The Hearts of the Elements

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Locke Cole, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Alright, as a disclaimer, this is only a part of what I have written so far, but I wanted to test the field here, see if you all liked it for me to keep it coming at you as I write more. I have quite a bit already written, but, again -- would like feedback first! So without further adieu, for the first time (aside from to Kit), here is a small portion of one of the sets of books I'm working on. This set is personally my favorite, as it's so difficult to piece everything together ...


    <center>~The Hearts of the Elements~
    Parsec One
    Of Earth and of Life

    Part One
    /Quadrant Four/
    /Clan Warrens/</center>

    The young man stumbled out of the dark cave, his short hair matted to his forehead with sweat. His eyes were so wide with fear and horror that there was more white than blue, the red blood trickling from a gash on his forehead creating a stark contrast to the color. Pausing against the ice slick wall to momentarily catch his breath, his head jerked back the way he had come to stare into the darkness of the caverns as the creature's dying screams reached his ears. With a renewed since of terror, he realized that if he could hear the wretched creature, so could more of the horribly deformed things. A ghastly wind blew from deep inside the cave as if carried by the creatures wailing, carrying the stink of blood and long rotten meat. The terrible memories of the short time he spent in that hell that were carried on that wind were enough to urge his battered body into movement once more. Before more of the Yeh'ti came, he had to get as far from here as possible.
    White puffs of his breath preceded him as he stumbled more than ran from the waking nightmare he was attempting to leave behind. He held clutched in a white-knuckled vice grip the splintered shaft of bone he had used to kill the creature. Almost laboriously he came came to a stop in the lightly falling snow, allowing the tingling cold to bring him back to his senses. Shaking with the abating terror, breathlessness, and slow removal of adrenaline from his blood stream, he looked down at the bone clutched in his hand. Now that he was who knew how far into safety, he had a moment to gather his thoughts.
    Blood still dripped to the ground from the gruesome makeshift weapon, and while he was loathe to give up his only means of defense, it was creating a glaringly bright trail of scent in the fresh snow to lead the Yeh'ti directly down his flight path and, eventually, to him.
    Still shaking, though now from the cold more than anything else, he hefted the jagged bone and a made a fresh cut high up on his left arm, dragging the sharp edge haphazardly through his bicep. Proceeding to lather his own blood over most of the bone, he threw the weapon as far to the left of his intended escape route as he possibly could. Hopefully, the large amount of his own scent would mislead the Yeh'ti for long enough that they would lose him and be unable to trail after. That was the idea, anyway.
    Ripping a strip of cloth from his already tattered shirt, he bound it tightly around the fresh wound in his arm and began again at a markedly improved pace, now that he had had a moment to rest, putting more distance between himself and the by now frenzied creatures. In his heart, he held out hope that the meat of their fallen comrade would sate their hunger long enough to give him an even bigger lead.
    A very slim hope.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Unobserved and unbothered, by the cold or even the Yeh'ti, a little, wrinkled old lady knelt above the opening to the clan warrens that the boy had subsequently entered and escaped from.
    She sat quietly for a very long period of time, the entire duration of the boy's stay in fact, observing events as they would happen, not allowing herself to interfere in the slightest. The green gem that was incased by gripping white gold vines had been glowing brilliantly in her palm when the lad was beneath her, causing verdant green grass to sprout beneath her feet, dandelions and other assorted bouquets of flowers rapidly blooming into full summer attire.
    Still she watched in total silence as the boy beat as hasty of a retreat as his body would allow, and as the boy gathered distance the green glow began to dissipate, softening until the gem was an unremarkable emerald once more and the brief life that had sprouted around the old crone withered and died as swiftly as it had been born.
    Yet still, even then and as the Yeh'ti ran screaming in pursuit, she waited, untouched by the cold. Her deep green, knowing eyes, the color of the emerald in her palm, continued to stare long after in the direction the boy had gone. More and more time passed until one would almost be sure that she had frozen to death until a small, black and white lemur came trotting up to her side. Then her gaze shifted to meet the solid whites of the small animal at her feet.
    The lemur returned her gaze solidly and nodded once. With that nod came massive implications for this world and that of the next, swirling around the old lady like a cataclysm of events to come.
    Reaching down with wrinkled old hands, the crone attached the gem she had been holding to a tiny, otherwise unadorned collar around the lemur's neck and scratched one last fond time behind his ear.
    "Go," was the only thing she said to send the small creature leaping down the cliff face and racing to his new destination in a haste borne of utmost importance. She herself finally stood immediately after, and as she stood there, her cloak and white hair billowing in the icy wind behind her, she knew she must be getting along to prepare for the times and trials to come.
    Softly, she spoke aloud to herself.
    "I only hope we know what we're doing."

    (More to come?)
     
  2. I like the creatures used in this story and the imagery of the words! I'm intrigued by the old lady and the Lemur.


    Over all, this feels like more of a teaser or a trailer, than a chapter, but I loved it! Moar!
     
  3. Since it got such ... large, ridiculous amounts of positive feedback, I will explain that, yes, that was mostly a teaser. But what the hell, I'll go ahead and post more. *shrug*

    <center>/Quadrant One/
    /Song of the Seasons/</center>

    In the tiny village just miles from the border of quadrant four, business was going on as usual, the people completely and blissfully unaware of the gathering hardships. In fact, truth be told, the hardships that would be to come would not be entirely on the people here, for most would barely notice a change in the weather.
    None except the young girl that whistled to herself as she skipped through town, waving to all the townspeople with a grin plastered on her face. The town, referred to by most as Edge of Civilization due to its proximity to the mostly barren wasteland that was constant winter, was known to almost all here as home. It was a quaint village, nestled under the boughs of a beautiful tree that bloomed forever with the bright greens of the leaves and tiny multi-colored flowers adorning its branches. There was the occasional spot of rain here and there, but for the most part, the spring quadrant was a haven, with almost no feral creatures to worry about. At least, none that would risk entering the town where large numbers of people lived.
    The girl, Kitsune, stopped in front of her favorite inn, where almost all of the well traveled patrons came to if they were planning on making the perilous trek through the fourth quadrant. A sign, beautifully painted with representations in silver, green, and yellow to represent three of the seasons, had brown letters that read "The Song of the Seasons." Stifling a giggle, she cleared her throat and threw open the beaded doorway (in a place that was forever summer, what need did people have for closed doors to keep out the elements, after all), putting on her best immitation of a mean bandit.
    "Alright, mister, put 'em up! I'mma' lootin' this here water hole!" Though the common room was mostly empty, there were three people in attendance -- the bard, the inn keep, and one traveler, who looked up briefly from his mug of cold ale in a drunken delirium, then let his head hit the table again with a crash and a snore. This, coupled with the innkeeper's genuine astonishment more at the sudden loud crash than Kit's entrance, made the girl giggle quite loudly.
    "Well, if it isn't our little Kitti cat!" Rufus beamed, gesturing for her to take a seat. As she acquiesced and hopped up onto a stool nearest the bar, she blushed, pulling the cup of lemonade he filled for her closer to her.
    "I told you to stop calling me that!" She fake pouted. "But I'll accept the lemonade as apology." She gave him her best mischievous grin she could muster, which only garnered another laugh and a hair mussing, which he knew she hated even more.
    "You little scamp." He reached up and tucked a red and blue flower behind her ear before turning back to cleaning last night's ale cups. "I suppose I should count my lucky stars then, ay?"
    Kit stuck her tongue out at him and hopped down from the bar stool, going over to plop in front of the unlit fireplace near the bard, leaning back on the thick rug laid out there for just such a purpose. "Tell me the tale of the thief of summer again!" She chirped, which called for a raised eyebrow and a sigh from the stout man covered in an eyesore of a robe.
    "Very well, but this is the last time, you hear me?" He waggled his finger at her, speaking in an accent that few, if any recognized in any of the quadrants.
    "You always say that!" Rufus hollered from behind the counter as the third glass he had started cleaning squeaked its readiness and he set it down somewhere under the oak top.
    "Ach, shut your mouth, Roofie." His eyes twinkled as he began to pluck at the strings of his instrument, leaning conspiratorially toward Kitsune. "It began as any story does." He half sang with the notes, "It had a beginning. Or at least, it started somewhere. A long, long time ago, when the quadrants were whole and came upon people unexpectedly. This, they say, was when time was normal. But there lived a little old man out in the world, who was jealous of all the people that had so much time. One year, he had decided 'I will steal it! Time itself!' and raised his fist to the sky, screaming 'Time shall be mine!'"
    They could hear Rufus snort from behind the counter, but neither the girl nor the bard paid attention to it. Most people found this particular tale one of pure fancy, but Kit and Angelo both knew, deep down, it held a truth.
    Angelo's tale was cut short rather abruptly, however, to a large commotion that began outside. All three still awake, except the passed out customer, looked toward the doorway as the sounds got louder. Startlingly quick, a little ring lemur burst through the beaded doorway with a jangle, clutching a bright red apple to its chest. Chittering loudly, it stopped for a moment, its tiny lungs heaving with panic, and looked wide eyed around the room. Focusing on Kitsune, it darted for her, which caused the girl to scream in astonishment and cover her face. But the little thing only leapt up into her lap and leaned against her as if begging for protection, solid white eyes looking up at her pleadingly. As she moved her hands from her eyes, she met his, and couldn't help but reach out and stroke its head.
    The apple vendor he had nabbed the apple from came rushing in next with a club in her hand, frowning when she saw the little thing curled up in Kit's lap. "Kitsune, be careful with that thing! It's a thief and most likely rabid. Give it here!" The woman came striding toward her, and Kit instinctively picked the creature up and held him close to her chest turning slightly away from the vendor.
    "No! He's cute, and besides, he doesn't have rabies. Do you?" She reached down with one hand, still cradling the lemur against her, and fished a mark from her pocket that she had intended to use for the lemonade just in case Rufus ever made her pay. She flicked it toward the vendor, who caught it in mid air. "There's for your stupid apple. Now leave him alone!"
    The club wielding woman frowned, and slapped the coin on top of the nearest table. "You know your money's no good to me, girl. But you keep the little rat out of mischief anymore if you plan ta' be his protector. I'm watchin' you, monkey." She pointed to her eyes then at the lemur. The lemur took a large crunch out of the apple and slowly chewed it, staring directly at the vendor as if to mock her. With a huff, the woman turned and stormed out of the inn, holding her skirts up to keep them out of the dirt.
    Kit laughed and began petting the little black and white creature in her arms, watching the apple vendor leave in a fury. As Angelo, and Rufus went about what they were doing with the events having passed, Kitsune plopped down in front of the fireplace again, still petting the lemur. "Now, what shall we call you?" Her eyes went to the ceiling in thought, and she began humming the Song of Spring to herself.
    The small white-eyed lemur was looking up at her almost as if he was scrutinizing her, munching contentedly on his apple. Around his neck a small emerald, clutched in white-gold vines, was glowing faintly and the flower behind Kit's ear began to spread its petals wide in full life.
    "Eletium." Kitsune said decisively, then began humming her tune and bobbing her feet to the rhythm once more.

    (This, coupled with the last bit I posted, would be the first ... "Chapter." I don't seperate them into chapters, so to speak, but more ... points. When I have the point finished, then I break it into what I've labeled in this book as Parts. The point of this part was to introduce you to the main characters, which I've done. Now I'll be posting Part 2 ... possibly. X.x I didn't know if I was supposed to keep posting more here, or in a fresh topic, so I decided not to dilute the pages. ;P Do comment more, please! I can take a beating!!)
     
  4. I do love this~

    And not just because of the name of one of the chars <.<

    I love the personality of the lemuuuuuuuur, and the bard's story was interesting! I look forward to reading more! AND THERE BETTER BE MORE!
     

  5. <center>Part Two
    /Quadrant Four/
    /Old Clan Warrens/</center>

    Ameagla woke with a start as the alarm clock he had personally constructed glinted the fresh morning sun directly in his eyes. With a grunt he swatted the little mirror sitting on the small outcropping of rock, sending it spinning several times, which only helped to make the light that much more irritating as it winked on and off. Pulling the soft blanket down with more muttered curses, he swung his legs over the bed and rubbed the crusts of sleep from his eyes. Putting his hand out to steady the mirror, he yawned and looked about the room, using his hand to comb the stray locks of black hair from his eyes. The fire that had been built up in the pit in the middle of the room had died to blackened chunks of wood over the course of the long winter night, and his breath puffed ever so slightly in the slowly chilling air. Slipping each foot into his pants he stood as he tugged them up and cinched them around his waist, then grabbed a spare hair tie from beside the mirror and tied his long hair back, not bothering to comb it just yet.
    Standing up, he allowed his legs to stretch out the kinks from the night, then stood over his bed, surveying the tousled sheets and the worn, stained pillow. After the moment of survey, he reached down, grabbed his pillow, and put it at the head of the bed. Nodding at how good he was at straightening the bed, especially when he was pretty damn sure nobody would be coming by his cave, he proceeded to the box of food he kept closer to the winding entrance, throwing the top back unceremoniously. There was just enough food in there for one more breakfast, and with a sigh he closed the lid and attended to restarting the fire. While the wood heated and caught flame to warm the meat, he continued getting dressed, tugging on a thin black cotton shirt, with one of the sleeves missing, and his thick long coat made of yeh'ti hide. The lack of food stuffs meant that he would be needing to go over into quadrant one, and as much as he disliked dealing with it, survival was unfortunately a necessity to instigate a long life. As such, he threw the meat on a thin table of metal he had made himself and sat down on a stool in front of his makeshift alarm clock.
    It took most of the time to heat the slab of Yeh'ti he threw on for breakfast to shave the scruff from around his chin and cheeks, and the remainder of it to comb his hair into a semblance of presentability. Any longer spent on his hair, and the meat would have burned, so he moved the hot metal cooking top from the fire, and slid the patty onto a dirtied plate, which he thought was perfectly presentable, having been cleaned just one meal ago instead of the standard two. He wasn't particularly fond of Yeh'ti as a meal, but there were more than ample reasons for making it anyway. For one, it was cheap -- you couldn't get much better than free. For another, the only good Yeh'ti was a dead Yeh'ti, in his book. And lastly, he saved it as the final meal because the smell of their cooked brethren usually did a fantastic job of keeping the rest of them out of the general area.
    Spearing a large mouthful, he went, plate in hand, to begin preparation for departure from his home. It would be a rather long trip, a week at the minimum, so he couldn't leave anything behind he would need. Strapping a gun sling to his hips, he shoved the filed shotgun into its holster and, spearing another chunk of the stringy meat on his plate and going about chewing it into a resemblance of edible, began pushing shells into the tiny loops all around the belt. It's not that he was fond of the thing, nor did it accomplish much that his trusted pole arm couldn't, but stronger firepower up close was definitely a handy thing to have. And out here, one could never be too careful. Second he grabbed the small pouch of rations he always brought with him on these journeys, with enough food for two should something happen unaccounted for and he would have to spend more time out than initially planned, and strapped that to the shotgun belt, cinching it tight so it wouldn't fall off. A canteen of fresh mountain ice water joined the rations shortly thereafter.
    That finished, he set his unfinished plate aside and lifted his favored weapon from beside the wash basin and strapped it across his back, pulling the weapon just a little out of the sheath to make sure it would be easy enough to get to if ... when he needed it. Appeased, he shoved a final bite of meat into his mouth and splashed freezing water in his face, his fingers trailing momentarily on the deep scar running across his jaw as if to an old friend. Then, grinning crookedly and winking into the mirror above the basin at himself,
    "Fresh as spring rain."
    Looking about the small cave with its multiple covers of yeh'ti hides, fur intact to keep in the warmth, he tilted the mirror down that was next to his bed and began the trek up the very tunnel he had ran in panic from when he was younger. At the entrance, he grabbed a pike from behind the cover stone he used to close his cave off when he wasn't at home and walked out into the crisp winter air, inhaling deeply. The cold never phased him anymore, not as much as it used to. So many years in this quadrant had toughened him to chill temperatures; though, that was of course the exact same reason he hated the warmer climates. To his hardened skin they were doubly hot and inhospitable.
    Slamming the pike into the ground directly in front of his shelter, he turned and heaved the cover stone into place, knowing full well it wouldn't protect against the larger creatures roaming these ice lands. Those, however, he wasn't worried about; it was the smaller creatures that more often than not irked him when he returned home. As he turned from the cover stone and began his long trek in silence with his hair and coat whipping around his back, a drop of deep red blood fell from the pike he had slammed into the ground.
    The gaping maw of an adult male Yeh'ti was driven onto the end of the pike, cut fresh every few days to remind the wildlife and any other trespassers just who they would be answering to should they try to pass.
    He found it worked pretty well as a deterrent.

     
  6. YEH'TI REPELLENT!

    I like it, as usual. I liked the slice of life you seemed to give the character, involving morning rituals! very good.
     
  7. I think.....
    I should get my name in here too!
    That's what I think.
    Nobutreally - I get to be privy to the planning and much of the writing, so I know how much potential this has (in my eyes at least) and I'm very excited for it to be further developed. I think that my only big problem is the word likely?.
     
  8. Hmm, quite interesting, I think I have an inkling as to where you're going with this, but it's far too early to say. I wouldn't worry about necessarily dividing it into parts, I assume that's what you do after most of it's already written.

    I'm not an expert on writing, but I do read a good bit. The detail is good, as well as giving a little insight to their thoughts and the reasonings behind why they do the things they do. Though, and this is mainly from Asmo though it makes sense, maybe a bit more analogies would help freshen up the describing of scenes and the way things work? You want everything to be explained clearly but yet not sound repetitive.

    Also, in the first part, I noticed in one sentence you said he had twice. That's something you don't really want to do. The main thing in writing is to not over use phrases. Other than that it was well written and I look forward to reading more from you ^^.
     

  9. <center>/Quadrant One/
    /Seasonal Border/</center>

    Kitsune stood on the edge of the cut off between winter and spring, with her ear length blonde hair capped by a simple, albeit beaten hat. The borders between the quadrants were something unique and exciting to her that nobody else seemed to care for. It was a phenomenon she had been spending almost all of her life on figuring out. While everyone else just accepted it, she found it endlessly interesting. It was not just that the seasons changed at a very defined point on the planet, but if you picked up a tree branch from the spring quadrant and stuck it halfway over the line, snow would occasionally appear covering it; or a flower would always wilt and die, but only on the half sticking over the line. Once brought back over, it sprung back into beautiful color, as nothing had happened.
    Further, there was only one sun for the entire planet -- this much she had confirmed in traveling across the quadrants and recording in her journals. But once you crossed the threshold, the sun would jump to a different location in the sky entirely. It was as if, looking up at the dome above them, the sky were a transparent glass that had been fractured into different streams of time, showing a different cut of the season at any given point. She was a girl of science more than anything, and the idea of a giant time fissure spanning the length of the globe gave her plenty to research.
    That was not the only thing she explored or recorded in her journals, however. There were plenty of different creatures that were relative to the seasons, true -- from the Kilomapedes that helped a traveler cross the Great Distortion in the summer quadrant to the Mahn'kie in the fall. More relevant to her research, however, were the various places that she had taken to calling sectors strewn throughout all the quadrants. The sectors were, for lack of better explanation, sections of the other seasons sprinkled haphazardly throughout each quadrant. They ranged anywhere from a mere matter of feet to ones a few miles in diameter, and nobody could figure out quite why they were even there or if there were some type of pattern to their placement; not that anyone cared as much as Kitsune did. She was on her way to one of these sectors at this very moment, but first she would have to cross into the winter quadrant and brave the barren landscape.
    As such, she had snow pants on, and her hands were cased in a pair of thick woolen gloves to keep out the cold, one resting balled on her left hip, the other holding onto a machine's carrying case, red straps clenched together. Her upper body was hugged in a tight black shirt, and her shining blue eyes surveyed the border with unease. Something was already not quite right about this trip, but she couldn't put off going into the winter quadrant any longer. With a sigh, she placed the machine on the ground and picked up her puffy coat, shoving her arms through the sleeves. Whistling loudly for Eletium, she waited until the little lemur was near before holding out her arm, which he promptly leapt deftly onto and used as a stepping stone to bound onto her shoulder, gripping the fabric of the coat for balance.
    With Eletium nestled for the walk to the nearby summer sector, she began fumbling with the zipper through her ungainly gloves, barely managing to get it caught and partially zipped up before cursing quietly to herself. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the perpetual emerald glow of Ele's necklace intensifying, and she stopped, turning her head to look at it. Lifting the necklace gingerly in her gloved hand, she scrutinized it closely -- it had never done this before; true, it was always glowing to her eyes, where as nobody else could see it. It had just never gotten any brighter than the steady glow she was accustomed to. Before she could get a decent conjecture formed about the sudden brightening of the emerald, a man's voice startled her, causing her to jerk her head in the direction of the seasonal split.
    "Need some help?" A man dressed very poorly, she thought, for the winter was standing just outside the border of the quadrants, hands crossed behind his head as if supporting it from falling off. He seemed rather cocky, if she were going to describe him.
    "Um." She stared at him blankly for a moment, then looked down at her unzipped coat, suddenly realizing what he was talking about. "No thanks, I can get it. Eventually. I think." She kept her eyes diverted, suddenly focused on zipping her coat more than anything else. With a soft zipping sound, she managed to get it up to just under chin level.
    Shrugging, the man started past her and stopped momentarily to fish into a pouch strapped under his open long coat. She was worried for a moment before she saw a small bit of jerked meat come out between his fingers. He held the bit of meat out to Eletium, who took it eagerly and held it to his mouth, nibbling on the tough end of it. "Cute little guy you got there." Scratching behind the lemur's ear for a moment to the contented coos of the little creature, he reached down and hefted the machine's bag up so she could grab it. She took the straps with caution, not sure what to make of this stranger; she felt like she knew him from somewhere, but she couldn't place where. "Beautiful collar, too. Can't imagine how you get it to glow like that. Well, good luck over there. It's not a season for the weak." Without more than a scratch under Eletium's chin he continued on his way, keeping to the very edge of the path into town. As he got further away, the gem clutched in Eletium's necklace dimmed once more to the faint glow she was accustomed to.
    Odd, she thought to herself as she took a couple of steps toward winter. Almost mid stride, her walking ceased and she turned quickly around as something he said registered with her. Get it to glow like that? "Hey," she hollered mid turn. "You can see it ..." But the mysterious man was already long past the bend in the path and she just stood, staring after him. "Glow?" Eletium jumped off her shoulder having finished his treat and bounded across the border to play in the freshly fallen snow on the other side. Sighing and shaking it off, Kit turned and began her own trek to the summer sector a scant two miles from spring.
     
  10. Ooooooh, I'm liking how this story is developing! More!
     
  11. <center>/Quadrant One/
    /Edge of Civilization/</center>

    Truth be told, Ames hated the name the town had come to be called. He remembered its original name, but that was long in the past and the nickname had stuck. But, then, he was particular to his own quadrant and this place certainly didn't feel any more civilized than his own cave back in winter. Stuffing his hands into his pockets, he kicked the town's sign that sported its name in with bright plumage, putting it on a tilt as he walked past.
    "Mornin', Ames." The town sheriff sat next to the sign this day, relaxing over a cigar as he was wont to do. Nothing exciting ever happened here, and more than likely nothing ever would. Calmly the sheriff pushed the sign back up to an upright position as Ameagla grumbled something unintelligible in reply and continued into town. The sheriff watched him for a while, then turned back to the road that ran through and out of town. There was more coming from the winter border than anywhere else in spring, if there would be anything at all. At least he keeps the Yeh'ti in check, he thought to himself.

    His monthly trips to the town had made him a relatively known figure amidst the people, and while he wasn't exactly welcomed with open arms, he was a favorite amongst the children. In trade for the coin to purchase a meager amount of supplies, he always brought carved bone statues and things to the general store, and their parents bought them, thankful for giving the children something else to focus their attention on. Aside from that, his statues had become something of a private market, at least as far into the summer quadrant, fetching a decent price among some of the more wealthy. And the people here always got prime deals, as Ameagla wanted only enough to fuel himself to live for another month -- perhaps occasionally a mug or two of ale at the inn down the road.
    He himself hated children, of course, just as a matter of principal; one day, they would grow up to be older people, who would then pester and irritate him. And, he was sure, would no doubt irritate him more given that he would be an old man by then. Even though he hated the denser population here, he did like the welcome feeling that he had not had from his own birth town, and the exotic mounts here had always intrigued him. Stopping as always at the stables to look at the mounts, he leaned on the post of a fence, looking them over.
    The creatures used for long distance of travel looked very much like overgrown ferrets, the biggest still only able to hold one rider. Mostly calm, docile creatures, they were not cut out to haul carts of any sort, and so they were used solely for the purpose of mounted travel. Instead of fur, there were bright scales running down the length of their torsos colored very much like a butterfly's, that sparkled faintly in the spring sun with the colors of a rainbow. One of their elongated necks turned to look at Ames, crunching contentedly on a mouthful of grass and other vegetables, its eyes locking on him with detached curiosity before turning back to get another mouth full of food.
    From around the side of the stables, a cat like creature with large cupped ears came slinking out of the shadows, prowling up behind the last Ferrefly in the line and twitching its tale, clearly hoping for a bite to eat. The Ferrefly didn't notice the other creature until it rubbed against its leg, startling it. Ames got to witness something very few people get to see, then. The mount jumped back, a low hum forming in the back of its throat. From along its sides, initially folded like fans, two glittering limbs extended forward and to the sides, directly behind its front legs, then snapped open with a flap as the Ferrefly dropped its head lower to the ground, bearing sharpened teeth at its intruder. The limbs, when fully extended, formed overlarge butterfly wings that were intended to scare off any predator. To Ames, they were beautiful; this one had two large round eye shaped irises towards the upper tips with a display of black swirling lines intermingled in the blues and reds of its vaguely transparent wings.
    Ames got a crooked smile to his face as the "predator" screeched and took off back behind the stables it had come from. As the low hum died in the Ferrefly's throat and its wings folded back down to fans and replaced themselves alongside its body, he turned and headed for the general store, stepping through the beads of the doorway without bothering to move them first. With light clinks the glass beads of one strand unraveled, hitting the floor and rolling haphazardly in all directions.
    "I know that rude noise!" A gruff voice came from the back of the tiny store, and a man came out, wiping his grimy hands on a rag. Lifting the large spectacles off his face to rest on his forehead and tucking the dirty rag into his back pocket, he grinned at his visitor and went back around the counter to the coin box. "Amy! Right on schedule, I see."
    With a frown, Ameagla began removing his carved bone figures and setting them on the countertop. "I told you --"
    "To stop calling me that, Gem." He tried unsuccessfully to mimic Ames' tone, picking up the figures one by one and looking them and the exquisite detail over thoroughly. "Fantastic, as always, my friend. I have a parcel set up per the usual. Salted meats, and this time some fruit. You have to get some more healthy food in your diet." He wagged his finger scoldingly and lifted a tied bundle and a pack from behind the counter. He untied a small bag from his hip with one deft hand and dropped a generous amount of currency on the counter for him. "And this is for a couple o' mugs of ale to warm ya for the evenin' walk back." With a wink, he started for the back of the store again.
    "Gem, you know I can't accept this much." Ames picked up the pack and shoved the parcel of meats and bag of fruit in, cinching it and slinging it over his shoulder, but staring incredulously at the money on the counter.
    "Nonsense." Gem turned back to look at him through the magnifying glasses resting perched on his beak. "I'm busy cutting a doozy of a Tarsidian Opal in the back that's gonna make me quite a hefty profit. I'm rich for as long as it lasts, so you damn well better accept the generosity while you can. I might not pay you next time!" Guffawing in his rich, deep laugh, the gem cutter slapped his dirtied rag back over his shoulder and disappeared once again behind the shop into his workspace.
    Clearly he wasn't going to have any of it, so Ames scooped the coinage into his hand and dropped them into the pouch at his side that held his rations and turned to leave the store, heading for the Song of the Seasons.

    Ameagla walked into the inn without any introduction, though most of the patrons looked up from their talking, eating, drinking, and gaming to watch him. Only a few immediately went back to their games, even pocketing a few pieces of silver off the table while the others were distracted. Eventually the chatter of the inn returned as Ames placed his pole arm next to the table and sat in his usual place near the fire. Nobody bothered to attempt to strike up conversation with him, as his attitude brooked no jovial attention.
    Moments later a mug of ale and a platter of food was set in front of him. Nodding his thanks and dropping four of the silver pieces onto the table, he went about his meal silently.
    Next to the fireplace, Angelo looked up from his gathered spectators at the new patron that had sat down. Finishing his previous song, he watched Ames intently. Turning away deliberately, he began strumming on his instrument once more, standing slowly and raising his voice to be sure he was heard.

    "This is a tale," he began, "of past times. Of present. Of times to come and times that may not pass." He began to sing, then; a simple tune that had a bit of a plucky rhythm to it.

    <center>The world was split and rendered twain
    Six sections it had now became
    Of earth wind water, fire dark light

    For the people of the past destroyed
    The world that they inhabited
    And took for granted all the treasures
    Gaia had entrusted them

    But one day soon the earthen swore,
    A gatherer to unite be born
    To you my people he will bring
    Completeness over the realms

    Through trials that the future holds
    A master of all he sees

    Unite again, or once more threaten
    The balance that has come to pass?
    Upon them the choice shall rest

    Oh Gatherer of the Elements
    Decide upon our fate
    Rule over us with iron grip
    Or let us forge new ways</center>

    As the music trailed off and his song was received with cheers and clinking glasses, he saw out of the corner of his eye the traveler merely sitting with a stare that bespoke of no outward target for scrutiny. Angelo knew what the man was analyzing lay nowhere inside the tavern. He did not envy the man whatever dark place he was heading toward.
     
  12. Good as always, feels as if I'm reading an actual novel, which is always a good thing ^^
     
  13. I enjoy it as usual and look forward to the next installment.
     
  14. (Despite misgivings on the popularity of proffered excerpts, I will post a few more up until we rejoin the crone. I'm really trying to get a feel for if this will be successful enough to keep going and send in for publication or not -- judging by the views, I would assume people are indeed reading it, but to my three loyal fans, the next bits are for you)

    <center>/Quadrant Four/
    /Seasonal Sector - Winterfall/</center>

    Kit set her machinery down with a crunch of snow that had been clearly settled from its free fall for quite some time. The exertion of the hike across the short distance to her chosen target coupled with the insulating warmth of her coat had gotten her to sweating, and pulling first one glove off with her teeth and tucking it in her back pocket followed by the second, she unzipped her coat and removed it to tie it around her waste. Putting her hands to her back, she leaned back with a stretch and felt a pop, to which she winced then relaxed as she bent to her task. Ele had scampered up a long dead nearby tree and was busy haphazardly swinging around the branches, causing rattles of hardened wood and drifts of idle snow to flop to the ground around it.
    Unzipping her luggage with a tug, she began removing parts to a complicated machine she had designed herself, setting them in the snow beside the bag. The equipment was standard for her frequent trips out to different quadrants and the sectors they contained. She had designed it herself to help her study the different climactical changes, time jumps, the sun's position in the sky, et cetera. The information it fed to her allowed her to form a more accurate tapestry of the anomalies across her world. A roll of paper was used to feed through the machine as it read and analyzed all the different patterns and weather in each area, printing its observations before re-spooling beneath the blank roll. This would be the fifth such location she had discovered nearby her home town, and if all went according to the usual the readout would be complete in a matter of a few hours. After that, she would move it to stand directly in between both seasons, followed by readings from the small sector of fall that shone like a sunspot in the middle of winter. Then, she could look forward to weeks of extensive study and comparative notes.
    With each piece finally clicked together and completed, she found a good steady location to plant it, with a clear view of the winter sky. Feeding the roll of paper through the little mouth on the machine, she held up a switch that rolled it through and attached the free spot to another empty roller at the bottom. Pushing a button, she leaned back on her haunches and watched as the lights blinked to life, letting her know it was in operational condition. Slowly, numbers and figures began printing as the paper kept rolling. Satisfied that everything was in order, she grabbed the open bag with additional rolls of paper and basic commodities inside for a few days out and trudged through crunching snow toward the mile wide circle of fall. She glanced up as she passed under Eletium's tree to make sure he was alright -- he was busy shoving one after another of the sweet winter berries from the trees upper limbs in his mouth, with juice spurting down the sides of his chin, so she assumed he was -- before stepping across the border.
    The sudden change in temperature and weather was not unwelcome, but it was still something she wasn't quite accustomed to. Not entirely, in any case. On the other side of the barrier, it was a fairly warm fall day, with soft, freshly fallen leaves scattered all around. A gentle breeze tugged at her hair, sending the short wisps of her hair dancing lazily across her forehead as less water heavy leaves danced a tango past her booted feet. Taking in a deep breath of the air, she dropped her bag next to a tree stump and untied her coat, laying it on the ground next to her. Leaning over, she fished a beaten journal out of its front pocket and removed the pen from its back, spreading it open across her legs to write.
    She made a habit of jotting down her own observations, to compare to the print outs from her processing equipment and see if anything matched and if not, what didn't. Looking around her at the leaves still clinging tenaciously to their branches, her thoughtful brown eyes rested on a tree she hadn't seen before. It wasn't a surprise that she hadn't seen it, but she had heard plenty of descriptions of the fall quadrant about how leaves always seemed to drift down from the trees; that was an oddity in and of itself -- after all, one would think that trees a finite number of leaves to shed themselves of, but in fall this never seemed to be so. Tilting her head to the side, she looked over the tree; this one didn't have leaves, instead had many tiny fronds of pointed needles, all coalescing into the greater defined shape, yellowed with time but still holding there. It seemed that not a single one had fallen off. Looking down to her journal she scrolled "Quadrant Four, approximately one and a half miles from Quadrant One, sharing a close proximity to Edge. Fall sector, half a mile to a mile in diameter; can see the other side at a distance through the trees. I take note immediately of a tree that seems ageless here ..." she continued scrawling in her book with her messy handwriting, glancing frequently up at the tree and other areas, for quite some time.

    By the time she closed her journal and put it in her front pocket along with the pen to reflect, Eletium had ceased his endless playing and curled up at her feet in a little ball with his tail wrapped around his body and draped over his eyes. He was a curiosity, that was for sure, she smiled to herself. Leaning on her knees with arms to watch the little lemur curled up at her feet, his head suddenly shot up from the protective barrier of his tail, ears twitching this way and that in what was clearly an alert manner. Leaning back slowly, Kit became more and more perturbed as Ele stood and started pacing back and forth in front of the tree stump she had been sitting on for a couple hours. She added her own eyes and ears to his caution, though she wasn't exactly sure what she was looking for. Even if she did, unless the threat was inside the fall sector she wouldn't be much help. Outside, or rather, on the opposite side of the barrier, snow was falling very heavily so her vision was obscured beyond more than a few feet. The same was not true on this side, of course, as no inclement weather passed through the borders unless both sides happened to be currently experiencing the same weather. In this vein, she hoped fervently that whatever Ele had heard was either loathe to cross or was totally harmless. She doubted very much that either would be true, knowing her luck.
    This thought was confirmed when she heard a snuffling nearby followed by a muffled sound that she was sure was her equipment being toppled over and pushed around. Eletium chittered and crawled up her leg and shirt to perch on her shoulder, swishing his tail agitatedly back and forth across her back. By the sounds of the snuffle, it was a rather large creature, and her thoughts raced as she ran through the list of creatures she knew that were relatively large in the winter quadrant. Most of them lived in the frigid water miles distant from her current location, which could only mean ...
    A loud, blood curdling roar pierced through her ears, thoughts, and body, making her go stiffly rigid for a long time, the note holding on the snow ridden winter side and echoing long after it was done through fall. Slowly her thoughts returned to her as she started hearing more sounds from all around her that seemed to belong to even more creatures, a whole clan of them. She was surrounded. And that roar, coupled with the fact that they moved in a pack, could mean only one of two things. Either one of the wolf-like creatures that rarely came this close to any barrier, or ... "Yeh'ti." She breathed, instinctively reaching down to pat her legs and ensure that her short blades were still strapped in their holsters at her hips. With dread, she recalled that while the Yeh'ti were averse to venturing into other seasons, they sometimes braved crossing into the fall climate, seeing as it was almost like a precursor to winter. She knew she couldn't fight off a whole pack, probably not even a single one on her own, and it seemed from the sound of it that she was now properly surrounded. She had absolutely no idea what she was going to do.
     
  15. Ooooo, I regret not looking this over sooner!

    Still good as ever, but you made a spelling error near the beginning. "Waste" should be "Waist".