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> The Continuing Misadventures of Tenmou Venomwing
11/10/2007 8:45 AM EST
The Continuing Misadventures of Tenmou Venomwing
((This is open for any who'd like to join. It's a continuing story of things Tenmou does both in the game and on the forums. Enjoy.
Tenmou fluttered out of her small bed and spun around her inn room. Though she hadn't been in Qeynos for very long, she had managed to make herself a very nice little home by selling the rare and pretty objects she'd found while harvesting. She'd even built a small garden in her window box. Carefully watering each plant in her garden, she started talking to them.
"I's gonna go see the Temple today! The priests told me that it was dedicated to a Ro... Rodce... Rodney Cife? A Rod something or other," she said as she watered the greenwisp closest to her. "They tolded me that the temple floats above the water. I wanna see that. How does you think they make it float?"
Gasping as an idea struck her, she set the watering tin down and fluttered over to her table. Filling a big bowl with watter from her sink, she placed it on the center of her table and found a ball that a halfling had given her to play with. Tugging her metal ring of fabric swatches off her belt loop, she began flipping through the various squares until she found a picture that looked right. She was determined that she was going to make the little ball float. Turning the square upside down, she dropped the ball into the water and then started copying the motions drawn on the fabric. Then, she eagerly looked up to see if she'd been right. The ball sat there doing nothing.
She blew a harumphed breath to move her bangs out of the way and and leaned her head this way and that. Perhaps she hadn't done the spell right? Copying the motions again, she leaned forward to watch the ball in the water. Ever so slightly, it budged and then lay still. She frowned and repeated the motions again with more energy. The ball moved up in the water slightly. Encouraged, she recast the spell and giggled as the ball finally floated above the water's surface.
"I didded it!" she yelped gleefully as she started to bounce around the room.
Suddenly, a rumbling broke through her celebration and she turned to face the bowl. Lightning was shooting from the bottom of the ball as it rose higher and higher above the bowl, dark energy coalescing around it.
"Uh oh," she said as she backed away from the table.
The intensity of the lightning increased, and she shrieked as she darted for the nearby bathroom and hide behind the wall. A loud "BOOM!" reverberated through the room, and she cringed before climbing on top of the toilet and peeking over her bathroom wall. The table top layed charred on the floor above the crumbled remains of the table legs. Her chairs had been blown across the room, one lodged in her armor rack and the other lay precariously on top of her desk. The bowl lay shattered on the table top, a puddle of water running off the sides, but the ball was still floating high in the air. Giggling with glee that her ball was still floating, she forgot about the destruction in her room and jumped up and down happily that it was still working.
Suddenly, the door crashed open. Shrieking in terror, she ducked back down behind her bathroom wall, crouching on top of the toilet.
"What in the name of..." came a small piping voice. "TENMOU!"
"Y... Yes, missus," she said as she peeked at the halfling woman from around the side of the bathroom wall.
"What did I tell you about trying to cook?!" the innkeeper yelled at her. "The last time, you nearly burned the inn down. What were you trying to make this time?"
"I was making the ball float," she answered as she slumped over and fluttered to the angry halfling. She stared at the floor as she wrung her hands and then pointed up to the ball.
"Whizgazzles and fiddlesprockets!" came the exclamation from a small gnome mage who'd run in behind the innkeeper. "That's amazing! You must tell me how you did it, Tenny."
encouraging this, Xoort," the angry halfling growled as she turned around on the gnome. Tenmou cringed as the innkeeper turned back on her. "And you! You are to clean this mess up!" As she turned around to leave, grabbing Xoort's arm along the way, she stopped at the door and pointed at the ball. "And get that thing down!"
"Yes, missus," Tenmou answered sullenly as she grabbed a nearby broom and started sweeping up the charred pieces of table leg.
Sweeping it neatly into a pile, she put the broom down and fluttered over to her desk to haul the chair off the top. A small variety of picture books littered the surface of her desk. They had been given to her by the halfling children to read when she got bored or lonely. Their parents had told them that it would be safer for her to have something to do that didn't involve anything that could be potentially dangerous, and she didn't complain. Ever since she'd visited the Bookworm, she'd been curious about books and wanted dearly to have some of her own that she could understand.
Tugging at the chair, it slid and then caught on the corner of her desk. She frowned, placed a foot on either side of the desk and tugged at the chair again, sending picture books falling to the floor below her. The chair moved forward and then slid back. Grunting in frustration, she gave the chair another mighty tug and went flying backwards with it. The chair flipped up, hit the ball, and then crashed into the chair that lodged itself into the armor rack, sending them both crashing to the floor. She lay there on her back and watched as the ball spun around and then dropped like a rock straight towards her. Yelping, she curled into a ball as it landed right next to her and then bounced before rolling away.
11/10/2007 8:46 AM EST
Making Herself at Home
Tenmou crept quietly past Innkeeper Millbanks in her invisible state, afraid to even breathe. Millbanks seemed to know everything, and she was still in trouble for flooding the basement of the inn with slime. She hadn't meant to do it. She'd just wanted to freeze the slime so she could clean it up easier. Slipping out the door as a patron walked into the inn, she spun around outside happily and looked around the Baubbleshire. Shifting out of the shadows that she'd cloaked herself in, she waved at Sage Xoort cheerfully and went straight for the waterfall.
Maenad had told her to gather dirt for a ritual, and she was determined that she would do that today. Reaching down at the base of the waterfall, she scooped up a handful of dirt and then giggled before fluttering to the entrance of her tradeskill society. She waved at the trainer with a bright smile and scooped up a second handful of dirt. Leaping off the top of the hillside, she glided across the stream to the Forest Ruins gate and then stood there looking at the ground and and her two hands filled with dirt. She frowned as she wondered how she would get the third handful of dirt and then yelped as an idea hit her.
She filled one of her pockets with the first handful of dirt and then the other pocket with the second. Satisfied that this would do, she wiped at her face, smearing dirt across her cheek and then reached down for a third handful. Fluttering merrily to the large sprocket in the center of Baubbleshire, she gave Xoort another wave and piled the third handful of dirt onto the top of the gear. Then she reached into her pockets for the other handfuls and frowned again. She'd only been able to pull out part of the dirt she'd put in them. Staring at the dirt she'd piled onto the gear, she thought quietly about the best solution to her problem.
"I know!" she exclaimed.
She added what she'd managed to pull out on top of the pile and then twisted to the side and reached deep into her pocket. Grasping the bottom of the pocket lining, she pulled it all the way out and gently shook teh remaining dirt onto the pile. She grinned again when she saw that it was working and tucked the pocket lining back in and repeated the action with her other pocket. Then, like a child building a sand castle, she plopped down onto the gear with her legs on either side of the dirt pile and began mixxing the three handfuls of dirt together. The soil colored her pink fingers a greyish brown color as she happily turned it over and mixxed it. Then, scooping up as much of the mixture as she could, she toosed it way up int he air and let it scatter and rain down upon the gear and the surrounding stream.
'Tenny," Xoort asked her in exasperation. "What are you doing?"
"Shhhh!" she answered. "I's performing a ritual. It's supposed to make me more connected to my home."
Xoort gave her a strange look before returning to his charred embers from the forgotten guardians. Tenmou sat there, scattering the last of the dirt into the air and watching it fall.
11/10/2007 8:47 AM EST
Accessing the Void
((Felion Shadoweater is the warlock trainer inside the Concordium in South Qeynos.))
"Concentrate, Tenmou!" came the sharp order.
Looking up, the tiny Arasai nodded at her instructor and did as she was told, focusing on the goblin down the path from her. The dark energies coalescing about her thin body seemed out of place with the bright cheery atmosphere of the Enchanted Lands. She strained, focusing entirely on the spell as the dark energies filled her with dread. Her little hands trembled as they copied the motions her trainer had shown her, sending the dark energies hurling into the goblin. She could see them infecting the creature.
"That's it," he said behind her. "Now it's time to draw it back out."
She yelped as the chains she'd used to bind the goblin broke. Breathing deeply, she kept her calm while recasting the spell. The chains landed again when the goblin was a hair's breadth away from her. She backed away and then tried her best not to look at the darkness racing through its body. Instead, she searched for the sickness. She found it between the goblin's teeth. Zeroing in on the disease she found, she called to it, coaxing it to grow and multiply, to invade the creature's body. Its teeth turned black, and it clawed at its throat and nose as the disease began to painfully obstruct its breathing, choking it to death. Keeping her cool, she recast the chains to keep it in place as she coaxed the disease into its lungs making it multiply, enhancing the toxins it released until the goblin fell to its knees.
"There!" her trainer shouted. "Now, pull the essence out."
She didn't want to think about the darkness she'd sent into the goblin, but she knew her trainer wouldn't leave her alone until she'd mastered this spell. Searching the dying goblin's body for the nothingness that had corrupted it, she raced her mind through its entire system, her eyes seeing its body streak past her vision as if she were actually inside it. There, at the goblin's core was the darkness she'd sent in. Calling it back to her, she held out her hand, forcing it to solidify. The goblin collapsed to the ground dead as the small round crystal flew from its body into the palm of her outstretched hand. She stood there breathless, staring at the nil crystal with an expression of horror on her face.
"You did it," her trainer said with a grin. "You're ready to move on with your training."
Forgetting her distaste of the darkness, she looked up at her trainer and beamed proudly. She had not only learned something new, but her trainer had praised her for her efforts as well. She tucked the crystal into her pack, quickly putting it out of sight and out of mind, and then began calling herself home to empty her bags. Her trainer began a similar spell. No doubt, he would have more spells for her to learn in the morning, and she promised to visit him at the mage tower again.
Appearing in front of the inn in Baubbleshire, she gave Sage Xoort a friendly wave. Then, lulled by the smell of something sweet, she fluttered around the inn where she found a pie cooling on the window sill. Her stomach grumbled loudly, reminding her that she had consumed too much to replenish her magic and that she needed to eat. She grinned at the pie mischeviously when a shrill voice cut through the air.
"TENMOU!" came Innkeeper Millbanks's high-pitched shriek. "Don't you dare touch that pie or you'll be grounded for a week!"
Jerking her hand back, Tenny looked around wide-eyed trying to figure out where Millbanks's voice had come from. Not finding the source and not seeing her in the window either, she fluttered for a bit, holding her pack close to her. She glanced around one more time and reached a hand out for the pie so see if the voice would come back.
"I mean it!"
"Yes, missus Millbanks," she answered as she jerked her hand back again and fluttered to the inn door.
Making her way inside and up the stairs to her room, she waved at one of the little halfling girls who'd given her a picture book and pushed open the door. She made her way to a crate near the door and began piling stuff into it. She'd price it all later. On her table sat a small pile of food: sandwiches, cupcakes, cookies. She ignored the sandwiches, picking up a cupcake and licking the icing off happily as she continued to dig through her packs. Seeing something glinting at the bottom of her pack, she reached an arm deep in and the froze as her fingers closed around it.
Suddenly, she wasn't so hungry anymore. She dropped her cupcake to the floor as she pulled her clenched hand out of the bag and opened it to reveal the nil crystal. Shaking her head, she hurled the crystal across the room and dove for her bed as her tiny body trembled. Roughly, she yanked the covers up over her head and stayed curled into a tight little ball as she drifted off to dreams.
At first, there was nothing, and she remained in dreamless sleep, but eventually, the echo of screams and cries of pain began to haunt her. Strange halls took shape around her as heavy footsteps followed her journey through them. She frowned. Those footsteps were hooves. She could hear whispers that she couldn't quite make out beckoning to her, calling her forward, and she answered them as she followed them. Dark mist pulsed around her as she fluttered down the hall, screams echoing louder as she approached a door. She didn't want to open the door. She didn't want to see, but the heavy hooves continued to step behind her, pushing her forward. She reached a hand forward and screamed in terror as a hand of pure black darkness wrapped around her thin wrist.
A pounding broke into the screams, and she couldn't tell if it was the beating of her heart or whatever lay beyond the door. The pounding repeated itself louder, and she jerked up, covered in sweat, her skin cold, as her eyes focused on the flowers that her friend had brought her. She sat for a moment trying to catch her breath as she disentagled herself from her sheets and then glanced around her room in a disoriented daze. The pounding cut into her mind once again, and it took a moment for her to realize that someone was knocking at the door. She looked down at herself and realized that she'd gone to sleep fully dressed. Smoothing her clothing and fussing at her tattered wing, she fluttered over to the door to open it.
"By the gods, Tenny!" Xoort's little wrinkled face came into view. "You gave us a heart attack with your screaming." He looked at her pale drawn face beaded with sweat and at her food sitting on the table nearly untouched. "Are you all right?" he asked her.
"No," she cried, sniffling loudly as tears escaped from her eyes.
Racing past the little gnome, she went straight for the bell and huddled into a corner of the boat to Qeynos Harbor. Arriving there, she clambored onto the docks and zipped pass people barely seeing them as she made her way to the gates and into South Qeynos, tears still running down her face. She opened the doors with shaking hands and approached the red teleporter as one of the mages turned to look at her. Appearing at the library, she looked around for her trainer and nearly sobbed when she couldn't find him.
"He's not here yet," a voice behind her said. "He's off teaching another student, but he should be back soon."
Nodding at the wizard who'd spoken to her, she brought her knees to her chest and huddled in the corner of the library, rocking herself back and forth and waiting for his return.
11/10/2007 8:49 AM EST
Meeting Mister Jacson
((Jacson is a fictitious NPC.))
"So what's a girl like you do on a dark and stormy night when the wind howls and lighting strikes and the thunder shakes the earth?"
Jacson grinned at the pretty elf as he smoothed his light colored hair back and leaned against the wall beside her. She gave him a strange look and then rolled her eyes. Looking down for a second, he then cast a quick glance over his shoulder to make sure no one had seen that, but when he turned back to where the girl had been standing, she was gone. Muttering to himself, he moved on to the bank to make a deposit into his account, his swords gleaming on his hips. Though he wore a plain white yukata, the sound of metal plate could be heard as he brushed up against the door of the bank.
"Mr. Stormdragon," a voice said behind him. He turned around see the female elf he'd been flirting with earlier.
"Just couldn't get enough of me, could you?" he asked as he leaned against the door.
"Hardly," she replied tartly. "You're to report to Felion Shadoweater in the mage tower immediately."
She handed him an official looking scroll and marched away. He ran his hands through his hair as he cursed himself. Opening the scroll, he read over the orders briefly. He was being placed on assignment with the Concordium, probably to some place too dangerous for the mages to travel. He smirked. It figured they'd need a guy like him to handle a tough situation. He strolled through the harbor to the gates, gave the guards a half salute, and then made his way through to the mage tower. Stepping through the red portal, he threw his shoulders back and placed his hands on his swords and walked into the library with a cocky grin.
"He's through the blue portal today," the halfling nearby informed him.
Jacson frowned as a meeting in the largest room of the mage tower with so many other people usually didn't bode well. He hoped to the gods that he wasn't in trouble again. Turning around, he stepped through the portal back down to the first level and then walked around the pool to the blue portal, his armor clanging under the robe as it knocked into one of the scribe's desks that had been moved into the tower. He reappeared at the top and walked down the stairs, hands still on the hilts of his swords as he moved.
"Please, be quiet when inside this place!"
"Oh stow it, Dalmas," came Felion's sharp bark. "Jacson! Down here."
"Yes, sir," he said as he reached the bottom of the stair case and made his way to the warlock waiting for him.
"I have a special assignment for you," Felion informed him as he looked up from a desk piled high with books.
Jacson looked them over briefly, a number of them on the topic of dreams but a few about the Void as well. He reached up above the pile of books to hand the warrior another official scroll with the seal of the Concordium. Breaking the seal, Jacson read over the missive and frowned. According to the scroll, his next assigment was right here in town, in Baubbleshire no less. He'd always known those gnomes were up to no good.
"You're to report to Baubbleshire and speak with Innkeeper Millbanks. She'll give you a key for the residence you'll be staying in," Felion continued. "You're being assigned to one of my students. You're to watch her and make sure she doesn't get into any trouble while inside our city's walls."
"Oh, for crying out loud! You mean I'm babysitting?" Jacson frowned as he read the orders again.
"Yes," Felion said with a glare and an almost evil grin, "You're babysitting. After your last assignment, you're lucky to still be working at all. If anything, this assignment will afford me a few minutes of peace without that Millbanks woman pounding on my door about Tenmou's latest experiment." Felion got up and walked around the desk to face Jacson directly as he briefed him.
"Tenmou is... unique. She does not use her powers in the traditional sense of warlocks. While I'd like to encourage her growth in the direction that she's taken, this has ostracized her from the mage community somewhat and especially from her fellow warlocks. Understandable, of course."
"Of course," Jacson said as he leaned against the staircase and listened.
"I've been working with her to learn the more traditional ways, but there have been some... complications. The day after I taught her to extract nil crystals, I found her in my library huddled up in a corner and scared to death. At first, she would say nothing, but eventually, one of my colleagues calmed her down and managed to extract a dream from her. Illusionsts are handy to have around at times."
"So why is some nightmare cause for a babysitter?"
"Personal guard," Felion corrected. "It's not that she had a nightmare that concerns me. It's the dream itself. The description of the dream placed her
the Obelisk, a place she's never been to before, but according to my colleague, every detail in the dream was absolutely correct. It possessed knowledge that she could not have possibly known. I plan to continue her training..."
"Wait a minute," Jacson interrupted. "If you know that teaching her traditional warlock magic is giving her bad dreams, then why are you still doing it?"
"Because I want to know what the connection is," he answered. "She has a natural affinity for finding and manipulating disease paired with a deep sensitivity to the Void that my other students don't possess. They just use it blindly to fuel their spells and take its power for granted. You are to observe her. Bring word to me of any unusual occurences. If she has another nightmare, press her for details and send those to me as well."
"I don't like it," he grumbled at the warlock. "It sounds like you're using her, not teaching her."
"Watch yourself, Jacson," Felion growled. "You can't afford to step out of line again."
"Yes, sir," he answered between clenched teeth.
"Use this seal when sending me your correspondence," Felion instructed as he handed Jacson a stamp with the letters "FS" and the symbol of a crystal engraved upon it. "Tenmou will be expecting you. Dismissed." Jacson took his papers and the seal and walked back up the stairs.
"I know! Be quiet inside this place," he snapped at Librarian Dalmas.
He angrily left the tower, traveling to the Baubbleshire. At least it wasn't all bad. His charge was female and, according to his orders, from Neriak as well. She was probably some hot little dark elf chick needing protection. He grinned in considerably better spirits as he got off the boat and step onto the docks in the Baubbleshire, making his way to the inn. A quick inquiry at the bank revealed a hagard and tired-looking halfling sitting in the corner half asleep.
"Innkeeper Millbanks?" he asked.
"What?" she asked startled as she looked up and saw Jacson standing there with his papers. "Oh, yes! You're from the Concordium. Thank the gods you've finally arrived. Here is your key. I gave her the first room on the right because she seems to get lost so easily," she continued as she ushered him up the stairs.
"Now don't bump your head. You are a tall one, but that's good. You can keep her in line. Between her and that ratonga kid this inn is going to fall apart! I've helped her prepare for your arrival," she said breathlessly as she didn't wait for him to use his key and opened the door for him instead.
"This will be your bed," she said, directing him to the large bed in the small room by the door. "There is a stove in here, but I've expressly forbidden her to do any cooking at all. She nearly burned down my inn the last time she tried. Do you cook?"
"No, ma'am," he answered as he looked around the little room.
"Then that will be two meals I prepare for this room now instead of one. I may have to raise the rent again," she clucked as she moved on. "The bathroom is here. You'll find all the amenities you need until you move your things in. What address should I send my boys to?"
He gave her the address in Nettleville and then looked around the room after she left. The place was comfortably furnished and warm. A large garden filled the window by the bathroom. No, he though to himself. This assignment wouldn't be so bad at all. The place looked much better than his sparsely furnished inn room. Then he noticed the tiny bed in the second bedroom and cursed loudly. It would figure she'd be a gnome. He didn't think gnomes lived in Neriak, but apparently, this one did. He sat down at the table and waiting for the moving crate carrying his few meager possessions to arrive.
'Ooooo. Pretty dress!" came a small piping voice as the door opened again. "Hello, mister."
"Greetings," he began as he stood up and turned around. Standing at the door was a tiny, nearly skeletal-thin figure. Bright unnaturally blue eyes peered at him through wild dark reddish pink hair as vibrant wings fluttered behind her marked with brilliant red and pink with blue accents.
"My name is Tenmou, but mister Felion didn't tell me your name," she said as she gave him a shy curtsey.
Tenmou?" he asked incredulously.
"Yes, mister," she said as she backed out the door and began fussing with her left wing. "Is something wrong?"
"You mean I'm babysitting a blasted fairy?!"
Her eyes started tearing up as she clutched onto her wing, a small sniffle escaping her. Jacson immediately put his hands up in a motion he hoped would calm her as he approached her and ushered her inside the room before closing the door.
"Now, calm down, miss," he said soothingly. "I didn't mean it like that."
"Yes, you didded," she cried as her chin trembled.
"No, I didn't," he replied as he ushered her to a chair and sat her down.
"Uh huh," she retorted as she wiped roughly at her eyes with her sleeves.
"You just caught me by surprise. That's all. When I read that you were from Neriak, I assumed you were elven. I forgot that fairies lived in Neriak too."
"I's not a fairy, mister. I's arasai," she informed him matter-of-factly.
"Let me rephrase that. I forgot that arasai lived in Neriak too, and stop calling me 'mister.' My name's Jacson."
"All right, mister Jacson."
"No, no, just Ja..." He stopped himself. He'd already upset her once. He decided to let her keep calling him mister if she wanted. "Your trainer sent me here."
"Mister Felion tolded me you would come," she said to him nodding. "I gotted a bed for you too! See?" she pointed to the large bed in the first bedroom beaming proudly. "I boughted it all by myself. Missus Millbanks saided to make sure it was big cause you was human."
"You did a good job," Jacson assured her.
He sat down opposite the table from Tenmou and ran his hands through his hair. Great, he thought to himself. He was not only supposed to babysit a fairy, but she was a child too. He studied her carefully. No, not a child. She looked full grown. Why then did she act like one? A distrubing thought crept into his mind. Was she slow? He watched as she smoothed her left wing out and noticed for the first time the deep gash that ripped into its filmy membrane.
"What happened to you?" he asked, all thoughts of self-pity erased as he reached down for his swords.
11/10/2007 8:50 AM EST
Tenmou Meets the Law
Tenmou fluttered about cleaning busily. She hopped on the pipe above the stove that kept her apartment warm and started brushing away bits of dust, then hopping down into Jacson's room to clean before she came to a clear glass bottle of red liquid on Jacson's shelf. Tilting her head to the side she studied it curiously.
"Oooooo," she cooed as she began to play with her reflection in the glass, making faces as she did so and giggling merrily. With a wicked grin, she fluttered to the top of the bottle, uncorked it and swallowed a large sip.
"Bleh!" she grimaced, and squeezed her eyes shut. "That's awful!"
It felt like her throat was on fire, and her sinuses began to drain. Looking at the red fluid, she decided that perhaps another sip just to make sure it wasn't dust she was tasting would do the trick. She tilted the bottle back and took a large swallow. Making a face, she quickly corked it and put it back. It was horrible stuff, and it left a nasty aftertaste in the back of her mouth. Why did Jacson keep that in his room anyway? She fluttered further onto the desk where a small jar filled with clear fluid sat. Water? she wondered. Opening the top, she took a swallow of it.
"Ack!" she yelped as it burned her throat going down.
That stuff tasted even worse than the red drink in the glass bottle had. Tenmou didn't know it, but she had unknowingly stumbled upon a few very strong beverages that Jacson kept tucked away for special occasions. She fluttered further down the desk where Jacson had stacked a couple piles of books and then fell off the end of the desk.
"Oops!" she giggled. The room began to spin around her. "Oooooh," she moaned as she held her stomach.
She was going to be sick. She leaned against the chair trying to keep the room from moving. Maybe if she held the chair tightly enough, it would stop moving too. Jacson would know what to do. He'd said he was reporting in to his boss today. She fluttered in a crooked winding line towards the gate to Elddar Grove. She waved and greeted everyone she passed, and made her way past the gate to North Qeynos, seeing the large claymore in the center of the city proper.
Fluttering towards the steps, she tilted her head up and cooed at it. The height was too much for her inebriated state. She fell back onto her bottom and sat there staring at the sword transfixed.Tenmou was transfixed by the lights that seemed to glow and move along the blade's edge. How had they made a sword so big, she wondered. She wobbled a bit as the world around her was still rocking and spinning. Heavy plated steps could be heard behind her. Turning around, she faced one of the Qeynos Guard that patrolled the area. The shiny plate and winged helm fascinated her and she fluttered in an awkward fashion around the guard.
"Does those wings make you fly?" she asked him. "They doesn't look big enough to hold you up."
She fluttered up and tugged at the wings. In her effort, she lost her balance and the unsteady rhythm of her wings' movement fell off-beat with each other. She tumbled back to the ground with a yelp. Rubbing her bottom, she noticed that the man wore a beard. She had only seen beards on dwarves, and he looked too big to be a dwarf. Fluttering up again, the tiny arasai reached out and tugged the beard.
"Does that hurt? You is really tall."
She hiccuped and became transfixed by the man's large front teeth when he grinned at her. Cooing, she fluttered to his mouth, placed a hand on his top lip and one on this bottom, and opened his mouth wide so she could get a better look. Then she jerked away as she smelled garlic on his breath. Waving her hand infront of her nose to chase away the scent, her wings went out of sync again, and she tumbled back down to the ground. The guard stood above her shaking his head.
"Looks like I'll have to take you in for public drunkeness... miss?" He reached down to pick up her tiny body from the ground.
"Where is the publik?" she asked him curiously as she hiccuped again and then moaned. She was going to be sick. She knew it. "What's..."
She finished the sentence in another moan and curled into a little ball in the man's hands as he carried her away from the Claymore Monument. The man chuckled and tried not to jostle her too much. He walked inside and set her down on the table next to the clerk who was busy scolding a younger guard. Clearing his throat, the guard that had picked Tenny up got the clerk's attention.
"Well, well," he began, looking at the little pink and red fairy curled up on a corner of his table. "What have we here?"
"Found her at the monument, I did," the guard answered. "And drunk as all get out as well." She could hear laughing coming from the other soldiers in the room.
"Tell me, little one," the clerk said with a smile, "Do you know what you drank?"
"No," she whined and shook her head. Then she moaned again. "I's gonna be sick."
The guard looked up at the clerk. "I think this one needs a bucket... a small one."
"I think you're right."
He snapped his fingers and one of the other guards in the house hurried out and returned with a small wooden bucket. Tenny climbed up the side of the bucket that was nearly bigger than she was and braced herself. She stared at the bottom of the bucket as it swam in circles infront of her and moaned again.
"I doesn't feel so good," she told them.
"Bah. Ye just need ta sleep it off," one of the guards informed her.
Tenny nodded, curled back into a little ball, and almost immediately fell fast asleep. After several seconds, she let loose a soft snore, and the guards laughed softly again.
"Well," the clerk whispered. "I don't think we need to press any charges for this one."
11/10/2007 8:51 AM EST
Playing "Dress Up"
Jac cringed as he entered the library of the mage tower and faced Felion Shadoweater yet again. The man paced pack and forth, but stopped his pacing as the robed warrior entered the room, the plate he wore underneath clanking against the nearby desks. Placing his hands on the hilts of his swords, he looked at Felion and waited.
"I send you to keep an eye on one of my students, and then she gets arrested for public drunkeness?!"
"In my defense, she found the vodka when I was conferencing here with you."
"Stowe it, Jacson!" Felion snapped. "You shouldn't have had it in there to begin with. I don't pay you to drink on the job."
Jacson clenched his jaw and glared at Felion.
"I have new orders for you," Felion barked at him throwing another official looking pice of paper at him. "I've assigned Tenmou some homework. There's a lecture being given on Bertoxxulus in Kelethin. Obviously, since the Vagabond Knights are not welcome there, she'll need to disguise herself. You're to find her a suitable disguise. Think you can handle that?"
"Yes, sir," Jac grumbled.
"Good!" Felion declared. "And while you're at it, get rid of that liquor or find a way to keep her out of it!"
"And just how am I supposed to do that?"
"Be creative. Buy her a puppy. I don't care how. Just do it. Dismissed!"
Jacson stormed out of the tower and headed to the broker in Qeynos Harbor to search for Tenmou's disguise as he tucked the missive into the pocket of his yukata. She'd need something to cover her wings. After browsing countless venders, he found a small soft black robe that would do the trick. Buying it up, he frowned. She'd be too short still to pass for even a gnome. She'd need an illusion as well. Searching for a broker with petrified eyes, he found a group.
"Orc, orc, orc, ogre, troll, orc, gnome!"
Examing the price tag of the gnome petrified eye, he cringed. No, this would never do. Orc was the most affordable, but she'd be just as likely to be thrown out as an orc as she would as herself. Picking up the troll eye, he paid for it and a few cracked bones and left. At least as a troll no one would want to talk to her.
As he headed towards the boat to Baubbleshire, the sound of chattering distracted him. Lookign down, he found a small red monkey following him around.
"What the heck?" He shooed the monkey off and headed for the boat, but the monkey kept following him.
"Go away. Shoo! Scram!" The monkey jumped up and down clapping and chattering at him before leaping up onto his head, pulling his hair as its tiny fingers comed through.
"Great, just great," he muttered as the boat brought him to the Baubbleshire's docks. "You can ride, but when we get to the inn, you're on your own, buster."
"MISTER JACSON!" came the whoop of joy as he stepped off the boat. A small flash of bright red charged down the dock and promptly attached itself to his leg.
"Whoa, kid!" he shouted as he lost his balance, the monkey still on his head and Tenmou tightly hugging his leg. His hand shot out and grabbed onto the crate nearby just in time to keep him from falling into the water.
"Ooooooo. What's that?" Tenmou asked as her big blue eyes grew even bigger in her thin face. The monkey began chattering excitedly, scampering down his body and into Tenmou's arms. "Can I keep him? Please? I's take care of him and everything."
"We're not keeping a..." He stopped himself and thought about what Felion had said. 'Buy a puppy.' "Fine, but keep him out of my room," he ordered.
Yes, mister," she cried excitedly as she fluttered off with the monkey. "I's gonna call you Cuddles! Is you hungry, mister Cuddles?"
Jacson groaned and held his head in his hand for a minute before following her with the disguise still in hand.
11/10/2007 8:52 AM EST
The Nightmares Speak
Tenmou groaned as she turned over in bed. Evreything sounded like it was echoing from a far distance to her ears, and her stomach felt as if it were overfull and hurting. She opened an eye groggily and looked around the room, the light hurting her. Groaning again, she pulled the dark green covers up over her head and curled into a tight little ball. The motion made her stomach turn dangerously, and she squeezed her eyes shut as a pressure built up in the back of her throat. She laid there unmoving as she heard Jacson stirring in the next room.
"Tenny!" he called as he moved around picking up the tray of goodies Innkeeper Millbanks had made them. "Time to get up. Breakfast is here."
She groaned in reply as the thought of food made the pressure in the back of her throat increase. She blinked away the moisture from her eyes and shut them tightly again trying to drift back into sleep. Her nose began to get runny, and she sniffled lightly and worked on slowing her breathing down as she shivered from the cold. Hadn't Jacson turned on the stove last night to warm the place? She frowned as she tried to remember.
"Tenmou!' Jacson called out as he walked to her door and stopped. He looked at the tiny lump huddled under the covers. "Tenny? You okay?"
She opened her mouth to answer but found that nothing came out. Closing it again, she hugged her pillow close to her and debated whether she should try to get up or not. Jacson walked over to the bed and peeled the covers back to reveal her flushed face and glazed eyes. Then, he laid a large hand on her forehead and frowned. Tenny was supposed to meet with Felion, her trainer, today. He would have to write him and inform him that she wasn't going anywhere.
"I'll get you a healer, Tenny," he told her as he pulled back the covers and lifted her tiny shivering body. "In the meantime, let's get you to the bathroom. You look a little green there."
Opening her eyes wide, she looked at the mirror that hung in her room. She didn't look green in the mirror, she thought as she stared at her ashen complexion and red cheeks and forehead. Her stomach lurched as Jacson carried her out the room. Holding onto him tightly, she fought back the pressure in her throat, but to no avail. As soon as he reached the bathroom, she doubled over in his arms and wretched. For a moment, Jacson stood there saying and doing nothing. Then, carefully, he set her down and began filling the nearby tub. Tenmou sat on the floor hugging the bowl of the toilet as he walked out the room and removed his yukata.
Returning a few minutes later in fresh clothing, he turned off the water and set Tenmou into the tub. The water was cold to her, and her shivering increased. He left the room again and returned with a fresh clean gown for her to change into and a large soft towel.
"Just strip off your clothes and hang them on the side of the tub to dry," he instructed her. "Let me know when you're done."
Stalking out of the room, he skipped the table piled with food, most of which was Tenmou's, and sat down at his desk to pen a note.
To Felion Shadoweater:
Tenmou is sick and won't be doing any further lessons today. She needs rest and a healer. If you happen to know one, then please send him our way.
Walking outside, he flagged down the nearest messenger and paid the postage for the message to be delivered immediately. Then, he squared his shoulders and went back into the inn and sat at the table eating his eggs while Tenmou bathed. After a while, she fluttered out of the bathroom wrapped up in her gown, her face still an unhealthy pallor. She looked at the food and paled. Worried, Jacson, set down his fork and hurried to her side.
"I doesn't feel so good," she said before she doubled over again and wretched into his lap.
"..." Jacson knelt there unmoving as he silenty cursed. This was the second time she'd done this today.
"I feels much better now, mister Jacson," she replied.
"Let's get you into bed," he finally said between clenched teeth.
She obediently turned around and fluttered into her room. Without saying a word, she climbed into her bed and pulled her covers back over her and laid there staring at the wall blearily. She sneezed loudly and then sniffled a bit as the wall blurred in front of her. Jacson frowned. Normally, she argued or fought back or resisted doing anything involving going to bed. The fact that she did exactly as he suggested without so much as a word otherwise raised a red flag for him. He stood at her door for a few minutes and watched over her. Eventually, she drifted off to sleep at the sound of Jacson's pacing. For a while, she dreamt of nothing, but then she dreamt she could hear voices.
"She's an abomination!" a voice exclaimed. "It's no less than she deserves for playing around with the forces of the Void."
"You watch your mouth," another voice snarled. She could swear that it sounded almost like Jacson, but she'd never heard him sound like that before.
"Watch what?" the first voice retorted. "The Arasai don't belong here any more than the Teir'Dal do. They're twisted corruptions of Tunare's creations, born and bred in hate, and she's the worst of the lot playing with forces that she has no..."
The voice cut off with a strangled yelp. Tenmou opened her eyes in time to see Jacson storming out of her room. They'd been talking about
. She squeezed her eyes shut as tears began to fall. How many times had she heard that she didn't belong here? How many times had people called her a corruption? Her lip trembled as she listened to Jacson yell at whoever the other man was. She found herself drifting back into the oblivion of sleep as Jacson's words echoed in her ears from the distance.
"You listen to me, you poncy dress-wearin' clod with your poufy hair and your straight nose and holier-than-thou attitude," he growled dangerously as he opened the door. "Tenmou fought her way here against incredible odds, and she earned her place as a citizen of Qeynos, and no one, not you, not your boss,
, is going to tell her that she doesn't belong. YOU GOT THAT?!"
With a mighty heave, he threw the priest by his neck down the steps of the inn and stood blocking the door. He would just have to find her a new healer. He watched with a snarl as the Koada picked himself up from the floor, brushed off his robe, and with what little dignity he had left, fled the inn. Storming back into the room, he slammed the door and then cringed. Walking more softly, he stopped at Tenny's door and sighed in relief. She was sleeping. Hopefully, she didn't hear a thing, he thought to himself as he walked to his room to pen a second letter to her trainer.
Tenmou tossed in bed restlessly. Mister Skitzle was supposed to be big and strong. He was her hero and saved her from the tree she'd gotten stuck in. She was still convinced that the tree had been trying to eat her. She rubbed at her eyes, but in the feverish haze that surrounded her, she still couldn't get the sight of Skitzle's face out of her mind. He looked so sad, she thought as she remembered the tears.
"Tenny?" came a whispered voice at her door. She looked over to see Jacson standing at her door. "How long has he been here?"
"He camed over after you lefted the second time, mister Jacson," she answered as she hugged Skitzle's canteen close to her.
Jacson nodded and left her doorway to stand over Skitzle's sleeping form. He could smell the whiskey the ratonga had been drinking earlier. Grunting to himself, he spread the blanket out a bit more evenly across his sprawled body and then set a full glass of water on the table and a bucket nearby. He didn't know if ratonga got hangovers, but he suspected Skitzle would appreciate the gesture none the less. Sitting down in his room, Jacson stripped off his still-damp yukata from his initiation into the VK and began unbuckling the plate he wore underneath. Carefully, he oiled the leather straps and dried the water off the plate before he began polishing the metal. Setting each piece to the side, he picked up a clean dry yukata and cursed. It was his last one. He'd have to get the others cleaned and dried. Yawning, he stretched across his bed, his feet hanging off the end, and then threw an arm over his eyes.
Tenmou drifted in and out of a fevered sleep, the delirium begginging to settle in as she drifted in a world of half dreams. She was walking back down the hall with those heavy hoofprints behind her, pushing her forward. Within a split second, her mind flashed back to her childhood, huddled in the basement, the sound of a whip cracking against flesh. Another flash and she was back in the hallway, strange voices calling her, taunting her.
"Abomination," they whispered. "Corruption."
"What will they do when they find out you don't belong? Will they hang you like Skitzle's friend?"
She closed her eyes tightly as she hugged onto Skitzle's canteen as if her life depended on it. The hoofprints came louder behind her as the voices continued to chant and laugh at her. The sounds of a whip striking flesh cracked across her ears, making her cringe.
"Have you ever loved somebody who never had a chance?" Skitzle's question echoed in her ears.
She'd reached the end of the hall. As the stone door opened, she closed her eyes not wanting to see what was behind it. The laughter mocked her as her mind's eye opened the door to the basement that she'd huddled in so often as a child. A small shape was flug into the room, moving about in the air like a rag doll before landing with a thud next to her. She didn't want to look. She didn't want to see what it was. She knew who it was, but she didn't want to know.
"We's all getted choices. No one makes us choose," she'd told Skitzle. Her knuckles turned white on the canteen as a small whimper escaped her.
"Abomination," the voices continued to whisper to her.
11/10/2007 8:54 AM EST
RE: The Continuing Misadventures of Tenmou Venomwing
"TENMOU!" came the enraged yell of Innkeeper Millbanks as the tiny pink fairy darted into her room and hid underneath her bed.
"JACSON!" she yelled again as she spied the man walking into the inn, a stack of newly cleaned and dried yukatas in his arms. "You do something about that hellion or I will!"
"Now, ma'am, just settle down..."
"Settle down?!" she shrieked. "Did you see what she's done? Look at this!"
Jacson walked into the basement and looked around. A small broom lay in three pieces on the floor, but what attracted his attention was a huge piece of lichen in the center of the basement mushrooming up to the ceiling. He could see bits and pieces of firewood laying strewn underneath it as mold and slime pulsed around the wood. Groaning, he covered his eyes. He should never have told Tenmou about the lichen in the catacombs when she asked. Peeking through his fingers at the giant plant-like fungus, he guessed that the broom had been broken in an attempt to clean it up.
"I'll take care of it," he told the innkeeper.
"You better," the halfling woman retorted. "What was she even thinking?"
Jacson just bit his tongue and said nothing.
((Just because I felt this belonged with Tenny's collection of tales...
While helping Sneeks with AQs in Thundering Steppes, I somehow managed to get myself stuck in a tree. I mean
, S-T-U-C-K stuck. My call was down, so I couldn't COQ, and I accidentally left my portal runes in the bank because I'd been crafting earlier, so I couldn't translocate myself either. I wiggled this way and that, jumped up and down, flew right up against different branches and the trunk, everything I could think of to get unstuck. Well... I'll let the pictures tell the story.))
((Several minutes later, we were underway on Sneeks's AQ again.))
11/10/2007 8:57 AM EST
A Little Side-Tracked
Jacson stormed through South Qeynos, his white yukata billowing around him in waves of heavy fabric, revealing the black plate he wore beneath it. His hands gripped the hilts of his swords tightly as he moved. Looking around, he spotted Felion Shadoweater, the warlock trainer, and charged right for him. His lips opened with a snarl as he looked the smaller man in the eye.
"Where is she?" he finally growled.
"Jacson," Felion said calmly. "Her training is my business and not yours."
"It's my business when she doesn't come home!"
"She will return when she finishes her assignment and not before," Felion said smoothly as he began walking down the street. "Oh, and when she returns, I want you to observe her carefully. Be sure to tell me anything she says or does out of the ordinary."
"You son of a..."
"Jacson!' Felion said sharply, turning around and facing the tall warrior. "I assigned you to this case. I can just as easily take you off and assign someone else, someone who won't question my orders."
"Screw the orders!" Jacson shouted at him. "Where did you send her?"
"Do not forget what happened on your last assignment. If you screw this up, you'll never work in this city again," Felion warned him.
Jacson sneered at the smaller man, reaching out and grabbing the collar of his robe. Yanking the mage towards him, he lifted him up by his collar shaking him like a rag doll and then slamming him against the nearby wall. He slammed one gauntleted hand against the wall right next to Felion's head, the other hand still lifting him up by the collar of his robe, as he held his face within inches of Felion's. There was no mistaking the rage in the warrior's eyes, and Felion found himself realizing firsthand why Jacson had never followed in his father's footsteps as a monk.
"Don't you think you're overreacting just a little?" Felion responded as calmly as he could. "She's only been gone for one day."
"Two," corrected Jacson as he moved his hand from the collar of the mage's robe to his neck, beginning to squeeze it, the metal of his gauntlets cutting into Felion's neck.
"You joined her guild, didn't you?" he gasped as he tried in vain to pull Jacson's fingers away from his neck.
"As you ordered," he growled, baring his teeth at the warlock. "She's not spoken more than a word on the guild crystal for the last day. No one has actually seen her in two."
"If she's in trouble, surely she'll let the VK know."
Felion's face was beginning to turn colors as Jacson's hand tightened around his neck dangerously. Saying nothing, he removed his hand from the wall and pulled a small velvet pouch covered in dirt and grass stains from his robe. Inside of it was Tenmou's guild crystal.
"I found it this morning in Antonica, north of the spires," he growled as he held the small crystal in his hand. "I found no other trace of her, but I sensed something very dark where she'd been."
Felion said nothing but continued to claw uselessly at the metal on Jacson's hand.
"I know what normally sits on that hill, you bastard." He lowered his voice as he looked at the warlock. "Souls. They steal
to power whatever they've got in that place, and you sent her right into the heart of it, didn't you?"
"I'll find her," Felion rasped as his vision began to blur, on the verge of losing conciousness. His breath came in short shallow wheezes.
"You'd better pray that I find her before anything else does," Jacson replied, narrowing his green eyes at the mage. Backing up, he tossed him down the street towards the mage tower as easily as if Felion had been a stray animal. Still gripping Tenmou's guild crystal in his hand, Jacson stormed towards the gates to Antonica to resume his search for his young charge.
"Sir," came the soft whisper.
Felion looked up to find a young mage in front of him, one of the three he'd sent out to investigate Tenmou's disappearance. The scarf the warlock wore barely covered the bruises and cuts around his neck from Jacson's gauntleted hand. Without saying a word, he held his hand out for the scroll the young man held. The mage handed the scroll over, and Felion opened it without a word, reading the contents quietly.
"We entered the Obelisk as requested but found no sign of the arasai either outside or inside the tower," he continued.
"What's this about residual energy?" Felion asked calmly.
"There appeared to be some sort of altercation at the entrance leading into the tower," he answered. "There is no indication that she was involved."
"Details," he instructed. The young mage hesitated. "Now," Felion barked impatiently.
"You have heard of Ethernere?"
"Yes, yes," he grumbled. "The place where souls wait between life and death before entering the halls of the gods or returning to Norrath. Get to your point."
"It appears that they tried to process a soul already in the Ethernere..."
"But something went wrong," Felion continued for him, narrowing his eyes as he quietly thought. "Has your team been able to piece together what happened with this failed attempt?"
"No, sir," he answered. "Your instructions were to find the arasai."
"I want you to return to the Obelisk and look into this residual energy. Send me any word of what you find." He rolled the parchment in his hand as he watched the mage walk away. "Wait!"
"How many others know what you've found?"
"Just myself and the two others on my team, sir," he answered.
"Good," Felion said with a small smile. "I want this kept under wraps. Afterall, we wouldn't want the streets of Qeynos panicked if they are indeed harvesting the souls of our citizens' loved ones."
"Yes, sir," the young mage replied and walked out of the library.
Felion's small smile faded into an almost sinister frown. If what he suspected had happened did in fact occur, then studying Tenmou was immensely more valuable than he'd first assumed. First, he would need confirmation. Then, he'd have to find a way for this investigative team to... disappear. Fingering his throat, he thought to himself that he wouldn't mind seeing Jacson disappear either, but that would raise too many questions now that the warrior was also guilded with the VK. The Concordium was already in an unfavorable light after the incident with one of their conjurors and her execution in Freeport.
Tipping the edge of the scroll into the nearby candleflame, he watched it burn down to a tiny scrap in his fingers. Then he discarded the rest, letting it burn completely.
"No evidence," he whispered to himself. "No witnesses."
"Do you know where to go, little one?" the voice inside her head asked.
"Yes, missus," Tenmou replied. "I's been to Kelethin before. I gotted a pretty chain shirt from a dwarf there. I also hearded about some Berty guy there. Oh! And I also gotted story time there at the Wishy Well, but I doesn't know why they called it 'wishy,' and there wasn't no well too."
"We travel to the druid rings there, not the city itself."
"Okies, missus," Tenmou said and then stopped and leaned her head to the side. "But if all you needs is a vessel, I can get you one. There's all sorts of people and animals around here."
No," the voice told her firmly. "The gods should have one for me at the druid rings where I awoke... before the shadowedmen found me."
"What was they gonna do, missus?" Tenmou asked.
"They feed off souls, hun," the voice answered. "They extract the souls of living beings, process them, save whatever knowledge they feel is valuable, and then use the rest to either fuel the anchor that binds them to this world or to feed themselves. This Void, it is not part of Norrath. It is part of," the voice paused as she searched for the right words, "something else."
"And they catched you before you could fully return?"
"Yes, you see, the Obelisk of Lost Souls is not the only obelisk in Norrath. However, it is the central obelisk. All souls harvested are brought there for processing."
Tenmou fluttered off the boat from Nektulos and spun in circles on the docks of Butcherblock as she appeared to be talking to herself. In actuality, she was talking to the spirit that she was carrying inside her tiny too-thin body. She had agreed to become a vessel for the soul she'd found and take her back to Kelethin. It was this soul that had saved her from the shadowedmen inside the big cavern where the obelisk was. She liked this missus, she thought to herself. She smelled like rain.
Felion looked up as the young man entered. Again, without saying a word, he held his hand out for the report. Quickly, he broke the seal and read it. His face remained expressionless.
"There is no sign that the arasai was involved, sir," the mage explained. "The energies we found were those created by a druid, but we found no trace of anyone else present either."
"You're saying that a soul of druid was able to weild its powers without the use of a body?"
"No, sir," the mage answered. "It would have been unable to weild any powers against the shadowedmen without the use of a material form."
"Yet there were no signs of a struggle beyond the slain shadowedmen and this residual energy?"
"Yes, sir. No footsteps were found, not even evidence of someone having been dragged. All indications are that this was a soul involved in the conflict."
"I see," Felion replied. "Have you found out where this soul was found?"
"No, sir," he said. "There were no survivors amongst the Void creatures involved in the altercation."
"You'll be receiving your new assignment tomorrow," Felion informed him. "Dismissed."
Felion sat back in quiet reflection as he watched the mage walk away. Tomorrow, he and his companions would be receiving orders to journey into the heart of the Pillars of Flame. With any luck, no one would hear from them again. That didn't solve the problem of what to do about Jacson. He should never have assigned the warrior to be Tenmou's guardian, but he felt at the time that Jac's sensitivity to supernatural forces from his years in training as a monk would be beneficial to his goals. He hadn't counted on the man's fierce loyalty and even fiercer temper. Frowning, he read over the scroll again before rolling it up and tipping the end into the candleflame, letting it burn in his fingers.
So the shadowedmen had found a soul from the Ethernere, what many mystics often referred to as "the Grey." Either escaped or released, it did not matter, Felion knew that a soul could not wield its magic without the use of a body, which meant this druid was now residing
someone. He narrowed his eyes at the glowing embers that remained of the report. Apparently, his little Tenmou was acting as a vessel, or the druid would never have been able to kill all of the shadowedmen and demons that had been found at the entrance to the tower. How else could he explain the lack of footprints? Tenmou didn't walk. She hovered and fluttered above the ground. It made perfect sense.
"So, where are you now, my little pupil?" he asked as he stared at the candleflame.
Where would a druid seperated from his body go?
11/10/2007 8:58 AM EST
RE: A Little Side-Tracked
"They is awful big turkeys, missus," Tenmou muttered as she looked up at the aviaks blocking her way.
Sapphirius signed inwardly as she looked at the world through Tenmou's eyes. It seemed almost cylindrical and somewhat warped and discolored through her eyes, but her hearing and sense of smell were acute. She could hear the ruffling of their feathers and nearly swore she could hear the beating of their hearts. In fact, Tenmou's hearing seemed so sharp that it felt like she was hearing much more than just the aviaks and the environment around them. It was if she could hear everything on and in their bodies as well, and she could smell things from them that varied so greatly it almost seemed to overwhelm her.
"There is a way around them if we backtrack," she told her.
"Yes," she said. If it weren't for the fact that she had no body of her own, she'd swear she could feel a vessel pulsing in her temple. "Go back the way we came. When you hit the path, we'll turn and go further down. The dwarves have made caves in these mountains. We can go through one of them."
Tenmou turned around only to be faced with another group of aviaks blocking the way behind her. She fluttered back and spun around again. Sapphirius groaned. They were trapped, and she was still too weak from fighting the shadowedmen in the Obelisk.
"Little one, it appears you shall have to fight," she said simply.
The birds charged, and in a panic, Tenmou curled into a little ball.
"We shall save you!" came the voice as a bright flash of metal attracted Tenmou's attention.
Looking up revealed a koada'dal in ridiculously shiny armor. It caught the sun's rays as the bird he attacked foiled his swing. The light reflected off his armor hitting the bird in the eyes, and it cringed and tried covering its eyes. Laughing as if he'd scored a great victory, he swung at the bird again.
"Ha ha!" he cried out in triumph. "Pay attention now, and we shall teach you how to fight!"
Opening her eyes widely, she darted behind a rock as the aviaks refocused their attention on the armor clad spectacle in front of them.
"What?" he asked as he looked around. "Where'd you go?"
"I's hiding behind a rock," she answered.
"A rock? You can't find glory hiding under a rock. You should be charging into battle head on to meet your foes in honorable combat!"
Tenmou peeked over the rock at the elf. Sapphirius groaned again. If she'd had use of her body, she'd be burying her face in her hands right now. She wasn't sure what was worse: Tenmou's endless questions and chaotic interpretations of the world around her, or this elf's boastful manner and blinding armor. The elf grinned as he puffed his chest out. The aviaks screeched as the sun glinted off his armor again, blinding them to the point that they were knocking into each other.
"Pay attention now," he instructed. "The first thing you must learn is how to use your shield."
"But I doesn't have a shield," Tenmou told him.
"Nonsense!" he scoffed. "Everyone should have a shield. We'll get you one later. Now, hold your shield like this."
"But I doesn't use shields," she replied.
"Don't... use shields?" he asked with an incredulous look on his face. "How on Norrath do you expect to shield bash your opponents without a shield?"
"Oh boy," Sapphirius muttered. Now, she was sure she could feel a vessel pounding in her temple. All she wanted was to be in her own body. That was it.
"No matter," the elf said with a cocky grin," We shall teach you anyway, and you can practice once you get your own shield. Now, hold your shield like this," he instructed again as he held his armed crooked in front of him, "And lunge forward like this."
The koada'dal shoved his body, shield first, into the closest aviak, the sunlight hitting the back of his armor full force. The aviaks behind him screeched in pain as they clawed at their eyes. If spirits had eyes to roll, then Sapphirius was rolling hers. He continued to slash at the first aviak with his sword and demonstrating the various techniques for shield bashing as the surrounding aviaks stumbled into each other blindly.
"Oh, for crying out loud," Sapphirius finally cried out. "Just finish the beasts off."
"What does I do, missus?" she asked.
"Sir," the elf corrected. "No worries though. It's a commonly made mistake. You step forward like this, with your left foot behind your right..."
"Do whatever it is that you do best," Sapph answered.
"Okies," she answered. Focusing, Tenmou quickly found what she was looking for. Pulsing inside the aviaks' beaks was the putrid scent of decay. She could hear the bubbling as she coaxed it to grow, deepening into their throats.
"No no, my fair but bright and small lady," the elf frowned at Tenmou. "You've got it all wrong. It's not your right foot in back. You left one goes to the back. Like this."
"Gods, help us," Sapphirius muttered.
The elf continued to whack at the first aviak over and over, swinging his sword and bashing his shield into him as Tenmou concentrated on making the decay in their beaks grow, suffocating them. Within seconds, they all fell dead in a circle around her. Opening her eyes, she looked up at the elf standing there with his sword and shield and a slack-jawed expression on his face.
"Or you could just... do... whatever it was... you just did," he finally said.
Sapphirius snorted derisively but held her tongue.
"Like that, missus?" Tenmou asked.
"Sir again, my winged damsel," the koada said indignantly. "Really, do they teach nothing in school these days?"
"You did very well, little one," Sapph told her reassuringly. "Now, could we please continue our journey to the Greater Faydark?" Her patience was wearing thin.
"Yes, missus," Tenmou answered.
"Good," the elf declared. "We're glad they teach something these days, but we really must speak with the teacher of your school. They are doing you a disservice by not teaching the proper handling of a shield!"
"But why does I need a shield?" she asked.
"Why do you need a... Didn't you pay attention to our demonstration?"
The elf sighed again as he showed her his shield and began redemonstrating the proper technique to shield bash an opponent. Sapphirius groaned again as Tenny cooed over his shining armor. Was it so hard to just go straight to the Faydark? Was that asking too much? If she'd had a desk in front of her, she'd have started banging her head against it.
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