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17Tale of Tails

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  • aztec
    Sep 18, 2010
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      Here is my story for your review:

      "Tell me a story Grazalian," the young child pleaded as she followed the scribe around the great library.

      "Oh? You want to hear a story? This place is full of tales. It is full of wonderment and awe. If you listen hard enough, you will be able to hear the books come to life as they whisper their tale. Every story touches us in some way." The Follower of Analects motioned for the child to follow as he shuffled down one of the carpeted corridors. The pair passed many labeled chambers before stopping at one tagged "Isles." Walking into a smaller chamber, he waited for the young apprentice to enter the room before closing the door.

      The room had a few plush chairs that were built for comfort not research. In the corner of one room, a single bookcase stood. There was little more than a few score of books contained within the wooden structure. Going to the one of the shelves, he scanned the titles letting his finger glide across the different surfaces of the dusty tomes. "Kriba, Hunarua, Isle of Marr," he said aloud in a soft voice.
      His fingers stopped at a volume, "Yes, this will do," he said to his audience as he withdrew a weathered book. He sat in the chair in the center where all other chairs were facing. He chuckled to himself as he saw his young friend climb into the plush chair, getting lost in its size.

      He ran his fingers over the leather tome as he admired the intricate scrollwork etched in the book. The lettering was painted in a bold blue that stood out from the unpainted parts of the dull brown leather book. Some of the scroll work was painted in the same blue giving the illusion of water crashing into the side of the book.
      The child strained to see the lettering calling out, "Isle of Pelage," as she spied it.

      These stories are about the Amalkin race, beings that are like humanoid animals. The one trait they all share is tails. So this will be known as "The Tale of Tails."

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      "Get up you sleepy heads; it's time to get moving." Leanne said to the sleeping Drakotos who had found a large stone that would greet the morning sun before they had rested for the night.

      The four Drakotos started to stir looking to the midnight-colored feline as if she was insane. The youngest of the group, Sazin, stated, "It's not morning until the sun comes up. It's still dark out here."

      "Silly lizzies," she said to him, "just before dawn is the best time to rise to say good-bye to the night."

      Haxor was already up, sharpening his axe blade with a stone. "Want me to wake `em?" he asked.

      With that, all four Drakotos stood up, rubbing the sleep from their eyes. They shivered at the coldness of the forest, wondering how they got talked into going on this special journey.

      Leanne proceeded to the tents to wake the rest of the people. "Come on folks, we have to get moving soon. The sooner we leave, the sooner we will get there." She smiled to her family as they got ready to move.

      Ozasin, the Venisin, sang a short melody as the rest of the group had just finished breaking down the camp.

      The sun rises as my family greets the day
      Forming an odd sort of group one might say
      Five Felines, Four Drakotos, a Bull, and a Venisin
      Together we work as a team with a grin
      That we look past what we might look like
      As we travel together on our special hike
      Protecting each other with an intractable zest
      Amelmara will keep everyone blessed
      Perani will smiles as she keeps us on the right track
      While Sassard the Tail Flicker gives anything a whack
      Our feline Brennan is the group's knight
      His foes will flee him until they are out of sight
      Murok the Drakoto will perform his drunken arts
      While Haxor will cut everything into tiny parts
      Janze and Sazin work as though they were one
      Continually fighting until the job is done
      Leanne will make sure that no one from behind
      Hits anyone so we might have peace of mind
      Weebly will make sure we are well fed
      With all my family mentioned it may be said
      That I, Ozasin, will continue to sing the song
      That keeps my family together all day long

      The song invigorated her family to work faster, putting smiles on their faces as they heard their names. In no time at all, everything was packed, the campfires were properly taken care of, and everyone was ready to go.

      With caution, they approached the old bridge that spanned the river in Nartiv Wood. The old Troll there was beating up on some young felines. Haxor started to run to their aid, but the Troll showed remarkable spry as it blinded their charging friend, turning its attention away from its toys to take care of the real foes.

      The rest of the group took action as Haxor screamed in frustration swinging his axe blindly. Janze and Sazin reacted first, reaching the foe with remarkable speed. The brothers made it look like a dance as they pummeled the Troll with little effort. By the time the rest of the group had made it to the bridge, the enemy was defeated.

      Murok spoke up first, "Tell me again why we left our gifts of the gods at home and started the journey from here?"

      "It is for the excitement of the journey of course!" Ozasin answered. "What good is a journey if you can't actually traverse the distance? Think of the things we will see and the tales we can tell afterwards."
      "Think of the sleep we could be getting, by delivering whatever we are delivering, and returning home!" He answered in the same fashion Ozasin had delivered her message.

      Ozasin just grinned at him as Amelmara checked on the status of Haxor. He had just recovered his eyesight and looked around angrily that he missed out on the fight. Once across, they made their way to the first real challenge, the guards at the gates to a human town.

      "Halt!" the guard exclaimed. "Go back to your filth Venisin, where you belong. We will not have anyone from Trellin dirtying our street or our citizens. And take your pet lizards with you when you go."

      The Drakotos readied themselves for battle, as they moved up to the two guards, before Ozasin stepped forwards, "Is that anyway to speak to Amalkin?"

      The guard spit in the face of Ozasin, "Get back flea bag or your pelt will adorn the inn's floor."

      Ozasin smiled to the guards as she began singing a song, in words no one else understood. It was a very quick melody, but when it was over she spoke again. "Now then, you were saying that we could go into your city now correct?"

      "Yes, m'lady," the guard replied.

      "And you will be nicer to every race, isn't that correct dear?"

      "Yes, m'lady," the guard replied again.

      Smiling to the group she said, "Let's go," as she walked past the guards into the passage that led to the docks.

      "We have to find the docks," Leanne stated to her family, "and soon before something bad happens."

      Just then, a score of guards approached the group, fully armed and ready for battle. Perani approached their leader in hopes of explaining the family's presence. As she was speaking to them, a young human approached Ozasin asking, "As you going to a costume ball? "

      Bending down to the young girls height Ozasin replied, "Yes, we are in costume, and we are on our way to the docks, since the party is in Boodum. I bet you know where the docks are since you are very smart."

      The little girl beamed a smile as she ran over to the teleportation platform and pointed to it, "This one right here will take you to it."

      Motioning to the girl, Ozasin handed her a gold piece, just as Perani returned to the group. The little girl ran off happily as Perani whispered, "They said we can go to the docks, but we have to pay a tax in order to do so. It is a gold piece a person so the leader wants to charge us a platinum piece for our group. I tried explaining who we are and that we don't have money, but he would not hear it."

      "Notwithstanding the fact that he cannot count," Ozasin began, "give him this," she said as she handed Perani the money.

      "How did you get this?" She asked.

      "It must have been my charming personality with the guards," she replied with a grin.

      Giggling, she returned to the guards with the money. The leader of the guard huffed a sound of disgust as he peered at the group. His men parted to let them pass. Arriving at the stone the young girl had pointed out they stepped on it and onto the docks.

      They boarded the boat that was destined to Boodum. They were alone and they enjoyed each other's company as the boat quietly parted the waves. The journey was short. Stepping off the boat, they made their way through the bustling town stepping into the town square just as the clock struck twelve bells. Guard Dunix looked at their group, but decided they would be too formable for him alone.

      Making their way to the western gates, they were just passing a trading post when Perani stated, "I need to get a few supplies." She looked to Ozasin for help. Chuckling, the feline produced a few coins and gave them to her.

      Entering the shop, Perani was greeted by shopkeeper, "Good day dear, "What can I get you for today?"

      "Do you have any fire eyes?"

      "I have one dozen left," she replied.

      Excellent, I will take them all. Also give me some bottles of brandy."
      Gathering the supplies, the young merchant placed them in a leather pouch for the lovely druid. Paying for the items, Perani picked up the satchel and left the shop re-joining her group outside. The family left the area and went through the gate heading towards Wolfhold.

      The hills were quiet that day as they approached the stone cave's wolf head. A foul stench of wet fur, blood, and dung emanated from the mouth. The passage had many antechambers that had been carved out of the rock, with an occasional wolf cowering under makeshift bedding as the party passed. The tunnel was very long and dark, which prompted Weebly to cast night vision on her and Perani. Leaving the wolves finally behind them, the tunnel started to slope upwards as it went on for many miles. There was times the tunnel narrowed so much, that the rest of the family had to pull Haxor through the confining space. After their long walk, the tunnel expanded to an enormous open field. The entrance had a blanket of white on it from the snow that was now falling.

      "Snow?" The Drakotos said in unison. "You expect us to travel in snow during a snowstorm?" Sassard said over the others.

      "Come on, you knew the possibilities. You knew where we are going." Leanne said to him.

      "Yes, I know, but," he paused as he extended his arms pointing to the opening, "It's snow!"

      "Silly lizzie," Ozasin commented, "I can sing the group something that will aid in the speed of us getting there quicker so you won't even notice the weather."

      The group entered the blinding snowstorm determined to reach the next location. They huddled closer together, following the feline as she led them over the Perpetual Frost Peeks. They were crossing a frozen river when Sassard fell into a fishing hole that some hunter had made, unable to see the opening with the snowstorm.

      "Get him out of there!" Weebly yelled, trying to pull him out.
      Haxor pushed everyone aside and yanked Sassard clean out of the water, letting him drip the water off him before placing him down. The Drakoto fell to the icy surface barely moving as his body began to ice over. Haxor lifted him from the ground again, part of his scales already having frozen to the surface. Perani moved over to him and placed one of her store bought items into his mouth. Instinct kicked in and he chewed on it, licking his teeth with his forked tongue. Color returned to him; his brightly colored spotted tail coming back to full vivid color.

      "Put me down you lummox!" Sassard shouted.

      "Fine," he replied dropping Sassard on his rump.
      Instantly jumping to his feet, he was about to face off against his brother, but Weebly spoke first, "Come on let's get moving, and next time watch where you are walking."

      Looking to her, he nodded and was ready to move. Perani handed out an eye to everyone else saying, "This will keep you warm for a while, but let's get moving." The Drakotos and Haxor chewed theirs down without hesitation. Weebly scrunched her nose as she swallowed hers; Perani mirroring her actions. Ozasin just pocketed hers as she simply pointed to her fur.

      The group made their way across the tundra to a sheer ice mountain wall. Pushing a snow covered rock aside, Ozasin revealed a seldom used tunnel leading into darkness. The group cut away the cobwebs as their entered the corridor, crushing the spiders as the little creatures scurried along the floor.

      Coming to the end of the long corridor, they heard coughing echoing through the halls. Ozasin carefully peered out around the corner to see a couple of frost giants at the gates to the icy fortress. The giants appeared to be half asleep at their posts, watching the snow fall. Relating what she saw to the group, they carefully crept around the bend and slipped deeper into the underground cavern.

      The caves were a welcomed blessing considering the coldness of the wind and snow outside even though ice covered everything the eyes could behold. Just as they rounded a turn in the goblin's keep, an alarm was sounded and goblins poured out of the icy structure.

      The family formed half a semicircle with Amelmara in the center. Slowly they moved forward slaughtering the creatures as Amelmara healed the occasional blow that a lucky goblin may have landed. Deeper and deeper they moved into the winding passages until their adversaries finally thinned out.

      "Let's rest a bit while I recover my energies," Amelmara told the group.

      Nodding to one another, they sat at what was an old campfire, long ago abandoned. Weebly pulled some pieces of wood from her pack. Placing the pieces of wood just right into the pit, she had a roaring fire going in no time. Everyone huddled together around the warmth as they smiled to one another.

      "Do you still have it?" Amelmara stated from where she was sitting; her attentions diverted for a moment from her yoga stance as she concentrated on gathering her magical energies.

      "It's right here," Haxor gruffly answered, patting a very large sack that he was carrying.

      "I am ready," Amelmara announced moments later, standing up and gathering her things. The party quickly got ready, as Weebly put the fire out. She noticed that even the flames from the campfire were not enough to do anything to the ice below. Slowly they moved down a slopping tunnel, farther into the complex.

      The passage eventually opened to a large chamber, with stalactites dropping down from the high arched ceiling to almost touch the stalagmites that were trying to reach them from the floor below. The family moved silently though the open space, until two giants jumped out from the edges of the next chamber running for the party.

      One giant squared off against Haxor, while the other made its way towards Brennan and Leanne. The giant on Haxor swung his massive mace at the Bull, but Haxor was able to dodge out of the blow that hit the ground with such force, it cracked the ice. The other giant swung his huge, ice covered club at the pair trying to hit them both at the same time. Leanne was able to completely move out of the way, but Brennan was just clipped a tiny bit by the monstrously large weapon. The wound was still bad enough that the umbra knight clutched his arm in pain.

      The Drakotos split up evenly, with Sazin and Janze on one, and Sassard and Murok on the other. They hit their marks with precision that reflected their skills, but it seemed to have little effect on their foes.

      Weebly fired arrows at the giants, hitting her mark and adding to the little damage the family had caused, before diving for cover from a large boulder that had been tossed at her from a third giant that had joined the fray.

      Amelmara chanted a spell strengthening everyone as her protection spell touched each of them. Drawing her mace, she helped Haxor on his giant. Ozasin began singing a chant of strength and unity, and the group attacked their opponents with need vigor.

      Haxor swung blow after blow on the giant as the monks delivered their damage to the creature. Brennan turned his good side towards the giant landing solid strikes on it, while Leanne showed her precision with the blade again. Weebly and Perani helped on their giant when Janze and Sazin faced off against the third. That giant was merely standing there watching the group fight, as it crossed its arms over its chest. The two brother Drakotos didn't know how to react, waiting for the monster to make its move first.

      Amelmara blessed her weapon then summoned a flying mace to attack the giant. Hitting the colossus in the knee, she shattered the foe's knee to bits instantly. The beast fell on his face and was summarily dispatched. Simultaneously, Leanne dodged a blow aimed at her, doing a small forward barrel roll, coming up behind her opponent and sliced his tendons, causing him to also fall on his face; eliminated by the knight who had been injured by it.

      The group gathered together to look at the third giant. He was dressed in a bluish metal plate armor that covered their foe from head to toe. As they looked at it, the giant smiled as it removed two enormous swords from their sheaths, their length greater than all of Haxor. The party charged the new opponent trying to intimidate him with their cohesiveness. The giant simply stood there, waiting for them to close the distance.

      The group engaged the giant, who surprised the entire group when he vaulted over them and turned to attack their cleric. Stunned by the move Amelmara stood there as the blades came down to cut her into two. Suddenly in a blinding flash she was tackled by Sassard as they sailed to the ground; the blades narrowly missing their bodies, but Sassard's tail was not as fortunate having been severed off his body.

      The remaining folks all attacked the giant with all their might, but they could not land a solid blow, the giant showing remarkable dexterity for his size. Laughing at their group, the giant met with Haxor's blow, splitting his weapon into pieces.

      Brennan swung his weapon against the leg of the giant, but the attack hit the armor just right, sending the blade flying from his hand across the floor. Leanne moved in, deflecting a blow that was meant to severe his head. Perani and Weebly summoned spells against their opponent, but he simply laughed as they had no effect against him. He summoned his own spell against them, and they both fell to the ground asleep from the effects.

      Suddenly, from behind a chant went up; a melody of immense strength. Turning to face the origins of the tune, the giant viewed the small feline as she sung her song. The effects were felt by her party, repairing the knight's arm; stopping the bleeding from Sassard's tail base, and waking the two women previously set asleep. She looked at the giant and smiled to him as she glanced upwards to a large stalactite hanging from the ceiling. Her voice hit a pitch that brought tears to her friend's eyes, as they felt the strength of the pitch ripple through their bodies. It shattered the ice spear at the base, sending it plummeting to the earth and into the giant's shoulder and neck. Thinking fast, Janze and Sazin grabbed a rope from their pack and ran around the ankles of their foe. The giant flailed wildly for something to prevent his fall, but finding nothing to grapple toppled to the ground, producing a minor tremor as he hit. The party wasted no time in killing their enemy, falling to the ground themselves afterwards tired from the fight.

      After a well-deserved rest, they gathered their items and went down the passage some more, arriving at the source of their destination of Articscale's lair. The white dragon was just about finishing a meal of something unidentifiable when she gulped down the rest and settled down, folding her wings behind her.

      "You might as well come in now that you have journeyed so far. In the future, you might want to wash the stench of the things you defeat off of you before presenting yourself before a lady," Articscale said to them.

      Carefully they entered her lair looking about for her usual guards as they approached her.

      "They are not here. I sent them away and had you face some of my guards that I really didn't like a lot," she said as she licked her teeth in the same manner their Drakoto friend had before.

      Amelmara stepped forward, bowing before the dragon. "We have traveled a long distance to present your loveliness with a gift on your anniversary here."

      "What anniversary?" She asked.

      "It was a little more than five years ago that you made your lair here. We wanted to honor you for that with this," Amelmara stated, turning to Haxor. The bull opened the sack of a very large boar that had been smoked in the ground with seasonings.

      The dragon smiled as she said, "You brought a snack for me? How kind you are. So it has been five years? It is such a short time span for a dragon. I plan on being here for many of your years to come." She took the prize and chewed it slowly savoring the taste of it before gulping it down. Afterwards she turned to them and said, "Return home to your places as assisters to me. Your strength in arriving here shows the strength you have in being together," she paused a moment before continuing, "as a family. Oh, and before I forget," she walked over to Sassard and touched him on the head with a claw, restoring his tail to its fully painted nature. "We can't have a Drakoto that prides himself on his tail without it for any length of time." She smiled to them as they left stating, "One more thing, if you could, see if you can get these adventurers to leave me alone just a bit more than they do?"

      Smiling, the family said in unison, "We will see what we can do."

      * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

      "I liked that story!" the young assistant stated.

      "Perhaps next time, we can learn about each individual," he said, closing the book.
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