Hoarfrost Hallow: Ch2

Discussion in 'The Fungal Muck Inn' started by Taenuarhew, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    The wind hummed low as it writhed slowly across the oblong slab of granite which lurched precariously overtop Taenuarhew. The voice it made was answered faintly by the cacophony of phantom calls replying back from sundry granite monoliths as though their long-dead patrons still murmured over vengeance for the multitudinous grievances they still bore.

    Taenuarhew breathed deep and crinkled worried lines across his scar laden brow-ridge as the sounds chimed in tune with the the crackle of cattails and lap of water against an the jagged, aged stone which sheltered his minuscule nest. He licked at faint drops of snow tickling his nostrils.

    One of his wings hung limp against his body and he did not like the way it was mending. Be it due to his exhausted healing magic or from his lack of good health, it had stayed badly damaged after his last molting. He pondered over the notion as to what function it might ever serve him in its state.

    His paw slid forward and grasped down upon the pelvis of his former meal. He pushed down against it until it split. He licked at the marrow to appease his aching emptiness.

    Soon, it would be time to test his new strength.
     
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  2. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    She tugged hard at the thick cables of translucent silk binding her to the table, and her adversary took a step closer. White ichor flowed down her arms, and dripped down upon her hips from the deeply rooted cords binding her fast in place. Still, he took another step closer. Her opponent's mandibles salivated a phosphorus droll. Again, he inched nearer and nearer, displaying a deeply rooted hunger within his eyes.

    Certain death awaited Phaedra if even a minute amount of the poison were to enter her. She trembled not knowing how to escape her demise. She closed her eyes and began crying. She babbled to herself incoherently, cursing her existence and how she had left her knife, staff, and the rest of her kit back beside her bed.

    She was unarmed, bound, and defenseless. The anchor of her bindings teetered upon a precipice.

    To her grotesque, hairy opponent, she was a succulent fruit ripe for the taking. His eyes shone with a vitality and joy, as he had not supped upon a single morsel in ages and ages.

    Great beads of sweat dripped from her hair and ran down her neck. Tears and sweat gathered upon her nose and chin. Her ears tingled and spasms of fear gathered in the deepest parts of her gut. Still more her foe creeped his eight arachnoid legs closer and closer.

    She retched.

    It did not even phase her final enemy. He lifted his foreleg high in the air as he looked upon her with his six sinister eyes, and then it happened.

    An ebon wall bejeweled with topaz and amethyst descended down from above. It crushed his thorax and a horrid gasp escaped from his maw as he was rent in twain by the crushing weight of the elaborately decorated fa├žade which slammed down and shook the entire table.

    She was instantly bathed in all manor of bile and blood. She coughed out a mouthful, and screamed.

    An enormous hand moved forward and fingered over the embellished calligraphy adorning the entirety of the sheets which fluttered down against the ebon. It moved with a speed unimaginable for a extremity as worn and cracked as it was.

    "uh, boss. A little help here... maybe?" Phaedra muttered. Her wings twitched against the webbing binding her to the pile of huge tomes on the edge of the table.

    A giant ragged face hidden behind a disheveled and moldy beard peered and squinted two opaque eyes at her.

    :::I edited it because I had made a few typos due to how tired I was when I wrote this one.:::
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2016
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  3. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    The giant looked her over blankly, but his right hand never stopped passing across the page at an amazing speed.

    She wasn't sure how long ago his vision had faded, but she knew that he still had no trouble reading his books. Perhaps he could glean some wisdom directly from the powers they apparently contained, or perhaps his finger could do the reading for him.

    "Phaedra, garnered a little trouble have you? Did I not request that you clean the table? It's still a mess."

    After shrilly announcing various vulgarities and curses in the names of a great company of gods and making other offensive retorts which few humans would likely grasp, Phaedra finally regained her presence of mind and tried answering in a manner he would understand.

    "I'm stuck on this book right next to you. Help me already!"

    After rubbing his beard a bit he respond once more. "There are a great number of books here. What you..." he started.

    Her interjection which followed was a simple "argh!" yet it was sufficiently loud enough to properly resurrect two dead toads in a nearby specimen jar before their lives once more expired without anyone's notice.

    With a simple brush of his left hand, she was freed of the webbing and he went back to speedily perusing his tome.

    Phaedra thoroughly cleaned herself with a moist cloth from her bedchamber which sat upon a large dresser in the corner of the room.

    "Hey boss, what exactly is so interesting in that one. Usually you'll at least stop reading when you've got to do something else. But right now, you're eating lunch with one hand and reading with the other. Is that really necessary? It's not like you're pressed for time."

    His eyebrows arched at a near vertical angle before he began a reply.

    "Be silent. This matter is of utmost importance to my work. It seems that a young dragon has been spotted by one of the spirits in my service. You know full well what the weight of its liver would add to my latest endeavor."

    "Maybe five stones? No, ten!" She replied.

    Their inharmonious discourse continued on into the night.
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2016
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  4. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    Tansy reached her gloved hand inside and pulled the internal organs from the frost-desert jackrabbit she was holding. She eyed the liver; it was entirely covered with white spots. "Another one with rabbit fever," she mumbled. Tansy threw the rabbit, organs and all, into her campfire and sighed. Then she scooped up some wood ash and grass which she rubbed her gloves with.

    "Caleb, This isn't the season for the rabbits to be so blighted. What am I going to do? It's getting colder and we need to eat something more than just dried fish," she bemoaned to her three-legged mastiff companion.

    Tansy had found ten rabbits after a long hunt, but all of them were made inedible by contagion. A month had passed since her family was murdered and snow was starting to lay occasionally. She needed to supplement her diet.

    Suddenly Caleb sat up and there was a fluttering noise behind her. She didn't waste a moment, but notched and fired an arrow in its direction. She saw the shadow flop against a tree "Got it!" she shouted, and ran over to see just how plump the fowl would be.

    She couldn't hide her drool from the anticipation of fresh bird meat, but she was shocked at what she found.

    "Eh eh it's a hat?" she inchoately gasped. "Caleb, it's like a tiny hat."

    Caleb barked with agitation at what was behind her.

    "And I'll have a new one from your skin!"

    Suddenly a small object buzzed at her. She moved her arm up in response, but her bow absentmindedly swung up and caught the object. The string snagged on a tiny dart and flung it away from her. The dart rebounded off a nearby tree with a light splintering-snap.

    "You wretched mongrel!" the small being spat and unsheathed a knife from her belt.

    She stabbed relentlessly at Tansy's uplifted arm. Laughing maliciously and eyes fueled by insanity. She cut in every direction and stabbed repeatedly and without mercy. All the while she laughed and fumed her rage.

    Tansy blinked at the small creature whittling away at her leather archer's bracer. She bopped its head with her bow-staff. Caleb happily picked up the small pray and handed it to her.

    "I don't think we can eat that... It's probably diseased too." Tansy lamented and kicked a bunch of fallen leaves onto it before strolling off. Caleb followed behind her.

    ::Edited due to missing quotation marks.::
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
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  5. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    Caleb sat down on his hind legs and watched Tansy extinguish the fire. Fear suddenly filled the animal and he barked incessantly while charging towards a nearby tree. The stump of his lost leg still wasn't fully healed and movement was difficult, yet he jumped in surprise to a dangerous foe which had somehow escaped his notice until now.

    "A good dog perhaps..." a voice spoke and Caleb flopped backward from a strong gust of freezing wind.

    Tansy went to instinctively notch her bow, but couldn't see anyone where the voice had come from.

    "Throwing a voice is as easy as throwing a scent, if you know how to move it." the voice spoke again, but from a different direction.

    "What do you want? Don't come near me." Tansy responded. "I don't need more maniacs today. I've had my fill. Was that pixie a friend of yours?"

    There was a long pause. The air was so silent Tansy couldn't even hear any birds or insects. Not even the trees were making a sound with their swaying.

    Tansy glanced every which way in a panic. Caleb was also unusually intimidated; he just dodged about in random directions and had stopped barking.

    Suddenly, a small green and brown object was flung towards Tansy's campfire, and the campfire blazed up again.

    "If you're so bothered, why not add that to the rabbits you incinerated? Would that satisfy you?"

    Tansy got closer and poked it with the back of her hatchet. It was the pixie wrapped up by a small vine so that only the head was visible. The vine had apparently saved it from a deadly collision with the ground, but it kept moving its mouth in an unabated fashion despite that no sound was coming out.

    "I'll decline," is what she intended to say, but she could not raise any voice.
     
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  6. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    Caleb chewed on a wad of vines leaves and ripped at it vigorously. Then he lowered his head and chewed lowly upon it. His lone spectator gulped.

    "It pleases me that you would hearken to my needs after my associate had troubled you so much. He held a small blade and with it he whittled at a wooden block cradled in his other hand."

    Tansy sat across from the old man. Her face scowled at him with evident suspicion. She said nothing and the expression of her eyes seemed more animal than human.

    "This region has been my home for over forty years. I've looked after the land and nurtured it to be the healthy and vibrant environment you see today. There is much you hunters owe to me."

    Tansy's eye twitched. She had never seen this man before and felt she was quite certain that the forests and desert would be just the same without him, perhaps a bit better for his absence.

    "Take the ice spiders for example. My creations cull the wilder denizens of the desert and also clear it of pestilent flies which otherwise disturbed many a person's sleep. Also, if it weren't for my powers the forest's vegetation would quickly dry up. Instead the underbrush is quite thick and teems with insects and other organisms."

    He paused and adjusted his cloak. "It has spread my name far and wide. Certainly you've heard of me before, haven't you?"

    "You haven't even mentioned it yourself," Tansy commented.

    "Of course I have." The spell caster spat indignantly.

    "Boss, you haven't actually said it," Phaedra interjected. She twitched her chin out and preceded to scratch her neck with her foot like a cat and followed this up by making a quick glance at a passing fly which was as big as her head. Her head having a rather large welt forming upon it.

    "And your magic seems to be based on curses," Tansy responded while eyeing the pixie.

    "Curses? Of course not. That's only what you uneducated savages would refer to it as," he replied. "My magic is a refined blend of forced contemplation and personal concept alteration," he added confidently.

    Tansy gave a confused look in response and thereafter returned to her scowling.

    Caleb just kept chewing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2016
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  7. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    The old man continued. "Certainly, all life in this forest benefits from the ethereal aspects of magic. Yet the sand sea is nearly lifeless. Only sand fish and other animals live there, along with my ice spiders. Just think of the wonders that my magic could bring to it if had the proper ingredients. Then my name would truly be known by all."

    "That's right Boss, and an awful lot of explosions are fun, too," Phaedra happily mentioned.

    "There is no need for explosions in the desert or the forest," Tansy scoffed. "And no one will know your name if you don't tell them."

    "What? Why I... I never," the old man said while almost cutting his thumb with his knife due to frustration.

    "His name is Gall," Phaedra added nonchalantly.

    "Gall Nevin, the greatest practitioner of Ethereal arts the world has ever known," Gall announced. "I need just one more ingredient and I will be able to cure the sand sea entirely."

    Tansy cocked her head to the side. "I don't think it needs curing. We... I get lots of sand-cod from it."

    Gall stood back up. "Bosh, it needs life from the ether before it can grow into a great and lush paradise."

    "How will you give it that?" Tansy asked.

    Gall smiled and raised his knife. "I'm going to call forth a great firestone from the heavens and return the desert to its primordial form."

    Phaedra giggled with excitement. "It will be a blast."

    Tansy was dumbstruck. "What is this folie a deux?" she muttered under her breath.
     
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  8. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    :::Sorry for the extensive break of nearly a year. I've been extra busy. Anyone who likes please feel free to critique or comment on my story.:::

    Tansy was back to dry-curing sand-cod on an outcropping. While she sat there, she viewed the odd pair from a distance when they happened to stumble into her view for the first time in a great while. She fletched some new arrows and considered putting one through the wizard.

    It had been weeks since she'd suffered through his vainglorious gibberish about his extensive life of great merits and skills in reagent preservation, animation of objects, and mollusk collections. The rest she couldn't quite put together, but it bothered her immensely like a splinter piercing somewhere you could simply never remove it from.

    She didn't really know an awful lot, but she knew he had a rotten air about him which couldn't simply be accounted for by the number of corpses he claimed to keep in his laboratory.

    Caleb lay on his back pawing at a snow fly which was leaping about on the frost beside his head.

    Tansy opened up a skin pouch with dried rabbit meat inside and started to cut off a bit when a bird flew up overhead from below the granite outcropping.

    She sat there chewing on the meat and hummed an old diddly her father used to mumble to himself when she suddenly stopped upon hearing a low clicking noise in the distance.

    "Caleb, to me," she said as she quickly gathered up her equipment.
     
  9. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    Taenuarhew lapped at the water flowing down from a broken boulder beneath a promontory. The fridged water flowed swiftly down towards the sand sea only to mystically vanish into its depths.

    Taenuarhew shook his head and scurried up to the top.

    He perched upon an old broken tree and eyed his surroundings. Hunger grappled with him as he struggled to shrug off the dizziness of starvation.

    Leaping down to the stream above the fall, he glanced into the water. There were no fish to be seen and not even a fly was want to partake in the chilly weather.

    Taenuarhew looked back down into the lowland and saw something looking back at him. It was a hideous brown bear which it was leering back with hunger in its desperate eyes, straight at Taenuarhew.

    His status in the food chain being weighted against this enemy, Taenuarhew thought to quickly take the better course of valor.

    This was despite the fact that Taenuarhew had never even heard of valor or any other human virtues. He was a dragon after all.

    So despite this lack of insight into philosophical mindsets, Taenuarhew took a few prudent steps backward and then sprinted away.

    He was pursued.
     
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  10. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    A forlorn bough of a tree splintered and mud was heaved in all directions as Taenuarhew's body launched again from its landing place and continued to dart in a lightning fast gait over the frost covered underbrush.

    Moments later another massive frame crashed into a tree and gallop after its prey. It fractured the frozen ground and sent great humps of earth into the lower reaches of the forest canopy.

    Taenuarhew lept over a stream and up some rocks as he scuttled with all his might to escape his pursuer and an uncertain fate.

    The monstrous, crusted frame of the bear battered its own path across the obstacles. The stream divided and the rock groaned under its great bulk.

    The bear was hairless and covered with rumpled bark and branch like protuberances. This flesh was muddled in a deep brown, and its eyes glimmered as white pearls upon its grotesque snaggle-toothed jaw.

    The wind shrieked as Taenuarhew rushed his way up and over a broken crag.

    As Taenuarhew skipped over it his paws glowed with a greenish tint and light from within the crag flickered for a moment and was extinguished just as his foe reached the base.
     
  11. Taenuarhew

    Taenuarhew Artisan

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    A family of intelligent squirrels was sitting down at their dinner table and about to enjoy a scrumptious feast of mulberry pie, sweat sop preserve on cornbread, and a wildflower salad. Father sipped at a piping hot cup of pine needle tea while Mother worked studiously at finishing the desert preparations, just as eight siblings squabbled with each other over their allotted portions.

    The tree was full of this lively activity as it had been for the past two weeks since the litter arrived. Intelligent squirrels in this region were extraordinarily fast learners and could already speak, read, write, practice simple magic, and do household chores by one week of age. The lot of them even attended squirrel middle-school in the old oak on the other side of the nearby crag.

    Still, they were left wanting for a bit of discipline and one member of the squirrel hierarchy was there to help.

    "Please, don't hog all the bread," the eldest sister scolded as she waved a wooden spoon at the 4th brother. "Corn isn't so easy to come by in these harsh times." The 8 siblings would have resorted to open warfare if not for her diligent management of the litter. She was crown princess of the dray and she knew it.

    "Listen to your sister." Father piped in nonchalantly. He was a lazy good-for-nothing. Mother often plotted to find a different father for her next litter. She had said that the last time around, yet nothing ever became of it. At least he was handsome.

    The super cute runt in its high-chair was as old as the rest, but we'll pretend it's the baby of the family for story purposes. As cute babies are ought to do, it waved its bowl in the air spilling apricot porridge all over the 8th sibling Mr. Brown.

    This did not sit well for Mr. Brown's temper. He was the only sibling Mother and Father had bothered to name, but he was always picked on by the others. In a fit of rage, Mr. Brown stood up and was about to scream like an angry chicken when something startling occurred.

    Mother squirrel was just taking the pie out of the oven when a brilliant flash of light appeared from the opening of their tree hollow.

    The runt was the first to go. His high-chair floated up out of the opening in an instant, followed by the 3rd, 6th, and 7th siblings. The table too soon went after, along with all of Mother's fine china and their photo albums of the past 3 litters.

    As a little black book with a picture of Mother's friend dressed in a scanty black thong with lots of XXX written in the book floated past Mother's face, Mother shouted "I want a divorce," but she too was swept away by the sudden air current quite a bit faster than Father squirrel could even hear her mutter.

    The 2nd and 4th siblings soon went out, along with the sofa and father's golf set. Father shed a tear as his golf set left, but he was soon to join it. The eldest screamed as she was swept out, but Mr. Brown could do naught but moo...an as his siblings were all taken away one after another leaving him to fend for himself.

    The flash of light subsided, but none of them have ever been seen or heard from again. Mr. Brown wrote a book on his encounter, but because he was poor with words it was mostly filled with the sounds of his lamentations.

    ------

    As the bear reached the base of the slope, a brilliant light burst from the crag. The bear halted momentarily and turned to look at what had occurred. In an instant, the bear was scooped off its feet and, along with everything else in the vicinity, dragged towards the crag.

    A magical vortex sucked everything in the surroundings into a magical void which obliterated everything entirely. However, this was a weak spell, and aside from a certain dragon's nest, it had only managed to consume 9 little squirrels and a tiny dining room before it had taken its fill.

    The bear snorted before continuing to chase after Taenuarhew.
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2017
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