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 October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art

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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 954
Join date : 2015-05-06
Location : Location, Location!

October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Empty
PostSubject: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySun Oct 04, 2020 3:56 pm

We didn't get as many suggestions as we normally do... but here it is.

October Suggestions:
1. Spirit/Ghost (for that Halloween vibe) in whatever context you want
2. A Prank
3. Harpy


Stories, poetry, artwork, whatever your talent to share - must be ElfQuest themed - and may contain canon ElfQuest characters (Cutter, Leetah, Skywise, etc) or custom characters of your own (as long as it's in the "ElfQuest" universe).

Your submissions should include at least one of these things (for art), and at least 3 of the 5 for stories (but let's see you use all five!)

Stories can be as long as you want them to be.

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Ba_tym10
Signature image by Embala. <3
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

Posts : 710
Join date : 2012-07-31
Location : O'er Der.....

October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyMon Oct 05, 2020 1:53 pm

spirit/ghost
A prank
Harpy


Ekuar grimaced as he dragged his broken, tired body through the seemingly endless darkness. Though familiar, due to his involvement in its creation, it was not as though he remembered such a cruel event in his life, and it had been so very long ago... But regardless of the misery this tunnel represented for him, it was currently his primary means of salvation. He felt his way through the stone to attempt to find an easier path in the dark, smoothing the rough floor ahead of him until it was like polished ice, making it easier to pull himself ahead. Not long had he had been free of his captors, his main source of, well, he mused, 'nourishment' was too generous a word for what he had been given to eat. More likened to the lowest level of maintenance of his life, so he could be used as a tool longer. Nonetheless, he had not had anything to eat since, and even the meager amount of energy it took to smooth the floor was draining away what little stamina he had left.

Being attuned to the stone of the tunnel allowed him to feel the far off vibrations of a cave slug, trundling along ahead of him. He'd thought about overtaking the creature to attempt to subdue it and eat it, but he knew he wouldn't be much of a fight for the slug and he himself would be dinner for it. So instead he left it alone, figuring it would encounter whatever dangers the tunnel presented before he did. The literal snail's pace was also easier on him, as he would probably have pushed ahead faster than would have been safe without the large uni-pod ahead.

There was a tingle in the rock nearby. Familiar as it was to him in its tone as a magical artifact, he knew it was none of his former work. It was too far away to make detail out yet, but it called to him. He didn't remember how this tunnel twisted and turned, but it seemed likely he would have to expend some of his remaining energy on forming a small shaft off to the left to seek it out. This was not a welcome thought, as he was far too exhausted to consider shaping stone on that scale, but it seemed likely that the fresh shaping magic was elfin in nature, and an elfin rock-shaper would likely be a desperately needed friend, perhaps with just as desperately needed food.

He paused for a moment, feeling ground water nearby. He felt through the stone for a crack or other mild defect that would make the chore of drawing the water to him easier. Feeling the stone would take far less energy than blindly probing around with shaping magic. He pulled himself another short distance before finding a small inclusion in the stone, an air pocket with ends both near the water and near the tunnel. He nearly passed out as he shaped the breach.

Blinking in the darkness, the old shaper waited for the water to seep through the tiny hole he had made in the rock. Besides trying to save energy, he didn't want an entire aquifer to suddenly find a way into the tunnels and drown him, though he realized it might be handy to set a trap with if he were followed. It wasn't his forte to design tricky traps into stonework, but he'd seen it done and could perhaps pull it off if he needed to. As it was, though, whether by effort or premature failure of the trap, the risk it would kill him was too great.

The water finally trickled through the wall such that he could start to draw some into himself. He wasn't sure if there was some sort of drought or desert overland nearby, but this had been the first water he'd found in days. The cool water was ever so refreshing, he doubted whether or not he could remember such a satisfying drink. The trace minerals in the liquid were comforting as well. Ekuar was a rock-shaper, and though his talents had been abused for far too long, he never fell out of love with stone. Stone surrounded him now, and the water carried small amounts of it into him. Though he had never mastered a way to derive any major sort of nutrition from mineral laced water, his body craved any sort of reprieve from the emptiness that dominated his stomach. The slow trickle of water reached to his very core, and he felt all the better for it.

He relaxed, and fell asleep, fatigue finally meeting some small reprieve enough to let him relax.



The water had done some good. He slurped at the water that trickled from the wall some more before he continued on, having regained some small portion of his strength. He wasn't sure how long he had slept but it had been long enough for the cave slug to disappear, he could feel nothing around him in the dark except for not-as-far-off stonework calling to him. He felt ahead in the tunnel to see if he was still going to be getting closer to the stone-song. It wouldn't be far until he would have to summon what was left of his strength to seek the help that song promised.

As he pushed ahead, he listened to the stone-song. The shaping wasn't just fresh, it was currently being worked! The magic was completely unfamiliar, no shaper he had known was working this place, and whoever it was was strong indeed, as it seemed as though the area he sensed was part of a much larger work-piece, and he was just noticing the far outer edge of it. The shaping was also ornate, complex in a way that felt familiar but far too vast for the ancient shaper to read from here. The stone was shifting as he watched with his senses, shape upon shape entrained within the solid stone, almost like a snake or a knotted rope that was being tied into complex forms, perhaps woven into some sort of vast fabric. It was quite beautiful to him, even if he didn't understand it. It lacked something, though.

So enthralled with the work being done nearby he almost fell into a natural void that intersected the tunnel. It surprised him that he'd not sensed it, however the nearby shaper magic seemed to outshine all else in the area. What a powerful shaper!

He probed the void with his mind to see where it went, and he found that it was aligned with the direction he wanted to go. he spent a large amount of time working the stone ever so slightly, saving what little of his energy he had left so that he would barely fit. He squeezed himself into the small void and set about moving through it towards the stone-shaper's domain.

The void opened into another tunnel, an old tunnel that was hacked into the subterranean strata with tools, not magic. It too was old, however not anywhere near as old as his old handiwork he'd left behind. The tunnel had a strange loneliness to it, as though it had been dug in fear and pain and rage, but it's maker had left it, abandoned it to seek some other respite from a deep wound that had no name. Ekuar could sympathize.

There was nothing to eat in the unfamiliar tunnels, but they were flat and level, and he found a sort of wheeled cart to sit upon to make it easier to move around them. He had never seen such a contrivance among his own kind, but it did reek of Troll work.

Panic washed over him for a moment as he realized this might be some sort of magic-less Troll abode. Though still dark, the Elf looked rapidly in every direction with unseeing eyes while his stone-sense listened for footsteps in the tunnels around him. He held his breath for a moment, feeling a cold, clammy hand of an imaginary captor run down his tortured back, before the air sighed out of him like a burst of smoke-water from hot stones. Slowly he realized that this set of tunnels had indeed been abandoned for some time, and he was alone within them.

He wound his way in the dark to the closest point he could find to the nearby shaper magic. To his surprise he found a small crack in the wall with light pouring out of it. If he had been a hand or so taller, he'd have been able to see through it without much effort. As it was, he carefully hoisted himself off the cart and strained to climb high enough to see anything but a portion of lit stone ceiling through the slit. His effort was rewarded as his eyes neared the slit: the warmth of currently used tunnels blew in from the other side, and lamp-light flickered through.

The first thing he noted was that the tunnel on the other side was not wrought by metal tools, but rather by magic like his own, the walls, floor, and arches warped and twisted into ornate structures that cried out to the shaper in him. The flowing lines seemed to tell a story that was both familiar and alien to him, called into shape by an intricate song that reverberated through them. Indeed, the stonework itself may even be worked on presently by the shaper's work he felt all around him now. Somehow the one who had hewn the tunnels on this side of the slit had found areas that were of no interest to the Elf on the other side, and indeed the worker had been a master despite his lack of magic: Ekuar realized that the rough-hewn tunnels were within strata he would not have felt if he were not here within the tunnel itself. He would have been blind to it, and it was possible the great shaper nearby was also oblivious to this tunnel. The tool-user had been spying on the Elves, Ekuar realized.

Elves, plural, Ekuar realized with a sudden shock, as he noticed a small movement in a distant statue. The slim elfin statue that appeared to be formed out of the rock over a doorway was breathing slowly, her sightless eyes stared blankly out at nothing as though a lifeless rock effigy, but she was alive nonetheless, and she was not the one working the great structure shape-work Ekuar felt around him.

Ekuar paused a moment. His first response was to cry out to the first Elf he'd seen in ages, but just as the great and powerful stonework around him pulsed with great intent, it lacked something... necessary. The distant Elf he saw through the slit also seemed to lack something important. Something was very wrong, and it also disturbed him that some...thing had been watching the Elves without them knowing it for quite some time, long before he'd arrived. Something troubled him with what he was noticing, and he felt he should find out what it was before he made contact with these strange Elves.

He retreated from the slit. The brightness from the lamplight left him blinking at afterimages, specters of sights he'd long given up seeing again swimming in pitch blackness of ultimate darkness. It occurred to him that there must have been something the former tenant use to generate at least a small amount of light, for if they had been blind they would not have used a slit to spy on the Elves on the other side of the wall. He carefully felt around and explored the space around him, and finally discovered a small glowing stone set into a metal holder on a bench nearby. The stone had apparently been much brighter at some point, but was dull to the point it was unusable as a light source. It apparently had been used as such at one time, as the stand for it had a small cap attached to dim the light, however it was useless now.

Ekuar continued looking around. He was familiar with the tools of the Trolls, and while these tools were somehow more refined and unfamiliar to him, much to his relief, they still had enough of a similarity to them for him to understand what they were. After some fumbling, he found something recognizable as a tinderbox and striker, and he soon had a small flame lit in a pile of what he guessed might have been some old clothes laying in a loose pile of now unrecognizable fiber. Whatever it was burned well enough, and he could finally see around himself.

Next to the bench was a small metal can filled with more of the fibrous material he was now burning. Against the wall behind the bench were stacks of flat materials with strange markings on them, chaotic lines wandering around in rows as though someone had followed ants with small charred sticks, inter-spaced with extremely intricate images drawn very clearly using the same tool that made the jagged rows of marks. The marks meant nothing to the rock-shaper, but he immediately recognized the images of machines similar to those the Trolls used. A twinge of panic returned the icy chill to his spine as he felt as though he was about to be caged again. His wide eyes glanced around for any sign there had been recent activity in the room, but the only marks he could see on the floor were the ones he'd made moving around through the dust in the dark.

He pushed past his fear for the moment, since the fire he'd lit would soon run out of fuel. He found a small stick that appeared to have no purpose and set it on the flame to ignite it. It caught, and with his small torch he set about trying to find more things to burn, preferably an oil lamp with fuel in it, he hoped. His captors had had oil lamps to carry with them, even if Ekuar was never trusted with one.

He found a few more sticks of wood that appeared to have been split off of something crafted long ago, and arranged them on his cart so he could light them one at a time. There was nothing more of use in the room as far as he could tell, so he grabbed the bucket of fluff and made his way down the unfamiliar tunnels in search of things he could make sense of or improve his conditions with.



Ekuar's explorations resulted in the discovery of more spy-slits, some very Troll-like tool-making stations, more dry tinder to light his path, a small but lavish oil lamp, and a lump of tallow he was able to heat up enough to coax into the lamp. What remained of whatever food the former resident had had stockpiled had long since been reduced to dust, so he sought out a way to enter into the Elfin side of the passages. The place was vast, as though it were a giant anthill, the intertwined tunnels of Elf and Troll wrapping around each other like a living thing. In a way, the Elfin tunnels felt alive, growing, developing, seeming to gain a sort of memory of ages past, or perhaps future, it was a bit beyond his comprehension. His own stonework was, at times when he'd had option to work by himself, whimsical and perhaps useless to anyone but himself, but it usually brought a smile to his face, and at times others would enjoy it. His work for the Trolls had not been without purpose, even if he could not always understand what he was doing or even if he was repulsed by it, it still made some kind of sense... This vast underground mountain of scroll-work was completely nonsensical. He could not understand why it was being done or what it was for. There was no satisfaction or enjoyment conveyed with the flowing forms, and indeed, the few times he observed the few inhabitants of the vast dwelling he sensed no happiness, or really much of any emotion at all, as though the life had been sucked out of them.

So he remained in the Troll path even after finding a small, hidden door near the kitchens, if they could be called that. There were some other creatures there that seemed to eat more or less normally, if excessively: tall folk with a strange, guttural language that seemed to do little more than excessively eat, sleep, and sit around. When he'd first seen one, the collection of food it was devouring would have lasted him two months while imprisoned by the trolls. He waited for the creature to fall asleep halfway through it's meal and, having lost all ability to restrain himself any longer, crawled out and stole a scrap of bread and a piece of fruit. Ekuar began ripping into the bread before he made it back to the door, leaving crumbs on the floor as he attempted to forcibly shove the lavish food into his stomach via his mouth.

But only these tall creatures with rounded ears seemed to eat normal foods. Most of the Elves he'd seen drank a vile liquid that was administered by a tall elfin female. She would ingest a morsel of food now and then as though to demonstrate to the tall creatures that it was safe to eat, or perhaps to convey that food was good enough to grace her lips. He wasn't sure, but he grew to dislike something about her. She didn't seem to be someone to be trusted.

After finally finding some food, Ekuar nearly grew sick, having not eaten anything so rich for so long, and having nearly starved to death since his captors' disappearance. After reaching the hidden door, he collapsed onto the cold, dusty floor and forced the bread to stay down while he glared at the fruit. The spasms his stomach went through eventually subsided and he fell into the deepest sleep he could recall, feeling a sliver of hope that he might be able to go back to some form of normal life... if he could just figure these strange Elves out...



His dreams were filled with food and lavish comfort. They started bright and cheery, with loaf-like cushions to sit on, soft leathers wrapping his legs, warm sun streaming through windows, laughter and songs echoing through the rooms around him. It was as he had imagined the Palace would be, nothing but comfort in every direction, plenty of stones to shape, food heaped on tables as far as he could see. His friends sitting with him, telling stories of their own escapes from the Trolls. It was grand. As the dream wore on, more food was brought out, songs were sung louder, and the tales of his kin grew more boastful, a real celebration of life! The sun grew warmer, the light grew brighter, and the food piled higher, until it towered over him. The rocks grew into boulders, begging to be shaped by him while his friends vied for his attention. The din grew and grew, the piles around him began to topple, the light glared, and he began to sweat and grow thirsty, but there was nothing to drink except the vile syrup being poured from the pitchers. A dark liquid that caused the revelers, one by one, to turn to stone and become silent, staring blankly while piles of food crashed down on him and crushed him into the cushions. He started to panic as he tried to catch his breath and crawl out from under the piles of food. The songs had changed into mocking laughter at his deformed body. As he pleaded with his friends to help him, they were given the drink and turned to stone. The tall Elf woman glared at him in his brokenness, staring at him with deep, dark, dangerous eyes, and then curled her lip as she turned away, denying him even the death potion to drink. As the food poured down on him, wrapping him in silence, the heat and light overwhelmed him and he awakened with a start.



The heat and the light remained with him, however, and the fruit he had stolen was pressing into his left eye as he involuntarily pulled away from the scorching heat behind him. He rolled over and noticed that his torch had burned down into the pile of sticks he'd wedged it into, and the whole pile was ablaze, a stark contrast to the cold and dark of the tunnels. He tried to salvage some of the sticks for later, and scattered the pile to attempt to reduce the smoke and heat filling the room, so the others wouldn't discover him. He was partially successful, but he had lost most of his wood, leaving two charred sticks and his oil lamp, which he'd decided to save. There hadn't been much to smother the flames with, so he'd only been able to knock the pile apart to cool it down and let the flames die out on their own. He still had the tinder box to relight it later, but he had a strong feeling he shouldn't be caught by these other elves. The priority, for now, was to erase the evidence of his presence.



He leaned against the wall with the slit for the kitchen and watched anxiously. His eyes darted here and there to search for signs of his discovery, but all he saw were sleeping tall-ones and the stoves with cook-fires still lit. He slowed his breathing and tried to relax, telling himself that smoke and heat would be normal near the kitchen, left to burn unsupervised as it was.

The bread had helped greatly, he realized as he propped himself up at the spy-slit. Yesterday he'd never have believed he'd be able to exert himself to this extent without nearly passing out, but the bread must have been rich with nutritious ingredients, because he felt fairly strong all things considered. His most recent 'injury' that had been inflicted on him by the Trolls was almost healed, the blooded bandage no longer stuck to the skin underneath, but he left it in place to protect the new skin. That, and the bruise he received from a fairly bad fall early in his trek here were the only discomforts at this point. Even the cool of the tunnels seemed far more comfortable than the pit he'd been left in by the trolls. How he'd even survived, much less made it out from under their rule was a gift he didn't fail to be thankful for, even if he couldn't understand how it happened.

He eyed the piece of fruit.

The fruit seemed to stare back at him, as if taunting him with its succulent juiciness. How long had it been since he had even smelled a piece of fruit? He nearly rolled laughing when he lifted his hands to count the years on his fingers, and then realized it had been at least since when he had fingers to count on that he'd smelled anything remotely sweet. The Trolls had been cruel, but even they had not taunted him with the hope of sweets or beauty in that entire time he was captive. That aside, it had been far too long. But still, the fruit almost seemed to mock him, as he knew that if he devoured it as he had the bread he'd be in for another stomach ache and perhaps some more nightmares. Instead, he gingerly lifted the piece of fruit and looked it over, noting the bruise left by the floor where he'd rolled into it waking up. Juice leaked through the skin, and the faint sweetness wafted across his nose temptingly.

He delicately licked the juice from the fruit, figuring that this was both the safest way to test the fruit and to draw out the most enjoyment from this chance joyful event. The droplet shocked his tongue, the sugars of the fruit flashing across his taste buds as though hell bent to eradicate the offal he'd been forced to consume while imprisoned. The juice raced across his tongue and crashed into his brain, and he nearly bumped his head on the wall he was leaning on in reaction to the intense sensation. His whole body shuddered as if to cry out 'it's all mine! This treasure sent by the High Ones is all mine!'

He closed his eyes and swallowed, realizing he had nothing to drink. He had not had anything to drink since the groundwater he'd coaxed out of the rock some time ago. Without thinking, he unintentionally chomped a bite out of his prized fruit and sucked the juice from the flesh as though to drown his parched throat in a sea of delightful juice. His hands shook, and his eyes snapped open in near horror at what he'd done. Not only had he rushed into eating the fruit, which might not sit well with his stomach, but he had marred this treasure with the jagged lines left by his few remaining teeth. It seemed as though he had destroyed some great piece of artwork created by one of his friends of youth. Forever ruined from his carelessness. He blinked a few times to get a hold of himself before a tear could well up, and steeled himself as he chewed the bite and swallowed. He smiled at his foolishness, and simply enjoyed the bite of pleasantness that crept its way into his being. By the time he finally finished swallowing the bite, he felt so wonderful there was little that he could imagine would disturb him.

He sighed and relaxed, savoring the moment. His stomach complained far less this time, having finally beaten the bread into submission, and was ready to accept this little bit more. Seizing more control over himself, he forced himself to put the fruit down and sit and wait for his stomach to decide what it was going to do with the blissful bite he'd already consumed.

Breathing deeply and slowly, feeling some of the strain melt away that he'd carried with him, the cool tunnel began to feel far more comfortable than he'd thought possible. For now, in this moment, he was safe, better fed than he had been in ages, and sat fearless, unconcerned with the possibility that a blade or fist would ever touch his skin again.



He figured he must have drifted off once again, but this time there were no nightmares of drowning in lavish comfort or turning to stone. It had been peacefully uneventful for a sleep period, and he had no idea how long he'd been asleep. His stomach rumbled a little to nudge him to sneak another bite of fruit, but even as he did so, he realized he couldn't remember ever feeling this alive.

A noise drifted in from the spy-slit, and he made his way over to it, munching carefully on his piece of fruit. The tall ones had moved around, some had moved over to sit in a pool of water, others were jabbering nonsense to each other in the corner, and others had found more food to eat. They seemed nice enough, and healthy enough, but he sensed a familiar aura about them, a stigma he knew far too well: while there were no signs of bars or shackles, these beings weren't free, they were prisoners or slaves, being held here for some purpose. They were well fed, and had other lavish comforts, which seemed odd to Ekuar, but there was a definite look in their eyes that something was being taken from them in exchange for the food and shelter. He didn't know what was being demanded of them, but their dark, sunken eyes seemed to convey far too much exhaustion for beings that slept so much. It was another mystery, but he believed he would have to solve the riddle of the tall female Elf before these other questions would be answered.

He almost felt like he floated as he perched at the spy-slit and watched them. The meager repast he'd been eating was far better food than he'd had in a long time, and far more quantity than he'd had available for almost as long. He nibbled away at the fruit as he watched various Elves walk or glide into the area, speak with the tall-ones, deliver more food, and leave. They never talked to each other openly, and their sendings must have been shielded, even though it was obvious that these five fingered creatures lacked that capacity. Ekuar was only mildly interested in these more animated elves, as they too seemed to have some small amount of unseen bondage to this place. The only one that seemed free of everything but herself was the tall elf. Eventually, the tall Elf returned to procure more of the liquid she fed to the immobile elves.

Ekuar followed her through the tunnels, and oddly enough, it was though the tunnels were constructed to follow her path through the elves' passages, as if the builder had intimately known her and was extremely intent on watching her closely. The spy-slits had seemed chaotically placed before, but they were perfectly placed to observe the tall Elf as she made her way through passage after passage, feeding the immobile ones and setting about various chores she had not felt she could entrust to others. Following her showed him new tunnels he hadn't noticed before, and he found that the labyrinth lead higher than he'd figured it should reasonably climb, considering how much of the stonework seemed to be constructed for some cryptic goal that held total lack of concern for structural support of weight. In fact, he noticed some forms seemed to nearly defy gravity, and he suspected the stone-shaper responsible for this great work may be exerting him or herself to hold these shapes in those positions.

The sudden realization caused him to halt his pursuit of the tall Elf. He was sure, now, that these tunnels would lead him rapidly to wherever she was once he learned her patterns. Far more important than the tall Elf at the moment was the revelation that the shaper or shapers involved in forming the massive structure the others lived in was far, far more powerful than he'd thought before. From what little Ekuar had seen, that rock shaping force was far greater in power than any shaper he'd ever known, for the simple reason that this huge structure, something he felt certain would require him to travel days or weeks to see entirely with a whole body and freedom to walk their halls, was actively being envisioned, trained, modified, improved, supported, and formed in one elf's mind as a single, solid work. Even if this Elf had help, there was only sign of one elf's touch wherever Ekuar reached out to feel the stone, and he could tell that Elf had worked on it for time immeasurable and was committed to continue working on it for quite some time longer, until it contained all that the unknown shaper needed it to. It was as though the stone was being imbibed with a spirit of its own, a soul that was being forged into some clandestine goal that was completely unknown and strange to Ekuar. These were no sort of Elves Ekuar had expected to come across... could it be that there were High Ones here, working the stone? Could the tall Elf herself be a High One? For some reason, that thought disturbed him.

He rushed as well as he could to catch up to the tall elf. He had to get to the bottom of this before he revealed himself to them, and it seemed more and more likely they would find him before he was ready to choose for himself.



Most of the day passed for Ekuar roaming from vantage point to vantage point, watching the black haired Elf move from room to room, ever reaching higher and higher. Ekuar didn't figure he'd been so far underground when he discovered this place, and he felt that indeed, this may be formed from an acutal mountain. There were more gliding Elves in these upper levels, which would make sense if they were allowed to fly outside. It seemed they must, as there were signs of returning hunters here: bits of bone, gristle that was undesirable, and lumps of preserved fat he helped himself to for his lamp. He found a lot of waste among the glider's rooms, some worse than others, and just a sense of listlessness and complacency that filled the air with a heavy feeling. These glider Elves were no more alive than the stone-shapers he'd seen sitting like statues here and there. The most interesting of which was one that seemed to peer into the depths of eternity within a floating stone egg in front of him, but other than being similarly as ornate as the stonework of the mountain, the egg did not seem to be special in any way. Ekuar did not find it especially pretty, at least not with as much focus that was being placed on it.

The tall Elf made her way to what appeared to be another glider's room. Ekuar didn't expect there to be any difference between this individual's room and the others, but the tunnel builder seemed to have believed at some point that there was something interesting to see, since the pathway lead upward and over the room on the other side of the glider's door. Guided by his rock-sense, he found the expected spy-slit, and as per usual, it was set so it was comfortable to sit and watch for hours on end.

What he saw in the room startled him. A creature that was neither bird nor Elf stood at least as tall as the tall Elf, with wings that could easily reach across the far opening in the room. This was the other thing that startled Ekuar: that this Elf-bird creature was free to leave, free to do what it wished, yet it willing stood there, in horrible pain, as the female Elf further shaped its wings. Ekuar could see the Elf-bird's bones warp under her ministrations, as she placed tension on the tendons connecting them, but didn't relieve the strain in the bone, as if to cause as much pain as was possible as she sculpted the creature's body. It was hard to tell if the creature had been male or female as any commonality between it and an Elf or a bird had been erased, with possible exception of the typical points of its ears. Ekuar half expected a horrid, blood curdling shriek to be issued forth from it's lungs, but aside from a mild grunt the tortured being merely grimiced. Again, words were not spoken and the two continued on in silence after the process.

Elves torturing Elves? Captive Elves that didn't want to leave even after torture? Ekuar had not even heard so much as a song the whole time he had been in the tunnels, aside from his dream, and his unease with the whole situation intensified. He also realized with dread that it seemed as though this place collected rock-shapers like the Trolls did, and while he saw no signs of the physical dismemberment he had been subjected to, he also didn't see any signs of actual life, at least among those he could identify as rock-shapers. No one here seemed to enjoy their work, with perhaps the exception of the tall female Elf, who seemed to smile wickedly to herself when she didn't think anyone was looking, and she seemed to be the only Elf free from restriction.

Ekuar went back to the kitchen for a snack before following her around any further. A scream in the back of his mind seemed to tell him to load up on food and flee, that he had no reason to endanger himself any further, but he didn't feel right to leave things as they were, so as he waited for the tall ones near the kitchen to fall asleep, he thought long and hard about what would be a safe course of action to take to perhaps shake things up and perhaps awaken a fellow rock-shaper.

He considered all manner of methods he could communicate secretly through the stone the shapers were working on, as only a stone-shaper could, leaving texture and shapes internally within a solid rock, in such ways an outsider could not sense or find even if they were to crack the stone open. Something told him, though, that perhaps this stone work was much more vast that it appeared. Its level of complexity was already far more advanced on the surface than he himself could attempt, to the point it scared him. There was no telling how deep the embedded shaping was and interference by Ekuar might be considered an insult or even an outright attack.

As he waited and thought, he looked around the stretch of tunnel he was in. This had been the place he'd eaten in and lost most of his torch-wood, but with more oil for his lamp he decided he could light it and look at things in more depth. It was obvious that the one who'd dug these non-shaped tunnels had spent quite a bit of time here, possibly due to the warmth of the kitchen, or the ease of acquiring food, or to observe the tall ones, but this was more like a room than a tunnel. There had been a table and clutter here, perhaps there was something else he could use.

He lit his lamp and looked around while thinking things over. The tall ones were quite lively at the moment and seemed to be celebrating, and didn't seem to be likely to sleep anytime soon. In a way, they didn't seem to fit well with the machinations of the other things going on within the mountain: they ate far more than an Elf, they were noisy, and they didn't seem to produce anything of value, at least not that Ekuar could see. They did seem to take care of themselves and need less effort on part of the Elves other than replenishing stockpiles of food and drink. The stone-shapers, on the other hand, had to be constantly looked after and taken care of. So deep was their concentration that they could no longer feed themselves, keep the web-spinners from building nests around them, and... Ekuar suddenly mused that he never saw how they relieved themselves. Perhaps each shaper took care of that via shaper magic, which would be a small thing, but it would require amusingly creative solutions for their garb. He chuckled quietly as he looked over the table.

It appeared to be some sort of work bench, with a small hammer, some sharp, rough tools that must have been for dressing the edges of other metal tools, two chisels for carving wood, some scraps of paper with more of that weird wavy lines scrawled across them, and a half-finished device made of wood and metal. The wood was old but well treated and preserved to last, shaped and stressed into a hollow bow with high attention to quality craftsmanship. The metal hardware holding it together was shiny, ornately forged into fine scroll-work. Thin cords of varying thickness were stretched across the middle of the bow, but they did not seem to be set for firing arrows from, and the work-piece did not appear to have anything to do with battle. The more he looked at it, the more fascinated he became, and wondered who this master-smith had been that spied on Elves and made things of such beauty without magic, yet had remained vigilant for a long period and tunneled stone without detection. One more mystery for another time, as it didn't seem likely that he would encounter the former denizen of these secret passages.

So instead, he moved on to discover more. Riffling though the sheets of thin material on the shelf behind the table he inadvertently knocked over a small clay pot. The pot fell to the table and cracked in half, spilling a black liquid that stained the hardwood. A piece of clay bounced over and struck the cords on the device laying there, and tones sang their way from the device, stunning Ekuar for a moment as the soft sound filled the dark silence. the tone faded away, leaving the old rock-shaper alone in the dark again, wanting more. he resisted the urge to strike the cords to make the sound again, and instead went to the spy-slit to see if the tall ones noticed. It had been a fairly quiet noise, and he'd noticed that one of the features of these tunnels was to direct noise away from the Elfin set of tunnels, making it easier to hear what was going on among those on the other side but allowing noiseless movement throughout the tunnels on this side. Ekuar was admittedly ancient and skilled at stonework, and he took some pride in his abilities, but here he seemed surrounded by a multitude of skillful masters that far exceeded his understanding of materials and magic, stretching both far beyond anything he'd ever witnessed or attempted. It was humbling, but still it seemed that there were many problems with these masters that he was glad to lack. From the shapers obsessing to the point of denying their own existence, to the gliding Elves that took little delight in being able to soar, stomping around gloomily as they ground through their various miseries, to the tall Elf and her secret watcher, both obsessed in their individual ways in a seeming doom to endlessly work toward building to nothing. This watcher had been an interesting fellow, though, if he had felt the urge to be creative enough to craft the song-singer device on top of his tunneling, watching, and whatever else it was the being had done. And what was he? Ekuar felt strongly that this creature had been a Troll, but there was beauty and refinement in everything the creature had made that did not exude the vanity of a troll, but instead carried the wonder and enjoyment an Elf took to pursue beauty for beauty's sake... But perhaps, Ekuar chided himself, this was also a bad assumption as well he noted, as this was not being demonstrated by the Elves in this mountain either.

The tall ones had not seemed to notice the sound, and had quieted down themselves, becoming calm and drowsy. Ekuar hoped that they would be bedding down together soon, and that there would not be further revelry in the hours to come. He noted that these five fingered creatures had some small ability to sing themselves. Not as hearty as a drunken Troll or light and airy as an elf, but they did have their own form of self expression in song. He also noted it had caused one of the glider Elves to pause just out of sight to listen. This had been the first demonstration of interest outside of endlessly toiling away like a stinger in a hive... and it gave him a glimmer of hope.

Turning away from the spy-slit, he returned to the song-singer and looked it over to determine what it was missing. It had been abandoned at some point with an obvious gap in feature between one end and the other, leaving it unbalanced in form and function. He carefully picked it up and weighed it, and found it awkward to hold and carry, as though it were supposed to have additional weight on the unfinished side. Knowing the Trolls as he did, he'd seen their workshops and knew that metalwork could not be done around woodwork, as the heat and sparks would at minimum scorch and warp the wood, if it didn't set it ablaze.

So he searched for a place nearby that metalwork might have been done. He was looking for a place a pile of burning wood could be kept, with a heavy stone or metal piece set nearby to beat the metal into shape. The Trolls had guarded their methods of material manipulation, for the most part, from Ekuar and even from each other in some cases. But as Ekuar was regarded by some as nothing more sentient than any other tool to be used, he'd been allowed to see the tools they used, and every one of them had a very similar setup. It didn't take long, but he did finally find something recognizable as a metal-working area.

He search in futility for the missing metalwork, hoping to find the missing pieces. and while there was a lump of silvery metal that looked as though it might one day fit in with the song-singer, it was far from finished, and Ekuar could not shape metal. Not even close. It was what the Trolls had kept him confined with, loops of metal intertwined such that, when secured to his ankles, wrists and neck, he could move within a few arm lengths of his captors but not any farther than that. This resulted in a restraint he could work in for the Trolls without them needing to worry about him escaping through stone. He had tried many ways to break or remove the restraints, and other than incurring the wrath of one Troll or another, he had done little more than scratch the metal as he tried to pry them loose. In his cell, the Trolls simply forged a cage of bars too close together to squeeze through, keeping him from escaping through the surrounding stone when it was around. He had been able to gain some success here and there, which resulted in punishment and more crafty ways devised by the Trolls to keep him contained. As he almost gave up on his search, he noticed one of those flat pieces of material with marks on it, and contained within it was a drawing of the device, highly detailed and refined, depicting all of the key features of the song-singer. It was clear that the wavy lines contained more information, indicated by lines leading from parts of the song-singer to the squiggly lines. It would be nice to know what the lines said, but the picture was what interested Ekuar, because he could replicate the missing pieces in stone so very easily, now that he knew what they were supposed to look like. He could even shape the stone so it would weigh the same as the intended metal parts, and complete the device.

It was trivial for him to shape the parts from loose stone laying around. There was nothing special to them other than relatively ornate shape, but this was not difficult to replicate using magic. There was no extreme function to the parts, they were mostly cosmetic, so they only had to look right. In moments, Ekuar had finished the pieces and hoisted the completed instrument to inspect it. It felt right now, was comfortable to hold in one or both hands, or in his lap, or set it at varying angles on the table. This might do nicely as his own tool to stir things up.

The humans, he noted, were indeed bedding down and would soon be asleep. He watched excitedly as eyes closed and heavy breathing commenced. These tall creatures would receive a gift in exchange for the food he was about to steal.

He regretted relinquishing the newfound device so soon, without really having explored it's abilities, however if he could help these tall-ones to inspire one of the glider-Elves, it would be worth it. This way he could meddle with the tall elf's dark intentions, perhaps save one or more of the other Elves, and not feel so bad about stealing food he'd not gathered himself. He soundlessly picked up the song-singer, crawled out of the door, and made his way out into the kitchen. He set the finished collaborative work-piece against the wall near the humans where it would be safely noticed by them, but be unseen by a passing elf. He'd hate to have the tall Elf discover it before it was played! He then crept into the kitchen and set about picking up some foods he knew would last a while before returning to the secret tunnels through the hidden door. His game had begun.



The humans were stirred up by the Elf that had been listening to them earlier. Ekuar had dozed off himself when she 'accidentally' dropped a metal cup, letting it clatter loudly across the floor. The noise woke enough of the tall ones to set them into motion, shaking off sleep to bask in the presence of the glider.

It didn't take long for them to notice Ekuar's gift, and one excitedly snatched it up to hand it to one of the older members of the group. Wordlessly grinning, the younger Tall One presented it to the older and waited expectantly.

The older Tall One looked it over, rubbed its fingers over the cords and listened to the resulting sound. After plucking carefully at each cord and listening carefully, it began to weave together a crude tune. This Tall One had perhaps not seen anything like this machine, but had played with something enough like it to be roughly familiar with the way it was set up.

Over the next hour or so, Ekuar smiled like a fool as he watched the glider Elf find excuse after excuse to stay within earshot of the song-singer's melody. The Tall one that had been humming the day before joined in, and the song broke out in earnest, building to something Ekuar could feel good about. On and on it went, until Ekuar started to see tears in the glider's eyes. It was working! These Elves were, in fact, Elves he was familiar with and would seek out beauty, it was just a matter of getting the beauty out for them to experience. This would be one way, as long as no one screwed it up.

He set back a bit and gave himself a break as he drank and ate a little. He needed to get his strength up, because unless there was a radical change, these few tears would not be enough for him to join with these other shapers and gliders and retain his new freedom. If it failed, he would need to seek better conditions elsewhere, as his food theft would likely lead to his capture over time.



The glider had brought another in to listen to the tall ones later on. That glider brought another, and things appeared to be going well, but apparently the third Elf figured it was better to go to the tall, dark haired Elf that Ekuar didn't like. When she arrived, she sat and calmly listened to the music for a while, had the tall one playing it hand it over to her for inspection. She looked it over, noting the combination of stone and metal. Dread curled icily around Ekuar's heart like strangle-vine as he realized she must have intimately known the one who had forged the metalwork. The flash of recognition of the handiwork was hard for her to suppress, as was the seemingly casual look around the room as though someone was watching her. She would also have recognized Elfin stone-magic used on the latter part of the mechanism, and, Ekuar thought with terror, might suspect that her watcher and a stone-shaper had teamed up in this project. While that could be considered to be true in a certain context, it wasn't as though Ekuar had even met the metal-smith much less knew who it was. He began to shake with terror as he had when in the presence of the Troll Kings.

The tall Elf handed the instrument back to the player and went about as though nothing was out of order, but the five fingered ones began to get tired far too early. Something was at work as they began to return to bed, bowing apologetically as they tried to lay down in the presence of their host. She waved them away and looked over at the gliders seated nearby, There was a strange, almost hungry look in their eyes when they watched the five fingered ones lay down, as though this usually preceded some sort of feast, but their gaze jerked back to the tall Elf as they received a sending, nodded, and left.

When all was quiet, the tall, dark-haired female Elf walked over and picked up the song-singer, looked at it for a moment before addressing the virtually empty room: "What game are you playing now, my dear? This is most unlike you to present such a display of your meddling in such a blatant way."

It wasn't an open sending, she was actually speaking aloud, and was assuming it was the one who had been watching her long ago. This must mean that the watcher was likely to be gone for long periods of time and return without warning, which made Ekuar even more uneasy, like he was caught between the blades of the Troll Kings' cutters that had taken so much of his body away from him. He didn't know how to react, so he left her words without a response.

"No quips about how your new game will show me my place, or redeem your father, or some other nonsense? Its been so long since I have had something to break the monotony of taking care of my charges... Even one of your childish attempts to challenge me might almost be welcome."

Ekuar hardly breathed. He felt that this master-smith she was addressing would have said something, perhaps been provoked into reacting in some way, but how was he to know what that other hidden one would have said or done? Keeping silent might help keep his own presence from her notice, which was becoming more obviously important. The silence drew on and on, though Ekuar was no stranger to waiting in tense silence to keep attention away from himself.

She let out a metered breath, finally conceding that there would be no further exchange. "Well, it should be interesting to see how you manage to sneak food from the kitchens this time. They will not be left unsupervised for you to pilfer as you have done in the past. ...which will make it interesting to see how you feed your new companion. We both know how you detest hunting in all its forms. In the meantime, I'll have Egg look into this stonework to divine who your companion is and where you are keeping him. There is little in the way of stone-shaping in my domain that would not escape his notice. He may already be aware of your shaper and know exactly where he or she is. How else could I have saved the others that now work for me, long before your father tried to enslave one for his own, ever so important purposes. I suppose I was rash in ending his life so quickly, he deserved much worse for the fate he had intended my kin!"

Ekuar's eyes widened as the picture became clear for him. Her words were probably intended to enrage the master-smith into reacting in a disadvantageous way, or to make Ekuar distrust 'his compainion' had the person been there, but instead it exposed the conflict between the two for what it was: a blood feud between the smith and his or her father's killer. A midst all the wrong-feeling strangeness Ekuar found in this labyrinth of horrors, from the inexplicable to the insane, the torment and torture and living death that Ekuar had witnessed in the short time he'd been watching, this raven-haired horror incarnate in Elfin form was the most despicable. Ekuar's former captors were brutal, but their torturous brutality had been decisive and almost clean compared with this master manipulator. An entire tribe of Elves were held alive without living, caged without bars, simply for her amusement. At least the Trolls had put Ekuar's efforts toward some purpose. Here, there was far more wrong being done to a greater number of souls, and the only hint of justice was that some mysterious metal worker played mildly annoying games with her.

While it would go against everything Ekuar felt was right, there was only the slightest hesitation in his movements before he scooped up a few pieces of the food he'd taken and fled as fast as his maimed body would let him. Retracing his steps, fearing whether it would be better to reverse what little stone shaping he'd done on the way in or leave it now that this 'Egg' fellow was watching for him, he hardly noticed the bumps and scrapes he caused to himself as fear drove him back down the route he'd come, the only way he was familiar with, back to the pit he had been left in. Until and unless he could concoct a plan that could best a rock-shaper stronger than himself, a she-elf with a scheming mind worse than that of a blood-mad Troll King, and an throng of armed, flying Elves with undamaged, whole bodies, Ekuar's only hope in avoiding a fate worse than his time with the Trolls was to place himself back into his lonely cell, where he'd remained unnoticed by the denizens of that mountain of twisted blue stone for so long.


Last edited by TrollHammer on Mon Oct 05, 2020 4:10 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Punctuation and grammer corrections)
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Tymber

Tymber

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyMon Oct 05, 2020 5:53 pm

@TrollHammer wrote:
spirit/ghost
A prank
Harpy


I am going to read this later after work... just picking up my jaw at seeing your return, good sir.

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Ba_tym10
Signature image by Embala. <3
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Tymber

Tymber

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyMon Oct 05, 2020 9:49 pm

@TrollHammer wrote:

While it would go against everything Ekuar felt was right, there was only the slightest hesitation in his movements before he scooped up a few pieces of the food he'd taken and fled as fast as his maimed body would let him. Retracing his steps, fearing whether it would be better to reverse what little stone shaping he'd done on the way in or leave it now that this 'Egg' fellow was watching for him, he hardly noticed the bumps and scrapes he caused to himself as fear drove him back down the route he'd come, the only way he was familiar with, back to the pit he had been left in. Until and unless he could concoct a plan that could best a rock-shaper stronger than himself, a she-elf with a scheming mind worse than that of a blood-mad Troll King, and an throng of armed, flying Elves with undamaged, whole bodies, Ekuar's only hope in avoiding a fate worse than his time with the Trolls was to place himself back into his lonely cell, where he'd remained unnoticed by the denizens of that mountain of twisted blue stone for so long.

While this was a very long read - I loved your writing - and how we see everything through Ekuar's eyes - and reveal an untold story - of how he escaped the trolls, and discovered the Blue Mountain elves, followed Winnowill, saw Tyldak... all so, unsurprisingly, masterfully written good sir. It's quite nice to see you back.

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Ba_tym10
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Tymber

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyMon Oct 05, 2020 11:46 pm

Last time, Buren’s father – Balgar, and his female companion, the tribe’s Shaman, Sherala – Priestess of the “Human God” in their frozen lands, Kuraul, was slain by a towering human with black hair and black eyes! It’s true – look over here: https://fathertreeholt.forumotion.com/t1036-september-2020-grab-bag-stories-poetry-art-etc#56536

So how does that tie into this month’s Grab Bag?

Hang on.

October Suggestions:
1. Spirit/Ghost (for that Halloween vibe) in whatever context you want
2. A Prank
3. Harpy

“You have always disappointed me, boy,” Balgar emphasized the word boy, to demean Buren. “All your life, one disappointment after the other. I had hoped you would take up the mantle of Chief. But you were weak. Pathetic. Sympathetic. You never made me proud, boy.”

Buren sat up, startled from the dream, and through a haze, his mind still trying to wake up, he saw a shimmering image – a ghost like image – of his father ripple away and he could swear he heard his father’s laughter echoing in his ears.

The amber locks of Stream fell to the side, as she slowly turned to look over at her lovemate. Stonecutter, their half elf, half human son, now seven seasons old, sleeping between them stretched and yawned and went back to sleep. “Are you all right,” Stream’s ever so gentle voice whispered as her hand rested on Buren’s knee.

He looked at the shadows where he’d thought he’d seen his father’s ghost for a moment longer, then forced a smile on his face as he looked at Stream. “Yes,” he whispered back, placing his hand on hers, “I am fine. Just a bad dream is all.” He laid on his side and felt Stonecutter’s feet suddenly against his back. Buren grabbed the furs tighter as he stared into the void of the shadows. “Just a bad dream,” he repeated.

Violent waves slammed against the longship. As the waves crashed against the rows of shields that lined each side of the ship, it would appear as if the shields had been placed there to battle the very elements themselves – but in truth, the shields represented each person aboard the ship, weathering the violent storm. Her wooden sides screamed against the churning ocean as the men inside, heaved and rowed in unison, their rippling human muscles made and bred to endure these conditions. (For those that want a visual of the idea of the ship: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Viking%2C_replica_of_the_Gokstad_Viking_ship%2C_at_the_Chicago_World_Fair_1893.jpg )

Beneath the fluttering tarp stretched over  the middle of the ship, one of the commanders approached the leader – an intimidating tall human, with black eyes, and black hair. Even the storm seemed frightened of him, for his hair did not seem to move in the turbulent winds.

“Rumdreer, are you positive this is the way?” the command shouted, trying to make himself heard over the howling winds.

The stoic figure sneered. “I tortured that priestess, Sherala,” Rumdreer finally growled, his tone guttural and deep. “She swore under the oath of her lost god, Kuraul, that she was telling the truth. She knew she was going to die, and by the foolish vow she made, if she’d lied, her soul would be damned by this false god of hers.”

For weeks, they enduring churning waters, to violent storms, to calm seas, where their sails would fall flat, and they’d drift on the open sea for days, waiting for the next breeze. Men and women had fallen overboard, during some of the more turbulent times. Some food was lost. Some were thrown overboard for theft of food, especially during the days the sails had fallen flat.

Rumdreer had started this expedition with thirty six men and women, and by the time one of his men had shouted, “Land!” only sixteen men and women remained. Several of the men jumped out and pulled the ship to shore. Rumdreer jumped out, and despite his massive size, hardly made a splash in the water, landing like an arrow shot into the tide.

He scanned the cliff side and smiled. There, torn and tattered was the inverted flag of the Frostsail Clan (This is Buren’s father’s tribe; the tribe was named in June 2020 - http://www.tawmis.com/stonehowl/june2020.html ) . The inverted flag has been an indication of “great evil” being nearby and to warn others from approaching. Rumdreer knew they were on the right path. He approached the tattered flag and ripped it from the post and let it blow away in the breeze. (Not expecting anyone to remember, obviously – but the mention of the inverted flag’s placement and meaning was mentioned way back in October 2015 - http://www.tawmis.com/stonehowl/oct2015.html)

“Soon,” he growled to himself, “there will be no more great evil here to fear.”

He turned to the others, still pulling the ship to shore. “Krass, Jinn, you remain here. Guard the ship. See to it that nothing happens. The rest of you, come with me. Gord, take point. Do what you do best.”

Gord was small, even for a human. The others often called him “Squeak” because he was like a mouse; as if his bones were hollow and he could squeeze between the tightest spaces. But Gord was also an exceptional tracker. He’d had his tongue cut out for speaking against Rumdreer many years ago, but had learned to whistle with what remained. Gord scouted ahead, and soon came the whistle that he’d picked up tracks. Rumdreer smiled and gestured to the others to begin marching up the cliff side.

Windfetcher had been sitting on the rocks near the cliff side, her eyes closed, lost in her thoughts. She’d not seen the approaching ship that now docked on the beach at the base of the cliff. She had been lost, thinking how she was expected to lead this small band of elves as their chieftess? Most of them knew Wildthorn, who had been a reckless chief, driven by his emotions. Shadow had taken over, after Wildthorn’s passing. Shadow had taken them all across the world, fleeing from humans, encountering other elves, before settling here at the new Stonehowl holt. He had hoped for peace and tranquility here for his tribe, because there’d not been much evidence of humans. But humans came – they came across the sea and brought murder and mayhem, killing several in the tribe. But they’d been driven off, and Buren – one of the children of the chief human – was now a part of their tribe. Not only that, he and Stream had had a child together – birthing something neither human nor elf, but a mixture of both. Similar to how their own bloodline had started, so long ago, between the mating of Elf and Wolf.

Now? She looked around her, she could see the tribe not too far away, near their caves. Not a wolf among them, really. The bonds they’d shared with wolves had even become strained and severed over time. Wolves still came and rested with them – but they were no longer bonded as they were before. Everything had changed. Everything she knew when she was younger had all been wiped away for this new beginning.

When Shadow and Foxhair left, and said she would be chieftess – she wondered if this had all been some kind of prank? She waited, almost daily, for them to return. But she knew in her heart, in her mind, she would not see them again. Not in this world.

An unusual whistle, like she’d never heard before, snapped her out of her thoughts. She waited to hear it again – and it did not come. It was no bird then. She looked around – and that’s when she saw the ship on the shore with two humans. Her panicked eyes scanned the cliff side, and she could see fifteen humans holding steel swords and shields coming up the path. Though they’d lost their bond to the wolves, the elves of Stonehowl still used the wolf howl as a warning – and Windfetcher tilted her head back and howled as she quickly, nearly falling down several times, made her way down the small rock post she’d been sitting on and ran to the caves.

“What’s happening?” Vineweaver asked, coming to greet Windfetcher first.

“Humans,” she panted. “Many of them. Brandishing weapons.”

Stream and Buren were next to approach. Stream clenched Buren’s hand. “You said they wouldn’t come for us because of the inverted flag.”

“My father’s people wouldn’t,” Buren said. “What did these people look like? Did you see a ship? Did it have a banner? A flag?”

“Black flag, with,” Windfetcher took a deep breath, “red half circle in the center.”

“The Bloodtide,” Buren took a deep breath. He shook his head. “This bodes ill. They killed anyone and everything in their path.”

“We can’t fight them,” Stream pleaded. “My healing powers haven’t been the same since I saved you.” (It’s true – all the way back in http://www.tawmis.com/stonehowl/sept2015.html - she thought she’d burned her powers out completely. She’s since then influenced her body to accept Buren’s sperm to bare a child, but her powers fluctuate).

“If we run,” Buren said, “they will chase us down. They’re here to kill us. This means they’ve probably killed my father – which may explain why I had a dream of him several weeks ago.”

“They outnumber us,” Windfetcher said, finally able to breathe, “two to one.”

“Fighting them one on one will be a death sentence,” Buren agreed. “And they won’t kill you outright. They will sever a limb and let you die a slow death. We need to use cunning if we hope to drive them off.”

“I’ve just the plan then,” Vineweaver said, having only heard the tail end. “Everyone, hide.”

Rumdreer and his fifteen men arrived at the caverns and could see that they’d just been used. Embers danced in the sky, fur leathers were still in the caves. He looked around, “Son of the worthless Balgar, your father told me you were among these demons. That you betrayed your own kind in favor of them and their trickery. Before I cut your father’s limbs, piece by piece off, he told me how ashamed he’d been of you. And it wasn’t great evil he was warning others about – it was his greatest shame. Step out and I will give you a warrior’s death – a quick severing of your head, so that your eyes will not have to watch your demon friends being cut down.”

Silence.

“We killed the Snow Harpies,” Rumdreer went on to say. “You know, those demons that rode the giant snow owls. Not even their magnificent demon beasts could defeat us. Many of my men died, but they died honorably. Their bodies left there on the battlefield so that anyone who came by would see and know who was willing to lay down their life to cleanse the world.” (For a visual of the snowy owls: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4d/A_Snowy_Owl_in_Flight_David_Hemmings.jpg)

Silence.

“Have it your way then,” he gestured to several of the men and women behind him who began cutting into the various possessions in the cave. “We will make this our home and leave your demons nowhere to go. If they flee, we will follow them and kill them.”

TO BE CONTINUED!







• Vineweaver (Male Soul Name: Reyk) – Auburn Hair, Blue Eyes (Tree shaper, Soul Mate of Stillbreeze, Plant Shaper)
• Stillbreeze (Female Soul Name: Hewl) – Brown Hair, Brown Eyes (Soul Mate of Vineweaver, Tanner)
• Echo (Male Soul Name: Ayav) – Brown Hair, Green Eyes (Cub of Stillbreeze & Vineweaver, Magic)- About twenty three years old.
• Windfetcher (Female Soul Name: Burm) – Auburn Hair, Brown Eyes (Cub of Stillbreeze & Vineweaver) – About twenty three years old, Chieftess
• Snowspring (Female, Soul Name: Tylo – Black Hair, Green Eyes) – Fourteen years old. Daughter of Shadow and Foxhair.
• Stream (Female Soul Name: Vree) – Red Hair, Green Eyes (Healer)
• Buren (Human, Brown hair, hazel eyes) – About 25 years old in human years
• Stonecutter (half elf/half human, son of Stream and Buren – brown hair, green eyes) – About seven years old

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Ba_tym10
Signature image by Embala. <3
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Yeee

Yeee

Virgo Tiger
Posts : 1066
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Age : 46
Location : germany

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySat Oct 10, 2020 8:14 pm

"HAH! gotcha!"
The Spirit of the great Eagle is surely with this Harpy elf when she is Pranking Rayek, who is on his way in "Siege of blue mountain".
It is no mistake that Aneret looks far bigger than Rayek, she is an XL-harpy, that means: veeery big and big talons too.
October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Octobe10
This is my Harpy Aneret from the harpy section of this holt, I am redesigning her , the wings got more "birdy" now, the fingers more like archaeopterix and the "harpy dolling maker" must suffer from another try of Aneret  or "Redgloss" or maybe "Downtail". Laughing
October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Harpya16
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Tymber

Tymber

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Location : Location, Location!

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyTue Oct 13, 2020 2:29 am

The B&W piece is amazing; the feathers are beautifully done.

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Ba_tym10
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Virgo Tiger
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Location : germany

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyTue Oct 13, 2020 6:51 pm

Awww, thanx Tymber,
I still have to read the written entrys here, before I can write something . Started with the Ekuar story today, interesting.
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

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Location : O'er Der.....

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySat Oct 17, 2020 4:45 am

The black and white one feels like it would fit in with some of the 90s comics, Even feels familiar, like it would have fit in with the assault on Sarrow's End.

I've been trying to catch up on the grab bags of the last few months and have really been enjoying your work, Yeee, Its great to see so much more art and writing, makes me happy.

Sorry for getting long winded, Tymber (and all), been a while since I wrote (actually, next to last thing I wrote was in a 2015 grab bag, IIRC, the last thing I wrote was Jan 2016, and it was left unfinished. Anyway, got carried away.
Like I said I'm trying to catch up on your stories along with the others to find out why they are at sea, I'll get there, though, my schedule should be going back to normal here soon. Great to see you're back on the forums and active again!
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Tymber

Tymber

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySat Oct 17, 2020 5:32 am

@TrollHammer wrote:

Sorry for getting long winded, Tymber (and all), been a while since I wrote (actually, next to last thing I wrote was in a 2015 grab bag, IIRC, the last thing I wrote was Jan 2016, and it was left unfinished. Anyway, got carried away.
Like I said I'm trying to catch up on your stories along with the others to find out why they are at sea, I'll get there, though, my schedule should be going back to normal here soon.  Great to see you're back on the forums and active again!

Hah. No need to apologize about being "long winded." Most of your stories were typically longer. Because you always dive into so much detail, which is great, because it keeps the reader with you mentally.

As for mine, don't torture yourself going back and reading those. Or just go over the recap page. They're not out at sea, their new home is a mountain side that touches a beach.

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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Ba_tym10
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyWed Oct 21, 2020 6:51 am

@Tymber wrote:
They're not out at sea, their new home is a mountain side that touches a beach.

I misread it, I ran Buren's dream setting into the ship, thinking he was sleeping in a cabin on the ship, but then the ship's story didn't make sense, which should have been a clue I was reading it wrong. My bad!
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Virgo Tiger
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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyMon Oct 26, 2020 5:20 am

Thanx so much, Trollhammer!   Very Happy  (sorry for my late reply, first I wanted to read your story, but I am not that fast  Wink  )

"I've been trying to catch up on the grab bags of the last few months and have really been enjoying your work, Yeee, Its great to see so much more art and writing, makes me happy.!"
Aaaaw, YAY  Very Happy !  The most of my stuff is in the 2 threads "Yeee`s sketchbook" and "building a harpy tribe", so there is a lot more to enjoy  What a Face  .
Have forgotten to put Embalas spooky ghost harpy-elf in here
October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Harpyr14
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Virgo Tiger
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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyMon Oct 26, 2020 8:14 pm

...and the 1. picture again in colour.
October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Octobe12
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Virgo Tiger
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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyWed Oct 28, 2020 7:37 pm

@Embala: Your last years harpy Ravenwing now in colour, and with the cool creepy Halloween tattoo.
October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Harpyr17
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Virgo Tiger
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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySat Oct 31, 2020 7:43 pm

Last years harpy Halloween in colour in the Grab Bag.
October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Harpyh15

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Virgo Tiger
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October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySat Oct 31, 2020 9:01 pm

Last years harpy Halloween in colour in the Grab Bag. last entry
October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Harpyh16

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Virgo Tiger
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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySat Nov 07, 2020 5:40 pm

@Trollhammer:
I love to read about that " good soul" Ekuar". Very long story, it took some time to read, it`s great! ( sorry I have not very much variation of words.)

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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySat Nov 07, 2020 10:02 pm

Glad to hear someone enjoying my mad ramblings. Lol. Im really enjoying your artwork, kind want to see a comic book done by you, if anthing should ever exist. Ive lost my knack for plotting out pages of story drawings (well, I sort of did one once since school, but it was cut and paste old EQ frames, none or my own work), so I am always in awe ofnsomeonenwhoncan compose an image that draws me in, like your drawings, which tell stories in and of themselves. Pockets of time captured at a glance. Cant wait to see what you do for November!
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Yeee

Yeee

Virgo Tiger
Posts : 1066
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Location : germany

October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  Empty
PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptySun Nov 08, 2020 6:44 pm

Thanx so much,Trollhammer! Very Happy oh my, a whole comicbook??? Shocked Sorry , i can`t deliver that much. but i started doing short comic-strips . I believe this is more realizable than a long story. Very Happy
it will take some time, until I can deliver something for the grab bag. So sadly, you have to wait a little bit.
Heh, i would like to have a look on your copy and paste story.
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

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PostSubject: Re: October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art    October 2020 "Grab bag" stories | poetry | art  EmptyMon Nov 09, 2020 3:19 am

"Whole book" as in a short story, my "books" were usually single page, single sided and occasionally two sided. Usually had 4 lines of boxes, 4-6 oxes per line and the page was 8.5x11. Usually centered about a cyborg nerd facing some silly problem like Arnold Schwarzenegger parking in his parking spot. Not a big deal, just fun... Which is probably the element I forget to keep in mind when trying again.

On the EQ one I messed with, its somewhere between here and the eq.com old forum. Something like 20 pages of story interspersed with doctored images... Which reminds me I need to resurrect Santa Edge/Two Claus... Should have it somewhere.... Lol.

The story was called... Jink saves Christmas or something like that.. Cant remember. Been like 10 years since I did it. They were jpg pages, so they wouldnt lose formating, but who knows if they carried over, might have had them on photobucket which wouldnt have kept all that well. I have the originals somewhere though.
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