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The Faery Tale

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Naur, 85 - Afternoon, hr 9    
Go with me? He heard the words, coming from that voice - Kavo. But they weren't to him. Why? He wanted to go too. He made his way to the Kavo-voice, and waited. It would notice him, He would notice him, so he stayed quiet. He was right, he was in the air, in his arms. He drew attention to his brother leaving, and smiled eagerly.

"I'm sorry little one, but you got to stay here.
"

No, no that wouldn't do. So he clung, and he clung, and he put on the face that always got him noticed. What? Still no? Fine. He would not cry, not where everyone could see him. Little little pups cried, and he was getting big. He reached for the ground, willing it to come to one hand while the other rubbed his eye, stilling the tears.

And then a face nuzzling him, and a tight embrace, so warm. What? He stopped reaching for the ground, his response almost automatic, settling against the Kavo-voice. It would come back, he said so. Everyone heard. Come back! He wanted to cry, but he just hugged and hugged. And he showed the Kavo-voice that he knew he had to stay, and he had to go, and both he's had to be happy about it. Maybe he didn't have to like it, but it was what the Kavo-voice wanted. And the Kavo-voice loved him.

But then the Kavo-voice asked another brother to go. What? What?! He wondered why that pup could go, the Kavo-voice even asked him to go! But he wasn't to go. What? So he stood at the path and he whimpered and sniffled and watched as the Kavo-voice took two other boys, not-Tobar boys. His name, commotion, yelling, crying, sounds of battle - but he had heard none of it. He was too fixated on the disappearing figures in front of him, willing them. Notice me! Come back!
 
Naur, 85 - Evening, hr 12    
My first attack came with the birth of my little sisters.  How I hated those ugly, crying things; how I wished mummy would take them away, and I told her so.  My parents simply told me to be nice, that I would love my sisters in time and that they were my family.  I ignored them.

I shouldn't have.

Garth got upset with me.  Garth, my Garth who had taken Cecil's place when he died.  I enjoyed spending time with him, watching him work on his wonderful healing objects, but I did not like to hear him chastise me.

I began to cry again, harder than before.  It seemed like everyone cared about the babies more!  I hated them, the ugly things.  Why did everyone like them so much?  We didn't need more babies around!  Mummy and papa had me and Mimmy, and we were still babies.  I didn't see anymore reason for babies.

I just wanted Cecil back, underneath all of it.  Why were there new babies when Cecil had just passed on to Elva?  It didn't seem fair.

Poor Cecil.  So alone and cold in the mines.
 
Elen, 85 - Midday, hr 6    
    The Tower    

Elen, 85 - Midday - I blacked out on the road before I arrived at the new location. I woke up to find fresh wounds running down both my arms. They were carvings of symbols, they went all the way from my shoulder down towards my wrist. It it really bad, but i don't remember this happening. The last thing I remember on the road was the whispers... they started happening again, but this time they grew louder and louder until they consumed my thoughts, my mind, and I guess eventually my body. I wont admit it to any one, but I am terrified! I just want to find my mama, I want her to tell me everything is going to be alright. I... I miss her.
 
Elen, 85 - Midday, hr 6    
Though the village of the Meliansons is fair and beautiful, I feel the wanderlust coming over me again. Din has finally given me an excuse to leave and travel with this comission for a map. I stop on the road to Celandel's Place and twirl in the cold midday air. Ah, adventure! How sweetly you call me with your siren song!
 
Gurtha, 85 - Before dawn, hr 2    
I left Radimir in the clearing. Home, I am finally home. The shock of knowing that I died. It hit me hard. i only just thoguth that i was lost. I visted my own grave I had laid beside my siblings. Young bella.. Why are you gone now? Ilbeth did you not have the strength to carry on? Two years... two long grueling years. Have all of us left or died. The sounds of childlike laughter don't fill my ears, where has the happiness gone. when I died did I take the life from this place with me?

Dinova looked at me with shock but welcomed me with open arms. I had arrived in time to see the birth of his son, Teran.Asphodel was just as shocked and I worried for her health.Din doesn't seem to worried about how I came back. Though it will take time for Asphodel to understand. Mama came home to bury me... Will she strike me down with her blade? What will she think of her daughter now? 

Din sees me as a miracle a shining light of hope. "Everything is great now everything will be fine."  I don't think things can be mended so easily... 
 
Gurtha, 85 - Midday, hr 6    
Light and colors, that's all she can pick out. A big shape here and there, but not much more. She's carefully picked up by one of the big shapes.

The woman holding her, smiled to a nearby man. "I don't think I can have boys anymore."

He smiled a little in return, biting his lip. "I dunno, Sof... maybe we just need to do something different..." He shrugged, then grinned widely at the infants.  "But it isn't real important, I think... we have more little ones, an' Sam an' Elene have more little sisters..." He nodded to himself.  "That's what's important."

There's someone else right next to her. Someone else warm, like the woman holding them. This someone else is small though, and she doesn't seem to move.

The man leaned a little closer to the babies. "Hey, little one... you awake?" He asked, looking to her.

The woman nodded her head in agreement, and rocked the two babies in her arms. She looked up to the man a moment. "Hinrod, what do you think about Kimi for this one..." She nods to the someone else. "And... maybe Emma for her?" She asks.

He continued to look at her. "Yeah, Sof. Those are good names, I think."

Sofia nodded, smiling down at the girls. "I think so too..."

She tried her best to focus on Sofia's face a moment, before straining to look at Hinrod's.

She leaned a little closer. "Hey there, Kimi..." Gently, Sofia caressed Kimi's cheek with a finger.

"Hey, little one." Hinrod added, grinning excitedly.

Looking back to the woman, Kimi made a little noise at her mother's touch, before tilting her head closer to Sofia's finger.

He chuckled softly at mother and daughter a moment, before taking out a chunk of meat. Slowly he tore it up, and held a very small piece of it up to her mouth. "Here, Kimi..."

She stared at the meat for some time before finally opening up her mouth to try it.

Sofia's expression brightened as she looked up to Hinrod. "We finally have one who decided to wake up..."

A smaller someone, bigger then herself, but smaller then Sofia or Hinrod, wanderd over to look at the newborns in Sofia's arms. She'd been distracted from her playing by their arrival. "Babies! Papapa, when can the new babies come play with me?"

Hinrod continued to bring tiny pieces of meat to Kimi's mouth, until it was gone. Then he turned to the girl with a grin. "I dunno, Elene... but you wanna help your mother an' me take care of them?"  His cheerful expression turned into a frown. "Or... I mean, Sofia, not your mother. That was very bad of me, Elene. I'm sorry." He shook his head slowly, grumbling to himself.

Sofia laughed quietly, shaking her head. "You didn't mean to say it, Hinrod, it's fine."

Elene looked between Sofia and Hinrod a little bit blankly before replying. "Okay, I will help good." She watched as Kimi drifted off to sleep, nodding her head matter-of-factly.
 
Gurtha, 85 - Midday, hr 7    
It brought me closer to the two important males.  The horn of the Jibberwuck, carved by my father and turned into a necklace for me, latched itself into my brain as a symbol of unity.  Unity between myself, my brother and my father.  It didn't matter that I was a girl, that I was so young.  I could be like them, strong and intelligent and positively wonderful.

I would be like them, those two who I worshiped, who I lavished with love and the childish infatuations of a girl who spent so much time with them.  They were brown-haired gods in my aquamarine eyes, able to do no wrong.

The plains would nurture my affections for my father and brother like a mother to her offspring as the summers and winters passed, new plains grass replacing the old dried husks in a mimicry of our Kindred lives, something I didn't think about.

There had been so much death surrounding me, but I didn't think that my men, my strong father and intelligent brother, would ever be taken from me like Cecil had.
 
Lasse, 85 - Sunrise, hr 4    
He stares at the door to his home, fear keeping his body from moving.  Was she still outside?  And if she was, was she awake?  Did she appreciate the honey he had left by her while she slept?  Was she dangerous?  It's the last question that freezes him in place, making him unable to move.  Was she like the others from home?  Would she try to hurt him or take him back?  Too many questions.

After what seems like an eternity, he finally gets up the courage to open up the door a tiny bit and peek outside.  He sees her sitting there and takes a better look at her.  She is a tall, young woman, a little thin for her height, frizzy brown hair, and beautiful dark green eyes.  As their eyes meet Isengar realizes she is awake and begins to pull the door closed, but she speaks and catches his attention.

"Oh! Hello there" she sighs then, the sadness clear in her voice.  "Thank you for the food."  She smiles then, although she looks just as nervous as he feels.  Should he retreat back into the safety of his home or talk to the stranger.  His curiosity wins in the end.

"You're welcome" he says, smiling hesitantly.  He then points to himself.  "Isengar".  he says without any further explanation.  It feels so weird talking to someone, words he has barely used his entire life, only learned from watching others.  She smiles then, and he can feel his muscles relaxing as she speaks "I'm Abagail, its nice to meet you.  Do you live on your own?"

They talk for a while, Isengar openning up a little, Abagail's kind words cracking the shell he had worked so hard to put up.  Eventually he starts to break down, tears escaping from his eyes.  She asks for permission not wanting to scare him, then comes over to where he is and gives him a hug.  She tells him how sorry she is for everything that has happened to him and it just stands in her embrace crying for a time.

He pulls away eventually and they talk some more.  Abagail tells him that she has been looking for someone but is starting to lose hope. Eventually he asks her to stay a while, at which point she asks if he wants to come with him back to her family.  The fear returns then, stronger than before.  More people?  People that either could hurt him or that he could accidently hurt with his power?  No, he can not go.  He tells her this, knowing she can't understand but not willing to explain why to her yet.  She speaks to him some more, trying and succeeding to calm him down.

Then she spots someone coming from the Northeast and points them out.  Before Isengar can get worked up again, she quickly suggests he go wait inside so that she can talk to the stranger when they arrive.  Her voice keeps him calm, and he quickly moves inside, stopping only to say a few more words.  "Thank you" he says, knowing that she won't fully understand how thankful he is that she has come, that she has given home hope and filled a little of the emptiness that is inside of him.
 
Vasa, 85 - Sunrise, hr 4    
Kimi frowned a little, and shifted slightly as the light just started to hit her face. She made a few sounds as she fully awakened, and was swiftly retrieved from the floor of their forest home.

“Hey, little one...”

Her eyes drifted over Hinrod's face, taking in his brown and gray beard, his haggard expression, his frequently chewed lips. She smiled back at him, and reached out her hand for his cheek, babbling quietly.

“You wanna get my face hairs, too?” With laugh, he leaned in closer to the baby.

As her fingertips brushed his face, Kimi giggled, and patted at Hinrod's cheek happily.

The man couldn't help but chuckle, but tried to to keep both the baby and his face as still as possible.

Kimi moved her hand along her father's face, until she reached his crooked nose. She pushed her palm against it, and he softly squeaked.

“Hey...” He grinned at the girl.

She giggled happily at the sound, and pushed in his nose again. He squeaked, and she once again giggled. Instead of pushing on his nose, she decided to give it a little squeeze, to see if the sound would change.

He laughed, not expecting the squeeze to his nose. “Hey... wadda stop that?”

She squeezed her father's nose a couple more times, and moves her hand to tug at some of his disheveled hair.

He followed her hand with his eyes. “Whatcha doin' there, Kimi?”

Unhappy with her father's reaction, she screwed up her face as she looked at him, releasing the bit of hair she had clasped in her hand.

He shifted Kimi to cradle her in his arms.  “You okay, little one?” He rocked her gently back and forth as he spoke, looking worriedly at the baby.

Her father's attempts just made things worse. She curled her arms in close, crying as he continued to rock her.

“You hungry, little one?” He bit his lip, looking around for Elene. “Or... you cold, maybe? Where's that skirt Elene was putting on you...?” He continued to try and get Kimi to settle down, but now she just cried louder, and twisted about in his arms. “Uh...” He bit his lip again, and nodded. “Wanna go inside, little one?” He held Kimi against his chest, and lightly patted her back as he carried her into their temporary home, a wooden lean-to.
 
Vasa, 85 - Evening, hr 10    
It had been an unkind thing to ask a - a friend to do. Though he had not considered the creature friend then, only as a creature like himself in the strangest of ways who had shown an incomprehensible kindness to an injured stranger. But even that was no excuse, though the stone kin did not speak of his thoughts on leading him to the stone kin city. So he had done the only thing he could - the only thing he knew how to do in these circumstances. As they drew further away from Moonglade, as he lost his bearing and the stone kin grew more confident,he took the tusk of the boar - the demon-like creature that had nearly killed him - and began to carve.

Sharp teeth and large eyes, both set in a face that bore no resemblance to a Stoneshaper's, and the wings, giant and leathery like the bats in the mines.

He carved it when he could, and it was only chance that the stone kin hadn't realized its existence yet. Carving the crude figurine, eating the strange nuts, and walking with the stone kin in that companionable silence that he had grown used to - those formed the routines of his life.

It was a strange friendship, and a stranger silence. Once, the silence would have strangled him - had destroyed him, in fact - but now it seemed a matter of course. They walked mostly without words - and what need was there for speech?

A pleased smile appeared upon the stone kin's face now, as he held out the carving. After so long, the bestial expression no longer seemed strange nor threatening, and he felt himself smiling back easily in response.

"Perhaps we'll meet again some other time." A trace of wistfulness in his own tone. He was going to miss the stone kin, his only company for so long. But it was not just that - the two of them had been alone for so long, each drawing away from their families, and the stone kin had been kind.

"Perhaps." The stone kin's words did not sound so strange now, the familiar syllables no longer sounding distorted at all.

And with those last words, the stone kin begin wandering towards the northeast. He watched for as long as he could, until the darkness of the evening swallowed Darun, and then stepped in the opposing direction, looking ahead for the city that awaited him.

Once this was over, he would find his friend again.

Perhaps he would show him his home in the mountain, with its deep tunnels and pond near the waterfall, or perhaps they would just go traveling again, to the other ends of the world. But there was no perhaps about whether or not they would meet again.
 
Vasa, 85 - Evening, hr 11    

Tales of the Noljan Jungles, by Ayla for her Grandchildren

The Giant Olum


A long time ago, long before Rose, Amrod or Diran ever walked the jungles of Nolja, in a land far far away across the Ocean, there was the land of the Giant Olums. It might be there to this day. Most likely it is. Not long ago, right after the North Road out of Nolja was complete, one was spotted traveling there.
Giant Olums are just that, fuzzy creatures with a yellow stripe down their backs, except taller. Taller than the tallest Noljen. And where the smaller Olums eat insects and exotic tropical fruits, the Giant Olums are big enough to eat children. Especially plump Noljen children

And so it happened one day a young Olum bored with the tedium of everyday life, wandered down to the beach. His parents had warned him not to go down there alone. Especially, they warned him not to anger the Stone Crabs that come out in the evening scavenging for food. Because, as you know, there in the land of the Giant Olums as here at Pearl Beach, if the Stone Crabs become angered or agitated in any way, they become as big as trees. But that is another story.

The Young Olum gazed out at the vast horizon and wondered to himself if the Ocean ever ended. Was there something on the other side? How would anyone ever know? As he was wondering these things, scratching at his fuzzy head, the log he was sitting on in the surf shifted with the incoming tide. He almost toppled into the water, but he grabbed onto an old branch with his two hands and held on. The log lurched as the next wave hit it and the force pulled it out of the sand and there it floated. The Young Olum had only been in the water briefly once before on an outing with his parents and so, he held on to the branch tightly as the log was swept out into the wide Ocean by the current.

Day, turned into Night and into Day again, and soon he was not able to see the land anywhere, just the Ocean glimmering in the Sun all around him. He was very afraid and was starting to miss his parents and so he started to cry. He lay flat out on the log and sobbed. All of a sudden, three little green heads popped out of the water around him. They had large dark eyes and two little holes where a nose should be. As the rest of them emerged from the water, he noticed they were wearing a shell. "Hello" they all said at once and together. "We are of the Sea Turtle Clan, who might you be?". Well, you can well imagine our Young Olum was startled. He had never seen anything like it in his life. But he was brave and his mother taught him to be polite and so he told them. " I am Zarook, of the Giant Olum clan", he nodded solumnly.
"Prince of the Giant Olums", he added regally,  
"my father is the King and my mother the Queen."
The three Sea Turtles widened their large dark eyes, obviously very impressed, they then smiled and said all together, "We are Ollie, Pollie and Wollie." "Our mother is Jollie and our father Zollie

"It is good to meet you" Zarook nodded to the three turtles. "Do you live in the Ocean?" he asked them. "Oh yes, but we come up onto the shore to lay eggs" they all chimed in together. "When it is time to lay eggs all the Sea Turtles come up onto the shore and have a big celebration". "We are heading to the celebration now, would you like to join us Prince Zarook?"

"I would be most grateful to accompany you towards land" he said. "Well..." the three turtles rang out, "We are headed for the shores off of Nolja, you may follow us there". And so it was that the Prince of the Giant Olums, Zarook, paddled his way behind the three Sea Turtles towards the lands of Nolja. It was a long slow journey.

When he became hungry, the Sea Turtles brought him food. The first day, Ollie brought him seaweed. He chewed it a long time thoughtfully, but it really didn't satisfy him. The second day, Pollie brought him a steaming mass of blubber, which they said was a delectable treat to the Sea Nymph's. He poked at the quivering jell with a finger and a withered look as the scent floated to his delicate nose. "The Sea Nymphs think this a great treat then?" he asked. "Oh...but what are Sea Nymphs?" He thought they must be horrid creatures to eat something so wretched as blubber. The three Sea Turtles eyes became soft and misty and they sighed together in awe, "Just the most beautiful creatures in the Ocean!" Zarook responded with a look of surprised disbelief. "The most beautiful creatures in all of the world most likely", they nodded to each other. On the third day Wollie brought him some fish, which he ate raw hungrily. He had, when the three Sea Turtles were not paying attention, swept the blubber back into the Ocean, and so had eaten nothing since the seaweed. Which truth be told wasn't much to speak about either. 

More days turned to nights then into days again, until one morning Zarook woke with blurry crusty eyes to see land ahead of him. He sat up on his log with such excitement that he almost rolled right off! He paddled with renewed vigor, eager to get onto land again! It took most of the day but finally, as evening cast it's shadows onto the shore, he tumbled off of his log and into the crashing surf. Trudging his way onto the sand, he lay down exhausted and in tears of happiness to finally feel the ground beneath him again.

Looking around him he saw many Sea Turtles of different ages and sizes all around him on the beach. Their webbed feet made the sound "flip, flip" as they pulled themselves around on the sand. He spotted Ollie, Pollie and Wollie resting with two larger turtles and walked over to sit by them. The three Sea Turtles introduced their parents Jollie and Zollie to him and they all spent a very pleasant night together. At one point their mother Jollie excused herself and went off to lay her eggs.

He woke up that next morning and looked around him. All of the Sea Turtles were gone, he was alone in the warm morning Sun, white sands stretched to either side of him. Looking behind him he saw the Jungle. The trees and plants were nothing like he knew from his homeland of the Giant Olums. Zarook started to cry despite the beauty of the land, as he missed his parents and had no idea how to get back to them.
But his parents taught him to be strong and to make the best of a situation and so he stood up and looked about him. He made a decision then, he would travel North and then into the Jungles. Maybe he would find someone who could tell him how to get back to his home. 
 
 

 
Vasa, 85 - Evening, hr 11    
Tales of the Noljan Jungle by Ayla for her Grandchildren

Daisy and The Stone Crab


One day, the Noljen girl Daisy, one of the Three Flowers, came to Pearl Beach.

 Daisy was one of three sisters all born together, just after Rose and Diran were taken by the Great Light of Dynn. They were named Rose, Daisy and Zinnia by their mother Ayla and their father Myran after much fuss. Most babies, when just born are very sleepy and some even most dreadfully never wake at all. But the Three Flowers woke up immediately much to the surprise of their parents, who were very tired after a very busy and emotional day.

 
One of the many unusual things about the girls that their parents noticed was how very noisy they were! It was almost as if they emerged from their mother with their mouths open, continuing a conversation they had while still inside her. 
"Oh Myran!" Ayla exclaimed during a brief break in the chatter. "What do you think about naming this one Rose after Mamma?" She held up the beautiful little girl with the tiny violet ringlets curled about her head."That would honor her memory" he agreed and so the first flower was named. 
The baby girl destined to be named Daisy was feisty right from the start. Why, she tore at her mother's shirt trying to eat her alive! Certainly, she was the loudest! Ayla held the squiggling, squirming chubby baby up for Myran to see. "What should we name little feisty here?" she smiled to him. 
"How does Cypress, Hazel or Camillia sound?" he offered. They both startled as the baby started to scream and wail like a jaguar, her little face red as a ripe mango.
"I like Hazel for this one and Camillia for the other, Cypress sounds like a boy's name to me" Ayla responds with a determined frown, as she struggles to get the child into clothes and booties.
"I don't think she likes my suggestions" Myran chuckles as the baby continues to wail.

After much discussion and screeching, with a firm voice, Ayla declares "The baby with the white hair is Zinnia!" nodding decisively, "the one without hair is Daisy!" she adds with a wag of a finger, "and I don't want to hear anything more about it!"
And that is how Rose, Daisy and Zinnia, The Three Flowers, came to be named. But I was telling the tale of Daisy and the Stone Crab wasn't I!

 
Vasa, 85 - Evening, hr 11    

Daisy and the Stone Crab continued....

Soon after The Flowers turned five, Ayla left to live at Pearl Beach. It wasn't too long after that Daisy followed to come live there with her mother. Pearl Beach, as you know is a lovely, peaceful and tranquil place. Very quiet, except for the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, the wind whispering through the palm trees, the occasional seagulls cry and in the evening, the Umjai cooing and singing to each other.The peaceful spell of Pearl Beach was broken when Daisy arrived.

Following her mother around, Daisy, who now looked much like a small version of Ayla, with the same beautiful crimson hair with white streaks running through, would chatter and jibber jabber. So many questions! When her mother, after a long day of work and questions would close her eyes finally, Daisy would wander the beach looking for something to talk to.
And that's how she came to talk to the Stone Crab. Sitting next to her mother under the palm tree on the edge of the jungle, she fidgeted. Her mother, her eyes closed, snoring softly was most definitely asleep, not pretending as she did every so often.

 Daisy got up and started wandering down the beach. It was early evening, the Sun was sinking into the water, and the first Umjai were beginning to sing. First she chattered to a flock of seagulls she saw a ways ahead of her, but as she got closer, they rose up and flew out over the Ocean. Then noticing a Sea Turtle resting in the surfs edge, she sat beside it and set to a long discussion regarding the setting Sun, and where did the Turtle think it went and why. As the first star peeped out of the purple twilight, the discussion turned to the stars and did the Turtle think they were really small holes in the sky where the light of Dynn showed through. In the middle of this last topic the Turtle turned a baleful eye towards Daisy, blinked twice and turned back towards the Ocean. Daisy never noticed as she gabbed on, until she happened to look down and noticed the Turtle nowhere to be seen. "Hmmph" she snorted. "How rude, to not even say goodbye?"

 And so she wandered a bit farther until she spied a Stone Crab clicking its way along the water's edge, picking up bits of flotsam with its claws to taste. Walking up to the crab, she started to tell it of the Sea Turtle and the rudeness of it all. She strolled along beside the crustacean asking where it went during the day and what was it like under the Ocean, did the crab have a family, most specifically did it have a mate. She then proceeded to talk about her mother's two mates and what did the crab think about that, when all of a sudden, she heard a crackling noise. Looking down at the crab, she noticed it was getting larger. Curiously, she watched it and then asked the crab why it did such a thing. In answer the crab got larger yet, and clicked it's two claws at her, it's eyes swiveling about on their stems.

Finally, the Stone Crab grew so large it towered above her as large as a tree! Daisy's mouth gaped open and then gasped as one of the large claws lunged for her. She turned and ran as fast as she could back to her mother. She never looked back, for if she did, she would have seen the crab shrink quickly back to its normal size. It continued down the beach clicking along, picking up bits of flotsam and tasting them as it went along. Daisy lunged right for her mother and snuggled in to sleep, to dream of rainbows and clouds. Every once in a while a Stone Crab would wander through her dream, causing her to stir and snuggle further closer to her mother.
She never did tell anyone about the Stone Crab, until one day, when she met Solreth. But that of course is another story yet. 

 
Ringwe, 85 - Sunrise, hr 4    
    The Tower    

Ringwe, 85 - Sunrise - I know it's Garrak who's whispering to me now. He's telling me all these things I don't want to hear. He says he will be back one day, to his original form, and that I can't escape him. I don't know why he wants me.. but he seems determined. He also told me that I must protect his children with my life, that at least one of them needs to survive. That I have no problem in doing, but I refuse to tell any one about the last part... I don't want them to think they are some sort of key to Garrak. I've come to love these children, I wouldn't want to see them hurt... or even killed.
 
Khelek, 86 - Midday, hr 7    
There were so many of them, each possessing eyes that burned with an internal flame. He could see how much they resembled Darun - or perhaps he had only been imagining it, that the curve of the old one's wing, the shape and hue of another's eyes, and the color of their stony skin matched that of his friend's.

Stone kin.


But not.

They called themselves aelleri, a strange word that settled uneasily upon his tongue. Aelleri, not stone kin. He would never be able to say it correctly, in the years after this, and in the end he would call them only the bat-people.

But they claimed to know Darun, and Darun had told him to find the stone kin here.

"He was...not right. Never spoke, only woke up to eat until one day he stole a bunch of food and left without a word," one of the bigger aelleri said. Illesa was her name - that too, seemed a strange word. It reminded him slightly of his sister's name, but the stone kin - the aelleri's speech distorted it.

"But you do know Darun..."

The aelleri were not as friendly, without the open-hearted generosity of his friend and possessing caution and wariness. And he understood that - he had treated Darun in much the same way in their first meeting, when the boy had been trying to help him- but he couldn't help but feel slightly injured by it, couldn't help but compare them unfavorably to his friend, whom they slandered so casually, all the while driving their own kin away.

"I don't know if I would say that. He's fifteen now and left...well, I honestly don't remember when he left. Probably before he was eight. He's been gone so long and was never truly part of the family that I wouldn't say that we know him or that he knows us."

He could understand that, but he didn't, really - he felt stung on the behalf of his friend, and all the while, he couldn't help but wonder if that was how his own family would think of him, as an outsider, something not-Stoneshaper.

And most of all, he did not believe them and their words; he could not offer them his trust as he had Darun.
 
 
Khelek, 86 - Evening, hr 12    
I could tel lthat Sal was just as nervous as I was. It was awkward as our bodies met flesh against flesh. He had become so angry over the years by not being able to lay with me. Why hadn't he asked sooner? I still don't know.
I could only hope for a child but Elva did not grant me with one. We will have to try again. I have my doubts that I can have children. Perhaps dying does that...

I could only feel deep saddness after the deed had been done. Had we done soemthing wrong? This wasn't what I had expected. .not that I hadn't enjoyed it. Now I understand Dins jokes. This only makes my cheeks blush.. the door to this shack isn't lockable.  
 
Losse, 86 - Midday, hr 7    
We're going to find a new home! I don't know why we ever spent so much time building Skyreach when those Stoneshapers were always so close! If we had just gone farther north to begin with they might not be as much of a threat! But we didn't, so we have to do that now!
Mother tried to get Amabi and Zoan and Reed to come, but they wouldn't! I'm the only one who gets it! We can't stay here! Not with those twin traitors off telling them all about us!
So I'll go with mother! We'll find a better place, a safer place to live! And then we'll build more buildings, like that big one we finished a year or two ago! It's a shame that one won't be used!
Our lives would be so much better if there were no Stoneshapers!
 
Losse, 86 - Midday, hr 7    
  He was running. Running far away from his home, from the fools who thought themselves Kavo and Rani. They pretended to love their pups, to keep them fed and warm, but in the end, it was all just a trap. He could see clearly now, as he remembered all as the final blow was about to be struck.

  Back at home, there was a pup, one taken by a warble, had basically become one. He knew, or he thought he did. Attacked out of both anger and knowledge, and that may have been his undoing. But they knew, and they chose to ignore it. He woke up a day later, confused, and not knowing anymore. A bad dream had taken a hold of him, bringing him back from the sleep. But they had a bad dream too, they told him. But their bad dream was real. They said he knew, and that he was lying! How could he know, when something so terrible had been done, he had no choice but to not remember.

  And yet they would ask again and again, make claims that he would kill all the pups, speaking as if he was not one of their pups! They had played with him, taught him, fed him, and now they couldn't even be bothered to believe him. Finally, the biggest fool had decided that he had enough of the lies, the very ones he started, and he sent him away, to live out his days without food or family.

  As he lay there on the ground, bloody, he thought of how that was not enough for this man. He held two faces, and one was hidden behind a veil. A veil so thick, he wondered if anyone knew of it, even himself. And as the blow connected, bringing him out of his body, he heard a voice, disembodied but warm, welcoming him back to the stone. His true home.
 
Kuile, 86 - Sunrise, hr 4    

The Brave Little Olum and the Honeycomb

Deep in the Jungles of Nolja, in the very beginnings of Time, Dynn was busy creating the World of Light. He was so busy in fact, creating Mangos, Bananas and Coconuts and so on, that sometimes He would get mixed up. Yes! It's true! Even Gods of Light can make an error...and so it was with the Olums. You see, Dynn is not just a God of Nolja...no indeed...He has many lands just as ours to look after and so it was, He made a mistake. He placed five Olums in Nolja. When He realized His mistake, He chuckled and scratched His Divine head, shrugged His Divine shoulders and said "So be it." And that is how, the adorable fuzzy creatures came to our lands, by Divine error.

The Olums for their part adapted very well to the surrounding jungle, it was warm, the jungle canopy safe and cozy as well as plenty of exotic fruits and insects to eat. When Dynn placed Rose, Amrod and Diran in the jungle with them, they were happy to share their home. Finding the Noljans, as they called themselves, amusing to watch. They liked to observe the children that eventually came to be, especially the little girl Ayla. They would follow above her in the canopy, listening to her chitter chatter on and on as she followed her older brother Myran about. She sounded just as they did. And, most of all, she had the most lovely crimson hair with white streaks...they found it fascinating.

One Olum stood out from the others. And that was the Brave Little Olum. He was smaller than the rest, but he was the most daring and courageous. When the jaguar would come prowling through the others would hide behind him. He would screech, bristling his fur and throw a coconut at the big cat's nose. He would stand watching for the anaconda's as the other Olums slept. When one of the big snakes would slither close, he would sound the alarm. He kept an eye on the children of the Noljan too. Not all of them were so nice as time went on. There was one very bad little girl, her name was Acacia. She would steal things and hide them. He knew where her hiding place was....but that is another story all together.

One day, when Ayla was grown, with children of her own, Rose and Diran came back from traveling. They brought new and unusual stories and treats from their adventures. One of the treats was honeycomb! The Olums were above the camp in the canopy watching the goings on. There were only three of them left now..two had been killed, murdered by two very bad Noljen children. Acacia and Fain. But we won't speak of that now. The murders however had caused the Olums to be very suspicious of the Noljens. They still trusted Ayla however as they knew she was their staunch defender...and of course there was the matter of her hair.....    Rose gave Niran, Ayla and Myrans youngest son, a piece of honeycomb. He was sharing it with everyone as that was the sort of child he was, goodhearted and kind. Solreth was just a small boy at the time too. He was munching on a mango in Ayla's lap, content and happy. And so Niran noticed the Olums then and asked about them.

Ayla told him all about them and how they were special. He said he would like to pet one. She told him how it had never been done before, but maybe they could try. She told him to put a bit of honeycomb on a low hanging branch, and so he did.

Ayla sat with Solreth and Niran on her lap not too far from the low hanging branch and watched together quietly. The Olums huddled together on a higher branch and watched as well. They chittered to each other with an anxious and curious tone. Finally, unable to watch and wait any longer, the Brave Little Olum started down towards the piece of honeycomb, much to the delight of the two little Noljen boys and Ayla. The two Olums however chittered with agitation and worry, they clung to each other and started to screech a warning to the Brave Little Olum. But his curiosity and bravery was too great and down the branch he went.

Reaching the honeycomb the Brave Little Olum sniffs at it, then stretches out a little finger and lightly touches the curious treat gently. As he does so the other two Olums scream out a loud complaint, clinging to each other tightly. Ayla, Solreth and Niran hold their breath, so as not to make a sound, Niran presses his little face into his mothers arm. Leaning down to the honeycomb, the Brave Little Olum sticks out his tiny little tongue and takes a lick. Ayla, Solreth and Nirans eyes grow wide and their mouths open round in excited anticipation. The two Olums screech indignantly as the Brave Little Olum picks up the sticky comb with his two little hands and starts to eat it greedily.

It is too much for the other two Olums! They make their way slowly down the branch holding each other, chitter chattering complaints as they go, watching Ayla and the children suspiciously. The Brave Little Olum is not paying them any attention as he slurps and licks his little fingers. The next thing that happened was unexpected and certainly not fair! The two Olums on reaching the Brave Little Olum snatched away the rest of the honeycomb right out of his little hands! They then ran skitter skatter up the branch quick as can be! Ayla and the children were as surprised as he was! Niran never did get to pet the Olums that day. No, it was Zinnia that was the first to pet them. And I'm sure I'll tell you that story, but it won't be today.

 
Kuile, 86 - Afternoon, hr 8    
Warm, comfortable.  Four others around her little form so snug.  Then one by one they were gone and suddenly - COLD!  She shivers, eye bleary as she takes in the chaos around her - or at least, that is what it feels like to her as she is thrust into the world.  She finds herself laying back on small wings, too small to fly just yet and too delicate to lay upon either...pain, felt for the first time.  Shaking, hungry, confused.

Warm hands gently lift her small form, a loving voice speaks words she does not understand.  Suddenly not cold, not shaking, then not hungry.  A name "Arista" though she does not yet associate it with herself.

Set upon the earth once more, she lays on her tummy, watching curiously as Warm Hands, "Mama," gives equal treatment to her siblings.  The act is interrupted however, when a young man comes into the tent.  Though she doesn't know what she is seeing, the sadness is apparent on his face should she be looking and had she known enough to understand sadness.  This day however, her attention is focused on his braid.  She reaches out for it, though far from her tiny form, but he quickly is gone.

Time to cry crawling!  She attempts lifting her body, little wings fluttering wildly, but alas, she doesn't quite have the strength.  Instead, she cries, "WAAAAAH!" and Warm Hands puts something warm in her mouth.  Belly full, she tries again.

After long moments of determination, wings flitting and fluttering, she sets off, hands and knees working overtime as she explores this new world.  So many things to see!  She doesn't comprehend much yet, getting lost in the process, but she doesn't mind.  Too much fun, too many new sensations to be afraid.

Then green...vast green that feels...comforting.  She crawls and crawls, resting now and again on this little rock here and that leaf there, her soft fingers touching everything in awe.  True, she isn't the most coordinated child just yet, wings causing her to overbalance perhaps as much as she crawls forward.  Finally though, she finds herself next to a big opening.  Quietly, she crawls inside.

Him again?  He is on the floor, his braid capturing her attention once again.  Wings fluttering behind her she tilts her head and...

Waa!  Her small voice startled as she tips onto her side.  With determination she rights herself once more and crawls toward that braid.  Victory!  She grasps it...

Warm Hands picks her up and she can't help but make a sound of disappointment.  But what's this?  She is handed to the young man, no longer on the ground and she grasps his hair, cooing happily.

Now she is being held securely, "Ewan" he tells her, is that to mean something?  She hears her name again, several times from the others and begins to associate the word with herself now, though the meaning isn't quite clear.

There is a rush of wind and the sound of strong wings and she suddenly is in the air, flying back toward the others and then into the city itself and finally into a tent.  There is a green thing, he gives it to her after a while, and she holds it to her though it is larger than her entire body.  Her arms hold it close.  When he finally sets her down on his leg, her little wings quickly begin moving again, and umph!  She falls to the floor.  He simply laughs, which causes her to laugh as well and then he pokes her, tickling and she pokes him back.  Funny sounds emerge from the young man, which cause her to giggle and coo.  When she is finally taken back to the tent she was born in, she is happy, especially when he sets her down right next to him.  Her grasp on his braid and her doll loosens and finally she slips into the peaceful slumber of a child without a care in the world.
 
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