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Author Topic: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]  (Read 6673 times)

Multimedea

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Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« on: March 14, 2009, 05:46:41 PM »

Hi, everyone! I've posted this at EQ.com and though I'd add it here too.

Critique Level 3 (for all stories)
PG
______________________________________________________________________


2009 MultiMedea

1 • Journey's Beginning

Well. The Great Egg never saw that coming.

After this immense press of time, that it should be her? I suppose it stands to reason; when our tribe was great in number and mighty there was no need. Now, we are no more than a pitiable handful. Not even an Eight of us survived the mountain’s fall. I wouldn’t have survived without a tribemate’s help. Yes, you, Two-Edge, who spits upon your Glider blood with the vilest of curses.  You shouldn’t fight it so, tribe brother. Your mother is of the mightiest of us and her magics burn as hotly through you as any other Gifted child. It is our nature, our way. Our blood will seek out its level, will sear us through and through til it is satisfied. When it burns, we dance among the spheres.

When it calls...we must answer.


~*~

“Aroree, old friend, need you grip the egg quite so? Granted, it’s not vulnerable to crushing. But the last time an elf maiden looked upon my treasure with such lust in her eye, I had a deuce of a time trying to get it back.”

Aroree exhaled a soft gasp. Her fingertips flew away from the small relic as if it burned her and the sudden action sent her floating backward from Egg’s touch. From his presence. But nothing, it seemed, could break the gaze of his ocean blue eyes on her. Strangely, she found she didn’t want that at all. Perhaps she had been too deeply immersed in the Egg’s...no, Aurek’s sphere. It happened sometimes back in the days of the Great Hall. An elf would sit in contemplation of its wonders and mysteries, carried along with Aurek’s powerful mind and his overwhelming desire to see, to know, all there was to know. Questing so far and so deeply one forgot to eat, to rest, to drink. Until one day you awoke tumbled upon the chilly marbled floor with Lord Winnowill’s even colder pale hand unkindly slapping you back to consciousness.

And a cold, stinging slap was exactly what she felt when she first locked eyes with her old, dear companion after so many thousands of turns of the seasons. A slap that rang within her and cried, Wake up! No more sleeping, the time is at hand. She didn’t know if she quite liked or even understood this new knowledge about him or herself. And she desperately needed a moment to herself, away from those all-encompassing eyes, to sort her feelings and half-formed longings.

~*~

“I’m sorry,” she whispered. She drifted over to a sun-speckled corner of his cheery stone cottage and fingered the flowered vines growing abundantly there..

Aurek let her go and turned his gaze back to his other guests. She needs time, he thought, knowing that for all her boundless enthusiasm for new experiences Aroree had never been one for contemplating the personal changes every being must go through from time to time. A failing of most of my people, he sadly mused.

But not all. He smiled on the incongruous sight of Two-Edge–Two Edge!–perched upon a marbled bench, sipping moss tea from a cup meant for delicate elfin fingers, not a burly trollish grip. The half-elf was ready to dance attendance on the slightest move of the dark elf maiden demurely seated at Aurek’s table, her own tea cup raised to berry-red lips. Venka, her name was. And if he wasn’t mistaken, with her lustrous golden eyes and shining blue-black tresses, she was of the Palace Master’s issue. But where’s Rayek’s powerful will had scoured with the strength of a desert sandstorm his daughter’s serene presence calmed and refreshed one with the gentleness of a rare desert rain. Oh how very different this meeting was from her brash, restless mother Kahvi’s visit!

Venka raised her gaze from contemplating her cup to looking directly at him.

“Aurek,” she said, “ your sudden smile looks to hold some amusing memory?”

“Oh, I was just thinking on how far the child’s road can travel from the parent’s journey.”

She grinned brightly herself and set down her cup, which Two-Edge promptly retrieved and refilled. “With clear insight you speak directly to the heart of my own mission. Have you any news of my mother’s whereabouts or of her future journeys? I know she travels with your tribemate Tyldak. I hoped that, perhaps, they had stopped to visit for a spell.”

“Indeed, they did. Not more than three turns of the season ago. At about leaf-fall time and left heading toward the Vastdeep. Your mother was very eager to fill her boodle chest with a bright, shiny prize for her tribe. But I think the treasure she left with will be a greater richness to them.”      

Venka silently contemplated the news as her fingertip tapped the fragile porcelain of her cup. “Three turns? Not a great length at all. Ah, we were right to come in this direction. Surely we’ll catch up to them before another two snowfalls!”

Aurek tried to follow Venka’s musings but was distracted by a frisson of chilling heat radiating along his right side. Aroree had rejoined the group and sat delicately folded on the chair next to his elbow. Two-Edge handed her a filled teacup across the table. “H-How did you decide to turn this way?” Aurek finally managed. “I’m a bit off the beaten path for casual drop-ins. And most humans would rather try to swim the shark-infested Sound than trek through the ruins of Blue Mountain’s haunted bones.”

“It was Timmain, mother of all, who took me aside at the start and told me my travels would be many and I should begin my journey here. That the stone of Blue Mountain would be my guidepost and my ‘map’ to the future. I know that ‘maps’ are picture-words that humans use to find their way. But I’m not quite sure I understand what it means to me or my companions.”

Aurek smiled ruefully. “Wise Timmain,” he chuckled. “She has the stars’ own knowledge of the way of things. And isn’t adverse to kicking one or two of them into the proper celestial course if it suits her needs. Or...the needs of others.”

His gaze slid back to Aroree’s pale golden form. Her graceful hands cupped one of the tea bowls as the fragrant, woodsy scent of the hot liquid steamed upward to curl around the gamine oval of her face. A wispy tendril of winter wheat hair had escaped from her neat hunter’s bun and she chased it back with a flick of a finger. Exquisite, he sighed to himself. How could I have never noticed in all that time. She is...exquisite.

“Exquisite, Egg.”

He startled at the echo of his own thoughts. Aroree raised the cup to eye level and repeated, “This is exquisite. Both the tea and the vessel. It almost doesn’t feel like stone but the eggshell of the great birds. I’ve never quite seen a blue of this color before. And such whimsy in the symbols. Does it...mean something, Egg?”

He pulled back into himself. “Ah, the tea I can claim credit for. I cultivated the mosses and bark myself. But the cups are, surprisingly, a human design. The seafarers on the coast get them in trade from a people far across the Vastdeep. The folk of that land form them from a fine clay called porcelain and the glaze baked into them is called Cathay Blue. It is exquisite for human work, still, the color is...but a wan reflection...of an elf maiden’s lustrous blue...”

Aurek’s voice trailed off as his eyes slowly, inevitably locked again with Aroree’s soft sapphire gaze. Can’t I complete a sentence in her presence without sounding like a tongue-tied fledgling? he fumed. This is absurd. We’ve known each other longer than I’ve known the very stone beneath my feet. Timmain, what have you gotten us into?

He mentally shook himself and brought himself back to Venka’s dilemma. “I may be of more use to you in the search for your mother. At least, the Egg of Six Spheres may be. Kahvi lives her life so close to the surface the traces of her passing should be simple to read in the Egg’s record. Do you wish to try?”

“Oh, yes!” Venka clapped eagerly. “Timmain said I should view the Great Egg, if I could. I’ve tried to turn the Great Scroll alone but the weight of such time got to be a bit too much for me and I needed Father’s help. Will you be my guide on this journey?”

“Yes, of course. That is my task. I will guide you all where you wish to go.” At a slight mental summons from him the Egg lifted from its perch on the plant stand and hovered over the center of the little gathering. Aurek looked around the table at his guests.

Two-Edge warily glanced at the glowing sphere with a shaggy, uplifted eyebrow then shook his head. “No, Father of Memory. There’s nothing in my past that I’m fond to review. I’ll rejoin you later.” The Master Smith rose from his seat and walked out into the afternoon sunshine.

Aroree’s shy, sad doe-eyed glance toward him nearly sundered his heart in two. “I-I would like to see dear, sweet friends again. If I could, Egg?”

“Of course, you can. And, please, call me Aurek, if you like?”

“Thank you. Aurek.” She quickly returned her gaze to the slowly spinning, swirling orb.

The sound of his true name spoken in her soft, trilling voice made him feel as if the word had never been spoken until this day. That it had never existed before this moment and would never be the same, dull, syllables again after. Ha, she needs more time? I need more time. A star’s time. What dark magics possess me, Mother Timman, that I should feel this way about her? That I should feel this deeply at all?

Aurek made a last, valiant effort to shut her bewitching influence away from himself and threw himself fully into contemplating the revolving Egg. Kahvi’s deeply mystic child–unlike her flighty mother–needed no drugging help to sink herself into the Egg’s subtle song. The elf maiden was already raptly following the swirling, tumbling cascade of images on the shell’s surface, her concentration pulled this way and that with trying to follow the whole of Abode’s story. He lightly skimmed the thoughts her last impressions of her mother and married those to his own remembrance of the brash Go-Back chieftess then let his powerful mind drift along the currents and eddies of Kahvi’s most-likely path in this world. When he picked up the traces of her and Tyldak that had no counterpart in his own living memory he gave Venka a subtle mental push down that stream of consciousness and she eagerly began gliding along the way.

That task completed, he turned his attentions to Aroree’s dreamily-rapt contemplation. This elf maiden, he knew, was well aware of how the Egg’s story shifted and swayed with both time’s passage and an observer’s view of it. Still, she would also need a subtle tweak to find what she sought quickly. Feeling both strangely reluctant and greedily eager to do so, he blended his thoughts with her most apparent ones. The image of a silver-haired wolfling with an elf’s eyes and a laughing heart surfaced in his consciousness. Oh, yes, he remembered, the starry-eyed trickster who was constant, loving companion to the wolf chief. They had brushed minds only once, briefly, in the Great Hall. He almost regretted the touch was not longer, deeper. The stargazer’s mind was so much more expansive than his tribemates. So much more willing to wonder what if? and why not? Aurek could see why Aroree would be infatuated with such quicksilver wit. He appreciated such himself.

He tried tracing her thoughts of the Wolfrider to follow the song’s path to him but found himself pulled/dragged/drifting through their last, blazing encounter with each other. A chilly night with Mother and Child Moons nestled low on the horizon, spilling their liquid silver bounty over all, edging everything in pale reflected starlight. Gilt strands and white whipping around thin, heated bodies wrapped completely around the other. Laughing and howling into the night breeze that buffeted them to and fro. A quick, jerking splash of hot seed between creamy thighs then the deep oblivion of complete sation.

He supposed that he should be embarrassed at interloping on such an intimate memory. But he wasn’t. Frankly, he wondered why his tribemate had settled for so little. Such quick, fleeting escapades reminded him uncharitably of his own rare, fleeting touches over time with particularly daring human maidens he’d meet during less rare visits to a human town or village. The ones who did dare to try to catch his eye were so...charmingly gauche but willing for his touch. Like chirping hatchlings greedy for any sweet morsel they could beg. He felt it was almost a cruelness not to satisfy their avid curiosity. But he felt little or nothing during such an encounter. What was such a vague, quick touch compared to the glories and perfect beauty of Time and Space? To the majestic turn of the wheel of the heavens? To Starsong and the sweet music of Everlasting Life? If he could show her these things he’d make certain she’d never settle for less than being bathed in pure starlight, than being blanketed in warm solar winds. She should be lulled by the chiming of celestial spheres and laid upon a bed of inky black space to show off her lustrous opal skin. The glory of a exploded nebula should pillow her golden, wild tresses.

And when he entered her she would blaze within and without with Life’s own light. Be filled to brimming with soulfire. Be truly completed by the mingling of his own living essence with hers. As his soul Recognized the match to his own...

A gasp echoed loudly throughout the entire cottage, snapping Aurek back to the here and now. He found himself nearly nosetip to nosetip with a shock-eyed and round-mouthed Aroree. From the corner of his eye he vaguely noted Venka leaping up from the table to chase after the erratically wobbling Egg floating out the door.

“I, ah, I...” he stuttered, at a loss at what to say. Aroree’s lips closed but her eyes remained widely open. She rose from the table slowly and Aurek followed in her wake.

“I-I hope you found what you were seeking, in the Egg, I mean...”

“I’m not certain, anymore, what I’m seeking.” The graceful elf maiden looked toward the doorway where a slightly confused Two-Edge and Venka were now entering. The dark maiden kept a tight grip on the wildly flickering and pulsing Egg that almost threatened to lift her off the ground. Two-Edge looked askance at first the Egg, then Aurek, then Aroree, and back again at the now behaving orb. He blew out a gusty sigh and leaned against the ornate doorsill, folding his arms across his barreled chest.

“If we mean to travel any longer today,” his deeply bass voice grumbled, “we should begin now. The sun is almost below the mountain peaks of Sun-Goes-Down. Which way shall we go, Maiden.”

Venka smiled wryly at the name the smith never failed to call her. Her lips then puckered into a small moue. “I’m not certain. I don’t recognize the landscape that I saw Mother and Tyldak in at all.”

“May I?” Aurek murmured and Venka cocked her head in acknowledgment as she shared her sphere vision with him.
 
“Yes,” he nodded. “I know of this land. It’s the same as the one where my tea service came from. Many days’ passage over the Vastdeep by ship. Perhaps with a strong bondbird and many islands to land at one could possibly fly there... No. Without the Palace, a ship–even a human ship–is the most practical way. We’ll rest here tonight and go to the seashore after sunsup and book passage on one of their vessels. I warn you now, it won’t be a comfortable trip but it will get us where we want to go.”

“We?” Venka asked, her jet black brow raised in question. Two-Edge merely snorted from his perch at the door. “I would not ask of you to be our actual guide. I know you have your own duties, Father of Memory.”

“Pish-posh, lass. This moldering pile of bones can take care of itself quite nicely. And I’ve been wanting to go a-questing myself lately. It seems the thing to do for all fashionable elves. There’s a chamber already made up below. You and...Aroree...should find it quite comfortable for a night’s stay.” Aroree looked at Aurek again when he mentioned her name in such a soft, reverent tone but he tried greatly to ignore her presence.

Venka handed the mutely glowing Egg to Aurek and said, “Now we are Four. Welcome to our fellowship, Aurek Egg-shaper. And I thank the High One for her wisdom in sending us to you. Good night.” Venka took Aroree by an arm and the two elf maidens descended to the chambers below, tightly lock-sending all the way down.

Aurek turned toward the open doorway and stared into the deepening shadows of nightfall. He felt a gruff yet familiar presence brush his mind and he opened himself to it.

**I know why I go. Wherever she leads I will follow. Whatever she needs I will do. Whoever threatens her I will destroy with glee. But you, Memory’s father...a night’s tumble and the matter is done?**

**Get some rest, tribe brother. We have quite a journey ahead of us.**


The smith nodded brusquely. “True,” he murmured. “‘Night.”

Aurek waited til the echo of Two-Edge’s footsteps faded then slowly floated out the door and up to the ornate portico’s roof. He folded his lanky legs beneath him and stared at Mother Moon’s glowing half-face with undisguised longing. Sometimes, he thought, if he could just rise and rise he could step upon its surface as easily as he stepped through his own doorsill. Even though he knew for fact through his sharing with Timmain that it was many, many, many, leagues away and then some again. That no Glider, no matter how talented, could ever reach it unaided. Still, it seemed such a clean, pristine place to be. No humans, no problems, no messy entanglements. No life. The High One had pulled his soul back into the worlds of the living as surely as Two-Edge had pulled his broken, shattered body back. And he owed them both beyond measure for his rescue.

But, High One, he laughed, did you have to weave a web of such sticky entanglements? To Venka Kinseeker I am to be guide and map to the wondrous, frightful journey that lies far ahead of her. To my dearest old friend Aroree–whose name now sings in my heart like a captured sparrow–I am to be Father of Memory in name and deed, raising up a lost tribe and its past glory. And to poor, tortured Two-Edge...my most daunting task, perhaps. To finish the healing the gentle Leetah’s searing touch began long ago.

He hopped down to the doorsill and entered his house–for the last time in many, many turns of the seasons–determined he would complete the last task beyond Timmain’s wildest expectations. It was the least he could do for his mad sister’s only son.

« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 08:37:59 AM by Multimedea »
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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?)

Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2009, 05:54:05 PM »


~*~

The morning began with clear, pinkening skies over Sun-Comes-Up and raucous bird chatter rising from the forest floor at the mountain’s foot. An auspicious beginning as any, Aurek thought as he set out steaming plates and platters for their morning meal. He didn’t mind at all rising before the dawn to cook a hearty repast for his charges. Better to not leave anything in the cottage that could spoil and he rarely slept much at all anyway. He supposed on some level he never truly slept, his mind always in tune with the Egg’s endless story.

As he set the last of the dishes on the table he could hear soft but steady movement from below. Two-Edge, he guessed, from the substantial thumps that vibrated upward through the stone. Though Aurek knew the smith could be light and quick on his feet when he chose, the packing noises must be in deference to the maidens. A wake-up call. Aurek’s own filled pack, hunting blade,  and traveling cloak lay propped beside the door. One by one, his visitors ascended from the chambers below, twitching noses and growling bellies testifying to their readiness to eat.

“Oh,” Venka sighed with a swooning noise, “is that baked boar flanks I smell? With poached eggs? And creamed cheese? Do I dream a spirit dream?”

“If you dream,” Aroree swooned in unison, “we share a delicious vision. Hot wheatcakes...beesweet....berry jam! I haven’t tasted that since leaving the Sun Village.”

Aurek chuckled at the delirious pair as they made their way to the table. “You two behave as if you haven’t had a hot meal in a High One’s age.”

“Nearly,” Venka laughed. “Well, that’s not true. We do cook for ourselves out on the trail. Simple traveler’s fare. But I’ve lived with the Wolfriders most of my life. If meat doesn’t come steaming raw from the game’s flank they won’t touch it. And a cook fire is almost an unknown concept to them.”

Aroree nodded. “That’s one thing I never quite got used to in my time with them. I often longed for the great feast days of Tenspan’s Hall. Orolee made the most succulent rolled eel balls and Aranerne’s fresh oakbark bread was splendid. The Wolfriders’ fare was filling enough but, sometimes, it was...”

“...Bland.” Aurek placed a heaping dish in front of first Two-Edge, then Venka, and finally Aroree. He leaned his long form over the table as he did so, laying the dish gently in front of her. But his fingertips lingered on the plate’s edge as his eyes locked with hers and his whispered words were meant for her ears alone. “Without spice or heat or savor. A pity your delicate appetites couldn’t be fulfilled by a Wolfrider dish. Glider delights are always best. You should taste them again.”

Aroree’s pink lips formed a softly rounded ‘oh’ of surprise as her pale cheeks flooded with color. Aurek pulled back quickly and sat heavily in his chair, shocked as well at his own uncharacteristic forwardness. He thought he’d done so well in the wee hours of the night to place the raging fire of his Recognized state in a proper, contained space inside himself. That the space where Aroree now lived in his soul was merely a well-banked collection of embers and coals, steadily and softly warming throughout the night. Capable of being stoked higher when it was necessary. It galled him now to admit it was more akin to a wildly leaping forest blaze, capable of singeing him to a crisp without a moment’s notice. And that the spark that fed the tinder was the mere mention of his erstwhile Wolfrider rival. That he could have any competition for her attentions touched an old, dark, coiled place deep inside his spirit that he never knew existed before yesterday. And he was not happy with the knowledge.

Both Two-Edge and Venka silently noted the exchange as they quietly devoured the meal before it grew cold. If they sent between themselves about this current complication, they didn’t mention it.

“Aurek?” Venka asked as only a slight distraction. “How long will it take us to reach a...sea-port?” She stumbled over the word, still amazed at the human idea of traveling over the waters in a small wooden craft.

The Glider reluctantly turned his attention away from his tribemate. “Oh, even with a gentle ride for your traveling stag we should reach the coast before mid-day. And perhaps a few days’ in town to gain passage, depending on when a ship is leaving. The best port to leave from will be Ironforge. It’ll be busy enough to not cause us undue attention but it’s not so major a town that some officious higher-up will have the power to detain us. Humans know of us and aren’t apt to kill us on sight any more, but we really don’t want to attract too much of their notice if we can help it.”

“True,” Two-Edge murmured as he collected the now empty plates. “I have no particular fear of them but we are four while they are many. Still, a well-forged hammer can crack a human’s brain nut as well as a troll’s.” His gaze slid to his own pack in the collection at the door and the heavy, tooled sledge that rested upright near it.

“Actually, I’m counting on your awesome reputation among them to keep us out of most of their mischief. Human mothers have sent their babes to bed quaking with tales of the dread Master Smith for thousands of years,” Aurek slyly acknowledged. Two-Edge’s equally sly and feral grin set Venka’s lips in a thin line.

“I wonder if the two of you wouldn’t welcome such an encounter. Perhaps Timmain wasn’t as wise as she thought teaming two such old cronies together.”

Aroree’s tinkling, answering delight to Venka’s jest left Aurek’s heart fluttering against his ribcage. He could swear to it. And even the smith colored slightly under the stern, golden gaze of his ‘maiden’. Tribe brother, we are both prey well and truly caught in the raptor’s claws. With little chance of escape.

To cover his embarrassment Two-Edge huffed, “Daylight’s burning away, you know. Can’t we get this menagerie on the road before another turning of the Daystar?” He stumped over to the collected packs and picked up the lot with two sweeps of his hands.

Aurek’s eyes swept his cozy cottage for the last time. “A few last tasks, my friend, and then we leave.” He moved to each corner of the room, carefully picking up all the potted and vining plants scattered about. He then walked out past the doorstep and just as carefully placed each pot upon a shallow outcropping of tumbled stone.  With a moment’s fierce concentration, he changed the pots to pulverized soil and the outcrop to a delicate fillagree of latticework and stone roses. With another twitch of his upraised hand he lifted a nearly full water cistern from the porch and let it hover over the plants. Small holes then speckled the bottom third of the pot, draining the liquid to a gentle watering of the transplanted garden.

Aurek set the restored pot back to its place and turned to his friends. “Who knows?” he said. “By the time I return this whole mountainside might become a lush garden.” Both Aroree and Venka grinned widely at the touching gesture. But the elf maidens started as he reached up and began uncoiling what they thought was a boiled leather collar from around his neck. What the Glider really held in his hands was a goodly-sized black snake with sharp yellow eyes that flickered coolly over the group.

“Ah, little friend,” he cooed at the snake. “Don’t you want to stay here and watch over the garden? Where you can have all the plump, juicy fursoft cradlebabies you can catch and laze in the sun all day? It could be dangerous where I go.” The snake merely lapped a few coils around Aurek’s wrist and squeezed the elf tighter.

“Very well,” he shrugged as he slipped the serpent into the Egg’s belt pouch. “But don’t hiss at me if some fussy human dowager takes a fancy to you and wants to turn you into a belt.”

Two-Edge walked Venka’s saddled stag up to the maiden and she rubbed his velvety muzzle with her hand. “Quickstep!” she sighed with delight. “Are you ready to go again, my friend?” His impatient snort was all the answer she needed. With a light, elfin leap she landed in his saddle then reached down to give the smith a hand up to mount behind her. Two-Edge settled himself with a grumbly pout and turned back to Aurek.

“Today? Do you think, Great-Grandfather of Memory?”

“Just one last thing.” Aurek’s eyes closed to bright blue slits as his arms rose to shoulder height and the very air around the group grew heavy with ponderous intent. First pebbles, then rocks, then boulders larger than a full-grown troll began dancing and skittering along the ground. With a large whoosh of air the entire mass of moving stone swooped into the opening of the cottage’s doorframe. A blinding flash of light–then an ornate slab with an intricate depiction of the Great Egg surrounded by stylized wings filled the frame.

The Master Smith snorted, unimpressed. “Fancy-do elfin frippery. Can this day get any worse?”

Aurek slipped on his cloak and shouldered his traveling pack. “Granted, it’s not nearly so grand as the work of a troll master smith. But seeing as I don’t have four moons to close my door and the banging and clattering of hammers and chisels only makes my head ache, I thought I’d do it the old-fashioned way this time.”
Aroree hovered over to Venka and lock-sent, **Do you think it will be like this for the whole journey?**

**It wouldn’t surprise me a bit,** she returned. The two maidens shared a look and a thought that didn’t need sending. Men!

“Hello! Hello! Hellllllooo!”

A fluttering, iridescent mass of green and red streaked into the clearing from the forest and circled Aurek’s head twice before landing squarely atop it. The smith took one look at the gossamer wings and the large liquid-eyed stare of the sprite and smacked his head with one hand while moaning, “No-no-please-no...” The preserver, for its part, completely ignored Two-Edge and started grooming Aurek’s golden mop into some semblance of order with its long red claws.

“FlyHigh Eggshaper miss Hollyhopper? Longtime and far and far Hollyhopper flew lookings for rosynose berrysweets for juiciness. No find anywhere growing here now. Sorry.” The preserver buried its face in a strand of his hair in sadness.

“That’s all right, little friend. I don’t have time right now to ferment another batch anyway. Hollyhopper, these are my friends and, as you can all see, this is...” He pulled the tenacious sprite from a too-tight grip of his hair, “...Hollyhopper.”

Two-Edge refused to even look in the creature’s direction as Hollyhopper gasped and ahhed over its new acquisitions. “Oooooh! Much more softpretty highthings for Hollyhopper! High-Digdig...SharpGold Highthing...GoldenSadFlyHigh. The sprite took a closer look at Aroree then spun around the hovering Glider faster than the eye could catch. It stopped at her shoulder and clasped its tiny body to her pale cheek.

“GoldenFlyHigh be sad no more. Be happy again! FlyHigh Cradlebaby come soon-soon, yes?”

Aroree’s fingertip gave the preserver’s delicate wingtip a caress as her eyes shyly glanced toward Aurek’s strong, lean body hovering beside hers. “Perhaps,” she said softy, but the look she gave him as her gaze roamed him from top to toe was anything but soft. He felt at that moment that he could rise all the way to Mother Moon, no matter what Timmain said.

“Is good, is good! Muchly-much more Highthings for Hollyhopper to take care of. Will make soft wrapstuff rocky cradle for FlyHighBaby for softsleep. Not let fly too high, too far at first. And beesweets and mother’s milk everyday for strongest FlyHighBaby ever! You see, you see! Hollyhopper take gooood care of FlyHighBaby-To-Come... The preserver’s screechy sing-song tapered off as it swiftly followed Aroree’s hovering trail down the mountainside as she set out on point for the party. Only after the pair were out of sight and hearing did the smith remove his thick fingers from stoppering his ears.

He lightly clasped Venka by the waist as Quickstep started to pick his way down the mountain trail. **Puckernuts. I wondered how things could get worse. Do you see, Eggshaper, what you have condemned us to? A flipping Preserver for a nursemaid til the child grows a beard as long as Father Picknose’s. I should have left you in that hole. I knew it would come to a bad end someday to be kind,** he sent. A small grin creased Venka’s features as she clucked the stag to a faster pace.

Aurek laughed with joy as he soared into the brightening sky, pursuing Aroree with as much ardor as Hollyhopper. “Don’t be such an old maggoty sourpuss, tribe brother!” he called behind him. “If a chattering sprite is the worst travail to befall us on this journey, what do we have to fear?”
« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 09:02:37 AM by Multimedea »
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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?)

Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2009, 01:19:58 AM »

2 • The Trouble With Pery

“I fear, Sir Pery, that we have worn out our welcome at this establishment.”

Pery began to slowly, painfully, slough away the mud and muck from his person as he and his companion sat hip-deep in the middens behind The Three Troll Inn. He cast a gimlet eye at his equally muck-laden manservant and growled, “What was your first clue, Harry?”

A harsh, shrieking voice harangued the sloppy pair from the inn’s back door. “Good riddance to the both of ye! I run a clean, respectable place here and I’ll not be having ye befouling my custom with yer vile, heathen rantings!”

Pery turned his eye to the proprietress of the dirty, ramshackle hovel trying to pass itself off as an ‘inn’. She was a squat, sour-faced harridan wearing a non-too-clean pinafore and she was flanked by her hulking bully-boy sons on either side. The whole lot of them could easily be the models for the three trolls painted garishly on the inn’s sign, he thought unkindly.

He slowly and majestically–as majestically as one could manage while dripping muddy dung–rose to his feet and addressed the woman in a clear, rolling orator’s voice. The gathering crowd around the inn’s courtyard was merely a bonus audience.

“Madam. And I use the title in its most pejorative sense,” he began, “You wrong both me and my boon companion. Cleanliness, like goodness, kindness, womanliness, and hospitality, are in the discriminating eye of the beholder. Why just the day before yesterday I soaked myself in yonder mountain stream for a good ten minutes. Probably risking good health, nay, my very life in the process! Harry got wet, too.”

“Oh, I mean yer screeching and yowling of vile and blasphemous things on yon string box.” She nodded to one of her boys who then tossed out a long, waterproof case toward Pery’s head. Fortunately, the thug’s aim was as bad as his features and the instrument missed the musician by a mile and landed in a nearby bush. His twin thug must have had a bit more practice because his toss landed both of the travelers’ packs squarely in the middle of the muck. A quick snatch from Harry kept them from sinking into the mire.

The innkeeper clucked her tongue and shook a crooked finger at Pery. “In my own common room ye were singing and speeching of demon things like flying ships and the forest folk and wagons that roll along the ground on their own. I’ll not have it! May Threksh’t forgive me for letting a minstrel under my roof and not strike my house down with holy skyfire. Off with ye!” She made the sign of the Evil Eye to ward off any lingering wicked presence and slammed the door in their faces. The amused onlookers, seeing the show was over for the day, moved on about their business.

Harry picked up their packs and, having no other clean spot on his body,  piled them on top of his head. “That went well,” he murmured.

“Oh, shut up.” Pery reached over and gave his tall companion a hand up to his feet. He then carefully picked up his case from the bush and slung it over his shoulder, the only clean spot on his body.

“I mean,” Harry went on, “getting tossed out of three inns in as nearly as many days. That’s a record, even for us.”

“I mean, really, shut up.” Pery set off down the alleyway at a quick, determined pace, meaning to find a laundress at the riverbank who worked on the cheap. Harry quickly jogged after him to catch up. Townsfolk they passed by in the lane gave the pair a wide berth and swiftly covered their noses with any handy clothing.

“Maybe if you changed your repertoire, sir?” Harry continued, undaunted. “Toss in some unrequited young love or chronicle the unspeakably heroic deeds of some local constable or clan chief. That sort of thing always plays well in the back-country. It might pay a bit more, too. The few coppers in my purse are getting lonely for companionship.”

“Another word,” Pery growled, “and I’m going to get lonely for companionship. Real quick.” He took a few more determined steps then slowed and eventually stopped in the middle of the road. Harry, as always, stopped where his master stopped.
 
“Harry, my good man, a true artist can’t just play to the masses because that’s what they want,” Pery tried to explain with a frustrated sigh. “He should always attempt to lift himself and his listeners with his gift. He should never settle for the coarse, the mundane, the popular, the...” He shook out a heavy sleeve and a clump of mud fell to the cobblestones with a wet splat.

“...the muck.”

Harry nodded sagely, with the pack straps jangling before his face, having heard the same lament many times before. “Come, my lord, I think Medea the laundress  will take our custom on account. With, perhaps, a few couplets written in her honor?”

“Ode to an Ironforge Washerwoman...?” Pery shrugged, continuing toward the river. “Doesn’t have quite a gallant ring to it, does it? What I need, my good fellow, is a Muse. A genuine, bonafide, otherworldly source of beautiful inspiration to dedicate my heart’s and life’s blood to. For that, I would suffer any indignity, overcome all petty, earthly concerns. I would follow her to the ends of this world and back merely to bask in her presence. Do you think that’s possible in one man’s lifetime, Harry?”

“To find a source worthy of such complete devotion. In Ironforge?” He gave Pery a peculiarly opaque look. “Perhaps. But I think it more likely the forest folk will come galloping through yonder town gate in all their splendor first.”

~*~

Aurek thought it best they approach the town gate by foot in their hooded traveling cloaks. To the casual eye they should look like a man, his wife and their child. Two-Edge agreed to stay inside the forest’s edge holding Quickstep’s bridle until nightfall as the others arranged private stabling for Venka’s unusual mount and accommodations for themselves. Though he had rare use for the human idea of money, Aurek never feared he wouldn’t have enough small gold disks to cover their arrangements. That was one of the advantages of being a rockshaper who felt the presence of any given mineral or ore deposit in his area at any given time.

**It would be best**, he sent as they walked through the gates to the town square, **if we three dressed as much like the humans as possible. They have peculiar ideas about what’s appropriate for the women of their kind to wear and we don’t want their scrutiny. We’re unusual enough to them as is. I know it will be odd for one of the Chosen to wear a gown, Aroree. But, will you do it?**

**If it aids in the success of our goal. Besides,**
she sighed, **There’s no reason to be Chosen any longer.**

Aurek stopped in the midst of the square, utterly shocked. He grasped Aroree’s hand in his own. **As long as you breathe, as long as there is a Glider that needs protection and succor in this alien world Voll’s Choice stands. And I stand beside you, Chosen One.**

Aroree gazed back at Aurek’s stunned features and squeezed his hand hard in her grasp. Venka saw her friend’s face light from within, not from Recognition’s rosy glow, but with the sure knowledge of purpose once lost now regained.

**Tribe Brother, I am shield to you and spear. Your belly will never gnaw with hunger, your fledgelings will not fear the night. The cold and your enemies will not broach you. I fly in your service. This I have sworn to My Lord.** Aroree’s eyes teared with the remembrance of saying those very words when she was made Chosen so long, long ago. Long before there ever was a Blue Mountain. Venka clasped her other hand in support.

**My friend,** the dark maiden sent, **I can go fetch the clothes. I know a bit of their language. Enough to get by, I think.**

**No. Their dialect has changed somewhat, but I can still speak it. Besides, the coins are with me.**

**Good luck with your task,**
Aurek sent, reluctant to see her turn toward the river as he and Venka traveled farther into the town’s center. **We shall meet by this fountain before the sun reaches that tower toward the sea.**

**She’ll be fine, Eggshaper,**
Venka assured him. **Humans like to adore her.**

**That’s what I’m afraid of, my dear.**


~*~

Pery thought a few rhymed lines about how Medea’s generous bosom gleamed in the light  as she leaned over her washboard should have earned him full bathing privileges plus a saucy peck on the cheek but all it bought him was a hard bar of lye soap and a rough towel as the laundress laid out their now-clean clothes in the sun for drying. When he tried to gain a smooch on account she pushed away the bard and told him to ‘dry off’ as she hurried over to the front of the shop to service another customer. Pery slid down deeper into the tub to soak and sulk for a bit.

“How may I help you, my lady?” he overheard Medea say.

< I was told your shop was the place to come to find simple, good clothing for hard travel. May I see your wares? >

“Oh, of course, milady. This way.”

Pery tried to whip around in the tiny tub and slid into the depths of the soapy water. He broke to the surface gasping and spitting out bubbles. He clawed the wash water away from his sight, determined to catch a glimpse of the visitor to Medea’s shop. That voice, he thought. That beautiful, heavenly voice. I’ve never heard the like. How can it be human? He quickly splashed out of the basin and wrapped one of Medea’s linen orders around himself. He couldn’t imagine meeting the owner of such a voice in the altogether, but meet her he must.

< I’m looking for three sturdy dresses to fit myself, > the voice continued from farther along in the shop. < Plus, three to fit a younger, but well-developed girl about half my size. Also, some men’s clothes...a few tunics, a doublet, and leggings for someone my height .>

“I have the very things right here, milady. Very little wear on them at all...”

Pery dodged behind some stacked packing crates and peered around their corner at Medea’s newest customer. She was covered from head to toe in a light travel cloak from which only the bare curve of a pale cheek and one delicate, outstretched hand appeared . A hand with only four fingers.

< These will do quite well. >

“And will you be wanting shortclothes and dainties to go along with them?”

The hooded head gracefully cocked to one side in question as a wispy tendril of pale golden hair spilled from one side of the opening.

“Your unmentionables, milady?” Medea gestured toward her own quite generous ‘unmentionables’.

< Oh...yes. I suppose I must. If you could have everything bundled into a pack, I shall take them with me. > The pale, opalescent hand counted out five fat gold pieces from a pouch and handed them to Medea. < I do hope that’s enough? > the voice questioned with a slight, ringing trill.

“Aye, milady. That and more than,” Medea sighed at the unexpected windfall in her hands. “But I won’t be having you to trudge through town with such a burden. I’ll hire a boy to deliver them to your lodgings this evening.”

< Well, that could be a problem. I don’t know where my lodgings are... >

“Tut, tut,” Medea said. “If you have not decided yet, the only place to go is the Inn of Spirit Joy on High Horse Lane. The innkeep, Darkhan, is an auld cuss, but a good and fair man for all that. He will treat your kind with great respect, My Lady.”

< You know of my kind? >

“Aye, that I do, Lady. When last one of your folk came to Ironforge it was my auld grannie’s time, over a hundred years back. But some of us do not forget. And would never think to raise a hand against you.”

< Thank you, Medea. I shall take your excellent advice, if the matter has not been decided already. But we will all need a least one change of clothes now. >

“I’ll make up a package for you right away.”

Medea hustled toward the back of the shop with a bundle of clothes in hand, searching for packing paper and twine. She almost tripped over Pery on the way.

“What are you about,” she scolded, “lurking back here like a auld uncle in his winding sheet? That’s Mistress Kathleen’s tablecloth?! You’ll pay for the new cleaning, minstrel, mark me!”

“Oh, hush, Medea,” Pery whispered, still distracted by the unearthly vision standing in the laundress’ front shop. “Is that–” he began. “Is she...can it be true?” he wondered in awe.

“Yes, yes, and yes. Did not your big ears overhear me speaking of my grannie’s time? Well, it was my very own father’s mother who was helped in her time of dire need by one of the forest folk. For that boon I will always come to their aid if I’m needed. Had she asked I’d have gladly carried the whole pack on my head to her, without a single coin exchanged.”

“Well, I guess it’s a good thing for you she didn’t ask. You can hire ten boys and their fathers with what she paid you.”

“Off with ya, bard. And out of my good sheets.” Medea continued on her task. Pery, for his part still entranced, wandered out to the shop’s front and to his vision.

“My Lady?”

The hood looked up from a woolen scarf laying on a table and for the first time in his life Pery looked an elf fully in the face.

He didn’t have the words to describe what he saw. Large jeweled sapphire eyes framed in an eggshell oval of a face. Wisps of white-gold lustrous silk tumbled inside the deep green hood but threatened to escape to sunshine and freedom whenever given the chance. Lips of pale seashell pink merely hinted at bursting into an amused laugh at his stunned appearance.

“Are you all so, so...beautiful.” A wandering minstrel was he and he didn’t have the words.      

< I’ve always thought so. Some more so than others. >

And he was right about the voice. Otherworldly crystal chimes that tinkled and sparkled throughout him.

“Milady, your package.”

At that moment Pery could have happily throttled Medea, as much as he loved her saucy ways. The vision, the elf, took her bundle in hand. Then, she drifted out the door. He would swear to it before Threksh’t’s Celestial Court.

“I don’t like that look in your eye, bard. Have you been in your cups again?”

Harry entered the shop at her ending words. “Usually when he’s in his cups,” the manservant said, “you can hear him from a square away. What are we to do about lodgings til the ship come in, sir? Sir? ...Sir!?”

Pery stood in the middle of the clothes shop with his hair dripping soap suds and draped in only a table linen. He should have been a comical figure but he stood as straightly and elegantly as any courtly lord draped in ermine and velvets.

“We shall lodge at the Inn of Spirit Joy this evening, Harry.”

Both Harry and Medea almost tripped over themselves with objections.

“The last time we stayed there, the innkeep threatened us with a hatchet–”

“You can’t afford yer laundry bill. How can ye aff–”

Pery merely spoke his next words softly but with an unignorable air of command. “Have your boy bring our belongings there this evening. Come, Harry, I need to be dressed.” He strode back into the rear of the shop.

“Yes, my lord.”

Harry sketched a courtly bow of dismissal to Medea and followed behind Pery.

~*~

« Last Edit: March 24, 2012, 09:19:27 AM by Multimedea »
Logged
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?)

Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2009, 01:40:58 AM »

What an unusual human,**Aroree!** both elves sent happily, glad to see their companion returned from her task whole. They rushed to her side near the fountain and told her their news.
Venka beamed. **We now have passage for all of us on a ship that docked today. It leaves tomorrow on the morning tide.**

Aurek demurred a bit. coffee beans. Whatever those are. Oh, we also have beds for the night.****At the Inn of Spirit Joy, perchance?**

**Are you now clairvoyant, Aroree? Or does Recognition truly open all my thoughts to you?** His eyes gave her face a searching but wondrous look.

She colored a bit at his open regard, reminded of all the matters that stood unresolved between them.

**Good,** Venka nodded. **I will let the Master Smith know how matters stand.**

Aurek shrugged, too familiar with the contrariness of his tribemate to question further.

Aroree studied her sharp-eyed but gentle friend, glad again to be part of her company.

~*~lastKind of like now,Ah-roa-reee. As lovely as she herself was. He also noted the strange, trilled accent Aurek placed on his name. Pa-reeeTimmain, Shape-Shifter, your people are exiles
Wandering aimless, your people are lost.
Hated and hunted, with fear their companion
Chilled by the windstorm and pierced by the frost.

Timmain, Self-Shaper, your people are hungry
Far from their homeland they founder unfed.
Here in this new land their magics work twisted
As often to conjure up stones as their bread.
Timmain, Shape-Changer, your people are dying
You cannot harden your heart to their cry.
See how the snow and their enemies slay them
Timmain, O Timmain, can you watch them die?
Timmain, Change-Maker, your shape is a new one
Sharp-toothed and keen-nosed, at one with the storm.
Hunter to track down the life for your people
Finding the shelter to keep your folk warm.

Timmain, Self-Changer, is gone through the springtime
Summer fast follows and Fall runs behind.
She runs with the wolfpack, accepts them as kindred
And makes her own world now away from elfkind.
>

Was that their answer? he wondered. To adapt to a world that would not bend for them? And in the change, to lose the essence of oneself?

< Timmain, the Wolf-Shaped, has sent them a leader
Wolf-blooded elfchild, young Timmorn, her pride.
Duty fulfilled she returns to the hunters
Wild heart within her no longer denied!
>++

« Last Edit: March 17, 2009, 01:45:38 AM by Multimedea »
Logged
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?)

Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2009, 01:48:12 AM »

**Until then,  Aurek.**

The Glider leaned back against the roof tiles and dreamed a few dreams of his own.



Aurek floated silently up to the balcony, his thoughts on his strangely contrary kin. For one so skilled in the arts of maiming and death, for being the spawn of the Black Snake herself, Aurek was certain Two-Edge had never killed another thinking creature in all his long, long life.
Logged
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?)

Paper Ghost

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2010, 07:27:15 PM »

Fabulous! Do you have any plans to continue this?
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Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2010, 11:22:30 AM »

Fabulous! Do you have any plans to continue this?

Yep, definitely! Can't give specifics on when or exactly how, but I haven't forgotten the continuing adventures of one of my favorite elves. :) And thank you very much for the compliment!
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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?)

Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2010, 09:47:59 PM »




As Harry sat upon his sea chest that sat upon the pier which sat beside the galleon ship SeabirdOh, yes. Do I know...~*~

Less than two weeks out from the coast of  Iceholt, Aurek the Immortal was convinced he was dying. Slowly. With each cresting salty spray and rolling stormy-blue surge he could sense his very lifeforce slipping away upon the ever-moving waters. He could feel his soft inner organs slosh against the bony cage of his chest in near-perfect rhythm with the slap of foamy waves against the Seabird~*~Enough time for that later, she reasoned.

And what a hunt!
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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?)

Mist-eyes

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2011, 09:26:36 AM »

This is the best fanfic I read in a long time! The title caught my eye and I've enjoyed everything about is thus far! Is it still in the works? will there ever be more? The characters are well written and the adventure contagious! I do hope you'll continue it one day :)
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Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2011, 12:15:30 PM »

Wow, thanks for the compliment!  :D The AEA is still definitely an on-going concern, tho it's going to be at least a month or more before I can devote any time to it. (I have a move coming up.) I'm also on the look-out for anyone interested in doing some beta reading or looking over my outline material for the story.

Thanks very much again, I didn't think anyone was still reading this.  ;D
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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?)

Mist-eyes

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2011, 01:56:20 PM »

Good to hear :) How exciting! I'd love to be part of a beta read so definately feel free whenever!
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Windrider

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #11 on: August 24, 2011, 08:20:46 PM »

This is the only fan fiction that ever made me want to do an illustration for it.  I can't wait for the next chapter!
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Multimedea

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Re: Aurek's Egg-cellent Adventures [Chp. 1-3]
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2011, 09:25:50 AM »

This is the only fan fiction that ever made me want to do an illustration for it.  I can't wait for the next chapter!

Sorry that I haven't replied to this (a lot going on this last month.) I'd LOVE it it you'd ever want to do any illo from my story, Windrider. Even a simple pencil sketch. Of course, after all the calendar craziness. Any particular scene?
Logged
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?)
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