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January 2011 Grab Bag

TrollHammer

Guess I dropped the ball, or I'm not seeing it in the lists...



Here are the elements.



All works must be related to Elfquest, whether canon-based, original character, alternate universe, or whatever. Writings must contain all the above elements. Art can either contain all the elements, or illustrate one of the writings.



Sunrise

Loss

Useful

A family

good intentions

Forgotten

Startear

Most of us were more concerned about Secret Santa or real life to worry about this thread...

Though, I'm glad you opened, Trollhammer... I just realized that what I'm writing now fits almost all criteria, and the one which doesn't fit can be put in without destroying the story! Yay

TrollHammer

Good! I guess i missed out on that thread. But i guess since I opened my mouth I should throw something out there while Im working on the full entry... So, for a quicky... Lets see...





Humans tended to celebrate too much. Over the years he learned that there was a celebration for everything: birth, death, seasonal change, fire, water, and the 'new year' that for the humans, was celebrated in the middle of the night, and had been celebrated last night. The only things humans celebrated that he understood was a successful hunt, but they usually went too far, celebrating before, during, and after a hunt, whether or not it was successful.



He stood, watching the sun rise for the first time "this year". It was something that should have been alien to him, this sentimentality towards time passing, but since it happened, he had found his own way to "celebrate" each year passing, though at a different time of the year.



That in itself was a strange feeling... Celebrating loss! This, too was something that should be foreign to him, something he should not understand. It was not his way, the way of his tribe, to remember. It was their way to forget, and it would remain that way forever, he hoped. For him, it would never be that way again. He remembered!



His antagonist may have had good intentions, destroying him in this way, but why couldn't that mistaken fool left his family behind? It was pointless to seek those answers he knew, as he had tried to seek them year after year, moon after moon, day after day....



It would be more useful, though, to wonder how it was that he had come to celebrate loss. Why did he choose to celebrate another year away from his loved ones? Was it a fever dream, this mockery of how life had been lived for so long? As it was, his tribe only celebrated one measure of how long they had lived as they had, by remembering their chiefs. Whether they lived long or not was not counted, only that they had been.



As the sun began to blind him as it shown fully upon the tree tops, he realized that it wasn't loss he had been celebrating, but another of those human strangenesses, "hope". He had come to understand this "hope" when he broke away from his old way of living, and only in the new terms that he now knew: Loss was remembering things that had been, while hope was remembering thing that haven't been yet, but you want them to be.



Loss had destroyed his father, so very long ago. And the son had now learned that without "hope" nothing could survive "loss". His father had no "hope", but this was not his problem now.... This strange, human feeling carried him through, year after year, season after season.



He was not celebrating the years of seperation, he was celebrating the passing of another obstical in the path to reunion....

Embala

... uhh ... TrollH.. ... Hypnotize ...





Unforgotten



I tried so hard staying true to The Way

while each notch leaves another scar.

Though I fulfill duties and responsibilities

I'm not truely with those who rely on me.



Heart and soul torn by elfin treachery ...



With my loved ones taken by fate and foe



Heart and body weakend by human trickery ...



Without a chance to remeet in a lifetime



Heart and mind tired by unelfin struggle ...



Will be no sunrise for me anymore.



All I want is to sleep ... awaking that day

teaching him nothing is forgiven nor forgotten.

My mind is set ... decisions are made.

Staying true to myself needs leaving The Way.





... Hypnotize ...??? ...

TrollHammer

Oooo... Hypnosis works!

I like seeing the poet/writer in you Embala, it is rare it seems as I dont remember reading anything of yours. Of course you collages are awesome enough by themselves, it should go without saying...

Perhaps this time around some can collage your poem?

Firethorne

I try to write these exercises in 'the now' if you will, right in the window, no prep, only one pass at proof, that being said; here goes....





Sunrise brought no relief to the sense of loss, to the grief tempered only by the new life. The family of Wolfriders had grown by one, but shrunk by two. Shortly after Bearclaw had recovered the newborn cub from the water; they had found Eyes High tumbled like refuse, half in and half out of the river, bled utterly white, a skin stained with blood tangled beside her. The scent and sign of humans was every where but they were gone but not long before.

She was taken to join her lovemate in her nest, their cub, squalling was taken back to the Holt, where despite good intentions, no elf could comfort the babe. It was as if he knew what had been stolen from him. At last Rillfisher cuddled the little mite to her and sought out the wolves' den

“He has to eat, and none of us can give him what he needs,” she shrugged “Tugtail’s last litter will prove useful in more ways than one.”

As the pair cuddled in beside the wolves, and young Skywise finally settled, his sobs fading to hiccups, he quested with the other cubs for warmth and suck. Rillfisher stroked his shining frost of hair. “Your sire was Shale, cub, your dam Eyes High, Wolfriders, as you are, as we all are, and no Wolfrider is ever forgotten, Skywise. Each one of us is part of the blood and bone of our tribe. You are their promise and you are their memory. We will not forget.”

Skywise had dropped off to sleep, but he had heard, Rillfisher was sure, and he would hear again. In a handful of seasons, he would understand.

TrollHammer

Awesome! Great writing!

faeriegirl

Very nice, all three of you! Love it!

Embala

You are flattering me, TrollHammer, *blushes* I'm anything but a writer, less a poet. You must have induced more than the will to contribute while I was asleep before the screen Wink ... I swear I havn't read your story before writing and posting mine!



I love how you have handled this theme, TrollHammer. Starting with the musings about human celebrations ... Cutter's inner monolog, relying on the aspect that Rayek's deed "made him human" ... finally working out the valid difference between Bearclaw's and Cutter's handling of comparable loss. You have covered a broad range - perfectly tied together in a moment of reflection. Gorgeous!

btw: When you can afford time look through your story once more - there are some irritating typos.



That's awesome, Firethorn! You drew me in from the very start, creating lively pictures of this "hidden moment". I love the imagination that Eyes-High found her last rest united with her mate in her nest - a comforting thought for human minds (so much better than her real fate). And I love how you described Rillfisher, caring for Skywise, telling him about his partents from the very beginning.





Tempting idea that my poem would inspire picture art ... but so far I owe myself a background pic.



Cleopatra

A New year, and new stories from me with my elves. Let's see how it goes.





And So It Goes





Hawkeye held his bow in one hand while he held Xin-Jings waist with the other as they kissed each other. They looked lovely at each other with their smiles and the smile of Hawkeye became bigger when he looked down at the growing belly to Xin-Jing. He placed his hand at the belly after kissing her again and said:





“Daddy will be back soon.”





And so he went and waved to Xin-Jing as she stood in the doorway and held one hand over her belly and waved with the other. Hawkeye smiled as he walked toward the woods to hunt, but then he lowered his brows. He had a feeling that someone was following him.





Suddenly he stopped and felt that someone crashed behind him. He was right. He turned his head and looked straight into three pairs of eyes.





“Children,” he said to them





“Yes dad?” the twins replied, Eagle Eye and Nghala. Both were nine seasons old. Eagle Eye had his mothers brown hair and the green eyes. Nghala was a lovely girl who had her fathers black hair and blue eyes.





“Yes uncle?” Himerish said after the twins. He was eleven seasons’ old, golden curly hair and brown eyes. All three had their bows in their hands. Hawkeye shook his head and pointed toward the village of chief Optarh and his warriors.





“Back to the village,” he said firmly, but yet with a gentle voice.





“But,” the three children replied. Hawkeye bent down and looked in their eyes.





“I need you at home in the village now. In case mother start to birth earlier,” he said.





“And get Moonlight once,” all three said at once. He could hear that they were disappointed and he recognized that feeling that they didn’t feel useful sometimes. He had felt the same thing when he was a child, to just stay home and not go with the others with the exciting feeling as hunting.





“I promise that you’ll be joining the hunt one day. But now I need you home with mother.”





“All right,” all three answered disappointed and lowered their heads, turned around and went home. Hawkeye almost had to smile; it was always like this every time with these three. When they couldn’t join the hunt, they always turned home disappointed. But the disappointment didn’t last long. Soon the three children would forget it and play with each other. As always!





He rose up and went toward the woods to hunt.



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



Optarh peeked in at the doorway and saw that Satekh sat on the floor, his legs was crossed together and his eyes were closed. It was obvious that he’s ‘went out’ again and Optarh knew why. Satekh tried to search for Optarhs daughter again. His intensions were good, but there were times where Satekh was more gone than usual. And optarh didn’t like it. He didn’t know why, but when Satekh was gone so long, Optarh always got a bad feeling, like something was about to happen any moment. Then he always had to fight the urge to grab the shoulders to his brother and shake life back to him.





Satekh had promised that he would find his little daughter and bring her home. He and Erla were so happy when they both heard that she still lived. But now as he stared at Satekh who just sat there completely silent, he felt that he was impatient after to know where his daughter was, but also at the same time scared. He didn’t like that Satekh were gone so long now. He sighed loudly, impatient and because he wished that he also was able to ‘go out’ as Satekh.





Well, it was also a difference between them than just their eye colors; Optarh had the ability to fly like The High Ones, Satekh didn’t have that ability. But Satekh had the ability to send his sould out of the body and search for other elves, and Optarh didn’t have that ability.





Suddenly Satekh lowered his brows and lowered his head. Optarhs eyes widened as his body stiffened. It was many questions who went to his head; what is happening now? What should I do? He hadn’t been aware that he held his breath before Satekh suddenly gasped when he opened his eyes and regained his breath while he looked around, as if he had forgotten where he was.





Optarh was near to shout that he shouldn’t scare someone like that, but he noticed how pale Satekh was.





“What…” Optarh tried to say, but he didn’t find the words. Satekh went his gaze toward him slowly and looked at him.





“I felt her presence,” he replied with a trembling voice.

“But then… I felt something else that touched me.”





Optarh held hid breath again while he waited.





“And I’ve known that feeling before,” Satekh finally said, obvious that he was frightened. It went slowly for Optarh before he noticed that he was pale himself.





“Impossible,” Optars said.

“You don’t think that…?”





“Yes, I think so,” Satekh replied immediately.





Just eleven seasons ago, they had thought that the worst of the enemy had come to pass, but now they feared it was yet to come.



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



Her bow was laid on the ground with the new sharpened arrows. Her clothes was hanging in the branches, just washed and now to be dried of the sun as it started to rose up. She went into the cold water during the sunrise to bath. She started to hum to herself as she brushed her fingers through her long hair. She was humming the lullaby her mother had sung to her when she was a child, and now ever since she had been alone she had always sung and hummed it. It was the only way for her to forget the loss of them and almost bring her back to the past with them. But ever since the war against The Dark Ones, she had been alone. She looked down at her hands. She wished that she had never fled, but because of The Dark Ones, she had fled in frightening from everything she knew and loved. And now she sought revenge and also a way to be herself again.





Her sharp hearing made her turn around while she still was in the water. She knew it was someone there, stared at her. And she knew all too well that it wasn’t some of her race. She lowered her brows; she knew who they were. She had fought against them before and she recognized them clearly, like it was just few days ago and not several hundred years ago she saw them last time.



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



Xin-Jing enjoyed the warm sun as she sat at the green grass near the lake with the others, listening to the beautiful music that Hawkeye played with his flute. It had belonged to Hawkeyes mother, Lavender, when she was alive. But now it was Hawkeye who played it with beautiful tones that he had learned. While he played, Nghala where dancing, and humming with her musical voice. Eagle Eye was not the musical type, he was more one who liked a little battle; just like Xin-Jing. But it was one interest that the twins shared along with their cousin; learning to hunt.





She made grimace as she felt the baby kicked in her stomach and held her hand over the belly. Hawkeye stopped playing and looked worried at her, as did the kids, Starfire, Sunshine, Moonlight, Topaz and Daredevil, Blindeye, Toron, Sturkas and Eros. The pain disappeared and Xin-Jing gave everyone a smile that everything was okay.





She leaned herself at Hawkeyes side as he started playing and Nghala started to continue to sing and dance again. Ever since the war against The Dark Ones was over, she had spent so much time with Hawkeye and the others and become a part of the family. And soon, their family would have a new member to the tribe with the new life she had in her belly.

Cleopatra

Like the stories everyone. Nice collage, Embala.Thumbs_up

WolfMoonSky

Very nice stories everyone!!Happy

TrollHammer

Good writing, Cleo, I have to wonder if you're series is the most long lived in the Grab Bags? Good to see!



Ugh! you're right Embala, that was embarassing. I thought I was keeping tabs on what I was typing on my phone, but I missed a lot of typos. I think they're all fixed.



I'd forgotten that image you used for your collage. I kept having the image of teh notched trees and the image Cutter sent to Rayak when they fought later (the wooden Cutter with marks all over). Don't know why the tree stands out for me.... Your's was a better image I think, as it better shows Cutter trying to keep to the Wolven Way, huddled atop his mount, alone in more ways than one.

faeriegirl

very nice story, Cleo!

love the pic, Embala!

Cleopatra

Quote:


Good writing, Cleo, I have to wonder if you're series is the most long lived in the Grab Bags? Good to see!




Thank you TrollHammer. Wow, I've written stories in two years soon, and It's already long lived? Well, not so long like Tymber.



Quote:


very nice story, Cleo!




Thank you faeriegirl.Hug

RedheadEmber

Nice stuff guys! Heart



My turn!



Look Ahead



“Why?”

You ask.

“Why them?

Why was it our family?

Torn into shreds?”

In your head you know;

their dead were a useful one.

In your heart you scream;

good intentions matter not.

And as you make an oath;

“they’ll never be forgotten”.

Dawning breaks again

and you can look ahead.

Firethorne

Thank you for the kind words folks, I have to say that now that I've read the everyone else's work (I didn't before I wrote, I'm like that...) I have to say I'm impressed, not every fan site can boast members with real talent. Very evocative stuff. Kudos.

TrollHammer

This is the second part of Santa Quest, the second series in the Twisted Seasons set. If you’d like to catch up, look in December’s Grab Bag or in my gallery. It’s still a work in progress, but maybe it’ll be ready for next year? That’s what I said last year, so I figured Id get something on it done if nothing else…



Notes: Just noticed that Part One references FOUR friends at the end of the story, but Khalua took off down the halls (to be captured by Winnie) So, that should be changed to Three. I think there’s a reference about five as well, and this would have to be revised. This is all on the current page 18 of part one in the December Grab Bag.



One more note about the December grab bag entry: I don’t know why, but on my computer(s) the images in the postings only partially show up. Sometimes they all show up, sometimes none. I can only figure that it’s too many images or something. I haven’t tried yet, but perhaps if you click the place holders (red X) it will still pop up the full size images. The displayed images are forum width, and when you click on them they should have 8.5x11 sized images. Let me know if you have trouble!




January Grab Bag…



Sunrise

Loss

Useful Not so easy…

Family Eh…

Good Intentions

Forgotten



Santa Quest, Part 2a



Winnie was giddy with the successful thwarting of Jink’s team. She’d never been able to “win” fair and square before… it was had always been either failure or cheating: failure resulting in the loss of life or home, or cheating in the form of boiling the flesh off an opponent’s bones or a black sending. Ever since she’d been returned to corporal form she’d had a new lease on life, and had made it a goal to stay away from low blows. It seemed that it had worked out this time.



There was one problem, however. Her single henchman wasn’t cutting it. He’d let his guard down with the Bluemountain Defense/Security Mechanism Network, and resorted to lethal force in battle, which was bad form for villains. She was going to need a few more lackeys around.



She suddenly realized she’d have to name her current henchman, or figure out what he was called or something. She usually just barked orders as he was the only one around. “Is the BDSM NET back up? Did you get that update installed?”



“Yes Mistress, the BDSM NET is operating at full capacity. The teraflop add-on package will be here next week to allow more slot machines to be added outside of Blue Mountain.” The Lackey reported.



She shook her head. More slot machines? How much was that going to cost? Still, they had to get the Blue Mountain trademark out there, as things were getting slow with the local crowd. Winnie had been milking the town dry for years, and there wasn’t all that much of a governing authority to figure out such things as gambling addiction or even alcohol abuse. The alcohol abuse had been curbed by gambling, however, as people didn’t have the money to spare for it.



“There’s one other thing I wanted to let you know.” Winnie went on. “You will henceforth be known as ‘Head Lackey’, and you’re current task with be recruiting a eight and four new henchmen. When you have selected them, bring them to me for inspection and interrogation.”



“Yes, Mistress, I will do so now!” snapped the Head Lackey at attention.



“Did you just snap at me?” his tyrannical leader frowned at him.



He just stood and quivered, stuck in a no-win situation….



***



A small voice quivered in the damp cell. “…candy…. I’d poke a Troll for a piece of candy….” Various other wimperings and whinings were still present, but weakened and less frequent the last few days. The beans and rice and water provided them with enough good food that they should have lived comfortably, but without the steady flow of sugar flooding their veins they felt starved and lethargic.



The kids were huddled around an older Elf, one of the elders that could remember back when candy was a treat and not a food source. He was telling tales about games and birthdays and holidays that no one celebrated anymore. He was rambling on, “…back then we had games that we tried to win candy. Once there was this game where you’d swing a stick at a piñata…”



“What’s a piñata?” Ember interrupted excitedly.



“It’s a… well, a container made of paper that can be shaped like whatever someone wants to make it… like a horse or a party ball… They are usually brightly colored and decorated all over. Anyway, you stand there blindfolded and try to hit it. If you break it open it dumps out all the candy that’s inside.” The old Elf tried to explain.



“I wish I had a piñata right now! Yeah!” Suntop stirred up the gang of kids into a frenzy of prattling, a chorus of voiced dreams of sweetness broke the stillness that had once occupied the dark room. The kids would have a mission in life if they ever got out.



In the other cell, listless Elves lay at random around relative luxury. Winnie wasn’t really into mistreating the Elves at this time, with so many other things going on of such great importance. Usually, her prisoners these days were treated to various pleasantries such as clean sheets every day, good (though cheap) food, and whatever else would make their stay more comfortable. The difference in the other cell was that several Elves caused trouble during the takeover of the north, and those troublemakers along with the young brats were given decidedly substandard accomedations. There wasn’t all that much difference between the cells, though, just a bit less light, an industrial humidifier, the thermostat turned down, and lack of mattresses had a profound difference in psychological effect from this room. This second cell was better lit and better heated, in some ways making it a bit better than the cheap rooms in the hotel above.



The bored crew inhabiting the cell was no more enthusiastic from being cut off from candy than those of the other cell. The soft mattresses and whatnot was wasted on them. There was some activity, however….



A scowling Elf maiden growled while she twirled a chalky, stale donut on one finger, half a bite chomped out of it. “…that Troll poking wench… …tricking me with fake donuts… …I don’t even know how a fake donut goes stale, but there it is…”



Khalua had followed the flock of flying donuts down the halls, right into this waiting cell. The door had opened and closed automatically as she passed into the cell. She caught one of them in the confines of the dungeon, but as she took a bite out of it, the texture threw her off enough to let the rest escape through the bars. Her cell mates ignored her as this all happened, shut off from the world in their sugar withdrawal.



An older, tallish Elf finally shook off his stupor and sat down next to her, pondering what might help her forget her problems. “My name’s Echo, but for some reason I’ve come to be known as Eggo. I don’t remember having ever met you. Are you from the north, or are you from some other band of Elves?”



Khalua blinked a moment, trying to switch gears and accept the kindness that was being offered her. “Nice to meet you, I’m Khalua, and I’m… well, I was originally from a place more northern than places I hang out these days, but I’m pretty sure I’m not from your group. You’re Santa’s Elves, right?”



“Well, that’s what a lot of people say, but it’s not like we’re his slaves or anything…” Eggo grimaced, not even so sure of what he was saying was true. “…but we work for him, I guess.”



“That seems like fun. Work can’t be all that stressful working along side the bearer of Christmas Spirit! Maybe, if I’d be allowed, I might just pop in from time to time myself!” Khalua smarmed.



“Oh, you’d not believe how stressful it is up there… and sure, I guess you could say he’d the bearer of ‘Christmas Spirits’… That drunkard had us make a leather holster so he’d have a bottle of peppermint schnapps on each hip at all times! Of course, that was his just backup for emergencies. You’d never see him without a tankard of Egg Nog or spiked hot chocolate, or, failing that, digging the flask of Bacardi 151 out of his boot. That lout was never sober a day of my life!” Eggo lost himself recounting the misery of working for Santa.



An hour or so later, he finally realized that this probably wasn’t helping Khalua much. “…well, and other than some rumors that next year will be worse, I guess that’s about it. That’s my life in a nutshell. Perhaps you could tell me a little about yourself?”



“Um, sure, I guess if you’ve got the time…” She slapped her forehead when she realized how that sounded here in the cell. “…but…,” she looked around a little concerned, “…perhaps first you could show me where the… uh, facilities are?”



He pointed. Winnie’s accommodations were complete to the plush-padded seat of the heated toilet, plenty of quilted bath-tissue, and even his and hers stacks of magazines for reading while using the commode. The hospitality didn’t extend to privacy, however, so the thick pile carpet at the foot of the communal lavatory seemed quite a bit out of place next to the half occupied beds.



“Um… in front of everyone? Really? This doesn’t make any more sense than anything else!” Khalua exclaimed. “Stupid Winnie has two cells with communal toilets and doesn’t separate male and female? …Not that I’m completely appalled by the idea, could make things interesting I suppose, but seriously there doesn’t seem to be any reason for any of this. What does she want you guys for anyway?”



“We’ve not been able to figure that out either.” Eggo shrugged. “Besides that, what’s the problem? We all used the same toilets in front of everyone in Santa’s workshop. No one cares because everyone’s busy, and a separate room set aside for elimination would take more time to get to and from, which just wouldn’t make us any more productive…” Khalua rolled her eyes and shook her head.



Still, she had to go, and like ten minutes ago at that. She looked around for any sign of a more private stall hidden somewhere, or a way to maybe make a divider from the mattresses, but they were secured to the bed frames. Maybe sheets? But what would she attach them to? It wasn’t that she was all that concerned about her body, she’d been to a few cave raves over the years, but GOING in front of a crowd… it just didn’t seem… right? She thought about it and remembered using the bathroom with a few friends over, and didn’t really care then, so why was this bothering her so much?



She had two options, take a seat in front of everyone and hope no one took any interest, or figure out how to make things work standing up… Naw, that would be even worse, she supposed. It didn’t help that the commode had its own spotlight overhead…



***



Jink and the remains of her crew sulked in the darkened confines of Darkwing’s apartment. Tamia was dead, Khalua was missing, Darkwing was out a load of money…. Kullyn tried nibbling at a day old donut left behind by Khalua, and ended up just licking the frosting off the top. “So, hmm… we’re just gonna sit around here all day?” He missed Tamia, but didn’t feel like just moping about was going to help him deal with it.



“What would YOU suggest? Have a party? Go-carts? Hey, I got it, why don’t we go storm the fortress again and see if we can’t ALL join Tamia?” Jink snapped at him. He wondered if this would be a bad time to suggest a way to take her mind off of things… in the bedroom…



SuperElf™ frowned at her for taking things out on him. This wasn’t setting well with anyone. “Well, what do you have in mind, Kullyn? I could go for some fresh air.”



He got up and stretched. “Ok… sure, um, …how about just taking a swing through town and see what catches our eye? Shoot, Darkwing can fly with you, and when we get there we can call Jink and she can just teleport over if she wants to…”



“I can’t believe what I’m hearing! Tamia’s dead and you’re all talking about going for an Orange Julius? Ok, fine, do whatever, I’m outta here!” Jink said before disappearing.



“I’ll stay here, I don’t really feel like doing much.” Darkwing mumbled. Tamia had been a friend, but he was more worried about Khalua. The rest of the group weren’t as worried since the Snow Warrior Princess was usually able to take care of herself, but it played havoc with this one who loved her so.



“Ok, well, I guess it’s just you and me. Shall we?” Kullyn motioned towards the door.



SuperElf™ glided through the proffered doorway and took to the skies, while Spider Boy launched webs at the skyscrapers to swing from. The only problem was he used his talents so rarely he forgot that you can’t swing from the ground, and SuperElf™ had to come back for him. She was more than strong enough to just carry him through town, and the pair flew passed all the usual points of interest. She got a little crossed up at one point when her GPS died, so they tried looking for places they’d never been to. They ended up in Chinatown and shared a bowl of ramen.



They strolled through the streets taking in the colors and merriment. The folk were celebrating something, tossing firecrackers and flying banners all around. Occasionally a huge gang of people would carry a serpentine form with a brightly crafted head down the street, with a band of clamoring instruments following along side, bashing and crashing their way to some festival.



Presently, they came across a Chinese drug store. It was completely random, but as they were trying to get away from normal things that reminded them of missing or dead friends, it seemed to fit their mood and they entered. The druggist was more accommodating than one would think, being able to very fluently speak to them in their own language.



“What can I help with, sir and miss?” he asked.



“Dunno, really, we’re just trying to get our minds off things… I’ve never been to a store like this, what kinds of things do you have?” Kullyn inquired.



“You wanting to forget things? I have just thing!” He pulled a container from behind the counter. Amidst the various symbols and hand drawings of content people, the label had one clear word, “OPIUM”, printed very legibly to the side. “These help you forget everything!”



“Um, no, that’s ok.” SuperElf™ said with one eyebrow arched.



“I make you deal. You are nice couple, I give you free sample!” the clerk insisted, starting to measure out a few doses. Drugs such as this were legal here, as Chinatown in this city was considered sovereign to itself. Transportation of such things into and out of Chinatown was highly illegal, but not if you used it inside the limits of the zone.



“No, we don’t want any. What else do you sell here? Incense or something?” Kullyn asked as he looked around at the various bottles of dried flowers, hanging dried bones, jars of ashy looking powder… it was kind of a bizarre menagerie of sorts, but not all that menacing.



The proprietor slumped a little, shrugged, and palmed the dose before putting the bottle back. It was starting to become obvious how he became an ‘expert’ of the things in his shop… “You wish to forget, but not forget? You strange people! Normally people have funerals for such things!”



“Well, we held a wake…”



“Ah, so! You have lost friend and are grieving, I understand better now. Sorry for joking!” He moved around the shop as he spoke, playing with some sort of mixture he’d been mixing before they came in. “Was you friend old?”



“No, she was killed in battle” SuperElf™ replied. “She was actually a bit too young to die that way, I’d say. Can we get off that subject? No offense, but we wanted to get it out of our minds.”



“Ah, but maybe I can help!” the druggist implored as he reached back under the counter again. “Don’t know why sad, is great honor to be killed in battle. Hard honor to get in peace time!”



Kullyn rolled his eyes and started to think about walking out. The shop owner asked, “She die less than week ago?”



SuperElf™ nodded, “Just a day ago. She was shot while we tried to save… well, some other people.”



“You not save people? She died in vein, then? Tch tch tch…” the shop owner shook his head, looking sorrowful. “You dishonor her but wasting her sacrifice! You will be able to make amends, however!” He added some of the compound from a container that sat next to the opium under the counter, and ducked around the shop, throwing things into the pot he held in his hands. Occasionally he’d grind at it as he spoke. “You came to good place! I will share great ancient secret with you that no one else would…” He snapped off an herb from a bundle overhead, cut it in half, and added a piece into the mixture. “The breeze carried the omen of this meeting this morning, and I have been making this for you! You have something to trade me, though.”



The pair looked at each other for a moment, having not even brought their ID with them. A few dollars, but nothing else! “I’m sorry, I don’t now what you mean. We have nothing of value with us.”



“The fourth and fifth seals only turn true! This that I make is rare and strong, of great value! You are to take it, but not for free! No trade, no get your friend back!”



Ok, this wasn’t even possible. Kullyn thought to himself. Tamia was deader than a doornail, on ice in the city morgue! Until the investigation of her shooting was done it would remain there, get cut up a little, and then be cremated. There wasn’t any kind of “getting her back”, but still, if there was the slightest chance… “Ok, lets see here… I have a stick of gum, some pocket lint… a loose thread on my underware…”



The more practical SuperElf™ was looking for useful things, and even considered palming something off the shelf that looked important to try and trade the clerk. Perhaps he was so drugged up he wouldn’t notice… “Well, I have this gold pin my father gave me, and I believe it’s solid gold…”



“No, no, no! You have something that I cannot get!” the clerk insisted. “Sir, what you make outfit from?”



“My shirt? Shoot, I wove this out of some old webbing, I think I cut it out of my old hammock in my room, and that’s because I’m too cheap to buy a real t-shirt! Besides, a superhero has to look the part, right? A shirt made of my own spider silk is kinda like a calling card….” He mused.



“…You a man who make spider web? That I trade! Make me one pound web and this be yours!”



Kullyn shook his head. Why in the world anyone would actually want spider web was beyond him. He extruded a thin fiber from his finger as he asked “how long?”



The shop owner looked at him funny. “However long one pound is!”



“Ok, well, one pound is a weight, not a length. This web is strong enough to hold one pound, but how long do you want it? A foot, ten feet?”



“No, no, no! Make lots of web to weigh one pound! Here scale!”



Oh…. Really… “Well, that will take a little bit… it’s not all that heavy…” Kullyn looked worried. One pound of webbing? I’ve not made that much in my whole life! My whole outfit was cut from a twenty foot hammock ten feet wide, and that only weighed half an ounce and took a week to make!



“I have plenty time! You don’t! Start spinning web, web spinner!” insisted the shop owner.



“Ok, I’m going to need lots of water and a couple large sandwiches…” Spider Boy said to SuperElf™ as he started wrapping an empty can with webbing.



***



“…Zwoot-brained, incompetent, imbecilic, moron!!!” Jink was rambling as she popped into existence halfway around the world. There was little limitation to her ability to teleport except what she felt like doing. A jump around the world was normally not something she could muster, for fear of missing a target or coming out upside down or even tripping a little and looking foolish. She was too mad to care at this point.



She’d appeared at the top of an ancient pyramid surrounded by forest. It was here that some great city had been built by some great people some great long time ago, but now it was forgotten and overgrown by trees. As the sun rose from the horizon a brightly colored flower waved from its perch in a crack in the stone block. Jink freed it from its captivity by scuffing her boot at it, severing it from the crack and sending it tumbling down the side of the structure, carried along by the morning breeze. Jink smirked as she felt that in some small way that flower was now having about as bad of a day as she was.



She leapt to the corner of the pyramid and slid down the smooth edge, catching it with the arches of her feet. She rode it down, kicking up quite the cloud of dust behind her. As she got to the bottom she broke out into a dead run, no apparent purpose or specific direction.



Indeed, she had no real purpose for this random walk other than to try and run from her feelings of loss. She ran until the forest grew too thick to keep going, and she jinked off to another random part of the world.



Pop



Water, lots and lots of water… no land…



Pop



Really? How can there be an island three feet wide?



Pop



Now the water was falling from the sky. Jink stood in a dark alley in what appeared to be a large city. She began her run again through the rain now. Here, it was night, and probably pretty early in the morning, as the only activity was delivery people and bums. Confirming her suspicions, she noted a bar with its sign darkened.



Of course, this wasn’t going to stop her, and she teleported inside the closed business.



Pop



The rows of inebriation inducing liquids were arrayed in colorful rows around here, and she started grabbing. She set about ten bottles of various kinds on the counter, picked up an ice bucket and started pouring. After the bucket was about half full of potent liquors, she filled the rest with ice, put a lid on it and shook it.



She then grabbed a martini glass from the rack and teleported back outside, leaving the mess of bottles on the counter.



POP



Bucket and glass in hand, she raced down the block in an attempt to burn off some frustration and energy. She wove through the unfamiliar blocks at random, looking for a suitable place to drowned her sarrows. She finally caught site of a city park and ‘skipped’ ahead to it.



POP



She made her way to a secluded park bench that had a good view of one of the moons and sat down. Tamia would have like this spot, the moon so full and bright. Good of place as any to search for oblivion! Jink popped the lid off the bucket and filled her glass, raised it to the moon, and toasted the memory of Tamia.



“To a dear, dear friend, lover, and shopping mate, someone I’ll never forget…. Tam—“



CLICK



“aaaaa…. Huh? What am I doing… where am I?” Jink frowned, trying to figure out why she held a glass full of muddy looking liquid up to the moon in the middle of a park at night. She sniffed the drink, and was almost bowled over by the conflicting aromas that made it up. She looked around, noted the bucket full of more of the stuff, and tried to make sense of it all.



***



“Mistress Winnie, Here are the recruits you requested,” said the Head Lackey. “Each awaiting your approval.”



The line of a dozen or so new Henchmen seemed a little out of sorts. Ten of them were burly folk that filled out their uniforms quite well, exuding the essence of what the word ‘Security’ meant. Two, however, were a full foot shorter than the rest, and seemed a bit rat faced at that. Winnie instantly despised these two, and felt that they made the line look rather rag-tag.



She spent the better part of an hour questioning them, testing them, and having them show various forms of physical activities to prove themselves. She gradually changed the trials in favor of the larger security guards, trying to show some excuse for the smaller pair to be eliminated. Finally, a plan formed in her mind…



She pulled the two out of the line and addressed them. “Everyone here but you two preformed quite well, and unfortunately I only have enough room for one of you. You will have to fight each other.”



“To the death? He’s my brother!” One of the pair asked apprehensively. “Sure we haven’t gotten along with each other the best, but not like I wanna kill him or anything…”



Winnie shook her head. These guys watched too much Holovid, but… “I’d prefer not having a mess to clean up afterwards, so death is optional. One must just defeat the other, however bonus points may be considered for violence…”



The pair eyed each other a moment and got to scrapping. It was more or less a replay of the brawl they usually broke into on a regular basis. Fists and dirt flying, the older held only a slight edge, which caused the younger to back out before anyone really got hurt. The younger brother walked to the door with his head slumped.



“Here’s a few chips for your time, you can play or redeem them upstairs.” Said Winnie, as she chucked two small disks at the loser. As soon as the door closed behind him she beckoned the older brother to kneel at her feet. “Let it be a lesson to all of you, that there is no room for weakness or sloth. You will all do your tasks to the best of your ability. If you cannot perform to the fullest of your ability, leave now!”



The standing guards sensed something was up, smirked, and stood their ground. “As none have left, I assume you understand that there are many ways to leave my service, but none of those ways will leave breath in your body. I will treat you well while you are in my employ… but unfortunately, I feel that you…” she looked down at the kneeling form of the smallest guard in the room. “…may not be able to keep up with the demands of this job, and therefore I will have to let you go…”



A twitch of a smile raised the corner of her thin lips as she raised a hand over eyes that were now wide with fear, and black lightning started to crackle from her fingers. “And this be the lesson of what happens if I become seriously disappointed in you!” The dark sparks flowed over the figure and seared the flesh from his bones. Winnie had learned to fine tune her skills to destroy a body without leaving a mess. This was a fast lesson, as usually when she performed such a deed she was the only one left to clean up afterwards. Sure she had help now, but that didn’t really sink in while she felt the life flee her victim’s body.



The body was incinerated in moments and not much more than a lingering scent of burnt flesh remained as she spoke to the rest of them. “That concludes your lessons, now for your first mission: Get rid of the other brother, without disturbing my customers!”



The horde grinned and quickly set about their first task.



Sorry it's kinda cut off there. I'm out of whatever it is that powers writers for the moment and don't know how long it will take to get to the next part, probibly next month. I just spent the last two weeks trying to get somewhere on it and only got another paragraph done, so I decided I should throw up what I have and take a breather, come back when I'm feeling more up to it.



Confused, or have questions? Feel free to ask or complain or whatever!

lunakat

The entries are so good this month! Trollhammer and Embala- you both handled the subject of Cutter's loss so well! Your respective story and poem were both subtle and touching.

Firethorne, I really hope you write more! I loved your story. It was poignant. And the elements were incorporated seamlessly.

Trollbabe- again with the Santa elves! Super-elf? What's a pinata? Funny.
Embala- very cool collage! It fits perfectly.

Red! Another very nice poem tackling Cutter's grief... And Cleopatra- it's so cool that you have created your own characters and given us this ongoing saga.

Did I miss anyone?

Cleopatra

Thank you lunakat. I'm glad you like it.Smile

Startear

Well, it seems like I've run headfirst into a wall... or maybe the ones I've been forced to call has banged it. But I am late with comments anyway, so allow me to put on my crituque glasses.

Intresting viewpoint of Cutter's loss, Trollhammer. For one moment, I thought it was Tyleet you were writing about when I first read it, a little over a month ago. So I was wondering why she talked about this new way of living. After the second glance I felt rather stupid. I'm glad the typo's have been corrected. The only thing I have to add now... something which isn't really neccesary per see, but do you have a title on it?

I've not finished reading your Santa Quest, so I have to wait commenting on that until I have, but I'm glad Jink is in it, she needs more love.

Embala, your poems and stories, no matter how rare they show up are a real treat. It speaks out the pain, and even better, illustration to it! Fitting seamlessly to the poem, I adore it.

Firethorne, yours was original. Instead of using Cutter's loss during Kings, you used Skywise's! It was a short but incredibily sweet, and I loved how you used Rillfisher as well! You don't see her often enough in either canon or fanfictions.

I liked your poem, Redhead. It too had Cutter's loss in it, which isn't odd considering how he fits the elements so well.

Cleo, I haven't finished yours either, so I have to get back to you later.

So far everyone has done a fantastic job! Well done!

Arill_Returns

The Great Tribe's haven was unusually silent this morn, its inhabitants subdued by the night's events. So many stayed in their dens as dawn approached, leaving the holt eerily abandoned.



Winnowill, wearied and heartsick, silently followed the faint ground trails down to the series of caves the four tribes had turned into store-houses. Grief laid heavily over her, as did guilt. She had tried to save the child...and she had failed. Not for lack of heart or ability; she had poured herself into the healing, had fought for hours...yet Nature had overpowered her in the end.



The caves were near, now, and Winnowill's keen ears caught the sound of a hammer ringing off metal. Her son was still awake.



The healer paused just outside the cavern that housed Two-Edge's forge, unsure if her presence would be wanted right now. Three eights of turns had passed since she and her son had been healed, and they managed to be courteous to one another. At times they were almost friends. But the loss of the child was too close to her son's heart, too terrible and precious to share with anyone save poor Yeyeen.



She heard a break in the hammer's steady rhythm, heard the sound of metal falling to the floor, ringing with painful clarity. Silence followed, and Winnowill closed her eyes.



She had to try. She owed him this.



Winnowill stepped inside the blistering hot confines of Two-Edge's domain and found her son standing with his back to the great fire and the anvil, head bowed and hands clenched at his sides. She was only slightly surprised to see the archer Strongbow there, face grave as he laid a hand on the smith's shaking shoulder. He had lived this pain ages ago. He understood.



The archer caught sight of her and gave her a cold stare, as though demanding to know why she'd come. Ignoring him, the Lady of the Gliders cautiously reached out with her mind, brushed Two-Edge's troubled and incoherent thoughts.



Her son shuddered, shrugged off his friend's callused hand and went back to his abandoned tools. He did not acknowledge Winnowill as he took up the hammer.



"Go back to your mate, archer. You can do nothing." he growled, using tongs to snatch up the now misshapen lump of brightmetal on the floor. Strongbow bowed his head in acquiescence, lifted the protective leather apron over his head and left the forge, sending one last time to Two-Edge before stepping out into the newly born day.



Winnowill remained, pale as a wraith, and watched her son as he did his best to ignore her.



"Two-Edge."



He took up the bellows, breathed new life into the fire of the forge. The fire blazed up in response, and the heat grew oppressive.



**Two-Edge, I cannot say...how sorry I am.**



He transferred the unshaped metal to the heart of the fire, held it there in the jaws of the tongs until it glowed red.



**Neither you nor Yeyeen are at fault for...for the loss. It was nature's will.**



Immediately after the thought left her head, Winnowill wished she could take it back. Such words implied that any child of Two-Edge's should not exist, that it was best that the boy had died after a few scant moments of life in the larger world.



**Nature's will, Mother, or yours?**



Winnowill stiffened, the color draining from her face. Numbness filled her, chilled her to her marrow. She found speech impossible, and Two-Edge turned to face her, the fire of the forge mirrored in his slanting eyes.



**I know of what you did, back in the shadows and stone. Went sneaking in the night, laying your hands on the bellies of mothers. You slew the innocent life within each time, didn't you, Winnowill sits so still? Did my boy meet the same fate?**



He came striding towards her, his hatred for her plain in his expression, his stance. Winnowill did not move away, not even when she saw that he still carried the hammer. She steadied herself, warmed by the truth. She'd fought, and she despaired. His grief was hers.



**I did everything I could for him, my son. If it were possible, I would order time back, stop the bleeding before it ever began. I wanted him to live, just as you and your lifemate wanted him to live. I would spare you this pain-**



"Pain?! What do you know of this?! Your daughter lives! I live! You, who have tortured and twisted others for time without end, have never had a child taken from you! Your family is whole while mine is broken! My songbird weeps for our child, and my boy will be buried and forgotten within a turn!" he roared, and Winnowill cried out in agony as he opened his mind and savaged her spirit with his hate, his sorrow.



"You know nothing! You feel nothing! No true healer would have failed as you failed! A true healer would have saved him! You are useless, you are filth!"



Two-Edge swayed, stumbled to his knees. His shoulders heaved, and he clutched his head in his hands, fingers digging into his temples.



"My son...my poor little child..."



A heartbeat later, and he felt his mother's arms around him.



**My grandson.**



Winnowill bowed her head and wept with her son.



********



...wh-why am I writing sad things? I mean...what?



NOTE: Two-Edge and Winnowill are healed, Voll and Winnowill are raising Leila with Vurdah, and a combination of all four tribes is living in an as-of-this-moment unknown area, looking for other elves. Two-Edge and Yeyeen have lifemated and managed to conceive a child. I don't know if they will have another.



Also, apparently Strongbow and Two-Edge have become BFFs along the way. Didn't see that one comin', fo shizzle.

Vojira


That was beautifully done Arill. How they got some from the other tribes to form one intrigues me.

Startear

Yikes. This took way longer than what I would have liked. Luckily it is finally done. I'm not sure if what I should call this a poem or something else. Dedication perhaps? Anyway, hope you guys can guess who this is Wink



Whispers On Stone



I did not mourn over the loss of my limbs.

No matter how much it hurt.

I was a devoted follower of the path my family set before me,

And I decided that I would never stray unless it was absolutely necessary.

My decision was made when I saw where others failed.

At my true sunrise I tried my best to show everyone how.

Because ultimately... I still believe.

Even after my... now forgotten... death.

WolfMoonSky

That was beautifully done indeed Arril! Clap

Startear, wow, amazing!!Clap

Startear

Thanks, Wolfie. Do you know which character this is?

Vojira

Quote:




Whispers On Stone



I did not mourn over the loss of my limbs.

No matter how much it hurt.

I was a devoted follower of the path my family set before me,

And I decided that I would never stray unless it was absolutely necessary.

My decision was made when I saw where others failed.

At my true sunrise I tried my best to show everyone how.

Because ultimately... I still believe.

Even after my... now forgotten... death.





I swear this made me think of five different things.

The 3 rockshapers-a gotata hunter or other religious human.

Egg.

Sydor.

Windstone

And New Blood (as itself).

WolfMoonSky

Quote:


Thanks, Wolfie. Do you know which character this is?







You're very welcome! it makes me think of some characters i know....but I have no idea wo it is.

Startear

Quote:
I swear this made me think of five different things.

a gotata hunter or other religious human.

And New Blood (as itself).






You are very close to solving the riddle here, Vojira.



Arill, I enjoyed your story very much. Yeyeen/Two-Edge is another pair which I would never guess, but it was beautifully done. I love it when people use the Chosen Eight, especially the lesser known. Very sad that they lost the child, yet then we wouldn't see this scene, would we? Strongbow and Two-edge being friends was a lovely detail, just as the old resentment was not entirely gone, even though he was healed. Remarkable work.

faeriegirl

Lovely new story and poem! No idea of the exact character in the poem, though it does remind me of someone... dunno who though.

[Deleted User]

I mishmashed two 'bags together. this is the somewhat painful result. *vanishes*