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The Faery Tale

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Kuile, 83 - Sunrise, hr 4    
How!? How did those useless little boys kill that huge monster?
Those things have been around this mountain since forever and I've never seen anybody kill them! I never saw those boys do much of anything either!
Maybe it was old or sick or already hurt! That must be it! It would have died soon anyway, even if they hadn't attacked it! And look how hurt they got just hunting a wounded old beast! Ha!
I'm stronger than them, I'm sure! I'm older, taller, and not a dreamer! Nobody even likes them except each other!
All the children like me! If I told them to jump off that cliff, they would! But I'm not Cita, and I don't throw children off of cliffs!
Rosa, 83 - Before dawn, hr 2    
Kuile, 83

I've come 'round full circle to Garrak's swamp. The tower looms ahead, but I think I may skirt around it as quietly as I can. I want to know how they're all doing, but I can't bring myself to take the chance. I do not think I'll waste much time.
Rosa, 83 - Afternoon, hr 9    
Trees! I have never seen so many trees in my life. At home they are scarce and small and wood is a valuable resource. But here there are plenty.

A year before my birth uncle Jarvick paid his last visit to Iron Mountain my siblings said. He called our mountain evil and prophesized our death should we not leave its area of influence. Uncle Theo and his family left Cavehome to live on the surface, but nobody left the mountain except for Jarvick and his mate Aliesa.

Smoke! Could this be smoke? Hurry Alaeban, there is fire over there....maybe it's him....

Then 3 years ago, aunt Semarala came back from her long journey. And she brought Kilirmik with her. Kilirmik looks strange, not like we do. But he is very kind. I offered him some milk and he gave me some "ocean powder". It tastes weird, but apparently you can make clothes and books with its help. So I got my journal. But most importantly they brought news from Jarvick and Aliesa, for they met them far to the west.

Faster! It is hard to run through the high snow, but I can't wait.

It happened 2 years ago! While I was strolling through Cavehome I was attacked by these fiery creatures. I barely escaped with my life and fled to the surface, never to return to Cavehome again. Many others were attacked and seriously wounded. Many fled the caves. Aunt Ilfriesia and aunt Naira travelled away to find a new home. Aleaban didn't approve of this of course. A few days later two of my brothers were killed by these monsters. It was the saddest time of my life. Was this what Jarvick prophesized?

Something is behind these trees! I run as fast as I can.

In this time of sadness, Aliesa arrived unexpectedly at Iron Mountain. She left Jarvick and their children that were born away from home. From what she told me I think she is insane. I am scared of her. But we know Jarvick is alone out there in the frozen tundra tending for his children. Then Alaeban had an idea. Jarvick foretold all this, maybe he knows what can be done to soothe the mountain gods rage, so that we might live happily in our cavehome again. So we prepared to travel to the west, to Jarvick.

Just a little bit more!

We travelled for nearly a year, Alaeban and I. The parting was painful, but we must find him. Finally we found this small forest, just as Kilirmik told us.

Finally a clearing...and a fire...and people...could this be....?
Rosa, 83 - Afternoon, hr 9    
Malric was back with the Folke from before. His parents and sister were off with the new Folke, but Malric continued onward to find Nissa and her family. When he arrived, things were different. All the little Folke children were bigger, but that wasn't unusual. Farrell had fallen asleep, but Malric had seen that happen before too. No, the difference he could not understand was that in Nissa.
She no longer remembered him having been there, and was afraid. She had forgotten about her children also. Something bad had happened to her, and it confused Malric.
The change scared her children and some of them went to Malric for help. He remembered them. Titus asked if he could go with Malric, to the home mine of the Delvers. The boy was uncomfortable here with the sleeping Farrell and the forgetful Nissa.
Of course Malric said yes. Why wouldn't he? The Folke were his friends, and he knew that a friend should make a friend happy.
Before they could leave, however, Malric and Nissa had had to eliminate the lampreys. Though she had forgotten some things, how to hunt was not one of them. The tiny flying woman had easily dispatched the vicious bloodsuckers, while Malric was badly injured in the battle. She was clearly trying to protect the children that she did not recall. She succeeded, but this did not change their feelings toward the new her.
Malric healed with the help of the Folke, then prepared to go. Just before he left, Willow decided to come along too. Odell did not, and Malric was a bit sad when he yelled angrily at them for leaving him. But this little tantrum did not stop the three from departing, two Folke and one Delver.
Lote, 83 - Before dawn, hr 3    
The mine was so dark and I felt my own emptiness along with it. perintius has become greedy with resources adn power. It concerns me greatly but after having fought with him before I only wished to leave and search for calcium salve some where else.

Then it was soo dark as i entered up the tunnel .I could hear its wings flutterign i nthe darkness. I had left my sword at home and only a small knife and shield were in my grasp. I could hear its screech, yet i still could not hear the beast. i rose to strike it as it flew at me its wide mouth showing off its sharp teeth. I fell underneath the beast as it bit at my flesh. I just want the pain to stop. i wanted Sal to wake up and save me. my dear Sal... What is to become of me.

The darkness closed up around me... no sound reached my ears. Only darkness..only this deep darkness.
Naur, 83 - Sunrise, hr 5    
Naur, 83


Well, I am northeast of Garrak's Swamp now. I can see more swamp to the northeast, but at least it's not ocean stopping me. There's still ocean to the east, but I am hoping I can get around it to the northeast. Surely...

I've found a vampire bat flitting around in this jungle. I'm not sure I should go after it. The meat would be good, but what if it bites me? I have some healing, but I'm not sure if I should chance it. They're so easy, if only...

He'd probably chide me for pushing myself... even though I didn't. It's just because he cares though.. like I care about him. And that is comforting. I wonder how he is... but I always wonder. Every waking moment. Even every moment I sleep.

I need to keep my health if I'm to be traveling like this. That means no more bats like this unless I just need the meat because I have nothing else. I've put some salve on, and it's helped so far. Doesn't help the burning but helps the bleeding stop. I hate how they burn. They always burn. Even my hand still burns sometimes, when a bat manages to bite me again, even if it doesn't bite my hand.

Singing woke me from a seemingly dreamless nap. It couldn't have been a long nap. But the singing.. I knew it. It was an Umjai! Surely that is a good sign...
Elen, 83 - Sunrise, hr 5    
It is done!  After months of collecting coral and an even longer amount of time working, his home is complete!  He steps back and looks at the small coral house proudly, checking out every little imperfection and flaw and smiling proudly.  He had finally done it.  He had escaped from the place he was born.  He had found a safe place to make his own.  And he had created his own home to live in.  He finally would be safe, he finally would be able to try and figure out the power that was growing inside of him... and the emptiness it created.
Gurtha, 83 - Sunrise, hr 4    
The sun hit my eye causing me to wake. What the sun but how. The last thing I remembered was being in a mine in lorelei. The chatter of bird and the dropping of nuts upon leaves are what filled my ears. Looking at my body I see no deep flesh wounds, there is no pain. This simple place is peaceful and I wonder if I am dead. is this where Kindred go after we die.. I pinch myself I am not dreaming. I can smell the forest and a few squirrels scuttle belwo my feet.

How did I get here? And where is home.. why am I unscathed? i believe i nthe spirits now. I can almost hear them speaking on the wind. 'Go home Miratine.. go home my child.' I feel as if the forest will swallow me. I'm scared.. the voices only call out to me more hauntingly, 'Miratine child of the forest....' i hold my headi n my hands. wishing the voices would stop.
Sal help me... Sal where are you I'm so alone.... Will I ever see your face again?
Gurtha, 83 - Sunrise, hr 4    

Sofia settles down with her journal, leaning against the wood lean-to with a look of concern and thoughtfulness. She stares into the forest unseeing, as she remembers her most recent battle.

The enormous black creature towered over her, even with its short legs, its flesh rotting and eyes black as coal. Pus oozed from open holes from its back, the stench enough to make her gag. It snarled at her with a full set of black, jagged teeth in what seemed to be a challenge. Clad in her full set of steel armor and armed with her battle axe, she stared up at it in fear and disgust as she circled around, the creature mimicking her movements in the same direction. Every time she took a step, the creature did the same, leaving behind a trail of blackened piles of sludge.

Sofia seems to flinch a bit, closing her eyes for a moment. She then opens her eyes and begins to write in the journal. She pauses briefly, looking back into the forest.

Sofia charged first, raising her battle axe high above her head. She swung it down at the creature, and it seemed to easily deflect the blow. The beast followed with a clawed hand, scratching at her right arm with it. Sofia seemed unphased. She lifted the axe once more, swinging it from the side. She watched as it bit into the creature’s side, and she yanked it out quickly. She stared as black ooze stained her axe and spilled from the wound. The creature only seemed to become enraged as it swung another clawed arm, knocking her backwards two or three feet. It then turned its back on her, but rather than fleeing, the creature suddenly sprayed a thick yellow acid all over her arms. She screamed in agony as the acid began to burn away at her flesh. She could hear Hinrod’s concerned yells from behind her, but they seemed so far away.

She seems lost in her memories, oblivious to the goings on around her. Leaning over her journal, she begins to write some more.

Straining herself, she managed to stand, distracted by the burning sensations at her arms. She gritted her teeth against the pain. By this time, the beast had uprooted a small tree, swinging it at her as a weapon. She watched and waited until the right moment, before she charged once again, swinging her axe down low at the creature’s legs. She grinned in satisfaction as the blade cut deep into the creature’s small legs. Its knees buckled and it fell to the ground as she danced out of the way. Before the creature could have a chance to get back to its feet, Sofia raised the axe high above her head, and brought it down. The axe severed the beast’s head cleanly from its neck. She gagged at the smell, from being so close to the creature. Stumbling backwards, the pain from the acid returned to her stronger than ever. She collapsed to the ground, yelling for Hinrod’s help.

Sofia looks up from the journal once more, scanning the trees for any remaining beasts. She looks back down at her journal. Reading through her writings, she nods once, closing the book.

Ringwe, 83; hour 7
There has been a new beast in this forest. I don't know what it is, I have never seen its like before in my life. It was disgusting. Very large, and its flesh seemed as if it was rotted. The smell of it was horrible. I don't know what this beast was, but it is not a good thing that it chose here of all places to go. It is not from Eton. I know, because everything it touched, everywhere it went things died. Plants, animals. It worries me. It scares me because I do not know where this beast is from, or how many more there are out there like it. I had to kill it. I knew the moment I saw it, that it should have been dead. So I put on my armor and I attacked the wretched thing. It fought with some skill, I was surprised to see. Dodging my axe as if it were nothing. Next thing I know, it is spitting something at me. The best way I can describe it is liquid fire. It burned like nothing I have ever felt before. And for a moment, I couldn't move. I couldn't think. I could do nothing but sit as this beast approached me, and this stuff was burning away at my flesh. It only took me a moment to come back to my senses, however, and I knew that if I let this beast beat me, my children, their children and Hinrod were all in danger. And I believe that's what helped me kill this beast. I swung my axe desperately, and managed to cut the beast down. Before it could get back up, I removed its head with my axe.

Where did this foul creature come from? This Firespitter.

Gurtha, 83 - Midday, hr 6    
He wanted to make a sound, to get their attention. Notice me! All the other children were doing it. But he couldn't. No matter how he strained, and moved, the sounds weren't coming out like theirs. And he was hungry. The ones that cry get the food. It's not his fault it won't happen. Notice me! Notice me! Please!

So he kicked and he swung and he gasped for air from the exertion, his tiny face red and contorted. There, the best voice, lifting him, setting him with her. For a moment he forget the twisting stabbing pain of his stomache and smiled. The best voice gave him food anyways. He could see her clear now, the yellow in her sockets, so very mesmerizing.

He only managed to eat half the meat, the rest stuck to his tiny tooth. He was too tired to care and started drifting. It was always so noisy in there.
Gurtha, 83 - Midday, hr 7    
The tiny pup looked around, the pain in her stomach making her ill. She chewed her bottom lip in rememberance of that first meal - a tiny piece of meat the big warm man gave her.  Delicious.  How long had it been?  The rumble in her belly told her - too long.

She looked harder.  The warm bodies next to her - did they feel it, too?  It made her sad. "Hungry..."

What's that?  Over in the corner of the tent...such a weird object it was - oval, hard.  She grasped it in her tiny hands as best she could and gnawed on the outer layer; but, her efforts were futile and the object refused to nourish her.

What about this thing next to it?  It's hard, but maybe...no, nothing but hard and tasteless.  It wasn't meant to nourish a young pup.

She crawled back to her place on the soft bedding between her siblings and whimpered, the scraping of her belly becoming more and more unbearable.

Someone is awake!  She feels him nearby.  No, the hunger comes first.  It demands attention.  She needed to look harder - there had to be something delicious to satisfy the angry monster inside.

What is he doing?  Silly, fighting himself?  What is that in his mouth?  It looks like something good.  Suddenly, the object frees itself from the pup's teeth and lands between them.  It is something good...but, it's his.  The little pup grunts at her, pointing to the meat.  It's his though.  He still grunts.  Take it?  The hunger drives her to retrieve it.

She eats a small piece, soft, nourishing.  She smiles, happy.  He bounces, grunt, smiling.  Is he hungry, too?  She holds out the piece of meat to him, but he drifts off to sleep. "Sleep..."  Curling up next to him, pains finally subsided, she drifts into her own dreams with a quiet hum, still clutching the gift in her tiny claw.
Gurtha, 83 - Evening, hr 12    
He had heard a sound, and managed to sort it out. He grunted, and she looked, and she looked. So he went. Off the best voice, and across the dirt, a small stream of drool following. Still she looked. He thought about the best voice giving him the meat, and then he saw the meat hanging from his mouth as he sat in front of her. She was looking at it too.

A valiant struggle to free the meat ensued until it was on the ground, and he was pushing it to her. Take it! Take it! He grunted, then bounced happily as she took it, looking to the best voice for praise, getting distracted by the sound of a rattle nearby.What? Where? In his hand. It was happy, she was happy, and he was too.
Lasse, 83 - Before dawn, hr 2    
Familiar Visage

The girl had been picking her way slowly through the swamp and jungle. She'd seen no sign of anyone for over a year, if not longer. She'd paused, peering outward, looking for anything that could give her a sign of which way she should be going. Then she saw it. A tall figure in the distance, wading through the muck. She blinked. She couldn't be seeing things right. She started moving slowly closer. There was something vaguely familiar about it. The visor on the helm. The way the figure moved. The armor. But it couldn't be.. She rubbed at her eyes in disbelief, stopping a short distance away, almost afraid she might be wrong. The word fell from her lips in surprise, "Pap...Papa?"

Her father had been scanning his surroundings and his eyes fell upon her. He closed the distance between them, pulling her into an embrace as he exclaimed, "Rose? You've escaped! Are you pursued?" He watched behind her expectantly as he asked the last question.

Relief. It was her father. She wasn't seeing things. The Umjai she'd seen last was a good sign. The girl buried her face in his shoulder. "I.. I don't think so. I traveled a year around the wrong way, I think, and never any sign."

"Has it been that long since..." His voice trailed as he let go. "How far have you traveled?"

"Uhmmm..." The girl paused in thought. How far? She tried to imagine the area she'd covered, tracing her fingers through the air. "Well, first I traveled east until I hit the ocean. Then I traveled southeast and hit more ocean. Then.. I had to head south." Her brow furrowed as she tried to remember more. "Then... west at some point until I hit more ocean. When I saw the.. the tower again in the north... I figured the only way to go east around the ocean must be northeast. So.. I traveled back to the east of the tower to start again. But I didn't want to go back to the tower. Well.. I kind of did want to see if the people there were okay. But.." This time it was her voice trailing off.

Her father rubbed his chin as she explained. "There were others... How many would you say? Did they have similar stories to tell?"

"Well, there was Kimlan." The girl nodded. "I think.. I think she was from one of the people that were supposed to come help us. Because she talked about... Avienza? She said that she and her sister were stolen away... and locked in the tower for a while. And then..." She frowned as she started to think back. "They had the.. uhmm.. children there." She paused, chewing on her lip. "Well.. her sister had those. Hers died. She said she'd traveled away after, but gave up and went back to find her sister. But only found the three.. uhm.. children. Or there were three when I was there. And then there was a boy, named Celandel. He looked kind of like Kimlan, but said he didn't know her. I didn't get to talk to him long. I only stayed about a day.. after Kimlan told me her story."

Her father listened intently, speaking after a curt nod. "Kimlan must be the daughter Daffodil said had been taken... I've not heard of this Celandel, however..." He then pointed north and explained how the girl could get home from where they were.

"But... Where are you going?" She questioned as she looked northward.

Her father's look was determined. "I must go to the tower."

The girl stared at him for a moment. No. "No!" She didn't know exactly what to say, so she fumbled for the words, her face reddening with frustration. "It won't stop him! He's preying on others!" She pointed behind her. "Others.. not just us! He won't stop for you! I saw for myself that he's not going to stop for you! You've never done anything stupid before! Why are you starting now?"

"Stupid?" He tilted his head, but his expression was obscured by the helmet. "You weren't there for the aftermath. You didn't see the anguish or the despair... Your mother was in a terrible state. Her head was injured... she could not remember me, or anyone else. Niran... Fenrod... Elieth... they were all nearly killed when He came for me. I brought destruction to Nolja..."

"Yes, stupid, to squander what Dyn gave you." She winced and closed her eyes as he described what was waiting in Nolja. It sounded like some of her fears might have been realized. "No.. No I wasn't. But getting yourself killed now won't help anything either. Because it won't stop him." Her eyes flicked open as she pulled off her own helmet. "It won't. Satisfied that he once again prevailed over some unsuspecting beings, he'll move on, find another to destroy. And another. And another." Her hand tightened on her helmet. "And someday, there won't be anyone left to take a stand. Everyone will be hiding.. Hiding or running in to be killed off one by one. Stupidly." She glanced back towards the north, the way home. "You're not going there alone."

"Dynshyradmosund gave me life, gave me strength. Strength enough to overcome Garraksuskradom." Her father stared to the west, his voice resolute. "I won't fail."

"But not alone..." She sighed, pained by the thought.

He looked at her again. "Don't you see? It doesn't matter how many men are thrown at Him. This way, no one else will have to sacrifice themselves." He raised his visor, tears evident around his eyes. She'd never seen her father cry before. "Please, Rose. Just tell me where I must go and I will finally put an end to what I started."

"But.. don't you see.." She bit down on her lip to keep it from quivering. Strength. "that it doesn't have to be this way? That no matter how many keep trying to sacrifice themselves alone, it won't make a difference? That it's not something you started? It's much bigger than you?" Reason.. at least in her mind.

He shook his head. "I've been living on borrowed time... This is the only way."

"It can't be." The girl shook her head adamantly, a stray curl falling across her forehead.

Her father's shoulders slumped, his head falling forward. "Do not deny me this, daughter. I cannot sit and wait for Him to come and claim my soul, or to bring ruin to those I love." His head shook slowly. "Draka gave her aid... and paid the ultimate price."

"I.. don't want to deny you anything, Papa." Her voice faltered as she reached out towards him, then pulled back. "I just want it to be done right. Because.. if you die.. then it will be for naught. If he takes your soul like he wants, then it will be for naught. It won't be for the.." She frowned. "greater good. It won't be making use of what Draka chose to give up. Of Dyn." She paused, searching for words. What was it Tereth had said once about killing the evil creatures to keep everyone safe? "There's valiance.. yes. But only if he's destroyed. I.. don't think this is the way. I mean.. I.. maybe there's no way to save you. Maybe he is your end. But.. I'd rather be sure that if he is your end, you are also his end so that it all means something, and you're not just a mere casualty to him."

"I don't think he will kill me. Even if it comes to that... if I fail. Draka did not die for nothing, Rose. I could escape if that became a necessity." Her father tilted his head again. "But I have to do this. I must at least try."

"But.." She fell silent, chewing on her lip and staring at the ground. She had no more words, no more arguments. She didn't have energy left for any of that. She just wanted to be happy that she finally got to see someone she cared about again. But she couldn't quite be happy.

Her father placed his hand on her shoulder. "Please, Rose. I will attempt to find the tower with or without your directions. This way I will at least not become lost in this unexplored swampland."

Still staring at the ground, she frowns, speaking slowly. "It's so tall, you can't hardly miss it. I could see it for days out.. and feel it for longer. Black.. the Tower of Shadows. But he doesn't rest in there. He rests in the back of the mine. There.. are other nasty creatures wandering the swamp surrounding it. There were two images of him.. his physical form. A creature I called a Cropakid, that is very fast. It is covered in fur and spikes." She stopped uncertainly. Those weren't the things he needed to know about. And those weren't the things she needed to know from him before she told him how to get there. "But can you.. can you resist giving him what he wants if he won't kill you? Some things are worse than death. You.. you have to promise you'll.. leave.. flash away from him if.. anything seems to be going wrong. So you can try another time if you must."

"Cropakid.. Hmm. I encountered and slew a number of such creatures when I went to see Draka.." Her father paused. "..after I had buried her. I had no name for them then." He nodded as she finished speaking. "I promise to escape if it comes to that." He squeezed her shoulder briefly before relinquishing his grasp and staring again into the deeper swamp. "Now... How far West and South must I travel before I find myself at the Tower of Shadows?"

With his promises the girl relented, telling him exactly how to get there. But before saying good-bye, she felt like she should give him something. She knew he'd have pearls to keep him safe. But it felt like he needed more. So she gave him her amethyst. The amethyst she'd never let go of since she'd gotten it. The one he'd helped her make a silk pouch for so long ago. And then she needed to know about Nolja. What she'd find. Who was alive.. who was maybe.. dead. What she might find when she returned.

He accepted the amethyst, holding it tightly. Then he filled her in on what he had last known. Her mother's forgotten memories. Her brother being unconscious. Her uncles with their broken ribs and acid eaten hands. He even showed her the acid damage he'd taken. Blackened skin. She couldn't help but flinch. She wasn't sure if it was the thought of the pain or anger at Garrak that made her do so. He also told her that her grandfather and cousins had headed out west.

When he was finished, the girl threw her arms around his neck to hug him tightly again and kiss his cheek. "I love you, Papa. Please be careful."

He returned the hug tightly. "I love you too, Rose. You do not know how relieved I am to see you unharmed." He nodded to the north.  "Go now, daughter. You know the way. When I come to see you again, you will be without fear, for our great enemy will have been defeated, and we will at last be free." He clasped her hand, pressing something into it before pulling free and turning towards the southwest. "Give my love to your mother... when she remembers." With that line, he strode off, determination in his steps.

The girl watched her father until he disappeared before she opened her hand. She brought her palm up even with her eyes to gaze at the glittering gold trinket. She glanced again towards the southwest before closing her fingers over the gold ring and moving northward. Northward then eastward towards Nolja. Towards home? Maybe not home yet.
Lasse, 83 - Evening, hr 11    
When they arrived in what was to be known as Sylvaswan, there was joy and a touch of saddness.  They looked around, soon finding the graves of those who once made this place their home.  Soon, however, they would fill the place with love and laughter, with the sounds of children.  So Kieran and Sylvan made their way into the tent and embraced.  It wasn't quite the same as before - Kieran knew then that Sylvan also loved Ahmose.  Still, it was a joyful reunion after so many years of waiting and wanting. 

"I love you Kieran." Those words remained true, and always would.
Vasa, 83 - Before dawn, hr 3    
The horn had been my first act of thievery.  I stumbled upon it out in the apple tree grove as I fumbled about in the grass for some precious fallen fruit to eat, and I knew immediately what it was.  Hard and cold, but not as cold as the wet ground that morning.  I had felt something similar hanging about my father's neck and, idolizing him, I hid the horn within my shirt and kept it until I could figure out how to carve it.

Boiling was the key.  I had dropped the horn into the pot with some eggs, and since the water was hot, I could not retrieve it immediately.  By the time the water was cool enough, I had discovered that the core of the horn was soft enough for my tiny little hands to dig out with a knife.  Not being able to see my progress, I carved it inadequately, and once my knife had scored the lip and gouged the water-softened material.  Still, when I held the horn aloft, every bit of its core gone that I could scrape out, I was a fountain of pride.  This had been my project, the first that I had not been helped with.

I took it to show my father in the mines.  I should have been worried that he would wonder where the horn came from, or how I had carved it, but by that time there was a veritable stack of Jibberwuck horns, so that one fallen horn in an orchard could hardly be missed or remembered.  He asked if I would make it into a necklace like his, but I had no clear notion of what he meant, having never explored the leather thongs that tied his drinking horn around his scarred and bearded neck.

My new triumph noted, my father returned to his mining, and as I was soothed by the rhythmic beat of his pick upon the rock, I held the horn as still as I could and collected the drops of water that fell from the roof of the cavern above us.  As I drank from the horn later, I felt refreshed, renewed.

I knew that what I was drinking was not merely the water of the mines, but also the lifeblood of the Jibberwuck, and it roared inside me.
Ringwe, 83 - Before dawn, hr 2    
She liked the talking things, how she could trace the lines in them and sometimes take out the thoughts in them. Aunt Nissa had explained to her how the lines didn't actually make things talk, but rather allowed them to store thoughts. Her aunt had even showed her how to make the letters that made the words and how to shape the letters that composed each sound, so that she could store her own thoughts one day. It seemed like a whole new world had opened to her - she could talk to Folke that weren't with her and store all of her thoughts so that she would never forget the way her aunt had.

She thought she was good at making things talk now; she had practiced in the dust, writing out each letter that composed the words, and she could recognize words on her rock and parchment. Proudly, she'd shown her sister Kate how to make rocks say Dion's name, to draw the shapes - first half a moon with the stick dropping from it, second the line, then the sun, and last the hill. 

She carved the letters into the stick with her knife, carefully shaping them - they had to be perfect, because they would tell who she was.

In I am you ee.


After that, she wrote about other things, trying to sound out the words as best as she could - how Roman had given her the shoes that hadn't fit and she'd gone into the pile to avoid him, how Della thought no one liked him, and how she'd tried to take out the thoughts in her rock and her parchment. At the end, she didn't like the way the wood looked, how the letters were misshappen and crookedly aligned, but she was still so proud - it was hers and proof that she could make the wood say things.

When she left the pile, her siblings confronted her about the letters in Dion's name. Her brother thought the first letter was upside-down, and she'd tried to argue with him about it, telling him about the difference between fat and little letters, but he still thought that he was right and she was wrong. He couldn't tell her why, even admitted to her that he didn't know the right answer.

He called her sleepy and nosy, when it was clear to her that she was neither. She was good at things and he was just stupid, that was all, she thought angrily, thinking of how he'd run away from home and even made himself a mask so that he wouldn't have to face anyone. She tried not to think about how he'd run into the mines to hide from her words (hiding, always hiding and running), or how that thought sent her feelings into turmoil.

But she still wondered then if she was wrong about the letters, and it was that which would later cause her to scratch out the words in the wood with a knife.
Ringwe, 83 - Evening, hr 11    
Keyton, Markus, Avien, and a little boy who never woke up.  Who knew the names would invoke such joy and such pain in later years?  Keyton, sweet little boy who woke and played once, never to wake again.  Avien, who was so very quiet and who would grow so very bitter.  Markus, sweet Markus, who would also grow and play, though his quiet periods were long, and who would be the oldest of the new children at Sylvaswan. 
Khelek, 84 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Swish swish sounds echoed throughout the sleeping cave. The charcoal slid across a thin, crudely made scroll. The hand that moved it was not entire sure what it was doing other then expressing. Who was that in the picture? Was it Bomrek? Was is one of Bomrek's siblings, uncles, aunts, or cousins? Bomrek didn't really know, the figure could pass for anyone with it's seed-shaped head and it's stick-thin limbs and chest. The other figure in the picture was much more interesting, anyway. It's body was smaller, much smaller. It was in mid air, held up by thin wings that were supposed to look delicate, but instead looked crude like the rest of the picture.
Bomrek gazed silently at his first piece of art. He wanted to always remember the moment the bug people, the Folke, appeared in the crowded tunnel. What feelings were attached to this picture? Perhaps a little bit of amazement here, some excitement there. Maybe even a little fear, but wasn't that in everything Bomrek encountered?
Bomrek decided he liked his picture. But remember, he had never seen a picture before, so don't trust his judgement too much.
The little boy had learned to be quiet. Everyone else in the little tunnel did more then their fair share of talking, or at least he thought so. The only issue was that Bomrek enjoyed asking questions, stating opinions, and calling out his siblings' names. He longed for a chance to express, but he was tired of talk. Tired, tired, tired of it. Somehow, Bomrek fancied the idea of talking less. Maybe not even talking at all. He would let the charcoal do the talking for him, and he could choose who would get to hear him or not simply by holding up the picture. Bomrek thought carefully. What if he actually stopped talking?
Khelek, 84 - Evening, hr 11    
Her first time with him was filled with passion, with gentleness, with a little fumbling and confusion and some hot cheeks.  Yet...it was beautiful.  So very beautiful that it couldn't possibly be wrong. 
Losse, 84 - Afternoon, hr 8    

Everything has been going by fast these days. Me and veronica seem to be friends now. I also managed to make that little tyke sidian like me though it too days. First I let him play with my obsidian knife, and he gave it back to me unwillingly and he enjoyed having fun with it and he seemed not scared of me, but when I tried to show him the knife was dangerous and pricked myself with it, he was afraid with it. He ran past Bomrek and all the others in the Workshop and kept going all the way deep into the mine, I managed to chase him all the way there, I was afraid he would run into a dangerous creature down there, babies should not run off like that.

I managed to get him to like me again by sharing my food with him, he gave me a rock in return that he said in his own little way would protect me. I am keeping it, no use getting him mad at me again. I helped him walk back to the workshop, he used me as something to hold onto.


During the next few days Uncle Val started building statues. I wanted to help him out so I started up on the gold one and eventually finished it. Was not very hard, before we moved here, I helped Bem make a statue of Dad after he went to sleep forever, my do I miss him, but just lately there has been no time to think of him due to so many things happening.

Either way I have been settling in here at this new home, even if I miss the old one where Geron and Kadol sleep forever. Maybe I will go back there one day, who knows.


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