Ok, here are the six elements writings and art about Elfquest must contain this month:
Coping with death or loss
A fight between two people who are usually close
Making a mistake
Loving physical contact that isn't sexual
Again, works can be canon-based, what-if, alternate universe-- anything as long as it's related to EQ.
Artists may either do a work containing all the elements, or illustrate one of the stories or poems.
Have fun! :D
The warm weather had just begun. New leathers
and even the most beautiful new skirt had made
Tyleet and her parents long to be out of the
den and into the moonslight.
Bundles was the only one in the company
not overflowing with restless energy.
The wolf was old, older than most of
the rest of his pack. Many times the
Wolfriders had seen those with the hint
of elfblood live well past the rest, and
Bundles definately had more turns of the
seasons under his pelt. Still, he was
bonded so closely that he also felt
the urge to run echoing in his own blood,
as the elves emerged, newly awake and
The pack had gathered on the rocky mountainside,
on the secondary path to the thorn-walled holt.
That path was more rock than grass, large
boulders and smaller stones protruding at
odd angles like bones from the land. The
peaks and valleys were a challenge to the
paws, but many good rocky dens were dug out
there and the homesmells were good.
Bundles had been sleeping below his elf-family's
tree-den of late, arriving tired from his walks
with his elf friend, too tired to make it
back to rest in the rocky den. Sleeping in
his own cave was made difficult not only
by the trek, but also by the twin cubs
newly born in the pack. One of them
delighted in nipping at his ears, an
evil annoyance. Instead, the daylight
filtered by the heavy leaf cover of
the Father tree, had made cool enough shade for
snoozing-in this spring.
Rising from the comfortable hollow he
had dug himself near the roots, he exchanged
happy greetings, smellings, licks and nuzzles,
with his bondmate with the changing pelt.
Her fur was all red at this time of year, glowing
with a nimbus of shiney light as it shook and
flashed in the starlight and moonsglow.
She smelled of furs and wood, and her own
special scent was sweet this night with
her youth and excitement.
Answering her desire, he stretched out his
legs in a fast dash into the nearby trees.
The air was fresh and cool, owl's eyes watched
from the upper branches and small game trails
teased the growl from his lips.
**We'll get you some meat, Bundles** his elf-friend
sent, along with a memory of a possible digger-hole
nearby. They weren't usually easy to catch above
ground, but even the most dormant were responding
to the mating urge now, so perhaps they would be
caught away from the tunnel-retreats they favored.
The hunt went well, and Tyleet's knife dripped
digger-blood. Tyleet licked clean the
"extra-fang" for her portion, so as to keep her
delicate new skirt clear of the kill. Bundles would
never completely understand this "fur-pride", but
he knew his bond was protective of her "outter-hide"
so keeping the kill away from her was fine with
Bundles. The heat ran down his own throat, with
none left over to roll in.
A hooting birdcall sounded, and Tyleet
stroked the wolf as he swirled his tounge
around to clear the last morsels from his
**Come back within the thorn-wall, cub**
Redlance's unusually strong command made
Tyleet almost jump.
**There are no humans near, I'd smell
them...and Bundles and I can handle
any other trouble, Father** she
sent back in full expectation
that her parent would respect
But this night, Redlance was worrying,
he had seen the exhaustion in the eyes
of his daughter's bond-beast, and he
wanted to keep them both close.
**Come** was all he sent.
Frowning Tyleet kept looking in the
direction of the Holt, but obstinately
decided that there was no need for
her there at the moment. She instead
wanted to feel the wind on her newly
bare skin, she was tired of keeping
close, keeping warm and confined.
She rose, still admiring the subtle
colors in the thin material of the
garment Moonshade had fashioned,
and she tugged gently on the scruff
of her old wolf's neck...**Run?**
**Run!** the wolf answered with his
usual acceptance of his elfin packmate's
suggestions. He had eaten well and
wanted to please his huntress.
Tyleets bare young legs were a blur
in his gaze as he labored to keep
pace, but the panting turned to
gasping, which turned to coughing
and sputtering and finally the old
wolf could gain no ground and no
air. He sat back on his hind
legs suddenly...sent to his
friend weakly **wait, help,
wait, stop** and then he closed
his eyes as the pain in his
chest blossomed like a giant
buzzer-sting. The tilting
earth held him still finally,
and the stillness reached out
like the comfort of a pack-mate's
side curled against him.
Tyleet had turned and was beside
Bundles as he collapsed, but her
next frantic sendings to him went
unanswered. Tears of fear, self-
blame and horrible loss exploded
from the normally confident young
elf and the defiance she had been
feeling fled like a ravvit before
the pack, replaced by heartbreak.
Her howl was pure agony as she
tilted back her head to the moons
and called the tribe and the pack.
Redlance knew instantly what the
howl meant, and while he wanted
to shelter his fragile cub from
this pain it was too late. He
was furious that he hadn't been
able to keep them nearer. He
began to howl and heard others
join in. The sending he tried
earlier was as close as he had
ever come to arguing with his
offspring and this was the result.
A soft send from his lifemate
pierced his thoughts like the
arrows she fired, **Ulm, we
all face this, it is the
Together, they raced to their
After the wolves wandered away,
then the elves also slipped
back into the remaining darkness,
leaving the family trio to say
farewell. Each elf had touched
the young elf's mind with sympathy,
or offered a strong shoulder to
weep on, but now they knew they
had to withdraw.
The silence grew as the night began
to fade. Even the bright light of the two
full moons couldn't hide the lightening
of the sky, and a fog began to cover
the ground as the morning crept nearer.
Redlance knew that unlike others,
Tyleet would not want to keep the
fur of her lost friend. So instead
he magically formed a wolf-head image
and strung it on twined vines as a reminder of
Bundles. This he held above his head,
to hold it aloof from the clinging
shadows under the trees. He could
see his lifemate still comforting
Tyleet, and he approached quietly,
offering the necklace and his own
The next night Tyleet put away
the swirling skirt that now only
reminded her of the glistening
fog coating Bundle's still
fur, and instead put on the necklace
as a reminder of the wolf as he
had howled in happiness. Something
of her childhood innocence was
put away with the glittering garment,
but something of the loyal and loving
elf she would be started as she donned
the wooden charm.
PS: There is an "evil twin" mention for a certain Glider-fan too.
*sniffs* So sweet and so sad! You make me miss my lost fur-baby.
Oh...so good, but so sad! Why must you make us cry like little children?! (Starts bawling)
*cries* its a sad, wonderful story....
Oh...so good, but so sad! Why must you make us cry like little children?! (Starts bawling)
Nightsea... I really loved what you'd written! I guess Tyleet's on more than one mind....
It sparkled like the drops of rain caught in the spider’s web, only it was harder””[i:58e065cd4e]much[/i:58e065cd4e] harder. Tyleet smiled at her find, amazed that a stone could be so beautiful! Dots of light appeared in places around her as the light struck it in just the right place. Her smile changed into a grin. [i:58e065cd4e]What a treasure![/i:58e065cd4e]
She placed the small stone””found in the floorboards of the home that had been long-abandoned by humans””in her pocket, hopeing that it would not fall out. [i:58e065cd4e]I wonder what it is?[/i:58e065cd4e] she thought to herself.
Moving stealthily through the night, Tyleet found her way back to the holt, where she found the tribe gathering together for a hunt. Remembering her own catch, she opted out of the hunt and moved toward the tree she shared with her lifemates and child. Carefully, she moved a large rock and exposed a hollow in the tree. Reaching in, she pulled out a small satchel””her memory bag.
The memory bag””made of the softest leather and firs””contained things that she felt were [i:58e065cd4e]worth[/i:58e065cd4e] remembering, [i:58e065cd4e]without[/i:58e065cd4e] dreamberries: A piece of fur from her first wolf-friend, a tuft of Little Patch’s hair””cut from his head after he got tangled in some thornbushes, a small stone from the place where she and Scouter had recognized, a remnant of Pool’s first blanket, a wooden knife””shaped for her by Redlance when she was a young cub, and other objects. She smiled at the memories contained in each thing, and gingerly, she replaced them in the bag, placing the small, shiny stone into the hilt of the wooden knife.
The back in the hollow, and the stone covering it once again, Tyleet made her way out of her den and toward the others who had chosen not to hunt this night.
The next morning”¦
Tyleet entered the den and sensed that something was amiss. Dewshine and Scouter, exhausted from their hunt, had gone to bed a while before, but Pool””who [i:58e065cd4e]should[/i:58e065cd4e] have been in bed, was not. As she moved to exit the den and look for him, she noticed the rock to her hollow had been moved. Quickly, Tyleet moved to look in at the hollow, hoping she would see what her heart told her wasn’t there. The memory bag!
Already guessing that Pool had found her secret, she prayed the High Ones that her carefree cub had not dumped the contents, sorted through them, and decided they were worthless. [i:58e065cd4e]They are not worthless![/i:58e065cd4e] she heard herself arguing. [i:58e065cd4e]They are mine![/i:58e065cd4e]
She reached the boundaries of the holt, and she still had neither sight nor scent of her son. She sent to Scouter, **Your son is missing,** knowing that he would be awake and out of the den within moments. She sent something similar to Sust’s parents, knowing that if one was gone, the other was, too. She howled for her wolf friend, and when he arrived, she told him that they needed to find Pool. Tyleet knew the wolf understood, and she waited as he sniffed around and picked up the scent. Pike and Scouter weren’t far behind.
Pool and Sust (“inseparable” said their parents) hadn’t meant to wander past the boundaries of the holt. Nor had they meant to lose any of the objects in the memory bag. They’d been playing a game of make-believe, and they had stumbled into unfamiliar territory, then started exploring. They dumped the contents of the memory bag on the top of a flat rock, and then they’d chosen treasures to play hide-and-find with.
Pool chose the knife with the shiny stone embedded in it. Sust, a bit more mischevious than his playmate, chose the lock of hair. Then, leaving behind the other objects, they had taken time to hide their own before they met back and then went in search of the other’s. The first one back to the flat rock with the object would win.
Unfamiliar with the area, and still not very good at tracking, the cubs wandered deeper in the forest, losing track of time and location. They stayed within sending range of one another, and eventually, they realized they were lost.
Both cubs realized they were lost when they found a stream that neither recognized. Hopping over it, they moved toward a small cave. Fog was moving in, and the cubs knew they would be separated and more lost unless they stayed put. They huddled together in the cave, the damp air giving them chills they had avoided until then by moving around. They tried sending but realized they were out of range.
“We’ll have to wait until the fog clears up before we try to find our way back.” Pool told Sust.
“Oh, we’re going to be in [i:58e065cd4e]SO[/i:58e065cd4e] much trouble!” Sust complained.
Pool couldn’t argue that point. “Yes, we probably are.”
“It’s all [i:58e065cd4e]your[/i:58e065cd4e] fault!” Sust continued.
“My fault? How is it [i:58e065cd4e]my[/i:58e065cd4e] fault? It’s not [i:58e065cd4e]my[/i:58e065cd4e] fault that you can’t track worth anything!”
“What? You couldn’t find your way from tree to ground if someone didn’t help you!”
Pool didn’t like the insult, and he lashed out at Sust. “Well, [i:58e065cd4e]you[/i:58e065cd4e] don’t even know who your real parents are, so don’t call [i:58e065cd4e]me[/i:58e065cd4e] stupid!”
Sust felt the pang of truth, and it hurt. “I have three parents, just like you do! You””you--”¦” Words couldn’t contain his anger and frustration. Compounded by the fear he felt at being lost in the fog, Sust chose not to use words any more. He lunged for his “friend” and tackled him.
Pool, smaller than Sust, wasn’t sure he could win the fight, but the wolf in him rose to the challenge. The two fought for what felt like hours, using fists, feet, words, and sending to tear at the other. Finally, exhaustion came. The boys stared at one another, then, forgetting what they had fought about, began laughing. The laughing turned to hugs, and then to quiet. Using one another to lean on, they fell asleep.
Tyleet’s concern grew the farther from the holt they went. [i:58e065cd4e]We haven’t really been through this part of our woods[/i:58e065cd4e] she thought to herself. [i:58e065cd4e]What if something happens? Could I stand it?[/i:58e065cd4e] She remembered what it felt like to lose Little Patch, to let go of wolf friends, and she began to feel weighted down by losses and by fear.
When they descended into a valley filled with fog, Tyleet almost couldn’t bring herself to go further. **Beloved** Scouter sent, **The wolves are following Pool and Sust’s trail! They aren’t wrong. And we will find them! Alive!** She smiled up at her lifemate, and nodded her assent, reassured by his words.
At a clearing with a flat rock, Tyleet felt a sense of relief as she scented her cub, and her memory bag. The wolves separated, each following a different path. Scouter followed one, Pike another, and Tyleet chose to wait, trying to analyze the area for sight of her bag.
Scouter and Pike reappeared, each carrying something in his hands. Tyleet felt tears of joy as she saw the wooden knife, sparly stone still in it’s hilt. And she gasped with pleasure at the sight of Little Patch’s tuft of hair. Pike knew his friend’s sentimentalism, and he smiled as he handed it over. **Things like this helped you bear the loss, didn’t they?** She nodded.
Together, the three elves and their wolves moved through the fog, trusting instinct to lead them. When they reached a stream, Tyleet tried sending again. A groggy, sent response caused her to jump, and she gave a short howl. Within moments, two damp cubs appeared in the fog with sheepish grins on their faces.
Tyleet and Scouter rushed toward Pool and Pike toward Sust. After hugging their children, the parents held their children a bit further away and inspected them. They noted the bruised eyes””each one had a black eye from a well-aimed punch; the scratches, and the small abrasions.
Pike summed up the thoughts of all the parents when he said, “Don’t [i:58e065cd4e]ever[/i:58e065cd4e] wander so far from the holt again!”
The cubs nodded, then Pool moved to ride with Scouter, and Sust with Pike. Pike and Sust were already disappearing in the fog, and Scouter, Tyleet, Pool, and two wolves still stood near the stream. Scouter advised his son to ride with Tyleet, and Pool looked toward her, apprehension in his eyes. He knew he shouldn’t have taken his mother’s bag. And now”¦ he’d lost it””and all of it’s contents.
As they rode back in relative silence, Tyleet marveled that she did not feel the loss of the bag nearly as much as she’d expected. Feeling her son’s heart beat against her, she felt content with knowing that he was safe. [i:58e065cd4e]Things aren’t nearly as important as the ones we love.[/i:58e065cd4e]
Pool, mistaking his mother’s silence for anger, finally said, in a choked-back sob, “I’m sorry, Mother.”
Hearing her son’s sad voice, she sent reassurance to him. He didn’t realize it, and he kept going. “I shouldn’t have taken your bag, and I shouldn’t have wandered so far from the holt. Sust and I were just playing, but we had no right to use your things. I know they mean a lot to you! Will you please forgive me? I won’t make that mistake again!”
She felt his tears falling on her arms, and she gave him a gentle squeeze. “Pool, I am glad [i:58e065cd4e]YOU[/i:58e065cd4e] are all right. The things in the bag were important to me, but they could [i:58e065cd4e]never[/i:58e065cd4e] be as important as you are!”
He hiccupped, and said, “I’ll look for your things! I promise!”
She decided to show him. “Pool, I don’t want you to wander from the holt. Especially when two of the things you lost””the two most dear to me””have been found already.”
He turned to look at her, and she pulled the knife and the tuft of hair out of a pouch that hung by her side. His eyes widened””“You won!”
She laughed. “Yes, son, I’ve won. I have two lifemates and a wonderful son! I am very happy! And even if these things had not been found, I’ve won, because we found you!”
He smiled at her then, and the radiance of the smile in the morning sun reminded her of the sparkling rock. She looked at the small, wooden knife and then gently placed it in his hands.
Pool took the knife into his hands, knowing its significance. "I won't lose it
mother! I won't!"
Tyleet hugged her son, riding into the holt's boundaries and guiding her small one to their den and to bed. As she watched him, knife clutched near his chest as he slept, she thought to herself, [i:58e065cd4e]Now, my Treasure has my treasure,[/i:58e065cd4e] and smiled.
Awwww! OmigodsthatwassooCUTE!! Squeeee WIBBLE!
(Hugs Tyleet and Pool)
That was a great way to write all the themes in and I can SO see Tyleet keeping a memory bag...the earliest scrap book EVER! (Stares at last words) Oh...Gods...I think I've been hanging out with my Grandma too much...
i loved your story Snowren! :)
Arill and Luna, I'm really glad that you liked it! :) :) It was a fun story to write! :)
Are either of you going to write one? Arill, I look forward to the one w/ your sister in it! (I'm sorry she didn't make it into my story :( )
Yes-- when finals are over, I'll write something. Just for you, snow.
(Blinks) Why does everyone keep saying that I have a sister? I don't have one....it's just a joke me and Wyld Wynd (Update your story, curse you...) have. You know, long lost evil triplet or something. Any sibling of mine is not a subject in this Grab Bag...unless my mom's been hiding something from me for the last fifteen years. Hmm...(Runs off to root through mother's photos 'n' stuff)
And I'll write something soon! I have it started and everything!
Man, a girl flickers through the forum for a couple a days and falls behind on some major gems!
I'm in the same boat as Rilly right now, only... I'm probably going alot slower than she is right now (damn cursed writers-block). So hopefuly I'll post soon.
(Update your story, curse you...)
I enjoyed both of those very much. Nightsea and SnowWren, your writing just keeps getting better, both of you!
They were both so moving and heart-warming. Nice pic, too!
(Nightsea, all you'd have to do to work in that "shiny" element is have Redlance polish the wolfs-head necklace with some bear-grease or something. Or have Moonshade sew some flecks of clearstone into the skirt. :) )
Don't know if I'm going to do a story this month. Real life is so insistent nowdays, it's hard to concentrate even on EQ. But I'll try to keep up with everyone else's! :D
Would anyone mind if I posted something here? It fits into the category of 'Coping with death or loss'. Would you mind me posting it here (as well as my own thread) after I finish it?"
Edit: Now that I think of it. The thing I'm working on might fit more into this then Doeskin's. Might I be able to post this?
I got goosebumps at the end. I loved it!
Would anyone mind if I posted something here? It fits into the category of 'Coping with death or loss'. Would you mind me posting it here (as well as my own thread) after I finish it?"
Edit: Now that I think of it. The thing I'm working on might fit more into this then Doeskin's. Might I be able to post this?
Wow. You have a good sense of pacing, Tymber, and your story is very dramatic. You really make us care about the characters you've created. Good insight into Kahvi, too.
Good working in of all the elements! I was fairly sure the instructions at the beginning of each monthly grab-bag challenge made it clear-- but I'll work to make it even clearer next month. The idea was for writers and artists to challenge ourselves by nominating elements that have to be included in the work. Each contributor gets one nomination, and we stop when we have a total of six.
Hang around at the end of this month-- when you see the thread "Build a Grab-Bag for the Month" bumped forward, that's the time to nominate an element. Hope you continue to contribute! :)
I really enjoyed your story! I found myself wanting to know more about both characters! Thank you for sharing! I, too, hope to read more of your stories!
Asinas... Where's your story? I'd love to read it!
My story is in my thread for my stories, along with Doeskin's current story I'm working on. As for the one I wanted to post here, I think I can rewrite it to include all elements. It wouldn't be that hard and I love to go back and expand on stories after I've written them. I really do feel that I rushed it last night and need to add more even if it is now quiet long. May I have a few days to add to it and spiffy it up so that it includes all of the elements you specified? The hardest thing may be the fog...Please forgive this stupid question but, is there fog in the desert at night when the sand is still warm, but the air is cooling quickly like it is in forested or ocean areas? I know very little about deserts actually. (Which is why this story is a bit of a challenge for me.)
Asinas, if you're thinking of Sorrow's End, it is an oasis, (remember Flood and Flower!) so it seem very likely to me that there could be fog if conditions are right. :) Looking forward to reading it!
Tymber... wow... i got goosebumps...
Nightsea, all you'd have to do to work in that "shiny" element is have Redlance polish the wolfs-head necklace with some bear-grease or something. Or have Moonshade sew some flecks of clearstone into the skirt. :)
Ohhh yay! then I CAN include them all! Sweet.
Nightsea: Here is the link: http://www.elfquest.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2511 You can see the story I'm going to be editing there as the last story.
krwordgazer: No, I'm thinking of a separate, smaller, but very hot and dry desert.
No clouds littered the sky as the sun's light fell to the sandy earth unfiltered. As far as the eye can see there was only sand, dry sand devoid of life. The only exception was an oasis that had become dried out. The life that was dependent on this watering hole had either died out or left in search of water. The only life left was that of a small village. Even then the very young, old, and sick were dead or dieing from thirst and the unbearable heat. Hotter then usual even the huts which held relief from the sun and shade was no help from this heat wave. Inside were abandoned dry storage pots which had held the last of the water the villagers kept for emergencies.
Now a young maiden by the name of Shivah looked over her shoulder as her once home became a dot on the distance. She shouldered the basket on her back filled with her favorite clothing, preserved food, and clothing for her baby brother. Important things from her home laid tucked away in her basket, and a water skin hung at her hip filled wit water for her brother and her to share. A hand tugging at hers made her mind return to the now. Looking up at her were a pair of bright green and wide eyes. they eyes were set in a dark skinned face framed by red-brown short hair. the boy pointed ahead at their parents who had walked ahead while Shivah had stopped to remember. Nodding the girl hurried ahead with her brother as he pulled her to catch up to their mother and father.
Her heart almost broke as she looked to her mother, she struggled against the heat, wiping her face and forehead with her thin sleeves, air trapped between the layers of her mother's clothes kept her from becoming to hot, but her exposed face was sweating from the sun. Instead of a basket, she carried a small bundle on her chest. A newborn baby boy, less then a day old. He already seemed to be feeling the effects of the heat as he cried desperately for some place cooler then his woven carrier. Her mother's hand gripped her father's tighter as she walked steadily trying to hum to the poor child. Shivah did not share her brother's enthusiasm at their new sibling, she like their parents had little hope the baby would survive the search for a new home, and water. Her face was reflected in the grim face of her father as he looked to his newborn son with pain. He tried to sooth his mate, to calm her fears, as well as his own.
Shivah's fears were not misplaced. The baby born the night before they had left the village had died from exposure to the heat sometime shortly before the night fell. He was not the only one to be lost that night. many of their elders and their young too had joined the newborn who had not even received a name. Shivah's brother was confused as to why his mother cried. "Papa why are you digging in the sand? Why did brother stop? Papa...?" His father held back tears as he clutched at the still hot sand trying to scrape deep enough to bury his son. His mate sat next to the small grave cuddling the body as she wept uncontrollably. "Papa....Why? Isn't brother going to start crying? Mama..stop crying, you'll wake brother! ..Mama.." The boy was beginning to understand as eh watched his mother wrap the baby before placing him into the grave. She was caressing the bundle as tears fell from her eyes. His own tears began to well up before he felt his sister pull him close. Shivah pulled her brother tightly into her lap and rubbed his head as he sobbed quietly. She hummed and rocked letting him cry out his little heart while she comforted the small boy. Their father turned his head to his children and shook his head. "Don't cry sweet ones. He won't suffer the heat any longer now. We still will but he is with our ancestors and waiting for us all. Sing Shivah, sing for his memory." Nodding shivah started to sing, cradling her brother as he fell asleep listening to his sister's soft bell like voice.
Not long and her brother was asleep, her father had finished the grave, and her mother had cried herself to sleep now cuddling her son. Shivah's father patted her head, and shivah stood looking around the others with them. they too had erected unmarked graves for their loved ones they had lost that day. Looking at those around her she knew the next day would be worse on their group as it would dwindle in size. Moving away from her parents she walked over sleeping children and adults until she came to one person's side. The air was cooling quickly and leaving the ground warm. Dew that had began to settle on the sand over the night until now was causing a soft fog form around them, rolling over those who slept huddled together against the cold of the night warmed by only fire to keep predators at bay. It swept over the boy who lay before her now, laying with his back to her, his breathing shallow with one arm propping his head.
She knew he was awake. Her sitting besides him caused him to roll over onto his back and look up to Shivah into her eyes. Dark skin, black hair, and dark brown eyes all shone with sweat and reflected the moonlight. She looked up to a grave, and knew he too was sharing her heartache. He had traveled with only one person. His sickly grandmother. Both his parents had died while he was young and she was all he had left. She never spent much time with this strong young youth, but something tonight had called her to him. She sat besides him and stared at the grave he had dug. Larger and deeper then her baby brother's grave. Sitting up he pulled Shivah to his side and held her tightly against him. "N-Nared..." The sound shocked him as much as herself. She stared at him in shock. Nared was not this boy's name. it was really Talsh. Something her mother had once told her came, about souls meeting as eyes met. His body felt cool from sweat against her own in the lingering heat, comforting and almost caring. Leaning into her ear he muttered almost breathlessly as the same realization came over him. things that didn't reach her ears as her head felt fuzzy. Standing together they slipped away from the group to disappear into the night.
The next morning she was with her family, packing her and her brother's things, though now her brother walked holding both his parents hands and not his sister's. His eyes still red from crying last night. Beside her appeared a form, a strong young man with dark eyes and hair. She blushed looking to him as he helped her to pack. "May I...walk with your family?" Glancing to her parents, she thought she saw a look from her father as he turned his head. A soft smirk that took on a sadder tone while they began to walk ahead as the group rose and started their trek. Talsh stood and took her hand helping her up as they too followed the others into the baking sun. One arm wrapped around her waist as he held her close, his own face was blushing as they followed her family.
Ahead, she could see something in her brother's hands. A treasure from their grandmother who had been one of the first to suffer from the drought. The toy was a small round ball that did not bounce, it was a hard, glittering, yellow color. The size of a piece of fruit, his little hands could hardly clutch it as he walked, now slightly ahead of his parents. The glittering yellow metal ball caught the early morning rays as he walked. Mother had pulled it from Shivah's bag that morning so he could carry it hoping that it would cheer the boy up. Shivah could see her father glaring at the ball. Unlike his usual self her father had become sour from the heat and losing his second son. Even the small boy's choice to bring his precious treasure was irritating his father.
"I told you only to pack what you -need-, so why did you bring that trash?" His sharp words, which cut even Shivah to the bone, earned him even sharper glares from his life-mate. "And -I- told him he could bring his treasure from mother. He needs something important to him, we all do!" Their son stopped walking, letting them walk ahead as now his father had started to growl. Shivah walked over to let her brother put his toy away and took his hand.
"Its a piece of something to be left behind." Their mother was now the one growling. She stopped walking and turned to him putting her hands on her hips. "-You- brought your father's necklace. Yet you haven't worn it since he died!" Their father eyed their mother and turned walking ahead of his family. He had been defeated by his mate but would not admit it. The heat was already becoming too much.
Talsh put his arm around Shivah's shoulders to pull her close but stopped. They both stared transfixed for a few seconds as Shivah;s mother began to gasp hard. She was swaying a little as if finding it troublesome to stay standing. Shivah rushed to her mother's side as the woman collapsed. Though it wasn't far, she had already stopped breathing or moving. Shivah stared in utter shock, it was Talsh who had started to yell for her father. When he rushed back, he saw his motionless wife, cradled by his daughter, and clung to by his son. Behind Shivah stood Talsh, rubbing her shoulders and nuzzling her hair. Their father took the limp body and disappeared over the sands, leaving behind his things, and his water. They could hear him muttering as he waled away, "A mistake...We shouldn't fight my love...Let the children go on ahead and we will catch up." Looking over his shoulder from the dunes he called back to his children "Take our waters with you. I'll follow you tonight." He slipped over the dune.
Shivah picked up her crying brother, and Talsh picked up the extra waterskins and supply baskets to carry them. they both knew her father would not return. His wife had died and so had his will to finish the search for home and water. Her brother was the only one who had not understood why his father would not return. Talsh looked to Shivah and shook his head. "....Do you think it was a mistake to come to go on this journey?" Shivah shook her head slightly, "No. We would of died without leaving...I think he meant fighting when he knew mother was still so weak from birth was a mistake." Talsh nodded softly and rubbed the boy's head as he held to his sister tightly.
Together they joined the rest of the mass migrating elves many more would die, including Shivah's dear baby brother. They would meet a vast forest with only a tenth of those they had started out with. Traveling deeper into the forest, they would find a human village. This village would then lead them towards a new home, a village on the cliffs near the ocean that was home to many more elves already. Many unused to the diseases found in the forests that was carried by bugs, or by humans were too also fall. In total the trek would take a years, and most of the elves making had fallen by the way side.
Was it a mistake for them to leave their village in the desert where death was inevitable? Or did they make the right decision to seek hope and a new home?
:) I included Arill's sister!! :) Yay me!
Lord Voll shook his snowy locks to clear the fog from his memory. How long since he had climbed these stairs? Rarely these days did he stray from the corridors and rooms that bordered his private chambers and the throne room. He was the Glider Lord- the weight of his responsibilities settled across his shoulder like a heavy cloak.
He did not care to lift it.
As though anchored by its weight, his feet dragged step by step up the walkway. A glimmer of memory flitted through his mind””the sensation of flying! Racing so quickly up this corridor, that his young feet barely touched the ground- leaving it, finally, altogether to send him gliding into open space! Ah! At last he reached the top.
It was not the aerie- not that ledge of stone packed with nests and crusted in droppings, where the cries of the great birds echoed on their returns from the hunt, the whoosh and flutter of their majestic wings. No, this was a quiet place. A place of reflection.
It had been fashioned by Arill’s sister. A gift to her lord.
Voll seated himself on a stone bench. In a mountain of ornate and intricate shaping, it was a simple design. Voll ran his hands across the surface of the stone, feeling the texture, shaped by knowing hands to resemble the rough feel of wood. To his right, a rocky pillar sprang from the floor. It wound gracefully upward, splitting at the top into smaller stony offshoots. Gnarled and twisting, they ended in geometric impressions of clumped leaves. Voll sighed. Real leaves would have rustled in the wind”¦ not sat still and cold as the soft breeze whispered past.
The breeze. It caressed the aged leader’s face, carrying with it the cool taste of mist and recent rains.
The window, the only window in Blue Mountain, was a round opening, framed in the wall. Through it, the stars glimmered brightly. Arill’s sister”¦ she had known what they were giving up, his people, to sequester themselves from the world outside.
He could almost feel her now... in the room beside him. Closing his eyes, he pictured her ”¦ running through the woods along the stream, laughing. Throwing her nets into the water for fish. She had been so free.
And she had known. Like the others, she had followed willingly enough, helping to shape and mold blue mountain into his living dream. But, when the doors had been sealed., when Winnowil had tenderly nursed Door into her trance, then did the lively Glider rebel.
“My Lord,” she had stormed, “You are sealing us in our tomb!” She had shaped this room, he knew, to remind him of all they had left behind. So close to the stars”¦ the only place of its kind within the mountain. So long ago, he had not understood her meaning.
Even now, he could feel the ghostly touch of her hand on his shoulder, a soft voice, whispering “for you, my lord!” The eagerness with which he had once accompanied her up this stair.
But she had left- back to the forest. And the Lady Arill had wept, mourning her sister. Voll had born the loss stoically, resentful at the betrayal of his follower. Had he made a mistake?
He had not climbed the stair since””had not sat in this place, till now.
Now, he felt the whispered ghost of a hand across his shoulder. Heard the echo of Arill’s weeping, “she is gone- gone!” Arill, who knew so suddenly, as only family could.
Asinas, yours was very moving and dramatic, and so sad. I was a bit confused at first that your characters were human, not elfin-- till the Recognition happened. You might want to mention that they're elves near the beginning, instead of waiting till the end. But it's a good story, and the elements all fit in very well!
Lunakat, you know I love your work. This one is as subtle and moving as it is brief, with the elements woven in so naturally you hardly notice they're there-- like threads in a loom woven into the whole. (And kudos on slipping in Arill's sis! )
(BTW, Nightsea, sorry for overlooking your "shiny" element. :oops: I misunderstood what you meant)
Turns out I had a story for this month after all. :D I credit Foxeye with this one-- I happened to look at her picture for the July fanart calendar, and the image of Strongbow asleep with Chitter in his arms suddenly dropped this story, fully-formed and ready to write, into my mind.
DEW AND MIST
Chitter found the wolf cub near dawn, while walking with her father. It lay stiff in the closed flowers, its lips drawn back from its teeth as if snarling. Silent for once, she crouched, staring.
“Papa?” she whispered.
He was at her side then, gazing down with her. His hand dropped to her shoulder. *It’s dead, cub.*
In her five turns of the seasons, she had seen dead animals many times, had eaten with relish what was given her-- but never one of her pack. This one was not bonded with any of her tribe, but it didn’t matter. Wolfriders, wolves, Preservers, Shuna and Bee-- all were part of her, and she of them. None of these could. . . die. Could they? And yet the cub’s still, unseeing eye stared up at her.
Chitter shuddered. “What happened, Papa?”
Strongbow crouched next to her, bent close and sniffed. *Not sure. It ate something bad, I think.*
“Papa. . .” Her voice was a sob. “Papa, talk. Don’t send.”
She was getting better at sending, but she still found words so much easier. They said only one thing at a time, without all the shades of emotion and thought that complicated what she had once called “think-talk.” She looked up at her father now, wanting him to make this simple.
He pulled her up beside him as he rose, and gazed down into her face. “It’s the Way, Chitter. The cub was foolish. He wandered far from the den, ate something the pack hadn’t brought him to eat. It’s the Way.”
His voice seemed harsh. Chitter didn’t know why. Suddenly she wriggled free of his hands on her arms, skittering back out of reach. “Don’t you care?!” she shouted.
Strongbow’s lips were set. “It doesn’t matter if I care, Chitter. It’s the Way.”
“You don’t care!” she cried. “And I don’t like the Way!”
And she turned and ran.
Her father’s fierce sending nearly pulled her to a stop. *Chitter! Come back!* But Chitter squared her chin, steeled herself and rushed deep into the woods.
It was her favorite time of night-- what she usually called “the shiny time.” Early dew sparkled on each blade of grass, wherever the trees did not hide it from the setting moons. But a fog was beginning to seep up from the ground as sun-comes-up approached, covering low-lying spots with glowing whiteness. Tonight, though, Chitter had no eyes for enchantment. She swung up into a tree, then across to another, and huddled deep within the leaves. A shadow passed under the tree as her father hunted for her. But he had lost her scent for the moment. Chitter waited, then moved to another tree, jumped down and across an open space and back up into branches again. She was not ready to be found yet.
Darkness deepened as she moved on and the moons set. The fog was gathering thicker and thicker. Chitter was no longer sure where the Holt lay. Her father’s sendings, close and stern at first, had grown faint. She couldn’t tell which direction they were coming from. There was a hint of alarm in them now.
Then, out of nearby trees, a mountain cat growled. Chitter froze. All at once she knew what a terrible mistake she had made.
*Papa!* she sent, as hard as she could. *Papa! Help!* The image that that growl had formed within her flashed through her sending. Her father’s mind-voice burned suddenly intense and clear as he located hers.
*Don’t move, cub!*
She didn’t move. The mountain cat would surely chase and catch her if she tried to get away. But she could picture it creeping, creeping closer. . . Chitter’s heart pounded. She hoped the mountain cat couldn’t hear it.
Imperceptibly, the woods were lightening with the approaching sun. Through the fog Chitter could now make out the shadow of the cat, now in the next tree; its haunches were gathered under it, getting ready to spring--
An arrow thudded into the tree a finger’s breadth from the mountain cat’s shoulder. Startled, it turned and leaped away. Crying with relief, Chitter slid down the tree.
Silent as the forest itself, her father’s dark form loomed over her in the fog. Chitter trembled. She could have been killed. What was he going to say?
“I-I’m sorry, Papa,” she breathed.
Silence. The black shadow standing over her did not move.
Then, after a breathless instant, her father was on his knees, pulling her to his chest with arms strong as bright-metal. His bow fell behind him into the grass. He buried his face in her hair. *Cubling. . . *
Chitter clung to him, shaking with sobs. “I-I was almost just like that wolf cub, Papa.”
A sending without words washed over her. Grief for the wolf cub, fear for her, savage, desperate relief-- Chitter understood, all at once, how it could be better for her father to send than to speak.
“I’m sorry, Papa,” she repeated, hiccoughing.
His response was to press her to his chest again. She whispered into his ear, “Why didn’t you kill the mountain cat, Papa?”
He looked down at her with a half-smile, his brown eyes tender. “When a scare was all that was needed? Why kill then, cub?”
She nodded, rubbing her face on his vest to dry her tears. “M-maybe I do like the Way after all.”
Strongbow”˜s smile widened. *That’s my cub.*
“Let’s go home, Papa.”
“Let’s go home.”
Chitter is Strongbow's and Moonshades's daughter :P They recognize for the third time in sats, and in discovery, we get to know her a little better. Love the story wordgazer, we all know how hard it was for Strongbow to lose Crescent, and one could only imagine how deeply he loves Chitter, and wonder if he is afraid to lose her as well.
Shivah is not canon..Its the name of the mother to one of the members in Doeskin's tribe, And sorry about not mentioning they were elves until that point. Yes they were elves.
(Sorry I didn't have access to the comp yesterday, Death Bunny's sister needed it.)
Oh! I love the Chitter story! :) :clap:
It's so very right. I like that Strongbow is still stern with his daughter-- as he was with his other children. Stern, but gentle-- so very much his character.
As for Shiva-- yes, I also thought they were human characters right up until the end. It would be good to clarify that earlier-- but excellent story nonetheless.
As for mine-- thanks for the nice comments y'all! (I realize now, skimming back over it-- I forgot to include the last line: "He could not even remember her name!" because Arill was saying how she had this non-existent "sister" she'd made up on a lark, but couldn't imagine a good name for her. (And it would explain why Voll never actually used her name, which is a bit wierd. But oh well! Here's to the Lady Arill! :cheers: )
krwordgazer, nicely done story. The "talking/sending"
issue was an interesting element...I am not sure if WaRP ever
really has described in detail what if any differences the forms
of communication might posses. Maybe I've just missed it, but
I can say I've given it more thought because of your tale.
(All I can think of is when Strongbow sends to Timmain
for the first time and her wolf paws on the star path almost
engulf him...but that is practice, not theory.) Kudos for
making me stretch my EQ thinking muscles.
I also enjoyed lunakat's image of Voll looking
out a Blue Mountain window. Nice scene.
The desert trek sounded arduous in the extreme and
really made my sunburn sting, asinas!
Glad you all liked it! :D Thanks for the lovely comments!
Lunakat, I do see Strongbow as still stern, but perhaps less so than he might have been with Dart, or even Crescent. Strongbow has clearly changed in Searcher and the Sword and The Discovery-- he's happier than readers have ever seen him, healed of the terrible trauma caused by the death of Crescent. I believe that looking down into Chitter's face after he has rescued her, Strongbow would find all his anger at her disobedience seeping away as he looks into her frightened, tearful, apologetic eyes. An earlier Strongbow would have felt more inclined to discipline, I think-- some of the things said in The Discovery give me the feeling that Chitter gets away with a lot! And of course, she has a more naturally independent, self-willed, impulsive personality than Dart ever showed as a child.
Nightsea, I had been wondering why Chitter is so insistent at the age of two that her father speak instead of sending. This is what occurred to me. There is plenty of textual evidence that sending conveys more than speech does-- particularly mind-images and emotions. A young child, perhaps, might find this confusing. . . .
And because Strongbow tends to be fairly uncommunicative verbally, it was a perfect way to set up the misunderstanding for the "fight" element of the story.
I wanted to really challenge myself (being the first time I have done this on the forum), and put ALL of those elements into the story I just whipped up.
THIS STORY TAKES PLACE BEFORE THE WOLFRIDERS ENCOUNTER THE GO-BACK IN ELFQUEST CANON.
As if possessed with unyielding hunger, the grey fog slowly covered the lands that slept in these snowy covered mountains. For Tawhm, he can not sleep this night. Sitting upon a stone, his cool, blue eyes stared at the night sky.
Staring down at him were the Twin Moons, full and bright.
Tawhm’s long brown hair blew in the gentle wind that whispered through the mountains, accompanying the fog as it sought to press forward, covering everything in its path. Tawhm could remember Kahvi’s words, “Keep your bodies as warm as the sun for the covers, and your hearts as cold as the ice that covers these mountains.”
War was not a beautiful thing. It was no glorious. And for Tawhm, he had all but forgotten what they were fighting for anymore. He only knew that the trolls were his bitter enemies, and that they were to be killed on sight.
This is how he lived his life. This is all he knew.
Until he had met Twinmoon. Something about her had captivated his heart. It had not been Recognition ”“ but in her sightless eyes ”“ somehow he saw something else to his life. Winning this War suddenly meant nothing to him.
But he was a Go-Back. He was one of them, just as she was. He couldn’t stop fighting. It was his life. It was, after all, all he knew.
Though she was not capable of sight, having been born blind ”“ a weakness to the Go-Back, she was, without a doubt, someone with a greater vision. She had said to them that there was more to this world than War. That there were others out there ”“ like them ”“ and that together they could unite and capture the Palace that was rightfully theirs.
But none would listen.
None save him.
When she spoke, for Tawhm, the rest of the world melted away.
Though relentlessly teased by his two closest friends, Traust and Fayth ”“ he shrugged off their ridicule.
He wanted to be around her, regardless.
And it was one night, while she had wandered out into the snow that he approached her. Long before he had come close, she wore a smile and turned her head slightly, “Tawhm, is it?”
He stopped in his tracks. “How did you know?”
She continued to smile, “I may be without sight, but I can still see things.”
“That,” Tawhm admitted, “is why I am here. You have mentioned other Elves in this world. What makes you believe that?”
“Because, I have seen it,” Twinmoon replied, her white hair blowing in the gentle, brisk wind.
“What do you mean that you have ”˜seen it’,” Tawhm asked, seeking further clarification.
“In my dreams,” Twinmoon replied. “I see one who comes. And he comes with others. And the Key to the Palace.”
“The Key to the Palace?” Tawhm asked, tilting his head. “Then the Palace is locked?”
“No,” Twinmoon said, shaking her head. “The Palace will always be open to us. But he comes with the Key for us to win this battle against the Trolls.”
“What kind of key? I don’t understand,” Tawhm persisted.
Twinmoon kneeled down and took her index finger, drawing a circle, with a key on one end. “He will come with the New Moon. And he will have the Key.”
It made little sense to Tawhm ”“ and yet, somehow, the conviction in her voice had been enough to convince him.
Inside Kahvi’s den, she spat at Tawhm. “I thought you came here for a good roll in the furs,” she snarled. “I haven’t seen you since Gretta has let her blind daughter out of her den. You seem pretty attached.”
“I am,” Tawhm admitted. “Listen, Kahvi ”“ I know normally you and I are very close. You have trusted me time and time again ”“ why won’t you listen to me now?”
“Why?” Kahvi laughed. “Because you’re telling me that you trust someone who can’t see about ”˜seeing’ the coming of other elves ”“ one of them with a key to this battle ”“ on some new moon?” Kahvi paused a moment, “The girl can’t see, Tawhm! You can’t expect me to wait and give the trolls a chance to rest because she says some other elves are coming with the key to us winning this war!”
“But Kahvi,” Tawhm began. “I believe her.”
“Then you wait,” Kahvi snapped back. “You wait for her and her words to come true. The rest of us will fight for the Palace like we always have. You wait by her side. And see how long it takes. Maybe you can bury those of us who continue to fight? Now get out if you’re not interested in a roll in the furs.”
Tawhm met Twinmoon in the same spot she had spoke to him about the coming of the elves. “She did not believe you,” Twinmoon said simply.
“She did not,” Tawhm said, defeated. “She never will. All she knows is War.”
“She will soon know peace,” Twinmoon replied. “And in it, she will find emptiness for her. For when there is no enemy to fight, no war to wage, no need for rolling in the furs to keep their numbers up, she will see she is hollow inside.”
Tawhm reached out, but Twinmoon pulled away, as if she could see his hand. “Leave me,” she said, softly. “Tell Kahvi to prepare for war. It comes on this new moon.”
Tawhm looked to the heavens and saw, that indeed ”“ it had been a New Moon.
“Go,” Twinmoon repeated. “Go quickly.”
Once again, driven by the conviction of her voice, Tawhm turned and fled back towards the Go-Back caves.
Twinmoon stood there.
It was being loaded.
It had been launched.
An arrow, large, and made of steel.
She was not the target.
But she could feel its shadow as it passed over her.
And on the one that was struck”¦
The One who Brought The Key.
She closed her eyes and let the frozen tears fall.
The giant bird crashed from the heavens.
Then she heard them.
Then she felt the crossbow bolt that took her life.
She collapsed to the ground.
Tawhm had heard her scream of pain ”“ and stopped. He turned and raced back up the hill, realizing his mistake.
He shouldn’t have left her.
And now a dozen trolls of the mountains were marching upon them.
She was right.
The War was coming.
And life for the Go-Backs was about to forever change.
Somehow, it did not matter to him.
He died the moment Twinmoon died.
The battle that followed would be the one thing that would amaze him. The one that fell from the sky; the Wolf Chief named Cutter, not only had he come on a New Moon; but his sword, handed down to him by his father, had been named New Moon. And within its hilt, Cutter would discover that it held a key ”“ a key that had opened an armory that would allow the elves protection against the weapons forged by the frozen trolls. The mad Two-Edge had given them one final gift ”“ for the war that he decided would be the final decision of whether he was elf or troll.
With the Wolfriders aid, and the Key that Cutter had unknowingly brought with him in his blade New Moon; the battle was won.
The Palace was theirs.
Just as Twinmoon had predicted.
Inside the Palace, Tawhm reached out for her and immediately felt her presence next to him. He could hear her whispering in his mind. She had saw beauty in his soul, far beyond what any eyes could see. She knew he would survive. That he would know that she was right.
He felt her lips on his.
Her hands entwined within his.
“I will wait for you,” she said. “But your life is a long one yet to lead. Do not be afraid to love, for the War is over. You are home.”
“I miss you,” he whispered.
And there, alone in the dark, Tawhm did what no Go-Back was supposed to do.
And he wept for hours.
Oh wow... I think... I may have found... one of the best story tellers ever... I envy you... my Goddess that was awesome... I think I might have gotten a little excited by that story... lol... but seriously... I did...
Well I do plan on sticking around (so long as the High Ones allow me!) and everytime something like this comes up and challenges my brain to try and write a story - I am all for it.
Especially if it can get someone to "melt."
Now that is perhaps the most flattering comment I have EVER gotten about my writing.
[quote:de30c338fb="Skywise_Luver_007"][quote:de30c338fb="Tymber"]Well I do plan on sticking around (so long as the High Ones allow me!) and everytime something like this comes up and challenges my brain to try and write a story - I am all for it.
Especially if it can get someone to "melt."
Now that is perhaps the most flattering comment I have EVER gotten about my writing.
[quote:48eb11d5ae="Skywise_Luver_007"][quote:48eb11d5ae="Tymber"][quote:48eb11d5ae="Skywise_Luver_007"][quote:48eb11d5ae="Tymber"]Well I do plan on sticking around (so long as the High Ones allow me!) and everytime something like this comes up and challenges my brain to try and write a story - I am all for it.
Especially if it can get someone to "melt."
Now that is perhaps the most flattering comment I have EVER gotten about my writing.
You did it again Tymber... only this time... I cried...
[quote:674ca568a8="Skywise_Luver_007"]You did it again Tymber... only this time... I cried...
[quote:7ed991dbc5="Skywise_Luver_007"][quote:7ed991dbc5="Tymber"][quote:7ed991dbc5="Skywise_Luver_007"]You did it again Tymber... only this time... I cried...
Well, I'm feeling inspired by this month's grabbag--
so here's another:
The sun burned steadily, it’s shimmering rays stirring a dull heat in the dusty valley of Sorrow’s End. The light shone, but Leetah knew her father could not see it. A grey cloud drifted in his eyes. How she longed to brush it aside with the power of her touch”¦ to see his gaze fixed on her clearly, a bright and penetrating blue.
“Why, father?” she whirled to face him, knowing the gesture would be lost. “Why will you not let me heal you? It would be an easy thing! You know I can!”
The old Sun Toucher smiled and shook his head. “My daughter, to take back my sight would mean giving up so much more. Let it be- I am satisfied as I am.”
Leetah sighed. “Don’t you understand? There’s so much you have not seen! The season of flood and flowers, Atheka’s youngest child, the light playing behind Savah’s throne. Rayek can float things now- father, did you know? He’s learned to float small rocks and pieces of fruit right through the air””sends them dancing in circles over our heads! It is something to see, father!”
Again, the Suntoucher shook his head. “I feel, my daughter, deeper than sight. And that is enough.”
But Leetah grasped his hand, placed it upon her cheek. “No, it is not enough! What of Shen Shen? She is learning to walk!” She reached out, ghosted her hands across his sightless eyes””it would only take a moment! Her fingers touched his weathered face. “You have not seen me, father! You have never seen me!”
But her father’s hands came up to clasp her own, draw them down. “Ah, my daughter,” he breathed, “You must follow me now. It is time to show you what I have seen.”
Sun Toucher’s staff clacked rhythmically against flat stone as he walked steadily toward his destination. His free arm, he placed upon his daughter’s shoulder””not in need, but simply as a loving gesture, half guiding her to follow him. He could feel the confusion radiating off of her, the concern meshed with irritation. She did not understand.
The ground sloped sharply, and soon they were climbing toward the bridge of destiny. Suntoucher mounted the slope with conditioned ease, the strenuous hike a daily practice for him. Beside him, Leetah panted. Through the hand that continued to rest on her shoulder, her father sensed her growing fatigue. Her skin had grown hot and damp with sweat, her breath coming in shortening gasps. They were almost to the top. Like a soft, tingle, Suntoucher felt the small pulses of healing power Leetah had begun using to fortify herself. He smiled. Her endurance would increase in time.
At last, the ground leveled. They had reached the top. Using his staff, Suntoucher located a familiar boulder and leaned against it to rest. Skirts rustling, Leetah settled herself beside him.
Never before had she accompanied her father on this walk. Content to sleep in, or play in the village, she had often watched him leave, his silhouette dwindling to a small speck as he managed the climb. Now, she felt a sudden gratitude for being brought along. She studied her father closely””sunlight glinted off his mirrored headdress, his sightless eyes blinked steadily, his face turned toward the wind. And features were alight with an inner awareness. No, he could not see her world- but in that instant Leetah realized that she was about to enter his.
“Close your eyes, child,” her father instructed. Leetah did so. “Now, breathe,” Suntoucher continued, “feel.” Obediently, she drew a deep breath. On the air, she tasted dust and scent of summer blossoms. The heat of the sun warmed the stone beneath her, soaking up into her palms. She felt the warm rays on her bare shoulders. From the east, wind, buffeted the side of her face, trailing cool across her heated shoulders. She felt the sweat on her back, the cloth clinging to her skin.
*Now * her father’s voice echoed in her mind, vibrating with strength, * Feel!*
He took her hand in his, and suddenly, she could feel””the stone beneath her feet stretched deep into the body of the earth, solid, stable, but pulsing with the essence of its own being. The sky arced overhead. Across it, the cry of a bird! That small life, beating its way freely against the wind, its heart hammering in its chest- and a halting, pure cry of joy breaking from its throat! The Sun gleamed above her””sending down, not just heat, but energy. It soaked into her, into the ground, was digested by plants””the spiny cactus hoarding their water, the small shrubs whose roots twisted stubbornly down into dry soil. The entire, wasted being of such plants devoted, in these months, to sprouting wet and fragrant blooms. And she felt her father beside her, felt the vastness of his wisdom and the depths of his strength, solid and arcing like the bridge.
Her spirit drifted toward his”¦In a flash, she entered a memory. Sitting on this stone, ages past, staring up at the sky. The sun shone above her, bright, blinding””and she stared for hours into its fiery eye, until the whiteness overcame her”¦ seeking to know its secrets.
Secrets opened finally, like a door, in darkness.
Leetah gasped- opened her eyes! Clouds drifted overhead, white against a pale blue. The sun gleamed and the rocky landscape shimmered in the heat. A lizard, startled, darted out from under the boulder on which they sat, scuttling through the dust. The bird had disappeared against the horizon.
Leetah looked to her father. He sat still, silent”¦ a profound smile painted across his face. At last, he turned to her. “Shall we descend?”
They walked back to the village, hand in hand, in silence. When they reached the family hut, little Shen Shen stumbled out on unsteady legs. “Papa! Papa!” she cried, joyfully flinging her plump little arms around his legs. “Up! Up!” She giggled.
As her father stooped to lift her sister into his arms, Leetah smiled. At last she understood. Though he might not see her or Shen Shen with his eyes, he saw deeper. And thanks to his sharing, now, she did too. She saw, not just the round-faced child, but the bubbly mix of laughter and excitement that was her little sister, the quiet peace of her mother, the essence of life in the village. With the fog cleared from her own perceptions, Leetah smiled wryly at her own mistake, and followed her father into the cool darkness of their hut.
Oh my Gods, Tymber...that was beautiful. So sad, so well written...I need to go cry and eat chocolate now. (Runs away)
And Lunakat, your story was awesome! I like how Leetah gains an understanding of her father's ways. Just 'cuz he's blind doesn't mean he can't see!^^
Tymber- that is so depressing! what a poignant misunderstanding.
(I really do need a kleenex now!)
Good story! :)
removed for editing!
omg.... Tymber... you have a way with words.... i... envy your wife... to have a wonderful man who says such beautiful words
Luna... that... filled in a lot of stuff about i thought Skywise felt when his mother died and the human had her hairpiece... i give you major kudos...
Your story was lovely! I could see and sense and feel each emotion! I love how descriptive your writing is! And I really liked the images you portrayed! Thank you so much for sharing it!
I really really enjoyed the story about Voll, but I liked the picture of Leetah and her father even more! I think that it was very realistic! In it, you showed us the dynamic, growing Leetah, who gains wisdom and who is better for it! I think you also helped us to see Anatim a little better, too!
Your stories are excellent! Thank you for sharing w/ us! Wildthorn and Shadow were well-portrayed!
Your desert tale was tragic, and yet it made me want to know so much more about the characters and about the elves that they met up with!
Love you Strongbow/Chitter story krword. But I always like Strongbow related stories. :D
Real thanks goes to krwordgazer, for even doing this - and inspiring my brain to come up with these! :)[/quote:3e496661aa]
Aww, thanks, Tymber. I don't remember whose idea the monthly grab-bags were (Jade Owl's?), but yes, I've taken the responsibility of setting them up each month. :)
I like your two new stories! The Wildthorn and Shadow one is especially poignant. What a terrible waste of life! So gut-wrenching-- but I loved the positive note at the end, that Shadow was going to stop the war.
The troll one was perhaps a bit [i:3e496661aa]too [/i:3e496661aa]short. The character development seemed truncated-- I didn't feel like I was getting that much grasp of them. But it was a good scene-- and good use of the grab-bag elements!
Lunakat, that Leetah-Suntoucher story was just wonderful. Your descriptive detail was astonishing-- I felt as if I could actually feel the heat, taste the dust, smell the scents Leetah was smelling. A wonderful moment of understanding between father and daughter, too, in which Leetah takes another step towards adulthood. Similar in that way to my own story. :D
Nev, I love to write Strongbow stories-- not least because you appreciate them so much. 8)
Luna, thanks for sharing. :) Good, eloquent craft in your story "Seeing," and you achieved atmospheric effects without trying for them - the mood of the piece just arose naturally from speaking plainly and directly. (Much bad writing comes from trying too hard, I sense.)
I'm definitely a stranger to the fanfic threads - most of it hasn't touched my heart, to be honest. But once in a while, I'm tempted to contribute - if only as a form of therapy. We'll see.
Ok, this is almost completely devoid of any of the required componants but I figure if I get what I have up, it'll force me to finish the story. So, enjoy!
Lights flickered in the tavern, casting shadows across a lean, weathered face, and an untouched mug of ale on the table. Calloused fingers brushed against the rough wood of the table while dark brown eyes stared into the murky surface of the local brew.
It was quiet, being late enough that respectable customers were at home, and disreputable men had passed out or gone elsewhere. Nestled in his dark corner the silence wove around him like a serpent, pulling him deeper into his memories.
His mind, clouded by something other than drink, swum dizzily. Flickers in the cloudy surface of the mug turned to shapes before his eyes. The gentle patter of rain from outside became a child’s voice, singing a nonsense tune. Rough and splintery wood beneath his finger was soft, light brown skin.
His mind fell away from him.
Sunlight shimmered through the green canopy above him, casting patches of shadow and light over his lean body. The grass, green and new, felt better under his body than any bed, the birdsong in the trees a sweeter music than any minstrel could play, the lingering taste of fresh cooked rabbit, caught by one of his own traps, was more delicious than any town cooked feast. Conall smiled. Let his brothers brag about their stores or posts. Boasts aside, they all knew that it was their youngest brother who was truly happy.
A while later, he sighed and forced himself to rise. Drostan and Caedmon’s regiment had come home and his mother had given the whole family very graphic descriptions of what would happen to anyone late to their ”˜welcome home’ dinner.
He moved quickly through the woods, avoiding dry leaves and sticks without needing to think about it, making his way in half the time it would take any other man in the community of farms bordering the village of Averwyn.
A cool wind brushed against his face, bringing a myriad of tantalizing scents with it. He smiled, mind drifting back to his earlier thoughts on the rabbit. Maybe, just maybe, some things were more delicious. He quickened his stride.
He stopped as he reached the edge of the forest, drinking in the sight before him. A large log-cabin rested in the clearing, some parts obviously newer than others. Smoke curled from its chimney, fading into the air high above, while butterflies flitted about in the well tended flower-garden below and wind played with the faded gingham curtains in the open windows. The fields were green with new growth, newly sprouting plants guarded as always by the weathered figure of Hickory Crowbane. The usually barren pitching posts in front of the house were packed, by a number of recognizable horses and several empty wagons rested nearby. An empty rocking chair occupied the newly constructed porch. Voices rang from inside, laughter rising and falling in volume.
He smiled softly. He was home.
He made his way down the weathered dirt-road, leather clad feet barely making a mark on the earth. As he neared the house the head of an old hound shot up from the porch. A second later the clearing echoed with the baying of the overjoyed hound. The large white and gray body collided with him, sending him to the ground as a wet tongue drenched his face. He laughed, raising an arm and pulling away from the assault.
“Easy there Lilly, let me up!”
“Well would you look at that. The squirt’s finally found a lass that’ll fall for him!”
“Heh, looks like he’s the one who did the falling.”
He looked up, still fighting off the dog, veiled amusement on his face. “You two going to stand there gabbing all day, or are you going to help me?”
Caedmon moved in, gripping the large hound by her collar and pulling her back, eyes sparkling with wicked amusement. “We were worried you weren’t coming. I started to cry.”
Deverell walked past the man and hound, reaching out to smack the back of his head. “Pay no attention to the half-wit. That beast of a sergeant they saddled him with smacks him more than we do.” He stretched out a hand and pulled Conall up, “Brain damage and all that.” A sly wink betrayed his serious tone.
Caed’s cry of protest soared through the air, not quite masking the chuckles of his brothers. “Come on now Dev, I haven’t seen the boy in months and already you’re tearin’ me down in front of him! Give me a chance!”
The other two simply laughed harder and walked away from him. Dev grinned, throwing an arm around his younger brother’s shoulder. “It’s good to see you again Con. You spend too much time in those woods, it’s not healthy. Look at that,” he jabbed a playful finger into Con’s side, grinning wider as the boy yelped and jumped away from the tickle, “I can count your ribs. You count on bein’ attacked by a horde of food laden females the moment we get inside.”
Con pouted, “You’re just too used to easy livin’. Correct me if I’m wrong, but is that a bit a pudge around your waist?”
His brother caught him upside the head, “Smart-aleck eh? Well pudge or not I’ve some copper says I can still wrestle you into the dirt my boy.”
“Oh I couldn’t do that Dev! I’m too afraid!” Con’s eyes sparkled evilly, “You might fall on me and, well that’d be the end of me now wouldn’t it!”
“Oh you little-!”
“Hey! You two going to stand out there all day?! There’s food growing cold in here!”
The two froze, Con in a headlock and Dev with a finger hooked at the side of his cheek. Their father, simply called by his first name of Farrell by all who knew him, gazed at them from the porch, one eye-brow raised. Instantly they broke apart. Farrell shook his head, smiling wryly. “Would you two get inside already? The family’s hungry and your Mum won’t let a soul even look at the food ”˜til we’re all there.”
They grinned sheepishly, heading up the stairs and into the house, Con bracing himself as they passed through the threshold. Moments later a horde of chattering women descended upon him, wailing over his emaciated build. Dev laughed. Loudly.
Sorry, double post.
Oh, that was great, Wyld Wynd! A wonderful, hilarious tale that made me giggle out loud. Man, I wish I had a couple of brothers so I could watch 'em fight...ah, well. Voll and Cuminor amount to the same thing most days...
(Ignores) Your eye for detail is absolutely wonderful, Wyndy! (Is insanely jealous)
Great story Wylde! :) I don't quite recognize the characters as elfquest, but I'm guessing they're elves- right? tres cool.
Well, a while back I wrote a third grabbag-- (I believe I was briefly possessed!) But it had some major problems that required serious editing! Credit Nowth with helping me there. He's a better writer than I can hope to be, and helped me fix some embarrassing errors!
What can I say? School's out-- and I've got time on my hands. Enjoy!
[b:eb5c9d7d79]Starfall- Starrise: Epilogue[/b:eb5c9d7d79]
Foxfur was waiting when Skywise rode back into the holt.
He ignored her, dismounting Starjumper and stalking toward his den.
She trotted after him. *I didn’t tell Bearclaw”¦ about the dreamberry field. He doesn’t know. * He halted. *Is there anything I”¦? * No response. Stepping closer, she laid a hand on his shoulder. *Let’s bundle in the furs; we can forget it ever happened. *
Skywise turned to face her, eyes cold with an expression she had never seen before. “Leave me alone!” he snapped. Abruptly, he pulled away and, without another word, headed into the woods.
Too stunned to speak, Foxfur stood still for a moment, watching him go. Then, she crossed her arms, voiced an indignant “Hmph!” and strode off to her den.
Nearby, Cutter saw her pass. The chief’s son was busy playing toss-sticks with Nightfall, but he promptly abandoned the game. Eagerly sniffing the air, he caught whiff of a familiar scent. Sure enough, there was Starjumper, milling about with the other wolves. But”¦ where was Skywise? Scrambling to his feet, Cutter scampered off to track.
With the holt out of sight, Skywise felt his irritation fade. It wasn’t Foxfur’s fault-- he just couldn’t stand to have her so close””not when this hot uncomfortable feeling churned in his gut. He growled, shaking himself to dislodge it, but it stayed, growing stronger. Loss, anger, guilt””no! It was all closing in””and every instinct screamed at him to run.
Escape! He crashed blindly through the woods”¦heart pounding”¦ feet pounding the ground, thoughts pounding in his head... and, through it all, the human voice mocked. “There was much birth blood- we could not keep her alive.” Liar! Suddenly, the ground lurched beneath him, and he wasn’t running forward anymore, but falling- throwing one foot in front of another to halt his own descent.
A light fog descended, obscuring his vision. He stumbled-- crashed””landing on hands and knees against a wet, grassy incline. Keep moving! Soon he found himself climbing up out of the mist. The gentle slope ended in a clearing””a small rise just above the fog.
Of course he’d end up here! Rolling on his back, Skywise stared up at the glimmering stars. Weren’t they the same? These distant companions that had guided him since cub-hood? Did they shine down now in comfort”¦ or accusation?
He tugged the small woven trinket from his belt, and ran his thumb over it, memorizing the shape. Alone under the open sky, he let exhaustion catch him. At last, the hot lump pushed itself out of his chest, into his throat, and this time, he did not fight the tears.
A cloud had fallen suddenly on the Holt, obscuring scents and trails. And Cutter was sick of tracking in the fog. Timmorn’s blood-- he didn’t need broken branches or trampled grass to tell him where Skywise had gone! Following his instincts, he headed for the stargazing hill.
[i:eb5c9d7d79]Climbing[/i:eb5c9d7d79] in the mist was fun. He couldn’t see, but he knew where he was going. For a minute, Cutter considered sending to his friend”¦ then changed his mind. He would sneak up and surprise him! Moving stealthily through the tall grass, Cutter pictured his moment of triumph. He’d come from downwind, slip right up behind Skywise. And at the last moment-- attack! Cutter pictured the stargazer’s expression””and clapped a hand to his mouth to smother a laugh. The mists cleared at the top of the hill”¦
But when he saw his friend, all thoughts of an ambush vanished.
Skywise lay sprawled on his stomach, looking down at a small woven tassel that he kept turning over in his hand. It was the first time Cutter had ever seen the stargazer looking down while sitting on this hill”¦ and it bothered him.
He crept closer, settling himself in the grass beside the silver-haired elf. “What’s that?”
“It was my mother’s,” Skywise muttered.
Cutter’s eyes widened. “I never met your mother.”
For another moment, they sat in silence. Cutter plucked awkwardly at a blade of grass. He noticed his friend’s eyes were wet.
“Did you catch any prey?”
“Was it delicious?”
Skywise cocked an eyebrow at him, then shook his head. His mouth quirked in a slight grin. “You wouldn’t understand.”
Cutter shrugged and held out his hand. Skywise dropped the tassel into his waiting palm. Carefully, Cutter examined the prize. “It’s pretty. Where’dya get it?”
Skywise regarded him, as if weighing a response. “ Off a human,” he said finally.
“High Ones!” Cutter’s jaw dropped. “Did you fight for it?” he asked eagerly. He sniffed the object, noting the strange and heavy scent clinging to it. This story was bound to be good!
“Oh sure”¦” But Skywise trailed off. Cutter glanced up and saw his friend finally staring up at the sky””a lone tear sliding down his cheek. Confused, Cutter bit his lip, not quite knowing what to do. Finally, he patted the older elf in the back, softly, the way his own mother would when he was upset.
“It’s okay, Skywise””you won! You got the tassel.” But his words didn’t seem to at all to help. Cutter wracked his brain for what the problem might be. Suddenly, he recalled the night he had killed a snake! His first kill””and how frightening it had been! He bent close to his friend’s ear and whispered “It’s okay if you killed him. Humans are evil. I'd kill any human that hurt my mother!”
“No”¦” Skywise answered dejectedly. “It’s not like that. The human”¦ wasn’t bad. He”¦ he didn’t kill anybody. I just took it from him, and he ran”¦”
“Really?” Cutter sat back in surprise.
“He said... he tried to help her. She died giving birth.” Skywise paused, unsure of how much he ought to tell the cub. But Cutter waited quietly””and it was suddenly much too easy to continue. “Foxfur, the elders””everyone told me [i:eb5c9d7d79]humans[/i:eb5c9d7d79] had killed my parents. I believed them”¦ and I swore I’d kill the human who did it, if I ever found him. But then, I did, and I found”¦ it wasn’t them at all. It was me,” he finished miserably “[i:eb5c9d7d79]I’m[/i:eb5c9d7d79] the reason she died.”
“Oh”¦” Cutter breathed. The idea of humans doing ”˜good’ was new to him, and he tucked it away for later thinking. For [i:eb5c9d7d79]now[/i:eb5c9d7d79] he pondered his friend’s last statement, not knowing what to say. He thought for a minute about mothers”¦ and what his own mother might think. “Do you think she'd blame you,” he asked, “for being born?”
Skywise shook his head. “I don’t know.”
“Well I don’t” Cutter declared, as if that settled it. “Joyleaf says all mothers love their cubs.”
“Does she now?” Skywise smirked, propping his chin in his hand. But there was a curious note in his voice.
“Yep,” Cutter nodded. “She says any wolf would die for her cubs. Clearbrook’s wolf, Leafchaser, fought a longtooth to save her litter. She could have run off and left them, but she didn’t! I think”¦ “ he stopped.
Exasperated, Skywise tore his gaze from the sky and fixed it on his friend. “What?”
Cutter shrugged. He began tossing the tassel.
Skywise rolled his eyes. He poked Cutter in the ribs. Cutter scooted away, but Skywise pounced. For a moment they rolled and wrestled, until Skywise ended up on top. He tickled Cutter in the ribs again. Giggling and squirming, the younger elf finally gasped “Alright! Grrr- stop!”
Skywise sat back on his heels, still pinning Cutter. “What, little Chieftain?” he demanded. “What do you think?”
“I think,” Cutter pushed himself up, “that elves are like wolves. I think your mother would be glad you got this back” he tossed the tassel back to Skywise, “to remember her by. And I think she’d be glad you are alive today. I think, like Leafchaser, she would have given her life for it.”
Skywise stared at him a moment, amazed. Then he stood, reached down a hand and hauled the cub to his feet. Cutter stared up stubbornly, as if daring him to argue. The stargazer grinned.
“C’mon little brother””I’ll race you back!”
With a shout, Cutter took off down the hill, Skywise in close pursuit. Their laughter faded in the mist as they pelted toward the Holt.
Foxfur rolled over in her furs, burrowing to escape the light that filtered through the leaves framing her den door. Suddenly, a shadow fell across her face. She turned, sitting up.
“Oh, it’s you!”
Skywise grinned. “I thought you might want some company!”
Foxfur pouted. “[i:eb5c9d7d79]I[/i:eb5c9d7d79] thought you wanted to be left alone.”
Skywise crept inside, crawling closer until he was almost on top of her. “Well, [i:eb5c9d7d79]I[/i:eb5c9d7d79] had this crazy notion we could bundle in the furs and forget that ever happened!”
Foxfur giggled, and he rolled on top of her, pausing only to press a small woven object into her hand. She glanced at him, questioningly, and Skywise shrugged. “It’s prettier on you than on me any day.”
“Oh, lovemate!” Foxfur whispered. Their eyes met briefly, sincerely. Then”¦ his grin turned wicked, and the night was lost to pleasure.
You win at life, Lunakat. Seriously. Do you have Skywise and Cutter at your house, whispering in your ears? Because that would explain at LOT.
Oh, wow. Just wow. I love young Cutter. LoveloveLOVE. And his thoughts on mothers, wolves, humans...wow. Again.
I'm glad inspiration struck! This story was... well, there's no words to describe it! I think it was right on target!
What causes inspiration to strike you, and how can we feed it for you? Please keep writing!!!! :)
Thanks guys! :) That's really sweet.
As far as winning at LIFE is concerned-- it's a much easier game than Monopolyâ„¢!
(Yes, Cutter's a profound little shite, isn't he? Cute as dickens!)
I think the inspiration comes from having a moment to myself. As it was-- i had a weekend to myself, and that hasn't happened in a long time.
[size=9:81f74d253b] And of course, [i:81f74d253b]Nowth, you are the wind beneath my wings![/i:81f74d253b][/size:81f74d253b]
I hope can participate more often in the future. We've got such a plethora of talented writers here-- a nifty collection to be part of.
Late, I know, but I'm working on a small story based on a dream I had the other night. Should fit right in :-)
Hopefully I'll be able to post it before the month's over...
wow i just read your story krwordgazer, it were just so capturing, i laughed and cried at the same time( :roll: no wonder that the my classmates is staring at me :oops: ), not that it really were that sad, but anyway.... :roll:
the way you capture Strongbow is just so, i dont know, so magical. know that the word dosn't really fit, but i dont find any other word to describe it. :oops:
got to go now, but i'll come back abd read the rest of the stories to :D
SnowWren- Any questions you have about this or other stories, please message me? I don't wish to clutter this thread with discussion of my things when there are a lot of wonderful stories that deserve the attention. But any question you or anyone else has I will readily answer.
I loved your story! (Did you get me confused w/ someone else? I don't remember asking any questions about it... That's all right, though! No worries...).
Actually... I just wanted to read more! :) I like your writing!!!
Ah..I must have, sorry. Do you know the link to my other stories? I'll be putting all the stories about Doeskin's tribe there. If not I'll message it to you alright?