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Second Step: Storytime!


Burns
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Since i'm not looking for a stableboy, but for an apprentice, i have to check their mental abilities before accepting them, obviously. For an easy start, not much more than a warm-up, i'll check their creativity.

 

The aspiring young drachorn girls and guys would obviously need to be able to sell their work properly, not just do it well. And in MD, that means weaving a good story.

What makes a good story, you ask? You really only need a few little things. One of them is an enthralling main character, for example a bald man with a hat and swords instead of fingernails always makes for a great start. The setting needs to be realistic enough for people to really believe in your story, too, and then you need some sidekicks, like a dragon that wants to be a drachorn, or a cute little lorerootian elf to fall in love with the hero. And of course a plot... werewolf-hunting works really well, but we've had that already, so don't try that.

 

I expect you to create a fictional piece of story of yourself in reference to drachorns. It can be about your background, an adventure you survived, something that you're still working on, or a romantic story between you and a drachorn if you like. What matters is that it needs to be tied in with MD so well that a veteran would actually buy it. It needs to sound so reasonable, and fit with existing things in MD in such a manner as if it actually happened some day. If your story is not only about yourself and the drachorns, use existing characters to fill the roles. Use actual places and let things act in a reasonable way.

 

Once again, i'll rate your stories all by myself, even though i'm not very good with literature. So don't bother doing masterpieces with rhymes and allegories and stuff, that won't get your a good rating. Instead work to make it interesting and enthralling, and make me believe that this could happen exactly in the way you described.

 

For example, a story about a guy who gets fired off to the moon in a rocket and found a drachorn on the dark side of the moon before landing in Albion, from where he hacked his way through Hyrule and into Necrovion... not so great.

A story about how you hunted a drachorn across the plains of No man's land and followed it into the mountains of Golemus, where you found the tiny men who invited you for tea... better, but not very creative.

 

The more impressive your story is, the higher i'll reward you. And all of them must be posted in this thread, for a very simple reason: If two stories are similar, the older one (according to the forum timestamp) gets the better rating on originality.

Oh, and get it done by Jan 14th. Editing is not allowed, and if you make a new post here, the old one will be invalidated as submission.

 

Also, this is still a quest, too, not just a selection process. You don't need to have participated in the first step so you can get rewarded in this one, neither do you need to aspire to be my apprentice.

 

Happy writing!

Edited by Burns
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I will write this on the spot, so please ignore spelling or other mistakes (can't edit this).

 

       [spoiler]

This story follows an adventure of TheRichMerchant which happened in a not so distant past. It all started when Rich (this will be the shortened name of our hero for the rest of the story) was summoned by the King of Marind Bell, Princ Rhaegar. 'Rich, I have been haunted by some dreams over the past week. Normally, I ignore dreams - bad ones tend to occur due to too much food or something like that. But this is no laughing matter - I have the same dream over and over again. It is... disturbing, a very disturbing one. I see a drachorn flying over from the mountains and resting atop of Wind's Sanctuary. I do not know what it means, but Golemians... who knows what they do in that island of theirs... It might be worth checking. Nobody is available atm and... well, let's make this your assignment. All you need do is gather information. Do not - I repeat, DO NOT - engage in anything. Simply pose as a traveller and don't break your disguise. If you get caught... you know. Just DON'T get caught'.

        Normally, Rich, a Bringer of LIight, would find it very difficult to enter Golemus Golemicarum. However, he has found a seller of magic goods in Loreroot. The vendor sold a pair of magic boots which allows the wearer to travel at very high speed for a limited amount of time, amongst other magical things. It was that item that Rich bought. 'Now, remember', said the vendor, 'you only have 6 minutes before the boots lose their magical properties and become nothing more than ordinary leather boots. Use them wisely'. Upon putting on the footwear, Rich felt a surge of power and moved with lightning speed through Loreroot and managed to reach Gates of Ages in a flash. Then, after watching the once unpassable gate, he rushed through and one split second later, he was inside Golemus. 'Time to act', said Rich, putting on his hooded robe. He carefully hid the dagger, put on a tiresome face and started to walk slowly. After all, he was a stranger to the land, even if this was not his first time visiting the place.

         He stood in awe at the ring of pillars which had a harmonious echo every time you would walk in. 'Must be a portal', he thought, and moved on. It was a long road until he would reach the Tempest Fort. He went up, past the lighthouse, and reached Drachorn's Lair. He decided to take a peek and saw nothing unusual. 'Hmm, this won't do me any good. As I thought, I must reach Kelle'tha mountain. Bah! let these tiny men whip drachorns all day, what's important is that they don't whip ME'. And so he went forward to Cannon's Crossing, trying to stay as much unnoticed as possible. But it wasn't possible...

         Out of nowhere, a stout short fellow started to cry at him. 'Ey, lad, you lost? Ey, I'm talking to you! Ey!' Rich was distressed, but he managed to carry on with his act, saying he was a traveller who has heard of the mystical land of Golemus and wanted to see its wonders. 'You're in luck, mate. I got nothing to do today, so I'll accompany you'. 'I'm fine, really', Rich tried to say, but he was interrupted by another loud remark. 'Nobody's lost when Nurbs is around! Hahahaha!'... And so it came that Nurbs the Torchbringer patted Rich on the shoulder and then twisted his arm and started to drag him up. 'You rather skinny for a young lad. Get some meat on you, boy, or you'll never make it to the top. Hahahaha! You need power to get across Power's Ascent! Why do you think it's called POWER's ascent, eh? 'Cuz you need power - and you don't have it. Luckily, I have plenty of that. Look!' He flexed his arms, giving Rich a break. 'I think I can walk by myself', said Rich. 'Really? you don't look like it. But we will see, won't we?' And he laughed again, spouting germs all over the place.

         As they walked, time passed quickly and they reached a bridge. The bridge was old, but it's not that which made them stop. It was the body of a teenager, lying face-down, barely breathing. They rushed to him, trying to see if there was anything that could be done. His body had strange markings and two deep cuts could be seen under the shoulder blades, going down. 'Ey, lad, get some water...'kay, let's splash some on him...great, give him some water.' It was a givevvital_spellstone which brought the youngster to life. 'I always have one on me. You can never know...' said Nurbs. The boy rised and, still looking confused, thanked them. He said all he remembers is standing in front of the pyramids of Kelle'tha mountain top and that he probably fell. It was impossible to survive that, indeed. Luckily, they found him just in time. 'Andrew Draerd is my name.' 'Andrew what?' 'Draerd - the fading one'. 'Dre..dr...Andy, boy, glad to meet ya', said Nurbs. 'Me and my pal, Rich, a fellow from No Man's land, are travelling towards Kelle'tha mountain. You have a lucky fairy out there, boy.'

      And so, they went forward and reached Tempest Fort, but the night was falling, so they called it a day. They went inside the fort and asked for a bed to stay over night and, sure enough, they found it. 'With tiny men guarding it, no worries in the world, lads. Tiny doesn't mean weak, ya get me?' said Nurbs. Yet, the night was anything but peaceful. Somewhere past midnight, a loud roar woke them up. Standing up, Rich saw, right in front of him, the huge head of a drachorn, gazing at them. 'Aaaah!' His scream filled the room and, as the drachorn raised his claw to maul him, he saw Nurbs throwing his pickaxe at the beast. The drachorn released a painful roar and retreated. 'How...how could  a drach enter the fort? And where has it dissapeared in an instant?' asked Rich. 'Ey, Andy, where are you? Rich, the boy has dissapeared.' They looked around, but he was nowhere to be found. They rushed outside the fort and, bleeding to death, Andre Draerd was lying on the ground. Rich was already suspecting something, soemthing hideous which connected Princ's visions with the experiments going on inside the island of Golemus. But what could he do? He was told not to do anything, just gather information. Should he retreat, reporting his findings and his assumption? After all, it was getting dangerous. Or should he go forward to Mt. Kelle'tha? The answers were probably there....

        'Hey, whatcha doing, Rich? No time to waste. I don't have any more givevital stones on me. The lad's dying. He was hit by something heavy. Must be that drach.'

[/spoiler]

 

woah, I closed the page accidentally and I thought I was a goner. yay for autosave!

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My submission. [spoiler]To walk down a path that has been treaded before, it is no different than the journey of her past days. The streets look the same and dust settles on the cold bricks. Assira looks around studying the landscape of Tribunal. Memories surface with in her mind. Memories of betrayal and grasps at power. She hears the whispers from the depths of the land. Hinting at something more… something darker. Not the temple of the void. That is not what calls her to travel deeper into the land…to travel paths she has traveled times before when she was a simple bar maiden.
 
The silence following her…enticing her for when the realm is silent the edges of her mind is filled with noise. Whispers taunting… and urges that still occasionally pull her in, tearing her from reality molding her into who she is. Today it was stronger than normal, almost as if the gauntlet was not firmly encasing her left arm, allowing her some control.
 
Something catches her eye when she nears the hotel. She can not place what it is that drew her here… Finding nothing to satisfy her curiosity she goes to move away from the hotel's door. The noise becomes deafening causing her to clasp the door frame to keep from falling over.
 
Images of blood and flesh come flooding through her mind. The air seems thinner and her eyes start to lose focus. The urge… no… the need pulls at her.  Her right hand slides down the door frame and rests on to the gauntlet.
 
"If only… If only it was not there. It holds me back… holds me…"
 
A shadow shifts just slightly in the alley way beside the hotel, bringing her attention back to the present. She clenches her right hand into a fist and grinds her teeth. On edge she stands there listening. The silence eats away at her, well the silence and something else.
 
Thoughts surface within her mind, "Kill them… Kill them all." Shaking her head she goes to turn around to walk away from the hotel. Not that leaving the hotel would put distance between her and her mind.
 
The silence is broken, something scrapped against stone. Not a soft scurrying sound… but something hard like metal or bone. Normally fear is not something she is accustom too… not like this. Why would she be scared of a noise… when it can do nothing to her.
 
Not liking to be afraid she confronts what may be in that alley. With every echo of her steps the fear built.
 
Around the corner, blood was the first thing she saw. Her jaw clenched, not with revulsion… but with the urge to devour and destroy. Amidst the blood was a young drachorn…it's skin… torn and bloody, hung in chunks from its bones. Decay seeped into its body. Why she did not notice its stench before, is unfathomable.
It's foggy eyes watched her movements sluggishly. The drachorn's breath was ragged and it laid still on the cool stones. From appearances it had not been wounded by weapons…
 
Stepping closer she then could tell what caused it to be in this state … and why she was drawn here. It was not her fear that she had felt, but the young drachorn's.
 
Assira lowers her hand to the youngling and it goes to snap at her hand. Its' teeth tighten around her hand but stop short of piercing her flesh. A smile touch the edges of her lips, "So you have been given the command too?"
 
"It is going to be an interesting year." She says as the tainted drachorn lets go of her hand.
 
"Hmm…" Assira stands there studying the creature, its' fear still present with in her mind. She resists the fear's summons.
 
"For now, I will leave you here." She walks out of the alley and glances back at the young drachorn. "I have no need for you in the state you are in… but I will be back to check your… progress."
 
She walks the silent paths back out of Tribunal, the noise shouting in her mind and a smile twisted upon her hips. "Interesting year, indeed."[/spoiler]

 

-Assira the Black

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In search for a draca

[spoiler]

Sit down little ones and pay attention, I will tell you a tale of my life. I remember the first day I arrived here very well, it was near the end of year 6, November if somebody cares. I remember well since it was raining cats and dogs that day.
I quickly flew to this strange Aramory and got myself a few companions. On my way back to this relative safe place called the Paper Cabin, I noticed I already drew attention to myself of some shady figures. After fighting them off with more trouble than I had initially though for someone of my size, I found myself again in an unfamiliar wooden room but this time I wasn’t alone
A creepy little girl wanted to play a game, and so we did. As a reward she took me to a carnival. Hunger drove me insane leading to killing a poor clown so of course I had to quickly leave the place.

 

From then on I started wandering these lands, not knowing very well what exactly I was missing in my life. I got to know some sweet little ones, who accepted me for what I am, and not feared or hunted me. For that I will be ever grateful to them. So then was it friendship I missed? Perhaps, I moved on and I was happy, at least for a while.

 

Soon the sadness hit me again, so I started wandering again, further and further. I think it took me about a year to get back to the inhabited world. I flew around and started to see the place with different eyes. I contacted dst and was allowed in the Underground and Shattered Illusions. I had found a place to call my home, so I was happy again.

 

But it was soon that I learned that a home isn’t everything. The underground is a lovely place and the shattered illusions never stopped amazing me, but I realised there is more to life. I saw all these little ones sticking together and I realised how lonely I was. I hung around the crowded places, and saw some familiar faces and got to know some of them quite well again, but there was one standing out of the crowd. Ah yes, she is a special one, and I think Burns will agree with me here. When Nimrodel accepted to be my rider I felt so happy, I thought I could fly around the realm and back without any problem.

 

But it was when we were travelling together I faced my real “problem”. During our visit to Golemus, we went inside the drachorn lair, a place I love and hate for obvious reasons. And of course her Burns had to be there. Those two went all fuzzy and stuff, at least for those two, which made me feel jealous. Not only because this little one got more attention from her than me, but also that I didn’t have anyone to do these things with.

 

So at that moment I knew what to do, I knew what my next goal was going to be. With lifted spirit I started wandering again, searching for a draca that would make me feel complete. I searched far and wide. Every piece of land I could set my claws on I visited, but alas, no draca was to be found. For many hours I was pondering where they could’ve gone, what made them disappear. And then it hit me.

 

I heard that my dstbus had won a melodic charm, a key that lets you enter the drachorn vault and steal one of their legendary treasures. So I travelled as quickly as I could towards the lair to try and stop her from doing so. But I was too late, her scent was already in the cave when I arrived. But luckily she told me she still had her key when I found her lateron.

For those that do not know, in the lair are of course also drachorn eggs, which you can collect with such charm. So they must be able to keep a firm supply of those eggs available. Meaning that that evil man had locked all dracas in his lair, forcing them to lay eggs as much as they could, how barbaric!

I knew my goal now, so I started planning. Various ideas crossed my mind, going from going to war with the tiny men to letting myself get captured by them and breaking out then. But there was always one point that stopped me, the cruelty of the tiny men. Burns actions are nothing to what the tiny men have done, or are capable of. Allow me to refresh your memory.

 

Page 17 [2008-05-12 12:12:13 – SmartAlekRJ’s Lost Dragon]
Confused, but also intrigued of what is going on, he decides to try and release one of the dragons that the tiny people keep bound and see what happens. He slowly releases one of the drachorns. The Creature is massive and looks dangerous. 

Page 18 [2008-05-12 16:26:49 – SmartAlekRJ’s Lost Dragon]
With a terrifying scream, the creature starts to swing his wings and takes off, hitting the ceiling of the cave while struggling to escape the place. Distracted for a second by the magnificent look of the drachorn, SmartAlekRJ immediately turns his attention back to the tiny people. 

 

Page 19 [2008-05-13 02:08:28 – SmartAlekRJ’s Lost Dragon]
Like a swarm of psychotic maniacs, hundreds, maybe thousands, of tiny people run toward one of the captive dragons, screaming so unnaturally loud that SmartAlekRJ has to put his hands against his ears. They start to tear the poor dragon apart, cutting and biting pieces of him as the poor beast screams his pain in the large cave. 

 

Page 20 [2008-05-13 05:29:39 – SmartAlekRJ’s Lost Dragon]
As the massacre continues, SmartAlekrj looks terrified at the horrible show. Several hours pass until the tiny people completely disintegrate the massive beast. As if nothing happened moments ago, they resume their daily routines. A small group comes to clean the remaining bones that form a huge skeleton where, not long ago, a mighty dragon stood. 

 

So there all my ideas stopped, out of fear that they could harm me or my kin. I was trying to make plans that would lure all the tiny men out of the cave, but I didn’t have any success so far. But then, like a gift from the gods came a message. Burns, the drachorn master was looking for an apprentice. As quickly as I could I got all the information on this rumour and acted upon it. And here you are, listening to my story, in hope that soon I can be the drachorn king, so that I can be together with my kin.

[/spoiler]

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All right, I just finished it. I hope there is no character limit as it is 6 pages long.  :rolleyes: (If it is too big, I'll upload it in a file)

 

[spoiler]This story I’m about to tell started on a sunny afternoon. I was in the No Man’s Land, camping near the road with my archers and the rest of my creatures. Syndrel , my most trusted archer was playing on his flute, I was gathering skin fragments from my grasan who just started exfoliating. It was looking to be another lazy, boring day when the sentry spotted someone coming down the road. As the figure approached I could make out that she was a woman, a beautiful one no less. She had jet black hair, toned skin, almond eyes and a really pretty face. She was heading straight for our camp.
So I went to greet her:
- Greetings fair lady. I can see you are not from around here. May you need some assistance on your journey?
- Hello. Well, aren’t you a good looking one? Yes, you could accompany me on my little journey. You look just the kind of man I need.
She said as she brushed her hair aside. I knew she wanted to seduce me. I wasn’t fooled, though I was curious what does a strong, determined woman like she wants. So I introduced myself:
- I’m Azrafar. Nice to meet you. So, where are you heading?
- You can call me Sheila. I’m going to Golemus. I have a little business there. You can help me take care of it.
- All right… what is that little business I can help you with? And of course, what is the payment?
I like escorting ladies, its free, but business means work and that needs to be paid.
- Escort me to Golemus and then I’ll tell you. – She said and sent a flirtatious wink toward me.
- You are awfully secretive you know? – I said as I showed her a smile. - All right. The gates are not far. We’ll be there before nightfall.
- Oh, but we aren’t going through the front gate. This is a “sensitive” matter. It needs some discretion.
- I can be discrete. It will however cost more. And may I ask where do you intend to enter Golemus? As far as I know there is only one entrance. Unless you want to go by boat, but they will see us coming miles away.
- Don’t worry. There is another way. Through the Labyrinth. The problem is I don’t have a map, but I’m sure you know you way around right?
- What? The Labyrinth? – I yelled out loud, looking like a fool. - No I… I don’t know the way, but I can find it, don’t worry. I have some tricks… But this little trip will cost even more.
I saw she was trying to hide a frown. Maybe because I looked unprepared, but most likely because she realised her seduction didn’t work on me the slightest.
- So before we go, I want to know how much can you pay?
- You can have as much silver and gold as you want, if that is what you want. Or anything realy. I a m more well off then you think. When we get to Golemus I’ll tell you everything, you’ll understand then.
- I think I can trust a pretty lady like you. – I sad with a sarcastic jab – All right men we are moving out!

***
I knew I was in for some dangerous task. I did not expect a big reward, I had a feeling she doesn’t have much to offer. However, I also felt that this “mission” is important. I can’t describe the feeling. I just knew I want to take part in this.
For the thrill of it? To satisfy my curiosity? Maybe all of this and more. During the two day walk I kept acting like a money hungry mercenary. Well… because you never know what may come your way at the end.
And so we arrived at the Labyrinth’s entrance.
- Are you sure you can navigate through it? – She asked.
- I’m sure. Just watch. – I answered vaguely. She didn’t complain, so we entered.
I knew a few tricks sure; getting lost was not an option unless the Labyrinth had some kind of magic to disorient us. I hoped it didn’t.
I noticed that it had no roof, although the hedge looked dangerous one could easily fly over it. So I decided to send my winderwild, named Vaal, to scout out the right path. He’s a smart bird and I trained him well. Mapping the right path and leading us through it seemed like an easy task for him.
I was wrong…
- See? Vaal will find us the way. We’ll be through in no time. – I said to Sheila as I sent the winderwild on his way. Then just as he disappeared in the distance we heard his screech. Something got him!
- Damn it! - I yelled – All right, plan “B”! Syndrel, you take the right wall and follow it to the exit. Take half of the archers too. If you find Vaal, take care of him.
- Well, this is going well… - Sheila added sarcastically, though se didn’t seem to be worried.
- I underestimated this place, so what? Now move out. We’ll follow the left wall. It may take time to get through, but hopefully we can move faster without the fear of getting lost.
She frowned. I wasn’t sure about this tactic either. If that place had any more surprises we would have been in great trouble.
As we were running trough we heard unsettling noises. Something was following us! So we slowed down and tried to satay unnoticed. Something was lurking there and I just didn’t want to find out what. Maybe we could have taken it on. So I decided to cast a spell:
- Sssshh… Stop for a moment. I’ll cast a spell that will make us… less detectable. – I whispered. Sheila agreed with a silent nod. So I whispered the magic words and we became transparent and our sounds got muffled.
We moved on with something still lurking around us. Thankfully we managed to slip through.
At the exit we met Syndrel and the rest of the archers. When I saw that they were tending to Vaal’s wounds I was relieved. I was worried about them all the way, but mostly him. I rushed to see him:
- How is he? Is he hurt? – I asked.
- Yes, but nothing serious. Won’t be able to fly for a few days thoug. – Syndrel answered.
- At least he is alive. You did a good job, than you. Take a rest. – I thanked Syndrel and turned to Sheila. – I only see these arches here. I hope they are some kind of portal to Golemus or we just came here for nothing.
- Don’t worry, they are portals. I know how to activate them. – She replied.
- We are at the entrance to Golemus. Now, tell me what is that business of yours that is so important. – I told her, maybe a bit too nervously – After all this I deserve to know.
- All right. I’ll tell you while I do the activation. – She said it with a smile – You deserve it to know.
She started explaining her mission. She revealed that she learned that there are drachorns in Golemus Golemicarum, held captive. Chained up and mistreated by the tiny men. She told me she learned this from a drachorn sold to a mage as a slave, and promised that she will free his kind.
I admit I was surprised. I may have dropped the act there and promised her that I will hap her cause no matter what. Not that it matters.
I have heard of these majestic beasts, but I never have thought that they are mistreated and sold like that.
Sheila also told me her plan. How we will sneak in and free them. She revealed that she will re-calibrate the portal so we will appear closer to the cave and that I should use the same cloak spell as before. After she infiltrated the lair keepers she would make our entrance easier. I was about to ask how is she going to do the infiltration when there was a roar and a monster appeared out of the Labyrinth. Probably the one that stalked us before.
It was already getting dark, so we didn’t see much of it. It was big and his shape was blurred. It was mostly humanoid one cloaked in darkness. All that was clear that it had sharp claws!
- Form up! – I yelled at my creatures and archers. – Defend Sheila at all cost while she opens the portal!
We quickly formed a defensive circle around her. The archers shot the “thing” but it did not slow it down. It charged at us. Smashed through our circle and went straight for Sheila. We were flung aside right into the hedge. Damn it was full of thorns! Just before it could reach her the portal opened and she slipped through. The monster did not follow her, but we were struggling to get out of the hedge as it turned to face us.
- To the portal! Go go go! – I yelled while trying to untangle my cape.
The monster charged again. He aimed for me, but I just managed to rip myself out of that thorny hedge and das to the side. The thing crashed into the wall of thorns, got trapped there himself.
My companions were already crossing through the portal, so I ran, not wanting to stay there a moment longer.

***

As I crossed I saw that we arrived at a stony ledge. Somewhere in Golemus. I was glad that none of my companions were hurt too much. We managed to get away with only bruises and cuts
I did pull out a larger then average thorn out of my side. It hurt like hell.
I hoped it wasn’t poisonous so I kept it in my pocket, so I can make an antidote later if I started to feel strange.
- Ah, I’m glad you made it through. – Said Sheila as she stepped next to me.
- Me too… So how do we proceed now? – I asked.
- Well, the lair where they keep the drachorns is not far. I’ll go ahead. You do that trick you did in the Labyrinth. Satay hidden, you’ll know when to enter. I’ll be there and help you.
- How do you want to infiltrate the ranks of the tiny men exactly? – I asked.
She smiled, turned around and said a few words that I couldn’t recognise. I a blink she turned into a tiny man. That was unexpected, but then I was sure she had some more secrets. I did not ask how ever. I was focused on saving the drachorns.
I cast my spell too and moved out, staying in the shadow of the cliff. We saw a few tiny men on the way. It seemed Sheila had done a good job, they didn’t saw through her disguise. For me it was a bit harder, I had to make sure none of my creatures were spotted either.
We reached the entrance of the lair. Sheila got in without trouble. We stayed outside and waited.
Tiny men came and went, nothing seemed out of order. I hoped Sheila would give us a signal, but it didn’t come. My magic was running low. We couldn’t have stayed there all day, so I decided to find a safe place to hide, the common way.
There was a pile of rubble nearby, so when I was sure no one was looking we left the safety of the cliffside and tried to dash trough. Unfortunately just as we reached the hiding place the spell ended.
Even worse they saw the grasan lumbering into cover. I shouldn’t have brought him…
Quickly we got surrounded by tiny men and their aramor servants.
- Why are you lurking about? Hmm? – asked one of them, who seemed to be the leader. He was a bit better dressed then the rest and maybe a bit taller.
- I’m sorry. We didn’t mean to stalk you. We came to do business with you. – I said hastily, but they looked unimpressed.
- This business requires “discretion”. That is why we came here in secret. – I added quickly.
The leader raised an eyebrow:
- All right, let’s go in then.
They escorted us into the cave, trough corridors deep inside the mountain. They sent me alone in one of the chambers. The leader was waiting for me behind a desk.
- You name? – he asked harshly?
- Virgil Seimoor – I lied.
- And you came here to buy drachorns in secret, right?
- I think this is a place we can talk in confidance. – I said as I pretended to look around with suspicion. – So yes, I did come here for some drachorns.
- Then why were you luring outside? When did you intend to come in? Hmm?
- You must understand this is very important, no one I don’t trust can see me. I intended to wait until the right time to approach the entrance. Sadly you caught me and
- I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt Virgil – he said. - You will be given chance to buy a drachorn, but the lair keeper is not currently present. You will wait here until he arrives. He will be informed about what you did of course.
- Thank you. – I bowed, then we walked out.
- Find them a chamber and put some guards there – the leader of the tiny men instructed the others.
We were given a room to sleep in, though they didn’t bring any food. They even locked the door on us. I hoped Sheila was working on a method to repair this broken plan.

***
We waited for quite some time. Then I hear two knocks on the door and someone pressed trough a piece of paper under it, through a crack.
There was writing on it: “Soon, be ready. (And dispose of this before they find it, no need for more complications.)”
I was relieved that she is all right. I ordered my creatures and archers to stay in the room and pretend that I am with them, sleeping. We didn’t wait too long and the door opened. In couldn’t recognise her in dim light I only assumed the tiny men in front of me was Sheila. I looked around and the rest of the guards were missing.
- Quick, we need to go. – She whispered. I nodded and then we sneaked out.
We travelled down empty tunnels. No guard in sight. My heart was pumping fast. Something was not right, I just couldn’t point out what at the time.
We arrived in a circular hall, carved in stone with many small tunnels leading out. The hall was huge. It had to be, because there was a drachorn chained down in the middle. It was a magnificent beast.
I was in awe, only when Sheila pulled my arm I started moving again. The drachorn was sleeping, thankfully. Though I didn’t know how we are going to sneak it out I was looking for a way to free it first. As I looked around I saw some of the guards lying on the floor on the other side, knocked out (probably). On the ceiling there was a large round door. It wasn’t going well I tought, no way the rest of them wouldn’t hear the door opening and the drachorn flying away.
Sheila was still pulling my arm:
- Help me undo the chains, will you? – She whispered. She looked annoyed, I didn’t blame her.
So I started focusing on the chains. Each was inscribed with runes. As I was looking over the symbols I found one on the base of the chain. A symbol I was certain I saw it somewhere. It was different form the rest. It looked like…
And as I was trying to remember one of the guards awakened and started to yell at me.
- What are you doing you fool?! Don’t you dare undo them! HELP! Don’t you dare! You damn… - he yelled but was interrupted by Sheila. She rushed over and kicked him in the side.
It was too late however. The drachorn awakened and when it saw us it started roaring and rampaging.
We tried to calm it down but with no use. I knew the tiny men were coming soon. I started panicking. So I yelled at it:
- Look at me!
The beast stopped for a moment and then our eyes met. We looked in each other’s eyes, for a moment our souls connected. We spoke without words, exchanged memories and our feelings.
I felt her pain sorrow and anger. She was a mother and the children had been taken away from her. She wasn’t treated too harsh, but she was always bound here. Deep underground, never to see the sunlight again. Her kind now slaves, sold out to strangers. I promised I will free her and her children. Someday, I will return and I will do it. I knew I can’t free her now and through me she knew it as well. Before I broke eye contact I told her the tales that I heard, I told her that some of her children have been lucky and their owner treat them with respect and live good lives. I showed her the Sun and the blue sky. I tried to give her hope, but it seemed it only made her even sadder. And it caught me too.
That sadness, it was now part of me, it was something I will never forget.
I looked away, she got silent. I was still enthralled by what I just experienced. Sheila’s words seemed so far as she yelled at me:
- Get of these chains off from this drachorn! Now! Do you hear me?! – She yelled, her frustration growing.
- You knocked off the guard so why didn’t you turn back to your original form and undo them yourself?
She didn’t answer, her head was red from anger. I already hear footsteps coming so I ran, dragging Sheila, in her tiny men disguise, with me. She screamed at me, demanded that I turn back and do my job. I just ran, I knew we failed, nothing left to do here except escape and try again another day.

***

I ran back to the chamber where my creatures were. They were already fighting tiny men and aramors of many shape and kind.
I dropped Sheila, drew my sword and joined the fray. We started fighting through their lines towards the exit. There were many of them, but the grasan has proven useful to break their line. After what seemed like eternity we managed to fight our way out. We ran down hill, showing aside any baffled tiny men in our way as the rest were in pursuit.
We made our way all through the beach up to the gate. Thankfully it wasn’t blocked so we managed to escape.
When we reached the Aramory we collapsed from exhaustion. Sheila already turned back to her original form. Oddly enough she didn’t seem to be exhausted the slightest.
She approached me as I was resting on the ground, trying to catch my breath. She wasn’t happy I tell you that.
- It was a mistake trusting you! – she yelled at me. – It seems if I want to have a job done I have to do it myself! Give me your creatures. I’ll go back and do it myself.
- Woah! Don’t you dare order me around. I know what is at stake. If you want my creatures I’m coming too! I made a promise I will keep it. No, not the one I made to you, but the one I made to the drachorn. This got personal.
- I won’t return with a fool like you. I don’t care what promise you made! I have no need for someone so weak! – She yelled and se jumped at me. She reached for my throat.
I was surprised. I barely able to reached for my sword, but just as I got it in my hand she knocked me to the ground, the sword fell out of my hand, out of my reach. Her hands were around my neck.
- I don’t tolerate weakness and disobedience! – She hissed while choking me.
Sheila also started to change. Her frame became darker, her lines blurred. As she was transforming her strength grew too. Finally I found myself getting strangled by a shade. Barley able to move or breath. I desperately tried to reach for my sword. I was losing consciousness when I remembered the large thorn I put away. I grabbed it from my pocked and stabbed “her” in the eye.
The shade screamed in agony and stopped choking me. While it was grabbing at its eye I quickly rolled to the side, picked up my sword and cut of the shade’s head. I dropped to the ground and fainted.
When I woke up the shade’s body was gone. I was glad that it was a lesser shade, or at least I think it was. I was glad that it was over, that I am still alive and that I have a story to tell. About the promise I made? I am not so happy...
[/spoiler]

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[table]

[row][column] [/column] [column]presentation[/column] [column]contents[/column] [column]viability[/column] [column]orignality[/column] [column]extra points[/column][column]sum[/column][/row][row][column]rich[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]8[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]3[/column] [column]26[/column] [column]loved nurbs  :D[/column][/row][row][column]assira[/column] [column]7[/column] [column]7[/column] [column]6[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]30[/column] [column]very good short story[/column][/row][row][column]draconas[/column] [column]7[/column] [column]7 [/column][column]7[/column] [column]6[/column] [column]4[/column] [column]31[/column][/row][row][column]aelis[/column] [column]10[/column] [column]10[/column] [column]8[/column] [column]7[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]40[/column] [column]almost perfect[/column][/row][row][column]azrafar[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]7[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]6[/column] [column]4[/column] [column]27[/column] [column]some newbie-mistakes about shades destroyed the flair, sorry  :([/column][/row][row][column]junior[/column] [column]5[/column] [column]0[/column] [column]7[/column] [column]0[/column] [column]10[/column] [column]22[/column] [column]Bravery should be rewarded![/column][/row]

[/table]

 

Without further ado, this is the final table!

2nd and 3rd were a very, very close race imo, but the #1 stuck out clearly to me, and shall be rewarded greatly.

 

Aelis wins a Melodic Charm for his dystopic masterpiece!

 

Draconas and Assira will get their rewards from Rophs, who graciously sponsored some very rare wiiya bubbles. Please find him in-game to claim your rewards, they're custom made.

 

Azrafar and Rich came in head to head as well, but i must admit that i liked Azrafar's story a great deal better than Rich's. In fact, Azrafar might have come out as second in this contest, if it wasn't for the way his shade doesn't work out with pretty much everything i know about shades, but i think it's justified to give Azrafar a bigger reward than Rich nonetheless.

Thus, Azrafar will receive a Rustgold Drachorn from my collection, and Rich gets 2 Gold! Please find me ingame so i can hand them over.

 

Junior came in last, and while his entry might not be very good, it takes guts to do something like that, and bravery must always be rewarded. Junior wins 1 warm handshake! Come find me ingame to claim your reward! :D

 

 

Thanks to all of your for your efforts, i had great fun with all of your entries, even the ones that were dark and evil :))

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