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someone to fill the void
Alazir: pronunciation: Al - uh - seer .. Slightly roll the “r”: elfin alchemist and science teacher for the elfin royalty
Anorakar: pronunciation: an-oh-rah-car: forest surrounding elfin lands
Arth`on: pronunciation: “r” thon: the god of storms
Ashra: pronunciation: asj- ra: name taken up by Katakiara in the four months she lived in the wild before being captured by the Eliete.
Bertho!: pronunciation: bearthoh: curse, meaning, dare it! Or, dang it! Elfin in origin
Beth`ania: pronunciation: bet- ah- kneeah: goddess of life
BloodFang: name given to Katakiara by the Eliete
Cenoria: pronunciation: sen- or-ee-uh: insult thrown in anger at an object, if at a person, it is a double insult. It is the same as worthless, and sometimes dirty, in English. Elfin origin.
Dariun: pronunciation: Da- ree- un: elfin prince slain by drow
Dark runners: renegade, or rouge Drow. Most are solo rangers, or warders. Not always evil.
Danariun: pronunciation: dan - are- ee- un: a person who’s shadow shows the nature of their personality, usually an animal shadow.
Demons: cruel, illusionary creatures that have a knack for possession. They are dangerous in the wrong body and under the wrong influence.
Demon shadow: A shadow or smoke that pours from the mouth and nose of the person or thing that was possessed when a demon is torn from its current host.
Donfeenal : pronunciation: doen- fee- nahl: endearment meaning precious, or treasured one. Old Tongue.
Drow: pronunciation: drow… (“o”, “w” as in Ow! That hurt.) : elves that live under- ground, in caves and in the dark, usually evil. They are used as assassins, mercenaries, and guards. They are sometimes used as unseen spies. Ebony skinned, white haired.
Eagle: elfin warrior and ranger, mage, part of a twin. Twins are very rare in elfin society, they occur usually once every three hundred years. Emerald eyes. Only sibling; Hawk.
Earth glade: sacred place in a forest, thought, or proven to have strange properties. These places are sacred to the Elfien.
Elestruial: pronunciation: el-es -tree- uhl: current Elfin queen considered the most beautiful woman in the known world.
Elfin: pronunciation: el-fee-an: surface elves. Also known as mage elves, forest elves, fair folk or light elves. Dwarves call them silver skins.
Eliete: pronunciation: e-leet: name given to the elite of the dark over lord Kriden’s minions. If they are sent out it has to be important, though their numbers are reported to be growing. They also are used as his personal body guards; considered undead.
Fangora: pronunciation: faing -aura: name given to the Eliete BloodFang by Mengal
GodFire: the only flame that a god or a true master can be burnt with. When a god is set on GodFire only a true master or another god can put it out, same for true masters.
Gokall: pronunciation: go -call: person who likes blood, either the taste, the texture, or the feel of it. They are said to soak it into their skin when too much blood is nearby. Generally they also have fangs that are retractable. These people’s regenerative abilities extend only to wounds that do not sever limbs. However, this “rule” has an exception. If the severed article is held to the place from which it was severed for several moments, it will reattach.
Gone to Earth: is a polite way of saying died, in the Elfin society. Also means that they have been buried rather than hung in the elfin tradition.
Hawk: elfin warrior and ranger, mage, part of a twin. Amber eyes. Only sibling; Eagle.
Jakaran: pronunciation: jack- ah - ran: human boy that tormented his sisters and Taraon.
Joy-leaf: a common plant found in Elfin forests and prized by soap makers for its strong scent and seemingly dirt eating qualities.
Katakiara: pronunciation: cat -ah- kee- ra: name given to the human girl Sara by the elves when they took her in after she fled the Eliete for the first time
Kender: pronunciation: ken- der: one of the oldest races of the planet. Powerful beyond measure, long life span, founded in magic. These people have a gift for language, once they hear one word of the language they wish to speak, they speak it fluently.
Mage: person who wields magic.
Mengal: men- gall: god of death
Mordacious: sharply sarcastic
Old Tongue: the oldest language known to Elves. This speech is reserved for those who are considered the most respected among the elves, also used in rare and trying situations of political nature among the Elvin courts. Known also as the lost language.
Psychrophilic: liking low temperatures
Pyromaniacal: has an unexplainable and often unpredictable urge to set things on fire
Sara: human girl abused by her foster parents who watched them die at the hands of the Eliete. She then tried to take up arms, only to be taken as a new recruit. She escaped a few miles from the place of her abduction and ran unknowingly to the elves for rescue.
Shaya: pronunciation: shay-uh: human child with the gift of Sight rescued by Wolf.. Thought to be the prophetess foretold in the Prophecy of Blood.
Taraon: pronunciation: tah - rah -on: word of the Old Tongue in Elfish meaning talon. Also the name of an (assumed) human boy rescued by Wolf.
Torin: pronunciation: tore-in: human boy, Sara’s first love. Killed by thieves and left to rot in a gutter. Buried in a secret Earth Glade by Wolf.
True Master: someone who has mastered all fields of magic and has usually perfect control over their powers. They can also control the powers of others if they have to, but unless they are a god, they cannot control the powers of the gods.
Wolf: aka: Sara; BloodFang; Fangora; Katakiara; Wolf; Ashra. semi human woman Kender, true master, mage, ex- Eliete, assassin, ranger, and warder. Nomadic.
Wolf run: a very fast, odd run that doesn’t tire out the body. This run, when replicated correctly, can be kept up for miles by even humans; days for elves.
The woman stumbled, almost fell, clutching the bundle in her arms close to her chest, and telling the child on her back to, “Get ready.”
Hawk watched her sling the boy to the ground, with only a slight hesitation and thrust the squalling bundle into his waiting arms. He thought to himself, puzzled, Wonder who she is. He turned into the wind to better listen to the humans.
“Run!” she told the boy breathlessly, “Straight to the forest yonder! The elves will care well for you both.” and she began to turn away.
The boy grabbed her hand, “But I wanna’ stay with you! I’ll fight! I swear I will!” he cried, turning the woman around to face him once more.
She knelt in the snow, her cold, bare skin growing still colder, as she prayed to avoid frostbite. Kissing the boy’s forehead she whispered, “Go, please, for your sister’s sake if nothing else.” He hesitated for a moment, torn, but his protective nature got him going.
The boy made a dash towards the forest as if the devil’s henchmen themselves were on his tail, and plowed right into Eagle, who had been waiting for him anyway. Pointing to the scantily clothed girl standing alone in the snow, the boy cried, “Help her! Help her! Please!” He begged and pleaded with his eyes and voice, “Help Wolf! Please! She is all we have!” he sobbed into the elf’s shoulder “Please...”
Eagle looked at the boy for a moment. Her missing clothing was draped and wrapped about the boy and the baby in his arms. “We will help her,” he assured the boy, muttering, “…..if we can.” He looked up into the trees and found his brother’s amber eyes. They shared a look that spoke volumes, and Hawk disappeared.
Unfortunately though, the riders were quicker than the elf. They dismounted from their black stallions with practiced speed and soon the girl was lost from sight; they had surrounded her in a ring of sharp, biting steel.
The woman sneered behind a thick curtain of her black hair. They have forgotten I am not of the normal breed they use for prey, she thought silently, Steel will do them no good. Just as it does not work on them, it will not work on me. Her thoughts were rudely interrupted.
“Where are they?” barked one of the men savagely, “The demon spawn must die!”
The woman drew the only weapons she had left, scimitars. The blades gleamed like God Fire in the setting sun.
None of the men seemed to notice that the curved blades were not made of steel. They were made of silver. The hilts of her weapons were slender and fit comfortably into her hands. Fire and Ice, they were named, and rightly so. One had flames etched into the blade and burned like fire when it sliced, and the other had a blue tinge to it, and would freeze when it tasted flesh. Fire and Ice indeed. The swords, being of Elfin make, would not be brittle because of the cold. Fire would draw from her body heat, and Ice… it had plenty to draw from.
She hissed frigidly, “The only demon spawn I have encountered in these last few weeks, have been you.” Her voice was cold enough to make the snow shiver, “They are children, and they will not die this night, nor in the near future by your hands. I have made sure of that. You and yours will cause no more destruction, nor will you cause more death than you have already.”
A cold transformation seized the woman as she went from helpless and deathly still, to a whirling snow storm of wrath, blood, and death.
A ball of darkness descended over the entire group and the elf had no chance to intervene, but found that rather than being a help, he was in the way. Diving out of the floating globe of darkness, he listened to the dieing screams of those within, finding, rather to his displeasure, that he could see what went on inside the globe while those within could not.
The woman warrior was perfectly at home in the unnatural darkness. She moved with an unearthly grace, and was more than proficient with those flashing scimitars of hers than the elf would have liked to admit. It took only a few slashes to dispose of an enemy and she gave them no chance to escape her wrath. She would slash from one side and then dodge to the other so that the victim would run his own men through and all she had to do was come by to finish off the dazed and wounded soldier.
It was all over in a matter of seconds; the globe of seemingly impenetrable darkness lifted and dissolved eerily above the lone survivor of the onslaught. Those men had never even had a chance. Her eyes had stayed closed the entire time.
Every Eliete who had been standing only an instant before, lie dead on the frozen snow, bleeding from a dozen cuts to his torso and neck, their life’s blood flowing away into widening pools. The leader was missing his throat altogether.
The girl turned sharply, sensing the elf’s presence. She was in a battle crouch and in a position to attack before she even finished turning. She gazed at him with the same look in her eyes she had given the Eliete, until she realized who he was. “Oh,” she said looking kindly upon him and straightening to a confident stance, “I thought I had miscounted.”
The elf simply stared at her. What is she?!? He thought to himself, taking in the leather, weapons and blood. All the blood. Blood stained her teeth, now lengthened to fangs, and skin. It dripped from her slender fingers. The low cut, tight leather top, and shorts barely covered her, and the blood was every where. It followed the curve of her waist and hip in rivulets, and stained the tough, black leather. But even as he watched, it sank into her skin. Every drop that was touching her body simply vanished, including the pools of blood around her feet. She just soaked it up, like a sponge.
He thought, flinching, A gokall.
She turned away from him respectfully and went to gather the horses like it was completely natural, which, for her, he supposed, it was. Gathering their reigns she spoke soothingly to them, chanting and singing as she did so, her lovely voice practically drenched, in powerful magic. The horses all stood stock still for an instant and then without warning, reared up as one, releasing a foul looking smoke from their frothing mouths and tender nostrils. It was a demon’s shadow; demon horses, all of them.
She handed the magnificent beasts over to the stunned elf reluctantly. “Take good care of these.” she said. And he took them from her still in shock, accidentally brushing her hand as he did. Her hand was frozen. He didn’t jerk away as they both thought he would though, surprising the girl and himself in the process.
“And take care of them. You are all they have now. Their village will be gone by tomorrow at nightfall. I have to take care of that now; they are far too young to have seen what they have seen these last days.” she whispered, inclining her head in the direction of the forest, “The boy is strong, and tough. He has a strong will though, and will not bend if you try to bend him in a way he does not deem as right. Teach him to fight in the Elfin style, with grace and accuracy, he is eager to learn and will be one of your best, and fastest excelling students. He will try your patience and test your strength, physically and mentally. DO NOT GIVE UP ON HIM!! He will learn from both of your mistakes. I would teach him myself, but the elves do not welcome wanderers or strangers into their lands as they used to.”
His expression of puzzlement made her explain. “Once I would have been welcome here, in this haven of havens,” she spoke in pain, “but the one who once loved me is now dead and gone to earth. I do not know if the elves will welcome me or not, for I do not know if they blame me for his death, as I do.”
Hawk made as if to speak, but she rushed on, “Please, I beg of you, take care of those children as if they are your own, even though they are not. They deserve a home better than what they will have to go back to. And if they return, they will return to nothing. I have to burn the town, and bury the dead.”
Almost as an afterthought she added, “They will want to know what happened to me. Tell them what I have gone to do. The boy will understand, and tell his... sister when she is old enough.”
All Hawk could do, was nod.
She turned away from the speechless elf, adding with a mischievous smile, “Oh, and one more thing.” she said over her shoulder, “Tell your brother, up in the tree there, that I wouldn’t have hurt you.” and she walked away to face the storm alone.
Hawk was confused. His brother wasn’t in the tree. He thought for a second, What was…? He looked up, to the tree she had indicated, and there, staring in shock after the strange girl, was a pair of wide emerald eyes. The body attached to the eyes leaned a bit too far, and almost, almost, fell out of the tree.
Standing in the snow, Hawk chuckled to himself, thinking of how her easy manner and amused smile had caught his serious, brother, Eagle, off guard. In his mind he thought, How incredibly good looking she was…
You’ll Never See Her Again
Hawk called up to his brother “So… what do you think?”
Eagle was still staring after the girl. “I think she needs to put her clothes back on,” he said sensibly, turning to face his still distant brother, “or she’s going to freeze.”
Hawk started to laugh, “Why does she need her clothes back on brother? She is not all that cold. I think you want her to put them on because she’s distracting you.”
Eagle looked embarrassed and then scandalized, “What makes you think she is distracting, little brother?”
Hawk felt his jaw drop and closed it swiftly, “I think you think she is distracting big brother, because you are not blind, oh, and not to mention you were staring at her so hard, you almost fell out of your tree!”
Eagle turned scarlet, “You saw that!?!? Wait, uh, I mean, I DID NOT!!!!!”
Hawk smiled, “Did too!!”
Eagle leapt from the tree and advanced on his younger brother. Hawk, sensing his imminent peril, did the intelligent thing for once. He ran. He broke out into a full, flat out wolf run from a dead stand still.
He glanced back at his brother, to be sure he was still far behind, and both stopped even more suddenly than they had started, saying simultaneously, “The children!!”
They ran back the way they had come, only to find the boy and his near infant sister staring at them. “ Uhhhhhhh, what are you doing?” the boy asked quizzically, feeling more confused than he had all day.
The twins gaped at him, identical expressions of shock registering on their fair faces, turned to one another, then turned back, closing their mouths with an audible click, at the same time.
“Uhhhhhh…nothing?” they both replied.
The boy frowned, “It looked like you were playing tag.”
They elves turned red, “Sorry.” then they grinned, “Want to play?”
The boy looked happy, then worried, “No, I can’t, I have to get Shaya some place warmer, she’s g’unna freeze!” He looked kind of thoughtful, then added, “and I’m g’unna freeze too if I don’t get some clothes that fit.” he tugged at his loose clothes as if to emphasize his point. He wrinkled his nose, “Shaya’s dirty, and I’m dirty too, we need baths.”
At this word Shaya, the baby, gurgled happily, “BAT!!!” and giggled.
Hawk caught the use of the baby’s name, Shaya, rather than the sibling title, sister. “The little one is not your sister?”
The boy looked disgusted, “ Heck no. What made ‘ja think that?” he looked instantly guilty and ashamed, “Not that she’s bad or anything...” he added quickly, as if realizing he had just unintentionally insulted the child in his arms, “It’s just, well, you see, she’s, I mean she was, Jakaran’s sister. I dinit like him all that much. He was mean to me, he beat me up a lot, and he hurt Shaya too. O’ course every time he hit her, I hit him harder, but he din’t stop hurting her, or his other sisters. I pushed him in the river before the attack an’ told’ ‘im to swim, to save him, but I din’t get back to his sisters in time, just Shaya.” he said guiltily, looking into the baby’s bright blue eyes, and she curled her tiny fingers around one of his as if to comfort him with her touch. “Then Wolf came. She saved us. Me ’n Shy here that is.” he looked up as if he suddenly remembered something life threateningly important, “Where’d she go?”
The baby looked up then, “Wuf?” she asked, looking at her adoptive brother, “Taron, Wuf?”
Tears filled his violet eyes as he looked at the elves, a child’s desperation behind a thick veil of adult understanding.
Hawk shook his head, “She went to burn your village.” he said sadly, “She will not be coming back.” As he spoke he had the feeling that the boy had already known what they were going to tell him.
Eagle added glumly, “You’ll never see her again, donfeenal, I am very sorry.”
The boy looked up, “My name’s Taraon, not donfeenal,” he looked up at the twins questioningly, “Wolf called me that too, what does it mean?”
Eagle looked shocked, “Taraon? Do you know what your name means?”
The boy shook his head.
Hawk cut in, “Your name is a word of the lost language meaning talon, donfeenal, is also a word of the lost language and it means treasured one.” Glancing at his brother he explained further, “It is an endearment of sorts. Elves have very few children you see, and so they are valued highly, and protected at all costs.” He looked puzzled, “Wolf, called you that?”
The boy mistook the emphasis on the woman’s name and said, “The woman we were with. The one who saved us.”
Eagle deftly changed the subject. “So, let us get to the village. Where Taraon and his “new sister” can get clothes,” he took a sniff of the boy, (who didn’t smell all that bad,) and finished, wrinkling his nose playfully, “and baths.”
They hooked up a sling of sorts for the baby so she would sit on Eagle’s back, facing behind him to watch the forest, on the way to the village, where Eagle and Hawk were warmly greeted.
The human boy and the smaller child were whisked away by some of the younger Elven women to the bath rooms of their own homes, and fitted for warm, Elfin style clothing in colors that complimented their eyes, skin and hair. The baby was fitted into a pale golden dress that matched her spun gold hair, but he boy was fitted for tunics and leggings the color of ebony, a color the elves found odd, and out of place for a child, but let him wear anyway because it complimented his raven hair and violet eyes. The boy turned round and round, watching himself in the mirror.
“Wow, I really like this stuff. Its confy, and the black looks good on me.” he said, for a moment, sounding more like an adult than a child.
The women that surrounded him (and fawned on him,) laughed at his new found vanity, knowing it would fade with time, and shooed him out to play with the few other children around his age of the village and the two older “children” of the village, Eagle, and Hawk.
By this time, the young boy had forced the terrible memories to the back of his mind, he would revisit them later, when he could be alone. Then he could cry without shame. He was embarrassed over his earlier outburst and vowed silently to himself that such an episode would never happen again. This was his own strength shining through, and the twins, Hawk and Eagle, could see it clearly. They marveled at the inner strength of such a young child.
Hawk turned his thoughts inward reflectively; she said he would be one of my best students. He will excel beyond any of their expectations. I can see his determination, and his cunning ability to learn from the mistakes of others, not just his own. There is a passion there too, one that is harder to see, and a kind heart. He will not be cold like that Wolf woman, but he will not be like me. More like Eagle maybe, but still… different.
He is a quiet child and will be a quiet man, but I think he knows when to talk and when to be silent. He is embarrassed by his previous behavior but, he is wise, and strong, and carries himself with pride, though he doesn’t have so much as an ash left of his home to be proud of. He holds himself and moves with a confidence that is nowhere near cocky, like most young men and boys do. That is a bit odd. Even elfin boys have been known to swagger over a victory. He watched Taraon and marveled as he won the game he had been taught only moments before.
This is a strange child. One that wears black without prejudice, loves without shame and carries himself like a young prince. This child is wise beyond his years, and knows it is so, but does not flaunt his knowledge, only gives it when it is needed. Strange child, this Taraon, very strange indeed…
What Happened to Wolf
Meanwhile, the woman, or, Wolf, as she was called in these parts now, was struggling through one of the biggest blizzards in the history of the planet. She was sure of it. A huge gust of wind caught her unawares and she toppled over into the snow, and she finally thought about giving up and returning to the elves in defeat.
Her pride flared up then, and her anger. Had anyone been near they would have run away in terror. This time however, no one was around, and she was angry at herself. How could she just give up? Those villagers deserve a decent burial, well, burning. She thought to herself, I refuse to let a few snowflakes and a stupid little breeze stop me.
Just then another gust kicked up a flurry of snow, burying her, all the way to the top of her head. O.K so it’s a lot of snowflakes, and a little breeze. She amended, standing slowly. Then, another gust hit her hard and actually picked her up off the ground, tossing her at least a good three feet into the air. It deposited her roughly, on her butt, in the snow ten feet away.
She knew it was stupid, but she yelled at the sky, cursing the storm, “O. K!! I GET IT, IT’S A BIG STORM!!!! Now LEAVE, ME, ALONE! YOU STUPID CENORIA!!!” She tried again to stand, and was again assaulted. “Stupid, idiotic, wasted,” she mumbled to herself as she tried to walk, “OUCH!!!” Her ranting was interrupted when she tripped over a boulder that she was sure hadn’t been there a minute ago, “BERTHO!!” and fell on her pretty little face.
Now she was really angry. She let out a foul stream of curses that only the sailors knew, and a few that weren’t as potent, at the sky, “You good for nothing, worthless, idiotic piece of …!”
Again her tirade was cut short, but this time it wasn’t the storm. A distinctly masculine voice behind her said quietly, “So, Wolf, now I’m worthless, eh?”
This voice was smooth as velvet and warm as a summer’s day, but held within it a subtle menace, and the promise of frost.
Wolf turned slowly, recognizing the speaker before she even moved, “God of the storm,” she said clearly, “I should have figured you would have been punishing me on purpose for something or other.”
The god laughed. “Something or other?” he grew angrier as the reason for her punishment grew clearer in his mind, “Ha!! Try everything or other! Woman, you spited me! Me! A god! Shunned me and pushed me away! All I wanted was your company, and your affection! I did not want your heart, or your body, like the mortals did, I wanted your respect and still you did not speak with me. You want me to just forget that?!!? I think not!” He had really worked himself up this time.
Wolf looked perplexed and not at all disturbed by his anger. In fact she ignored it completely, focusing instead on one sentence in particular, “Why did you want my respect, Arth`on? You are a god! I am a mere mortal to your farseeing eyes, so why me? Why my respect?”
The god stared at her in a way that really irked the woman before him. It was a look that said, how stupid are you anyway? You really should know the answer to this question. She glared at him, somehow wishing that she could make him melt into a puddle of hot guy with her will.
“Do you not know? Really?” he asked quietly, hoping to win her back. I suppose making her mad wasn’t such a good idea…of course I didn’t mean to make her angry…
She shook her head, “No, I really don’t know.” she admitted. “Honestly I thought you were just like the rest of them.”
“Them?” he prodded.
“The male species.” she said with a sigh. “I thought you wanted my body, nothing else. I didn’t know you wanted my respect.” This was as close to an apology as she would ever get with a god. Or anybody else for that matter.
An awkward silence followed her declaration, “You did not answer my question.” she said after a while, prompting him to answer.
He sighed, “It is cold here, come with me to my realm. It will be far more comfortable for both of us.”
Her eyes narrowed suspiciously, “Why can’t you just get rid of the storm around us?”
“The storm is not entirely my doing.” he stated simply, “There is strange magic afoot, and it is older than I am.” his head tilted to the side in thought, “ In fact, the magic I am sensing is a lot like yours.” he turned to her, wondering, “ But this magic does not come from you.” He continued on quickly at the hope in her eyes, “Or from any of your kin.”
She stared at him, now emotionless, and cocked an eyebrow, as if waiting for him to continue.
“Whoever it is that wields this magic is a True Master, like you, and they are good at hiding themselves.” His brow furrowed in concentration, and then frustration, “Really good.” he mumbled.
“Should I go hunt him down Arth`on?” she said mischievously, a death grin twisting her features. “I could use the exercise,” she said in wheedling tones, “and the practice.” she grumbled.
This last part she said more to herself than to him, but after knowing her for most of her life, the god was more than used to her habits, split - personality, and more - than - a - little - psychotic, nature.
“No,” He shook his head, and she turned to glare at him. “Not yet.”
She shrugged, indifferent, and shivered violently. “ Is your realm warm?” she asked the god, half of her hoping he’d say no while the other half would have crawled into bed with him just for warmth. After all, it’s not like he’s ugly… she thought, as a matter of fact he’s pretty good looking.
Arth`on smiled, amused at her mortal needs, and cocked an eyebrow at her, “Would you like to find out, Katakiara?”
She took no notice of the use of her old Elfin name, and wished he would just forget the thing, even though she knew he wouldn’t. “No.” she huffed in distain, “I would like you to tell me if it’s warm, and if it is, get me there quickly. BEFORE, Mengal comes calling.”
The god held out his hand and, rather hesitantly, Wolf took it, knowing that it was the only way to get to his realm. Arth`on grinned at her through the snow, “You know, Wolf, you are the only mortal that makes me happy, and you are the most morbid, mordacious, psychrophilic, pyromaniacal, and diabolical, Kender I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.”
Wolf looked a little confused. “Huh?” she blinked, “You lost me at morbid. If you want to insult me to my face, the least you can do is say it in a language I understand.”
The storm god looked incredulous, but answered anyway, reminding himself that he was far older than she was and knew more about her than she did. “I said you are the most morbid, purposely sarcastic with intention to wound peoples’ feelings, person, who loves and thrives in cool temperatures, is overly cruel, and has an uncontrollable desire to set things on fire.”
She looked shocked, “So I am. You pegged me exactly Arth`on. What about the last part though? The Kender part?”
The now frazzled god of the storm, just answered wearily, “That is what you are, Wolf, you are a Kender. It is one of the oldest races the world has ever known, and the most renowned. They were a very powerful people, Wolf. That is why you have the powers you do, and the strength of those powers along with them.” he risked a glance at the raven haired woman beside him.
Her jaw was hanging open in shock, and her eyes were lit with old pain and new understanding. Unaccustomed to seeing emotion on her beautiful, (and usually stoic complexion,) Arth`on turned away, blushing. Wow, he chided himself, that’s right, stupid; barge in on one of her rare moments of privacy why don’t you?
He could have smacked himself.
During this time they had been traveling through the realms of the other gods, the siblings of Wolf’s companion, and Arth`on was calling silent greetings to his family as he passed by. They returned the greeting along with an inquiry as to why the “evil mortal woman” accompanied him. He didn’t answer their questions.
Quite suddenly, they stopped, and Wolf almost fell over, but at the last moment, Arth`on caught her around the waist, and pulled her close to keep her from hitting the “floor” of his realm. She stared up at him in all her cold beauty, and he simply looked at her, his ever changing eyes turning a light shade of indigo. He pulled away from her gently, putting her back solidly on her feet, but she fell again into his arms. They both knew that she had fallen the second time on purpose, and neither said a word.
A Tough Act to Follow
When she looked away, Arth`on again put her back on her feet, and this time she decided to stand alone. Her eyes shifted unashamedly, abandoning the god in favor of his realm. It was the first time she had visited one of the gods of light, and she was curious in spite of herself. After all, the realm of the last god she had visited had been a bit, well dark.
Wolf looked around appreciatively at the beautiful surroundings, amazed that the god of the storm could create such beauty. They said he loved things that were exquisite, but WOW…the last god I saw had really bad décor!
As if he had he had been reading her mind, Arth`on asked conversationally, “So, who was the last god you visited?”
Wolf’s head snapped around as if she had forgotten he was there, which she had, just in time to see him lower himself gracefully into one of the most comfortable seeming chairs she had ever laid eyes on. It almost made her melt. For some stupid reason, she had a weakness, of sorts, for good looking men. He did that on purpose, she thought angrily, he wants me to want him!
Then, as he moved a bit to get comfortable, her thoughts betrayed her trust. And guess what? It’s working. The voice of her conscience was screaming at her, WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON ANYWAY?!?! And she answered herself easily, used to these self conversations. His.
She shook her head a little to rein her thoughts in and answered calmly, “The last god I “dropped” in on was….”
They were interrupted by a violent “knocking” on the god’s fabricated door, and a smooth voice asking for entrance.
Arth`on started to rise but Wolf held out a hand to still him. She knew that voice, but she didn’t know where from. She took a step toward the “door” and froze when she caught the scent of myrrh, fresh turned soil and death. Turning to Arth`on, she gestured toward the door, “May I?” she asked, indicating the yet unseen guest.
“Who is it?” he returned warily.
“An old flame.” Wolf said with a shrug and a devilish grin on her face. Giggling a little hysterically she said under her breath, “Quite literally.”
The storm god nodded. He didn’t really want to know.
Wolf looked down at her clothing, tugged loose a couple of vital strings that kept her top from falling off her body, and untied the string on the top of her leather shorts, making it appear as if she had just been about to have a little fun with Arth`on, who she turned to in a rush. “Whatever I do, just go with it ok?” she said, unbuttoning his shirt all the way and tearing it off of him. “Trust me.”
Watching his shirt go flying across the room he nodded, “Sure.” He didn’t think now was the time to ask questions.
Wolf turned back to the door and opened it herself, “The god of death.”
Arth`on heard the infliction in her voice and knew that her statement was not just a greeting, but an answer to his earlier question. He was a little freaked out; she just dropped in on the god of death?!!? Then he got the pun; dropped in, on the god of death. She had died once.
“My lovely Fangora,” said the god of death, “What are you doing here love?”
Arth`on could not see his guest’s face but he assumed that Wolf, was grinning like the devil.
“Oh, I wanted a little fun,” she said coyly, looking over her shoulder at the seemingly prostrate Arth`on. Turning back to the god she said, “I could ask you the same thing, Mengal, what are you doing here?”
The god slid past Wolf, making a show of getting through the door. He pushed hard up against her purposely, and she pushed back against him, just as hard. The result sent him into the room faster than he would have liked.
Arth`on almost got up, but on a signal from Wolf, he stayed seated comfortably. “You did not answer her question, Mengal.” he said coldly, turning his eyes, now an intimidating ice blue, on the god of death.
“I heard she was in the neighborhood,” Mengal shrugged indifferently, “Thought I would repay an old debt.”
Wolf pretended to be clueless while stepping backwards into a duelist‘s crouch, belying her ignorance, “Old debt?”
Arth`on had an uncomfortable feeling that he should duck and go for cover.
“Oh, don’t you remember?” the death god asked innocently, while playing idly with one of the most valuable of Arth`on’s small statues, his back to both Wolf and his host, as he meandered around the room. “You set me on GodFire.”
Wolf’s premonition was proved next. She easily ducked the black bolt of GodFire that Mengal sent, almost lazily, her way, and shot back, purposely missing. She did not want to kill the god of death.
Mengal looked puzzled, “You do not wish to kill me.” he said, cocking his head to the side. “Why not?” he turned his disturbingly solid red cat eyes on her, demanding an his answer.
Wolf loosened up a bit, but remained guarded. “Why?” she returned, almost sarcastically nonchalant. “There is no need to kill you.” she shrugged. “The only reason I set you on fire in the first place, is because I did not want to be crowned as queen of the dead and damned, and you insisted on forcing my hand. I found out about your little coercion and I was royally ticked.” she said, “No pun intended with the royally thing.”
“I see.” the god whispered, more to himself than anyone else.
Both Wolf and Arth`on could clearly see he was having trouble wrapping his head around the idea that someone would NOT want to be a ruler of the dead and damned.
Wolf spoke up, not wanting to see the god really angry, “It was not that your realm did not please me. Is was not that you did not please me, as a matter of fact I thoroughly enjoyed both, it was simply the fact that I have a hard time staying in one place and I do not like to be forced to do things.” she said gently, stepping quietly to his side and taking his hand, “I was angry, and I would apologize for setting you on fire and blocking your way to the other gods if I were any other woman, but I am not, and you know that.”
The god took her chin in his hand and looked into her eyes searching for the sincerity he needed. He found it. He found something else in her gaze as well, something he would never forget. In his search for sincerity he had seen that she had loved him, and that his spell of coercion had been a betrayal for her that she could not forgive, and it haunted him.
“I will go.” he said, his tone more resigned than it had ever been. Then, releasing her chin, he stroked her pale cheek softly, his eyes glazing over and turning black, in remembrance of some forgotten memory, and smiled, finding it pleasant. “Good- bye, my lovely Wolf, I will see you again someday.” The use of her chosen name baring testament to the fact he was letting her go.
Arth`on looked on in shock as the most cold hearted god he had ever seen, dissolved in a cloud of black smoke, that smelled, for once, more like sadness than death, without causing a mess, O.K what in the name of all the nine hells in his realm just happened?!?!
His thoughts turned slightly selfish, well, THAT is going to be a tough act to follow, they loved one another and everything, what chance do I … A strange sound assaulted his ears and violently, he ripped his gaze from the spot Mengal had disappeared from. Wolf was … Crying? She had doubled over and spilled to her knees, as if she had been punched, her entire body trembling and racking with repressed sobs.
Arth`on didn’t think twice, actually he didn’t think at all. He knelt on the floor in front of her and simply opened his arms.
Blinking back tears in order to see him, Wolf looked into his eyes, the sadness unwilling to hide, and slipped into his welcoming arms. Arth`on clutched her tightly as she clung to him, both holding on to one another as if a raging sea were trying to tear them apart, and rocked slowly back and forth. He kissed the top of her head, and held her silently, knowing somehow that words would only hurt her more, even if they were well intended.
He stroked her hair and closed his eyes, silently asking his brothers and sisters to give him some of their strength so he could help her. He knew he was not strong enough to do so. He had been battling the unknown mage for control of the current weather for three days now and he was very near spent.
His siblings gave their support, but making it clear that they did this for him, not her as they did so. Another supporter lent strength as well. Mengal gave as much strength as he could give without falling flat on his face, pouring it all into the other god as though it was wine being poured into a cup. Arth`on, in turn, poured it into the failing girl in his arms.
Wolf, Kender and mage of the century, Katakiara, gentle lover to an elven prince, and “Blood” Fangora, cold beauty warrior of the god of death, fell asleep in the strong arms of Arth`on, the god of storms, her first real friend since the death of her elfin love, and slept soundly for the third time in her life.
Girl, You Got Some ‘Splainin’ To Do
Wolf awoke several hours later, feeling drained, but rested. More so in fact, than she ever had in her life. Looking around as she sat up, she noticed the room. It was just as beautiful as the rest of the storm god’s realm, but more inclined to comfort than rarity.
Standing up, she noticed her clothes, or, rather, lack, of them, and almost shrieked. She tended to be a glutton for punishment, and should not have been surprised, but, she had trusted Arth`on, and did not like the situation she was in.
The cold - beautied Kender was no longer wearing her coveted leather. Instead, she was garbed, rather lavishly, in black silk and her long tresses fell down her back in soft waves. Raven’s wing black, it glowed faintly in the dim light of the room. Well, this is a fine kettle of fish, she thought humorlessly, now, where are my clothes?
Almost as if in answer to her thoughts, a woman appeared at the door, holding a bundle of black material. Wolf hated her at once. Well, she did until the golden woman spoke.
She was of average height, her golden dress clinging almost lovingly to her full but petite figure. She was a golden girl, with long, honey colored locks that fell to her knees and gold - flecked amber eyes that practically radiated warmth and kindness. The girl’s skin virtually glowed. Wait a minute…It did glow! A soft golden light emanated from the skin the olive color of the Greeks.
Wolf almost had a coronary when she recognized the other girl. She decided then to be a little more charitable. After all, Beth`ania was the goddess of life…
“Hello Katakiara,” Beth`ania said kindly, “Do you feel better?”
Wolf’s response was sharp, meant to be harsh, and a question, “Did you undress me, Beth`ania?”
The goddess decided to play the game too. “Please call me Beth.” she said. “I am Arth`on’s mother.” she declared with a sweet smile, “It is good to see that you are well again.”
“You did not answer my question, Beth.” said Wolf acidly.
“You did not answer mine, Aki.” the goddess answered frostily, growing tired of the other woman’s hostile insolence.
Wolf sighed in vexation, “Yes. I do feel better. Now, DID YOU UNDRESS ME?”
“Yes, I did.” Beth snapped, “And you could be a little more grateful for my kindness, you little brat.” and stomped out in a huff.
In her anger Beth shoved past Arth`on without recognizing him, slamming him quite forcefully against the wall, and kept stomping down the hall, muttering a string of curses in a language that had long since died on the lips of men.
Arth`on on the other hand, was vaguely shocked. His usually good natured mother was angrier than he had ever seen her in his life. That did not bode well for Wolf. He burst into his room without knocking, half expecting to see his friend splattered all over the room, and fried to a crisp.
Instead, he found her standing in front of the mirror, halfway undressed, and trying to put her hair back up.
“Sure, you can come in,” she said sarcastically, when she saw his reflection in the mirror, “I don’t mind. It‘s not like I‘m trying to get dressed or anything.”
Arth`on blushed crimson, and when she didn’t try to redress, he pulled the nightgown back over her pale shoulders HIMSELF. Changing the subject quickly, he said, “My mom called you Aki,” It was a statement.
“And Mengal called you Fangora.” he said.
“Yes.” She didn’t like where this was going.
“Yet the elves call you Katakiara,” he continued.
“Yes.” she replied, “Where are you going with this?”
“I’m not done yet,” he stated, holding up a hand as if to hold her back, and sitting on the disheveled bed, “And now, you are called Wolf.” he said quietly, “Now, I am finished.”
“What do you want to know, Arth`on?” she said sharply, “Just spit it out already. Say your piece, or leave.”
“What is your story….” he didn’t know what to call her now.
She sighed, “If I told you I didn’t have one you would call me a liar, wouldn’t you?”
The tables had turned, and now he was the one giving one word answers. “Yes.”
“And you’re just gonna’ sit there and stare at me until I tell you, arncha?”
“Yup.” He sat back on the bed, prepared to wait as long as it took, and got comfortable.
“I hate you a lot right about now, do you know that?” she said exasperated.
He grinned, and shrugged, “I know, but, you’ll get over it I‘m sure.”
She glared at him. “I really don’t like you.”
“My dear, you’re just wasting time.” he said with a smile. “I think you forget, that as a god, time is something I have in abundance, you are only helping me spend it more efficiently.”
Beth`ania launched herself into the room then, and ruined Arth`on’s devious plan.
“I am going to turn you into a toad, you little brat!” she yelled, “You are an ungrateful, insolent, rude, arrogant, stupid mortal, and I refuse to be insulted in the realm of one of my children!”
A golden bolt of GodFire smashed into Wolf’s chest, practically incinerating the silk robe that was over her leather top. She thought, relieved, Glad I managed to get that on before they showed up.
She collided with the wall, and the impact almost made her pass out on the spot. She kept her consciousness but, still, the blow sent her reeling to her knees.
Arth`on stared at the scene with wide, unbelieving, eyes, “What did you do to her?!?!” he bellowed
Wolf smiled as she wiped a smear of her own blood off of her chin. “Oh, not a whole lot.”
Her body slammed into the floor hard enough to crack her ribs, as she ducked the next bolt.
“I was just a little rude,” she continued, diving behind the chair in the corner for cover, “I had no idea she was so temperamental.”
She crawled out of the corner as the chair was seized by an invisible hand and flung away, missing Arth`on’s head by only inches.
He stood straight again warily. “Why did you have to go and, HEY!” he threw himself to the side just in time to miss getting impaled through the gut by his favorite sword. “MOM!” he yelled, “You’re mad at HER not me!”
Wolf tackled him while simultaneously punching him in the face, both saving him from another sporadic bolt of GodFire, and expressing her displeasure at his choice of sides. “Who’s side are you on anyway?!!?!?” she growled as she rolled across the floor.
“I don’t know!” he yelled. “She is my mom you know!”
Quite suddenly, Beth froze in place. Simply froze. Her eyes glazed over, and then, she just, disappeared.
Cautiously, Wolf and Arth`on poked their heads out from under the bed, and, finding the enraged goddess gone, sighed in relief and collapsed on the floor.
wonder what happened.. Arth`on thought to himself.
Wolf glanced at the door, I hope she doesn’t come back any time soon..
Arth`on glared at Wolf in a manner that told her he hadn’t given up on his quest for her story, despite the fact they both would have been in mortal danger only seconds before, “Girl, you got some ‘splainin to do.” he said.
She sighed, rubbing her forehead in vexation, and surrender, “I always do Arth`on, I always do.”
The Story behind the Names
Arth`on simply sat there, staring at Wolf in silence. Then, “Well?”
“You should probably get comfortable.” she said, “This will take a while. It’s a long story.”
Arth`on stood and offered a hand to help her up. “I have time, if you have breath.” he said softly, hauling her gently to her feet.
Though he held her tightly she almost fell. He hadn’t realized the extent of her wounds. She gave him a weak smile of appreciation as he helped her sit in the (magically,) now righted chair. Then, he sat himself on the bed, and waited. But he didn’t have to wait long.
“This is the story behind the names. Listen carefully, because I have never told this story, the story of my life, to anyone, and I do not intend to speak of it again, for fear of the demons it may resurrect.”
“I will listen.” he stated simply.
She began. “My story begins a long time ago; when I was only a child. My name then was Sara. I had a friend, Torin, and he loved me with every ounce of his young heart. We were so young, and he was the only person who loved me. I was an orphan, and I moved from family to family, never staying for long.”
“The last family I was with decided to move, with me, one night and I had only moments to say good bye. I gave him this key,” she said, taking it from a hidden pocket on her top, and showing it to him. “And I told him that when I returned, he would not recognize me, but the key would glow when I was near. I told him that it would never tarnish, not unless I died, that is, and he said he would keep it safe for me.”
She put it to her lips and fought the tears, continuing on in the face of her sadness. “I returned some years ago, to that village, and found him. Muerto - dead. In a tavern gutter, with it clasped in his hand. I buried him in the cemetery where I used to play, in the hiding spot only I could ever find, and moved on.”
“But that is out of order, I moved away with that family. They were abusive in many, many ways, and I longed to escape them. One fateful night I had my chance.”
“The Eliete attacked us on the road, and killed them all. The woman, the man, and the children. I was angry at them. I may have wished death on the man, and woman, but the children? They did not deserve such a death. I found the man’s discarded sword,” she held up a hand, “foolish, I know,” she said to the god with a grin, shaking her head when he turned his shocked gaze upon her, “But it saved my life. They took me in, but before they could get even two miles I escaped them, and stole away with some of their weapons. They pursued me. I ran as fast as I could, away from them and what is now the dark city.”
“I found myself in unfamiliar territory. I was coming to the end of my strength when up ahead, I saw a scene I will never forget.”
She paused, closing her eyes, remembering, a smile on her face, “The forest. I hadn’t thought I’d found the Anorakar, but as I ran beneath those beautiful branches, people began to appear from nowhere.” Her eyes came open suddenly as if she had been smacked, but the god before her could see that she was blind to the world he was in.
“They came out of the trees, the moss, the rocks, and the water, everywhere I looked the people were materializing. I slowed down, and stared in wonder as the fair folk of legend surrounded me. They asked me who I was, how I had found them, and if anyone had followed me.”
“I broke down crying, all the stress just too much for my young brain to comprehend, and told them that the Eliete had been chasing me.”
“They looked puzzled, and at the time I wondered why, I found out later, that the whole time I had been speaking Elfish, a language I had never heard before. To be precise I had been speaking what the elves refer to as “The Old Tongue,” it is sacred for the elves, and, as a human child, they wondered at my ability.”
“That night the elves protected me, killing the nine Eliete that I brought in my wake, and taking me in. I lived there, as an elf, for three years. They gave me a new name, Katakiara, Aki, for short, and throughout the duration of my stay, the Elvin prince, Dariun, and I had become great friends. We kind of, loved one another. He was killed on the day I used to call my birthday, when the drow came to raid the village one night.”
Arth`on interrupted, “The day you used to call your birthday?”
Wolf replied, “I do not know my real birthday, so they made one up for me. I do not celebrate a birthday anymore.”
“On with the story,” Wolf was trying to keep talking, because she knew if she stopped for too long she would never continue. “I left that day, to gather some information on why the Drow had attacked.”
“I found out that the Eliete had told their superiors about me before I could escape, and that the Drow had attacked to find me.”
“The elves went through Dariun’s things. Engraved on a wedding ring in his pocket, was my Elfin name.”
“I left. I was living in the wild as the mage Ashra when, four months later, the Eliete found me and took me away. I was trained as an Eliete for eight years. They also gave me a name. One I don’t often remember, BloodFang. I found that I had changed and again I escaped from them. Again, they came hauling after me. They caught me this time, and as you well know, the punishment for deserting the Eliete, is death. They took a silver sword to my neck, and I died.”
“That is when I met Mengal. El dio de muerte - the god of death. He took a liking to my battered soul, and I became his warrior. He also gave me a name, close to the one the Eliete had given me, “Blood” Fangora.”
“I became one of the undead for him, killing those who had cheated him once too many times, and those who had broken contracts, or deals with him.
“Mengal became my master, my savior, and my friend. He liked me for who I was and enjoyed my tortured soul’s attempt at rebirth. He taught me how to use my magic and made me into a True Master, taught me how to control it.”
And with these words she gave a demonstration of her magic. At a gesture, the pale skin of her left hand was consumed by a blue flame; it licked at her wrist but moved no further than there, and no further than her fingertips. A tear rolled down her cheek, and froze halfway to her chin. She clenched her fist gently, and the flames disappeared into her palm. “I had never been able to control my magic before, it, came out in powerful bursts that even Mengal had a hard time controlling.”
Arth`on touched the tear, and held the frozen droplet in his palm; staring at it in wonder.
Wolf saw, “It won’t ever melt.” She said distractedly, and then moved on with her story.
“He became my lover soon after, and we had a strange but reliable relationship. Despite my pathetic attempts at stopping it from happening, I came to love again.”
“As you heard from our lovely encounter with him earlier, he tried to coerce me into taking the black Throne of Death. I said I would feel better about it if he gave me my mortality back. He obliged happily, but he gave me the lifespan of an elf, in order to preserve me in life for himself.”
“But in the process of returning my mortality I saw through the coercion. As you can imagine, I was angry. That coercion was a betrayal that I could not forgive, and it broke my heart.”
“I set him on GodFire, and sealed his realm from the other gods temporarily, until I could escape. I never returned there.”
“You know I am a Danariun, so from my shadow I took my new name, Wolf. From then on, I have been a wanderer; and rouge for many years since then. I am also a ranger. That is how I came upon the village, and the children.”
She stopped and took a shaky breath, these last years had been rough on her body. It was her mind though that suffered the most; she was on the brink of insanity when she found the village. The Eliete were not the only ones who had destroyed the place, she had too. But it hadn’t been intentional. She had, in loosing control of her mind temporarily, lost control of her magic. Thank the gods no one had been left alive to kill; the resulting blast would have incinerated them.
The only survivors were Taraon and Shaya, and the god of death had protected them from the blast. It wasn’t their time, he’d said, and he had foreseen her out burst. Mengal took them away to his realm until the rubble had settled, and then placed them in a hidden hole in the ground for Wolf to find. He left his mark on them, a fading mark, just so she would know what he had done, but a mark none the less.
She told this to Arth`on in halting Elfish, unaware of the fact she was speaking another language, one she had ever been taught.
“I regained my sanity slowly. As the Eliete came closer, their aura affected me, it stabilized my brain and allowed me to think.”
She paused for a moment, drew a breath and kept on, “The explosion of my power had drawn them to me.”
“Something no one knows about them,” she said in a whisper, “is that they like magic. They are drawn toward it, and sometimes, if the magic is strong enough they will automatically go after it. Like iron to a magnet. They won’t even have to turn in the direction of the source, their bodies will just be drug backwards until they get there, and with my magic, as strong as it is?” she shook her head, “Honey, they never had a chance. They actually flew through the air and landed in the village. They had no say in the matter what so ever.”
Arth`on interrupted, “How did they come to follow you?”
Wolf looked at him skeptically but answered anyway. “Most of them didn’t survive the aftershock of my outburst, nor the lash out of wrath I set on them afterward, but those nine did. They recognize their own you see and when they found out it was me… I ran.”
As I was running I saw the edge of a dark whole, and without thinking I just dove in, and that’s how I found the kids.”
She smiled at the memory. “Thinking back on it, it was really quite hilarious.” laughing she said, “Can you imagine it? Me, who used to kill people for a living, and smack angry dragons across the face, diving head first into a dark hole in a strange place, without looking, like a rabbit running from vipers?” She clutched at her stomach, and fell over in the chair, laughing hysterically. All the stress had finally caught up to her.
Arth`on grinned wickedly. “Actually,” he said, “I can!”
She punched him in the arm affectionately, and they both collapsed, laughing harder than hyenas, and holding their ribs. By the time they settled down, tears streamed down their cheeks, and Arth`on felt as if his ribs had been pummeled by a troupe of traveling trees.
Wolf sat up slowly, “Wow.” she said, still chuckling, “I haven’t laughed this hard since Dariun accidentally turned his mother into a toad when he was ten!”
Arth`on gaped. “The elven prince turned his mother into a… a, a toad?” he stuttered. “Are you sure it wasn’t a frog, or, or a, a mouse or something?”
Wolf nodded, and bust into laughter again at his expression, “Lady Elestruial, turned into a TOAD!!!” she shrieked, “A TOAD!!”
Arth`on tried to imagine a ten year old child turning the most beautiful woman in existence into a toad…and went head over heels laughing. “A toad!” he choked out, “How’d he manage that?!”
Wolf tried unsuccessfully to catch her breath, “Alchemy… experiment…
gone…wrong…” she gasp. “He always hated alchemy.” she explained, “You know what he did when he was working with Alazir?” she snickered. “He blew up the whole room!” she laughed, “It was so funny when he came out.”
Arth`on looked at her quizzically, “Why? He was o.k. wasn’t he?”
Wolf kept laughing. “Oh, Alazir, was fine, totally untouched by the blast, but Dari?” she laughed harder. “his hair was charred, and sticking up straight in all directions,”
“His skin was sooty, and he was missing his eyebrows.” she laughed again, “It was so funny, because he had this look on his face,” she shook her head, “of total shock, like this,” she showed him, “Alazir was so calm and Dari could only blink. He was in a total daze. It took him a year and a half to get his eyebrows back and during that whole time he never figured out what he did wrong.”
By this time Arth`on was laughing so hard he actually fell off of the bed, and rolled across the floor. Wolf was rocking back and forth on the edge of the chair, with her arms wrapped around her middle, laughing so hard, she thought she was going to explode. Then she, too, fell down, and started rolling across the floor.
Five minutes later they finally escaped their hysterics.
Wolf groaned, “Ohhhh, my ribs hurt soooo bad.” she sat up on the floor, “Ooo, owie,” she moaned, “Are you o.k.?”
Arth`on lay flat on his back, and now he turned just his head to look at her, “I haven’t tried to get up yet,” he said truthfully, “soooooo, I have no idea.”
“ I think you have a good idea there, Tex,” she replied, and so saying she simply flopped over backwards and lay spread eagle on the floor next to Arth`on. For a moment, they lay in silence.
The real world came crashing back on her then with all the subtlety of a tsunami, “Oh boy.”
Arth`on looked over at her again. “What?”
Wolf felt as if all the air in her lungs had just fled in terror, “The story.”