Circle of Stone (reprieve)

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:19 am

Baron Ironfang was trying to enjoy his meal. It had been especially prepared for him by the Head Chef who along with three attendant chefs was now nervously watching him from across the room, which in a Gnome hut was not very far away.

As if being observed as you ate was not bad enough- they watched every morsel go from shell to mouth and sighed in pleasure when he swallowed- there was also the problem of the hut itself.

Normally when he visited the Gnomes he resided in a particular hut that long ago they had built for his great-great-grandfather. It was therefore larger than the normal hut with high ceilings and doorways. Best of all it had a large bed built into it that had been especially constructed for the Ironfang stature.

Unfortunately, after all this time, it had fallen victim to the encroaching marsh and so instead they had put him into one of the guest huts which by comparison was cramped. Worst of all, although it had been built to accommodate visiting merchants, it had in it what to Ironfang at least, seemed a very small bed.

Another problem was with the table, which was inexplicably Gnome sized and meant that he was eating his meal whilst sitting rather uncomfortably cross-legged on the reed floor, which for a man his size was not easy. He could feel the lower half of his legs tingle as they began to go numb. He was just considering wither or not to alter his sitting arrangement when Canthiss entered.

“My apologies for interrupting your evening meal Baron,” he said.

“Not at all,” Ironfang replied, grateful of an excuse to move and stand, though it did mean dipping his head and shoulders over in a stoop to avoid the slanting ceiling, “Is there a problem?” he asked.

“Arrivals through the village gate. One man and a woman, from the look and the stench of them they have come from the marshes. They claimed to be peasants but if they are peasants then I am a Gnome. Besides they are too well attired for peasants and speak with strange accents. The woman is cloaked and hooded, she claims to be in the service of the Chief,” Canthiss reported, “They have given over their weapons and I permitted them to pass.”

“Mmmm, the Chief mentioned a female Druid,” Ironfang rumbled, “But she went alone as far I understood. Have they gone to speak with the Chief yet?”

“Aye, they went to his hut immediately and I saw them admitted just as I arrived here.”

“Then I think we should join them,” Ironfang said and turned to the Chefs adding, “Unsurpassed as always gentlemen,” and bowing to them he exited behind Canthiss.

“It is always our pleasure to cook for someone with such a sensitive palette,” the Head Chef replied, bowing to Ironfangs retreating back and bowing in his turn much lower than the Baron had done.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Jan 21, 2013 12:34 pm

The heat in the hall was stifling. Tain and the Druid sweated with the roaring fire at their backs. They were standing before the Chiefs chair. The Chief himself had been at his evening meal when they had arrived and had brought it into the hall with him in a large bowl from which the most tantalizing odour of cooked meat and subtle spices wafted. It teased mercilessly at the hungry travellers.

He continued to eat now as he sat and listened to their tale. But when the Druid finished and took out the helmet they had found the Chief sat his bowl aside and took the helmet silently in his hands.

He was staring at it still when the hide sash of the door was drawn back and Canthiss entered, he was followed by the huge man Tain had seen upon the road. Now that Tain had better sight of the man he could see that it had not just been the angle that he had first seen him at, he did indeed have a very wide face and dark eyes that were quick moving and penetrating when they alighted upon you. He was expensively attired with, Tain noted with an inward grunt of smug satisfaction, a smooth polished breastplate. He also wore a conspicuous heavy belt with a buckle that was sculpted like two fighting hounds, their raised paws acting as interlocking pins. He had noble written all over him.

He was also quite easily the largest human Tain had ever set eyes upon but Tain would be damned if he was going to be intimidated by any noble, however large.

The Chief looked up as they entered and introduced the huge man as, “Our benefactor, Baron Ironfang of Northolt,” before displaying the helmet to the Baron, “The hunters will not be returning,” he said sadly, “What is this malady?”

“I know not, yet,” Ironfang replied approaching the Chief with barely a glance at either the Druid or Tain. He took up a position that placed him a foot or so closer to the Chief than either of them. Canthiss remained by the doorway, “But now that your servant has returned has she not reported of her findings?” the Baron enquired.

There was a moment of speculative silence that passed before the Druid realized the Baron was referring to her.

“I am no ones servant!” she said incredulously and not without a hint of anger.

The Baron turned to her, fixing his eyes on the Druids. He noticed with some distaste the green sheen of the others eyes in the deep shadow beneath her hood, “You accepted the Chiefs' offer of payment in return for information? What does that make a person but a servant?”

“You never mentioned any payments!” Tain interrupted.

“That is because I had, and have, no intention of accepting any. I serve none but Elhonna. That my curiosity and your peril overlapped,” she said addressing the Chief, “is the good fortune of the powers that move this world. I accept no payment and will not be referred to as servant or sworn to any man or cause. Is that clear?” she threatened.

“Very, dear lady,” the Chief acquiesced before her bristling anger, “Perhaps we could get back to the matter at hand,” he added in a conciliatory tone.

“I think I’d like to hear more about this payment,” Tain said but was ignored.

“What of these Shades you spoke of?” the Chief asked.

“I heard tell of these from the refugees,” the Baron put in, “I thought it most likely to be imagination built on fear, no more,” he said dismissively then added as if it explained everything, “The peasant mind.”

“Oh really?” Tain said addressing the Baron directly, “Well let me tell you, Baron. These things are real. It’s just as the hunters reported it. My mind is the equal of any man's, or Baron's. And I tell you the Dead walk this marsh. I imagined nothing. Yet I saw them still.”

“The Dead?” Ironfang repeated doubtfully and not a little mockingly.

“You have not seen them, nor heard their voices.”

The Baron snorted in response to this.

“And what of the flooding?” asked the Chief, leaning forward in his chair, “That surely is our chief peril for now.”

“Whatever is going on around here it’s going on in those mountains, I’m sure of that,” Tain said, “It’s the mountains that hold the key to this.”

“Then we must go to the mountains,” concluded the Baron.

“Are you not forgetting something? The Dead?” the Druid reminded him.

“Simple, we only need to time our expedition correctly so as to be there at dawn and to be gone by dusk,” the Baron said with a shrug and turned to fix Tain with his eyes, Tain held the gaze with an effort, “Unless you are afraid of the dark and shadows?”

“Afraid?” Tain replied, still without breaking the Barons impressive gaze and thinking back to the terrible deathly silence that had quietened every bird, beast and insect and to the overwhelming desire to flee for his life that had consumed him, “Afraid?” he repeated, “Yes Baron, I am afraid. But I came here to investigate those mountains and find a lost city, and stupid as that might sound it’s about the only real aim I’ve ever had in my whole life. But I’ll tell you now; I don’t put much faith in your religious trinkets, only in the ability of my own legs to carry me out of danger.”

“So,” the Baron proposed, “You shall take me to where you witnessed this mystery.” It was not a question but an order.

“I’m not going anywhere until I’ve washed this filth from my hair and clothes and rested a night, dry and warm,” Tain retorted, not much caring for orders, “We don’t all have the luxury of owning our own breed of horses and some must plod along on tired legs whilst others merely sit upon the tired legs of others.”

“Take your rest till morning then. Canthiss will call upon you at first light,” Ironfang growled.

From the doorway Canthiss bowed to them with a smile, to their mutual distaste.





cheers End of chapter four- thanks to anyone thats stuck with it (ie Azriel! Very Happy )

Next up- Finding Grul

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 24, 2013 4:38 pm


Chapter Five
Finding Grul

In the hour just before dawn the Druid quietly slipped out through the hide door of her guest hut and into the cold morning air.

Outside it was still dark but a silvery pale light was growing over the horizon. The fogs of the previous two days were gone now and only wisps of mist lingered above the reed beds waiting to be melted away by the oncoming warmth of day. Overhead the sky was clear and the brightest of the stars could still be clearly discerned in the retreating dark. The pale sliver of the moon had already set.

Above the horizon at the point where the sun was due to rise shone Sha, star of Elhonna, defiant before the growing day. The Druid bowed towards Her and said a silent prayer.

There were few lights burning in the village at this hour. It seemed as if all were still a-bed. There was a single stream of white lantern light coming from the pavilion and within it she could just discern the humped forms of the horses in the paddock. Over the marsh a bird called, long and sadly and was answered distantly by another just as sorrowful.

Someone whistled softly to her.

It was the Shaman, to whose hut she was making for, he was standing near the marshes edge. The elderly tribesman was beckoning with his gnarled staff for her to come over.

She had only ever seen the Shaman once, in the Chiefs hall, up close he was much older than she had originally thought and smaller, hunched as he was. His ears were large and tufts of white hair grew out of them, his cheeks were sunken and his skin thin, yet he moved with relative ease. His eyes were the most gentle of blues and seemed to radiate a sense of peaceful intent. The staff he carried in his hand was carved at one end like a sun and on the ground next to him was a slated box from within which she could hear a rustling, as of some trapped animal.

“How did you know I desired to speak with you?” she asked approaching the Shaman.

“Do you believe I have been awaiting you?” the Shaman replied in a deep croaky voice that seemed to be all throat, “That I stand here to display to you my foresight and power?” he gesticulated everything with his staff as he spoke. “How arrogant you are,” he stated but without any real venom in his voice it seemed more of an observation, “I came to greet the dawn as I do every day, to bless and to appease Hehlann, not to await you.”

“I did not mean to intrude upon your rites,” she apologized backing away.

“They have not begun yet,” he replied simply and then suddenly jabbed upward repeatedly into the retreating Druids chest with the end of his staff (much to her annoyance) and demanded to know, “To whom do you pray Druid? Who grants you your powers?”

“Elhonna,” she replied, pointing to the bright star above the horizon.

“Ahh! The dawn star,” he grinned at her and turned to the horizon where Sha was fading before the coming sun, “Then we are akin from afar. For She is the herald and guide of Hehlann,” he turned back to her and leant on his staff asking, “What then is it you would know of me?”

“I wish to know of the hermit Grul; I have heard that he is in some way linked to the marsh, that he has powers, I thought he might aid our cause.”

“Villagers tales,” the Shaman said shaking his head, “ He is cunning, wary and patient. Skilled by hand and with a head filled with lore. The mood of the marsh has filled him, yes, but he is not quite as fireside tales make him.”

“Then he has no power against these Shades?”

“Grul was Shaman before me. If you think I seem aged then he is twice that,” again he gave his gurgling chortle and then flicking his staff up in a swift gesture he jabbed at her again punctuating his words, “What do you know of the arts of the Shaman?”

“Very little,” she admitted with a shrug of her shoulders and a step backwards out of the old Gnomes reach, “I know you brew medicines and seek visions. It has not been my study.”

“Visions, yes, but they are more than imaginings. For the Shaman speaks with the Dead. Yes, I said the Dead,” he added catching the doubting look in her eyes, “It is the spirits of those who have gone before that are our allies and vision guides, our teachers,” he turned again towards the marsh over which the light was slowly growing though the sun had not yet risen, pointing out over the grey pre-dawn land he continued, “For who better to consult on life than those who have already lived and lost it? But if these Shades truly are the spirits of those who have gone before then they are tortured entities. The voices that cry from the past cry with pain. For here, in this marsh, the past was most cruel. But Grul will have no fear of them and nor should you. It is those who walk clothed in flesh and blood that should be feared.”

“I have seen these things and they are to be feared,” the Druid insisted, “My companion and I only live because we fled them.”

The Shaman chuckled again his old shoulders shaking, “You and your companion were lucky, or provident, for you acted exactly as the Dead would have you act. With fear. Their power is to drive you into madness and panic until you flee. And in running blind the marsh will claim you and down you go to swell the ranks of the Dead,” he bowed his old head and said sadly, “That I now fear is how it went with our hunters. They ran to their own death, headless, out of blind terror. Do not repeat their mistake. You got lucky once, don't count on it twice.”

He stretched up and placed a reassuring hand on her arm and drawing her down closer took the opportunity with the other hand to jab her in the stomach with the end of the staff, “You must be resolute,” he intoned, “Something disturbs those who once knew this land, before the marsh, long ago.”
He took from within the recess of his robe a long curved knife and nodded towards the horizon, “I hope that was worth getting out of bed early to hear. But now I must perform my duties,” he bent down and unhinged the box pulling a dark feathered duck out by the neck from within. She noted, as one professional to another, that the Shaman must have used a technique not dissimilar to her own, for the ducks mind was calm and peaceful when it should have been panicking.

The Shaman knelt on the soft ground by the waters edge and laid the fowl out onto the ground before himself with its neck stretched and exposed. Glancing up and chuckling softly he said, “If you will excuse me, but I fear you would not approve.”

She nodded back at him in distasteful agreement, “Is that really necessary?” she demanded.

“Hehlann is more bloodthirsty than Elhonna, perhaps” he replied by way of explanation then added, “The ducks time has come, as will mine, as will yours. The duck and we are equal.”

She nodded in understanding though still with her own private reservations.
She turned to leave and as she did so felt the warmth of the rising sun at her back and heard the Shamans croaky voice intoning a prayer in a language she did not understand. It was followed by the sound of a splash as the sacrificial blood hit the marsh water.

Dawn had broken.

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:25 pm

Im still here Petty ! & Ive enjoyed reading this brilliant story ! well done bounce

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:11 pm

You make my day every time Azriel! :carrot:

{{How does ole Anon and Eldo do it? You cant move over there for folk. Banghead }}}

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:13 pm

your welcome ! Very Happy
(bribes maybe ?) Suspect
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:30 pm

Bribes! Of course- right what could I offer? Free buckie? affraid No, the very idea opf giving away buckie is too horrible to contemplate.........free money affraid no that involves opening my sporran and Ive rules about that....I could try being more cheerful and friendly, Mad f*** that! I couldn't maintain it.

Bugger it, guess I'll just have to be happy I have a loyal reader! Kissing

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:00 pm

Giving away buckie ?...hell will freeze over 1st, so thats out.
opening yer sporran ?.... only on Drs orders & only THEN under anesthetic !
Being more cheerful/friendly ?.... are you Pinocchio ?
Loyal reader ?.....( This is where you might need a bucket...to be sick in.)
Its not hard to do, the story is great ! Very Happy

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Post by Ally Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:09 pm

Some authors here have a reputation of being sexilicious.

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:11 pm

like Johnny Depp ?

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Post by Ally Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:12 pm

Don't insult his attractiveness with lowly terms like that!

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:14 pm

Petty's attractive ?

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:16 pm

Glad you think so Azriel but its the fact you give it the time out your day to read it I appreciate- that's never always easy to find, especially with so many good and entertaining stories on the forum, and just as well you enjoy it as here's another chunk of it!!

Are you saying I am not sexillious Ally? Shocked But, I'm wearing a kilt!! Mad



Tain was woken from slumber by the voice of Canthiss calling him from beyond the hide sash of the door. “Are you awakened Master Tain?” he asked loudly enough to ensure that if Tain was not already awake he would be now.

“Yes, all right, I’m getting up,” Tain replied with grumpy sleep in his voice, he was never at his best just after waking.

“We shall gather at the pavilion within the hour and you may reclaim your weaponry,” he heard Canthiss call.

Tain swung his legs out of the low bed and rubbed the sleep from his eyes he could hear Canthiss' again, a little more distant now, “Ah, Druid. Good morrow my lady. You arise earlier than your companion I see. The Baron awaits you both at the pavilion.”

The Druid entered the hut as Tain stood and stretched, yawning.

“Where’d you go?” Tain asked.

“To speak to the Shaman.”

“Did he have anything useful to say?”

“Maybe,” she said quietly and thoughtfully.

“Where does a person go to get some breakfast around here?” Tain asked scratching his sleep-tousled hair.

Washed, well fed -and in the Druids case prayers performed- and shouldering their packs the companions made their way up the gentle slope to the paddock where the Baron Ironfang and Canthiss awaited them. It was a little under an hour since dawn.

The Baron was already mounted on his horse, a long sword hung from the saddle. A large diamond shaped shield in the same yellow and purple colours of the pendant hung beside it and an iron helm with a wide nose guard swung beside that. The Baron himself wore a thick pelt cloak over a breastplate that gleamed in the morning sun which was climbing up into a clear sky. The morning Tain thought would be unseasonable warm.

Canthiss came out of the pavilion bearing their weapons and returned them saying, “As I promised, untouched.” Then with two short whistles he called over the other horses which were already saddled and handed the reigns of the smallest to Tain. It was the stoutest of the three and had been drawing the cart the previous day. “This is Ferewine,” Canthiss said introducing the horse, “He is sturdy and very hardy. He can bare you both a great distance.”

“I thought we were going into the marsh?” the Druid queried, addressing the Baron, but it was Canthiss who replied for him.

“The Baron believes we are best served by following the road north to begin with,” he said, “And then striking westward from there to the islands you spoke of. It will take a day off our journey and the way will be easier.”

This did in fact seem a sensible plan so it met with no dissention. They mounted Ferewine, the Druid seated behind Tain.

Tain was a good horseman, in Stenor it was hard not to be as riding a horse was a means of distinguishing yourself from the peasantry and therefore was one of the first things his father had taught his brothers and himself to do. It had however been some time since he last sat in the saddle. He need not have worried though as Ferewine was docile and obedient to the reigns and placidly followed the lead of the horses of Canthiss and the Baron.

They followed the trail out between the hills, following the gravel path of the Gnomes that led out through a shallow gully through which a small stream ran and where, eventually, it joined the main north-south road.

They had been riding in silence for an hour or so and the sun was now well above the horizon.

Tain was observing the Baron closely and was deep in thought. He was unsure about this Baron Ironfang; the man was aristocratic to the point of isolation. There was a mystery there which Tain was sure would be a challenge to uncover. Tain liked challenges.

With a gentle squeeze against the horses’ flanks he spurned Ferewine on saying over his shoulder to the Druid, “I want to speak to this Baron.”

He had meant to bring his horse up alongside the Barons to better speak to the man but as they trotted forward Canthiss cut across him forcing Tain to bring Ferewine up short with a tug of the reigns. He guided the horse round the other side but Canthiss was the better horseman and again manoeuvred his own horse into the way.

“I want to speak to the Baron,” Tain eventually called to Canthiss in annoyance.

The Baron glanced back from his horse and nodded in consent. Canthiss withdrew from their path and allowed them by with a slight inclination of his head.

“I didn't realize we needed to make an appointment?” Tain said when he finally got alongside the Barons larger steed, having to look up to speak into the other man's huge face.

“Canthiss performs his duty only as I have bidden him to,” the Baron replied without emotion.

“I just wanted to talk,” Tain said, annoyed by the Baron already, “I just wanted to know what you could tell us about the land we’re in. We know little of this kingdom save its name,” Tain said but without seeming to elicit a response, “Where are your lands?” he pressed.

“Northolt?” the Baron said stirring, his deep voice carrying easily above the clip of the horses, “A day and a halves gallop north would see us at its southern borders. It has been in my families’ possession since time immemorial. But you are no local to Futura. From where do you hail?” the Baron asked deliberately turning the conversation away from himself.

“Me?” said Tain, “Stenor, though I doubt you’ve ever heard of it.”

“My great-great grandmother was from Stenor I believe, if the family records are accurate.”

“Really?” laughed Tain, “Maybe we’re related.”

The Barons eyes seemed to take in Tain's appearance, his practical but plain, unimpressive clothing and then he said firmly and with some distaste, “No, I do not believe so.”

The Druid gave a short laugh, which she stifled when the Baron stared at her.

“Who rules here?” Tain enquired not deflected.

“King Mefron,” the Baron replied simply turning his head away but not before

Tain noted a look quickly passing over his face, as if there was more that could be said on the matter that the Baron was keeping to himself.

“Is he a good King then? This Mefron?” Tain probed, “Fair and just I mean? Or is he the other sort?”

The Baron looked at him sharply and said, “I do not think Futuras' politics concern any save its Princes, Barons and Dukes, do not presume to inquire after matters which are above your station,” and with that he spurred his horse forward several yards and Canthiss closed up behind him.

“Well,” Tain said to the Druid, “I guess our audience just ended.”

At mid-morning they stopped for something to eat by the roadside in the lee of a small hillock covered in short grass. After they had eaten Tain took a short walk up the low slope, passing some dense bushes that grew at its foot and on which the horses were grazing, and on up to the low summit.

The land to the east, on his right, was scrub grassland that faded away into a warm green and yellow haze. Several miles out there was a line of trees that Tain guessed marked the course of a large river and a smudge of brown far beyond it that could have been a forest on the edge of his vision. As he turned to look northwards and ahead towards the mountains Canthiss began climbing up the slope behind him.

Tain could see that the land ahead rose into craggy hills only a few miles from where he stood, piling up to meet the tumbledown foothills of the mountains twenty miles or more away that marched northward out of sight. It was that way he had come into the marsh originally. A gleam of sun on water between the craggy hills indicated a glimpsed bend of the river he had crossed.

“That is the Norath River,” Canthiss informed him, seeing the direction Tain was looking in, “In the north it forms the western border of Northolt and of Futura,” he turned and pointed out east to the line of trees, “It runs the entire length of the Kingdom passing south through the plains and meeting the sea at the Port, where Duke Grande has the rule. The Norath is Futuras largest and swiftest river.”

“You know,” Tain said slowly, considering his earlier conversation with Ironfang, and taking a good look at Canthiss, weighing up the other man, he said quietly, “I have a question about your kingdom, and I'd appreciate an honest answer,” he paused and Canthiss nodded in response to his look, “What’s wrong with your King?” he asked simply.

Canthiss said nothing immediately but in his turn looked long at Tain. “He is sick,” he said eventually, “He has been so for a long time now. For the malady is in his heart more than his body and the kingdom falters with him.”

“Then is his rule contested?” Tain asked a little alarmed.

“No!” Canthiss said, seemingly genuinely shocked at the idea, “The King has two heirs, the inheritance is under no dispute, as things stand.”

Tain got a sudden sinking feeling, “As things stand?” he queried.

“There is some dissension over the Princes,” Canthiss replied softly, “Some of the Barons and Dukes, including my master, have misgivings over Prince Kell; the younger brother who now manages the affairs of court in his fathers’ absences. It is a position many feel he has much abused.”

“And what of the elder Prince? Doesn’t he not find offence at his brother’s abuses?” Tain asked.

“Prince Mekhal? He is enamoured of the sea. He holds the position of Admiral of the Navy, but in truth it is long since Futura had any real navy, our ships are for trade. The ships of war we have are few and ageing. But the Princes' head is full of fancies and he envisions the kingdoms future as a maritime power and goes on foolhardy expeditions far east and west in search of new riches. In private most believe he will eventually come to some grief upon the waves. Those who are loyal to the throne try to dissuade him from such journeys, for if he were lost then Prince Kell would ascend to power,” he paused staring out across the Kingdom, contemplation an unthinkable future.

“Well, as the Baron was at pains to point out to me; this kingdoms politics are matters above my station,” Tain said with a shrug, “Fortunately by the sounds of things. Besides, I think for the moment we’ll have enough to contend with once we enter the marsh.”

“What do you think we shall find?” Canthiss asked looking now out over the green and brown smudge of the marshlands.

“The best we can hope for is wet feet and insects bites.”

“And the worst?”

“You don't want to know,” Tain said turning away.

Below them the Baron was mounting his horse. The Druid was still sitting reclined against the hillock industriously puffing on her pipe. The Baron glanced impatiently up at them.

“I think the Baron believes it is time we moved on,” Canthiss said simply and strode back down the slope. Tain followed him down deep in thought.


Last edited by Pettytyrant101 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:37 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Ally Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:28 pm

Who am I kidding? It doesn't matter as long as you're wearing a kilt.

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:31 pm

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 6 Ids_emoticon_thumbsup
I actually like reading this story at the end of the day, as its serious yet relaxing.I get into it & it chills me down, The other stories on this weird,whacky, god love em but lock em up Forum, are bloody funny & also well written ! This place certainly makes MY day ! Very Happy

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:32 pm

Yes Ally, but whats under it ? Suspect

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Post by Ally Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:34 pm

MOAR KILTS!

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:35 pm

Laughing

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:38 pm

Mad I keep my buckie pressure release valve under there. Very Happy

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Post by azriel Thu Jan 24, 2013 11:44 pm

Well thats a new name for it ! next time I feel a gust of wind brewing in my nether regions, I might call it that.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:16 am

Ahh, the kebab and curry valve!

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Post by azriel Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:20 am

With me its the "anything I eat" valve ! Embarassed
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Post by Eldorion Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:34 am

Hey Petty, I'm really sorry that I haven't kept up with this. I went back and started reading from the beginning, though I didn't get all the way through yet. Some of it I remembered from the stuff you used to post on the Old Forum, but a lot of it more or less new to me. The prologue was a little bit overwhelming with all the names and stuff but the only thing that felt out of place was the term "optic nerve", which just sounds too modern to me. I remember liking the setting and tone of the story and I've tried to emulate that style in some of my own writing. Smile
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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Jan 25, 2013 12:46 am

Thanks Eldo, this version is substantially edited from the one I put up on the old forum, although the story remains the same.

The opening is supposed to be a bit archaic and intense on information the reader wont understand at the time (but you will if you were ever to reread the story) compared to the main story its tone is more serious, ponderous and deliberately grandiose, as its an older time I was trying to reflect.
Hopefully if you find the time to keep reading you will find the main story to be less overwhelming and less serious too.

You might be right about optic nerve being wrong to the times portrayed-although Druids would probably know about the optic nerve but not called it that- its not something I would have used as dialogue, I used it as its descriptive to the modern reader. But I could just describe the optic nerve rather than use that term.

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Post by Pettytyrant101 Fri Jan 25, 2013 3:10 am

They had only gone on a further hour along the road when Tain called them to a halt.

“This is it,” he said, pointing to the peat hillock he had stood upon the day before, “That’s where we came down out of the marsh.”

The Baron brought his horse round to the edge of the road and dismounted, Canthiss followed suit.

“What are we going to do with the horses?” the Druid asked, dismounting.

“They know these lands well, they will return to the Gnomes at my bidding,” the Baron answered taking the shield and the helm from his saddle and putting the helm onto his head. Tain noticed that he did not carry a pack but that Canthiss bore a large, heavy one.

The Baron hefted the long sword from the saddle and put it into a sheath that was across his back, which meant that he could draw it out with his right hand over his left shoulder.

“Showy,” Tain thought, watching him.

Ironfang swung the shield across his back and indicated to Tain to lead the way.

It had taken Tain and the Druid over a day to travel from the islands to the marshes border but that had been in a dense fog. They had a better idea of the way this time and managed to avoid the worst of the bogs they had originally blundered into. In the end they had only be marching for eight hours before their destination became visible, distant on the horizon.

In Tains opinion they could have been quicker if the Baron were less encumbered. “Who but a noble wore armour in a bog?” he thought.

It was evening by the time they stepped out of the mire and onto the moss covered flagstones of the first island and they were all grateful for the sight.

The Druid set about making a fire in the ring of rocks beneath the white stone wall, where she had previously set one the night she and Tain had met.

Tain scanned the ground for any new tracks and noted for future reference those of Canthiss and the Baron; he found no prints that were more recent than the Druids and his own.

The Baron and Canthiss climbed up the fallen wall and went into the trees coming to the islands edge beneath the spreading limbs of the oak amidst the fallen autumn leaves.

“What do you make of our travelling companions?” Ironfang asked Canthiss in a low voice.

“I believe they are good people, though one must be cautious with strangers,” Canthiss replied after a moment’s thought, “and much is sung of druids which would warn of caution”

“Indeed, I have heard so. And she is so, uncouth and unkempt, hardly like a woman at all,” Ironfang replied distastefully then fell into brooding silent thought, gazing out northwards to where the distant grey cliffs met the edge of the waters.

After a time he spoke again, “The Mountains are becoming unsafe. Erwin neglects his duties yet his voice grows ever stronger and louder at Court. Something is amiss in our land Canthiss. I can feel it. Can not you? Maybe,” he paused and looked down as if reluctant to go on, but nevertheless after a moment he continued, “Maybe it is time the Ironfangs stirred.”

Canthiss looked at him sharply, “You know well enough the policy of your fathers,” he shook his head and then grabbed the Baron firmly and with some strength on the arm, “Ironfangs do not become overly involved in matters of state save where it crosses their own borders,” he reproached with a sternness that would have shocked the others had they heard it. For a moment it was as if Canthiss were the master and the Baron his servant.

Ironfang hung his head but then he shook it slowly three times and pulled his arm out of the grip of Canthiss and raising his face said, “No! It is an unnecessary price that we have chosen to pay, and it is needless, there is nothing to be feared save for fear itself. We should be Kings by now,” he responded sternly, “There is nothing to fear,” he repeated as if to himself.

Canthiss looked into his masters’ face. His own mind full of sudden worry at the Barons words. “This is a very old conversation,” he warned, “One I thought you had the good sense to abandon long ago. I pray you do not think on this again. Is that understood?”

Canthiss did not get an answer as the Baron was cut short from replying by the arrival of the Druid, who having got a fire going was in search of fresh wood.

“Ahh Druid,” the Baron greeted relieved for the diversion, “How far do you estimate from here to the mountains foot?” he queried.

“Not too far, they are closer than they look in this air, maybe as little as eight hours.”

“Call it nine hours journey all in,” the Baron mused, “Then if we rest here only a short time and set out in the early hours of the morning we could reach the mountains not long after noon. That should provide enough time to have a look around and yet be far south by nightfall. Then it is settled,” he said clapping his hands together with a sound like a crack of lightning.

“What is?” asked Tain coming up over the edge of the wall in search of more wood supplies for the fire, his arms were already laden with fallen branches.

“We will begin our march again in four hours,” the Baron commanded.

“Well, I won't need all this wood then, will I?” Tain answered in response letting the logs thump to the ground.

They snatched a little sleep, aided by the Druids home-brew which was sadly running low. The Baron did not take any when proffered. Canthiss however joined them in a drink but stopped after only two, possibly because Tain noticed his eyes were beginning to water.

They slept undisturbed and there was no further rising of the waters.

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