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The Faery Tale

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Kuile, 89 - Sunrise, hr 5    
Iwas leaving if just for a hort while. I was going to head straight into the mines in Lorelei. I pretend like things don't affect me. Like I'm the same old Miratine, like I can handle every thing that's thrown my way. It was impuslive this time that I left to lorelei. Fortinas was going to talk to the other kindred about building a road to Melian's Forest. Yes it was his first time going there but I knew that he really didn't need me to get there. Fortinas was a smart boy everyone didn't credit him for anything. It saddens me to know this.

I went because I couldn't handle it any longer. I had abandoned them even for a day. I had thigns that i still needed to do. The mines were my target, I push myself to the limtis and didn't allowmyself to leave. Many time I found myself pukign against the wall just to collect medicine for my family and silver. I had wanted to make Salatius a ring such a long time ago. I would not allow my weakness to stop me this time. I couldn't travel far into the mines, reeling images passed across my minds eye. Why did i even keep trying. the more I fought for anything someone was always there to tell me that it wasn't worth it, that I wasn't strong enough. Sal had stood up for me so many times before but he had become like Dinova in my absence. a near hollow shell. Even now he smiles only sometimes. His face is still crumpled into a frown. Tears pour down my cheeks as I kneel on the mine's floor.  I had promised him to be back within two days... Why had I chosen such a short time? I was guilty, His pained expression hadn't meant to much to me either. I was guilty that I wasn't good enough for him. In the end I knew that I wasn't. He was my other half but in the end we were nothing alike at least not any longer.

Everyone was sleeping there was no one to turn to. Pickign herself up she lets out a strangled scream of frustration. Her skin too white and shaking all over she exits the cave to check up on Fortnias and Zoesime.

Our plan to live in Lorelei seemed to have a little bit of resistance... It was Dinova's original idea. I didn't even know why I had brought it up. It was most likely not going to happen. If even our older sister couldn't stay among us how could we even plan to stick together.
Rosa, 89 - Afternoon, hr 9    
Holly. Holly. The word rang strangely to my ears as I heard it. How odd it was. Holly. But the woman who held me, the woman I would forever call 'Mother', said to to me anyways. Holly. The more I heard it, the more I enjoyed it. Holly. Holly. Holly.

My name was to be Holly, then?
Lote, 89 - Sunrise, hr 5    
I'm heading home... Heading back to a place of misery, not that Lorelei is any better. How am I supposed to fix this? I couldn't even have a word with Uncle Broden about Elva. It only seems like a lost cause. Perhaps its best to forget about everything. i wouldn't take my life like Asphodel. Elva hadtold me to follow in Asphodel fotosteps. perhaps this home wasn't the right place. this was not my home. This was my past and my nightmare. This was just a horrible dream wasn't it. I wanted to believe that it was. That I would wake up again in that beautiful forest hearing the nuts hittign the ground and the bird chirping in the trees.

Instead I was trapped, I wished to be traveling. I wished that I had left with Hinrod, even Draven's weird behaivior was greater than this. he knew how to love. there was no love here. The pain of never being with him was better than being broken by someone whom I believed had loved me. I wanted to use my voice, but they only called me crazy. I was not like them. They were growing cold like the wind from the sea. How long coudl I keep the fire of my heart buring. I could feel it being blown out by their hurtful words. Everything was hitting me full force even as I entered Melian's Forest. my daughters smile brightened my mood only a little.

How long could I keep my feelings locked away? How long could I keep pretending? How was I going to explain to this little red haired girl that she could come with her mother or stay with her father? How could I explain that I was most likely not going to be back for a long time if ever? My heart clenched with guilt. I put on my best smile and tried my best to feel happy. Slatius was still workign o nthe road that never seemed to make any progress.
Urnu, 89 - Evening, hr 12    
The boy drops the last few sticks and bushes he cleared off the road and starts looking around. 

He turns towards the buildings and just started running, as he stumbles over a rock that he dropped there.
Flailing wildly he somehow managed to keep his balance and stops his sprint with a jump.  After a deep breath and shaking his head he moves on, looking back at the rock he stumbled over.

Just as he turnes around, he walks straight into a wall, making a face. As he takes a step back, the boy immediately shouts out again and raises his hands, grasping his face. He leans forward in pain and sits down soon after. His hands still covering his face damper cursing and swearing.

As he bleats and stands up, the boy removes a hand to see his fingers covered in blood. He looks around swiftly. He walks over to the nearby pond and bathes his face and washes his hands, sobbing.
Vasa, 89 - Afternoon, hr 8    
I see beauty. I gaze around myself in awe as the one called Quarr speaks. His voice is calming. I find that I rather like listening to it, and I find myself being soothed by his words. Such peace... such beauty. I feel almost overwhelmed.

He hands me a stone flower, and my heart melts. Just a bit. And then a smile quirks the corners of my mouth upwards, and the action feels unfamiliar and strange, but not unwelcome. We speak of many things, of my past and of his, of his people and my family. And I find myself forgetting my distress.

Hope finds its way into my heart again, and I laugh. The darkness that had covered my heart seems to have disappeared almost completely. We turn to leave the cavern of stone flowers, and his hand reaches for mine. I let him take it, the warmth of his fingers threaded through mine suffusing me with unexplained happiness and comfort.
Vasa, 89 - Evening, hr 11    
I called my misshapen child Radek. I found it hard to love him. As he grew he seemed aware of the way others treated him. Even though he was so small he seemed so wise in this one respect.

Farran had come to our mountain some time ago. I had negotiated with di-di to let him stay, because he had done me a kindness in my wanderings. He stayed with us for a while, and then more of his people came. He said he was hunted and I swore to protect him. My brother Elek and I stood together on this, and it might have been the only thing we could speak to one-another kindly about.

When the trouble with Farran seemed to be at an end I tried to reconcile myself with Radek. It was hard, but eventually I won back his love. I promised to do what I could to protect him. I gave him gifts and slowly he came to love me.

However he was always troubled, and his childhood was not meant to be a happy one. I do not know what was the cause of the quarrel, but my brother, Vinnet, after his long absence could not abide the child and his strangeness. He called him a demon and he threatened him.

Everything happened so quickly, I didn't have time to react. Vinnet threatened the child and Quarr stepped between them. My brother felled his own kin that day to save my child. But I could not rejoice for the child's life. I stared at Vinnet's body, the pain welling up inside me. I cried, I screamed out at Quarr. Why did it have to come to blows? Why did he have to die?

I was told to be greatful for my child's life. To forget about it. Quarr had done what I could not do because I was weak. It was my fault. Radek did not seem affected at all by the violence, and I wondered at his coolness.

Khelek, 90 - Afternoon, hr 9    
"So sleepy..."

She didn't recall how many days had past since her family had gone into the city to build. They all worked and worked hard to built the small house and the vault - each stone in its place, everything masterfully executed. Even though she was still so young, she did her share as best she could.  The marble slabs were heavy, but she shoved and lifted with the little strength her body would muster, resting when needed - sometimes for extended periods when the work had been exceedingly tiresome.

But it made her happy. She could finally contribute to her kin with more than simple gifts made by tiny hands. She could work with them; and, the work kept her occupied.

The work kept her from thinking about her parents and siblings.

She had watched one of her Rani leave moons before as the others slept. She could remember the tears in her eyes, the words she whispered to the sleeping Sul-Rani, and how she left home without a word to anyone...not even her own pups.  Her other Rani had left soon after; and, now her Kavo. No rhyme or reason...just gone.

Admittedly, she knew little of her Rani...they were always away when she was just a baby well into her childhood; but, she knew and understood their significance and felt a sense of security when they were in the homestead.  The same held true with her Kavo. In truth, however, deep down it was her Sul-Rani and Sul-Kavo she had inadvertently grown attached to as parental figures.

It was the sudden disappearance of her brother and sister that hurt her the most. One moment she was working with the marble and the next they were gone. She kept working with the others, glancing down the street every so often to see if they were coming back; but, no one ever returned.

As the others took to the outdoors again, she sat waiting, toying with reeds and feathers, imitating the craft she'd seen to have something to do.  She would play with the flute Sul-Rani had given her, her fingers trying to recall the way Narin had showed her to create beautiful tones from within it...failing terribly, but determined to get better so she could play along with Narin - something about the way he played the little flute always managed to captivate her. She would stare at the statues infront of the vault, the ones her Sul-Rani treasured, playing and practicing for them. One in particular - one small, sandstone statue that didn't quite match the others - was her favorite. It resembled her, after all; and, though she wasn't certain, she had a good idea who had created it.

And that thought always sent a pain through her chest. Her fingers would stop finding new notes and the flute would come to rest in her lap. Her bottom lip betrayed her as she gazed over the sandstone image, quivering as her shoulders slumped. "Cesi miss Tobar..."

Still, she would shake her head harshly at her words and keep focused on anything else available. "No...he come back. 'Nisa, too. They all will. You see..."
Losse, 90 - Midday, hr 6    
My mother made a large fire to heat us in this chilly weather. Its flames licked their way into the frost bitten air. The smell of burning wood reminding me of the forest. i just don't feel like this is home any more. I can feel Slaatius and I growing more apart... I've come to the conclusion not to have any more children. Lately my mind has been reeling. This home has become colder then the weather. This dead slumbering town, even Mama returning did nothign to lift the present woes. I'm trying to be patient i want to leave on good terms. I make excuses to keep myself here... My daughter and the others.

A barrier has grown between me and my family. Even my daughter barely notices me. I try my hardest though it seems like I fail every time. All of my hopes and dreams become squished under scrutiny. I'm trying to love him, i still do but its as if the fire between us as burned down to smoldering coals.

Only a another year I tell myself over and over. Can I really leave them?
Kuile, 90 - Afternoon, hr 9    

Emerald hadn't been bad all day. The worst she had done was wave a poor little toad around, and no one seemed to care enough to tell her to stop. But then some silly boy, he was one of the weird looking ones with rounded ears, really made her angry. She politely asked his name, and when he replied by making some weird whispering noise, she got mildly irritated and might have called him a dummy. Might have. Then, that stupid boy ran right past her, even pushing her aside! She stared at him in shocked silence, and her face squished into an angry frown. She stomped over to him and happily kicked him in the knee. Then, all hell seemed to break loose in her paradise home.

Her father, with a loud, terrifying yell, yanked her away from the boy and began to scream at her. What else could poor, misunderstood, innocent Emerald do but break into tears? Soon, both of her parents were urging her to apologize, saying things like "Only mean little girls hurt other people without apologizing and meaning it!" This made our little heroin evenmore upset, because she knew what you do to mean people, you hunt them! So they asked her again and again to apologize, and she didn't really think it was that fair. That boy started it by being a dummy, and by pushing her! How else could she react? And why didn't they make him say sorry?

Finally, Emerald apologized, and she was instructed to really mean it. Well, she was sorry for being mean, because no one wants to get hunted. She truly wanted to be a good little girl and have fun for the rest of her days, and to always have her mama and papa and Eli there to play with her and show her how to hunt. She wasn't exactly feeling too bad for physically kicking the boy. He deserved it, or at least in Emerald's mind he did. She actually took joy out of kicking him, and if she didn't get in trouble, Emerald would remember the incident fondly. How could she ever feel bad for bringing justice to all good little girls everywhere?

Oh well. After a good long nap, Emerald felt cheerful once again.

Kuile, 90 - Evening, hr 10    
It was that nightmare again. That same one he had since leaving, the one he had woken up to before the sun came up and grabbed his toy sword, lashing out the darkness as tears streamed down his face. Except now it was real. It was all happening. He knew it was real, he could tell. The blood from the White Dakkar covered his arms, covered his chest, dripped down his face. He was working when his Kavo arrived, working at turning the White Dakkar’s head into a helmet, the blood stung like fire, but it wasn’t hot. It was different. It was blue, and most blood wasn’t blue. In fact, no blood was blue. He looked into the one remaining eye of the severed head, and saw his reflection, his own glowing yellow eyes looking back at him from that one dark eye. Farran shuddered.

The blood splattered as he pushed his bone knife deeper into the side of the great head, passing scale and flesh as he removed another chunk to reveal the bone beneath. He closed one of his eyes, the burning not-hot blue lifeblood landing on his cheek and eyelid. He opened the eye once more, and his kavo was there, talking. To his Rani. There were more coming. He pressed down on the handle of his knife with both hands, giving leverage to the piece of flesh he was trying to remove from the skull. Farran shuddered.

He didn’t know. His only friend didn’t know. Well, his only friend that was still with him. He would go back some day. He would save his other friend, and then they’d go off to live happily. They’d find the real Surin. Not this dark spot that he spoke to and that told him things. Not the one that warned him of the danger that approached. The blue liquid dripped from the blade of his bone knife, and he jabbed it back into the head, just halfway, before looking up. Surin told him to, he would. Surin did not remember the other’s, and neither did he. Surin knew that he was in danger, and he was. He gazed into the dead unseeing eyes of the Dakkar, and wished he was as big and strong as it had been. But even that was not strong enough. He looked up, and gazed at the hand, at the sword that hung from his Kavo’s waist. “No.” A tear rolled down the man’s face, the sky overhead was dark but sometimes it was almost as blue as the blood that leaked from the empty eye socket of the dead white Dakkar. Farran shuddered.

He wouldn’t go back. He wouldn’t go away. He wished he was big, he wished he had learned to fly. He wished he could breathe white that was as hot, but not hot, as the blue blood. He wanted to see through those dark eyes, and he wished his were not like fire. He wanted to be able to lift into the air, and roar and not hide in the mines. He wished he was so big and so like the Dakkar he couldn’t hide in the mines. He hadn’t been hunting, but he’d show him what hunting was. Surin said not to, but he didn’t listen. The stick hit the bird, and the bird twitched. He felt sad. And then the bird was dead. But he needed to show that it was not hunting. Not what he had done before. Before he had been attacked. He had defended himself. He had killed even if he did not know it. But they didn’t care he was there unless he was hurt. He couldn’t understand that. Why would they care only when he was hurt? If he fell asleep like the other pups, they would never notice. He mentioned Draven. Farran shuddered.

He was standing still. He wanted to cry. But he would not. Dakkar did not cry. He wanted to be big, with a tail. He had to be like them. He said he wasn’t his problem anymore. He never was. The kavo turned and walked off. He wasn’t to be aggressive anymore. He was never aggressive to begin with. Just afraid. Afraid that Draven was right, or that he would be hunted or... He wished he was a Dakkar. He could just leave, flap his wings and take off. He couldn’t, though. He wasn’t. He sat down, and grabbed the bone handle of his knife, and the blue blood stopped just dripping. It gushed forth, and his hands burned without getting hot. Farran shuddered.

Kavo and Rani both came back. They didn’t speak to him. Not that they ever had before. Surin said it was dumb that they only noticed him now that they needed him to live with them. But they gave up, they realized he would never go with them. It was done. Blue blood dripped from his arms and clawed hands, and he lifted the skull up high. He gently lowered it, setting it down atop his head. He looked through the same place the Dakkar used to look. He saw the way the Dakkar used to see. He was hidden now. Protected. He was a Dakkar. Farran did not shudder. Farran turned, and walked away.
Rosa, 90 - Midday, hr 7    

The weather was cold but even the fires blaze couldn't seem to warm her heart. Her mother had finally returned and Berias as well. Morrain and Peritinius were still in Lorelei. Everything seemed fine until our Mother became worried about leaving the other's behind.. I didn't feel much worry as our mother was always seeming to take off with out saying good bye. I watched the fires blaze crackling and popping as it burned away the outer bark.  Though my family was coming back together I didn't feel joy. The air was tense with animosity,My mate wouldn't even let my daughter near my elder brother. I sat between them hoping to keep the tension from building. It didn't seem to help. 

Our mother wondered why our siblings hadn't arrived yet and as Berias explained about an incident in Lorelei, our mother became upset. One of Zos's girls had tried to kill Morrain but only ended up taking her own life instead. I was relieved that our sister was fine and recovering. On the other hand I was a little bit worried, but there wasn't anything I could do.  Our mother proceeded to ask why the people in Lorelei grew so crazed, why they became bad kindred. Perhaps it was my fault for the later fight but I was nearly joking as I replied. Maybe its the fish they eat. 

This comment sparked something within my mother, she was almost crazed. Berias tried to quell her impulsive nature, yet it only made the situation worse. I could only watch the fire trying to ignore the argument going on around me. How long would our family fight like this. Blaming each other and doubting each other's intentions. 

At that moment I wish that I could follow my sister back into the after life. I couldn't handle knowing that my life was a mess. Even as my mother disowned my brother I let him stay in my tent. my mother's feelings were only her's , I didn't fully agree with everything she said. Whether this was technically her home or not. After so many years of her traveling away didn't any of us get any say. 

I did not want to die here, I wanted to run away and never look back. My mate hated how I treated our brother nicely he always sided with our mother.. When would ever would he stand by me. When would Sal be like he was when we were children. I couldn't keep hoping that he would go back to the way he was before. I loved him.. but did I still love him the same.

I looked at my daughter, and I knew that I loved her that I had made her out of love.. but her father.. Salatius had created a void so deep that it seemed to be expanding rather then decreasing. I was supposed to be happy wasn't I? How could I be happy when we barely talked and All i wanted to do was cry for hours. I wondered why Elva was so cruel. 

I knew my fate was sealed when Berias apologized to the others.. Sal wouldn't listen to Berias even if he wanted to. She was stubborn and the two always clashed. Just as I feared the talk had gone sour. I couldn't help feeling angry, they had pushed my brother away and I knew he would never come back. 

Dinova said that Berias had been mocking Sal but I knew that there had to be more to the story then just that. Feeling as though they had tried to hurt Berias out of hate I finally snapped. I told Dinova how I felt and I didn't hold anything back. Even now he didn't change his ways, and it was ultimately his words that sent me leaving from my home.

I needed to talk with Sal but Now just wasn't the time.. Dinova had made me so angry and I didn't want rage to ruin anything between us if there was ever a hopeless chance. So like a fool I kissed him good bye though I didn't feel regret and he didn't try to stop me. I gave my daughter a letter hoping that when I did return some day she wouldn't come to hate me. I turned my back on them with my head held high at least until I was far enough away. I cried until my eyes were raw and stung from the salty tears. I hadn't want ed to leave my daughter behind.. But I needed to know the truth .. I needed answers to so many things. Did I love Sal? Who had brought me back to life? Was it even wise for me to return to Melian's forest? 

Lote, 90 - Evening, hr 12    
Mama coughed blood. I didn't know why, but I knew what blood was and that I didn't like it. It came from the cave fish when we prepared them to cook, and then they stopped moving. I didn't like blood at all. Especially not coming from my mother.

But she had come in from outside of the mines, our home, where the evil creature was that they kept speaking of. I had seen it. Grey-green fur covered it, with only one horn and four black claws on each of its hands. It was terrifying to see, but I never stayed out long enough to watch it for too long.

It made Mama sick. I hated it. I wished it would go away.
Urnu, 90 - Evening, hr 12    
I didn't sleep I couldn't instead i looked behind me seeing my older brother walking through the forest. His armor made him very slow. I had taken a different path through the forest and he wouldn't be expecting me to be in the clearing up ahead. Really I didn't expect to be here when he arrived. But something inside of me said to just stay put. I almost felt sad that Sal wasn't going to come after me. How many times had I went after him when he was upset, how many times had I cared for him when he had been so close to death? I could feel my heart breaking I hadn't told him that he couldn't come. He just didn't want to because I would have to go through Berias's colony. His hate was so strong towards Berias that he couldn't even care for me any longer. He wouldn't even think of being there for a day at all. Our mother and Dinova were more important to him. I could only hope that our daughter would be well cared for. I sobbed working on the nearly useless item in my grasp.

The heavy foot falls of my brother were approaching, my mouth felt dry. Would he make me return home. I didn't want to return so soon if at all. My family had turned on me just as they had on Berias. They would look at me as if I was dead. Just another lost Kindred in their graveyard. Would they feed my daughter lies in my absence.. or would they ignore her. Anxiety almost fueled me to run back and hold her in my arms once more. If only she was old enough to travel.

My brother called out my name in surprise, I had almost forgotten his approaching presence. We didn't have to exchange many words between us. We had an almost silent understanding between us. I was happy to know that he welcomed me into his precious home. Hillhaven.. so long ago I had left that place with hope of seeing my family and yet here I am running away from Melian's forest back to the people that i knew cared about me more then my own family. 

But did I belong there? Would Speck be able to help me find the answers I so preciously needed? I knew that I could not turn back.. I knew that I had to move forward with my life. My dear Asferanta I will come back for you, some day I will save you from that place. 
Elen, 90 - Evening, hr 12    

Where do the Sea Turtles go when they leave Pearl Beach?

I suppose we've all wondered that haven't we? They sit for long periods of time, blinking their large watery eyes, watching us. Then, for some reason known only to them, they turn on the sand with their large flippers and flip, flip go into the surf and onto the Ocean, never to be seen again. Of course, they do return here, but we just don't recognize them..they look so much alike you see. Well, your Mamma-Mamma knows where they go! How? Because they told her! They speak to me of course, as I am the Queen of Pearl Beach! Oh! You say I'm not? Well listen to my story and you will soon see that it is true!

One night your Mamma-Mamma was sitting on the beach near the surf among the many Sea Turtles there. I was a bit sad and lonely and being amongst them cheers me up a bit. They have such a calm and peaceful way about them, don't you think? All of a sudden they all lifted their heads and as one, they started to turn towards the surf. I looked about myself as the sound of flip, flip surrounded me. As they all moved into the surf, I started to cry. Three Sea Turtles turned at the sound, they all three blinked their large watery eyes at me, and spoke as one "Why do you cry Queen Ayla"?

Well, you could imagine I was quite surprised at first and my mouth hung open. I wiped my tears and spoke to them, "Well, I was enjoying your company, truth be told." I then sniffled and asked curiously, "You know my name"? I added with a bit of embarrassment "I'm not really the Queen, I just say that sometimes."

They confidently nodded as one and said "Oh...but you are!"

I didn't have the heart to dispute them at the time, and so I asked them their names and they answered, again as one, "We are Ollie, Pollie and Wollie, our Mother's name is Jollie and our father is Zollie."

I nodded quite amazed and said "It is lovely to meet you and to know your names!"

"But where are you going"? I asked them.

As one they replied, "We are going to our true home in the Ocean, to visit our Queen as it is her birthday"!

"Your Queen"? I asked. "Do you have a King as well"?

"Oh yes of course"! they replied. "Our Queen is Queen Dollie and she reigns with our King Bollie, they are very, very old and wise"!

"So, you are all going to a Birthday Party for Queen Dollie"? "Oh! That sounds like such fun"! At the time I was not having very much fun, as I was sad about your Pappa-Pappa Myran as he had disappeared while meditating and I wasn't sure what had happened to him. I truly feared the worst.

"Why don't you come with us"! They all cried out at once. "I'm sure our King and Queen would love to finally meet Queen Ayla"! they exclaimed.

"They know of me"? I asked, quite taken aback. "How do they know of me"? I asked quite astonished.

"We told them about you! How you protect Pearl Beach and all the creatures there! They come to Pearl Beach once a year to celebrate our Egg Laying holiday with all of us."

I shook my head sadly, "I would love to come with you, but even though I am a good swimmer, I could not swim as far as that I'm sure."

"Oh, we would have you eat our magic seaweed! Then you could swim far and fast and even be able to go under the water"! they informed me.

I looked back at everyone asleep and thought no one would miss me and so I agreed to go. I ate the magic seaweed they gave me. It was not very good I must add, but I swallowed it down anyway and jumped into the water. Wouldn't you know it, I could swim as well as Salome! I followed them for many, many Aylongs in the Ocean. Then they all went under the water, deeper and deeper. I followed them down, a bit reluctantly to breath at first, but when I could hardly keep my breath any longer, I took a deep breath and it was true! I could breath under the water. Deeper and deeper we went until I could see a giant Sandcastle on the Ocean floor!

We all swam to the entry gate and I looked up at the most beautiful Castle I had ever seen. Now of course I have never seen a castle before except for our play ones here. It was sparkling with jewels off every kind and color, different shells decorated it of sizes, colors and shapes I had never seen! And Pearls of course! Lovely Pearls everywhere! We swam in under a great arched entry, to a very large courtyard. In the courtyard were hundreds of Sea Turtles! They were all looking up at a great stage, where Queen Dollie and King Bollie were sitting on their great Thrones. Sitting on their shoulders were little creatures with shells, they had cute little faces that drew in and out of the shells. The Queen and King would every once in awhile pet the little heads when they drew out, and the little creatures would exclaim, "Wibble"! And I later learned that was their name. The Sea Turtles keep them as pets. They are very entertaining as they will dance if asked very nicely to.

Queen Dollie had the most beautiful Tiara! It was of a shiny metal quite like silver but a bit different and it had a Starfish on it. Now I know some of us have seen Starfish Tiara's before, but this was different! This was a live starfish, of a glittering golden color, wiggling it's many arms. It had tiny little sparkling purple eyes and a tiny little mouth. And you would never guess! It sang! Yes! It sang in a high and lovely voice, sweeter than any bird you ever heard! King Bollie had a crown made of the same metal. His had crabs all joined together holding their claws waving their little eyes around on their stalks. It was wondrous to behold!

All the Sea Turtles were happy and laughing! Then two Giant Stone Crabs came out carrying a very large cake. It was made of Blubber! It was decorated most elegantly with strands of Pearls, but though I was offered a piece and took one most graciously, I never touched a bite of it! There was much singing and dancing and hugging and kissing. Sea Turtles I must say are a very demonstrative group when it comes to that sort of thing.

I was then presented to the Queen and King. I bowed down to them and to my surprise, they stood and bowed down to me as well!

"Queen Ayla! We are honored to have you attend our party"! They both exclaimed together.

"I am most honored to attend your Majesties." I replied.

After all the singing and dancing I grew very tired and so I swam all the way back to Pearl Beach. The sun was just rising, no one was awake yet, so I went into my house, changing out of my wet clothes and slept for a long while. When I woke, my very own Pappa came flashing out of the light and told us that Pappa-Pappa Myran was alive and well and in Nolja. And so I wasn't sad anymore. I felt something else instead. But we won't talk of that now as this is a happy story!

And so, that is where the Sea Turtles go when they leave Pearl Beach, to the Beautiful Sand Castle of the Queen Dollie and the King Bollie for a lovely party. Because it's always someone's birthday, and when it isn't, well they think up some other reason to celebrate. They are a very happy clan, the Sea Turtles.

Gurtha, 90 - Afternoon, hr 8    
The Little Future Maiden and the Bloodberries

There once was a little follower of Maern named Yanette who dreamed of one day tasting the sweetest bloodberries in the entire world. She loved bloodberries so much that she decided the best way to get them was to grow them herself. She wondered the forest collecting seeds from the biggest and most delicious bloodberry bushes. She brought them back to her Reaver and Maiden and together they planted the seeds.

Each day little Yanette would pray to Maern for Her Grace to help make her bloodberry seeds grow healthy and strong. Maern was kind to her little future Maidens and always heard their prayers and Her will was strong. For Maern had the power to make little Yanette's bloodberries the absolute best in the world and that was something Yanette wanted more than anything.

Time passed and Yanette's bloodberry bush began to grow. Starting from a tiny sprout and through little Yanette's tender care and Maern's will the tiny stems became strong trunks and the bity leaves soon multiplied and produced delicious fruit. Yanette wanted desperately to sample her berries, but she knew that patience was a noble quality that Maern respected in her little followers.

It was just before the freeze and Yanette woke up with great excitement. Today was the day. Today she would pick her bloodberry bush clean and share them with all the little ones in the camp the followers of Maern and the followers of Bhall. She rushed over to the bushes, looking for her berries but the bush was no where to be found. All that was left were broken twigs, a bunch of torn leaves, and a few squished berries. Little Yanette was very sad. She had waited so long to taste the berries and now they were gone, taken by Haunters while she dreamt. However, little Yanette did not cry. She fell down to her knees and began to pray to Maern and Maern always listen to the prayers of her little future Maidens.

The sky grew dark, and clouds began to form overtop little Yanette's camp. She was afraid but again she did not cry, she continued to pray to Maern, trusting that Her Grace would always be there to help her when she needed it. The skies began to roar and opened up pouring down on the little ones heads. But it was not normal skywater. It was not water at all. It seemed to be falling... bloodberries. Little Yanette smiled and glanced upward at the sky, rejoicing as the bloodberries filled the camp. Little Yanette picked up a berry and placed it in her mouth and she knew that it was the sweetest bloodberry in the entire world. And she would have enough for a long, long time.
Gurtha, 90 - Afternoon, hr 9    
She came in a dream. She led a young lady by the hand, the only hand she had. And then she let go of the lady's hand and grabbed the young girls'. She moved them quietly around the piece of pretty green stone that matched the child's eyes, chipping away at it efficiently. As she moved them, she spoke without words. The girl watched her in awe, her eyes wide.

My child. I am Avien'zia. I will show you how to carve the one you see here. She will be important to you. Very soon, you will see what I mean. When the time comes, you must not wither. Do not decay. Let your heart remain pure and free of hate, although the One who comes will try to harm you, again and again.

As the voice resounded in her head, her hands moved, carving the likeness of the young woman from the torso up, surrounded by flames of green, her one remaining hand scarred and the other a mere stump. The statue became beautiful and terrible as Avien'zia's hands shape it with her.

As she woke, she looked once more to the young woman. A single thought entered her mind as she opened her eyes and gazed at the carved green stone in her hands.

"Her eyes looked just like mine."
Lasse, 90 - Before dawn, hr 3    
How had the conversion even reached this point. When did it turn on her like this?
She had just tried to convince him to do the right thing. To be there for his baby son and said son's mother. He was stubborn, self-centered so absolutely convinced that he was needed in Magrathea. She had called him out on his inaction at pearl Beach. How could he preserve their kind if he couldn't even stop what Daffodil and Kimlan had been doing there?
Tom was getting angry. "Do not try and act like you have concern for our people. What happens between tahlia and I is our business. Do not tell me you don't see how I can be useful to our people. You don't even follow our goddess! You follow a false god that cares nothing for our people. You are just as lost as those that mate with the Noljans."
Her jaw dropped. Where had that come from? That sudden accusation. that sudden, unbelievable hate in Tom's face and words, all directed at her.
"Y-..." She started but stopped, then shouted: "You did NOT just say that!" She was foaming with rage. Suddenly it was all about religion. She snapped back, insulted his faith, insulted the goddess that tried to further weakness among their kind.
And she blamed her.
"She wasn't even willing to help, when we needed her! She didn't save 'ssima! She didn't stop Daffodil! At least the Balck Bird is consistent!" She was shaking violently, fighting back the tears. "I was never this angry, Tom! Never this hurt!"

He was all calm again, looking at her with nothing but contempt. "Talking to you is as much of a waste of time as talking to Tahlia. You are both corrupted and can not see anything other than what you want to see."
He looked at Layla. "We should go. I had hoped that Rose could be reasoned with but it is clear she will never understand." Rose was still in shock, shouting at him, trying to break him away with the force of her voice. instead she sounded squeakier and squeakier. "I can't BELIEVE you compare me to Daffodil and Kimlan! I can't believe you always thought about me like this! I can't believe you LIED to me all this time! You think you're all high and mighty. You left your own child behind, you unperson!"
Tom just remained silent, still that look of contempt in his eyes, while Celandel squeezed Rose's shoulder. "I think it's best we all get on our way... This fighting isn't going to settle a thing, you're both too stubborn."
Celandel's touch had a calming effect, but it didn't suffice. Not now. Not when the one man who had taught her most things she knew was turning on her, turning out to be rotten to the core.
"And I can't be reasoned with?", Her eyes were flooded with tears. "You insult everything that i am and call it reasoning? You're breaking my heart, Tom! You stupid coyote!"
That broke Tom's silence once again. " I didn't think any of that until now, LITLLE ONE. You're actions have brought out the  truth about you. If I always thought so poorly of you would I have defended Myka and  Celandel to Joshua? Do you think I did that just for them? I knew how you felt about  Celandel. What would you have done if Joshua had tried to hurt them? Do you think you  could have stood up to his magics?" He shook his head. "I probably can not even stand up against them on my own. But I stood between him and the ones you care so  much about? Do you not remember that? Or can you so quickly forget when its convenient to you?"
"I looked up to you, Tom!", she cried, "I always.. Almost everything I knew, I learned from you." Her legs gave in under her, unwilling or unable to carry all the weight on her heart. "I  thought you were better than this! Why do you do this to me?! WHY?!"
She wailed.
Her mentor had forsaken her, given up and had not even pity for her.
She cried so hard that she didn't even see how Tom and Layla took off, leaving a broken young woman behind.
She didn't hear the last words he directed her. "I wish I could get you to understand, Rose. I wish you could see things from more than one person's viewpoint."
Ringwe, 90 - Evening, hr 10    
She helped her mother make the beautiful granite altar, moving stones so her mother could stack them. Once she had finished, she fell asleep. When she woke up after sleeping for some time, she felt drawn to the reflective altar, and sat in front of it, gazing at her own face.

Screams resounded. Screams of pain, screams of hate, screams of fire. She was paralyzed by them. Why would they not stop?

'It hurts, it hurts, it hurts... MAKE IT STOP.'

She writhes around in agony on the ground, shaking uncontrollably. Her mother grabs for her, pulling her into her arms and trying to calm her. It takes several minutes, and when she finally calms down enough, she cries out in pain, reaching over to scratch desperately at her left hand.

'Fire! Hurt! Fire! STOP!'

In her mind, she can hear a deep Voice chuckle at her futile attempts to get rid of the pain.

'It will never stop, foolish child. It must be destroyed, and one way or another, it will be. Be it by your hand, or by another's...'

She shudders silently, still scratching at her hand. Several large gashes had appeared on her hand before her mother managed to still her right hand. She lets out gasping sobs, tears leaking unbidden from her eyes as she continues to shiver in pain while her mother continues trying to soothe her.

'Make the fire stop... It burns, burns... hurts... pain.'
Kuile, 91 - Sunrise, hr 5    
He looked down at the girl sleeping on his lap. Pretty Anisa, smart Anisa. If he was smart like her he could have told her more than just that it had hurt his head. Her hair had hurt his head. What a stupid thing to be the only thing I can share, he thought, when it was so much more. He'd never seen anything so pretty. Well, his Rani was pretty, Anisa too. Even the Stoneshapers were pretty in their own way. But this was something different.
The flash of light was like a hook to his body, making him turn to it. Tall, pale, no wings, wide eyes, and that. That was what pulled him. He could of sworn he heard his name rolling off its strands and across the breeze to him. He had moved closer with Anisa, he'd swiped at it, grinning at the sensation it sent through his body.

Even after she scared him, he still couldn't stop. He remembered moving to her side as she slept, his fingers carressing over her honey-coloured hair. It made his fingers feel warm and buzzing. He remembered lifting it to Anisa's hand; he wanted her to feel it too. As he had looked back to that, he'd felt it again, his name slipping off the strands. The world around buzzed loudly in his ears. He could see everyone, their voices like the sound a lizard makes scurrying across mountain dirt. It consumed him. The braids, the shells they- What?!

Up his fingers, his arm, straight to behind his eyes it had seared him. Bright white clouding his vision in a flash, breaking him from the inside. He had drawn his hand back with a gasp, hurt, shocked, confused. The light faded and he saw it there again, that, her hair. The braids, the shells. He had reached out again, as if his entire life depended on smoothing his hands over those shells. There! He found the one, the flash of white making everything else disappear, but he was ready for it and he held tight this time. It shook him from the inside out, but he held tight.

He remembers feeling like there was something more, behind the white, behind the excrutiating pain. He just had to hold on. And then it was there in the middle of the white. Creatures, not like him, or them, or her. Covered in a thin red blanket- no. Blood. They were covered in blood. He had barely had time to wonder what he was seeing before the white tugged back over the scene, brightening, becoming heavier, beating on his skull.

When he pulled back that time, and the light faded, she was a plain sleeping woman. His head felt like it had been ripped from his shoulders. All he had wanted was to get as far away from her as possible. Picking up his things, he ran to the dark places.

He looks back down at Anisa, his eyes wandering to her bracelets. He'd find a way to really tell her one day, if he could stand it.
Kuile, 91 - Afternoon, hr 9    
She remembers. She remembers how his armor was too big for her, still small at the age of six. She remembers how the spear was heavy, and kept slipping in her sweaty palms. She remembers how the first fox she approached at her father's encouragement had heard her clumsy approach and turned to hiss at her, causing her to stumble and fall back after tripping on his too-long leggings. She remembers scrambling backwards and her heart beating too fast. She remembers her father and sister rushing towards her, asking if she was alright. She remembers her father helping her back to her feet and telling her to try again. She remembers sneaking up on another fox, taking this one by surprise and stabbing into its heart from behind.

Falling onto the ground after overbalancing and rolling to the side of the dead fox. Her heavy breathing. She doesn't hear the soft slither moving through the tall grass.

But she feels the sharp fangs sink through the skin of her left hand.
She hears her father's sharp gasp and heard his footsteps pounding against the ground.
She watches as she pulls her own hand up, looking at the rattlesnake hanging from her hand in bemusement as the skin of her hand starts to turn purple, before the head is torn from the slinky body by her father in his rage.
She smells the coppery scent of blood filling the air, unable to determine which belonged to the snake and which belonged to herself.
She tastes cotton as she tries to open her mouth to speak to her father, to apologize for her mistake.

And everything turned red when her father pressed his spearhead against her wrist. He pushed all the way through it.

'Where did my hand go?'

The poison in her system, coursing through her veins, causes confusion and delirium. She is hardly aware of anything as her father lifts up her limp body and the severed hand, her bloody wrist wrapped in a wad of hides. He runs, doing his best not to jostle her as she lets out a quiet moan, covered in a thin sheet of sweat.

And she remembers no more.
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