ELFQUEST
FORUM ARCHIVE     ABOUT EQ     READ ONLINE     SHOP    
ABOUT     READ     SHOP    

Her Sister's Shadow ~ANOTHER New Chapter! 3-13-12

Allura

Link to my art page

I couldn't think of a better title for it (I suck at titles.) This was sprung from the first few reactions to this story, A Different Path by The_Wylde_Wynd.

*************************************
QUICK GUIDE

Part 1 You Are Here
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10a
Part 10b
Part 11
Part 12
Part 13
Part 14
Part 15
Part 16
Part 17
Part 18
Part 19
Part 20
Part 21
Part 22
Part 23
Part 24
Part 25
Part 26
Part 27
Part 28
Part 29
Part 30
Part 31
Part 32
Part 33
Part 34
Part 35
Part 36
Part 37
Part 38
Part 39
Part 40
Part 41
Part 42
Part 43
Part 44
Part 45


*************************************

PART 1

She shifted her feet in her soft shoes, forcing herself not to pace in front of the Mother of Memory’s hut. It would not do to seem too anxious. She tried hard not to listen in, knowing all too well that she would not hear anything that made any sense. When it had reached the point when she thought she could wait no longer, there was a mumbling from inside the hut. As she waited in anticipation, slowly Savah emerged. Her eyes were calm, but lined with sadness. Not wanting to seem impatient, she waited for the elder elf to announce what she had learned.

“Rayek has decided to leave Sorrow’s End.” She announced softly.

The silence spoke volumes. Everyone listening in was certainly wondering why any elf would leave paradise such as this… except those who truly knew him. Leetah was the first to speak. With a cool demeanor she said, “It is his decision. He must live with it. We will live on without him.” As the other villagers went onto agree that with the Wolfriders here now, it wouldn’t be so bad with Rayek gone, Leetah retired to her own hut. Shortly afterwards the wolf chief, Cutter followed.

ShenShen knew her sister all too well. Leetah was not nearly as ok with the decision as she pretended to be, but she was in good hands with the pale-haired one. She had other things on her mind.

When the crowd dispersed, she stayed. Savah turned to Leetah’s younger sister. “Why?” ShenShen asked, “Why did he want to leave? It’s because of Cutter and Leetah isn’t it?” She found herself biting her lip to stop the tears that appeared in her eyes. Savah put a gentle hand on her shoulder.

“He felt he was no longer needed. He must find his own place.”

She felt the anger swell up inside. “He is needed here!” She snapped, “We need him! Leetah… Leetah loves him!”

Savah placed a finger to her lips. “That no longer matters to Rayek.”
It matters to me… ShenShen thought, but didn’t dare say it aloud. Instead she nodded and turned away. She had other things to do. There was a celebration tonight for Leetah and Cutter and their union. Many of the other villagers were already setting up the decorations. With a short quiet sigh to herself, she joined them and tried to push her thoughts to the back of her mind.

* * *

She had put on a happy face for the party. She was happy for her sister, truly she was, but she couldn’t stop the feelings. When Leetah and Cutter had become lifemates, she thought…

Well, guess it didn’t matter what she thought, did it? She had told Menin after the celebration that she was in the mood to be alone and insisted he have fun with some of the other villagers tonight. She herself hadn’t made it back to her hut, but instead found a nice secluded place and sat alone. It was unusual for her. She wasn’t sure now what to do. In the back of her mind was a plan forming. She wanted to grab a Zwoot and head off into the unknown…

But she could never do that. She knew nothing of survival alone. She would end up dying of thirst and half-mad by the head when it was all said and done. By the High Ones! She was so frustrated.

“That doesn’t suit you.”

She spun around to see one of the Wolfriders, the cheeky one with the orange hair, propped up on a large rock, staring at her. He had his usual smile, but there was a hazy look about his eyes, and his nose and cheeks were even redder than usual. Curious as she was, her feelings quickly turned into anger.

“What doesn’t suit me?” she snapped, almost daring him to continue. However, he simply winced and waved his hand in front of his face as if brushing away a fly.

“You always have a smile on your face.” He said, slowly standing, “The gloomy look doesn’t suit you.” He stumbled in her direction and un-gracefully dropped to his knees and thrust a hand in her face. She jumped back a little, then focused on what he was handing her. “They’re Dreamberries. Try some, they’ll make your smile come back.”

Suspiciously, she picked one up with two fingers and eyed it. Her gaze turned to the Wolfrider. “Why?”

Her question seemed to confuse him a moment, but his smile returned quickly. “Because you looked like you needed company. What’s on your mind?”

It must have been something about the inebriated elf that inspired trust, but she found herself opening up to him. Though, admittedly, it seemed easier the more of those strange berries she ate. Nonetheless, she told him everything.

She loved Rayek. She’d said nothing before because of his love for her sister. She wouldn’t have been able to change his mind about wanting her anyway. Once his mind was set, it was set. She had hoped that once Cutter had taken him down a notch that maybe Rayek would see her for once. But now he was gone, and there was nothing she could do. It was then that the Wolfrider said the words she didn’t want to say herself.

“Then follow him.”

The simplicity of his comment brought up a rush of excuses and reasons it could not possibly happen, threatening to throw her back into her glum state. She gaped for words, then just shook her head. “I… can’t.”

His innocent stare just made her feel worse. “Why not?” But she couldn’t answer. He sat up from his relaxed position and cocked his head. “You Sun Villagers feel too safe in your nests.” He paused a moment, but she stayed silent. “If you’re afraid to go alone, I’ll come with you.”

That caught her attention. “You would do that? Why?”

He looked down. “I hate to see others sad.”

Without another word, overcome by emotion, she lunged at him, throwing the unbalanced two to the ground in an embrace. As soon as she was able, they would set off to find Rayek.

The_Wylde_Wynd

Cool! Possible Rayek, Shenshen, Pike, Vaya and Skot fivesome! Grin

[quote:551cd0cc65="Allura"]It must have been something about the inebriated elf that inspired trust, [/quote:551cd0cc65]
:rofl:

*camps out waiting for more*

manga

I like the way you've set things up. Good work. :)

(Small note: "You Sun Villagers feel too save in your nests" ought to read "You Sun Villagers feel to safe in your nests.")

Allura

Quote:
"The_Wylde_Wynd

*camps out waiting for more*

Oh! Fans already! Cookies? *hands out virtual cookies*


Quote:
"manga

(Small note: "You Sun Villagers feel too save in your nests" ought to read "You Sun Villagers feel to safe in your nests.")


Fixed. Thanks! (The save/safe part) Although the 'too' a opposed to 'to' is correct for the two o's is like 'too much' rather than 'he went to work'.

Err... English lesson over. (Can you tell I like English?) *goes back to pondering the next chapter*

blackash

This is great, I'll just run back home for my sleeping bag so I can stay here for a few days.
Grin

manga

[quote:f96b61318c="Allura"]
Fixed. Thanks! (The save/safe fart) Although the 'too' a opposed to 'to' is correct for the two o's is like 'too much' rather than 'he went to work'.

Err... English lesson over. (Can you tell I like English?) *goes back to pondering the next chapter*[/quote:f96b61318c]

Yes, sorry, that was a typo on my part. I was (am?) too sick to catch it. Drat.

Allura

Quote:
"manga
Quote:
973ca37105="Allura

Fixed. Thanks! (The save/safe fart)


Yes, sorry, that was a typo on my part. I was (am?) too sick to catch it. Drat.


It's ok. Apparently nobody caught my other mistake. *looks above* (It's fixed on the actual post now) Lol. Safe fart... I'm feeling very childish now. :?

Kitt

[color=green:a0daea562d]Oh...I missed this one :D Very lovely! I like what you've started here. :)[/color:a0daea562d]

JadeOwl

Oooh...so good, Allura! It's so...ShenShen! :D

*puppy-eyes*

More?

Allura

Working on more now, though not very far into it yet. (I've got two lines written. XP )

Given my schedualing (work and such) I would estimate another installment in maybe a week or sooner? I'll shoot for that goal. We'll see.

Arthis

[quote:19fa2b7dfd="Allura"]He looked down. “I hate to see others sad.”[/quote:19fa2b7dfd]That's so in-character; My sweet joly merry Pike. I love him!

[img:19fa2b7dfd]http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y221/Arthis/avatars/testanimator1.gif[/img:19fa2b7dfd]

krwordgazer

Excellent beginning! I love the interaction between Shenshen and Pike! And the premise is very intriguing. This promises to be fun! :D

Allura

No, nothing yet, but soon. I've been too caught up in the holidays to work on really anything creative, but I should have something up soon.

The_Wylde_Wynd

*has set up camp, complete with tent, fire-place, micro-wave oven, and big-screan tv*

blackash

Tapps on Wylde wynd's tent, can I move in too pleassssssssse...

manga

*claps outside of Wyl's tent* I've got marshmallows!

Allura

LOL!

I love you guys! I'm working on the next bit right now. I was going to procrastinate a bit, but I can't keep you all waiting now can I? :D

The_Wylde_Wynd

*looks up from toasting marshmallows with manga and blackash* Don't kill yourself hurrying but I would suggest getting something up before we run out of sugar Grin .

Allura

Heh.

I wouldn't taunt too much Wyl, I'm still waiting on the next installment of Lioness. :twisted:

Allura

Okay. Here it is. It's kinda going slow, but the next one should pick up.


PART 2

“Pike?”

The Wolfrider slowed his wolf down and turned. “Hm?”

ShenShen didn’t answer immediately. Instead she looked back at the direction of the village. There was still time to turn back. They had not gone far enough for it to be a hazardous choice in doing so. If they decided to, they could be back in the village by daylight. Or rather, if SHE decided to. She still wasn’t sure why this stranger who had just endured crossing this desert would do so again.

Part of her wasn’t even sure why she was out here. Their parting from the village was a wash of sadness. Her sister, Leetah let her go only on the condition that she would return with Rayek once he was found, or in a year if he wasn’t. And she knew that the real reason she let her go was because a Wolfrider was going with her for protection. She didn’t know how Pike’s tribe reacted to his decision, but she admired their parting. The tribe simply wished him well and let him go. She wished she had as much confidence him, but as she didn’t know him, she wasn’t so sure.

“How will we find him?” she asked finally, “We don’t know where he’s headed.”

Pike sat thoughtfully on his mount and leaned on his weapon. “You know him best. Where would he go?”

After a moment, Shenshen wrinkled her nose. “As far away from here as he could.”

Pike smiled. “Then we head back the way we came in. The Tunnel of Golden Light.”

She stroked her mount who was getting a little restless. “But”¦” she hesiteded, “what about those”¦ Trolls?” She frowned at the thought of those horrid creatures. The Wolfriders had only been in the village a short time, but their stories of the underground people were enough to make her never want to see one in her long life.

Pike sniffed. “If Rayek finds them first, we’ll either have to rush in to save his rump, or have a lot of fun watching them roast theirs.” When she laughed, his smile reached from cheek to cheek. “See? There’s your smile. You look better that way.”

Shenshen stopped laughing, but her smile stayed. She hoped that he couldn’t see her blushing, but somehow she thought he could. Either way, he showed no indication of it. She moved her zwoot forward without a word and continued on her way with him following close behind.

* * *

Pike felt much more at ease this time around. They were prepared for the desert’s extremes and so it was not quite so harsh and taxing. Hotburr didn’t like it one bit though, he could tell. But as long as he got his share of food all he would do is grumble. He scratched behind his wolf-friend’s ear. “It’s ok this time.” He assured the canine. “We’ll find ol’ sour face and bring him back.” Hotburr just grumbled.

* * *

It took them longer than Pike had said, but in four nights they were at the sheer wall of rock that the Wolfriders had described. Her companion explained that the trip they had taken was only three because they had followed Skywise’s Lodestone and the stars. He was never really good with mapping the skies, so they had gotten a little off-track. It took them another day to find the tunnel, but when they arrived at dawn, the hole was still sealed up, though not, as Pike explained, as much as it had been, he was sure of it.

“They must be re-opening it.” He said. “Just in case they need it again. We’ll have to wait and hide until it’s open again.”

Shenshen was almost appalled. “We’re going in there?! But they’re evil! Why would you want to””“ His quizzical look stopped her mid-sentence.

“We haven’t found longface yet.” He said simply. “Until we do, or you want to turn back, we’re going to need food. Can you make the sand into food?”

“No.”

“Then we need the Trolls.” Pike started examining the rocks blocking the tunnel while his companion pouted. No matter how dangerous Shenshen thought it was, he insisted that they wouldn’t work on this tunnel during the day, so they were safe. They spent some time setting up a camp a short distance away where they would not be seen by the trolls if they should come out, but close enough so that they could easily reach the shelter of the cave if needed.

“There has to be a better way of getting food than dealing with these Trolls.” She said after hours of silence. Pike, who was probably trying to sleep (She couldn’t understand how someone could sleep during the day) opened one eye, and though he didn’t smile with his mouth, it was there.

“We could always eat your zwoot.” She gasped at his statement, but was too shocked at the thought of it to reply. “Once our supplies run down, all we need him for is carrying you.” He continued, “He’ll give us enough meat to last at least an eight of days., and he won’t take up all our water.”

He must enjoy riling her up, she thought when his smile re-appeared visibly. She wouldn’t dignify his comment with an answer, she decided, huffing and turning away. But she couldn’t help herself from throwing out a good insult, “Leetah was right about you. You’re all barabarians.”

Pike just chuckled.

manga

Hah! They got there before Rayek. This is an interesting twist. :)

Allura

I re-read the Original Quest, and Rayek's explanation about his trip accross the desert. He wandered for a while before deciding to follow the stories of the Wolfriders and follow the fixed star, then finding the tunnel already uncovered. Pike, I think, even if he had no stargazing ability would be able to remember which way the sun set/rose and which direction to head in. I don't see why they wouldn't get there first if they knew that's where they were headed. *shrug* I overthink things sometimes. :D

The_Wylde_Wynd

Aww, Pike's so sweet!*huggles Pike*

But... if they're there before Rayek and promised to bring him back to the sun-village... what's going to happen to Ekuar!? And Venka! Will she ever be born?!?! We need more story!

blackash

Love Pike
Don't see him enough... Wish I could write.
Thanks for the marshmallows. Ummm...

Allura

I like Pike too. Didn't realise how much I did until I had to study his character for this story. Now he's one of my favs.

I must say though, I will try to work on this when I can, but I have an art comission that may take most of my time the next couple of weeks creatively. It's for a friend for Christmas, so it may be a bit before I update this one again.

But, who knows? I may get struck by my muse and end up with another soon. *shrug*

The_Wylde_Wynd

*pokes Jade*

JadeOwl

*pokes back* What?

Allura, I really like this whole concept. I've always liked Pike and Shenshen, and both of them are often overlooked. :D

Sorry it took so long to comment...I have been reading, and am waiting (rather impatiently) for more.

The_Wylde_Wynd

Quote:
Jade Owl

*pokes back* What?



Oh shoot. Typo. :oops:

Meant to poke Allura.

JadeOwl

I figured. Wink

*joins in poking Allura...but not too hard because I know she's busy*

Allura

Gah! *hides from the pokes until their guard is dropped then pokes back*

I have finished the picture for the gift I was doing, and I have a bit of the next part already written.

And thank you for the lovely comments! Honestly. I love you guys.

Allura

PART 3

Pike felt some strange exhilaration in this new quest of his. It was odd how compelled he was to accept this, but for once he felt needed, really needed. Sure, he was howlkeeper, but how many times have they really needed that? Here, even though she grumbled he knew she needed him for this. She would never have gone on her own, and it was doubtful that anyone else would have gone with her. All he wanted to do was help, and that’s what he was doing.

The next few days were wearisome. Pike was used to waiting, or finding something to do on his own. Shenshen, it seemed, was restless. She mumbled about always having something to do in the village, here there was nothing. He watched her for a while, but soon felt bad for her, and so began telling her stories. After that, she calmed down considerably. She became more and more interested in the tales and lifestyles of the Wolfriders than he ever thought she would, and he gained a great satisfaction in making her happy doing something he enjoyed himself. It passed the time.

The Trolls had cleared the tunnel out quicker than they had expected, but still there were reservations on going inside. Shenshen didn’t want to meet these Trolls. Ever. They still had a few days’ worth of supplies left and Pike allowed her her reservations. He wasn’t the type to tell her what to do anyway, but soon, they would have to make a decision; go back, or head into the tunnel.

Unfortunately, their decision was made for them.

It was just at dusk when it happened. Pike was still groggy from the lazy days waiting, or else he would have noticed. Shenshen was dead asleep, though restlessly, and so was the first one to see the three green monsters headed their way. She let out a scream to wake Pike up, but it was too late. The Trolls had thrown a net over them and Pike’s spear was too far out of reach.

The Trolls taunted them, but Pike wasn’t listening. In between trying to get out of the net and trying to avoid a struggling Shenshen he was trying to edge his way towards his weapon. It was foolish of him to have unarmed himself like that. Cutter would have had his throat. And Leetah? She would have finished him off for not guarding her sister, he was sure of it.

He wished so hard that the spear were in his hand that he almost wasn’t surprised when it lifted into the air and sped for the nearest Troll, piercing it through the heart. The others scattered, but the spear followed one, and the other had his foot stuck in the net. Seeing an opportunity, Pike grabbed hold of the leg intending to stall until the spear returned”¦ hopefully.

The Troll turned in anger and drew a long sword, but before the creature could strike, he jerked and fell to the ground. After a moment, the net lifted and fell beside them. Pike took a moment to glance at Shenshen to make sure she was all right, then went racing for his weapon, which had lodged itself into the back of the second Troll. Once he pulled it out, he heard a familiar voice.

“Crude, ugly creatures, aren’t they?”

Shenshen gasped, “RAYEK!”

The_Wylde_Wynd

YOU'RE GOING TO LEAVE US HANGING! GAH! Bad Allura.

Quote:
Allura

but soon felt bed for her, and so began telling her stories.



I think you mean "bad for her". Wink

Allura

I love cliffhangers. Honestly, I write them a lot. :twisted:

And I did mean bad. I'll fix it.

manga

*shifts grip on cliff-ledge and eyes the loooong drop.* Hurry up with that next section, will you?

blackash

Grabs manga's hands and pulls her up. Looks across the gap and then looks to Manga. Do you think Allura is going to do the bridge soon?

Allura

Gah! Bridge, here! (Done quickly, no?)

PART 4

She looked at his face with shock. All of it; his sharp jaw line, his straight nose, his dark amber eyes, the smirk, it was all so”¦ so”¦ AGGRIVATING!

She marched right up to him, poked her finger into his chest and looked him straight in the eyes. “How long have you been there? Did you know we were here? Were you watching us? You could have let us out first you know! Do you know how long we’ve been looking for you? Well?”

Rayek, who was obviously shocked at her questioning outburst, quickly regained his posture, pushed her finger from his chest and growled. “A little gratitude would be nice. I just saved you lives!” He waited expectantly, but she simply frowned at him with her lips pursed and her hands on her hips. Suddenly he turned away, crossing his arms. “I noticed you there yesterday. I watched you for a bit, but figured I should rescue your skins from these”¦” he wrinkled his nose as he looked down, “Things.”

“Trolls.” Shenshen had almost forgotten Pike was there, he was so silent. The red-headed elf slowly walked up to them, then leaned on his spear. “I didn’t notice you there. Where did you watch us from?”

It was more a question of truth rather than a real question. Rayek sniffed as if annoyed by a little child. “They didn’t name me ”˜Child of the rocks’ for nothing.” He stuck his chest out proudly. “Why are you here anyway, flea-feast? Nearly got yourselves captured.”

“We were looking for you!” Shenshen stated.

“Hmph.” He turned away and examined one of the fallen Trolls. “They miss me already?” He paused. “Did Leetah send you?”

Shenshen was tempted for a moment, only a moment, to say that yes, she had, and she wanted him back in the Sun Village”¦ but she knew that would only raise hopes only to be disappointed and angry at her as well. So, instead, she told him no, that that had come looking for him on their own.

“Why? I don’t need anyone’s help, nor do I wish to return.” He seemed more annoyed than before. Without an answer, he sneered at Hotburr who had taken to chewing one of the Trolls’ fingers, and headed towards the tunnel’s entrance. Pike quickly scolded his wolf-friend. “Stop that, you know where it’s been.” And began poking around the bodies, grabbing for what supplies they might have had on them.

Shenshen, however, followed the raven-haired elf. “We’re going to bring you back.” She stated, but he didn’t seem to hear. He just continued towards the tunnel. “Didn’t you hear me? We’re here to bring you back!” She grabbed his arm, but let go quickly when he whirled around to face her.

“I will not go back.” He stated with dark intensity, then simply turned back and continued back towards the opening. Shenshen was almost too surprised to move. She stayed where she was until Pike appeared beside her and handed her something that shimmered in the dawn light. She looked down and took it, then glanced at him questioningly.

“It’s a sword.” He said. “You should have one in case we see any more Trolls.”

“We’re not going to see any more Trolls. Rayek is coming back with us.” She watched her sister’s former lovemate disappear into the tunnel.

“Who’s going to make him?” She frowned, but didn’t reply. “The zwoot ran off when the Trolls showed. Our supplies are gone.” Pike shrugged with a small smile. “I follow you.”

With a determined look, she gripped the blade awkwardly and followed Rayek into the Troll’s lair with Pike and Hotburr close behind.

The_Wylde_Wynd

*glomps Allura* ALL HAIL ALLURA, QUEEN OF THE FAST BUILT BRIDGES!! Grin

This was so funny! Shenshen pokeing Rayek, Pike's "you don't know where that's been" line, hysterical!

And you're doing a great job at writing Rayek in character! More soon pleaseies!

Allura

Quote:
The_Wylde_Wynd

Pike's "you don't know where that's been" line, hysterical!



Actually, he says, "You know where that's been." I thought it'd be funnier that way.

blackash

Yippeee and skips arcoss the bridge...Ohhhh is good.

When I read that line "You know where that's been." I had the image of Picky nose, welllllllllllll
you know. I loved it.

Treefox

Nice story! Everybody seems to be quite in character to me. I really like the fact, that Pike and Shenshen are doing this together. I thought they were cute together ever since Pike gave Shenshen those flowers when Leetah left. Please keep on writing!

The_Wylde_Wynd

Quote:
Allura

[quote:15934fe5dd="The_Wylde_Wynd"]Pike's "you don't know where that's been" line, hysterical!



Actually, he says, "You know where that's been." I thought it'd be funnier that way.[/quote:15934fe5dd]

:roflmao: I didn't catch that, but you're right! It's way funnier!

Allura

Quote:
Treefox

Nice story! Everybody seems to be quite in character to me. I really like the fact, that Pike and Shenshen are doing this together. I thought they were cute together ever since Pike gave Shenshen those flowers when Leetah left. Please keep on writing!



Thank you! I'm so happy to hear I'm doing these guys in character. Rayek, I've written before so I'm used to him, but Pike and Shenshen are a challenge. Not a bad thing, but I'm always worried I'll get them wrong.

manga

Ooh, nice solid bridge. *breathes sigh of relief* Me likes. (And thanks for the help, Blackash. :) )

The characterizations are great. "You know where it's been" is indeed very funny. :) Good on you, Shen-shen, for resisting the urge to tell a comforting lie. That one would definitely have been more trouble than it was worth.

As ever, I look forward to seeing where this goes!

krwordgazer

Finally caught up on this one. . .

Wonderful! Everyone is very much in character, and Pike is adorable. I'm also enjoying Rayek's reactions to his presence, and Shenshen's reactions to Rayek's reactions. I love the way you show their emotions through their body language.

A terrific read so far! Keep up the good work! :D

Allura

Oie goodness.

I am actually working on the next part of this. Been a while, I know, but I've been in a writer's block lately and haven't gotten more than a few sentances on anything I've tried to write. So, I've got a few paragraphs and I'm working back into it. Hopefully I'll have the next part up by the end of the week.

And while I started this with no idea what would happen, I've got some good thoughts now on where I want it to go. (And I think I've got the characters on my side now so they may cooperate.) It's going to be fun. ^^

manga

I'll be looking forward to it! ^_^

Allura

And, here it is!!

PART 5

Pike didn’t like this one bit. Shenshen was determined to follow Rayek to bring him back, and Rayek was determined not to go back at all. They’re both more stubborn than a zwoot, he thought. And he, he was supposed to protect Leetah’s sister, but the moment they stepped inside the Troll’s tunnel, he could feel eyes on them. Hottburr was uneasy, but kept silent. The only thing that gave Pike comfort was that the three elves were obviously armed; the Trolls wouldn’t dare attack them without preparing first, and even then they’d probably take the coward’s way out.

He kept pace with Shenshen and whispered, “Keep your eyes sharp, there could be traps all over this place.”

The Sun Villager looked wary, but unsure. “I haven’t seen a Troll yet. Are you sure they’re even here?”

What Pike wouldn’t give for the two other elves to be able to receive sendings. He simply nodded. “They’re here.”

Rayek wasn’t waiting up for the other two, and seemed to even be trying to lose them, but with the wolf blood, they wouldn’t be lost so easily. And Pike remembered these halls. It would be a day or two before they reached any real deviation from the tunnel. After a while though, Rayek slowed his pace, and let them keep up, though he still said nothing to them.

They slept in shifts; two asleep, one awake, usually Rayek or Pike. When they awoke, Pike would take a nap on Hotburr while they continued. Still Shenshen said nothing to Rayek, and that bothered Pike. He couldn’t understand why they’d come all this way and then didn’t do anything. It just didn’t make sense. He asked her about it while Rayek scouted ahead on the second day.

“He’s not in the right mind to listen.” She replied. “He always was a stubborn zwoot, and until he is able to listen, anything I try will be pointless.”

“And until then?”

Shenshen smiled slyly. “Until then I have you, roseynose.” She ruffled his hair and gave him a grin, then sped up her walk until she caught up with the dark skinned hunter.


They were attacked on the third day. Hotburr sensed it only seconds before Pike and then Rayek. The Trolls came at them with a big net, just like they had out in the desert, but this time they came in greater number, and were armed and ready. Hotburr lunged at the nearest Troll, and took him down easily, but two of the others nearby threw a pouch at both the animal and the three elves. A cloud of powder erupted from the pouches, sending everyone coughing and hacking. Hotburr went down easily, and Pike, though he tried to keep conscious, blacked out shortly after.

Rayek stood strong and kept fighting, taking out two trolls with his dagger and one more with his magic, using falling rocks to hinder the rest. Shenshen had taken out her weapon and swung at any opponent who came near, but as her accuracy left much to be desired, the most damage she did was a deep gash to in a wrist or foot to any Troll who was careless. When the attacking Trolls were either disarmed, run away or dead, he grabbed Shenshen’s arm and pulled her away. She immediately wrenched her arm free and glared at the hunter.

“You’re just going to leave Pike and Hotburr?” she accused.

Rayek frowned. “We need to leave now before the Trolls come back in force.”

“Well then you are going to help me take the Wolfrider and his Wolf to whatever hiding place you have in mind.” She put one hand on her hip, and gripped her blade with the other, just daring him to say no. “We are not leaving a fellow elf behind!”

“THAT is not an elf!” Rayek pointed down the tunnel. “That is a barbarian wolf who looks like an elf.”

“He’s more elf than you’ll ever be, Rayek” She shot back at him, heading back down to where Pike lay. “He cares for all living things, elf or no. Maybe if you did the same, Leetah would have had more respect for your wish to be lifemates.”

The barb hit home, and Rayek stood solid where he was, attempting not to show the hurt from her comment. Shenshen had left him and was trying to wake Pike up. When he didn’t show any indication of doing so, she tried to lift him, but was having obvious trouble. Finally she got him in a position where she could lift and hold him and then carried him down the tunnel until she found what she thought was a good hiding place for now. She set him down gently and then returned for the wolf.

When she arrived, Rayek had taken his cloak and laid it out on the ground in front of the wolf. “He’s too heavy for you to lift alone.” He grunted out, almost too low for Shenshen to hear, but she just smiled back. She rolled the wolf onto the cloak, as Rayek seemed unwilling to touch the beast, and the two of them carried him to their hiding place.

“They will find us, you know.” Rayek said after a while. “If we stay in one place like this.”

“But you could protect us, I’m sure of it.” Shenshen teased, “Besides, once Pike and Hotburr wake up, we can move again.”

Rayek looked away and grumbled. “We’ll need food.”

Shenshen’s smile faded a little. “Why don’t you go find some? I’ll stay here and guard Pike.” He looked at her for a long time, silently, as if deciding whether she was being serious or not, then, without a word, he got up to go. “Just promise me you’ll come back.” He hesitated another moment after her comment, gave a slight nod, and left.

The_Wylde_Wynd

It returns!!!!*glomps Allura* Great chappie! Sheny-girl really got Rayek a good one there, great for her! As much as I love him I have to admit, Rayek at that time did need a little (just a little!) bit of taking-down-a-peg. Are you going to have them meet Ekuar soon?! Please say yes!*camps out with popcorn and delluges Allura with treats*

LadyArill

Greatness! Why haven't we written Shenshen/Rayek SOONER?! We must be insane! They're a better couple than Leetah and Rayek could EVER be...(I really don't care for Leet-Leet too much)

I love how she goes back for Pike and bullies Rayek into it...I love Rayek, don't get me wrong, but he needs a gal who'll give him a good smack upside the head to get him back on track (Leetah was too into their games to do that, I think. And Winnowill? Enough said there...)

Please hurry, and PLEASE let them save Ekuar...I love that old guy!!(Glomps Ekuar)

(Camps out with Wyndy, bringing fudge and a trunk of scary stories)

~Arill

manga

Woot! It's back!

Good development but there's a few things I should note:

1) What Shen-shen said to Rayek about respect for their "wished to be lifemates" doesn't make sense to me. It sounds as if Rayek and Leetah weren't nice to other elves who they wished to be their lifemates. Rayek only wanted Leetah and Leetah didn't want anyone.

2) Last sentence: "Rayek gave a slight nod" not a "slight not." :)

Allura

I fixed it.

And I meant 'wish to be lifemates.' She meant that if he'd been nicer then they may still be together. *shrug* Sorry for the confusion.

And I'm already a couple paragraphs into the next part.

manga

[quote:2f8879fa6b]
"Maybe if you did the same, you and Leetah would have had more respect for your wish to be lifemates.”
[/quote:2f8879fa6b]

"Maybe if you did the same, Leetah would have had more respect for your wish to be lifemates."

It's the "you and Leetah" that is making things dicey, I think. Or is Shen-shen including her sister in this condemnation?

SnowWren

Allura...

This is great! I love the tension between ShenShen and Rayek! And Pike is so sweet/caring! (I just got to this threat today!). :) I hope that you have more up your sleeve, and soon!

JadeOwl

Allura's writing again! Yay!! :angel:

God, I love Shenshen.

Freefootgirl

HIGH ONES...


















THIS IS A WORK OF A GENIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! **Freefootgirl joins scads of Allura admirers** Wonderful, lovely, beautiful, descriptive. I can't praise it enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Update!

-Freefootgirl

Allura

Quote:
manga


"Maybe if you did the same, Leetah would have had more respect for your wish to be lifemates."

It's the "you and Leetah" that is making things dicey, I think. Or is Shen-shen including her sister in this condemnation?



No no, you're right. I was just tired, I think.

Changed it.

Allura

Okay, not as long as I'd wanted it to be, but I'll post what I've got.

PART 6

When Pike woke up, he felt as though he’d eaten an entire patch of unripe dreamberries. His head pounded and his muscles were sluggish. He felt the hard rock beneath him, and the soft fur of Hotburr next to him, and not too far away he could hear the movement of a being far too graceful for a troll. Obviously, they were no longer in danger’s way”¦ for the time being.

He groaned, and heard the person, who he soon discovered was Shenshen, rush over to him and ask if he was all right. He mumbled an ok and tried to get to his feet, but his legs felt like moss, and he didn’t get very far. Shenshen seemed worried, although she tried to suppress a giggle.

“How long was I out?” He asked finally.

She didn’t really have an answer for him, so she shrugged and said, “A while.”

He turned then and examined Hotburr, who was not awake, but breathing, and that seemed to satisfy him. He asked then what happened. She explained that the trolls threw some pouches with dust at them, and both he and the wolf went down, but it didn’t affect she or Rayek.

“Rayek!” Pike said suddenly, just noticing their companion was missing. “Where is he?”

“Out to get us some food and water.” She replied, looking down the tunnel where he left. “He’s been gone a while.”

Pike huffed grumpily and muttered, “Let’s just hope he didn’t get himself caught.”

Shenshen didn’t reply. For a few minutes there was silence while Pike tried to make his limbs work properly, and a short time later, Hotburr woke up as well. He did not seem happy, but didn’t do much more than growl when one of them got near.

After for too long of a wait, Shenshen broke the silence. “Pike?” He looked up, but said nothing, so she reached down and picked up her sword. “Could you teach me how to use this? At least so I’m not useless if we’re attacked again.”

He didn’t reply immediately. Slowly and embarrassed grin widened across his face. He scratched the back of his head. “I’m not the best with a sword. I’ve always liked spears. More reach.”

She cocked her head. “But”¦ why did you give me this then?”

He shrugged. “It was all the trolls had on them.” She looked away with disappointment, and that struck something immediately. Pike put a hand on her shoulder. “But, if you want me to, I’ll try.”

Her smile returned, but before she could respond, the Wolfrider’s ears perked up and he stared intently at the entrance to their hiding hole. Shenshen followed his gaze just as an almost panicked Rayek ran in carrying something that the other two could not make out at first. He put it down, and then put a finger to his lips, indicating they should be quiet. As they watched, whatever it was he had been carrying, moved towards the entrance and the rock suddenly began to move on it’s own, closing the opening.

“What are you doing?!” Pike said in a harsh whisper. “We’ll be trapped in here!”

Rayek flashed him a warning look, then turned to Shenshen. “Don’t worry.” He then pulled out some objects from a pouch he’d also held. He hit a couple of rocks together and after a spark or two, he held a lit torch, just as the entryway sealed up.

Annoyed at being ignored, Pike turned his attention to the strange figure. It was an elf, he could tell that just by the smell, but aged”¦ and abused. He was completely bald, and his eyes were sunken. His physique could only be described as thin and boney, though one could tell that if he’d had proper nutrition, he may have been taller and more graceful. But the worst part, the part that made Pike visibly cringe, was that parts of him were missing; His left arm, and left leg mid-calf, and the middle finger on his right hand.

Pike wanted to say something; question what was happening, but he couldn’t think of any way to do so without yelling at Rayek. So, he kept his mouth shut. After a moment, the strange elf, leaning on the rock wall, gave the three an unsure grin and said, “I, uh eh”¦ I am Ekuar. I shape rock.”

Freefootgirl

Oooooooo wonderful!!!!! **Freefootgirl cheers** This story is awesome, Allura.

-Freefootgirl

The_Wylde_Wynd

EEEEEEEEEKKKKKUUUUUUUUUUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!! :banana: :banana: :banana: Go Allura!!!!!!

Allura

This one was interesting. I had quite a few ways I was going to go with this, and I couldn't decide which ones to use to get where I wanted to go. So I debated and threw around ideas, but nothing really fit. Then, Hotburr took matters into his own hands and allowed me to use all of them! Isn't he a smart little wolfie? :D

PART 7

“Ekuar?” Shenshen looked at the new elf curiously. She wasn’t sure what to make of him. He was obviously not useless, as he had just sealed their ”˜room’ shut without much effort, but he was”¦ less than whole. She took a step foreword, but then hesitated. “How--?”

Rayek took the aged elf’s hand and helped him sit as Ekuar caused the rock floor to mold into a crude seat. Then the darker elf turned back to the other two. “I found him, while searching for food.” He explained, “The trolls spotted me and I fled, and happened to stumble upon a small hole, where he was.”

Shenshen raised an eyebrow at the explanation. There was far too little pride in his statement. He wasn’t bragging. It was odd. Something in him had changed in that short time, and she wasn’t sure what it was.

“They were holding him captive.” Rayek continued. “I freed him.”

“Eh, yes.” Ekuar gave a weak smile. “Brownskin saved me. But I see there is another pretty brownskin here.” He reached out and played with a lock of her hair. It seemed to Shenshen that his eyes twinkled whenever he spoke, but there was a shadow that was hiding just behind. He’d had it rough, being a captive of the trolls, but whatever had happened, he lived with love and hope now. She giggled at his compliment and replied, “I’m Shenshen. And this is Pike”¦ and Hotburr.”

He greeted all of them, even attempting to pet the wolf, who allowed him with a grunt. Rayek soon began to unpack what he’d had in his satchel, and offered his cloak to Ekuar to replace his rags. Shenshen refused to have Ekuar just wear a cloak, and quickly made herself feel useful by cutting the cloth into something more usable. Pike soon dug into the food and water, making sure everyone got something, though Rayek seemed to disagree with sharing ”˜their’ provisions with the wolf. While the others were busy, Ekuar shaped a holder for the torch in the wall, and then some very small vents so the place wouldn’t fill up with smoke.

When the four had settled and began to eat, Ekuar told his story of how he came to be a slave of the trolls. His speech was airy and disjointed, but the point came through. Rayek only seemed concerned, perhaps a bit annoyed, while Shenshen was filled with pity. Pike, however, became furious. “To take someone’s life as their own like that”¦ it’s worse than death!” But he didn’t seem to get more riled up than that. His anger was soon quelled by a strange drink that Rayek had snatched along with the rest.

Pike noticed immediately that it wasn’t the normal drink, and certainly wasn’t water. He sniffed it, and then, sensing that the smell was familiar, took a big gulp. After a moment, his anger at the trolls melted away to drunken merriment. “Dreamberries! This is made from dreamberries!”

Shenshen soon joined the fun, and began to dance, knowing that for the moment, they were safe. Rayek even seemed to lighten up a little. The dancing and laughter and stories lasted until the torch burnt itself out and they collapsed from exhaustion.


Rayek and Ekuar had been awake for some time when Shenshen and Pike woke up. The two magic-users had shaped some adjoining rooms to their hiding space, and added torches here and there. Shenshen thought it was ”˜homey,’ but Pike felt it was too closed-in. “We’re not staying here forever, right?” He asked, though no one seemed too interested in what he said. “We still have to be back at the Sun Village in one turn of the seasons.”

Shenshen giggled. “We have plenty of time.” She assured him. “Rayek wants to train here. Ekuar says he can teach him to use his magic better, and they think this is a good training ground.”

“But the whole place smells of trolls”¦” he grumbled, but he was ignored.

They spent the next few days doing much the same as they had the day before; they scavenged for food, usually Rayek floating some their way or Pike using his Wolfrider swiftness. Ekuar instructed Rayek in the use of his powers, and his strength increased dramatically, not to mention his disposition became more bearable as he continued to succeed. Pike attempted to teach Shenshen in the ways of the sword, but both were awkward and soon he gave up and stole a spear from the trolls’ store holes full of elf-sized weapons, obviously stockpiled for trading with the Wolfriders. The teaching become much easier after that, and Shenshen was a quick learner.

Hotburr was the least happy, and constantly grumbled at being holed up in the cave-home. After about an eight of days, the wolf became fed up and escaped their hiding place and began to run down the tunnels.

“Stupid animal!” Rayek exclaimed. “He’ll get killed and give us away!”

Pike growled at the hunter. “If he wasn’t holed up here all day and night, he wouldn’t have escaped! He needs to stretch his legs.”

“We’d better follow him.” Shenshen led the way and all but Ekuar followed the wolf’s trail.

The tunnels were fairly empty and soon Rayek suggested they go back, that chasing a wolf was a waste of time. Soon after, there was a loud howl echoing through the caves and then a yelp. Pike rushed into action immediately and the two others followed close behind.

The tunnel opened up to King Greymung’s throne room, where three guards each had a looped rope around Hotburr’s neck, holding him still while he struggled. “Let him go!” Pike jumped down the small ledge, despite Shenshen’s protests, and readied his spear, but the troll king just laughed.

“We have you now! Why would we let him go?” He cackled gleefully as he pointed back at the other two elves. A group of trolls blocked the exits behind them. Rayek began fighting, but the kind didn’t seem to care. “I think the wolf might taste nice with some red fungus, don’t you?”

“You cowardly human!” He moved in to attack Greymung, but more guards got in his way. He ducked under them and rolled to the side, cursing himself for getting them into this mess. When he was back on his feet, he looked around frantically. Rayek and Shensehn were holding their own, but it was a losing fight against so many trolls. He wished so hard that they could receive sendings, but whatever he did, it would have to be on his own.

Curse it! He yelled at himself, I’ve never been very good at thinking up plans. But after a moment, he saw a perfect opening. He dashed over and under attacking trolls, to the throne and found there a screaming female troll who looked perfect. She was covered in gold and trinkets from head to foot, and seemed to favor the troll king over anyone. He leveled his spear at her neck and called to the king. “Stop or I’ll kill her!”

The room hushed. The trolls fighting the two Sun Villagers were still struggling, but it seemed the rest of them were now paying attention to Pike. Had his gamble worked? He wasn’t sure how or whether trolls lifemated, but if this was his lifemate, he’d listen.

The king frowned and put his hand to his mouth in what looked like annoyed thought while the female troll sobbed and wailed not to let the ugly elf kill her. Then, after a moment, “I have more females. I don’t need that one.”

The female screamed and Pike’s insides fell. He didn’t want to actually kill the troll, and he didn’t have any more ideas. Was the king just calling his bluff or did he really not care? He was about ready to give up on the planning and just fight until they were free or they died, when Greymung made a gurgling sound. Pike watched as the king’s eyes went wide and then rolled back into his head while his mouth dribbled blood. This time, all the trolls fell silent and watched the curious incident.

From behind the throne, a lone troll pulled a spear from the back of the king’s neck and growled, “There elf! I’ve killed him. That makes me king now. Let Oddbit go and I’ll let all you elves leave peacefully.”

Pike could hardly believe his senses. “Picky! I didn’t know you cared!” He retracted his weapon and the female ran to the new king, spouting compliments about how heroic he was.

“Go elf. And take your friends with you.” The troll continued. “We will give you one water bag, and one basket of food if you promise to leave these tunnels forever.”

Pike allowed himself a grin. “Deal.”


The three elves, after much grumbling from Rayek, headed back to their cave-home and got ready to leave the troll caverns. True to his word, Picknose gave them the promised food and water, and gave them one choice. “You leave here either back the way you came, through the Tunnel of Golden Light, or you leave the other way, back to your forest.”

There was much debate over the answer to that. Shenshen insisted that they should go back through the desert and back home to the Sun Village while all the time, Rayek refused to ever go back. Ekuar was happy with whatever decision as long as they left the caverns, and Pike, unfortunately was undecided. Shenshen finally came to him to ask him what he thought. He didn’t like making decisions, and he certainly didn’t want to be anything like a chief here. He just leaned on his spear and said, “One water bag won’t get us through the desert, but we made it the first time like that. I don’t know what will be on the other side. Our forest burnt down; there may be nothing left.” His eyes started to water at the thought of it, but he continued. “I follow you, whatever decision you make.”

Shenshen thought this over. Rayek and Ekuar were getting the food together and wrapping it up in what extra cloth they had and adding it to what they had stolen from before. Then she looked back at Pike. “I think we’ll have a better chance going to your forest, don’t you? Maybe it’s not as bad as you thought and there may be food.”

Pike only nodded.

The four elves were led down the familiar tunnels to a familiar door, and the trolls slowly opened it, revealing a dim light. Rayek and Ekuar were the first out, followed by Hotburr and Shenshen, and Pike last. Shenshen was the first to stop and stare at the desolate landscape. The ground was covered in hot ash and tree trunks jutted out of the cinders, still charred and smoking. The sky was hazy and grey and almost too thick to bear.

“Oh, High Ones”¦” Pike fell to his knees and Hotburr let out a long and mournful howl as the door to the troll caverns closed behind them.

The_Wylde_Wynd

Aaaw, poor Pike.*pats Pike's head* Just let it out sweetie.

I loved the part where Rayek was telling them about how he found Ekuar! The "There was far too little pride in his statement. He wasn’t bragging." line was perfect, that's just how Rayek is when Ekuar in conserned to me. Excelent!

I also loved that part where Picknose saved Oddbit by taking down Greymung. It was really romantic... in a... creepy trollie way.

More soon please?*heaps Allura with fudge and cookies*

Allura

Quote:
The_Wylde_Wynd

It was really romantic... in a... creepy trollie way.



This made me Grin

*eats the cookies and fudge* Got milk? :D

SnowWren

<opens refrigerator, asking, would you like whole, 2%, 1%, skim, or soy? And would you like regular, vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate?>

[aiming to please so you will continue writing]

:jump:

The scene where Pike sees what is left of the holt (right after the fire's burned out and everything is still ashen)... that almost brought tears to my eyes!

I'm so glad that you added more!

I look forward to reading what you have for us next!

Freefootgirl

Awww... that was wonderful. I love the Picky/Oddbit lurv going on... :D And I wonder what will happen next... !

-Freefootgirl

JadeOwl

Aww! I love Picknose. Picky Picky! :D

manga

So Picky is King but of only half the Trolls. Hmmm. :)

krwordgazer

Finally got back to this . . .

Loved it! Especially the part where Picknose steps in and takes over. I wasn't expecting that, but it was so right!

The characterizations are great, and you describe the action well. The only thing that surprised me a little was that there wasn't more initial concern towards Ekuar on the part of Pike and Shenshen. Shenshen seemed more concerned about his lack of limbs and whether he'd be any use to them than about his plight-- and that seems odd to me. I'd think she'd be shocked and compassionate and ready to press food on him at once.

But it's a marvelous story and I'm looking forward to what happens next! :D

Allura

Quote:
krwordgazer

The characterizations are great, and you describe the action well. The only thing that surprised me a little was that there wasn't more initial concern towards Ekuar on the part of Pike and Shenshen. Shenshen seemed more concerned about his lack of limbs and whether he'd be any use to them than about his plight-- and that seems odd to me. I'd think she'd be shocked and compassionate and ready to press food on him at once.



I know... I found it difficult to write that part. I was kind of assuming Rayek would be the one getting his food and stuff, and so Shenshen wanted to help by making him clothes out of Rayek's cloak. I know I didn't get that point across... I may end up re-writing that bit later.

But thank you for the critique! I so wanted to have two things happen; I wanted one of the characters to be caught by the trolls (I thought it would be Shenshen at first, but it ended up being Hotburr) and I wanted the elves to end up at the old Holt. It took me forever to figure this one out. So I eventually figured out that one of the elves could take a troll hostage, but then Greymung informed me that he wouldn't care whatsoever. So I was stuck again. So I asked whether he would care about his prize woman, and he didn't... but Picknose threw a fit, and so we worked out a deal. ^^ Still not sure what's gonna happen to Picky when Guttlecraw's people show up, but *shrug* we'll find out, I'm sure.

And now you know! ...And knowing is half the battle! *dies*

Allura

Not much action here... couldn't figure out a way to spice it up. Next part should be more exciting.

PART 8

The sight of the once great forest brought a tear to Shenshen’s eye, and her heart went out to the Wolfrider. If something so devastating had happened to her home, she didn’t know that she would be able to hold up so well.

The three allowed Pike his look around, to see what had changed and what was left, but soon they had to get down to business. After a long time searching, they managed to find a very small stream of water, which Pike insisted used to be much bigger. They emptied what water sacks that held the dreamberry drink that they had stolen, and filled them up with water. Food was harder to find; not even Hotburr could sense anything, not even a mouse. Rayek became frustrated, despite Ekuar’s insistence on patience, and headed in the opposite direction from where he thought the Sun Village was in hopes of finding someplace that wasn’t covered in ash.

They traveled towards sun-goes-down for days, Ekuar riding on Hotburr to save on time, and found little. On the second day, they spotted a hawk, and Rayek used a rock and his powers to knock it unconscious. They shared the meal in silence, and continued on. Very little was said, except at the end of the day when they rested; Pike and Shenshen had made it a habit to tell stories before they slept. Since their exit from the Troll Caverns, this had stayed the same, and even Ekuar joined in on occasion. The elves from three cultures and histories found they had a lot to share and learn. And though Rayek would never join in, he would listen once in a while.

Soon they came across open grassland, which at least had some small game that the two hunters and the wolf were able to catch enough of to full their empty bellies. Even Shenshen was able to catch one ravvit, after many tries. But Rayek wasn’t satisfied. He was driven onward by and unknown force, though Pike suspected it was pride and the will to get as far away from the Sun Village as possible.

Once there was again food for the travelers, the training for both Rayek and Shenshen began again. They both insisted that now there was no absolute need to keep going, they could sacrifice a few hours a day for Ekuar to train Rayek in his powers, and Pike to teach Shenshen. Leetah’s sister was driven even more after their ”˜hunt,’ and didn’t want to feel helpless again. She wanted to be able to get her own food, and help the entire group.

Pike did as she asked and followed her and Rayek without question, but the further they got from Sorrow’s End, the more the worried they would not be able to keep their promise to Leetah, and be back in a year.

The compatibility of the group was lacking some as well; Rayek didn’t seem to care for Pike or his wolf, and only tolerated Shenshen, probably because he knew her. He seemed to only befriend Ekuar, though Pike couldn’t figure out why they clicked so easily. He and Shenshen got along wonderfully, so much so that when they slept, she tended to snuggle up next to him and Hotburr without so much as a second thought. She was cheerful and upbeat, which helped Pike stay his usual self when he wanted to scowl all day at Rayek. And he and Ekuar tended to get along just fine as well; Anytime Rayek stormed off after snapping at the Wolfrider, Ekuar would only chuckle and mention that he just needed some time alone.

So it really was just Rayek mucking it all up.

After a moon of traveling, Pike spoke up and asked why Shenshen was still following Rayek. “All you two do is argue.”

Shenshen let out what sound like a fake giggle. “We’re courting. He’ll come around.”

“Courting?” Pike wrinkled his nose. “You’re as bad as your sister. I just don’t understand why you Sun Folk don’t just say what you mean, and take what you want.”

She frowned at this. “It’s not that simple!”

“Why not?”

He stared at her for a long time, and she glared back, but she didn’t answer. After a moment, she turned around, and left to go forage for anything useful. Pike just shook his head.

Another moon passed, and Rayek made a breakthrough in his magic. He could lift an elf, including himself, giving him the power of flight. Shenshen thought it was a wonderful thing and turned to tears, and for once, Rayek seemed joyful. To Pike, it was amazing, but nothing to make this much fuss about.

Rayek began testing his flight by lifting himself during traveling. At first, he could only do it a short while, but the more he flew, the longer it lasted. Finally, he started carrying someone, usually Ekuar or Shenshen, never Pike, with him to see how long he could do that, while the other two rode Hotburr. They made good time that way, and soon came to a forest.

It wasn’t the Holt; it was much wetter and denser and darker, but it was a forest. The moment Pike and Hotburr spotted the trees in the distance, they sped up to meet them. Shenshen who was riding with the Wolfrider at the time, was surprised at the burst of speed, but held on tightly.

The change was amazing. Once in the forest, Pike was joyful and energetic, and Hotburr couldn’t seem to stop running and jumping and playing in the leaves on the forest floor. His three companions had mixed reactions to the new surroundings; Shenshen was awed, but curious, and amused at the Wolfrider, Ekuar seemed at peace, and Rayek seemed cautious. He complained about the wet feeling it the air, and the closed-in feel of the trees.

“I don’t like this.” He said after a few hours, “It feels like there’s a living presence here.”

Ekuar laughed. “There were elves here.” He placed his hand on a nearby rock. “They were rock-shapers too.”

“Other elves?” Rayek looked around. “Like us?”

Shenshen clapped her hands. “Why not? The Wolfriders were out there, why not others?”

But Ekuar shook his head. “Whatever elves were here, are long gone.”

After that, the travelers were quiet and continued moving. Pike soon mumbled just loud enough for all hear, “Be careful. Remember the story of Madcoil? He was created from a pocket of old magic gone bad. We don’t want to find the same here.” At that, even Rayek kept a hand on his dagger.

nomad-human

I like how in your story events that were not originaly connected you have made ...well...connected. And in a way that is believable.

I am looking forward to more.

Freefootgirl

Very nice! I like the interaction between Pike and Shenshen. (Btw, when you say she "sniggles" up to him and his wolf, do you mean "snuggles" Wink ?) Anyway, excellent job, once again, and I look forward to reading more!

-Freefootgirl

SnowWren

Yeay! Rayek listened to Pike's warning! That's an improvement... :)

I like what you've got so far, and I'm looking forward to more!

Selena

I want more. :)

Allura

Quote:
Selena

I want more. :)


And there will be more...

I just have to get the characters to cooperate. I know where they're going, they just won't stop talking at the same time to tell me how they got there. *pout*

The_Wylde_Wynd

[quote:318f8c54be="Allura"]I just have to get the characters to cooperate. I know where they're going, they just won't stop talking at the same time to tell me how they got there. *pout*[/quote:318f8c54be]

These work wonders on noisy muses, trust me.*hands Allura a tranquilizer/sniper-rifle and a box of elephant tranquilizers*

Great chappie! Up-date soon please?!*loads Allura up with the Arill inspired "shirtless-Rayek-cookies"*

Allura

Quote:
"The_Wylde_Wynd
These work wonders on noisy muses, trust me.*hands Allura a tranquilizer/sniper-rifle and a box of elephant tranquilizers*

*stares* ... I think I'll need something stronger for Pike. He's got that tolerance....

Quote:
"The_Wylde_Wynd
Great chappie! Up-date soon please?!*loads Allura up with the Arill inspired "shirtless-Rayek-cookies"*

*grin* Thankies, but as hot a Rayek is I wouldn't want to-- Nope nope, not going there. Smile

The_Wylde_Wynd

Ya, Pike does have a high tolerence for... everything. Try these.*tosses Allura a few tyranosaurus-tranquilizers* Don't be afraid to use more than one.

And as to the cookies, I have this to say: Gutter! Gutter gutter GUTTER!!!

Allura

RoflmaoRoflmaoRoflmaoRoflmaoRoflmaoRoflmao

manga

Surprised

I LOVE the idea. Thanks, Wyl!

*stalks Rayek with tranquilizer gun* Ha ha. Soon my pretty, soon... you shall be all mine...

*ahem*
Lest this degenerate into total spam, I just want to put in my vote for more story too. You're always welcome to bounce ideas off of me. I really do love where this is going and that Rayek listened to Pike!

I do find it odd though that Shen-shen said they were courting. Sunfolk traditions aside it seems fairly clear that Rayek is not courting her back.

Allura

Quote:
"manga

I do find it odd though that Shen-shen said they were courting. Sunfolk traditions aside it seems fairly clear that Rayek is not courting her back.


She was actually just offended by Pike's truthfullness and was making up a reason. She didn't actually think they were courting. It was an excuse. You know, one of those things you say when you don't want to admit the truth. It was intentional. :D

krwordgazer

I really enjoyed this new segment, Allura. The tension between Rayek and Pike is quite funny to watch. Grin

They seem to be moving towards Blue Mountain. Hmmm. . . Exciting possibilities. :D

Kitt

[color=green:5fa1732a43]This is a great story and a marvelous idea. They are so compatable in their differences. Fantastic! :o[/color:5fa1732a43]

Allura

I've had all but the last few paragraphs done for a while now. Shame on me.

* * *

PART 9

Despite Pike’s wishes, they traveled in the daytime. Pike insisted he was more comfortable in a forest at night, but was overruled by the two desert dwellers and Ekuar refused to take a side. They argued that there was shelter now in the trees and so would be better to travel in the light so they didn’t trip on an unseen root, or run into a beehive, etc. He got used to it, and usually ended up taking quick naps during the day on Hotburr and then taking first watch at night.

Their first real trouble occurred on their eighth day; Shenshen was gathering some plants and roots that Pike had pointed out to her, and didn’t notice the creature creeping up behind her. It was a large lizard or frog”¦ it was hard to tell, but it had claws and teeth and slimy skin, and made a bubbling growl before it leapt for her. She saw it in the last second and screamed, managing to roll away from a blow, but ripped her skirt in the process. She scrambled for her sword, as her spear was out of reach, but fumbled, dropping it into the marshy grass. She frantically searched for it, but the creature reared back, intent on striking. She squeezed her eyes shut waiting for the blow, but heard only a loud wailing screech instead.

Her eyes opened, and she saw Rayek with her spear. He’d jabbed the creature in the side, but it was still moving, and it was angry. Rayek yelled at her to go, but her leg felt twisted, and it was difficult to get up. She managed to get to a tree and pull herself to her feet as she watched Rayek try to stay out of the creature’s way. He’d had his dagger in hand now, as the spar was still jammed into the thing’s side, and made slashes in the thing’s skin, but nothing seemed to slow it down.

After a few moments of fighting, Rayek locked eyes with the creature and his eyes flashed strangely. The creature halted and that gave him a window to drive the blade deep into the lizard’s chest, causing the thing to topple over to the ground, limp.

Rayek pulled the dagger out, and wiped it on the grass, then brushed off his scrapes, hissing only at one long gash on his arm, and then made his way to Shenshen. “You should have run away.”

Shenshen shook her head. “I hurt my ankle. I’m just glad you were here to help.” She was about to say more, but her eyes opened wide when she saw the creature moving again. It took a swing at Rayek, knocking him to the ground, before yelping and falling limp again. Pike pulled his spear out of the beast and quickly asked if the other two were all right.

Shenshen, her heart racing, only nodded. Pike then turned to Rayek, and offered his hand to help him up, but the hunter swatted it away. “I don’t need your help!” He snapped.

To that, Shenshen shook off her shock and glared at her companion. “He just saved your life! How can you be so rude?!”

Rayek huffed, getting to his feet. “I didn’t ask to be saved.”

“Neither did I.” She frowned, poking him in the chest. “You’re going to learn someday that other people besides you have worth, your way is not necessarily the best way, and maybe people do nice things for you not because they admire you, but because they think you’re worth something.” She turned away, crossed her arms, added softly, “And maybe you will realize that Leetah wasn’t the only person who cared about you.” Without waiting for a response, she walked away.

Rayek stood there a moment, speechless, then slowly regained his posture, and crossed his arms. “She’s just as huffy as her sister.” He then looked over his shoulder at the Wolfrider as if expecting an answer.

Pike, almost surprised that he had even been acknowledged, hesitated a moment, then pulled the second spear out of the creature, and decided on a reply. “You’re welcome, black hair.” He said with a frown, and followed Shenshen.

For days afterward, Shenshen refused to speak to Rayek. At first Pike thought she was being silly, as all her actions did was make Rayek brood even more than usual; but then he remembered when Joyleaf and Bearclaw had a fight that drove them apart just before they Recognized. He laughed at the thought of what Cutter might say to Rayek being compared to his father.

Although he thought she was being foolish, Pike did his best to cheer Shenshen up by giving her flowers, or telling her stories, or even just keeping her company at night. When the forest became less swampy and drier, Rayek and Ekuar took to sleeping in caves while Pike and Shenshen stayed outdoors; Pike because he wanted to, Shenshen because she refused to stay with Rayek.

There were days of silence, only broken by Ekuar trying to lighten the mood, where Pike wasn’t even sure why they were still traveling. They’d found Rayek, and yet they were moving away from the Sun Village. Annoyed with the actions by the other two that he couldn’t seem to understand, he thought of turning back”¦ but he was no leader, and he didn’t want to be alone. For all purposes, Shenshen was his chief now”¦ until they returned.

But the discontent between the Villagers didn’t last. As they traveled, the air became cooler and the season was in its change. Already Pike could see some of the leaves changing their colors. On a particularly cold night, while Pike and Shenshen were looking for a spot to sleep, a quiet call came from the cave nearby.

“Shenshen?”

She turned around, at first in anger, but it soon melted away when she saw the look on Rayek’s face. It was close to the look he’d had at his defeat at the Bridge of Destiny, and even Pike couldn’t help but feel something for him.

Shenshen waited for a reply, but Rayek only looked away, as if annoyed at himself for speaking. After a moment, she walked to him and he looked at her, and whispered something that even Pike couldn’t quite catch. Shenshen snapped back at him and put her hands on her hips, but Rayek only stared her in the eyes and said softly, “I don’t want to be alone anymore.”

In that moment, Shenshen’s heart went out to him and the two disappeared into the cave, which closed behind them, no doubt Ekuar’s doing. Pike only watched it happen with a heavy feeling in his gut. Something about the exchange, while in the Holt with his own tribe, would be a normal thing, this felt like a loss to him. Shenshen’s people didn’t play by the same rules the Wolfriders did, and Pike felt more lost and confused than ever.

Suddenly, so much so that he nearly fell off the limb on which he perched, came a quiet, shaky, untrained sending from the cave below. **I win, Wolfrider**

manga

I don't understand what happened at the end. Why would Rayek Send to Pike at such a time?

Allura

I figured I might have to explain this, but I couldn't figure out how to do it in the story.

I was thinking it was more or less gloating. He saw Pike and Shenshen as a Cutter/Leetah, even if it really wasn't. Kind of a leftover grudge that he saw. "He must be first in all things, or he is nothing." He didn't have much left to be first in, and even though he was humbled, he still went for whatever he had. I'm not going to say Pike thought it made much sense either. He thinks it's stupid... but it's not over yet.

JadeOwl

I get it, Allura, but why would Rayek's sending be untrained? Didn't Savah teach him to send? :? I thought she had...

EDIT: Just realized how discouraging I sounded. I liked the section a lot other than that! Sorry, heh. Grin

Allura

It's all right.

It says though, in the first graphic novel, when Cutter saves Rayek at the Bridge of Destiny, "Rayek has never 'sent' before. He's never had need to until--" So I based it on that.

SnowWren

YEAY, you wrote more! V. nice chappie!

Actually, I felt a bit confused, because for some reason, I thought it was ShenShen sending, letting Pike know that she'd won her fight w/ Rayek.

Guess I was wrong.

Lol... I can see why Pike would be confused... may not have even realized he was in "competition" w/ Rayek.

Keep up the good writing!

manga

To be honest, I can't see Rayek feeling any competition from Pike. Pike's so omega-wolf, he'd barely flicker on Rayek's register. Also, Shen-shen came to him; he didn't have to fight for her. It doesn't feel to me like there was a competition going on at all.

Allura

Quote:
manga

To be honest, I can't see Rayek feeling any competition from Pike. Pike's so omega-wolf, he'd barely flicker on Rayek's register. Also, Shen-shen came to him; he didn't have to fight for her. It doesn't feel to me like there was a competition going on at all.



On normal circumstances I'd agree, but I'm still getting the feel from him that he's still bitter about the Cutter/Leetah thing and any Wolfrider counts as wolf (since he doesn't know wolf hierarchy) and enemy in his subconscious. And she was paying Pike more attention than him and so became rival. If it had not been so soon after his 'defeat' at the Bridge, I don't think those thoughts would have even crossed his mind, but they're fresh in his memories, so illogical things happen.

It's like when Suntop saw Rayek's hair and compared him to Winnowill, even though there are plenty of black-haired people in the Sun Village. I always thought it was because of the recent trauma he'd had and look, someone who somewhat resembles the one who caused it. Let's jump to conclusions. :D

Anyway, that's how I see it.

SnowWren

That makes a lot of sense to me, Allura! !!! Keep up the great writing!

:wave:

Allura

Okay... this chapter went way longer than expected, so I decided to cut it in two. (Not that it will really accomplish anything. Shuddup.)

Here it is!

PART 10a

Pike couldn’t help but feel completely lost as to what had actually happened with the two Sun Villagers, and why he had apparently ”˜lost.’ All he knew now was that both Shenshen and Rayek were”¦ happy, and that made him feel much more comfortable to be traveling with them. Even Rayek smiled and his supposed dislike of Pike went away”¦ mostly.

But something still made him uneasy. They were still traveling away from the Sun Village, and the Wolfriders. Even if they turned back now, they would never reach the desert before”¦

“The white-cold is coming.” Pike said finally, catching the other three’s attention. “Can’t you feel it?”

“White-cold?” Shenshen was obviously confused. For a moment, Pike was surprised; didn’t she know what it was? But soon he realized that in her land of fire heat, they must never have a time where it snowed. “What’s that?”

Ekuar laughed. “Snow. I remember snow.” He looked up thoughtfully as if pushing through hazy memories. “Cold”¦ but fun.”

Pike seemed to be put on the spot. Shenshen, and even Rayek were looking at him curiously. “You’ve seen the green leaves turning colors, haven’t you?” Shenshen nodded, while Rayek looked at the trees around him as if only just now noticing, or caring. “That means the cold is coming. The food will be scarce; plants will die and animals will go into hiding. Then the snow comes. Snow; it’s like sand”¦ only cold. Very cold.”

Shenshen rubbed her arms. “Brrr. It’s already cold, Pike. You mean it’ll get colder?”

He nodded. “I thought you knew. I should have guessed you don’t have the white-cold in your land of fire, but”¦” He trailed off, not sure how to finish. “It’s too late for us to turn back now, but if we find a place to hold out for a while, we can wait out the season.”

“Yes.” Ekuar chimed in. “No traveling in the storms. Find warmth, and food.”

Shenshen looked almost frightened by the new concept. She had heard about it from Pike’s tales, but to be face with it in reality was something entirely different. She looked to the others and then back to Pike. “Wh-what do we do?”

Being faced with the lead role, Pike was thrown off guard. Even Rayek, though he didn’t say anything, was waiting to be told. Hesitantly, Pike replied. “We should find a place to hole for the next few moons. And we need water. And food. We don’t have a tree-shaper so a tree’s out.” He sighed at the thought of not living in a tree. “A cave will have to do”¦ if we can find one.”

The others took in the information for a moment, and then Rayek suddenly floated up above the trees. He stayed there for quite some time, looking around, and then slowly descended. “There’s a jut of rock, a cliff, in the distance where water flows as if the rock were breathing it.”

“A waterfall.”

“There’s our water, Wolfrider. And the cliff is our rock.” Rayek turned to Ekuar. “You can shape us a dwelling to use through this”¦ white-cold.”

“Of course, Brownskin.” Ekuar nodded.

“Well then,” The black haired Sun Villager grabbed his things and headed off in the direction of the waterfall, while the others followed. Pike was almost glad this time that Rayek had taken over. He didn’t want to lead this strange small tribe, and he certainly didn’t want to give Rayek orders.

It took the four of them the better part of the daylight to finally reach the river and then the Waterfall that it came from. Shenshen was most impressed of the group, exclaiming that she had never seen so much water without rain, just lying on the land like a snake. They soon discovered that too close to the falling water was far too loud, and so they picked a nice spot in the cliff, a little distance away to shape a shelter.

While Ekuar got started, Pike realized they hadn’t hunted in a while and their food was getting low. He walked over to the group and mentioned, “Well need to know the land if we’re to live and hunt in it.”

With the hint given, Rayek nodded. He ordered that Shenshen stay with Ekuar, while he and Pike scout the area; Rayek by air and Pike by land with his wolf. There was very little argument, except that Shenshen wanted to stay outside and get to know the nearby are while the two warriors were farther away. Although Rayek insisted that it would be better for the two of them to hole their selves up in the cliff and wait for he and Pike to return, he soon learned that Shenshen was almost a worse person to argue with than her sister, and he gave in only so long as she stayed within sight of Ekuar. She agree and the warriors left.

They traveled over the grassland fairly quickly, as any game to be found there was small and not worth their time. But there was another forest in the area and so, satisfied with their search of the open land, they headed for the trees. Curious more than anything, and now having an opportunity to do so, Pike sent to Rayek above him. **How long have you been able to send?**

The Wolfrider could sense a minor surprise from the desert elf, and a hazy reply. **Ekuar has been teaching me.** There was a pause. **But I first ”˜sent’ to your Wolf Chief during the trials for Leetah.** Pike could feel a twinge of regret from the other as he mentioned his old lovemate.

**You’re not bad for a beginner.**

Pike could sense some amusement then, and a wry answer. **I’ll be better than you by the time this ”˜White-Cold’ is over, Wolfrider.**

Pike didn’t doubt it, considering the other’s stubbornness, but did not reply. They continued their scouting in silence. He didn’t bother asking about the comment Rayek had sent when he ”˜won’ Shenshen; he didn’t think he’d receive an answer that made sense to him anyway. So he focused his energy now in evaluating the new forest.

It was better than that swampy one they had recently come from, but nothing could match the Holt. This one seemed quieter though. There was very little moving around and”¦

Pike let his senses rule. It was strange; not even a bird stirred. He could hardly sense any movement at all, save for Hotburr and himself. Even looking up, he couldn’t see Rayek anymore through the leaves and the strange spider-like webs that started with the trees and got thicker the deeper he walked into the woods. Soon he encountered cocoons, starting out small and only a few, but the number increased very quickly. He was tempted to call the Sun Villager down to him, but felt curiosity take him”¦ besides, he still didn’t like Rayek all that much.

Using the tip of his spear, he attempted to cut one of the cocoons open just to see what was inside, and was surprised when a squirrel emerged, blinked, noticed him and bolted. Pike stared at the shreds of cocoon that the creature left behind and mumbled, “Squirrels don’t spin webs”¦” He looked then at the cocoon next to it, and cut the threads for that one too. Inside was a tree frog that hopped away. The Wolfrider then looked around and scratched his head. It was too strange to take in. The only things he knew that had webs and/or cocoons were spiders and caterpillars wanting to be butterflies and moths. Why would a frog and a squirrel want to be any of those things?

He almost felt like he had been drinking some of the Trolls’ dreamberry juice, but he was as sober as he had been since they’d left the caverns”¦ unfortunately. Too confused to figure out the riddle, he gave in and sent a call out to the desert dweller, who arrived from above, cursing the branches that caught his clothes on the way down. The information was relayed with a demonstration as Rayek opened a cocoon himself, almost not believing Pike until he had done so. This time a rabbit emerged and Rayek’s levitation powers stopped it from escaping. At least they had made a kill.

“Something in this forest must catch these things to eat later.” Rayek guessed. “Keep the food fresh. We tried similar things in the Sun Village, but I doubt we were as effective as these.”

But Pike wasn’t satisfied. “So much meat?” He waved his hands, indicating all the cocoons nearby and more even in the distance. “None of it eaten. It doesn’t make sense. And where are the creatures that spin the webs?”

Rayek had no answer. Instead, he tied the rabbit to his belt and looked around. “At least we will have food for your white-cold, if every cocoon carries something edible.”

Pike only nodded as the desert elf continued his exploration on foot, with the Wolfrider trailing behind. After looking at the cocoons and following the other for some time, Pike said, “Nothing really big enough to make good decent out of. We’ll need good thick furs or else we’ll freeze.”

Rayek only gave him a nod and focused on finding the bigger cocoons. They had only found a few large enough to house large rabbits, a fox and one boar. The fox Rayek took care of, but the boar Pike wanted to take down himself, insisting that Rayek’s magic took the fun and honor out of the hunt.

They decided that after those kills, they would head back to the cave, but on the way there, something caught Rayek’s eye. He said nothing to the Wolfrider, just went off on his own, leaving Pike to try and keep up. They came to a small clearing where a rather large cocoon lay on the forest floor, slightly bigger than Rayek or Pike. The black haired elf reached for his dagger and mumbled, “Ready your spear, Wolfrider. You wanted a hunt.”

Allura

Part 10b

But before Rayek could cut too deep into the mass of threads, there was a screeching sound that made both elves cringe, and seemingly out of nowhere came a swarm of multi-colored bug-like creatures. They spun around Pike and his wolf, still screeching at different times; it almost sounded like they were”¦ talking, but not all saying the same thing, so it sounded garbled. The Wolfrider tried to ward them off by swinging his spear around, but they were far too quick for him to hit any.

One of the creatures, who had a green body and red and yellow butterfly-like wings, singled out Rayek and flew close in front of his face, looking him in the eyes with a frown. “Highthing no cut out stick-head hoofthing from Wrapstuff!”

Rayek, who was momentarily startled by the noise and the fact that the bug was talking to him, managed to only stare with his mouth wide open. He soon collected himself and was able to sputter a “What?”

The creature continued. “Bad Highthings been cutting up wrapstuff since came. Is bad! This big wrapstuff we do. Highthing no cut up!”

Pike frowned. “You’re not making any sense. Slow down. What’s a”¦ a wrapstuff? And a high thing?”

The bug looked at the Wolfrider and then got a proud look. “Wrapstuff is this.” It pointed at the webbing all around the trees. “We do! Catch fursoft cradlebabies, and flufftails, stickhead hoofthings, we do! You Highthings! Petalwing remembers!”

“Remember?” Rayek seemed more curious than anything. “You remember others like us?”

Petalwing nodded. By this time, the other winged creatures had stopped their swarming and hovered, listening to the green one, who Pike assumed was their leader. “Petalwing remembers other highthings! Long time, we protect highthings and keep safe. Then longsoft hair highthing tell us go away and find food for when highthings come fetch. But highthings never come. We wait long time. We wrapstuff much food. Now you highthings come?” By this point, Petalwing had grabbed a few strands of Rayeks hair, and was holding it as if it were one of Moonshade’s softest leathers.

Pike couldn’t make out much of what the thing was saying, but gathered only that they had been keeping food for other elves a long time ago. Rayek, however, seemed to catch on to the story. “You’ve been trapping these animals for other elves? How long have you been here?”

“Longtime!” Petalwing seemed to strain its thoughts, but it soon passed. “Too long. But now more highthings are here. Petalwing take good care of highthings!”

Suddenly, Pike thought of something. “If you’re keeping the food for high”¦ uh, elves, then why can’t we open the cocoons? It’s for us. We have to open the cocoons to use what’s inside.”

There was a twittering among the other winged creatures, but Petalwing quieted them down. “Is good. Food for highthings, so highthings take. Petalwing say so!” Some of the creatures left then, but a few stayed, and perched themselves on one of the nearby branches.

Rayek, taking that as a cue that he’d won the argument (that Pike didn’t really think was a ”˜win’) finished cutting open the cocoon and from it emerged a buck, not quite full-grown yet, with just the beginning of antlers showing through. Hotburr, greatful for something familiar, launched into action, and Pike followed suit. The deer was slow and still bewildered from its long sleep and so was a fairly easy kill for just one elf and his wolf. The two elves then tied the deer to a long branch and, with Rayek’s lifting abilitied, started to leave.

Petalwing had taken to nest in Rayek’s hair, but wasn’t messing it up any, so all he managed to do was grumble about it. But when they tried to leave, the creature threw a fit. “No can go! We just get highthings back, so no can leave!”

“Relax, bug.” Pike was starting to really hate the thing’s screeching. “We’ll be back. You have more food here than you can do anything with, and we need food for the season.”

That brightened the creature’s mood. “Is so?” But it didn’t wait for an answer before getting exited and digging its claws into Rayek’s scalp. “Petalwing go with softpretty highthings!”

The desert elf finally got angry, and levitated Petalwing out of his hair, holding it still in mid-air in front of him. “You stay here.” He ordered. “You’re more annoying than usefull anyway.” With that being said, he used his magic to toss the creature into a nearby bush, and kept walking.

They made it back to Shenshen and Ekuar around nightfall with little problem, and presented them with the meat, which Shenshen started to cut up, with Pike’s instruction. They had just finished their story to the other two when a familiar screeching noise pierced the air, and Patalwing flew into Shenshen’s hair. “More softpretty highthings for Petalwing to take care of! Keep all safe.” It snuggled into her curls and grinned proudly.

Shenshen was surprised brought Petalwing out of her hair, staring at it in wonder. Ekuar’s eyes were wide as he looked at the creature, but said nothing, seeming a bit confused and trying to wade through memories lost to time. Rayek only huffed at the thing following them, but didn’t try to make it go away. Pike then explained that that was one of the web creatures, and Shenshen took a liking to it rather quickly, even letting it play with her hair. In return, Petalwing dubbed Shenshen its softpretty bubbly highthing.

After knowing they would have plenty of food, Pike and Shenshen worked on how to make decent furs and leathers to keep them all warm. Shenshen knew a little about form and color from a friend back in the Sun Village, Ahnshen, and Pike knew enough from watching Moonshade and from tales of the chief, Tanner, for them to make clothes that, though not fashionable in any sense, would keep them warm and alive for the season of cold. It looked like they would be able to survive the white-cold with no problem at all”¦

JadeOwl

Oh, this is so cool! It's awesome to see what reactions are the CHARACTERS, and what reactions come with the situations. It's pretty amazing.

And also, oh MAN do I love this story! I can just see them forming their own little tiny holt! :D :love:

Allura

I'm on a writing roll! (It's like a croissant, only more like a muffin.) I like how, now that I've gotten to the good parts, I can do so much more dialog.

PART 11

Hoykar and Aroree had been out hunting most of the day, and had come up with very little to feed their companions at Blue Mountain, let alone the whole of the Gliders. It depressed Hoykar and made him want to stick it out and go farther until they had caught something.

**You may return to the Mountain if you wish Aroree,** he sent to his hunting partner, **But I wish to see if I can find bigger game farther out.**

Aroree, never truly wishing to be alone, hesitated for quite some time before insisting that if he wished to continue then she would accompany him. He took that answer, and they flew their great hawks in a direction they rarely hunted. There was usually little to hunt in this wood by the waterfall, but they had had no luck elsewhere. They circled the area many times before even Aroree admitted she was tired and wanted to return home. But Hoykar didn’t want to go just yet. **You go, young one. I will make only one more circle and then join you.**

She agreed to that, and steered her mount back towards the mountain in the distance. However, before he could make much more of a turn, he spotted something rather large running through the snow below him. He couldn’t make out what it was, but send a halt to Aroree’s departure. After that all he had to do was let the hawk do its thing. It dove, and Hoykar found even after all this time, he loved the thrill of the wind on his face, and the adrenalin of the fall. But his joy was cut short as he suddenly picked up a frantic open-sending. **RAYEK!**

Hoykar pulled on the giant bird’s reins and only just managed to pull it out of it’s decent, though it was not happy. He then looked around to try and find the source of the sending, for certainly it hadn’t been Aroree or any other Glider. He then noticed the creature that the bird attempted to catch was a wolf, and next to the savage creature was what looked like”¦ an elf! However, before he could say anything on the subject or take in too much detail on what he saw, he was face-to-face with yet another elf, though dark in skin and hair, he was an elf! And he was flying!

“H-how”¦” He started, but words failed him.

Aroree joined him both in body and shock just as the dark-skinned one spoke. “We have often seen the giant hawks in the distance, but had I known that each bore an elf on its back I would have given them more than just a passing glance.”

Hoykar could not seem to find his voice, but thankfully Aroree was able to ask what he had been thinking. “Who are you strangers? And where do you come from?”

“I am Rayek,” replied the dark-skinned elf. “And this is Pike. I come from a land of desert and heat far away, while the other comes from a forest land halfway from here to my place of birth.”

An open sending drew attention away from Rayek and down to his companion. **You’re sounding more elegant than usual black-hair. Trying to impress them?** But Rayek seemed to ignore the comment. “Who are you who seem to have the gift from birth, that I have worked so hard for?”

Finally, words returned to Hoykar, and he straitened. “I am Hoykar, and this is Aroree. We are of the Chosen Eight, hailing from Blue Mountain, home of the Gliders.”

That comment seemed to interest the desert dweller. “There are more of you?”

“Of course there are, stranger.” Aroree started, “We have created a safe haven for all elves, and there we have dwelled for countless years, unchanged by the outside world as you small ones have.”

There was a pause, and then Hoykar asked, “Are there more of you?”

Rayek looked to Pike, who only shrugged. The desert dweller then nodded. “We are a small group, but there are two others with us.”

“Come to Blue Mountian with us!” The female Glider exclaimed. “Lord Voll would love to know how those we left behind have survived! You will be safe there. And warm. It must be harsh living out here in the winter.”

“We make out ok.” Pike mumbled, and then attempted to calm down his wolf companion, who did not like the nearness of the giant birds.

After a moment of what Hoykar guess was a private sending between the two smaller elves, the darker one, (Rayek?) agreed to accompany them to their dwelling, but only after first picking up their other companions.

They were led to a small cave near the waterfall, where the two strangers were greeted by two others, one female with dark skin like Rayek’s and an aged elf who looked like the world had simply worn him away. He felt pity for the aged one, and a twinge of fear, for if they had stayed in the world outside, that may have happened to him. Aroree seemed no less shocked and fearful than he”¦ possibly even more so. But the others didn’t seem too disturbed, and so the two Gliders said nothing.

Once the situation was explained, the other two elves were both surprised and amazed. The female introduced herself as Shenshen, and the aged elf was Ekuar, apparently a rock-shaper. They were offered the same chance to go to the mountain, and Ekuar agreed to go happily, while Shenshen seemed thrilled. “Elves! More Elves! Wouldn’t Savah be proud?”

Shenshen and Rayek both agreed to the offer of being flown on the two Gliders’ great hawks, but Pike refused to leave his wolf behind, and insisted he would rather have his feet on the ground anyway. Ekuar as well wished to stay on the ground, giving them the reason that it would be difficult for him to keep a good hold with only one arm. Hoykar was ashamed that he had even suggested it, forgetting that the elf was so disabled, and apologized, but Ekuar didn’t seem to mind. Rayek then promised that if Ekuar rode with him, he would not let him fall, but the rock-shaper said, “Someone should keep the Wolfrider company.”

The arrangements made, they group got ready to leave, but were interrupted by a high-pitched screech, causing Rayek to sigh loudly. “Highthings not leave Petalwing behind! You be smooshed or teeth-bit! Petalwing keep you safe!”

With all the surprises so far this day, Hoykar should not have been so caught off-guard, but the green winged creature before him called forth old forgotten memories, and almost made him lose balance on his hawk (which he never did). “By the Great Egg! A Preserver!”

Arthis

I really like the way it turns...

SnowWren

Allura! This is great!!!! I'm so glad you're on a writing roll! :) (Shoves more dough at Allura, hoping for more rolls!)

Allura

Quote:
"SnowWren
Allura! This is great!!!! I'm so glad you're on a writing roll! Smile (Shoves more dough at Allura, hoping for more rolls!)


Thanks! You know, your story is part inspiration, right? The more I read yours, the more I want to write mine. ^^

SnowWren

[quote:0938e95aa4]You know, your story is part inspiration, right? The more I read yours, the more I want to write mine. ^^[/quote:0938e95aa4]

WOW! That's SUCH a great compliment! Thanks!

(I'll have to write some more to stoke the fire for the oven!)

Allura

Yah, your 'Circles' and Wyl's 'Lioness.' Love 'em.

NEXT PAGE