Circle of Stone (reprieve)

+7
Eldorion
leelee
RA
Mrs Figg
halfwise
azriel
Pettytyrant101
11 posters

Page 15 of 18 Previous  1 ... 9 ... 14, 15, 16, 17, 18  Next

Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Orwell Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:02 pm

I found my hard copy of Book 1 in a drawer the other day, Petty. I almost started to read it again -- but I'm being patient. I'll wait to you finish this edit and then I'll borrow it again, if you don't mind. Or have you already done so? If so - you know what to do. I'm, kinda keen to read this again. But in hard copy. You know by now my modus operandi is when it comes to reading larger works! Nod (Also, I hope Home isn't being totally neglected! Mad )

_________________
‘The streets of Forumshire must be Dominated!’
Quoted from the Needleholeburg Address of Moderator General, Upholder of Values, Hobbit at the top of Town, Orwell, while glittering like gold.
Orwell
Orwell
Dark Presence with Gilt Edge

Posts : 8895
Join date : 2011-05-24
Age : 103
Location : Ozhobbitstan

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:05 pm

No, Home is certainly not neglected- its finished in a draft sort of way- in that I have all the chapters written, but it still needs editing- so I am leaving it till I have reedited and finished posting this one then I will return to it- hopefully well in the editing mind frame by then.

I can send you book 1 of this if you like- but I am editing as I post so obviously all of book 2 is not edited yet.

Kinda curious what you make of ch5 Azriel. Sofa

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:22 pm

I cant help but feel the Druids tactics were right, "know thy enemy" & all. I love her "matter-of-factness". Just a shame the children got it, but then, they in turn will grow to be killers also. Tain will get over it, probably more shocked at how callous looking the druid seems to be ? Nod
get out from round the back of that settee man ! Very Happy
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:32 pm

Never sure how folks will take that bit.
But its in character for both her and the earlier hints that there was something dark about druids in general- or at least with the appearence of darkness to people looking only at the actions.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:39 pm

I like Art to be true & gritty, Noir. I like the realism. Im not one for "chick flicks" or sickly sweet girlie books. I dont like "pop" music either. I only like the colour Pink in small doses, Im a more "earthy" type of person.

_________________
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.”
"There are far, far, better things ahead than any we can leave behind"
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Th_cat%20blink_zpsesmrb2cl

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Jean-b11
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Sun Feb 10, 2013 11:55 pm

When they finally stopped to make camp the night was well advanced. They had marched longer than they had intended, but no one had wanted to be near the dead. Besides the stench would soon attract predators to the feast. Though it would be a desperate animal that would touch those bloated, poisoned cadavers.

In the end they stopped at a small grassy knoll that rose up on their right hand side out of the darkness. They made there way round to its far side and found a dell shielded from any prying eyes. They made a basic camp at its foot. In the dark the only noise above the breathing of their horses was the distant dull rumble of the Norath flowing swiftly south.

No-one felt much like talking and after a period of uncomfortable silence Tain got up and went and sat apart from the others on the edge of the dell staring out into the darkness.

The sky was completely overcast, the thin moon had long since been swallowed in the blanket of cloud and there was no light from it. The rain had petered out and the night was cold, damp but dry. He sat in silence for some time until he heard someone approaching from behind. It was the Druid who came up and stood behind him. Neither spoke for some time then she softly asked, “Do you mind if I join you?”

“If you’ve come to explain, I don’t think you can,” Tain responded without looking up.

She sat down beside him but said nothing.

“I thought I was beginning to know you,” Tain said, “But how could you do it?” he asked, unable to keep the anger from his voice, remembering the dead faces of the boys in the baggage train with horrible clarity, “You, of all people, how could you kill so many, just like that? So casually?”

She did not answer immediately but stared out into the night. “When the wolf stalks a deer is it an evil act?” she asked quietly.

“Don’t you dare say this is the same! That’s not comparable to what you’ve done here,” Tain insisted vehemently, “Not even close.”

“No, it is not,” she agreed solemnly, “but there are two opposing forces in this world, natural forces, which man has dubbed good and evil. All living creatures draw on one or the other at times of need. The wolf hunting the deer, the bear protecting her young, they will do what is needed, they are drawing on the one man would call evil. But to the animal it is not evil. It is instinctive. It is doing what needs to be done,” she paused to let this sink in and Tain said nothing, “But people. We are different to all other living things,” she paused and sighed, “Only people can use those forces to enslave other beings. It is people who consciously choose. Only we use fear and pain deliberately, for our own ends.”

“What has this to do with what you’ve done here?” Tain demanded.

“The task appointed to every Druid is to seek to maintain the balance between those opposing forces. Do you not see? These men, these men whom, yes, I killed, murdered even. They each made a conscious choice. They choose to use evil to their own ends. I have corrected their error, permanently. And in doing so I have helped, just a little, to restore the balance. And my training to do so makes me as ruthless as the hawk swooping upon the hare. For the hawk and I can both draw from the same source.”

Tain did not say anything, letting this sink in, trying to see the world through her eyes.

“If I understand you right,” he said slowly, “then you’d oppose just as strongly those who consciously favour good over evil. Your logic dictates it.”

“Yes, for goodness enforced is no less a tyranny. No less an aberration. Balance is the only possibility for the world.”

Tain sighed and tuned his head so he was looking at her in the dark, “I think I understand your reasons but I still don’t agree with them. The ends justify the means is what you are saying.”

“Sometimes they do.”

“This was five thousand men, they can't all have been bad people. And what of their families they left behind? Are they evil too that they should now suffer the pain of loss? And when their men fail to return home and there is none to hunt or harvest many more will die of starvation or worse. And what of the boys in the baggage? Only children. What choice do you think they had in coming south? Surely everyone is allowed to make a mistake and to be given the chance to correct it?”

“For the children I am saddened. I did not see them last night. But know this Tain, if I had I still would not have done otherwise. A war has never been fought that has not cost the innocent their lives.
But I have no choice Tain, no room for regret or misplaced compassion. When the balance is out a little, one way or the other everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt. Whilst there is time all should be given a chance for redemption. But the balance is not out a little Tain. It is out a lot, an awful lot and it is stacked against us. This war, it is nothing to what will come if Astagoth finds His way into the north. This is a small beginning to the terror that will befall, and when it comes we will not be mourning the deaths of a handful of children and five thousand soldiers, but grieving for the loss of entire generations to come. That is the reality we face," she put her hand under his chin and raised his face up so he was looking into the green of her eyes, "You can hold to whatever romantic ideals you have about what is proper and what is not Tain, but I must deal with what actually is. We cannot risk giving those who oppose us a chance to repent. It is too late for that already. Now there is only us and them, and there will only be one victor,” she insisted, standing up, “Think on what I have said, but know this, I do not kill for pleasure nor for personnel gain but only because I must do what Elhonna has entrusted me to do.” She turned and walked away.

“It’s not just your appearance you’ve changed, you know that don’t you?” Tain called to her retreating back. She stopped momentarily but said nothing and then resumed walking.

Despite his tiredness Tain stayed another hour staring out at black emptiness, worrying if between the Baron and the Druid he was the only sane one left.

But he worried most of all that she might just be right.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:05 am

Im off to bed now, but I am happy reading this !! cheers

_________________
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.”
"There are far, far, better things ahead than any we can leave behind"
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Th_cat%20blink_zpsesmrb2cl

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Jean-b11
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:06 am

Night Azriel.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Mon Feb 11, 2013 12:09 am

night night !

_________________
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.”
"There are far, far, better things ahead than any we can leave behind"
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Th_cat%20blink_zpsesmrb2cl

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Jean-b11
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:10 am

It was morning. A cold, chill morning. The dew lay so thick upon the ground that it was as if it had rained. Tain wiped the sleep from his eyes with one knuckle and stretched. It was barely light yet and the sky was a heavy grey. He reached for his back pack and rolled up his blanket. The Baron was arising across from him, reaching for his breastplate which lay gleaming in dew.

“So,” Tain said “how far is it from here to the Keep?”

“Less than a days ride. We should be approaching the Norath Bridge by midafternoon,” Ironfang replied snapping on his leg greaves and tying the straps at the rear of his immense calves.

Tain nodded and taking his water flask filled his mouth, swirled the liquid round and spat it out before taking a longer gulping drink from it. “I can’t believe the approach’ll not be watched,” he commented.

“Nor I,” the Baron agreed, buckling his sword belt around his waist, “And we may be observed from the mountain sides without ever knowing it.”

“I don’t see that there is much we can do about that. If we’re seen we’re seen. We’ll have to take our chances,” Tain shrugged.

At that moment the Druid appeared, coming round the crest of the small hillock they had camped beneath.

“Ahh, the Poisoner returns,” the Baron greeted and she gave him a withering look.

“I have been scouting ahead, whilst you slept,” she informed them.

The Baron glanced across at the tethered horses, of which three were present. The missing horse belonged to Canthiss. “Then you cannot have covered much ground,” he said, “Besides, Canthiss is already undertaking that task.”

“I know,” she smiled, “I passed him twice.” The Baron frowned whilst she went on, “The land between here and the bridge is empty of all but birds and beasts.”

“Is the bridge manned?” Tain asked.

“No. There are guards on the walls of the entrance to the mountain pass and upon the walls of the Keep itself. I counted at least a dozen men, Barbarian and Goblins on the gates.”

“How do you know this?” the Baron demanded.

“You have your secrets Baron and I have mine,” she replied.

“If it’s as you say,” Tain said ignoring the Baron, “Then we should ride north with all haste whilst the going is good. We can eat in the saddle.”

“Agreed,” Ironfang said, “We will leave as soon as Canthiss returns.”

“He will not be long, I passed him only a short while ago, riding hard,” the Druid said.

Canthiss soon returned and reported the same news as the Druid, so quickly they all mounted and were soon pounding swiftly along the road.

The way took them down into a long valley. Birch trees grew on the eastern slope; but the hills on the west were bare and rocky. Every so often as they rode the wind would bring to their ears the distant roar of the Norath as it fell southwards over one of its many falls.

They rode without meeting any other until the sun had climbed to noon in a sky which had constantly threatened rain but was yet to deliver.

They stopped to eat by the roadside where there was a tinkling stream that fell from the western hills through a patch of birch trees and passed beneath the road under a small, stone bridge.

It would have been a pleasant spot in the height of summer when the grass would have been a bed of wild flowers, the bees busy in the air, but on the edge of winter the trees had lost most of their leaves and were stark, the grass was muted and brown in patches and there were no flowers to greet them.

It was a strangely melancholy place and sound there seemed to be amplified so that as they ate they spoke less and less until there was nothing but an enormous silence in which only the wind sighed.

Tain was first to hear the hoof beats but soon they were clear to all, from the north, fast approaching and seeming loud in the silent air. A single horseman.

The Baron leapt up onto the hillside that stood out some ten or twenty foot above the road and called down to Tain, “Go out into the road, see of you can get them to stop.”

“How? And what if he’s armed?” Tain called back.

“Just get in the road and wave your arms about, Canthiss and I will cover you from above; now go before he has passed us by.”

Tain cursed to himself and watched the road. The Druid had withdrawn herself to amongst the birch trees and was concealed from view. He could see Canthiss and his master on the slope above, lying flat.

Tain stared ahead where the road went down in a low dip and as he looked the head of the rider appeared, swiftly followed by the rest of his body and his horse as they approached, pounding over the crest towards him.

He waited a few seconds until the rider was a hundred yards closer then ran out into the road waving his hands wildly in the air.

The rider, who had a scarf wrapped close about his face, did not look like he had any plans of stopping but the sight of Tain suddenly appearing, arms flailing, was too much for his horse which skidded to a halt and reared right before him.

Tain had barely time to catch a breath when with a sudden yell the Baron launched himself from the hillside and swept the rider clean from the saddle.

The two men, Baron and rider, hit the ground heavily and rolled in a cloud of dust.

Tain rushed over as the Baron regained his feet. He looked down at the rider whose scarf had been pulled half off from his head revealing the blonde hair and features of a Barbarian. His neck was also quite clearly broken.

“You’ve killed him, you lump-headed idiot,” he said angrily to the Baron.

“He must have landed badly,” the Baron excused, standing up.

“Of course he landed badly! Who wouldn’t land badly with you leaping at them in all that armour from twenty foot up?” Tain snapped back.

The Druid emerged from the trees and examined the body as Canthiss hurried down the slope asking, “What has happened?”

“Your idiot master’s only gone and snapped this man's neck,” Tain informed him.

“If you call me that one more time,” the Baron threatened, raising his finger in Tain's face.

“What, idiot?” Tain taunted.

The Baron bellowed and seized Tain by the tunic, lifting him clean off the ground. Before Tain could react the Baron charged towards a thick birch tree slamming Tain so hard into the trunk that a branch overhead snapped off. Tain gasped as all the air was painfully knocked from his chest. He was going to be bruised from this.

“I have had enough of your lack of respect,” the Baron snarled.

Tain heaved into his lungs what air he could but the Baron still had him pinned several feet up the tree and there was a limit to what he could do, so he just wheezed defiantly back.

“Put him down,” the Druid insisted.

“Stay out of this,” the Baron snapped. He felt furious. A growing, gnawing desire to rip out Tain's throat was building in him and his eyes flashed. This upstart wanderer had questioned his authority once to often.

“Do you see this?” the Druid shouted, holding out a blow-pipe, “Do you?” she demanded.

“What of it?” the Baron growled, momentarily taking his eyes from Tain who took the opportunity to try and struggle free, but it was no use the Barons grip was like iron.

“If you do not release him right now I will shoot you with this, and you will not wake up until the middle of next week,” she threatened her voice steady and calm, “if you wake up at all. Now I have a plan to get us into the Keep and you are all going to follow it. But first, let Tain go.”

“Canthiss,” the Baron called, still not letting his grip on Tain waver for an instance and feeling less and less in control by the second, “If she looks for a moment like she is going to use that thing. Strike her down.”

Canthiss glanced at the Druid then at his master.

“What are you waiting for,” Ironfang roared, “Draw your sword man! I am giving you an order!” Large beads of sweat were glistening on the Barons brow and running down his broad face.

Canthiss drew out his sword from its sheath and held it towards the Druid saying, “This is madness Baron. We are on the same side.”

“Not until I have dealt with this ones lack of respect once and for all,” the Baron replied, staring intently at Tain.

Tain stared back, but the eyes of the Baron bore the same expression they did in wolf form and something deep inside told Tain something was seriously wrong here.

The Baron might actually be about to kill him, and there was no doubt from the power of the grip to the fact he had been suspended several foot up pinned to a tree for the last few minutes, that if the Baron wanted him dead, he would be dead.

“Put him down Baron,” the Druid repeated.

“Please, do as she asks master,” Canthiss pleaded.

Tain felt the grip lessen and then suddenly the Baron released him and he fell with a thump to the ground were he lay panting heavily. He turned his eyes up to Ironfang, standing over him, and was surprised to see that the Baron looked embarrassed, possibly even a little confused.

For a moment they stared at each other and it seemed to Tain as if the Baron was about to say something to him, possibly even an apology, but in the end he just turned and stalked away. The Druid hurried over to Tain and knelt beside him, checking his breathing.

The Baron strode over to Canthiss who was sheathing his sword.

“What was that about?” Canthiss demanded strongly.

Ironfang hesitated and then said quietly, “I do not know. I felt, I felt hatred, pure hatred for him. I mean, he is an infuriating and irritating man, but? I believe I would have killed him if no one else had been here and that afterwards I could not have told any why.”

Canthiss looked at him with worried eyes.

“He, is, insane,” Tain hissed to the Druid in painful gasps, “between the two of you this kingdom will be lucky if anyone survives alive.”

“That was a cheap shot,” she replied, standing up and offering her hand to Tain who took it.

“Was it?” Tain said rising, “So what is this great plan of yours?”

The Druid suddenly seemed a little hesitant.

“Is there a problem?” Tain asked.

“It requires that I reveal some of what I can do to the others. I am not comfortable with that, having you know is bad enough.”

“Thanks,” Tain said sourly.

“You know what I mean. My kind is often mistrusted, for my own safety it is best if none know. Now I face revealing myself to two more.”

“Why? What is the plan?” Tain said.

“Yes,” Ironfang put in, turning back to them and coming over, “What is this plan?”

Tain backed off a few steps, eyeing the Baron suspiciously. The Druid sighed. She turned to Ironfang and said, “I trust Baron that when it comes to your own unique condition you would prefer it if none who knows of it were to speak of it.”

“I would consider it, very impolite in the least if they did,” Ironfang replied stiffly.

“I too have, unique talents, which I would hope you will guard as closely as you do your own.”

“What sort of talents?” Canthiss enquired intrigued.

“I can assume the form of other things,” she replied walking out onto the road where the rider lay and kneeling beside the cooling corpse added, “So long as they are dead.”

Tain walked towards her looking down at the deceased Barbarian, “Why only dead things?” he asked, “That seems a bit morbid.”

“Practical actually,” she replied, “All living things are energy. The energy of each living thing is unique. I can perceive that energy directly. I have the ability, through training and the blessing of Elhonna, to alter the shape of my own energy to mimic that of another. But as every creature occupies a unique position in space and time I cannot occupy the same position as something else. Therefore we copy the patterns of the recently deceased, before they fade. Animals or people, and for some even trees and once upon a time, so they say, rocks,” she explained.

“So you plan to alter yourself to look like this rider here?” Tain asked.

“Exactly.”

“How will that get us into the Keep,” the Baron asked.

“It might not get us all in at once but it will at least get the gate open. I will take Tain with me, as my prisoner,” she went on.

“I should go instead,” Ironfang argued, “I am stronger and more resilient.”

“You are too great a prize,” she replied, “it would be suspicious. No, I will take Tain.”

“And what do Canthiss and I do?”

“Follow us and wait at a safe distance for your chance,” she said.

“How will we know when it comes?” Ironfang questioned.

“You will know,” she said firmly, “Now, if you would all withdraw and allow me some privacy, this may take a little time.”

“How much time?” Ironfang growled.

“As much as is required,” was her reply.

They left her sitting cross-legged beside the corpse and Canthiss went off to see if he could capture the stray horse which had bolted a distance away up the hillside but had now stopped to eat the last of the green leaves from a prickly gorse bush.

Ironfang sat by the side of the road on the grass embankment with his back to the Druid and mused on his earlier mysterious burst of anger.

Tain wandered alone up the hillside where he could get a good view of the road running ahead and where he was safely away from the Baron.

Nothing was moving on the road. He turned his gaze eastwards across the plains to where somewhere in the overcast haze was Mendelhall, Prince Kell and a hostile army.

He could see little because the blanket of cloud clung so close to the horizon but he fancied that near the plains centre there was a dark haze of smoke rising into the grey.

He sat down and wondered if the Druids plan would bring success or failure and questioning himself as to whether he was ready to go along with this woman who it turned out was capable of killing thousands in cold blood. He had been growing rather fond of her too, now he did not know what to think.

He had been alone a long time. Yes there had been women along the way, in taverns, barns and twice by the road side, but that was not the same. That was just serving a need or purely for fun.

He had actually begun to feel something for this strange half elvish women whose name he did not even know. And now this.

His choices of women to fall in love with was depressingly poor he reflected, first Gwendolyn now this.

It was nearly an hour before she called to them, though the voice she spoke with was not her own, coming as it was from different vocal cords. It was a deeper male voice and guttural, throaty.

Tain wandered down the hill to be confronted by the bizarre sight of the dead Barbarian lying by the roadside and apparently the same man standing on the road.

Canthiss had succeeded in catching the riders’ horse and now led it placidly over to where the Druid stood.

As well as now being a man she was taller than before, the Barbarian having been over six foot. She was wearing clothes of hide identical to those of the dead man and was carrying across her back the riders bow and at her side she wore the man’s short sword and dagger. Her own backpack she had stored in the saddlebags, “Are you ready?” she asked Tain.

“For this? You looking and sounding like a dead man? No, I doubt it," Tain replied, "But if you think this will really work?”

“I think it is our best shot, yes,” she confirmed with a nod.

“How are you supposed to have captured me?” Tain asked.

She shrugged her shoulders which were broad, “In combat I suppose,” she said.

“Then you had better make it look like I’ve lost a fight. Hit me,” Tain ordered.

“Please, allow me,” Ironfang intervened passionately.

“You stay out of this,” Tain warned the Baron, repeating to the Druid, “Hit me.”

The Druid swung, connecting just below Tain's left eye and immediately opening up a gash under it. Tain had not expected that and staggered backwards fighting the instinctive urge to smack her back, saying instead in a slightly wavering voice, “Good punch. Wouldn’t have thought you had it in you,” then he collapsed to the ground in a heap.

She helped him back up saying, “Sorry, new muscles, they are bigger than I am used to.”

“I’m fine,” Tain insisted, shaking his head and feeling his cheek bone tenderly “At least I look more like a prisoner now.”

She mounted the horse and Tain clambered up behind her.

“This will never work,” the Baron grumbled.

“Come on Baron,” Tain chided him, “at least we have a plan.”

“And what will you do if you succeed in getting inside?”

“OK, we have half a plan,” Tain conceded, “still better than no plan at all.”

The Baron and Canthiss mounted their horses.

“Stay nearby, wait for your chance,” the Druid instructed them.

And with that she and Tain galloped northwards for Erwin's Keep, following the road out between the hills.


End of chapter.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:46 pm

Chapter Six
Southolt

The Druid brought their horse to a halt at a point where the road curved down and away to the left, heading towards the Norath Bridge. There was a crossroads below them; where the north-south road from the Port passed northwards into Northolt and the east-west road crossed the bridge before the Keep and disappeared into the distance behind them on the plain.

It was now mid-afternoon and the rain which had been threatening all morning began to fall in smatterings of drizzle. The Druid cursed it under her breath.

Tain wiped back his wet hair from his forehead as he dismounted, the Druid following him to the ground.

“We will need to wait here until this rain goes off,” she said staring up at the overcast sky.

“Why?” Tain queried.

“We just do,” she insisted, but even as she said so the rain began to lessen again and ceased, although the sky still threatened more, “Praise be to Elhonna. Now that is better,” she said approvingly then turning to Tain added, “I will have to bind you now,” she reached for the coil of rope that hung from the saddle, “I will tie it tight enough to look the part but loose enough that you should be able to free yourself at need.”

Tain nodded and clasping his hands together held them out for her. She bound the rope around, putting a fake slip knot in it which Tain could easily release with a snap of his wrists.

Lastly she took another length of rope and attached it to the binding on Tain's hands and then tied the other end to the pommel of her saddle. “Ready?” she asked and Tain again nodded.

She remounted and nudged the horse forwards dragging Tain behind who stumbled without the use of his hands and had to fight for his balance, “Take it easy,” he called.

She glanced down at him from the dark brown eyes of the dead Barbarians face and Tain took a deep breath, wondering again if this was such a good idea after all. But it was too late now for second thoughts as they were beginning their descent into the valley bottom from where they would be clearly visible to any watching the bridge.

They followed the road down the slope to the crossroads; she did not halt but urged the horse straight on towards the bridge which was only some two hundred yards before them.

The Norath cut through a deep gully here, sixty foot or so deep, it was narrow too, forcing the water below to surge in white foam. It roared in echo up from the depths to greet them as they stepped out onto the bridge. The horse’s shoes clumping hollowly upon it.

There was no sign of guard or watcher.

Ahead of them the mountains rose up, the foothills of hard rock immediately before them. The road curved ahead around a large outcrop of stone onto which travellers over the years had scrawled their mark. According to Ironfang, Erwin’s Keep and the Toll Road lay just around it. She flicked the horses reigns and they trotted forward, Tain was pulled haltingly after.

Behind them, on the other side of the bridge and still concealed among the hills the Baron and Canthiss watched them disappear from view around the outcrop.

The Toll Road opened before them; a wall and rampart were stretched between two cliff-faces through which the road passed via an arched gateway.

A portcullis was currently dropped across it blocking any entrance. The road beyond the gate ran straight for a mile at the bottom of a ravine whose sides were sheer and had ramparts built along their tops.

At the end of the mile the road passed through a second wall and archway, this too having a portcullis.

The design was one of protection; coming from a time when Domina had not been the friendly neighbour it was now. Any army crossing the mountains would have to pass through the Toll Road and once trapped in the ravine they were defenceless to attack from all sides and above.

Beyond the second gate the road began the serious business of winding up and eventually over the perilous heights of the mountains where finally there were similar defences upon the Dominian side.

To the left of the Toll Road and immediately above it stood Southolt, the Keep of the late Baron Erwin and once of the Ironfangs.

It was backed against a sheer cliff that was overhung near the top some three hundred feet above the Keeps pointed roof. There were sheer drops on Southolts’ other three sides and the cliff which faced the pass had, as the only means of access, a single set of stairs which zigzagged up the dark rock face.

Tain took all this in as the dark walls grew ominously closer and shaking his head he hissed up to the Druid, “I admit it, I was wrong. We’ll never get inside this place. Grande was right. Look at it!”

“We must try,” she shouted back over her shoulder and trotted onwards.

As they closed the ground between themselves and the outer gate Tain could see for himself the guards moving along the walls. There were at least four above the archway and he had caught sight of another two patrolling behind the gate.

It was not however until they were much closer that he could discern their race. Those on the wall above were clearly Barbarians; they had the characteristic blonde hair, lank from the recent drizzle.

Those on the gate however were not Barbarians; their swarthy figures betrayed them as Goblins. Though the afternoon was dim they were squinting in the light as if it were overly harsh and as they stepped forward to greet the arrivals they drew deep, stiff-clothed hoods up to shade their faces.

Tain counted his blessings, the Barbarians were tough and skilled fighters, the Goblins were amateurs by comparison.

Tain could see through the grating of the gate the road stretching of into a dim distance beyond, hemmed in by its ravine. He was also very aware that they were now within easy bow shot. He eyed the Barbarians on the wall warily. They were peering over the ramparts with interest at their approach.

The Druid brought the horse to a halt ten foot from the closed portcullis and jerked Tain violently forward on the end of the rope. Tain glanced up at her, she seemed unsure how to proceed. Eventually she called out, “Open the gate. I have a prisoner.”

Tain looked worriedly up, her voice did not sound right and not just because they were coming out of a different mouth. He rightly guessed she had never given commands to anyone in her life. She sounded dangerously uncertain.

A goblin stepped up behind the portcullis, his wide face was a patchwork of scars, he said gruffly “You have not long left Grenfel? What you go there?” and pointed at Tain, “And you know the Erwin's rules, known or unknown you got to give the pass.”

Tain inwardly groaned he had secretly feared something like this. He glanced up at the Druid who he could see was panicking. ‘Improvise something,’ Tain inwardly prayed.

She hesitated, she was desperately trying to think what a fierce Barbarian would say in response, eventually she blurted out, “Surely as you know me by sight that is enough? Don't waste my time.”

She was trying to sound like an important Barbarian but even to her own ears she instead sounded like a bad stage actor.

Tain winced at the performance like her worst critic.

The Goblin peered up at her suspiciously and replied, “Rules is rules, and I ain't crossing them. Now, either y’ gi’ me the password or I’ll call out the men.”

Tain readied himself to snap the rope from his hands, he had the distinct impression things were about to go horribly wrong.

She took a deep breath and placed a hand upon a vial which hung on the saddle, “Then send out the men,” she said quietly.

The goblin called in his own guttural language to others Tain could not see, but soon a group of six goblins emerged from a postern door beside the gate.

Tain eyed up the hilt of his sword, the end of which he could just see peeping out from beneath the horse’s blanket.

The Druid waited, letting the group get within five foot of her horse then she plucked the vial from the saddle and hurled it at the ground before them.

It exploded in a dazzling white light and expanded in a cloud of thickening white smoke which seemed to spark white flashes within like mini lightning strikes.

Tain heard cries from the blinded goblins as he slipped his hands from the ropes and instinctively in the white-out reached for his sword.

He did not find it, the horse had reared, taken as much by surprise as the enemy. Tain cursed, hearing the hooves a few feet away hammering on the ground and the clear neighing of panic. He hurried towards it through the sparking air, seeing little but shapes of grey.

Every so often one of the flashes of light would explode in the air near him and he would be as blinded as the goblins. Something whistled passed his ear in the cloud and thumped into the ground beside him. It was followed by several more hitting randomly all around. The men on the wall were firing blindly into the cloud.

Somewhere ahead of him he heard a scream and a few steps later he tripped and fell over a body with an arrow in the side of its neck.

Another arrow thumped into the road beside Tain's head as he lay sprawled on the ground. In the gloom he heard the clanking rattle of the portcullis being raised and he leapt up towards it.

The horse neighed again still out of sight and stamped its hooves. The sound had moved again, to his left this time. He cursed some more, the cloud seemed to be growing thicker instead of thinner.

Something caught his eye on the ground; it was the Druids black cloak. Tain picked it up. From the whiteness came another neigh and a series of odd creaks and rustlings. There were two brief screams.

The flank of the horse suddenly loomed up in front of him; it was pawing at the air. He had to use great care to edge close enough to the skittish beast to grab his sword and bow from it.

Once he had reattached the sheath to his belt and slung the bow he felt instantly better but he had little time to pause, there was another cry from directly before him and then a series of dying squeals. He hurried forward, sword drawn.

Suddenly a bell began ringing shrilly and desperately from somewhere on the wall above.

The archway suddenly loomed up right before Tain, dark in the white, the portcullis was raised but it was entwined with some sort of ivy which smothered it and crawled all across the road before him. There were bodies amongst its dark fronds, humps in the dark.

Tain drew cautiously closer. The bell suddenly ceased its ringing and then there was a cry directly over his head and a body fell squealing from the wall above. It landed right in front of him, head first onto the flagstones of the road.

He clearly heard the snapping of the goblin’s neck as it landed and the crack of its skull. He crept carefully around the body and approached the gate with a growing sense of dread.

Torch light was flickering fitfully and dimly in the gloom beneath the archway, Tain could not see where it was coming from but it did lend a yellow visibility to the inside of the white cloud. He wished very quickly that it did not.

The goblins guarding the gate lay there, their bodies outlined in the flickering light, they were being consumed by a creeping plant which had pierced their bodies, puncturing them at hundreds of points with pin-like roots which appeared to be sucking them dry.

Tain noticed with growing horror as he crept forward that not all the goblins were yet dead. Though they seemed unmoving and inert they were not lifeless, in some the eyes were still rolling in alert agony or staring outwards in full horrified awareness of their painful ending, mouths opened in muted screams, limbs twitched fitfully.

Tain took a few steps back in shock. He composed himself by putting the sight out of his mind as best he could, though along with the plateau of dead it was an image he was sure he would be waking up from, screaming, for years to come.

He took a deep breath and a short run up and jumped through the white air, over the top of the dead and dying and through the gateway.

He landed heavily on the other side and rolled on the hard ground but before he could get up a snatching tendril shot out at him, its barbed root primed for insertion. But it missed his flesh and caught only the material of his trousers. Immediately he felt a tug at his leg. He glanced down; the root was moving.

Instantly he drew out his dagger from his belt and knelt to cut it away but as he bent it jerked him violently and he fell over backwards, his leg pulled out from under him. With surprising strength the root began to drag him back towards the arch, through the white haze more roots were snaking along the flagstones towards him.

He had dropped the dagger when he fell and was scrabbling now for his sword hilt. He struggled to a sitting position and saw before him the source of the light; a flickering torch was hanging in a bracket just inside the archway.

He was suddenly pulled with greater vigour closer to the arch and glancing down he saw that several more roots had attached themselves to his jerkin, as they pulled he was spun round onto his side and a third root snaked right up to his face and struck at his eyes like a snake.

He ducked and bobbed his head to avoid the darting strikes and succeeded in grabbing it and slamming it to the ground. Finally managing to draw his sword he hacked the barb from it. But many more were coming, he slashed and hacked as they sprang at him, several aimed for his face and he swept the barb from one of them less than an inch from his nose.

He gave out a cry of effort and heaved himself up as high as he could, swinging his sword in an arc above his head. It met the crackling torch as he was dragged by below it and it fell from its bracket onto his stomach. He barely had the wits to grab it before it burnt him.

He glanced up at the archway, judged the distance and threw the torch into the tangle of thorns. Immediately the flames took hold and grew. In response the roots recoiled and Tain sliced desperately at those still attached then hurriedly retreated from the growing blaze.

He halted, panting, a safe distance away and regained his composure. The haze was less here but smoke from the burning gateway was joining the Druids cloud, enough to obscure everything down to edges and shapes.

He turned to move on and noticed that there was something else in the ground before him. Hesitantly, unsure what new horror would next assail him he edged forwards sword raised, squinting to define the shapes into objects he could recognize.

It looked like the torsos of several goblins, their arms sticking up in the air, necks stretched, heads thrown back, mouths agape.

When he got a little closer he realized they were buried in the ground up to their chests. From the looks of it the earth beneath them had simply opened up and swallowed them, closing back about them and squeezws and cracked the life from them.

The sound of footsteps on stone made Tain spin round. A figure coalesced out of the whiteness and the Druid emerged, she had transformed back to her usual appearance, perhaps in case Tain mistook her for an enemy.

“I see you found my cloak,” she said calmly, “Thank you,” she reached out calmly and took back the garment, throwing it over her shoulders and clasping it about her neck, “The door leading up to the levels above has been sealed, for now.
There is a stone guardhouse by the gate; I suggest we retreat to it whilst we await the Baron.”

Tain looked about himself, at the mutilated dead lying in the fogginess, “This is how Druids kill is it?” he said.

“Yes, when we have to,” she replied turning away, “Nature is our ally.”

“I’m beginning to understand why people fear your kind,” Tain commented following her.

“We are reflections of nature therefore at need we are as ruthless as she,” the Druid said simply.

“And how many have to die?”

“As many as are required to restore the balance,” she replied, they were at the stone guardhouse which had a sturdy oak door. She opened it and was about to go in when a sound made her stop. It was rain drumming on the wooden roof. A few large drops that quickly became a sudden downpour. She cursed, “I feared this,” she said gloomily.

The cloud of whiteness diffused immediately with the water and melted away to nothing. Their cover was gone but more than that the road behind them was revealed; goblins were coming out of secret entrances at points all along the Toll Road. Maybe as many as ten on either side.

“Hidden tunnels, we really should have thought of that,” Tain observed.

“That must have been in the second half of our plan,” she shrugged with a weak smile.

“What do we do now?” Tain asked. Twenty goblins were forming a line across the road ahead and marching towards them, short swords drawn. A large group of Barbarians emerged behind them with crossbows.

The Druid reached to her belt, but she was out of vials, she sighed, “I suggest we surrender,” she threw down her sword.

Tain eyed up the enemy around him, calculated his chances of survival at zero and also threw down his weapon, “If there is a next time, remind me we really do need more than half a plan,” he said ruefully.

Their hands were bound with chains and they were led by the Barbarians, to the cheers and jeers of the goblins, through the door in the wall and up the staircase within.

They were taken out through a trapdoor at the top and found themselves in the cold rain upon the ramparts above the gate. There was nothing moving before the gate save some birds flying for home through the rainy air.

Their guards unceremoniously dragged them along the wall and through a small gate at its far end which in turn led up some more steps to a plateau at the base of the Keep which loomed high above, perched at the top of the cliff face.

Beneath the cliff there were several stone buildings including a large stable yard, a second larger guardhouse and a jail, cut into the rock itself, its one window small and barred.

They were led to the solid door of the jail and one of their guards knocked on it.

A hatch opened and another much older, wrinkled Barbarian face appeared at it, looked, grunted, closed the hatch and unlocked the door which, was preceeded by the drawing back of a series of clunking bolts on his side of the door.

A moment later the door itself swung back and they were shoved inside.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 9:54 pm

There were no cells in the jail. Instead there was simply a wide open space with chains attached to the walls. The floor was covered in filthy straw that crawled with bugs. There were three crude holes in the floor whose use was obvious from the stench which arose from them.

Currently there was only one other prisoner; a woman, lying on her side, her back to the door.

She was attached by chain to the wall and her hands and feet were manacled. A bowl of stagnant water sat before her. Her long dark hair was hanging down across her face and back, she had been stripped of all but her undergarments which were dirty and soiled.

As they were led passed her Tain's growing anger was fed greater fuel by the fact that she was also quite obviously pregnant, at least six or seven months he guessed.

He exchanged disgusted glances with the Druid as they were manacled to the walls, far enough apart from each other and the woman that their chains would prevent them reaching one another.

Once his hands were secured Tain had his legs kicked out from under him by his guard. He fell heavily to the floor, feeling the stone through the thin straw covering. His legs were dragged out before him and manacles snapped around his ankles.

He glanced over at the Druid who it seemed had received no better treatment; a trickle of blood was running from the corner of her mouth.

The guards looked down at them, grunted with satisfaction and stalked off; they exchanged words in their own language with the man on the door then exited laughing. The door was securely bolted behind them.

Tain glanced at the woman. She seemed to be asleep. “What now?” he hissed across at the Druid trying not to wake the prisoner.

“We wait,” she replied.

“Hoi!” shouted the old man marching up from the door with a wooden mug of water in his crooked hand, half of which he threw over Tain who was closest, “No talking. Got it?”

Tain shook his head, water droplets flying from it, “Got it,” he said between gritted teeth.

The guard threw the other half over him and kicked him in the face, “That’s talking that is,” he grinned a toothless smile down at Tain who wished with all his life he had his hands free and could smack the old man one, “Understand?”

Tain did not reply this time but just spat blood pointedly from his mouth and stared at the floor biting his tongue.

“That’s better,” the old man said with a low chortle and turned away, going back to his station by the door.

The Baron Ironfang had not been idle. He had taken the plume of white smoke that engulfed the Toll Road to have been the Druids sign, but he was taking no chances. It was far too soon, so if it was a sign then it was sign things had already gone wrong.

This did not surprise the Baron, in his estimation those two would not be capable of successfully infiltrating an empty shed let alone a defended Keep. He had therefore decided to come alone.

Canthiss he had sent into Northolt where he would gather what strength of men he could find along the border and bring them hither.

He crossed the bridge alone at a gallop, trusting that the cloud at the gate was obscuring his approach.

He was just at the outer edges of the white, sparkling cloud when it began to rain, tinkling softly then rapidly off his armour. As quickly as the rain was falling the cloud obscuring him was receding.

He spurned Masquith on but heard the portcullis dropping, rattling and thumping to the ground. The area before the gate was strewn with messy dead and the Druids horse was running free, galloping back towards the bridge.

He reined his own horse in tight against the wall and dismounted. He peered upwards but no one it seemed was looking outward. On the other side of the wall he heard voices, “I suggest we surrender,” said one, the Druids voice. “If there is a next time, remind me we need more than half a plan,” he heard Tain say then the distinct sound of a weapon being cast to the ground.

So they had failed, he expected as much. If he had gone in place of Tain it would not have happened. Well there was no way he could ride back to the bridge now without being seen but he was not out of options yet.

He had grown up in this land, he knew every nook and cranny and if he followed this wall back to where it met the cliff face he would find an overhang of rock, under which there was a cave that went back some twenty foot.

He and Canthiss had used it as children to play at being highway robbers, running out screaming like madmen, waving sticks in their hands at the travellers passing along the road, most of whom had taken it all in good humour and a few of who had chased them for their lives, it was for the ones who had chased that they had done it.

Now that childhood game might offer him sanctuary. He slowly and as quietly as he could led Masquith along the line of the wall, keeping as close in to the stonework as he could and trusting now to luck that none peered straight downwards from the wall above.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:11 pm

It was dark outside the small barred windows and raining heavily. Tain tried to alter his sitting position, the roof was leaking and drips were falling loudly and irritatingly all around, making the straw damp as well as dirty.

The Druid seemed to be asleep or in prayer, sitting with knees drawn up close to her chest. The woman prisoner stirred and moaned occasionally but was yet to awaken and Tain wondered if she might have been drugged.

The guard had changed an hour or so earlier, the new guard was even older than the previous and his once blonde hair was totally white. He had almost immediately produced a flask of something to drink and stoked up the little fire that burnt in a grate by the door and put his feet up on the iron fender.

Tain reckoned all they need do was wait; not that there was much else to do as yet. A breeze blew in through the mean windows, clean mountain air.

A grunt from the jailor brought him fully back into the present, the man had almost nodded off and only just caught himself in time, now, as Tain watched from the corner of his eye, the man’s head was inevitably nodding back towards his chest. A short while later the eyelids drifted down and he began to snore gently.

Tain turned to the Druid to rouse her but where his companion had been there were just a chain and some manacles. Something rustled passed him in the straw and he saw a small grey haired body scuttling away towards the door.

A moment later she seemed to rise up, twisting out of nowhere behind the sleeping guard. She stealthily drew a knife from the jailor's belt and slit the man’s throat with it in one swift motion. The blood sprayed the wall opposite and the flask fell from the dead man's hand. She caught it before it hit the ground and sniffed it then took a long drink from it.

She searched the guard and then the area around him; finding a bunch of keys on a nail in the wall at about knee height next to the fire grating. She hurried back over to Tain and tried several keys before finding the one that unlocked the manacles.

“Thanks,” Tain said rubbing his wrists and taking the flask, “What about her?”

The Druid knelt by the woman’s side and touched her forehead, “She has been drugged, but poorly and with a common plant,” she collected her backpack from the corner by the door where it had been left and went into one of its many compartments, producing a small vial, “This will wake her, but then she will be our problem. As it is we do not have to take her with us.”

“We can’t leave her here in this filthy hole,” Tain insisted, “Not in her condition.”

“I thought you might say that,” the Druid shrugged and opened the vial; she held it beneath the woman’s nose. Almost immediately the woman started, throwing her head back. Her eyes snapped open.

“Where am I?” she said faintly and there was a sing-song quality to her voice that Tain immediately liked. It was deeper too than was usual in a woman, husky and accented. She tried to sit up and take in her surroundings but was woozy and took a moment to find her bearings, “I am still here! I had hoped it was a nightmare,” she sobbed.

“Who are you?” Tain asked, “Why’ve they kept you here, in your condition?”

“As if they care for my condition,” the woman said rising to her feet with great determination which impressed Tain, she even went as far as to shrug off his attempt to aid her, “As to who I am,” she rose to her full height which was as tall as Tain and looked him boldly in the eye saying, “I am the Lady Melladonna Erwin, wife of the late Baron Erwin of Southolt and this is my Keep,” she said proudly.

“Is it your prison too?” the Druid asked innocently.

“What my friend means is why are you here?” Tain interpreted diplomatically.

“Since my husbands fall the Barbarians have seized control. I knew nothing of his dealings with them until it was too late. By the time I realised something was amiss there was nothing I could do to send for help,” she explained whilst the Druid unlocked her bindings.

“That does not explain what you are doing here,” Tain said, “If your husband was in league with the Barbarians why imprison you?”

“Because had I known my husbands devices I would have betrayed him to the other nobles and I would certainly betray the Barbarians,” she replied haughtily, “This is all the doing of Prince Kell, it is he who poisoned my own husband against me,” she spat with real venom, her accent seeming to bring out the anger in her voice, “but he is a fool, the Barbarians have no intention of sharing power with him, they will take the kingdom just as they have my Keep, unless I prevent it.”

“You’re going nowhere save to cleaner lodgings as soon as may be,” Tain insisted, “you’ve more than your own life to consider.”

“It is for this life I bear that I must do what I must do, and the time that is left to me to do so is short,” she insisted, “This is my home and I will have it back before the end. For the sake of the child I bear.”

“What we need is information. Do you know how many men there are holding this place?” Tain said urgently, taking off his cloak and wrapping it around her shoulders whilst the Druid went over to the door and opened the hatch to peer through it.

“Thank you,” Melladonna responded as Tain clasped the cloak about her slender neck, “I saw about forty goblins, there are far fewer Barbarians, less than thirty, their leader is named Hasbar, he has a scar over one eye and a cut ear, it was he who put me in here.”

“You’ve a good eye for detail in a crisis,” Tain commented.

“It was I who gave him the cut, but I was aiming for his neck and for more than a nick,” she said fiercely then went on in a more level tone, “But it needs very few men to hold the Toll Road effectively. Almost all the Keeps compliment went out with the army to the siege of the Port.”

Tain turned to the Druid, “How many did you kill?” he asked him.

“Six goblins at the gate,” the Druid mused turning from the hatch which she had again closed, “and four more in the road, plus the two Barbarians upon the stairs, and six more upon the wall, eighteen all in,” she finished toting up the numbers, “I think.”

“Well, that’s a start,” Tain commented wryly.

“And how many did you kill?” Lady Erwin asked Tain.

“You’re joking? With her in front of me who was left to kill?” Tain replied.

“Well there can be no more than forty or so left in defence all in,” the Druid said, “I say we try to reduce that a little yet.”

“Might I point out,” Tain interjected, “that there are only three of us, and one of us, no offence my Lady, is a pregnant woman.”

“There is the Baron,” the Druid pointed out, “Wherever he is.”

“Baron?” Lady Erwin queried, “Which Baron?”

“The Baron Ironfang,” the Druid informed her.

“The man who murdered my husband!” she snarled in reply.

“Your husband left him little choice,” the Druid stated flatly.

“Nevertheless he was still my husband, whatever his faults, and I his wife. I have no love for the Ironfangs. I know the beast that lives in them, did I not live with it also for twenty years,” she said, the pride ringing in her voice.

“So you know about the Ironfang curse then?” Tain said.

“Know of it? It was the reason we came to this Kingdom. My husband might be gone but his seed, the Ironfang seed grows in me. I know what that means; it means most likely my own ending. Few survive the birth of an Ironfang. If I had the chance I would kill the Baron, without hesitation.”

“Well, fortunately he is not here so you will not get to try,” the Druid remarked, “But we must decide what to do soon. Someone is eventually going to come to this door.”

“Is there any other way out of the Toll Road besides the front door or going over the mountains?” Tain asked.

“Yes, there is a hidden passage that leads up behind the Keep,” she replied.

“Where?”

“There is an entrance in the rock face near the guardhouse beside the gate.”

“That means getting back along the wall and down the stairs without being seen,” the Druid noted, she opened the hatch on the door again and peered out,
“It looks all clear at the moment,” she commented.

“Will you be able to manage?” Tain asked Melladonna.
Melladonna rose to her feet again and looked him strongly in the eye, “I will manage,” she said stoutly and Tain nodded.

The Druid carefully drew back the bolts on the door, keeping the noise to a minimum. She prised it cautiously open and looked out. There was a single guard out on patrol on the wall. She indicated to the others to remain where they were and slipped outside.

She reached into her cloak and withdrew the blowpipe she had concealed there, popping a dart down into it. She drew her cloak in close about herself, raised the hood up and crept to the edge of the rampart and waited for the guard to approach.

When she judged the footsteps to be no more than a few feet away she stood up, took an instant aim and shot the man in the side of the neck. The guard reached a hand instinctively up with a shocked expression, gasped and crumbled to the ground. She scuttled over to the fallen man and drawing a dagger stabbed him twice in the chest. She hurried back to the prison and beckoned the others out.

Quickly as they could manage they made for the trapdoor leading down to the lower level. The Druid flicked it open and looked down; there was no-one on the stairs. Quickly they descended, Tain helping the Lady Erwin, who did not shun his proffered hand this time but took it gratefully in the dim light.

At the bottom of the stairs there was another guard but a second dart dealt with him swiftly and again the Druid set to work with her dagger to finish the job in silence.

The Lady Erwin indicated where along the wall they should go. Fortunately, if any were in the guardhouse, they seemed not to hear them as they crept softly by.
The portcullis was down and the ground there was blackened from fire, the twisted remains of burnt roots still clung here and there to the ironwork. Goblins patrolled beyond it.

Melladonna led them along the wall to where it met the natural rock of the ravine and by touching portions of it in a particular pattern she caused a section to slide back in, exposing a tunnel behind.

It was the Druid noted of very similar design to the secret entrance upon Scillian which the Cleric had used.

The Lady slipped inside to the darkness and Tain followed with the Druid bringing up the rear.


Upon the rampart wall above Hasbar looked down at the dead guard and sighed, knowing it was a necessary price to pay did not make it any easier.

Astagoth demanded loyalty of the highest kind but he rewarded it well. Once, Hasbar had been a hunter, chasing deer herds across the Plains. But that was before he had met his God; now he was leader of his tribe, a first among equals now the tribes had been reunited, he was an important man.

His second, Margil, watched from his concealment behind the ramparts as the Druid slipped into the tunnel, “We should kill ‘em now, there’s no way out o’ that tunnel save by the water. We have ‘em trapped,” he said keenly.

“No,” Hasbar replied with a shake of his head, “Trust in the Lady. We’ll follow her plan, for now. Keep a lookout for the Baron Ironfang and his men, and make sure when they come you make it look good. Send the rest of the goblins out against them, sacrifices to Astagoth are all those dogs are good for anyway, and it’ll spare our own.”

“It’ll be as you say Elder,” Margil said inclining his head.

“Oh, Margil,” Hasbar called after him, “don’t forget to reopen the tunnel entrance. The Baron will no doubt wish to find his friends. We wouldn’t want to disappoint him."

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:29 pm

The tunnel was dark but they fashioned a torch from some spare clothing and an old dry gnarled root. The Druid held its irregular flickering flame aloft.

Tain walked just behind her with Lady Erwin at his side. She often used one arm to steady herself against a wall and it was plain she was near exhaustion although she refused any aid. Tain fretted continuously over her well being and after a short march he announced a halt to let her recover somewhat.

He helped her to ease herself to the hard ground and then sat down beside her. After a few minutes he realized she was gently weeping, “It’ll be all right, we’re here to help you,” he comforted.

“I stand on the edge of ruin,” she replied, turning a face towards him that was struggling to remain defiant looking, “I was not born a Lady, but to be a Lady,” she sighed deeply, “I have devoutly wished it ever since I was a little girl.”

“You still are a Lady, whatever your husband may have done,” Tain consoled.

“What is a Lady without her Lord?” she asked sadly and wiped her tears with one hand, “Yet, these are times of great upheaval, change and chance,” she added in a more controlled tone, “In such times men of ambition rise up to become tomorrows Lords.” She held his eye questioningly a moment.

Tain may have been out of court politics since he had left Stenor but he had been brought up with it, he knew political speech when he heard it and he was hearing it now, he considered his words carefully before answering, “Those who have ambition to be Lords might.”

“All ambition needs is incentive,” she replied.

“And what incentive would that be?” Tain asked.

“Surely nothing but what any man would desire; peace, prosperity and security within lands of his own, influence and power. And a strong woman by his side to fight his causes and bear his heirs.”

“That’s a lot to offer just to remain staying still,” Tain commented.

“I offer all there is left to me, what else can I do?” her voice wavered again and she hung her head, “Listen to me. I sell my title like a common whore her wares. Why do I even fret over the future? What future do I have? But if I were to survive this birth, then I would I had something to survive for.”

“I think we should move on,” the Druid interrupted not particularly liking where this conversation was going, or the amount of attention Tain was lavishing on this woman.

“Can you manage now?” Tain asked Melladonna, she nodded affirmatively and Tain helped her to stand. The Druid stomped off ahead of them.

They had not gone more than another half an hour worth of travel in the tunnel when the Lady gasped and clasped at her swollen stomach, coming up short steadying herself with her other hand against the tunnel wall.

The Druid moved in close to her, passing the burning torch she had been holding aloft to Tain, she held Melladonnas hand and felt her brow.

“I must rest,” she panted, “I am so tired.”

“This is not a good place to stop,” the Druid pointed out, the section of tunnel they were in although wide had a crevice in it, maybe only four foot across but who knew how deep, it ran in a crack along the base of the opposite wall.

Melladonna groaned again and slumped to the ground, “I must rest,” she insisted.

“She needs a break,” Tain said supportively and to the Druid annoyance, then taking Melladonna's hand and kneeling by her side he asked, “Is there anyone else in the Keep who knows about this tunnel, or how to get into it?” She shook her head weakly in reply, “Then it’s safe enough for now to stop awhile,” Tain reasoned, “So long as we all remember where that hole is in the dark we’ll be fine,” he added.

The Druid took off her backpack and pointedly sat down heavily not to far from the crack in the ground and glowered.

It would be night outside the tunnel and now Tain had the time and opportunity to feel tired he realized he was tired, very tired. It did not take him long once he had seen the Lady Erwin soundly asleep to fall asleep himself.

The Druid put the torch out and sat smoking in the dark, the glow of the bowl of her pipe the only sight in the blackness. She knew she should not let it bother her, the way Tain seemed almost immediately entranced by this woman. Certainly there was a certain air and grace to her and her movements, and she knew Tain was sympathetic to her condition. Still, every time he took her hand, or sided with her, it still hurt.

She decided to pray, these thoughts were foolish and wasteful, what she needed was calm. She settled her mind down into her rhythmic pattern of prayer and almost immediately she knew something was wrong. Something very close-by was distorting her perception; it was an effect that only happened when she was very close to a large source of magic. And magic of this kind only came in two types, either it was a natural flow in or it was being focused through an individual such as herself. She realized too late that it was the latter.

She felt a distant pricking in the skin of her body and a small bloom of panic arose. She suddenly knew who she had been sensing.

Tain had asked her if the druid perspective meant that she would view those of pure goodness the same as she did those of pure evil, and she had replied that she would consider it an equal aberration. That was true but it was not the complete truth, because whilst it was an aberration it was not her task to put right.

Her order, her people were dedicated to hunting down those who used the force of evil to create imbalance. They were not the only kind of druid however; there were the opposite orders, those whose appointed task was to hunt down those who used good.

As her eyes snapped open to reveal the face of Lady Erwin grinning down at her she knew Melladonna was that kind of Druid.

She felt her body stiffen immediately, muscles seizing. Melladonna had poisoned her, even as she had prayed. Some kind of paralysis. Something foreign and unknown or else she would be immune to it.

Suddenly her view changed, she was on her side, she could feel nothing from her body, it was as if it was not there. Then her view began to turn; floor, ceiling, floor ceiling. For a moment the motion stopped.

Melladonna was glancing across at Tain who was snoring gently and muttering occasionally. She waited a moment to be sure he was not awakening and when she was certain resumed rolling the paralysed Druid to the crevice.

When she had gotten to the edge of the crevice she turned the Druid over onto her back so that she was facing up and mouthed the single word, “Goodbye,” with a smile and shoved her into the hole.

Melladonna stared down into the blackness and seeing nothing turned away satisfied and crept back to her place beside Tain and returned to pretending to be asleep.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:46 pm

Hoo hoo, yes ! I so respect the Druid ! & Im still fascinated with this story ! bounce

_________________
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.”
"There are far, far, better things ahead than any we can leave behind"
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Th_cat%20blink_zpsesmrb2cl

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Jean-b11
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:52 pm

Glad your still with it Azriel Very Happy - one last shorter bit now and end of another chapter!

Tain awoke and sat up. It was dark and it took him a moment to remember where he was. He could hear the sound of the Lady breathing deeply right next to him. She seemed to still be asleep. He strained his ears in the dark but could not hear any sound of his companion.

“Psst,” he called out, “Druid.”

There was no reply, no sound at all in fact above the breathing of Melladonna which altered when Tain spoke, as if his voice had disturbed her.

“Are you there?” he called out into the darkness and again there was no reply.

He cursed and scrabbled in his backpack for his flint and tinder. He eventually found them and managed to get the torch reignited. The jumping light showed up the dark tunnel walls but there was no sign of the Druid within them. There was however he noticed some marks in the dust where she had been sitting. He rose to go over and examine them closer when the Lady stirred and awoke.

“Where are you going?” she asked in a frightened tone.

“Not far. Just over here. My companion is missing,” Tain explained, pointing to where the Druid had been last sitting.

“She is not missing,” Melladonna said, “she has left.”

Tain turned back to her, “Left? Without telling me?”

“You were still asleep. She did not wish to disturb you. I must have fallen asleep again whilst I awaited for you to awaken, your friend has gone back up the tunnel,” she explained, standing up with his assistance.

“Why?”

“She was worried the Baron might try to rescue you,” she said, “Ironfang knows nothing of this tunnel I am sure, it was only discovered and reopened by my husband long after the Ironfangs had left. Your friend thought the Baron should be warned that we were no longer in danger.”

“That sounds like a good reason,” Tain admitted, “Just like her to take off on her own when it suits her,” he grumbled, “Still, she might’ve woken me,” he peered thoughtfully at where the Druid had been sitting but Melladonna gently put a hand on his cheek and steered his gaze back upon her face.

“We should go on,” she suggested.

Tain held her gaze in the dim light, if she was lying there was no sign of it on her features and the Druid was prone to doing things suddenly and without explanation of late, “Yes, you’re right,” he relented, “Are you ready to go on?”

“With your kindness, yes,” she replied with a gentle smile and taking his arm led him along the tunnel passed the black crevasse.

Tain was running out of things to set fire to. He wrapped a scrap of old bandaging around the torch and spent quarter of an hour trying to get it to relight. They had been marching steadily for half an hour prior to making this current forced stop. The tunnel now sloped sharply up, which had hindered their progress as the slope seemed to sap the strength from the Lady.

“Where exactly are we going?” Tain asked.

“To the top of the mountains. Or at least near to the top.”

“Unless I’ve lost all sense of direction we’re also going south,” Tain commented.

“Yes,” Melladonna confirmed, “This tunnel leads to an ancient marvel, long forgotten by those on the plains below. Erwin rediscovered it,” she said proudly and for a moment Tain wondered again just how much she really knew about her husband’s doings, “But first,” she went on, “There is somewhere else I must go.”

“And where’d that be?” Tain asked a little suspiciously, “You said this tunnel would lead us out.”

“It will, eventually. But my husband had a private chamber excavated into this tunnel, it is not far now and it contains objects I would rather not loose, things of great importance to me,” she replied.

“I didn’t come with you to go on a treasure hunt,” Tain replied curtly, “If that’s all we’re doing down here then we’re turning back, right now.”

The Lady eyed him steely for a moment as if judging his character, “Have you ever heard the name, ‘Astagoth’ before?” she eventually asked, watching his face closely.

“I may’ve come across it, here and there,” Tain replied equally carefully.

“Then you will know it is the name of a God, a very ancient God. One my husband became obsessed with.”

“Why?”

“Because he knew that Astagoth and his illness were somehow linked. That Astagoth and the Ironfangs were somehow linked. So he hunted everywhere for news of Him, and found it. But he found more than tales. Erwin collected a store of devices and instruments, documents and forgotten heirlooms, most in praise of Astagoth, but some designed to thwart him. If you would arm against that deity then you would be wise to take me to my husbands’ chamber. There you will find perhaps something to aid you.”

“And what’re you looking for Lady?”

“Vengeance,” she replied coldly, “I will avenge my husband, and myself.”

“And what you need for that is in this chamber of your husbands I suppose?” Tain surmised with a shake of his head.

“So you see, it is in both our interests to go there.”

Tain did not reply.

“Will you come with me?” she asked with pleading eyes.

“I’ll come,” Tain nodded, “But not so you can collect some weapon, but if as you say there are items there which might help then I suppose I can’t risk not taking a look, now can I?”

They stood, Tain helping the Lady rise and then taking the lead himself he marched on.

In the darkness behind him the Lady smiled at him mockingly.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:57 pm

I so respect the Druid !- Azriel

I have no problem with women who can do all the action and perform ruthlessly and effeciently and have the mental stength when its not just a woman acting like a man.
I hate the more Xena, Tauriel like idea- thats just a woman doing what a man would only in real life a mans greater muscle and mass would in fact make all the difference nine times out of ten.
The good thing about the Druids character is it lets her do the action stuff and the ruthless stuff without comprimising the physical or mental reality of her being female.
At least, thats the aim!

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:00 pm

How some men easily fall for the "Im so weak,I need your help,then you can **** me" syndrome ! Nod

_________________
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.”
"There are far, far, better things ahead than any we can leave behind"
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Th_cat%20blink_zpsesmrb2cl

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Jean-b11
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:01 pm

Pretty much works every time- even when we suspect thats what it is. Mad

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:01 pm

Pettytyrant101 wrote:I so respect the Druid !- Azriel

I have no problem with women who can do all the action and perform ruthlessly and effeciently and have the mental stength when its not just a woman acting like a man.
I hate the more Xena, Tauriel like idea- thats just a woman doing what a man would only in real life a mans greater muscle and mass would in fact make all the difference nine times out of ten.
The good thing about the Druids character is it lets her do the action stuff and the ruthless stuff without comprimising the physical or mental reality of her being female.
At least, thats the aim!
I totally concur ! Nod

_________________
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.”
"There are far, far, better things ahead than any we can leave behind"
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Th_cat%20blink_zpsesmrb2cl

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Jean-b11
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:07 pm

Goint to post a bit more just becuase I'm in an editing mood- but feel free to leave it till tomorrow to read, I promise not go more than a chapter ahead! Very Happy

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:10 pm

Chapter Seven
A Mystery Solved


The Druid was panicking. She had done the first thing that came to mind as her body was pushed into the crevice, which was to slow time.

Actually time had not slowed at all, but to all practical intents and purposes it appeared to have.

The dark rock sides were no longer a flashing blur but could be studied in painstaking detail as they went passed; it was a trick of perception. It was a good trick, one most people actually used at least once in their lives, in an accident or turmoil, when time seemed to slow.
Druids had studied this and discovered that it was a survival instinct. All the information your brain usually ignored or did not bother your conscious mind with was suddenly made available in case it turned out to be useful in preventing your impending doom; there was a chance of noticing something you might otherwise miss. It was the overload of detailed information which made time seem slower.

It gave her plenty of chance to note an out jut of rock a considerable period before her shoulder cracked off it for example.

There was no pain because of the paralysis but logic told her she must be hurt.

She desperately sought a solution to her descending problem. Of course if she were not paralysed there would not be a problem, a quick change- a bat would perfect in here she considered as the walls hurried by- and she would be away.

The problem was not that she could not change into a bat but that she would be changing into an equally paralysed bat.

She ran through all the creatures she could think of and which she was capable of transforming into, trying to find one that might survive the fall- paralysed.

She considered a hedgehog who, when curled in a ball, were known to have survived substantial falls- she glanced down into the dark, another out jut of rock was approaching- of course the hedgehog solution ran into the same problem as the bat one in that a paralysed hedgehog would not be able to roll into a ball any more than a paralysed bat could fly- she was almost upside down when she hit the second ledge.

Her left leg this time which she heard snap as it struck.

No pain again but clearly a break as it caused her to momentarily black out.

When she regained consciousness she was still falling, though now accompanied by many small pieces of stone and rock. She tried to work out which way was down but as she was still turning in the dark air she could not tell. The walls were very close as the crevice narrowed, increasing her anxiety.

She suddenly got a sickening view of the bottom as her head spun momentarily face downwards. She had secretly been hoping for an underground stream, maybe some sort of hidden pool, but no, there was a pinprick of light spilling in from some hidden crack in the mountainside and it highlighted nothing but a floor of jagged rock. And it was getting closer very fast indeed.

She was going to die soon if she did not think quickly.

When the answer came to her a mere ten foot from impending doom it was so ludicrous she would have burst out laughing if her mouth was not rigidly fixed open.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:49 pm

Tain watched as Melladonna manipulated the tunnel wall. She was opening another hidden passage which she claimed led to her husband’s secret lair. He watched her as she pressed pieces of the rock wall. Her face was an intense mask of concentration.

She bore herself well he considered, given the circumstances. Her hair was unkempt, loose down her back, dirty and matted. Her clothing, not more than a tattered nightgown under his cloak was little to warm her and her bare feet were dirty and cut, yet she had complained remarkably little.

This woman was no wallflower, he was certain of that. She was not entirely honest either he was equally certain of that. He doubted very much she was ignorant or entirely innocent of her husbands deeds-somehow she did not come across as a stay in the Keep doing the tapestries sort. It was hard to imagine any husband of hers doing anything without her knowledge. And yet he could not help admitting there was something vulnerable about her, and not just because of the baby she bore.

The fact she was living with the knowledge that giving life to her own child would most likely kill her must be a great burden, yet again she seemed to bear this on broad shoulders. Much to his surprise he found he quite liked her.

She was forthright, well-educated for a woman, determined and could stand on her own two feet, traits inherently attractive in a woman to Tain. There was also the fact that bedraggled as she was- indeed it may even have been adding to the effect- there was no doubting that she was attractive.

A section of the wall slide back and she turned to him saying in her sing-song accent, “Follow me, it is just in here,” and slipped inside.

Tain followed.



The Druid was not particularly comfortable; her leg was broken, her shoulder too possibly and she had rocks digging into her now sizeable rear end.

There was also very little room to flick her tail so it was just as well it was still as paralysed as the rest of her.

But she was nonetheless relatively safe for now. It was true that she was technically a relatively safe donkey jammed ten foot up a crevice but it was better than being her usual shape only spread out all over the rocks below.

She glanced down at them and spotted her backpack lying on the hard floor in the darkness-reasoning that it must have fallen off as she fell. It occurred to her that there, in that pack, not twenty foot away was almost certainly a remedy to her condition. In fact she knew there was- three compartments along and two down.

There would also be pain killing herbs for when the paralysis wore off. The problem she therefore reasoned was the ten feet and her inability to move through them.

A clicking drifted to her ears, high pitched and growing in speed. Click---click---click—click-click-clickclickclick---click. Her donkey ears homed in on the sound, localizing it. Bats she thought. Perfect.



The chamber was built against the mountainside. Tain knew this because the light from the open windows nearly blinded him when he came round the corner and he had to raise his arm before his eyes to shield them until they grew accustomed to it. Melladonna flicked up the hood of her cloak to shield her eyes.

They were high up it seemed, not only above Southolt but quite some distance south of it. The window, so far as he could tell, looked east across the plain. The sky was grey and it was raining outside, it was about mid-morning he judged.

Melladonna went immediately to a large table that stood at the chambers centre; it had several wooden boxes stacked atop it.

“Still here,” she muttered happily grabbing at a small wooden chest.

“Where are the items you spoke of?” he asked looking around and seeing nothing but rolls of ageing parchment in compartments in the walls and strewn about the floor and table.

“There are none left, my husband took some with him and hid the others,” she replied without looking up.

“Then remind me again why I’m here?” he said angrily crossing the room towards her, “I thought we’d talked about this.”

“You talked,” she replied and cast open the lid of the box. She drew out from it a dagger exactly like the one Erwin had wielded. The one designed to kill shape-changers, “I came for this,” she said turning to him and holding it up, “I told you, I will avenge my husband.”

“No you won’t. I don’t know if you happen to have noticed, but dagger or no the Baron is a big man. He could knock you aside like he was swatting flies. This is madness. You don’t have to do this, you are better than this,” Tain reasoned, reaching out his hand towards her. She brandished the dagger at him in return.

“This will kill you just as swiftly as Ironfang,” she warned.

“You don’t want to do this,” he answered in a hushed voice.

“Oh, you are wrong. I do want to do it. I have wanted to do this for many, many years,” she hissed backing away from him towards the window.

“And what of your child?” he replied pointing to her swollen stomach.

“Ironfang is a beast,” she almost screamed, “If you would know the Ironfangs then you should know what they are capable of. Erwin's mother was raped by an Ironfang, driven from this land with violence, cast out and left for dead. Did you know that? Did the noble Baron tell you the tale?” she sneered, “But she survived, long enough at least to give birth. Erwin was weak and sickly for one of his breed, a runt, raised by a family of farmers who came upon him still clinging to his dead mother’s chest. They took him for their own and Erwin loved them as any child would their own parents. But when he was thirteen years old, at the time of the full moon, he changed for the very first time. The Ironfang curse awoke within him. In those three nights of that first, terrifying alteration he slaughtered his entire family. And then ate the remains.”

“That’s horrible,” Tain said quietly.

“Imagine how it felt to a thirteen year old boy, alone, distraught, terrified of himself and of what he had become. A murderer and a cannibal in his own eyes. Is it no wonder that he vowed to track down those who were responsible? He scoured all the kingdoms of the north searching for clues to his origins, finding their source finally here, in Futura. So do not expect me to feel any love for the Ironfangs, I know their breeding.”

“Maybe you’re right, maybe you’re wrong, but if it’s vengeance you want then let your child bear it.”

“What?” she said startled by this line of thinking.

“Why not let your child avenge its father’s death, it’s not your place, it’s theirs. Let the child decide when it is grown if vengeance is warranted,” Tain argued and edged a few steps closer.

She seemed to digest his words and wavered, the hand holding the dagger fell limply to her side and he took it from her.

He held the dagger up in the light of the window. He noted for the first time that the blade was made of the same strange metal as the dagger he taken from the dead elf upon the unknown ship.

Behind him Melladonna silently opened a second box and took from it a small round sphere of crystal which she hid under her cloak.

“One of a pair I assume?” he asked turning back round, referring to the dagger.

“Yes,” she replied looking at him from under the brim of the hood, “They were part of Erwin’s studies.”

“His studies to find a way to kill Ironfangs,” he remarked dryly.

“To avenge his mother and his family,” Melladonna snapped back and her eyes blazed.

“I’m not saying what happened to him was fair,” he reassured her, “but your husband choose the wrong friends to help him.”

“He had little choice in friends, he was nothing. He had to join with those who had power,” she said perching herself on the low, broad stone sill of the window and taking down the hood of her cloak. The sun shone on her face and made her tearful eyes sparkle.

“And who were his friends?” he said sitting down beside her.

“People like Prince Kell. Did you know he killed his own mother? The Queen?” she asked arching one eyebrow.

“No, I didn’t, although I can’t say as it surprises me much. Patricide seems to be a sport of the nobility,” he said grimly.

“He did it right here, before our very Keep,” she pointed out the window to where a small grey line across the river marked the Norath bridge, visible from here only because of the height of the window up the mountainside, “Of course, it had to be here, so that Erwin could aid him. To prove his loyalty.”

“And you knew and did nothing?”

“I knew afterwards, not before, though you have no reason to believe that,” she said sadly.

“I believe it,” he said, “But you didn’t exactly declare it when you did find out, did you?”

“What point was there? It was done and now the opportunity had to be taken or else all would have been for naught. What wife in my position would have done differently?” she challenged.

“So where do the Barbarians fit into the picture?”

“They and the goblins are Prince Kell's pets, not my husbands, or why else do you think I was thrown into my own prison?” she lied and stared out at the rain filled sky.

“And Astagoth?”

“I had never heard the name until I came here, though of course my husband had. It had come up in his researches, so he told me later,” she replied, “But he was not obsessed with Astagoth then, as he was to become later.”

“So what happened to change things?”

“Prince Kell introduced us to an acquaintance of his, a Cleric working as a spy for the Throne; he was placed in the Port to watch over Duke Grande, it was he who introduced my husband to the worship of Astagoth. And he showed him that the old God was not as dead as presumed.”

“Let me guess. White robe, middle aged, long black hair and beard?”

She nodded at him.

“Cloewyn. He seems to get around a lot. I’d love to get another chance to talk to him. But what about you? Did he introduce you to Astagoth as well?” he asked.

Melladonna did not answer but got up from where she sat and went back to the table, pulling the hood back up about her face, commenting instead, “There is something else here I desire to find. An heirloom, no more,” she began rummaging through the various empty boxes on the table.

Tain stood and stared out the window. It was raining still in a steady stream; something was nagging at the back of his mind. He watched Melladonna thoughtfully; her silhouette with hood pulled up over her face was familiar, he had seen it before.

Then it hit him where. His shoulders slumped in reluctant acceptance.

“You were there? Weren’t you?” he said flatly without turning round.

“What?” she replied, distractedly, and then muttered, “It is not here!”

“I said,” he repeated more forcibly but still without turning, “You were there? I saw you, didn’t I?”

“Where?” she said distractedly.

“I should have put it together sooner really, but I haven’t had the time to stop and think, until now,” he continued unmoving.

“About what?” Melladonna responded and coming over to him she put her hand on his shoulder, it was trembling with rage beneath her touch, she withdrew sharply and took a step back from him saying, “I do not know what you are talking about?”

Tain spun round and grabbed her hands violently; he clasped them together over her pregnant stomach where he could see them. “You know what I’m talking about!” he shouted in her face, “There were three in the Circle cave beneath the mountain that night. Your husband was the butcher. Cloewyn the orchestrator. And you. What was your role? Witness? Supplicant? You slipped out first, but I saw you go.”

“You are mistaken, I don’t know what you are talking about,” she wailed at him, “let me go, you are hurting me.”

He released her and threw her backwards to the ground, feeling both justified in his anger and guilty because she was with child, but he was furious, “You? With a child within you did this? How? How could you do such a thing? And you dare for shame to call Ironfang a beast?”

She began weeping hysterically at his feet, repeating over and over, “There was no other way! No other way!”

He could get nothing more out of her and eventually she subsided into a pitiful series of sobs and weeping.

He knelt by her side and growled, “I hope your guilt gnaws at you the rest of your life. You deserve nothing less. Indeed there are those who’d say you deserve a great deal worse,” he looked down at her and his voice softened a little, “But I don’t deal out justice in this realm, except in my own defence; you’ll receive no punishment from me. That’ll be for others and your own conscious to provide.”

He stood and went over to the door meaning to simply walk out but he ended up lingering in the doorway, eventually he said, “Get up. We’re going back.”

She slowly stood; her stomach seemed larger in the full glare of the day, silhouetted as it was against the window. The cloak he had given her was too big and trailed around her bare feet, her arms hung limply by her sides and her face was smeared with dirt, streaked by tears. Despite himself he could not help but feel some pity for her.

“Leave everything here Lady Melladonna,” he said in a kinder voice, “Leave your title. Leave your desire for revenge. Leave your past. Walk out this door with me now and start again, for your child’s sake.”

She straightened herself up before him, seeming in the process to regain her poise and presence, it was impressive how she seemed to gather herself back in, back under control, “I am Lady Melladonna Erwin, it is what I have always desired to be and I will renounce it unto no-one, least of all to an Ironfang,” she looked across the room, long and hard at Tain and he shuddered a moment though he did not know why, “Yet, there are deeds, necessities of the past I deeply regret and wish had never been,” she went on, her eyes softening and her gaze falling to the ground, “But I can undo no evils, right none of my wrongs,” she turned her eyes back upon him and they were hard once more, “And truthfully, nor I think would I choose to do so.”

“Then I can’t help you,” he said sadly, “Are you going to come back to the Keep with me? I’ll turn you over to the Baron and this realms justice if you do. But if you choose to stay behind, I’ll not force you back.”
“No, I will come and face my past,” she replied decisively, “but there is a quicker way out from here.”

“Where?”

“A little further on, not far, we are only minutes from the top and the wonder I spoke of,” she informed him.

“What is this wonder?” he asked curiously. Thinking, what could there be on top of a mountain?

“You shall behold it yourself very shortly, I will lead the way,” and with that she walked passed him and out of the room.

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by azriel Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:49 pm

affraid Come on Druid ! (loved the slo-mo)

_________________
"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.”
"There are far, far, better things ahead than any we can leave behind"
If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Th_cat%20blink_zpsesmrb2cl

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Jean-b11
azriel
azriel
Grumpy cat, rub my tummy, hear me purr

Posts : 15423
Join date : 2012-10-07
Age : 62
Location : in a galaxy, far,far away, deep in my own imagination.

Back to top Go down

Circle of Stone (reprieve) - Page 15 Empty Re: Circle of Stone (reprieve)

Post by Pettytyrant101 Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:04 am

It was taking the Druid some time to get out of her predicament. Bats she could talk to, or at least convey ideas to. Conveying the idea of her backpack was hard though. The bats could locate it without any trouble but could find little in it of interest to them. Eventually she had to get inside one of their heads and try to take more direct control from afar.

Eventually the bat emerged from under the bags flap lid with a vial around its neck. She suffered a terrible moment when she got confused mid-flight as to whether she was a donkey jammed in a hole or a bat flying in the air and nearly lost control of both, but she regained herself just in time and manoeuvred the bat to her paralyzed donkey mouth.

This was the really tricky bit. She had to get the vial into her mouth. This should have been easy as her mouth was hanging open; unfortunately her donkey tongue was also hanging out of it. It took a few tricky long moments of fluttering and manoeuvring before the liquid was pouring from the vial into her system.

She released her mind from the bats gratefully and the creature, somewhat confused, fluttered rapidly back down into the darkness.

Now it was just a matter of time until the remedy did its work and then she had a score to settle.

She wondered if Tain had discovered yet that his travelling companion was treacherous and if so whether he had survived the discovery.


Ironfang had spent one cramped night under his rock and with a horse in close proximity it was beginning to be a smelly rock to hide under. Indeed Masquith seemed as restless as the Baron himself, or perhaps the beast’s long acquaintance with its master meant it sensed his unease. And the Baron was very uneasy.

Two hours ago he had kicked and punched large lumps of rock from the rear of his hiding hole. It had been a rage of unparalleled fury in which he had momentarily lost all sense of his predicament or even his own sense of being and had succumbed to a sort of madness.

His hands were torn and bloodied still from where he had punched and clawed at the wall. The worst thing of all was that he had no idea why he had done it or even what had set him on in the first place.

It was the same as when he had snapped at Tain the previous morning. The same momentarily loss of control. But this time had been worse, if it had been like this the day before Tain would be dead by now.

The strange thing was the sensation was well known to the Baron, the loss of control, of reason, it was what happened during every change. But the moon was more than three weeks from the full, he should be suffering no ill-effects yet, especially not this blinding fury and rage.

Besides there were no other signs that he was about to change. So why was he suffering from these maddening bouts of loss of control?

He peered out at the blanket of rain that was falling between his cave and the main gate. The gate was not really a problem. The Baron knew, because he had done it before as a youth for fun, that he could get in over the wall above. He would need a rope, which fortunately he had but more than that he would need the guards on top to be busy elsewhere. It was for this sole reason that he had sat in this miserable hole for most of the morning awaiting the return of Canthiss.

He peered out as he had done a million times in the hope of catching a sight of his servant. The rain made everything beyond the bridge a curtain of grey in which the hills beyond where just blurred grey outlines but the Baron fancied he caught sight of something moving at their base.

He loosed his sword in its scabbard and unslung the rope from his saddle. Masquith pawed the ground fretfully. He went back to the caves entrance and looked out to the bridge.

Horsemen were now thundering across it. Ironfang counted forty men led by Canthiss under the Northolt pendant. They rode Northolt horses, fast and strong and much to the Baron’s delight, tearing over the bridge behind them was a pack of Northolt hounds. Hunting mastiffs they had been but the Ironfangs had bred them back with wild wolves for generations and so large and fearsome had they become in appearance that Ironfang in his wolf form could run among them and be all but indistinguishable from the pack save in size and fierceness.

Now the Baron thought he had need of rage. He waited until he heard the twang of the crossbow bolts on the wall above and the cries of the guards as they rushed to the defence of the gate before dashing out and clambering up the rock face.

He hauled himself easily up onto a ledge and found himself immediately beneath the outer wall. Its ramparts seeming to loom distantly above him. He took two daggers from his belt and lashed them into a cross then tied them to one end of the rope.

Quickly he swung the rope and cast it up at the wall but it clinked against the stonework and fell back beside him. He cursed and tried again.

Before the gate the charge was slowing. Canthiss reared in his saddle drawing his bow from his back. As bolts whistled passed him he took aim and fired an arrow through the bars of the portcullis taking out a goblin within.

He did not attempt to reload here but darted to the side of the archway. He dismounted and with a word sent his steed galloping back towards the bridge.

The other men were doing likewise, finding protection beneath the walls and dismissing their rides, those who had survived the charge at least. There were maybe as many as fifteen bodies lying on the road in the approach to the gate.
Twenty-five men remained, pressed up against the stonework.

“What is the order?” the man next to Canthiss asked, “We can go no further whilst that gate is down!”

“We await the Baron,” Canthiss replied.

It did not take long. There was an outbreak of cries on the wall above and then the voice of the Baron rising up in a great roar of “Northolt!”

“Cross-bows,” Canthiss shouted in response, “Now!” he cried and crab-like sidled out in front of the gate, his men flanking round him. They did not look for individual targets but simply filled the space behind the portcullis with bolt fire.

Those in the front line unleashed first, Canthiss leading them, then they fell to their knees, reaching for new bolts and reloading whilst those behind stood and took their shots. This pattern repeated for four volleys before Canthiss raised his arm in sign of halt. All beyond the gate were dead and they had lost only four of their own to returning fire.


Hasbar was watching the Baron from the top of the steps of the Keep, Margil stood by his side as always.

He was an impressive sight to behold, Ironfang, as he hacked his way across the wall. The gate-guard was of course going to be massacred down there, and in truth Hasbar could ill afford to loose the men. He had been left with few enough when the army had left and now he had heard no word from them either.
Something deep in his gut told him things were not on course but he ignored it.
The Lady had her plan to take care of these troublemakers. He turned to Margil, “Are the goblins in place?”

“They’re stationed before the passage entrance.”

“Good,” Hasbar mused. A messenger entered, hurrying out from the Keep.

“Elder,” he said, kneeling before Hasbar, “The Lady is nearin’ the mountain top.”

“Good, all’s going as she planned,” Hasbar replied, “Prepare to withdraw all our remaining men into the caverns behind the Keep, any left there will not survive what’s to come.”

_________________
Pure Publications, The Tower of Lore and the Former Admin's Office are Reasonably Proud to Present-



A Green And Pleasant Land

Compiled and annotated by Eldy.

- get your copy here for a limited period- free*

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1yjYiz8nuL3LqJ-yP9crpDKu_BH-1LwJU/view



*Pure Publications reserves the right to track your usage of this publication, snoop on your home address, go through your bins and sell personal information on to the highest bidder.
Warning may contain Wholesome Tales
[/b]

the crabbit will suffer neither sleight of hand nor half-truths. - Forest
Pettytyrant101
Pettytyrant101
Crabbitmeister

Posts : 45223
Join date : 2011-02-14
Age : 50
Location : Scotshobbitland

Back to top Go down

Page 15 of 18 Previous  1 ... 9 ... 14, 15, 16, 17, 18  Next

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum