NOTE: This is a story that I sent out with a newsletter, but I never posted it here. I just love these characters, I can't stop writing about them. XD
(This story takes place in the years between “Shantali” and “The White King”. It explains something that I mentioned in “Sacrifice” -- the ordeal with Kallenian Snapclaw during the first year of Gethnoel Swiftblade’s reign.)
Hunter Freelance dove for cover behind a small, grassy knoll. Not much, but hopefully it would be enough to protect him from the storm of black arrows raining down around him and his spear division. The jackal shrank down as far as possible to avoid the deadly missiles.
Hunter was a sergeant in Kallenian Snapclaw’s military. He and his troop had been instructed to move some distance inside East Region and set up an intelligence/military post there . . . but had been interrupted when a watch tower on the border had spotted them and sent a sparrow for help. Only half an hour later, the regiment had been overtaken by a score of archer-hares and birds. Now they were pinned down, presumably with only minutes to live until they were all struck down on the grassy plain.
He knew that in attacking East Region, Snapclaw had forfeited his alliance with the country and had invited the wrath of the entire Set Laws alliance. This was -- to say the least -- not good. If East Region called for war, it would be West Region, Therennia, East Region, and the powerful army of Clandoran all against the small Plainsterritories. If it were only Therrenia or one of the two lesser Regions, then it would have been more managable, but because of Clandoran . . .
Hunter’s thoughts were put to a halt as a black shafted arrow arced down from out of the sky and struck him through the eye. He was the last of his division there that day . . . but Kallenian still had many, many more creatures.
King Gethnoel, Tiren Letren, and a few military-trained East Council members surveyed the bodies of Snapclaws beasts. The council members watched Letren hesitantly, as the two countries were still at war. The king ignored this and spoke. “Most likely, Snapclaw wanted an outpost where he could watch your doings, Councilmember Garret. This is viewed as an attack, is it not?”
The mouse in question nodded, face hardened. “Check the fine print of your own Laws, sir. I found a clause that declares this to be an offence against the alliance.” Garret handed Gethnoel a piece of parchment. The king cast his eyes over it, then nodded.
“Yes, I remember this now. So, what shall we do? Tiren?”
The pompous fox put his nose deliberately higher than the face of the king. “Well, East Region started it, they should be able to take care of it themselves!” he huffed.
Gethnoel placed his paw on Letren’s nose and pressed it down, bringing it level to his eyes. “You are obligated, my good sir, to assist others in the alliance, but if you would rather not . . . we can easily exclude you from the Set Laws,” he murmured.
“Fine! Do that! We don’t require your help to be great.”
Garret caught on to what Gethnoel was saying, and jumped in. “Do you know what that would mean for you, Spokesbeast? The moment that you leave, Clandoran and Therrenia have instant rights to interfere in the war between our countries. West Region will be no more,” he added with a sly grin. “So, which will it be: you help us, or we kill you?”
Tiren’s brow creased into a deep frown, fury evident in his eyes. Finally, he bowed his head in submission. “Thank you,” Gethnoel said, and turned back to the Councilmembers. “Lord Quiron, what do you suggest?”
“Why don’t we talk to the warlord himself? Diplomacy is always a good first course of action. In fact, I’m surprised you didn’t mention it yourself,” the rabbit added with a smile. “As you are always the one organizing treaties.”
Gethnoel laughed, then shook his head in amusement. “Right you are, Quiron. Alright, we’ll talk to him. I’ll send a few eagles with a message.”
As it usually was, the sky was clear and hot on the Plainsterritories. Captain Ironpaw stood by his king, having been one of those chosen to accompany him with the regular delegate. Gethnoel had chosen one Force Guild, one Swiftness Guild, and one Swordmaster (Santena), in case of emergency. Of course, something shifty was bound to occur. Santena would bet his life on it.
The king, as usual, seemed completely unfazed, even by the troop of jackals and plainsfoxes that followed behind who was obviously the warlord. Kallenian wore a long, badger-skin cloak, along with a necklace of teeth and a dark copper helmet. His standardbearer walked beside him. The flag waving in the air was gold with a blue ellipse in the center.
Gethnoel and his soldiers walked forward to meet the jackal, but Snapclaw raised a paw and shouted, “Freeze where you are! Take another step, and the king dies!” Santena’s eyes searched the troop of soldiers. Not one of them carried a bow. He widened the area his eyes covered. Nothing . . . wait, there!
In the grass, there was an area that shook slightly back and forth. This would have been nomal, if there was wind. However, there wasn’t even the smallest puff of air that could have made the grass move like that. Santena moved to speak in his king’s ear. “Your Highness, have somebeast ready their bow. There are two hidden archers in the grass,” he murmured. Gethnoel nodded, and made a signal behind his back to the Swiftness Guild soldier.
“Now, come with us, and . . .” Snapclaw stopped as he saw Santena whisper in Gethnoel’s ear. “I said no more! For defying us, you must die!” He raised his paw, then dropped it quickly.
Two plainsfoxes rose suddenly out of the grass, exactly where Santena had seen them. They raised their crossbows, saimed, and fired two bolts at the king’s chest. All the black wolf had time to think before he acted was, not on my watch. He drew his sword and leapt in front of the FoxWolf at lightning speed, managing to knock one arrow out of the air in an amazing feat of coordination before the other bolt slammed into his shoulder.
Kallenian cursed silently as both of his bowbeasts were shot by the archer on Gethnoel’s side.
As he didn’t want to get into another war, he had a badger raise the flag of surrender, then called out, “Retreat!”
Gethnoel nodded and looked on in satisfaction as the enemy left.
Hello, all! I've recently remembered a few things, and I'd like to post about them.
So, first things first: so sorry for the lack of posts! It's been THREE MONTHS!
What happened was basically this -- I got flooded in schoolwork, and ran out of time and couldn't keep up with the newsletters and podcasts and stories and live streams. So, I sent out the final newsletter and TOW podcast a couple months ago.
However, I realized that I had one more RCC podcast. So, I went back to this website to check things out, and eventually ended up reading my White King series again. And . . . now I want to create podcasts for those as well.
What I'll start doing is posting stories whenever I have the time, and instead of sending out an RCC podcast or White King podcast every month, I'll just put it up on the podcast page whenever I have time, then post about it on Facebook and this site, so it's easy to find. Sound good? I'll send out a poll after this to see who'll be interested, so look out for that.
I'll most likely finish up the Rogue Captain series, in story format. Have any ideas for the continuation of the series? Tell me! Email's on the "Contact" page.
P.S. Name change, but keeping the site name as WhiteFire Legends.
I've been completely neglecting the site. And the Facebook page. And the live streams.
It's been really hectic, what with school starting, and the manga I've been working on, and the books I've been writing. However, I promise that I've got stuff ready for next month. I've got multiple double-feature episodes of RCC and TOW, so there's that, and a long WhiteFire Podcast. I'm also ready to do this week's live stream. However, I've been forced to change the time for that: those are to be on Saturdays at 1 pm from now on. I'll put this on the Facebook page, too.
The short stories may start up again, I'm not sure. However, those manga pages should start coming up soon. (Manga is the drawn format of anime.) I've got access to better equipment, and I've gotten better. If you couldn't tell from the art that was recently put up on Facebook.
Anyway, that's about it!
Sooooooo . . . my sincere apologies. It's been about two weeks since I last posted anything. I'm working on something, and it's exciting.
In just about a week, I'm unleashing a flood of new upgrades and new ideas for the website, the group of WFC, and the Facebook page. This will include:
Just sit tight and wait: all of this will be activated within a month. Be ready!
EDIT: Actually, the live streams will start on every Thursday at 1 PM. All the rest: July 1st.
*AUTHOR’S NOTE: This isn’t so much a regular story as much as a word of encouragement. Inspired by Megan Cox’s art.*
Here she stands, at the threshold of something new. Is it the right thing to do? Should she go on into the unknown? Or turn back to the familiar and hated?
All that she has lived with for the last twelve years is terrifying, yet she finds a strange comfort in it. He loves her, doesn’t he? And her children? He bothered to try and stop them at the airport! Doesn’t that mean anything? Or is it just fear? Fear from him that he’ll lose his victim, and fear from her that he’ll hate her if she leaves.
A small spark appears in her heart. She stares at it in surprise.
If she leaves him, won’t that be a sacrilege? To God, herself, the church, and her husband? He’d told her that the Bible told them that divorce, and disobedience to your husband, and anything of that manner is evil. Did it really? Was the God that she loved that cruel? The God who shows her an amazing kind of love, the kind that her husband has never shown or been able to show.
The spark is fanned into a little flame. Embers appear around it in concentric circles.
Those circles look a lot like a ring. A marriage ring, in fact. The sort of thing that he’d never even bothered to acknowledge the need of. Oh, yes, he’d eventually gotten her one. Six years into the slavery. Why couldn’t he even love her enough to give her this small thing, that every other woman she knows has?
The sole good thing that has come from this wedlock has been her children, the most precious thing in the world to her. She loves them with all her heart. Does her husband?
Of course not. He tore her son down from the bunkbed which is his only refuge by the ankle only a few days ago.
The flame grows into a small fire. The embers spread, in their circling patterns, until lines connect and begin to make a sort of drawing. She watches with dettached interest as she continues to ponder this decision ahead of her.
If she stays any longer, her children may be hurt. Her with them! What if he corrupts them fully, turning them into extensions of himself? That would kill her! To see them like him, twisted, unable to love, broken on the inside and yet determined to break others . . .
The fire flares up, becoming a powerful wildfire at the thought.
Maybe she could endure it if it were herself being damaged further, but she would rather be damned to hell than see her children in that position! How dare he come near them! Oh, yes, he may love them, but in a sickening way: only insofar as they were a part of him!
Now she looks closer at the fire. Her eyes widen as she sees the inferno threatening to consume her heart. She is already walking away from her old life, her children at her side. She can’t let the fire take them too!
Like a cold stream of water, words from her Lord slip into her mind.
I love you. You are worth it. You are special. You are beautiful. So are your children. I love you.
She watches the fire recede, letting her see what the circling patterns of ashes and embers were drawing. It is a lion, rearing its head back into a fierce roar. In front of it is a dragon, its snaking form moving swiftly towards something at the lion’s feet, but still looking small beside the powerful animal.
She looks closer at what is at the lion’s paws.
It is a little sheep, surrounded by four smaller lambs. Her. And her own little lambs.
Heart of Fire, Megan D. Cox (Little Meg Studios)
*This is a sequel to the other ElvenFair stories.*
Stephen was jerked awake by a jolt from the boat and a clamour of voices. His eyes snapped open. “Wossat?” he slurred, squinting at the sudden burst of sunlight that had invaded his vision. A bucket of water sloshed over his head. Gyrin stood over him.
“Git up, Elven. We’re here, and ye need a bath. Ye’re as ripe as a jar of old pickles,” the old pirate ordered. Stephen scrambled to his feet, or at least tried to. His arm was caught fast by something, and he strained to pull it free. “Come on, boy, you . . . oh.” Gyrin trailed off. “It’s growin’ in, is it?”
“What is?” Stephen asked, panicked. He suddenly remembered the slit in his right armguard. “Oh, no,” he murmured, and looked down at his arm.
A single, long silvery blade had . . . grown out of his arm. “Oh . . . my . . .” the Elvenfair started, but the blade suddenly came loose from the wooden timber of the ship and he tumbled back into the water. A tingling sensation moved through his head -- no, through his hair, as he kicked his feet towards the surface. He didn’t seem to be moving anywhere! “Help!” he tried to scream, but it was lost in a woosh of bubbles as he was dragged down through the water.
Suddenly, a powerful hand came through, grabbed the back of his breastplate, and yanked him up to fresh air. He gasped in relief. A huge Efielan dock worker looked him in the eyes, and growled, “Don’t do a foolis thing like that again, little Elven-ran!”
Stephen looked around them. He, his pirate friend, and this man were all standing on a crowded harbour platform. Nobody had noticed him yet. He quickly realized that Gyrin and the dock worker were shielding him. Gyrin tossed him the cloak and hat. “Quick, get these on yerself. Yer hair’s silver as the metal of a self-respecting Sloveni’s sword,” he commanded, using another analogy. He seemed to be full of them, Stephen noticed, and slipped the cloak around his shoulders, hiding the blade and his hair. The hood shielded most of his face. He hoped it’d be enough.
When the dock worker had moved, Stephen whispered to Gyrin, “So . . . that’s what the slit in the armor was for. Is there anythin’ else ye’d like to tell me?” A frown creased his hidden forehead.
“Well, ye’d probably like to see a mirror. We’ll get us an inn and some good drink, then we’ll figure it out from there. Oh, and before I forgets, this is Sire Attali. He’s an . . . acquaintance of mine, from Giride,” Gyrin said, pointing at the “dock worker”. The term “Sire” was the typical title given to an Giridian over the age of thirty, symbolizing their manhood. The suffix that Sire Attali had used for Stephen -- “-ran” -- was for any person younger than than. Usually it was attached to names, but Gyrin had apparently not given Stephen’s name to Attali. That was good.
His Sloveni companion interrupted his train of thought. “Well, young master, will ye be comin’, or would ye rather stand there an’ get killed wi’out me?” Gyrin was already walking towards the main town, following Attali. The young Elvenfair took off after them.
Soon, Attali had checked them into a shady-looking tavern and subtly taken his leave. “Hm. He seems to go where he pleases. So, Gyrin didn’t pay him?” Stephen asked himself. He looked around. They sat in a dirty room, about twenty feet long on all sides, with two beds and a grimy table. Wonderful. “Ye said something about drinks?” he asked Gyrin.
Gyrin chuckled. “Aye, that I did. The Rusty Bucket (don’t ask who came up with such a daft name) has the best grog and beer in all of Efiel. Believe me, I’ve tried all the others. It don’t look much, but what it lacks in ‘cleanliness’, it makes up for in . . .” The old pirate trailed off. “Er . . . well, ye’re a little too young fer that word.” He led the way out of their room, taking the key with him. Stephen followed quickly.
Down in the tavern, it was a . . . well, a hellhole. Glass bottles flew through the air, men stumbled back and forth in fights, and serving girls were dancing on the tables . . . and other things. Most likely to get the customers to buy more drink. Stephen retched and averted his eyes, having been brought up in a respectable family.
Gyrin led the young Elvenfair to a table in a back corner, expertly dodging and blocking punches thrown at the two of them as they went. A mug of ale crashed into the wall right behind Stephen’s head. “Well, it certainly is . . . different,” he muttered to Gyrin. The pirate gave a great shout of laughter.
“Aye, that it is, boy! Oi! Waitress! Two of the finest, if’n ye please!” he yelled at the nearest barmaid. She nodded and took off, moving through the crowd as quickly as if she weren’t surrounded by people at all. “Ye can take yer hood off now, lad. Nobody’s lookin’,” he said out of the side of his mouth. Stephen started to take the entire cloak off, but Gyrin stopped him. “Just the hood. That fire of your’n would make fer conversation.” Stephen nodded, and slipped off the covering, exposing his silver-white hair. It glittered slightly in the candlelight from the table.
The waitress returned with two mugs of what Stephen assumed was beer. Her eyebrows raised slightly at his hair, but didn’t say anything about it. “Here’s your drinks, good sirs. Would ye like some food to go wi’ that, or would that be all?” she asked Gyrin. The pirate waved his hand, shooing her away with the beer pouring down his throat. He downed it halfway, then slammed the mug back down.
“That’s good, it is!” he exclaimed. “Nae, that’ll be it.”
“All good.” She winked at Stephen. “We should talk sometime, sweet! I’ve never met an Elvenfair.” Her blonde hair flashed around as she turned back to the bar. Stephen felt his face grow slightly red.
“Stay away from tha’ one, Stephen. She’s no good, take me word fer it,” Gyrin advised.
“Aye, I got that.” Stephen took a gulp of his drink. It really was a well-brewed beer, and he quickly finished it off. Sailor’s tendencies, he said to himself, sarcastically. A thought occured to him. “Gyrin, if I’m following ye, and taking orders from ye, that makes me a pirate.” A sly grin flitted across his face.
The Sloveni thought for a moment, then gave a bark of laughter. “It does that, doesn’t it?” he chuckled. “An’ that makes me a captain again! Well, first mate Whyplash, what’re we to do now, d’ye think?”
Stephen hesitated, then turned back in the direction of the bar. “Barmaid! Over here, if ye please!” he called. The flirtatious blonde made her way back over to their table, ducking a man thrown over her and moving her tunic and leggings to avoid a large puddle of . . . something.
“How can I help ye this time?” She grinned at Stephen, and he blinked. She giggled.
Gyrin quickly took over. “We’d like a bit o’ information,” he said. She pouted slightly at the old, grizzled figure, but nodded. It wasn’t uncommon for customers in this town to ask for some sort of information. “But first, boy, go check a mirror. I know ye’re dyin’ to,” he said out of the side of his mouth. Stephen hurried towards the stairs.
He made it upstairs without being hit by something, which was an accomplishment in and of itself. The moment he reached their innroom, he caught sight of a dusty mirror he hadn’t noticed before. It was hanging on the wall, and quite large. He quietly locked the door. Nobody could see that way. Stephen whipped off his cloak, blew on the mirror to clear the dust, and gasped.
He. Was. Not. Stephen.
His hair was fully silver, and already down to his shoulders. He couldn’t believe he didn’t notice the tingling sensation in it before, but now as he touched it, he could FEEL it. His eyes were even brighter than before. A lighter shade had taken the skin on his face, and as he held up his arm, he saw the silvery blade reflected in the mirror. His other arm was still lit aflame. With the golden armor, he looked like something out of a fairy-tale or tale-epic. Actually, now that he thought about it, he was.
He quickly flung the cloak back on and headed back downstairs to where Gyrin and the barmaid sat speaking quietly. “. . . and that’s the last I saw of ‘im,” she finished, as Stephen sat down. She looked at him and winked again. “Well, ‘ello, Sioren!” she exclaimed cheerfully.
Gyrin interrupted. “Sioren’s an Elven enchantment master from one o’ them old tales. Take no heed. Naow, ye shifty girl, tell me associate here what ye told me,” he grunted at the informant.
She shrugged off the last jab at her person and started right away. “Well, a couple weeks ago, an old man in a dark cloak comes in here, and doesn’t order nothing. I walks over to him, and says, ‘Wouldn’t ye like anything to drink?’ ‘Nae,’ says he. ‘I’m here fer me own business.’ An’ me, bein’ as nosy as I am, says, ‘An’ what would that be?’ Then ‘e gets all angry-like, knocks a saltshaker to the ground, and yells somethin’ crazy: ‘It’s mine, I tell ye! The medallion’s me own!’ So, ‘e stormed out and I never saw him again. My name’s Ciena, by the way . . .”
“That’s enough,” Gyrin interrupted. “He doesn’t need yer name. Is that it?”
She huffed slightly. Stephen thought it was kind of cute . . . he cut his thoughts off right there. That’s enough, he told himself. Gyrin said she’s bad to be around, so she is.
“Aye, that’s it,” Ciena finished. “Might I show ye to a room now, sirs?”
“Nay, we’ve already got one,” Stephen quickly replied.
She didn’t leave them, though. “I still haven’t heard ye’r name, handsome!” she pestered. Stephen rolled his eyes, then paused. New look, new name, he reasoned.
Finally, he relented. “Go ahead and call me Sioren,” he whispered, so Gyrin wouldn’t hear. The old pirate wasn’t even paying attention and was walking off towards the stairs. Stephen bowed gracefully and turned to follow his mentor-as-of-now.
Hey, all current Clandonians, I have a really, really cool thing for you guys. I've created a sort of webquest-puzzle sort of thing. It's called the WFOE Test, and it's extremely difficult. Want to do it?
Here's the link: wfoestart.weebly.com/
*CONTINUATION OF ELVENFAIR AND YOU'VE HAD YOUR FUN*
Stephen froze. “Put them on, boy! Now!” Gyrin commanded, and shoved him towards the back of the hut. “One look at your eyes from whoever be at the door, and ye’re a dead man!” The boy nodded and started fastening the cloak around his shoulders. The hat next, and the door burst open.
Two large men in black clothes stood, one in front of the other, in the door frame. “Where is ‘e?” one demanded. His brow creased in anger. Gyrin shrugged, and made a motion behind his back for Stephen to get out.
“I don’t know, good sirs. Who might ye be lookin’ for?” the pirate said, covering his Slovenian accent once more. Stephen edged out of the room slowly.
“Yew know who I mean! The Elven . . . Oi!” the second one shouted. “Get back in here, boy!”
Stephen’s eyes darted back and forth, looking for a way out of the situation. Seeing no other option, he walked carefully back into the room, shielding his face as best he could with the cloak’s cowl. Thinking fast, he said out loud, “Who’re they lookin’ fer, Dad?”
Gyrin played along. “They haven’t told us, lad. Thereby and for, they’ve no right to be gettin’ angry at an old man and his boyo,” he complained to the men in black. “Now why don’t ye scoot on out of me house?” His accent was returning.
Both of the offenders looked confused. “But, Urade, we heard somebody yell . . .” he started, but his companion interrupted.
“Take that there hood off, boy,” he ordered. Stephen hesitated. “Now!” Stephen lowered the hood, but his hat still blocked his eyes. “Hm. Hair’s normal.” The man paused. “Wait, now. What’s that?” he asked, and covered the distance to Stephen in three long strides, and the boy shrunk back.
The man’s eyes picked out a few strands of white peeking out from below the brim of Stephen’s hat. He wrenched the cloth head-covering off. “Oi!” Gyrin protested. Stephen had shut his eyes. “Hands off me son!”
“If he’s yer son, what the devil is wrong with his hair?” the other man asked. A large portion of the right side of Stephen’s head was covered with silver hair.
“Open yer eyes, Tylien, or my little blade here might find your throat,” Urade threatened. Stephen’s eyes snapped open. A dagger was at his throat. “Mhm. Ye’re comin’ with us, Elvenfair.” Suddenly, Stephen’s eyes stared deep into Urade’s, transfixing him with their brightness.
“What’re ye doing? Stop that!” Urade’s companion cried.
Stephen blinked and looked away. “What?” he asked, confused. Urade fell over, asleep. “Oh . . . that.”
“That’s it! You and the old man are comin’ with me!” The man slapped Gyrin across the face, and the pirate fell to the floor with a yell.
“Don’t touch him! He saved my life!” Stephen screamed, and thrust his medallion forward. He’d taken it off, and now he felt that same tingle of magic move through his hands. A bolt of white light flashed out of them at the man’s eyes.
“Argh!” the man screeched, and fell to the floor, completely blinded. Gyrin scrambled to his feet and drew a sword, pushing Stephen back towards the garden.
“Put that medallion back on and let’s git outta here! Me boat’s in the cove, we should be able to . . .” he started, but paused to snatch something from a closet. More than one something, in fact, in a large bag. “. . . be gone in just a few minutes.” Stephen followed the pirate out the back door and over the fence. The man was surprisingly agile for his alleged age.
They dashed past the grabbyt holes and the garden. Stephen thought he saw a furry head pop out with a smug look on its face, but didn’t stop to look. Down a rocky hill, with a grey sky overhead, they came to a halt in a small harbor. A pier led out onto the cove. At the end of it was tied a strangely sleek fishing boat, similar to a sailed skiff, with oars and sail set to move already. “You were ready for this,” Stephen murmured, amazed.
Gyrin started to untie the boat as Stephen jumped in and started pulling in lines and anchor. “Ye obviously have an idea of what ye be doin’, lad!” the older man commented as he climbed aboard the ship. Shouts started coming from behind the house. “Hellsteeth, ‘tis time to move! Full sail, Whyplash!” he cried.
Stephen let loose the sheets. The canvas snapped open and the skiff-like vessel took off towards the open sea, leaving behind the furious cries of more men in black. “Haha!” the Elvenfair crowed, shaking his fist at them. “Ye won’t catch me!”
Once they were out and moving at a fast clip away from that side of Devian, Gyrin lashed the rudder in place and let them move with the wind. “Alright, laddie, where did ye say we need to go?” the pirate asked.
“Aye, then that’s where we be headed! Now, we’ll be needin’ weapons if everybody there is like to them back in Devian!” Gyrin pulled out the sack he’d brought aboard and emptied it onto the bottom of the boat.
Stephen gaped. Weapons and armor covered the deck, as well as clothes and a few tins of what he could only assume was food. Or poison. He chuckled at the distinct difference between the two.
Gyrin pulled out two of the weapons, and a few pieces of clothing. The weapons were a cutlass and dagger. He tied a bandana around his head. “Ah, that feels a mighty deal better!” he exclaimed as he tucked the pirate weapons into a sash. “And these look right for ye, lad,” Gyrin added as he handed the majority of the armor to Stephen. “Fairen-make. These be the weapons of choice of yer people.”
The armor consisted of only smooth pieces of some golden metal: arm-guards, breastplate, greaves, a helmet, and some sort of . . . fine chain mail tunic. No weapons, all blunt and harmless, though sleek. “Weapons? It’s just armor!”
“Armor made from cesla, the hardest metal in the world. Only mined in Tylien. I coulda sold this stuff for thousands of raqas, but I kept it. Don’t know why. Anyhows, put it on. It can only be worn a’right by an Elvenfair,” Gyrin explained. Stephen slipped the tunic on, then a belt, the helmet, breawstplate, arm-guards, and finally, the greaves.
“It’s too big --” he started, but stopped as he felt the armor . . . tightening. It seemed to suck down to fit his build and height. “Never mind,” he muttered. “But still, what weapons?”
“Enchanted, you grubswiper. Watch!”
Before Stephen’s amazed eyes . . . nothing happened. “Oh. Held on a sec, there’s something written there. On the right armguard,” Gyrin suggested. Indeed, there were some CommonSpeech runes. “What does they say?”
“Hang on. They say . . . Be thou Elven? If so, then this armor should help you immensely. It may only be enchanted by one of the blessed. Therefore, if thou wish to use it correctly, here is what thou must do:
“If it has been worn before, it was most likely enchanted before to meet another’s needs. To erase this enchantment, send your power into the armor. You will need to overpower the previous strand of power before starting your own. Then, enchant a maximum of two items of armor. More than this would reflect too much power upon your body. Enchantments are not restricted to one’s element. Well, that’s a lot of words that I don’t understand!” Stephen said decidedly.
“Aye, but did you understand enough?” Gyrin asked, somewhat worriedly.
“Aye, I think so. Here, let me . . .” he started, taking off his medallion and placing it on the armor, which he’d taken off. “I have to overpower the previous enchantment? I’ll just focus, then . . . I guess. I mean, that’s what I did with that light thing back there.” He touched both hands to the armor set. “The only question is, which pieces did the last owner enchant?”
Stephen moved his hands around, touching each piece individiually, until he felt a tingle of magic emenating from the chain mail tunic itself. “Found it!” he crowed, and brought out the tunic from underneath the other cesla pieces. “Now, I guess I just put this here, and focus again.” The Elvenfair moved his medallion to the tunic and put both hands on top, closing his eyes. He could feel the opposing enchantment there, almost as a tangible object. It was large. In fact, it was pushing him away! “No, not this time! What did it say? My element!” he muttered to himself, and poured images of fire and light into his efforts, for that was what had worked last time. The opposite power started to recede. “It’s working!” he exclaimed.
“Keep it up, lad!” Gyrin encouraged him. Stephen pushed harder, beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead. Finally, gripping the tunic in both hands, he sent a surge of fire through the medallion and his hands, throwing the other Elven’s enchantment off completely.
“Wooh!” he shouted. “It’s gone! And from what I can tell, he didn’t think to enchant another piece. Also, I’ve discovered my element! Or, I think I have. Did you know about that?”
“Aye, lad, I had an idea or two. I’ve only seen them Elvens usin’ one kind of magic at a time,” Gyrin said, nodding. “Now, can ye enchant it yourself?”
“I think so . . . just let me catch my breath.” Stephen laid down against the side of the boat, but as he did, his eyes caught something strange. He leaned over and picked up one of the arm-guards. It had a long slit down the center, not where it should be, about half an inch thick. “What’s this?”
“Oop, forgot to tell ye. Elvenfairs have one more difference from humans, ye see. Ye’ll figure it out in time,” Gyrin said knowingly.
Stephen rested for another couple minutes, then sat up. “Okay, I’m going to try this again. I think I’ve got the right enchantment, too. Popped into my head a couple seconds ago,” he commented, and sat up again. The armor he chose was the left arm-guard, the one without a slit, and he set it down in his lap. With an image firmly fixed in his mind, he began the enchantment process once more.
When it felt like he was finished, he release the arm-guard and medallion. “Did it work?” he wondered aloud. “I guess there’s only one way to find out.” Stephen gingerly picked up the newly enchanted armor and slipped it onto his arm.
It instantly burst into flames, crawling up his hand and arm. “Yes!” he shouted, exuberant. Gyrin backed away from the fire, fear in his eyes.
“Boy! What were ye thinkin’? Ye could set fire to the boat!” he cried, panicked.
“Don’t worry, it will only harm those who I believe to be enemies. Part of the charm,” he added with a grin on his face. Gyrin wiped his forehead as Stephen waved the fire around the boat, doing no damage. “No worries, see?”
“Aye, but it unsettles the mind of a sailor to see a fire aboard. What else are ye going to do?”
“I’ve got one more idea. Hand me the helmet, please?” Gyrin tossed the golden headpiece to Stephen. It fit around his head snugly, and a piece protected the wearer’s nose, and Stephen imagined it would frame long silver hair quite nicely. “Medallion?” The bronze item flashed through the air.
This time was harder, since the enchantment wasn’t constrained to the armor itself, exactly. The enchantment had to be push around the entire piece, and this was difficult. Finally, though, it was done. “What’ve ye done this time?” Gyrin asked sarcastically. “Going to make a storm appear?”
“No, you’ll find out soon enough,” Stephen chuckled. “It doesn’t work right now.” Gyrin looked confused, but the younger man ignored it and put all the armor back on.
“I guess this is who I am now,” he said to himself. “I don’t know where my father is, my mother’s gone, and so is my living. I’ll get this medallion to Opal, and once I’ve figured out what to do with it, I’ll go to Tylien and figure out what to do from then on. Anyhow, I look really fantastic in this armor and clothes, so might as well keep it on.”
He had no idea what was coming.
*THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF THE STORY "YOU'VE HAD YOUR FUN"*
He woke up to a dull grey light filtering in through his eyelids. “What in the world . . .” he murmured as his lashes blinked open. “Where am I?” A quick glance around settled that question in his mind.
Stephen laid in a cot in the corner of a somewhat shoddily cleaned house. On the other side of the one-room structure worked the fisherman who had pulled him out of the water. The old man had skillfully gutted two fish and was quickly and efficiently scaling them, scraping the sharper side of a knife against the fishes’ bodies. Stephen sat up and looked at him. The fisherman didn’t notice, and Stephen cleared his throat. This gained the fisherman’s attention. “Ah, the miracle boy! You’re awake. Good! Come over here and help me, and we’ll get ye some eats.”
The baffled young man stretched his limbs painfully. “Ooh . . .” he groaned. “I feel like I was just pulled from a grave.” He stood and shuffled his stiff body towards the fisherman.
The old man laughed, slightly nervously. “Well, in a manner of speaking, ye were. That thing -- keep it away from me, now -- brought ye back to life, somehow,” he said. His crooked finger pointed towards Stephen’s neck. The boy looked down. At his chest flashed a bronze medallion. It seemed quite familiar, but Stephen couldn’t put his finger on why that was. All he could remember was waking up in the old sailor’s boat and coughing up water. “You drowned. No other way to put it,” the fisherman continued.
“What’s your name?” Stephen asked suddenly.
“Er . . . Salty Gyrin, but most just call me Ryn. And ye are?”
“Oho, somebody’s learnt their manners!” Ryn chuckled. “No need for ceremony, you’re on Devian now. Now, come ‘ere, we’ll get ye some food. I can see yer ribs through that tunic!”
True to his word, Ryn soon had both fish roasting on a spit over the hearth -- or, rather, he was watching Stephen turn them. “Aye . . . I mean, yes, that’s it, you’ll need to get it even on both sides,” he advised. “There ‘tis, now lift it off and put it on this plate.” The fisherman held out a clay platter. Stephen cautiously lifted the spit and slid both perch onto the offered plate, mouth watering excitedly.
“Now let it cool, and I’ll show ye where me . . . er, my garden is,” Ryn stuttered. Stephen looked him in the eye carefully, and Ryn’s head turned away. That was twice that some other accent had slipped through the fisherman’s guard, Stephen noticed.
No matter. The younger man followed his guide out a back door onto a somewhat groomed lawn. The grey sea air filled Stephen’s nose, along with the distinct scent of salt. “Devian, you said?” he murmured. The name seemed familiar, just as the medallion had. Ryn hadn’t heard his question, so Stephen followed him to a corner of the lawn where a patch of black dirt was populated by a number of green, leafy plants. “Devian?” he repeated.
“Yes, Devian’s where we’re at,” the old man responded distractedly. He started pulling up vegetables from a row on the far side of the garden. “Help me with these parroots.”
Stephen bent over and joined Ryn in pulling up the strange pinkish roots. “I wonder why they’re called such a silly name,” he commented.
“Eh,” Ryn grunted, and pulled up the most massive parroot that Stephen had ever seen.
Wait, why did he know that it was the most massive he’d seen in his life? He didn’t remember . . . no, but he did! The last place he’d seen one even near that size was at a marketplace in Giride, when he was . . . oh, and he’d lost it. “Curses,” he muttered under his breath.
“What was that?”
“Nothing.” Stephen yanked up another couple of parroots, and Ryn nodded.
“That’ll be enough,” the old sailor assured him. The pair walked back into the hut carrying their vegetables.
Behind them, a furry head popped up out of a hole where a parroot had once sat snugly in the ground. It rustled the earth slightly.
Ryn’s head swiftly turned back towards his garden, and Stephen looked to see what was the matter. “Not this time, you little thieves!” the older man cried, and snatched up a mallet from where it leaned against his house.
Four more heads bounced into view around the first. “Charge!” Ryn shouted. Stephen, not knowing what else to do, grabbed the nearest thing to his hand he could (a watering can) and followed the garden-protecting warrior towards the garden patch.
When he reached the smug, furry faces, Ryn started laying about with his weapon. Heads popped up and down in the earth. Almost all of them avoided the fisherman’s blows. Stephen hesitated, then jumped in to help.
Finally, Ryn managed to catch one on the side of the head, dislodging it completely. The creature flew through the air, squealing as it did.
Now Stephen got a clear view of the creature’s strange shape. It had a very furry head, with almost no sign of eyes or nose, just an underjawed mouth and two big ears. Most of the rest of its body was quite scaly, and a bluish-green color. A long, whip-thin tail slashed through the air as it was thrown against a fence. The black claws on its feet scrabbled for a hold on the wooden planks. Its stomach, which was also covered in brown fur, scraped against the splintery surface. It was about the size of a rabbit or large rat. “Ha! I got ye, ye deck-swabbin’ mangebits!” Ryn crowed as another two of the things joined their companion against the fence. He didn’t even attempt to conceal his foreign accent.
“What are those?” Stephen cried in disgust as one attacked another over a bit of food ont he ground.
“Grabbyts!” The sailor errupted into a stream of curses as one such grabbyt bit him on the leg. “Foul creature!” He smacked it with the mallet, and the scaled body was thrown over the fence and into the nearby bay.
Ryn stood, sweating and with a satisfied look on his face. “Aye, that’s all of the little fleabags,” he decided, and turned to go back into the house. Stephen dropped the watering can and followed, still carrying a few parroots. “Set those on the table over there, and we’ll soon have a good fish breakfast!” Ryn called from another room. Stephen followed the orders immediately, then went to take the medallion off, for it had been covered in dirt during the “battle” with the grabbyts.
The moment he took it off, he felt a tingling sensation moving through his hands. He hesitated at this, but still set it down by the parroots -- which promptly burst into flame!
“Woah! Ryn! Something happened to the parroots!” Stephen cried in astonishment. The old fisherman rushed back into the room, then also gave a yell.
“Make it stop! Do it, now!”
“What?! I don’t know how to!”
“Just tell it to stop, ye Tylien spawn!”
Not even stopping to consider that last phrase, Stephen yelled at the fire, feeling quite silly. “Go away!”
The fire vanished in a whirl of smoke. All of the parroots looked perfectly cooked. “Well,” Ryn said, sounding somewhat miffed. “I was going to do that meself, but it appears that ye’ve gone and roasted our breakfast. To a perfect degree.”
Stephen hurriedly put the medallion back on, rubbing it on his shirt to get the dirt off. “I, uh . . . hm. It . . . hm.” He had nothing to say.
“Well, go on! Put them on yon platter, then swab the table fer yer scorch marks,” the fisherman ordered, and Stephen quickly moved the vegetables from the table, where they’d left no trace of ash. “Huh. Well, all the same, ye’d better keep that fairen-make medallion away from me and me things from now on!” Stephen nodded mutely and shoved the bronze inside his shirt. “No matter what ye are, time fer some grub,” Ryn said grudgingly.
“Thank . . . thank you. Sorry ‘bout the food and your table,” Stephen apologized.
“Eh, it’s of no matter, anyhow, and it ain’t often one gets to have one of them Elvenfairs as guest.”
“What? No, I’m . . .” Words started pouring out of his mouth. “I’m Stephen Whyplash, sailor upon the goodship Angel, from Giride, and I’m to bring this medallion to Opal Harbour!” Stephen’s eyes widened. It was all coming back now! His captain had entrusted him with this . . . cursed thing, to bring to the port! Then the storm, and . . .
“Nonsense, ye’re an Elvenfair enchanter, and a damn good one at that! If ye’re not, I’m not Gyrin Saltbreather, pirate, looter, and otherwise occupied seafaring scum,” the fisherman replied, setting the fish and parroots on the table.
“I mean it! I barely even know what an Elvenfair is, only that they live across the Jenntils Sea . . . wait, you’re a pirate? From Sloneri?” Stephen asked. His memory had fully returned.
“Aye, young master, that be I!” Gyrin chuckled as he dished out the food. “Let me see yer eyes, boy.” Stephen looked him in the face after a bite of the delicious fish. “Mhm. Just as I believed. Stephen, lad, what do ye recall about Elvenfairs?”
“Well, they’re blessed by the Savior, live across the Jenntils Sea, and are fantastic blacksmiths,” Stephen said through a mouthful of food, relaxing now. “Their capital is Tylei. That’s about it.”
“Let me tell ye somethin’, lad. I am, truly, a scandalous man o’ the sea (we don’t like the word pirate), from Sloneri, and I’ve seen some things,” the man began.
“Aye. On the outside, they look relatively the same as a human: two arms, two legs, nose, mouth, and ears. Their eyes and hair are what’s different. Both bright silver, shining like the moon on a dark night, the hair long as a falling waterfall. Stephen, did you know your parents?”
“Yes, my father. Never met my mother.”
“What color were your father’s eyes and hair?”
“They were . . . silver, but I thought that was because he was old . . . and besides, his hair was short!”
“He cut it, lad. Sharks and bottlecorks, that musta hurt him some. It do hurt them to do it. Son, what color are your eyes?”
“Blue, of course!”
“Maybe they were before you used that fairen magic of yours, but now they be silver. See?” Gyrin held up a mirror. Sure enough, his eyes were a vibrant, shining silver, surpassing grey and even white.
“By the Savior!” Stephen cried, and put a hand to his head. In the mirror, his hair still looked dark, but he could see faint traces of white and grey at the tips near his ears. “I need to cut that off!”
“Oh, no, lad. If’n I was you, I wouldn’t: I already told you that it hurts Elvenfairs,” Gyrin cautioned. “Don’t do it.”
“Then what do I do? I can’t look like this!”
“Oh, aye, ye’re right. There’s some who would like that there trinket ye’ve got, and even ye yerself. So, we’ve got to disguise ye,” the pirate decided. He hurried over to a cabinet under the kitchen counter, looked inside, and came out with a cloak and a large floppy hat of some sort. “Quick, put these on!”
As if on cue, somebody outside the house started banging on the door. “Open up!” a deep voice called.
Timbers creaked underneath Stephen’s booted feet. It melded with the sound of lashing rope, shouts, and snapping canvas to create the regular jumble of noise that accompanied a day on the sea. Added to this was the smells and feelings of salt spray and hard-working men hauling on lines, drawing in sheets and spars. The taste of saline was in the air.
Stephen loved it. He loved the work, the nights on a rocking boat, and even the brawls that usually took place, right about . . . now.
“Oy! Hedrick! Wha’ dya think yer doin’?” a man shouted from the other end of the ship. “That’s MY belt ye’ve got there!”
“So what if ‘tis?” Hedrick roared right back from behind Stephen. The burly man shoved past him and moved towards the belt’s owner. “Ye stole it from me, anyhow, you Giridian dog!”
The offender pushed another man aside to stand before Hedrick. “Did not!” And with that, the Giridian lifted a fist and socked Hedrick cleanly in the mouth and snatched the belt. “There’s yer proof!” Hedrick paused, bent over with a hand to his mouth, then suddenly came up with a clenched hand to the Giridian’s stomach.
“And there’s mine,” the bigger man declared, picking the belt up from where the other sailor had dropped it. Just like that, it was over. Stephen was surprised. Usually, these fights lasted far longer. He unobtrusively dropped the halyard in his hand and walked over to the defeated man’s side. “Jon, why do you always start these things?” he asked, smirking as he spoke. Jon was still bent double, gasping for breath. “You’re half the size of some of the men here, and the only thing ye’ve got goin’ for ye is your bellow.”
“Aye, but ‘twas me belt.”
“No it wasn’t.”
“. . . no ‘twasn’t.” Jon picked himself up and turned back to his position at the jib. “I did steal it, though, fair an’ square.” He grinned.
This was daily life aboard the Angel. Of course, being a common merchant ship, it didn’t live up to its name’s standards. The atmosphere was rough, and hygeine wasn’t very important to the men who worked on board it (except to Stephen). It was fast, though, and this is what made it a very good place to be if you were a sailor: people will pay more to have their goods delivered quickly. That meant that Stephen Whyplash got paid more, as well. He enjoyed the feeling of the waves. It was his life.
He’d left home, leaving his father, at about sixteen years of age to enlist in the Giridian Navy, but was considered unfit due to a lack of strength. After that, he wandered from harbour to harbour, finally ending up in Efiel, the country beside Giride. There, he found work aboard a scummy boat called the Crableg. The captain didn’t want him and passed him off to the Angel in a few months. He was eighteen at the time. Now, he had two years of experience, a good friend in Jon, and had overcome his physical shortcomings. Almost. He was still not as heavily built as some of the other men, but had an agile body, good for climbing rigging.
A shout rang from behind Stephen. “Whyplash! Get up here!” The captain waved at him from the helm. The young sailor dashed up the ladder to the rudder. “Shimmy up the boom and see ifn’ ye can spot Opal Harbour!” Captain Quinton ordered, and the words were hardly out of his mouth when Stephen flew towards and up the rigging. Quinton chuckled. “Overeager chap. When ye’re done, go down to the galley fer your dinner!” he added.
Stephen didn’t hear. He was too busy dashing over and around ropes, swinging on lines, and flipping himself over spars. When he reached the topsail, he came to a halt, clinging to the flagstaff. Worry entered his eyes. “Captain!” he yelled. Quinton looked up. The young sailor pointed towards the north. The captain narrowed his eyes.
Aye, he could see Opal Harbour, but it was what was over Opal that had him fretting. Black clouds rushed towards tehm from the bay. The town was a wreck, from what Quinton could see, and it was probably due to the devastating winds heading straight towards them. “Crew! Look to port! Bring her about! Loose the mainsail, ye layabouts!!” he screamed. Every sailor turned to look at the coming storm. Half suddenly froze with fear, and it took Quinton shouting again to snap them out of it.
Quinton desperately spun the rudder wheel as Stephen helped the other men loose the sheets. Almost all at once, the knots fell loose, and the mainsail, with the topsail, blew open with a snapping of canvas. The ship surged forward, away from the storm. The immediate movement caught Stephen off guard and he was thrown off the spar he sat on. “No!” he managed to gasp before slamming into another beam. It knocked the wind out of him.
A rope flew by his head. The agile young sailor snatched at it, the fibers burning his hands as he held on for dear life. The line threw him around the mast with the speed they were moving, and in a single moment, he saw something in the middle of the storm.
A tall figure, wreathed in black rain and lightning. A wicked grin was on its face as it pointed towards the ship, and the clouds tore across the ocean. Then the rope turned, Stephen looked back, and the figure was gone.
The clouds were still coming. Stephen came near to the mast and jumped off onto the rigging. Clutching the nets tightly, he moved downward slowly. The storm flew nearer and nearer. Stephen leaped from ten feet above the deck, not expecting a soft landing. He was right.
And then the storm hit them.
Within seconds of the winds first streaming down the sides of the ship, the mast snapped clean in half. Men shouted, the captain yelled orders, and Stephen struggled to rise from the planks of the deck. He looked up towards Quinton. The storm behind him framed his powerful build, the captain’s hair lashing in all directions as he spun the wheel. Lightning flashed all around. Quinton screamed something, and Stephen strained to hear it. “Caparaben! Take me! Leave the men! You’ve had your damned fun!”
A lightning bolt finally hit their ship in response to those strange words, blocking Stephen’s view of Quinton. Stephen finally pulled himself to his feet and stumbled up to the helm. “Captain!” he cried. Quinton held tightly to the rudder, his smoking body slumped over the rail. “Captain!” Stephen repeated. The young sailor rushed to the dying man’s side. Quinton reached with a trembling hand into his coat and withdrew a silver medallion. Wordless at first, he pressed it into Stephen’s hand.
“Take it . . . Get it to Opal!” he gasped, then slid to the deck. Stephen fell to his side, tears streaming down his face. Quinton had been like his father.
A barrel flew out of the hold and up towards the helm, driven by the winds. Stephen couldn’t see it coming, and it struck him in the side of the head.
The young man blacked out.
A lone fisherman off the coast of the island of Devian reached down to haul in his net. It had been a long night, and a very small catch. He was tired. “Once I’m off this boat, it’s straight to the tavern, and . . .” he started to mutter, then hesitated as he saw something flashing in the water, in his net in fact. “What the . . . by the gods!” he exclaimed, tugging the net in as quickly as he could. It was a body! The flashing object was a medallion around the poor creatures neck.
The old man put an ear to the boy’s chest. Nothing. He checked for a pulse. There was nothing there, either. The fisherman sighed in disappointment. Shame to lose such a young life, he thought.
He bent over to look at the medallion. It was shaped like a leaf. An oak leaf, in fact, the sign of the Savior. He snapped it off the boy’s neck to have a closer look. Setting it down on the boy’s arm, he happened to brush the body’s wrist with his hand.
There was a pulse.
The man gasped. After a moment of horrified thought, he moved the medallion closer to the boy’s wrist. The pulse grew stronger. The man placed it on the wrist. The boy’s other hand moved slightly. “Oh, let him be alive!” the man whispered, and started pumping on Stephen’s chest.
A few more seconds, and Stephen gasped, coughing water. He blinked and sat up. The other man’s eyes widened. “Oh gods!” he exclaimed again. “You’re alive!”
Stephen blinked again. A confused look was on his face. Where was he? All he could remember was a storm, and something about a medallion, and . . . a jewel? “Who are ye? And fer that matter, who am I?” he asked, hesitating.
The man sucked in a breath. “A sailor, aye?” Stephen paused at this. Was he a sailor?
“I . . . don’t know.”
“Well, no matter. Let’s get you back to the harbour, and clean you up. You were dead, after all!”
I love fiction, fantasy, roleplaying, and reading. Nice to meet you too. All of my tales are little kid-friendly, except perhaps a few stories in the Rogue Captain universe. Those are more geared towards teens. Check with your parents, just in case.