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Lote, 80 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Ha! I have just learned to fight!

But...is it worth being lonely...

And hated by your own mother...

I can't do this anymore...
Lote, 80 - Sunrise, hr 4    
There it is...that...that thing!

I have to...

I have to..


Lote, 80 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Today Dinova gathered all the children together in the shack to tell them a story. This is how he started:

"Okay, little brothers and sisters! I'll tell you now a story that Mama told me before you were born! It's from her days when she was as young as us.

"Back then Mama traveled all the lands. She traveled the mines and found the metal to make the first weapons and armor. She traveled the woods and found the delicious berries in them. She traveled the beaches on the ocean and found the red sea rock. And everywhere she went, she hunted, and hunted better than any other being ever had.

"Back then the wolves could talk, you know. And they were the best hunters in the land before Mama came. So one day the king of all wolves came to Mama - a huge beast black as the night with glowing eyes, fangs as long as an arm and claws like swords!"

Din raised his arms up and curled his fingers to show the children how scary the wolf-king was. Bella was a little scared, so she peeked out from behind Mira while she braided her hair. I smiled and ran my hand through Din's hair.

Din spoke in a gruff voice to imitate the wolf-king. "'We wolves are the kings of all hunters! And I am the king of the wolves! You're just an animal, how dare you hunt in my domain!?'

"But Mama was clever and cunning! She said, 'An animal, you say? Well, we shall see who the animal is! I bet that I am stronger, faster and tougher than you, king of wolves. If you can beat me in even one of these three, I and all my people will live like animals from this day on. But if I can beat you in all these, king of wolves, you have to accept me as the best hunter, and you and your people will live like animals instead!'"

Din didn't sound like me at all, but the children love it. All of them are listening to Din, enrapt -- and looking over at me, too, their eyes wide with awe.

"The wolf was proud and arrogant, so he agreed, because he couldn't imagine some animal beating him! So Mama pulled out the red sea rock and said, 'I bet you can't crush this rock!' The wolf tried to tear the rock apart, and he tried to break it with his fangs, but he couldn't crush it. Then Mama pulled out the red berries she had found in the woods. Because of his glowing eyes, the wolf couldn't see very well up close, so he didn't realize it wasn't rocks. Mama then easily crushed the berries in her hands."

"You tricked the wolf good, mama," said Mira.

"The wolf roared furiously!" Dinova jumped up to his feet and raised his voice. All the children jumped! I think I did a little, too. Then, using the gruff voice, he continued the story. "'Fine, you're strong, animal! That's just because I can't make a fist with these claws to crush your stone! But I'm faster than you, that's for sure!' So Mama set up a race all around the forest, more than a day's travel. When the race started, the wolf ran away immediately, his long legs and mighty muscles carrying him forward rapidly! But Mama only ran after him a short while, then she returned to the starting point and had a nice nap.

"When she heard the heavy beast approaching only a few hours later, she ran in circles a bit and then stood at the finish line, only a bit winded. The wolf was stunned to find her there before him! Mama then laughed and said 'You should have paid more attention! You spent so much time looking over your shoulder you didn't even realize I was in front of you the whole time!'

Din began to wave his hands in the air wildly, roaring in the wolf's voice. "The wolf was beside himself with rage and didn't catch on! He screamed, 'FINE! You think you're so fast and strong? LET'S SEE HOW TOUGH YOU ARE!' He hit Mama with his claws and bit her with his fangs! But he had never seen an enemy with armor before! Mama had found the strength of metal, but the wolf thought her armor would just be gray skin! His claws bounced off, his mighty fangs broke on the armor!"

Din wrestled with the invisible foe, playing out the battle in front of our very eyes. The little ones looked on in amazement and trembled with excitement and fear.

"So Mama beat him down with her sword, the mighty beast defeated, his deadly fangs broken off. She laughed 'I am stronger, faster and tougher than you are. You lose. I am the best hunter there is!' And from that day onwards, wolves were just animals, and only the second best hunters after the Kindred. And all wolves fear Melian Wolfslayer, the mighty hunter that has defeated their king!"

When the story finished, everyone cheered. Din looked strangely relieved, and everyone spoke to him, telling him how good the story was and how glad they have such a strong and clever Mama. The discussion passed into many questions from the little ones. In the distance, I heard a faint voice ask, "What is Lorelei like? Is it true the people there are soft like snow?" but I did not hear the answer. My mind had slipped into warm darkness.
Urnu, 80 - Before dawn, hr 3    
It wasn't long until Ewon noticed something wrong about his new son, Garth. He waved his hand in front of his face, and it was as if he couldn't see it. Why had this happened? He was normal in every other way, and Ewon hadn't seen anything like it before. 

He sighed, and promised himself that he would find a way to help him.
Naur, 80 - Before dawn, hr 3    
They said he was possessed by the spirit of some old man or something, but I don't know much about that! All I know is he was making armor and a sword like mine, but he wasn't even old enough to hunt! Father got real mad at him about the sword, that's for sure!
But then I thought father had forgiven him, because he went to give the boy a bath! I guess he couldn't do it, so Cita had to instead, and Cothero didn't even splash! Weird boy!
And now Cita has gone crazy! She carried him all the way up to the top of the cliff and dropped him, so he died! His little broken body is just sitting here next to me! I can see what's inside him, how he's made! Meat and bones!
I feel sick! I can't look at that any longer!
Gurtha, 80 - Midnight, hr 1    

She was talking with Draka, about the Dwarf, about loneliness and what was to happen to them all, considering Garrack still searched for her. They were sitting on the cliff, looking out over the vast Ocean, when Dynn came. The sky lit up with brilliant light, and His voice boomed "It is time for you to go Salome, I will place you somewhere safe, somewhere Garrack will not think to find you". She and Draka looked at each other and to the column of Light before them, as Dynn went on, " You are my creation, know this, go East from where I place you". And so in an instant, she found herself in the middle of a Desert.

A bit stunned from the suddenness of being on the cliff with Draka and then alone in a strange place, not to mention Dynn speaking to her, she steadied herself and looked around. It was like nothing she had seen before. The night sky was crystal clear, stars spread like a jeweled blanket from horizon to horizon, as it was on the Sea of Grass. The sweat started on her brow as the air was hot and dry.  As she wiped the sweat away, she noticed a creature much like the one Garrack took as His form and a shiver ran through her. It was sleeping...what was Dynn thinking? How can one know the thoughts of a God anyway? He must have had His reasons. He said to go East and so she did as fast as her legs could carry her.

There is an encampment up ahead, she can see it through the swirls of heat in the air in front of her. There are tents and it looks like the walls of a city, she smiles to herself, inspired to go on despite her great discomfort in the heat. She is convinced now that where ever it is she comes from, it must be cold, cold and wet, for she suffers so from this hot and dry climate.

"But Dynn sent me here!" she says to reassure herself. "There must be a reason!", she sets her shoulders and shuffles on through the sand.

As she enters the camp she looks about in amazement at all the bustle and the people. She gathers up her courage and walks gracefully over to an older man who looks like he is in charge. Looking up at him, she doesn't notice the  cactus in front of her, just before she reaches him, she falls face first into the desert sand. "Ouch!" she pouts as she pushes herself up looking as dignified as she can. She winces as she takes a step, looking down, her lower lip quivers as she pulls a long cactus thorn from her foot.  She takes a breath and juts her jaw as she extends her hand, palm down to the man, "Hello, It's good to meet you, I am Salome."

He takes her hand, "Charmed to make your acquaintance Salome, I am Cain, are you perhaps from the groups up North?" he asks.

And so she tells him some of her story, as she talks she glances about and notices a young man with a wolfs head. She finds him intriguing, especially his fuzzy tall ears, his name is Ahmose and he is an Anu. But then Cain talks of Garrack, how He stole two of their daughters, placing them in the tower, and her attention is drawn to him. Again she wondered what Dynns plan was for her. Why he placed her here, she couldn't believe it was for her safety. As she thought more, she became very anxious, it was then she heard the young boy Jasons complaining. He wasn't understanding the things she spoke of. She found that hard to believe and snapped a bit at him.
"Well, maybe if you listened you might learn, that is where knowledge and wisdom come from, listening and observing." she makes her eyes large for emphasis, "Know this young Jason, Garrack is evil, He has great power, He does what He wants with whomever He wants!" she lifts her jaw proudly, "I escaped him once and have done so again! Now, with the help of Dynn I am placed here for safekeeping!" she waves her hand to take in the surrounding desert, "I suppose He knows His reasons for that.."

"Wait! Please, Jason is young and, both you and Ahmose are strange creatures. Our people have never had such things happen until recently." She turns to the voice and her eyes lock onto two of vibrant green. He walks over to her, rubbing his beard, "I..well, if you just go slowly. Perhaps we should all go somewhere quieter to speak? We have had our own problems here you see as well."

She extends her hand to him palm down, nodding with a small fascinated smile, "I am Salome, we have not met." As she continues to look into his eyes, the thought of the dwarf comes to her, but she puts it aside for a moment as this one is here in front of her, talking to her. And blushing, she could almost feel her pupils dilate as she watches his face turn red. She watches him with amusement as he looks perplexed at her extended hand. He extends his in return, "I am Kieran, third eldest child of my parents, Tom, our best warrior and chosen of Avien'zia is not here right now, but well, yes, hello."

She takes his hand, lowering her eyes, she kisses it, then raising her eyes back to his, offers her own again with an encouraging smile. That smile fades as she catches him cast a guilty glance to a young woman sitting off to the side. Recovering her senses for a moment, she nods, "It's good to meet you Kieran, third eldest of your parents."

After that, she talks to him and his family about what is happening in the world around them, about the Noljens. She talks to Ahmose as well, although something about him strikes her as odd, but she cannot place it. His ears make her fingers itch and so she reaches out once to feel them with their soft fur. It was a mistake, he was not comfortable with her doing that and so she apologized. Kierans ears, while not furry, were round and looked as if they would be soft to touch, but she dared not. She describes the Noljens as similar to her form and touches the tip of her own ears. Blushing again, he asks, "So there are more who look like you, with the ears, and the nice clothes, and..well..." And so she told him of silk, and the jungle it came from.

They talked for quite a while, as the hot desert sun beat down on her fair and sensitive skin. She finally asked where she could rest out of the heat. He brought her into a tent, where he said she could rest. He watched her intently, then blushed again, with embarrassment, "Sorry, you are just very engaging. Only my mate is more, it is strange."

She felt herself blush then, "Well, I think it is the way of my kind, to be sensitive to the sun and, engaging, as you put it." She laughed, but exhaustion overwhelmed her, and she curled up on the bedding and fell asleep. She roused awake as he came in numerous times to check on her.
The next day was filled with meeting the rest of the family, Avien'zia's chosen Tom and his young mate Layla, who was unable to speak, but wrote her words, mostly in the sand. All were lovely people and very kind and generous to her. Kierans mate Sylvan was most gracious. And though they spoke of many things together, and there was much blushing, nothing was to come of it. The dwarf still tugged at her heart and when she found him again he was all she could think of. But Dynn had a plan and a reason for placing her in the Desert, it wouldn't be until many years later, looking back, placing all the pieces together, that the plan revealed itself.



Lasse, 80 - Evening, hr 11    
It is Lasse, of the year 80.

This far north of home, and color leaps from the ice, turning into green meadows and a small eddy of water. A thick forest. Beasts with eyes of blood. There are many creatures here. So many! I see a large herd of four-legged leaf eaters. They are smaller than the yaks, shaped like a brown ibex that has had its body and legs stretched out. Their tails flash like the whites of their eyes as they flee from my approach. They are not strong and brave, like the beasts that roam my mountain home. 

Bloodeyes live deep in the forest here. I told the Forest Spirit I will rid the woods of their kind. They are strange. There was only one back at the forest at the foot of the mountain, but now, here, they have multiplied.
They are not as strong as the white bears, but they are fast, and their teeth, serrated, cause tears in my flesh. My old wounds have not fully healed, and I can only take down two before I must stop to rest. 

I can see someone coming from the west. I do not know who it may be. As far as I can remember, everyone is at home. If it is not anyone that I know, then it must be Death. At last...
Vasa, 80 - Midday, hr 7    

The teenage girl returned to the swamp, returned to the vile place, returned to where the tower stood. She clutch her mace tightly, those creatures where still there... in the swamp... they scared her so much. She hated it here, hated them... she move in slowly. She got to the cliff. Three small children where there.. toddlers.   My sisters three. There so much bigger now, where are the others? She look to the tower wearily, she did not want to go there. She look back at the children they seemed starved... there bodies weak and small. But only two where weak. The other seemed stronger, she was holding the pick. The glowing pick..  the man.. he must have died.  She shudder at the thought of the man.. of the sharp tooth child... barely 1.. finding him. She gulp. This was not the time.

She approach the children. Rummage through her bag, she give them what she could, fruit was all she had left. She watched in fascination as they seemed to enjoy it. The eldest seemed to be very wary. The other two much more trusting.

The eldest would be a challenge, there scales, so odd against her skin, one snuggles against her leg. So tired from travel.  She sigh, she knows she must care for them. The creature seems gone. Why make us bear them if it will not care for them. She knows she must care for her sister’s children. She makes plans. Plans to care for them. Plans to find home... wherever home is.

Untill then she will wait....

Vasa, 80 - Afternoon, hr 8    
He looks at the body of the deer, broken and twisted around the trunk of the tree.  He checks both of his arms, where its hooves had fallen repeatedly when he thought that he was dead.  Not broken, just heavily bruised.  A little of the cream would help them heal quickly.  He sits down, applying the cream to his arms, but his attention keeps returning to the deer wrapped around the tree.  How had it happened?  As he applies the salve he sits back, thinking about what he thought was the last few moments of his life...

He had to hunt.  The animals had eaten all of his food supply out of his bag as he had slept.  He had been here how long?  A week?  A month?  They were not following him, which was good, but there was little food to be found.  This was the first time he had seen anything more then a few mice and bugs since arriving here.  The deer moves quietly into his clearing, searching for food.  Was it as hungry as he was?  Was it starting to feel weak as well?  He hoped so as he picked up his knife and slowly crept towards it.

When he was in position he attacked, not giving it the change to escape.  While at first it seemed like a good idea, Isengar quickly learned that a cornered animal is much more dangerous then one running away.  As soon as the deer realized it had no where to go it turned on him, butting him to the ground with its head.  He tried to roll to his feet, but the deer kept coming, not giving him a chance.  It's hooves fell on him like hammers and he had to put up his arms to protect his unprotected head.  Each blow sent a shockwave of pain where ever it landed, and he started to panic.  There was nothing he could do, no where to go to escape the blows.  It was only a matter of time before one would get past his arm and strike his head, putting him into a sleep he would not awake.  Did he really leave the danger of his home just to die out here? Alone?

That's when it happened.  Thinking back he can remember the exact moment.  Suddenly he felt a surge deep within himself, a torrent of fire racing through his entire body, numbing out the pain and the fear.  It filled him completely, to the point where it felt like he would burst.  As another blow was about to land, he had raised a hand towards the deer and thats when he felt the release. 

The surge seemed to come out of his body through his hand, throwing the deer through the air and into a nearby tree.  The force of the two colliding knocked every loose branch and twig from the tree.  The deer collapsed to the ground, not moving an inch.  He just sat there for a while, shocked on worn out, the pain and fear returning to fill the emptiness he now felt with the power gone from his body.

That was it.  The power had come from him.  How?  Where did this power come from?  So many questions without answers.  They would have to wait.  He needed to sleep and rest, to get rid of the pain.  His wounds would heal, but the emptiness... would that go away as well?
Vasa, 80 - Evening, hr 12    
The first thing I ever owned, the first thing that was ever mine, was a rolled up piece of parchment stuffed into a hollowed out bone.  In those days, we all got them.  Everyone who made it to their first birthday, anyways.

It is strange, all these years later, that I should think of that tube and its little blank piece of parchment.  I am sure it is just my memory filling in the gaps, little bits and pieces of stories I had been told and then forgotten the telling, but I remember how the tube tasted.  The bone grew soft the longer I chewed on it, and when I was hungry, I was soothed by the sucking.  I gnawed on the thing until my teeth were nice and strong and, chewing, I splintered a piece of bone that pierced my lip.  I imagine I must have cried, but noone has ever said.

I would find out much later that my parents were continuing a tradition; that other children, from whence they came, received whole books, bound with letter and scribbled with the most elegant of letters.

Of course, I would never see a letter in my whole life.
Ringwe, 80 - Midday, hr 6    

Land! After praying to Dynn, she turned to the Northwest and trusted that land would be there and so it is. The beach is so different than any she knows here. It washes up onto a grassland as vast as the Ocean itself. She wades through it as if swimming. The wind sweeps through the honey colored stalks, they click, rustle and sigh. If she closes her eyes it sounds like the Ocean, an Ocean of grass.

The sky is open, arching like a dome all around her. In the day, the sun travels above her in a blue cloudless sky. It is merciless to her fair and delicate skin, hot and searing. There is no shade to be found. She sweats and burns. But at night...the sky is enchanted! The stars are so bright, so many and so close. She lies on the warm ground, the golden grass surrounding her and looks up at the night sky. It is perfect, except she is very lonely. Draka stays at Cliff View now most of the time, where she waits for Scenic's return. There is no one to share this beauty with.

She wakes the next morning in a sweat. The sun is baking the ground already. She should turn back to the Ocean, but something causes her to go a little further. So she wades on. Then she sees him. At first he is a dark shape like a stone lying in the grass. As she gets closer she can tell it is a person. She immediately squats down and watches him for quite awhile. He sleeps like a stone too. She creeps through the grass on her hands and knees, her neck stretched to see him better. As close as she dares, close enough to barely touch him, she sits and watches him sleep. The Sun sinks towards the sea of grass and still he sleeps. He is just about her height, a bit stocky and muscular, his long dark hair is unkempt and strands of it cover his sunburned face. Yawning widely, she lies down next to him and falls to sleep.

Waking with a start, she realizes he too is awake and watching her. She slowly sits up with a smile "Hello, I am Salome!" she extends her hand. He doesn't say anything for a long moment, her arm becomes tired and so she slowly pulls it back, with a slight shrug of her shoulders. "I'm sorry to disturb you..." she adds with a small pout of her lips. He just continues to stare at her. Finally, she stands abruptly "Well, How rude! To just stare at someone and not speak!" She flashes to Cliff View and finds Draka, she tells her all about him. As they are speaking Dynn interrupts their conversation and she is swept away to the Desert in an attempt to hide her from Garrack. The Desert People are very interesting and she meets the most incredible people and makes lovely friends there. But she keeps thinking about the man on the Plains, despite her best efforts his face appears in her mind. She wonders who he is and where he's going. He stirs a strange longing in her heart. And so she goes back to find him gone! She looks desperately around and sees a speck to the Northwest, travelling, and so she follows him.

He is sleeping again. Lying next to him in the warm grass, his face fascinates her, even in slumber. His eyes open and then widen as he sees her there. "I thought you were a dream!" He can speak! It turns out he wasn't meaning to be rude, he was just dumbfounded. People sometimes react to her that way, she should have suspected. He thought she was a dream, or a star that came down to earth. She reassured him she was none of those things, just a Sea Nymph, a lonely one at that. His name is Hexio, he is a Stoneshaper. And then he is asleep again, but this time it does not distress her. She knows he will wake again, and so she Flashes away to the Desert People of Magarathea.

Flashing back, he is still as stone, away in a Dream. The Ocean washes up onto the Cliffs here, and so she leaves him sleeping and wanders over to them. She works her way down to the water and dives in, refreshed from the intolerable heat of this place. She floats on her back and dreams there for awhile herself, of her Mother and what it would be like to find her again. She hears some splashing behind her and turns to see him there watching her standing on a submerged rock. It is then she realizes, if she never finds her Mother, there is some comfort that Dynn has provided her, as she is sure Dynn has somehow had a hand in bringing them together.

Khelek, 81 - Midnight, hr 1    
I was strapping on my armor, for what seemed to be the last time. As I slowly approach this ugly flying beach, a few thoughts flow through my mind. I shrug it off and charge the creature, lunging my spear into it's leg. It's screeches were horrible, I closed my eyes only for a brief moment but continued to fight. I bash the creature with my shield, but seemed to have done nothing but knocking it back a few inches. She lets out another screech, but this one as different. It pierced through my entire body, causing me to lose breath and drop to the ground. "Is this my end?" I think to myself, unable to move. The beast moves slowly towards me before taking a swipe at my head, causing my helmet to come of. These few moments seemed almost endless, that is till I felt this sharp pain through my torso. Her long, sharp claws went straight through my armor, and into my chest. I closed my eyes, unable to breath as blood seeps from his mouth. My final thoughts were of mama, how ashamed I was to not know my own Limits. As quick as the pain came it began to numb, everything growing cold...
Khelek, 81 - Midday, hr 6    
So this is not to be his home.  Isengar had only been here for a few months but he had been starting to get used to the area.  The noises of the nearby creatures had startled him less and less in the night, and he was completely used to not hearing other people's voices.  He had started gathering materials, eventually wanting to make a home of his own here, but it was not to be.

He looked off to the East, and could still barely make out the shapes of the others approaching.  Were they from his home or somewhere new?  Were they friendly?  None of it mattered.  As much as he wanted to stay away from people before, with everything that was happening to him now he could not afford to be around people.  It had happened twice more since he had stopped in this area, each time while he had been hunting for food.  He had been fighting deer, and again the pressure in his body, the feeling of being filled with... something, and then the release.  He had no control over the power, the explosions of wind that seemed to toss both animals and objects as if they were nothing.  No, now was definately not the time to be around other people.

He packs up his things, quickly this time as he has gotten used to being ready to move.  He begins to leave but then stops and pulls out a piece of parchment.  He quickly writes down a warning to those behind him not to follow, hoping that they will see the destruction he has caused here and listen.  He then drops the paper in one of the clearings created by his whirlwinds and heads South.
Khelek, 81 - Evening, hr 12    
It is Khelek, of the year 81. 

I have waited for this figure from the west, for Death, a long time. Perhaps we are not yet meant to meet. I feel my blood itching to leave this place, and not even the sweet sigh of my sword as it slays the blood-eyed hounds of the forest can placate me. 

I will travel onwards to the northwest, where I see Mountains...just like home.
Kuile, 81 - Before dawn, hr 2    

Many Many things happened today, most of it ending terribly. Not a week or two ago Bomrek had asked me if I was scared outside of our home, I said no, and I aided him get his first hunting kill, and since then me and three of my other siblings had decided to camp outside, hunt and build things. I killed yaks and even an Ibex, seeing as how weak I am it was a incredible feat for me to do, and it made me very happy. I also killed one of the green men, they scared me as they had weapons and seemed very threatening to me, even more threatening than the winged lizards that were  all about as they always left me alone but I had a sneaking feeling that the green men wanted to do me in.

I ended up decapitating one of them with my Longsword, which ended up causing shor to be sad and we were forced to bury the green man in the white stuff that had fallen from the sky, and I had to clean myself off because I was covered in purple blood, I could not really understand my sisters feelings for these green men, they bled purple, they were not even normal!


After burying the green man Bemmy taught us about the notion of triplets and how me, shor and bomrek were triplets, and she was one to with kadol and Iden, it was interesting enough to learn about, my sister is older than us s she knows many more things, she is smart.

After that, me and shor decided to make a present for daddy, who had stayed in the mines with Kadol and Iden. My sis made him a Little cup, and I filled up with yogurt that actually took me quite a while to make, but it tastes really good, I am sure he would like it.

Once it was done, I had to make some mineral water so I asked Shor to bring the present to daddy for me, so she did, and minutes later she came out of the mine crying and what seemed to be very much anguish. I went in to look after asking her what was wrong, and getting no answer to find that Kadol and Daddy had died. It was the worst feeling of my life, and as hard as I tried not to cry I could not help it and I ran out crying to. Bem was woken and I tried to stop her from going in there, but she did not listen so she went in there by herself so I followed her. She tried not to cry to but I could tell she was sad. She said we had to bury daddy and Kadol and make graves for them so we did, well bem did, I did not know what to do. And we worked on statues of Kadol and Daddy. I hope mommy comes back from hunting soon.

Rosa, 81 - Midday, hr 7    
I don't like the ocean.

I've been swimming for who knows how long. I'm getting very good at it, and I am completely certain now that I don't like it one bit.

Irhel left before the rest of us did. He also left in the wrong direction. I left soon after, actually heading toward our destination, Farcliffs, partly because I miss Margalit, and partly because I hope Irhel has made it there.
And partly for fear of the Witch, of course.

The ocean took Irhel from me. Before that it brought ruin to my family, and tried to take my mother. Nothing good has ever come from it. Especially not these horrible, gigantic creatures I can see below me. Yes, I can see you. You won't be having me for lunch today. Besides, my sword would probably get caught in your throat.
I'd make sure of it.

I hope my family follows soon. The threat of the Witch looms over the entire island. I miss Lazlo and Liran.

Oh hey, I think I see Farcliffs up ahead. I'm proud of the backpack I made; it's kept the water out very well. I'll be glad if it never has to do it again, though.

I don't like the ocean.
Lote, 81 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Save Tonight

The girl wandered north in the mines, to the cavern with the shack. As she gazed around, something caught her eye. A small silk pouch. She picked it up, peeking inside. Her face fell as the pearl inside glimmered up at her happily, perfect and untouched. "Of course you're mad at me..." She murmured as she fought the tears that threatened to spill. She wandered further northward. Coming across some bats, she tore into several of them, striking all but one down in hurt and anger. That one was larger than the others, and she was only able to send it flying away. She continued wandering around the bending tunnels until she reached the end of the spiral. She pulled off her armor and washed her minor wounds, before collapsing to the ground and leaning against the wall. Drawing her knees up to her chest, she buried her face to stem the burning moisture at the corners of her eyes.

He walked in so quietly she did not hear him until he spoke. She mumbled, but didn't look up until she felt the gentle kiss brush her forehead quickly as he asked her if everything was alright. She smiled slightly, trying to reassure him that she was fine, but it was difficult to keep the smile for longer than a second. Even for him.

His eyes narrowed as he scanned her face and dismissed her excuse that everything was fine, "But that isn't why you are here, Rose. This is a long way to come for a detour with no reason." Sitting beside her, he shifted his claymore to the side and paused, seeming unsure. After a moment, he pulled out a piece of paper with a smile, showing her the familiar drawing of a flower, "Do you remember this? You gave it to me, shortly before leaving for Pearl Beach. That was... Almost five years ago, I believe. Time passes faster than I'd like to imagine it, sometimes. It... It does keep me safe, you know... ... Now, why are you all the way out here, at the end of the spiral?"

At the sight of the paper, she smiled. "Yea.. I remember that." How could she forget? Amazing that he still had it. Looking down, she murmured, "And I'm glad." Ignoring his final question initially, she reached into her bag, pulling out the slightly chipped and worn clay tablet. "And you gave me this before that. It did make me feel more at home while I was in Pearl Beach." Glancing at him out of the corner of her eye, she took a deep breath and started fingering the silk bag she'd picked up. Might as well tell him, if anyone. "Well.. I think Anrod's really mad at me. So.. I made a detour to see.. And found this on the floor." She shrugged, her eyes trained on the floor. "Since he wants to travel, and has wanted to for awhile, I gave him one of the extra pearls from the beach.. to keep him safe when he did. You know.. like the one you gave me. And the one I think Papa carries.. and you and Ner. But..." A sigh escaped as she mumbled under her breath, "I guess it was a poor way to make amends."

He nodded as he listened. "Rose... Maybe... Maybe it would be better if you..." He looked at the ground, shaking his head. "I don't know." He looked back up at her. "What did you have to make amends for?"

"If I what?" She looked at him questioningly for a brief moment until he asked the question. She looked away, silent for a long moment as a flush creeped into her face. "I... Nothing really. I just feel sort of like I do. But it's really not something that can be helped. Not really my fault.. or anyone's." She sighed. "He..." She hesitated, chewing on her lip. Tell him that?

He waited a moment before trying to fill in the gap. "... Wanted you to go with him?" He asked, keeping his eyes on her face. "Maybe you should, Rose." His eyes fell away to the ground again as he made that statement. "The copy of Noljan law I have here says it is a... A sacred duty, to Dyn, to choose at least one mate. To r-reproduce... Grandma Rose, whom you were named after, said that. I... I don't know what is going to happen here, but maybe if you just... left..." His voice hoarsened slightly. "If you and Anrod, just left..."

She started shaking her head vehemently as she looked at him in shock. He would have her go with Anrod? He should know better. "No... not to leave with him. He told me a long time ago, before he disappeared to the other place, that before he left to travel, he was going to ask me something big. I.. like you are.. assumed he meant travel with him." Paling as she looked away, she started stumbling over her words. "He wanted me.. to.. to have a baby for him before he left. I... I.. don't want to. I... I'm not ready to... to be a mother yet. And.. I.. He.. he asked at such a bad time... I'm not sure I made sense or he understood... But.. I.. even if I were ready, why.. why would he or anyone.. think that now's the time? With everything? And why have a child if you're just.. going to leave?" She pulled her knees closer and buried her face in them again. -How mortifying.- "I.. I don't want to leave, and I'm not going to. And I don't want him .. I just don't want him mad at me for not feeling the same... or wanting to be a mother right now." There was only him. She couldn't ever leave him. Especially in the face of what was coming.

"Oh..." His face flushed slightly as he looked away. "I'm sorry, I misspoke. I just don't want you getting hurt, is all." He sighed, glancing down at the silk pouch, then back to her. He cautiously reached out to run a hand softly over the back of her head through her curly hair and smiled. "It isn't fair of him to ask you, right now, and less fair for him to be upset. But... As difficult as these times are, they make one want to ask such questions even more. I know that's why I... Well, you know. And if your answer had been different, I can't say it wouldn't have hurt me. I'd like to say I would have tried to handle it better, and spare you, but... Anrod had been through a difficult time. To him, he died in that horrible blizzard. The other place. I have been there, and still have nightmares of it. It is no easy thing to get past, as its very purpose is to break you. So, I can understand the why of it. But he will get over it, Rose. And in the time between, you shouldn't blame yourself. It... It isn't your fault that you are so beautiful, after all."

She kept her face buried as she listened to him speak, unconsciously moving a little closer as his hand ran through her hair. After a bit, she propped her chin on her hands, her cheeks turning red at his compliment. "I.. uhmm.." Shaking her head, she tried to hide her cheeks with the back of her hands. Beautiful? He thought that? Uncertain of how to respond, she proceeded on the other track. "I know.. he has been through a lot. That's partially why I feel bad for saying no. And I wasn't mad that he asked. I just mostly wish I could've.. that maybe he could've asked at a time when I could've explained better.. more... composed. But.. you're right... just takes time." Sighing softly, she stole a glance at him before shifting and leaning her head against his shoulder.

For the briefest moment, his shoulder stiffened as she rested her head against it. Just as quickly, it relaxed. He carefully wrapped his arm around her, pulling her closer as he began telling her a story about a particularly vicious bat of Garrak that he fought several times through the years and intended to finally kill when they left the mines this time. The large bat. Towards the end, he apologized for its longwindedness as he rested his head on top of hers. "Will you stay here with me, to ward off the dreams? We are safe with each other." She nodded, listening to his story and question. Murmuring some things as she started drifting off to sleep, her last words are barely a whisper, "Of course I'll stay with you. Always.."
Lote, 81 - Midday, hr 6    
The first Jibberwuck went down quickly, much to Ewon's surprise. He had expected a long, bloody battle, maybe even death. But he walked back into camp with minor wounds.

Ewon started carving into the beast's jet black horn, thinking about his new family. He took solace in knowing he was skilled enough to protect them, for they were all he had, now.
Lote, 81 - Midday, hr 7    
It is Lote, of the year 81. 

I have decided to spend a few days resting, carving into this horn I snapped from a yak's skull. Time is passing idly by, and I wonder how far I will go before I decide to head home. I know the trip back will take longer, especially if I have found interesting things...but. Still...I wish to go far. Far, far from the mountains, from the ice and snow and cold of my home. The further north I go, the warmer it seems to get, and the longer the light stays pooled on the land. If I travel far enough, will I reach a place where the snow and ice have melted clean away?

Sometimes, I have seen a great orange flame rise and descend from the horizons, chasing the eye that the wolves howl for. It spreads a white light across the land, and even though I have tried to catch it, it slips through my fingertips, instead attracted to the shadows. Why is it so interested in the dark? Do they have none where it resides? The home of the great flame...it must be warm...I wonder if I could bring it home with me. I could tell it, my home has many shadows, it is where the bright eye spends most of its time, its blink as slow and long as the days. Would that compel it enough? Would it be tempted to follow me then?
Lote, 81 - Afternoon, hr 9    
When Celandel died, I felt much grief. I... never meant to hurt him. I tried to protect him after the accident. I was just confused. I thought he had taken something, but it was Seredel who had done it. I hurt Celandel so much... he was bleeding everywhere. It was terrible. All of the children came together to help give him medicine, and we brought him back from the edge of death. That was years ago.

I took a short journey and found a building that had been constructed: the "Green Leaf Inn." I looked inside and saw no one. I looked all around the area and saw no signs that someone was living there. There were many valuable iron tools, as well as some weapons and armor... and also my old battle axe. The very same one that I had cast down when stopped by Damien. How had it ended up here? How many hands had it passed through? I took it back. This is my battle axe, and I will name it "Agrothandule" -- "Back-biter," as it has caused me as much grief as it has caused others.

Returning home to my forest, I gave many gifts to my children. I cannot remember now to whom I gave what, but it breaks my heart to remember me giving the iron breastplate to Celenadel. Poor Cee. I gave him the breastplate because I wanted to protect him and make sure he never got hurt like that again, and now he is dead. I think I'm going to leave this place for a while. All of my children are dead, gone, or leaving.
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