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 Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:19 am




Nol walked into the room behind Aeolis who practically slid to Ceridwyn’s side as he dashed to the bedside and embraced her. Weakly she reached up and the smile on her face was nothing less than completeness upon seeing him. With her eyes closed she used every ounce of strength she had to bring her arms up around him and laid her head into his shoulder. Her smile was as wide as her face and though she said nothing it would be obvious to all in the room that she was complete once again.

Raju brought some hot, honey mint tea, placing it on the table beside the bed. Stepping back she simply watched with a smile on her face as the two were reunited. She turned and whispered into Kellan’s ear, “Now, she can heal.”

As Kellan turned to look at her with a smile She would see the relief in Raju’s face, but also a deeply placed sadness, far in the back of her gaze, that she quickly tucked away. Her eyes shimmered softly in the dim light and she turned to look at Nol who walked up and slipped his arm around Kellan. Raju turned and walked over to Rayann and whispered to her ear, “My Elder tells me that you now know Ceridwyn’s secret, guard it well. It is not the sort of thing that can be known to those who would attempt and exploit its power or seek to obtain it for themselves. It is not obtainable, but men have killed for far less, and surly it would create a swath of death and mayhem if it was known that our kind can do this.”

She leaned back and spoke, “Thank you again for assisting us in restoring Ceridwyn, we certainly could not have done it without you. Were you able to capture the darkness that dwelt inside her?”


An arrow, then a second only a millisecond behind pierced the throats of two human scouts. Their silent fall the ground was little more than the rustle of broken winter leaves and Branch came down from the tree she was perched in and landed beside them. She wiped the blood from her face and arms and covered the bodies with snow before standing up and looking around. The woods were silent, the surge of the battle had receeded for now, and only the occasional, muffled sound of a human screaming near the city could be heard.


Her sharp ears kept a listen as she began to move again towards the human’s lines. She made her way up and along the road until she found a small contingency of the humans. There were a dozen or so, all clad in heavy armor with crests on their shoulders and chests. They were huddled tightly around a small bed of hot coals warming their hands and bodies.

“I don’t know Gerald, the way they drove us back… I am not sure we can win this.”

“You’re wrong, they’re savages, no organization, no discipline. Brute strength can only triumph so long, once they tire out our ranks will fall in around them and our training will overcome their lack of planning.”

“Are you crazy Gerald? No organization? No discipline? The wizard and the white lady pulled them back at the exact moment the catapults released those filthy insects on us! They obeyed like the most highly trained soldiers in our army! How can you say that when all the evidence of the day show otherwise?”

Gerald cut a piece of meat from the large, dried chunk they were all eating from and he spoke, “They are Nethermen, maybe they had a trick or two up their sleeves, but in the end they won’t be able to sustain it.”

William looked at the others and then back to Gerald, “As fast as they are chewing through our soldiers there may be none of us left when that time comes.”

Gerald looked up at him, annoyed, but silent. He looked around to the other men and then back to William, “We are Knights of Solamnia. Have you all forgotten? Our honor is our life! We do not retreat or back down, we will win this city back, it is our duty as Knights of this region to remove this filth from our lands and send them back to their hills and swamps. They have no claim to these lands!”

“Or… perhaps its yous that needs driving back.”


The Knights all drew weapons as the voice broke their discussion. Turning they saw the small form of Branch, cloaked and looking at them from about 30 meters away, Gerald stepped forward, “Who are you?”

“Me am Branch of Elderwild, yous may call me Silent’Oak, for that is the names grants’t’ed to me by my new tribe.”

Gerald’s eyes suddenly went wide, an Elderwild. Legends of the Elderwild were spoken, their prowess in the woods, their ability with a bow, their savage ferocity when fighting for what they chose to defend. He, a high ranking Knight of the Sword, bent on removing all evil from the world, Gerald immediately saw this as a sign from the gods that they would have victory. To see an Elderwild was rare, to speak to one even more so, but to have them fight beside humans, this hadn’t been recorded in all of Krynn’s histories. He gestured to his men to put away their swords and he spoke, “May I speak to those in your tribe? Perhaps they would want to join us and drive away the darkness that has come upon these lands! Surly the Elderwild don’t want Nethermen stripping the forests bare and slaying you for no purpose but their own sport.”

Branch looked across their faces and then back to Gerald, “This affairs of the humans are not ours to be include.”

Gerald stepped forward, bring his hand up, “Please Silent’Oak, I beg of you, please take me to your tribe leader so I may speak with him.”

Silent’Oak locked eyes with him and after a moment of silence spoke softly, “Yes… Silent’Oak wills take you… come, but only yous.”

He nodded with haste and one of his men stopped him as he was about to step forward, whispering into his ear. Gerald clapped him on the shoulder and spoke, “I assure you Hector, I will be alright.”

Silent’Oak scanned them, they watched her in awe, still unbelieving of her appearance among them. As Gerald came closer she spoke, “We must moves… silent as the whispers of the mice yes?” Gerald nodded and she spoke, “Yous metal, it makes a racket.”

He nodded and spoke, “I know, but I will not remove it.” She cocked a half smile, “Nor has Silent’Oak asked’ed this of yous. Be its on you if we’s discovered.”

He nodded in agreement and Silent’Oak turned, leading him towards the city. As they walked he whispered, “How close to the city are we going to go? Is your leader near the tree line?”

She turned with furrowed brows, “Wisht, silence in these woods… these enemys lurken all around.”

Gerald swallowed and nodded silently as she turned and continued to walk. She could feel him becoming more and more nervous the closer they came to Sanction and finally she turned to him and spoke barely above a whisper, “Yous kneelin down here and waits for Silent’Oak to return.”

He nodded and complied, getting low behind a fallen tree. Silent’Oak lept up over the log and disappeared into the dark forest. He sat in the silence of the forest and it felt like time had stopped. There was no noise whatsoever, the type of silence that made the ears ring. After ten minutes he chanced a look, half standing and peaking over the fallen tree, Silent’Oak was standing there looking at him. He snapped back slightly and spoke, “Silent’Oak… have you spoke to your tribe?”

Silent’Oak nodded softly and spoke, “Silent’Oak has done as she saids she would. We will takes you to our Cheiftain now.”

Suddenly from behind, two Nethermen seized Gerald by the shoulders and Silent’Oak reached forward and drew his sword from his belt. Gerald’s surprise was quickly replaced with anger and furious words, “YOU HORRIFIC LIAR! WHO ARE YOU TO TAKE HONOR LIKE A THIEF AND DO THIS?!”

Silent’Oak looked up at the Nethermen and spoke, “Gags him so hims can’t draw others to us.”

Gerald was gagged and bound, then one of the Nethermen simply lifted him up and carried him back towards the gates of Sanction, lead by Silent’Oak.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Fri Mar 08, 2013 1:46 pm


Aeolis was awakened from his fitful, forced sleep by a shake of his shoulder and the call of his name by a masculine voice. When his bleary eyes snapped open and Nol gave him a wide smile, he gave the dragon a puzzled look. Nol had not even finished telling him Ceri was awake before he was up and moving towards her chambers. As soon as he sit the door he saw her eyes open and hesitated a mere moment before he moved to practically collapse next to her, sobbing softly.

Ceri was awake. And alive.

Nothing else mattered now.





Kellan moved closer to Nol as she watched the reunion between Aeolis and Ceridwyn. The lump that formed in her throat simply would NOT go away and she didn’t try to force it either. No doubt it would be the same with her and Nol had anything like this happened to them.

She looked over at Raju and saw the sadness in the depth of her gaze and how quickly it was gone. Obviously there was more she needed to learn from her new sister and she would bring the subject up at another place and time. For now, though, she leaned into Nol and placed her head on his chest and basked in the moment.





Rayann embraced Raju and spoke softly into the dragon’s ear before Raju pulled away.

”I will take this precious secret to my grave before I were to reveal it to anyone.”

Squeezing Raju’s hands when the dragon pulled away, she nodded and smiled reassuringly. Her lavender eyes drifted to Ceri and Aeolis then to Raju, Kellan and Nol.

”I would go to the ends of Krynn for Ceri. Helping was the least I could do. And yes. I was able to capture the blackness within her.”

She pulled the gem out of her pocket and showed the swirling inkiness within to those in the room.

”I will speak to Kali about its origins when I meet up with her. Until then, it will stay encased in this and with me at all times. I don’t trust it to be anywhere else.”






Ice’Rock opened her eyes and went to move only to feel a sharp pain course through her right shoulder area. She let out a small cry and saw stars for a moment. Blinking them away, she saw Olwa looking at her. She was just getting ready to say something to him when Gore’Rock came into the room and bowed his head respectfully.

”Chieftain…..Silent’Oak has returned….with another prisoner.”

She glanced at Olwa then moved to sit up and felt the pain again. Giving him a thankful smile when he helped her the rest of the way up and to her feet, she held onto his hand to steady herself. She felt as weak as a newborn kitten. And her arm was now in a sling to prevent her from using it to allow her wound to heal. She detested looking weak before the Nethermen but in all honesty, she could not help it at the moment.

As Gore’Rock led the way, she found herself moving through the city. When she reached the city center, she saw the human being held between two warriors. Instantly she recognized the crest on his armor and quirked a delicate brow.

Glancing up at her uncle then looking back at the human, she spoke in common for the man to hear her words.

”Send out a fresh wave of warriors and have those on the battle field return to rest, if they so wish.”

Gore’Rock, nodded and he took a step to deliver her order when she reached out her left hand and touched his massive arm and switched to their language.

”Make sure any human found alive is brought back here and put on display as the archer was. Please return to me when you are done.”

Gore’Rock nodded again and left to deliver the orders of his Chieftain

The knight looked at the petite figure before him with the wounded shoulder and then to the others around him. He saw the male Elf standing next to her and how they were surrounded by large, ominous warriors of Nethermen. Just then Branch stepped forward and Ice’Rock lifted both brows. There was the slightest of smirks on her face.

”Is this a present from you, Silent’Oak?”

She glanced to the human and saw the look in his eyes and her smirk grew into a full fledged smile.

”My oh my…..You are as devious as you are beautiful.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:54 pm


Branch bowed to Ice’Rock and smiled with a slight wink as she returned to her upright standing position. She turned to Gore’Rock and spoke, “Him’s weapon.”

Gore’Rock took the sword and looked it over, “This shall make a fine toothpick.”

The Nethermen in the area laughed and Gore’Rock tucked the weapon into his belt. Ice’Rock gestured and One of the Nethermen holding the Knight slit the cloth that was gagging him and he spit it out of his mouth. Looking over at Branch he narrowed his eyebrows and spoke through his anger, “You are a disgrace to your kind, never in my days would I expect an Elderwild to align herself with such filth!”

One of the Nethermen struck him behind the knee, causing him to go down to his knees. He attempted to stand and the two pushed on his shoulders. Branch raised her hand and walked forward, “In whats way should us Elderwilds align us with humans and Elveses?”

Gerald responded, “You are Elvenkind! You are of the first race, the first to walk from the Greystone!”

Branch knelt down on the street and looked him in the eye, “Ands for all that, my peoples are abused, tortured, made slaves, treateds like’n the filth of this world. We’s are treated like the Gulley Dwarves, little more thans garbages! You comes here to redemption a city taken because of yous pride and entitlements…,” she pointed her finger at his chest, “But yous and your kinds know nothing.”

Gerald looked at her and said nothing, but the look in his eyes spoke volumes. He stared at her, his ice blue eyes locked on her own. She got up from her knees and turned to Ice’Rock, “Hims is a Knight of the Sword. His’en was leader of a group near the crossroads to the mountain pass. Hims names’iz Gerald.”

She turned and looked at Gerald who was no gritting his teeth at her, but he knew better than to even attempt a move at her. He then turned to Ice’Rock and looked up at her, there was resolution in his eyes, he would not be broken.


Kali made her way to the human encampment where the White Robed Wizard was sitting among a counsel of high ranking officers. As expected there were many members of the Knights of Solamnia, primarily those of the Sword, a few of the Crown. She watched from the shadows of the rocks and trees as they drew their fingers along a series of maps, several of the region, some of the city. They were clearly discussing strategy and attempting to find a way into the city. She could not see the White Robe’s face, only the back of his robes and couldn’t identify him. As she stayed low and watched the group finally shuffled and moved enough that his bearded face could be seen. In a low voice so quiet only she could hear it she spoke, “Kelis…”

She furrowed her brows slightly and looked around to make sure she would not be captured before she slipped back along the ridge and down the tree line until she made her way back to Sanction. As she approached the front lines the Nethermen saluted her by thumping their chests and nodding their heads.

She made her way into the city and spoke to one of the Nethermen on guard duty near the main gate, “Where is the Chieftain?” The Nethermen saluted and pointed to the town center, “She is at the square Mistress Sorceress.” Kali nodded with a small smile, “Thank you.”

As she came up and saw the Knight on his knees in front of Ice’Rock she raised her eyebrow and a smirk crossed her face. She stopped and stayed back to watch the proceedings, but Ice’Rock would see on her face that there was news that she needed to share.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Sun Mar 10, 2013 4:49 pm




Ice’Rock watched Branch and the Knight as they exchanged words. It was obvious whatever he THOUGHT she was going to do for him was not what he had in mind. A smile tugged at her lips as she could see the anger in the Knights eyes and hear it in his words. No doubt Branch didn’t reveal the truth until it was far too late for the Knight.

As the attention was turned to her, Ice’Rock nodded to Branch and looked beyond to see Klai had arrived and the look in her eyes was an unspoken message. Ice’Rock gave the mage a small nod letting her know she would be with her shortly. Ice’Rock walked up to Gerald as he knelt in the cold mud he had been forced to kneel in.

”Well, Gerald, Knight of the Sword, I see you have met my dear friend Silent’Oak. And since you Knights are so rigid on protocol, let me make introductions. This fine warrior to my left is Gore’Rock. He is the Shaman of Those of the Snow. The fine warrior holding you in a respectful kneel are Twist’Bone of Those of the Plains his brother, Crush’Bone. This fine Elf Lord is Swift’Bolt of Those of the Snow. I am Ice’Rock, Grand Chieftain of the Nethermen. Perhaps you would like to discuss with me how many more of your fellow Knights are out there and where they are camped at now that you find yourself my guest.”

The Knight glared at Ice’Rock then spat on the ground at her feet. Ice’Rock chuckled softly and lifted her hand to prevent Twist’Bone from doing what his name sake was. She spoke to the warrior in Netherese.

”It is OK, Twist’Bone. He will tell us all we want to know.”

She spoke to the Knight in common again.

”Well….since you are not going to talk to me to save yourself, perhaps you will talk for the life another. Gore’Rock…..bring the last child we have been saving to the east wall and make sure Sir Gerald is there as well.”

Gore’Rock nodded and instructed the brothers Bone to haul the prisoner off as he instructed another warrior close by to retrieve the child as the Chieftain ordered. He then turned to see Kali approach silently. Ice’Rock gingerly touched her shoulder and furrowed her brows. This wound was more of an inconvenience than anything now. Her features changed as she smiled when Kali stood before her.

”From the look in your eyes, it appears your venture was fruitful. Tell me. Are the white robes insect food now?”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Sun Mar 10, 2013 6:29 pm


Kali watched as the Knight was drug off to wherever his fate would land him and she turned to look at Ice'Rock as she approached. Branch walked up beside Kali and nodded to the wizard as Kali gave her a glance that offered her permission to stay. Olwa stepped up beside Ice'Rock and Kali did the same to him. Turning back to Ice'Rock she spoke, "The apprentice is dead, she and a small contingency of soldiers were trying to make their way along the rock ledge to flank us. I was able to kill them, and I took her life with my dagger to insure her death. She was too young to have taken the Test of High Sorcery, she made for easy pickings." Her mood was not light however and she continued, "The real issue is who her Master was. Kelis Artinious Brightstorm."

She was not surprised that none of them seemed to know the name and she continued, "Kelis is one of the most gifted Wizards of the White Robes, he is quite formidable and even though he wears the color of Solinari, like any wizard, he is going to seek the one who killed his apprentice. I would not put it on any of you to attempt and stand toe to toe with him, outside of my dead uncle he is perhaps the finest white robed battle mage to have ever lived, both in tactics and in endurance."

She looked at them and though her news wasn't the best she did not look shaken, "I will vow before you all that I will face him, but I must be left to do it alone. This goes beyond pride or personal reasons, for there are none, this is simply a matter of my being the best qualified. He could fry dozens at a time if given the chance. Until Kelis is removed from the scene the keeping of this city stands in jeopardy."

She turned and looked at Gore'Rock who was staring at her with furrowed brows. Blood'Scale had also stepped up behind him and was looking at her with conern, "Worry not my friends, you can only protect me for so long before I must forge my own path. It is the way of wizards that there are certain tasks which must be undertaken alone, it is our burden and our gift at the same time."

Blood'Scale looked at her and spoke, "I have taken a vow to always protect you sorceress!" Kali looked at him and gave her crooked, half smile, "And to the letter you have kept that vow Blood'Scale, and you will continue to keep it for I have no intention of allowing Kelis victory over me, however as I have said, for the sake of my order and my life, I must be allowed to face him alone."

She turned to look back at Pela and spoke, "If I can keep Kelis occupied and off of your forces, the lines are weak enough all the way up and over the ridge that you could drive the enemy back 10 kilometers before they could make enough of a defensive stance to even think about stopping you. There are plenty of Knights among them, but they are squabbling and fighting over the best approach, if we wait too long they will agree to a strategy, but as of an hour ago when I was up on the ridge, they were in no way cohesive or organized."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Tue Mar 12, 2013 3:06 pm




Ice’Rock listened to what Kali relayed. While she was no trained wizard or wizards apprentice, she did understand what Kali was telling her. It was important Kali’s concentration not be interrupted when the confrontation occurs but most of all, she and her clans did not need to be in the cross fire. And she knew Kali was right about the white robe laying waste to her warriors. That was the last thing she wanted. Absorbing all of this information, Ice’Rock nodded and looked to all around her then settled her gaze to Kali.

”Very well. We will let you handle the white robe. All things considered, I believe it would be best, as you say. Besides, I do not want any of the warriors to get caught in the cross fire of wizards. They will have plenty to occupy themselves in other entertaining things, I am sure. When you go to meet this adversary, we will make sure his Knights are occupied as well.”

Ice’Rock understood the infighting that always took place when a large group of Knights got together. Each of the different orders thought their ideas were the best to use and when the opposing two orders disagreed, it led to lengthy discussions that got them nowhere in the long run.

She smiled to Kali then and nodded again.

”Prepare for whatever it is you need to do. We will prepare for another push against the human Knights. There is food and drink in the large hall. And a warm fire burning brightly. I am sure you could use some tea if nothing else.”

She glanced at Blood’Scale then.

”You will stay with her at all times but you will remain her silent protector. I have no doubt the white robe will have a similar protector. If I know the Knights, and I do, the protector will not be easily defeated. Even for the likes of your ferociousness. Like you, they will keep their presence hidden for as long as possible and their duty will be to protect the wizard while he casts. Do not let your need for blood lust over power your duty to protect Kali. You will have your opportunity for slaking such thirsts when the white robe is defeated.”

Ice’Rock took a step closer and placed her left hand on Blood’Scale’s massive forearm as she looked up into his black eyes.

”I trust none other with her protection.”

They were simple words but the weight and meaning of those words were stronger than anyone could know. Blood’Scale pounded his chest proudly.

”Your trust is not misplaced, Grand Chieftain!”

Ice’Rock smiled at the warrior then looked to Kali.

”Come….I shall sit with you until you take your leave.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Tue Mar 12, 2013 7:21 pm


Kali looked at Blood'Scale as he vowed his protection yet again and nodded respectfully to Ice'Rock as she made her requested. They walked to the large hall of the main Keep and found a place to sit. As some of the Netherwomen brought her hot water she turned to Ice'Rock, dropping her herbs in instinctual, "Ice'Rock, my guess is as soon as the apprentice is found dead Kelis will immediately push for battle. He is a white robe, but he is also a battlemage. Though his motivation won't be revenge, it will not be far off. Vengeance and revenge are interchangeable."

She sipped her tea and spoke, "I will use whatever means are at my disposal to defeat him, so my advice is to keep yourself as far to the edge of the battle as possible... though I recognize that might not be possible. To that end I would hope that Branch would stay with you for this next push," She turned and looked right at Branch, "I don't know of another more capable of protecting you Chieftain."

Branch smiled and nodded her thanks to the compliment, for they were typically far and few between when Kali spoke. Turning back to Ice'Rock she spoke, "I assume I don't need to say Olwa needs to stay close," she turned and looked at him, "He is never far."

She gave a small, thin, half smile and turned again back to Ice'Rock, "Our overtaking of Sanction was a long shot, keeping it is even more so. I was confident we could take it with the possibility of yielding it back. We would have made our point, the humans would have known you and your Netherman are not to be trifled with. I am sure they feel they will regain their city, find a negotiating point, eventually work out a border arrangement and there would be a tense peace. It is the normal working of warfare when it come to men."

She sipped her tea and looked back at Ice'Rock, "What they did not factor in was that we did not attack with the intent to negotiate peace... and ultimately that will be there undoing." Blood'Scale looked at her and smiled wide, the anxious look in his eyes to return to battle as soon as possible lingered there as she smiled back at him. Turning to Ice'Rock she spoke, "If we can break Kelis, we will break the spine of the forces outside the walls. They will be crippled beyond repair, and then a choice will need to be made."

She reached into her robes and pulled out a map of the region. Placing her tiny, slender finger over Sanction she spoke, "If we break the army they will pull back the force they sent down to Kuri-Khan. Most likely they will swing them back up through Alek-Khan and attempt to hold you there. They will try to stop us from advancing into Delphon, it is the next logical target as it is the gateway to the shore of the Blood Sea of Istar. Though the sea is un-navigatable, the coastlines are and they are the main supply routes for the whole western edge."

Sipping her tea again she exhaled softly and looked at Ice’Rock with some concern, “Your biggest problem however, is here.” She pointed to Haligoth on the western side of the Nethermen lands, on the coast of Newsea. “We have no navy, and the humans do. If they are to send a rallying cry to Solamnia and Nightlund, we will have a major problem. Now, since Lady Rose is the Commander of the Knight of Solamnia in that whole region, there is a chance we can strike a deal to not advance past Estwilde, they have no interest in its protection anyway, however she will face increasing, and potentially hostile political pressure to push you back to your original borders. For what it’s worth, I suggest you take no more than Khur and Bustik, and then hold. At that position you will have made your point, and you will have doubled your lands.”

She looked to Ice’Rock who seemed about to speak when the bell began to toll. They all stood and went out to the northern battlements and looked. A massive counterattack was forming along the whole ridgeline, and Kelis, along with several Knights of the Sword were looking down into the valley where Sanction was positioned on the coastline. Kali looked at the rest and spoke, “Looks like they were able to muster up enough agreement to march on your walls Chieftain.”

She and Blood’Scale were about to descend the steps when a voice boomed out through the valley, “KALI! I KNOW YOU ARE AMONG THEM! I KNOW YOU KILLED MY STUDENT! FACE ME!”

Blood’Scale turned to her and spoke, “He calls you by name in challenge, you must answer.

She turned and looked at Blood’Scale while flicking up her hood, “Yes, and I must go alone.”

Blood’Scale began to speak and she touched his arm, “It is the way of High Sorcery my friend, I assure you he will also come alone.”

There was apprehension on his face, but he stepped aside so Kali could pass. She walked through the main gate and into the open. Upon seeing her he encouraged his horse into a full run and descended the mountain along the switchback road and stopped about 50 meters from her. His robes were snow white and shimmered brightly as they caught the light. It was like thousands of diamonds had been impressed into the surface and drew light into them only to scatter it magnificently outward again. Kali stood and watched as he approached.

He stopped roughly ten meters from her and spoke, “So, I should have known that one such as yourself would align with these Nethermen. First you nearly plummet our planet into the Abyss, nearly cracking its core for your own selfish gain, and when that fails you find yourself a new army to wage war with. There is more to power than killing and destroying.”

Kali looked up at him, her staff held gently in her left hand, “Of course there is Kelis, but I would be hard pressed to explain any of it to you.”

He laughed loudly, a booming, almost jovial laugh, and spoke again, “And what on Krynn makes you think that I would have any interest in knowing the secrets of the darkness?”

“Nothing at all Kelis, but if your facts were even remotely correct you would be praying to your god for forgiveness.”

He took a half step forward and spoke, “There will be no forgiveness needed for wiping your shadow from the planet.”

“That is assuming you are able.”

Kelis narrowed his eyes on her and spoke, “It is a shame I will have to tell you mother of your death, she is a good woman, I have had the opportunity to speak with her many times in the towers of high sorcerer. It will grieve her greatly that the daughter who was capable of so much found her own demise as a result of her decisions.”

Kali only looked at him. He inhaled deeply and spoke, “You killed my apprentice,” … “She was leading an insurgent group around the flank to try and attack the city, it is nothing less than you would have done.” He looked back at her and continued, “For this action I will see you finished this day.”

The air began to crackle with power and even from her place on the wall Pela would feel exactly what Kali had said about his power, “There shall be no interference, we duel, if you accept, and I evoke the rules and binds of high sorcery between us.”

Kali nodded and spoke, “Then we have an accord.”

Immediately the air exploded with what could only be described as static electricity, causing all the hairs on the heads of those close enough to tingle with power. Kelis thrust his hands forward and hissed words as a massive explosion of light, twisted with fire and electricity spiraled towards Kali. She did not move, allowing the certain death to engulf her, surround her and completely envelop her. There was a loud sizzling sound and as the light exploded out, only Kali’s staff and what appeared to be burning robes remained, a smoldering pile in the middle of the road. The Nethermen howled and beat their chests as Kelis stood upright and looked, almost in disbelief that it was over so quickly. He stepped forward and nudged the burning cloth with his toe, the sweet smell of reagents and silk lifting into the air. He then turned to look at her staff. It lay on top of the robes, unharmed, as would be expected, and he sneered slightly as he bent down to pick it up. The human lines all around the valley were hollering in triumph as his fingers edged closer.

The instant his finger touched the staff, a shadowy figure erupted from the smoke and blew him back through the air, in a swirl of fire and shadow Kali’s form appeared, and the sickening pull of ambient magic began to fill the air. She focused its presence around Kelis so no others were affected and spoke through her teeth, “You think that YOU can defeat ME so easily! You prideful, arrogant, FOOL!”

There was a tone in her voice that Pela hadn’t heard since the towers, Kelis writhed and twisted on the ground as the purple mist associated with the ambient magic flowed from her robes and surrounded him. Her hair swirled as if blown by the winds off the sea cliffs and shadow was twisting and unfolding from her body with every twitch, “You, who swore to uphold justice and vowed to protect the weak! Where were you when I controlled the towers? Where were you when the Knights of Solamnia charged forth into the fray of molten elementals and twisted, living rock?! You dare to impress upon me the title of evil when it was you yourself who never showed your face in an attempt to turn the face of Fifth and Piramay from the land! It was I who cracked the towers, it was I who banished Piramay to her hell, and it is I who now am master of ambient magic, twisted with shadow and fire!”

She stopped, the shadows ceased in pouring out from her and she inhaled deeply, watching him breath heavily as he lay on the ground, his face still twisted from the pain. She stepped over to him and spoke softly, knowing she had pulled the very physical strength from his body, “For all your self righteous proclamations of goodness, it was a servant of Nuitari who saved this planet.”

She extended her hand and hissed a word of magic, from her fingers a dark bolt of energy exploded forth and stuck him in the chest, his body twisted on swift kick, and the life left his eyes. Turning to the Nethermen she screamed, “Grand Chieftain! Ice’Rock of the Nethermen! I DELIVER INTO YOUR HANDS, THE ARMY OF YOUR ENEMIES!!!”

The Nethermen exploded like a tidal wave into the lines of the human army, their voices like thunder echoing off the cliff faces as the sound of steel and wood colliding rose above it all.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:53 pm



Piramay stood looking out over the mountains taking in a deep breath. She enjoyed the fresh mountain air but at the same time she was irritated by the chill of it. Behind her she knew that her draconian associate would be following. The cold would not bother the reptilian creature in the slightest. Were she not wearing the ring gifted to her by Fifth in their early days in the dark court there was little doubt she would be shivering and utterly miserable. She was a creature devoted to the cleansing fires of eternity and she loathed the cold because of that devotion.

Their trek was leading them deeper into the mountains that she now called home. There was little surprise when she discovered that Fifth had chosen these mountains as a potential retreat if their plans had failed. Deeper into the range she discovered that there was a cavern system that would allow entry to the gates of the underworld. She would be able to look upon the souls of those who where descending to be judged be the god of death himself before being sent to their afterlife.

It was not a place that she wished to go but it would also allow her access to those who had been denied by their deities. Her enemies were many and she had thought of a way to throw them all off their games. Nid'hug had completed the first task for her already. It had taken a considerable amount of subtle work teach the draconian to make the soulstone that she needed without revealing the true nature of the item. Two spells cast every time a stone had been created so that he would retain the information that was required until the moment it was time to use that information. The end result had turned out better than she had expected. With that jewel in hand and with Nid'hug in tow they were descending into the pass. Piramay
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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Mon Mar 25, 2013 9:51 pm

Ketara had been back at Heartlund for days now....she was no longer sure how long she'd been back. The days had all run together with the training of the children and her own problems. James was beginning to act strangely.....and it worried her. Curtis, the young boy who had taken an immediate dislike to James had been laying in a coma since a few days of her return. Someone had attacked the boy and had tried to split his skull in two. The day that had happened he had come to her while she was eating her lunch and wanted to speak to her about James. That evening, on his way home from training someone had attacked the boy. James seemed worried, but aloof to the situation at the same time. On top of everything else, she'd not seen Gideon either. Not since she'd returned to Heartlund. She wondered if he was avoiding her.

Today was Tienen's birthday and she was depressed knowing that he'd turned to the dark side of things. She'd called off training that day, feeling that she wouldn't be much of a teacher with the mood she was in. She was in her small cabin, fixing her lunch when knock came at her door. She mumbled under her breath, removing the stew from the fire and answered it. It was James.

"Tara....what is wrong? You don't call of training with the children for no reason. What is it?"

Grumbling about wanting to be left alone, she turned away from him, leaving the door open so that he could enter. "Tis nothing, James. I just be feeling a bit under the weather, tis all." She heard his 'hmph!' and turned seeing that he clearly did not believe her. "Fine then....today would have been me brother's birthday...Tienen would have been 28." She turned back to the fire to stir the stew, wiping away a tear. With not seeing or hearing from Gideon on top of everything she was feeling very much alone.

James came over to her and laid a hand on her shoulder in a comforting manner. "What if you could see him again? Would you do so? Do you think there is any hope for him to be turned back to the light?"

Looking up at James from her sitting position next to the fire she gave him a small smile. "Tis hope I have for this, James. Tienen was a good lad growing up....caring and loving. There has to be good in him....somewhere."

James nodded his head to her, smiling when she turned back to the fire. Things were going better than he'd hoped. He'd been asking her questions about her life growing up....especially having siblings and loving parents. His excuse for wanting to know these things were that he was an only child and grew up with only his drunkard father and selfish mother. He could know it was like to have a loving family through her stories of when she was growing up. This caused her to speak of her favorite brother, Tienen. It also caused her to miss her more than she did before.

He'd been corresponding with his leader for sometime and the time was swiftly approaching when he would bring Tara to her brother. A family reunion of sorts.

"Hope is a good thing, Tara. For if you believe that there is still good in him then maybe you will get the chance to see him again and remind him of it."

"I do hope so, James.....to have me brother back, the one I grew up with would be a miracle and bring me much happiness. Perhaps someday.....I be having the chance to return me brother to the light."

Her mood a little lighter, she invited James to sit with her and share her lunch, telling him more tales of her life with her brothers, especially Tienen.


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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Tue Mar 26, 2013 3:00 pm


Nidhug Came up behind his Mistress twenty seconds or so after she had stopped. It was his natural tendency to cover their tracks, something she never seemed to deny him, but she certainly let him know through her occasional chuckles that what he was doing was a waste of time.

He looked out across the rough landscape and squinted his eyes slightly as he followed the valley pass which looked more like a rough tear in clothing than anything else. The shadow that quickly consumed any details within the pass were almost alive with eyes that stared at them. He knew immediately of this pass, it was known as “Twilight Banner”, and it was rumored this path lead to the mouth of The Abyss. He inhaled sharply and spoke, “Missstress. You lead uss to the very hingesss of deathss door.”

He looked up at and she didn’t even glance over at him, she simply started walking again. He followed two steps behind as was his custom. Minutes later they were entering the opening at the top of the valley pass and began to descend. His roots were set by the magic of evil clerics, corrupting and twisting the seed within metallic dragon eggs to create his race, the darkness and evil within this place did not thwart him. He was also aware of his Mistress’ powers, as well as his own which were formidable at the least. He had no doubts that together they would complete their journey and though he did not know what the purpose of their voyage was he was confident in the wisdom and leadership of his Mistress, surly she had a plan.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Fri Mar 29, 2013 11:35 am


There was a soft knock on Ketara’s door. When she opened the door she was looking into the eyes of Sir Trystan, Commanding Knight of the Sword. He smiled warmly and nodded his head respectfully as she looked at him curiously and cautiously. He was the Captain of the guard for all of Heartlund and unfortunately that left for some nervous interactions when he showed up at someone’s door. He spoke softly, “Ms. Ketara, I am Sir Trystan Celestes, I am not sure if you remember me for it has been since the War of the Towers that we interacted with one another.”

She smiled and nodded, saying non-verbally that she did in fact remember him. He continued, “Do you mind if I come in?”

As he entered at her permission he looked around the cabin quickly assessing his surroundings as he always did. He turned to her and spoke, “I assure you my visit is not in concern with anything you have done, in fact Commander Rose is very pleased that you have taken so warmly to the orphaned children since the war, your efforts have given many young lives a great deal of hope and encouragement. We can’t thank you enough for all that you have done for Heartlund.” She could see the look on his face and knew there was more, “Because of your close tie with the children I have come to make a request of you. There has been a kidnapping.”

He noted the look on her face and he continued, “Last night, around midnight. The tent city we set up for the orphans in the park beside the town center was infiltrated, and a young girl named Teirza was taken. Some of the other children spoke of a ghost appearing and disappearing with her, however I can’t bring myself to believe that. Illusion is a form of magic that can be used when trying to create distraction and that is my suspicion, however I can’t bring myself to believe a Red Robed Wizard would find the need to kidnap a child, so we are still investigating. We have a lead that I would like to pursue, but I need your assistance if you are willing to accompany me. I am asking you because the children said that Teirza has been attending your daily sessions of learning, so I know you will be able to identify her. My hope is that she wandered off into the forest and this is a matter of simply finding her.”

He watched her and could see the distress on her face. He spoke softly, “We are not suspicious of her being harmed, but I do need to begin pursuing this lead as soon as possible. I am leaving in two hours, I know that does not give you a lot of time to prepare if you chose to go with me, however as urgent as this matter is I need to request a yes or no right now, and again, I am sorry to put such pressure on you for an immediate response.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Sat Mar 30, 2013 12:31 am

Keatara's face showed her worry over the girl and she was quick to begin gathering items she would need. "Nay, Sir Trystan...no apologies necessary. I will join you in two hours time if not before." She smiled at him as he left, gathering healing herbs and bandages just in case the wee lass was injured. She looked at James who was still there, "Tis sorry I be, James....but I must help Sir Trystan find the wee lass."

"No apologies are necessary, Tara....in fact, I will come as well and help."

James was smiling on the inside, knowing that the 'ghost' was indeed the work of Tynen. This was the opportunity he's been waiting for to get Tara to her brother. He knew where the girl had been taken just as he knew the sacrifice that would happen if Tara didn't agree to go with Tynen. "I will gather my things as well and meet you at the corral to saddle our horses."

"I thank ye, James......more eyes will of great help in finding her." Tara smiled at him as he left her cabin finishing gathering her things. She also packed dried fruit, elven bread and a small block of hardened cheese. She also made sure to take along two bladders of water in case Teirza was thirsty. For it was yet warm, not yet into full autumn. She smiled warmly thinking of the girl with the soft brown eyes and quiet voice but she had spirit, she did. Often beating the bigger boys at their practice of blades.

Finished gathering what she felt she would need, she left her cabin to set out to the corral, seeing James already there with their horses saddled. Nothing was said, just an exchange of smiles as she mounted and rode to the gates to meet Sir Trystan and the others. There she saw a crying woman, instantly knowing it was Teirza's mother and she quickly dismounted and went to her.

"M'lady..please....please, bring my Teirza home. She is all I have since her father was taken from us."

Giving her a hug, Tara whispered to her, "Aye....and home is where she will be. We will find her.....and we will bring her back to ye arms." She stepped back, giving her a warm smile before remounting her horse and looked around at the others. She frowned when she did not see Gideon, wondering if something was amiss between them that she did not know about. Sighing, she turned her gaze to Sir Trystan, "We have a wee lass to find, Sir Trystan. And James has offered to help. If'n we doona return afore morning, I have left instructions for one of the older children to continue practice. Let us find the lass and return her to her mother's arms."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:50 am


Trystan smiled and nodded as Keatara approached. He watched as the woman and Kaetara spoke and he stayed silent, but his face was showing an obvious bit of confusion. As Keatara mounted her horse and looked over at him he smiled again and turned to the wall guard, “My hope is we are gone no more than three days. Reports from the scouts are that footprints were spotted in the woods to the east, we will do a large sweep and return with news.”

The guard nodded and saluted, “See that all the watches are posted on schedule, and please send the runner to Commander Rose that I have left, she only asked to be informed of my departure, she specifically said I did not need to deliver the news myself.”

Again the Gate Captain saluted and spoke, “Gods be with you Sir Trystan,” He nodded and spoke, “And may Paladine keep watch with you until we return.”

He turned and looked for the woman who Keatara had been speaking to and did not see her, he leaned down to the Gate Captain and whispered something to him. He nodded and spoke, “Aye sir,” and stepped back as Sir Trystan gently nudged his mount and he and Keatara moved out and to the east. He turned and spoke as they left the city behind them, “Thank you for joining me Keatara, I know it can be hard for a woman to off into the countryside with a man she barely knows, I assure you that as a Knight of Solamnia I will treat you with all the honor, dignity and respect you expect.”

She looked at him and he cleared his throat again as he continued, “What I mean to say is that you won’t need to worry about any funny business.”

He smiled and turned to look towards the wood which were approaching quickly, “I find it curious that there was a woman claiming to be Teirza’s mother…,” he looked at Keatara again, “She showed up right before the war of the towers, nobody knew who she was. Of course we granted her solace, safety, shelter and food… I was not aware that her mother had ever arrived.”

He turned and looked back towards the woods. She would see the expression on his face, he was working it all out. As the Captain of the City Guard, surly he would have been informed about someone new coming to town, especially someone related to someone else who was already there. Tight census of those within the city walls was always kept to date since the war of the towers, it was mostly to ensure that everyone was accounted for if something else happened. He turned again and looked at Kaetara and spoke, “I suppose it is just one of those mysteries we need to sort out.”



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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Mon Apr 01, 2013 11:38 pm

Keatara looked at Trystan in confusion about Teirza's 'mother'. "Now that I think about it...the lass never has spoken of her mother at the practices. And she is verra good with a blade. I simply assumed that someone from her family had begun teaching her." She shook her head, more at herself than anything. "I shoulda' questioned it more....yet I was glad to see a young lass wield a blade as well she did." She was beginning to think that all was not right with this 'kidnapping' and she wondered if by the look on Trystan's face if he was wondering as well.

"James....did ye notice anything strange about the lass, Teirza? Anything out of the ordinary?", she asked her friend who was riding right behind her and Trystan.

"No, Tara.....just that she was good with the blade. Nothing more than that." James' face was somber as he appeared to be in thought over this while inside he knew for sure now that this 'mother and daughter' were indeed from Tynen's camp. But, the woman should've never have stepped forward as the girl's mother. She was there to spy, nothing more and because of what she'd done she may have caused quite a problem for James. He sighed, knowing that she would have to be dealt with once he returned.....if he returned. That would all depend on the next day or two and what took place.

"I would say that we find Teirza and ask her about her 'mother'."

Tara agreed as she rode next to Trystan, still looking back to see if Gideon had suddenly appeared. "Sir Trystan....have ye heard any word from Gideon? I have not seen him for some time now and am growing worried."

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Fri Apr 05, 2013 12:27 pm

Trystan looked over at Keatara as she spoke of Gideon. He smiled, but it was a sad smile, the lingering thoughts of his own lost love floating in the back of his head. It was a problem that he was trying to reconcile, the loss of the not one but two women he had cared for deeply. First there was Kellan. He had been best friends with her brother and when he had died he had been there as her comfort and refuge, but he blew it, and though they had a brief interlude of what could have been love, it left with her. Then, he thought he had found all the happiness in the world when Kali, the Red Robed wizard with ice blue eyes, a woman he never would have dreamt he had an even remote chance of entering a relationship with wove herself around his heart like a vine. He blew that too… he blinked and looked around with a slight expression of bewilderment. Keatara and James were both looking at him curiously and he realized that he was so lost in thought that he had stopped his horse and the three of them were standing still in the middle of the road.

Clearing his throat softly he spoke, “My apologies. Sir Gideon is on an assignment that should have him back at the castle in the next three days I would imagine.” He nudged his mount forward and Kaetara came into stride beside him and he looked over at her, “I can see that you love him.” He smiled and nodded his head, “It’s written all over both of your faces whenever you two are together.”

She could see the look of happiness for her but also sadness on his own face. He looked forward again and squinted his eyes as he scouted out the road ahead. A small Hamlet was up ahead, roughly 160 or so residents. They had been traveling a few hours and he thought it would be a good place to investigate if any of them had seen the young girl, “Up ahead is the Hamlet of Daggershire. It’s inhabitants are kind, especially to those of the Knighthood. We will be able to find a little rest, a hot meal and perhaps some more clues as to our missing little ones whereabouts. I have been given a purse by Lady Rose to cover expenses, if there is anything you need while we are there please just let me know.”

Within a few minutes they were riding into the small village and the citizens waved and welcomed them. A man appearing to be in his late forties greeted them in the town center and spoke, “Sir Trystan, long has it been since you came to our village!”

Sir Trystan dismounted and walked over the the man and embraced him in friendship, “Indeed it has Benjamin. May I introduce James and Kaetara.” He gestured to his companions and Benjamin nodded in welcome, “Well any friend of Sir Trystan’s are welcome in our home.”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:55 pm

Keatara blushed when Trystan spoke of her feelings for Gideon but didn't deny it. "Aye....what I feel for Gideon is love, Sir Trystan.....although no words have been spoken. So...I doona know if his feelings are as strong", she said to him quieting when the man greeted Trystan as he introduced her and James. She gave Benjamin a smile, as did James. They followed the two men to the nearby pub to get something to eat while their horses were taken care of at the stables. She wondered if they were going to stay the night or simply eat, rest and move on when James spoke up.

"If you will excuse me, Tara......I saw a trinket at the small shop when we came into the village."

Tara smiled warmly at him, suspecting that he'd been courting one of the young, single girls at Heartlund. He left, heading directly towards the shop and entering it. "I doona think that I be the only one falling for someone, Sir Trystan", she said with a chuckle as she watched James leave. She turned and followed them into the pub where she sat down with Trystan and his men to ordslider their meals.

James entered the store where he'd seen one of Tynen's men who was also acting like he was looking at trinkets for a woman. The two struck up a conversation as if they were getting another man's opinion on the best present to buy for a young woman each buying a small locket before leaving together. If one were to see them leave the store, they would see two men striking up a conversation as men are wont to do. They stopped outside another small shop where they spoke quietly.

"Gaylord.....get word to Tynen. I have Keatara with me and we are searching for the child who is not a child", he said with a grin.

"Tynen be closer than ye think, James. But, thanks to the Dark Lady and her gifts she bestowed upon him, no one will know he is close. He has a plan, one that will be revealed to you when it is time to bring her to him. Til, then.....we will be watching to see which way you head and report back to Tynen. And James.....Tynen told me to tell you that his sister will be yours......unless she refuses to join him. Then you can only have her until it is time for her to be sacrificed to the Dark Lady."

James smiled at these words before patting Gaylord on the back like a man who had just made a new friend. "I think you're girl will like the locket, my friend. And thank you for helping pick out one for my lady friend." These words being said for the benefit of anyone coming up on the two as Gaylord walked off whistling a merry tune while James headed back to the pub with his trinket and information that made him smile.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Wed Apr 17, 2013 12:15 pm


Trystan sat with Keatara and spoke, "Order what you like, I have all the expenses covered thanks to Lady Rose."

As the serving maid approached and after he, Keatara, and the two men he had brought with him gave her their orders he turned back to Keatara and spoke, "Well, love is something we all fall victim to, some fall harder than others I am afraid, and sometimes the consequences of that fall leave scars that last a lifetime." His face reflected his own sadness a moment and then he smiled again, "However, when it works, it's the best thing in the world, I hope and wish that for you and Gideon, I truly do."

He leaned back and she would see there was sincerity in his face, but there were also the lingering thoughts of his heartbreak. He was not one to linger on sad thoughts however and he spoke up, "I can only hope we find Tierza quickly, it is not a comfort to me knowing there is a little girl lost in the woods."

He looked at Keatara and spoke, "My plan is to eat and move on shortly after, I don't want to linger too long as long as Tierza is out there, she may be an orphan, but she is the charge of Heartlund until she is of age. To that end I want to push as fast as possible to find her, are you comfortable with this?"

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:25 pm

Keatara noticed the sadness in Trystan's eyes and her heart went out to him. It was clear that he'd lost not one, but two loves and she wished there was something she could do for him, but she knew that he would have to work through it and come to terms with it on his own. If he hadn't already. At his words of eating and then moving out she nodded her head, "Aye....that would be the wisest of actions to take, Sir Trystan. The sooner we find the wee lass the better. And the sooner we find out who the woman was pretending to be the lass' mother and why."

She turned at the sound of the pub's doors opening and saw James come in with a smile on his face. Thinking it was due to finding a trinket for the woman he was courting back at Heartlund she smiled back at him. "Sorry I ran off like that, Sir Trystan...Tara. I had to buy the trinket I saw for a special someone." He looked down at Keatara and for a second his look was one of lustful thoughts before he looked away to collect his thoughts before he betrayed himself. Tara never noticed having turned back to her meal. "Tis okay, James. I hope yer lass appreciates whatever it is ye purchased for her. Sit...eat, we are moving on as soon as the horses are seen to and we've finished our meal."

Her thoughts grew gray then, sadness filling her eyes when James showed her the locket he'd purchased. It was a simple thing....in the shape of a heart inlaid with gold colored weavings. In fact, it was very similar to the one that her brother Tynen had gotten for her on her last birthday with him and their family. Before the slaughter. "I am sure yer lass will truly love it, James", she said in a soft voice, looking away from it. James' eyes filled with understanding (or seemed to) as he quickly closed his hand around the locket. "Oh...Keatara. I am so sorry. It never dawned on me that this locket was so similar to the one your brother had gotten for you before the.....before you lost.....I am so sorry. Forgive me for my thoughtlessness." He leaned over and gave her a brotherly kiss on the cheek, wiping away a stray tear that made it's way down her cheek.

"Tis okay, James. Some things are just not easily forgotten but still hold a special place in me heart. It does please me that ye, a man who is like a new brother to me, would pick something so similar as to what Tynen had picked for me on me last birthday we had together." James quickly grew thoughtful before placing the locket into her hand and closing her fingers around it. "You must have it, Tara. And I won't take no for an answer. You must have it for you told me how the locket you had was lost. Please....take it and let it bring back the good memories of your brother instead of you lingering on the bad."

Her eyes filled with tears at his thoughtfulness as she nodded her head, afraid to speak. She looked over at Trystan and gave him a shaky smile before pocketing the locket. "I will treasure this, always. Thank ye, James. But....what about yer lady friend? What will ye be giving her now?" James chuckled, "I will find something else, Tara. She didn't even know that I was going to look for something for her, let alone buy something."

He ate quickly, knowing that what he'd done was meant to be done for when Tara saw her brother again, the loving memories she had of him would be at front of her mind and heart instead of the bad. Perhaps, even make it easier to pull her to their side. He mentally shrugged his shoulders. It wouldn't matter either way.....because either way she would be his. Whether for a short time or for as long as she pleased him, he didn't care. And having her first was something he would love to be able to throw into Gideon's face. That knight irked him with his very presence. Always making Tara smile and blush with his sweet words and careful, protective nature.

Once finished with their meals, the party rose, heading for the stables and their mounts to continue their search. As they were entering the stable, James being the last one he looked over to see Gaylord standing in the shadows and gave the man a slight nod. Gaylord nodded back, ready to follow at a distance and wait for the moment when they would take Tynen's sister and send Trystan back a defeated man. For not only would he not find the 'young girl' but he would also lose a cherished knight's lady. It wouldn't be long now......and oh what a surprise Trystan was in for when he found out just who young Tierza really was.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:18 am




It wasn’t as short lived a battle as one would think. The Knights of Solamnia were well known for not giving up so easily. Even when the odds were stacked against them. While the Nethermen were not impossible to defeat, they were difficult, to say the least. Especially when there was a black robed wizard among them and a Grand Chieftain who rallied her warriors like none other. In the end, as the sun set and the dust settled, the ground was filled with the red blood of humans and the black blood of Nethermen. It mingled together to make a dark, red colored ground and the smell of death hung heavy in the air.

A few of the Nethermen warriors fell during the battle and littered the area with the many bodies of the dead Knights. Ice’Rock was blood stained from her fight as was all the other Nethermen, Branch and Olwa. Dirt smeared her clothes and face and bits of flesh and bone littered her usually pristine white hair.

She stood on the battlement of the city and looked around at the destruction all around her. Her stomach churned, not from the lives she took but the sheer foolishness of the humans. Or at least the way she saw it. They could have saved many souls if they had just backed down. Why oh why did they have to be so stubborn?

She watched as Gore’Rock went about collecting the hearts of his fallen comrades for the ceremonial fire that would allow them to cross into the other world as the warriors they were. She felt a pang of agony course through her as she saw the bodies of her fallen warriors. The words of her father rang in her ears as she took note of their names. “War is not a glorified thing, daughter. The only true winner is death and the real price paid is not known until death has collected its fee.”

Taking a ragged breath as her emotions began to rise up, she saw a movement out of the corner of her eye and saw Branch, Olwa and Kali moving to stand with her. She felt the warmth of Olwa’s hand close around hers as a gesture of comfort, of which she was grateful. Her shoulder felt like it was on fire and she moved it as little as possible but that wasn’t easing her pain. Her voice was strained when she spoke.

”This day will be remembered for many, many years to come. Not only in the stories told to our young but in the books of time for the humans as well.”

She looked over at Kali with tired eyes.

”The human Knight has revealed to us what we needed. He lasted longer than I thought he would. I admired him for that.”

Taking another ragged, deep breath, she looked out over the setting sun and saw the sky was as red as the ground. Squinting her eyes, she spoke softly to all of them again.

”Uncle returns.”

Without another word, she turned and slowly made her way down the steps to greet her Uncle who had the large bag full of hearts. The ceremony would now begin.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:32 pm


Trystan watches as James and Keatara spoke. He watched James, there was something different about him as he spoke to her, something … not sinister, but dangerously close, but for what he could not discern. As a high ranking Knight of the Sword, Trystan had learned to read people, to observe and calculate, but there was something off here, though he had suspicions he had no proof either towards or against James motivations. He listened much more intently than he led on, and when he had finished his meal and they made their way to the livery to collect their horses he buried the thoughts in the back of his mind knowing that if the right time arose he would deal with it then.

For now there was the issue of a young girl, lost in the woods with a potential kidnapper and he meant to see her safely back to Heartlund at all costs. Benjamin approached and spoke to Trystan, “Off you are then Sir Knight. Your mounts have been appropriately tended, watered and fed. The lasses there needed a new shoe on the rear left so I had the Smitty bring on over and we took care of that for you.”

Trystan looked at the hoof of Keataras mount and sure enough he saw a shiny new shoe installed. Turning back to Benjamin he spoke, “How much do we owe you for that Benjamin?”

Benjamin laughed and spoke, “I would nah to do work and charge without your approval Sir Trystan, consider this one compliments of the people of Daggershire!”

Trystan huffed through a slight laugh and spoke, “Then we shall consider this a tip.” He handed Benjamin three gold coins, “Please give one to the Smitty for his steel, one to the Farrier for his time and keep one for yourself as a thanks for your attentiveness. It would have been horrible for one of our mounts to slip a shoe while we were in the wilds.”

Benjamin smiled and nodded, “Indeed sire, indeed.”

Trystan patted Benjamin on the shoulder in a way that showed his appreciation as well as his friendship and with a nod Benjamin handed the leather reins to each of the horses respective riders and stepped back, “Feel free to stop by again on your way back Sir Trystan, you are always more than welcome in Daggershire!”

Trystan mounted himself into his saddle and looked at Benjamin, “My thanks to you Benjamin, gods give you grace.” Benjamin smiled and watched as the three of them made their way out of Daggershire and into the Northern Wilds.

As they rode out Trystan remained quiet. James and Keatara were riding ahead of him, about thirty feet or so. Trystan’s thoughts lingered on Keatara, he wondered who she was exactly. There were so many orphans in Heartlund and he had a hard time remembering them all. He felt an ache in his heart that he could not recollect her face, and he only could hope and pray that he at least recognized her when he found her. Thank the gods Keatata was willing to accompany him on this journey. She knew the orphan children better than anyone else in Heartlund and he needed her more than she knew to bring the RIGHT child back to the safety of the walls. Suddenly he looked up and pulled his horse to a stop almost colliding with the rear ends of his companions mounts. James and Keatara had stopped and were waiting for him to catch up. He blushed softly and spoke, “My apologies friends, my thoughts have run away with me.”



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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Thu Aug 08, 2013 3:13 pm



Kali looked at Ice’Rock as she approached. Kali’s eyes were clearly reflecting the exhaustion she was feeling. She nodded respectfully to the Grand Chieftan and turned as she heard Blood’Scale come up behind her and speak, “Mistress Wizard is tired from her fighting, come I will see you to your rest.”

Kali looked Blood’Scale in the eyes and spoke, “Thank you Blood’Scale, my friend, but I must counsel with the Grand Chieftain before I retire for the night. Plus, we have a ceremony to attend.”

She gestured as the sacred fire was being prepared for the passing ceremony which would be lit soon so the fallen warriors could be honored. Blood’Scale looked at the under shamans who were working at stacking the wood pyres in the exact right way and he spoke, “Mistress Wizard is not a clan member, she is not required to attend.” Kali narrowed her gaze slightly and her voice become somewhat cold, “I watched these clansman bleed, I fought alongside some of the fallen, one of them died protecting me as I was casting… do not dare to insinuate that I am not grateful nor be present to honor their deaths.”

Blood’Scale’s enormous form seemed to shrink instantly before the tiny half-elf and he lowered his eyes to the ground, “My apologies Mistress Wizard, I did not mean to…” Kali reached up and her fingers touched the back of his hand gently, “You have nothing to apologize for Blood’Scale, but I am as much a warrior as you, though our weapons of warfare are different, in our spirits flow the same desire for victory, and both of our hearts grieve those who were lost.”

He smiled as best a Netherman could and he nodded, “At least allow me the honor to get your medicine.”

Kali huffed with a smile and nodded, “Very well Blood’Scale, you honor me with your attentiveness.” She handed him the velvet bag with her herbs in it and his face showed his delight at her words and he left immediately to seek hot water. She turned back to the group and Branch spoke as she watched Blood’Scale leave, “Hims love you Miss Kali, it clear as day.” Kali watched him and nodded as she responded, “Aye, he does… it will be hard on him when I leave.”

She turned to look at Branch who’s face showed great confusion and concern, “Kali is leavings us?” Kali looked at Branch and spoke, “Soon I need to walk my own path again Branch, My desire here was to ensure that Pela had the support she needed to see her place secure among the Nethermen.”

Branch looked at her suspiciously and spoke, “Ands?”

Kali looked at her and her crooked, half smile appeared on her face, “And to secure the help I would need when I go to Icewall Castle.”

Branch narrowed her eyes and spoke, “So yours being here was for selfish gains?”

Kali looked at Branch and her eyes showed no emotion or regret, “Someday Branch, you will know me better than you do. The Grand Chieftain knew from my arrival that my time here would be temporary.”

Branch furrowed her brows and turned to Ice’Rock, her voice was slightly irritated, “Istar’ostring, did yous know this?”

Ice’Rock nodded and Branches demeanor changed slightly, at least the Grand Chieftain had not been deceived, she turned to look at Kali again, “Why not did you shares this with all of us?” Kali looked at Branch plainly, “Inquires into how long I would stay were never made.”

Branch was about to speak and she stopped herself, Kali had a point, they were all under the assumption Kali would be here indefinitely. Branch simply nodded and turned back to Ice’Rock.

Kali cleared her throat and spoke, “They are lighting the fire Grand Chieftain, I am sure your presence is expected so you may acknowledge your honorable dead.”


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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:22 pm

Keatara smiled back at Trystan, "Tis okay, Trystan. Are ye okay? Ye seem so deep in thought." She turned to James who was watching Trystan closely. "Aye, m'lord. Is anything amiss?"

When Trystan explained his worry about the young missing girl, Keatara nodded in understanding. "I barely remember the lass, Sir Trystan, but I am positive I will remember the wee one upon seeing her", she said with a kind smile. "All will be okay, Sir Trystan. Ye will see that in time." Turning back, they continued on. James was feeling a bit more tense now. He sensed that something was amiss with the knight and that he may have to move things up. If Trystan was suspicious of him then the sooner he delivered Keatara to her brother the better. Looking back, he discreetly looked for Clyde. He spotted the man up on a hill, just the sillouhette of him but he knew it was him. Tynen was no far ahead....a day or so ride and then Keatara would be his. Perhaps the she-elf, Tanjee would then join in the search for Keatara and Tynen would be able to obtain her as well. She would make a wonderful sacrifice for the Dark Lady.

Keatara looked over her shoulder at Trystan, worry in her light green eyes but she said nothing. She liked the knight....he was honorable and kind. He reminded her of Gideon. "Sir Trystan? Do you think Gideon will catch up to us soon?" Upon mentioning her beau, James cringed but quickly covered it. If he never saw that particular knight he would be fine with that.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:28 am


Trystan smiled genuinely as his two companions questioned his well being, “I am alright, and thanks for your concern, both of you.” He looked directly into James eyes before turning his gaze back to Keatara, “I am just thinking of Tierza, who she is, and I am praying to Paladin give her strength in what is surly a very scary situation. I don’t want to fear the worst, but these are dark times, so we have to be prepared for anything.” He turned his gaze back to James with a soft glance.

He clicked his tongue and moved the three of them along once again. Keatara was in the middle and Trystan turned to her, “Unfortunately I have not heard any word on Gideon’s arrival to meet up with us, no runners came while we were in Daggershire, so unfortunately I am just as much in the dark as you are.”

He saw the sadness in her eyes, reflected at his words. He could see that her love for the Knight was deep and genuine, and he pained at her sadness and longing for him, “If there is one thing I have learned, fair Keatara, the longer the absence, the sweeter the reunion.” She turned and looked at him and he smiled as he reached over and patted the top of her hand with his own, “I know Gideon, and I have spoken with him in private about you… I can assure you that his heart is aching as much as yours is right now.”

With a smile he nudged his mount along and they rode for the better part of the day. Finally as the sun was starting to lower itself against the horizon line Trystan pulled the group to a halt and spoke, “Up there on that small ridge is a fine place to camp, James and I can use that small point to keep watch and we can pitch our tents into that cleft for added protection. I think we might even be able to chance a small fire for warmth, the way this greenery wraps around the rock gives a great deal of visual protection.”

He moved them up a small, barely visible game trail and James and Keatara would notice that the small flat area showed evidence of being used as a camping site before. Trystan dismounted and spoke, “The Knights use this spot from time to time, it’s good when you have up to five people, more than that and it starts to get a little crowded.”

He untied the supplies form his mount and unsaddled his and Keatara’s horses, and then unrolled his bedroll parallel to the low cliff face. After they had set up camp he turned to his two companions, “I will take first watch, there is a low red moon this evening, and Solinari will rise at half waxing around midnight, we should have enough light to see anything approaching. I will take first watch, James I will wake you at the rising of Solinari for the next watch.”

He smiled softly to them both and unsheated his sword as he walked twenty or so yards to the small outcropping of rock. It was grown over with bushed and shrubs, and provided a great vantage point to sit, hidden from below but gave good visual of the surrounding area.


Tierza lay comfortably under the bear skin blankets she shared with Tynen. Their large tent was comfortable and was pitched in the exact center of their encampment. Hundreds of warriors, some under Tynen’s command, some under Tierza’s, had settled in for the evening and were whispering quietly around their fires as they ate smoked meat and drank mead. She could hear them shuffling about from time to time, even through the thick skin walls of the tent. She stared at the doorway as she listened to Tynen’s soft breathing. She could tell he was awake and she rolled over to look at his face.

She watched his eyes a moment in silence, he never glanced her way though she could tell he knew she was staring right at him. Their’s was a union of convenience, she understood that, and she remained silent as she watched him for a long while. Finally she reached up and brushed his cheek with her delicate finger whispering softly, “Your eyes are etched with the shadows of thought my lover, do you dwell on your sister?”

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:54 pm

Tynen turned cold eyes to the dark-haired beauty next to him, removing her hand from his cheek.  Theirs was a relationship of convenience and one he knew she understood.  Still....she pleased him....greatly, for now and she had her gifts.  

"Aye...tis Keatara I think upon, Tierza.  She will come to me....one way or another.  And she will join me....one way or another."  His smile was as cold as his eyes.  "Little does she know of what blood she carries", he whispered to himself.  No one but him knew that she was not his sister but his cousin.  It was a secret he'd overheard being discussed by his parents one night long ago and they'd sworn him to secrecy.  

A shout outside their tent had him rising, uncaring of his unclothed state as he spoke to the messenger.  His smile was genuine although again cold when he turned to Tierza, "Twould seem all is as planned, my sweet.  Tomorrow we take her and I will show that arrogant knight Sir Trystan that his is an incompetent fool who can't protect one woman nor see a spy when the lad is right under his nose."  Laughing, he rejoined her on the furs enjoying her charms.



Sleep didn't come quickly to Keatara as she lay there on her pallet thinking.  James had asked her if she would try to save Tynen if she were given the chance and she knew in her heart that she would.  Her hand went to the pendant she wore hidden beneath her clothing and she thought of her favorite brother.  How she missed him and how she knew there was still good in him......deep that it may be, it was still there.  A tear slid out of the corner of her eye as she thought about it.  Then her thoughts turned to Gideon and her feelings for him.  He was a wonderful man and she loved him with all of her heart.  Hours later, after James had risen to take his watch she finally drifted off, only to dream of happier times, when her family was alive and Tynen was the loving brother she remembered.

James watched......making sure he was close enough to know if Tara or Trystan stirred but also so that he could speak to Clyde.  Clyde moved to him as silent as a mouse, making no noise which James always thought was strange.  The man was as if one with the ground.   Clyde had met up with the messenger earlier, being the go between for James and Tynen.  "Lord Tynen agrees with you and will strike sometime tomorrow.  His sister will be yours but Trystan is not to be killed.  He is to be able to return to Heartlund defeated.  And.....he is to be sent with this message.  The Dark Lady will rise and be victorious." Clyde smiled, almost looking somewhat like a rat before James nodded to him and the man scurried back to the cover of the shadows.  James smiled, turning to look in the direction of where Keatara lay sleeping.  He thought of the knight, Gideon and how the poor man would be heartbroken to lose his love and to know that James would have her.  And just maybe.....that little she-elf would come running to help rescue her friend and she too would become one with the Dark Lady.

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PostSubject: Re: Book 2: Ch 8 - Black, Magic   Mon Aug 19, 2013 9:37 am


Tierza woke. Her nights sleep had been fulfilling and she slipped out from under Tynen’s arm without disturbing him, making her way outside the tent after she dressed. She walked out into the encampment and noticed without making it obvious that the men shuffled and moved out of her way as she passed. Those of her own knew of her power and feared her with a respect acquired from watching her in action. Those of Tynen’s camp moved more out of fear from second hand knowledge of her twisted and evil magic. She was a Sorceress of Tahkisis, supplied with a dark magic that was given to her directly as a result of her service and devotion, but not like those of the dark Clerics. She was a hybrid of wizard and cleric, able to channel energy through her symbols of Tahkisis, but also draw upon the very magic of Krynn to do her biddings.

She served Tahkisis with a complete and utter devotion, and as such she was quick to temper when she saw people within the service of the Dark Queen get out of line. She was even more brutal when she came across those who did not serve the goddess of chaos as whole heartedly as she did. She was at best a loose canon, and it was the reason that Tahkisis had given her so much in such a short amount of time.

Her yellow eyes fixed on the camp cooks and as she approached they straightened up and cleared their throats should she address them. She stopped and looked at the food and spoke, “What is that?”

“Boiled venison, wild spinach and radishes.”

She furrowed her brow slightly and spoke as she looked into the large pot, “Seems like a very interesting mixture.”

The cook nodded and spoke nervously, “Aye Mistress, but it was all we could gather in the woods. The season of summer is coming into autumn and this land is fairly scarce with wild vegetables. We have been gathering all we could given the limited time and resources we have…”

She looked up at him and spoke, “We are you so nervous, I never said I don’t approve, I just said it was interesting.”

The cook cleared his throat and spoke again, his voice was much shakier, “I didn’t mean… I… it’s nothing like that ….”

Tierza leaned in a little closer, “Then it’s like…. What?”

The cook was visibly sweating now, and his eyes were wide. Several of the other cooks had backed away slightly and Tierza’s eyes were flashing with violent mischief, “I meant no offense ma’am, I mean, we make do with what we have and I had no idea that you would like the mixture of…”

An explosive blast of purple light erupted where the man had been standing, his body was shredded instantly and Tierza was covered in the flesh and blood the explosion left behind. She reached up and wiped some of the goop from her cheek and put her finger in her mouth sucking off the cooks remains and swallowed with a smile, “Mmmm, nothing tastes better than fear.”

She turned and looked at one of the other cooks and spoke softly, “I would love a bowl of this breakfast stew.”

The cook rushed up, poured her a bowl and backed away. With a soft smile she turned and looked at the horrified soldiers, walked over to a fallen log, sat and began to eat. As the soldiers watched her she sat eating, blood and guts clinging to her body as she ate.



Trystan watched the twilight fade into evening and sat on the small outcropping watching the road below. It was a quiet evening and little stirred outside of his field of view. The white moon of Solinari gave just enough light for him to see and he looked up occasionally as he carved a stick with a small knife. Every now and then he would stop and look out into the woods, thinking about Kali. He still could not believe that he had allowed himself to be such a jerk towards her, and knew that as a result he would most likely never have a second chance with her.

He reached into his shirt and pulled out a small, red gemstone that hung from his neck. He looked at it and smiled. As Solinari began to dip into the horizon and Lunitari rose in the east the gemstone shimmered with even more life. She had created this stone for him during one of their more tender moments together. He still remembered that moment as if it had just happened.

Sat on a small outcropping, very similar to this one, the two of them watched the full red moon of her, at the time, goddess, Kali had reached down and picked up some of the dirt at their feet. She whispered spidery words of magic and the dirt within her hands flashed and swirled to form this gemstone. He could still see in his mind the shadows the the pink hues cast across her face. Her beautiful face, especially in that moment, were etched into his brain. Starring at the gem as he held it in the palm of his hand, the only physical thing that she had ever given him, he felt a pain in his heart and exhaled softly and quietly.

He looked up at the red moon and whispered softly, “I feel that I failed you Lunitari, even though I don’t follow your path, worship you, or walk in your ways. I feel as though she was entrusted to me and my selfishness got in the way of that. For what it’s worth, I am sorry.”

He tucked the gem back into his shirt and leaned back against the rocks, looking out into the night.



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