hung from his neck and lifted it off his head, placing it on the Seat. In the traditional way this was his laying aside his role as Chieftain while the battle was fought. Many rules dictated these conflicts and one was putting aside the laws that the Chieftain could not be attacked. During a battle for the Chieftain’s Seat technically there was no Chieftain.

“I accept your challenge and your terms!”

Olwa remained silent after he saw what happened to Branch, and he could feel the eyes of his father on his back, but he didn’t turn around. Pela’s outfit was so fitting of this environment, she no longer wore any sort of white as she typically did. Her hair was twisted with colorful strings and rocks, very much like Branch did. He watched as Rock’Crunch moved off the massive log steps that led to the Seat of the Chieftain and step onto the ground. It seemed like there were thousands of clansman now, the place was suddenly packed with spectators as Rock’Crunch walked to the area of the stake.

The Elves were cleared out of the area around the stake, a stake that would soon hold a head upon the top of it, the loser would be displayed for seven nights after the victory per the traditions of the challenge. Rock’Crunch stepped calmly to the center with the strange looking shield and drew his jagged sword from its sheath. He turned slowly as he looked out across the faces of his clansman, he could see it in their eyes, he had the entirety of them behind him. Pela had never been accepted as a true member, only Bad’Rock all those years ago insisted that she stay, and as Chieftain he had the power to make it so. None of them understood, but now he would put an end to this foolishness and prove that he was truly the Netherman that defeated the ‘Rocks.

He let out a deafening roar as he lifted his head to the sky, even the low hanging clouds seemed to move out of the way of his voice as he pounded on his chest and stomped the ground, truly this was a being who loved war, and had proven he was capable. His breathing became steady and strong, the air escaping from his nostrils resembling that of a bull that was about to smash through walls. He watched Pela closely and swayed ever so gently from side to side, the massive black shield covering a large portion of his body. His black eyes were fixed on Pela, she was about thirty meters away and he watched, and waited.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 2:52 pm


Rather she was ready for this moment or not, she had to go through with it. Her promise to Olwa would stand one way or the other. To the best of her abilities she would try and not bring harm to him or his father. So far, she hadn’t held up her end of that promise all that well. She knew she stood alone on this ground. Not one single clansman or clanswoman as behind her. She was used to such odds. It was just a fact of her life.

As Rock’Crunch roared towards the sky, she knew he was ready. More than ready for this day. He wanted to kill her since the moment he heard she had returned to Nethermen territory, let alone back to his own village. And she knew he would make this fight last as long as he could. And that was what she was hoping for.

He swayed back and forth, ready for her to make a move of some sort and she remained stone, stature still. In fact, she closed her eyes and breathed in and out deeply several times. She felt the air wash over her that blew down the mountain from the higher elevations. Her ears heard the soft musical noise of the rocks she wore in her hair, around her neck and dangling from her waist. Her nose could smell the familiar musty scent of the clans people as well as the sap from the evergreen trees that were so dense on the outskirts of the village. Her body tingled as she felt the natural current of magic that flowed through Krynn move through her as well.

Finally her eyes snapped open and she let out her own war hoop as she lunged towards Rock’Crunch. While it was not as impressive as his it still showed the clan she was well aware of who they were and what she was a part of. Avoidance was the key to the game right now. His blade was viciously sharp and his shield would crush her without having to put too much thought into it. She had to rely on her training she had with Bad’Rock and make sure she used her head more than her physical skills right now. She even refrained from using her abilities until the moment came for her to do so. Until then, it was a game of cat and mouse with her much larger but extremely agile fighting opponent.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:02 pm

As she came at him Rock’Crunch squatted slightly in a ready position, she was fast, the sound of her feet slapping the muddy ground was barely audible, the result of her learning to walk like Elves…, her eyes were focused and centered, the result of traveling with Bad’Rock and learning to be aware of all things simultaneously while also focusing on a single objective …, her body moved with precision and absolute intent, the result of her fighting alongside another Netherman who had compassion on a human baby and broke outside himself and his traditions to become the first Netherman to do such a thing…, truly Pela had become more than just older in her travels, she had become the product of multifaceted experience.

Gore’Rock felt the hairs on the back of his head stand on end as magic began to be drawn into the arena… he watched as the young human raced into the massive form of Rock’Crunch… she was moving closer, she was pushing her body, Rock’Crunch began to squat and make himself small enough to get behind the shield, ready for her to unleash some sort of magic. While he moved behind he was able to obscure her view of his body and set the massive sword down so he could grab the smaller, much faster one off the small of his back… his eyes peerd over the shield as Pela closed the gap, she was mere meters now and he waited for the unleashing of whatever she had.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:27 pm


It was like watching an ant go head to head with a beetle. The size difference alone was enough to make one cringe. Yet as Pela moved, she headed straight for the shield that stood between her and Rock’Crunch. It was certain she was going to run right into it when, at the very last moment, she jumped, launching herself towards the shield and using it as a means to propel herself high over Rock’Crunch’s head. Her head remained just above his as she pulled her legs up over her head as she rotated. In her hand was one of the rock necklaces she wore and she wrapped it around the massive neck, twisting it in place as she did her rotation and landed on her feet behind Rock’Crunch’s body, facing his back.

But Rock’Crunch didn’t stay that way for long. He spun just as quickly and faced the human girl who thought of herself like a Netherman as she began to leapt backwards and put some distance between herself and the large Chieftain. He was just as quick with his blade too for she felt the air from the sharp point just skim past her chest.

She began to move slowly now, walking the perimeter of the ring in a sideways like walk. Her eyes remained focused on Rock’Crunch as he lined her up for the next move. As she moved, she dropped some rocks from time to time from another one of her decorative rock necklaces. All the while she never took her eyes off her opponent. Even as a chill began to fill the air.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:37 pm

The speed at which she leapt over him caused him to swing and miss, the motion and the response when he turned made it such that he never felt the necklace wrap around his neck. He growled as she landed and he turned to swing, barely missing her chest, a blow that would have severed her clean in half.

As she began walking the perimeter he was certain she was sizing him up and he had enough, the acrobatics, the moving with no fighting… he ran at her, his footsteps thundering on the ground as each one caused an impact tremor that vibrated so that she could feel them in her own feet. Suddenly the shield flared and glowed from within, a massive wave of fire spread out in front of him in a cone and was heading straight towards Pela… it become horrifically clear in that moment, Rock’Crunch had also been preparing for this, and the massive wall of flame heading her way was all the evidence she needed.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:46 pm


One of the greatest spells Kali ever took the time to teach her would prove invaluable now. As Rock’Crunch charged towards her and the wave of fire erupted from the shield, Pela’s eyes grew wide with surprise. This was the past thing she expected, but then again, she had been taught to never let the unexpected change her true course. As the cone reached out to engulf her, Pela suddenly disappeared from where she was and reappeared on the opposite side of the ring, facing Rock’Cruch’s back.

She didn’t want to bring her magic into this ring yet but the way things changed necessitated she act on what she knew best. Flinging her hands up several spikes of solid ice flew from her fingertips and headed straight for Rock’Crunch’s exposed back. As the spikes left her fingers, she was already moving to her right as she ran, preparing to dive and roll to her feet when he cast his next spell, no matter how simple or sophisticated it may be

Which she was certain he would now.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 3:58 pm

Through the flames he did not see that she had disappeared, he only stopped charging when he saw the edge of the large circle of massive logs right in front of him. Then suddenly his back was tingling with pain and cold as the spikes of ice hit him. He growled fiercely as he spun, icicles sticking out of his back like spent daggers and he charged her again. The shield was black and shiny again, there was no indication that fire would erupt from it and he was across the ring and on top of her in a matter of seconds.

His blade came up and over his head and smashed into the ground as she barely side stepped it. Black blood dripped off his clothing as his back seeped from the impact of the ice. HE ground his teeth and roared at her as he lunged again, swinging the shield to bash her skull in, following the blow with a swing of the sword right behind it in case she decided to get clever and move out of the way.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:08 pm


Pela knew this would be the most dangerous of the fighting, within striking distance. His blade barely missed her when she rolled to get away from the strike. She swore she could feel the thing slice off a few strands of her hair. She knew Rock'Crunch was using his hatred of her to guide him now and that was what she was waiting for.

Her roll actually put her even closer and when Rock’Crunch raised the shield and his weapon arm at the same time to give her a double killing blow, he exposed himself to her. And Pela couldn’t let the opportunity pass by. She would never get the chance to do this ever again. It was either him or her and she was going to make sure it WASN'T her.

With his shield raised and his sword arm coming around for the blow, Pela yelled out spidery words of magic. A very large, very sharp spear of solid ice formed in her hands with the razor sharp point aimed right at Rock’Crunch’s torso, right where his rib cage met and the blunt end braced against the ground for impact.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:24 pm

His swing was wide and true, the last thing he was expecting was any sort of weapon that could come into the scenario, she was a magic user, not a wielder of weapons. The momentum of his swing caused him to impale himself so deep the massive ice spike exited his back and he slumped forward, only stopping when the bone and muscle tissue was squeezing so tightly on the ice it stopped him.

There was a slight gurgle as his mouth went a gap and black blood oozed like thin tar and began to pool on the ground. He was dead so quickly it would be obvious that he most likely never even knew what happened. The clan was completely silent, and after a mere few seconds and without hesitation, the Netherman and Netherwoman began kneeling to one knee in honor of Pela, their new Chieftain.

Gore’Rock came forward as the silence lingered over the valley. He looked at Pela with a look of satisfaction and belief in her strength. He looked at the clan and spoke, “Per our laws, per the traditions and writings of the seven, a challenge was issued and the challenge was answered,” he turned and looked at Pela, “And now we have a new Chieftain who has bested the current Chieftain by a trial of blood.”

He looked down at Rock’Crush and then back to the gathered clan, “As per the laws of our clan, and the writings of the seven, I Gore’Rock, brother of Bull’Rock, brother of Bad’Rock, and counsel to the former Chieftain of our clan…,” he turned and looked at Pela, “As the new Chieftain of our clan I task you with your first order of response,” His voice suddenly grew deep and aggressive, “I GORE’ROCK CHALLENGE PELA TO A TRIAL BY BLOOD FOR POSSESSION OF THE SEAT OF THE CHIEF!”

He turned and looked at Pela and his deep voice broke the air between them, “It is time I take back what is MINE! And don’t be so foolish as to think I will be a victim of YOUR magic!”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Sun Aug 05, 2012 9:55 pm


Pela stood panting from the exertion of the fight she had with Rock’Crunch. While the challenge wasn’t all that surprising to her, the timing of it was. Her blue eyes slipped to many of the Nethermen and Netherwomen’s faces and she could see they were wondering if she would accept the challenge or not. And glad someone from their clan was going to challenge her. Their black eyes shimmered as the anticipation grew and she still said nothing.

Her eyes moved to Branch, who was barely able to stand on her own and was doing so now out of sheer pride. Her eyes met those of the Elfess and she saw a mixture of emotions in their dark depths. Pride. Concern. Fear. Uncertainty.

Her eyes then moved to Ky’ly. She wasn’t sure if that was a smirk he was wearing but she thought it was darn near close enough. In his almond shaped eyes she saw the hatred he held for her and knew he was just as eager to see her struck down as many of the clan members were.

Her eyes moved to those of his men then and she saw they were regarding her with a mix of emotions as well but the one she saw the most was fear. If she accepted the challenge, would they still be allowed to go free?

Then her eyes rested on Olwa’s. She saw the fear in his gaze but she also saw the love he had for her as well. Her gaze lingered on his the longest as she remembered all the things they had shared with each other. All the things he taught her. All the things she showed him. There was no doubt her love for him ran as deeply through her as his did for her.

She’d promised him a life of freedom. A life away from living as others expected him to live. A life where he chose what he wanted and not some pre destined life shove upon him. And what had she given him? A life full of nothing but fear of losing her when the next challenger stepped forward to win the Seat of the Chief from her. It was the last thing she wanted and yet here she stood, Chieftain of a clan of Nethermen and Netherwomen who wanted nothing but to see her dead.

She had failed him.

Or had she?

Tearing her gaze away from Olwa, Pela looked over at Gore Rock who was studying her even more intently than he had since she returned. Glancing at Rock’Crunch’s body still slumped over the now melting ice spear, she watched the black blood ooze from his lifeless form onto the ground and puddle at her feet.

”Glug’lug…..give me one of the blades you took from the Elf”

Glug’lug hesitated a moment when Pela spoke up and her tone meant business.

”NOW!”

Without further hesitation, Glug’Lug stepped forward and handed her the blade then quickly stepped back. It wasn’t easy, but she managed to cut Rock’Crunch’s heart out and handed it to Glug’Lug when she gestured for him to take it.

”See his heart is burned so he may walk with pride on the other side.

Glug’Lug took Rock’Crunch’s heart and walked it over to the fire then dropped it in before turning back around to watch Pela.

She had taken a life to save the lives of others. How conflicting was that? Her eyes lowered to look at her hands and forearms now covered in black blood before they lifted and strayed to the rock necklace she had twisted around Rock’Crunch’s neck and the rocks she had dropped around the ring then slowly let her eyes slide to Gore’Rock’s black gaze again.

Her voice was not raised to the point of a yell but all could hear her when she spoke. Her feminine voice sounded odd as she fluently spoke in the Netherese.

”A Chieftain’s main job is to protect their clan. Sometimes from outside enemies but mostly, from each other. We are not the enemy. And by we, I mean each other. There is an enemy far more powerful than anything you have ever seen before. An enemy that will gladly sacrifice all of us to get what they want. And they want nothing more than to have absolute power over all of Krynn.”

She heard grumbles start and she quickly went on.

”We cannot let that happen. It will consume all and we will be nothing more than a myth and legend told on the wind. But because the Nethermen are feared and loathed, or seen as creatures who are nothing more than walking slaughter houses and not intelligent enough to think for themselves, we will be used to fight battles for others. And when the battle is done, we will be slaughtered for fear we will be too powerful a force to be reckoned with. While it may seem as though we are too far from the fighting to be concerned about it now, trust me when I tell you, the day will come when our lands will be invaded by more than Elves. The Nethermen are far too great to be spoken of in legend and story. The time has come to take a stand.”

She looked back at Gore’Rock again.

”Do we fight ourselves and keep killing each other for the chance to rule a single clan and pray the next challenger doesn’t kill the winner? Or do we take a stand and show not only Elves but the rest of Krynn Nethermen are not to be used as a means to an end and are capable of more than just infighting?”

Tossing Olwa’s sword down into the ground a few feet away from her, she stood and looked at Gore’Rock ready for an attack.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:22 am



Piramay slid around the apothecary's shop scanning the various shelves pulling forth pouches and vials examining them carefully before taking them to the shopkeep. Normally should would simply gather her own reagents but time being the factor that it was made this stop necessary. She stood staring at one shelf in particular examining the contents carefully. The items of this shelf were potent and hard to come by and subsequently expensive. However that was not really the issue that concerned her as she reached out picking up several items. The combination of items she acquired could give someone a hint of what she intended, a matter she simply care to think about. With a sigh she laid the pouches and vial on the counter. Phoenix feathers, a mithril scale, and a few choice rare herbs drew special attention from the old alchemist as he studied the gathered items.

He stood in silence several moments considering the rarity and difficulty of acquisition before quoting the fire mage a slightly inflated price.However true to his reputation the shopkeeper said nothing only taking Piramay's coin Slipping the items into her robe Piramay smiled and bowed her head slightly. "A pleasure as always Githwain..." The man nodded "A pleasure indeed Lady Piramay..."

Reaching into her left arm sleeve she pulled out a black velvet bag and placed it onto the table. "I know some of these items will be hard to replace so take this as a small token for not limiting my options." A flashy smile and Piramay slipped out of the shop leaving old Githwain to count his coin and inspect his gift.

With the mage patron gone the old shop keep checked her coin and when he was satisfied he picked up the bag looking it over. While Githwain was an accomplished alchemist he was no mage. Nothing seemed out of place other than the fact that the woman had gifted the item to him. Curiosity got the better of him and he drew open the bag spilling the contents into his palm. An faceted onyx stone fell into his hand. It was warm to the touch and almost immediately runes spread over the surface of the stone. The old man was so mesmerized by the patterns that he was never aware that his life came to an explosive end.

Some distance away Piramay smiled as a thunderous explosion split the air. Flame and debri were falling as the citizens of the port city scrambled in a panic. The disaster itself was confined to the shop and many would likely assume the old man had finally done himself in.

Staff in hand Piramay started upon the path once more. By evening she would return to the site she had prepared to return her to her lair. For the moment she did not wish to expend any of her personal power to avoid drawing any attention. Her enemies were numerous and while he power was still considerable its use still had a cost. One she had not fully uncovered as of yet, but intended to when the time had come.




Another morning filled with assigning duties and over seeing the various projects that had sprung up in Piramay's wake. New defenses were planned arguments were to be had, and it wasn't even lunchtime yet. Myth could only sigh as he slipped through the halls. Ky'ly had chosen a poor time to set out on a personal vendetta as his opinion was needed over any of the other Homeguard. His second would have to suffice in his stead and if he did not like the outcome he would be told as the humans say "Just deal with it". Myth had his own vendettas he would like to embark upon but his duties came first until told otherwise.

Myth was lost in thought when he rounded the corner but he was quickly roused from them when he heard his sons squeals. No matter how tough the day the boy brought a smile to his face. He met his son part way and greeted his wife happily but knew better than most she could look into his eyes and see the trouble there in, and this was all before their link convey any unease. With a content sigh he nodded his head and pinched at his sons cheek. "Indeed an afternoon meal would be grand indeed."
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:14 am


Gore’Rock watched as Pela removed Rock’Crunch’s heart and had it burned in reverence to his passing and so that he might enter the next world in honor. The clan bowed their heads after she had spoken her words about being a united clan and he stood, staring, his black eyes scanning the crowd. His challenge was going unanswered, and the clan were not beating their chests to see them fight it out for the Seat of the Chief.

He inhaled deeply as Pela turned and looked at him. Her long white hair, tangled and tossed from the previous fight blew in the cold wind and he watched her carefully. There was no pull of magic, there was no sense of anger or aggression, she was legitimately offering peace between them and he was at a loss. If he bowed a knee he would be seen as week in the eyes of the clan and maybe would be killed in his sleep as the weak were culled out so the clan stayed strong. Physically he was always weaker than most Netherman and all he had was his mental strength, it was what kept him alive all these years, however this weakness would be one of will, mind and in the eyes of his clansman.

He was faced with a choice, he was certain he could kill her and possess the Seat of the Chief, but what about when the next large Netherman looking to carve a reputation out of his skin approached, would he be able to fight them off and retain his seat or would he be killed and have HIS heart stomped before the clan. He looked quietly as the clan remained silent and the cold, moist air blew off the peaks. Finally he turned to Pela and without a word he bowed his head and knelt to one knee, speaking softly in Netherese, “May the Chieftain live long and survive longer.”

He could only hope that Pela showed him mercy, in the traditions and ways of the Netherman Gore’Rock just exposed his underbelly to the enemy, he could be crushed and discarded with little regard from his fellow Netherman for this standing down of his own challenge, but in his mind this was the option that offered him the best chance of long term survival, if he survived the next minute.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Aug 13, 2012 2:23 pm


Pela felt the silence wrap around her like a heavy, sodden, wool cloak. Each second that ticked past was an eternity waiting for Gore’Rock to move. Charge her. Try to impale her on the end of a large pike. Smash her into the ground with his powerful fists. She dared to glance at the rest of the clan to see they had all bowed their heads.

She glanced at the Elves, all of them, then back to Gore’Rock and saw the way he was looking at her. She saw his mind working. Saw the look in his black eyes that reminded her of Bad’Rock’s so much that she felt as though she would crumble into a pile of grief once again. But she couldn’t. She had to be strong. Especially right now.

When Gore’Rock took a knee before her and bowed his head, claiming fealty to her, she blinked and felt the air rush from her lungs. It took her a few seconds to realize what just happened and when she finally recovered, she slowly walked over to Gore’Rock, picking up Olwa’s blade along the way.

When she stood before him, she looked down at his bowed head for a long moment before she carefully laid the sword at her feet between Gore’Rock and herself. Like Gore'Rock, Pela had just exposed herself and had even given him the means with which to take her life. Reaching out and laying her cool, black blood covered hands upon Gore’Rock’s cheeks, she lifted his large face to look into her eyes. Eyes that now shimmered with unshed tears she was desperately trying to prevent from falling. Her voice trembled slightly as she softly spoke in Netherese to her uncle.

”You are my father’s brother. This clan is as much yours as it is mine. As it is the rest of our brothers and sisters. I wish only for us to live peacefully with each other and fight the enemies who will try to kill us. Together, we can. Rise, Gore’Rock. Life is much better standing proudly than kneeling before any one being.”



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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:35 pm


Gore’Rock waited as Pela approached, he saw her pick up the sword which had been used to dispatch Rock’Crush only moments earlier and he knew what was coming, it was the way of his people, and he would great death with honor and bravery. As Pela stood before him he took slow, deliberate breaths, waiting for the sword to fall and finish what he could not… was it that he finally saw the strength in her that Bad’Rock had seen? Was he afraid of her? Was it he was uncertain he could defeat her if they had actually fought for the Seat of the Chief? Whatever it was, he did not know, and none of it would matter in a few seconds, soon he would know the darkness of death, he could only hope that Pela would grant him the same honor of passage that was granted to Rock’Crush.

When Pela laid the sword between them and touched his cheeks he felt the icy cold of her hands, maybe it was not the blade but her magic that would do him in, either way he looked at her with bravery, waiting, knowing… the Netherman were brave to the end, always to the finish. As she spoke however, his eyes softened and he listened to her words. Though Netherman had very little room for emotions, and many didn’t have them at all, Gore’Rock felt something in his chest, a tingle of sorts that pressed from him and caused the look in his eyes to soften towards her, in the exact same way it did when Bad’Rock used to look at her. Right then, in the mud and mist, with the whole clan watching Gore’Rock finally saw it, whatever it was called and however his brother had seen it, now the obviousness of the strength in this petite human girl was right before his eyes.

As she bid him rise he looked back to the ground and he spoke in their native tongue, his voice was resolute and she would hear that there would be no negotiating the fact, “No my Chieftain, no. It is the place of the clan to respect the Chieftain, though you may strive to see us in a manner of equals it is not so, only one can be Chieftain, as it has been since the days of the seven. Only one can rule and only one will rule, as it is written in the texts, you and you alone are Chieftain. All I can ask is that I be given permission to maintain my place as Shaman of this clan and to walk this path one step behind you, but never as your equal my Chieftain.”





Olwa watched as Pela approached and held his sword in her hand. Though he did not understand the ways of these Netherman he was beginning to get an idea. They dealt with matters in the language of force, such as the rumors had moved with the winds across the lands he had seen that first hand and though he knew what Pela was probably about to do he was not sure if he agreed with it. However she stayed her hand and showed mercy to the one she had described to him as her “uncle”. She touched his cheeks and spoke softly to him, or as softly as their language would allow, and he could see the expression on Gore’Rocks’ face change… something was different in his eyes, Pela was now the sole authority in this clan.

The chains on Olwa and Branches wrists were loosened per the arrangement between Rock’Crunch and Pela. As he and Branch stood branch walked over to Olwa with a soft smile on her face. She looked to Pela and even despite the filth covering her clothing and her body the natural elven beauty was shining as brightly as ever. She, being an Elderwild understood this system of leadership more than Olwa would, and she bowed her head respectfully to Pela. It wasn’t a bow of servant hood or fear, it was one of respect and reverence for her new found place as the leader of these people. Their weapons were retrieved and given to them and one of their guards gestured for the two of them to approach the Chieftain for their dismissal from the clan town, per the law they could only leave once permission was given.

Olwa chanced a glance at his father who was barely containing himself and he began to struggle with his chains. While in the kneeling position he was pressing himself to move and his guard yanked back on the heavy iron links which pulled Ky’lys’ arms straight back into a painful position. Then the Netherman’s foot hit the middle of his back and knocked him into the muck. With no way to brace his fall his face took the brunt of the impact and he was knocked slightly dazed with the impact. The guards laughed as he struggled to bring his face up out of the mud and only did so when the guard finally yanked the chain again to allow him a chance to breath.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Aug 13, 2012 4:55 pm


Pela listened to Gore’Rock and she felt a lump form in her throat as she saw the look in her uncle’s eyes reflect those of her own fathers. The tears she had been trying to hold back fell slowly, unheeded down he cheeks. With a nod, she accepted her uncle’s terms.

”So shall it be.”

Quickly composing herself, Pela let her gaze slide over all the clan as she spoke.

”From this day forward, for so long as I am Chieftain of the clan, Gore’Rock shall be the Shaman. Rise, my family! Rise and greet each other in friendship!”

As the clan rose and cheered, Olwa and Branch were released from their chains. Pela was walking over to greet them both when she saw Ky’ly and the way his guard was treating the Elf. Immediately she called for a halt to the treatment as she walked over to Ky’ly.

”No, Slonch! We will not treat our prisoners like so from now on. If….they do not deserve to be. Only when they are insolent and disrespectful will they be treated like this. We shall give them the opportunity to show their respect to us, but if they do not, then we will treat them as they treat us.”

The crowd went silent once more as they watched their new Chieftain handle this situation. She turned her attention to the elder Pilininge and spoke softly in common letting her gaze settle on Ky’ly’s. Her words were not full of malice but they were not delivered soothingly either. They were matter of fact and to the point but in no way disrespectful to the Elf Lord that now knelt before her.

”Your life has been spared this day, Ky’ly Pilininge. Do not look take this gift lightly. Show your respect to me and these people, just as you would expect the same for you and yours should the roles be reversed. Remember where you are right now for what you do next will determine how you return to Silvanost.”

When she was done, she repeated everything she had spoken in Netherese so her clan would understand everything that just took place and to let them know she was not doing anything behind their backs. It would be that way with her until her clan was proficient enough in common for all to know what she was saying to outsiders when they strayed onto clan territory.

She saw the way Ky’ly was looking around at the still gathered clan members after Pela’s words of advice and she wondered if he would take it or think her and the clan unworthy of any such show of respect. Once again the tense moments ticked by as the whole clan waited to see what would happen next.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship    Mon Aug 13, 2012 5:36 pm






Ky’ly stood quickly to his feet and looked at Pela as she spoke. He felt the guard relax his pressure on the chain and Ky’ly looked around with hatred in his eyes at the thousands of Netherman which stood all along the hillsides of this valley. Turning his head to Pela he spoke with hatred in his voice, “It matters not where we are witch, my life is not yours to give or take, nor are your ‘gifts’. You are nothing more than a latch-on to a bunch of savage barbarians. Dare not to think despite my appearance thanks to the hand of your ‘people’ that I am anything less than I always have been! You have no right or charge over me no matter where on Krynn we stand.”

Suddenly the melodious sound of Elven floated above the ground and Ky’ly snapped his head in Branches direction, “Dare not to speak to Istar’ostring in this manner Ky’ly! Istar’ostring holds your life in hers hands!”

Ky’lys’ almond shaped eyes narrowed and he practically spit his words at her, “Your words mean even less than hers! I gave you a warm home with a bed and food only to have you turn on us when our son ran off with this little bitch!” He turned to Olwa, “Get your things we are leaving immediately!”

Olwa looked up at Ky’ly and spoke. There was bravery in his face, Pela and Branch would see there was something new there, “No.”

Ky’ly narrowed his brows in disbelief and whispered in a sinister tone, “What did you say to me?”

“Olwa stepped forward and spoke, “No, I am not going back to Silvanost.”

Ky’ly yanked his chains out of the Netherman’s grip who was still holding them and took a half step forward, “Get your things!”

Olwa stood still and looked back at Ky’ly, “I told you I am not going back. I am of age, you no longer have authority to command me.”

Ky’ly was fuming red and hissed, “Perhaps not, but as a commanding officer in the Speaker’s Guard I am still your superior and in that regard you will do as you are told, now get your things!”

Olwa looked at his father a moment and then looked down at his leather tunic. He brushed the mud off his right shoulder where the insignia of the Speaker was stitched on in gold thread and he looked at it a moment before looking back to his father, “Not anymore.”

He pushed his finger under the insignia and tore it from the leather and threw it at his father’s feet, “This always belonged more to you than to me anyway.”

Ky’lys’ face was so distorted with anger he didn’t even look like an elf anymore, even his own men were backing away slightly and the elder elf growled his words, “Then you are dead in my eyes boy!”

Suddenly Ky’ly rushed right at Olwa, his hands came up in a shape that was designed perfectly for grabbing him by the neck and strangling him. The air seemed to hold itself in time and the world moved slowly for all watching as the short space between them was rapidly closing, Ky’ly clearly having the intent to kill his son.

He was mere inches from Olwa who was still standing resolute and unmoving when the distinctive sound of a bow strings twang followed almost immediately by the arrows thud broke the air. An Elven shaped broad head came through the center of Ky’lys’ chest and his eyes went dull with shock. As he fell forward to his knees clutching at his chest Branch was directly behind him, bow up, fingers by her cheek. She traced Ky’lys movement as he gurgled and a blood bubble popped on his lips and he fell forward, gasping for air as his lungs slowly filled with blood. Ky’ly slumped over and looked at Branch as she spoke in a soft whisper, “No more will Ky’ly hurt Olwa.”

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Book 2 - Ch 6: Brinkmanship
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