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 November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.

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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 846
Join date : 2015-05-06
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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptySun Nov 01, 2015 6:07 pm

All stories, poems, lyrics and art, must be ElfQuest related (not necessarily the ElfQuest canon characters, we all know and love; but take place within the "ElfQuest" Universe). Stories/poems/lyrics must contain all elements, while art just needs to contain at least one:

Preparing for Whitecold
Going Full Circle
Being thankful for someone/something
Warmth, of any kind; both physically and metaphorically.

___________________________________________________
November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Ba_tym10
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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 846
Join date : 2015-05-06
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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyFri Nov 06, 2015 1:12 am


Though Halloween had just passed
And the floating bats were gone at last
Not a single story was told
As if the elves were preparing for the whitecold!

Had this all gone full circle here
No one would visit - for they were consumed with fear!
Perhaps, the elves should be thankful
For at the very least, they were all very beautiful.

But there is this sense of cold
Remembering days of old
And there are no posts to keep the elves warm
Here on this forum.


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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Ba_tym10
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Lunakat

Lunakat

Posts : 2792
Join date : 2014-03-15
Location : On a rooftop, contemplating the moon

November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyFri Nov 06, 2015 12:06 pm

Reply to Tymber's Lament

Most of us are having babies
Will we tell more stories? Maybe
But our lives are flying fast
White-cold coming soon at last

So we prepare for season's cheer
With the families we hold dear
We met as friends in younger days
And we all went our separate ways

Be thankful to be back together
Through summer warmth and stormy weather!
And though we each live far away
We still converse here every day

This forum is like hearth and home
Though we each may march alone
Or dance with others toward life's ends
We're lucky we can all stay friends

So no, it's not like days of old
And many stories are not told
But that's just how time staggers on
And in a blink, we all be gone

If that sounds morbid, I agree
But now consider this with me
We pass on what we've loved and known
Full circle to those yet un-grown

___________________________________________________
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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 846
Join date : 2015-05-06
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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyFri Nov 06, 2015 5:44 pm

(Very well written, Luna!)

It's true, that unlike the Elves, time has passed, and we've gotten old
The white in our hair, like the falling of the Whitecold
And many of us have had children
Since way back when.

Still, so many posts are made, day in and day out
With so many different things that we talk about.
Stories about Redlance, or even ventures into ElfWest
Some stories, never rest.

I am not looking for a cure
Merely missing days long gone, and the appeal and lure.
Who knows, soon when it comes back around
Stories will bloom, like roses from the ground.

And a new age of readers can be thankful
For the words and stories, all of which are beautiful.
And they will keep warm, huddling by the fire
Reading and writing with renewed desire.

___________________________________________________
November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Ba_tym10
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Redhead Ember

Redhead Ember

Aries Dragon
Posts : 4267
Join date : 2015-04-17
Age : 32
Location : Right here

November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptySat Nov 07, 2015 5:19 am

I sense this thread has gone a-swarming;
meta-poems,
they are quite warming.
This Forum is part of a circle,
which now takes another turn.

It's true that now we must prepare,
for Christmas-elves like every year.
For Embala she makes her baubles;
a gift which I am thankful for.

___________________________________________________
"When you do what you love best, you shine where you love."

Come play the Who Am I game! Twisted Evil
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Redhead Ember

Redhead Ember

Aries Dragon
Posts : 4267
Join date : 2015-04-17
Age : 32
Location : Right here

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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptySat Nov 14, 2015 1:13 pm

The Wheel

It’s time;
all life prepare
for still-quiet sleep.

Our Fathertree keeps us warm through the cold,
we’re thankful for elf-spirits of old.

As the Wheel takes another turn.

___________________________________________________
"When you do what you love best, you shine where you love."

Come play the Who Am I game! Twisted Evil
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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 846
Join date : 2015-05-06
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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptySat Nov 14, 2015 3:34 pm

NOTE: This may be one of the funnest pieces I wrote for Stonehowl... lots of love, happiness, and positive energy here... This is one, if Embala ever has free time (her voice and comments are dearly missed here!), that I think she would enjoy reading... she was very much in mind as this one came together...

Preparing for Whitecold
Going Full Circle
Being thankful for someone/something
Warmth, of any kind; both physically and metaphorically.


“{I do not know how to say thank you in your tongue,}” Buren spoke his human, native tongue. “{But you saved my life. All of you,}” he gestured around him, “{saved my life. The shaman has wanted me gone for a long time because I questioned them too much. Now, I am free.}”

Shadow smiled, “{I will be glad to teach you how to speak our language, if you teach me how to correctly speak yours. I speak the human tongue, but some words are different.}”

Buren nodded, though, as Shadow said, some of the words were different; spoken with a slightly different accent, he could make out the majority of what Shadow was saying. “{I would be happy to teach you our foul language. It is not nearly as musical sounding as yours.}”


It had been two seasons since that day, and there was no sign of the Frost Men. Windfetcher, who had blossomed into a young, maturing woman was playing with Snowspring, who was seven seasons old now; just as old as Windfetcher had been with Shadow first left the original Stonehowl Holt. “Just so you know,” Windfetcher poked Snowspring in the chest playfully, “you may be Shadow’s cub, but I am next in line for Chieftess. So don’t you go getting any ideas!”

Snowspring’s black hair was a sharp contrast to the white snow that was beginning to fall; her green eyes shining beneath her dark bangs. “No! I am going to be the next Chieftess! My father told me so, already!”

Windfecther looked over at Shadow, who shrugged, “Are you feeding her head with false ideas, Chief?” Windfetcher smiled.

“I have tried to tell her that you are next in line to be Chieftess,” Shadow laughed, “but truth be told, she refuses to listen.”

“Refuses to listen? Well that’s not a good trait for a Chieftess,” Windfetcher smirked.

“Oh, is that so?” Vineweaver laughed. “Do you remember, when you were just her age – when we first met Spearclaw’s tribe,” he gestured to Spearclaw who sat next to him, “and Shadow and the others marched to the Palace? You were told to remain with us! What did you do? Got on the back of your wolf bond, Glimmer, and rode off to follow Shadow! She,” Vineweaver gestured to Snowspring, “is just like you. It’s gone full circle, really. She has replaced you as the young, stubborn, one.”

“I’ll have you know,” Windfetcher placed her hands on her hips, “I am still quite stubborn.”

“Yes,” Vineweaver smiled sarcastically, “but you’re not so young anymore! You’ve grown to be a young woman now!”

It was true; her once flat chest, was now fuller; her once non-existent frame, now had large hips and a curved rump.

Windfetcher smiled. She knew she was attractive. “I am the second most beautiful.”

“Second?” Shadow asked, laughing.

“My mother is the most beautiful, obviously,” Windfetcher smiled.

Stillbreeze had been out with Echo, who had grown into a young man, and Stream and the human Buren, who aged faster than the elves, and had grown up nicely. The hard work that the elves had done, helped forge Buren into a young, attractive human; with a defined body and rippling muscles. The four of them had been out preparing for the next winter that was coming.

Though Buren had become attracted to Stream; perhaps realizing she gave up her healing abilities, burning them out to save his life; they had never coupled together. Their relationship had been completely platonic. However, Stillbreeze noticed with increasing frequency, how Stream sometimes watched Buren, and it was more than with platonic desire.

As Echo and Buren gathered wood, Stillbreeze approached Stream. “I’ve seen the way you look at him.”

“Who?” Stream suddenly sat up, thinking that Stillbreeze was inferring that Stream had been watching Echo. “I swear I haven’t…”

Stillbreeze smiled, “The way you look at the human. I can tell by your body language that neither of you has shared a moment together, bonding,” she winked, “because each of you glance at one another, when the other isn’t looking. And there is a longing in those eyes.”

“But it’s a human,” Stream said.

“It is,” Stillbreeze smiled. “And while it’s never been heard of before… This tribe is anything but normal. We have done things, following Shadow, that no one has ever done before. Even myself,” she said, “Never has a Recognized couple – or any couple in Stonehowl’s history – ever invited another to be a part of their family. But Spearclaw, Vineweaver and I are one.”

Stillbreeze sat down on a log and invited Stream to sit next to her. “It’s like when I saw Spearclaw; I knew he was attracted to me. I was not initially attracted to him; but I saw what he did to help us when things were going wrong with the Pridewalkers… the way he nearly sacrificed himself against the Quickdeath beast, to save one of our own… I grew to admire him, and through that admiration, my affection began to grow into an attraction. I believe, when you realized that the human had defied his father, accepted exile to save Shadow’s cub, you found that same admiration I found in Spearclaw. That admiration has grown into affection,” Stillbreeze smiled. “I believe the human knows, you burned your healing abilities trying to save him. He knows what you gave up to ensure he lived. That he was given a second chance. Although you knew it could cost you the ability to heal anyone else; your admiration refused to allow you to give up. He knows that. He knows what you sacrificed for him. He, who isn’t even an elf. He knows, and his admiration has grown into affection. He,” she looked over at Buren and Echo, “has grown into a young man. A young human with needs. You,” she turned to Stream, “are that need.”

Stillbreeze smiled and called for Echo. Echo turned. “Come with me, son, bring what you have.” She saw Buren also starting to follow and she smiled, “Stay here,” she said in the elfin tongue, which Shadow had spent two years teaching Buren. The human looked at Stream questioningly as Stillbreeze and Echo left them alone.

“Is everything all right?” Buren asked. Though he could speak the Elf tongue now, after two years of learning; there was still an accent when he spoke that made it distinctly different sounding, even when the words he spoke were correct.

Stream smiled and stood up from the log she had been sitting on. “More than all right,” she said and walked towards him. She unbuttoned her leather blouse and exposed her chest to him. Buren’s jaw nearly collided with the ground as he dropped the logs he had been carrying in his strong arms. Stream smiled, wrapped her arms around him, and felt the warmth of his body pressed against hers; she could hear and feeling his accelerated heartbeat pounding in his chest, rhythmically bouncing against her breast as she pulled him closer. Their lips met, and slowly they sank to the forest floor.

The small flecks of snow that fell and touched their bodies, sizzled away, as the heat of their passionate escalated.


REGULAR SURVIVING STONE HOWL:

Shadow (Male Soul Name: Tyru) – Black Hair, Tanned, Green Eyes (Elder brother to Purespring, Chief)

Foxhair (Female Soul Name: Loun) – Red Hair, Green Eyes (Hunter)

Snowspring (Female, Soul Name: Tylo – Black Hair, Green Eyes) – Seven years old. Daughter of Shadow and Foxhair.

Spearclaw (Male, Soul name: Lren) – Brown Hair, Green Eyes (Scout)

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 Sixteen years old.

Windfetcher (Female Soul Name: Burm) – Auburn Hair, Brown Eyes (Cub of Stillbreeze & Vineweaver,
Next Potential Chief… If She Has Her Way!) – About sixteen years old

Stream (Female Soul Name: Vree) – Red Hair, Green Eyes (Healer)

Snowcloud (Female, Soul Name: Mill) – White Hair, Green Eyes (based off white lions)

Buren (Human, Brown hair, hazel eyes) – About 18 years old in human years

___________________________________________________
November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Ba_tym10
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

Posts : 649
Join date : 2012-07-31
Location : O'er Der.....

November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptySun Nov 15, 2015 4:26 am

Heh heh, so is he going to run away like (whathisname? Little Patch?) next month, driven away by an elf maiden's bloodsong?

(Of course, Jink never seemed to cause that problem, so maybe it was just Little Patch?)

Anyway, fun read!

It just hit me in this installment, though, that while this is a bit of the "mortal/immortal tragic romance", it goes a bit farther than that: unless Stream also did a little work on Buren's mortality, the tribe has lost a healer that might have aided the tribe for thousands of years so that one with a short lifespan might live only slightly longer, in comparison, seeings as he most likely have lived little more than eight-eights of the turns of the seasons longer.

As it is, Buren might not live long enough to finish reading my entry... I do apologize, its tending to be a bit long. Im currently at about 9+ pages and have a little left.  How can less elements equate to a longer story?  I hope it will be worth reading! (Update: up to 12 pages, over 5000 words... and still have a page or so to go. There is a point to the length, and I could cut some of it out, but it might be missed. What Im considering is chopping it into pieces and making several posts (the elements are spread out, or Id just post the section with the elements) so its easier to read a piece at a time. Any thoughts?)

It was fun to see the poetry showing up earlier in the month, though it was a shade concerning.  Redhead had quite a nice entry, though. I cant imagine how a poem can be written well, cover four complex themes, yet be so concise! Smile  Good job!
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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 846
Join date : 2015-05-06
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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyMon Nov 16, 2015 12:55 pm

@TrollHammer wrote:

Heh heh, so is he going to run away like (whathisname? Little Patch?) next month, driven away by an elf maiden's bloodsong?
(Of course, Jink never seemed to cause that problem, so maybe it was just Little Patch?)

You know, I was wondering if a Human and Elf romantic relationship happened elsewhere in ElfQuest.

The idea was alluded to in the previous thing; but then when I thought about it, Buren (in my head) was about 16 years old when everything happened... so then I thought, "That's going to be weird this month if I suggest romantic relationships, because even though things are different in ElfQuest, it'd still be a sexual encounter with a minor"... so I forwarded the story a few years to make him of age (which then, opened the door in my head, for Windfetcher being older, and then talking to Shadow's cub, who then would have been as old as Windfetcher was when I started all these stories... and that opened that whole beginning! Which I really enjoyed writing. Was nice to write something with a positive vibe throughout the story. (I generally do not do well writing happy things...)

@TrollHammer wrote:

Anyway, fun read! It just hit me in this installment, though, that while this is a bit of the "mortal/immortal tragic romance", it goes a bit farther than that: unless Stream also did a little work on Buren's mortality, the tribe has lost a healer that might have aided the tribe for thousands of years so that one with a short lifespan might live only slightly longer, in comparison, seeings as he most likely have lived little more than eight-eights of the turns of the seasons longer.

I wanted Buren's life to cost something when she healed him; I wanted something to be given up (was initially, as I was writing it in my head, that she would give her life for his; but then I thought, "What if she just 'burned out' her healing ability trying to save the human? That could be more interesting, and not cost someone a life this time!") I look forward to future story elements as to what Stream's future may bring... or even Buren's. No idea where I am going with any of this, ever, because it's always the elements that drive these stories forward... So it's a fun mental exercise. Smile

@TrollHammer wrote:

As it is, Buren might not live long enough to finish reading my entry... I do apologize, its tending to be a bit long. Im currently at about 9+ pages and have a little left.  How can less elements equate to a longer story?  I hope it will be worth reading!  (Update: up to 12 pages, over 5000 words... and still have a page or so to go.  There is a point to the length, and I could cut some of it out, but it might be missed.  What Im considering is chopping it into pieces and making several posts (the elements are spread out, or Id just post the section with the elements) so its easier to read a piece at a time. Any thoughts?)

I'd say one long post; for which I look forward to.

@TrollHammer wrote:

It was fun to see the poetry showing up earlier in the month, though it was a shade concerning.  Redhead had quite a nice entry, though. I cant imagine how a poem can be written well, cover four complex themes, yet be so concise! Smile  Good job!

I was sad that the last few Grab Bag threads have gone from being 4 to 8 pages, now never break 1 page.

But I'm over it. I think part of it was waiting for my brain to get the creative streak again (times are dark at work). So once that happened (and considering how happy my story was!) I was feeling much better about it. Smile

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Ba_tym10
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

Posts : 649
Join date : 2012-07-31
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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyTue Nov 17, 2015 3:11 am

Had another thought I forgot to add in, part of me ended up wondering if, down the road, it might end up like Magneto's "cured" powers in the last Xmen movie being shown to be weakly returning? Of course, its your story, and an absolute has importance too. Ive also had a theory that an Elf might not have "only one" power, but one that "clicks" more than others, and as the others may not be practiced as much they never develop (so, like someone who becomes blind developing their other senses, a Healer that loses a healing ability might find other,more hidden, talents?)

Id noticed the decrease in participation, though I was worried it was due to having scared them off or something. There are some that seem to have disappeared completely in recent months, might just be the holidays/beginning of school (I know the last couple of months have been epicly busy and crazy!)
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Redhead Ember

Redhead Ember

Aries Dragon
Posts : 4267
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Age : 32
Location : Right here

November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyTue Nov 17, 2015 6:44 am

@TrollHammer wrote:
It was fun to see the poetry showing up earlier in the month, though it was a shade concerning. Redhead had quite a nice entry, though. I cant imagine how a poem can be written well, cover four complex themes, yet be so concise! Smile Good job!

Thanks. Ember

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Come play the Who Am I game! Twisted Evil
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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 846
Join date : 2015-05-06
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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyTue Nov 17, 2015 12:59 pm

@TrollHammer wrote:

Had another thought I forgot to add in, part of me ended up wondering if, down the road, it might end up like Magneto's "cured" powers in the last Xmen movie being shown to be weakly returning?   Of course, its your story, and an absolute has importance too.  Ive also had a theory that an Elf might not have "only one" power, but one that "clicks" more than others, and as the others may not be practiced as much they never develop (so, like someone who becomes blind developing their other senses, a Healer that loses a healing ability might find other,more hidden, talents?)

Oh, that'd be cool too. Smile

I never know what the heck I am doing next - I have absolutely nothing "planned out" - I may have things I've set up to "possibly" come about - but it's always the elements that drive the story. I literally don't think of what's coming next, until it's time to actually write the story - and I just write that month's story. I have an actual novel I have been writing (well, off and on, for years now, it feels like), that's all planned out - chapters are laid out, even up to three books "loosely" planned. Those I plan on, one day, self publishing when I am done (they're dedicated to my friend's son who was born with Down Syndrome).

So for the grab bags, it's always about - no planning. Forcing my brain to be creative on the spot. I do something similar for Legend of Grimrock - though that one isn't grab bags, it's something I try to write every so often from work - spend no more than 15 to 30 minutes writing it - to get it knocked out and done - no idea where I am going with the story each time I sit down and write it. It's just something to exercise the brain while I am at work and break up the monotony of help desk type work.

That's why when Fairygirl (sp on how she probably spells the name on the forum) invited me and told me that you guys were doing grab bags - I was all for it. Pound my brain with some creativity!



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Nightsea

Nightsea

Posts : 101
Join date : 2015-03-25

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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyWed Nov 18, 2015 5:46 pm

I loved the poems! Well done!

And my tribute, not really a contribution to the grab bag on it's own, but hopefully on topic enough since it is an illustration inspired by Tymber's contribution, is the doll pair of Buren & Stream:

November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. StreamplusBuren
base from Rinmarugames.com

The maker had an excellent outfit for Stream with a fringed bikini...but this story is set in
the wrong season, so I did adapt her into warmer garb. It doesn't have buttons as in
the story, but the "leather blouse" could be blue...as Wolfrider leathers seem to take any color dye.

I kept her basic color scheme as I'd made it up in previous dollz of her, but no image of Buren
exists yet that I know of, so I just winged it for him. He is human, so no finger or ear edits on his
side. I dunno if humans and elves can physically manage it in canon, but it's your story...so Razz to any naysayers. Heh.

--NS

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Tymber

Tymber

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyWed Nov 18, 2015 6:10 pm

This is amazing. I am going to have to add this to the site when I get home.

And now that I have a better "visual" for Stream AND Buren; you know I am going to use the art you did as inspiration (just like I did for Clouddreamer! So you have undoubtedly saved them from any ill fated things in future grab bags!) Smile

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Embala

Embala

Capricorn Pig
Posts : 11692
Join date : 2012-06-24
Age : 60
Location : Germany

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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyWed Nov 18, 2015 8:44 pm

Still here. Smile Still caring for the grab-bags. Still trying to contribute - more.

here's the banner ...

November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Gb_20118

... figure it out ^^

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Lifebr10
Indem du etwas tust, das dir oder jemand anderem gefällt, erschaffst du bereits einen Wert.


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Tymber

Tymber

Posts : 846
Join date : 2015-05-06
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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyWed Nov 18, 2015 10:25 pm

@Embala wrote:
Still here. Smile Still caring for the grab-bags. Still trying to contribute - more.

here's the banner ...

November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. GB_2015-09

... figure it out ^^

Tricky! Five images, four elements!

I think we got:
1. Preparing for Whitecold
2. Going full circle (don't know the scene, but it looks like a loss)
3. Warmth of any kind or being thankful
4. Going full Circle (don't know the scene, but it looks like a loss)
5. Preparing for Whitecold


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Redhead Ember

Redhead Ember

Aries Dragon
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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyThu Nov 19, 2015 4:57 am

Smart, Embala! The collage itself is going full circle!

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Embala

Embala

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PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyThu Nov 19, 2015 6:17 pm

*chuckles* Smart chieftess! Ember


You are close, Tymber. Blackfell Next to perfect considering you do not know that story.
Left and right panels stand for Preparing for Whitecold. Inner left is not a loss but a beginning and was meant for Warmth - the moment when Tyleet literally brings the child from cold to warmth  ... while the inner right is actually a loss - when the now aged foster child goes full circle. And the middle represents her thankfulness to have a cub.
Actually each of those three panels work for both elements ...
Warmth ... for the newborn by cosy furs and a new home ... for the toddler by motherly love ... for the aged dying man by a loving embrace and sweet memories.
Thankfulness ... for the tribe's willingness to take a human child in ... for having a cub even without Recognition ... for the knowledge that her son had a good full life.

And as Redhead pointed out - the banner itself goes full circle. Twice - holding birth and death of Little Patch and being framed by the "preparing for Whitecold" element.

You should read "Little Patch", Tymber! I knew that I wanted to use this story when I've suggested "going full circle".

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Lifebr10
Indem du etwas tust, das dir oder jemand anderem gefällt, erschaffst du bereits einen Wert.


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TrollHammer

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyFri Nov 20, 2015 2:14 am

The cold wind blew in from Sun-goes-down. Flecks of rain wetted Grubfinder's nose as he walked, but the wind would not let the droplets find each other, and the water was driven off after draining just a little more heat from his body.  He had done well by learning more about hunting from his Elfin companions, and the fur of a large elk protected his core from the chill, but while he had been removed from the rest of Troll society for eights upon eights of the turns of the seasons, no self respecting Troll would cover his own nose for a little rain.

The wall was nearly complete.  Unexpectedly, a master stone-cutter by the name of Krev had been sent up just after newgreen, and the stone blocks had poured from the quarry quite rapidly.  Though this shaved years off of the project, it meant the tribe-clan either had to move out of their living space within the wall and find some place new to live, trap the Suncoil, and seal it in during white-cold, or settle in and wait until newgreen.

Grubfinder and his fellow Trolls were convinced the whole project had been folly, for reasons of their own, but not a single one was going to go against the King and risk a worse exile.  They had, however, learned just about all they could about the Suncoil.  It thrived in the sunlight, and seemed to change in the shadows.  Dross had rigged up all sorts of webs, lines, snares, and traps for the creature, and one thing was certain: while the visible creature was immense and seemed to mindlessly follow anything that moved at blinding speed, whatever it became when it was out of the sunlight was small and crafty, but nearly as fast.  Any time the creature was caught out in the open, it would rend whatever trap or snare that had been used completely useless.  Whatever trap was used in the shadows was equally ineffective, as the trapped creature was quickly able to extract itself.  Initially, they had thought that the creature ceased to exist, or at least was able to pass through things, but through these "games" the Trolls wagered on and competed with, they learned it was indeed changing forms.

But they still had not seen this other form.

The traps and other things didn't thrill the Elves, though, as occasionally the Trolls would forget one, and an unwitting Elf would wander into it at night.  The Trolls had learned that Elves' mastery of cursing was nearly as complete and colorful as their own, since it was what would lead them to one of their ensnared counterparts.  They finally learned to be more careful after finding Braids in one of their nets one evening, eyes smoldering in a glare that was sure to kill if one looked long enough.  Grubfinder half mused to himself for a moment to just pretend he hadn't seen her, wander off on a hunt, and let someone else deal with it... but couldn't quite bring himself to do it.

Another, near successful trapping of the Suncoil had been just an eight of days later. Figuring a net that could foil Braid's attempts to free herself was a good place to start, Slack had elaborated on the net, adding swinging and lifting mechanisms, barbs, and increased the amount of braided Brightmetal woven into the ropes (which had probably been the reason why Braids hadn't been able to cut herself free in the prior trap).

Over the years, the Trolls had learned how to guide the Suncoil into their traps, either by releasing small animals, setting up shade-skins, or even rigging up one of their own with a rope and hauling them up on top of the wall when the Suncoil got too close.  Dealing with guiding it into the traps was only made difficult by having to find the creature first, as there wasn't a predictable area where it could be found.  Grubfinder's feet had acclimated to the noise of the wild surface, but still couldn't feel the rhythmic signature of those 8 powerful but silent legs speeding across the ground until it would be too late to run away.  His original stated purpose for being sent up here was not going to be realized.

But Slack lured the creature and sprung his new trap, though, and entangled the creature as a mass of woven-metal ropes, flailing stubby legs, and the creature made its first sound ever heard: an ear-piercing scream of broken rage that was so intense, and over so abruptly, it left the Trolls stunned and perhaps even a little confused as to if it had even happened.  It finally stopped thrashing around in the sunlight, and Slack gleefully spouted off about the wager he'd won by catching it, and dashed out to it.  He tripped toggles that caused the bundle of terror to swing sideways into the shade of a tree where he stood, waiting.  A branch broke, though, and the thing swung wildly, tearing his trap mechanisms apart and knocking them both out into the open.  Slack was able to get away finally, but at the cost of his arm.

Moons had passed, and the King finally allowed Slack to come back down to visit the herbalists to ease his pain.  Grubfinder hadn't heard what happened to him after that, and there was much speculation that if only the useless troublemakers were sent up here, he might have been deemed a hindrance to the project and recalled as being less than useless and disposed of… an uneasy thought to ponder among the rest of the Trolls.  Perhaps in light of this, or for fear of their own mortality, they calmed their games of tormenting the beast, and were now focused on storing enough food for white-cold.

It amazed Grubfinder: how long had these elves gone through the cold seasons scraping by on whatever they could find?  He understood full well that the Elves did not value hoardings, treasure, wealth, and such, but how could they be so gleefully ignorant of the value of storing a few things for the hard times? Seeds, roots, and dried meat took so little space compared to how much easier it made it to get through those frigid moons, but it still took several turns of the seasons before the other Trolls before him had been able to properly teach them how to plan ahead.

He carried a sack of mash-root to the lower storm room, savoring the dry darkness for a moment.  The sun would not be out today, same as the last several days.  It would be safe to continue gathering long after light, but Grubfinder was cold, even though the snows hadn't hit yet and his new hide kept the wind off, the rain had done its damage.

Turns of the seasons ago, he never would have thought he would seek out others, least of all Elves, but he had started to become fond of the stories a few would tell, and besides, they tended the fire.  He closed the store-room and made his way over to the fire.

Braids was telling a grand tale of her youth, when a great bear, wracked with foaming-sickness, started a path of destruction that would put her tribe in its wake.  The leader at the time had decided that avoidance was the best idea, and sent the tribe fleeing their homes.  As Braids told the story, though, she and her then-love-mate decided to circle the bear instead and attempted to spear it from behind, running their pikes up behind the ribs through the stomach where the body was softest, without bones that might protect against their brittle stony spearheads.  Neither one could pierce the bear's heart, though, and whatever minor wounds they actually inflicted only served to enrage the animal more.  It’s thrashing sent Braids flying.

Braids’ lovemate then leaped onto the bear's back and plunged his knife into the side of the bear's neck while the bear tried to shake him off. The immense size of the bear made it nearly impossible for one to hold onto more than a handful of fur-- the neck so thick he couldn't wrap his legs around it.  His knife became a barb to allow him a second purchase to keep him from being thrown off, and it was quickly obvious that he would tire and let go long before the beast did.

Braids shook off her shock, throwing rocks, sticks, and insults at the bear, trying to distract it long enough for her love-mate to cause some more damage.  She finally succeeded in turning the sick animal, which then chased her far faster than she could run.  Claws tore flesh as the stone blade was plunged once more into the bear’s neck, finally severing an artery.  The bear ceased tormenting the wounded Braids to deal with the other attacker, even as it continued to bleed to death. Twisting, the bear plunged its teeth deep into the side of Braids’ lover, the sound of cracking bones mildly muffled by the bear’s mouth.  Braids watched the final minutes of the bear’s life though half-closed eyes, struggling to hang on to her own life while her torn chest bled.

The bear did eventually die, and the tribe found Braids in time to save her, but whatever remained of her love-mate was buried next to the bear he had killed, as there was little point in doing much else at that point.  The tribe cleared the forest around the bear and burned its remains.

Braids spent two full turns of the seasons battling infection and pain, aided only by a few meager herbs and crude attempts by two different weak healers to keep her spirit in the flesh.  Even after she was able to move around, it was quite some time before she was able to hunt again.

The bleak tale tugged at Grubfinder a little.  Trolls’ lives were fraught with danger, what with cave-ins, explosions at the forge and mine, toxins released from deep underground, pitfalls and things to fall on one’s head, as well as the occasional brawl… but such a death did not stalk you, kill you, and move on to kill more of your kin!  A cave in crushed you. That was all there was to it. You did what you could to prevent it, but in the end it wasn’t something that another Troll sacrificed himself or herself in the hope to save others. There simply wasn’t anything one could do about the dangers a Troll faced.  Elves, he realized, could see their end coming, whether it was the cold, an animal, or a murdering human, there was usually some warning.  Even if ultimately there was no way to survive, most of the dangers an Elf faced had enough warning to allow one to make some sort of choice in how they died.

For someone to be able to choose to put themselves into danger so that another might live on… Generally, Grubfinder found so little value in interacting with others: Gambling took your money, audiences with the King took your freedom, and teaching a trade (or even learning new things) could take your ideas.  While these were regrettable, and at times avoidable, as long as you kept your life you had a chance to get it back.  Caring so much about your tribe you risk losing your life?  This is not something Grubfinder had considered and he wondered if, should a situation arise that he could save others by risking himself, would he do it?

Certainly not for those below.  He had seen someone die in a mine cave-in, and seen another cruelly laugh at his fellow miner’s misfortune, snickering again as he ordered others to “clean up the mess”. The laughing had disgusted Grubfinder, but he felt no sadness or loss, or much of anything else as a fellow Troll lost their life. It happened, there wasn’t anything that feelings could do to make it any better or worse.  Since his banishment, though, he had come to know kindness from these Elves.  Kindness he had never known before.  He would care, would feel badly if something had happened to one of them.  He remembered Slack, and realized he missed him.

He tried to shake off the mental meanderings he had found himself wandering in. Another story was being told, but Grubfinder couldn’t sink into another one today.  The wind whipped a draft into their area, chilling him once more, and he shifted himself a little closer to the fire.  Steam wafted from his nose and forehead, the rain having soaked his hair and body more than he would have thought possible.

He spoke little at these gatherings. Generally he didn’t have much to say, his thoughts usually sour from a hard life.  Gradually these thoughts had calmed, and little took their place. Live up here was hard work,  honest and even enjoyable at times, but he was still waiting for something to go wrong and take that little joy away.  Superstitiously, he refrained from actually admitting he was having a good time lest the King recall him to do something particularly loathsome.

Nevertheless, this evening he did have something else on his mind. When there was a pause in the storytelling, cleared his throat and noted, “The wall could be done in a week’s time.  Are we going to finish it and set out to capture the Suncoil, or are we waiting for newgreen to spring our trap?”

The silence surprised him.  It seemed he was missing some unspoken conversation among the others. He looked from one Elf to another, trying to see if he could make out the subtle facial twitches they sometimes had when they were ‘sending’ to each other, but with the exception of Braids, who was staring at him, they were just staring at the fire, just as the rest of the Trolls watched the flames.  He looked into the small blaze, wondering what they all saw in it.

Twisting wood, splitting as it charred. Shrinking coals with deep red glowing waves. Sparks flying as a piece of wood cracked, spitting chunks of burning coals against each other. Flames licking at its own smoke.  Nothing more than one could expect in a fire, Grubfinder thought.  Something nagged at him, though: He was missing something.

Then he realized that he could not remember a single time he had even heard of a Troll sitting by a fire, just staring at it.  A metal-smith might glance at the coals of his forge from time to time to gauge how long to keep the work-piece in. A lamplighter might wander the tunnels looking for an empty lamp, but a Troll never spent time just sitting by a fire doing nothing!

It took him a while to realize that, if this whole plan should work, should they succeed in trapping the Suncoil within the massive walls they had built, and should the creature become truly trapped by them. If their hard work paid off and this supposed danger to all was dealt with, there was no reason for the Trolls to stay here. He’d be going home.

Home. A word that had once meant so much to him, but now he found he didn’t want to go. Home to a place that could care less about him than the load he carried, since after all, another Troll could carry his load as easily as he could. Home that had sent him up here as a punishment for some reason he could not remember, or perhaps there had not been a reason?  A place that picked on him, treated him lousy, perhaps even hated him for just wanting to be left alone?

“Home” was a place without a fire.  Without stories and laughter and others that cared about him.  He looked into the flames once more, finally realizing what the others already knew: if they trapped Suncoil, there would never be warmth quite like this again.

Embarrassed that it took so long to think this through, he acted as though the whole thing hadn’t bother him and commented, “of course, I suppose if this rain never stops, we won’t have enough sunlight to trap the blasted thing until well after whitecold anyway.”

There were murmured agreeably at this, but the silence continued.  Grubfinder set another piece of wood on the fire.  It seemed to him that it had gotten just a little colder, if that was possible.

***

The cold came and went, buds opened, and leaves started to sprout.  Merciful thunderclouds rolled through, blocking the sun for days on end.  It seemed that the weather was trying to put off the inevitable, commiserating with the odd group of creatures that had banded together for so long, laboring in a common cause.

But it could not last.  The moons rose over the trees one night, revealing a cloudless sky full of stars as far as the lookout could see.  The night wore on, and Elf and Troll alike went through the motions of preparing for the next day.  A possible final hunt for the creature edged ever closer, and as the first light of dawn brought the songbirds’ boisterous chattering echoing throughout the forest, it became obvious that there would be no reprieve today.

Grubfinder struggled with the noise today.  He had generally grown accustom to the sounds of wildlife, trees, and the rest of the clamor he never experienced underground, and the simple chirping of birds greeting the dawn was usually the least of his concern, but he couldn’t concentrate.  Not only was this possibly the end of all things, but it could be the end of him!

The walls had been made with a large opening at one end and a small opening at the other, near where their dwellings had been built into the corner of the large square.  The wall had broke the wind for them in their camp, which was considered proof against the Suncoil and all other large animals that might want to do them harm, but the dwellings were inside the wall.  They had a large room on the outside of the wall to stay after the creature was caught, but had to move all their furs, food, and other things out to this other room.  Ladders were removed from the inside, and lookouts posted.

The smaller opening was just large enough for a Troll to pass through, but, it was thought, too small for the Suncoil.  The larger opening, though, was set so that there would be light across the pathway during mid-day. An immense stone slab set to one side of the opening, shaped so that once a pin was driven free, it would slide across the opening, sealing the wall. Dross stood by with a heavy hammer, high on the wall, waiting to spring the trap.

Grubfinder and two Elves had positions outside the wall where they would station themselves and attempt to lure the creature to them.  Grubfinder tried to get control of himself, tried to sort out the sounds around him and focus on the limited sounds of Suncoil. They had rehearsed the whole thing over and over during the cloudy days: Wait for the Suncoil, make a mad dash for the large opening, and hope to make it to the smaller opening before the creature ate you.


He knew he could make it. He could cover the distance to that far off opening quite quickly. He remembered being chased by the creature when he first came up here, how he barely escaped and how his chest burned back then.  Hard work and practice had made it much easier to run even faster and farther than he had back then, even without death on his tail.

But this was different.  Thoughts churned inside his head:  The whole thing was crazy, trapping a creature that changed into something unknown in the dark and hoping it would stay in! Standing around waiting for the horrible thing to find him and hope he could outrun it! Then, if he succeeded, he would be sent below and consumed by the King and the rest of Troll society. If he failed, he would be devoured by the Suncoil.  Either way, he would no longer sing with the others, listen to Braid’s stories, or relax on top of the wall on a cloudy summer night, with the weight of silent clouds pressing down on him as though the world was his own cavern, safe and alone.

He sucked in a deep breath, and calmed himself.  The sun was cresting the horizon, and if he couldn’t shake off this noise in his head, he’d never hear the silent death through the clamor around him.  Unable to focus on the ground, he instead thought of his toes. One of them wasn’t completely touching the ground.  He felt a void in the crease of his leftmost toe, and looked down to see why.

Panic struck as he saw a small white creature inch its way from where he had been standing.  The eyeless wormlike grub writhed away for all it was worth, and he had not noticed it!  Grubfinder nearly blinded himself, scanning around himself wide-eyed frantically, the brilliant sun washing across his vision as he did so. Feeling blind and deaf, he nearly screamed as he ran for a tree with low branches to climb and shade to ward off the monster if it was around.

He panted, trying to shrug off the terror that had seized him and set him shuddering.  Long, deep breaths, eyes closed, trying to compose himself.  Just as he started to calm down to a point he felt he could open his eyes, a whisper behind him broke the relative silence: “That’ll never do!”

Startled, Grubfinder fell out of the tree, bouncing off of a lower branch on the way down.  He landed on his side, but retained enough sense to roll and peer up at the sound he had heard.  Braids looked down at him with a musing but horrified look on her face.  The pain of a cracked rib hit Grubfinder a moment later, as Braids bounded down out of the tree.

“I am so sorry, Grub! Are you all right?” she asked, worried.

Grubfinder winced as she helped roll him into a sitting position up against the base of the tree.  His panic forgotten, and comforted by the companionship of someone recognized to be a fierce fighter, he focused on trying to breathe without moving his ribs much.  He finally relaxed a bit and nodded.

“What are you doing out here?” he finally asked. ”I thought the plan was you’d take watch and oversee everything.”

“There isn’t much better view than out here, up in the trees.” She answered after a short pause.  “How else am I going to keep tabs on you guys when you lose your minds and have a panic attack?” The tone of soft laughter in her voice wasn’t sarcastic; she seemed to be trying to make him feel better.  “Let’s get you back before the sun comes out too far.”

“But let’s stick to the shadows, if we can?” Grubfinder implored.  She let him set the pace, walking behind him to keep a look out.  They made it back to camp on the far side, purposely set into the side of the wall that was nearly always in shadow.   A healer worked her magic, the same healer that comforted Grubfinder on his first night above ground, he noted.  He mused to himself how this should be, that she was also tending to him as he was about to go back below.

But with Grubfinder recovering, the plan was canceled for the day.  Lookouts stuck to the wall, but the Elfin runners were brought in from their areas.  They had their own ways of possibly seeing the creature before it could overtake them: One could see sharper than the others, and the other said he could sense the creature without seeing it.  Whether this was true or not remained to be seen, but he insisted he help in this way.

Three days passed without any sign of the Suncoil.  On the morning of the fourth day, Grubfinder felt good enough to run through a rehearsal, and found the activity helped him feel better, but while he felt ready to try things over again, the weather didn’t cooperate and granted him another eight days of rain and clouds.

The next attempt was less troublesome for Grubfinder.  They had gone through rehearsal so many times it felt like it was just another practice run, but with sunlight bathing the damp ground.  He was now able to tune out the birds and other noises around him and reach out for the unexpected, the out of the ordinary.  This day was also fruitless, however, and the group gathered back at the fire, wondering if they would see the creature this year.

The next day went much the same, without a hint that the creature was even still around.  The muddy landscape should have shown what little footprints the thing might leave, but there was no sign of them in the bright moonlight that night.  Grubfinder took the opportunity to sleep on the wall once the moons set, but was awakened far too soon by a lookout. Dawn was coming and it was going to be another clear day.

Grubfinder went through the motions, taking his position as per usual.  He reached out with his senses, waiting.  Around mid morning, he heard the “magic feeler” Elf cry out, followed by a mad crashing of feet as he ran for the larger opening.  Grubfinder and the other Elf runner bolted that way too without even thinking about it.  The Suncoil was hot on the “feeler” Elf’s heels, literally nipping at him when it felt as though it was close enough.  That Elf must have been able to sense something, however, since he seemed to evade it each time.

The chase came to an abrupt halt, though. The Elf ended up flat on his face after finding a fresh hole dug by a badger sometime during the night.  He stepped into the hole, fell up to his thigh and slammed hard into the ground with the Suncoil overshooting him, the abrupt “maneuver” being too quick for the massive creature to react.  Grubfinder and the other Elf broke into the clearing between the creature and the wall, and both started to taunt the Suncoil, making as much noise as they could.  The ‘feeler’ Elf had either lost consciousness or had enough brains to stay quiet, because the ploy worked, and the Suncoil resumed its mad dash, but after new prey.

Grubfinder knew he was the slower of the two, and indeed the “Seer” Elf outpaced him quickly.  The Elf slowed up a bit to keep from completely being useless if Grubfinder fell or was otherwise unable to lead the creature into the trap.  Grubfinder found himself in one of the nightmares that had plagued him for moons, of the Suncoil silently chasing him…. But of course, this was real!

This time, however, Grubfinder’s chest did not tear at him, begging for air, nor did his legs feel like dripping sap.  He pressed on, keeping well ahead of the creature, glancing back to make sure it was still chasing him, but not overtaking him.  A surge hit him, “waking” him from the dream-feeling the whole thing inspired, as he realized the creature was still gaining on him ever so slightly.

Thankfully, his success in surviving was no longer necessary for the trap to be sprung.  He could see the stone slab already falling behind them.  Regardless if he escaped, the creature was trapped, at least as long as the sun shined.

He discovered a small flaw in the plan that no one had noticed somehow: this early in the year, at this time of the day, one of the corner towers shaded the area around the exit.  The Elves may not have cared, nor whatever Troll designer that might have put some thought into the project, but Grubfinder and his Troll companions new that there was more to the creature than what showed in the sunlight.  The creature seemed to avoid the shadows, but whatever it was that it became when it was no longer in the light of day was surely small enough to fit through the smaller opening!  Still, there was nothing that could be done now.

The “Seer” Elf bounded through the opening and scattered to the side, making the gap clear for Grubfinder to make it through.  Grubfinder didn’t want to look back, didn’t want to see death grinning behind him, silent as stone, but bearing down on him like floodwater. He didn’t want to face his death here, mere moments from safety, in an elaborate trap he could have simply refused to be a part of.  Some part of him had gone with the flow of things, not believing this moment would come, that the folly of this… game would be revealed and some better plan would begin, or that the wall would continue to be built forever.  None of this had come to pass, and it resulted in his being here, now, caught between a mouth that tried to swallow him, and an opening waiting to receive him to safety.

He crossed the shadowline, and he realized that he had reached the point where the monster version of Suncoil, the part that had been seen, could no longer harm him.  This spurred him on to make the final steps into the gap, two more steps to clear the gap, and a crashing dive on the other side so No-Name could let the stone seal fall, closing the final pathway into or out of the stone prison.

Before he could roll over, however, and even before he felt the stone slam into the ground, he felt a small wiry creature pounce on him, and it was laughing.

He thrashed around, trying to defend himself, panic setting in while he wondered if he should prepare for the end, or if it was even worth it.  The plan had failed!  Suncoil’s invisible form laughed at him while it rocked and bounced like a tree-wee on his back.

“That’ll never do. I told you, it’ll never do.” A voice whispered in his ear.  Giving up completely, Grubfinder haltingly relaxed and rolled over, half expecting the whole thing to be a dream.  Braids stared down at him, a wild, but playful look in her eyes.

“What in Charm-Keep’s Boodle-Chest..?” Grubfinder started, looking around to try and make sense of the whole thing.

The small opening was indeed sealed, the trap had been sprung, and either he was still alive or death held strange dreams or nightmares for which he could not fathom.  He decided to ignore the pounce by Braids for now, perhaps her elation at finally dealing with her master’s killer had caused her to be a little odd.  “Did we do it? Did we catch it?” he asked, awaiting an answer from anyone.

Stunned silence was his answer.  Calls came down from the lookouts that the Suncoil had disappeared; had crossed the shadow line and couldn’t be seen.  Far off hesitant cheering could be heard, but No-Name stared at Braids as though she had appeared out of thin air.  No, Grubfinder corrected himself, that didn’t quite cover it.  It was more than surprise or shock at a tribal leader’s odd behavior.  It was more than if she had simply appeared out of thin air.  “You…. You… …why were you inside the wall, Braids?”

“What do you mean, inside?  There was no one inside but me, that ‘Seer’ Elf, and…” Grubfinder looked at Braids, who was mischievously looking back at him. “…the Suncoil….”

***

Chaos was about the best word for what happened in the period of time after the stone slabs slid shut on an apparently empty courtyard.  Word hadn’t spread about Braid’s sudden appearance, nor her tackling of Grubfinder, who was under the impression that her behavior was still odd.  The tribe gathered in the shade of camp near the small opening, most of the Trolls silent while the Elves chattered away.

Discussion ranged from questioning whether or not the Suncoil was still trapped inside the stone walls, to the question of what happens to the Suncoil when it’s not in sunlight.  The Elves came to a similar conclusion the Trolls had years prior, that unless the creature’s other form could be distinguished and studied, there was no way to know if the Suncoil would even have a solid body to keep it contained within the sheer stone walls.  The No-Name, Grubfinder, Braids, and the others from the area when the when the gate was closed remained silent, their thoughts their own.

Grubfinder was still reeling from the stress of the whole ordeal. When asked, he simply stated that he had seen the Suncoil behind him in the sunlight after the larger opening had been sealed, but hadn’t looked behind him after that until after the smaller opening had been sealed, as he had been running for his life.  After this, he excused himself and wandered off to be alone.

In the shade of a tree, he sat on a stump and took a moment to breathe.  Deep breaths, full of the smells and aromatic flavors of newgreen: Flowers, the last remains of decaying leaves from the year before, oozing sap and new-sprung leaves and grass, as well as various bugs and animals in heat.  He studied each breath for each source.  Down below, being aware of smells was just as important as feeling the ground with one’s feet or hearing the slightest strain in the rock around you.  A plugged vent-shaft could trap deadly forge-fumes quickly, various gasses released underground were more subtle and just as deadly, smothering a miner where they stand, or causing explosions that could collapse half the kingdom.  Such flamible gasses could be quite profitable for one to find the source of, as they could be tapped and piped into the newer lamp-lights.

Here, though, the smells were nearly worthless.  A few flowers could be eaten, and it was good to know where the animals were around you so you could avoid or eat them, but beyond that most of the odors were harmless, and more than that, useless.  Useless, that is, for anything more than trying to sort out one’s thoughts.  Normally, Grubfinder would prefer to straighten his thoughts out by focusing on vibrations through his feet, but the thought of what he would feel, or perhaps imagine he felt, frightened him.  Smells were safe at the moment, and presently he stepped through what he smelled, trying to clear his head.

A chain of stingers were visiting the flowers nearby, the sweet smell of their work followed them beyond to their nest. Damp prickly seed pods from the year before broke down under the combined work of rot and insects.  The musk of a small furry creature combined with its droppings at the base of the stump wafted up from his feet.  His own body’s scent, normally ignored, spoke of panic and exertion.  There was now a faint smell, vaguely familiar, of something nearby….
“Catch anything while you fish for thoughts?” broke the silence with Elfy, high pitched speech, uttered by Braids.  “If you race around those dark tunnels in your head, you’re likely to run face first into a dead end!”  Braids’ understanding of the underground labyrinth of the Trolls left much to be desired, but her point was made.

“Perhaps, but if I run around outside the tunnels much more, I’m likely to run into a mouth full of teeth!”  He mused.  “That is, if you don’t scare me to death first.”

“You’re fun prey to stalk though, Grub.” She poked. “Twice you would have been killed by the thing that held your focus.  Would you rather I have a little fun with you or would you rather I be the beast that you think me to be?”

Grubfinder couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but it seemed as though there was something he was missing.  Just like when they sat around the camp fire, and it took him so long to realize what was so obvious to everyone else, there was something here that eluded him.  Braids was acting so strangely of late: almost, dare he say, flirty?  He needed to shake off the chase, though, first and foremost, and he couldn’t do that with others around.  That is unless… “Erm… Could you tell another story?  Something from long ago, perhaps something that doesn’t have to do with Suncoils, stone walls, or comrades that jump on you for the fun of it?”

She relaxed a bit, thinking while she wandered around from behind him and then leaned up against a tree.  “Actually, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea, and I think I have just the story.”

“A very long time ago, before we had to start wandering the desert, before we came here, our only concerns in life were to hunt and to hide ourselves from the Humans.” She began her story. “There was still plenty to get in trouble with, what with wild animals, rough terrain with cliffs and fast moving rivers, but we had time. Time to be able to explore our talents and master our trades. You would have loved it: we even had a stone worker that could shape such wonderful likenesses of things out of stone, and he wasn’t even a shaper!”

“We had a healer who had learned to heal more than Elves, but learned how to heal and even shape animals.  He even said he could feel the life force of a creature, and use that creature’s own strength to help with his work, so it would not weaken him as much.  This was proven at times when we were found by humans and had to fight: if he had not been able to use one’s own strength to heal themselves, many might have died.”

She continued. “One of the young ones in our tribe at that time was full of the drive to prove herself, and attempted to do so by hunting larger and larger animals.  As soon as she mastered hunting one kind of creature, she would find something larger or more dangerous, and start hunting that.  Barely three turns of the seasons after her first hunt, and she decided she would hunt one of the Five FIngers.”

She paused, seeming to struggle with her own feelings of such a thing.  Even here, where Humans had not been seen for ages, there was distrust of the Five Fingers, and there were even those that hatred them among both Elf and Troll.  “She started slaughtering children, starting among the smaller of the new challenge much as she had with the deer, the wild near-wolves, the boar, the stags… it was simply just a new challenge, and until she understood the creature, she would start small and work up from there.  Humans, as we know, are different though.  By killing the defenseless but dearly loved, she had enraged the humans, and they set out to destroy our tribe.”

“But the young one was energized by this turn of events.  The added challenge, as well as the ease by which she had caused her prey to fall before her bolstered her courage, and she attacked the human attackers in a frenzy.”

“Humans, as it turned out, were far weaker than she had thought, but smart.  So while she was able to cut down half a dozen of their best hunters in no time, the survivors rallied and surrounded her.  She fought fiercely, but in the end she exhausted herself and fell, run through by their spears.  The humans left her, though, and carried off their wounded and dead.  Perhaps satisfied they had put the predator to death, they seemed to ignore the rest of our tribe.”

She grinned a little. “But though she was nearly completely spent and horribly wounded, she hadn’t perished when our tribe found her.  Our greatest healer at that time began to work on her, but found that the youth’s spirit had driven her far beyond what her body was capable of doing, and though that spirit clung to life with a frantic fervor; her body could not survive, no matter what energy the healer poured into her.  The healer would have emptied his own life into the young one, but there would be no point other than for them both to succumb.”

“The healer had long thought it might be possible to draw small amounts of life from others to heal one, but there was no time to ask the others for volunteers.  He wasn’t even sure he would be able to find a volunteer: the youngster’s high-spirited actions had caused a lot of trouble, and many might feel she had gotten what she deserved.”

“So instead, he reached out around him and drew strength from creatures hidden in their dens, bugs and birds in their nests, and used their strength to heal the young one.  It was an amazing feat, and it worked, however it drained all of those creatures completely, their lifeless bodies falling from the trees.  The young one’s life was saved, but it still took several moons before she woke up.”  Braids’ voice was nearly lost in recalling the tale.

Braids wrapped up the tale. “When she woke up, it seemed she needed no reprimand or punishment.  While she healed, her spirit had calmed and she was much more thoughtful about her actions from then on.  She was still a fierce hunter, but now hunted for the tribe, not for the challenge.”

She mused a bit before looking back at Grubfinder.  “Does that help?” she asked.

Grubfinder had stopped trembling. The story had indeed helped settle his nerves.  A new thing came to mind: “I have to wonder, though. Why was the healer so intent on saving the youngling?  Who was he?  We could really use that kind of talent dealing with this… problem.”  His rib still ached a bit.

Braids’ face was hard to read as she replied. “A father does what he can for his child, no matter what they do.  The healer in the story was the leader before me, my mentor, and you already know the story why he isn’t with us anymore.”

Braids stared out into the forest, into the sunlight beyond the shade of the wall.  She looked uncomfortable, and her voice nearly cracked as she said, “I wish I could have saved him. He was so dear to all of us.  I’m afraid he died still trying to save his daughter.” She looked around to see who might be listening in.

Seeming to be satisfied that she and Grubfinder were alone, she quietly continued: ”There was a problem when he healed her.  By drawing on the strength of other creatures, to the point of exhausting their lives, my mentor also drew the very nature of those creatures into his daughter.  He spent years trying to remove each creature’s imprint from his daughter, but never finished before Suncoil killed him in an accident.  While trying to sort out the mess he had made, his daughter inadvertently kicked open the flap to their hut during the day, letting in the sun, which allowed her to change into the Suncoil….”

Braids started sobbing.  “My mentor had created the Suncoil trying to save his daughter, and we have been trying to deal with it ever since!  Now it’s my responsibility to make sure my mentor’s duty is completed.”

Grubfinder wanted to commiserate with her.  He had no young, no family he knew of.  He vaguely felt some deep longing within him: a part of himself that he instinctively ignored and rejected even now, and he pushed it away out of fear.  He knew that it led to a way to connect with what she was feeling, but some part of him also knew it could hurt him far worse than that.  To himself, he shrugged it off and blurted out: “So why did your tribe select you to be their chief over the others?  You don’t seem to want to be their leader, what with how little time you spend with the others, doing your own thing.  I don’t mean any offense, but you seem an odd choice for them to make.”

She sniffed back her tears and looked at him again, the wild look from earlier framing her gaze. “They never knew my mentor’s daughter is the Suncoil!” she hissed. “The tribe holds to the old ways, and when my mentor died his daughter became Chief.”

“That’s right, Grub. I’m the Suncoil.”

to be concluded….

The Trolls:
Grubfinder-
Pretty average male Troll. No beard beyond a few scraggly hairs, bald head with no unusual features, average height and build. Owns little more than his name, a customary draping loincloth, and a ratty vest of a course tan fabric. He is used to pulling carts underground and doing slow, steady work. He can be unusually quick on his feet for very short periods of time and gets winded easily if he has to move quickly (dodging a falling rock or cave-in is well within his ability, but he can't maintain an all out sprint for even as long as a minute.)  Later, he builds up some endurance.
Relatively 'dumped on' his whole life, he has not had much in the way of luxury. As such, he has not had lanterns, torches, glowstones, or any other light source to light his path and his eyes, ears, and sense of touch became correspondingly sensitive. His name comes from the first assigned job he showed adeptness at: finding grubs and other edible crawling creatures. This is due to his hearing and sense of touch being very sensitive to vibration. As such, as well as spending so much time in the tunnels alone has caused him to become easily irritated by unnecessary noise. Most Trolls end up with similar discomforts when they come to the surface, but these were initially extreme for Grubfinder.
He eventually learns to deal with his overactive senses, but it requires a lot of concentration.

Dross- female, as tall as an average Troll male (slightly taller than average females in this kingdom), wears a woven shirt and a leather apron. Her skin is speckled with various sized and colored spots, and has a larger-than-average nose.
Obscure history, last known job before being sent up was to haul tailings from precious metal refining. She is suspected of collecting these tailings and manipulating them to appear as precious metal ore. Supposedly she gave the tailings to a love interest to bring in from the mines to increase their loads (and therefore pay), but this is an unconfirmed rumor.

Slack- average height and thin for a male Troll. Maintains the heavy leather forge-slippers and vest he wore as a forge assistant.
Named after the quenching tank used at the forge (AKA a 'slack tank', presumably derived from 'slaking' the heat from the metal with water). Originally a stone-cutter, he was able to work his way as a forge assistant and gained his new name. He wasn't cut out for this work, however, and the King assigned him to work on the surface. In this installment, we learn he has returned to the underground, and his current status is unknown.

No-Name- Short, stocky male Troll with a radial pattern of 'V's branded into his forehead. He has regained a hammer and a shard of sharp rock he uses as a knife.
Branded a 'Traitor to the King' for returning to the tunnels without permission. He is never allowed to go back, and his branding allows any Troll to kill him on the spot without repercussion if he does so. Above ground, it means little. He has done nothing more wrong than abandoned the post his King assigned him, and the others mildly respect him for having the courage to attempt returning home.
He is considered the master Stonecutter for the worksite. While he was known for slacking off and not getting things done on a timely basis, he is considered a moderately hard worker on the surface.

The King- Male, sadistic, and greedy for power.  He is only referred to as “The King” as it is not allowed for ‘common’ Trolls to speak his true name.  This has the opposite effect from what he desired, though, and has helped the members of his kingdom with a way to focus their disgust with him. “The King” has become a derogatory term, outside of his audience, that is.

Charm-Keep- Female.  She is semi-legendary, but mostly remembered for her vast dowry or “Boodle Chest, which is used to swear by as an exclamation of something unbelievable.

Krev-  Female. A master stonecutter that presumably wore out her welcome down below.  She was able to speed up the project by years.

The Elves:

Braids:
Elfin Female. Older, with blond hair. Wears two leadership braids over her left ear, otherwise has fairly short hair. Carries her weapons and tools in a pouch on a strange sort of straplike garment, that crosses from her shoulder to her hip with a second strap that connects to the middle from her other shoulder. A lightweight, almost gossamer cloth is attached to the straps to protect from bugs and sunlight. Her pants are simple, featureless leather down to her knees, designed to hold up while climbing around on the stoneworks.
'Braids' is the name the Trolls have made for her, and even refer to her as such in front of her. Her name is nearly unpronounceable to the Trolls, and is described as being 'a name that sounded like a flock of birds chittering about the weather, bothersome to even try to pronounce". Long ago, she witnessed her mentor being eaten by the Suncoil during her First Watch on the wall.

Braids's Mentor: Male, former leader of these Elves. Healer. As told by Braids in stories around the camp fire, he supposedly devised a trap for the Suncoil during the early stages of building the wall and used himself as bait for the trap. The trap failed and he was killed by the Suncoil. His leadership position was passed to Braids.

'kind elf':  Female elf healer that Grubfinder still has not taken the time to learn the name of. Her main job is to help acclimatize the Trolls that are sent up to help with the wall. She wears fairly plain clothing when she is outside, a brown leather outfit with a cut similar to Nightfall's.
She is a typical healer, wishing to soothe any discomfort regardless of the species. Initially very welcoming, she seems to have grown a little cold as she has realized Grubfinder doesn't feel that Elves are worth his time to connect with. We haven't heard her name yet, as Grubfinder found it too difficult to remember.
“Seer Elf”-  Another Elf that Grubfinder hasn’t found the desire to learn the name of.  Much like Scout, this elf is able to see quite a long ways away, but moreover, is able to discern great detail of what is seen.

“Elf with magic feeling”-  Supposedly a lot like Pool, however it is unknown if this is a true ability to sense the Suncoil, or if the Elf just stated this to be a part of the action.

Suncoil: Magical creature born of the desert. While it feeds off of creatures to grow in size, it derives most of its energy from sunlight (it's speed and strength are directly proportional to the amount of light shining on it). It has 8 powerful legs, a massive triangular head with two foot long fangs protruding from a mouth of shark-like teeth. Moves FAST, and it is unknown how fast it can actually move. It appears to hunt for the thrill of killing other creatures, and the more they run and struggle, the more excited and animated it seems to get. It is suspected that it avoids shadows as it would be too weak to move or escape from the shadow. Visually reported to disappear or otherwise become hard to see when sunlight is not shining on it. It is unknown what happens to the Suncoil at night or when there are clouds overhead. It cannot climb far: it can only move over an obstacle that its short legs can push it over.


At this time it is unknown how many Elves and Trolls are working on the wall, and if there are any humans nearby. It is also unknown if the Elves are mixed-blooded or are a splinter from any other group. All that is suspected is that they were chased from the desert by the Suncoil, settled 'here' and are aided by the Trolls to entrap the Suncoil. We also don't know why the Trolls are helping the Elves yet.
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyFri Nov 20, 2015 2:19 am

@Nightsea: That rainy weather is going to send them looking for some place to warm up! Smile Dolling seems to have come a long ways, did you pose them? Looks great!

@Embala: Once again you have a wonderful mastery of bringing GB elements, stories, and images together into a tight knit harmony, then blend it all together beautifully!
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Tymber

Tymber

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyWed Dec 09, 2015 2:50 pm

Trollhammer -

Mother of High Ones, that was an epic sized tale! It actually took me three days to complete it! (Not that I am _that_ slow of a reader; but I tend to read while I am at work, and so my time is limited, as the last thing I want to do at home is log onto my computer, when I spend all day troubleshooting them at work!)

Anyway - really, really good story! Once again, you shine through your detailed descriptions (no way am I going to quote chunks of them like I normally do with such a large story!) - it'd probably break the forum! Smile

Not a lot of dialogue in the story; which I miss. (I always love banter!) And Grub seems to have at least some respect for Braids and had no real snarky thoughts or comments towards Braid! So it's cool to see that gradual progression of understanding the elves.

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Ba_tym10
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TrollHammer

TrollHammer

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 1:26 am

Thanks for putting in the effort of reading it!

You might like December's then, its almost all dialogue. Im afraid decembers might be confusing for a conclusion, but we'll see.  It was fun to write, and its not completely put to bed.
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Tymber

Tymber

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Empty
PostSubject: Re: November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc.   November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. EmptyThu Dec 10, 2015 2:44 am

@TrollHammer wrote:
Thanks for putting in the effort of reading it!

You might like December's then, its almost all dialogue. Im afraid decembers might be confusing for a conclusion, but we'll see.  It was fun to write, and its not completely put to bed.

I saw it was another epic sized tale! But with your writing skill and style sir, it's never EVER a burden to read it.

Now that I am back from my cruise, I hope to read it within the next few days and add my December story if the inspiration for writing strikes me.

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November 2015 Grab Bag - stories/poetry/art/etc. Ba_tym10
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