It's the end of the week, but it looks like i'll be busy all weekend. Come to think of it, weekends don't usually mean free time for meh. Strange...
good news, though. i'm officially taking driver's ed. yay-ness for me! <333
let's see... what else to report...
well, there's good news regarding that guy. he doesn't really hate me.
and, if you've never heard 'run for cover' by the sugababes, you have serious problems. go to youtube, or last.fm or launchcast or whatever and look it up, and listen to it. i luv it! <3
Easter is tomorrow! I totally forgot about it! ACK! i'll see about getting everyone easter gifts, but i promise nothing. candy will be on sale after easter, though... *ponders*
umm... *ish running out of stuff to say*
OH! tickle fights don't work over the internet. twitch and i discovered this. well, itsh possible, but it sounds ... odd...
and, lou, if you read this, we shall both be whores forever! prostitutes ROCK!
dieses ist deutsch. Spaßspaß.
Thank God my dad took that CD out...
So - my week. Well, first of all, its been...cold. Very, very cold. I absolutely HATE the cold. Anything below 65 or 70, and I'm unhappy. I wish summer/spring cold fronts didn't exist. xP
Anywayz, my site visits were this weekend. Pretty awesome. Center for Child Protection was a little cramped, but they seemed like a nice enough place. They were one of our finalists last year, too. I really like what they're doing. Emancipet was pretty great, too, but they seemed more pet focused (and I can see why) than on the project they submitted to us in their grant. But I liked them a lot, too. I have a feeling we're gonna have a hard time choosing.
Sunday was Easter, and we went to church. At the last minute, I realized we were supposed to sing the Hallelujah chorus, and I had to learn it in ten minutes. Guess I shouldn't have left early on that one choir rehearsal day. Still, it went over well. We didn't mess up, and you could hear us over the instruments.
Monday, I went to school, then I met with some friends and we planned our meals for our camping trip this weekend. Camping is awesome - but it better not rain. We may not have tents this time (Hallelujah!) but we DO like hiking. And rain kinda limits where we can go.
And, yesterday. Tuesday. Went to school, then went home with Erin and Jessica to film our video project. Damn.... Ms. Kemp's not gonna love that so much. Let's just say I got to dance bunches and do all the bloopers, but there isn't much in the way of actual script. But - I did get wear this trenchcoat meant for a six foot four man. And I'm five foot. Exactly. (Which I'm very proud of, by the way)
So - that's all I care to talk about. Hope you enjoyed the first part of this week and the last part of last week. More to come.
My pants don't fit. T.T I hate being my size. Why couldn't i be at least a one?! Is that SO much to ask for???
'Kay, well, este semana fui... bien. Yes, tu hace saber espanol para comprende este blog. Fun fun, eh? But - good spanish news! I gots a 1 freaking hundred on my video project! thank god for wasps and trenchcoats for six foot four men!!! And, of course, the paper mustache. moustache. moostache. whatever.
gonna go to nicole's party on sat, but i need a ride. hopefully there won't be music theatre that day. xP that class... yeah. there's only a few reasons i enjoy it. but sirs really good for a choir director, so i forgive.
James is better, though. ^^ Sorry. And Danny comes in second.
Which reminds me... of ... those two REALLY hot college twins i got to meet through danny. you have NO idea how great THAT whole experience was. last feb was totally the best month for hotties. And, of course, i got to see brett. he completes james' little triplets - scott, brett, and james. they all look IDENTICAL. well, not completely, but enough for me to see a resemblence. But, if you've NEVER heard brett sing, you are missing out. he is awesome. go find him and hear him sing. now. i order you to.
back to life, though...
i got to go camping this weekend! granted, it was cold, and i DID fall almost thirty feet off a tightrope, but hey! i got to sunbathe in fifty degree weather! fear my nonexsistant tan - muahahahaha! but it was fun. really.
sorry to eric, though. #^^
uhh... let's see...
AH! this week is testing, so we only have two classes a day. bad thing - girl behind me snores. and so does the guy next to me. xP i DID manage to get halfway through the inferno, though. great poem. little bit long, but great. dante would have to be my favorite poet so far.
not much else to say. wait - i WILL ask him out this week. no more putting it off. although i'd rather do it friday, just in case he says no, so i don't have to see him. not that i care.
Yeah - scary. i know. but, when you have a mom like mine.. well, you don't argue with her music choices.
Uhh... there was a story i was gonna tell, but this stupid site takes so long to load, i forgot. stupid germans. all the way in germany... making the site so long to load..
Anderson had some German exchange students for a while. Rae took a bunch of pics of them and i got to see them when i saw her monday. And, of course, i met grace's. she looked JUST like a china doll. very scary...
STill can't remember my story...
WEll, to pass time, i'm gonna record meself doing MY hand motions (dance moves) to 'Creeps Me Out'. Some, i admit, i got from rae, but most are me own. i have moves for other songs too, but mostly just the refrains. or just random stuffs.
AH! I remembered! My mom's favorite song is 'Cocaine'. Yeah, no joke. she does the air guitar and EVERYTHING. muy scary.
Yeah - that was it. sorry to disappoint. thought it was noteworthy, though.
and, now, a word from my sponser.
eat. more. cookies.
and now back to ... whatever i was doing.
I said this awhile back, too, but if you haven't been to http://www.drunkenboat.com - you NEED to go. unless you hate cool photos and interesting short stories and poems. in which case, i do not believe that i and you will agree on much. mayhaps...
ahh... this blog is so random. i feel sorry for anyone who reads it. just me randomly saying random stuffs. and writings. But i like el german, sos i'm gonna keep it.
which reminds meh, i should probably update my actual website soon... and do some new css coding for gaia. i do, after all, need a different profile. what say you to the leaning tower of pisa? black and white, and lettering in grey... with a ... stationary bg. and then pink lines. or some other bright colour. mix it up, ya know?
alright. i think that's enough random stuff for one day. let's get down to the serious things now. all the random people should be gone...
bad news first. my grandpa is going into hospice, which would be why my dad isn't here at the moment. he's in v******* picking out a good place for him. for those who don't know what hospice is: it's where cancer patients, who the doctor's KNOW are going to die soon, go. The younger ones get intensive, very harsh treatment (for the cancer, they are treated very well there) and the older ones who can't handle that kind of treatment because it also damages their body, are just made as comfortable as possible. that's the reason for my sadness.
good news next. well... it WOULD be next IF i had any. yet. umm... party on sat, and cake baking on sun at either simon's or my house. personally, i vote simon's, cuz me madre would just get in the way. But my house IS pretty cool, if i say so myself. expecially in the summer/spring/early fall. when the scorpians don't invade the pool... don't ask.
mmkay, well, that pretty much sums up what i wanted to say. guess i can go back to rambling now...
or i could go do that video. i like option numbah two. see ya!
My 'day off'.
Well, not really. I usually have meetings a with GGG and church and choir and a whole bunch of stuff today. But it always seems like the afternoon is freer...
It's been REALLY stickie all day. I hate that. The keys on the piano wouldn't work, and i kept messing up. Mom finally shut the windows, though, so maybe i'll go back and play it right later. Probably not, though.
I'm trying to pick a dress for that choir thing, cuz i don't wanna have to do it later. Unless they don't like the one i'm gonna order. Either just a simple black tube top dress or a plaid halter dress. VEry much meant for warm weather, and not at all exceptable for school. (the no-sleeves thing) Which is why i dunno if i can wear 'em. Oh well. at least i'll have for the award ceremony. Speaking of which, i wonder if miriam or brittany or sarah can give a ride...
Everybody who reads this should come, by the way. We want a lot of people, and the local news crews are gonna be there, we hope. It's the 22nd of May at the capital (i think, i'll verify that later) between 2-2:30 starting time. It probably won't last that long, but you never know. Last year, it was at Chez Zee and we also served dinner and had a slideshow presentation of us throughout the year. but it was also our year-end party, and we're gonna have that not on the same date this year. But, do come. It should be interesting.
I wish it were sunny outside. I hate it when it's grey and humid. Makes the air in this house all icky and wet. And my hair... well, don't get me started. In a minute, I shall see if jess with quit playing animal crossing and give me the gc. I wanna play ddr. exercise and all that.
As soon as it warms up, i'm gonna start doing mock laps in my pool. I'm gonna suck, but its the thought that counts. Besides, i need to toughen up. Being stronger than my brother doesn't mean anything.
Crystal, Austin, Reid and Simon finished our English project today, by the way. I offered encouraging words, but came too late to do much. Mostly, i got to talk to some guy on aim on reid's sn. travis or something. dunno. but crystal and i spent the whole time trying to convince him we weren't reid playing a joke on him. and watching austin and simon play guitar hero. I'll bring a pick of the cake with meh tomorrow though. we all took photos of it on our phone. (dont' ask)
As for yesterday... yeah. I spent most of the day at a theater rehearsal (eww) and then, when i got home, i was yelled for my mom losing her carrot-grater thing. whatever that is. apparently it's square and multi-coloured.
Theater, though, was milding entertaining. I brought my mom's ds to keep away my boredom, and shelby, nolan, and eric all stole it. mostly they played nintendogs and picto-chat (whatever that is) There were some veyr interesting going-on, though, between the punching and the other stuffs. curse short-term memory. helps with not remembering hw, though. ^.^
Which somehow reminds me, i haven't written in a while. i need to go back over chapter one. I keep re-writing it, because i'm a perfectionist when it comes to my writing, and it's never good enough for me. that's why i don't like doing rough drafts in english - my papers change completely after doing them.
I'm really tired. Maybe i should have more coffee in my diet...? nah. that might be castrophic. catotstrophic. whatever.
my copy of the purgatorio is staring at me, i think it wants to know why i haven't finished it yet. in my defense, though, translated italian-latin mid-14th (i think) century poetry is hard to read. but i do so love dante. ah, well. i'll finish it, then go out and get the last in the divine comedy.
well, i think it's time i go. i'm gonna look for the stuff for my driver's ed 'class'. my mom lost the packet of stuff that tells her what she's supposed to teach me, so i better go find it before she yells at me.
You know, I think it would suck to work on a movie set. First of all, you would know everything that happens during the movie, and it would spoil all the suspense. Second, if it's a romantic movie, or there's romantic interest, you would know how the actors really felt about each other, which would kinda spoil the whole 'romance' thing on screen. Just a random thought, i know, but it's true if you think about it. That's why I could never be an actor. I love movies too much.
Well, random thought of the day done with, guess i'll move on.
Cake Day in English was yesterday, but it was kind of a let-down. We didn't actually eat cake the whole day - we had to read about Oedipus, too. I can't believe I spelled that right without looking. Ah, i amaze me.
Algebra was boring.....
Choir was... fn. As usual. WE convinced Lizzy to change her schedule for next year. (YAY!) And we got donuts and milk. Yum...
And, first block, Spanish. WE took a grammer quiz, and then I started my homework. that was pretty much it. And side conversations about random stuff. Our class is so A.D.D.
After school was a mess. We had theater rehearsal from 4:30-9:00, but it didn't start to five. So I walked around with Shelby for a while, then she left, and I checked my voicemail. Well... yeah. There was message from Golfsmith, as usual, and there was one from Dad. Way to depress me. While I was walking back into the building, I found Rachel and we said hi. And talked to her cool Asian friends. Very entertaining. Then rehearsal started, and I was bored. I finally got most of the sharpie off.
GGG aby shower/end of year party is coming up. Damn, i still need to get a present...
I came home yesterday, and discovered a very frightening thing. Of course we all remember the O.C. (thank god its gone) I found.... my brother WATCHING it. My thirteen year old brother. *shudders*
So - my day? Not so great. First, there was.. emo week stuff. I'm gonna remember to bring Tylenol today. Second, i lost my voice for practically the entire day. Including choir. I absolutely hate not being able to sing. Singing is my ... life. Well, not really. But almost. It quite possibly could be.
And these theater rehearsals - they are starting to get on my nerves. I'm so glad I'm not gonna be there today. I do, in fact, have a life, and I can't sacrifice ALL of it for theater.
But, on to happier news, I'm gonna post chapter one of my first story yeah - it's not great. but i wrote it all during study hall in the eighth grade- what can you expect?
When truth of matter
To roam the hills once more
The heir to the throne
The lonely Rowan’s Dome
When sparrows sing
To the dusk
And dolphins chase the birds
Then all will belong
To the heir
And Death will come no more
I tell this phrase
A riddle that won’t be solved
What is black and white and red all over?
Simple child’s play
But can this phrase
Can it define?
That which comes again?
No, I think not
And to the sun
All is lost again
So, heir to the throne
Come quickly now
And steal away our terror
For when you sit upon the throne
The sun will rise once more
But until that day
Have hope, ye men
And rise against the horror
For should your peril be great
The one will be known
So, sing, ye bards
Unto the men
And warn them of their peril
But tell them not
What passes to come
For then, the heir will be undone
“Heir’s Prophecy” 1453
Kari snuck past the guards posted around the building, and then ran to the woods. No one noticed, thanks to the deer form she’d become. Now, if she could only climb this tree. Reverting back to a human, she began the assent. She hated trees, and the fact that she had to climb this one in a human form – they’d almost got her in the wing yesterday as a hawk. Finally, reaching the top, she stared out over the treetops. Good, not a town in sight, she thought. All the better for my master plan to take affect. Jumping lightly down from the tree, she whistled for Rain, her faithful companion and soul-animal. Rain came padding towards her, the wolf’s face nearly unreadable.
<Did you finally escape? > He questioned laughingly.
“Hey! It’s easier for you because you’re used to sneaking around.” she countered.
<Well, are you ready, anyway? > He smiled at her, his tongue lolling out of his mouth.
“Duh!” setting down the rucksack that had previously been on her back, she began to shimmer and took on the form of a wolf. As a wolf she was a darker gray color, with rings around her tail, forming a raccoon – like pattern. Her eyes had turned a dark amber color, and there was a faint trace of gold on the outside rim of both her eyes. But you couldn’t really tell. As a human, she looked like every average Belrain. She long, golden brown hair, and eyes that reflected her mood. Also, like every other sensible person who gets enough exercise, she was fairly slim. She had been wearing a cut-off gray skirt, and a white blouse, courtesy of the master of the strange stone building she’d just escaped from.
<Hey, Rain, how about we head for that place where we were last time? >
<Yslat? Okay with me, but remember, that’s where they caught you. They might look there. > Worry shone from his dark green eyes.
<They aren’t that smart, > She smiled at him. <Don’t worry. >
Yslat was a wild, untamed place that the humans were just beginning to explore. If they hadn’t torn down a whole forest just to build one home for just them, the beings that lived there might have considered them as neighbors. But, since that one destruction, they hadn’t taken on any more humans there. A week later, the house had vanished, and the forest had come back. The people there were never seen again. There were more dangerous things than just natural wildlife living in that region. It was entirely controlled by the Wilds.
Kari trotted at an easy pace beside Rain, and they sped away from the evil stone building and its vile owner and unaware guards.
Lord Francisco was a man obsessed with wealth and his well being. Since the old king was about to die, he had taken it upon himself to find the heir and collect the reward. Somehow, the king’s brother had had a daughter, and she had had a daughter, but they had both supposedly perished. Or, rather, they had escaped their home and run away. Then they had died. But, now, the search was on. They had to find any ties to these people, for the king was dying, and needed his successor. Otherwise, the king’s mad brother would take the throne.
Kari slipped through a small opening in a nearby tree. Inside, it would be comfortable enough to fit both her and Rain. The tree was huge, about 100 feet around, and more then 1000 feet tall, like the other trees around them. She peered out at Rain. He was sitting dejectedly to one side.
<It is going to rain soon, > he wailed mournfully. Unlike most wild animals, Rain hated the rain. You’d think he’d be named after rain because he liked it, but Kari had always though his mom was strange. The other two kits in his litter had been Pepper and Death. Death had died three days later, and Pepper was somehow allergic to this strange black dust that humans had dubbed ‘pepper’.
Kari sighed, and rummaged through her knapsack. As a wolf, she had to carry it around in her teeth, but in a human form she could do as she pleased. She found her axe and began to hew away carefully at the slit in the trunk. She didn’t want the hole to be noticeable, but carefully crafted to look like a savage beast had done it in the night. Mayhap a boar or some such. On a second thought, she replaced the axe, and crawled back out of the tree. Quickly shifting into a boar, she began clawing at the tree, and had soon loosened enough bark for Rain to crawl through.
As a fine mist began it’s graceful fall to the ground, Kari and Rain nicked into the tree. Both were wolves, now, to avoid human detection. Either of them could scare off any dogs that caught Kari’s trail. Rain was soon asleep, but Kari was restless. She stared out over the treescape, and noticed the storm was worsening. That was probably it. She usually could not sleep when storms were abroad, although Rain slept like a baby.
As soon as it had begun to darken, the storm began to wane. But it left behind some of its wrath. A nearby tree had been felled, and there were several broken branches that littered the forest floor. Kari was about to vacate the trunk, when she heard them.
The country of Belry was swept up in a fury of ceremony, and wrath, when the King died. He had been gentle, kind and wise, and now it seemed his brother would take the throne. Then, somehow, word got out about Francisco’s find. The girl he had had in his possession was now up for grabs, and not many wanted to miss out. They all wanted the fame and glory. That’s how it was here, a battle against all, even relatives. But everyone now had a common goal, at least. Get the mad King off the throne he would soon possess.
Kari heard them before they got there, and quickly roused Rain, they moved quickly, scrambling around and playing like they lived here all the year round. When the dogs approached, they smelled the ‘evil’ stench of the wolves, but their masters drove them on. Soon, the hunting party was swiftly running from two quite angry wolves.
Soon afterwards, Kari drifted into a deep slumber, heedless of the noisy woodlands around her. After all, wolves could sleep anywhere, and under any conditions, especially when they hadn’t slept all night.
When Kari had had her fill of sleep, she woke to find that Rain had already been hunting for the two of them. A sprig of berries and two rabbits. Still shaking off the affects of her recent sleep, Kari shifted back to a human, and rummaged around in her knapsack. She came up with a pot and three poles with which she would secure the pot over the fire with. Rain had also taken the liberty of digging a shallow hole for her to light her fire, but he was nowhere to be seen. Sighing, she began lunch by herself, and soon a merry fire was flickering and dancing to a rhythm all its own.
Rain trotted into view a few minutes later, and he was towing a bag.
<Look! I found this bag, and it smells like those things you call potatoes! > He seemed very excited about the whole thing. But, who could blame him? After he and Kari had tried these delectable vegetables a year before, both had fallen in love with them. The only thing was, although they grew in abundance on farms, you had to buy them for a price, and couldn’t just take what was needed. So, a stray bag of potatoes was a rare, and happy occurrence.
“ Do you want me to add a few to the stew?” Kari asked him. Rabbit stew was delicious with vegetables and spices, especially potatoes. Otherwise, it was fairly bland and boring.
<Why would you even have to ask? > His grin told her it was a definite yes. She peeled two, and sliced them into tiny chunks, then dropped them into the pot. The water had only begun to spout tiny bubbles, so she knew it would still cook them. Kari stuffed the other potatoes into her knapsack, to save for another stew and another day.
About an hour later, Kari pronounced the stew finished. She breathed in the delicate aroma of rabbit, potatoes, and ginger. She fished two bowls out of her bag, and began ladling the steaming broth into them. Delicious smells wafted around their campsite.
After they broke their luncheon fast, the pair quickly gathered up the goods and packed them into the sack. Kari picked it up between her teeth, and growled, a sign that she was ready to leave. They had to leave the campsite soon, because the hunters would be back.
A day and a half later, the two were still trekking along, but they began to see signs of a nearby village. Man-prints and scent was scattered around like dirty clothes in a launders. Kari began to wonder if Rain was as uneasy as her. Last time they had been in a village, they’d been chased out by a mob. Now, they had bigger things on their mind. Like, getting caught by a mad-man who wanted to imprison them in a cage of stone and mortar. She shivered, and noticed Rain was looking at her curiously.
<You okay? > He asked sincerely.
<Yeah. Just tired. >
<You really should try harder to sleep, even if it is raining. >
<I know. Hey, how about this. Maybe you should stand in the rain, and get all wet – then I’d laugh myself to sleep. > She grinned maniacally.
<Right after you bathe in a mud stream, with the leeches. > He leered back at her. Still smiling and looking at her, he padded right into a tree.
<Very nice. >
As the man-prints and the stench became more frequent, Rain and Kari stepped up the pace a little bit. The sooner they were through the town, the better. They wondered if they had any foodstuffs – they could replenish their packs. As Kari could come back as a human any time and bring the shiny metal coins the man in the evil stone cage had given her to buy stuff, they really only needed to pad through to see if there was anything worth buying. There was also the probability that Kari could go as a human, and say that Rain was her dog, but Rain highly objected to this. He hated being thought of as a lowly dog. Said they were too loyal, and didn’t know what was different between being obsessive and just plain loyal. They also did too much stuff for humans – like slaves.
As the town hovered into view, both of them began to smell the horrible stench coming from it. They couldn’t quite catch it, but it was nothing they’d smelled before. But, yet, they had. It was very strange. Neither could put their paw on it, but they could tell something was afoot. They proceeded with caution, taking every step as quietly as they could.
Up ahead, they could see the town. It was littered with dead men, and women. But, there were no children, dead or alive, in view.
Lord Francisco sat down heavily in a big green armchair by the side of a low burning fire. A few scrolls rested on one of the arms, and he quickly moved them to a side table.
“So, Greg, you mean to tell me you lost them, but that there was a pair of wolves where they should have been?”
“Yes, sir,” Greg, his captain of guard, looked very anxious, but not without cause. His lord was ruthless, and quite often flew off the handle when enraged.
“Well, track the wolves! Do you know what could happen if you left them alone, with all my precious game?!”
Death was written all over the small country town. But, still, they had yet to see any children. Had the children rebelled and killed their parents? Not likely, it seemed more like weapons had been used. And, there were a few bite marks, like a vampires. But, vampires had disappeared beyond even Yslat, and the weapons they’d forgotten looked more like, well, hard, stiffened, and sharpened pieces of wood. Very old fashioned, if you though about it.
Kari morphed back into a human at random times and picked up a few necessary equipment. A harness to hold the knapsack on either hers’ or Rains’ back, a few extra ingredients for their campside meals, a few small ornamental daggers, and a larger selection of potatoes.
Francisco was still rubbing his temples in irony, when it occurred to him that his Lady might be a ShapeChanger. That might explain the wolves, and her easy escape. For, was not Yslat the home of the strange beings that walked this earth? And, had he not found her there, wandering around with a wolf? For one moment, he was glad he’d sent his Captain to find and capture those wolves.
Kari and Rain continued along their chosen road, passing through the town. However, even when clear of the dense, tangled bodies, the pair proceeded with caution. Farmer’s fields now dotted the land, and the possibility of evil increased. But, the farms were untouched. Every time they came to another farm, the farmer and his dogs chased them away.
<Strange, is it not? > Kari asked.
<Well, maybe daylight came, and they had to leave, if they were vampires. > Rain offered helpfully.
<I don’t know. Something strange is going on, and I want to know what it is. In addition, why haven’t the farm people been to the town – you’d think they cared. >
<Humans don’t live in close packs like us. They tend to try to kill one another whenever they can. > Rain looked pointedly at her. <Humans aren’t like wolves, only killing one another for food. They do for satisfaction. >
<Well, I don’t. > Kari was trying to protect her old species, as she had become one with the wolves long ago. <My old tribe wasn’t like that. >
<Oh, but they were. All those ones hunting us were after our pelts, and they were from your village. As neighbors to your tribe, I should know. > He said no more, but trotted ahead. It was obvious he wished not to continue.
Kari was puzzled. It wasn’t like he had anything to hide. Or did he. There was stuff he refused to tell her. But, why? Shaking the feeling off, Kari noticed a dip in the land ahead.
<Rain, is that a river? > Usually a small dip like that could only mean a stream, but she was further behind than Rain. It could be bigger.
<No, but there is a big old pond. Lots of shiny fish, too. > She could just imagine him, licking his chops. It sounded like fish for dinner.
They made camp at the far side of the river. There was a shallow hole, perfect for the fire. Kari had changed into a human, again, and had begun frying the fish on a spider skillet she’d found in town. A spider skillet looked rather like a spider – it had eight legs to stand upon above the fire. This way, no one would have to hold it above. But, because it was iron, it was very difficult to remove, as this particular one had lost it’s handle on the way down here.
<Are you done yet? > Rain could smell the fish, and as he had a better nose, it probably increased the smell two-fold.
<Not quite. Go find some berries for me to eat with this. > She was used to having him find food, but if she had to, she could. He was just a better forager.
<What, can’t stand to eat fish by itself? > His tongue lolled out, and he managed a grin.
<Something like that. > She laughed as she said it.
When Rain came trotting back to the camp, he noticed the fish were all laid out, and Kari was just sitting there, waiting for him.
<You didn’t have to wait for me, you know. >He said.
“Of, course. I just being polite.” She sounded hurt, but he knew she was just messing with him. “Hurry up, or I’ll starve to death!”
<Not likely, considering how much you ate earlier. > Both had filled themselves with blackberries, fresh bread, and pre-cooked meat at the town.
After dinner, the pair laid back on the grass, Kari a wolf again now that she had finished the chores of doing the dishes and cooking.
<Hey, Rain? >
<Do you think I could change that bug into a fish? >
<Well, you could… > Rain was hesitant. Neither of them had ever thought of the possibility of changing another creature.
<I’m going to try. > She reached a paw out, and carefully touched the bug, then tried. But, she only morphed herself back into a human.
“Guess I have to be human to do it.” She laughed, and then tried again. Instead of a fish, the bug became a small cat. Hissing, it scrambled from the camp.
<Well, something happened. > Rain muttered sarcastically. <But, it didn’t become a fish. >
“I know. I forgot that fish can’t breathe on land, so I tried to make it a hawk.”
<Ahh. I see. >
<Whatever you say, your majesty. >
Lord Francisco was preparing for the King’s yearly visit. The Steward was currently holding the position, because the brother hadn’t yet been approved, so he couldn’t assume the throne. Everyone was relieved that it would take about three months for him to get paperwork sorted out. Any time between now and the crowning was vital. If anyone could find any relatives of the old King, they’d be saved.
The rooms in the West Wing were well-suited to royalty. They could be re-arranged at any moment, and there were doors that they could close off and open up as necessary. Just in case they needed two bedrooms to connect. Or something like that. Currently, he was arranging a suite of rooms for the Steward and his Lady. He had already readied the stables, and the staff in the kitchens. Everything was almost ready.
Kari woke in a sweat. She didn’t even remember what she was dreaming about, but it had been terrifying. Rain was still sprawled out, asleep, upon the ground. She got up, unfolding herself from the small curl she’d scrunched herself into. So much for restful nights she thought. Turning to the lake, she lapped up she water, the trotted evenly back to the campsite. Rain had rolled over, and stuck one of his paws high into the air. He looked seriously funny lying like that. She almost laughed, but restrained herself. She lay down once more, and was soon asleep. But, dreams once again invaded her dreams, even if she didn’t awake.
Later, Rain awoke to the sound of sizzling bacon, one of the many supplies they’d picked up in town.
<Yum! > Rain was still sleepy, and couldn’t come up with any other adjectives to describe the wonderful smell. Then again, every meat smelled heavenly to him.
“Morning, sleepy head,” she said cheerfully. “How’d ya sleep?”
<Grr.. eh? What? Oh, fine, thanks. >
“Glad to hear it.” Kari was determined to stay cheerful, even if Rain was being a pill. “Want anything with the bacon, or are you going to be a heathen and eat it by itself.”
<I choose the heathen path. > He was slightly more awake, now. <Do you want me to find some eggs for you to have with that? >
“Please and thank you!”
Soon, breakfast was cleared, and everything was ready to go. Kari and Rain were affixed the harnesses that allowed them to carry the rucksack and other supplies on their backs. Once done, the pair trotted onward.
<Do you think we’ll ever come to the end of these hills? > Kari asked after almost a week had passed and they were still moving onward through the hilly plains.
<Well, at there’s a lot of food and water here. I’d rather be here than a desert, or a dense jungle, wouldn’t you? >
<I suppose you’re right. Well, whatever happens, we’ll still be here to see it, eh? >
As the Steward entered his home, the Lord was yet still making preparations. Although he was ready, there were little details he was still fussing over. The chandelier was too shiny, the portraits were hung wrong, and other such. His wife, though, persuaded him to be calm. Once the Steward was done with whatever business, she promised, it would be more relaxing. After all, the Steward had to visit every great house in Belry, and was hard pressed to stay more than 2 or 3 days.
“My lord, the rade is almost to our gates. You should prepare yourself.” A servant had hurried into the room, carrying the robes that Francisco was to wear.
“Of course, thank you.” He nodded his head gracefully as the man left the room.
When the rade reached the entrance, Francisco was standing near the stables, ready to receive any guests, and had prepared the stable boys to take the horses from their owners.
“Ah, Lord Francisco, there you are,” The Steward had been trying to get him alone all day, and he had finally caught him. “I’ve been meaning to ask you about that girl you found – are you sure she’s a possible heir?”
“Yes, I am certain,” The Steward was a shrewd man, with almost black hair, and light brown eyes. He was extremely tall, and quite well muscled, but yet he was not married. He tended to be the arguing type, and liked to be in charge. If no one had known that the Steward and the King were best of friends, they would have thought that the Steward had killed the King to be in power.
“Well, then, we shall have to double our attempts to find her.”
“Yes, your Lordship.”
Kari and Rain had come to the end of the densely packed hills, and had moved into a strange region.
<Well, I vote for the forest. > Rain had made his argument clear. The way before them was split – one way was a forest, and the other was a desert.
<Maybe it’s a trap. We ARE on magician territory. >
<Good point, but why make it so obvious? >
<Because this sort of thing would make us turn to the desert because it would be right in front of us. >
<So, what your saying is that they want us to go to the desert? >
<Yeah, sure. >
<Then, why not? >
<Because, look, there are vultures swirling above. That’s never a good sign. >
Rain peered upwards and gasped. Not just one or two vultures, like he’d expecting, but a whole horde of the creatures.
<What the fu- >
<Rain, c’mon. You really should have looked up – wolves should be more used to it than humans. Now, stir yourself – we have water to pack. >
A day and a week later, water supplies had run low. Kari had been switching between a mole and a wolf all day – moles were extremely good at finding water. But, though they’d tried, or, rather, she’d tried, Kari hadn’t found a single drop.
<Well, Kari, you COULD morph into a rain cloud. >
<Sorry – I haven’t quite figured out how to do that yet. > Kari was apologetic, but still wouldn’t have done even if she could. <You have no idea how hard it is to be a solid, then rearrange yourself to make an almost not-there being. >
<Yeah, well, I’m not a shifter, am I? >
That night, at dinner, Kari passed out two potatoes each.
<Yes. I thought we should eat them before they grow roots. >
<I see. Well, thank you. We all hate rooty potatoes. > He looked at her indignant face and started laughing so hard he couldn’t stop. When he’d finished rolling around he stood up, still huffing. Kari was still staring at him, aghast at what he’d done.
“It’s not that funny!” She’d switched back to a human so that she could more easily light a fire for them to cook the potatoes.
<Yeah, yeah, sure. Hey, how about I go and find some sand we can eat with that? >
“Yeah, rub it in. How about you dig us a little cave before I ruin your potatoes? “ She held the potatoes right above the sand.
<Alright, but don’t blame me if it caves in! >
That night, the pair were drawing straws for sentry duty. After Rain had sufficiently chewed down one stick, Kari had him pick one. She had first watch, because he’d picked the long stick. Then again, first watch was the shortest, seeing on how the stick was shorter. She had no idea how this worked – Rain had made up their system.
She saw nothing but the flickering light of their fire, that night, but did see what she thought was a shooting star. Waking Rain up, she pointed it out to him just as it fizzled out.
<Thanks for waking me up for that! >
<Your welcome. It’s your turn, anyway. >
When morning came, Rain was nuzzling the packs, trying to get a stray piece of jerky to fall out.
<Hey! Get out of that! >
<Me hungry! >
<Me too, but save those rations! >
Kari packed up the sack, and harnessed Rain up, then gave him a big piece of jerky.
<This one’s mine. > She said regally as she morphed back.
<Big deal! > He muttered between bites. <My piece was bigger! >
The day went by slowing, the sun constantly beating down upon their backs. Several times, one of them would think they saw a pond, or oasis, or even the end of the desert, only to find more sand. They were paw sore and weary, but they still trundled onwards. Both began to feel the fatigue of the days journey as they stopped to rest.
<We could just stay here and never move again. At least we wouldn’t die tired. > Rain looked at Kari, hope shining from his eyes.
<No. I don’t want to die with you! > She was joking of course, but Rain gained a little energy from anger. <Besides, we’re almost to the end – I can feel it. >
<Sure. As long as there’s a big pond beyond this. >
Francisco was very tired, but couldn’t sleep. He’d been unable to sleep the entire week that the Steward was here. There was something about the man that just put him on edge. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but there was definitely something going on here he didn’t know about. But, whether it had to do with the King or not, he couldn’t tell. Maybe it was just his mind playing tricks on him. Well, as long as he was up, he might as well work on finding that girl. Maybe she’d left something behind.
No servant had been in her room – he’d been afraid she might do something terrible to them. After all, she had been found in Yslat. NO one knew, nor had asked just how she’d survived the attack, or even if she’d been in that particular group. Many had been to Yslat – she was the only human to come out alive. Except, she wasn’t really human, now, was she. If, indeed, she could Shift, then she could merely have been a squirrel, or a wolf, or a falcon, or a fish the whole time. She may even be one of the legendary RasQuer, legend Shifters of eld, with the powers to become more than one animal.
These legendary warriors were said to have been given great powers by the gods of old. Shifting, Invisibility, and other strange abilities. A few even had power over the elements. One of the last few became King of all the country of Belry, which he’d conquered and named his. The whole line was descended from him, but none had ever had any powers, besides him. The other remaining five disappeared, and were never heard from again. Though, a warning did the old King give. “She will only be willing if you do not venture into the Wild.” It was a strange prophesy, but everyone had heeded it back in the eld days. Strange, was not Yslat wild? And was she not willing? Hmm, maybe the first King had had something going for him. But, it couldn’t be her. They would change her mind for her. Yes, they would…
<See? There! On the horizon! There’s the end of the desert. >
<Hmm, wha - ? Oh, yeah. I see. Is there water, or have you figured out that rain cloud thing? >
<I dunno. Let’s go and see. >
The pair’s pace had slowed considerably since coming to this monstrous desert. Now, instead of their happy-go-lucky, carefree like pace, they had slowed to not much more than a crawl. Kari’s eyes lighted up for a brief moment, then she morphed into a lizard.
<Ahh, much better. > Rain looked all over for her, and then saw the tiny lizard, with Kari’s amulet dangling from its neck.
<Hey! Your amulet shrunk! >
<Yeah, its done that forever, Rain. >
<I knew that. >
Kari’’s amulet had been handed down for generations – her mom knew not from whence it came. Kari had always treasured it; not knowing it was the final, missing link needed to make her the next Queen.
This amulet had belonged to the first King, and had enhanced his Invisibility and Shifting powers. Mostly, it helped Kari with languages – she could understand any, and also <send> or speak back in the same lingo. It couldn’t enhance her powers because the blood of three Shifters was in her. In the old days, the King had only worn it on days he needed his abilities or when he was on parade. Kari wore it always for she needed her abilities at all times.
As the hours wore on, Kari began to see that the edge was coming closer. It was oh so slow, but you could tell it was definably there, now.
<Rain, do you think we should camp tonight, or do you just want to keep going? The nights are colder on the outskirts, and if I need to prepare a warmer meal or something, I kinda want to know. > Kari the lizard scampered around Rain’s foot, and lightly bounded across the sands in front of them. Although she was tired, Kari couldn’t help it. She loved scampering about and taunting Rain. After all, it’s not like he could Shift into a lizard and run circles around his best friend.
<Hmm, I think we should, but that we should find a shelter. There seems to be a small rise up ahead – we’ll camp under that. > Rain trotted off, with Kari hanging onto his tail. She loved thrills, and this was one of her favorites. Wind rushed past her scales, cooling the burning pain that had started earlier that day.
As they came closer to the place, Kari and Rain began to notice a layer of flat stone under the sand. Running became easier as they weren’t dragged down by the shifting desert sands.
<Hey! Let go of my tail and start dinner! Me hungry! >
<Alright, alright, just slow down so I CAN get off! > Still grumbling, Kari jumped lightly down from his tail before taking on the shape of a human. <I’ll cook another set of potatoes, okay Mr. Grumpy? >
Silence greeted her question. Kari turned around to see if Rain was listening, but he wasn’t there. Assuming he’d gone to forge for water, Kari continued with dinner, oblivious of anything else.
An hour after dawn, Kari woke. The potatoes, still wrapped in charred leaves, were untouched. She’d finally given up on Rain coming back soon, so she’d already eaten. I guess I fell asleep waiting for him – where could he be? The thought echoed through her head like a bad dream. She had no wish to believe that Rain was missing. Quickly, she packed their gear, then morphed. She’d seen these huge beasts before, and she knew that they could travel at a fairly good speed. A panther, they’d called themselves in human, Yslavian in their tongue. Even Kari couldn’t decipher that strange image they’d sent her when trying to translate their name. Using the massage long thing they called a trunk, Kari picked up her baggage and set off for the edge. She left her gear in the camp and crept away.
Rain awoke to a sharp pain ringing through his head. Kari was near – he could sense it. That, and the fact she was broadcasting her thoughts to him as loud as she could get. Which WAS pretty loud.
<Kari? > His voice was weak, almost a whisper – even he could tell that he had been drained by something. He struggled to his feet, feeling hard, cold stone beneath them. <Kari? >
That she could even hear him above her own thoughts was a miracle. Quickly, she shifted back into a wolf. Judging on the weakness of his voice, he was near. Setting nose to ground, she began sniffing for signs of his capture.
<Ahh. Our little Princess will soon get a taste of what she has to save Yslat, and Belry from. Won’t she be surprised to see. Ahh, but it is of no concern to us unless she succeeds. If they do take her, they will learn skills even she does not know that she has. >
<Shouldn’t we help her, then? She is the last one – and her power was only awakened by the fact that her mother came here before her birth. >
<Hmm. You do have a point. How about Takari? She’s a little strange, but could teach her much in the ways of weaponry, shifting, and stealth. Unless she’s already on a mission…? >
<Yes. I shall summon her to you right away. Maybe she should help the poor girl out once she finds her companion? >
<If she’s ready in time. ?
<Oh, she will be. She will be…. >
A night later, Kari had found the entrance to the cave, and had finally prepared to venture down below.
“You’re not really planning to do that by yourself, are you?” A voice drifted down from the top of the cliff where she’d found the cave. “I could help?”
There was question in her voice, and she seemed unsure, but confidence flowed from her. The girl was short, her hair long, brownish gold in color. She had gold eyes, black flecked, but gold no-the-less.
“The council sent me here to teach you and your … friend.” She jumped lightly down from the 100-feet high cliff wall, and landed on all fours. “Will you have me?”
Kari thought about this, then realized that she was still in her wolf form. This person obviously knew more than she thought.
<What else do you know about me, stranger? > She growled distrustfully.
“Only that you and I are somewhat alike. We can both Shift, and have, or had, friends of another race. But, you are still young, and one day will still die, unlike me. But, come now, let us save your friend, and see what he thinks of me. Surely HE will recognized me.”
The cave was dank, and smelled of bat guano. Holding a small light in her hand, Takari lifted it high, then handed it to Kari. It was a small orb of water, which held a light. Before she could ask, Takari told her that this was not something she would ever be able to do. Sighing, Kari walked behind her mysterious new ‘friend’, and watched her sniff the air. Motioning into a small, cobweb covered doorway, Takari pointed out that this is where her friend lay. Despite earlier warnings, Kari rushed right inside, heedless of anything. Inside, she could see through the dim light, several surprised beings. Tall, and knobby they were. Brown skin stretched tight over their shaven heads, and bony frames. She could see no veins, therefore no blood coursed through them. They had long, needle sharp claws, and long, fang-like teeth. And their eyes. IF eyes were windows into one’s soul, then these were certainly soul-less beings. Blackness drifted from them like a disease. Wide-eyed, Kari continued to stare at them as if she were frozen.
Lord Francisco paced his study floor. An expedition of three score men should be able to search one small part of a map. Yslat couldn’t be that big. After all, it defended it borders against them – they had to end somewhere. Along with three score soldiers, he would send five mapmakers, two trackers, ten foragers, and fifteen ‘magicians of the King’. These were certainly not the Mages of Yslat, but they could do minor conjuring. Of course, Belrians had no idea of anything that made its home in that wild land, besides the forest dwellers – the tree nymphs, and other woodland people - that warded the western woods of Yslat. IF Belry knew, in truth, how large Yslat truly was, they wouldn’t even consider such folly. But, if they asked for maps, and came not in force, Yslat would give them guides, and show them the areas they wished to see and learn about. After all, Kari wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the hospitality shown by the creatures that dwelled within. Stone lizards, great Rocs of eld, and other ‘fell’ beasts aided them, and founded their new home on the Eastern fringe of Yslat – in a mountain village called Shameno. The Eastern fringe was entirely mountainous. Not many could find a way through the sheer heights therein, unless aided by the great beasts of stone.
When Lord Francisco had made his choice, and picked his men, supplies, and pack-beasts, he let them loose. If they failed to return after thirty years, all would assume them dead.
Looking into those eyes made Kari flinch and draw back. The monsters, too, only looked at her – a mirrored reflection of her own shocked features. Behind them, she could see a tunnel leading into an even dimmer lit passage. Suddenly remembering the light that Takari had given her, she slipped her hand out from under it, and found that it merely floated in front of her. She let it bob, and, keeping an eye on the beasts, let her mind wander deep within, thinking of things that could help her here. She dare not try to morph into one of them – they could attack her yet. Perhaps we should think smaller.
Her thoughts were broken as Takari, welding a broadsword, leaped from the shadows, and slew them all.
“I’m glad you managed to figure out their weakness to quickly – light causes them to freeze on spot as long as it remains. But, why not attack?”
Kari remained silent, not wanting her teacher to know that she hadn’t quite figured that out yet.
“Ahh, ‘tis no matter now. Let us find you friend, and then we shall see if you still wish for my aid. The chronicles say that thou will have a hard time, and I think that you will be glad of my assistance.”
They traveled silently down the passage, and she could feel that the girl was already evaluating her. The little bobbing light followed in front of Kari, right where she put it. Judging that it was still in her aura - caught in her web, one might say - it continued to stay fourteen inches in front of her head. It wasn’t glaring, but it was rather bright. Rather like the light you can see from underwater at great depths – it lights much, but shines little.
Up ahead, strange sounds wafted up to their ears. They became rather sore listening to all the terrified shrieks and yells. Yet, they remained heedless, and journeyed on despite the noises. The light shed light enough to see, but it did not illuminate the numerous side passages that branched out to their sides.
Of a sudden, Takari halted, and listened intently. Peering into the dark, she gave a gasp, and told Kari to hand her the light. Pulling it out of the air, and handing it to Takari, she watched in amazement as she sent it ricocheting in front of them, and watched it bounce off a far wall and come back to them.
Takari, in the meantime, took in the surroundings of the area that the orb illuminated. Nothing was discernable in the pale light, except for a large sleeping form that was clearly not Kari’s wolf friend.
“Come now. We must search all the side passages – this one holds not your small friend,” Takari led the way back to the numerous cave, and at each one she pinged the orb into the darkness. All were narrow openings, and had equally narrow walls. Yet, none held Rain, or ought else for that matter.
The last passage lay before them at last. Takari pinged the small orb within, again revealing nothing. Kari, already discouraged, had walked all the way down the passage. Remembering that she had no light, she’d shifted into panther, black as night, easily heard, feared, and able to see well with no light at all. Takari decided to wait and see if Kari found anything, for Faerie magics were hard to confuse, but could be managed with a well-learned sorcerer. Takari knew that actually looking for things instead of illuminating them would reveal much more. Sitting herself down upon the rocky floor, she began to meditate.
Kari walked stealthily down the middle passageway, till she came to the very end. She could hear something breathing raggedly to her left. Peering that way, she saw a huge, hideous monster, like the ones in the entranceway that they had defeated. It appeared to be in a state of sleeping, but, like a dragon, seemed to yet be awake, in a sense. Peering around, she looked for the telltale signs of other animals living in the area. Bats, for once, and mice. Also, she could see fish reflected in the murky depths of the water. Eyeless they were, and all blackish silver, as if tainted.
Shuddering, she turned away, and Shifted herself into a mouse. The creature couldn’t see as well as her panther had, but it was defiantly better than human sight. Sighing, she ran swiftly past the monstrosity before her, and found herself in a passage. She had forgotten all else as soon as she set eyes on what lay in the middle of the floor. Rain. He lay there as if dead, but yet his eyes moved as if in sleep. It is said that when eyes move under the eyelids, that they dream. Whether t’was fell or fair, none could tell but the dreamer.
She collapsed upon the floor, and felt herself Shift back into human. She felt no more after that.
The following day, Kari awoke to a cold, hard stone floor. Peering about her, she could see concerned faces, and when she opened her eyes, a sigh of relief.
<Where am I? > She noticed she wasn’t human anymore, but a wolf once more.
“You’re in the MageHolt of the Eastern Forest at the edge of CalBel Desert. You are safe.”
<And of Rain? My companion and friend? >
“He is here, but beyond our help. The RaqHereim have laid a strange spell upon him that we cannot break.”
She looked deep into the purple tinged blue eyes that were almost an indigo color that stared down at her.
<And Takari? >
“She has gone back to her mountain haunts in the West.” The figure stood, and brushed off the simple cloth robe she was wearing. Carefully, she levitated Kari into a bed nearby, and arranged a series of pillows and blankets around her. In this MageHolt, none lacked anything.
The ornate ceiling was painted as a map of Yslat. Flowing rivers, tall, majestic mountains, wide sea and densely packed trees that marked the forest. All the towns, and known lairs of Mages, dragons, humans, and much, much more had been carefully scribed to this map. And, around it, Kari could see many, smaller images, obviously of some great import, for some even she knew of. The founding of Yslat, the Pact of the Dragons, and even the leaving of the elves, even if they left some few behind to ward their great city of ClearWater.