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2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 49: Wanderer in the Rye
[Chapter contains blood and violence.]
The Umbramancer’s spiked ethereal chain whipped out from under his sleeve down upon the Apprentices and the Enraans. But Jennifer had already had her Geomancy focused. She threw her fist in the air and wall of rock erupted from under the snow. The bladed chain slashed the rock. Jennifer thrust her gold-glowing daggers into the wall and the rock shattered outward, sending stones and splinters flying.
At the same time, Jack’s immolated hand flew out throwing a flame that detonated where Chained stood. There was an explosion of fire and rock. Dust, snow and small stones blew in their faces.
Chained suddenly phased behind the two Apprentices in a fast, close-range teleport. His chains wrapped around them and yanked them towards him. The two Apprentices collided into each other. Chained then whipped his leg, kicking both of them in the gut. All at the same
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 48: Boiling Point p2
“Everyone’s lost their bloody minds!” Lawk clenched his ears as he explained to everyone in the kitchen. “They’re about ready to outright murder someone!”
“Why!?” Kataak demanded. “What’s happened?”
Lawk reached into his shoulder bag. “We found these hanging in the trees!” And dropped the bloody pelt of a furred animal on the table.
There were gasps and cries of shock in the room. Emika’s face went pale and she covered her face upon smelling the blood.
“Oh, ‘Cestors! Is that a dog!?” Jennifer shrieked in horror.
“Lizards too. Apparently someone didn’t like us fouling their poor little ears with our opinion at the forum, but they didn’t have the teeth to say it to our faces. The stupid bastards even threw up a sign
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 48: Boiling Point p1
Jack awoke to the sound of…a rooster?
He slowly opened his eyes to a dim room with wood paneling. Through the window that faced him he could see an orange sky and purple clouds. Was the sun setting?
He lay in a bed with plain white sheets in an equally plain room with a single dresser with a lamp on it. Small paintings hung on the walls depicting lakes and wildlife. His sword sat in its sheath against the wall. It wasn’t until he smelled the dusty old room did he recognize where he was. This was Jennifer’s house – more specifically, the guest bedroom. He remembered playing in this room all the time when he visited.
Jack jumped when the door creaked open. Monica came in with bags under her eyes and a cup of tea in her hands. She turned on the lamp on the side and gasped. She set her teacup on the dresser and squeezed the air from Jack’s lungs.
Mature contentA Night of Rest BlackManaBurning 4 14
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 47: The Darkness Within
“Well? How’d you get out of there?” Jennifer demanded when Jack told the events of last night’s blizzard.
All the Elementalist Apprentices were clustered around Jacob’s tiny living room, except for Nikhil, who was called away at the last minute on official business. Jennifer and Emika sat on either side of Jack on the couch. Jack was now properly clothed and color had returned to his body. Spike sat on the creaky wood floor while Jacob leaned against the wall, listening intently to Jack’s near death experience out in the blizzard.
They chose to meet at Jacob’s house so they could discuss privately while his mother worked her janitor shift. His house was little more than a shack. It had been hastily cleaned with dishes stacked in the sink and a sloppy sweep of the floor. Empty mead bottles were piled up in a box beside the front door. A tray of tea cups sat on the end table
This is what got me into my Masters Program...
High in the encapsulating mountaintops of a rugged frontier exists a world reclaimed by wilderness. Caustic, corrosive air keeps humans away from whatever of value may still linger in the lost land. On earth untrodden by others of their flesh and blood, a pack of ghostly children - once inhabitants of the valley-village below - patrol the inhospitable world. Each child has a name that now goes unspoken by their past families; all except for the Unknown Child, the very first to call the mountain home. Children are warned by their families to stay far from the border, or else risk being spirited away like their siblings, cousins, and friends. Adults are not completely safe, either. Upon the slightest glimpse of the spectral pack even the most hardened survivor turns away, hiding from sight of the silent guard and the unknown boy whose voice is said to drive the land's confusion and corruption into the depths of one's soul.
You will see him if you stay here - the Unknown Child -
Kawena Ch. 1.2: Child of the Sky
The float stones drifted further apart. Once the gap was wide enough I slipped inside where I was sucked toward the center by their parting pressure.
It wasn’t until I was almost halfway to the center that I noticed two streaks of a black, brown, and red paste coating the walls of either float stone. The paste smeared across the rock walls for a hundred feet in either direction. In some places the paste was more like a liquid and the walls dripped with it. When I touched it, the paste was warmer than the surrounding walls.
I didn’t need to see the events of minutes ago from close up. The fresh, bitter smelling poultice of flesh, bone, entrails, and blood was enough to know exactly what happened to whatever creatures didn’t notice the deathly movements of the float stones.
The sun fell in the sky. A dark shadow rose from behind a float stone in the distance.
Deep horizontal gashes in the uneven walls showed these two float stones only swiped alongside each other, yet t
Kawena Ch. 1.1: Child of the Sky
Teacher once told me, "There's no difference between water and air."
Just like then, I have always found his words to be true.
Whether it's weightless wind threading my wings or water cupped in my webbed fingers as I propel through that dense world… in both water and air I always feel at home, and hardly recognize the moment when I traverse that line.
In the glittering slate-gray lake beneath me dozens of fish swished their tails back and forth in unhurried rhythm. They swam unaware of me hovering not too far above them in flows of wind so persistent I needed to only shift a single feather to hold myself steady in flight.
My pale grey reflection, covered almost entirely in the skins and scales of the very same sort of fish swimming the pocket of water below, was pierced only by a pair of vibrant golden eyes staring back at me as though I too were a fish being hunted. Instead of a tail or fins though, a long braid of silverblue hair lashed the air and occasionally struck the backs
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 46: Blizzard Bro Bonding
“Dude, I am exhausted,” Spike groaned as he and Jack stumbled out of Spike’s mother’s car the instant she parked it. It was late at night by the time they got home from patrolling the Enraan refugee camp. The wind was strong and it was supposed to only get stronger. “I feel like we’re breaking up a fight every damn week.”
“I felt bad for the vin hunter,” Jack lamented.“He didn’t know that horse had an owner.”
“I feel bad for the horse. Poor guy was just going for a stroll and gets impaled with a spear. At least Rasler didn’t try and claw the owner’s face off this time.”
“He has calmed down since Karra was born. A little bit. Thank the Ancestors too because I don’t know if we can handle more of his temper tantrums.”
Spike rubbed his neck as he and his mot
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 45: Be Our Guest
[Chapter contains brief blood and gore.]
The wind and snow howled against Jennifer’s truck as she and Nikhil drove home from their watchman shift at the Luminaris. The sun was setting, but with the thick trees, clouds and snow, it may as well be night. It has been over two months since the Enraans fled their home from the Invaders and took shelter in Fidus Portus. While the Invaders continued to show a presence in Aurorawood, none have approached the Luminaris.
Auramancer Nikhil wondered if the Enraan refugees would ever be able to return home. He prayed it would be soon. The shelmeks and vinranalians going back to their own world would certainly ease the tension with the Portans that protested their presence. And not just the humans. Anger was beginning to rise among the Enraan refugees for their working conditions.
Even though Jennifer drove slowly and cautiously in the snowstorm, Nikhil still felt
2WB1: Vol. 1 Ch. 44: Confessions of a Legionnaire
The first thing Kataak noticed when he awoke was the worst headache of his life. It felt as though someone was driving a spike through his head. Every murmur from the villagers outside was like a bellowing gale. The sound of washing and scraping of pans was like claws raking stone. Kataak opened his eyes to a ray of sunlight peeking through his tent, piercing his retinas like arrows. He covered his eyes and ears with his pillow and curled up into a ball. He wanted nothing more than to sleep for the rest of the day, but…
The second thing Kataak noticed was his bladder about to explode.
The third thing he noticed was that he was covered in not one, but two blankets. Which was odd, since he had only one. His sandals were also removed and set to the side.
Kataak fought an internal battle between lying in bed for the rest of forever versus answering nature’s call.
2WB1: Vol. 1 Ch 43: Confessions of an Elementalist
The transport truck came to stop and the Enraan refugees shambled out, all of them ready to flop in the snow.
“Spirits, what a day,” Kataak sighed as he, Famena unloaded off the truck bringing them home from work at the mills. “One of these days, I’m going to teach that overseer a lesson in knowing the limits of your workers.”
“Kataak…” Famena warned.
“Someone has to bring humility to that slave driver. The vinranalians aren’t used to this kind of work and she grinds on them the hardest.”
“I agree. But there’s not much we can do. This job is the only thing keeping our people clothed and fed until the Invaders move on.”
Kataak frowned just from the mention of the subject. “Aye. Spirits know what’s keeping them around Aurorawood. At this rate, we
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 42: Numb Skulls
Freshly fallen snow layered the ground like powder, glittering in the sun. The refugees had been on Fidus Portus for a month and a half. The Aeithalis Region seldom got snow and the cold made the shelmeks feel more sluggish than normal. But this didn’t stop the hatchlings from dancing and rolling in the snow. The cold didn’t seem to bother the vinranalians either due to their thickening fur coats.
Human protestors frequently came with signs, shouting along the camp’s border. They became such a nuisance that the shelmek and vinranalian camps erected a fence to keep them out.
The refugees continued laboring on the crops until the harvest season ended then they were moved to the mills, where the work was no less exhausting.
But one day, Kataak and Famena were approached by the Apprentices Jack, Nikhil and Jacob; saying that they had something that needed to be discussed for th
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 41: Friendly Kidnapping
True to their word, on the refugees’ third day on Fidus Portus several wagons pulled up to the camp along with an armed escort. While leaving a few behind to look after the hatchlings, the Enraans were taken to the nearest farm where they learned to work the foreign crops.
The hours were long and the work was especially taxing on the vinranalians, who had just recently recovered from starvation.
Their rest day finally came, but despite being grateful for the reprieve, Lawk found himself bored. Being forbidden to hunt the small animals in the woods around them, the hunter had little to do. While sitting to the side of the vinranalian camp, he picked up a piece of wood, leaned back and began digging into it with his claw.
His ears perked up when two figures entered the camp.
Geomancer Jennifer strolled eagerly through the camp, a paper bag in each arm. Chronomance
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 40: New Sky
“What in Spirits’ name were you thinking!?” Alpha Rasler fumed, his long tail thrashing.
The villagers of Aurorawood were in a frantic rush. Taking whatever they could carry from their homes. Food, clothing, tools, family trinkets; all being packed up into carts to be transferred to their new temporary home. Having little to begin with, the Vivre tribe quickly finished their packing and began (begrudgingly) helping the shelmeks, at the behest of Elder Riles.
“You went and struck a deal with the humans! Without telling any of us first!” Rasler had to stand on the tips of his toes to get in Kataak’s face.
“What other option did we have?” Kataak protested, spreading out his arms. “And what does it matter, anyway? We have safe harbor on Fidus Portus. The humans will hide us from the Invaders provided we earn our keep.”
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 39: A Desperate Plea
Kataak’s foot tapped anxiously on the stone tile of Elder Eurydike’s small courtyard as Famena carefully applied a fresh coat of crimson paint on Kataak’s right arm, whispering a prayer to the Spirits under her breath. Despite the simple design of intercrossing crescent shapes, she still tried to be precise with her strokes, and to give Kataak en excuse to remain calm. Lawk sat on the roof of the Elder’s house, his eyes locked on the western sky.
It had been a full anxiety-ridden day since Lawk brought the grave news. In those twenty-four hours, Alpha Rasler called back all of the hunters and Elder Eurydike sent out an urgent plea for help to the Legions via carrier bird.
The hours ticked by agonizingly slowly as they waited for a response
“Where’s that damn bird?” Kataak growled, his jaw clenched.
“Kataak, please stay s
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 38: Phantom Pain
“No, you may certainly not!” Famena adamantly told the human researcher in the outskirts of the Aurorawood village. He carried a backpack of books and a leather bag of medical tools.
Word had spread like wildfire among the residents of Fidus Portus, days after the greatest discovery since the First Ancestors arrived to the island’s shores. The entire nature preserve outside of Nidus Village was sealed off by the local guards and even a squad of Sentinels. But that didn’t stop people who traveled just to catch a glimpse of the sapient wolves and reptiles. Most didn’t get far.
Fidus Portan scholars flocked from the capital of Syvertsen to study the Luminaris and the people who lived on the other side. However, they had a difficult time getting anyone to volunteer for a dissection (a joke from one medical researcher). While many people flocked in awe and curiosity, many other humans loudl
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 37: The New Neighbors (Pt 2)
The leader drew the machete from his belt and pointed it at the crowd of villagers. “Now let this be a lesson to all of ye! That these tyrants can be beaten! And that your chains can too be broken! This land…” He raised his machete high above Famena for the kill, “is ours!”
But that was when the puddle he stood in suddenly shot up beneath the bandit leader, flash-freezing into solid ice. Frozen on his face was a look of pure, utter shock. His eyes darted in all directions as all of the dishone’s jaws dropped to the ground all at once.
Jacob walked casually from behind the house he hid, his blue-glowing hand raised, his glittering bo staff in hand. “That’s quite enough.”
The dishone cried out, stumbling backward at the sight of the strange creature.
“What in Spite -- !!” one bandit cried.
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 37: The New Neighbors (Pt 1)
“So how do you guys walk with those tails?” Spike asked as he, Jacob and Nikhil followed the shelmek soldiers Kataak and Famena. “It looks like they get in the way a lot. Ever knock stuff over?”
Kataak looked at his thick tail, pondering as if it were a question he had never heard before. “Aye, I suppose it does get in the way. But it’s something that just doesn’t bother us. As for knocking things over, well, just don’t allow Dinn inside an armory."
Famena chuckled, reminiscing. “Spirits, it took all day to pick up that mess.”
They continued their waltz through the Aurorawood forest. The forest was still damp and muddy from the previous night rainfall. To the human apprentice Elementalists, the forest felt like a fairy tale. The trees were as wide as houses and seemed to stretch up to the sky. Their roots were big enough to be bridg
Subtle Dissonance, Prologue Part 1
Incense clogged the evening air and the senses both. The stone pillars at the heart of the town of Lyden trembled with expectant energy, felt all the more keenly through the silence of the crowd. With a sound resembling the kindling of a flame, a glowing lily flower appeared over the head of a middle-aged tradesman.
“Our hero,” they declared, “shall be one with valor, generosity, kindness and compassion. Our hero will be strong of heart, body, and soul. Our hero, chosen to fight off this evil, will be Alon.”
Alon, a maker of not-quite-accurate maps, was more surprised than anyone else. His dread at leaving was matched only by his resentment toward the Fates for asking.
A great shout erupted from the assembled. Bottles of liquor and baskets of flash powder toys appeared as if from the air and people burst from the city square into the streets. Powder rockets cast another veil of stars over the blackness above. Musical instruments and those willing to move to the
Seeing Over the Mountains, Chapter 1, Revision 3
Dragons are such fickle creatures: never quite sure what it is that they want, but certain nonetheless that they don't have it.
Such were the thoughts of a frustrated young scout as she stood arguing with a creature who nearly filled the drafty mountain cave.
“It’s too hot outside now.” She could feel the dragon’s thoughts, languid and stubborn and tugging at her. “I won’t go.” Purple and gold scales twinkling in the new daylight, the dragon settled her head on her paws to stare stubbornly at her companion.
"Syraine. Be reasonable. I agreed to stay overnight because you didn't want to fly through the mountains win the dark, but we need to get back sometime,” Kiara replied, pacing the mouth of the cave.
“You do, Princess. I do not. I may stay here as long as I like.”
The girl paused, meeting her eyes in an invisible contest of wills. The dragon examined the stout, dark-haired pe
2WB1: Vol. 1 Chapter 36: Hit 'n Run
“So how do you humans walk without a tail?” Dinn asked, excitedly, as he sat in the bed of wildflowers. The smell of smoke hung in the air as Jack used his Pyromancy to burn the Invader bodies strewn about the clearing in the nature preserve. Jack was trying carefully to burn the bodies without creating too much smoke. Lawk stood close by in the background.
Jennifer giggled. “Oh, with lots of practice.”
“What about your hands? Why do you have five fingers?”
Jennifer humored the emerald-eyed shelmek and attempted to think about it. “Hmm. I don’t know. We just do.”
“Huh,” Dinn said, looking at his own clawed hand. “I don’t know what I’d do with five fingers.”
“I’m sure it wouldn’t be much different,” Emika said, fiddling with a flower
kingdom au: rebirth
In the blink of an eye, the inland sea had boiled to nothing. The water bubbled, evaporated, and rose in a cloud of thick steam. The air should have been unbearable right now. It should have burned skin from flesh, if any of those present had flesh to burn. It should have been, but instead it was as cool as the sea breeze always was. It was by design, it was how they wanted it, forged by the will of the four. The control of the Gods was perfect even as they scraped the life from the seabed. The deities that had created these fish, these years of coral growth, were now obliterating it.
But they were not destroying their world. Not today. Not for a long time, in fact. Today they were terraforming.
Jessimae watched with bated breath, wringing her segmented hands. Vhalshei had finished stripping the flora from the dollite’s country yesterday. The entire quartet had relocated every animal before that. The iridescent shield they had placed hovered over Nu Marmorari