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Kitt

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Chief's Son
« on: March 10, 2009, 12:34:45 PM »

...okay, this is a Worldpool fic from me, inspired by a bit of rambling I did on the EQFanart site. It was a question of who you wish was still alive and someone mentioned that they wished that Joyleaf was still alive. I think that it would have been neat if Joyleaf AND Bearclaw had lived, but, it would have brought about a LOT of changes to the original story of ElfQuest. Perhaps it would have been a little something like this...
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Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2009, 12:37:30 PM »

Prelude:

~*You call me...mocking...challenging!  Yes...yes, curse you!  I'll come!!

Bearclaw took one last tender glance at his beautiful child.  The sweetest and most precious part of his beloved lifemate so senselessly murdered by the vicious Madcoil.  Yes, murdered, for her death served no purpose but to appease his brutal and disgusting thirst for bloodshed.  If it took all he had, he would protect the young life of his most precious son...Cutter.

He brushed his hand against the lad's cheek and with that final show of affection, strode into the darkness of the wood to court his fate.

EEEOOOWRRR!

"Huh?" Cutter gasped as he was jolted from his sleep by the cry of the most dreaded beast.  "Bearclaw!" he cried, pulling himself to his feet.  "Bearclaw!  Bearclaw!" he shouted, as he raced through the woods, the branches and nettles tearing at his clothes.  If the impeding foliage pained him, he ignored it as continued to tear through the brush until he at last came to a clearing where...

"Bearcl--!" he cried, falling silent as he saw the body of his father lying sprawled across a blood-soaked grassy woodland floor.  Silently, he rushed over to his father's side and gently turned the elf onto his back.

~*Father?*~ he sent, as words found themselves lodged in his throat.  ~*Father...please, answer me.*~

Unexpectedly, Bearclaw let out a deep chuckle.  "Don't wory, Cub." he coughed, sounding very much like he was in a great deal of pain.

~*Father, please send.  Don't waste your strength.*~

He chuckled.  ~*And thinking isn't a waste of strength to you?*~

Finally, it was Cutter's turn to let out a show of mirth.  ~*Father, are you alright?*~

~*I am.  But, that monster will not live through the night.  I wounded it, badly.  It is his blood that you see coloring the grass, now.*~

~*And you?*~

~*Only a little bruised.*~  He sighed.  ~*Dehl, sweet Dehl, wherever you are...it is finished.  You can rest now...Beloved...re-*~

~*...G-...Grenn?*~

Suddenly, Bearclaw shot up, his eyes wild and searching.

"F-...Father?" Cutter breathed.

Though clearly hurting from some internal something, Bearclaw stood, breathing heavily and listening intently.  ~*Joyleaf...*~ he lock-sent.  ~*Is it...Beloved...is it...you?*~

Stone-still he stood, waiting, praying just as he had done before, hoping against hope that this time, the outcome would be different.  This time, his patience would be rewarded with a most wondrous reward.  ...yet, all that awaited his sending was the erie silence of the night forest.  His heart sank to the very pit of his soul.  It was her, he was sure, but of course, it could not have been.  To send to him now after all this time was impractical.  If she had been alive, surely she would have sent long before now.  It was hopeless.

"Father?" Cutter whispered, softly, gently touching his father's shoulder.  "What's wrong.  You look pale."

For a moment more he was silent before he finally said, "It's nothing, Cub.  I just thought..." he said, allowing his thoughts to trail into the arms of nothingness.  "It's nothing.  Come, it's a long way back to the holt.  We should go."

Cutter nodded his affirmation.  Happy that his father was safe, yet still somehow somber about the whole situation the had survived, he turned and started away.

Bearclaw started after his son, walking with empty, ghostly steps, one after the other.  He thoughts were no longer his own nor were they even with him.  They were elsewhere.  He stopped in his trek and allowed himself one last grace.  ~*Dehl my love...farewell.*~ he sent, then continued on his way.

~*Grenn...Grenn...don't...don't leave me...*~

He stopped with a jolt.  There was no mistake.  It was her, he was sure of it!  It was his beloved Joyleaf, he knew it was.  It was her soul's cry he heard, her soul's song that he knew so well.  ...her soul...her SOUL!

~*DEHL!*~ he sent, furiously.

~*G-...Grenn...*~

~*Dehl!  I'm coming, Dehl!*~ he sent as he hurried toward the wood.

"Father?" Cutter mused as he heard the footfalls of his father change direction.  He turned to see him sprint off into the woods.  "Father wait!" he shouted as he sped off after him.

~*Dehl, keep sending to me.  Where are you, Beloved?*~

~*I am...here...*~ she replied.  From her weak sending, Bearclaw could tell that she was growing weak.  If she lost consciousness, it would be that much more difficult to find her.  And if she were hurt...

~*Beloved, you must keep sending to me.  I am coming!  I swear I will find you!  Just keep sending!  Take strength from my very soul if you must but don't lose yourself to the darkness!  Stay with me!*~

~*I am...tired...*~

~*No!  Just...tell me, how did you get here!*~ he sent, desperately searching for a way to get her to keep in contact with him.  ~*I feared the worst I tried to send to you.  I sent and sent and sent but, you never answered.*~

~*I-...I could not hear you, Beloved.*~

He was getting close.  She was near, he could feel her presence.  ~*Yes, but, why?*~

~*I...I...must have...been...out of range...*~

Just a little more.  She was so near.  Just a little more.  ~*You mean, you were here?  But, how did you get here?*~

There was silence. 

~*Dehl?*~

Silence, once more.

~*Dehl, answer me!*~

~*...he...dragged me...here...*~

There!  She was there!  In a tall tree overlooking Madcoil's den, Bearclaw could see her glorious golden locks spilling over one of its branches.  His heart leapt as he nimbly ascended the tree's scope.  He found her lying lifelessly across the branch, blood staining her tunic and body with its scarlet hue.  Gently, he pulled her into his embrace and breathed in the sweet scent of her. 

~*Dehl, I'm here.  I'm here.*~ he sent, pulling her close.

Slowly, she opened her eyes and beheld the sweet sight of her beloved rescuer.  Her eyes filled with tears that flowed freely down her cheeks.  ~*Grenn?  Is this...is this spirit joy?  Am I...dead?*~

With a laugh more hearty and full than any he had ever laughed in his entire lifetime, Bearclaw rocked with joy.  Like his lifemate, tears flowed freely from his eyes, cascading down his cheeks and trickling down upon her as he gently pressed his forehead against that of her own.  ~*No, Beloved.  You are alive.  Joyleaf...you are alive.*~


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Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2009, 12:39:03 PM »

Chapter One Part One: Pack Sister


"Sister?!" Treestump exclaimed as he rushed over to Joyleaf and Bearclaw, riding astride Blackfell with nearly the entire tribe at his heels.  The holt was a din with the humming of happy chatter and the joyous sobs of friends and kin. 

It had been nearly two eights since they Wolfriders received word from neighboring wolf packs that their tribemates were returning to them.  Although the message was sophisticated enough to relay most of the necessary information, it was not a very detailed method of communication.  When the Wolfriders received the message that members of their tribe were coming, they had assumed that the returning party consisted only of Bearclaw and Cutter.  Now, as Blackfell and Nightrunner emerged into the clearing with the three riders in their charge, eyes saw with great joy.

"Sister!" he cried, again, tears rolling down his cheeks as he moved to embrace the shining haired lass.  "Timmorn's blood, you're alive!  How did you...what..." he choked as he gently touched a bruise that colored her cheek. 

She smiled, warmly at him, sending forth a torrent of tears from her brother's eyes even as the gleaming moisture began to trickle from her own.  "I'm alright, Brother." she said, reaching up to frame his face between her palms.  "Now isn't the time for tears."

He chuckled, lightly.  "Perhaps you haven't noticed, but your cheeks aren't without their stains, either."

She answered him with an aching giggle and a fierce embrace.  "Oh, Brother, I thought I would never see you again." she whispered.

Words would not come to him.  In truth, he had no need of them.  All he needed was the feeling of his gentle sister's heart beating against the thunder of his own.  What could words say that such a precious melody could not?  As he held his sister close to him, he knew.

Moonshade, Rainsong, Clearbrook and Nightfall surrounded the siblings as Treestump helped his sister to dismount the ebony wolf's back.  One-Eye, Strongbow, Woodlock and Redlance were at Bearclaw's side assaulting him with a barrage of questions about his quest.  Cutter stood away from the rest, still sitting atop his shaggy mount watching as the others greeted their returned kin.  Skywise stood beside him, for once, unsure of what to say.  Together, they watched the gathered scurry about, some settling Joyleaf into her den, others dashing off to fetch herbs and and leaves to soothe and heal her broken body, while others, still, marveled at the fact that she had been miraculously restored to the tribe.  It was quite some time after their arrival before the usual silence of the holt was replenished.

~*Tam?*~

~*Fahr?*~

~*...Foxfur...?*~

~*...*~

~*...I know.*~

Silently, Cutter slid off Nightrunner's back and stood beside his soul's brother.  Without a sound, he placed his arm around the elf's shoulder, Skywise mimicking the gesture.

"The gifts of the High Ones are rarely given with both hands." Skywise said, distantly.

"What?" Cutter asked.

"Nothing." he whispered, turning his slivery head toward the heavens.

The day had grown late and the sky dark.  Mother moon cradled child moon in her cooling glow while her little star children began to wake from their slumber to fill the emerging night sky with their glittering brightness.  Their familiar shine brought a sad smile to the star gazer's lips.  "She's closer to them than I am." he breathed.  "She must be happy...as we should all be."

Cutter smiled, softly, then turned to cast his eyes upon the stars.  They were the same stars he had always seen, the same stars he had never seen at all.  Always the same.  "You're right, I think." he said, finally.  "Wherever our fallen tribesmates are, they're happy."

Skywise nodded his agreement.  "So," he said, thoughtfully, "why is it that you're not?"



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Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2009, 12:40:19 PM »

Chapter One Part Two: Confessions


The moons were nestled high in the cool night sky.  Their silver glow rained down on the Wolfriders as the engaged in their evening routines.  Strongbow was leading a hunting party to the hunt which left the holt a quiet echo of itself and leaving those who stayed within its hold alone to their thoughts.  Secluded on a grassy hill laying across his wolf-friend, Nightrunner, Cutter stared blankly up at the sky.  Skywise had long since left his company to join the others in the hunt.  He hadn't gone because of his own desire, but rather, because his brother had insisted that he go.  Now, as he lay among the grasses with only his thoughts, he wished that he wasn't so alone.

"Cub?" a voice said.

Startled, Cutter turned to see his father standing over him.  "Father?" he said, quickly.  "Why aren't you with Mother?"

"I could ask you the same thing." he answered, settling down in the grass beside him.  "Your mother has been returned from the dead, is sitting in the den even now and for some reason, you're not with her.  Instead, I find you here by yourself sitting with Nightrunner and looking like you've suddenly become the pack omega."

Cutter opened his mouth to protest, then thought the better of it and closed it, once more.  Sullenly, he turned and cast down his gaze.

"Tam.."

At the sound of his soul's name, Cutter jerked his eyes and his attention back to Bearclaw.  "Yes?" he stammered.  He looked into his father's eyes, searching eyes, worried eyes.  His worry was for him, Cutter knew and yet, he could not say with words what was weighing so heavily upon his heart.

Bearclaw heaved a heavy sigh, then gently placed his hands on either side of his son's face and pressed his forehead against his.  ~*Don't shoulder your troubles on your own, Tam.  Let me share your burden.  Share with me.*~

Instantly, yet with great reluctance, Cutter shared his plight.  A swirl of images began to fill Bearclaw's mind, images of that day.  Bearclaw saw as Cutter saw the terrible massacre Madcoil rained down on the Wolfriders.  He saw Rain, the healer speaking to him, saying words of prayer and hope and then, like thunder and skyfire, he saw him fall.  He turned to see the great looming image of Madcoil rising up, poising himself to strike him, next.  He felt fear.  Tremendous, gripping, paralyzing fear.  He heard his mind shouting at him to move, to run, to act...to do something other than stand and be killed.  And yet, he could do nothing but remain transfixed on the dark and towering foe before him, frozen where he stood.

"CUTTER!" he heard Joyleaf shout.  She was coming to him.  She was coming to save him...because as it was, he could not save himself.  Then, the true horror of the beast was revealed as he mentally impaled the elves with his dark sending, gouging them with pain and torture.  He couldn't think!  He couldn't breathe.  He couldn't do.  All that was left to his limited abilities was the feeling of pain and hurt.

"AYOOOH!!  ...RUN...LIVES...RUN..." he heard someone cry.  He knew not who, but he was certain it was a call for retreat.  Through a misty haze of darkness and not, he ran.  He didn't know where he was going, but he ran.  He didn't know who would be saved and who would fall, but he ran.  He knew nothing more than the feel of wind against his breast and earth beneath his feet.  Until the image of the dark creature escaped from his head and he was free of its hold...he would run.  When the clouds cleared, the tribe was less than it was and Joyleaf was gone.

He heard his voice and Treestump's crying her name against the crush of trees and shrubs and knew that there was going to be no sweet answering reply.  He would never see her smile or hear her lilting voice or enjoy her quiet company and it was because of him that these things would never be so.  If he would have just moved or fought or done something, she would not have needed to put herself between him and Madcoil.  It was his fault that Joyleaf was killed.  He wasn't strong enough.  He was too weak.  He was too much a coward...and Joyleaf paid the price for his fear.

Bearclaw slowly pulled himself away from his son's head, closing the sending.  He gazed down at his child, his cheeks shining with moisture and his tawny blonde hair covering his dampened eyes.  He saw him shudder as a small sob escaped his chest.

"Cutter..." he whispered, as he drew him into his embrace.

"NO!" he exclaimed, pulling away from him.  "It was my fault that Mother was taken!  I was too afraid to move!  She tried to rescue me because..."  He paused for a moment, trying to find his voice before he could continued.  "I wished..." he whispered.  "When you told me that she was dead, I wished that I could see her one more time.  I wanted to tell her...I just wanted to say...that I was sorry.  ...and now she's here and...and I don't know what to say."

Bearclaw looked at Cutter as he lowered his head and fresh tears streamed from his eyes.  He understood, now.  The sorrow of his son was a sorrow he knew well.  As Cutter believed he was responsible for his mother's death, so Bearclaw knew that he was to blame for Madcoil's birth and subsequently, his rampage.  It was a knowing that sought his soul everyday...a knowing that he could not allow to claim him.  Tenderly, he placed his hand on his son's shoulders and tilted his chin up at him with the other.

"Cutter," he began.  "I more than anyone else knows the haunting of things have been done that caused suffering to the hearts of others.  Still, I cannot let the past chase me.  It is not the Way.  You are the wolf, my son.  You do not let fears and doubts chase you give chase to them.  A Wolfrider cannot live in the past, because the past holds control over the Now.  Joyleaf is here and she is with us.  Days before she was dead to us, now we have her again.  Now is what counts.  Now is where you need to be...with us."

A faint smile touched the corner of Cutter's lips.  He nodded his head and wiped the tears from his eyes.  "I understand, Father." he said.

"And don't forget." he replied, clapping his back.  "Come, your mother is waiting."

"How is she?"

"Better.  ...but, I'm sure she would be better still if she could hold her cub as she slept."

"Yes." Cutter asked, smiling brightly.  "I think she would, too."




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Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2009, 12:41:31 PM »

Chapter One Part Three: Flight


The night had been long and was giving way to day. The sun was beginning to peek into the holt though the sky herself was still dark. The tribe had reassembled after their doings the night before. Strongbow?s hunt was successful, harboring enough meat to fill the bellies of every tribe member. Scouter & Dewshine, who had been away when Cutter, Bearclaw and Joyleaf had arrived had returned to the group, happy to hear of the great news of their chieftess? return, especially Dewshine. She had been behaving oddly ever since she received news of Joyleaf?s survival. Even now, she was in her den, sobbing gently into her aunt?s golden locks. She didn?t understand the reason for her tears or why she couldn?t stop them. The only thing she knew was that it somehow felt necessary and right. Joyleaf tenderly stroked her niece?s head, silently soothing her heart?s trouble and reaffirming her presence. She had a notion as to what was troubling the young maiden, but would speak about it in time.

?Hush now, little one.? she whispered. ?The sun will have woken soon. We should sleep, now. ?

Hoping to coax the girl?s emotional distress away only proved to heighten it as Dewshine began crying, once again.

?There now?? she whispered, pulling her closer. ?No more tears.?

Joyleaf continued to hold the girl close to her, softly nurturing her need while, down below, keen elfin ears listened to the sorrows of a loved one.

?She?s crying, again.? Scouter said, sitting on the unearthed roots of the father tree.

?Yes, but, I don?t think she?s crying because she?s sad.? Cutter replied, sitting beside him.

?I agree.? Nightfall added, standing before them both. ?I mean, when I saw Joyleaf returned to us, I cried, too, but they weren?t tears of sorrow, they were of happiness.?

?Perhaps, but still-?

?Leave her be, Scouter.? Treestump said, as he approached with Bearclaw at his side. ?My pretty cub?she just needs some time, is all.?

?But, she?s done nothing but cry ever since-?

?Enough, cub.? Bearclaw said, firmly yet with tenderness. ?The night has been a long one and we would all do well to get some rest. We can talk more about this toni-?

~*BEARCLAW! COME QUICK!*~ sent One-Eye.

~*One-Eye, what is it?*~

~*Humans! They bring fire!*~

~*WHAT?!*~ In an instant Bearclaw gathered his thoughts and sent to the rest of the tribe. ~*Clearbrook, Moonshade, Rainsong, take to your dens and stay there! Redlance and Woodlock, you stay and look after them.*~

~*Aye, Bearclaw.*~ the two answered.

?Nightfall.? he said aloud. ?You stay here with Joyleaf and Dewshine.?

?R-right!? she answered, obediently and quickly leapt into the trees.

?The rest of you, come with me.? he added, and hastily started to where he sensed the others were waiting. The small band rushed through the wood, running through the brush until the finally met up with the humans and the Wolfriders who had been out scouting the night before.

Strongbow sat atop his wolf-friend, his bow trained and ready on the band of humans that opposed him. Pike stood, holding his spear before him, daring anyone to step in his path. Like Pike, Skywise, too, stood sword drawn and thirsty for the foul taste of human blood. The only elf who was able to hold his anger within him was One-Eye. Through it all, he managed to keep the others at bay long enough for his chief to arrive. When he saw Bearclaw and the others tear onto the scene, he was never more grateful to have any more heavier burden lifted from his person.

~*One-Eye, what?s happened?*~ Bearclaw asked.

~*I?m not sure. We were scouting as usual when we saw this cluster of humans enter the forest with their fire sticks. They looked to be heading toward the holt so we had no choice but to intercept them. Their chief, the grey-bearded one, demanded to see our chief?at least, that?s what I gathered from their human speech.*~

Bearclaw turned to receive the group of humans with contained disdain. The group consisted of slightly more than half a dozen young warriors and the one One-Eye identified as the grey-bearded chief. Fixing his gaze upon him, Bearclaw spoke.

<Human, why do you seek me?> he demanded in their guttural tongue.

<Gotara wills a cleansing.>

<What does that mean?> he asked, irritation sounding in his voice.

<Several nights ago, a monster attacked our village. It killed many of our folk and destroyed our homes and families before we were finally able to slay it. A savage creature born of demon magic.>

<What does that have to do with me or my tribe?> he all but growled.

The chief gestured to one of the warrior youths in his band, signaling him over. The boy approached carrying a ball of bound animal skins. At his chief?s order, he tossed the skins towards the elves, falling harmlessly at Bearclaw?s feet.

<We pulled this from the creature?s body.> the chief resumed. <We know why the beast attacked us and whom it served.>

Cautiously, Bearclaw knelt and unwrapped the skins. A glint of something bright shone through the hides painting Bearclaw?s face in the color of recognition. Slowly, he got to his feet, holding the item securely in his hand while letting the discarded bindings fall pathetically to the ground. The glow of the fire?s light reflected off the shimmering blade he now held, the blade he called?

~*New Moon?*~ One-Eye sent to Cutter.

~*Yes.*~ he replied. ~*Father had lost it when he last fought Madcoil. It was the last time he had seen it.*~

~*Then the monster who attacked the humans must have been-*~

<...I don?t deny that this sword is mine.> Bearclaw said, interrupting the elves in the thoughts. <And the reason why you pulled it from the beast?s body was because I was trying to kill it!*~

<Do not foul the air with your lies, demon! We know of the hatefulness of your kind. You who have been jealous of us, Gotara?s chosen ones, called forth this monster to rid yourselves of our kind. But, it is us who will rid ourselves of you! We will cleanse this land through fire!>

<ARE YOU MAD, HUMAN! YOU WILL KILL US ALL!>

<NO MORE!> he cried. <Gotara wills a cleansing!> he shouted, thrusting his torch to the brush. <Gotara wills-> he cried, again, but his hail ended in a gurgling choke as Strongbow?s arrow silenced him forever. Yet, the damage was done as the forested wood screamed ablaze.

?Curse them?curse them all!? Skywise growled.

?No time for that now, cub!? Bearclaw said. ?Back to the holt, everyone!? he ordered as the elves raced for home and for safety. Outrunning the inferno, they reached the holt.

?Take only what is necessary, food, water, and an easily managed weapon, there?s no time for mementos.? Bearclaw said to the assembled before they scrambled to gather their provisions. ~*Redlance.*~ he sent. ~*Joyleaf will need whatever healing herbs you?ve got.*~

~*I understand.*~ he replied.

Quickly, he returned to his den where Nightfall had already emerged, concern coloring her visage.

?Bearclaw, what?s happened?? she asked.

?There?s no time to explain.? he replied, somewhat gruffer than he had intended. ?Go to Redlance, he will need your help.?

?Aye.? she said, then hopped out of the den.

?Dewshine, take those two water skins there and that sachet beside it.? he instructed as he swiftly bound his sleeping lifemate in their furs and started for the exit. She did as she was instructed then proceeded him to the small den opening.

?H-High Ones?? she breathed, as she looked out and saw the windswept fire speeding toward the holt. The wolf in her made her take a step backward, back into the protection of the den and away from the fire?s deadly hand.

~*Dewshine.*~ Bearclaw sent, lending his strength to her. ~*It?s not safe here. We must go. If we stay, Joyleaf will?*~

?R-right.? she stammered, yet felt somehow stronger than moments before. Bravely, she stepped out of the den and without a second thought, leapt down to the ground below. Treestump was there, too and for that, she was glad.

?Everything will be fine.? he said, giving her a quick squeeze.

?Are you ready, Treestump?? Bearclaw called from above.

?Aye.? he hollered back. Nimbly, Bearclaw crawled out onto the limb with Joyleaf delicately in tow. He stretched over the branch as far as he could with Joyleaf dangling over the side at the end of his reach. With a deep breath and a quick prayer he let her go to the mercy of gravity. Like a precious stone, she fell toward the earth, safely into her brother?s capable arms. With haste, Bearclaw made his way down.

?Is she-?

?She?s fine.? Treestump assured him. ?She didn?t even wake up.?

Bearclaw let out a sigh of relief, though a brief one, as his attention was drawn by the sound of galloping lupine feet. He turned to see Cutter and Skywise riding toward him, their expressions grim.

?Father, our way to the lake has been blocked by the fire.? Cutter exclaimed. ?We have no place to go! We?re trapped.?

Frustrated, Bearclaw shut his eyes and thought. Their means of escape was blocked, the fire was nearly upon them and they would be hard-pressed to stay ahead of it with so many riders. There was only one place left for them to go, one he had swore to never return to again.

?Wolfriders mount up!? he called. ?Follow me now to the only haven for us. Follow me to the cavern of the trolls!


END CHAPTER ONE



« Last Edit: March 10, 2009, 12:49:24 PM by Kitt »
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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2009, 12:43:30 PM »

Chapter Two: Audience With A King

CLANK! CLANK! CLANK!

"OPEN UP, TROLL!  I KNOW YOU'RE THERE!" Bearclaw shouted as he hammered his sword against a metal plate buried within a stone door.

The wood ablaze by the fire started by primitive human anger was sweeping toward the frightened Wolfriders.  The entire tribe huddled in terror before the entrance to the troll caverns, desperately awaiting admittance into the only haven open to them.

"Bearclaw, the flames are drawing closer!" Moonshade cried, crushing her infant against her breast while sinking into her lifemate's protective hold.

"CURSE YOU MUCK-EATING TROLLS, OPEN THE DOOR!" he called again.

On the other side of the door, a lowly troll guard lumbered toward the seal.

"Miserable point-eared misfits." a troll mumbled.  "Got no respect for decent night-resting folk."

CLANK! CLANK! CLANK!

"I'm coming, I'm coming!" he bellowed.  Slowly, he turned the large crank that would open the door.  Angrily, the door creaked open and suffocating smoke began to slither in.  "What?  Smoke?"  Hastily, he began to reclose to door in an effort to keep the deadly wind out.

"NOT SO FAST, TROLL!" Bearclaw snarled, forcing his way into the cavern entrance.  "We're coming in!" he added, tackling the guard to the ground.

With the door open, the remaining Wolfriders hurried into the safety of the cool troll crafted tunnels.  Once inside, Treestump, Redlance and Pike quickly set foot to the task of re-closing the massive rock slab of a door, shutting the last glimpse of their once beautiful woodland home away forever.

?Our holt?? Rainsong whispered, placing her tiny hands upon her swollen belly.  Tears spilled down her cheeks as Nightfall and Clearbrook moved to surround her in their embrace.

?Since when did you uppity elves get free roam over our territory?? the troll demanded.

?Well, if it isn?t my good friend, Picknose.? Bearclaw drooled.  ?Hospitable as ever.?

?Bearclaw!? Picknose exclaimed.  ?You high-nosed, tree-swing, wolf-bred-? he spat, but was quickly silenced by the low, yet fearfully threatening growls of Blackfell.

?You?d better be careful what you say, Picky.? Bearclaw said.  ?My wolf-friend here has a temper that?s about as lean as mine.  So, just make nice and we?ll get along fine.?

Picknose grumbled something incoherent beneath his breath then gave a gruff, hrmph, before demanding, ?So what do you want??

?Only a safe place for my tribe to stay, a refuge from the flames that devours our home.?

?Your home isn?t my problem!?

?Exactly.  That?s why I have no business with you.  Take me to Greymug, and don?t try anything, either.?

Picknose opened his mouth to protest, but seemed to think the better of it.  Instead, he turned and said, ?Follow me, elf.? 

Wearily, the elves mounted their shaggy companions and started after the irritable hole-digging minion.  Bearclaw lead the way with Treestump close at his side.  Cutter and Skywise followed just behind them, while Nightfall and Clearbrook rode alongside Dewshine who cradled Joyleaf within her tentative embrace.  Redlance rode close to them with his bag of herbs ready in case they had need of them.  One-Eye, like Pike, opted to walk alongside their wolf companions.  Being deep within the troll caverns had their hackled raised, so much that neither found that they couldn?t stay atop his mount and preferred to be stretch their legs as the wolves did.  Rainsong and Woodlock rode together next to Moonshade who rode with her babe nestled in her care while her watchful lifemate followed them up.  Although the forest dwelling elves were used to the dark, something about the din of the subterranean caverns had all the Wolfriders on edge.  Regardless of their wariness, the band of destitute travelers pressed on, navigating the winding twisting passages unsure of what would await them behind each new and unfriendly turn.

~*I feel eyes upon us, Father.*~ Cutter sent.

~*There are.*~ Bearclaw returned.  ~*This place is riddled with more holes and niches than you can imagine and every one is filled with the dimwitted gaze of a troll.  So don?t let your guard down.*~

~*Right.*~

After journeying for several minutes to an unknown destination, the narrow passages finally opened up to illuminate a shimmering hall, laden with glittering gems and shining golden artifacts.  Such things held little meaning to the humble elves, but Bearclaw knew of the great import they held to the greedy trolls.

?Well, this is it.? Picknose said, breaking the uncomfortable silence that had ensued.  He had lead the others to the center of the great hall which was revealed to be a majestic throne room.  ?Whatever happens to you now is up to him.? he added, gesturing to a bloated troll seated up a lavishly decorated chair dressed in the makings of one unfamiliar with hard labor and used to having everything instead handed to him.  A lazy slug and the only one fit to be called the troll king.




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Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2009, 12:46:06 PM »

Chapter Two Part Two: Deception

The lowly King Greymug looked up from his jewel encrusted throne and growled his discontent.  "Why are these pink-skinned filths running wild in my caverns?!" he demanded.  "Is this your doing, Picknose?"

"I-...uh..." the troll stammered, struggling to find an explanation for this transgression.

"This has little to do with your guard, King Greymug." Bearclaw supplied.  "I was the one who...insisted that we be granted access to the caverns."

"YOU!" the troll king roared.  "Get out!  All of you!"

"Now now, easy there, your majesty." he drolled, as he approached the throne.  "My folk and I have need of your caverns, at least for a little while."

"I said GET OUT!" he hollered, not wanting to hear the wolf chief's explanations for trespassing. 

~*Hospitable creatures, these trolls.*~ Skywise sent to Cutter.

~*They haven't seemed to change at all.*~ Cutter replied.  ~*They care for no one but themselves.*~  He listened to his father negotiating with the troll king for a moment, then glanced over at his mother, nestled in Dewshine's arms.  ~*Mother looks like she could use some water.  Help me find some?*~

~*Sure.*~

The two climbed down from their wolves and moved about the room looking for water.  Pike and Scouter had already dismounted and were searching for foodstuffs to fill their packs with. 

"What are you looking for?" Scouter asked as Cutter and Skywise drew near.

"Water." Cutter said.  "Mother looks parched.  She could use some, I think."

"Oh..." Scouter said, apologetically.  "I think there was water back there.  One-Eye and Woodlock went to gather some, too.  Here." he said, offering his water skin.  "Joyleaf can have my water skin."

"Take mine, too." Pike said.  "Who knows how long we'll be in these caves."

"Thanks.  Here." he said, offering his side bag to Pike.  "If you two find food, you should get as much as you can."

"Take mine, too." Skywise said, handing his bag to Pike along with Cutter's.

"Thanks." the story spinner said, accepting the bags.  "You'd better hurry, though.  It looks like Bearclaw is going to tear the troll chief apart any minute."

"Right!" they both said, hurrying off, Nightrunner and Starjumper fast on their heels.  It didn't take them long before keen elfin noses ferreted out the water they so desperately needed.  A small clearing littered with finely polished stones and patches of thick moss sheltered a babbling brook, streaming with fresh, sweet water.  Woodlock and One-Eye had just finished filling the many water skins they had carried to the stream to fill.

"This ought to do it." One-Eye said, closing the cap on Moonshade's skin. 

"Yeah, that's all of them." Woodlock answered, securing the fastenings on Dewshine's skin.  "Who knows how long we will be wandering around down here."

"Or when we'll come across water, again." one-Eye agreed.  "Oh, cubs!" he exclaimed, spotting Cutter and Skywise.  "What are you doing away from the tribe?"

"Same as you." Skywise said, holding up his deerskin water canteen.

"Well, be quick about it.  We may have to get moving soon." One-Eye said, starting back to the others.

"We will." he promised, as he headed to the stream to fill the sacks.  He knelt down beside Cutter who had already began working on supplying the water.  "What do you think will happen to us, now?"

"I don't know." Cutter admitted.  "But, I'm sure Father will figure something out."

The task finished, the two quickly hurried back to the others, just as a commotion was breaking out.  Pike was on the ground, nursing an apparent blow he received to his head.  Scouter and One-Eye were beside him, helping him get to his feet.  Bearclaw had all but tackled the troll king to the ground and was holding a shining New Moon at his throat.

~*What happened?*~ Cutter sent.

~*That fat troll hit Pike!*~ Scouter sent, snarling even in sending.

~*For what?*~ Cutter replied, his anger matching Pike's.

~*It was that rock.*~ Pike answered, groggily, pointing to a stone that sat at Greymug's feet.  "Scouter and I were going up to Bearclaw to tell him about some forges we had found, when the cursed thing grabbed Scouter's sword!*~

~*GRABBED?!*~ Cutter sent, incredulously.

~*THE ROCK DID?!*~ Skywise added.

~*Yeah.*~ Pike supplied.  ~*I saw it.  The rock sort of, pulled Scouter's sword right out of its sheath...like magic!  The troll chief said that the rock had come from the stars and that's why it had magic powers.*~

~*From...the stars?*~ Skywise asked.   

~*That's what the troll claimed.*~ Scouter said.  ~*At any rate, my sword was stuck to the rock like a fly stuck on sap covered tree.  I couldn't pull it off, so Pike used his spear to break off a piece of the rock and set my sword loose.  But, that really made the troll chief angry.*~

~*Yeah, and I've got the bump to prove it.*~ Pike added.  He rubbed his head a bit, then reached beside him and grabbed something on the ground.  He tossed the thing to Skywise, who was surprised to see that the object was a simple piece of brown stone.  ~*That's the piece of the rock I broke...the one that fell from the stars.  You should keep it.  Consider it a "gift" from the king.*~

Skywise was speechless as he fingered the small piece of the heavens.  "...the stars..." he breathed, an uncontrollable smile sweeping his features.

Cutter disregarded the rock as nonsense, then turned his attention to his father and the troll king.

"I should gut you like a mudboar!" Bearclaw snarled.  "All we asked for was a moment of your time and you attack one of my own!  Would anyone miss you if I sliced your shriveled heart out right now?"

"I-...I..." the king sniveled.

"We needed nothing more of you than a safe place to stay and you were too selfish to even allow that!  After all my tribe has done for your fat, selfish kin!" he hollered, raising his sword high, preparing to strike the troll down where he lay.

"W-WAIT!" Greymug cried.  "The Tunnel of Golden Light!  Why didn't I think of it before!"

"The what?" Bearclaw hissed, his sword still poised to strike.

"I simply wasn't thinking." he groveled.  "You are right.  Your elfin kin has done so much for my folk, that it is only fair that I return the favor.  Picknose!  Escort Chief Bearclaw and his faithful tribe to the Tunnel of Golden Light."

"Tunnel of...but isn't that the one that leads to-"

"--the land of light and promise!  Yes I know!" the king interjected.  "No better place for the elves to live and thrive.  You see, our people shun the light so.  It is a lovely place, but because of our...dislike...of sunlight, we could never survive there.  But, you and your people would simply love it, I assure you."

Slowly, Bearclaw lowered his sword but continued to hold onto it.  "Golden Light, you say." he said, evenly, as he stepped off of and away from the troll.  "What do you think, Treestump?" he asked.

"These are a shifty lot of folk, to be sure.  Still, if they really wanted to be rid of us, then it could only serve their favor to tell the truth."

"Perhaps." Bearclaw said, thoughtfully.  He glanced over at Dewshine and Joyleaf, his thoughts drifting to his lifemate.  Redlance was nearby, offering Joyleaf something to chew on.  She took herbal substance into her mouth and began to chew but started to choke on the leafy goods.  Redlance patted her back, gently and he could see that Dewshine was speaking to her, softly.  He sighed, wearily.  "She won't last in this darkness for long, will she?" he breathed.

"...no." Treestump admitted.

Bearclaw nodded and turned to face Greymug, once more.  "I don't trust you, troll...but it seems I don't have the luxury of choice, right now.  We will go to your Tunnel of Golden Light, but I warn you, if this is some trick I'll be back...for you."

"Oh yes, Chief Bearclaw...I understand.  And I promise, once you reach the end of the tunnel..." he said, his icy eyes locking with Picknose's.  "...it will be like no home you have ever seen."




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Multimedea

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2009, 04:55:22 PM »

I always liked this story at EQ.com, especially seeing the events of "Fire and Flight" through Bearclaw's eyes. More please?  :)
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The sorrow of the elves is that
The things they love must die...
(The Tree of swords and jewels waits for me)
Time withers all about them,
Yet the elves it passes by...
(When shall I hang my own upon the Tree?)

Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2011, 09:55:33 AM »

EEP! Sorry, Honey. I never responded to you ^^; Sorry about that. Thank you! I really want to pick this story back up when I get some time. Hopefully...soon. I've just got so much to do right now. But, I am glad that you liked it, thank you! ^_^
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Isolde

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2011, 06:49:41 AM »

Aww, I always loved this story - such a pity that you never finished it!  :'(
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Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2011, 07:01:43 AM »

I'm so sorry :( I never found the time to pick it back up, but I really want to resume it. After I finish some projects, hopefully I can make this happen. I'm so glad you liked this story, though ^_^
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Startear

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2011, 05:34:22 AM »

This story was one of the inspirations I had when I started on Overcoming Fears (whom sadly is struggling with me). I keep hoping for it to continue, because I love the story. Especially the dialogue where Foxfur is mentioned. Pack Sister is my favorite chapter, despite it being short, it holds so much emotion. So of course I'm waiting patiently for this to continue.
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"I know some think me a fool, or that I am too quick with my tongue, or too ready with the blade -- but I live by my own honor, my Way. I would give my life for any of you."

Thanks to Katcombs for the Ekah sprite!

Kitt

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Re: Chief's Son
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2011, 08:00:19 AM »

Quote from: startear
This story was one of the inspirations I had when I started on Overcoming Fears (whom sadly is struggling with me). I keep hoping for it to continue, because I love the story. Especially the dialogue where Foxfur is mentioned. Pack Sister is my favorite chapter, despite it being short, it holds so much emotion. So of course I'm waiting patiently for this to continue.

WOW! I'm really touched by that. Thank you! Now I really MUST finish this. I will definitely get around to writing more as soon as I get even a moment *hugs*
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