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They come to Isengard; they take leave of the King of the West at sunset (3019), Richard Armitage's birthday

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Author Topic: The Story of the Soul Stones  (Read 10310 times)
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Eagle of the North

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« on: November 11, 2006, 07:32:59 AM »

This unfinished story is based on an MMORPG I play at the moment. A lot of people on the forum over their enjoyed it and I thought Id share it with you all Smiley

Laellyra - lay-EL-ih-rah
Dredoc - DRAY-doc
Tovanna – tow-VAH-nuh

(Ill add to this list as names appear during the story)

Chapter One

Not a cloud touched the sky as it stretched from horizon to horizon, its rich blue complemented perfectly by the h.oney yellow of dawn. The first hints of warmth began to touch the crisp early morning as the sun leisurely rolled its way higher. When the morning spread its reach across the lands, caressing the forests, stroking the rolling hills and embracing the scattered towns and cities, the world seemed to come to life in a rush, following dawn’s sudden flood of light.

Birdsong swamped the forest as feathered heads emerged from beneath wings and celebrated the birth of the new day. Beneath the branches other small shapes scurried amongst roots and plants, already hunting for their first meal of the morning. A slight breeze darted through the alleyway created by ancient arboreal giants, slipping between trunks and playfully rustling the branches up above.

Normal though this particular break of day seemed to those it touched, never would there be a more fateful day to pass upon this world. The end results of this morning’s happenings, however, would not be seen for many moons yet.

The sound of her hooves against the hard ground seemed far too loud in the peace of the world about her. Each, seemingly delicate, leg stretched forwards, one after the other, placing each step neatly and carrying her gracefully onwards through the forest. Dappled sunlight, dancing through the leaf cover above, leapt across her form making the ivory of her coat seem even more intensely white than usual. The markings across her body, markings that differed upon every centaur, seemed an even richer, darker blue in contrast to the dazzling sun brightened white. Her hair whipped lightly about the human half of her form, the same deep blue as the lines that swirled across her body.

Her gaze could barely keep still, leaping from one object that delighted her and on to another. How could others not appreciate such beauty? It was more than impossible for her to ever try to understand such a thing. Caught up in the wonder and joy of nature, she never saw the half uncovered stone until her hoof caught its tip and she lost her balance slightly. With four legs rather than two, it would take more than that to pull her to the ground, but it didn’t stop her stumbling a little. Backing up a few steps to see what had tried to block her passage she was about to dismiss it as an ancient paving stone, accidentally uncovered by foragers, when she noticed the engraving.

Folding her legs beneath her body, she leant forwards and carefully began to remove the surrounding dirt and mud so that she could pull the slab free. It took several attempts, the slab being larger than she had first anticipated, but eventually she had released it and could start deciphering the words sat before her.

"What is forgotten can yet be relearnt
What is lost can yet be regained,
Never dead, but never alive
In this world, alone we remained

Five stones, the hope of the world
Made to defend when in need
They shall be found and at a price
We shall be reborn indeed"

Confusion clouded her expression as her emerald green eyes scanned the lines once again. It took several minutes before an age old memory of a myth began to surface in her mind: the Soul Stones. Nervously she glanced over her shoulder, as though someone might catch her, though quite why that would be a problem she wasn't sure. Somehow though, she knew they would believe it a foolish relic, an idle poem, but a part of her knew differently. The Soul Stones, the Gods, they were no myth. It was real, all of it, the war, the merging of the worlds, the defeat of evil at a price for the other Gods. So much time had passed, so many generations and none had ever found the Soul Stones. It had not taken long for what was once known to be truth to be discarded as rumour, legend and myth. The old ways were all but forgotten, so much knowledge lost over those years of disbelief. Could it truly be brought back, everything restored to its original order? Hope fluttered in her breast at the very thought, and she knew at that moment, without the slightest doubt, that she would find the Soul Stones and she would help bring the world back to rights. Not for her own glory, she never looked at things in such a way, but because she had often felt there was something missing, something lost, and now that she knew what it was, she could never rest until it was found.

"Laellyra?" Startled, the young centaur hastily dropped the slab upside down, hoping to hide its contents from the new arrival. She was on her feet and whirling to face who approached. She couldn't decide whether it was a good or bad thing that Dredoc, a childhood friend, stood before her. His body was broader than hers, built for strength rather than speed, and his coat was a rich chestnut, the swirling markings a deep maroon. His hair, like many male centaurs was a dark silver and almost as long as her own flowing locks. "You look like a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar. What on earth were you up to, huddled up on the ground like that?" Her eyes darted sideways, her mind whirring desperately to think of an excuse, a reason, anything that would allow her to avoid explaining the truth to him.

One eyebrow began to arch slowly on his ruggedly handsome face at her prolonged silence. "Come on Lay, no point hiding it, I'll find out sooner or later. Spit it out." The affectionate shortening of her name didn't help to loosen her voice, though her throat worked spasmodically, as though she were trying to say something and simply couldn't. Finally, with a slight sigh she stepped aside, revealing the slab behind her. Dredoc moved forwards, reaching down and lifting the slab far more easily than she ever had. He turned it over in his hands and his eyes caught the inscriptions. Scanning it quickly he frowned and slowly looked back up at the female before him. "You don’t believe this do you?" Her eyes locked with the ground and one hoof shuffled awkwardly, stirring up a tiny cloud of dust that billowed momentarily before settling once more. "Laellyra…" One strong hand reached out and gently lifted her chin so that she was looking at him. Instantly her eyes slid from his face and a slow blush began to colour her cheeks. "I don’t believe it Lay. How can you be so naïve? Everyone knows the Soul Stones are a myth. This slab is just some idle carving."

Her jaw tightened and he knew it would be like talking to a brick wall even before her gaze finally turned to meet his and he saw the blazing determination alight within those dancing green eyes of hers. She started angrily, her voice holding an edge of stubbornness in its tone. "So what if you don't believe it Drey. If I choose to believe differently then it's not your problem." His soft voice caught her attention far more than anger ever would have done, "But don't you see Lay, it is my problem. If you believe it, you will search for them, I know you... and if you search for them, I will have to come with you. I would never forgive myself if you broke that fool neck of yours on some quest." She opened her mouth angrily to object but he cut her off, "And your mother would never forgive me for not watching out for you either." Again her mouth opened to object but this time she closed it without him having to say anything. She bit her lip and sighed slightly, "I'm sorry Drey... you're right, you know me too well. I do have to go and search for them. I just know I'm right about this, I know they're out there, waiting for someone to finally release them so that they can return this world to how it once was." Dredoc sighed and nodded, he had known it the moment he first read those words.
« Last Edit: November 11, 2006, 07:43:51 AM by Trouble » Logged

Eagle of the North

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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2006, 07:34:01 AM »

Chapter 2

His hooves clipped neatly against the ground at each step, the sound echoing about the forest and merging with the scattered sounds of other life nearby. Several days had passed since that chance encounter with his age old friend and he knew he had to find her parents soon. She had been gone alone too long already, and it would be a while yet before he caught up. Anything could happen before he was once more at her side, watching over her, guiding her steps and doing anything and everything to keep her from harms way.

His pace quickened as a familiar birch, often nicknamed the Council's Marker after its proximity to the huge clearing where the great council's of the centaurs took place, came in to view. This was the last place they could be. If they were not here, he would have to leave without his and Laellyra's disappearance being explained to anyone.

Stepping out through the trees his eyes scanned the gathered crowds desperately. It was several seconds before his gaze finally caught her, stood near the back silently observing those around her. Seemingly sensing his eyes upon her, she looked up, a warm smile spreading across her motherly features. There was no doubting, as you looked upon this middle aged centaur that she had once been as great a beauty as her daughter. However, age had leant her features a maturity that had an attraction of its own. Her once rich purple hair was now faded slightly and contained thin streaks of silver. Gentle wrinkles also met at the corners of her eyes, but none of it mattered; it suited her perfectly.

Skirting the crowds Dredoc came to a halt at her side. How to explain everything that had happened? It had seemed so easy when Laellyra spoke of it all, a way to placate her mother and to allow them both to get away without the Seniors of the herd interfering and preventing their departure. "Dredoc, my dear, it is rare to see you here. Something is bothering you I fear; I can see it in your eyes." He nodded mutely, searching his mind for the words that he had planned to tell her. He glanced behind him, to the large gathering and she seemed to read his mind, slowly guiding them both further away so that the conversation could be private.

"Tovanna," He inclined his head slightly in a belated greeting, "I was looking for Laellyra, about two days ago when I found something." He halted for a moment, rearranging his thoughts before continuing hesitantly, "I think she's left the forest, set herself a quest." The elder centaur frowned questioningly but she didn’t interrupt, wanting to let him explain in his own words. "I found a slab pulled from the ground, covered in an inscription: a poem about the Soul Stones. Looking at her tracks, she sat with the stone a while and then took off. I followed the trail to the edge of the forest and then turned back to find you." Tovanna nodded to herself, clearly mulling over the import of his words.

It seemed an age before her gaze finally returned to lock with his own, "You want to go after her, keep an eye on her I suppose?" He nodded without a moment's hesitation and she smiled knowingly "Then why are you still stood talking with me child. Off with you, there are few I would trust more with my daughter's life." The young male's eyes widened in surprise at her unexpected compliment and the ease with which the situation had been explained. He had expected questions, demands that she be brought back right away, and yet it seemed her mother was in fact indulging her wayward child and allowing this foolish quest to go ahead. Not wanting to give her time to change her mind he stuttered a hasty farewell before turning and galloping away from the clearing with a sudden thunder of hooves that caught the attention of most present.

Still stood where he had left her, Tovanna smiled to herself. So her daughter had finally found the truth? Perhaps it was time for the ancient prophecies, known to only one or two throughout the lands, to be fulfilled at last. As though summoned by her thoughts, the words began to play slowly through her mind.

"A truth long thought myth in a world scarred by war
Uncovered at last, forgotten no more.
Alone in their faith that the truth has been found,
They will not rest 'til the Stones are unbound.

A party of five all different in race
Sworn to protect them in the trials they face.
The price of success is more than they see
Only love is enough to heal what should not be."

Galloping through the forest, Dredoc only slowed to collect a few supplies, his bow and a quiver full of arrows. He was away from the small secluded corner amongst the trees that he called home almost as soon as he arrived. There was, after all, no time to waste. Laellyra had a huge head start on him and, without a doubt, she would be moving quickly at the moment, eager to prove to the world that she was right. In the back of his thoughts he idly wondered how long it would take her to realise she was wrong, that the Soul Stones were a myth and it had all been in vain. He had lied to her mother, pretended he had not seen Laellyra before she left, and for no better reason than that his young friend thought she was right. His mind cringed at the thought of Tovanna ever discovering his words had not been entirely truthful. She might seem warm and motherly most of the time, but he knew as well as everyone else that that woman was hard as iron underneath, when events called for her to be strong.

Eagle of the North

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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2006, 07:34:40 AM »

Chapter 3

A light layer of sweat glistened across her skin as she travelled at a ground eating canter. It wasn't that she was tired from the exercise but more that she was overheating as the sun shone directly overhead, unhindered by any clouds. The upper half of her body swayed leisurely with the motion of the equine below, her hair flowing freely behind her, whipping from side to side in the wind of her own speed.

Her path took her past one particularly large patch of scrub and brush and as the thunder of her hooves grew closer a pair of ant eaters suddenly shot from cover, turning to stare at her only when they deemed themselves far enough away to be safe. Their throats worked spasmodically, heads bobbing in time with one another as they clucked angrily at the disturbance. A warm smile spread across her face as she watched them. She had always been fond of the little creatures; they were totally harmless and never aggressive unless protecting a nest site. She was soon past them though and her gaze returned to studying the land that lay before her.

The sun slipped slowly across the sky, the only measure of time in the unchanging journey. A sudden sharp bark of pain followed by angry growls and snarling that indicated a fight of some sort started up on her left and Laellyra skidded to a nervous halt. She wasn’t a fighter, had refused to learn the few aggressive spells that centaurs knew and had instead focussed on building her knowledge of healing a skill that was extremely intuitive for the young female. She didn’t want to get caught by a pack of animals out here with no way to defend herself, but at the same time something was being hurt and she couldn’t bear to leave without at least trying to help it.

Events suddenly took that decision away from her as a battle cry, followed by several pained yowls indicated someone else had joined the fight. A large wild cat burst from the trees, followed by several others, all growling angrily to each other. Fear caught in her throat as they glanced at her on the way past and for a moment she thought they would attack, but a figure, surrounded by a swirling green cloak emerged from the trees behind them, a bloodied sword in his hands. Without hesitation the felines turned and bounded from the scene, hunting for an easier kill.

The man turned to her once the danger was past and smiled, “I do hope I didn’t frighten you there, filthy beasts those, pick on anything weaker than themselves. That pack has been causing serious problems for the farms in the surrounding area for a while now. I got two of them at least.” Laellyra frowned at the casual manner in which he spoke of killing, but he seemed not to notice as he carried on, “Seems they ambushed a wolf, hoping their numbers would be enough to bring it down. They might have succeeded if I had arrived any later. It certainly took a fair old beating.” She glanced towards the trees suddenly and then looked back at the stranger questioningly, “Is it still alive?” He nodded grimly, “Shan’t be for long though, either blood loss or my sword will deal with it. One less beast to attack unwary travellers.”

She was surprised at the authority in her voice when she spoke again, perhaps it was anger at all the killing, none the less it had the required effect, “Take me to the creature, I wish to see it.” He nodded instantly, turning and beckoning for her to follow as though taking orders were a perfectly natural thing. It crossed her mind after a moment’s surprise that he was unbothered at her apparent lack of manners that perhaps he was a soldier, used to following orders without question.

The sound of laboured breathing grew louder and then she saw it, stretched out on the ground, its eyes barely open. She gasped and without thinking pushed past her new acquaintance, determined to aid this poor creature. A low growl started in its throat as she came closer and she heard the sound of a sword leaving its scabbard, “Careful, it might be injured beyond help but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous.” Ignoring his warning she carried on forwards and the large beast laboriously twisted its head so that it could watch her more easily. Its lips peeled back revealing fangs still coated in blood from the fight but she seemed unperturbed. Her voice was calm, but it still held that edge of authority as she spoke to the creature before her, “Don’t be so awkward. Come now I want to help, not to harm you.” Again the warrior behind spoke up before she could do anything else, “Help it? Are you crazy? It’s a born killer, you help it and you are sentencing others to death. Besides, its way beyond healing, look at those wounds.” This time Laellyra was unable to control her anger and she whirled to face him, eyes blazing with disgust at his uncaring attitude. “Unlike you, I am a healer not a killer. I preserve life wherever I can rather than destroy it at every opportunity. Either you can help me or you can keep out of my way. I don’t care which it is but I will not be interrupted again.” The man stared at her, stunned into silence by the vehemence in her words. Finally he nodded and just sat down on a tree root opposite. He made no move to sheathe his sword though and his gaze returned to the wolf upon the forest floor.

Turning back to the creature it was only then she realised it had stopped growling and its teeth were once more covered. Somehow it had sensed that she meant no harm and actually wished to help. It couldn’t have understood her; everyone knew that wolves were notoriously stupid. Some of the creatures of this world had some understanding of words, but wolves never had and likely never would. Well, however it had come to the decision, it was a relief for Laellyra; it would make the healing far easier.

She lowered herself to the ground, her legs once again curled beneath her, and began her study of the severity of the damage done. Blood lay slicked across the unfortunate beast’s coat, slowly drying and clumping patches of fur together. Its uppermost hind leg looked more of a mangled lump than anything recognisable. One of the cats had likely caught it in its teeth and slowly crushed the bones with its powerful jaws. It was an unpleasant method of immobilising prey that they often used to great effect. It seemed today was no exception. Her hands very gently began to run across his body, feeling for other injuries. A low growl escaped the wolf’s throat every time her fingers touched an injury but it made no move to stop her, accepting her ministrations in an inexplicably calm manner.

Worry gnawed at her, the poor creature had lost a lot of blood, maybe too much to survive the stress healing with magic would put on its body. She had to succeed after everything she had said to the man behind her or she would look the fool. It was the stubborn streak in her personality showing itself once more. This would take extreme skill to fix, she would have to use as little magic as possible, mere trickles. It would take longer, but there was no way she could do it all in one go as usual. Taking a deep breath to steady her nerves she embraced the magic, let it flow through her, fill her so that she was one with the magic, the magic was her.

Sat back against the tree the human leant forwards with interest as her hair seemed to come alive, sparks and flashes weaving through the rich blues and purples. She was using magic to heal the creature? He had heard the rumours that there were still some centaurs with the old skills left, but had never truly believed it. Magic was rarely used in his home land, few had the ability and even fewer the knowledge to go with it. It wasn’t the healing he expected though, the rumours always told of a great flash of light and then the healing being complete within seconds. Here there was nothing, just silence and her hair moving by itself.

It was a while before he registered the wolf seemed to be breathing more comfortably and when he moved so that he could see them both he realised every wound was gone except the one on its hind leg. Even as he watched the bone seemed to slowly knit back together, the skin sliding across and then the leg was whole once more. The young centaur gave a tired sigh and then very slowly keeled over. He was at her side and caught her before she hit the ground, gently laying her down. What shocked him the most though was the low growl that escaped the throat of the wolf as it looked at him for a moment before shuffling along the ground and pressing itself up against Laellyra. Wide, sad eyes stared at the centaur and it nuzzled her miserably, occasionally glaring back at him and growling every time. Finally getting the hint he backed away and the wolf calmed down, lying protectively at her side. He sighed and settled back against the tree, unsure how long it would be before she would finally waken.

Cuthien, Wolf-maiden

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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2007, 01:33:47 AM »

I'm curious to know what happens next...more please.  Smiley

"God is the Lord, of angels, and of men-and of elves."-J.R.R. Tolkien

And I shall be telling this with a sigh
somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood and I,
I took the road less traveled by
And that has made all the difference.

To the class of 2005-Rock On!

Eagle of the North

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« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2007, 02:37:15 AM »

Here we are, chapter 4 finally completed

Miomir – MY-oh-meer

Chapter 4
The first hints of dusk began to creep across the forest as the man still sat staring at the prone form of the centaur. They would have to remain here for the night it seemed, even if she woke now, there was not enough time to move somewhere and find a better resting spot with the rapidly fading light. With a sigh he stood, causing the wolf at her side to momentarily growl defensively. Rolling his eyes the human held his hands up, “Don’t worry you great brute, I’m not going to come anywhere near your new friend. I’m just going to build a fire, its getting dark, I want to find the wood while I can still see” As he spoke, its head tilted slightly to one side and he had the unnerving sensation that it actually understood what he had just said, which of course, he knew was impossible. Wolves were just mindless killing machines, there wasn’t the smallest particle of intelligence in those broad heads of theirs, just a desire for blood.

Pushing the disturbing feeling to the back of his mind he turned and left the two where they lay, starting his search for fire wood. It wasn’t hard, the weather had been dry around here for days, so everything he found was more than dry enough for a fire. Once he felt he had enough to keep the fire lit throughout the night he returned, placing the pile off to one side as he sat down. He could feel the wolf’s eyes on him again, but he forced his own gaze down, avoiding looking at the creature and instead concentrating on building a small fire pit and arranging kindling and logs inside. Finally satisfied with its layout he removed two pieces of flint from his bag and after just three strikes the kindling caught. Carefully he nursed the flames to life and only let his attention drift to the two others with him when he was sure the fire would stay lit.

Sat with the flickering light between himself and Laellyra it was a few seconds before he realised the creature at her side was no longer concentrating on itself or its new found charge. Its attention was directed solely off to their left. Frowning to himself the soldier turned and gazed in the same direction, trying to locate whatever had distracted the beast. Several seconds passed before his eyes slowly adjusted to the gloom after the glare of the crackling fire and finally he was able to make out a large approaching shape.

With a startled cry he was on his feet, his sword sliding smoothly from its scabbard, the metallic ring echoing across the moonlit forest. What happened next totally confused him. Rather than the wolf taking a stance to attack the newcomer it turned and began to growl at him, a threatening glint in its eye as it stared at his sword. He never had a chance to react to its anger though as a whistling sound met his ears just moments before an arrow neatly embedded itself in the wrist of his sword arm. A pained gasp escaped his lips and he dropped the sword, grasping at the arrow protruding from both sides of his limb. The growling instantly stopped now that he had been neatly disabled and he looked up from his arrow to see four powerful equine legs stood before him. His gaze rose further up the profile until finally it came to rest on the face of a ruggedly handsome centaur staring down at him. Dredoc shook his head pityingly for a moment, “I’m surprised you haven’t already learnt to trust that creature’s instincts. If I were you I would listen to it more carefully in the future. Sorry about the arrow, but it was easier than letting you try to attack me and then having to try and stop him,” He nodded towards the wolf curled next to Laellyra, “from killing you. Here, let me fix that for you.” He reached down, grasping the arrow, and with a few muttered incantations he slid it neatly the rest of the way through, the wound closing up as the arrow passed out. The centaur sighed, there was a slight scar left, “Sorry, not nearly as neat as Laellyra can manage, but then this always was her department. I only ever learnt the basics.” The soldier’s eyes were wide and his mouth opened and closed several times in shock but he seemed at a total loss for words.

Not waiting for the stranger to find his voice Dredoc let the man’s arm drop and turned, walking slowly over to his unconscious friend. The wolf whined quietly, its tail lifting hopefully. Dredoc chuckled and ruffled the fur between its ears, studying it silently all the while. He nodded to himself, “Just as I thought,” and then finally he turned his attention to the most important of the trio. Very gently he rested his hand upon her forehead, stroking away a stray wisp of hair. Again he began to speak quietly under his breath, words of an ancient language; the language of magic. It took a few seconds, and then her eyes fluttered open. A slow smile spread across her lips as the face above her slowly slid into focus, “You made it finally.” He nodded and settled down beside her, carefully helping her to sit up and look about her. She smiled at the wolf at her side and it whined and shuffled closer, burying its head against her arm. “How long was I out?” Her voice sounded hesitant, worried. She had no idea how long it had been before Dredoc had managed to leave, how many days, and therefore how long it should have taken him to catch up. A voice from across the fire spoke up, “Only about six hours.” She felt worry lift from her chest, time hadn’t been wasted after all.

Frowning she suddenly realised that in all the action earlier, she had never asked this stranger’s name. Blushing furiously she hastily began an introduction, “I’m Laellyra, forgive me for not offering my name earlier. My friend here is Dredoc, I do hope he was not too rude when he arrived, he can be ever so protective.” Smiling over at the human opposite she didn’t notice the momentary guilty look that passed across the male centaur’s features. He returned her smile, “My name is Miomir, and I think we can both agree that things were perhaps a little too busy for us to think of introductions earlier.” With a quiet chuckle she nodded agreement and then a yawn escaped her control. Blushing once more she apologised, “That healing took more out of me than I expected. I could go back to sleep again already.” At her side Dredoc nodded, “You should listen to your body Lay, you should know that as a healer. Go on, sleep, all of you, I shall keep the first watch.”

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