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Dakrim's Tale
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Fat squirrel

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a story post here would go a good ways toward making my day.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dakrim’s Tale: Chapter 11 (revised)

Feeling like a newborn calf, Dakrim fell to the ground again, wincing from the pain that seemed to come from all over his body. “Why do my legs not work?” he growled.

“I told yous, mon,” Sabinnia said. “Dat poison much strong yah. It still be floatin around in bullman’s body. Yous be patient, exercise bullman’s heart, get dat blood movin’ and flowin’. Most important yeah, yous drink ma healing juice.” Noting the disgusted scowl on the young Tauren’s face, she leaned closer, ruby eyes flashing like twin flames and whispered, “Everyday, mon.” The troll healer reared back, laughing.

Dakrim just sat there for a moment, feeling frustration at the entire situation. Glancing up at Sabinnia, he noticed her razor sharp tusks and gleaming white teeth. Her laughter was infectious, bringing a smile, then a chuckle, and finally outright laughing.

Sabinnia extended a hand to help him up. She effortlessly pulled him to his feet and wrapped an arm around his waist for support. Dakrim was amazed yet again by the sinuous, hidden strength of this female troll.

“Come, mon. Let’s get food,” she said. With a sly smile, she added, “And yous healing juice!”

Bright moonlight, shining through the open doorway, woke him from a restless sleep. Groaning from the effort, Dakrim rose from the bed that he had been given to in the village inn. It had taken several weeks for him to gain enough strength to care for himself before his insistence to move out of the healer’s hut was finally granted. Although he had felt comfortable there, he felt guilty about displacing the healer from her own hut. Just two days ago she agreed that he was strong enough to move to the inn. Gone were the familiar sights and smells of a healer’s abode though, so the young bull was having some difficulty adjusting to different sleeping quarters.

Dakrim went outside to the relieving area behind the inn. Afterwards, not wanting to return to bed just yet, he started walking around the perimeter of the village. Looking up at the almost touchable round moon and twinkling stars, he wondered for not the first time about how his friend and mentor Harutt Thundershorn was doing. Quiet moments such as this always brought back such thoughts. He invariably also thought about Sarn. The little Tauren had been more than a just a friend. We were brothers, he affirmed. Anger of this loss is what Dakrim credited his recovery to. That and the care he received from a certain female Troll. Let the anger fuel your heart to fight the debilitating affects of the poison on your body, she told him. Use the pain and fight. And he had. Though a little stiffness lingered in his joints, he felt better. Good enough to start training again.

He walked past the warrior trainer grounds where he would come to watch and speak with the other students and trainers. Master Krang Stonehoof and the young bulls of Bloodhoof Village would repeatedly ask Dakrim to tell them about the battle with the caravan raiders. All of them were curious. At first he felt awkward, as his present weakened condition only emphasized his physical defect, but no one stared or said anything. So different from my home, he thought. Although the teasing had stopped once Dakrim was bigger than all of the other young bulls, the attitudes of many older Red Cloud Mesa residents towards him had not particularly improved. He kept walking.

Stopping by the kodo pens, Dakrim inhaled deeply. The musky scent of the kodo brought back bittersweet memories of Sarn. They used to throw stones at the kodo in the camp pen back home, aggravating their usual stolid personalities to stampede, driving the camp hunters out to find them and bring them back. As far as he knew, no one knows that it had been he and Sarn causing the trouble. They had so much fun doing that, he thought ruefully. On a sudden impulse, Dakrim reached down to the ground and picked up a small stone. He picked a sleeping target and cocked his arm for a throw.

“Old Harb Clawfoot will no like yous abusing da kodo, mon,” a familiar female voice quipped, the tone mocking.

Dakrim dropped the rock and turned around, grateful that even though the moon was full and bright, she would not be able to see the blush under his fur.

“Why yous no sleepin, mon?” Sabinnia questioned.

“I don’t know really,” Dakrim replied, unsure himself of how to explain his feelings.

Sabinnia beckoned with her hand, motioning for him to walk with her. “Tell me how yous feel, bullman,” she said.

As they continued the walk around the village, Dakrim tried to explain the uselessness he felt over Sarn’s death, and his private concern over Harutt’s health. Something about the female troll made him relax, easier to open up to her.

All the while, Sabinnia kept quiet, listening intently. When Dakrim finally seemed to finish the last of his story, the two found themselves on the bank of Lake Stonebull. She reached up and placed her hand on his broad shoulder. “I think, mon,” she said gently. “Yous have no easy life, yah?” She moved her hand down to his chest, stopping over his heart. “Yous decided what kind bullman yous want to be, not anyone else, no mon.” Her eyes sparkled like rubies when caught in the moonlight. She stepped away from him, closer to the water.

Dakrim stood still, thinking over the Troll’s words. He watched her move towards the lake. His eyes widened as he realized what she was doing.

Sabinnia had slipped off all of her clothes, letting them fall to the ground. Her green skin shimmered like fine silk. She looked back at Dakrim, giggled, and rushed into the water, letting out a squeal of delight at the cool water. Ears burning, Dakrim turned away, his mind totally at a loss for words.

Sabinnia swam away from the bank, relishing the coolness against her skin. “Jump in, mon!” she yelled. “Yous feel much better, yah!”

“I don’t swim very well,” he stuttered, looking for any excuse.

“Come on, mon! Just leave yous clothes, jump in,” she encouraged.

Dakrim half turned around and peeked carefully, Sabinnia was still close to the shore, now standing up, the water just above her waist. She was watching him. Jerking his head back, he said, “Ok, can you, umm, turn around?” He made a twirling motion with his hand.

The Troll healer laughed loudly. “What? Yous be feeling hot, yah?” she asked. “Who wash yous for three weeks when yous sick, yah? Don’t worry, mon. Sabinnia no gonna bite!”

Blushing furiously, Dakrim pulled his cloth jerkin over his head and unfastened the leather ties to his pants. Hearing some nearing splashing sounds, he turned his head to look at Sabinnia again. She was almost out of the water, looking like she planned to help him remove his clothes. He dropped the pants and stepped out quickly, rushing as fast as he could into the water, practically leaping in as he came to the edge of the shore. Lake Stonebull was freezing.

Sabinnia jumped back in the water next him, splashing his face. He bellowed in protest and she cupped her hands and splashed his face again, the water choking him off mid-yell. She giggled more at the sight of the choking, soggy tauren. Two mouthfuls of water forced down his throat did not make Dakrim very happy, but Sabinnia’s silky laughter soothed him. He smiled finally and swam out some distance from the shore.

The Troll followed him. They splashed about, exchanging stories of their childhood and their homelands. Their sound carried far over the lake until the silver-tipped waves dimmed and faded.

The full heat of summer sun was gone. The evenings were now tinged with some coolness. Dakrim had just finished dinner at the inn, then strolled over to the village gathering place. A roaring fire was keeping the chill air at bay. Many villagers greeted him warmly as he took a seat. Dakrim enjoyed coming to listen to the elder’s stories after dinner. He had never attended the village fire councils back home in Camp Narache. Other than a handful of kind Tauren, he had never been made to feel welcome there. Bloodhoof Village was different. He had enjoyed his time here, especially the daily stamina building runs with Sabinnia. In the past few weeks under her watchful care, Dakrim felt at full health again. The afternoons spent at the warrior’s circle were inspiring. Warrior Master Stonehoof was friendly as were all of the other trainees. Dakrim was welcomed into their daily sparring sessions. Master Stonehoof’s style was somewhat different from Harutt’s, but Dakrim poured his heart into learning the different techniques and styles. Master Stonehoof was soon impressed with Dakrim’s natural ability to learn and excel. Daily practice with the mysterious axe had made it a living extension of himself. It felt as if it was made for him. Or was he made for the axe, he sometimes reasoned.

The crowd quieted down as the village storyteller arrived. Zarlman Two-Moons stood on the slightly raised dais, gathered his long robes about himself, and began a story about how their beloved Earthmother had created her people, the mighty Tauren. Dakrim was rapt with attention. He never tired of listening to these stories of his people. Unnoticed, Sabinnia was sitting just a few rows behind, her eyes fastened on his back.

After the fire died down and the story was finished, Dakrim made the usual wishes for health and blessings of the Earthmother to the others sitting near him. A sliver of bright green color caught his eye. Turning, he waved at Sabinnia, who hopped over the benches to get next to him.

“Good story, yah man,” Sabinnia exclaimed.

Dakrim agreed. He was then about to excuse himself for the night when Councilor Mull Thundershorn approached the pair. Dakrim had met the elder not long after regaining consciousness from the poison attack. He was delighted to learn that the village elder was a relative of Harutt Thundershorn’s. As youth, the two Thundershorns had many adventures. Occasionally, the elder would share some past story, much to Dakrim’s delight.

“Young Dakrim,” began the elder Tauren. “I have some information for you. The first time I heard the story of your axe, a dim memory was kindled. I apologize for taking so long to recollect some of the details, but I think you’ll be pleased.”

Dakrim nodded respectfully, his heart beating with excitement.

Elder Thundershorn continued, “Long ago during my adventures away from the land of my ancestors, I came across a weaponsmith, an Orc weaponsmith to be exact. We met over a mug of ale at the inn of the Crossroads, in the land known as the Barrens. I don’t remember his name, but that Orc told a story of a great axe that he had crafted for someone important, but it was stolen and never delivered to the intended owner.” Pausing for breath, the old Tauren added, “I doubt if he is still alive, but perhaps someone in the Barrens would know more.

Bowing deeply to the elder Tauren, Dakrim expressed his gratitude and appreciation for sharing this information. His voice had been calm, but as he watched Mull Thundershorn walk slowly away, Dakrim’s mind and heart was already racing towards the idea of discovering more about his axe. He had totally forgotten about Sabinnia standing next to him.

“Hey mon, yous be in da Barrens already?” she said, her grin exposing the sharp, white teeth within.

Dakrim shook his head, “No, I can’t go to the Barrens now. The end of summer caravan should arrive from Red Cloud Mesa very soon. I must return home.” He looked down at her. “For that matter,” he continued. “I don’t know how to get there.

Sabinnia sighed. “Yous got da chance, bullman,” she said, ruby eyes flashing.

Dakrim opened his mouth to reply, but she cut him off.

“Yous take Sabinnia, mon,” she said. “Sabinnia knows da way.” Adding a sly wink, she added, “Sabinnia protect yous.”

The young bull laughed together with the young Troll. “Let me think about it,” he concluded.

Over the next few days, Dakrim continued with his normal routine, though his mind constantly dwelled upon the Troll’s suggestion. He and Sabinnia continued running together in the mornings. After lunch, he went to the warrior training grounds and sparred with the village warriors, usually winning his matches. In the evenings he went to the village council and listened to more stories.

Standing at the doorway to the inn, very late one evening, Dakrim listened to the night sounds of the village. Most were asleep, but the occasional voice did travel through the cool air to his ears. He looked upwards at the cloudless sky. No moon was out, but the stars were giving a fine showing.

His thoughts ran over the words of Elder Thundershorn. Is it possible that my axe is the lost weapon of his story? He had avoided making this decision, but he couldn’t any longer. The caravan from Red Cloud Mesa was due to arrive soon. As much as he wanted to return to Harutt, he could not deny this longing to find the true nature of his axe. There usually were no more caravans to the mesa after summer’s end, so he realized that if he left to search for the origin of his axe now, he probably would not be able to return home until after winter’s thaw of the high mesa pass. Harutt would naturally be worried and possibly even angry for him setting off like this, but Sabinnia was right. This was his chance. It might be a long time before such an opportunity was presented again. There, he thought excitedly, decision made. He went back to his bed, eager for sleep and the morrow to tell Sabinnia.

Two days later, provisions were packed and ready to go. Both Sabinnia and Dakrim had made their separate rounds about the village, thanking everyone for their hospitality and friendship.

They set out before sunrise, heading cross-country instead of following the road to save time. Dakrim had consulted with a number of village braves and elders and the general consensus was that the two of them would be safe enough if they traveled by day and found some kind of shelter by night. By heading due east, they would be able to shave a full day off of the normally three day journey to the Barren’s pass. They pushed each other hard until breaking for lunch. They had made good time, Dakrim estimated. He and Sabinnia shared a silent lunch of dried, smoked Kodo strips, perfect food for both energy and lightness. After washing their brief meal down with a leather bottle of ale, they packed up and continued on their journey, although their ground-eating pace slowed as the ground inclined upwards. Other than spotting a few deer, rabbits and other small wildlife, they had seen nothing dangerous all day. Well before twilight, they came upon a small copse of trees. They both agreed that this would be a good place to stay for the evening. There was no real clearing in the thick stand of trees, but there was a natural depression in the ground near the center. Using some loose stones just laying around, Dakrim built a small firepit in the depression. It was a tight squeeze to fit both of them near the firepit, but eventually they found their own comfortable positions. After dinner, they agreed on a rotating watch, with Sabinnia taking the first. Dakrim, his body actually feeling quite sore from such a long run, fell asleep quickly, blissful in a dreamless sleep. Several hours later, Sabinnia woke him up. Besides the wind blowing through the trees and the occasional chirping of night birds, the evening was quiet and Dakrim watched the stars twinkling in and out of the leaf canopy until he estimated that it was time to begin the day.

The ground became rockier and steeper, slowing their pace considerably as the second day progressed on. They were still heading due east, but Dakrim could not see any obvious break in the approaching mountains. Sabinnia apologized for not being more useful when it came to landmarks and finding their way. She explained that when she had traveled to Bloodhoof Village a few years prior, she had been with a very large caravan. But after coming down with some illness, she had been put to rest in one of the wagons. She admitted to not have seen much in the way of details. It didn’t matter, Dakrim thought. He trusted what they had been told on which was the fastest way to get to the pass. He was sure they would arrive at their target by the end of the day, just as predicted.

During their short lunch break, an unwelcome visitor stopped by. Sabinnia had just handed a chunk of bread to Dakrim when a mountain lion mounted a nearby rock. Remembering his tussle with a mountain lion a few years ago, Dakrim reached for his axe, his movements slow, to not draw attention.

“Hey mon,” Sabinnia whispered. “Let Sabinnia handle, yah.”

The big cat began an almost leisurely walk down towards the pair. Ears flat against its head, the lion crouched, ready to spring.

Sabinnia raised a hand, chanted a few unintelligible words and a purple glow appeared around her hand. The same glow simultaneously appeared around the mountain lion’s head. A strange humming sound filled the air.

The huge cat screamed with fear and took off, disappearing over the next ridge.

“I don’t tink he comin’ back, yah,” Sabinnia chuckled.

Dakrim looked at the female troll. “I hope you’re right,” he grinned. Looking over in the direction of the fled animal, he confessed to her. “I sure don’t want you to try that magic on me.”

The rest of the day was uneventful, but tiring as the slope incline increased. But by the time the sun began its descent, the ground had started to level out and Dakrim felt that they must be very close to the pass. They chose to spend the evening in a small clearing, located behind a stand of trees, pressed close to some foothills. Dinner consisted of some bread and dried meat, but the pair was content. Again, Sabinnia insisted on taking the second watch so Dakrim spread his travel blanket over him for warmth and tried to relax and clear his mind. It seemed forever before he could stop thinking about Harutt, Sarn, and even Sabinnia. When sleep finally came, a strong hand shook him awake.

“Shhhh, mon,” Sabinnia whispered. “Someting in da trees,” she pointed to the faint outline of the trees on the other side of the little clearing. Get da axe,” she added.

Dakrim slowly got out of his warm blanket, the cold air making his fur stand up. He picked up his axe and crouched, straining his eyes to see whatever his companion had seen.

Sabinnia whispered again, “Sabinnia make big light, yah. Cover your eyes, mon,” she said. The Troll healer held out a hand in front of her, chanting softly until a dim ball of light appeared in the palm of her hand. Suddenly she threw it towards the disturbance. Calling out a magical command, the ball burst into thousands of sparkles, radiant as the sun and illuminating the entire clearing.

Having heeded the Troll’s warning, Dakrim had shaded his eyes, but he was still surprised at the brightness of Sabinnia’s conjuration. He scanned the tree line quickly, looking for the source of her apprehension. He found it. The one-eyed Human, Sarn’s murderer, was standing next to a tree. Practically invisible in his pitch black clothing, but glaringly obvious in the magical light, he seemed disoriented by Sabinnia’s visual assault. He drew out a short sword, brandishing it in front of him as he backed away from the giant ball of light.

Snarling, Dakrim raised his axe to charge across the clearing. Almost instantly, the axe burst into brilliant, reddish-white fire. The Tauren closed the distance to the human in only a few great strides, blazing axe overhead, ready to strike.

A split second before Dakrim’s attack, the human’s hand flung out, throwing a handful of some white powder into the Tauren’s face.

Dakrim bellowed with rage, swinging the fiery axe in a wide swath, hoping to catch the rogue with the bite of his weapon. Blinded by the strange powder, he swung his weapon wildly. Liquid fire poured off the edge, burning and igniting dead leaves on the ground.

Sabinnia drew her mace and attempted to get around the infuriated Tauren, but she had lost sight of the intruder. He had disappeared. She looked about, but it was no use.

Dakrim stopped swinging to rub his burning eyes. Finally his vision cleared enough see that the human was gone. The Tauren stomped about in the underbrush, but it was too dark to see anything. Furious, he swung the still burning axe at a nearby tree. The heavy axe bit completely through the double hands-breadth tree, slicing it like a hot knife through butter. The tree crashed to the ground, both trunk and stump smoldering from the molten fire dripping off the axe.

The Troll came to Dakrim’s side. “Yous know dat Human, yah?” she asked.

“He was one of the caravan raiders,” Dakrim replied. His own voice sounded harsh in his ears. “He and the Ogre were the ones who,” his voice broke. The axe was sizzling as huge drops of fire fell to the earth. “He killed Sarn,” he said through gritted teeth.

Sabinnia placed a hand on Dakrim’s shoulder, hoping to calm him down. “We move a bit for da night, yah?”

The axe’s fire gradually faded, finally extinguishing with a long hiss. Calm enough to see the reason behind her request, he nodded, gesturing for them to strike camp.

The stars gave enough light to see, but they still needed to pick their footing carefully over the rough ground. Neither of them felt safe enough to stop again, so they continued on through the night. After cresting a great rise, there it was. Framed against the faint glow of the pre-dawn sky, there lay the pass to the Barrens. They came to the caravan road and were glad to be able to leave the rough ground behind. Though exhausted, they both agreed to keep running. Sabinnia explained that they could rest safely in Camp Taurajo’s inn by mid-day. She flashed a grin at him and started running, setting a blistering pace.

Dakrim paused to look back. He was leaving his ancestral lands, something he had never expected to do. He intoned a quick prayer to the great Earthmother, requesting her to watch over Harutt. Turning back to the rapidly fading form of the female Troll, he started after her, straining to catch up as the indigo sky faded into a brilliant morning.

Last edited by Moorea on Wed Dec 03, 2008 11:36 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice addition to the story, but I'm not so sure I like how they're running all through the day. With packs on, and just plain the distance they're running, it just seems a bit too unrealistic to me.
"I will choose a path that's clear: I will choose Freewill." -Freewill, by Rush
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip Exodus. I thought about the same thing at first, but then I had just done a LOTR marathon of all three extended DVDs in one sitting (wow! That's 6 DVDS length of a story) and in THE TWO TOWERS, Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas chased the Urukhai(sp?) for like days and nights without rest. I figured if they could do it for days convincingly, then why can't my characters run from dawn to lunch at the longest stretch of time? I may be too much in my own story bubble but it was convincing to me. It is far too easy to get bogged down into slowing the pace of the story that of a snail's. I'm attempting an extended shortstory, not a full length novel. I've got the story mapped out into about 25 chapters maximum, but lots of things have to happen before this story ends, so I got to get them moving. I was hoping to convey a sense of urgency in the characters by having them do this long distance running (not to mention they do not have mounts of their own). Perhaps the answer to your concern will be made clear in the next chapter though. Still, thanks for the feedback anyways.

Almost a week has passed and our resident grammarian has not made a comment? Is he sick? On vacation? I'm worried at the silence......makes me think that I've failed on some collosal scale and that a grammar bomb is about to be released. Where are you Amaunator? Wink
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see how you have the necessity for running... But just remember that, in LotR, Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas were all fleshed out to be 3 pretty damn godly characters for the hobbits to look up to. Your Dakrim is more like the Hobbits, an up-and-coming hero. Also, you can narrate in urgency, instead of doing it in real-time.

It is a fantastic story so far though, and I'll be sure to read all the 25 or so planned chapters you have Razz.
"I will choose a path that's clear: I will choose Freewill." -Freewill, by Rush
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 3:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an interesting thought, Exodus. I hadn't thought of Dakrim in that way, but I feel you are correct. I'll try to keep that in mind as I continue with the story. Thanks for the advice and encouragement Very Happy Very Happy

PS- I've been wondering what do people think of the "skinny dipping" scene. My brother read it and thinks that I implied way too much, although I tried not to imply anything. What do ya'll think?

PSS - Now that I've got my undead rogue to lvl 70 as well, I feel pretty burned out on WoW. I'm keeping my subscription for now so I can log in my 70 Tauren warrior and run around these noob zones to get my story details accurate, but otherwise I don't really play anymore. I had a bunch of asinine lvl 13s challenging me to duels in x-roads the other day. Geez, I had forgotten what "Barrens chat" was like.

PSSS - A nice alternative to online entertainment is OBLIVION SCROLLS IV. I'm really enjoying that...atleast for now.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought the skinny dipping scene was pretty funny, since it caused so much discomfort for Dakrim. Lakes don't have banks though, Very Happy.

I played Oblivion once, and it was a pretty great game with a single main problem: you never got any better. It's possible to beat the entire game at lvl one (if you didn't gain XP), and so all the regular reasons for doing things to get more powerful just aren't there.

Lastly, I'm somewhat sure that it's PPS and PPPS, standing for Post Post Scrip, and Post Post Post Script, and so on.
"I will choose a path that's clear: I will choose Freewill." -Freewill, by Rush
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

he wondered for not the first time
--> "not for the first time"; sounds better, though I'm not sure whether the grammar really cares ^^.

The little tauren had been more than a just a friend.
--> An 'a' too much Smile.

aggravating their usual stolid personalities to stampede
--> 'usually'. But I'd drop it altogether if I were you.

As far as he knew, no one else knows that it had been he and Sarn causing the trouble.
--> "As far as he knew, no one else knew that... Sarn and him..."
But try to find another verb to avoid the double 'knew' Smile.

Dakrim tried to explain the uselessness he felt over Sarn’s death
--> I'd use another word than 'uselessness'. It's a very annoying and straggling word to use. 'his failing' or 'futility' might be two different directions you can take it in, either of which are more specific than 'uselessness' at least Smile.

All the while, Sabinnia kept quiet, listening intently.
--> Twist the sentence a bit and drop the 'intently'. You've already explained that Sabinnia is a caring character, so she would normally be listening 'intently'; If she would do otherwise, then you could mention it adverbially Very Happy.

but Sabinnia’s silky laughter soothed him.
--> This sentence gives bizarre implications. I would have given another reason or no reason at all for a playful water fight to not aggravate him ^^.

Just in general: your lay-out for paragraphs is confusing. You can bind many smaller pieces together to create a more cohesive image. I'll leave you to sort out the details Wink.

After washing their brief meal down with a leather bottle of ale
--> This reads like they're washing their food down with a leather bottle instead of ale ^^.

Finally his vision cleared enough see that the human was gone.
--> 'enough to see'

The tree crashed to the ground, but trunk and stump smouldering from the molten fire dripping off the axe.
--> Remove the 'but'.

I don't mind the 'running' scene. These are a young tauren and a young troll. Tauren were always meant to be 'plainsrunners' and trolls have great stamina, so they should be able to keep it going. Even with Dakrim's handicap and Sabinnia's admitted physical frailty, they are more than likely to be able to run all day long.

I'm lacking some more exposition and character depth in this chapter. Other than that it's clean of errors and well-readable Smile.
the sun may melt the rain
may rinse the sky may sink
the clouds may meet the dirt
may drop your heart may heal

feelings of love you love
fluttering hearts you hate
revealing souls you love
breaking spirits you hate that

the sun...
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Need more story please Smile
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2007 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

next chapter will be up later today or tomorrow folks~ sorry for the wait. In the past I've only been teaching 20 periods per week, now I'm teaching or doing some other official junk for over 40 periods per week. Crazy boss finally realized that I was underworked and had way too much free time so now they're on a rampage Crying or Very sad
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2007 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dakrim’s Tale: Chapter 12 (revised)

Dakrim stood in the middle of the road, thinking. He looked down the street, mentally noting which buildings Sabinnia and he had previously approached. For three days they had talked to nearly everyone in Camp Taurajo. No one had heard of an old weaponsmith that lived on a mountain, somewhere here in the Barrens. Undiscouraged, Dakrim decided that it was time to move north, almost a four-day journey to the much larger village known as the Crossroads. The maps he had seen indicated that this dusty road twisted and wound about, but eventually found the town that he was seeking. Innkeeper Byula confirmed his thinking, also warning him to not go cross-country due north to save time. The Barrens was a dangerous place he cautioned. No, not going to do that, Dakrim reassured. He glanced around the camp, drinking in the distinct atmosphere of this frontier town. Despite not learning anything about his objective, he had to admit that he had enjoyed the time spent here. It was most interesting to see so many races in one place, so many adventurers from distant lands. Most were cordial, but the two un-living creatures at the blacksmith’s shop made him uncomfortable. He could overlook their bittersweet rot smell and the ragged, soiled clothing, but there was something else about them that just made his fur itch. He had approached in friendship, greeting them with the Earthmother’s fondest blessings, but they said nothing. Their blank, unblinking gaze was unsettling, burning with an unnatural brightness that shined as the noonday sun. What disturbed Dakrim the most was that although no air passed through their fleshless lips, their chests still rose and fell, the same as his own. No, he did not care to deal with anymore Forsaken, he reasoned. The wind carried a familiar whistle to his ears, somewhere off to west, beyond the hunter pet holding pens. Dakrim sauntered around the enclosure, following the summoning sound.

Sabinnia turned and waved a gesture for silence to him, indicating to look ahead.

The young bull slowed, stepping as lightly as possible to reach the troll’s side. She was crouching behind a stack of crates. Dakrim matched her posture and whispered, “What is it?”

“Dere be some big kind of lizard bird behind dat hill, mon,” she said, pointing with her head.

Dakrim strained his eyes in the indicated direction, but he saw nothing. “Shall we go closer and check it out?” he asked.

A new voice startled both Sabinnia and Dakrim. “I would not recommend getting any closer to the sky serpents.”

They both turned around quickly. Dakrim recognized Grunt Logmar, an orc guard whom he had met on their first day in Taurajo.

Logmar continued, “The winged snakes of the Barrens are very dangerous. They can accurately spit venom into your eyes at over thirty paces.

Shaking her head, Sabinnia whistled, her ebony locks shining in the bright sunlight.

“Although I have not seen it, I have heard rumors of a unique sky serpent, somewhere to the south. Far older and stronger than the rest,” the orc soldier said. “They say he can spit lightning.” Grinning at their surprised reaction, Grunt Logmar continued, “But this is not the reason I have come to you. Last night a patrol returned, having tracked a large group of Centaur and Quillboar near Taurajo itself. Something is stirring the pig people and horsemen. Vast numbers of their ilk moving around in the silence and secrecy of the cover of darkness means only one thing, young Dakrim.” Grunt Logmar paused, sighing. “The elders debate where and when a strike will come, but I have no doubt; it will come. If you are to continue your plan and travel north, be wary. Do not stray from the road and do not travel at night.” The old orc raised a heavily muscled arm in salute. “For the Horde!” he said, then left Dakrim and Sabinnia to ponder his words.

Dakrim took a long pull from his aleskin before laying down on the stubby, dead grass on the side of the road. He wondered silently why this was called the “Gold Road” as nothing about it appeared to be golden in any manner to him. The road was dusty, catching in the back of his throat and making him cough and his eyes to water. He did not like this place so far. Pulling his cloak up to shield his head, he sat up again and opened his pack for some food.

Sabinnia sat nearby on a fossilized stump, opening her travel pack for an early supper. She did not say anything to the bullman because she too was tired. She had become accustomed to the temperate weather of Mulgore and forgotten what it meant to live by desert rules. Yes, she had been away from home for too long. The fiery furnace that was her homeland of Durotar was even hotter than here, but she was sure that she suffered far less than the Tauren in this heat. One more thing that she was acutely aware of is that they were being watched. Many eyes had been on them since they left Camp Taurajo early this morning. This did not feel right to her. “Someone been watching us, mon,” she said. “Or something, yeah.”

The young bull shrugged from under his cloak. “Sometimes I feel it too, but I see nothing.” He turned his head towards the troll. “Twilight will be upon us soon. Shall we stay here or continue on?” Truthfully, Dakrim did not believe that anything along this dusty road was any better than where they were at the right now, but he respected her opinion enough to act on her instincts.

Sabinnia shook her black-maned head once. “No, mon. Better put our backs to dat hill,” she said, gesturing with an arm towards a collection of small rises across the road.

Dakrim agreed. He got up and walked across the road to scout the hill. Something else was wrong too, but he did not want to worry Sabinnia just yet. It was a struggle to just cross the road without limping. His club foot had started aching around mid-day. Probably just tired he reasoned, but he did not want her to see his weakness. He grunted as his hooves dug into the crumbling earth and loose stone of the hill. He climbed up about halfway before he saw it. He called down to the healer. “Sabinnia, you better come up here.”

The emerald skinned-troll sprinted across the road and up the hill to Dakrim’s side. Her red eyes widened at the sight of what the bull discovered.

“What is it?” Dakrim asked. He had never seen such a strangely shaped skeleton. It was a bit longer than a Tauren, with heavy, thick bones. It must have been a powerful creature, he thought.

Sabinnia touched a section of the bones with her left foot, pushing some aside to reveal massive, sharp claws. “Scytheclaw,” she said distastefully.

Dakrim said the unfamiliar name under his breath, feeling the power of such an accurate name for the owner of these remains. “We should leave it undisturbed and camp elsewhere,” he said.

The troll shook her head. “No mon, stay here better. No one bother da bones, no one bother us, yeah,” Sabinnia said.

As much as he would prefer to get far away from the Scytheclaw skeleton, he had to admit that this was a good spot. It could not be seen from the ground level and if they laid down he reckoned they would be well enough hid from any prying eyes. “Very well, Sabinnia,” he agreed.

Pushing him down as far from the edge as possible and away from the old bones, Sabinnia said, “Yous sit here.” She opened her pack and pulled out some dried meat. “Eat,” she commanded. She tore into her own share of the simple fare. “Sabinnia hungry, mon,” she laughed, her sharp slender tusks gleaming in the setting sunlight.

Dakrim shivered. It was colder, here in this desert at night, he thought. How odd that there could be such extremes in the weather. Sabinnia’s first watch has passed uninterrupted and Dakrim estimated that the day would begin in a few more hours. He wrapped his travel cloak around himself tightly and looked upwards. The heavens were brighter here too. Must be closer to the Gods, he mused. Unpleasant memories rose to the surface of his mind whenever he was alone like this. Mostly thoughts of his family; an unknown mother, except for her name, and a loving auntie were usually the first to surface in his mind. Images of that night in Brambleblade Ravine would inevitably follow. Images of aunt Kawnie’s being impaled through the heart brought bitter bile to the back of his throat. Strange, he thought, I don’t feel anything over my father’s death. But, as for my uncle and his rejection, his mind began to wander until the bile became stronger and he began to choke. Taking a long draught from his aleskin, Dakrim wondered why his uncle despised him so much. Yes, he had heard about the ancient taboo on clubhooves, but that could not be the only reason for uncle Lakish’s open hostility. Dakrim’s face began to burn upon remembering the last time that his uncle visited Camp Narache. There, around the open council fire, he loudly proclaimed that the tribe’s honor was besmirched and the blessings of the great Earth Mother would not return to Red Cloud Mesa until the abomination was destroyed. Dakrim blinked and tears flowed down through his short fur, curving around his wide nose. Embarrassed, he roughly wiped away the tears, just as he did that night around the council fire. Many stood up and argued with his uncle, but nothing could take those words back. Nothing could erase the shame his uncle made him to feel that night. A cool wind blew across him, drying his wet facial fur. Struggling to clear his mind, he gazed across the sky, wondering what destiny the great Earth Mother had planned for him. A slight trembling of the ground disturbed his troubled thoughts. The vibrations, small at first, were growing rapidly. Now he could hear it, not just feel it. He reached over and gently shook the female troll.

Sabinnia was awake instantly, reaching for her mace as she sat up. A silent question burned through her ruby eyes.

Dakrim held up his hand, motioning her to listen. The rumbling was getting closer, louder. It sounded not unlike his own hoof beats, yet somehow different, Dakrim thought. There were too many beats, he realized. “Must be four legged creatures,” he whispered in Sabinnia’s ear.

The troll nodded, “And comin’ dis way, mon,” she added. Carefully she crawled to the lip of their hillside hollow, beckoning Dakrim to follow.

What Dakrim saw in the remaining dim early morning starlight made his blood turn cold. Melting out of the darkness were row after row of horse shaped creatures with arms and a humanoid head, marching over the road and winding out of sight around the base of their hiding place. Loose pebbles began falling down the hillside from the power of their pounding hooves. There must be thousands of them, he figured. Dakrim had never seen one before, but he knew instinctively what race was passing below them.

“Centaur,” Sabinnia breathed into his ear. She placed a sinewy arm over his shoulders, drawing him back from the edge. They crawled back into the hollow and placed their backs to the rough stone. Heavy dust filled the air, causing both of them to close their eyes and cover their noses. Many long, agonizing minutes passed before the columns of spear wielding centaur passed, but neither of them slept again. They sat there silently, private worries and fears dominating their thoughts until the sky finally signaled the start of a new day.

Sabinnia started off at a grueling pace. She wanted to put as much distance between them and the centaur army as possible. Many strange, exotic creatures appeared in the distance, but Sabinnia kept most of her attention on the tauren. Something was wrong. He was breathing too heavily and he was limping, avoiding his full weight on the club hoof. But she dared not stop. There could be scouting parties of centaur about and she did not want them to be spotted. She prayed in her heart and hoped that Dakrim could hang on until they reached a safer distance.

Each stride brought a fresh wave of agony up and down his spine. Dakrim felt as if a dagger was gouging out his bad hoof. He was trying his best to ignore it, but his mental block was wearing down with each step. He understood their need to get as far away from the centaur patrols as possible, but he just wasn’t sure how much longer he could keep up this pace.

The sun was low and the heat of the day fading when Sabinnia finally saw a potential resting place. They had just crested a tall rise, revealing in the distance the craggy escarpment of a long range of low mountains. The road north to the Crossroads ran directly next to the outer edge of these hills. Perfect, she thought, perhaps we could stop now for a short break as we ran on through lunch. She decided to tell him and turned her head just in time to watch the Tauren yell out in pain as he fell to the ground.

Dakrim gasped for air as dust from the road choked off his breath. He wasn’t sure what happened, only that his concentration broke and he could not stop from falling. He reached down to touch his throbbing hoof. Gritty, red wetness rubbed off onto his hand. Blood. He must be bleeding from the bottom of his bad hoof. The young Tauren sat up to examine his hoof more in detail, when a sudden thought struck his mind. He looked southwards, down the dusty stretch of road from where they came and his heart froze. It was easy to see; dark stains contrasting with the light dust of the main Barrens road. Dakrim suddenly found himself enveloped in golden light. He felt a quick, gut-wrenching pain as the healing magic knitted together his wounded foot and relieved some of the aches and exhaustion in his body. The young bull sighed with relief as he rolled over to look at Sabinnia as the healing light faded from around her hands.

“That no take away da problem, mon,” the troll healer said. “Sabinnia need to look at dat hoof, yah,” she continued, as she knelt down in the dust to look at Dakrim’s hoof.

“Wait, Sabinnia,” Dakrim said, stopping her with a light touch. “We have a bigger problem,” he paused for breath, still a bit winded. Spitting out some dust, he pointed down the road from where they came.

Sabinnia understood instantly. “Yous go rest by dem bushes, yeah. Get out of da sun, mon,” she implored as she stood up. “Sabinnia try to make trail clean again.” She reached down to grab Dakrim’s forearm and heaved, helping him to get up and move to the shade of some scraggly bushes next to the road. She broke off a long branch and started sweeping the bloody trail, flinging the dust covered, coagulated clumps off to either side of the road.

Dakrim watched Sabinnia sweep the road as he drank from his aleskin. Feeling a bit hungry, he took a few bites of some dark, nutty bread from his travel bag. He wasn’t sure if the female troll’s method of clearing the trail was going to be effective or not, but every predator in the Barrens would be able to smell that blood and track them down if nothing was done. Eventually Sabinnia passed over that recent rise and disappeared from his vision. Regardless of the rough ground under the bushes, Dakrim began to doze off until he heard a scream. Sleep vanished from his mind as he scrambled up, dropping his pack under the bushes and only taking his axe. Pain lanced up his right leg as he began running after their previous path. He could hear some strange hissing and high pitched squealing noises, unlike anything he had ever heard before. He ignored the pain and willed himself to run faster. He pushed himself over the rise and was shocked at the sight ahead of him.

Three creatures as large as himself had surrounded Sabinnia and forced her off the road, herding the troll until her back was against a small hillock, cutting off any escape. The healer was wildly brandishing her mace, swinging at each of the creatures as they edged continuously closer and closer. It was obvious that at least one of the creatures got close enough. Dark stains ran down her left arm, hanging useless at her side. The creatures all had claws as long as long daggers on their splayed feet and short forearms. A thick, muscular tail provided superb balance and strong legs allowed for lightning speed. These creatures were obviously related to the owner of the skeleton they found yesterday. Scytheclaws had found the blood trail.

Dakrim hesitated only a moment. He raised his axe above his head and roared a challenge to the predators, hoping to distract them away from the troll. His plan worked. Six flat, unblinking eyes stared back at him.
Sabinnia took advantage of their pausing to look at the newcomer and leaped at the nearest Scytheclaw, her mace connecting solidly with the bone and sinew of its shoulder.

The injured, but not incapacitated, Scytheclaw turned back to the troll with an ear splitting hiss of pain. Multiple claws sliced through the air, but missed as the troll nimbly jumped out of range. The other two Scytheclaws chose to answer the new challenger, leaping towards him at tremendous speeds up the incline.

Dakrim did not wait for them to reach him, he started running down the small hill to greet the attackers, the pain in his hoof totally forgotten. Using his body’s momentum, he swung the now flaming axe over his head and launched it at the closer of the two beasts. Sparks flew everywhere as the axe sailed end over end, sinking deep into the chest of the first Scytheclaw’s chest. The force of the swing lifted the creature into the air and knocked it flat onto the ground.

The second Scytheclaw shrieked in anger but did not stop its charge. The predator was filled with the thrill of the hunt and an insatiable desire for bloody meat, it was not going to stop now. Nearing the prey, massive legs coiled in preparation to jump at its foe.

With the loss of his axe, Dakrim had no choice but to reach for his long dagger. But before his hand could touch the pommel of his small blade, a strange whirring noise filled the air followed by a loud popping sound. Suddenly his axe was back in his hand. So startled that he almost dropped the weapon, Dakrim fell backwards as the remaining creature leaped into the air, claws jutting forward for a strike. Reacting on pure instinct, the Tauren brought the axe across his front in a wide swipe.

The Scytheclaw screamed as its two legs were sheared off at the shins. The momentum of its charge was not slowed, however, and it barreled into the warrior, knocking them both to the ground, the axe skittering away. The enraged creature sunk its smaller hand claws into the young bull’s arms and pulled itself closer to bite the prey. Rows of serrated teeth struck the dirt as the Tauren rolled his head away from the attack. Maddened with pain, the Scytheclaw shrieked and tried to bite the bull again.

Dakrim was able to force one elbow up despite the pressure from the hand claws. He jammed his elbow in the creature’s neck while it was screaming, stopping it from trying to bite him again. Bloody saliva fell on his face, dripping from the long teeth. Dakrim didn’t know how much longer he could hold this position. He could feel the creature’s hot lifeblood from the leg wounds pouring over his lower half, its hand claws were still digging in his forearms, and the sheer weight of the beast on top of him was almost more than he could bear. Slowly, the bull’s strength began to fade and the Scytheclaw’s huge mouth of teeth edged closer to his face. The creature’s eyes rolled back in shock as Dakrim felt a sudden blow travel through the beast’s body. The flat eyes closed and the creature’s body became limp. He heaved the carcass to the side, revealing a grinning Sabinna, twirling her mace.

“He no like Sabinnia’s mace, yah mon!” she laughed. The Scytheclaw gave an involuntary twitch near Sabinnia’s foot. She yelped and brought her mace down again on the creature’s chest with a sickening thud. The creature gave one more twitch, before finally staying still. She grinned again at Dakrim as she slipped her mace into her belt loop. Dust like white particles appeared and shimmered in the midday sun, falling from her fingertips over her damaged left arm. The shredded flesh on her shoulder and upper arm began mending, and the angry red gashes on her emerald skin faded and disappeared.

Dakrim grunted in appreciation as Sabinnia directed her healing touch onto him. The shallow, but messy wounds on his forearms closed up and his hoof felt better, but something was still wrong, deep inside the hoof.

The healer dropped to the ground next to him, exhaustion clearly etched in her voice and on her features. She slid closer, resting her head against his shoulder.

“Dis place, big bloody mess, yah,” Sabinnia said. “More Scytheclaw gonna come,” she added with a grim, final tone in her voice.

Dakrim nodded, his big frame shuddering as he tried to force his breathing to calm down. Hesitating at first, he slowly pulled up his big arm to wrap it around Sabinnia’s small shoulders. After a few quiet moments, he spoke, “We should get as far away as possible, more predators will smell all this blood.” He leaned over to look at the female troll. She was fast asleep. Gently, Dakrim detached himself and lowered her to the ground. He got up and stretched. Besides the smarting hoof, his other wounds seemed to be fully healed, leaving only exhaustion. Regardless of how much he wanted to rest, he knew that they must leave. He knelt and gathered the female troll in his arms, trying not to wake her. Dakrim eased her onto his back, hunching over to keep her from sliding. Looking around and making sure that nothing was left behind, he knelt again to pick up his axe. With all that had been going on, he had not thought about what happened with his weapon. As he slowly walked back up the rise and onwards to where he left his backpack, the young bull pondered his mysterious axe. It took several minutes of this awkward walking for him to reach their original stopping place. He bent down and was reaching for the leather strap when a weak voice sounded in his ears.

“We hiding under dat bush, mon?” Sabinnia asked.

Dakrim snorted as his fingers finally caught hold of the pack. He straightened up, jumping slightly to shift his passenger’s position. “No, Sabinnia. I’m going to carry you until we reach the foot of yonder mountain,” he said, pointing with his head to their original destination. “That’s our only hope of finding somewhere safe for tonight,” he added.

Sabinnia brought her arms up, wrapping them around the bull’s thick neck. “Ok, mon,” she said. “Jus’ a little rest,” she continued, falling asleep almost immediately.

Dakrim walked until the sun was already below the horizon. The foothills were still some distance away when the healer woke up and asked to be let down.

“Yous want Sabinnia to carry da bullman?” she joked, taking a long drink from the aleskin.

Dakrim laughed as they continued walking. “Feeling better?” he asked.

“Yes, mon. Sabinnia feels much better,’tanks to yous, yah,” she said as she reached out and entwined her arm in his.

Blushing, and not knowing what to do, Dakrim only nodded. They walked for a few more minutes in silence, but Sabinnia did not remove her arm.

The deep purples and bright pinks of sunset long gone, a cold, night wind sent shivers down their spines. He could not explain why, but for some reason he found being this close to the female troll distracting. Dakrim was about to pull his arm away when Sabinnia stopped him. She cocked her head back, brushing her hair away from a long ear. “You hear something?” he asked, turning back the way they came.

The troll nodded. “Sabinnia can smell dem, yah, stinkin’ on da wind,” she replied. Looking up at Dakrim’s face, she said, “We need to run, mon.”

Together they set off at a jog, Dakrim hoped that they would reach the mountain’s base soon. There would be no moon tonight, only scant starlight to guide their frantic search for shelter. Glancing behind him, he could not guess at how many, but their hissing and shrieking to each other was becoming louder. The Scytheclaws were gaining. He reached over and yanked the pack off of Sabinnia’s back. “I’ll carry it,” he growled. “Faster!” Ignoring the searing pain in his hoof, he pushed himself harder.

Sabinnia was too tired to even argue. All she could do was follow the Tauren into the darkness, concentrating on putting one foot in front of another. After what seemed to be an eternity of running, a huge hand grabbed her arm, pulling her to stop.

Gasping between breaths, Dakrim asked, “Can you cast your light spell up ahead?”

The healer understood what he meant. Mentally shoving her way through the barriers of exhaustion, she focused inside herself, clawing up the energy to summon a simple globe of light. She hurled the small orb ahead at the looming shadow of the base of the mountain. It exploded, casting a brilliant light over everything.

Dakrim’s heart soared with hope at what the troll’s light revealed. The foot of the mountain was steep, crumbling rock. It would be very difficult for someone or something to climb without the full use of four limbs. He scanned over the closest area, deciding which path would be the best to take. A good ways up the face, Dakrim spotted a ledge. “There!” he shouted, pointing with his axe. “They probably can’t get up to that ledge,” he finished, but just as the magical light began fading, something caught his attention and his heart sank. He turned to tell the troll but he saw her mouth open wide in disbelief. At least six Scytheclaws slithered out of a nook in the base of the mountain.

“Wat we do, mon?” Sabinnia asked, despair in her voice. “Many beasties behind us too, yah,” she exclaimed.

Rage was boiling up inside the Tauren. Dakrim felt angry at having been run like a wild animal into this trap. His axe flared brightly as he looked down at the female troll. “Get ready to cast your fear spell when I shout,” he ordered. He handed her pack over and touched her on the shoulder. “And follow me,” he finished. Their eyes locked for a moment in the darkness, and then he charged. Running towards the foremost of the ambushing Scytheclaw, Dakrim reverse spun on his good hoof, letting his body’s momentum hurl the flaming axe with greater power. He released it sideways, a bright line of flame carving through the night. The approaching Sytheclaw all paused, flat eyes mesmerized by the strange sight. As soon as Dakrim released the axe, he continued his charge, lowering his head and pointing his horns at the next creature. The axe cleaved the first Scytheclaw nearly in half. Fire erupted from the carcass as it collapsed. Dakrim connected with the next creature only moments later, knocking it flat to the ground. He stomped one heavy hoof onto its chest, raising his hand high. He tried to will the axe to return to him. Instantly, the same popping sound as before occurred and the axe reappeared in his open hand. Howling with glee, he brought the axe down, chopping off the head of the prone creature.

The four remaining Scytheclaw, surprised by the fierce, fiery attack, shrieked in anger and together lunged for the big Tauren.

Sucking in a great lung full of air, Dakrim called up the ancient magic belonging to the class of warriors, amplifying his voice and rage and released it in one colossal, primal roar. The nearest Scytheclaw fell to the ground. The others were frozen in shock. The stunning effect was only temporary, but that was all he needed. The bull lowered his horns again and charged another Scytheclaw, blocking their path to the mountain. Ignoring the creature he just knocked down, Dakrim jumped over the body and reversed a swing, disemboweling the next ambusher. The stunning effects of his savage roar were beginning to wear off. The bull looked back at the troll and yelled, “Now, Sabinnia!”

The female healer raised her hand, releasing a purplish light to shoot at the creatures. Laughing, ethereal skulls appeared over their heads, causing a magical terror that sent them scattering in all different directions. Sabinnia rushed forward to follow the Tauren.

Dakrim grabbed the troll’s hand and pulled her to the base of the mountain. With only the faint starlight to guide their way, they began frantically climbing up the base of the mountain. With a cascade of falling rocks behind them, the two scrambled up halfway to the ledge that Dakrim saw earlier before the magically induced fear subsided. The three remaining creatures converged to the mountain base as the initial chasing pack of Scytheclaw arrived. Dakrim could not see clearly enough to count their numbers, but judging from the angry sounds and swiftly moving shadows below, their numbers must be great. The young bull could already hear the sound of sharp claws clicking on the rocks as they followed their escaped prey up the mountain. He called up to Sabinnia, “The pack has arrived, we must hurry!” He had climbed up only a few more steps when a horrible screeching sound erupted, somewhere beyond the milling pack of predators below them.

“Dat sounds like a bird, mon,” Sabinnia called out.

Dakrim couldn’t see anything anymore on the ground level, it was too dark, but he could see a pair of Scytheclaws gaining ground on them. The creatures were not so much climbing as jumping up the slope, using their massive leg muscles to leap upwards. Worrying that they would not make it up to the ledge, Dakrim began kicking at loose rocks, sending a shower down after him, hoping to dislodge the pursuers. Suddenly, one of the Scytheclaw stiffened up, as if frozen. The carcass tumbled head over heels, back down the mountain. Dakrim looked up and was relieved to see Sabinnia scramble over the ledge and disappear. His mind raced for a plan, knowing that he would not be able to draw out his axe in this situation, not when he needed both hands to hold on to his precarious position. He moved up a few rocks, finding a spot where he could hold on with only one hand. Reaching for his dagger, he looked back down for his pursuer, but it was already gone. Frantically he cast about, searching the darkness until he heard a loud hiss right next to him. A large, meaty tail swung out of the night, slapping the bull squarely on the back, knocking him against the rock face with tremendous force. Vision blurred and unable to draw air into his lungs, Dakrim tried to push the creature away with his one arm, still stubbornly holding on to the dagger. For several terse moments, the bull waved the dagger in front of the creature, trying to regain his breath.

The Scytheclaw prepared to leap again, to attack the prey from above when an arrow shaft suddenly appeared in its chest. The creature was dead almost instantly.

Dakrim gaped with surprise at the dead reptile, sliding down the rock face. His mind raced, how can the archer see so well in the dark? A cacophony of noise was now coming up from below. A battle was taking place at the base of the mountain. Besides the same hissing and high pitched squealing of the Scytheclaws, that same screeching he heard a moment before was entwined with another voice, a familiar voice. “Sabinnia!” he yelled up at the ledge. “Stay there,” he ordered as he started scrambling down the rocks, heedless of safety. The healer was yelling for him to stop, but he ignored her, concentrating only on getting down the mountain face as quick as possible. He roared in answer to the familiar battle cries below, his heart surging with hope as he reached the bottom and entered the fray. The ambushing Scytheclaw pack appeared to be have been caught totally by surprise. At least half of the pack lay prone, dead or dying. A great white bird was swooping in and out of the fight, clawing at eyes and shredding the faces of the Scytheclaw while a non-stop stream of arrows flew out of the darkness, bringing the predators down, one by one. And there he was, bellowing in the joy of battle, surrounded by numerous enemies and swinging an enormous two-handed sword through the air, slicing limbs and anything that came near. Dakrim thanked the great Earth Mother for sending his friends as he charged the circle of Scytheclaw surrounding Harutt. Dakrim’s fiery weapon cleaved through scale, sinew and bone; all exhaustion and pain forgotten as he turned himself over to the rage of a beserker warrior.

Enduring tremendous losses to the pack, a hissing shriek signaled a retreat and all of the creatures scattered away from the bloody battleground, disappearing into the night. Slowly three large Tauren converged together. The largest and oldest of the three dropped his sword to the ground and wrapped his huge arms around the younger, slightly smaller bull.

“Boy, the Great Earth Mother has showered blessings upon you this eve,” stammered an emotional Harutt Thundershorn.

Lanka Farshot, another mentor of Dakrim’s, placed a hand fondly on Dakrim’s shoulder and greeted the younger Tauren fondly.

Dakrim wept unabashedly. The dam of emotional insecurity was broken. All of the pain and heartbreak over losing Sarn and being separated from his surrogate father for so long was finally released. He still could not believe that they were here, both Harutt and Lanka. After a few quiet moments, Dakrim pulled away and asked, “How did you find us?”

Patting Dakrim’s shoulder, Lanka replied, “You and your traveling companion left a trail a league wide!”

“No joking at a time like this,” Harutt said, feigning displeasure at Lanka’s comment. His tone became serious. “After hearing what had happened to the caravan,” he paused, clearing his throat. “Lanka and I decided to come fetch you ourselves. Much to our surprise when we arrived in Bloodhoof, our young bull had not only fled the village, he fled our entire ancestral homeland of Mulgore!”

A silky voiced purred out of the night. “Dat would be Sabinnia’s fault, mon.” The female troll walked over to stand next to Dakrim. “Sabinnia told da bullman to find origin of dat axe, yah?” she added.

Harutt playfully pushed Dakrim on the shoulder and giving Sabinnia an exaggerated wink. “In that case,” the older warrior said, “All is forgiven.”

Last edited by Moorea on Mon Dec 08, 2008 12:35 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I noticed that you were continually switching perspectives between Dakrim, Sabinnia, and even other random characters. It was a bit disorienting, but I thought it was pretty interesting to read.
"I will choose a path that's clear: I will choose Freewill." -Freewill, by Rush
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Joined: 05 May 2006
Posts: 11
Location: Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TY for the update. I really enjoyed the chapter. Can't wait for then next installment.
Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii
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Fat squirrel

Joined: 23 Aug 2005
Posts: 347
Location: A splendid place with a delightful selection of delectable dishes.

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2007 5:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I didn't actually notice the switching. Which is good. Very smooth.

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