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Title: Splinter of Mokrelus
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Twilight of the Second Age, Part 4 (Was Kieran's Tale)

08 Apr 2006, 00:51

Part Three

With a new name, and a slightly different writing style for this thread only!

-----

Darkness surrounded me, and there was nothin’ but the endless ache. I floated, not quite aware enough to recognize what was happening to me, dozing in the blackness. A part of me was still screaming, I think. I’m not ashamed to admit it.

And then, suddenly, I could see something through the murk. Light. Glorious, golden sunlight. I struggled to reach towards it, as it stretched to surround me. I could feel myself fallin’, and for the first time since I could not remember, wind pressing at my face. The faintest trickle, barely anything at all, but I could feel. Lying on the ground, I could feel rock under my back, and light shone all around me.

I try to look towards the light, and see a vision of beauty; a raven-haired angel of mercy reaching down to cup my head. I cough, once, try to speak. My throat won’t respond; a few wheezes come out, nothing more. I try again, and this time it catches. “If this is… the afterlife… count me in.”

She chuckles, and the vision breaks. She’s a woman, not an angel, wearing tattered armour. Next to her crouches a man, barely older than a boy, really, all gangly and dirty, looking back behind her at the darkness of the tunnels under this gods-cursed mountain. From him, light pours out, fillin’ the tunnel with radiance. You don’t believe me? It was like the sun was setting right next to me, I swear. And then the kid turns to look at me, and there’s a half-filled golden disc shining on his forehead, but it’s nothing next to his relieved grin.

“Sorry, you’re stuck here in Creation a while longer.” The woman helps me to my feet. It takes two tries; I was still pretty damned weak. Here, look. Used to be, this arm was all muscle. Now? It’s awful. Anyway, she grins at me, and she says, “We were just in the neighbourhood, and you looked like you could use the help.”

I nod, lookin’ down at myself. My clothes are in tatters, but they’re all there, so I finish standing up. I’ve got a beard even thicker than I remember, red hairs sticking out every which way, and I figure I must look like the Wild Man of Chirost. I look for my hammer, but I don’t see her. Probably dropped when those things grabbed me, who knows where in the tunnels. I swallow, and manage a smile. Still on dangerous ground, I figure, but better off’n I was. “Lucky for me. You honest-to-Dragons Anathema?”

“He is. Lucky us.” She smiles again, as the boy looks back down the tunnel, intently. I follow his gaze, and see those bastard tendrils that jumped me writhing at the edge of the light, dissolving into a black mist. As I put two and two together, she continues. “I’m Elena. The kid’s Kieran. Seems these monsters can’t handle a little sunlight, so we’re getting a rescue squad together.” She makes a face, her spirits dampening. “Not having the best luck so far. These things don’t leave much behind, really.”

I look past her in the other direction. There’s a girl crouched near the edge of the light on the other side. Looks like a deer caught in a cougar’s sights. Not too old, early twenties, maybe. Wearing traveller’s garb, stained almost black. I figure if I sneeze wrong, she’ll bolt back into the darkness, and I turn to look at Elena.

“I’m Khory. Been down here… gods, I don’t even know. What day is it?”

“Thursday.”

I mull that over a moment, put things together, and then sigh. “What date.”

“Twelfth of Resplendant Earth.”

“Crap.” I whistle. “Ten days, then. No wonder I’m hungry. They sort of drop goop down your throat, but it don’t taste like much.” Truth be told, I don’t remember exactly what it tastes like. Everything’s a blur from the moment I was walking down a tunnel and the wall caved in, and those things were behind it. But that’s probably just as well; keeps me from having been alone down here and knowing it. I press on. “Who’s the girl?”

“Don’t know; she doesn’t talk.” Elena sighs. “We cracked her out a few minutes ago. She bolted right off, but she’s afraid to leave Kieran’s light, so we’re just letting her follow. Figure she’ll run soon as we hit ground level, or if the lights go out.” She sighs, shaking her head again. “Any more, Kieran?”

“Nope. The tunnel ahead’s the last of the tendrils, too. We might have missed a few, here or there, in side tunnels, but we can’t wipe ‘em out completely.” He sighs, and turns back to me and the women. “It’ll be centuries before they can repopulate. Maybe I can get lights down here before then.” He nods to us all. “I’ve only got one more stop, and then we can get out of here.” He looks me over. “Khory, right? Is what I am going to be a problem?”

I laugh out loud, the question’s so absurd. “Boy, you just saved me from one ‘a the worst deaths I can imagine. Hells, these things were probably like to eat my soul up in one bite.” I grin, offering the kid my hand. Almost fall over, too, but I steady myself. It takes more than ten days without moving to stop Khory Ironthews, let me tell you. Anyway, the kid takes my hand – and he’s got a surprising grip for someone his size, which I suppose isn’t that surprising. I keep going. “I owe you my life, and that’s a fact. Long as you don’t try to get me sacrificin’ maidens on an altar or some such, I’m happy to follow along.”

He laughs, sort of half amused and half uncomfortable. Then he nods, his expression turnin’ serious. Turns and starts walkin’ away. Elena and I follow, and after a moment, I hear the mystery girl scramblin’ along behind us, trying to keep up and stay away all at the same time. Wonder how long it woulda been before I was like that, eh? He keeps talking as he walks. “With the tendrils gone, I want to look over the tombs. We came here for them, we should see what they’ve got before we go. I don’t think there are any more defenses to worry about.”

“And then?” I’m a little worried about what comes next, let me tell you, but I keep my voice light. I’m a bit surprised when Elena answers ‘stead of him.

“There’s a man by the name of Jarik Threespurs. You know him?” I shake my head, and she continues. “Real piece of work. Feeds people to the tendrils down here. Tried to feed me.” She gets a grim smile on her face, and Kieran’s got it too, only it don’t look so much scary as determined. Her, she doesn’t look like a woman I’d want to cross, and I can’t help wonderin’ why the human looks more dangerous’n the Anathema. Anyway, she keeps going. “After we finish checking the tombs, we’re going to leave these caves, and we’re going to go explain to Jarik the error of his ways. In detail.” She looks at me. “We could use someone to keep bystanders from getting caught in the middle while we do.”

And that, friend, is why you absolutely, positively, do not want to go into that bar and check out those noises you just heard. Trust me. It’ll be bad for your health.
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".
 
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Epiphany
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08 Apr 2006, 10:56

That's freaking cool.

Seriously. It's nice to see a different kind of story yet it keeps a distinct Exalted flavor. From the point of view of the freed character, the other 'NPC's are quite interesting.

Write more?
BrilliantRain: There are those who would note that sometimes, sometimes, you get the things you really need instead of the things you deserve.
Kailan: If people only ever got what they deserved, the world would be a more miserable place.

My Novels / My Series / My Short Stories
 
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Friv
Essence 6
Essence 6
Topic Author
Posts: 1072
Joined: 28 Jan 2006, 00:42
Title: Splinter of Mokrelus
Exalt: Elemental
Fighting Style: Spell-Fu
Artifact: The Crucible of Tarim
Location: Toronto
Contact:

08 Apr 2006, 12:50

Thank you, I will. :) (Once my current essay gets done).

The different style was a bit of a test; I really like how it turned out. I'll have to see what else I can play with as the storyline progresses. :twisted:
"Some people walk in the rain. Others merely get wet."

Patchwork Champions - You say "to-ma-toe", I say "world-ravaging-laser-beam".

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