Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Esthalia, Dec 26, 2012.

  1. Ellelunia's history

    “Mother…” Ellelunia’s voice was a ghost making its way hauntingly to Prianne’s ears. She looked to her daughter, taking in everything she had created. She took her daughters face between her hands, rubbing away her tears with her thumbs. Prianne’s skin was the color of sandstone and instead of resembling her mother, Ellelunia’s was the color of white sand, pure and smooth. Ellelunia’s bright aquamarine eyes shimmered in the cracks of moonlight that broke through the worn panel of the carriage. She tugged gently on her daughter’s hood, hiding her face as best as she could. Prianne whispered an apology over her shoulder through the small opening in the front wall. The driver grumbled some obscenities under his breath.

    “You’re lucky those collectors haven’t caught up with you yet Prianne, you know what will happen to that strange daughter of yours…” His voice was hollow and distant.

    “I know Yelis, that’s why we’re leaving” Her eyes went in and out of focus with the arrival of tears. As her daughter lay sleeping in her arms, she tried her best to wipe her eyes clear.

    “A woman like you should settle down. You’re far too stunning to live a life of poverty…” The driver shifted, his dark skin blending into the night. He slowed the large muscular horses that pulled them and turned his head to the side, looking as if he was just taking in the sights. Yelis’ compliment seemed only to sheath his disgust, as Prianne replied, he snorted in anger.

    “We just need to get away…” She closed her eyes and felt a slight jerk, the back of her head hitting the wagon hard enough to mix her vision. Her daughter remained asleep, exhausted from their long walk from their home on the island of Nyobi to rendezvous with her Yelis, her deceased husbands brother in his home of Somber Call.

    Yelis turned his body around, placing a muscular arm over the splintering seat of the carriage. Prianne rubbed her pregnant stomach and clenched her teeth. She knew if she spoke her mind, she wouldn’t have the ride for much longer. She looked down at her daughter and sighed.

    “The further away the better…”
    Yelis tied the reigns and jumped down off his bench, the wagon lifting without his weight. His tall wide body was quickly at the back, unlocking the doors and stepping heavy-footed inside. He moved the boxes easily, making his way to Prianne. He grabbed her by the front of her dirty linen dress, pulling her up to his angered visage. Prianne’s body shook with fear, her teeth chattering.

    “When exactly are you planning on paying me? It’s not easy carting you through Dire mist forest. I’m not going to wait for us to get to Voss and have you skip town on me Prianne, I know you would.” He hissed through his teeth, not caring if the child was awake to hear him. Prianne wept, trying to pull away from his massive hands.

    “No, I wouldn’t do that…please, Yelis, just get us to Voss and you can have whatever you want. Please…just let me get my daughter into a warm bed” Prianne pleaded with him, but he yanked her hard by fabric of her dress, kissing her brutally on the lips. She whimpered against his skin and fell back against the hard wood of the carriage.

    “I already know what I want…consider it a gift from Kollidan” He snorted and turned his broad shoulders to her; walking out of the wagon and hoisting himself back up onto his bench. Prianne took a long breath and shuddered. She hated the way he used the god of fates name, thinking of what Yelis meant when he said he knew what he wanted. She was prepared to do anything to keep her children safe. She felt she owed her late husband at least that much for his sacrifice.

    Prianne’s husband, the father of her unborn child had died during an attack by a band of thieves. They had come across their secluded forest home and decided to pillage their home for supplies. Her child had just been conceived weeks before the attack and now months later, she was still reliving her husband’s death in her mind. She could remember how strong of a druid he was, shifting into a bear of immense size, protecting their home and family. He wasn’t Ellelunia’s blood father but he treated her just the same; he was such a kind man.

    As Prianne escaped with Ellelunia tied to her back she knew he was killed; hearing the victorious chants of the ruthless thieves. She held her daughter close and tucked her dark brown hair behind her softly pointed ear. After adjusting Ellelunia’s hood over her face, Prianne closed her eyes and gave into the exhaustion that had been plaguing her for days.

    The bright morning sun shone across Prianne’s face as she lay on the bed. Ellelunia was tucked carefully under her arm, holding close to her ribs. Her swollen stomach seemedto have grown over night, her sixth month of pregnancy coming up in only a few days.She traced a finger across her belly, making figure eights over her thickly woven dress. The deep olive color accented her tanned skin. Her chocolate browneyes drifted over the ceiling and down the walls to the table in the corner of the room. Sitting in one of the chairs; was Yelis. Prianne’s mouth opened slightly and she lifted herself up onto her elbows. A deep pain shot from herwomanhood down to her leg and she closed her eyes. The man sitting so innocently in the corner hurt her badly, but she was desperate not to show it.<o:p></o:p>

    “They’re here Prianne…” His voice was shallow and lacking emotion. Yelis’ wide chest expanded with every breathhe took, making him seem bigger. Without waking her daughter, Prianne managed to twist her body so her feet could touch the floor. She stood up with a couple moments of hesitation, another pain shooting through her body. She cringed this time, swearing under her breath.She shuffled her feet, to stifle the pain. Yelis watched her discomfort and laughed maniacally to himself.<o:p></o:p>

    “I have to admit Prianne,seeing you like this gives me much satisfaction…” A laugh came from deep withinhis chest, rocking the chair backward to touch the wall. He lifted his one legand dropped his boot heel on the table. The weak wooden legs swayed with hisweight; one side lifting off the floor then slamming back down. <o:p></o:p>

    “Just tell me where theyare” She spit, growing more and more impatient and agitated. Yelis took out asmall dagger and fiddled into the table with it. He smirked and pointed thedagger at the floor. <o:p></o:p>

    “Downstairs… They know you’rehere… They know she’s here.” He shrugged his shoulders and put the knifein his other hand. “You might as well give her up. Better life with them, don’tyou think?” <o:p></o:p>

    “Why would you tell themwere we are!? How could you think my daughter would be better off with streetpeddlers?!” Prianne scowled at him and raised her voice much louder thanintentioned. She held to the desk as she walked closer to Yelis; her faceflushed with anger. Yelis stood and walked toward her, his thick, muscular bodymaking the floors creak with every heavy step. She stood still as he approached her and wrapped his arm around herbody. He set the tip of his knife against her stomach and smirked devilishly. <o:p></o:p>

    “Is a fugitive mother anybetter?” He twisted it slightly and watched her reaction. Prianne wasbreathless and afraid. Not for the dagger pointed at her body, but for thefuture of her daughter.<o:p></o:p>

    “Make a deal with them” Hecontinued after seeing the disgusted look on her face. She raised a slenderblack eyebrow at him and shook her head violently. Prianne slapped him hardacross the face; his eyes locked on her own. <o:p></o:p>

    Ellelunia stirred in hersleep, calling out for her mother. Prianne turned around quick, Yelis withdrawinghis dagger and sliding it into the leather sheath hooked to his belt loop. Shewalked to her daughter’s side and picked her up. Prianne cooed gently into herdaughter’s pointed Sahrian ears. <o:p></o:p>

    Prianne walked quickly tothe window and peered out. There were three carriages outside the Inn. Two ofthem with thick iron cages in the back. She turned to Yelis and pointed outward.<o:p></o:p>

    “How could you sell out mydaughter so easily? Have you no heart?” Prianne felt helpless, distraught andalone. A thin layer of sweat covered Prianne’s skin and she swayed a bit,feeing nauseous. <o:p></o:p>

    “You owe a lot of peoplemoney, including myself. I’d be lying if is said I didn’t want to be repaid.” Hewent to the chair covered with Ellelunia’s clothing, grabbing the gentle garmentsroughly. He threw them to Prianne; who caught them in her free hand. <o:p></o:p>

    “Neither yourself or yourdaughter are any of my concern, I worry only for my brothers child. I will dowhat I can to make sure that baby is born and raised the way my brother wouldhave wanted…” Prianne was speechless as she watched Yelis. “I will expect thetwo of you downstairs, you’re making that deal.” Yelis’ face was hard, hisexpression set in stone. <o:p></o:p>

    “Where are we going nowMommy?” Ellelunia’s sweet whisper of a voice graced Prianne’s ears. Shesmoothed over Ellelunia’s shiny black hair and sighed. <o:p></o:p>

    “Come now Ellelunia…”<o:p></o:p>
    After taking her to thewashroom and stripping her tiny body of clothing, Prianne set Ellelunia in thewarm water. Her small daughter splashed about and made bubbles with her mouth.She giggled like an angel, her high pitched voice breaking the silence fromPrianne’s deep thoughts. She tried her best to smile down at her daughter butinstead; was reduced to tears. She closed her eyes, turning her head to theside and dropping her hands from her daughter. She jumped slightly whenEllelunia’s tiny wet hand graced the sensitive skin of her melancholy face.<o:p></o:p>

    “Don’t cry Mommy…UncleYelis is gonna’ help us go home right?” Prianne found herself forcing a lieonto her daughter. <o:p></o:p>

    “Yes my love, uncle Yelisis helping us the best he can, I promise…” She struggled with a smile andbrushed though her daughters wet hair with her fingers. Using his name in thatcontext made her even sicker than her pregnancy ever had.<o:p></o:p>

    After drying Ellelunia offand cleaning up her own appearance; Prianne got the both of them dressed andstood at the top of the stairs. She could hear Yelis and some other menspeaking softly to one another. The clashing of thick glass and metal mugs madeit difficult to understand them fully. Prianne gripped the wooden stair railtightly, her sharpened Sahrian nails biting the thick Oakwood.<o:p></o:p>

    “She’s quite possibly themost beautiful child I have ever seen. That sort of beauty will make you farmore money than you could possibly imagine.” Yelis’ voice boomed over theothers. <o:p></o:p>

    “I have seen the child’smother before; it does not surprise me that her daughter exceeded her beauty.What of the child’s abnormalities?” Another man’s voice pushed through the loudambiance of the Inn’s meeting floor.<o:p></o:p>

    “I believe you will need to see her tounderstand…” Yelis’ voice trailed off, giving in to an awkward silence. Priannetook her daughter down a couple more steps and pressed her face to the wall,leaning only far enough to expose one side of her worried face. <o:p></o:p>

    The man she heard wasyoung, but not as young as she was. His hair was a light brown color, his skina rich olive and his eyes the color of leaves. The man was handsome but thelong scar down his neck and chest made her wince. To his right sat a darkskinned man with black hair and one midnight eye; the other covered with athick leather patch. To his left, there was a stunning woman within Prianne’sage. Her hair was short and tied into a braid that rested gently against herneck. Her eyes were a rich reflection of autumn, rich brown with flecks of goldand orange rimming her pupil. Prianne swallowed heavily as she looked the womanover. Her skin and hair a dark brown and was been barely dressed; wearingnothing but a tight leather bustier and even tighter leather shorts. A rapierwas attached to her knitted belt and a dagger was securely placed on the insideof her thigh. For circus folk, they were well armed.<o:p></o:p>

    “They should be coming downany second, forgive their rudeness…I’m sure they wanted to wash up beforecoming down.” Yelis’ voice gave away his thinning patience. <o:p></o:p>
    Prianne looked down atEllelunia, who was looking up at her with her bright blue eyes. She lookedforward and took her daughter’s hand in her own, guiding her down the stairsslowly. The visitor’s eyes grew wide as their attention was instantly driven tothe small Sahrian girl. Prianne crossed Ellelunia in front of her body and heldher close to her legs. The man in the middle stood and bowed his head, catchinghis green eyes to hers. <o:p></o:p>

    “What a pleasure two seetwo stunning women in one visit…” The woman to the left rolled her eyes andthrew her legs over the arm of her chair; obviously envious of the attentionPrianne and Ellelunia were receiving.<o:p></o:p>

    “They’re not that beautiful…” she saidjust loud enough for those sitting at the table to hear her.<o:p></o:p>
    The man with the Eye patch leaned forward andturned his head to his jealous comrade. <o:p></o:p>

    “You would not know beautyif it bit you in your ass…” He chucked softly and leaned back in his chair. Thewoman scowled and crossed her arms over her large chest. The man in the middleseemed to ignore them and motioned for Prianne to come closer. Yelis pulled outa chair for Prianne to sit; knowing Ellelunia would sit on her lap. Priannesighed at Yelis’ show of kindness and sat down, quickly reminded of his truenature by the pain that shot up her back from the night before. The others satdown as she lifted Ellelunia to her lap; setting her on her one knee. <o:p></o:p>

    The way the man joked andlaughed at the scantily dressed woman let Prianne’s shoulders relax. Her handsunclasped from her daughter’s thin belly, setting one sweaty palm on hershoulder. Ellelunia let go of the dress and moved her gaze up to her mother’sface. Prianne watched as the middle man followed Ellelunia’s every move,catching her bright aquamarine eyes in his whenever he got the chance.<o:p></o:p>

    “Ms. Prianne….” The middleman started. “We have now witnessed with our own eyes how stunning yourdaughter is. She has all the physical attributes of a goddess…” He lookedEllelunia over as she sat contently in her mother’s lap, playing with someloose fabric of her dress.<o:p></o:p>

    Prianne scoffed.<o:p></o:p>

    “You see her as a Goddess?You people are truly insane. The way my daughter looks will only cause hertorment…” Her eyes flickered with a loathing none of them would everunderstand. The man on the end cleared his throat and Yelis began to speak.<o:p></o:p>

    “They would like to makeyou a deal Prianne…” <o:p></o:p>

    Prianne closed her eyes andplaced her daughter on the ground, letting her walk about the room as shewanted. She looked into the eyes of thethree Sahrians before her; her eyes glaring.<o:p></o:p>

    “And what might this offerbe?” She held her head high, trying to keep her dignity. The man on the end took out a pack and slidhis hand inside. <o:p></o:p>

    “We understand that you arevery far in dept. With not only your late husband’s family but with other’s aswell…” The green-eyed middle man looked into Prianne’s eyes like he could seeher very soul. She whimpered lightly, knowing what they were going to say. Shetapped her fingers nervously on the cherry-wood table, her nails clickingfeverishly. <o:p></o:p>

    “We would like to help yourepay that dept. But in order to do that, we would like for your daughter tojoin-“Prianne cut him off before he could finish.<o:p></o:p>

    “What would you do withher? My daughter is no one’s slave!” Prianne banged her fists against thetable, causing the beverages to ripple within their cups and the attention ofthe bar patrons to shift from their own luscious conversations.<o:p></o:p>

    The woman on the end placeda steady hand on her rapier and sat forward in her chair, obviously a trainedguard dog to the middle man. <o:p></o:p>

    “You misunderstand Milady.We wish to take your daughter in under our care. We will tour her beautythroughout the land. You do not understand the precious gem that has come fromyour womb…” He motioned to the right-hand man. He withdrew his hand from thepack and pulled out a large bag of coin.<o:p></o:p>

    “We have enough gold to getyou out of debt and on the right path, as Kollidan would have it. Perhaps youcan make a better life for your new child.” The man seemed genuine and Priannelowered her head. She looked at Ellelunia, who was sitting just close enough tothe large fireplace to warm her toes. Her bright skin reflected the amber glowof the strong fire. Prianne turned her head back to them and placed a hand onher stomach, feeling her child move within her. <o:p></o:p>

    “Will my daughter beeducated? Taught to love the goddess Fleuryn and protect herself if need be?”Her voice cracked and she felt tears welling up in her eyes. If Prianne did nottake the money then they would be constantly on the run. If Ellelunia was evercaught with Prianne she would surely be sold into slavery. Prianne took in afew sharp breaths as she ran over the situations in her mind.<o:p></o:p>

    “We will make sure to teachyour daughter the ways of shifting….She will be one of our finest druids.”Prianne scowled and looked up; tears sliding over her cheek bones.<o:p></o:p>

    “My daughter is unable toshift. She shows no signs of a natural connection to Fleuryn at all…” Priannerested her hand on her head, awaiting laughter from the three visitors.Instead, she felt a hand on her forearm. When she looked up, it was the silentman with the patch.<o:p></o:p>

    “Your daughter will do justfine. I promise you that...” He removed his hand and sat down gingerly next tohis leader. He had barely spoken, but his words touched her. She looked to theleader, unknowingly seeking his approval.<o:p></o:p>

    “My friend here cannotshift either, He has learned many ways of communicating with beast-kind.” <o:p></o:p>

    Prianne nodded, looking atthe strong man. She looked into his one black eye with interest. He reachedbehind himself and pulled over a large bow and quiver. He ran his finger alongthe tail of an arrow and smiled. His lack of words was welcoming to Prianne.She felt satisfied thinking that he could be teaching Ellelunia personally.Purhaps he could teach her more than she ever could do herself. That, she knew,would be worth her pain<o:p></o:p>

    Yelis sat still, waitingfor Prianne’s decision, tapping his heavy boot against her chair pieces of dirtfalling to the hard wood floor. <o:p></o:p>
    Prianne watched herdaughter, her tears drying on her face. She wrapped her arms around her stomachand stifled a curse. <o:p></o:p>

    “I want to have contactwith her…”<o:p></o:p>

    The woman leaned forward,trailing her long nails down her mead cup. Her voice was like a poison thatslipped gently into Prianne’s veins.<o:p></o:p>

    “I’m afraid that not anoption…We can send you letters. But it’s better to have this be a clean break;don’t you think?” The scandalous woman’s lack of sympathy was sickening thoughthrough her harsh words, were simple truths. <o:p></o:p>

    Prianne thought it over,taking in ever possibility. She couldnever keep up with her daughter’s travels. If they were going from town totown, continent to continent; she would never have enough money. Prianne closedher eyes and set her head against the table. Ellelunia was better offforgetting her mother in time, then knowing she was out there never in reach.She felt her heart drop as she took one more glance over at Ellelunia. She tookin as much courage as she could and lifted her head from the table.<o:p></o:p>

    “Take her then.”<o:p></o:p>


    “Come on Orion, Kollidan has a new path for us” Ellelunia said with a hint of sarcasm, adjusting her knapsack over her shoulder. With an uncertain stare into the forest, she continued to walk; her lithe body disappearing behind the trees. Orion walked quietly behind, the other overstuffed pack tied to his back.

    “Damn it Kollidan” She spat as she continued, turning in the direction of the closest road. Somber Call, Morial’s home, was only about a half days walk from where she was now; Orion’s nails tapping on the hard gray stone of the path as they finally breached the thick trees.
    Ellelunia would love to blame her sister her sisters for the changes in her life, but she believed in fate as much as the others of her race and she knew Kollidan was the God to blame.

    Ellelunia rolled her shoulders to relieve some of the pain from the heavy pack. She brushed some dirt off her soft, tightly fitting leather pants and picked some leaves out of the matching leather bodice. The grooming kept her busy as they strode along, adjusting the leather straps on her chest, arms and stomach.

    “Looks like I’m going to need an upgrade Orion” She spoke softly to her feline companion. “This armor won’t hold up much longer…” Orion seemed to smile, his lips curling over his massive fangs. She smiled back and looked up to measure the distance to town in her mind.

    From behind them, a man on a horse came galloping forward, slowing his pace when he caught up with the traveling woman. She attempted not to look his way, but when his horse drew closer she turned her head out of curiosity. The man was staring directly at her; no surprise.

    “Can I help you?” The words came out with just the amount of irritation that she intended. “It’s not polite to stare”

    “I apologize, but I could not help myself!” The man shook his head from side to side and blinked. “From a distance, I thought the goddess Fleuryn had been sent down to bless my eyes”

    “I assure you I am no Goddess” Ellelunia didn’t wait for him to say any more. She took in a sharp breath and continued walking, the man trotting along next to her, still keeping his distance. He took off his shiny metal helmet and patted the stead with a strong thud.

    Ellelunia eyed his horse with jealousy, the dark brown stead walking strongly despite the heavy Sahrian on its back. It’s hooves made a loud clatter against the path as it walked. Certainly that horse could carry her and her possessions…

    “I have never seen a woman such as you…” The man looked forward, finally paying attention to where he was steering his horse. Ellelunia took the moment to look him over. He had deep cinnamon skin and dark brown hair. His eyes locked with hers and he refused to release them. A deep scar across his forehead caught Ellelunia’s attention and she managed to break their eye contact.

    “Your skin is incredibly light; it reflects the sun’s rays with a beautiful glimmer…” the man’s voice was obviously full of adoration, like all men before him. “And your eyes are the purest of waters; please tell me where in you came from!” Ellelunia tucked some of her long silken hair behind her small pointed ear and kept walking, the tips of the buildings coming into view on the horizon.

    “I am not different than any woman…Leave me be” Her voice was dry, trying to fight the urge to steal his horse and get away. He trotted the horse in front of her; stopping her stride. Orion growled deep within his throat and took a step back. Ellelunia groaned and pushed her shoulders back, the urge growing within agitation he caused her.

    “What do you want Sahrian?” His eyes roamed up and down her body, taking in every inch as if she were comprised of the rarest treasures. He looked over her full breasts, traveling down to glance at the tight leather pants and how they formed around her thighs. The man swallowed hard, opening and closing his palms nervously. Ellelunia looked down at Orion and clicked her tongue. The large cat took another step back, leaning back on his back legs.

    Ellelunia walked up to him, reading his mind. She moved her body just the way he wanted her to; slow and alluring. She knew what he wanted and what he was thinking. The man stuck a finger in the collar of his armor, pulling on it uncomfortably to release some excess heat.

    “my feet are quite tired…” Ellelunia began, making sure he kept his eyes on her. She shifted her weight to her hip, pointing it outward. The man dismounted like she knew he would, setting his helmet on the saddle and leaning against the large stead.

    “I would love to escort you to town, perhaps to the Inn if you desire…” He smiled lecherously and continued. “I have never seen anyone so captivating, what race are you?” He bowed and blushed deeply as Ellelunia got closer, pushing her chest to his. He swallowed hard, taking in a sharp gasp of breath.

    “Does my appearance startle you?” Ellelunia tilted her head to the side.

    “Slightly, your skin and eyes resemble a human, but your beauty exceeds anything they could ever hope to create” He placed a hand on her shoulder. His thumb going lightly over her exposed collar bone. She reached up slowly, slipping a small needle from a slit in her leather stomach strap.

    Ellelunia concealed the needle within her palm, raising her hand up behind his head, gently caressing his hairline with her fingertips. She got up on her tiptoes-her short stature making it hard to keep eye to eye with him.

    “Does it please you?” She puckered her lips lustfully and lowered them to his neck, breathing gently over his skin, her hot moist air making his skin shiver. His breath was quick against the side of her face as he leaned forward, lowering his hand from her shoulder to her breast.

    “V-very M-much” He choked out, pressing his lips to hers as she lifted her from his neck. He kissed her with so much lustful force that she cursed at him from the safety of her mind. She could admit, the kiss was good, but she wanted to make it to Grief Claw before sundown and he was more aggravating than useful. Ellelunia pulled away from him with a slight smirk, on the brink of laughter with her hands still bracing his neck.

    “Thanks” She said in between bouts of confusing laughter. The man raised a thick eyebrow, opening his mouth in question. Adrenaline excited her, her heart pumping strongly in her chest.

    “What do you mean…” Ellelunia interrupted his inquiry with the painful stab of the needle, pushing it into his skin until nothing but the flat base was even with his flesh. He screamed as his hands were unable to find the small intrusion. Ellelunia jumped back and smiled wickedly, pointing to Orion who now had the reins of the horse in his mouth. He pulled the horse to her as the man struggled. Ellelunia patted the loyal cat and smiled at the man, who had dropped to his knees; the poison in the needle taking effect.

    “For the horse…” She finished her sentence as she took a big step up into the stirrups of the saddle, rubbing it’s sides gently.

    The man’s face was blank but his eyes reflected his horror. Ellelunia saluted him, winking and rearing the horse up on its back legs. She tossed the man’s helmet onto the ground and watched as his eyes rolled back into his head and his body fell forward; kicking up a cloud of dust from the hard stone path.

    When the dust settled, Ellelunia and Orion were both heading full speed into town.
  2. "Is there such a thing as fate? Or do we control our own lives?

    "I've wrestled with that question my whole life, now that I look back at everything. Only now do I really see just how much trying to prove it one way or another has really affected everything. Especially now.

    "I am a gifted Druid of the Sahrian; my clan is not large, but the strength of our shifting is clear, especially in my bloodline. I was younger than most when I first started shifting, so my training started a lot earlier as well. I took to it, like a fish to water. I chaffed under my teacher, Saritha, but she made me strong. She was the first to bed me as well. It was time, she said. I was on the eve of manhood, she said; she would be the one to carry my hand. Before she threw me into it.

    "I am a decent trapper, and stalker. Much better than any human! My shifting makes me that much more graceful, as well, making up for any lack of delicacy or strength. My teacher taught me not to rely on this, on making my normal-state stronger, but sometimes we do not have the strength for certain things. I am not a fighter, for one. I am skilled with weapons, true, but a dedicated warrior could best me.

    "Unless I faced him with the bear soul. That is my strength.

    "Those of the clan know my strength as well as I do, or knew it, I should say. I was popular among the men, swift of foot with sure aim in a hunting pack. The women made their eyes known, and I was more than excited to let them see my own... well, excitement. Nothing is more beautiful on Fleuryn's green earth than a naked woman! But...

    "It wasn't too long that I was asked to take a wife. No, not asked; told to. I am not one for being told anything, even the elders knew this. I was a rebellious youth in things when told or commanded, but this thing... This was not something I could fulfill. I tried to shake their commands, make them forget their orders or lose sight of them, but it was not to be.

    "So now I am here. On this beach, under the setting sun and listening to the surf. With you, little sea otter. Oh, I skipped a few things? Yes, that is true. I skipped the part where I was... exiled. I wouldn't listen, like I said. I would not follow orders like these! If I was to take a mate, I would take one on my time, and no one elses!"

    The sea otter watched the Sahrian finish his tale with nothing more than an extended silence. Eralion raised himself off of his heels and threw the remains of his crab leg at the sea otter before going back to piecing together his camp.

    It hadn't been very long since he had been exiled, no more than a few months, and he had taken to life alone in the wilderness as fish did to... well, land. He took this opportunity to really test himself however, and the test was difficult. Eralion moved a lot, never made a camp for long in the different parts of the world he found himself at. He took every opportunity to learn from the animals around him.

    Now, he would take the time to learn of the creatures of the sea. Eralion was swift, due to the horse of the plains. His strength was immense thanks to the bear in his mountain, and his bearing great due the great moose of the forests. He was not graced a gift from the beasts of the ocean, however. He would rectify that.
  3. The water stained bucket clashed against the sides of the well located in the center of Grief Claw; a homely town. Orion stood with his heavy paws gripping the sides of the stone fixture; his head lowered curiously inside. The sun was beating down from directly overhead, the rays shimmering off Orion’s thick coat. As the bucket got closer and closer, Orion tried to reach it, entering his paws into the well and making needing gestures by opening and closing his feline fingers. The bucket fell slightly as Orion released the rope to bite higher up, pulling it close to himself; his powerful jaw holding the rope tightly without snapping it.
    Ellelunia was standing outside a building respectfully called ‘the Silver Top Tavern’ for its silver foil pattern scattered across the roof. Her eyes washed over the wooden construction of the outside, her aquamarine eyes flowing between ornate carvings in the wood with remembrance. Turning her body away from the building for a moment, she finished tying her stolen horse and looked for Orion, who had abandoned his seated position where Ellelunia had told him to wait.

    A crowed of Sahrian villagers were surrounding Orion, all making noise and trying to peek over one another for a better view of the cat. Orion had his head inside the bucket, lapping up the water with his long slender tongue. The bucked swiveled and tipped, inches from spilling its contents over the ground. The villagers seemed amused and happy to give him food scraps. Ellelunia rolled her eyes at her outgoing companion and slipped inside the tavern. As Ellelunia turned her curious eyes away from the commotion outside, she opened the door, listening to the reminiscent sound of the entry bell as she walked inside. The tavern was wide and filled with many wooden tables and chairs. The bar to the back of the building was long and worn from years of passing ale to happy patrons. Ellelunia was caught off guard when a familiar heavy set woman seemed to spring out of nowhere. In reflex, Ellelunia took a step back, her back slamming into the doorway.

    “Praise Kollidan, he’s brought my girl home!” The stocky woman began clapping her hands together. “I never thought I would see you again Ellelunia!” A sly smirk crept across her face and she raised an eyebrow curiously.

    “It’s nice to see you Morial…” Ellelunia sighed and reached forward, gently placing a hand out to squeeze the elderly woman’s shoulder. Morial laughed and pulled Ellelunia in for a warm hug. When she pulled away she crossed her arms loosely over her heavy chest.

    “You’re my blessing from Fleuryn; truly!” Morial’s smile was a joyous one, stretching wide and creating cavernous dimples in her pudgy cheeks.

    “I have been secluding myself…forgive me” Ellelunia smiled and dropped her hands comfortable at her sides. Morial turned her head back and began slowly walking, her graying hair was held tightly to her scalp in a bun that sat at the top of her head. Ellelunia distinctly remembered her having more chocolate curls before she left; perhaps that was her fault. Morial motioned over her shoulder, beckoning Ellelunia to follow. Taking one last quick glance at Orion through the tall windows at the front of the tavern, she was assured he was fine; two young girls patted his sides and giggled as he licked their palms.

    “Where have you been?” Morial’s voice was mixed with the concern of a mother and the inquiry of a friend. She unlatched the flat horizontal door of the bar and tuned her full figured body sideways to fit through the opening. Morial used a small scrap of cloth to wipe down a glass mug before filling it with bitter smelling mead. Ellelunia smiled and accepted the drink as it was pushed her way.
    She took a seat, setting her feet on the foot rest at the bottom of the bar and slinging her knapsack on the stool next to her. She put the drink to her lips and tilted her head back, letting the liquid happily cool her throat. Ellelunia’s long black hair swished over her shoulders as she moved, like a river of ink as it flowed down her back. She hit the cup hard against the counter and smirked, wiping the side of her mouth with her wrist.

    “I’ve been living in a cave, nothing too interesting…” She chuckled and let out a heavy sigh as she swirled the empty cup around on the bar. Morial’s eyes went wide, a small group of crow’s feet gathering at the corners of her eyes.

    “You’ve been living in a cave?!” Her motherly concern made Ellelunia smile. “Why have you isolated yourself? It’s never good to be alone…” Morial snatched up the cup from the bar and turned around to refill it from the tapped barrel behind her, this time with a thicker, darker brew. She set it in front of Ellelunia and watched her take a swig, her eyes lighting up with the rich taste.

    “Should-a-came here, you know!” She quickly covered up a dribble of liquid as it splashed up on the bar. Morial looked up at Ellelunia and wrinkled her brow as they locked eyes.

    “I would-a taken care of you; like I did before…” Ellelunia reached out, removing her hand from her drink and placing it above Morial’s withered fingers.

    “You’re not my mother; please do not feel obligated to shelter me. I thank you for the past, I just…” She went silent for a moment, spurts of memories passing though her mind. Ellelunia blinked her large blue eyes and watched as her mind played her memories and isolated them into one solid stream.
    The room was dark and the air smelt of burned wood and a displaced flowery scent. The building she was being led to was abandoned months before though she was taken there often. Within the darkness of the corner in the empty room, a tall shadowy figure strode outward. The floor creaked under his bulk, making a high pitched whine that scared her. Ellelunia watched from within her mind as her teenage self was pushed forward, closer to the shade that was only feet away from her small frame.
    The door behind her shut; the lock clicking into place with a fatal twist. As the man got closer she could see his eyes burning her from beneath a thin veil of blackness. He grinned and exposed a bright, fanged smile- like all the other Sahrian men she had ever been with. Ellelunia’s petite body shook as he placed a calloused hand on her shoulder and neck.

    “I’ve waited for this moment to come little goddess” His voice turned into a feral grown as he began greedily tugging at her opalescent dress that made her absent eyes glow like a sapphire flame dying in the night air.
    Ellelunia quickly snapped her eyes open and placed a hand over the side of her neck were she remember the man biting down hard enough to draw blood. No matter what happened, whatever horrible thing they did it her; she never scarred.
    The touch of Morial’s hand against her face made Ellelunia jump in shock. She cast her head down and whispered an apology into the air only loud enough for Morial to hear.

    “You have nothing to apologize for my dear. I know how your past haunts you…” The elderly woman smiled and motioned to the stairs.

    “As long as you’re here, the room will be free. No daughter-a-mine is going to live in a cave!” She huffed, her head cocking to one side with a matriarch-like attitude.
    The rich smell of bread and stew wafted over Ellelunia as she ate and spoke with Morial. It had been months since she ate this god. Morial’s cooking was the closest thing to love she could recognize. Ellelunia slid her hand off the counter when she had her fill, watching Morial return to cleaning dishes and cups. She couldn’t help but trust Morial; she was the only person to ever show her kindness.

    “I want to tell you something…” Ellelunia began. Morial’s pointed Sahrian ears perked when she took notice to her daughter’s seriousness. She stopped washing and gave her the full attention she deserved.

    “I wanted to come back… I just felt like I should have been able to take care of myself. In my stubbornness, I turned to my old ways…I’m so sorry.” Ellelunia held her head low, feeling ashamed.
    Her hair was shorter than and she wanted nothing but solitude. She found out quickly that life on her own was difficult and she had not developed the survival skills she needed. She turned to selling herself at night; men only finding her only by the dim light of her lantern. Their encounters had been nothing but business to her, so used to disconnecting her mind and body while the deed was done. The heavy bags of money she had received were still weighing down her pack to this day.

    “Everything takes time my dear…” Morial consoled her. “I know how much you hate yourself for what you’ve done, but you can’t blame yourself for relapsing back to the only way you’ve ever known…It will take time…” Her words made Ellelunia’s eyes water. If only she knew how hard it was for her to stop lighting the lantern at night, to turn down all that money and work for her sister doing something she had never done before. Ellelunia was confused, but she believed Morial and ever piece of advice she had ever given her. She knew deep down she should never have left; this time she wouldn’t.

    “There’s someone I would like you to me Mori” Ellelunia’s mood changed completely and she hopped off the barstool, letting out a sharp whistle. Seconds later Orion came bounding through the entrance to the tavern and stopping at Ellelunia’s feet.

    “His name is Orion…” She watched Morial for a reaction, knowing how much honoring her husband’s name would mean to her. It meant a lot to Ellelunia too, knowing the man sacrificed his life for hers. Morial had told her many brave stories about her husband, but none braver than Ellelunia’s rescue.
    Morial found Ellelunia being carted into town to be sold nightly to men who wanted to ‘feel the touch of a true goddess’. Her big brown eyes had seen Ellelunia being escorted to her next job, the absence of emotion and spirit within the girls face made the kind Sahrian woman cry. She had seen women in Ellelunia’s place before, but none of them made her sob like Ellelunia did. Morial forced her husband to purchase Ellelunia for a night and when she was escorted and they were alone they would smuggle her out.
    One week later, Ellelunia was still hidden in a trick room underneath a storage closet floor. When her ‘owners’ cane looking for her, the searched the Silver Top from ceiling to basement. The tavern was completely torn apart in their rage but Ellelunia was safe. It would have all worked out if they hadn’t killed Morial’s husband because he was the last person to purchase her…

    “Fleuryn bless you child! Ya-named him well, look how strong and handsome he is!” Morial wriggled her way out from behind the bar and knelt to the ground, pulling up her apron. The bell rang again as someone walked in the door. Morial lifted her head and called out with joy; her bun bouncing atop her head.

    “Look here Sven; we’ve got another Orion, Ellelunia brought him home!” Morial ran her hardworking fingers through Orion’s fur, massaging his ears and listening to him purr.
    “Nice to see you’ve returned girl, Morial’s been driving us sick with her stories. It’s a good thing her bread and ale are so good, or she might be talking to herself!” He chuckled deep within his narrow chest and sat down at the table he always used. Ellelunia remembered his bead and how thick and dark it was. Time had passed and though it was still thick, it was graying in the roots.
    Ellelunia bowed her head, her hair falling over her chest in long wispy strands. When she looked toward Morial, she noticed the old woman was already behind the bar, fixing Sven his usual dinner. She laughed off his comment with a content smile.

    “I was just missing her! Can’t tell me you didn’t miss her too Sven!” Morial flung the drying cloth over her shoulder and giggled. It wasn’t a secret that Morial couldn’t birth a child of her own, now she was too old, but she had Ellelunia and she loved her.

    “Okay then” Sven put his hands over his head excitedly. “Then make the drinks strong tonight! It’s a celebration!” He laughed again, his face raising and his long beard swaying under his pointed chin. Morial scoffed at him, knowing the old man would use any excuse to drink until he fell asleep at his table.
    “Ellelunia dear, why don’t you go rest your eyes, it’s been a long day for-ya-hasn’t it?” Ellelunia couldn’t agree more. She nodded her head made her way to the stairs, instructing Orion to remain with Morial.
    “Behave for Morial, ok?” She patted her companion on the head as he padded back to Sven, already begging for food that wasn’t there. Morial walked over to Sven in small strides and gently set his drink on the lacquer finished table with a patter. Sven waved after Ellelunia, his hand moving through the air as if he were spell casting.
    As Ellelunia rested her eyes in the safety and comfort of her soft cotton sheets, Orion sat beside the small round table where Sven and Morial chatted, their voices low and whispery.

    “Sven, you think she’ll be alright, don’t you?” Morial’s eyes jumped from Orion to the elderly man across from her. Sven sipped from his drink and puckered his lips when the strong mixture of alcohol hit him. He watched Morial’s partially frightened eyes and sighed.

    “Fleuryn’s blessed the girl; do you not see the uniqueness in her?” He reached his hand down and patted Orion’s side. When he looked back up, Morial’s eyes were burning. After a moment she cupped her hands together, leaning forward and diverting her gaze to the rafters.

    “I just feel like Kollidan is toying with her in some way…” Her voice trailed off as her hands washed over her aging features, reaching up to massage her temples. Sven se his cup down and wiped his hands on his long leather coat.

    “Remember her situation my dear, she thinks of herself as an outcast she’s been mistreated because of her physical being” he cleared his throat, watching as Morial’s eyes watered over.

    “She feels out of place because of her identity, I’ve heard her sisters are gifted by the gods as well…Trellisa is more beast than Sahrian! Her veins are filled with a thick feral blood and Lamira’s senses are superb! She hears twigs snap from miles away…” He reached out and shook Morial’s shoulder.

    “She will do just fine; our only wish for her should be to somehow relieve that hatred that is held up within her heart. Her body might never scar Morial, but her soul bares more injury than a beaten corpse” Sven’s tone changed, his teeth gritting together. Morial nodded slowly, understand completely. She stood, walking back to the back room to retrieve his dinner, which was done warming in the brick oven.

    Up in her room, Ellelunia was waking up, cracking her bones and stretching her muscles. She walked down the stairs dressed in her common attire. She felt comfortable in the long silk dress that Morial gifted her one year for her birthday. It was one of her first presents she had ever received and she was happy Morial had saved it in the armoire of her room. It was obvious that Morial hadn’t rented that room to anyone either, it looked exactly how it did when she left.
    The dress was light blue, with a silver braiding that wrapped around her neck, down between her breasts and encircled her ribcage. The dress just graced the floor, her beaded sandals peeking out from under its length.
    Ellelunia walked down the stairs, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She had just enough time to walk the beach before nightfall.

    “Welcome back to the living child, care for a drink?” Morial smiled sweetly but Ellelunia declined, walking toward the exit. Orion lifted his head but his attention was stolen when Sven dropped a piece of chicken to the floor on accident.
    “If you don’t mind, I want to go walk the beach before nightfall…I’ll be back” Morial nodded and Ellelunia slipped out into town.
    By the time she reached the beach, the sun had turned a deep yellow to prepare for sunset. It was the perfect time to visit the ocean and watch the colors of nightfall reflecting in the waves. Ellelunia bent to pick up shells along the sand, rubbing her fingers along the metallic insides as she spoke to herself.

    “Change is not as easy as Kollidan seems to believe…” She threw a shell into the gentle incoming waves. It hit like a knife splicing through the water. She sighed and watched her feet as she walked through the moist sand. “Like sending my sister to me now is going to change my existence…”
    A sudden moan in the distance made Ellelunia’s ears perk up. Her spine went straight and she searched her surroundings for anyone nearby.

    “Hello…” She said slowly and cautiously, waiting for a response. When nothing happened she continued walking, noticing a large formation of rocks up ahead. There was a strange pile of what looked like brown moss near the rocks as she walked closer. When the pile suddenly moved, she jumped.

    “What in the name of…” Her curiosity brought her closer, watching the bulk writhe and roll and the moaning getting louder. When she was but feet from the mass she noticed large best like paws and a long brown and tan muzzle. Lying in the damp sand, being pulled by the tide was an injured bear.
    Blood drenched the sand, streaming back into the ocean and disappearing into the blue. Ellelunia was quickly at the bear’s side. Its eyes were closed and she could tell it was losing too much blood. She had nursed a couple creatures back to life before but a bear would by far be the biggest. She grabbed the bear by the skin around the neck and pulled as hard as she could. The bear growled low in its throat but was obviously too weak to put up any resistance against her. Moving the beast was exhausting, the sand sinking around her feet every time she pulled. Sweat beaded on her skin as she used all her might to tug the bear to safety. Water soaked her dress but she didn’t care, tending to the animal without a second thought.
    After getting its body out of the water as much as she could, Ellelunia worker her hands over the deep gashed on its sides and limbs. She quickly scanned the sand for another shell and broke it in half. When the bear’s eyes began to open, Ellelunia moved her body to the other side, getting out of its line of vision. She used the broken shell to pip out a few teeth that were stuck inside the bleeding gashes, the bear growling in pain.

    “Don’t worry, its better with these out; I promise” she smoothed her hands over its coat and sighed “I don’t know how you managed this…” With the removal of the last visible tooth the bear began to wake, stirring the sand around it.

    “Don’t, you’re too injured…” Ellelunia calmed her voice, trying to stay as soothing as possible. She turned again to check the beach for anything to apply to the cuts when from the corner of her eye she saw the fur begin to disappear from the back of the beast. The bears massive paw swung backward as it rolled over, groaning in discomfort.
    Ellelunia was thrown backward, rolling over herself and landing in the sand. She was sprawled out face up, holding her head she heard the familiar bone snapping sound of a Druid changing forms. Her head throbbed and her vision spun around, causing her eyes to close and pushing her into an unconscious sleep.
  4. The light of the sun was slowly receding behind the horizon. A fire burned at the center of Eralion's camp. His bedroll was neatly laid out on the sand, his belongings piled neatly on top. Several hundred paces away, the Sahrian was wading ankle deep into the water. He was barefoot and bare-chested, his bronze skin tinkling underneath the waning light of the sun. It betrayed his love of the outdoors, and his love of a severe lack of of clothing.

    "I think I could like this beach setting, Ottie," Eralion spoke aloud to the little sea otter that had taken a liking to him. It was perched on a wet rock that was sitting just inches above the surf, and chewing happily on the remnants of a crab leg that Eralion had not quite finished off.

    "Warm, sweet-smelling air, and there's a solitude here that... It's not quite being alone, but it certainly gives one time to think, eh?" Even he didn't quite understand what he was saying, but to the druid, life of all kinds was 'company' to him. He could go on for years like this, speaking to creatures and other living things in nature, and not feel the lack of companionship.

    Now waist deep in the water, the Sahrian broke the surface and dove underneath the waves. He came up quickly, a bright smile on his face as he tread across the surface of the water. He could see the soft glow of the coral beneath the waves not much further from the edge of the beach, and swam towards it.

    The life was amazing in that fluorescent and pastel world. Little creatures darted away from him, while others investigated the lithe, muscular bi-ped that had invaded their private little world. The fish swam with him and against him, inadvertently guided him to the homes of their friends and predators alike. Eralion investigated them all, and swam deeper and farther out with every new living thing he spied.

    A large fish hit him as it swam away swiftly. It swam alone, while other fish swam away from it swiftly in terror. It had a large fin, and very large teeth. A predator, Eralion decided. But why did it swim away from prey, and so swiftly?

    He spun in the water, turning in time to see a fluorescent school of fish that was swimming straight for him. They each were the size of a large man's palm, no thicker than two or three fingers breadth, but their mouths and teeth made up more than half of their size. Without waiting another second, he spun and swam as hard as he could for the beach.

    The fish overtook him swiftly. There was nothing he could do as they scratched his skin with razor-sharp teeth (which he would later learn were hooked and segmented, comprising of hundreds of smaller razor-like shards). He swam through their attack, feeling the sting of their bite as they sunk into the flesh of his back, and calves and arms. He fought fiercely the urge to fight back, until he was finally overwhelmed and his vision was filled with neon and blood.

    Eralion's mind worked quickly, and he knew his only escape was through his greatest strength: his druidic magic, his shifting. Suppressing the urge to panic, he took to the only form he could think of that would give him the greatest advantage.

    The druid writhed underneath the waves as his bones began to pop, muscles expanded and grew. His physical body was morphing into that of a giant, black bear. With his new strength and increased stamina, he hoped he would be able to cover the distance even faster and withstand the pain even greater.

    His vision grew shaky, and he roared under the water in defiance of his plight. One of the vicious fish swam between his maw and he bit down, shearing it in half as his claws raked through the school, rending fish as he swam. Suddenly his knees and paws dug into wet sand, and he rolled forward with the crashing of the waves. Eralion had never even broke the surface of the water, swimming right for the beach.

    Eralion did not know how long he had laid there, sucking in air as his muscles seized where he lay. He desperately thought to move, but his vision was blurring and his body would not respond to his commands. 'Poison?' he thought to himself, wondering if the fish had a venomous bite. Or maybe it was blood loss; he could feel the warmth of his blood running between the long strands of his dark fur.

    Suddenly he felt small hands on him, move him and relieve his body of the searing blades that were still embedded in his flesh. He let out groans of protest as the serrated teeth ripped at his skin as they were pulled out. He tried moving, when he felt the strength of those small hands push him back down. He was surprised by that strength.

    “Don’t, you’re too injured…” He heard, but he ignored the words as he forced his muscles and bones back to the shape of a man. His fur recede, and his jaw reset against his cheek bones. It didn't take long for him to feel more 'normal', if there was ever a state of normal for a druid. It was better to say he felt more like a man.

    Pain was the thing that was on his mind, but strength was returning to him as his breaths came through more steady and rhythmic. His vision was clearing, and he could see who had helped him. She lay in the sand, the water gently rolling beneath her as the waves continued on. She had fainted, it seemed from seeing him turn from bear to man.

    "I suppose that's... enough to send anyone to sleep..." he mused aloud to himself, a smile of irony curled over his lips. The strength was returning to him, but he wasn't sure if he could nurse himself to strength and watch over a girl without passing out himself. He gallantly stepped to, however, and cradled her up to his chest as he lifted her out of the sand.

    Eralion half-limped and drug himself over the beach as he returned to his camp. He set the girl down over his bedroll, while he snatched up one of his blankets to wrap over himself. He fell then onto his rear in front of his fire, throwing in a few pieces of drift wood to burn it hotter. Looking over his shoulder at the girl, he couldn't help but wonder if his life was about to get weirder.