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Grab-Bag Writings & Art - April 2007

krwordgazer

Here are the elements that must be present in EQ stories, poetry or art for April:

An egg
A rabbit or ravvit
Self-sacrifice
A practical joke
A bowl of fruit
A dark or bad occurrence


Have fun! :D

The_Wylde_Wynd

*brushes cob-webs off the thread* I'm working on one, it's not going very well so far, but anyone else?

SnowWren

I'm working on one, too... It's being... difficult.

JadeOwl

I...started one...a while back...

Maybe? :?

krwordgazer

The idea is fully formulated in my mind, but nowadays I can't even seem to find time to read fanfics, let alone write one!

Flowerstar

Stupid question from one not familir with the concept of grab-bag writing: Do we have to use all prompts in one single piece (of art or fiction)? (I'd imagine a practical joke is really difficult to put into a picture (if you're me and drawing more than one person is challenge enough :oops: ) ...)
Or how does it work?

krwordgazer

Flowerstar, the idea is to use all the elements in one work. BUT artists are also allowed to do an illustration of a scene from someone's grab-bag fanfic, in which case the art need not contain all the elements.

Flowerstar

Uh, that's a tough one :roll: ...

The_Wylde_Wynd

Right then, let's get this party started!

Enjoy!
******************************

Hex was not a happy caster.

The young elf slipped silently through the trees, eyes peeled for anything unusual. He would not be gotten again.

First it had been the bowl of fruit. Something so simple, so common place, he had never expected anything to be strange about it. Which was why he had been”¦ surprised when the sliver of star-fruit he bit into proved to be hotter than a black furred cat on a rock at noon in the sun during summer. He had spent the next five minutes looking for something to cool his mouth down.

Next it had been the ravvit. He still shuddered to think of it, the thing had come out of nowhere, claw flailing and teeth biting. Now Hex was no coward, but that ravvit hadn't been right in its head. He had spent the next hour in a tree, waiting for it to go away.

Then had been the eggs. Actually he had been lucky that time; Goldbark had been near enough to toss into the line of fire. Of course then he had spent the next fifteen minutes running from his enraged (and egg covered) sister. He'd probably still be running if Specklebird hadn't sacrificed herself to allow him to escape.

But no more. Hex was done hiding, running and sneaking. He was going to find out who was messing with him, and he was going to make them pay.

Dearly.

####################

Ranorin was enjoying himself immensely.

He chuckled softly to himself as he spiked his lovemate's waterskin with some of the dreamberry wine he had gotten from Laeli.

The fruit had been a spur of the moment thing. It had been sitting there, just begging him to sprinkle the ground hotroot he had in his pouch on it. And then Hex had reacted so beautifully, he just had to keep going.

The ravvit had been surprising. He honestly hadn't expected it to get that upset about being thrown though the air and into the face of an elf, and he really hadn't expected it to keep Hex treed for an hour.

After the eggs failed to hit their target, he knew that he'd have to step up his game. Hex had fully realized that he wasn't just having bad luck and now he was on the lookout.

Ran grinned, 'Silly boy, lookout all you want. You'll never figure it out.' The hunter slipped off into the brush and waited for Hex to arrive.

A half an hour later he was getting worried. Hex had been nearby when he spiked the water, and he had been headed that way. Quietly Ran went to look for him.

Five minutes later he still hadn't found Hex and was now closing in on terror. Even if Hex was in a good mood you wanted to know exactly where he was. And Hex was not in a good mood. Ran shuddered and continued his search.

Until he realized he was hanging upside down from the ankle. Bewildered the hunter reached up, trying to free himself. Then he found his hands bound together by a leather cord. And there was Hex.

The caster's eyes were fixed on him, "Hello Ran. Fancy meeting you here."

The hunter swallowed hard and gave Hex his best 'I don't supposed you'd like to let me down and we can forget all about this at the dreamberry patch?' smile.

Hex responded with his best 'In your dreams buzzard-bait' smile. He started towards Ran.

The hunter struggled against the leather that bound his hands, "Come on now magelet it was just a little fun, nothing bad!" he froze, eyes fixed on the feather that appeared in Hex's hand. "Hex," he squeaked out, "what are you going to do with that?"

Hex's eyes sparkled with pure evil, "Oh this? I'm just going to”¦" he grinned and took a moment to brush his lips across Ran's, "have a little fun."

Roughly two hours after Hex spent four hours taking his revenge, Ran lay wearily in Hex's tree-den, brushing a hand over the younger elf's bare shoulder and came to a conclusion. 'When your lovemate happens to be a bad tempered, brilliant, vengeful little devil,' he decided wryly, 'I suppose it's best to not agitate him within an inch of his tolerance. ”¦Then again”¦.' he glanced down at Hex's sleeping face and smiled softly, 'it may just be worth it after all.' And with that Ran went to sleep.

Nightsea

Quote:
krwordgazer

An egg
A rabbit or ravvit
Self-sacrifice
A practical joke
A bowl of fruit
A dark or bad occurrence



The unseasonal thunderstorm that had ravaged the Holt in
the New Land was finally over. Broken tree branches were
everywhere; Cutter was more withdrawn than usual as he
contemplated the needs of his tribe and tried to balance
it against his own need for his missing family. He
sat on a sturdy branch and directed Redlance's mending
without much actual interest in how the treeshaper repaired
the limbs of their home.

Nightfall emerged into the weak sunshine of the spring
afternoon with a tired look. "My cousin, you are not
in the NOW," she thought with a blend of pity, worry,
and determination.

From beside her Cheif she called down to her lifemate,
"Beloved, you have tasks and so do I. I must dry the
hides of the den. Tyleet needs minding." She didn't
so much as glance sideways at Cutter as she said that
last part.

The Wolfriders usually didn't worry so much about
supervising cubs, but Tyleet was sometimes very
prone to putting her nose where it did not belong.
Their den had finally stopped smelling of white-stripe-
stink only nights ago. The berry stains on the hide
of Moonshade's project had finally been removed and
poor Clearbrook's hair was finally free of entwined
twigs. This cub meant well, but often exasperated
others with her strange choices and unending curiousity.

Silence grew. Nightfall swung her feet back and forth,
Redlance smiled up at Cutter and his mate and prompted,
"Perhaps our Chief will try to entertain her?"

Cutter finally turned his wandering mind
to those nearest instead of farthest and
simply nodded.

He found Tyleet crying sadly beside a tiny pile of
twigs and three broken blue eggshells. The robins
had not had a chance against this storm
and the nest had tumbled to the ground where the
young elf found the remains.

Something inside him seemed to shrink then expand
again. Loss. He knew it so well, felt it so
deeply. But here was one of his own who needed
solace and her young spirit seemed as brittle
as the crushed fragments of the forlorn nest.

"Tyleet" he placed his warm hands on her shoulders.
"This nest is gone, but I know how we can make another.
In fact, I will tell you of Rainsong's hat and
how it can make even ravvits lay eggs."

Her eyes wide, she hugged Cutter but scolded, "Ravvits
don't lay eggs, Cutter...they bear their young live! You
know that!"

"Ah but you never knew my tribemates Rainsong and Woodlock.
They have such strong life-giving gifts that all kinds of
things are possible! Come, I'll show you!"

The pair set off in search of bendable river reeds and Cutter
helped the redhead fashion a bowl-like hat as he told of
his kin. "Recognition is usually rare and elves don't
often have so many offspring, but Rainsong's quiet
beauty was full of bounty and even this
twin of her favorite headpiece should work."

"I promise we'll come look together in the daylight,"
he said as the pair left the hat upturned in the new
moonlight. You'll have to guide the hunt away from
this spot now so nothing will disturb the nest."

All that night the tribe helped Cutter by hunting
and slipping off to place fruit, colored eggs,
and even a tiny ravvit in Tyleet's nest. The
memories of Mantricker, Rainsong and Woodlock
kept the band singing long into the dawn.

The gifts of spring, wonder and laughter filled
the Holt and the story of how ravvits lay eggs
would forever remain joyful. Rainsong's hat
of birth and abundance made the young Tyleet
understand the cycles and seasons, and put
a smile on the face of the Chief of Changes
even amid his personal pain.


Happy Spring,
--Nightsea

manga

*lol* That was so cute, Nightsea!

SnowWren

Nightsea,
That was a lot of fun! :) Thank you!

SnowWren

This is rather long... I apologize. It would have been longer, but I edited a LOT out. :)

Meeting the Hoang T'Sho

Taran quietly left his hiding place in the forest and crept toward his lovely mate. Jonna, the priest’s daughter, stood with her back to the forest, looking down on the valley at the base of the waterfall. She’d told him to meet her there when he returned from hunting. He knew she’d been waiting all day to talk with him. He wasn’t in the mood for talk. He was in a playful mood, for the hunt had been successful.

Jonna’s mood was intense. The news she had to share with Taran did not want to wait any longer. She’d been waiting, for moons now, just to be sure. As she watched the motionless valley, she lost sense of herself, and of time. Lost in thought, she did not realize Taran was behind her.

Taran could hardly keep himself from laughing as he stood behind his mate. If she is this unaware, she should not be away from camp by herself. Anything could come up behind her and attack. Inwardly, he chided his wife, thinking her foolish for not sensing him. Outwardly, he reached out to touch her, shouting, “Jonna.”

Startled out of her reverie, Jonna jumped, turning half a circle. Fright, shock, and confusion filled her face as she lost her balance on the landing. Taking a step back to steady herself, she realized too late that she’d stepped over the edge. Desperately, Jonna reached out, hoping that another hand would reach hers and keep her from falling.

Taran was laughing and did not realize what was happening until it was too late. A small cry from the lips of his wife reached his ears and he looked toward her. Recognition dawned as he watched her reaching desperately as she fell backward, and he threw himself to the ground and threw his hands toward her wildly. Too late.

“Taaaaarrrrrraaaaaaaan” she cried as she fell.

Taran knew Jonna could not survive the fall. Tears of sadness replaced the tears of laughter previously flowing from his eyes. They had been joined only one full turn of the seasons, and now, he was alone.
____________________________________________________________

Winnowill sang to herself as she walked through the forest. Earlier, her father had granted her permission to be in the forest alone, and she was happy to have some time to herself. She had even turned down Voll’s offer of flying with him. She wanted some time to think. Laughing and carefree, she jumped in surprise as a black rabbit hopped into her path. Winnowill stopped. She stared at the small creature, wanting to stroke the soft fur; it stared back at her for a moment, then it hopped away.

Winnowill decided to follow it. I just want to pet you! She silently cried, watching the dark rabbit bounded over a log, then under a bush, winding it’s way further and further into the valley. Not stopping to think about where she was going, Winnowill picked her way down the rabbit’s trail, hoping it would tire and let her pet it.

Time lost all meaning for Winnowill as she followed the creature. Eventually, she tired of following the rabbit and looked around for something to eat. Picking some berries from a bush she recognized as safe, she absently ate them and looked around. A nearby rock and tree created a nice nook for resting in, and Winnowill walked over and curled up for a nap.

Hours went by.

Winnowill woke from her nap at the startling sound of a scream. Winnowill did not know what was making the noise, but she felt that something wrong was happening, and she took off running toward the sound. Though she ran fast as she could, she did not feel she could run fast enough. Oh, if only I could fly”¦ then I might move even faster.

The sound of rushing water greeted her ears as she passed through the trees into the open. Not knowing why she was there, Winnowill quizzically looked around, hoping to find the source of the scream.

There! Winnowill saw a crumpled form lying on the ground and rushed toward it without thinking. When she got there, she gasped. A human! Looking around, Winnowill did not see any animal that could have attacked the human before her. Then, Winnowill looked up. It must have fallen! How could it be alive?

Kneeling, Winnowill reached out, gently placing a hand on the human. Father would not be happy if he knew I was this close to a human. But”¦ Realizing the form was a woman She’s suffering!

Winnowill’s healing powers had only come out a few turns ago, but compassion filled her heart, and she wanted to help the woman before her. It’s my duty to try! She argued silently to herself.

Deciding to do her best, Winnowill placed both hands on the woman and allowed herself to slip into a healing trance. Knit so tightly! How do I? Winnowill thought to herself as she fought her way through the woman’s body, mending places that were broken, patching places that were open. She knew the woman would live, but Winnowill decided to do even better than just letting the woman live. I will make it so it’s like she didn’t even fall

Winnowill’s strength was fading when she found it. A tiny seed, like an egg, beginning to grow within the woman. She’s going to have a child! But the seed was weakened during the fall. I must help her! I must Choosing to sacrifice all of her own strength and energy, Winnowill exerted all the power within her to help the unborn infant survive. When she was done, she collapsed.
____________________________________________________________

Jonna opened her eyes in wonder. I was falling. I was dead. But now? She tried moving, and she found she could. Nothing ached. Nothing bled. But there’s blood on the ground? How, then, am I whole again? She sat up, looking, then saw a child lying on the ground beside her. A child”¦ but not? She has pointed ears! Looking further, she noted Four fingers?

She sought for memories of such creatures, and she could find none. Legends in her tribe taught that spirits sometimes come to help humans, but only those deemed worthy. I, the priest’s daughter”¦ have I been found worthy? Are you, little one, my savior? Did you come to help me?

Jonna realized the small spirit was lying deathly still, and she reached to touch her. You are so cold! Have you given your own life for mine? Then she realized the spirit was slowly breathing, but that her breath was shallow. You are alive then! You have saved me! I must do something for you in return! The medicine woman! She will know what to do for you!

Jonna quickly looked upward, wondering how she would get home. Then she noticed the vines that hung down the side of the ravine. I hope that you will hold. Jonna was the strongest climber in the tribe. She had often been tasked with climbing trees to pick fruit or to look over the land for herds of deer. She knew she could climb to the top. But how to carry you?

Jonna quickly made a sling from the strips of her dress like she had seen other women do for their children when the tribe migrated, and she lay the spirit in it. Then, she picked up the bundled spirit You are so light! and placed her on her back. Praying for strength for herself and for the vines, Jonna started upward.
____________________________________________________________

Taran had expected the tribe to be upset, but he had not realized the importance of the Priest’s daughter. He had not expected that his own life would be forfeit for his failure to save her; and after her death, his own was now doubly expected, for he had left her to rot at the bottom instead of going after her to recover her body. After hearing the tale, the priest had looked toward their chief, who had then ordered that Taran be bound. He was to be given in sacrifice, to take his wife’s place roaming the world so that she could rest.

Gladly, I will give her the rest she deserves. It is my fault, after all.

The priest ordered that the sacrifice would take place at sunset, giving his daughter’s spirit enough time to find the tribe so that the exchange could take place. He spent the afternoon quietly dreading his death. He knew that it would not be pleasant. At one point, the medicine woman had entered the tent where he was, offering him a small potion that would deaden the pain and ease his death. He had refused, stating that Jonna had not had a potion to ease her death, he would not take one for himself.

At sunset, the tribe gathered round the pyre as Taran was bound to it. The priest and others all chanted as the drummers slowly found their way to rhythmic unison. Slowly, the dancers began to work their way around the circle. As the pace of the drums quickened, Taran knew the dancers would increase. Once they reached the height of their frenzy, the drums and dancers would stop, and he would be sacrificed in that instant. He had seen it before. He knew he would never see it again.

As the pace of the ritual increased, Taran began to sweat. His heart pounded within him, and he felt he could not breath. Looking around, his eyes fixed on what he thought was a vision. “Jonna!” He cried out, wishing the vision were real.

Jonna looked to the voice of her husband, then saw him, strapped to the pyre, the center of what she knew was a ritual of sacrifice. Taking in the scene before her, Jonna concluded that the dance was in her memory, that the sacrifice was for her own spirit’s rest, that her husband was the one to walk the earth in her stead. But I’m not dead!

Running, she cried out, “Stop! Stop the ritual! Stop!”

The drumbeats were loud, but some of the drummers heard her, and they turned to look, stopping their beating. Upon hearing the faltering beat, the dancers stopped. Seeing the dancers stop, the drummers stopped, and everything was silent. Believing this to be his cue to do the sacrifice, the priest’s apprentice moved to make the kill. “STOP!”
The knife stopped short of Taran’s throat, and the apprentice looked to where his hand had been stayed by the priest.

The priest looked toward his daughter in amazement.

Following his gaze, the tribe members looked to where Jonna stood, very much alive.

“You’re alive?” Her father questioned.

“Yes. I was dead, but now, I am alive. Thanks to this spirit.” They watched as she kneeled and undid the bundle on her back. They gasped as she exposed the frail spirit to the others. “Spirit!” they cried, each sinking to his or her own knees.

Taran stared at his wife, then at the spirit, then at his wife again. She looked to him, and she smiled. “The spirit knew that it was not my time to die. The spirits know that you did not mean me harm. You are forgiven. My life is restored, and I am your wife still.”

Taran felt his bonds loosen. He rushed toward his wife and embraced her where she knelt next to the spirit. “I am sorry.”

“We know” she replied. Then, looking around, she asked, “Where is Hoanna, the medicine woman? This spirit gave all that she had to save me and my unborn child. She is all but spent. We must save her as she saved me.”

Her words pierced Taran’s heart. She tried to tell me this morning! I would not listen. Then, I almost caused her death! Oh, what blessed joy it is to have my wife and child! Oh, blessed spirit! We shall care for you!

Hoanna heard the call for help, and she came to where the spirit lay motionless, but breathing.

“This spirit will live. She is weak, and we must help to build her strength, but she will live.”
_____________________________________________________________

Winnowill slept throught the night, Jonna and Hoanna caring for her. When she woke the next morning, she found herself being stared at by the human women. She recognized one of them. “You’re alive? That means I saved you?” She asked.

The humans looked at her. One motioned to herself and said some garbled words. Winnowill shook her head. “What? I don’t understand.”

Jonna and Hoanna looked at one another. “She speaks the language of spirits. She does not know our words,” Hoanna stated. She looked at the young one, pointed to herself, and said, “Hoanna.” Jonna followed suit.

Winnowill looked, realized the women were sharing their names. She then copied them, pointing to herself and saying, “Winnowill.” Initially the women were unable to manage the spirit’s name, but after several repetitions and much laughter, they were able to say her name. Winnowill smiled at them, liking the game they were playing very much.

When Winnowill’s empty stomach gave a growl, Hoanna jumped up and ran out of the tent. Jonna sat watching the spirit and both looked as Hoanna ran back into the tent, this time carrying a bowl of fruit. Shyly, she offered it to Winnowill, who tentatively took a large red berry and placed it in her mouth. Delicious! She took several more, and then motioned for the women to have some. Quickly they refused the berries.

Hoanna stated, “She does not realize they are deadly to us. This proves that she is a spirit! She is able to eat the berries without harm. We are truly blessed!” Standing, she offered a bow to Winnowill and exited the tent to share the news with the Priest of the tribe.

Winnowill wanted desparately to communicate with the woman left sitting before her. Shyly, she moved to sit next to her, and then she tentatively laid a hand on Jonna’s abdomen. Jonna looked at the spirit and nodded. Winnowill allowed her magic to flow, and she found the developing infant. She smiled.

Jonna impulsively reached out and hugged the spirit. “Thank you, thank you so much! For my life and for the life of my child.”

Winnowill felt that the woman was thanking her, and smiled.
____________________________________________________________

When Winnowill did not return to her tribe’s resting place at sundown, Haken began to worry. He knew that humans were not too far away, but he had felt they were far enough that his daughter would not be in trouble. Doubt began to creep in, and Haken wondered if he had done the right thing in letting her go out on her own. She is old enough. He told himself. When the sun had fully set and she had not returned, Haken tried sending to her. When he got no response, he shared his fears with the others, and they began searching for her.

Voll found where she had napped earlier in the day, and he noticed that her tracks moved away from the tribe, not toward it. “Why would she leave the boundaries of our home?” He innocently asked Haken.

**I’m not sure, lad. But we will find out.**

Young Kureel tracked Winnowill’s footprints to the base of the waterfall. “There’s no trace of her after this, but there are footprints of another, larger being.”

Fear gripped Haken’s heart. Not humans, please. Not humans. Not another dark occurance.

Aurek, touching the rocks, made another discovery. “There was blood here, but not elfin blood. Magic was used here as well.”

“Winnowill was here, but where is she now?” Haken asked.

No one knew for sure, but all knew that none would rest until she was found.
_____________________________________________________________

Winnowill was greeted by t he other humans with much fanfare. Each one laid a gift before her, bowing and thanking her. She was not certain what was happening, but she felt no fear. She realized that the humans before her were not the same as the ones her father had told her of; These are not the humans who took my mother She concluded.

A sending reached her, calling her name.

She responded, **Voll?**

**Winnowill, where have you been? Where are you? Are you okay?**

**I’ve been here. I am with the humans. I am fine.** She responded.

**Humans???** Fear and confusion filled the sending, and Winnowill was surprised.

**Yes, but they are friendly. They seem happy to have me here.**

**How did you get there? Are they keeping you hostage?**

**A woman, the one that I healed, she brought me. They are not keeping me hostage, though I have not tried to leave, either.**

**You healed a human?** Her father interrupted the conversation between his daughter and her friend.

Winnowill had known he would not be happy. She heard his disapproval in her mind, and she shook her head. **Yes, father. I healed a human. She was dying, and she was carrying a youngling. I had to do it.**

**Had to??? Daughter do you not realize that if you’d allowed her to die, that would be two less humans in this world, and we would be better off?**

**Father, you are wrong. Not all humans are bad. These humans are NOT the same as the ones”¦**

**Winnowill, you have much to learn. We will be there soon to get you out of there.**

**NO, Father.**

**NO? You question me? I am your father. I know what is best. You cannot trust these humans. We WILL come and get you.**

**Father, do not disturb this tribe, I beg you. I will leave on my own.**

**You will return tonight, or we will come and get you.**

Winnowill thought on her father’s ultimatum. He means it. If I do not leave, they will raid the village, and any peace between humans and elves would turn sour. I must leave. But I want to know them better. How can I do both? She knew she had no choice but to honor her father’s wishes. She would figure out some means of remaining in touch with the humans. She had to.
_____________________________________________________________

At sundown, the village celebrated the spirit’s presence. There was dancing and storytelling. Winnowill could not tell what was said, but she did hear her name, and she saw smiles on the faces of all around her. Jonna sat to one side of her, and Taran beside his wife. When the moon rose overhead, Winnowill heard her father.

**Are you going to return daughter, or shall I come and get you?**

Reluctantly, Winnowill replied she would be on her way in a moment. Quietly, she stood, looking at the small band of humans. Seeing her stand, the chief ordered that the celebration halt. All turned to stare at the beautiful, small, spirit.

Winnowill reached out to Jonna in farewell. Tears came to the human’s eyes as she realized her little spirit was saying goodbye. The humans gathered around, each trying to touch her in farewell. A shrill whistle silenced them, and they stepped back as Winnowill looked to the sky. **I knew it would be you, Voll** she sent happily.

The humans looked in awe at the young male spirit. They noted how well the two went together, and they knew that these two belonged together. When Voll landed, Winnowill reached up and put her arms around his neck. Carefully, he lifted them into the air, and began to fly toward the nearby forest. Winnowill looked toward the small tribe, waving farewell. But not forever. I will return to you. She thought to herself.
_____________________________________________________________

(Winnowill continued to visit the human village, slowly learning their words. When she discovered that they honored her and her kind as spirits, she fostered that belief. She encouraged them to follow her tribe. When her father departed and Voll assumed leadership, they dreamed together of creating a place of safety. When they moved to Blue Mountain, Winnowill secretly caused the humans to follow. Eventually, the tribe of humans came to reside outside of Blue Mountain and continued in their worship of the spirits. The other elves came to realize that this tribe was safe, and they, too, looked with favor on the humans.)

LadyArill

Awesome, Wren! I love Winnowill's innocence and her arguments with Haken...and how the Humans honored her. It all fits with canon so well!
Wh-why did you edit things ouuut??(Sniffles sadly) Long glider stories are niiice....ah, well. Good job!!

JadeOwl

:D :o I like that a lot, Wren! Very good portrayal of young Winnie...she's so innocent!

Ah, how the mighty have fallen.. Wink

manga

Very interesting idea you have there! I didn't know what to think after the first part. I was so worried and sad for the woman and her baby but then Winnowill was there. I was hoping for a healer and when I first saw Winnowill's name I thought "Yes! A healer!" then "Er, will Winnowill heal or hurt?"

I love this story and how it shows an early, happy, strong, idealistic Winnowill. This is the kind of girl I can imagine loving and being loved by Voll.

Satiretto

Awwww! A young, innocent Winnowill ”“ just what I needed today. Thank you, SnowWren :D!

SnowWren

I had a lot of fun writing that story! I am glad that everyone is enjoying it!

Treefox

I've finally had the time to read these stories! I loved them!

Thanks Wylde for that witty story about sweet revenge.

Nightsea, I enjoyed yours tremendously. The Wolfrider's own Easter. Cute!

And SnowWren your portrait of young Winnowill was beautiful.

krwordgazer

I agree with Treefox. What wonderful stories! Wylde Wynde's was so funny! And Nightsea's was sweet-- fun the way you had the elves make what we recognize as an Easter basket! And you portrayed Cutter's sorrow and self-sacrifice beautifully. Snow Wren, yours was delightful. Your human tribe and characters were very believable, and it was such fun to see Winnowill young and free in the woods!

My own story is drafted out now, and I hope to have it posted soon. (Teaser: mine is a story of young Rayek and Leetah in the Sun Village.)
Stay tuned!

krwordgazer

Got it done sooner than I thought I would. . .


FLOOD AND FLOWERING


It all started with the ravvit. Rayek had it nicely positioned, hanging stiffly in mid-air, too entranced to see his approaching knife-- when the high, sweet voice behind him nearly made him lose control of the creature.

“Rayek! Don’t kill it!”

Annoyed, Rayek grabbed the stiff ravvit by the scruff of the neck and turned. “Leetah! Do not interfere!”

She was running towards him, so light on her feet that the sand hardly spurted at her steps. At eight-and-six years of age, she was mischievously aware of the effect her budding figure had on his peace of mind-- and of her ability to sway him. “It’s so cute!” she said, putting her head on one side and gazing at the ravvit through wide, green eyes. “I have wanted one for the longest time-- as a pet. Rayek, tame it for me.”

Rayek let out an exasperated sigh. “When are you going to be practical, Leetah? Flood and Flower will be here soon, but not yet. Till then, we need to take food wherever we can find it.”

Leetah rolled her eyes. “Sometimes I would swear you were older than my father-- not just three eights and two. There is enough food! You can spare this one ravvit. . . for me. Can you not?” She looked at him bewitchingly. “Please?”

He sighed again, sheathing his knife. “Very well.”

Rayek turned his attention back to the ravvit, slipping his other hand underneath it so that he was holding it in his arms. He stared again into the furry thing’s glazed eyes. Leetah stood still, watching.

Slowly, slowly, the ravvit’s vision cleared, and as it did so, the stiff muscles relaxed. Rayek focused his will upon it, making it believe that it belonged to elves, that living with them was right and good. When at last he released it, it continued to sit peacefully in his arms, looking up at Leetah with quiet curiosity.

She reached out for it with a little squeal of delight. “Oh, thank you, Rayek! Thank you!”

Smiling, Rayek put the creature in her arms and watched her trip lightly way, murmuring softly to her new pet.


An eight of days and more went by. One morning Rayek awoke to air heavy with the promise of Flood and Flower. Outside his window skies usually high and blue-white with heat hung close, deep gray with clouds. The desert seemed to be holding its breath, waiting for the rains.

Rayek slipped into his clothes, took up his knife, and went up the cliffs into the hills. In the village below, he knew, Sun Folk would be meeting between their huts in excited, chattering groups, discussing the festival that would begin as soon as the coming floods receded. They would be setting out pots to catch the first of the sweet, fresh rainwater, and bringing their possessions inside to keep them dry. He himself would use these last few hours to hunt. He liked the feeling of danger, not knowing where the first skyfire would strike. He liked the challenge of seeking prey that would be largely in hiding, nervous from the changing weather and inclined to stay in den or burrow. The oppressive atmosphere exhilarated him, and he climbed freely up the steep slope, his knife clenched in his teeth.

And then he heard it. A sweet voice calling imperiously, confidently, but with an edge of fear in it. “Rayek! There you are! Rayek, help me!”

Leetah was stretched out along the face of a sharp, rocky incline, her leather boots braced against the stones. With a quick intake of breath, Rayek was beside her.

“Rayek!” she repeated breathlessly. “My boot is stuck. Help me get it free!”

He sheathed his knife and bent down, hanging onto the rock face with one hand. “However did you come to be here?” he asked accusingly. “You should be indoors.”

“My ravvit got away. It came up this way, and I was following it. I knew what I was doing!” she added defensively. “I have been out in the rains before!”

“Not up in these hills, you haven’t,” he said between gritted teeth, working at her boot with his fingers. “A little ravvit is not worth endangering yourself for.”

I will decide what my ravvit is worth!” she snapped. Then her lips turned down sadly. “But it is gone, now. I don’t think it really wanted to live with me.”

Rayek gave Leetah’s boot a last tug. “There! It is free.” He righted himself, gazing at her seriously. “But I tamed that ravvit for you. It was supposed to stay tame. I will find it and bring it back to you. Now go home.”

She shook her head. “I have changed my mind. If it does not want to be tame, I do not want it to have to be. Let it go.”

“It is your ravvit. I will bring it back to you,” he repeated. “Now go.”

Leetah stared at him, anger igniting the green in her eyes. Then, suddenly, she laughed. “Rayek, you silly old thing! You would think you were an elder or something! Stop telling me what to do, and go back to your hunt. But leave my ravvit alone.”

She was infuriating. Rayek opened his mouth to tell her so. But Leetah was already moving away from him across the steep face of the hill.

All at once the sky crackled, and skyfire burst over them, turning the gloomy clouds a lurid yellow. Startled, Leetah threw her head up, eyes wide-- then slipped on a loose stone and with a cry began to fall--

And Rayek lurched towards her, power snaking from his fingers to thrust her back against the slope. He felt a surge of triumph as his magic steadied her, stopping her fall--

And he himself was falling, sliding helplessly downward, scraping his knees and tearing his fingers on stones that failed to hold him. “Rayek!” Leetah cried above him.

By sheer force of will he began slowing, regaining control . . . but one of the stones he had loosened above him came down with a crash on his head. He lost hold of the rocks and tumbled downwards, Leetah’s shriek stabbing his ears.


He awoke to find her bending over him. Over her head thunder muttered, and bits of light played among the clouds. The same lights seemed to play across his vision as he focused painfully on Leetah’s face. “H-how did you climb down?” he asked faintly.

She frowned. “When I saw you fall, I just did. Now be still.” She closed her eyes in concentration.

Tingling warmth began to fill his bruised body, mending his torn skin. The skyfire could strike close again, he knew, but they were safer here at the bottom of the hill. “You . . . should be more careful,” he murmured.

She opened her eyes. “Maybe I should. But you should not have sacrificed yourself for me.”

He gazed at her. “Someone has to watch out for you. You’re willful, frivolous, impractical--”

“I can be practical when I want to be!” she retorted. “You’re the one who’s willful-- and too serious. You never have any fun!” Her young face as she gazed at him looked older than her years. “Rayek, sometimes you have to let things go. Let them . . . just be.”

“I--” He paused. “I will try.”

She smiled at him, and his heart turned over. “And I will try to take more care. Now, let me finish healing you before it starts pouring.”


The Floods came, and the Flowering, and it was time for the Festival.

Rayek sat on a blanket in the village square, watching the dancing. Warm bodies swirled and swayed to the music as scarves floated like many-colored mists on the evening breeze.

One of the evening’s servers bent down to him, holding out a bowl of fruit. “With Leetah’s compliments,” he said.

Leetah, Rayek saw, had left the dancers and was watching him, mischief in her eyes. Wondering why, he held his hand over the bowl of fruit. The orange ones were his favorites . . .

The orange one floated into Rayek’s hand without his looking at it. His eyes still on Leetah, he bit into the fruit--

And his teeth crunched on brittle shell. Something slimy, not sweet, burst over his chin. Astonished, Rayek looked at the broken thing in his hand.

A strutter-hen’s egg. Dyed orange.

Leetah had dissolved into helpless giggles, clutching her stomach. The server hurried away with the bowl of fruit, pretending he hadn’t seen.

Rayek glared around the gathering, egg dripping from his face. No one else had noticed. Only Leetah, watching him through her giggles, was waiting to see how he reacted.

How could she still be so frivolous, so-- silly?”

Scowling, Rayek began to rise from his seat. She fixed him with huge, innocent, laughing eyes.

He sank back down.

Sometimes you have to let things go. Let them . . . just be.

Perhaps.

Perhaps . . . this time.

Rayek laughed-- just a little-- nodded to Leetah, and went to clean the egg off his face.


THE END

The_Wylde_Wynd

Quote:
krwordgazer

Rayek laughed-- just a little-- nodded to Leetah, and went to clean the egg off his face.



:spit: :roflmao: There's a double meaning in that! :clap:

lunakat

That was just wonderful, krwordgazer.

All of the elements were incorporated so naturally-- and the story really highlights how different Leetah and Rayek are from eachother.

I like especially the part where Leetah asks Rayek to let the rabbit go.. and he replies that because he tamed it for her, it should stay tame. It's hers, after all.

Really good forshadowing for, well, future communication gaps.

yet another great story! Wink

krwordgazer

Thanks so much, Wylde Wynd and Lunakat! :D

I think the story does show the differences between the two-- but I think it also shows their similiarities. Both of them are willful, both like to be in control, both are kind of bossy-- but I really think the difference between them, ultimately, is that Leetah knows how to let go, let things be, and Rayek really doesn't. I hadn't really seen that until I wrote this, and they showed me.

valkerie

that was Excellent Kmom, :)

JadeOwl

Thank you for showing me Leetah's depth again, Boardma. It seems I lost it for a time.

krwordgazer

You're welcome, Jade Owl. Leetah's been a little too perfect for me for a while. I hope in future series we'll get to see those green eyes ignite with fire once again. :)

manga

I don't think "perfect" is the word I'd use to describe Leetah at any point, but I do see what you mean and agree. :)

Poor Rayek. I get the feeling he wasn't really allowed to have fun or be silly as a child because of the desperate circumstances. By the time the drought ended he had bought into the lifestyle too much to change. I bet he felt betrayed (on a subconscious level) when everyone threw off their restraints and went back to being the easy, light-hearted Sun Folk we know. They must have seemed like hypocrites to him.

A possible nit-pick, Wordgazer: you mentioned Rayek's window. I don't know that he had one. "The Enemy's Face" shows him living in a cave in the hills outside of the Village. It's not clear at what point he moved out of the village but Rayek being Rayek, I think it would have been fairly early on.

It's a cute story Wordgazer but I have to be honest; it's just not clicking for me the way your stories usually do. I can't put my finger on why or I'd give you more feedback. I'll keep thinking and see if I can come up with more to give you.

Sharptalon

Quote:
krwordgazer

Here are the elements that must be present in EQ stories, poetry or art for April:

An egg
A rabbit or ravvit
Self-sacrifice
A practical joke
A bowl of fruit
A dark or bad occurrence


Have fun! :D



Hrmm... poetry you say? How about a limerick! :twisted:


The stationary rockshaper Egg
Once hungered for some cooked rabbit leg.
Winny messed with his head,
Gave a fruit bowl instead!
Egg ate it being too proud to beg.


ninja edit: spelling, flipped words... general pandemonium

lunakat

Grin Poor Egg!

And speaking of "egg on his face"


Choice Lessons


Sust had egg on his face.

And the next day, Pool found himself running from a hailstorm of berries, pelted from behind the very bush he had been picking. Tyleet grumbled as she scrubbed the stains from his tunic.

At sun goes down, Sust woke to a clammy-toed toad climbing his forehead. He crossed his eyes, staring it down as it croaked.

The following evening, Pool yelped when he tried to pull on his boots. Turning one upside down, he dumped out a very live and wriggling trout.

But the clincher came when Sust rolled over in his furs”¦ right into a pile of wolf-dung.

“That’s it!” Krim shouted. “I’ve had it!” Pool giggled from his family’s den, watching mother and son drag the offending furs down toward the stream to be scrubbed. Krim caught sight of him and glared. Pool saw her coming, and tried to scramble away, but Krim seized him by the ear. She dragged him, struggling and whining, into the open.

“This is your mess, the two of you! You both clean it up!” Sust shot a glance at Pool and stuck out his tongue. “Humph!” Krim wagged her finger between both boys, tapping them each in the chest for emphasis. “I’m sick to death of these pranks,” she warned, “and believe me if I see more of this, I will tan both your troublesome hides!”

Sust and Pool nodded, wide-eyed, very aware now of the severity of the situation. Krim pointed sideways, aiming her finger down the hill. “There’s the stream. Here’s the muck. Now fix it!”

Mutely, the boys hefted the soiled fur blanket and began dragging it downhill. Well, that mended that! Krim smiled; satisfied, she headed back to her den. She had barely reached the mouth of it when she heard a shout and a splash! “Curse you Sust!” Pool’s voice drifted up from below.

“Spit me, and roast me, and feed me to a troll!” Krim growled as she shoved her way into the den. Inside, Pike was awake. He leaned back in the remaining furs, hands clasped behind his head, grinning up at her like a chipmunk. The tuft-headed elf seemed amused at her frustration. Krim was not.

Exasperated, she turned on him. “He’s your cub too! You could raise a hand to show him right from wrong.”

“Aw, c’mere.” Pike stretched out a hand to her, beckoning. Reluctantly, Krim stepped forward. The more she glared at him, the more he grinned. And the more he grinned, the more the corners of her mouth quirked toward a smile. At last, her resolve crumbled altogether and she let him pull her into his arms.

She landed with an “oof” on his belly. “I can’t take it anymore, Pike. I can’t!”

“Hush,” he nuzzled close, soothing her. “I’ll deal with it. I promise.” He pulled back, serious now and looking her squarely in the eye. “You do realize”¦”

“What?” she leaned in close to touch noses.

“”¦ that we have just a short span before he barges back here, all sopping wet?” With a growl, he rolled her over. Krim laughed.

Sun set, and the moons rose. At length, Sust’s furs lay out on the rocks, dripping under the starlight, along with his and Pool’s leathers. Krim spent the better part of the evening drying off her errant son, and Tyleet scolding hers. Pool’s punishment mostly involved scraping hides clean for tanning. Sust was sent to forage.

Pike volunteered to supervise the effort, so that Krim could follow her Chieftess to the hunt. The moons were high by the time the hunting party returned. Scouter and Yun had brought down a bristle boar. And Ember had caught a ravvit. The task fell to Tyleet, Dewshine and (of course) young Pool to skin and clean the kill.

At long last, the pack gathered to eat.

“Here’s a feast to fill our bellies!” Ember declared, slicing into the carcass of the boar with her knife.

“Aye, Chieftess!” Yun grinned. She tore the legs from the ravvit and handed one each to the cubs. The entrails, she tossed to her wolf. “There’s nothing to rival Wolfriders and GoBacks when we aim our spears at common foe!”

The elves devoured their feast with gusto-- then relaxed, fully sated. Yun’s eyes wandered upward to fix upon the stars. Dewshine leaned back against Tyleet, while Scouter pillowed his head in Dewshine’s lap. Mender, the healer, reclined against a rock. With a sly look, he tore loose a branch from a nearby shrub”¦ then absently began breaking off leaves and stems... and flicking them at Tier. The dark-haired Wolf-father sat, perched as self-appointed sentinal, on a nearby boulder. For a short time, he stoically ignored the abuse”¦ but at last, his heroic resolve cracked. Finally, with various twigs caught in his hair, Tier turned and narrowed his gaze at Mender.

Sust and Pool, sucking the marrow from the ravvit bones, leaned forward in eager anticipation. Ember frowned. There would be no conflict under her watch!

With a clap of her hands, she leaped to her feet. “Pike!” she announced, seizing her tribe’s attention. “It’s time for a howl!”

“Certainly Chieftess,” Pike agreed amiably. “What did you have in mind?”

“Hmm,” Ember thought to herself. “What about the tale of Madcoil? Or how Father bested Rayek in the Trial of Head Hand and Heart?”

“No way,” Yun dragged her attention from the skies. “It’s Cutter every time! I want a story about my sire! Tell us about the discovery of the lodestone”¦ when the Wolfriders crossed the desert!”

Mender snorted. “That one’s boring!”

“Well then,” Krim interrupted. “Give us a Go Back tale! Sust deserves to hear it. How the Go Backs rescued the Wolfriders and won the Palace!”

“Won the Palace?!” Scouter sat up in affront. Tyleet touched his arm.

“Tell us a story of the old Holt,” she suggested quietly. “Where our parents were born.”

“That’s it!” Pike snapped his fingers. He motioned to his son to fetch the bowl of ripe dreamberries they had sorted earlier that night. When the elves had eaten so many that their eyes began to glaze with the mist of remembrance”¦ Pike began his tale.

“This lesson,” the storyteller declared, “is for Sust and Pool. Listen and learn, cubs. Listen and learn.

It all began when Bearclaw was still Chief”¦ at the egde of the death sleep season”¦

“Cutter!”

“Skywise?” Splat! Cutter turned just in time to receive a fat snowball in the face. “What-? Grrr!” The young elf scooped up a handful of snow to throw at his troublemaking friend”¦ but Skywise, seeing the game was up, turned on his heels and ran!

“Come back here, you!” Cutter shouted and gave chase! It was a winding, stumbling pursuit””up hills, over boulders, around trees”¦ but at last, Cutter rounded a turn to see Skwise slow to a halt, bent over, ribs heaving. “Hah!” Cutter shouted triumphantly. “I’ve got you now!” He heaved the snowball at his quarry. It hit Skywise in the back of his vest, sliding down in a wet lump.

Chuckling, the stargazer stood up. He turned, hands on hips, all pretense of tiredness gone. “Yep.” His eyes flickered to the trees over Cutter’s head. Cutter looked up just in time to see Foxfur, perched on a limb, give a nearby branch a shake. A shower of wet leaves and snow dropped on Cutter, soaking him completely. Skywise was laughing aloud now, sides heaving with humor. “You got me alright!”

Cutter growled low and bent to snatch up another handful of snow. But Skywise lunged for him, and the two went rolling. Foxfur giggled when they ended up on their backs- Cutter pinned in a headlock, while Skywise applied an energetic noogie.

“Quit it- quit it!” Cutter shouted, until his older friend released him. He vowed revenge.

Back at the holt, Nightfall was carving a new bow. She had been practicing with Strongbow’s borrowed bow, under the watchful eye of Bearclaw. Her aim was steady, her hand now practiced and her shots sure. Even Longbranch agreed that it was time for her to claim her own weapon and join the hunt. The only problem was”¦ carving just the right curve was very difficult, even with a well-honed knife.

“Curse it!” She swore when she cut too deep, and accidentally snapped off the tip of her near-finished weapon. With a loud and frustrated sigh, she threw the pieces to the ground”¦ just as a fuming Cutter rode into the Holt, followed by a very amused Skywise and Foxfur.

“Aw, Cutter”¦” Skywise cajoled, “it was just a prank. No harm done, right?”

Cutter said nothing. He slid from Nightrunner’s back and stomped toward his den.

“Let him go, lovemate.” Foxfur laid her hand upon Skywise’s arm. “His mood will pass. Besides”¦” and here she caught his attention. “I have some dried dreamberries-- left over from a very particular field. They want eating.” With a grin, Skywise wheeled to follow her to their den.
*Cutter--? * Nightfall sent. Cutter paused- then came to sit next to her. *What’s wrong? *

For a while, he merely stared, sullen and silent at the ground. Then he opened his mind and shared memories of what had happened. Nightfall repressed the urge to giggle. Rather, she laid a hand on his shoulder and advised. “I’m sorry. That sounds embarrassing. But I don’t think Skywise meant to hurt you”¦ or even expected it would bother you so much.”

“He always wins-- it’s frustrating!”

Nightfall sighed. “Life is full of frustrations.” She absently kicked the broken pieces of her bow. “I’ve been carving this for ages! The first one wouldn’t shoot straight””and I just broke this one. I guess the only thing to do is find a new branch and start over.”

“Hmmm.” Cutter thought carefully. “A new branch”¦ “ He smiled. “There is one other thing I could do”¦” Nightfall glanced at him curiously. “Get even!”

The next evening, Nightfall cut herself a new branch.

And Skywise stepped out of Foxfur’s den, right into an avalanche of new-fallen snow. “Brr!” The stargazer jumped lightly to ground and shook himself off. Snow flew in every direction. He finally looked up to see a laughing Cutter clinging to a branch that overhung the den. “So that’s how you want it, little brother?” the stargazer thought to himself. “Fine, then. I can play this game well!”

Two nights later”¦ a strange call in the woods distracted Cutter from trail he was following. It was a sound he’d never heard before. Like the bellow of an elk, but trailing off into the whine of a tuskhog. New game! The chief’s son swelled with pride at the thought of bringing back this heretofore unknown beast!

Stealthily, he tracked the call”¦ noting broken branches and, finally, strange marks in the snow. He must, he thought, be near the beast’s den! Dismounting from his wolf, Cutter crept forward, sword drawn”¦. The call sounded from a nearby bush! With a cry, Cutter leaped upon it, only to find”¦ Skywise crouching there, an oddly whittled branch held to his mouth. With a wink, Skywise blew into the hollow stick, and the same odd sound shot out.

Cutter was mortified. Skywise laughed. “You should have seen your face, brother! I got you back this time!”

But he wasn’t laughing when Cutter really did manage to catch game”¦ game he delivered live to the stargazer’s den. It happened to be a skunk.

Skywise clutched his cloak about him, while he shivered in his summer leathers. His winter clothes were hanging from a branch, just outside the holt”¦ waiting for the wind to blow the smell out. Cutter had gone too far! And now”¦ it really was time to get even.

Unbeknownst to the stargazer, Bearclaw’s son was thinking the same thing. Surely Skywise had a prank in mind”¦ but if Cutter could one-up him first, no doubt this contest would be ended.

Meanwhile, Nightfall had reached a point of frustration with her bow. She had carved the stick into a rough arc, but couldn’t quite get the bend right. Her father patted her shoulder sympathetically. Bearclaw told her to keep trying. But the only one to truly help was”¦ Redlance.

The red-headed tracker crouched beside her. He smiled kindly, and took the bow from her grasp. Then he held out his hand for the knife. ”May I?” Somehow, the wood seemed more responsive to his touch, and to Nightfall’s astonishment, the curve she had been struggling to master bent into shape with only a few strokes of his knife.

“You- you fixed it!” She turned to him, glowing with gratitude and admiration.

“It was simple,” he handed the wood back to her. “You already did most of the work, it just needed a touch,”

Blushing, Nightfall accepted back her project. The bow shaped itself easily after that... and when it was finished, Redlance returned with a new gut string. He handed her his own quiver of arrows. *Now, little huntress”¦ go see how well it works!*

But Cutter was out hunting game too that night”¦ and this game was called ”˜stargazer.’ The young elf had spent the entire day digging a pit, just outside of Wolfrider territory, in which to catch his prey. It was an old hunter’s trick, taught to him by Treestump. Toward evening, he covered the mouth of the hole with branches and snow, then headed back to the Holt. About halfway there, however, he caught wind of a familiar scent.

Skywise! The stargazer must have wakened early and followed him! Slyly, Cutter tracked the scent back in the direction he had just come. When he reached the area of the pit, he paused, scanning the undergrowth.

Just as he was about to call out the other elf, a rustle in the bushes caught his attention. “Rowr!” A loud roar sounded, and a creature of fur and claw and twigs burst up right in front of him!

“Ahhh!” Cutter shouted in alarm, stumbling backward. He reached to draw his sword as the beast lumbered toward him, but... A crack beneath his feet signaled greater danger! Oh dung! Cutter felt the ground beneath him give. For a moment, he flailed helplessly, them plummeted into the trap he himself had dug! A thump and a crack as he hit the ground”¦ and Cutter cried out at the pain shooting up his leg.

“Cutter!” Skywise threw back his sleep furs and hurried to the brink of the pit. Peering down, he saw his friend sprawled on the cold ground, clutching his leg in pain. “Oh high ones!” the stargazer exclaimed. “Hang on, I’ll get you out!” But he was kneeling on his own cloak”¦ and too late realized the mistake. Scrambling, he tried vainly to catch himself before sliding into the pit.

“Ug!” Skywise landed nearly on top of his younger companion. The furs fell next to cover them.

Nightfall was very proud of herself. Her new bow shot straight and sure. She had already bagged two birds. She was a huntress now, truly””with her own weapon””Bearclaw would surely let her join the next hunt! Shouldering her bow, she started to head back, when a sending reached her.

*Help! Is anybody near?*

Knowing she was the only one within range, Nightfall raced in the direction of the send. *Skywise? I’m coming! * She reached a small clearing, but only saw a gaping hole, the ground littered with broken sticks. Cautiously, she crept to the edge of the hole to investigate.

Skywise was indeed trapped below. He held a fur-wrapped bundle in his lap. The bundle had blond hair and pointed ears, and seemed to be moaning. Both were covered by a light rain of snow.

“Nightfall!” Skywise exclaimed. “You’ve got to get us out of here! I think Cutter’s broken his leg!”

Nightfall gasped. Sadly, she glanced at her bow”¦. Then pulled it from her shoulders and tossed it down to them. “Here. Use this for a splint. I’ll look for a branch to help you climb out.”

Skywise nodded. Reluctantly he took the bow in his hands, then cracked it over his knee. It split perfectly. Using the thread of gut, he bound it to Cutter’s injured leg. “Hush brother,” he whispered worriedly. “We’ll be home soon.”

Very soon, Nightfall returned. She leaned over the pit and reached out her arms. *Pass him up to me!* Skywise nodded. He helped Cutter to stand, then boosted him up toward Nightfall. Grabbing her friend’s arms, Nightfall hauled him up onto solid ground.

Cutter could only lie still and groan, while Nightfall lowered a large tree-branch into the hole. Skywise quickly used it to climb out.

Together, they helped Cutter to mount Nightfall’s wolf, Woodshaver”¦ and walked beside him all the way home.

Rain the Healer mended Cutter’s leg. But the lad still had to rest for several days. Both he and Skywise apologized to Nightfall and thanked her for the sacrifice of her bow. But they knew it wasn’t enough.

“Brother, I’m sorry,” Skywise apologized yet again. “I never wanted you to get hurt.” They sat together in Cutter’s parent’s den, watching the snow fall silently outside.

Cutter shrugged. “It’s alright,” he replied. “That pit was meant for you. I didn’t realize”¦ how dangerous it could be!” The two elves glanced at each other, abashed. “The real shame, “ Cutter finished, “is Nightfall. She worked so hard to make that bow!”

“Yeah”¦” Skywise sat up suddenly and snapped his fingers. “Say, there’s at least one thing we can fix!”

A few nights later, Nightfall climbed into her parent’s den and gasped! There, lying on her furs, was a brand new bow, strung tight and ready for use. Cutter and Skywise met her as she emerged.

“You deserve it,” Cutter smiled. “You sacrificed your own bow for us. We just want you to know how thankful we were.”

Skywise grinned. “Puckernuts- it’s hard to carve those things. You know it took us three tries?”

Nightfall laughed. “Well, then.” She notched an arrow, aiming for a nearby sapling. The missile flew, hitting its mark dead on. “I’d say we’re even!”


Pike sat back, his tale complete. He looked intently at Sust and Pool. “I hope you cubs have learned your lesson.” The boys solemnly looked at each other and nodded.

“Did they really never fight again?” Sust asked earnestly.

Pike thought about it. “Not until next spring... when they discovered robin’s eggs!” Krim shot him a look, and he shut up quickly.

The next day.

“Auuugg!” Sust scampered away, giggling”” while Pool stood in sullen silence”¦ egg dripping down his face. Krim was furious again. She glared at Pike. “You know this is all your fault!”

Pike slapped his forehead and groaned.

manga

*lol* Very good, Lunakat!

krwordgazer

Sharptalon, you're amazing! You actually got all those disparate elements into five lines! It took me four pages! Surprised And it's funny, too! :clap:

Lunakat, that's terrific! I love the way you do a story-within-a-story like that. Perfect characterizations, too. :D



Quote:
manga


A possible nit-pick, Wordgazer: you mentioned Rayek's window. I don't know that he had one. "The Enemy's Face" shows him living in a cave in the hills outside of the Village. It's not clear at what point he moved out of the village but Rayek being Rayek, I think it would have been fairly early on.

It's a cute story Wordgazer but I have to be honest; it's just not clicking for me the way your stories usually do. I can't put my finger on why or I'd give you more feedback. I'll keep thinking and see if I can come up with more to give you.



Manga, I know Rayek was living in a cave by "The Enemy's Face," but the canon is silent on where he was living when he was 26 and Leetah was 14. I think I'll let it stand.

As for it not "clicking" with you-- you know, as I was finishing it, I had a feeling it might not. The thing is, when I write a story, I try to set up and conflict and end with a resolution. Usually, I pick a situation for a story where the conflict can actually be resolved-- when one of the characters actually is at a point of change or resolution, for example. But I was trying to find a timeframe where all these grab-bag elements were going to be present, and this is what came.

In this story the surface conflict is between Rayek and Leetah, over their personality differences-- but really, the conflict is an internal one, about Rayek's need to learn to let go, be less controlling. Leetah is going to keep acting 14. He has to accept her that way.

While the story does provide some resolution, in that Rayek decides he can let go, accept Leetah's joke, accept things as they are this once, he hasn't really changed. I couldn't show him as really changing in this area, because, well-- he hadn't, yet. So there's a certain feeling of unresolved-ness about the story.

I do think, however, that Leetah did help Rayek to learn to laugh a little bit, as she was growing up, and that's what the story really shows. :)

Nightsea

One very short and one long...I enjoyed both of them!

:)
--Nightsea

manga

Quote:
krwordgazer



[quote:cb71b429a2="manga"]
A possible nit-pick, Wordgazer: you mentioned Rayek's window. I don't know that he had one. "The Enemy's Face" shows him living in a cave in the hills outside of the Village. It's not clear at what point he moved out of the village but Rayek being Rayek, I think it would have been fairly early on.

It's a cute story Wordgazer but I have to be honest; it's just not clicking for me the way your stories usually do. I can't put my finger on why or I'd give you more feedback. I'll keep thinking and see if I can come up with more to give you.



Manga, I know Rayek was living in a cave by "The Enemy's Face," but the canon is silent on where he was living when he was 26 and Leetah was 14. I think I'll let it stand.
[/quote:cb71b429a2]

*nods* Like I said, it was a possible nit-pick, not a definite one. I could have sworn there was something in there that said he moved out of his family's hut when he was 11 but I checked and couldn't find anything that actually said that.

Quote:
krwordgazer


As for it not "clicking" with you-- you know, as I was finishing it, I had a feeling it might not. The thing is, when I write a story, I try to set up and conflict and end with a resolution. Usually, I pick a situation for a story where the conflict can actually be resolved-- when one of the characters actually is at a point of change or resolution, for example. But I was trying to find a timeframe where all these grab-bag elements were going to be present, and this is what came.

In this story the surface conflict is between Rayek and Leetah, over their personality differences-- but really, the conflict is an internal one, about Rayek's need to learn to let go, be less controlling. Leetah is going to keep acting 14. He has to accept her that way.

While the story does provide some resolution, in that Rayek decides he can let go, accept Leetah's joke, accept things as they are this once, he hasn't really changed. I couldn't show him as really changing in this area, because, well-- he hadn't, yet. So there's a certain feeling of unresolved-ness about the story.

I do think, however, that Leetah did help Rayek to learn to laugh a little bit, as she was growing up, and that's what the story really shows. :)



I don't know if Leetah is going to act 14 so much as Leetah is going to act like Leetah. I doubt Rayek ever acted that way at 14 but then, that's Rayek. (What was that Treestump said about what he'd do with a stick covered with ants? ;) )

I think you're right; that feeling of unresolved-ness is what's throwing me off about the story. It's a different way of writing from you and I haven't decided what to make of it yet. :)

Treefox

And I finally managed to catch up again.

krwordgazer, I really enjoyed your story. The elements fit very well. Leetah wasn't spoiled at all, was she? Wink But I liked how she managed to let go while Rayek couldn't.

@ Sharptalon: That was sharp, indeed! Great!

@ lunakat: A wonderful story! I must say, I liked seeing something of Krim as a mother. Very well written!