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 Post subject: The Crizma ~Chapter 6 is in! Muwahaha!~
PostPosted: January 8th, 2006, 4:10 am 
Balrog
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This is a book I am starting, well actually a series of them, and it is of my own creation, not a true fanfic. Hope you enjoy, and feel free to be a critic, but be kind *sweet, innocent, puppy-dog-eyed, smile* I shall post it one chapter at a time.

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Chapter 1
The history and layout

Loranka was a rich growing land ruled by an aging king, its villages suffering from attacks and raids, supposedly brought on by the neighboring kingdom of Roshkar, a barren land of charred fields black forests and dragons, controlled by the Lord Silom. Lord Silom was a reckless and restless dark lord, who had seen ages move past him while he was yet young, for he was of a race of immortal called the Roshneh. It was long believed, yet unproven, that Silom wished to overrun Loranka and submit its people to slavery in Laranka’s rich mines and fields for the gain of his own wealth. The king of Loranka, Lord Corosom, was wise and old, older than anyone of that land, being of the long living race of the Shiraso, and knew of its secrets, ancient and powerful. One source of Loranka’s power to hold out against Lord Silom and his willing advocates, was a single stone. It was more so a rock, smooth and eerily blue, fitting in the palm while round in shape and wound in trails of silver metal, holding a power beyond the use of an average human. They called it the stone of Crizma, an ancient land long lost, of which the tales speak of a queen named Crizmaleh who mastered the stone, but none could master it now, except her descendants, who had long since vanished, and The Crizma came into the keeping of Lord Corosom. It was housed in the dungeons of Lokarain, Loranka’s city palace, which was home to Lord Corosom.

The King had two sons, to whom he entrusted the care of The Crizma, giving instructions that if the castle was to be attacked, the stone should be taken from the palace. The King’s sons, Princes Veldnor and Venaron were gifted with long life as their father was and were also greatly skilled in the wielding of their blades. Both were ruggedly handsome in appearance, having short brown scattered hair, though Venaron’s was more so below his ear, and stern, tanned faces set with gentle and knowledge filled green eyes. Venaron was the younger, being somewhat reckless yet with a good and caring heart, while Veldnor was the older and serious one, not as vulnerable to whims and fancies as his younger brother, and held the most responsibilities upon his shoulders and at times he’d appear cold hearted. They were at all times prepared to flee with The Crizma if anything were to happen, taking it through the land of Roshkar. Then it would be taken beyond, to the safety of Nolkarsey, a land of uncommon power, which offered sanctuary to those in need of safe keeping from evil.

Nolkarsey was home to the Nolkans, a long living race filled with the blessing of power to protect and defend. Yet Nolkans were rarely granted the privilege to leave Nolkarsey, as the Nolkan leaders feared it would put the safety of their blessed land at stake. This land was surrounded by a body of water called the Noleh sea, and separated from Roshkar by the swift and wide Noleh river, its wooded banks guarded by specially skilled Nolkan huntsmen; the Karask. The harsh Rosh desert surrounded Roshkar’s lands, while Loranka was circled by the common lands of Nalanar, an uncontrolled wilderness scattered by villages of strange races of humans, strange at least to the long-lived and immortal races. Loranka was also home to a family of dragons, as was Roshkar, but the Lorankan dragons were pledged to the service of the King, while Roshkan dragons were territorial and violent in their actions, targeting any who dared cross the borders of Roshkar and Loranka.

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Last edited by SI~Dhodrimme on January 24th, 2006, 11:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: January 8th, 2006, 4:12 am 
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Chapter 2

Under siege

"Take the Crizma and leave the castle!" Lord Corosom ordered to his older son, Veldnor, handing the dungeon keys to him as the sounds of metal clashes and battle cries filled the halls of Lokarain, evidence of a wall breach.

Veldnor’s ever stern face took on a more worried look as he grasped his father’s shoulders and gave him a gently shake then an embrace as a sign of farewell.

"Take care of yourself, father, though I would rather be by your side to fend of these vile Roshneh attackers" he spoke as he released Lord Corosom from his firm grasp.

Lord Corosom smiled at his son, with a look of pride through his tear brimmed eyes. "It is your duty, as well as your brother’s, to keep The Crizma safe from the hands of the enemy. I am old, older than I believed I would live till, and have done what I have come to do. It is your duty to now take lead by keeping safe what keeps this land alive. With The Crizma in your care, full control will not fall into the hands of Lord Silom. Go now and never look behind, for this is what has to happen, Veld my son."

Veld nodded firmly to his father though on the verge of tears as he believed this would be the last time he may see him alive. Saluting to Lord Corosom as a soldier obeying orders, he rushed through the dungeon entrance and clanged the door shut behind him, bolting it tightly. His heavily booted feet, loudly sounding in the dank space, nearly drowned the sound of the enemy rushing into the hall he had left, and the clanging of the guards’ blades as they desperately tried to fend off the enemy. He met up with his younger brother, Venaron, who now looked somber compared to his chipper carefree way about life.

"Ven, you have the first key, do you not? We must make haste, they are already attempting to break in the door above!"

Ven looked at his brother, who had now resumed his stern expression, and nodded numbly, fumbling with a key. He unlocked and heaved open the door before them and they swiftly rushed in and closed it behind them, then turning around, they faced the winding stairs and began striding down, skipping steps in their haste to make time against the enemy.

Veld nearly rushed headlong into the next door, as he hastily took out the keys. They heard the door they had just left shatter under the pressure of the pounding and shut the third heavy iron clad door, bolting it and lowering the steel bar in place. After turning down several different halls, Veld and Ven rushed through the last door, and when they entered the room, they stood in awe as they had always done, gazing with respect at the item they had been charged to protect.
The Crizma sat on a satin pillow supported by a pedestal in the center of the small, yet respectively decorated room. It glowed eerily, lighting the silver veins wound around, apparently sensing the battle within the castle, yet unable to be of much help, as it had not the proper hands to hold and control its power.

Veld respectfully lifted The Crizma and it ceased glowing, though its silent power still defended the land of Loranka, and placed it in a velveted bag, then laid that in his satchel. With the satchel slung over his shoulder, Veld felt the new burden physically as well as mentally, and he looked to Ven.

"Pray we make it, brother, for what we have before us, I fear, will be the most difficult challenge we could face."

Ven nodded silently and clapped a supportive hand on Veld’s shoulder, "Together we’ll carry out as commanded, and we shall make our father proud."

Veld smiled at his brother’s enthusiasm but quickly grew serious again as the third door made a resounding crack; the perimeter was breached. They rushed out the opposite door and ran down the hall, then came to a concealed door and opening that, revealing the murk laid moat before them. Ven handed Veld his pack then lowered himself into the water and reached up, taking the pack, and the satchel containing The Crizma as well.

Veld waited till his brother reached the other side then he himself swam across and together they stood on the bank and looked back towards the castle, the towers of which had been put on fire.

A lump caught in Ven’s throat as he tried to speak, "I suppose… this is farewell to our home, then…"

Veld’s face was stern as he hid his emotions, choosing to weep inwardly for all dear to him that they were now to leave. "We should move on, before they discover what is missing…" Saying this, he turned on his heels, taking the priceless burden back from his brother, and strode swiftly into the castle grounds forest.

Ven followed in silence, wondering how his brother could be so cold and unemotional at such a time.

---------------

Lokarain was seized; the Roshneh had over taken the guarded palace, and imprisoned the King. Yet what they had come for was missing. The enemy found the room empty and The Crizma missing, just as had been planned, and they reluctantly sent out a messenger to the Lord Silom, while they prepared a group to pursue The Crizma and those who carried it.

"Lord Silom is bound to have our hides for letting those two slip through our fingers," stated a soldier, "and that wench of his will skin us alive!"

"Mind your tongue or she’ll have more than your hide," snarled Captain Cronar, "The lady Sharaki doesn’t take kindly to being called improper names!"

The soldier shut his mouth and fell in line with the rest as they left the castle in search of the keepers of The Crizma.

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PostPosted: January 8th, 2006, 9:35 am 
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Not bad at all...of course, I'm not the best judge of books..;)

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PostPosted: January 8th, 2006, 11:17 am 
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^^ Thank you! but you're an excellent writer of stories!

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2006, 2:40 pm 
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Nice Job!

I am not a great judge of books because I have onbly read a total of maybe 10-15 in my life. (not ounting school books etc...)

But I liked it!

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2006, 2:44 pm 
Balrog
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Thank you ^^ I'll have to post more

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2006, 8:32 pm 
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Yes you will. After all you can't leave a story hanging. lol

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2006, 9:26 pm 
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Aww why not? Muwahaha. Anyway, here's the update. And I know, I know, cheesy death scene, but heh, I'll fix it someday.... -_-
-----------------


Chapter 3

Night fell as Ven and Veld gave into weariness, having mostly run all day through the forest, staying off the Main Road of Loranka, taking instead the paths of the Roke, a deer-like creature common to those woods.

"How far do you suppose we have come?" Ven asked his older brother.

Veld pondered a while as he sat wearily, setting his satchel down beside him carefully, his keen eyes keeping a watch through the dark night surroundings.

"Well, we’ve been traveling somewhat near the Main Road, heading West, of course, along it," He answered, running a hand through his short brown scattered hair, "I believe we’ve gone at least half way to the border of Roshkar, maybe more."

Ven sat in front of his brother, face drawn and weary and his voice filled with emotion and worry as he spoke, "I pray father is alright…It killed me to leave him undefended by my own blade. Perhaps the guards held them off long enough for…"

"I doubt the guards held up against the Roshnehs’ attack for long," Veld interrupted, with an unbroken tone, but when Ven looked into his brother’s greenish-grey eyes he could see the massive pain and burden that dwelled deep within him.

Ven bowed his head, strands of his hair drifted over his furrowed brow as he vanquished his mind of all doubt of his brother’s emotions, knowing well what he felt and that he kept it to himself. But how long can he hold? How long will the feeling of duty keep him going strong? Without his guidance I know I would be lost, he thought to himself as he watched Veld lay out a blanket.

"I’ll take first watch so you can get some rest"

Ven could hear the care in his older brother’s voice, though faint it may have been, and willingly obeyed, laying down wearily and swiftly drifting to sleep.



The morning sunshine streamed through the glorious forests of Loranka, and a golden mist seemed to hug the ground, flowing smoothly and ghost-like through the trees. What seemed more ghostly were two figures, striding through the forest, mist swirling to escape the quick pace of their heavily booted feet and gathering behind them, clinging to cloaks which made them seem like mere shadows.

Veld and Ven had started their journey again before the sky was even touched by the eerie twilight, tirelessly making a great deal of ground in the darkness of the early morning. They were silent as each calculated how far they had gone, and how much longer till they reached the perilous lands of Roshkar.

Veld clutched the strap of his satchel over his shoulder with one hand, while his other rested over the jeweled hilt of his father’s kingly sword.

His younger brother kept pace with him as he spoke, "We should be nearing the border, should we not?"

Veld nodded, though he neither spoke nor glanced away from the path ahead.

Ven suddenly stopped and turned his head slightly, as though listening for something.

"What is it?" Veld questioned in a harsh whisper, grasping the sword hilt firmly. He listened and he could hear a galloping horse, obviously weary, as its hoof beats were irregular and faltering.

Both brothers whipped around to face an oncoming rider, slumped over on his sweat soaked horse, dressed in the common hunter’s garb of Loranka. The horse stumbled and fell down, clumsy in its weariness, and dropping its rider. The steed grew frightened of the two cloaked men before him and ran off, leaving the man, who was now struggling to bring himself to his feet.


Recognizing him as a fellow countryman, Veld and Ven rushed over and caught him as he gave way to the severity of his wounds.

"Lord Veldnor…and Venaron" the man’s efforts to speak were cut off by a series of blood filled coughs, "my name is Renel. I came—to tell-."

Ven spoke to the man, applying pressure to his wounds to try to stop the endless flow of blood, "Take it easy there…try not to speak and we’ll see what we can do for you." He nodded to Veld and watched anxiously as his older brother searched a satchel for bandages.

Renel shook his head, "No, you must leave me, you have no time, they are coming..they—." He was seized by another series of coughs but managed to regain speech, "They have the King… he is still alive, in the dungeons…"

Ven spoke roughly, giving a look to his older brother, "Then we should go back and get him out of there."

Veld bowed his head, his stern composure weakening as he struggled with the decision to save his father or to continue as he was told and carry out his duty.

Renel struggled to his knees, pulling from Ven’s grasp, his face filled with pain and his voice with protest, "No, you can’t go back! They are tracking you…I barely managed to warn you…you must go on your way and make as much ground as possible." At this he doubled over, groaning in severe pain and giving in to his wounds, as his actions had taken too much toll on him.

Veld took hold of Renel and sat him back against a tree, while Ven hastily began to search out his wounds and strip the dirt cover shirt cloth from them.

Renel choked back blood and looked at them, an expression of pride on his face, "I am dying as I would have wanted…serving your father and doing my duty proudly… I—." His head drifted to the side and Renel spoke no more, his duty fulfilled and a look of peace and pride upon his worthy face as he passed on. Ven bowed his head and drew his sword, standing and saluting the expired soldier, as did Veld.


After having respectfully laid Renel to rest beneath the earthen forest floor, Ven turned to Veld, knowing very well what troubles lay beneath the leather-stern face.

"Shall we now go on our way or shall we follow our hearts and turn back, to avenge the killing of the innocent and the capture of our father," he questioned.

Veld bowed his head, looking to the freshly turned earth and spoke firmly yet not without emotion, "Let us die fulfilling our duty, and let us never turn from the challenges given to us, and may we never veer from our path." He brought his gaze to his younger brother’s troubled and questioning face, "We shall do as our father asked of us, and we shall take The Crizma to safety, then we may return and take revenge upon our enemies as is due them."

With this he slung the satchel over his shoulder and after saluting Renel’s grave once more, he turned and continued down the path of the Roke deer.

Ven followed in silence, knowing his brother was right, but almost hating him for making the decision to abandon their father.

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2006, 9:34 pm 
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The death sceen wasn't that bad...

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2006, 9:36 pm 
Balrog
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Yeah, wasn't that bad... lol Just wait until they meet Alsana ^^ get some excitement and humor in....

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PostPosted: January 9th, 2006, 9:58 pm 
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ok *waits*

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PostPosted: January 10th, 2006, 2:01 am 
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Muwahaha! Bring a woman into the deal and stir some trouble! *evil cackle of laughter* Read on, my little pretties, read on!

---------------------------

Chapter 4

"Duck!" Shouted Veld to his younger brother, as a black Roshkan dragon swooped in for the kill.

Ven threw himself to his back on the ground and swung his sword in time to slice into the dragon’s throat, then rolled out of the way as the dragon skidded heavily to the ground, causing the dark trees around to shudder. Ven got to his feet, his blade dripping with the black blood of the dragon, as he brushed the dirt from his clothes and smirked roguishly, "That was no duck, dear brother, I believe that was what they call a dragon."

Veld snorted but restrained laughter, "Why can’t you ever be serious when there’s a serious matter?!"

Ven smiled and cleaned his blade, "maybe if you loosened up you’d be more likable."

At the remark, Veld muttered a few of his own remarks, though not as polite as his brother’s witty responses. They had finally made it across the Loranka/Roshkar border and shook the horde of Roshkan soldiers off their trail, but were now plagued by the pesky and territorial Roshkan Black Dragons.

"If you hadn’t yelled out in ridiculous excitement at seeing water, we wouldn’t have attracted the dragons in the first place," Veld scolded his younger brother.

Ven smiled looking through the sweat clung strands of scattered hair, enjoyably unnerving Veld "But we handled it just fine, though I must say I did most of the handling that time."

Veld couldn’t help it anymore and gave a slight laugh, letting a side smirk break the surface of his taught expression as he shook his head at his brother. Ven clapped his shoulder, "there’s hope for you yet, big brother," he said as he slung his pack in place.



Veld glanced and shuddered at the black, charred like trees around them, with the brown-green moss hanging down, causing the dark forest to be even more eerie in appearance. Trying to shrug off the feeling of something always watching he clutched the strap of his precious cargo even tighter.

Ven seemed more at ease, striding somewhat carelessly and glancing around nonchalantly, seemingly enjoying the experience of going through a new land. "So you’ve been here before, right?" he questioned his brother.

Veld nodded briefly, "And believe me, it’s not fun if you run into the Karsh."

"What are they?"

Veld grumbled something about making too much noise, but answered anyway, going into detail and hoping to shut his brother up, "They are a sort of huntsmen type creature. They kill for fun and drain the blood from their prey while they’re still alive, drinking it raw right in front of them. Then they take your head and put it on display on trees, as a sort of warning to trespassers, adding eyeballs and the victim’s braided hair as a kind of decoration."

By the end of the description, Ven’s face had taken on a slightly paled complexion, and he was indeed silent as they walked, shifting his glance here and there.

After a while Ven glanced over at his brother and noticed a badly hidden grin on his face and stopped.

"Waaait…You were putting me on, weren’t you?!"

Veld burst out into a hardy laugh, quite fitting for his roguishly handsome features, even improving them.

The laughter surprised Ven, for he hadn’t heard his brother break silence or seriousness since they had left the castle.

"The Karsh only dwell in the Northern most parts, by the North Rosh Desert. We’re going West of course!" Veld’s words were occasionally interrupted by chuckles.

Ven shook his head and grumbled, though a look of relief had passed over his face. "I can’t believe you actually pulled that one over on me," Ven exclaimed, after finally bursting out in laughter then calming down.

His older brother grinned roguishly, "I actually enjoy laughing sometimes, you know. If I’m the one who’s playing the joke." He added the last part quietly, and Ven shook his head and chuckled.

They continued on through the dark and seemingly empty forest, though a bit quieter, realizing they had possibly sent out notification of their arrival for miles around with their rousing laughter.

Ven smiled to himself, So my dear brother has a heart and humor after all…I pray he will keep that and his duty driven sternness when he needs it.



They hadn’t gone far when they both began to feel as though they were being watched. The black trees prevented the light from the afternoon sun to illuminate the areas around them, elevating their uneasiness.

"Did you see that?" Ven whispered.

"See what? I didn’t s--."

Veld suddenly caught sight of what his brother must have seen; a figure, more so a shadow, drifting from tree to tree not far ahead of them. Not even their keen huntsmen’s eyes could tell what it was as it flitted forward like a ghost, ever nearing them. Each drew their swords, anxiously awaiting the oncoming challenge. As the figure came closer it became clear it was a cloaked hunter of sorts, though it seemed thinner and more agile than the average woodsman was.

Ven would have asked his brother if this were perhaps one of the Karsh, coming from the far North to sample royal blood, but even he knew this was no time for jests.

Veld was the first to step towards the steadily approaching figure, but it stopped fifteen feet from him and, to his surprise and Ven’s as well, bowed elegantly. They were frozen in place by this respective gesture, and were even more shocked when a womanly voice spoke out.

"Hail strangers to these woods! What may you be seeking in such a dark and dreary place filled with evil?"

They didn’t answer and the two brothers glanced at on another, as if in silent agreement to keep their tongues and hold their guard.

The woman persisted, "Have you no purpose in your traveling? Perhaps I can help you if you are lost. Or perhaps…" She brushed back her hood to reveal long deep chestnut hair, pulled back in a tie, and a kind sun darkened face set with knowledgeable brown eyes, somehow filled with wise, long age, though she looked not even above her late twenties. A slight scar bordered her firm jaw line, though not altering her fair features.

"I should introduce myself first," She continued, "I am Alsana of Nolkarsey." Saying this she bowed before the silent noblemen, who still had their sword drawn. She straightened up again and the silence grew, building like ice as Veld watched her coldly and sternly, though Ven was already beginning to loosen as his distrust began to drift.



"Cat got your tongue, eh?" Alsana stated wittily, trying to alter the deadening silence, which was enforced by Veld’s steadily observing greenish grey eyes.

Ven suddenly grinned and sheathed his sword, bowing with a flourish, strands of his hair drifting in front of his eyes. He tossed them back as he spoke, "We are pleased to meet you, milady. My name is---." He paused when his brother shot him a look, but continued, deciding not to tell this stranger just exactly who they were.

"My name is Ven and this is my brother, Veld." That shouldn’t be too much. No one outside the palace knows us by those abbreviated names, he thought to himself.

Veld cringed and his thoughts were the opposite, what if she’s a spy, and what if she’s heard the names before? Foolish Ven.

Alsana smiled softly in a strangely calming way, "It is a pleasure to meet you. Now where might you be heading? Perhaps I may help you, seeing as I know all lands nearly as well as the back of my hand."

Before Veld could spout out that it was none of her business, Ven, somehow set more at ease by the lady’s smile, spoke, "We are heading for your homeland, milady, to seek refuge from certain people." He told her no more, for even he knew that The Crizma should be kept secret.

Aslana’s face took on a slightly troubled look but she nodded, "I see." She knew they were holding something back, she could see it in their eyes, and the way Veld continued to glare at her, she knew he would not trust a soul, and there had to be a reason for that.

Ven looked at his brother, "Sheath your blade, dear brother, unless you have plans to slay a lady, and the action would be wholly unnecessary."

Veld reluctantly sheathed his sword, considering to himself, She seems kind enough, and she has the look of trustworthiness. And there was something in the way she looked at him, as though she knew his worries and knew the pain and burden he felt within himself, that strangely set him at ease.

Ven nodded, "Good, good. Now lady, if you have nothing else you must do, will you be so kind as to join us on our journey? Seeing as how you would know the way better than we."

At this, Veld could not hold his tongue, and took his brother aside, speaking in a harsh whisper, "Ven! You are forgetting we only have enough supplies for ourselves, maybe less, and that when we started out we swore not to take on strangers. Besides, it is too much of a risk for The Crizma."

"Then we’ll just keep the secret to ourselves, and insist she brings her own supplies, but she could be of use to us! Did you see her sword and the way she came upon us so swift yet silent? Perhaps she is one of the Karask, and as you know, their battle skills are beyond any found in all three of the neighbor countries." Ven argued.

Veld ran his hand through his hair, causing it to have an even messier appearance than before, "I suppose you could be right, but only this once! Just her, if she accepts, and don’t go spouting your mouth off!"

Ven smirked and nodded, "You got it, brother."



Alsana stood, with hands clasped behind her back as she strained to hear what the two were speaking of, though they spoke low and muffled, hard to make out, even for her highly attuned hearing.

They turned towards her, and though Veld’s face still held a stern look, his composure had loosened some, his nervous tautness gone, revealing his more attractive features. The severely ruffled hair added to the rugged look of his face, and Alsana thought it very fitting that he was the leader and more responsible of the two, as she could tell.

Ven spoke up, his boyish habits getting the better of him and forming a lazy smile, "I finally convinced my brother to allow you to come along with us, if you want to, that is, milady."

Alsana paused, as though thinking. I cannot return to Nolkarsey just yet, or I may be severely reprimanded for my leaving and bringing back unapproved strangers again, she thought to herself. Although something deep inside her, the premonitions common to all Nolkans, told her they would need her help and that if she failed this time, perhaps her very country may be at stake. She nodded briefly, accepting Ven’s offer.

"But please, calls me Alsana, and not ‘milady’. I am not accustomed to such formality."

Ven nodded, "As you wish, mil-…Alsana."

Veld cut their speech short, saying roughly, "We’re losing time and it’s already growing dark while we linger, making needless conversation." He walked off, with Ven muttering and following, and the lady taking the rear with her long, silent strides.

Alsana took note of how Veld tensely clung to the satchel over his shoulder, tapping his fingers against his sword hilt, while Ven strode beside him, with a jaunty, carefree, yet surprisingly silent step. She could tell they had something of importance, which they were trying to save from the hands of an evil, she also knew this evil was Lord Silom, and knew that she herself could defeat him if faced with a challenge.

Alsana knew many things without even being told, as her race was gifted with such knowledge. Little did she know, however, that there lay an evil behind this greater than even she, a wise and skilled Karask, could handle.

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PostPosted: January 10th, 2006, 7:20 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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Nice job! I like where it's going.

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PostPosted: January 24th, 2006, 2:25 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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...What's with the stall?

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PostPosted: January 24th, 2006, 5:28 pm 
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So sorry so sorry ^^ I needed to edit the format, and I've been delaying and all..... Here it is, Chapter 5! Muwahaha.... Oh and Jax, you might recognize the name of the valley, and also the description of the dragon and what not :p Yeah, I used them in our rp.... hehe.

--------------------

Chapter 5

Veld awoke in a cold sweat, not long after he had finally fallen asleep, unable to shrug the nightmarish thoughts of his responsibilities.

What if I fail? What if I let my guard down and The Crizma is taken? How can I live up to my father’s expectations? He tossed and turned on his bedroll, his thoughts flitting from one thing to the next. What would have happened if I had gone back to save father? What if The Crizma was missing and I had fallen asleep, leaving it unguarded?

At this sudden thought, Veld sat bolt upright, hand flying to his side where he had left the satchel. It was still there, safe and sound, but he looked to his right and saw his brother asleep.

I leave him on guard, and he has the nerve to fall asleep! He cursed out loud and a voice to his left called from the shadows.

"Can you not sleep?"

He froze, his hand nearly going for his sword, but remembered the woman’s voice was that of Alsana, the lady with whom they had now been traveling with for three days, though in near total silence.

Realizing Ven had left her to guard, Veld growled low and stood up, pulling his cloak on as he walked towards the voice. He sat down opposite the woman, who was sitting against a tree, arms folded before her and booted feet stretched out and crossed, one over the other. Veld somehow felt more relaxed and he nodded in answer to her question.

"Yeah… I have a lot of things on my mind."

Alsana looked at him and gave her head a slight tilt in question, "Care to share, or would you rather not? Seeing as how you really don’t know me."

He didn’t answer, preferring to set his troubled gaze to the ground.

She nodded.

"I’m sorry if I make you uneasy, but time will only tell if you can truly trust me or not. I won’t push the subject."

Veld looked up, and for once didn’t glare at her, but acknowledged her careful gaze, though he quickly set his stern look back in place and muttered, "I better wake Ven… We should get moving again."



Alsana watched as Veld walk towards his brother, the early light of day silhouetting his broad form, and she shook her head, talking to herself.

"He’s a stern, stubborn one, but truly a great warrior, to have come this far and gone through so much and still hold to duty."

She smiled suddenly and stood, tossing her pack over her shoulder and watching as the two brothers did the same, having affixed their bedrolls.

Ven, rubbing sleep from his eyes, smiled and nodded his head to Alsana as she approached them.

"So, who’s up for a sight seeing tour?" She grinned jokingly, "I hear people these days are just dying to get a glimpse of the infamous Black Dragon named Terinor."

"Who’s that?" Ven questioned.

Veld turned with a grim expression and listened as Alsana explained.

"He’s the most territorial dragon in these parts, and he concentrates on a strip of land called Blind Man’s Bane, because as they say, you would have to be either insane or blind to enter the area."

"Then why are you leading us there?" Veld snapped.

"Because it’s the only way, unless you wish to run into the Karsh trying to go around the north way," she responded, in a matter of fact tone, "or die in the South Rosh Desert, leaving your sorry bones to be bleached by the scorching sun. Nay, we would be much better off trying to avoid the eyes of one dragon."

Ven nearly laughed as he turned to his brother and shrugged. "She knows what she’s talking about, so why not put a little trust in her?"

Veld sighed and nodded, "Alright, alright, though I really don’t enjoy the idea of becoming catered dinner to a spoiled dragon."

Alsana laughed slightly and shook her head "I wouldn’t let that happen. I’d be out of company for the journey!"

Ven laughed and clapped his brother on the shoulder, "She’s got a point there!"

Veld shook his head, though a grin had escaped and spread across his face, and he glanced towards Alsana.

She smiled, and caught his glance as they turned and headed towards Blind Man’s Bane.




Alsana pointed to smoke rising from a row of dark holes in a peak across the barren valley they had reached shortly after a brief mid day meal of dried fruits and meats. In a whisper she explained.

"Those are the dwellings of Terinor’s brood." She then pointed to a dip in the mountain range, "Best we keep as far left of the caves as possible and cut through the small pass over there."

They were hidden at the edge of the forest, looking over a mile wide stretch of barren brush land, cleared by the dragons’ flame. The land formed into a series of small mountains, with patches of trees scattered here and there.

Veld nodded at her suggestion. "I would say walking carefully across this valley would prove more efficient than running, since running objects are better seen, and if we run and become spotted, then we won’t have energy to fight back."

Alsana smiled and nodded. "Very good. You know the way of the huntsman very well."

Ven cut into their conversation. "But what do we do if he does spot us? I doubt our swords would do very well if he is used to snapping everyone’s heads off as easy as eating a carrot, and his own armor is tougher than bull hide."

"I have my ways," Alsana stated, looking across the valley to avoid their questioning gaze.

Veld did not question, knowing if she had her secrets, she had a right to keep them just as much as they had a right to keep theirs.

"But how could you have a weapon with such power and sharpness? He must be an unbelievably ancient dragon, unlike the ones Veld and I ran into earlier."

Veld shot his brother a look and Ven shut up.

Alsana glanced at the both of them and took the first step from the forest edge. "If he comes, and we aren’t even half way across, you head back for the forest, and if we’re more than half way, make a run for the pass and the trees there. There should be abandoned caves small enough that dragons won’t be able to follow you in."

Veld nodded firmly, but Ven persisted.

"And what about you?"

"I’ll be fine as long as you two stay out of the way."

He bit his tongue and gave a hasty look to Veld, who raised a brow but remained silent.

They followed as Alsana continued walking calmly forward, the charred remains of grass crumbling beneath their step.



They had barely crossed half way when there came a blood curdling screech from the direction of the caves, causing all three to jump in surprise.

"Run for the pass!" Alsana yelled to the brothers as she spotted the shape of a Black dragon bearing down on them.

Veld hesitated as Ven disregarded Alsana’s orders and drew his sword. The older of the two muttered a few words resembling curses, and grabbed at his brother’s arm to pull him along.

"You fools!" Alsana barked, unsheathing her large, intricately designed broad blade, "Get down! Low to the ground, now!"

Already the large form was swiftly nearing, the great web like wings swooping and causing a shadow to creep at great speed along the ground below.

Veld did as ordered, pulling Ven down low with him, though the younger growled and muttered that he’d rather be getting his head snipped off than being devoured chunk by chunk from the back. A frown deepened in Veld’s face as he saw Alsana standing to face the oncoming dragon. Ven struggled against his brother’s grasp to get up, but in vain and he remained there, frozen in place as everything happened in near a split second.

Alsana looked sternly towards the Black dragon and lifted a hand, palm outwards, as she closed her eyes.

The dragon suddenly screeched in pain and plummeted to the ground, clawing at its head and hitting it against the ground, as though trying to rid itself of her hold against him.

Standing swiftly, Veld, always quick to think, flung his own sword into the dragon’s open mouth as it screamed, and it fell limp, blood flowing steadily from its throat and through its mouth.

Ven grinned in a relieved manner and scrambled to his feet. Striding over to the dragon, he stood beside its still gaping mouth, "Well, you should get a portrait done with this one, Veld! You’d be the talk of all the countries, killing the one and only Terinor!"

Veld shook his head seriously, reaching into the dragon’s mouth and fishing out his sword, "It wasn’t I who brought the great beast down. It was Alsana, though I am puzzled as to how she did it."



Meanwhile, after Alsana had released her mind hold on the dragon, she stood stock still, staring beyond the corpse and the two men, a troubled look on her face.

Ven turned to her after nodding in agreement with his brother. "Indeed Alsana gets the credit!" He suddenly noticed the troubled look on her face and became worried. "What is it? The dragon is dead and we can go on. Didn’t you say he was the only thing that would stand in our way of the pass?"

She continued to stare beyond them but shook her head, "No, that wasn’t Telinor…"

"What?!" Veld snapped.
Alsana looked at him, a serious and tense expression on her normally calm face, "I would say now would be a good time to run."

Ven looked at his brother questioningly but Veld’s gaze was caught up in Alsana’s trance like eyes.

She suddenly snapped out of it and gave them both a harsh look, "Run! Before you get your hides scorched alive!"

Slamming her blade into its sheath, she took off running for the mountain, and the other two came to their senses and followed her as fast as they could, their cloaks swirling behind in a smoke like wave.

Suddenly a shadow, almost like a ghost, was cast from somewhere above, and a low rumble shook the valley.

Alsana stumbled back and shielded her face with her arm as a wall of fire burst out in front of her.
Veld caught her from behind and steadied her, but she pulled away, turning to run in the other direction. To their dismay, walls of fire had surrounded them, and the circle was wide, but swiftly closing in.




Alsana immediately turned her attention to the sky, drawing her blade once more and the brothers followed suit. Ven pointed out a dark shape in the now smoke filled air, and took a bow from his back. She watched as he released an arrow, hitting the dragon in the throat area, but it clanged off and plummeted back down towards them.

Veld dodged the returned arrow and snorted. "Can this thing be defeated?"

Alsana choked in the building smoke, "He can be," She responded, but said no more as she took place in the center of the circle and raised her blade to reflect the sun. She directed the ray to Terinor, causing the massive dragon to be forced to fly lower to shake its vision back to normal.

Terinor rumbled and roared at the three trespassers of his territory and hovered in place, the mighty beat of his wings causing a wind to stir their hair and cloaks.

Alsana rolled out of the way as a stream of flame came pouring down, forcing Ven to leap back from the heat, while Veld held his arm up to shield his eyes from the brightness. They braced themselves for another blast, but Terinor landed before them, snorting steam from his black nostrils, and they had a first hand look at the various scars and scald markings of this ancient creature’s previous battles. His size was more massive than any dragon even Veld had seen, and he was black in color, his thick hide and scales having the appearance of boiled flesh.

Terinor’s jaws were jagged and housed enormous incisors, capable of taking up a human in one bite, perhaps two humans. The intimidating dragon paced towards them, calmly, enjoying his play with his newest victims, each step causing the ground to shiver.

Ven’s face paled and he stepped back slightly, while Veld stood his ground, his face stern and his stance battle ready, his kingly blade held proudly. Alsana’s expression tightened and she paled, but took a steady stepped forward, and Terinor snorted scorching steam, warning her not to test his patience for play food.

She shielded herself from the steam with her hand, and clenched her teeth as it seared the flesh on her palm. Standing with her shoulders straight in line, and her sword held low in her left hand, Alsana held out a slender hand, palm forward as before, and closed her eyes.

The dragon took on the look of a bewildered child as she poured forth her mind will, clenching her fist until the muscles in her forearm tightened and defined and her knuckles turned white.

Ven and Veld watched in awe as the ancient dragon’s bulky legs began to tremble, and the head to droop low.

Alsana shuddered and her own legs began to tremble as she dropped her sword, but she held her hand forward and remained with her eyes closed as she concentrated.

Terinor collapsed to the ground, trembling, his vocals rumbling in its last fiery protest, as the enclosing circle of his own fire began to consume him. Alsana released her mind hold on him, and stepped back, pale and shaken.




Ven rushed forward to support her and Veld picked her sword up from the ground. Alsana kindly accepted her sword back and sheathed it, but shrugged away from the support, clearing her throat of smoke build up.

"We should get out of here before we are consumed as the dragon was consumed."

Indeed, they could feel the heat and they now realized the circle had not much to constrict before all three were swallowed in its smoke fill depths.
Alsana motioned for them to follow her, and they did so, until they saw her head straight towards the wall of fire.

"Have you lost your mind? We can’t just walk through a wall of fire!" Ven spouted off.

Veld gave him a sharp look. "She must have a reason and a way, otherwise we wouldn’t even have made it this far."

Alsana nodded, smiling slightly and continued, and it seemed as though she stepped into the fire, but the flames around her subsided and retreated, leaving a path wide enough for them to walk through.

She waited on the other side as the two stepped out, Ven looking shocked and Veld as well, but with more of an impressed look on his face.

"How did you do that?" Ven questioned.

"With the power of the Nolkan. Many do not realize how powerful the mind really is, until they learn to believe, and the Nolkan have discovered this belief and mastered it." She answered with a smile, though her eyes showed weariness they hadn’t yet seen.

"It’s like magic!"

She shook her head at Ven, "No, far from it. Call it more like a miracle, but it really is the doing of the mind, and once you believe, you can achieve anything, though this must be done only for good, and never for your benefit alone."

"So the mind has the power to defeat evil, even though the enemy may be a thousand fold. If we but have the faith, it can be done," Veld pondered.

Alsana nodded, "But even I have not mastered all its secrets, and I haven’t yet been able to handle humans, because their minds are protected subconsciously and can rarely be affected. But let us end our discussion, for I believe it would be wise to leave this valley behind before nightfall."

She gave a little shudder and grinned in a playful manner, "they have the biggest mosquitoes in this valley that I have ever seen! And one night here, you’d wish you’d been eaten by the dragon!"

They laughed slightly and Veld shook his head, managing a smile and wondering to himself how she could keep such a light view on life with so much seriousness going on.

Fastening their packs firmly, they began the steady climb up through the pass, as a fresh breeze cooled their burns and refreshed their smoke filled lungs, and darkness hid their ash and blood covered appearance.

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PostPosted: January 24th, 2006, 6:29 pm 
Warden of the Knight
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Very nice. I usualy have trouble reading through long things but it was very readable for me and that says something. lol

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