The elements are...
Trapped either the feeling of being so or literally
Bleeding - physically, emptionally or metaphorically
Chameleon - either literally, the color-changing animal, or figuratively, the act of changing appearance in order to blend in
school ... education, learning, lesson(s)
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.
Definitely going to do this one. :D
Sometimes I feel a little trapped,
I wanna be so far from here!
Then I hear a different voice;
it tells me:
Come run with the pack beneath these stars,
and moons so shiny clear.
Feel the mud beneath your feet."
Then my mind soar up and out,
Wolfriders now I join.
New lessons being learned just now,
though I know it's just a dream.
When I awake,
my day-dream gone.
Escape into this wonderland;
your soul will bleed no more.
This fanfiction is about my character Cowl, from "Dark Ocs", under "Groups."
Spring comes to the mountain slope, wet and slippery as a newborn. The treacherous mud challenges even my five-toed feet, as I scramble up the crest of the foothill standing between the west-facing entrance to my new mountain home, and the snowy plain where the wild horses graze clumps of exposed grass. Like a chameleon, the world turns from gray and white to a medley of colors. Fresh green grass bleeds dark red lobelias. Finches trade their dull green feathers for bright yellow. Snowdrops emerge from the shelter of crags and fissures.
“Gone with the snow, gone with the ice,
“Mushroom to gather, and herbs and spice!”
Grud warbles a merry song as she tidies up the cavern. We share a touch of cabin fever. I've spent the long winter nights learning every indoor skill Grud could teach me, as well as the language and culture of my Troll ancestors. We've hunted when weather permitted, but I've yet to learn the many uses she knows for many common herbs and minerals, concealed until now by snow and ice.
One evening we trap a stag, so heavy we have to partly butcher it in place. We gather a few cooking herbs, after Grud shows me how to sprinkle the kill site with cleanstone. Where did she get this strange fine powder? What will we do with all of this meat?
“Enough for everyone,” Grud announces, beaming. “Your work will be appreciated.”
That which she and Groundling have kept from me, all these moons, seems to be on the verge of disclosure. We sing a Troll song of plenty, as we carry our harvest up the mountain.
When we have finally settled down, exhausted, before the hearth, Groundling has arrived with characteristic stealth. He comes and goes as if wanting not to disturb a baby's sleep. I wonder that his ancient bones don't creak like well-worn furniture. Settling before the fire in the depths of a massive leather upholstered chair, he looks like a dried-apple doll. The effect is almost comical when he falls asleep with his jaw open. The noise doesn't stir him as we butcher and season the venison, and pack the hide for tanning.
As morning approaches, we drag ourselves to bed, and sleep as soundly as the mountain itself.
When I awake the next evening, Grud appears and urges me to bathe and groom myself thoroughly. As her pupil in all things Trollish, I don't hesitate to follow this directive. Afterwards, I detect no scent of breakfast cooking.
“Something for you to wear,” she says politely but urgently. I get the feeling I am in for a surprise, and perhaps Grud is almost as surprised as I am. Though hungry and a bit sore, I draw myself up and accept the garment she carries draped over her powerful forearm.
I dress hastily, before I have time to marvel over the fine stitchery of my new spring gown. It falls high enough above my ankles to allow for a sure footing, should I have to go anywhere. This turns out to be the case.
Grud looks me over briefly, as I meet her in the corridor. Her dress is equally impressive.
“He's ready to go,” she tells me in a low voice. “Sorry I gave you so little warning.”
I nod in understanding. My upbringing included respect for the will of one's elders, however inconvenient. We hasten toward the dimly lit common area, where Groundling tends a portable lamp.
Early in my stay, I had detecteded a draft in our common living area. I traced it to an exit tunnel concealed behind a hide curtain. Out of respect for the privacy of my hosts, I shared their pretense that it wasn't obvious. Now Groundling draws back the curtain and directs us both to follow him down the tunnel.
To be continued
And So the Moon Doth Wane...
Large, dark eyes surveyed her world...shivering in anticipation of the chase, which she would duly give. Hidden from sight behind a simple jutting crag in the riverbed, slimy tendrils of deep green weed draped over the lithe, unencumbered form...
Rendering her invisible to her prey. The ultimate predator...
The giant water-creature shuddered past in swift movements, tail flicking back and forth, back and forth with ridiculously small fins being used to propel a body ill-proportioned for such flight... No, it could not see where she hid with cool eyes watching and waiting; but in some primal way...it knew she was here...it knew she brought death in her hands...
The large fish grew closer and closer until the young huntress could all but touch her slender, though gently calloused fingers, to it's side...one hand slid down to sift through the mud below for the weapon. Fashioned carefully from the Father tree's own branches for best stability in hunting, the spear -Pike appraised and approved, naturally- was just the right dimensions for her aquatic task.
Swift as an eel, Crescent darted out from her hiding place and speared the creature as quickly as possible...the light in it's eyes dimmed almost before her thrust stopped; a good death. Swift as the current and relatively painless. She silently thanked the High Ones for it's life and had a sudden realisation that her lungs were full of fire, rather than air, in this cool, liquid world.
Laughter burbled from her lungs almost as swiftly as she breached the surface in a wave of wet hair and exultant whooping, her first catch unsupervised! Mother and Father would be very pleased...
Indeed, as swiftly as her thoughts turned to them, she sent, *Mother, Father, you will not believe the size of the fish I have caught...for...us...*
It was then her eyes detected the intruders, large, muscular savages...humans, they styled themselves... Two males leered down from the banks; words garbled back and forth between the pair, seeming to excite either...like the Tribe's wolves in the dark depths of a blood-frenzy...
Their babbling made no sense to anyone bar themselves, thought they seemed terrifyingly proud...
<Look to the Demon, Kuran! Gotara be praised, Shaman will be pleased!> the elder cried, waving about a stick, which her beautiful eyes flickered back and forth to watch, lest any chance to escape passed her by...
Too late. Always too late...
The second pounced on her in the momentary span between breaths, his hard wepon piercing her throat with it's tip, crimson blood trickled down the crude blade as her eyes were forced to stare directly into his cold, earth-brown orbs...
The corse-face creature sneered close and pressed the blade deeper until she flinched, and he laughed.
<*The Will of Gotara must be obeyed, Demon...you think this is pain? You will learn...yes, you will learn. All hail Gotara!*>
He cried at the top of his voice and swung the blade high, stopping only fractionally enough for the cub to realise he meant to hit nothing vital on the first strike, then plunged it down...
She did what was instinct for her, called for her parent's aid...
Though, as the crimson-clad dagger came down the second time...she knew it would be too late...
High. Piercing. Soul-Destroying.
The instinctual knowledge filled them both, even as it tapered to a thin, quiet whine and Strongbow fell from his perch in the high branches of Father Tree...while Moonshade's eyes grew haunted...
Life bleeding from their faces as pure horror took over...their child was dead.
Even as Bearclaw took Strongbow in his arms and Moonshade was both comforted, and restrained, by Woodlock and Rainsong; the scent of desperation and hope lost filled the small Holt as many hearts bled for their friends.
"Crescent...A Mind...Scream..." whispered Strongbow in his arms, eyes wide and unseeing; Bearclaw's heart hardened in fear, anger and just plain sorrow...if Crescent had...maybe she could be-
No, hope died alongside the child as the archer whispered brokenly, "...then...nothing..."
His own tears were hot as they pressed against his eyelids, but they would not fall; not until he knew, not until he was certain. He was Chieftain, thus it must be so, and so it shall be. That is 'The Way'.
When one is fending off a semi-feral, growling archer who is trying his damndest to render you limb from limb, or at least, block off the air from your throat with his bow...there is little one can do but retaliate. Though it hurt his heart to do so...Bearclaw mustered a desperate strength and struck Strongbow harshly, felling him instantly.
Pike panted and wiped at his bleeding lip, though the expression of pain was more that of someone who wished he could have held the other and brought comfort, to take away the harsh realities that had been learnt when Crescent's leathers had been found drenched in deep, sticky red liquid. So fresh, so raw...so much.
"Take him back to the Holt, tell them to guard him...I will see to this." he spoke back as Pike lifted the other onto his wolf and slid up behind him, the seldom-sober eyes were -for once- completely clear in an almost worrying sobriety for the first time in such a long time, memory failed.
Unsettled as he faced the one who had single-handedly stirred those savages into a frenzy for their silly bear-god or whatever it was... Bearclaw stared down the imposing figure of the Shaman, a considerable task considering the height differences.
However, it seemed he found the Human at an exceptionally good time of night...for the tall creature was cringing, cowed and subdued...never actually having been told how to react should he come face to face with an actual demon, by his predecessor.
He whispered words to that bear-skin rug they all worshiped and danced in on occasion, and Bearclaw sincerely hoped it was a prayer, for it made the whole situation that much more...primal. His inner wolf delighting in the wide-eyed horror he instilled in the Shaman as his blade flashed out slid through the thick flesh of the human's throat...
With a soft flopping noise, the head hit the ground and rolled; an upright body quivered and sank to it's knees almost comincally, before tilting sideways and falling in the dust with scarlet liquid seeping in every direction. It flecked his face also, the deep magenta droplets drying in sticky patches on clothes, hair and skin...
The urge to lick it off his blade was there...but he resisted and bound the head up in spare leather he had brought for this very purpose, it leaked only a small amount onto his leggings as he hefted the item over his shoulder...
Knowing those who awaited in the Holt had suffered a fate worse than death, Bearclaw steeled himself this one moment, and turned to peer through the concealing bushes, at the strange stone of the human's. This 'Pillar of Sacrifice' as it had been crudely termed...
Many skulls glistened upon it's surface, but the newest, smallest of them all burrowed deep to his core and brought the deepest grief...
"You are avenged, sweet child, go to the High Ones arms and seek peace..." he whispered softly in an emotion-thick voice, and could have sworn, though it may have been a trick of the human's firelight, that he saw the cub standing there a moment. As transparent as the cool breeze but enough substance to quietly smile, nod and turn away...ascending high into the blue, her journey both ended and begun.
The head weighed heavily on his arm, though his heart was light...Bearclaw turned to make for the Holt, and give comfort to two grieving parents. Who knew, maybe they would see her once again...?
The Chieften of the Wolfriders never knew how right he was...
Far away from Space and Time, in the safety of the Palace, she sat and awaited the day to come when she would see her parents again... IT was quiet here, peaceful, safe.
It was trye what they said about Elves, it seemed...Crescent mused, For us, Death is only the Beginning...
Alright, so not the greatest...but what do you think?
I really like it, Sailor. You really capture the horror and violence of that moment- but then the ending is quiet, thoughtful and sweet. I almost missed it- but it makes the whole story. What will give Moonshade and Strongbow peace in the end is knowing that their daughter, despite her death, is okay.
I love the very understated ending with Crescent as a spirit- it gives the story a really nice meaning. It's not just violence and drama- the whole story, in the end, becomes about how death is a beginning. A moment of despair, quietly, becomes a moment of hope. But Strongbow and Moonshade won't learn that until 'Searcher and the Sword.'
Great foreshadowing! Great contrast, too, between the intense moment of her death, the tribe caught up in revenge-- and those few lines in which Crescent has found peace and moved on. Really subtle.
Thank you, I just...always hated the idea of her dying alone and horribly...I wanted Crescent to have a...well, better ending...I suppose. A Chance to BE again...
Starnge little idea, but in my mind, none-the-less...
I think you are right and really picked up on something. Crescent did have a better ending- we just didn't learn about it until several books later. I think the ending here was very touching.
You know... I think I also picture death this way. Life is like a fight- in the moment you die, you leave others to carry on- while you go home.
Thanks Startear...and I agree, Lunakat.
Okay, you can blame this on Dewleaf and my wandering into the T&L and being confused and inspired by her posts.
Rayek's so much fun to mess with.
Rayek watched Leetah and the wolf chief, their eyes locked over the scarf stretched taut between them. The look lasted too long, and Rayek felt the misgivings writhe in his stomach like mildewed grain. The fruit he had just bitten tasted bitter on his tongue. He longed to spit it out, to fling the remainder at the unwelcome suitor, but he felt trapped by the eyes of the Sun-Village, their smiles bright at making new friends.
Let them welcome the newcomers, he thought, I will not.
He stalked away from the glowing lanterns towards the edge of the village until he was far enough to feel beyond notice. Giving in to his rage he lobbed the fresh fruit at a nearby tree trunk, where it splattered with a gratifying smack.
At the sound, something furry dropped from the tree. Startled, Rayek took a step backward, cursing his forgotten spear, but the thing stopped in midair, a tangle of curling, golden strands. Strange blue eyes regarded him. It took a moment for Rayek to realize that the creature was not so strange, only upside down. Dressed in browns and mud splattered, her lithe limbs blended in among the thin branches like a chameleon.
“What are you doing up there?” Rayek demanded.
*Quiet!* Her voice filled his head like the thunder of stampeding zwoot hooves. *You'll scare the prey.*
She let go of the branches and landed soundlessly to crouch below the tree, eyes scanning the area around them. She glanced back up at him, eyes sparkling as she surveyed his Sun-Villager clothing. *Or don't you know how to hunt?*
Stunned by her sudden appearance and the mind-voice still reverberating in his head, he had to fight to get his mind working. She was young, he could see now, young and pale like the wolf-chief. He felt the ire rising again. “Who are you to be telling me how to hunt?”
She rose, slender body held proud in the moonlight, chin high as she answered him. “Dewshine.”
And suddenly shining she was, no longer mud-covered and bleeding from a hundred scratches, but a huntress, covered with fine golden fur, liquid in the breeze and frosted with moonlight.
“Lree,” Rayek whispered.
“No,” She whispered back.
Ah, jeb, how wonderful to see a new story from you! Loved how everything felt so much like it was in the desert. I could hear how the fruit splattered. And the twist where these two recognized wasn't expected at all, but I loved it!
Thanks! I really debated about having them Recognize, as it happens so much in fanfics here, but I couldn't figure out how else to end it.
*Claps* I've taught you well.
Rayek just happens to be my favorite Character at the moment.
And you've inspired me once too.
On the fanart site (Not sure if it was you or another Jeb)
Wrote a gender bender of Rayek,
And then I worte one of Skywise, and
She recongnized Rayek.
Rayek is SOOOOOOOO sexy, but then again, on to the story....
The rain poured down on Rayek, hiding the tears that ran down his face. The the cuts and scrathes on His face didn't bother him as much as the cut in his side. His White T-Shrit and jeans were cherry red with blood, some not his own. He flung the gun that was at his side. Falling to the mud with his knees, he asked why, why did the gun jam and fire without command? But all was too late for his lovemate, now dead, at the fault of his own. She shouldn't have followed him to the fight. The scene played over and over again.
The guy pulled a knife, Rayek pulled his gun.
He tried to fire as he was stabbed in the side, but the gun jammed.
The gun was turned and suddently unjammed and fired behind him.
A pain eploded in his head, knocking him back as a shrill cry rang out from a few yeards behind, "AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!"
He managed to focre himself up to discover his attacker gone. Turning he almost died, there she was his lovemate dead.
He managed to clear his head enough to see the peacfulness on her face, just as if she were sleeping. He picked her up, the dead weight not straining him, but the heavyness of his heart.
Wincing in pain as he carried her Home...
Not sure if I filled the chamelon part, but, oh well.
Wow, finally got back to read a grab bag! ive been away from this for a while, and while Ive felt guilty I still cant get passed my writer's block.
Instead, I am enjoying reading a lot of great entries this month! Its good to see that Red is still turning out great poems, and Trollbabe and Sailor are regulars here now. I also want to point out the first thing that came to mind after Jeb's (i think, they kind of ran together after reading Dewleaf's. Im beat!) Rayak +Dewshine= Winkin/Venka combined.... Now that would be an interesting character.
Anyway, as Dewleaf is.sure to want some good feedback (knowing how it is to not.get.feedback), I just want to.say its awesome how well you painted a scene in such a small space.of.words, while including action and suspense. Is this part of another story you wrote, an elaboration on Rogues Curse (Im not the most fluent with that story, though I have read it), or are you taking it somewhere else? Makes me want to hear more.
Ah, sorry. I thought it was Aroree. My mistake.
It's okay... and I'm way to tricky to make things obvious!
Actually, i think the reason why I didn't get it was because my eyes messed the last stanza...
You know Hammer, I wasn't quite sure of where I was going with that. It might just be a subconcious reflection of Rouge's curse, but I wouldn't be surehow.
Kahvi had had better days, for certain.
She lay on a pallet in the healers' chamber, gritting her teeth against the pain and blinking away spots as Winnowill took her cursed time poking around in the gaping hole in the Chieftain's belly. Vaya crouched nearby, mopping sweat and mud from her mother's face.
"It's almost funny, in a way." the whelp mused aloud, and Kahvi snarled, both in pain and irritation.
"Keep your drukking mouth shut, infant."
Winnowill chose this moment to yank a shard of brightmetal from Kahvi's flank, and the Go-Back choked back a howl, the world spinning dizzily around her. Unfazed, Vaya continued on.
"Of all the people to take a spear in the gut for, I'd never thought you'd do it for that desert healer."
"It's not as though I am jealous, o'course. You dragged me back through that wall, after all, but you were an outright fool for her. I've never seen you run so fast in all my life." the young warrior smirked.
"Leetah gives her thanks, Chieftess. She told me to pass the message to you." Winnowill interjected absently, wiping blood from around that wound and laying her healing hands on the Go Back. Her eyes slipped shut, and warmth rushed through Kahvi. Slowly, the pain began to fade, and bone and sinew knit together again.
It did not improve Kahvi's mood, however. The minute Winnowill sat back, the Go-Back chieftain sat bolt upright and glared at her daughter.
"You've a great deal more to learn about warfare, chit; never let an advantage go to waste. Lee- healers of any sort are an asset, in the end. She was trapped, the idiot, and I wasn't about to let our side lose an advantage just because she was too soft in the head to look after herself."
"As you say, Chieftess."
Am I the only one who got the pigtail pulling vibe from the interactions between Kahvi and Leetah in book four? Anyone? Anyone?
I enjoyed this "snapshot" very much, Arill
Is it part of your ongoing AU - or just another interesting "What-If"? Kahvi and Winnowill interacting - and exploring the mother-daughter relationship between kahvi and a furviving Vaya ... would be interesting to read more!