rone: (i think too much)

First off, the story has been collected into one page and has a title: Axe, Beak and Claw.  As [livejournal.com profile] dr_strych9 once put it, "Yes, I chose a more permanent title...  No, I don't care if you think it sucks.  I like it.  That's all there is to it."  While that's a little more vehement a sentiment than i feel, it'll do.

The final word count is either 22265 or 22253 (depending on whether you believe lynx -dump axe-beak-claw.html | wc -w or copying and pasting the story from my browser into wc -w), which puts it in the 'novella' size category.  When i first started writing it, i thought it was a short story.  It took fourteen months and one day to complete.  The seed idea for this story was the notion of an airborne delivery service run by a gryphon rider.

It's been a fun exercise.  I don't think it sucks, but i'm quite aware that it has warts.  If i were interested in publishing this, i'd want to plane out the D&D stuff; i'd probably combine halflings, dwarves and gnomes into a shortish race of my own manufacture.  Some of the clichés would have to be reworked.  And the more obviously stolen lifted borrowed bits would need to spackled.  As ever, any and all criticism, editing, suggestions and advice are welcome and encouraged.

exegesis follows )

rone: (Default)

First off, the story has been collected into one page and has a title: Axe, Beak and Claw.  As [livejournal.com profile] dr_strych9 once put it, "Yes, I chose a more permanent title...  No, I don't care if you think it sucks.  I like it.  That's all there is to it."  While that's a little more vehement a sentiment than i feel, it'll do.

The final word count is either 22265 or 22253 (depending on whether you believe lynx -dump axe-beak-claw.html | wc -w or copying and pasting the story from my browser into wc -w), which puts it in the 'novella' size category.  When i first started writing it, i thought it was a short story.  It took fourteen months and one day to complete.  The seed idea for this story was the notion of an airborne delivery service run by a gryphon rider.

It's been a fun exercise.  I don't think it sucks, but i'm quite aware that it has warts.  If i were interested in publishing this, i'd want to plane out the D&D stuff; i'd probably combine halflings, dwarves and gnomes into a shortish race of my own manufacture.  Some of the clichés would have to be reworked.  And the more obviously stolen lifted borrowed bits would need to spackled.  As ever, any and all criticism, editing, suggestions and advice are welcome and encouraged.

exegesis follows )

e&tg 52

Sep. 18th, 2006 07:31 pm
rone: (thugish-rugish)

I chuckled.  "As i was saying, your men are pathetic."  He groaned, although i wasn't sure if he meant it as a response.  Then i heard the sound of fisticuffs and ran back into the room, only to find Kortra smacking Ĥavar on the head and cursing at him.  "Er... that's not a dwarven mating ritual, is it?" i lamely gibed.

"If it is, biggun, is what yez did t'me foreplay?"  Néfilo had his two ex-captors face down on the floor.

"I apologize, Master Néfilo, but—"

"Yeah, yeah.  Yez got the job done.  C'mon, let's get these vicious criminals upstairs and get a hold a the Constables."


"Here, these are yars."  Néfilo handed me the arches.  "Yez earned them.  Frankly, i still owe yez."

"Thank you, Master Néfilo."  I walked over to the mirror and put them in.  "So, when you say you still owe me, do you, ah..."  I let the sentence trail off.

"I swear, biggun, yez ought t'have that speech impediment checked."  He grunted.  "Look, i'll be explicit.  I could use yar help."

"I'm listening."

"Here's the thing: the Mafia is right.  There are legends about something that happened here in the city, about 150 years ago, that had been suppressed somehow, not only in Kromalir but also in Tashpar.  Things started bubbling up in the last year or two."

I finished with the arches and turned to look at him.  "So, what is it?"

"The upshot is that there is something powerful under the city, and the Mafia wants it.  The Thieves' Guild wants it.  The orcs want it.  We want t'find it and keep it away from them; if either criminal group gets their hands on it, they'll use it t'consolidate their power in the city, and if the orcs get it, well, who knows what they'll do t'the city after they overrun it."

I started to speak but he waved me off.  "We need more muscle.  I want you and the beastie t'be part a our group.  I don't expect yez t'hold off the Mafia and the Guild and the orcs by yarselves, but wherever and however we can deploy you, we will.  I can't pay yez Merc rates, though," he said as he spread his hands.

I crossed my arms.  "Well, i'm not about to find any jobs at Merc rates right now."  I turned to Kohasadi.  "What do you think?"

"It sounds exciting.  Those little ones taste awful, though."

I laughed and turned to Néfilo.  "Talk to my agent."

F    I    N

e&tg 52

Sep. 18th, 2006 07:31 pm
rone: (Default)

I chuckled.  "As i was saying, your men are pathetic."  He groaned, although i wasn't sure if he meant it as a response.  Then i heard the sound of fisticuffs and ran back into the room, only to find Kortra smacking Ĥavar on the head and cursing at him.  "Er... that's not a dwarven mating ritual, is it?" i lamely gibed.

"If it is, biggun, is what yez did t'me foreplay?"  Néfilo had his two ex-captors face down on the floor.

"I apologize, Master Néfilo, but—"

"Yeah, yeah.  Yez got the job done.  C'mon, let's get these vicious criminals upstairs and get a hold a the Constables."


"Here, these are yars."  Néfilo handed me the arches.  "Yez earned them.  Frankly, i still owe yez."

"Thank you, Master Néfilo."  I walked over to the mirror and put them in.  "So, when you say you still owe me, do you, ah..."  I let the sentence trail off.

"I swear, biggun, yez ought t'have that speech impediment checked."  He grunted.  "Look, i'll be explicit.  I could use yar help."

"I'm listening."

"Here's the thing: the Mafia is right.  There are legends about something that happened here in the city, about 150 years ago, that had been suppressed somehow, not only in Kromalir but also in Tashpar.  Things started bubbling up in the last year or two."

I finished with the arches and turned to look at him.  "So, what is it?"

"The upshot is that there is something powerful under the city, and the Mafia wants it.  The Thieves' Guild wants it.  The orcs want it.  We want t'find it and keep it away from them; if either criminal group gets their hands on it, they'll use it t'consolidate their power in the city, and if the orcs get it, well, who knows what they'll do t'the city after they overrun it."

I started to speak but he waved me off.  "We need more muscle.  I want you and the beastie t'be part a our group.  I don't expect yez t'hold off the Mafia and the Guild and the orcs by yarselves, but wherever and however we can deploy you, we will.  I can't pay yez Merc rates, though," he said as he spread his hands.

I crossed my arms.  "Well, i'm not about to find any jobs at Merc rates right now."  I turned to Kohasadi.  "What do you think?"

"It sounds exciting.  Those little ones taste awful, though."

I laughed and turned to Néfilo.  "Talk to my agent."

F    I    N

e&tg 51

Sep. 10th, 2006 07:01 pm
rone: (invincirone)

"It's hard to have someone under control when you have a piece of metal sticking out of your face," i said as i walked into the small room.  To my left, two thugs held swords to Néfilo's neck; the druid looked furious.

To my right, the boss, the same one i'd seen Néfilo humiliate just a few days ago in the greenhouse, sat on a stool frowning with arms folded and holding a hand crossbow.  He said, "That was very rude.  You are a very rude person.  Oh," he scowled, "for Greed's sake, you're a fucking Merc.  Where the hell," he turned to Ĥavar and idly waved the crossbow in his direction, "did you get a Merc on such short notice?"  He interrupted Ĥavar as he started to reply.  "Forget it.  Don't give a fuck.  Doesn't matter.  You give me the data you have, we let your girl here go."

"What about the druid?" asked Ĥavar.

"Oh, he owes me one.  I'll be having my fun with him once you and i are done here."

Ĥavar pondered for a couple of seconds, then turned to the woman and said, "Kortra, my dear, i realize this isn't the best time, but i've meant to ask you to have me as your husband."

Ĥavar's non sequitur left the entire room befuddled.  Then Kortra exploded, "Are you insane?!  What the hell are you thinking, asking me to marry you now??"

"Now, dear, you don't have to say yes.  If you agree, just kneel."

Kortra stared at him for three seconds.  Then she knelt.  Ĥavar whipped up his crossbow and shot You Idiot in the neck.

I lunged towards the two who were holding Néfilo and launched a kick, which caught my target square in the stomach.  All of a sudden, two halflings were guarding air and Néfilo was lying in the corner, sucking wind.  I grinned and said, "Shall we dance?"  They half-heartedly turned their swords towards me, which i knocked out of their hands with ease.

"Your men are pathetic," i said as i turned around, but found i was talking to a stool.  Kortra and Ĥavar were kneeling and hugging, so i didn't bother asking them if they'd seen him leave.  I picked up and tossed the swords in their direction and ran out the door and found a dazed halfling pinned by a gryphon.

e&tg 51

Sep. 10th, 2006 07:01 pm
rone: (Default)

"It's hard to have someone under control when you have a piece of metal sticking out of your face," i said as i walked into the small room.  To my left, two thugs held swords to Néfilo's neck; the druid looked furious.

To my right, the boss, the same one i'd seen Néfilo humiliate just a few days ago in the greenhouse, sat on a stool frowning with arms folded and holding a hand crossbow.  He said, "That was very rude.  You are a very rude person.  Oh," he scowled, "for Greed's sake, you're a fucking Merc.  Where the hell," he turned to Ĥavar and idly waved the crossbow in his direction, "did you get a Merc on such short notice?"  He interrupted Ĥavar as he started to reply.  "Forget it.  Don't give a fuck.  Doesn't matter.  You give me the data you have, we let your girl here go."

"What about the druid?" asked Ĥavar.

"Oh, he owes me one.  I'll be having my fun with him once you and i are done here."

Ĥavar pondered for a couple of seconds, then turned to the woman and said, "Kortra, my dear, i realize this isn't the best time, but i've meant to ask you to have me as your husband."

Ĥavar's non sequitur left the entire room befuddled.  Then Kortra exploded, "Are you insane?!  What the hell are you thinking, asking me to marry you now??"

"Now, dear, you don't have to say yes.  If you agree, just kneel."

Kortra stared at him for three seconds.  Then she knelt.  Ĥavar whipped up his crossbow and shot You Idiot in the neck.

I lunged towards the two who were holding Néfilo and launched a kick, which caught my target square in the stomach.  All of a sudden, two halflings were guarding air and Néfilo was lying in the corner, sucking wind.  I grinned and said, "Shall we dance?"  They half-heartedly turned their swords towards me, which i knocked out of their hands with ease.

"Your men are pathetic," i said as i turned around, but found i was talking to a stool.  Kortra and Ĥavar were kneeling and hugging, so i didn't bother asking them if they'd seen him leave.  I picked up and tossed the swords in their direction and ran out the door and found a dazed halfling pinned by a gryphon.

e&tg 50

Sep. 7th, 2006 02:56 pm
rone: (stop casting porosity)

(Was the last part confusing?)


"Little bastard got you good," grumbled Ĥavar next to me.  "Let's take a look at this."

I looked at my shoulder and saw a bolt sticking out of the armor.  "It doesn't hurt too bad.  I think the armor stopped most of it."  I knelt down.

"Yeah... didn't catch you flush.  Lucky bastard."  He pulled the bolt out and i tried not to complain.  "Yep, bit of blood there, but not a lot.  You'll live."

Kohasadi walked up to us.  I petted his neck.  "Thanks again, bud.  Let's go inside, shall we?"

We walked through the leather curtain, and i headed for the leaf curtain when Havar said, "Where you going?  Steam vent entrance is this way."

I turned to him and saw him at a door on the side of the entrance room that i hadn't seen the last time we were here.  "Oh.  Right."  I followed him through, then i said, "Ĥavar, wait."  I turned back to Kohasadi and said, "It's a narrow staircase.  Do you want to wait here?"  He shook his head and squeezed through the doorway.

We walked downstairs as the dimly lit hallway curved gently to the right for about a minute or so until we reached a short, flat hallway that ended in a door.  Ĥavar held up a hand as he snuck up to the door and put his ear to it.  After a few seconds, he straightened up, shook his head, knocked on the door and then pulled it open.  The back of the room had one large window, and what looked like a stone desk covered in levers, knobs, and an abacus.  I could also see a blonde dwarf woman with a pair of goggles on her forehead standing next to it, with a halfing behind her pointing a loaded crossbow at her head.

"Kortra!" exclaimed Ĥavar as he stepped towards her.  "Are you—"

"Far enough, stumpy," said a voice that came from the right of the room.

"Boss, he has a friend," said the halfling with the crossbow.  "Looks tough.  Want me to shoot `im?"

"No, you idiot, you need to keep menacing the hostage."  I could feel the contempt dripping in his voice.  "Besides, Yem and Ykem'll have him under control."

e&tg 50

Sep. 7th, 2006 02:56 pm
rone: (stop casting porosity)

(Was the last part confusing?)


"Little bastard got you good," grumbled Ĥavar next to me.  "Let's take a look at this."

I looked at my shoulder and saw a bolt sticking out of the armor.  "It doesn't hurt too bad.  I think the armor stopped most of it."  I knelt down.

"Yeah... didn't catch you flush.  Lucky bastard."  He pulled the bolt out and i tried not to complain.  "Yep, bit of blood there, but not a lot.  You'll live."

Kohasadi walked up to us.  I petted his neck.  "Thanks again, bud.  Let's go inside, shall we?"

We walked through the leather curtain, and i headed for the leaf curtain when Havar said, "Where you going?  Steam vent entrance is this way."

I turned to him and saw him at a door on the side of the entrance room that i hadn't seen the last time we were here.  "Oh.  Right."  I followed him through, then i said, "Ĥavar, wait."  I turned back to Kohasadi and said, "It's a narrow staircase.  Do you want to wait here?"  He shook his head and squeezed through the doorway.

We walked downstairs as the dimly lit hallway curved gently to the right for about a minute or so until we reached a short, flat hallway that ended in a door.  Ĥavar held up a hand as he snuck up to the door and put his ear to it.  After a few seconds, he straightened up, shook his head, knocked on the door and then pulled it open.  The back of the room had one large window, and what looked like a stone desk covered in levers, knobs, and an abacus.  I could also see a blonde dwarf woman with a pair of goggles on her forehead standing next to it, with a halfing behind her pointing a loaded crossbow at her head.

"Kortra!" exclaimed Ĥavar as he stepped towards her.  "Are you—"

"Far enough, stumpy," said a voice that came from the right of the room.

"Boss, he has a friend," said the halfling with the crossbow.  "Looks tough.  Want me to shoot `im?"

"No, you idiot, you need to keep menacing the hostage."  I could feel the contempt dripping in his voice.  "Besides, Yem and Ykem'll have him under control."

e&tg 49

Sep. 5th, 2006 03:29 pm
rone: (peligro! hay cocodrilos!)

Yem fell down with a grunt.  His partner charged at Ĥavar, but i interposed myself to give the dwarf time to reload.  The halfling certainly knew how to handle his mace; it was a heavy weapon for him, but he whipped it around as if it were a stick.  I spent my time parrying it at first until i got a good measure of his length and rhythm.  I was about to give him a good cut when i saw some movement in my peripheral vision.  I turned in time to parry the newcomer's mace with the butt of my axe.  Now i had to use the haft of my axe like a staff, blocking to and fro while trying to get a good swing in.  The newcomer tried to press me, and i took a chance by sweeping his front leg out and knocking him down; i then let my momentum turn me around and gave the first thug a good chop, which he half-parried and half-dodged.  I kept going at him, waiting for the other one to recover, and when i felt him behind me, i drove the end of my axe backwards, stabbing where i hoped he'd be.  The first thug saw that my reach was suddenly shortened to almost nothing, and reared back.  I anticipated his swing by taking a step back, turning in place and whirling my axe around in a circle.  My blade cut through his right arm and into his chest.

I pulled my axe free quickly and turned to face the newcomer.  He was on the ground, face down.  I rolled him over and saw that the butt of the axe had caught him in the left eye, leaving an unpleasant hole.  I turned towards Ĥavar, in time to see him land a powerful right hook on his halfling's face and knocking him to the ground.  He turned towards me and grinned.  Then i felt something hit my shoulder and turn me around.  I saw a halfling behind a tree, reloading a repeating crossbow and taking aim at me.  Then i heard a screech and i saw a body fall on top of the halfling.  Kohasadi landed next to the prone bodies and set upon my attacker.  His screams did not last long.

e&tg 49

Sep. 5th, 2006 03:29 pm
rone: (Default)

Yem fell down with a grunt.  His partner charged at Ĥavar, but i interposed myself to give the dwarf time to reload.  The halfling certainly knew how to handle his mace; it was a heavy weapon for him, but he whipped it around as if it were a stick.  I spent my time parrying it at first until i got a good measure of his length and rhythm.  I was about to give him a good cut when i saw some movement in my peripheral vision.  I turned in time to parry the newcomer's mace with the butt of my axe.  Now i had to use the haft of my axe like a staff, blocking to and fro while trying to get a good swing in.  The newcomer tried to press me, and i took a chance by sweeping his front leg out and knocking him down; i then let my momentum turn me around and gave the first thug a good chop, which he half-parried and half-dodged.  I kept going at him, waiting for the other one to recover, and when i felt him behind me, i drove the end of my axe backwards, stabbing where i hoped he'd be.  The first thug saw that my reach was suddenly shortened to almost nothing, and reared back.  I anticipated his swing by taking a step back, turning in place and whirling my axe around in a circle.  My blade cut through his right arm and into his chest.

I pulled my axe free quickly and turned to face the newcomer.  He was on the ground, face down.  I rolled him over and saw that the butt of the axe had caught him in the left eye, leaving an unpleasant hole.  I turned towards Ĥavar, in time to see him land a powerful right hook on his halfling's face and knocking him to the ground.  He turned towards me and grinned.  Then i felt something hit my shoulder and turn me around.  I saw a halfling behind a tree, reloading a repeating crossbow and taking aim at me.  Then i heard a screech and i saw a body fall on top of the halfling.  Kohasadi landed next to the prone bodies and set upon my attacker.  His screams did not last long.

e&tg 48

Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:39 pm
rone: (peligro! hay cocodrilos!)

Kohasadi couldn't get a lot of elevation, but we arrived at the park without any spills or stops.  Kohasadi circled around the back of the building and landed.  "Why are we landing here? " i asked him as i dismounted.  He pointed at me with his claw, then at the other side of the building; then he tapped himself and pointed upwards.  Then he took off again.

"C'mon, Merc," said Ĥavar, "i'm not going to stand around while you and your gryphon play Looks Like Sounds Like."

"Yeah, yeah, i'm with you.  I think he has a plan," i said as we started walking around.  "I hope so, anyway."

As we turned the corner we found one halfling standing nonchalantly against a tree.  We approached him, but he held out a hand and said, "Talk to Yem.  He's by the front door."  Ĥavar glared at him and turned towards the entrance.  Two short thugs stood there with their arms crossed.  Ĥavar stopped several paces away from them and said, "Which one of you is Yem?"

"I am," said the shorter one.  He had a scar that ran from the bridge of his nose to the left corner of his mouth.  "You're Havar?"

"Close enough," growled Ĥavar.  "Where's my geologist?"

"Down.  You can come in, as soon as you drop that," he said as he pointed at the dwarf's crossbow.  "You," he pointed at me, "stay here."

"There's something comical about being issued orders that are unenforceable," i sneered.

He shrugged.  "Suit yourself."  He whistled and he and his partner drew a long, knurled mace.  I saw the halfling we walked past also wield his mace and advance towards us, and another one on the opposite corner match his moves.

Ĥavar pulled me down to his height and whispered, "Maybe you shouldn't be causing me trouble so soon."

"I can't help you if i'm not next to you," i bit back.

Ĥavar swore in Dwarvish (it doesn't make sense in Western, believe me), aimed his crossbow at Yem and fired, nailing him in the left cheek.

e&tg 48

Aug. 22nd, 2006 09:39 pm
rone: (Default)

Kohasadi couldn't get a lot of elevation, but we arrived at the park without any spills or stops.  Kohasadi circled around the back of the building and landed.  "Why are we landing here? " i asked him as i dismounted.  He pointed at me with his claw, then at the other side of the building; then he tapped himself and pointed upwards.  Then he took off again.

"C'mon, Merc," said Ĥavar, "i'm not going to stand around while you and your gryphon play Looks Like Sounds Like."

"Yeah, yeah, i'm with you.  I think he has a plan," i said as we started walking around.  "I hope so, anyway."

As we turned the corner we found one halfling standing nonchalantly against a tree.  We approached him, but he held out a hand and said, "Talk to Yem.  He's by the front door."  Ĥavar glared at him and turned towards the entrance.  Two short thugs stood there with their arms crossed.  Ĥavar stopped several paces away from them and said, "Which one of you is Yem?"

"I am," said the shorter one.  He had a scar that ran from the bridge of his nose to the left corner of his mouth.  "You're Havar?"

"Close enough," growled Ĥavar.  "Where's my geologist?"

"Down.  You can come in, as soon as you drop that," he said as he pointed at the dwarf's crossbow.  "You," he pointed at me, "stay here."

"There's something comical about being issued orders that are unenforceable," i sneered.

He shrugged.  "Suit yourself."  He whistled and he and his partner drew a long, knurled mace.  I saw the halfling we walked past also wield his mace and advance towards us, and another one on the opposite corner match his moves.

Ĥavar pulled me down to his height and whispered, "Maybe you shouldn't be causing me trouble so soon."

"I can't help you if i'm not next to you," i bit back.

Ĥavar swore in Dwarvish (it doesn't make sense in Western, believe me), aimed his crossbow at Yem and fired, nailing him in the left cheek.

e&tg 47

Aug. 21st, 2006 10:50 pm
rone: (sleep)

(back in the saddle again, or something)

Ĥavar shook his head.  "It never ends."  He patted the kid on the shoulder.  "Slow down.  Breathe.  Tell me—"

"Kortra!" the kid burst out.  "They're holding Kortra hostage!"

The dwarf started turning red.  "Where," he snapped, "are they?"

"Steam vent 3.  They told me to tell Master Néfilo—"

"Néfilo!" i exclaimed.  "You know him?"

"Shut up!" Ĥavar yelled at me.  He turned back to the kid and said, "Go on!"

"I climbed the ladder as quickly as i could, found him and told him that they had Kortra and wanted him to come down, and then ran here."  He started crying.  "I'm sorry, Ĥavar, i know you told me to keep an eye out, but they snuck up on us, and, and, i—"

"Hey, look, it's all right.  You're not a fighting sort, Grape.  Stay here and run a metal analysis on these samples from Tashpar.  I'll go take care of the munchkins."  The kid nodded.  Ĥavar pulled out a breast plate and started buckling it.

"I'm coming, too," i said.

"Look, i appreciate it, but i can't afford to pay Merc rates, and anyway, i think i can handle a few criminals."

"There were a lot of `em, Ĥavar," said Grape.  "Maybe a dozen."

"I'm not going to charge you."  I threw my backpack on.  "If it involves the Mafia and it involves Néfilo, it involves me on a personal level.  And it sounds like you could use the help."

He grunted.  "Grape, you double-bar that door behind us in case they decide to get fresh over here.  I'll give the knock when i come back."  He grabbed his crossbow and cocked it.  "Let's go, Merc."

We went outside.  "Kohasadi!"  He squawked and scrambled to his legs.  "Can you carry us both?"

He gave me a skeptical look, but knelt.  I got in the saddle.  Ĥavar clambered onto Kohasadi's back, knelt behind me and grabbed my pack.  "Ready!" he yelled.

"Kohasadi, we have to go to the Park of the Council!"  He started flapping forcefully and managed to take off.

e&tg 47

Aug. 21st, 2006 10:50 pm
rone: (Default)

(back in the saddle again, or something)

Ĥavar shook his head.  "It never ends."  He patted the kid on the shoulder.  "Slow down.  Breathe.  Tell me—"

"Kortra!" the kid burst out.  "They're holding Kortra hostage!"

The dwarf started turning red.  "Where," he snapped, "are they?"

"Steam vent 3.  They told me to tell Master Néfilo—"

"Néfilo!" i exclaimed.  "You know him?"

"Shut up!" Ĥavar yelled at me.  He turned back to the kid and said, "Go on!"

"I climbed the ladder as quickly as i could, found him and told him that they had Kortra and wanted him to come down, and then ran here."  He started crying.  "I'm sorry, Ĥavar, i know you told me to keep an eye out, but they snuck up on us, and, and, i—"

"Hey, look, it's all right.  You're not a fighting sort, Grape.  Stay here and run a metal analysis on these samples from Tashpar.  I'll go take care of the munchkins."  The kid nodded.  Ĥavar pulled out a breast plate and started buckling it.

"I'm coming, too," i said.

"Look, i appreciate it, but i can't afford to pay Merc rates, and anyway, i think i can handle a few criminals."

"There were a lot of `em, Ĥavar," said Grape.  "Maybe a dozen."

"I'm not going to charge you."  I threw my backpack on.  "If it involves the Mafia and it involves Néfilo, it involves me on a personal level.  And it sounds like you could use the help."

He grunted.  "Grape, you double-bar that door behind us in case they decide to get fresh over here.  I'll give the knock when i come back."  He grabbed his crossbow and cocked it.  "Let's go, Merc."

We went outside.  "Kohasadi!"  He squawked and scrambled to his legs.  "Can you carry us both?"

He gave me a skeptical look, but knelt.  I got in the saddle.  Ĥavar clambered onto Kohasadi's back, knelt behind me and grabbed my pack.  "Ready!" he yelled.

"Kohasadi, we have to go to the Park of the Council!"  He started flapping forcefully and managed to take off.

e&tg 46

Jun. 4th, 2006 09:38 pm
rone: (solar eclipse)

(i realized i neglected to have the characters introduce themselves, so i edited the last entry)

"Do i!"  He practically jumped towards me and tried to take the axe, but realized he couldn't grab it with one hand still clutching the crossbow.  "Here," he said, offering it to me.  I traded weapons with him.  His fingers traced over the engravings on the axe head; he rubbed his thumb against the blade, and then struck the head with his thumbnail, which produced an even, rich thung.  "It's a beautiful axe," he breathed.  "Do you see the clan motto here?"  He pointed at some runes.  I craned my neck as i surreptitiously uncocked the crossbow.  "‘Survive.’  That's what the runes say.  When i heard of the massacre, i assumed the worst."  We traded weapons again.  "It's not every day i find a human who appreciates the beauty of the axe."

"Yeah, well, swords are fine if you're into poncing duels or slaughtering conscripted peasants.  If you want to crack open a steel-plated hero-wannabe," i hefted my axe, "you use the right tool for the job."  I put the axe back in its place.  "Anyway, it's not every day i find a geologist with the latest Stone & Súa repeating bow."

He grinned.  "You've got a good eye, too."  He cradled his crossbow.  "It took me almost a year to save up enough for this.  Still itching to try it, as you found out."  I snorted.  "Anyway, if those Mafia types come back, i'm not going to waste any more time talking."

"You, too, huh?  Why are they giving you trouble?"

He shook his head.  "Mad rumors of something under the city.  My crew and i have been taking surveys, and they seem to think that we've uncovered data that will be useful for them.  The data hasn't even been processed, let alone peer-reviewed!  We can't let anyone muck around with it!"

"I... see."  I didn't.  I pulled the soil samples out.  "Well, like i was saying," i said as i handed them to him, "these haven't been magically preserved, so you'll probably want to get to them quickly.  Then i'll get out of your hair and be on my way."

He grunted.  "Thanks a lot for bringing these over.  Good luck out—"

The front door burst open and a grimy young human stumbled through.  "Ĥavar!  They.  Mafia."  He fell on his knees, wheezing.

e&tg 46

Jun. 4th, 2006 09:38 pm
rone: (Default)

(i realized i neglected to have the characters introduce themselves, so i edited the last entry)

"Do i!"  He practically jumped towards me and tried to take the axe, but realized he couldn't grab it with one hand still clutching the crossbow.  "Here," he said, offering it to me.  I traded weapons with him.  His fingers traced over the engravings on the axe head; he rubbed his thumb against the blade, and then struck the head with his thumbnail, which produced an even, rich thung.  "It's a beautiful axe," he breathed.  "Do you see the clan motto here?"  He pointed at some runes.  I craned my neck as i surreptitiously uncocked the crossbow.  "‘Survive.’  That's what the runes say.  When i heard of the massacre, i assumed the worst."  We traded weapons again.  "It's not every day i find a human who appreciates the beauty of the axe."

"Yeah, well, swords are fine if you're into poncing duels or slaughtering conscripted peasants.  If you want to crack open a steel-plated hero-wannabe," i hefted my axe, "you use the right tool for the job."  I put the axe back in its place.  "Anyway, it's not every day i find a geologist with the latest Stone & Súa repeating bow."

He grinned.  "You've got a good eye, too."  He cradled his crossbow.  "It took me almost a year to save up enough for this.  Still itching to try it, as you found out."  I snorted.  "Anyway, if those Mafia types come back, i'm not going to waste any more time talking."

"You, too, huh?  Why are they giving you trouble?"

He shook his head.  "Mad rumors of something under the city.  My crew and i have been taking surveys, and they seem to think that we've uncovered data that will be useful for them.  The data hasn't even been processed, let alone peer-reviewed!  We can't let anyone muck around with it!"

"I... see."  I didn't.  I pulled the soil samples out.  "Well, like i was saying," i said as i handed them to him, "these haven't been magically preserved, so you'll probably want to get to them quickly.  Then i'll get out of your hair and be on my way."

He grunted.  "Thanks a lot for bringing these over.  Good luck out—"

The front door burst open and a grimy young human stumbled through.  "Ĥavar!  They.  Mafia."  He fell on his knees, wheezing.

e&tg 45

May. 29th, 2006 11:06 pm
rone: (peligro! hay cocodrilos!)

I stood there paralyzed for what seemed like an hour.  I heard a grunt and the crossbow was lowered; a black, bushy beard emerged first, followed by the rest of its owner's head, tilted to the side.  "You're a bit tall for a halfling."

"And you're rather trigger-happy for a dwarf," i retorted somewhat squeakily.

He snorted, pulled his head back and opened the upper half of the door.  "Well, it doesn't look like you're with the munchkins.  The name's Ĥavar.  How can i help you?"  He waved me in.

I stepped through and said, "I'm Mwaele. I have the soil samples from Yeniri."  The room had tables all around covered with dirt, rocks, tools, and books.  There were strange lamps all around the room that glowed but had no evident flame.  "That's a lot of magical illumination you have in here."

"Heh.  Not magic."  He laid the crossbow on a table and put on some work gloves.  "What you see is a few years' worth of trying to capture lightning in a bottle.  But no magic's involved."

"Huh."  I took my pack off and started fishing around for the samples.  "Look, these haven't been preserv—"

"Is that," he tensely interrupted, "a Zekzu Clan elite guard battle axe?"

I turned to look at him; his expression was a mixture of awe, disbelief, and hostility.  "In fact, that's exactly what it is.  You've got a good eye there."

"Where the hell did you get that?  Did you take it off one of their corpses?  Did you loot it from the King's Tomb?  I swear," he grabbed his crossbow, "i will shoot you right now if—"

"Whoa!  Whoa!"  I held my hands up.  "Will you relax?  I got this as a boon from the Zekzu Prince himself, all right?"

His arms dropped, although he still clung to the crossbow.  "Prince Feĥog?  He lives?"

"He was alive three years ago.  I saved his life, so i'm pretty sure about that."

"And that's why he gave you the axe?"

"Well, i did ask him for it."  I pulled it from its holding strap.  "Do you want to look at it?"

e&tg 45

May. 29th, 2006 11:06 pm
rone: (Default)

I stood there paralyzed for what seemed like an hour.  I heard a grunt and the crossbow was lowered; a black, bushy beard emerged first, followed by the rest of its owner's head, tilted to the side.  "You're a bit tall for a halfling."

"And you're rather trigger-happy for a dwarf," i retorted somewhat squeakily.

He snorted, pulled his head back and opened the upper half of the door.  "Well, it doesn't look like you're with the munchkins.  The name's Ĥavar.  How can i help you?"  He waved me in.

I stepped through and said, "I'm Mwaele. I have the soil samples from Yeniri."  The room had tables all around covered with dirt, rocks, tools, and books.  There were strange lamps all around the room that glowed but had no evident flame.  "That's a lot of magical illumination you have in here."

"Heh.  Not magic."  He laid the crossbow on a table and put on some work gloves.  "What you see is a few years' worth of trying to capture lightning in a bottle.  But no magic's involved."

"Huh."  I took my pack off and started fishing around for the samples.  "Look, these haven't been preserv—"

"Is that," he tensely interrupted, "a Zekzu Clan elite guard battle axe?"

I turned to look at him; his expression was a mixture of awe, disbelief, and hostility.  "In fact, that's exactly what it is.  You've got a good eye there."

"Where the hell did you get that?  Did you take it off one of their corpses?  Did you loot it from the King's Tomb?  I swear," he grabbed his crossbow, "i will shoot you right now if—"

"Whoa!  Whoa!"  I held my hands up.  "Will you relax?  I got this as a boon from the Zekzu Prince himself, all right?"

His arms dropped, although he still clung to the crossbow.  "Prince Feĥog?  He lives?"

"He was alive three years ago.  I saved his life, so i'm pretty sure about that."

"And that's why he gave you the axe?"

"Well, i did ask him for it."  I pulled it from its holding strap.  "Do you want to look at it?"

e&tg 44

Apr. 30th, 2006 11:32 pm
rone: (peligro! hay cocodrilos!)

Yeniri woke me up as the first rays of sunlight were crawling around the base of the nearby hill.  "I've refilled your waterskins.  Here."  She handed me a small bag.  "Some nuts for the journey."

"Thanks."  I got up, buckled on my armor, and rolled up my blankets.  She handed me the soil samples and a scrap of paper with an address written on it.  I put them in my pack, pulled it on and turned to her.  "Thank you for your hospitality, Priestess."  I bowed at the shoulders.  "I'll return in two weeks."

She accepted the formality with a gentle smile and a nod, then said, "You are forgetting something."  She went to the table and picked up a pouch.  "Your payment."

I shook my head.  "Embarrassing."  I took the pouch and tucked it and the nuts into one of my pack's side pockets, then headed outside.


I yelled for the tenth time, "Kohasadi!"  Great, i've lost my gryphon.  "Well, sir, where did you last leave him?"  "Right here!"  "Well, perhaps he just got up and walked away."  "Shut up!"  My internal dialogue was interrupted when i tripped over half a sheep and landed on my face next to a snoring Kohasadi.  The impact stirred him from his sleep.  "Waark?" he croaked.

"Don't tell me you're hung over on mutton, pal," i wheezed as i got on my hands and knees.  Kohasadi responded to my quip with a strong sneeze, which resulted in my being covered in bits of damp sheep meat.  "Thanks.  Thanks a lot," i told him as i glared at him.  Kohasadi ignored me as he stretched and preened.  I started wiping myself with a rag and said, "Are you done?  Can we go now?"  He rolled his eyes and knelt.  I mounted and we took off.


I gave Kohasadi a summary of what had happened as we landed in the North End of Kromalir.  "And what's really going to make it sticky," i concluded, "is that i can tell that she's not gonna let go of the sex thing.  She's gonna wait until she feels we know each other well enough, and she's gonna jump my bones and not take 'no' for an answer.  But, well," i shrugged, "ahh, i don't know what i'm complaining about.  I could use a good and vigorous exchange of ideas, if you know what i mean."  He gave no indication that he did.  "So, uh, how does the mating ritual thing work with gryphons?  If you don't mind my asking."  He shrugged.  I shook my head.  "Man, i gotta get those translators from Néfilo.  C'mon, let's get to where we're going."

We set off down Fire Apple Road, and after about twenty minutes turned right on Captain Suk Street.  "Twenty-nine...  twenty-three... eighteen.  Here."  Kohasadi lay down by the wall and i walked down a short flight of steps.  I pulled on a rope and waited.  A few seconds later, the bottom half of the door opened; a loaded crossbow was aimed at my groin and someone rasped, "I've had enough of you!"

e&tg 44

Apr. 30th, 2006 11:32 pm
rone: (Default)

Yeniri woke me up as the first rays of sunlight were crawling around the base of the nearby hill.  "I've refilled your waterskins.  Here."  She handed me a small bag.  "Some nuts for the journey."

"Thanks."  I got up, buckled on my armor, and rolled up my blankets.  She handed me the soil samples and a scrap of paper with an address written on it.  I put them in my pack, pulled it on and turned to her.  "Thank you for your hospitality, Priestess."  I bowed at the shoulders.  "I'll return in two weeks."

She accepted the formality with a gentle smile and a nod, then said, "You are forgetting something."  She went to the table and picked up a pouch.  "Your payment."

I shook my head.  "Embarrassing."  I took the pouch and tucked it and the nuts into one of my pack's side pockets, then headed outside.


I yelled for the tenth time, "Kohasadi!"  Great, i've lost my gryphon.  "Well, sir, where did you last leave him?"  "Right here!"  "Well, perhaps he just got up and walked away."  "Shut up!"  My internal dialogue was interrupted when i tripped over half a sheep and landed on my face next to a snoring Kohasadi.  The impact stirred him from his sleep.  "Waark?" he croaked.

"Don't tell me you're hung over on mutton, pal," i wheezed as i got on my hands and knees.  Kohasadi responded to my quip with a strong sneeze, which resulted in my being covered in bits of damp sheep meat.  "Thanks.  Thanks a lot," i told him as i glared at him.  Kohasadi ignored me as he stretched and preened.  I started wiping myself with a rag and said, "Are you done?  Can we go now?"  He rolled his eyes and knelt.  I mounted and we took off.


I gave Kohasadi a summary of what had happened as we landed in the North End of Kromalir.  "And what's really going to make it sticky," i concluded, "is that i can tell that she's not gonna let go of the sex thing.  She's gonna wait until she feels we know each other well enough, and she's gonna jump my bones and not take 'no' for an answer.  But, well," i shrugged, "ahh, i don't know what i'm complaining about.  I could use a good and vigorous exchange of ideas, if you know what i mean."  He gave no indication that he did.  "So, uh, how does the mating ritual thing work with gryphons?  If you don't mind my asking."  He shrugged.  I shook my head.  "Man, i gotta get those translators from Néfilo.  C'mon, let's get to where we're going."

We set off down Fire Apple Road, and after about twenty minutes turned right on Captain Suk Street.  "Twenty-nine...  twenty-three... eighteen.  Here."  Kohasadi lay down by the wall and i walked down a short flight of steps.  I pulled on a rope and waited.  A few seconds later, the bottom half of the door opened; a loaded crossbow was aimed at my groin and someone rasped, "I've had enough of you!"

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