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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in The Legacy of Ordiun's LiveJournal:

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Monday, January 12th, 2004
7:48 pm
[catystorm]
The sun was bright, the weather was fair, and the landscape was ... flat.

"WHERE THE HELL ARE WE NOW?"

Kennichi winced, unfolding yet another map from his pack. Shrike was perched indifferently on a rock, chewing on a piece of grass and watching Jenica storm around and do nothing but waste energy.

Jenica had not been pleased to find, less than a few hours after vanishing, both Kennichi and Shrike on her tail. One rather drunk Hideaki had informed her that he smelled them, then the cat had hocked up half of his lunch in her travel bag.

Abydos was not around the city, in fact his entire regiment of soldiers had been pulled to another town more inland. So they had set off, following the in the wake of the calvary.

Kennichi stared at the map. "This doesn't make any sense. It says we should be standing in the middle of Tirsan right now."

"Let me see that." Shrike held his hand out for the map, and Kennichi passed it to him. "Oh, that's easy." He flipped the map over. "It's upside down."

Jenica turned bright red.

Hideaki coughed. The cat was seated beside a now sheepish-looking Kennichi. "So, we're lost then?"

"Not entirely. If we follow this road out we'll reach Sacul in about three days." Shrike tapped the map speculatively. "We've been following the calvary for a while now and we haven't caught up with them... maybe if we hit there, they'll come to us."

"Or maybe they'll go the other direction." Jenica flopped down on the dirt path with a scowl. "I shouldn't have left the others, this is foolish."

Kennichi stood up. "There's no point in going back now, we can only go forward from here."

Shrike hopped down from his perch. "'Nichi's right, let's head out."

"Fine." Jenica got right back up. Then she held out her hand. "The map, if you please. We are NOT getting lost again."
Sunday, July 27th, 2003
5:41 pm
[gregconley]
It's rather short, but it's all I can muster at this point...
“Well, if this isn’t a motley group of madmen, I’ll not know what is, will I?”

“Why the hell am I here, anyway? I should-”

“Be staying quiet when appropriate. Those spats you have with your young man wouldn’t exactly be the perfect example of stealth, now would they?”

Calamine froze. “You.” She pounded up to the black clad man quietly laughing before her. “He is not my man! He owes me money. A lot of money! And I’ll have his hide if he-”

“Gets hurt while you’re not around to take care of him?” Marin raised an eyebrow bemusedly, watching the usually controlled, in-command captain splutter and quiver.

Yoruka slipped between the two. “You.” He pointed a bony finger at Calamine. “Need to stay quiet. We need people to help rescue Brian as well as people to help Jenica, wherever she went. You yourself hinted at something that might help in all this if she gets there, but you wouldn’t tell us what. You managed to send your man and his friend after her, and Rill wouldn’t have been held back if I cut his legs off, so that’s enough.” Marin began to vibrate. He couldn’t stop if he wanted. The looks on the captain’s face, shifting from shock to discomfort to rage to interest so quickly as to form all new expressions, gave him something to keep warm with at night. “And you!” The bony finger was in Marin’s face now. “Stop provoking her just because you’re bored and hurt that your son’s been kidnapped while you were busied somewhere else. If anyone should be bothered, it’s me: I taught him to fight, after all. But I’m not. Stop acting like your mother just pulled her apron away from you.” He shifted his weapons and took off down the road, smirking to himself. Marin twitched slightly, being careful to hide it from the others. He stood as Calamine, Loki, and Elegain passed him slowly, peering at him in curiosity. None had read his discomfort and anger at his son being taken, except for the old man. At least I know why you’re so good in a fight… Who needs to react when you can tell everything about your enemy? Of course, you can still do all the rest too, can’t you… The sorcerer grimaced and began plotting ways to surprise them later in the day. His eyes began to sparkle, and he slowly faded into the darkness of the trees…

~

A mile down the road, the young musician finally broke the silence. “Sir?”

Yoruka spun around, a foul look on his face. “Who told you to call me that?”

“Uh…”

“I certainly didn’t. My name is Yoruka. I escaped generations of schoolchildren calling me anything else, and you’ll not start now, got it?” The boy blinked slowly, finally nodding. The old man smiled. “Now, what was it?”

“Well… I was just wondering how we were going to find Brian without his dad, and if it was nice at all to just leave him there.”

Yoruka peered back down the road, where they had minutes before turned a bend and lost sight of the stunned figure. “Eh, he’ll be fine. I’m sure we won’t be rid of him long - don’t worry about that.”

~

Darkness. Gasping, face ringing and eyes straining into the night, Brian woke. “There. I’d hoped you would wake up, but there’s a bit of a rush now. Stand!” Brian’s eyes focused and he saw the man who had pursued them all through the city. Brian sensed an unease about him, a strain that his face didn’t show. He stood. “Good. Now – much as I hate to do this, I have to let you go.” Brian’s hand reached to his shoulder. “Oh, you’re fine. My blade was expelled by the time I got to you. Now leave.”

“You… you’re the one that attacked me. You’re letting me go?”

“Oh. Right, suspicion, et cetera. Well, I want you for something boy. But I found you by posing as an errand boy. And my employer has decided to come collect you personally, so it’s let you go or watch you die. Prematurely.” He smirked at this. “Silverstaff, by the way.”

“What?”

“Call me Silverstaff, you fool. Now go before your mother kills you.”

With that, the forest exploded.
Thursday, July 3rd, 2003
11:45 am
[rogue277]
HAHA! Its back!
Marin's grip on his audience was, however, suddenly shattered as the ship rocked under a massive impact, throwing everyone to the floor. Calamine was the first to recover, springing to her feet and drawing her slender rapier as she rushed out onto the deck of her beleaguered ship. Rain pelted the deck as her crewmen ran to assess the damage and to find the enemy attacking the ship. Calamine ran to the starboard railing, looked overboard, and paled. The ship had been struck by some fairly large object, which had punched through the hull. Fighting could be heard from below decks, and climbing out of the hole and up the hull were two jet black figures. Calamine turned to the others, who had just recovered and were emerging from the cabin, and yelled to them "Boarders! Get below decks!"

As she turned back to the ship's railing, the first of the two figures slipped up onto the deck. Calamine recoiled with horror; what stood before her appeared to be a man clad entirely in jet black, but on closer inspection actually seemed to be a human shaped blob of darkness. It moved with a fluid nature, bending and flowing impossibly as it launched a fast and dizzying attack with its dark scimitar. Calamine retreated, completely on the defensive, her hands moving from years of practice and trained instinct, dagger and rapier barely parrying the single dark blade.

As Rill, Loki, and Elegain ran below decks, Marin swore as he saw their attackers. He took two steps and spun, his body disappeared into shadow as he did so, and reappeared in the shadows on the deck, behind Calamine's attacker. He ran his hand into the shadow creature's back, sending a ripple through its viscous surface. The creatured let out an unearthly cry, and to Calamine's shock seemed to dissolve into the long dusk shadows of the deck.

Below deck, Rill and Loki joined the crew of the Cloak of Darkness in battle with the shades. The creatures moved with speed and grace, but were outnumbered by Calamine's pirates, who had fought unknown supernatural attackers many times before. Gradually, the creatures fell, but none of them fell alone.

On the deck, Ordiun dispatched the last of the shades just in time to see a silver figure take flight from the clearing in the woods, carrying the limp form that he immediately recognized as his son's unconscious body.

(OOC-I figure Brian won't stay kidnapped for long. Also, I didn't intend for any of our main characters to have been killed in the fight below decks, but probably they'll be pretty banged up. I also figured anyone with cool shadow powers should clearly have the ability to teleport between shadows. Oh, and yeah, hope to finally get this going again, after almost a year :) )
Friday, September 27th, 2002
12:45 am
[gregconley]
Well, here. For what it's worth, anyway...
A black cloud of roiling dust and shattered leaves billowed from the forest outside Rahsia. Rain pounded the countryside as a figure clad in black leaned in a doorframe, blending into the deep blue sky.

"Er... Y - you know Brian, right?"

"Call me Marin, alright?"

"Marin?"

"It's not as creepy as Ordiun, is it?"

"Well no..."

Marin turned away from the doorway and looked at the boy standing before him. Elegain was the first to speak since Brian had left. Marin smiled down at him. "Yes, I know
Brian. Why?"

"Well... Will he be alright?"

"Who, Brian?" Elegain nodded. Marin's eyes closed, as he remembered times long ago. "Brian used to do this all the time. Storm off if he got really angry, or sad, and just be very violent." He smiled at Yoruka. "He was hot-tempered as a seven year old. We used to find dead animals all the time..."

Calamine rubbed her forehead. "You mean that... person out there used to go out and kill cats and dogs when he got angry?"

Marin grinned a bit more maliciously than made Calamine comfortable. "I didn't say that." She relaxed a bit. "It was mostly imps and the lesser demons that hung around where we lived." Calamine shot up from her chair. "Of course," Marin continued as if he hadn't noticed, "that was before his mother left. He calmed down a lot after that." He smiled again, not quite as nastily. "I always thought it was a bit odd."

"You call a seven year old killing demons odd!? Just odd!?

"No. It's odd that he stopped."

Over Marin's shoulder, a veritable fountain of viscious black fluid shot into the sky. He glanced at it, and back at the quiet group before him. "He's a bit better now, it would seem. Does an old man proud."

Yoruka frowned. "Wish he'd have left us the door." Marin craned his neck and looked outside, where the shattered remnants of the door lay, with raindrops spatting from its surface. "He wasn't this uncontrolled at the Academy."

Marin waved a hand. "He didn't have someone," he stopped, "ah, several someones trying to kill him at the time." He smiled at the older man. "Unless you've been using different training methods than when I attended?" Yoruka snorted.

Elegain stood up again. "M-Marin, sir?" Marin rolled his head to the side, peering at the musician. "Yes?"

"Well... Why - why is Brian like that? Uh..." He glanced out the door moments before another gout of blackness poured out. "Like..."

Marin stopped him. "Hmm. Interesting." He glanced around the room once. "None of you know what Brian is?"

Rill, fists still clenched from the morning's news, managed to grate out "An empath?" before he turned back to the window.

Marin threw him a sidelong glance. "Not quite."

~

Brian wondered momentarily what everyone thought. He almost idly pulled the arm off another imp and took another's head off with the appendage. He grinned as the blood splattered him in the face. Ah well. Dad's probably suckering them into one of his performances... Gods-forsaken bastard! A huge, drooling creature of fur and yellowed claws leapt at Brian's eyes. The pale boy, dripping with blood, leapt forward as well, sinking his teeth into the animal's neck. His sword swung wildly from his hip, slapping into his thigh again and again. Rage clouded his vision again. His arm swung out, unheeded, and rent a hundred year old tree into splinters. How dare she leave like that!? His elbow snaked out and slammed into the chest of a chitinous spider hybrid, splintering its armor and tearing the heart to pieces. Does she think it's safe? A great, slimy worm, massive in length and breadth, burst from the earth under Brian's feet. He took the corpse of the spider creature and hurled: it passed through the worm's body, whipping it around. Brian sped towards it and came in underneath it, rising up and splintering the body, huge gouts of black blood spewing into the sky to mingle with the rain.

She'll probably die. It's my fault. I shouldn't have involved anyone else! Waves of air tore through the forest, like the sky was retreating from the raging youth in his man-made clearing. He screamed as fire ripped through his back.

~

Marin looked around the room again. "Well... it's generally not that good of an idea to get him angry if he can't go off by himself, right?" He noted the blank stares around him with a nod. "Right. Hasn't been that long, has it? He hasn't been angry yet, has he?" Everyone shook their heads. "Peculiar things tend to happen when a fey has the child of a human. Even weirder things when the human arguably has the most power over nether demons, wouldn't you say?" He smiled at his spellbound audience. One doesn't need magic for this. "Brian is blinded by his anger, and dark creatures are attracted by it. The angrier he gets, the nastier the critters that come for him. Of course, it's not really that useful." He shrugged, quite artfully, he thought, setting up a nice air of nonchalance for his next statment. "Everything around him tends to die when he gets angry. Flora, fauna, friends, doesn't matter. Everything dies." Even Rill, so angry he hadn't recaptured his debonair attitude since they'd learned that Jenica ran off, paled and slumped against the wall.

~

Silverstaff watched his intended target with quiet amusement, floating well out of range of the now regular spasms of blood the boy sent up. He held his right hand in front of his face, dangling quicksilver from the fingertips, waving his fingers in languid motions and watching the reflections of the dark colors of the sky. He balled them into a fist, and opened his hand with a small, slim blade. He twirled it expertly in his fingers and smiled down at Brian. The moment he expected came, and his smile grew fuller.

~

Brian finally stopped screaming, panting desperately for breath. A half dozen imps leapt from behind a worm-corpse, chittering and keening. Brian expanded, suddenly standing, sparkling light cutting through the darkened air, great wings of glittering glass sweeping behind him. His sword began to vibrate and sing at his side. The air stilled. The rain halted. Around the clearing, the pouring continued. The imps recoiled in terror. Brian turned his gaze on them, and they exploded in smoking pieces. He smiled. He turned his gaze toward the town he'd just left, and his great wings beat once, twice. He drew the sword. It screamed in delight. He felt a sharp prick in his right shoulder. He glared down at a small blade protruding there. He felt rain against his face, as the light faded and a great crash came, weight lifting from his suddenly tired body. He slumped into the mud.

~

Marin shook his head. "So none of you know what a Chaos Angel is?"

Current Mood: moody
Tuesday, September 24th, 2002
1:15 am
[gregconley]
Well... Er... If no one's already working in the next bit, I'll try to update in the next day or two, ne?
Sunday, September 15th, 2002
8:48 pm
[catystorm]
The sun had set over the city of Rahsia, although one couldn't tell onboard the Cloak of Darkness. It looked more like a feast than a party about to set out hunting demons! The events of the afternoon had left Jenica a bit frazzled, and the entire group of them were a bit put out. So Calamine rallied her crew and before anyone knew it, there was a party going on.

Elegain had out his flute again and was playing a lively tune on it, to which a couple of the others were clapping. Several of the crew had gotten a large, long table from somewhere (not even Shrike was sure where it had come from), and it was laden with all sorts of goodies. Most everyone was seated there, scoffing food like there was no tomorrow. Lively chatter and good cheer reigned.

Calamine leaned against the rail and watched the people at the table with a smile. Kennichi was attempting to regale Brian with some of the Hunters' prior exploits, however Brian was staring somewhat morosely at Oridun. The strange ... man, if he was a man, who had joined their party today. Calamine was confused by the whole thing, but didn't ask explanations ... from the looks on everyone's faces at that point, she would have had her head bitten off.

Oridun was seated by Elegain, enjoying the lad's music and joking in good cheer with some of her crew. Calamine leaned back and looked up. The night sky was full of stars.

Then, out of the corner of her eye, she saw a shadow move. On her guard, she turned warily in that direction, just in time to see a small figure dart over the railing where a rope ladder was fixed. Calamine sprinted over, unnoticed by the others.

She leapt over the railing and grabbed the rope ladder with ease. Calamine quickly descended and raced after the figure, who had bolted once they were on solid ground. It wasn't much of a contest, the figure was small and Calamine had a long pace. She caught the edge of a flowing black cloak and yanked, bringing the figure to an abrupt halt.

"Ow!"

Jenica fell to the ground, caught up in the much-too-large cloak. Calamine stood over the young girl and crossed her arms, frowning. "And just what are you doing?" she asked, one foot still on the cloak to prevent Jenica from going anywhere.

"Who are you, my mother?" Jenica snarled, fumbling with the cloak's clasp. "I'm outta here, that's what!"

"Really?" Calamine stooped over her. "What about that whole 'mission' thing, slaying the demons, being in the service of the Tower of Fang...?"

Jenica sat up and glowered at Calamine. "Did you hear what they told us to do? Find the demons and kill them. No where, no why, no how. Just find'em and kill'em. One lead's as good as another, and I can't stay here."

As she said that, Jenica finally got the clasp to the cloak undone. She bolted up from the ground before Calamine could catch her, and vanished into the darkness of the shipyard. "Dammit," Calamine said softly. "It's not safe for you to go alone." With a sigh, Calamine gathered up the cloak and returned to her ship.

If anyone noticed that something odd had happened, nothing was said. Songs were still being sung (and slurred) by her crew, food was still being scoffed and drinks were still being quaffed. Calamine went straight to Shrike and had to pull him away from a keg of ale. A few quiet words in his ear, and he frowned and nodded. Calamine folded the cloak unconciously, watching Shrike go and pull Kennichi from the table, messing around and usual. The two Hunters would vanish, following Jenica and making sure she wouldn't get hurt. By morning, the three of them would be long gone.

~*~

Jenica swore to herself as she ran in the shadows. She hadn't meant to get caught . . . however, Calamine hadn't sounded the alarm in the minutes after Jenica had gotten away, so maybe that was a good thing.

Hideaki was asleep in her backpack. Silly cat, he had gotten a mug full of ale and drained it. He'd be unconcious for hours. The girl paused in the shadow of a building, hearing noises. She hoped she could find Abydos, and quickly ... if she could convince him to come with her, they could make it to Seriya in less than a week....

{OOC: Okay, a few quick notes. 1.)LOOK! I FINALLY UPDATED IT! *clears throat* 2.) Our "party" of characters has gotten a little on the large side ... it's difficult to write for so many characters, I know from experience. It's best to split them up into groups, hence Jenica taking off. Shrike and Kennichi will follow, if they find her, plus Abydos, if she can convince him to go along. As far as I know, everyone else is still on the ship. Take it and run, whoever's next. *^_^x*}
Tuesday, April 30th, 2002
5:34 pm
[gregconley]
Brian stood in the door, looking about at the shadowy interior. Pale lanterns hung listlessly over a stone dais, illuminating the stone seats affixed thereon. Old men, rumpled in robes of silk, sat solidly on the uncomfortable slabs, gazing in turn before them, and at each other. The council. His companions halted just before entering the pallid light, standing amongst thin, striped pillars. The interior of the building was incongruous to the rest of the town. Brian squinted. There seemed to be a hole in the light. No. A person was already standing before the elders. One of the elders spoke, a sound of millennial stone creaking. "Many of our current problems can be traced to you, fool."

The figure before them casually waved a hand, dismissing both them and their charges. "If you'd like them to be."

"Were you not the one to call the demons through the pits of that battlefield, bringing untold horrors upon the hapless soldiers? Or do you believe they all fled at your command, leaving the world when you were done with them?"

"They would have gotten here anywise, you know. I kept most of them from staying. The mean ones."

"You would claim those that even now hunt our servants are kind?" Brian bristled at being called a servant. He saw similar reactions from Jenica and Rill. Loki, shifting with the shadows, was difficult to read, and Elegain looked in awe at the council, famed in story as the leaders who brought the people through the darkness that had fell years ago. Hideaki, for better or worse, wasn't here. He had decided to stay on board the ship, in case something went wrong. What, exactly, he could do wasn't clear.

"Did I say that? I'm just saying they're not mean. Not in the slightest, compared to what I've played with."

The council member who had been speaking scowled, and turned his attention to the group standing, a trifle impatiently, in the darkness. "Duriligan, you have succeeded in bringing the two. But who are these others? We bid you only bring Brian, and the young woman."

Rill glanced at everyone else. Shrike and Kennichi looked decidedly uncomfortable. The guards hadn't really listened to them when they said they were along for the ride. "Sir, they are companions of my charges, and have defended them honorably these past days." Jenica looked with confusion on the rogue, who generally didn't talk like an old man teaching school. She was more than a little cross about having this meeting near her home, when she had to travel so far. Brian smiled slightly.

The old man leaned back into his chair. "Very well. They may accompany these two, if they wish." Shrike started to say something, and Jenica gave him a look that would have scared Yoruka, had he not stayed behind at the outer doors. Gates need watching here?

~

The discussion was long, tiring, and boring, for the most part. The council had less information than Brian about what the demons were doing, or why. They did, however, have some intelligence as to where they were doing it, and how. Between them, they managed to determine a starting point. The goal was as simple as could be: "Stop the demons." How that was to be accomplished wasn't clear. Rill shook his head at that. These old fools expect us to save them, and they won't give us any help. Loki had wisely decided to stay in the shadows. These old men didn't seem disposed to see the subtle differences between demons and daemons just now.

"Now." The council's murmuring stopped, as their leader spoke. "We have a guide who can help you with your task. He knows much of demons and their worlds. Rill heard Brian murmur "Who's that stupid?" Rill tended to agree. The man who had been speaking to the council stepped forward again, smiling knowingly. Clad in black breeches, and a deep blue shirt with black filigree, his posture looked odd in those clothes. His hands, encased in thin black leather, rested jauntily on his hips. He seemed pale of complexion, though not as white as Brian. It could have been the contrast of his clothes, after all. Raven black hair fell past his ears. He was lithe, but didn't seem athletic, or even fabulously muscular. "This is it, what?"

One of the old men tensed in frustration. "Silence!" To Rill, Brian seemed vaguely distracted. He hoped nothing bad was about to come down. He still suspected Brian was strongly empathic, though he'd given up asking the boy about it. The elder spoke again. "I want all of you to consider carefully my words." He paused, obviously enjoying the tension that sparked, despite everyone's flagging respect for the council. "This is the man responsible for many of our troubles, great and small." The man rolled his eyes and smiled, puffing his face out, mocking the old man. "His name is Belfar deParduc." The old man paused again, something other than posturing coloring his face. "Most of you know him as Ordiun."

The black-clad man shrugged and smiled at the suddenly silent, slack-jawed group. "What can I say? My real name's silly." He stepped forward and put a hand on Brian's shoulder. "What? All this time and you don't have anything to say to your dad?"

~

The group filed slowly out of the council chamber, eventually coming back out into the failing light of dusk. Calamine stood, talking quietly with Yoruka, Hideaki lying lightly on her shoulder. As they walked out, Hideaki hopped down and perched on Jenica's shoulder again. The remaining two turned expectantly, only to see surprised and shocked faces everywhere. Hideaki tried to ask Jenica about what happened, but she only nodded mutely and mumbled 'later.' Brian had trailed behind the rest and rubbed the back of his head lightly. "Come on guys, I didn't know that either, until just now." Calamine marked a stranger in black follow him out, grinning. "Having woman troubles son? It's time that started."

Brian turned and gave the man a long-suffering look. "Cute, very cute. Did you have to give them another shock so soon after the first?"

The lithe man laughed slightly. "Seemed like the thing to do."

Elegain walked up to Brian, looking up at his face. "Don't worry Brian, I'm not mad at you."

Brian patted his head and looked after the others. Even Loki was silent. "Now that you mention it, maybe they are mad."

Calamine watched the scene with growing confusion. "Son?"
Thursday, April 25th, 2002
7:01 am
[sehmket]
Jenica looked slightly nauseous. "I suppose we don't have much choice, do we?"

The old instructor smiled like a kid who had just been given free reign in a candy shop. "Nope, not in the lest, girl!"

One of the military men gently but firmly laid his hand on Jenica's shoulder. "Come, Madam, you must." Jenica, recognizing the voice, looked at the cavalryman's face. "Abydos? Is that you? But. . . but. . . you were only a recruit when I left!"

"Yes, Jena, things have changed. Since the council came here, they demanded more troops. Training was accelerated, and here we are - look around." Jenica glanced at the other solders flanking and leading the motley band of travelers. Sure enough, it was the rag-tag group of friends from her youth. Abydos had lived next door to her, and had been all the big brother she had ever needed - just as she was all the little sister any boy could ever handle. The others were the kids she had played with in the street - the girl she had played dolls, the boy she had drawn pictures with, and all of them the people she had first learned to fight with.

Jenica remembered the first time she saw the cavalry practice. She had been about six, and most of the people in her neighborhood were going to the annual festival. Like any bright-eyed kid, she had been entranced by the new sights and sounds. Jenica remembered clearly one event - falling over. Well, not so much falling as being pushed. A fight had broken out behind her, and when one drunken brawler shoved the other, he had fallen into Jenica. Oh, how she cried!! Apparently, one of the fighters was a magician, as he had started throwing fire at his opponent, and hitting as much the crowd as anyone else, including Jenica and her father. A nearby cavalryman broke up the fight rather forcefully, and half lead, half dragged the brawlers away. Another magician, a healer, ran up to Jenica and her father. She tended to Jenica's father's wounds, healing them quickly. She was able to heal the burns on Jenica, but not the nasty bruises from the fall. Jenica remembered her father swearing slightly, under his breath. "Magic - we wouldn't have to use it to heal, if it wasn't used so much to hurt." The healer took a moment to nod wearily before tending to other bystanders.

But, even more than that, Jenica remembered what happened that afternoon. Perched on her father's shoulders (with her mother fretting about her falling), Jenica got to see the cavalry go through drills!! The horses moved so fast, and the men perched upon them even faster. There was wrestling (on horseback!), jousting, swordplay, and so much more that Jenica couldn't even take it all in! It was so much fun, and Jenica, along with all of her friends, knew, from that moment on, that she wanted to be a fighter.

And from that moment on, they practiced. Abydos's aunt was a cavalryman, and she showed the group a few basic ground drills, thinking that the children would tire of it quickly. How wrong she was! The kids practiced them day and night, and could do every drill flawlessly and ambidextrously. They even had worked out where the flaws were, and when they spared, knew how to get through each of the forms to score a touch. Abydos's aunt was amazed the next time she visited, and taught them everything she could. By the time Jenica was eight, she knew all the ground drills of the cavalry better than most of the cavalrymen. Then came a big surprise: in the middle of one summer afternoon, Abydos's aunt came to visit the children. . . with a sergeant of the guard! He asked them to go through all the drills, which they did flawlessly, and to spar, witch they also did without a hitch.

The sergeant went to talk to each of the children's parents - if they would promise their child to the cavalry, the cavalry would help teach and pay for the children's expenses. All the parents agreed. Several days later, each of the children received a visit from a cavalry quartermaster - he gave them small uniforms, a bow with two quivers of arrows, a short sword, and, most importantly, two letters. The first letter was the one the children were most excited about; it detailed instructions on when and how they would go about their horseback training. The second letter thrilled the parents; as members of an elite force, they were expected to be well educated, and would be attending the most prestigious school in the city in the fall, courtesy of the cavalry.

Jenica was forcefully pulled out of her fond memories when they stopped before a large, arching double door. "Sorry, Jena, I can't go any further with you. I will be around the city. See if you can find us." Murmured Abydos. The rest of the soldiered murmured their agreement. Jenica smiled and took a deep breath as the doors opened inwards in front of them. The four soldiers took up positions to guard the door, as the troop walked inside the courtyard.
Wednesday, April 24th, 2002
1:50 pm
[rogue277]
On the airship, Loki took advantage of the peace Elegain's spellsong brought to throw the demon carcass off the side of the ship. After a few moments, everyone on deck began to recover. Calamine tended to the dead and wounded of her crew, and the bodies of the fallen were dropped into the sea after a brief ceremony. That evening, Calamine called a conference in her quarters.
"Alright," the pirate asked, "we need to know where we're headed."
The assembled group looked around, unsure, until Rill spoke up. "We're supposed to meet the council in Rahsia."
"WHAT!?" Jenica yelled. "I just CAME from Rahsia to meet them!"
Brian's spirits raised slightly. Rahsia was, after all, located deep in Genesa, and so would probably not be as infested with demons. And hopefully the Council would be able to give them some answers.

For the next two weeks the airship flew across the varied terrain of Genesa. The crew became increasingly relaxed as they gained distance from Algadad and the location of their fight with the demons. Calamine and Shrike began to revive their old "friendship", and Rill continued to aggravate Jenica. Brian spent most of the journey watching from the bow, lost in his own thoughts. On the rear of the ship, Loki and Elegain spent much time trading stories, and quickly became fast friends. Finally, the crossed the Weldag Mountains, and entered the desert of Rahsia. Two days later, they were moored over the city.

Rahsia, like most of the city-states of Genesa, was a large and bustling city that seemed to spill out of its imposing walls and into the surrounding lands. Tight, twisting streets weaved between low, white buildings made of river clay. Sounds of haggling from the bustling markets of the desert city could be heard even aboard the moored airship. Jenica smiled, she was home.

As the group disembarked, they were approached by four members of the Rahsia military and one other grizzled soldier. The Rahsian troops used a long, thing spear and a shield, and wore heavy armor. Rahsia's cavalry was the best on Genesa. The fifth man, however, was dressed quite differently. He wore a heavy vest of thick brown leather over his black Algadad tunic. Strapped to his back was a long two-handed sword, its wooden handle worn to a polish from frequent use. A wide short sword hung from his left hip, balanced by a heavy black mace on his right. Each boot held a long stilleto and strapped to his forearms was a wide selection of throwing stars. The mans face was craggy and worn, his long grey hair tied back tightly. As he approached the group of adventurers, he smiled broadly. "So, Brian, you finally made it!"

Brian looked up, startled. "Yoruka! How'd you get here? When I left you'd been hammered by a demon."
Yoruka laughed heartily. "Come on, boy. I taught you better than that. You should know that it'd take more than being slapped around by an imp to keep me down. Plus, pretending to be mostly dead made it much easier to slip away."
"Well," the old Academy instructor bellowed "Are you all ready to meet the Council?"
Thursday, April 18th, 2002
5:52 pm
[gregconley]
"Is... Is everyone alright?" Loki's rumbling voice called out over the general chaos on the ship. "Has anyone been hurt?" Calls came out from everywhere, assuring the gentle daemon of health. A few pirates had been killed, sadly, and more injured. Goddess watch them. He watched Jenica and Calamine pull Durilligan up from the netting. Jenica waited patiently, until Rill had once again affixed his beloved hat to his head. Then she started thrashing him about the head and shoulders. Loki chuckled mildly and looked around for the rest of his charges. Brian was wiping the blade of his sword, still unknowing of all the powers it had. I wish I could tell him, Loki thought, but our safety depends on him not knowing what it can do. Kennichi and Shrike were discussing something by themselves. As Loki considered stepping over to disentangle Jenica and Rill, he noticed Elegain clamber up from below decks. "Hello, young human. Are you alright?"

"Oh. Oh, yes. Thank you very much." He looked around wide-eyed at the broken demon bodies, and the massive carcass of the kakatora. "I'm afraid I wasn't much use to anyone, was I?"

Loki stepped forward, putting a large hand on the boy's head. "Do not think that. No one expected you to fight." Suddenly his head snapped up and he narrowed his eyes at the kakatora. "Everyone!" Activity halted on the deck as people turned to look at the daemon. Most of the crew still hadn't settled in with the idea that he wasn't going to kill them. "This creature, this kakatora, we must remove it immediately!"

Brian walked over, sword finally re-sheathed. "What for? Is it still alive?" He grew tense and glanced back at the chitinous hulk.

"No, no. These are creatures of the greater darkness. Their presence can affect the mind, especially after they die, and the death-curse - " The ship seemed to grumble and moan beneath them, and everyone on the deck fell to their knees, clutching their heads. Loki watched on, unaffected, as crew members, as well as his friends, fell prey to the final strike of kakatora, the death-curse. All the pent-up energies the body had were releasing at once. Both physical and mental manifestations of the darkness from whence it had come flooded from it, bending minds and tearing at the ship.

Brian didn't know what was happening. The world turned to black, and his brain was screaming for release. He writhed on the deck, though he couldn't see it, either. Writhing and screaming, he smashed holes in the flooring as he tried to escape. And then...

Jenica stared wild-eyed into space. Duriligan had been in front of her moments ago, but now only blackness remained. She couldn't feel the air of the ship's passage, or the vibrating deck beneath her. She turned her face upwards. But finally...

Loki watched in anguish as everyone's mind was taken, believing them all lost already. But then he heard a flutter from near him. A keening call for a few moments, and then a strange, fast tune began to weave its way through the air. Loki looked in surprise at Elegain, who stood with a wooden flute to his mouth, playing the nameless song. Loki, who knew of both human music and the piping of his own people, could feel the oddness of this ayre in the back of his mind, like a pressure. He turned away and saw everyone relax ever-so-slightly, as if light was returning where there was once darkness. And it was...

~

Silverstaff watched, floating unseen above the ship. He smiled grimly, and spoke to himself. "Oh yes, I'll kill him soon enough, you fey bitch, but you'll wait. Soon. Soon all the powers will be together, and then. Then." He bowed to the minute figure of the piper, and flashed off into the skies.
4:49 pm
[rogue277]
The battle on the deck was beginning to wind down, with demon corpses littering the ship. Several of Calamine's crew lay dead among them. As the heroes prepared to regroup, care for their wounded, and assess the situation, another demon dropped onto the deck. Unlike the usual wiry demons, this one was large and bulky, and nearly twice their size. Moreover, it was covered in a hard exoskeleton, which had numerous spikes protruding from it at strategic locations. When Loki saw it he paled visibly. "Its...Its....A Kakatora," he stammered.

Brian let out a bellow and charged the large beast, which efficiently stopped his charge by catching his head in one enormous hand, and lifting him off the deck. Brian gasped as it began to squeeze, and struggled against its grip, not entirely ineffectively. The Kakatora demon, however, was interrupted by Calamine, Shrike, and Kennichi, who launched a vicious attack at it from behind. Their swords were largely ineffective against its chitinous armor, however it dropped Brian to turn and deal with them. It turned and bellowed in rage, several arrows bouncing ineffectively off its hide. The bellow was cut short, however, by the tip of Brian's sword piercing through the front of its chest. He had stabbed the creature in a joint in its back.

With the final demon killed, the crew began to look over the damage. Brian, Jenica, and Loki ran to the railing that Rill had been thrown off of and looked down. The site they were greeted with caused them all to break out laughing. Rill was hanging on to the cargo net that stretched to the sides of the ship with one hand. With the other, he had a tenous grip on his hat, which he was struggling with to hold on to in the heavy wind.
3:45 pm
[rogue277]
Above decks, Brian looked forlornly out at the diminishing speck of Algadad island. He'd never left his home city, and somehow the world outside felt...different. He was no longer surrounded by the familiar streets and buildings. He sighed as he considered that from this point on, he'd be the outsider; his enemies would now have the advantage of fighting on their home ground. Brian was so absorbed in these thoughts that he almost didn't notice the numerous black specks rapidly approaching the pirate vessel from the stern.

As Brian's yellow eyes focused, he was able to make out more distinct shapes. The shapes of humanoid figures flying on large, bat-like wings. "Guys! Demons, coming up fast!" he yelled as he grabbed up his sword.

Loki, startled, looked up from talking to Elegain, who gave a slight yelp and scurried below deck. Rill heard, and stopped running from Jenica. Jenica, however, was too caught up in chasing Rill to notice, and took the opportunity to lunge at him, fists flying. Rill, however, offhandedly caught her wrist, and with a nonchalant twist flipped her to the ground, straddling her chest. He smiled charmingly and placed one finger on her lips. "That's enough childishness for now." He hopped to his feet and jogged to the back of the ship, where the alarm had drawn up the people from below deck.

The demons by now had reached the ship, and began their attack. Three swept up from under the ship, appearing quite suddenly in front of Brian. He let loose one fist in a wide arc, connecting with a resounding crunch against the impish creature in front of him's chest. He twirled to face another demon, but these two were fighting in concert. As Brian went to punch the demon on his right, the one now behind him grabbed his arm, and the other delivered a vicious slash with its claws across Brian's chest, tearing through his tunic and spilling a fair quantity of blood. Brian's eyes went white, and he tore his arm foreward, taking the demon's arm with it, and punch through the imp that had just slashed him.

By now, the demons were swarming the ship. As Brian dispatched the third demon with a savage punch, he surveyed the battle raging across the pirate ship's deck. Calamine and three ship mates were in a fierce melee with a number of the beasts. She howled victory as she beheaded one with a large falchion that she whipped around in dizzying circles. One demon was able to get close enough to grab one of the pirates. It lifted him over its head, and was promptly struck by two slim daggers and one arrow, all three vying for position on its face. Loki was hard pressed against one of the creatures, which had him pressed halfway over the side.

Brain charged in to help his friends, but was brought up short by an ambitious demon. Without slowing, he lowered his shoulder and tackled the creature, throwing him through the railing and off the side of the airship. Brian turned back to the battle just in time to see a demon seize Jenica by the shirt, and summarily have its throat slit by Rill with two of his daggers. The victory, however, was short lived as another demon backhanded Rill from behind, sending the thief sailing over the side. Jenica and Brian yelled in rage, but the demon was dead before Brian could reach it. Jenica fired an arrow into its skull from meer inches away, and the razor sharp blade slized cleanly through the demon's head, the arrow burying itself in the mast.
1:43 am
[catystorm]
Our First Review!!
Not part of the story -- we got our first review on FF.N --

http://www.fanfiction.net/reviews.php?storyid=726840

*^_^x*
1:22 am
[catystorm]
A little bit of the mayhem above decks was drifting into the hold below. An argh and a solid-sounding *thump* from Loki setting Jenica back down echoed, and a couple seconds later a louder argh followed.

"Yare, she's a loud one," Calamine muttered, seated on a barrell. Four of them were gathered around a large map of the continent. They had headed east along the coast, towards the borders of Genesa.

Hideaki was seated on the map, and the cat looked to be pondering it. Shrike frowned, more intent on the map then the chaos above them. "We could head towards Corhin, which is on the Genesa/Sialo border," he said. "I don't know where everyone's headed, especially with these crazy demons and all, but that seems like a good shot."

"Aye, just one problem w'that," a brawny man with a mess of hay-colored hair said. His name was Magne, and he was Calamine's first mate. "Sialo's been at war for close t'a'year, now. They're likely t'be overrun with troops."

"All the better to hide in," Kennichi said.

"True," Shrike mused. "What do you think, Calamine?"

"I think you're out of your skull for coming back. What made you think that I'd actually come and get you?"

"My dashing good looks." Shrike grinned rakishly. "And you did come and get me."

"I could relieve you of those good looks fairly easily," Calamine said, toying with a dagger.

"You'd like to try again, you mean," Shrike shot back.

"I think that this city sounds like a good idea," Hideaki interupted smoothly. "Although I'm not sure what Brian has planned, or is even up to. With the Council missing and that . . . Loki . . . here to guide us, I'm not quite sure what's going to happen."

"Whatever it is, it isn't our concern," Shrike said. "Once we set down in Corhin, 'Nichi and I are out of here. We work on a payment basis only."

"I understand," the cat said. "I was surprised you got involved, anyhow."

"Y'know, 'deaki," Shrike said, glancing down at the cat. "If you weren't that small, I'd smack you for that remark. What makes you think I wouldn't help some friends for old times' sake?"

"The way you ran out on me in Rahsia?" Calamine chimed in. "With our gold?"

Shrike glared at her out of the corner of his eye. "You hush. We both know that you were going to turn me over to that witch of a being, so I took my half of the payment and went on my merry way."

"Saddling me with the bills," Calamine added.

"I think, maybe, we should leave them to their lover's spat," Hideaki said, leaping down from the table, and then up onto Kennichi's shoulder. "Shall we go out on deck and tell the others of our destination?"

"Works for me," Kennichi said, heading out the door.

"This is not a lover's spat!" Calamine and Shrike both shouted after them, then each crossed their arms and glared at each other.
Wednesday, April 17th, 2002
1:00 pm
[sehmket]
"Hello, Elegain, I'm Brian."

But before Brian could say any more, Loki stepped out into the air on the top level of the ship. He stretched, and praised the Goddess for giving him this day to be on Earth. Then Loki turned and looked at Elegain and Brian.

Elegain jumped, as much as he could from a sitting position. "Ah� Balrog." Elegain pressed himself against the edge of the ship as much as possible, without actually falling over.

Loki chuckled. "No, no, human. I am not that creature from what you think are myths. Though, I suppose I do look like a smaller version of them, don't I? Though, I've no wings. Ah, well, suppose this is just what the Goddess wants." Elegain looked neither comforted nor amused. "Small human," spoke Loki, in his deep but kind voice, "I do not wish to harm you." Loki looked a bit confused and scared. Well, as much as he could. He was rather lacking in a solid edge. Being a shadow-wraith, even if a good one, tended to make one blend rather well. ((Ugh� I've structured this horribly!!!)) "Please, do not be afraid of me, small human."

Brian, chuckling slightly, intervened on Loki's behalf. "Elegain, this is Loki. He is in the service of the Goddess. He truly means no harm. And, besides that whole shadow-wraith things, he's a big baby who wants world peace."

Loki looked like he was thinking about crying. "I'm not a baby."

Elegain, amazed at the thought of a shadow-wraith crying, relaxed, and seemed to believe Brian and Loki. Loki relaxed, realizing that Brian was teasing him, and that that was a good sign. "So, Loki," asked Brian, "where'd your friends head off to?"

"They've..." started the kind-hearted beast, but he was cut off from a uniquely undignified shriek coming from a slim character in a blue cloak running swiftly, though not swiftly enough, away from a slim character in traveling cloths. Loki reached over and plucked Rill out of Jenica's reach - an easy feet ((that spelling's intentional, Greg)), considering Jenica was slightly shorter than average, and Loki... well, Loki rose to his full height of nearly seven and a half feet. "You shriek like the damned, human. And, I know - I worked in the re-hab program for a while."

Jenica fumed. "He... said... ARGH!!!!" She lunged at his feet, too overcome with annoyance to talk effectively.

Loki softly swung Rill over his shoulder, and gently placed his hand on Jenica's forehead, as much to calm her as to keep her at a distance from Rill. "Calm, small human, calm. What are you trying to do?"

"Well, you're not going to let me kill him, so at least I can prevent him from having children!!!" She lunged again, but Loki firmly held a grip on her head, keeping her back.

"All say silly things sometimes, small human, but it will pass. Besides, we do not know what plans the Goddess might have for the descendants of this one." Jenica did not look happy with this answer, but faced with a shadow-wraith, she wasn't going to argue. "Now, what did he say about you, that we may resolve the issue."

Jenica glanced quickly at Brian. "He, uh, said some things about me that I didn't like," she mumbled quickly. Rill started chuckling as Loki set him down... comfortably away from Jenica.

"You're just jealous because I'm cuter than you are." Rill said slyly.

"You... what� ARGH!!!" Screamed Jenica as she started chasing him around the deck.

Loki sighed. "Some humans I will never understand." He took a deep breath. "Just trust in the Goddess. The Goddess always does right. All is good that is with Her guidance." Then he turned to Brian and Elegain. "Him I know about, small human, but the Goddess did not tell me of you before I came here. Who are you? Why are you here?"
9:51 pm
[gregconley]
Elegain... the 'ai' is like the 'ai' in "aisle." So it's 'eye,' not 'Ay.'
"No. No, no no no no no good Goddess no!."

"You sound as if you disapprove our little venture, lass." Jenica turned from her perch at the prow of the ship to see Durilligan standing in his flamboyantly worn way, offering her a hand down.

"Oh no, not at all." She smiled sweetly. If Rill sensed the danger, he didn't show it. She stepped down without his help. "I just disapprove of that moron! showing up in general!!" Deep within the ship, in the lavatory, Shrike sneezed.

Rill moved smoothly to the side, keeping his eyes on her. "Yes. Well... Yes. One can see that, I suppose. You two have a history then?"

Jenica scowled. "Like the Kabertan Empire has a history. Screwed over and shot at..."

"Ah, I see. Was it a romantic history?" The smile on Rill's face would have made honey seem sour.

"Gah!!" For a seasoned fighter, Rill was completely caught off-guard by Jenica's right hook. He slammed into a guardrail and his hat came loose.

"Oh no you don't!" He leapt over the side and grabbed his hat just as a gust of backdraft from the airship started to send it flying away. He deftly wrapped his legs around the railing, and swung back onto the deck easily. He carefully set the wide-brimmed hat back onto his head, making a show of arranging it properly. "Ahem. Can I assume that was a 'no?'"

Jenica punctuated each word with a fiery step towards the rogue. "Yes. You. Can." She grabbed him by the tunic and shook him violently. "Don't ever say things that stupid again, got it?"

"I believe so, yes. Now, can you let go of me? These clothes have seen better days, yes, but I am fond of them..." She released him, and he straightened his clothes again. "Where is our young man I'm supposed to be leading to the council?" With this he looked back at the city, far away though they hadn't been able to leave its airspace yet, and considered the irony behind that.

Jenica glanced around. "That's right. Where is Brian?" She stepped to the side to peer around the control room and saw him sitting, head hanging, in the stern. "He's-" She started to walk over, but Rill grabbed her shoulder. "Maybe he should just be left alone, lass. From what I've been told, this will be the first time he leaves the city."

Jenica frowned. "Oh. Oh... Well, we still shouldn't leave him alone."

"It's probably for the best. Let's go check on your romantic interest, shall we?" Chuckling, he ran lightly below decks with Jenica pounding after him.

~

So this is it, right? Looks like I've got to leave now. Crap. Crap crap crap! I mean, I've graduated, yeah. And a lot of graduates leave the city. But I wasn't really there to learn swordfighting, was I? I was there cause my parents made me go. But I haven't seen them since before I went. Guh. This is bad. I wonder if the old man's okay...

Brian finally looked up as he heard music from one side of the deck. A thin boy held a lute in his hands and sat cross-legged on the boards, singing for whoever would listen. He finished one and began another, starting with a slow, mourning chord progression and moving through a minor pattern. Several listeners already drew within themselves. Then he sang.



A childhood lament shrinking and shrieking
as the eye catches rays of gold.
An island mist-shrouded rising at east
and cutting through sea waves cold.

The king of the dragons sits brooding and stiff
as the ages turn by and by.
The agate stone rising and growing
forms the lord's tor high.

Crown of crusted topaz cold
sits on his bending brow.
Hollowed eyes and blackened mind
a warning ever now.

A wizard once, in olden times,
A guard for nether-climes.
The black water crashes, never once stilled,
his soul caught in agate tines.



When the boy was through, he seemed to come out of a stupor and realize no one was left listening. They had all fled the coldness of the song. He shook himself, stood up, and noticed Brian. He sat down cheerfully in front of the sorrowed half-fey. He didn't look older than fifteen. "My name's Elegain."
7:09 pm
[catystorm]
"Where did that dratted thing go?" Shrike shouted as they raced through the streets. They had been running for quite some time, and while Shrike seemed perfectly all right, Kennichi was beginning to turn as red as his hair.

Just as they were about to give up, the sound of mutiple feet against cobblestone reached the pair's ears. "What the he-!"

Shrike and someone much shorter collided as two streets intersected. Kennichi slid to a halt and managed not to get entangled as the another person tripped over Shrike and a third valuted and did a flip, landing neatly a few feet away. A fourth slid to a halt before they got entangled in the group.

"AUGH!" a voice came from the bottom of the pile as Shrike wriggled out from between the twosome. Almost instantly he sneezed.

"Oh no," Shrike said, wiping his nose. "It can't be..."

"Are you okay, Brian?" Jenica asked as she rose, glancing over her shoulder at the same time.

"Yeah, fine." The other one who had tripped, was holding his head. "Just a bit rattled ... and still woozy from the silver." His eyes narrowed as he glanced back the way he came. "Sorry about that," he apologized to Shrike. "We've got to get going, he's still following us!"

"JENICA?" Shrike was saying, a hand over his nose. "And Hideaki too, I see..."

"SHRIKE!" Jenica shrieked, whiping a dagger out of her belt and leaping at the taller man. "YOU'RE DEAD!"

"Oh, shit!" Shrike leapt backwards. "NICHI!"

However, Brian caught the back of Jenica's tunic. "I don't care what quarrels you might have with them, we don't have time for this!" That said, he turned and contiuned running down the street, still carrying an indignant-sounding Jenica.

"Put me down this INSTANT Brian, I can run on my own!"

Rill glanced at the two Hunters before taking off after them, and Loki did likewise. Kennichi and Shrike looked at each other, then glanced the way the others had come. A being that might once of have been human but was now glinting with a deadly silver light was flying rapidly down the street. All color drained from both Hunter's faces, then they turned and took off like a shot, following the group.

Shrike caught up with them fairly quickly, his long strides bringing him even with the odd-looking one. "Hey, what in the hell is that thing?" he asked.

"Trouble," the one called Loki replied grimly. "We must elude him, and quickly!"

"Where are you headed?" Kennichi gasped as he caught up as well.

"Far away from here," Rill shouted back at them.

"The docks?" Kennichi asked Shrike.

"The docks," Shrike nodded. "Come on, this way!" he yelled, abruptly turning down an alley. Without waiting for the others to catch up, Shrike pulled ahead, running down the dark and cluttered alley. He leapt over piles of debris and into an open door. Finding the stairs that wound through the interior, he took the two flights up and emerged on the roof.

Brian was the first to catch up, and finally put a seething Jenica down. A somewhat-flattened white face popped out of her pack, gasping for air. "Where are you leading us?" Brian questioned as the other caught up.

"Simple," Shrike said, running along the roof and over a board left conviently. "The roofs of the city are jumbled and close together, they form a network of paths on their own."

"They also leave us exposed to arial attacks!" Kennichi shouted as the silver figure of Silverstaff rose up higher then they were.

"Shit! Move fast!" Shrike yelled at them, leaping onto a neighboring roof and taking off full-speed. Jenica followed at once, and Brian only hesitated a second before following.

Rill hesitated a moment. This was rapidly spiralling out of any realm of his control and he wasn't quite sure what to do about it. Deciding to let fate take its course and hope it was the will of the Council, he raced after the suddenly-larger group.

Still hoping that everyone could keep up, Shrike kept his eyes on the air. The morning was full of airships, and there was a certain color sail he was looking for.

There! He smiled grimly. Now, if only she wasn't still pissed at him as well...

He halted for a moment. The thing following them hadn't attacked, in fact it looked like it was enjoying the chase and know it had them. Well ... Shrike glanced over his shoulder and caught Kennichi's eye. Nodding once, he watched as Kennichi slowed a bit. They had worked as a team for so long that they could read each other's movements and Kennichi had a good enough of an idea what Shrike was planning.

"Has your shot improved at all?" Shrike asked as he dropped his pace beside Jenica.

"Of course it has," Jenica snapped at him, eyes blazing.

"Good." He pointed to a mid-sized airship not too far off. "Can you hit that airship there? The one with the smaller, black sail?"

Jenica squinted at it ... it wasn't that far off. "Should be able to!" She stopped suddenly, slinging her pack off.

Shrike pulled off his bandanna. "Tie this to your arrow and make sure it hits!"

"Right, right ... " Jenica closed one eye and sighted along the arrow. "Here goes nothing!"

The three of them watched the arrow fly through the air... and Shrike realized too late it that the ship was farther off than it seemed. "Dammit!"

"No problem," Loki said, holding one hand out. Immeaditly, the arrow righted itself in the air and shot towards the vessel. "What purpose does this serve?"

"Just wait," Shrike said, glancing over his shoulder. Kennichi and Rill had caught up by now, and there was going to be trouble in a minute or so, once the being got tired of floating in the air and decided to cause trouble.

"Hey, the ship's moving!" Jenica cried in surprise, watching as the ship slowly moved forwards and out of its hover.

"Come on!" Shrike yelled, vaulting forwards and running towards it. "Now, 'Nichi!"

As the others turned and began to run after Shrike, Rill paused. "What are you going to do?"

Kennichi had reached inside his cloak and pulled out an odd-colored pouch. "That thing's not human, so this should word." He spun suddenly, charging towards Silverstaff, who hadn't expected this. Kennichi flung the pouch at Silverstaff's face before ducking back and running back in Rill and Shrike's direction.

"Fool!" Silverstaff snarled, easily catching the pouch. However, not used to having claws covering his fingers, they easily punctured the fragile pouch and a violet dust spilled out. "What?"

"Run!" Kennichi yelled at Rill and they both took off after the others.

"What ... what is this?" Silverstaff muttered, falling to the roof. His eyes were burning and whatever the violet powder was had gone straight into his system. Whatever it was it was a minor handicap, he'd have it cleared out in no time and be after them again before he lost them . . . but it was making him so sleepy . . .

And then he was lying face-first on the roof, snoring contentedly and looking anything but dangerous.

"Yes, it worked!" Kennichi said. "I don't know how long it will last, but it buys us a bit of time."

"What was that stuff?" Rill said, filing away the fact that when Kennichi had reached into his cloak, he had seen dozens of multicolored pouches. He would have to watch Kennichi closely.

"Some kind of sleeping powder," Kennichi said. "Some old woman gave it to us, I'm not sure why. But I'm glad it worked!"

The airship was hovering overhead a little bit away, and a rope ladder had been thrown over the edge. Shrike, Jenica and Brian were already on it and halfway up. "We'd better hurry," Rill said.

Shrike leapt over the edge of the deck, glancing around. There weren't that many crewmembers to be seen, and that was odd. However, he noticed right away the dark-haired woman holding a sword with the business end pointed at him. "Oh, shit," he said calmly.

"Shit? Shit's not good," Jenica grunted as she pulled herself over, followed by Brian and Loki.

"More friends this time?" the woman spoke evenly, a slight accent tinging her voice. She was tall, and had the look of a gypsy. Her clothing shouted one thing though, and that was pirate.

"Uh, yeah. Thanks for coming to rescue us," Shrike said, glancing over as Kennichi and Rill finally made it up onto the deck. Kennichi waved weakly at the woman before sitting down and leaning his head against the side of the ship, breathing hard.

"Kennichi, good to see you. Can't say the same for your friend, here. He owes me a great deal of money and I should take his head for it," the woman said conversationally.

Loki was about to say something, but Brian beat him to it. "Listen, I don't know what's going on here, but thanks for the rescue. Now, can we get moving before you take any heads? The thing that was chasing us could very soon follow."

"Certainly." the woman waved her sword, and shouted something towards the back of the ship. Almost magically, the ship began to move. "Introductions are in order. I am Calamine the Black, and this is my ship, the Cloak of Darkness."

"I am Brian," Brian said, glancing to Jenica. Before he could contiune the girl broke in, sending Brian a glance.

"I'm Jenica, Calamine, I remember when you came to our village." She glanced at Shrike. "And while I'd love to see tha scounrel dead as much as you, we might need him alive, he is a Hunter, after all."

Calamine sheathed her sword. "I know that," she said. She shot a glare at Shrike, though. "I will take your head one day, so be on your guard." Shrike swallowed but looked relieved that the sword has been put away.

Rill performed an elaborate bow, sweeping his hat off his head once more. "I am Durilligan de'Ealaeutari Kheldar, my lady. But you may call me Rill."

"And I am Loki," Loki said.

Hideaki popped out of Jenica's pack and looked quite bedraggled. "I've had it!" the cat yowled, shaking himself out. "That's it, no more!" He turned on Jenica. "If you put me in that pack one more time, I'm going to swipe you!" He turned, starting to clean his face and noticed Calamine, who looked a bit surprised at the cat.

"You can speak?"

"Naturally," Hideaki said, cleaning his ear. "I am Hideaki." He glanced around and noted Kennichi and Shrike. "Hunters, eh?"

Shrike sneezed, right on cue. "Dammit, I'm allergic to cats," he sniffed.

"I still don't know you," Brian said, pointing at Shrike. "Or him." He gestured to Kennichi. "Nor why you helped us."

"Ah, adventurers bold, that's us, right Kennichi?" Shrike said. "I am Shrike, a Hunter, as is my compatriot Kennichi." He bowed to Brian."

"Okay, fine, this is all well and good," Calamine said. "But could you kindly tell me where you're headed before someone notices a ship flying pirate colors hovering in the midst of Algadad?!"
6:37 pm
[gregconley]
Silverstaff stretched, feline, and looked down on the group exiting the Tower of Fang. It wasn't that he was powerful, really. He didn't actually finish his training before his old teacher had tried to kill him. Scientifically, of course. Silverstaff rolled his eyes. It was just that these humans were so wretchedly weak... These particular humans weren't as weak as most, but they were babies compared to his race. Of course, his race had died decades ago, but that was alright. Silverstaff hadn't belonged with them. He belonged here, preying on those weaker than him. But... he thought, just killing them won't be any fun. After so long, fun was a worry. Should I just rain demons down on them? No. That boy could most probably deal with most of them himself. He narrowed his eyes at Brian. No, wait... Silverstaff smirked slightly and leapt from rooftop to rooftop, following them.

~

Loki trailed behind the new arrival, trying to wheedle information from him. "But... But... Where are we going?"

Rill looked sidelong at the very nervous demon and smiled crookedly. "Now why are you worried?" He seemed to take the knowledge that a demon was coming with them very well. "By the by, you weren't in the information I got from the council. Who might you be?" Rill tipped his hat ever so slightly. The courtly gesture, no matter what the source, seemed to calm the pattering black creature down. "Well, I'm Loki, sir, a servant of the Goddess Eternal..."

Rill grumbled internally. Oh, gods no! Why did they send me to do this? Sure, I'm alright around magic, and magical things, of course. But they could have sent a geomancer or something, right? Provided me with a priceless relic of the empire maybe? Well... He smiled to himself. Even they're smarter than that, I guess. "Well, I have something I have to do, friends. I apologize in advance..." Brian grew tense, and Jenica held up a hand and started to speak.

Rill put his hand into his vest and pulled out a small box. He moved closer to Jenica and opened the lid. A tiny and obviously magical flame leapt out of the hollow and danced merrily in the air. Jenica recoiled at the sight and her eyes hardened at the rake before her. Rill sighed slightly and pulled a slim silver dagger from his belt and moved as if to strike Brian. Brian tried to spring away, but all his muscles didn't quite agree on which way to go, and he collapsed before the rogue. Rill offered him a hand up. "I was rather afraid of that." Jenica glanced at Brian and looked a little worried. Then she slapped her forehead. "Oh no..."

Rill glanced at her. "Our archer seems to have figured it out as well."

Brian snarled and stood up inches away from Rill. "Well I haven't yet. Illuminate me."

Rill took in a deep breath. "Well, okay. The council gave me a few warnings about all of you. That she," he nodded his head at Jenica "hated magic, and you" he poked a finger into Brian's chest "can't physically stand certain metals. Silver being one of them, obviously."

"I've worn jewelry before, you know."

"Yes, but were they about to plunged into your flesh?" Brian simply blinked at this. "Of course not. You're not a pure fey, so they have to be a threat. But still." He patted Brian on the head. "But shall we move on?"

Jenica stormed up to him and stopped, blocking his path. "No, we shan't," she said, mocking Rill's mode of speaking, "until you tell me how anyone knew I didn't like magic!"

Rill removed his hat, flung the silver dagger into a wall, and tossed the hat onto the dagger, creating a neat little hat rack. "I'd love to dear, but we seem to have company." Starting with him, they all craned their gazes upward.

~


Silverstaff looked down at the group again. They seemed to have stopped. One was raising her voice. He paused and took stock of himself. All of the bits that one could see were covered in quicksilver and neat, one inch spikes grew from the tip of every finger. Wicked, curved spikes grew from his brow, sticking upwards like shining gothic spires. He leapt down upon his prey...

~


Brian leapt at the intruder, and fell limply to the ground before Loki. He rolled his head woozily at Rill. "I guess you..." He winced. "Guess you were right about that." Rill looked him over quickly and saw no wounds. Just the amount of metal then. Not good. Jenica swiftly drew fletch to cheek and fired. The streaking arrow slammed into the creature's right eye, and shattered. Jenica stamped her foot. "Augh!! Why can't simple, honest arrows ever be any use where I go! Why?"

Rill circled the shining figure in black and drew two daggers, looking for a place to hurl them. 'My dear, right now, I would like to know the answer to that, as well."

Silverstaff chuckled, the metal flowing over his mouth and contracting. He lunged at Rill, and the daring thief leapt upwards, hoping to get a glimpse of vulnerable back below him. He looked up in time to see Silverstaff's leather-bound foot spin towards him, and crack into the side of his head. Rill, still conscious, fell on a low roof and rolled lightly down to the cobbles. He swayed drunkenly and smiled at his opponent.

Brian, moaning on the ground, managed to catch Rill's fall to the ground. His eyes started to cloud over towards white, but he remembered the pain he'd felt, and the uselessness of his previous attack. He closed his eyes and felt, rather than saw, a mild yellow light beat upon his face. He mentally turned towards the light, and felt his body relax, and the cloudy rage recede. Clear of mind, he watched his newfound associates. Friends, he thought. He already trusted Rill, no matter what he'd had to do with that knife. Silverstaff landed mere feet from Brian, flexing silvered fingers. Brian was puzzled at the feeling of this new arrival. While he was puzzling it out, Loki firmed his resolve and thrust piston-powerful legs, caroming at Silverstaff. He was swept into a building, cracking the stoneworks... And Brian finally figured out what was causing his odd feelings. He's not completely silver! Brian focused on the killer standing before him, and could feel the nauseating field around the metal end above his ankles, and past his wrists and neck. Still a bit woozy, Brian rose unsteadily into a crouch. He swept his leg into Silverstaff's, knocking him to the ground. The attacker growled and began to stand, but he found a dagger sticking neatly in each shirt cuff. Momentarily surprised, Loki leapt forward and struck him on the head. The blow would have crushed stone, but Silverstaff merely relaxed slightly against the ground. Almost immediately he showed signs of movement. Not knocked out then, Brian thought, just mildly stunned. Rill grabbed his hat and dagger from the wall and started running down the alley. Over his shoulder he shouted "Come on then!" Everyone followed him.
6:13 pm
[catystorm]
After watching the tavern teem with life for a while, Shrike had made the acquaintance of a merchant and arranged for his and Kennichi's passage on the merchant's ship, due to leave at first light the next morning.

Their goal accomplished, Shrike and Kennichi ventured back out into the streets once more. "Ah," Shrike said, rubbing the back of his neck before glancing around. ((OOC: What time of day is it?? Are we really in the morning? Ugh...)) "So, let's hit the business district. We can check out the weaponsmith."

Kennichi had a thought and opened their money pouch. "Sorry, Shrike, but it'll be look but don't touch. That 'generous' tip you gave the barmaid cleared us out."

Shrike rounded on his friend. "You must be joking! What happened to all of our loot from the capture of that crazy wench?"

Sighing as he tucked the money pouch back onto his belt, Kennichi began to tick off the reasons on one hand. "Payment to the merchant whose stall you wrecked, purchasing a new steed to make up for the one that got away, and meals for the last week took the last of our money!"

"Damn," Shrike said, rubbing the back of his head. "Well, guess I should be more careful." He shrugged jovially. "So, let's wander until dark, then we can find a nice, comfortable alley to sack out in."

"Full of rats, and filth, and dregs of humanity," Kennichi muttered, following Shrike dutifully. Not two seconds after they had started walking through the streets, Shrike stopped so suddenly that Kennichi nearly walked into his back. "What is it now?" Kennichi snapped.

"'Nichi ... look at that!" Shrike pointed into the sky, where they could both see a dark figure, undistinguishable from this distance except for one cruicial thing ... this figure was human, and flying through the air.

"A mage or sorcerer," Kennichi shrugged. "Nothing impor--! SHRIKE!" Shrike had grabbed Kennichi by the cloak and was practically dragging the smaller of the two along with him. "What the hell are you doing?!"

"Mages and sorcerers don't do that sort of thing in public, 'Nichi," Shrike said, releasing Kennichi's cloak as they both ran through the streets. "Whoever it is has no business doing that here!"

"So why are we following him?" Kennichi asked, having a feeling that he already knew the answer.

"Because we don't have anything else to do," Shrike said with a wolvish grin. "Besides, this is a big city, and I'm sure airships come in all the time ... there's probably a no-fly zone. Break the rules, hauled to jail, money in the bank!"

"That sounds far too simple," Kennichi muttered. "I have a bad feeling about this, Shrike..."

"Ah, don't be such a pansy," Shrike replied, jovial as ever. "Now, keep your head up and an eye on sorcerer-boy, we don't want to lose him!"
3:04 pm
[rogue277]
~

"I suppose you're some kind of empath, aren't you?" replied a friendly voice from overhead. Brian and Jenica, startled, looked up to notice a slender man sitting atop one of the window frames to the council chamber. He rather acrobatically lept down, landing lightly on all fours. He stood with what appeared to be a practiced flourish, and brushed off his shoulders.

He was, perhaps, a touch shorter than average height. The form of his body was largely hidden by his loose clothes, but he had a rather slim look to him. He moved with the efficient grace of a dancer, a gymnast, or a trained swordsman. The man's attire looked to have been out of style for several years. He wore a large rimmed black hat, which sported a sizable feather. His vest was double breasted and black, with blue accents that did not quite perfectly match his loose blue tunic. Instead of a cloak, the thin man wore a short blue cape, which was currently flipped over one shoulder in a rakish fashion. His pants were black and loose, and ended in some very dusty, travel worn leather boots. The man's entire ensemble seemed a touch worn and well travelled.

Brian and Jenica stared at him, dumbfounded. "I'm terribly sorry, I must have forgotten to introduce myself." The man removed his hat and bowed extravagently. "I am Durilligan de'Ealaeutari Kheldar, renowned merchant, entertainer, recoverer of misplaced fortunes, and problem-solver," he rattled off with a grin. "Of course," he amended, "you can just call me Rill; everyone else does."

With his hat removed, Brian and Jenica could get a clear look at his face. The narrow, angular face and unusual shape of the nose gave him an almost weaselish look. That, combined with a stringy goatee and his short, messy black hair, gave the distinct impression that this particular man wasn't as concerned with principles and honor as most on the island.

"Well, we can get through all the introductions later," Rill said, carefully replacing his hat. "As it is, we'd best clear out of here. The council, after all, isn't in hiding for nothing."

"Wait!" Shouted Jenica, "Who are you? Why should we do what you say? What in the name of the Goddess is going on here?!"

"Testy a bit, aren't we." Rill replied. "I work for the council. Well, now, anyway. And they're paying me fairly well to make sure the two of you can get where you're needed, without having any of the numerous people after you make you dead. Which means, we need to leave now, and stick to the slums and underground."

Hideaki made a slight coughing noise. "Jenica, I happen to know this scoundrel. We should do what he says."
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