The gods of Nevre: The Burning Ice – After

Ana sat on the frozen ground of the ice plains. The heat she was radiating had called some of the animals to her. The animals were adapted to the cold, like her, but unlike her they needed warmth as well. She didn’t need the warmth she radiated, but she didn’t want to spend the night alone. The animals of the ice plains were better than nothing.

Reaching out a hand Ana cooled it so that it wouldn’t burn skin and petted an ice rabbit. “Hello there, friend. How are you?”

The ice rabbit couldn’t respond to Ana, she knew that, but she just wanted to talk, she didn’t care if conversation actually flowed.

A small voice piped up from the ice rabbit. “Warm now that you’re here. Who are you?”

Stifling a gasp with her other hand Ana stared at the ice rabbit. “I’m Ana, The Burning Ice.”

“Oh.” The ice rabbit blinked at her. “I’m Thrum.”

“Nice to meet you, Thrum.” A smile spread across Ana’s face. “I’m going now. Hurry home before you lose my warmth.”

The ice rabbit turned and started hopping away rapidly.

“That goes for all of you.” Ana said this loud enough for the other animals to hear. “I’m going soon, so hurry home.”

The other animals dispersed, some more slowly than others. Once they were a distance away Ana teleported back to a temple dedicated to her. She pulled a sheet of paper from a small stack, wrote a note on it, and left it on her head priest’s lectern. It read: “Discovered new ability. Will be gone for a week or so. Ana.”

– – –

The Burning Ice stood in a small clearing in the forest in Aliaz. Several elves looked on as she fed the warmth of life into a small acorn. The transfer was visible as an orange haze flowing from her into the acorn. The acorn started to sprout and Ana backed away. She motioned for the elves to do the same.

“Today, the elves find a home. The people who were once afflicted by a disease and were purified by the Fount of the Gods shall at last have a homeland. This forest.” The small oak sapling behind Ana burst up, out of the ground with a thunderous crack and the ground trembled violently. Reaching up to the sky the oak sapling became a massive oak old-growth with strong branches. “This is the first iron oak tree. Use its bark to create tools, and its branches as foundations for your homes. If you live in the tree, the tree will live in you.”

The elves, recovering from the shock of the tree bursting from the ground, began to approach her one by one. They showed her their thanks and worshiped her.

The last elf that approached her was their leader. He bowed deeply to her and kissed the back of her hand. Her hand was the perfect warmth. “If I thought you would say yes I would ask for your hand in marriage, Burning Ice, but we both know better than that.”

“Yes, we do.” Ana smiled at the elf. “Here, Grevak.” She put something in his hand. “When this grows I will be returning. I have other places to be, but I will be back.” She let go of his hand and vanished.

In Grevak’s hand was a small, metallic acorn. He smiled and held it up for his people to see. They cheered and began using the magics Ana had taught them to have trees give them branches without being cut down. They used the branches of the other trees to start building houses in the branches of the iron oak.

[My Books], [My Discord], [My Facebook Page], [My Ko-Fi], [My Patreon], [My Twitter], [My YouTube]

Rebuilding Brangmar – Pt. 8

Aram quickly woke up Throbor and helped him into his armor. The gargoyles were nearly upon them when they finished.

“So, you know of gargoyles. Do you know anything that can help us fight them?” Throbor asked, directing the question at Tribst.

“Hmm…” Tribst thought quickly. “No, I don’t. If we had more time I’m sure I could find something, or Erin could cast a spell to learn of them. For now, we need to fight. Here they come!”

The gargoyles didn’t just land in the courtyard, one of them attacked on the way down. It was able to sink its talons into Tribst, but Erin got an attack off on it as it tried to make off with him. Tribst was dropped hard, and the gargoyle’s left hand was missing some fingers.

Annoyed at being grabbed Tribst shot some force magic at the gargoyle, causing some chipping to appear on its body. “I’m not some lizard for you to snack on you treefting piece of shast!”

Erin stared wide-eyed at Tribst for a moment before sheathing her long sword and grabbing her short bow. She shot the gargoyle that had attacked Tribst, increasing the chipping on its body.

Three of the gargoyles rushed forward and attacked Aram and Throbor. Throbor was able to interpose his chisel between himself and a gargoyle while Aram’s shield was only able to help him with one. The one that hit him left a large claw mark in his left side.

The fourth gargoyle, the one Tribst and Erin had damaged, flew back over to Tribst. It attempted to slice at him, but used its left hand and missed with the remaining fingers.

Aram sliced at the gargoyles around him with his sword and hit the one on his right. Chips appeared where it had been struck.

Gripping his hammer in one hand Throbor swapped his chisel out for another hammer. He struck at the gargoyle before him, trying to crush its wing between his hammers. The gargoyle blocked one of the hammers, only taking a glancing blow.

Tribst pulled out a dagger and tried to bury it in the chest of the gargoyle beside him. He was able to sink it into a chipped area, but it didn’t stay there.

Switching back to her long sword Erin gripped it in both hands. She ran over to the gargoyle and tried to slash at it. She missed horribly, rethinking her weapon choice.

Seeing an opening in Throbor’s defense the gargoyle battling him ducked under his arm and circled around behind him. He struck at Throbor’s back, leaving large, raking claw marks in it. The back of Throbor’s leather armor was ruined.

The two gargoyles fighting Aram buffeted his shield with attacks but were unable to hit him. In the midst of the blows, Aram shoved the uninjured one back and struck at the one he had hit before. His sword pierced a wing, causing it to crumble and fall off.

“Aim for the wings! Cut off their escape!”

Spinning around to face the gargoyle that had just raked him Throbor focused a searing energy into his right hammer and brought it down on the gargoyle’s left wing. The wing shattered into pieces leaving the left side exposed. Throbor side-stepped and brought his left hammer to bear on the gargoyle’s exposed side.

As the hammer connected with the rocky skin cracks appeared along the left side of the gargoyle.

Tribst watched in horror as the gargoyle that had been attacking him turned to take a bite at Erin. It took a chunk out of her shirt as well as her side. Responding instinctively Tribst once again shoved at the gargoyle with his dagger. This time he was able to find its heart. The gargoyle turned into stone, then shattered into pieces. “Stone to stone.”

Seeing the gargoyle turn to rubble in front of her Erin decided it would be prudent to heal herself. She said a small word of power and the wound on her side started to knit together ever so slightly. She then moved forward to help Aram with his gargoyle problem.

Erin continued to grasp her sword with both hands but this time aimed her strike before she swung. The injured gargoyle was able to dodge the worst of the attack, but more chips and some cracks started to appear on it.

The gargoyle that Erin had hit let out a powerful and horrible screech. The gargoyle next to it, the only one with both wings, took off for the edge of the city. Unable to do anything to stop it Aram took another swing at the one next to him. It shattered into pieces.

The Gargoyle on Throbor slashed again, this time missing entirely. It was met with two hammers to the face, crushing it to dust. Throbor dusted himself off and handed some blue ash to Erin. “Here, finish healing with this.”

“Thanks.” Erin took the offered bag and started rubbing the ash into her wound. “I hope we don’t meet them again. They weren’t hard to kill, but they sure hit hard.” She took a fistful of the ash and started rubbing it into Throbor’s back wound. “Here, you need this as much as I do.”

Tribst took a small handful from the bag and rubbed it into his shoulders. “I don’t know where they’re going, I’m just glad they’re gone.” He pulled another handful of blue ash from the bag and gave it to Aram. “For your side. That looks nasty.”

“Well,” Aram said after their wounds were attended to, “the sun is already rising. Should we just continue out of this city for now?”

“Sounds good.” Erin stared at her exposed side under the torn leather armor and at Throbor’s exposed back. “Maybe we should keep an eye out for better options on armor.”

Throbor looked around at the ruins and saw pieces of metal everywhere. “No, I have a better idea.” He removed his leather armor and handed it to Erin. He looked less intimidating in his cloth clothes. “I think Tribst can help make you armor with that. I’m going to forge out my own later.” He started to collect scraps of iron from around their campsite. “I can make you a set too, Aram, if you want some better armor.”

“In that case, Erin should take my leather and Tribst should fashion himself something more protective. My size is similar to Erin’s” He didn’t start taking off his armor. “For now, however, I will keep my leather. If we get in a fight I want to be in the thick of it with protection.”

[My Books], [My Discord], [My Facebook Page], [My Ko-Fi], [My Patreon], [My Twitter], [My YouTube]

The gods of Nevre: The Balance – After

Brevman sat at a small desk. He was staring at the talisman that The Calculating had given him. He stood up and stretched. His lower arms mirroring his upper ones. He then turned to leave the room.

“Where are you going, Balance?” A voice whispered from the shadows in a corner of the room.

Shaking his head Brevman turned to face the source of the voice. “Not now Desecrator. I have to go do funeral rites for some people.”

“Those dead have been claimed by me already. They cannot be blessed away.”

The door handle was grasped by one of Brevman’s lower hands. “I do the rites for the appeasement of the living. Funerals are for the living, not the dead.”

Mrto materialized from the shadows. “So you won’t attempt to take them away from me?”

“You know I could if I needed to for the balance.”

“You don’t answer my question, salaman.”

Brevman opened the door and stepped through it. “You don’t listen, human. If that’s what you still are.”

– – –

The Balance walked through the streets of Rentaz. He was in the poorest part of the city. Many houses were nothing more than canvas tied to posts. He pulled bread out from his pack and began handing it out to the children.

“Come, little ones, and collect some bread. Balance says you should not die so young.” Brevman was dressed in a cleric’s robe with the hood up. Many of his local clerics had told him they were being attacked when they gave bread to the children. He had to know why.

After spending most of the day handing out bread Brevman was surprised that nothing had happened. He pulled out the last few pieces from his pack, and that is when they began to filter out of the dark places. Adults, thin with starvation.

“At least you still have the decency to let the children eat first.” Brevman set down his empty pack and next to it he placed his basket with the last of the bread. “Will you talk with me while you partake?” He was hoping this would not turn violent. The balance did not require their deaths, but if they attacked after a peace was offered he would find the balance elsewhere.

Surprised at the demeanor of the salaman the adults walked forward and cautiously took what was left of the bread. When the bread was getting low Brevman cast a small spell on it, careful not to let the people notice what he was doing.

When the last man approached for his bread he took the last piece. When Brevman had set the bread down there were ten pieces left. Now, after over forty people, the last piece was taken. The skravyn who had taken the last piece looked up at the salaman in recognition.

“You’re no cleric. You’re-” the skravyn stopped seeing Brevman hold one finger to his lips in the universal sign for keeping quiet. “Thank The Balance for this bread.”

Brevman took the talisman from Gormaliev and removed it from his pocket. He looked at it then back at the skravyn. “Here, I want you to take this.”

[My Books], [My Discord], [My Facebook Page], [My Ko-Fi], [My Patreon], [My Twitter], [My YouTube]

Lousro on Dagobah – Pt. 14

T8-T3 watched as Ao walked down an incline saying something about that’s where they part ways. T8-T3 had seen Jedi having visions before, and he knew enough about aquatic species to tell by Ao’s breathing that he thought he was underwater. T8-T3 beeped something to himself and tried to ping Lousro’s comm.

– – –

Lousro was most of the way to the cave again when he got a ping on his comm. “Why do these bloody things only work part of the time?” He pulled the comm from his belt and landed. His wing was still sore and he needed the break. He answered the comm. “Lousro here. Are you okay, Tate?”

A string of binary assaulted Lousro’s ears. He curled his snout in annoyance and rubbed his beard. “So he’s in the cave and he’s having a vision. You think he believes himself to be underwater. I’m almost there. If you can connect to the ship there’s a message for you in binary. I can’t read it.”

There was a long pause before T8-T3 replied with an affirmative beep and cut the connection.

Sighing to himself, Lousro beat his wings through the air again and took off in the direction of the cave.

– – –

Ao swam through the salty water. He assumed it was what Glee Anselm’s oceans felt like, but he didn’t remember it well.

Pushing through the currents, Ao felt himself being pulled one way but invited the other. Sensing that the current was the Dark Side and the invitation was the Light, the nautolan swam towards the invitation.

The current became powerful and tried to pull him along it but Ao pulled on the power of the Light Side. He augmented his strength and speed allowing him to break free of the current and swim toward the still waters.

– – –

Lousro walked into the cave through the tree trunk. It was the third time he had been in the cave, but the first time he hadn’t fallen in. “Where did they go?”

T8-T3 heard Lousro’s toydarian voice echoing in the cave and rolled out of the small passageway in the wall. He beeped softly.

“Ah. There you are Tate.” Lousro fluttered over. “I sense a calling.” He stroked the shield emitter on his left wrist. “It’s familiar, yet different.” He idly walked towards the crack in the wall. “In here. It’s coming from behind this wall.” He dropped to his feet and walked through the crack.

T8-T3 tweeted loudly at Lousro trying to stop him.

Lousro stopped and looked back briefly. “I know it’s a vision Tate but when a crystal calls you, you listen.” He returned to walking down the small corridor.

T8-T3 beeped something about Jedi and stupidity but followed Lousro.

– – –

Ao found himself in still waters. Above him was inky blackness and below was a bright light. He felt as if the world had inverted and that swimming up would take him to an abyss but swimming down would take him to the surface.

With strong, swift strokes Ao began to swim downwards. The inky blackness coalesced into tentacles and reached for his feet, snagging one of them.

Feeling something wrap around his ankle Ao looked up to see the mass of dark tentacles. He tried pushing them with the Force, but he didn’t move. Panic began to swell inside him.

In his panic the Jedi code found its way to the forefront of his mind.

Emotion, yet peace.

Ignorance, yet knowledge.

Passion, yet serenity.

Chaos, yet harmony.

Death, yet the Force.

– – –

When Lousro exited the passageway into the chamber he didn’t see the chamber, he saw Toydaria. The swamps were different than the ones on Dagobah. They were more inviting.

Lousro shook his head. “It’s an illusion, like the caves beneath The Way of Balance temple on Vergaiun.” He glanced around to see if there were any creatures poised to strike.

Calming himself by drawing from the Light Side Lousro attempted to peer through the illusion. At the edges of his vision the illusion started to fade, but then it snapped back. He stopped attempting to see through it. This was a different test.

– – –

Ao focused on the line of the code “passion, yet serenity” and instead of fighting against the tentacles to reach the light he extended his senses toward the light.

The source of the light was a small point at the bottom of the flooded cavern. Ao reached out with the Force and pulled the light to himself.

Awaking on a dry cavern floor Ao looked around in confusion. He felt his hand grasping something. He opened his palm and looked.

Two orange crystals sat in his palm. They sang to him in the Force, happy to be with him at last.

[My Books], [My Discord], [My Facebook Page], [My Ko-Fi], [My Patreon], [My Twitter], [My YouTube]

The gods of Nevre: The Calculating – After

Gormaliev stood in the great plains in the realm of Nevre. She enjoyed visiting the realm from time to time. The salamen intrigued her greatly. She had once set one on the path to godhood. She smiled to herself and in her distraction she tripped over something.

Standing and brushing herself off Gormaliev turned to look at what she had tripped on. Sitting in the middle of the road was a small, wounded red fox pup. She reached down and picked it up. “Well, I’m sorry. I didn’t see you there.” Gormaliev looked around. “Where is your mom, little pup?”

The fox stared up at her. The fox’s eyes showed an intelligence behind them. It shook its head, as if to say it didn’t know.

“Very well. I guess I’ll just have to look after you myself.” Gormaliev used a little of her power to heal the tiny creature. “There. Now let’s go to the Feylands. You’ll love it there.”

The fox pup licked Gormaliev’s nose.

“That tickles. Stop it.” Gormaliev made the jump to the Feylands. Once there she started a ritual to tie the fox to her as a familiar. She always wanted a pet, and this one would be tied to her even tighter than the Aelfson line was.

– – –

“Aliziyah, what are you doing?” Gormaliev looked around the clearing. “You’re trying to hide from me. That doesn’t work very well.”

The red fox walked from between two trees. Her stomach was swollen with a litter of pups. “Sorry, I just wanted some rest.”

Gormaliev smiled at Aliziyah. “Oh, well if you just told me that would be fine. There are a few warlockes I want to give your pups as familiars. Is that okay?”

Aliziyah thought for a moment. “As long as they will be cared for. I also need to ween them first.” She sat down on her side. “They should be coming any day now, I think.”

“Yes, the weening time is definitely the earliest. Your first pup will go to a Sorley in England. He has a great destiny ahead of him and some companionship would do him good.”

“Well, then they shall grow up together. You’ve mentioned him before.”

“Yes, my fox, I have. I had a vision of him longer ago than I want to think about. He will be a great force in Domhan.” Gormaliev rubbed Aliziyah’s belly gently. These pups will know the joy of friendship from the very first.”

“How emotional of you. You’re supposed to be calculating, not caring.” Aliziyah stretched out on the soft grass of the Feylands.

Gormaliev smiled. “That’s the name the people of Nevre refer to me by, The Calculating. That doesn’t mean I’m cold, that just means I calculate.”

“Keep telling yourself that.” Aliziyah fell into slumber.

“I do, every day.”

[My Books], [My Discord], [My Facebook Page], [My Ko-Fi], [My Patreon], [My Twitter], [My YouTube]