Story Posts from The Royalty For A Week Thread

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tiddlywinks

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Good evening, fair Royals!

Prince Welcheren, the snake scale robe is very fetching. I'll make an exception. This time. :greenie

Princess LadyV, so glad to see you about these parts and in fine spirits. And Duchess, I am pleased to hear of your dancing escapades. May that bode well for your future health ahead!

And now...

*ahem*


The shineyyyy scythe stopped less than an inch from the dark, antlered form lurking in the deepest darkest shadow.

"Prince Porter? Is that you? What in the name of Because are you doing down here at this hour?"

The Queen drew her blade back and eyed the Moose as he shuffled closer to the candlelight. She wrinkled her nose in anticipation of the noxious fart he'd no doubt stored, just to annoy her majestic sensibilities. But all she could smell was a dry, musty scent. Odd. And he was just staring at her, while swaying gently to and fro. Also odd.

"You better not have come to fill the moat with 2 x 4s again. I'll have you know, I'm not explaining that to Sir Brad next time he comes trotting with Super through the gates. I'm pretty sure he's not thrilled about what that does to the surrounding shrubbery. Or to Super when he sneaks a drink from the moat."

Still nothing from the old Moose.

Queen tiddlywinks' grip tightened on the scythe when she caught sight of the vertical slitted pupils staring back at her. In the next blink, the royal's eyes had returned to normal. But the Queen knew what she had seen. And she trusted what her gut was telling her.

On a stiff battle cry, she swung the scythe, catching the Moose by the neck and lopping the head clean off. It poofed up into the air, like a pricked balloon madly careening about to land haphazardly on the throne. The rest of 'Prince Porter' slithered to the ground like a broken curtain.

Or a shedding skin.

An angry hiss emitted from the column of serpentine figures now untwining before her to slither away furiously.

"Oh no you don't!" Picking up her sparkly robes so she wouldn't trip, the mighty little Queen darted after the intruders, intent on trapping them for further questioning. She was running so fast and cursing so heartily, she didn't realize they had darted into the glowing Mark of the Serpent within the Bard's painting until it was too late.

"Fiddlesticks!"

With a hop, a skip, and a trip over her scythe, the Queen went tumbling after the snakes through the rift in the painting.
 

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With a hop, a skip, and a trip over her scythe, the Queen went tumbling after the snakes through the rift in the painting.

After the joyous hugs and ecstatic return of hugs, Snitchcat glided back to her caverns, pondering the snake issue. Shame these particular group of serpents were causing trouble; she rather liked snakes.

All the same, she curled up on her bed. Eyes half-lidded, an occasional flicker of a forked tongue, and Snitchcat settled in for some ruminating while slumbering. Rather tried. An ether bang jolted her fully awake; she growled and disappeared only to reappear in the queen's chambers to see the queen falling through a rift in a painting.

The dragon snarled and dived through, the closing rift missing the end of her tail by a scale's thickness.
 

Welcheren

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Hail Illustrious Queen
Greeting my fellow Royals


If the Duchess survives her energy bursts...

...it will be a very good thing. :greenie

As many of our dear Royals know, I have had many years of suffering from severe pain and debilitating fatigue. It has lead to, well, not a lot of fun in the A.R.o.R.L. because I've had no energy for fun. I've managed to survive and that's about it.

Recently my pain levels have been receding. I believe the chiropractic is helping a great deal in this along with prayers and good thoughts from my friends. A few days ago my pain level was so low that I found myself dancing around in the kitchen while pouring cream in my coffee. Which was great. It astounded me. Today has astounded me even more. I was listening to I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas. And I just had to get up and dance. I danced, without holding back, to the whole song. Other than needing work on my breathing to get me back to where I used to be and tons more dancing to get my muscles used to movement again, I did great. I am so ecstatic. This is me on energy. It's like the last 35 years are being reversed. To feel this energy again is such a huge blessing. I can't begin to tell you how much I have yearned for it.

That's my miracle for the day. I hope each of you have had a miracle, too. :)

I dance in tribute to and celebration of this turn for the better, Grand Duchess. May it carry you through the editing and instill the process with joy.





Prince Welcheren, Alchemist of the Realm, wandered the corridors of the Castle, and was delivered by backdoors travelled while steeped in thought, to the Throne Room. Why have the rifts not closed? A new Monarch had claimed the Crown. A successor had followed after that. All the cycles were stable. The rifts should have collapsed. What was going on? Perhaps, if he could manage a method of sampling the matter of the rifts. Could his alchemical lore produce such methods? An expedition was necessary. For that he would seek the permission and council her Most Radiantly Radiant and Sparklingly Spectacular Majesty.
"Strange," he muttered to the Throne Room. "Empty? Where is our Queen?"
 

DanielSTJ

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I have read through, eagerly, all of the story posts and hope that this will help enrich the story. You are all doing such a FABULOUS job. Feel free to write my character in however you like. For me, I like seeing how you write your characters to try and get the tone right before embarking on characterization. This story is really taking shape! I love the entrance into the painting. Nice! I have a surprise in my new part, I hope you will enjoy it.

Also, all apologizes for not posting sooner. I have been in the dumps. Reading the posts actually cheered me up. Forward, I say! :)

==​

Daniel sensed that something was wrong. The Queen’s presence was not there—not at all. He was not the most fluent with the rifts of the world, but he recognized that there was a deep rift where the Queen was supposed to be.

After delivering the painting, he had gone back into his quarters and pulled, from the floorboards, his old bottle of wine. For a while, he had sat and drank before opening the window and looking outwards at the fading sun in the sky.

Another letter had come from Leila. He did not want to read it again, but the end result was what bothered him the most. She had found someone else. It was a simple fact and as much as Daniel pretended that it did not bother him, it ate at him. Time will solve all problems. Do not linger on things that you cannot control and cannot change. Each day is a new opportunity to grow. Be careful to not let that slip through your fingertips.

He got to his feet and put the wine bottle up along the other empty ones in the small cabinet in his room. Daniel lingered for a minute on them. They were of all different makes and brands. Many of them were cast in glows of celebration while others were clouded with sorrow. He took back the wine bottle for a second from the shelf and ran his fingers over it. Tomorrow will be another day. Let your sorrows fall from you like rain. Then, you can start again.

Daniel put the wine bottle back into the cabinet and quietly closed it. He did not look back at before he took more cross-bolts, a short sword and returned to the palace hall.
There was no one there. He began to wander the halls. Finally, when the effects of the wine were wearing off, he came upon Welcheren. The alchemist appeared just as puzzled as he was.

“I am looking for the Queen,” Daniel said.

“As am I,” the alchemist said, focusing his gaze on the bard.

Daniel sensed movement, but it was quicker than him. The raven swept into the hall and settled on Welcheren’s shoulder. He looked at Daniel and cawed once.

“I know where the Queen is,” the crow said.

Welcheren looked at his shoulder. “Well?”

“The rift is greater than what we might have suspected,” the raven said in a near whisper. He said this in such a way that only Welcheren heard what was being said.

Daniel frowned and tilted his head to the side.

“Do you want a cracker?” the raven said, turning its beak up at Daniel.

Daniel smiled. “You always know more than I give you credit for, fair raven.”

“You should tell him,” the raven whispered into Welcheren’s ear. When the alchemist did not reply, he lightly touched Welcheren’s ear with his beak and then returned to his spot, balancing on one leg.

At that moment, both men felt the earth shake from underneath their feet. The raven went off towards one of the high ornamental windows and looked outside.

From the next window, a large rock smashed through it, decimating the painted glass into a hundred shards that spread out throughout the room. Welcheren and Daniel both covered themselves in their cloaks to shield themselves from the particles flying everywhere.

“Oh,” the raven said, flapping its wings in the air. “This is bad.”

He flew back to where Welcheren was and settled on the opposite shoulder.

“Ahem,” the raven said. “We are under attack.”
 

tiddlywinks

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With an oomph, a drat, and a tumble across foreign sands, Queen tiddlywinks rather unmajestically exited the unexpected rift.

After yanking her hood back off her face and putting her sparkly robes to rights, she stood, one bony hand on a bony hip, the other baring her scythe like a beacon in this strange, dark land. "Hello?"

A susseration of sound met her ears.

She peered up the sand-dune before her. All quiet. She peered back over her shoulder into the rift, still winking and twinkling. Actually...she half-turned, only to --

"GAAAAAAH!"

The Queen rapidly backpedaled up the sand dune as an enormous dragon exploded from the rift. Its mighty tail whipped through the air and a loud bang echoed through the desolate landscape. With a mighty thump, the dragon landed in the sand before her. Queen tiddlywinks gulped audibly. Then squeaked when the sand under her feet moved and undulated.

On another series of squeaks and oofs, she tumbled end over teakettle back down the sand dune, landing but a few feet in front of the dragon's massive claws. A mighty hiss blew hot air over her back. The Queen glanced over her shoulder. "Oh for the love of shineyyyy--"

A massive serpentine shadow uncoiled from the waterfalls of sand, rising, rising...still rising. Tiny little squiggles moved toward the massive swaying shadow, and the Queen recognized those nasty little spies.

Whoooo hasssss dared to abussssssse my rift withoooout my permisssssssion?

Far above, violet eyes, split by slits of gold in the middle, blinked down at her majesty.

"Erm. Yes. Well." The Queen resisted the urge to stand on tiptoe and make herself look taller. "You should be more careful about where you put those things."

A deep rumble at her back reminded the Queen that she was stuck between a rock and a...well, actually, a dragon and a snake. Scale and wyrm? Hmm.

She dared to give the dragon another look. And was surprised when it winked at her. There was something rather familiar about...

"Princess?" she whispered out of the side of her mouth.

The dragon winked again.

Feeling a mite more cheerful about her odds now, the Queen turned back to the mother of all snakes before her. And tapped a foot in the sand. "Well? Are you going to apologize for not putting appropriate signage up about your rift in my realm?"

The violet eyes blinked. Then narrowed. Whhhhhhhere did you ssssssay you were frrrrrom, again?

"That's neither here nor there. What IS important is that you are creating clear safety hazards with these rifts of yours. Why, now I'm going to have to fill out an incident management report when I get back, and I really do detest paperwork. It means I have to use up my supplies of shineeyyyy ink, when I could be doing more important things like admiring it in the shineyyyy bottle with the shi--"

ENOUGH with the ssssssshineeyyyy!

"Never," the Queen muttered, a mulish bent to her brow.

The massive serpent uncoiled still farther, its scales scraping along the grains of sand. You ssssspeak with forked tongue, littttle ssssssshineyyyy obsessed one. My children telllll me you are of the Casssssstle. Those violet eyes swept down, suddenly uncomfortably close to the Queen. A shadow flickered out, just out of reach of her scythe, before flicking back in a gaping maw of darkness. I think yyyyyyyyou might jusssst be the one I ssssseek. Where is your sssssshineyy crown, littttle one?

"Oh crud."

Just as the Queen was worried she was about to be swallowed whole, an enormous wing batted her back like a tiny toothpick of a bowling pin. Queen tiddlywinks found herself staring up at the still open rift. At a roar, she looked over and saw the mighty Princess Snitchcat grasp the Mother of all Snakes in her claws and take flight into the darkness. But not before the Princess roared over her shoulder, "Get back to the Castle, your Majesty! And close the door on your way out -- I'll find another way home!"

In the next blink, the Princess was but a shining speck against the darkness above.

Whispers and more susserations began to echo around the Queen.

"Fiddlesticks!"

On another hop, a skip, and a trip over her Scythe, the Queen dove back into the rift.

#

With a yelp, a splat, and a whoosh of air, Queen tiddlywinks came flying out of the painting to land squarely on Prince Welcheren, knocking them both helter skelter across the throne room.

The Queen blinked at a gasp from the Bard. Then blinked again at the clear blue sky.

"WHY IS THERE A GIANT HOLE IN MY THRONE ROOM?"
 

Welcheren

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Prince Welcheren skittered across the smoothly polished marble floors, like a poorly hurled frisbee - if you can imagine a fribee cradling a shiney little Queen. A fine collection of coloured glass has speared through his cloak, the sharp edges shattered on the armour-ink infused into his skin. The red stones moulded into the skin over his chest suddenly emitted a throbbing glow.
"My sincere apologies for inflicting this indignity on you, my Queen," Welcheren said hastily, apologising for what was not his fault, for such is the Royal protocol. Surely it was? Right? He'd have to check the manuel.
Still splayed on the floor, the Alchemist had a perfect view of the broken window.
"It seems, my Queen, that the Castle is a little under attack." Though how a missile weapon managed to come within striking distance without being seen is beyond me. "With your permission, my Queen..." Welcheren slithered out from under the Queen as gently as he could. Apart from the shards of glass stuck in his cloak, he was also strangely covered in sand... and glitter. "Lots of glitter."
Reaching into his cloak, he muttered, "Please tell me it didn't break. Ah ha! What?"
Not a one of the glass-encased potions in his cloak had broken. The red stones radiated a little more heat, as if in answer.
"Note to self - thank the Duchess."
Rummaging in his cloak, Welcheren eventually produced a single, slim bottle and helft it aloft - before smashing it on the floor.
Light coruscated from the mess at his feet and blazed across the room as if it were a sentient thing.
"Which it is," Welcheren muttered. Abruptly, it seemed as though all the light in the room had died down to a low, red-tinged sheen that belonged to dusk. Seven soliders stood, fully armoued with mail and buckler, wielding arming swords while the red sheen emanated from their high helms. The tallest of them - far taller than any normal person - looked up at the broken window.
"An hour," he said without looking down.
"Give us two," Welcheren replied.
The warrior shrugged. "One and a half."
"Two hours or as soon as you've destroyed whatever hurled that rock, and other weapons like it."
"So be it." Still, the warrior did not lower his eyes from the hole.
Their bodies dissolved in a red mist that suddenly morphed into something more akin to liquid, and leaped out of the window.
With a temporary defence established, Welcheren returned to the Bard's painting. If his seven friends could hold the attackers just long enough for Princess Snitcat to arrive, the enemy should be reduced to smouldering ash - whoever they are. Where was the scaly Priness? Stabbing his finger at the canvas of the painting produced no obvious results.
"Did you learn anything of value to the Realm while you were in there my Queen?"
 

tiddlywinks

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Queen tiddlywinks put herself to full majestic glittery rights. With an added harrumph, she retrieved the Duchess' gifted necklace for good measure and gave it one longing pet as she arranged it around her neck. Then she skewered the Royal Alchemist with a rather evil sparkly stare.

"You and I need to have a talk about those things you just sent out...THROUGH THE HOLE IN MY CASTLE." With a shake of her shineyyyy robes, the Queen reined in the urge to continue speaking at a much louder decibel. "But first, we need to close that rift!"

"But Your Majesty, if we wait for Princess Snitchcat, we can--"

Prince Welcheren clamped down on further suggestions, in light of the ominous glow now surrounding the little queenly figure. The Bard wisely backed away several feet from her Majesty. Who glared up at the Raven that had the audacity to land on her scythe.

"Princess Snitchcat was very explicit in her instructions to close the door. And I'm inclined to follow her instructions given she saved me from the largest serpent I've ever had the displeasure of laying eyes on. So..." The Queen tapped a foot on the rubble-littered marble. "Suggestions?"

"Stuff it with a cracker?" the brave little Raven said.

The bird took off for the nearest rafter upon a growl that surely did not come from her queenly presence.

At a pointed cough, Queen tiddlywinks turned to the young Bard. He gave a tentative smile. "Perhaps the right rhyme in the right time?"

The Queen nodded, and he took off like a shot back for his rooms. To obtain his bardly instruments, no doubt, instead of the objects of war now strewn about his personage.

Meanwhile, Queen tiddlywinks and Prince Welcheren eyed each other warily. Sounds of steel ringing off armor and scale reached their ears. A small, wriggling and swaying shadow tried to slither its way through the rift, but the Queen took it out with one swift swipe of her scythe.

"This will never do. Just won't do. Hate snakes. Very bad." Louder, she called out, "I release you from your bonds!"

A quiver of....something...ran along the walls of the Castle. A sigh. Then a strange thump thump thump began to echo from the Royals' chambers far above.

The Royal Alchemist glanced uneasily up toward the shadowed stairs. "Your Majesty?"

She lifted one sparkly hand. Waited. Then turned to meet the mass of thump thump thumping figures that came hop hop hopping down the stairs. In a sea of twitching ears and noses and fuzzy tails, cute little faces turned up to them both en masse.

"By the power of Vitamin A...plot bunnies, I command your attention!"
 

Snitchcat

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Good day, your majesty, royals.

*********

Snitchcat soared into the stratosphere with the Mother of Snakes.

"Why do you want the Queen of the Castle?" the dragon growled.

"None of your bussssssinesssssss, wyrm!"

Snitchcat chuckled. "Such hypocrisy, dear serpent mother. Shall I release my grip? Surely you would enjoy the lava spa so far below these sulphurous clouds, hmm?"

The snake stiffened but remained silent.

Snitchcat shrugged and released the serpent.
 

Welcheren

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Greeting and salutations Great Queen and fellow Royals.

ARoRL is similarly hugging me down right now, but I am hugely grateful and profoundly impressed by the additions from our Queen and Princess Snitchcat. This was a joy in my a topy turvy day.




**********
Prince Welcheren stood in stunned (and slightly toe-trampled) silence at the cruelly cute cohort of furry furies. "What rift-fiend could survive such an onrush," he whispered, and felt rather sorry for the serpents, slithering around without warning of their impending cotton-covered doom. Other matters, however, had yet to be clarified.

"My Queen," he said once recovered enough of his voice - but still sheltered behind his liege for you can never be too safe with plot bunnies. "There is another piece of this puzzle that still eludes me." For some reason, the words sounded rather as though they were akin to the Castle's latest allies. "Bard Daniel discoverd a star-gazer's manuel filled cryptic hints about something sinister concealed under the Castle. How it relates to our recent troubles, however, I haven't been able to decipher."
 

tiddlywinks

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Queen tiddlywinks waited until the last plot bunnies had poofed out in a cloud of glitter. Paused in the lovely silence as Frank and the Royal Alchemist stood behind her. Then, faint pops of sound began echoing from the far corners of the kingdom, along with angry hisses and the thump thump thump of the Rift Warrior brigade as they closed all the untoward metaphysical doors leading into the kingdom.

With a pleased smile and a jaunty swing of her own scythe, the little Queen closed the rift in the painting with a glittery slash. Frank began breakdancing on the newly stain glass free floor in celebration.

Prince Welcheren coughed into his hand. "Your Majesty, about the sinister machinations possibly underneath--"

"I heard you. Unfortunately, I did not obtain any information from the Mother of Snakes to know what that's about. Perhaps Princess Snitchcat might have more insight upon her return."

The Prince glanced at the painting. "Well, yes, about that. How is she going to return, given you closed the rift entry back to the Castle?"

"Ah, my dearest Alchemist." The Queen patted his robes and left a trail of sparkles in her wake. "Princess Snitchcat knows all about the secret entrance back through Princess Wicked's Iron Maiden, of course."

"The Iron...but...wouldn't that--" The Prince stopped mid stride.

Her Majesty left the puzzled Royal to ponder this latest secret, and instead knelt before her bravest of plot bunnies, the talented dancer, the hopper of hoppings, her beloved sparkly Frank. "Now Frank. You know what you need to do. We talked about my successor needing some help, likely of a dancing nature, to bring the Castle back together after these troubled times." Another heavy object hit the Castle walls. "And, Erm, to deal with whatever that is outside. Do be a dear and make sure she has a most sparkly time of it here, all right?"

Frank twitched his nose in agreement and tapped out an expectant tune.

"Yes, yes. I know. Time for me to make the proclamation. I will miss the sparkles that come with the job." Queen tiddlywinks looked longingly once more at the shineyyyy crown, then set it gently on the throne.
 

Snitchcat

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Good morning, your majesty, royals!

*Sips a cup of tea*

----------------------

Snitchcat dived after the Mother of Snakes, the air streaming behind her. She slowed a little to match the serpent's speed.

"Little wyrm!" rasped the great snake. "You sssssshall burn for your inssssolencccce!"

The dragon shrugged. "You do realize, however, that your velocity will only burn you up before you get me to pay for my insolence, yes?" She glanced at lava pit. "Or perhaps you'll be cinders joining the lava spa."

"Idiot! The Mother of Snakes can fly!" So saying, she spread her hood and flattened her ribs. But her speed whipped them vertical and she plummeted faster. She hissed, rage threatening to make her explode.

More cloud layers ripped passed the falling pair.

One of the snake's scales disintegrated. She hissed as the wind scoured her exposed flesh. Another scale flaked off, more hissing. Moments later, she had lost a third of her scales, and had gone silent.

Snitchcat frowned to herself. Surely the Mother of Snakes was not so weak as to faint from a little pain?

"What do you want to know?" gasped the serpent.

"Why you want to the Queen of the Castle."

The snake rolled her eyes as much as a snake could. "She is the key to the darkness beneath the castle. The darkness that must be set free!" A frosty echo emanated from the Mother of Snakes. "Pass me the crown, wyrm, so that I may free the darkness!"

Snitchcat raised an eye ridge. "What is the darkness?"

"You will never know! I'd rather die than tell you!"

The dragon clamped her claws on the snake, spread her wings and the resulting deafening boom ricocheted off the clouds. But the pair levelled out and glided smoothly towards a safer landing area.

"Tell me about the darkness."

The snake hissed a agonised laugh.

Snitchcat banked, heading back towards the lava pit and released one foot. The snake's tail dangled above the super-heated molten rock; an occasional burst of flame licked at the serpent's scales, blackening the surface where it made contact.

The Mother of Serpents hissed again.

Snitchcat released another foot. The snake's body dropped, tail dragging through the lava before the reptile managed to curl herself around the dragon's last pair of feet. The blackened tail stump steamed. The snake writhed and shuddered in pain, but remained silent.

"You may be the Mother of Snakes," muttered Snitchcat. "But even you are not invincible against the planet's core temperature." The dragon hovered over the pit, just high enough not to singe the petrified snake.

"The darknesssssss..." rasped the serpent, further coiling around Snitchcat's foot. "It consumes all not of thissss world."

"Why do you want it free?" The dragon lowered her eye ridges in a frown. "Surely you want to live?"

"I did not ssssay I am not of thisssss world, imbecccccile." The Mother of Serpents wriggled in the dragon's grip. "Realm Locussssts alwaysssss reward their loyal partnerssss." Snitchcat tightened her grip. She glanced down and growled. The Mother of Serpents' eyes had gone misty. The damned thing was moulting to escape. Into a lava pit? Snitchcat shook her head and dived towards cooled slag. She considered bringing the snake back to the castle, but it wouldn't do to show the reptile the backdoor into the place. Instead, the dragon dropped the Mother Snakes on the slag. She tumbled and rolled, hissing and spitting.

Snitchcat ignored the hoarse cries and sped back to the castle.
 

Snitchcat

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Your majesty, hail!
I hope you fare hale!
I come to report without fail
A most worthy tale.
Why am I rhyming?
'Tis terrible timing!
But the details of a journey oh so tiring
Are worth the horrible whining
Of a non-poet
Who needs to stow it.
I'm talking about these rhyming verses
Which are a strain -- curses!
How do I stop, show some mercy,
You brainless brain of furries!

Ahem! Now that persona is gone, I shall continue.

Majesty, grave tidings I bear,
You must heed my words, I fear.

Oh, dammit!

Basically, the Mother of Snakes and several of her tribes want to release the Realm Locusts. They devour all not of this world, or did till they were trapped beneath this castle. And the key is the crown. Which, if I guess correctly, is always protected only when it is passed from ruler to ruler.
 

Ambrosia

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Duchess Ambrosia pondered the words Princess Snitchcat brought to the queen. The Realm Locusts devour all not of this world. But were the Royals not all of this world? Which would mean no one would be devoured, yes? She knew better. If the creatures escaped their prison, there would be nothing left.

Confusion marred her features as she excused herself from the queen's side and hurried toward the catacombs beneath the castle. She didn't bother taking the time to change out of court dress. It was a decision she regretted as she approached the final level of the catacombs. Her hair had fallen long ago and sweat and dust clung to her. She kept wiping her moist palms on the sides of her skirts. Her dress was ruined. Another one for the scrap pile due to her foolishness. Still she raced forward, following twisting paths that had not been trodden for decades, until she finally came to the massive gate blocking another tunnel's entrance. Gingerly touching the metal she exhaled the breath she had unconsciously held. The gate remained cool to the touch. There had been no escape then.

"So. All here appears to be in order. The gate is intact and closed. The heartstone still hums. What could possibly have set the snakes off, thinking the Realm Locusts were about to be freed?"

She paced the corridor in front of the gate. After fifteen minutes she stopped pacing, took in a deep breath and exhaled. Her shoulders slumped, the weight of guardianship falling heavy on her. She had spent so many years keeping the Realm safe. Had she failed? Was the heartstone failing? Perish the thought! No, that was impossible. But could the locusts have found a way to begin working free? She knew she had to go into the prison.

"I should take someone with me," she said to the empty air. Anger at herself flared. "You coward, Ambrosia! When did you turn so weak?"

She thought back to just a short time ago when the alchemist had saved her from mere mortals. She had been truly weak then--exhausted physically and of her powers, alone, afraid--outnumbered. She wouldn't allow such weakness as fear now. No. Her powers were topped off. She was, mostly, rested. The trip down to this level in heavy court dress had worn her a little. But just a small bit of rest here in the corridor should bring a swift recovery. The heartstone running in the walls would add to her strength. She had built this prison in this location as a proof against escape by the dreaded locusts. The heartstone gave such power that just a tiny gem could bring down a building, could stop an arrow, could change the weather if the wielder only learned to use it. It could transmute lead into gold. She smiled, thinking of the protection she had gifted to Prince Welcheren...protection he didn't understand but would be able to call when he needed it. To be connected to all the Realms by the living heartstone was no small gift. And, if she fell...

Bother! Such dark thoughts were beneath her. She wasn't falling and neither was her castle. The Queen and the Royals would be protected. The Realm would remain safe. It was her duty and she would see to it. Still, perhaps she should have left a note.

Shaking her head, she took a few moments to rest her body. Then she started tracing the pattern of the lock on the door, calling life to the sigils that would release the lock and move the massive piece of metal from the tunnel's entrance. She paused at the final flourish. Once more she placed her hands on different parts of the door, testing for any change in temperature. It remained cool to her touch. She stepped back and committed the final stroke. Slowly the door slid to the side.

A buzzing from the pits of hell suddenly erupted from the opening. The heartstone on the walls in the tunnel beyond the door glowed an angry red. Too late Ambrosia realized the trap that had been sprung for her. For only she could have opened the door she had sealed all those years ago. Only the mage who set the lock could unlock it. All the warnings coming to the queen through her intelligence network had been geared toward this moment, laying reason upon reason why Ambrosia must open the prison door. As she threw up a shield to block the attack, she cursed her stupidity. But it was a masterful plan, she had to admit, to make the guardian of the castle the key to its destruction. She wished she had the ability to at least tell the queen to run.
 

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Frank looked on as the Duchess batted about and swore in very lady like fashion at all of the nasty little zoomies. His ears twitched and he shuffled further back around the corner, lest the little zoomies latch on to his sparkly self (though he had taken precautions to dim his natural fabulousness).

What to do, what to do?

Perhaps he should run and inform her sparkleness? Or the current Queen, who also seemed to enjoy his fabulousness though she had yet to reward him with a carrot.

Concentrate, Frank! He could almost hear her sparkleness growling at him.

Oh dear. Perhaps he should find that Alchemist fellow first. The one who liked to dance?

Plan decided, he hipped and he hopped back down the corridor with a slippity slide.
 

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Prince Welcheren was meditating on a windy tower top when something distinctly fluffy slapped his face.
"Frank?" the Alchemist responded, wiping streaks of glitter from his face.
The plot bunny twitched a nose nestled in an otherwise expressionless, yet doubtlessly adorable, face.
"What's going on? Why are you looking so serious?" His interlocutor did not leave Welcheren another second to ponder how the observation had been made. Instead, a paw touched his palm - and the air shimmered.

The mirror wall, deep in the underground vaults of the Alchemist's shed, gleamed his own reflection back at him, before shifting in a swirl of purple and violet. Frank tapped the smooth surface insistently.
"Duchess?" Welcheren asked the superfluous question.
There she was, a kine shield flashing in blue veins of blinding energy around her.
For a moment, Welcheren was poised to deliver a deluge of cliched questions: What's going on? What are those insects doing? or possibly even well, well, well, what have we got here?

The red stones clustered to his chest, fortunately, performed all his thinking for him. Stabbing his arm at the mirror, his hand thrust all the way through. A net of red light flickered into place over the recently opened door. A temporary solution. Only temporary.
"This way Duchess," Welcheren called out to the embattled and yet defiant form of Ambrosia flashing her hands all around her in urgend defence.

As she looked over at him in surprise, words glowed into shape on the red net cast over the prison entrance:
The one who was given the red - the heart, the heart in the earth - can keep the worst at bay for day, a day, a night and a night.
The one who has claimed the blue - the soul, the soul in the sky - can empower the one who will renew the lock, the prison's lock.
The one who has made the black - the mind, the mind of a realm united - can remake the lock, the prison's lock if the soul in the sky will grant the strenght.

As quick as they shone into life, the words died.
 

Ambrosia

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"This way Duchess."

Ambrosia, startled by the voice that could only belong to the alchemist, quickly looked over her shoulder. He was there. Or part of him was, anyway. One of his arms, his shoulder, part of his chest, his head. As if he were standing partway through a portal. His shed! He must have a portal in his shed, she thought. That thought was immediately replaced by a rare swear word as one of the locusts got through her defenses and smacked into her face, biting her cheek. She grabbed it and crushed it in her hand. Her magic continued to flare and the volume of insects showed signs of declining. She glanced at the prison doorway and her mind registered the net of heartstone magic holding back the majority of the locusts and securing the prison. Still, she was outnumbered here in the corridor and the locusts were intent on her destruction. She did what logic demanded--picked up her skirts and ran.

"Hurry, Duchess!" Prince Welcheren held his hand extended toward her, urging her to move faster.

As soon as their fingers touched she felt the power flowing through him. Heartstone power. Exhilaration flowed through her. A new burst of energy shot from her free hand, a wave thrown at the locusts who had managed to get out of their prison. A good third of them fell smoking to the corridor floor. She felt Prince Welcheren's hand close securely around hers and she was pulled through the portal into his shed. The momentum threw them against the back wall and she felt his arms close around her and his body twist. The pair wound up with his back to the stone and she pulled tight against his chest, protected by his body from the hard stone. The mirror, which she now knew was a portal, vibrated as the locusts slammed into the other side. She feared it might fail until the portal snapped all the way closed and the sounds ceased.

She took a moment to regain her breathing once the portal closed, a moment to enjoy the lovely sensation of being held securely in a man's arms. She looked up at him, then, a smirk on her lips. "I think we are safe now, at least for the time being."

The prince looked down at her and then it dawned on him. "Yes, yes. I believe we are," he said as he quickly released the duchess.

She gently patted the heartstone gift she had given him and then stepped back. "I'm glad you have learned to call on the stone's powers. Very glad indeed."

"I'm getting there. I need more time and we don't have more time. How many locusts are in that group that escaped, do you know?"

Ambrosia bit her lower lip as she thought. "I would say there are still a thousand left. Perhaps as many as a thousand five hundred. Perhaps as little as eight hundred. I know the last attack I made took out a good number. Still, there were a lot in that initial assault force. We must hurry. They will soon find their way up from the catacombs. The Castle must be defended, the Queen protected."

Ambrosia started to move toward the castle when she felt the alchemist's restraining hand on her arm pulling her up short. She glanced at his hand in surprise, and then at his storm-cloud face. Well, well. This is a turn from his normal demeanor. She put on her best ducal affect and lifted her eyebrow. Usually it caused anyone to immediately release her. She was shocked to find it did not have that effect on the man before her.

"When this is all over, Duchess, when the locusts are no longer a threat, you and I need to have a meeting of the minds. It must wait until the danger is past, but then we are going to talk about this penchant you have for placing yourself alone and in danger."

Ambrosia's eyes momentarily got large before she remembered herself. Putting on the unaffected airs of her title, she tilted her head in acknowledgement to the prince and he dropped his hand from her sleeve. Together they raced toward the exit.

Frank hopped out from behind a crate and hurried to his princess to relay the news of all that had transpired.


 

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All hail Queen Brightdreamer! :Hail::Clap::Jump:

May your reign be blessed with peace and success against all the foes of the realm. If you need any potions brewed or transmutations done, issue the command and consider it done, your Majesty.

Now for a little addition to the story:





Prince Welcheren clenched his empty fists while he ran alongside Ambrosia. A kaleidoscope of emotions forked into each other inside his aching head. By what right could he dictate terms to the Grand Duchess of the realm? Surely, a guardian of her stature could claim not merely the authority, but the duty to act as she deemed exigent. Still, the sheer number of times she had jeopardised her life for the collective good outweighed the amour of luck - and even her powers were not limitless. The risk gnawed at him. These thoughts became heated and vibrant, as if pulsing in tune with the red crust webbed over his chest. The ache in his head thrummed louder. The veins of red light snaking over the walls of his shed seemed brighter than before. Something was changing. Implacably.

He had lied about his control over the stone. It was affecting him, but in ways entirely beyond his prediction.

Stuffing these thoughts as far down as he could while they ran, he related the words he had spotted over the temporary net of red light. "I have been thinking," he called over to the Duchess as they gained the exit of his shed and set out across the lawn. "Blue... sky... Could the riddle be referring to dragons?"
 

Ambrosia

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"Blue... sky... Could the riddle be referring to dragons?" asked Prince Welcheren as they ran toward the castle.

"Perhaps. Something to mention to her Majesty."

Ambrosia began lagging behind the prince. She was tempted to rip the skirts from her dress so she could run without encumbrance. She couldn't, of course. The action alone would cause a scandal. She cast a spell of fleet footedness to ease her progress. She pulled up even with the prince and matched his pace. Soon they reached the castle.

Duchess Ambrosia and Prince Welcheren dashed together through the castle entrance and down the hall toward the throne room, only to be pulled up short by the sight of a wall where the double doors used to be. In front of the door sat an ornate table with a silver slaver resting on top of it. Ambrosia looked over at the alchemist who shrugged. Picking up the note from the center of the slaver, she caught a hint of rose perfume.

"That's the Queen's specific fragrance. I would recognize it anywhere. What could she be up to?" Ambrosia broke the Queen's seal with her fingernail and began reading.

Time has elapsed. How much time, I cannot say, for I am shackled to a narrator who can't be bothered to think in such specifics.

I have quested far and wide, across realms known and unknown, in search of a successor for the crown that grows heavier with every description, for the narrator who cannot be bothered with temporal specifics cannot help expounding upon shiny objects and thus keeps encrusting it with more layers of stones and metals and even holographic glitter, 'cause shiny. Messenger birds have been sent to many far-flung corners - yet, alas, none have returned; I am thinking it was a mistake to send phoenixes with paper envelopes, but such wisdom comes only in hindsight, as such wisdom so often does.

Thus I am left with my reign's sunset approaching, and a (by now ridiculously detailed) crown... but no head upon which to place it.

And so, in the infinite wisdom granted me by a narrator who thoroughly abuses authorial powers in deciding what qualifies as "infinite" and "wisdom" (and, frankly, is pushing the boundaries even on the "the"), I shall leave the crown for the first who may complete a harrowing challenge.

Ambrosia paused and blinked. "Oh my, but this doesn't sound good. Not at all."

"What does it say?" asked Prince Welcheren.

"Give me a second." Taking a deep breath for fortitude, she continued reading.

First, one must enter the Room of No Doors. This requires possession of ambulatory powers, generally achieved after millions of years of evolution, as being a Room of No Doors in no way means that there is no way into this Room: it just does not have a door to impede entrance.

Ambrosia looked up from the note and eyed the wall. "No, it doesn't have a door. Or, doors. Where the doors were there is now a wall. When I find the numskulled person who followed the orders of someone fleeing their duties to the Realm, I am going to make that person wish they had never succumbed to the previous queen's charms. Idiots!"

"Duchess? Previous queen? Fleeing duties? What has happened?" The alchemist was very anxious to get a look at that note.

Then, one must cross the Floor of Flooriness.

Once again the Duchess looked up from the note and blinked. She titled her head and her eye twitched. Her lips moved, repeating the words silently to herself. Floor of Flooriness. Shaking her head, she turned back to the note.

Welcheren looked on helplessly.

It is the most flooriest floor ever to fill a horizontal surface between walls and beneath a ceiling.

Finally, one must pick up the crown from the Box of Cardb'rd,

"Oh, no she didn't!"

"Didn't what? Duchess, tell me what is going on!" Welcheren's mouth fell open, shocked he had raised his voice to Ambrosia. He quickly recovered. We both are just wound tight. She didn't even notice. Is she going to share that note or not? Apparently not.

for no fantasy quest is complete without at least one unnecessary apostrophe.

Beware, for this quest is fraught with danger and distraction; there is a window with a view of the garden, which has butterflies and a few birds and some of those pretty flowers that everyone's grandmother grew but you never really see anymore, so you're bound to lose at least a paragraph, if not a whole chapter, to some random flashback of an idealized childhood memory that may or may not contain foreshadowing. Also the Floor of Flooriness can be a bit slippery if you run. And if you don't remember to pick up the crown, you might just wander out of the room again and forget all about it until much later in the story, when the reader is supposed to not be shaking their book and screaming "It's in the Room, you dolt! You walked right past it! Gah, I'd make a better protagonist than you!" as you and your sidekicks wrack your brains for the location of the mysterious missing crown.

Farewell, and good luck!

Ambrosia thought she was doing quite well containing the volcano rising up inside of her. After all, other than a bit of a hand shaking while she held the note, she had managed not to damage it. No, such a note should live for posterity in the Royal Archives. She would not crush it, she would not tear it, she would not send it up in a flame. Ever so carefully she handed it to the alchemist. She caught movement off to her right and turned. The person who had been trying to walk past without notice was pinned to his location by the Duchess' stare. When he met her eyes he actually squeaked, then slammed a hand over his mouth.

"Oh, no you don't," said Ambrosia, stalking toward the man. She grabbed him by the collar and shoved him up against the wall. "Tell me who did this!" she shouted, pointing toward the wall. She felt a restraining hand on her arm and followed the hand up the arm to the face of the person having the audacity to touch her.

"Ambrosia, release him. This isn't you. That mark on your face, did one of the locusts bite you?" asked Welcheren, releasing Ambrosia's arm.

She let the servant's collar go and the man fled. Mutely she watched him go, putting her hand on the stinging wound on her face. "What's happening to me?"

"Let me see it, Duchess. I think you've been poisoned," said Welcheren as he prodded the inflamed bite.

"Leave it, Alchemist. It will have to wait. We have far more pressing concerns."

"Your being poisoned seems a pressing concern to me."

"It will wait." Ambrosia breezed past him and stopped in front of the wall. Raising her hands she released a spell. The wall exploded inward and she walked quickly through the opening.

"Ambrosia, what are you doing?" Welcheren rushed after her, hit the Floor of Flooriness and slid.

Ambrosia watched him sailing past, limbs all akimbo, and smiled. There were benefits to being a mage, prepared. Feet barely touching the floor she floated toward the cardb'rd box and the crown resting on it. Reaching her hand out, she grasped the crown, shook out the excess sparklies, and stuck it on her head.

"I AM QUEEN. Hear me Realm Locusts! I and no other claim this crown, this throne, this realm. I rule. You want someone. Here I am."

Welcheren picked himself up off the floor, agony written on his face. "Oh, Ambrosia, what have you done?"

"What I always do, my dear Prince. Protect the Realm."
 

tiddlywinks

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Princess Winks growled and threw yet another pillow into the growing mess in her room.

"Where is it? WHERE IS THE PRECIOUS?"

A knock sounded at her door.

"WHAT?!"

The door opened rather timidly and Frank be-bopped his head carefully inside, leaving just enough space that he could quickly withdraw should the princess decide to throw the rather sparkly, rather pointy high heel she was currently snarling over and shaking upside down. He twitched his nose and readjusted his sparkly tiara.

"Locusts? Below the castle? :gaah I hate locusts. Almost as bad as ticks." Princess Winks shuddered. Then grumbled something else.

Frank made jazz ears and danced further into the room. He carefully bumped the Princess' sparkly purse sitting on her sparkly chair.

"Of course it's not in there. I already looked in that three times."

Frank twitched his nose rather imperiously.

"I assure you, it's not --"

The plot bunny gave her an innocent look as he pulled out the scroll she'd been so furiously tearing through her royal apartments to find. His ears flattened as she let loose a string of decidedly unsparkly words.

"Thank you, Frank," she said between clenched teeth. On a dangerously bright smile, she marched from the room, scroll in one hand, the offending sparkly purse held imperiously between two fingers at arm's length before her.

Together, they arrived in the throne room just as a triumphant jubilee sounded, heralding the coronation of the new Queen. Princess Winks and Franks had just opened their mouths to congratulation Queen Ambrosia on her return to the crown when an enormous buzzing sounded from beyond the still broken stained glass window on the far side of the great hall.

Prince Welcheren appeared from behind the throne and hurried over to the edge, only to be nearly bowled over by Princess Snitchcat as she flew through. Princess SWestie made a graceful banana tumble from where she'd been riding along with the dragon princess, and landed before Frank. The two commenced to speak in break-dance.

Princess Winks was watching the two intently, trying to figure out just what in the name of shineyyy was going on.

"Um, Princesses. Your Majesty. Frank," Prince Welcheren began.

"Shhh!" Princess Winks waved a bony hand at the alchemist. "I've almost translated the message."

"Well, I'm pretty sure--"

"SHHHH!"

"But--"

"I've almost got it!"

"FOR THE LOVE, THERE'S AN ARMY OF LOCUSTS APPROACHING LED BY THE MOTHER OF ALL LOCUSTS!"

The Royals froze as one. Then Princess Winks gave the offending sparkly purse in her hand a dastardly smile. "Oh, I got this."

With a whistle and a swish of her sparkly robes, she skipped over to the stained glass window/hole. Peered out. Shuddered and muttered something about darn bugs, then proceeded to chuck the sparkly purse as hard as she could out the window.

"DUCK!"

Both the Princess and the Alchemist threw themselves on the Queen, just before a blast of super-heated glitter roared through the room.

An enraged clicky-bug scream-sob sounded outside. "Free Ones! My little free ones, what did she do to your lovely carapaces?"

Princess Winks removed herself from where she'd plastered the Queen to the ground, then quickly dusted the glitter as best she could from the Queen's robes under her majesty's darkening scowl. "Right. So, now that I just took out most of the approaching locust problem, how about I go see about some coffee?"
 

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She means well, thought the Queen as she continued to brush glitter off and watched Princess Tiddlywinks hurry on her way from the throne room. Ambrosia looked out the broken window and saw the Queen of Realm Locusts had retreated to a safe distance. Even Ambrosia would find getting a spell to reach that range a challenge. There were limits to magic, as she was all too aware. Princess Tiddlywinks had mistaken a lead assault force for the full contingent of the enemy's forces. If it had been true, that the entire army of Realm Locusts approached, their bodies would have blocked out the sun and caused darkness to fall across the lands. Few understood the scope of the threat.

She reached up and touched the crown. Why was the Queen of Realm Locusts here? Ambrosia wore the crown. It should be enough to keep her at bay. The realm was secure now. Wasn't it? Dropping her hand she motioned for Prince Welcheren to come closer.

"Yes, Your Majesty?" he asked, glancing skyward instead of looking at her, keeping an eye on the far off enemy.

"We need to marshall our forces. There are still locusts heading this way from the catacombs. That small group needs to dealt with first, and then we need to figure out that riddle you saw on the temporary gate. If those locusts get out of their prison--"

"We're doomed. Yes, Your Majesty, I know," he said, turning his gaze to his queen. "How should we handle this approaching squad?"

"I'm thinking a combination of archers and soldiers. The archers can fire arrows while the soldiers protect the archers with their shields, and then their weapons. And, of course, magic. It should be a lethal combination."

"I'll inform the Captain of the Guard at once."

"Thank you, Prince Welcheren. Hurry back. We have other things to discuss."

Prince Welcheren bowed to the queen and made his way carefully out of the room, still remembering his earlier fall and slide.

Ambrosia shook her head, bent down and touched the floor. "Dissipate." The slickness the previous queen had applied to the floor was immediately countered. The queen rose and pointed to the broken windows. "Repair." The broken pieces of glass littering the floor and ledges in the room flew back to the proper location and the windows were mended. Ambrosia noted movement near the hole in the wall and waited. It turned out to be a workman being hauled into the throne room between two guards. The guards half-carried, half-dragged the man until they were 10 feet from the queen.

"What have we here, gentlemen?" asked the queen as the men stopped in front of her.

"Your Majesty, we have found the workman who walled in the door," proclaimed the guard on the man's right.

"Indeed?" Ambrosia walked toward the man and he squirmed in the guard's arms until the queen stood right in front of him. Then he shrank into himself. "Can you restore the doors?"

The man looked up at the queen and nodded his head. He had a hopeful look on his face.

"Do it. Bring it back exactly as it was before it was walled in. Do I make myself clear? Speak man!"

"Ye...yes, Your Majesty. Perfectly clear."

"Then go do. I have no more time left to waste on this matter."

The man was released by the guards and had begun to leave on his task when he stopped and turned back to the queen. "Your Majesty, may I ask a question?"

Ambrosia, who was already on to the next issue, paused and looked at him, her eyebrow raised. When he didn't speak, she audibly exhaled and waved him to proceed.

"I mean no disrespect, Your Majesty. I'm just curious. Why didn't you use one of the other entrances into the throne room?"

"Because I wanted to hit something, master craftsman. Much like I want to hit something now. Any further curious questions?"

The workman swallowed and shook his head. Ambrosia motioned with her eyes toward the exit and the workman fled, the soldiers following soon after.
 

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Picking his way with concerted effort, Prince Welcheren eventually exited the Throne Room. A nugget of concern was rolling around and nudging the back of his mind. Something about the crown seemed unusual. The stones embedded in his chest itched. The word poison arched through his braind. But that cannot be. Surely not. How would that have happened? Madness. The tendrils of the thought pursued him until he finally resolved to beg the Queen's permission to test the crown. For, military matters were afoot.

Shields were all good and well for covering archers, but faced with flying horde like the Realm Locusts, Prince Welcheren had a different idea. He'd been working with the Master of Feathers (the lieutenant-commander of the archery cohorts) on a device that might still buy them enough time.
"Pavises."
Simultaneously, however, he needed to ready a cohort of shieldmen to march into the bowels under the Castle and combat the locusts charging in from that quarter.
"Two places at once?"
He stopped running.
"This will probably cost me my lunch." One hand rubbed his tummy in preparation for the after-effects, while the other retrieved a potion from his cloak. How it had survived his tumble across the floor was a myster. Plot armour, perhaps? Useful thing that.
"Bottoms up."
 

DanielSTJ

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Daniel groaned. His nose was burning as was his eyes. What the hell? Where am I?

Everything was dark-- black.

You look without seeing. The voice that he heard was not his.

Daniel did not know whether he was awoke or asleep. In-fact, he did not know if he was even on the normal plane of existence anymore.

The voice was now an incipient whisper: You don’t know what I am, do you?

Daniel tried to take a breath, but was unable to. He did not panic, instead he focused.

You will found out, the voice intoned, maybe before it’s too late.

And with that he awoke, trembling, in the catacombs.
 

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Late night edition:

==​

The smell of rotting flesh filled Daniel’s nose. There was something here. He blinked and realized that he was still engulfed in the darkness of the catacombs. Daniel realized that he was not breathing and when he did the air was stale and bitter and he coughed and then spat on the ground.

Where am I?

He realized that he was on the ground and brought his legs to his chest. Daniel was curled up on his side and he felt a pressing feeling on his chest. He had no idea how long he had been down here, but he knew that he wanted to “check out,” per se, as soon as possible.

He slowly rose from the ground and dusted himself off. The darkness was beginning to creep up on him and he realized what he needed to do.

Daniel reached into his cloak and took out a book of matches. He lit the first one and nearly dropped it when his vision adjusted.

He was in the bowels of the catacombs. On the walls were messages that looked like they had been carved with stone tools. The inscriptions were wide and Daniel begun to wonder if he had not entered into one of the tombs of a past king. That would not bode well. Everyone that has entered into the tombs of the ancients never met good ends. He looked down and realized that the ground was caked in soot.

Fire? Was there a fire here? That doesn’t make any sense. This entire place is made with stone. Or....?

He reached down and touched the powder-like substance with his fingers. When he did, a chill went down his spine. It was not soot at all.

Ashes: it is ashes.

Daniel wiped the remnants of the ashes on his cloak and slowly turned around in a circle so that he could see the expanse of the entire room. There was a sarcophagus in the corner, but it did not look like it was of noble bearing. On it, there was an emblem that he did not recognize despite the teachings that had been given to him at a young age-- when he had first taken his place as an apprentice for the castle. He wanted to investigate further, but he was hesitant. Daniel had heard that the tombs contained many traps that were deathly or paralyzing in nature. Worse, no one knew that he was down here. If he would fall, he would be down here alone until the suffocating web of darkness would consume him whole.

The match went out and Daniel heard something in the dark. His hand went to another match, but he did not strike it-- yet. If there was something down here with him, he wanted to be ready for it. Daniel did not want to reveal his precise location at the moment. He closed his eyes and focused. Welcheren had taught him this technique. If you caught yourself in the right zone with your eyes closed, you could see things that even the naked eye could not.

It was small and moving rapidly. Furthermore, it had wings.

Welcheren’s raven.

“Bard,” it said as it swept down and perched itself on your shoulder. “How did YOU get in here?”

“I could ask you the very same question,” Daniel grinned.

“This is a bad place. We need to leave.”

“Not yet. I want to find out what’s going on here.”

“Then I will stay. But let us not bask in the bleakness of the dark.”

His eyes suddenly glowed and Daniel recognized what came out of them.

Light.
 

DanielSTJ

The Wandering Bard
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Registered
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Location
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Late night edition:

==​

The smell of rotting flesh filled Daniel’s nose. There was something here. He blinked and realized that he was still engulfed in the darkness of the catacombs. Daniel realized that he was not breathing and when he did the air was stale and bitter and he coughed and then spat on the ground.

Where am I?

He realized that he was on the ground and brought his legs to his chest. Daniel was curled up on his side and he felt a pressing feeling on his chest. He had no idea how long he had been down here, but he knew that he wanted to “check out,” per se, as soon as possible.

He slowly rose from the ground and dusted himself off. The darkness was beginning to creep up on him and he realized what he needed to do.

Daniel reached into his cloak and took out a book of matches. He lit the first one and nearly dropped it when his vision adjusted.

He was in the bowels of the catacombs. On the walls were messages that looked like they had been carved with stone tools. The inscriptions were wide and Daniel begun to wonder if he had not entered into one of the tombs of a past king. That would not bode well. Everyone that has entered into the tombs of the ancients never met good ends. He looked down and realized that the ground was caked in soot.

Fire? Was there a fire here? That doesn’t make any sense. This entire place is made with stone. Or....?

He reached down and touched the powder-like substance with his fingers. When he did, a chill went down his spine. It was not soot at all.

Ashes: it is ashes.

Daniel wiped the remnants of the ashes on his cloak and slowly turned around in a circle so that he could see the expanse of the entire room. There was a sarcophagus in the corner, but it did not look like it was of noble bearing. On it, there was an emblem that he did not recognize despite the teachings that had been given to him at a young age-- when he had first taken his place as an apprentice for the castle. He wanted to investigate further, but he was hesitant. Daniel had heard that the tombs contained many traps that were deathly or paralyzing in nature. Worse, no one knew that he was down here. If he would fall, he would be down here alone until the suffocating web of darkness would consume him whole.

The match went out and Daniel heard something in the dark. His hand went to another match, but he did not strike it-- yet. If there was something down here with him, he wanted to be ready for it. Daniel did not want to reveal his precise location at the moment. He closed his eyes and focused. Welcheren had taught him this technique. If you caught yourself in the right zone with your eyes closed, you could see things that even the naked eye could not.

It was small and moving rapidly. Furthermore, it had wings.

Welcheren’s raven.

“Bard,” it said as it swept down and perched itself on your shoulder. “How did YOU get in here?”

“I could ask you the very same question,” Daniel grinned.

“This is a bad place. We need to leave.”

“Not yet. I want to find out what’s going on here.”

“Then I will stay. But let us not bask in the bleakness of the dark.”

His eyes suddenly glowed and Daniel recognized what came out of them.

Light.
 

DanielSTJ

The Wandering Bard
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 3, 2017
Messages
5,408
Reaction score
364
Age
31
Location
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Late night edition:

==​

The smell of rotting flesh filled Daniel’s nose. There was something here. He blinked and realized that he was still engulfed in the darkness of the catacombs. Daniel realized that he was not breathing and when he did the air was stale and bitter and he coughed and then spat on the ground.

Where am I?

He realized that he was on the ground and brought his legs to his chest. Daniel was curled up on his side and he felt a pressing feeling on his chest. He had no idea how long he had been down here, but he knew that he wanted to “check out,” per se, as soon as possible.

He slowly rose from the ground and dusted himself off. The darkness was beginning to creep up on him and he realized what he needed to do.

Daniel reached into his cloak and took out a book of matches. He lit the first one and nearly dropped it when his vision adjusted.

He was in the bowels of the catacombs. On the walls were messages that looked like they had been carved with stone tools. The inscriptions were wide and Daniel begun to wonder if he had not entered into one of the tombs of a past king. That would not bode well. Everyone that has entered into the tombs of the ancients never met good ends. He looked down and realized that the ground was caked in soot.

Fire? Was there a fire here? That doesn’t make any sense. This entire place is made with stone. Or....?

He reached down and touched the powder-like substance with his fingers. When he did, a chill went down his spine. It was not soot at all.

Ashes: it is ashes.

Daniel wiped the remnants of the ashes on his cloak and slowly turned around in a circle so that he could see the expanse of the entire room. There was a sarcophagus in the corner, but it did not look like it was of noble bearing. On it, there was an emblem that he did not recognize despite the teachings that had been given to him at a young age-- when he had first taken his place as an apprentice for the castle. He wanted to investigate further, but he was hesitant. Daniel had heard that the tombs contained many traps that were deathly or paralyzing in nature. Worse, no one knew that he was down here. If he would fall, he would be down here alone until the suffocating web of darkness would consume him whole.

The match went out and Daniel heard something in the dark. His hand went to another match, but he did not strike it-- yet. If there was something down here with him, he wanted to be ready for it. Daniel did not want to reveal his precise location at the moment. He closed his eyes and focused. Welcheren had taught him this technique. If you caught yourself in the right zone with your eyes closed, you could see things that even the naked eye could not.

It was small and moving rapidly. Furthermore, it had wings.

Welcheren’s raven.

“Bard,” it said as it swept down and perched itself on your shoulder. “How did YOU get in here?”

“I could ask you the very same question,” Daniel grinned.

“This is a bad place. We need to leave.”

“Not yet. I want to find out what’s going on here.”

“Then I will stay. But let us not bask in the bleakness of the dark.”

His eyes suddenly glowed and Daniel recognized what came out of them.

Light.
 
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