From World to World
A brief history of the world
In the beginning there was only God. He created the universe and everything in it. He made thousands of worlds. Most of which believe they are the only one. Our story today begins on a world that, like most worlds, it is called Earth by most of the people on it. Again like most worlds this world is inhabited by the Six major races: Elf, Orc, Dwarf, Halfling, Gnome, and not least of all Human. This world however has at least one civilized race not found everywhere. The Furs. Furs are a race that is made up of many sub-races. Each of which resembles a certain type of animal. Furs are not cross-breads or half animals or lycanthropes, they are a race all their own. On this world most furs live a tribal life in the tribe lands on the western most continent. To the east are the civilized lands of the humans. Many furs live there too, though some are held as slaves by the humans. It is a dark time for the humans and the furs who live in their lands. The noble King Samonice Veriteptice has disappeared and the Kingdome is in a panic. Nobody knows who the next king will be, but everyone fears it will be the Kings most powerful general Thomas Krakouvos.
He Who was Found
It was a quiet morning in the camp of Moonwatcher's tribe the hunters were just returning from their hunt with a large deer and a few rabbits. The morning was damp with dew. Off in the distance the forest looked dark and calm. Gesaru sat in front of his tent. Wishing he could have gone with them on the hunt. As they reached the edge of the camp he started walking toward them.
“Zanous, Wolfe, how did you do?”
“Just fine young one,” said the tall wolf named Zanous.
Gesaru wanted so badly to say more but he knew that talking to the hunters now was not accepted by most of the braves. He followed them back to the town center where the women waited to skin and prepare the meat. As he walked he saw Wolfe glance over at him with disdain. He matched Wolfe’s grimace with one of his own. He hated fighting with Wolfe but he knew if he was to get on the hunting party he had to prove he was strong. Wolfe who was holding the deer stopped and dropped his grisly game. He strutted over to where Gesaru was standing.
“Do you have a problem boy!” Wolfe growled.
“You’re my only problem Wolfe!” Gesaru shouted as he strained his neck to speak up at Wolfe.
Gesaru was tiny standing there in the shadow of the biggest warrior in the tribe and the grandson of the founder of the Wolfe tribe. Wolfe looked down at him like a man looking down at a fly bighting his leg. He picked Gesaru up by his neck and held him at eye level.
“You had better just watch your tongue boy!” Wolfe hissed.
Gesaru let out a gagging sound as Wolfe squeezed his slender neck. The young pup put one hand in front of Wolfe’s face. Through the sounds of choking and sputtering could be heard words of power, spoken in a foreign tongue, “Mighty fires of time, Lord grant me the gift of your hand… Fireball!” A white hot ember shot out from Gesaru’s hand. As it struck Wolfe in the face it smoldered for what seamed to Wolfe like years. After six seconds as Gesaru looked away to protect his face, a massive explosion erupted out from the bridge of Wolfe’s nose. The other hunters jumped away but were burned just the same. Wolfe collapsed to his knees dropping Gesaru to the ground. Both of them clutched at their faces. Smoke rose from their fur. Gesaru rose first, the small burn on the side of his face barely enough to count as injury. Wolfe lay on the ground in a heap. Clutching his face and whimpering.
Gesaru turned and ran back to his tent. Two of the tribe elders, Moonwatcher (the chief of the camp) and Mooneyes (his wife) followed him with anger fear and most of all sadness in their eyes.
Slowly Mooneyes entered Gesaru’s tent. She looked at him with a tear in her eye. “Gesaru,” she said with a soft compassion rare in wolfs, “what have you done?”
Moonwatcher entered next and sat on the floor beside Gesaru. He sat silent for minutes just looking at Gesaru. Finally he said, “Do you remember when you were young Gesaru? When you used to sit at the edge of camp and look out across the ocean in the winter or up into the mountains in the summer… and then you would come and ask me what was beyond those places?”
“I… I remember… but I,” Gesaru said shakily with tears in his eyes.
“We have a confession to make Gesaru,” said Mooneyes.
Gesaru tried to speak but the words just made a horrible noise in his throat.
“Speak your name Gesaru, slowly,” said Moonwatcher.
“Ge… saru,” he said slowly thinking of the meaning; ge: to find, saru: he or him. “But why?” asked Gesaru in a shaky voice.
“Look Gesaru,” said Mooneyes as she held out a mirror, “look at yourself and then look at us and tell me what you see.”
“I… I’m… much smaller… but… what are you saying? What are you trying to tell me!?” Gesaru sobbed.
“You are not a wolf…” said Moonwatcher softly.
“We found you as a child. You were alone in the forest,” Moonwatcher began to tell, “You were crying and trying to get to something, but you where caught up in a tangle of sheets that had been torn… you were very small… I was surprised that you were alive. A small child doesn’t usually last more than a few minutes alone in the wild. Mooneyes and I took you in. We were frightened by what we saw in you. By the looks of you I would have guessed that you were not even six moons old… but you could speak in a strange unfamiliar language. As you grew we were startled by your skill in everything you touched. We tried to keep you from your magic, but we found we could not. We know you have been practicing at night in the wild. And we know you can do many unnatural things… though it pains me deeply… I cannot forgive this unlawful use of magic.”
“We can let you stay for one more week to prepare for a journey… and we will do everything we can to make sure you are well prepared. The whole tribe loves you… but we must… we cannot…” Mooneyes speech trailed off as she began to sob.
“I have committed a crime against you Gesaru…” Moonwatcher confessed, “I have kept something from you…” He pulled a small package wrapped in leather and bound in sinew from underneath his clothing. “We found this on you…” he said. Slowly he untied the sinew strings from around the package. The leather fell away and in Moonwatcher’s hand could be seen a ring on a silver chain. Writing on the ring could be faintly seen to glow. A pail blue light filtered through the engravings. Moonwatcher handed the ring to Gesaru who could read the arcane writings. “Godspeed and holy hand protection here grant this child.”
“It’s a ring of protection!” exclaimed Gesaru. He lifted up the chain and noticed a small rectangular piece of metal with smooth edges and rounded corners. Into the metal was impressed letters in the common tongue of the humans:
“I… I think it’s a name tag,” Gesaru said quietly.
“What dose it say?” asked Mooneyes slowly.
“It says… Samuel” he replied.
“We will leave you alone now Gesaru,” said Mooneyes, “we will send a messenger to the nomad tribes to find you safe passage to the west to the lands of man where you come from… there you can seek your past… and your future.”
Gesaru, overwhelmed with the events of the morning lay down and slept. He slept all that day and through the night.
In the dead of night however more sinister magic was at work. Wolfe, four braves, and one female stole through the night into the wood. They moved with unholy speed. Not a sound could be heard and the dark seemed almost to choke out any light. This dark band flowed like a shadow through the forest to an open clearing. At the center were five erect stones evenly spaced forming a ten foot pentagon, at the center of that was a flat stone laying atop another stone forming a table of sorts. On this altar were a dagger and a cup full of blood. As they reached the altar one of the braves began to look nervous. “Wait…” he muttered, “how did these get here? Has someone else been using this place?”
“Will you explain Raven or should I?” Wolfe laughed.
Why don’t you count us…” Raven said with a smile.
The brave counted slowly pointing at each brave one by one. There was Wolfe, Raven, Nexus, Falus, Anubis, and… himself. “No…” he said in despair. He turned and ran. He knew he had to get back to camp to be safe, but that camp was miles away. As he ran Raven spoke
“Hard is the air like the ground like stone… Paralyze!”
The young brave fell to the ground, rigid and unmoving. The five picked him up and set him on the altar. When they were done there was blood covering everything in the clearing. All that was left of the young brave was his heart. The cup of blood was empty, And blood dripped from the lips of the five, blood that burned the ground, blood that seared the very soul of everything it touched, demon’s blood.
“One week… and one day,” Wolfe said, “In one week that whelp will leave the camp… that is when we strike. He will never know.”
A week passed and Gesaru said his goodbyes. Everything seamed like a blur to him. The clan was his whole life and now he had to leave. A horse was packed with food for his journey and his weapons and supplies. The nomad tribes were ready to take him to the place where the outsiders’ ships landed to trade with the nomads. All that was left was to say goodbye to Moonwatcher and Mooneyes.
Gesaru looked at Mooneyes sadly. He wanted so badly to stay and live with his clan. He thought of the things he had seen in the forest over the years and wanted to explode.
“You must be very careful… and be strong… my Gesaru,” said Mooneyes.
“Never forget what I have taught you Gesaru,” Moonwatcher said solemnly.
Gesaru could say nothing. He wanted to say so much but the words would not come. His head bowed he sniffed the air. He looked around at his camp. This would be the last time he would see it. As he looked around one of the braves let out a howl, then another. The whole camp howled in unison. Even Gesaru howled though his sounded different. A song of sadness echoed through the tribe lands, as Gesaru of the Wolfe left his camp for the last time. As he rode he looked back at his home and wondered if he could make it on his own. Like a prayer his thought reached out through the vast stretches of the tribe lands and struck a cord with a sympathetic spirit.
Far to the north near the place where snow falls all year, a young kitsune heard the sound of a broken lonely heart. She felt his pain because she to was broken and cast out. Her two remaining tails twitched as she thought about her past. In a blur she was off, she flew across the land at an amazing speed. The one goal in her mind was to become this young sorcerer’s familiar.
That night Gesaru sat in his tent. This one is much smaller, he thought to himself, than my old one. He played with his ring and sighed. Outside he heard a rustling in the tall grass. Slowly he rose to his knees. He shuffled out of his tent and stood up. In the grass he could just barely see a small creature crouched down in the grass. Suddenly he knew it was a fox. He didn’t know how he knew what a fox was or where he had ever seen one before but he knew this was one. He crouched down in the grass and slowly crawled up to the creature. It was a white fox, small with black feet. He could tell she was female by her sent. “Hello,” he said softly.
“Well hello,” she replied coyly.
Gesaru Gasped. “You can talk!?” he exclaimed.
“So can you,” retorted the kitsune.
“But… can foxes talk?” asked Gesaru.
“I’m not a fox silly boy… I’m… well I was a kitsune,” she lamented, “but I’m not anymore… you see kitsunes have six to nine tails... and I only have two.” As she said this a second tail lifted up seemingly from nowhere and laid to rest by the other. “I lost my others…” she said sadly.
“What are you doing here?” Gesaru puzzled.
“Well… I heard your summons,” she said.
“My… summons…” Gesaru paused, “you mean your going to be my familiar!?”
“That’s the plan home boy!” she whispered in a teasing voice.
“But I could never get one before!”
“That’s because you never needed one before! A sorcerer can only summon a familiar if he or she needs a companion or helper… you have always been fine on your own until now!”
Gesaru smiled. “What’s your name?” he asked curiously.
“I don’t have one… that’s up to you I guess But what is your name?”
“It’s Ge… Its Samuel… yeah… Samuel.”
“Funny name for a tribesman don’t you think?”
“Perhaps, but I’m not a tribesman anymore now am I?”
“No I suppose not. Listen I just ran here from ‘the place where snow falls all year’ and I’m about beat! Let’s get some rest…”
Gesaru looked at her puzzled and said, “But… that’s three moons travel from here!”
“Right well I’m fast,” she said calmly.
“I guess so,” Gesaru said
The two vulpines retired and slept until dawn. As day broke over the planes the sounds of battle reached their ears and they awoke. The clash of swords and the whistle of arrows flying through the air could be heard getting louder. The two looked at each other and jumped out from Gesaru’s tent. A myriad of vargouille could be seen flying through the air attacking the nomads. And behind them all egging them on was a horrible sight, a huge troll. Its grotesque face laughing at the plight of the nomads who struggled to hold the vargouille at bay.
“Send from my fingers the wrath of God… Magic Missile!” Gesaru shouted. As he did a barrage of light shot out from his fingers. Striking twenty vargouille dead and wounding several more. In a heartbeat the troll stopped laughing. “Magic Missile!” Samuel commanded again. And again countless trails of light shot out from his fingers. The vargouille were routed. Fleeing past their troll master and being shot down as they flew franticly away. Another battery of luminous rounds flayed the remaining minions where they hovered. “Run demon!” Samuel shouted at the troll, “or die!” The troll ignored Samuel’s warning and charged him at full speed. “Mighty fires of time, Lord grant me the gift of your hand… Fireball!” Samuel cast his spell. A burning ember shot forth from his hand. As it struck the troll it ignited with a terrible force that shook the ground. The troll charged unafraid through the blast. He jumped at Samuel. Suddenly the horrible creature was struck by an invisible force and hit the ground. Samuel’s gaze darted over to his new companion. Just in time to see her cast another spell. As she did one of her tails glowed with a blue haze. She opened her mouth and a bolt of blue energy flew forth. Arcs of current surged through the troll’s body. Wracked with pain the troll let loose a howl of agony. As the thunder subsided the troll began to rise. Seeing his opportunity Samuel grabbed his staff. He ran full force at the troll. With a mighty upward swing he hit the troll in the face as it rose. With the impact a defining roar thundered through the plains as the staff let loose a blast of sonic fury. The trolls face seemed to implode. His ears burst and began to poor blood. Clutching at his face the troll moaned as the last of his life drained from his horrid frame. Stunned the whole group just stood where they were. The silence was unbroken for several minutes.
“That was close!” marveled the kitsune at last, “I wonder why that troll attacked?”
“I wonder…” said Samuel quietly. He knelt down beside the slain troll. With some effort he pushed the troll over onto his back. He grabbed a leather cord that hung around his neck. He pulled at it and the knot that held it on slipped. He looked closely at the feathers tied to the center of the cord. “These are Wolfe jewelry…” Samuel puzzled, “and if I didn’t know better… I would almost have to say that… these belonged to Raven.”
Suddenly the troll’s dead body reflexively grabbed for the feathers. Samuel jumped back holding the feathers tightly. As the trolls arm fell limp again he let out one last breath and then disintegrated.
“Strange… it’s almost like it… was summoned,” Samuel though aloud.
“Maybe it was,” the kitsune said inquisitively.
Just then one of the nomads came up to Samuel. “We thank you warrior! You saved us all!”
“Oh… I’m no warrior…” Samuel replied modestly, “I just happen to know a few spells”
“None the less you saved us all… we are most grateful! The people of my tribe have many treasures acquired from the outlanders… we want you to have one. We insist.”
Reluctantly Samuel accepted. He was lead to a chest that was carried by one of the nomads’ wagons. Inside were many wondrous items. Samuel looked in awe. He lifted what looked to him like a staff. As he pulled he saw that it had a seam. He pulled at the two ends and found that a blade was hidden within the shaft of the staff. He lifted it High above his head and swung it down with force. He was curious. He remembered the days when Moonwatcher had taught him to use a weapon like this. “May I have this one?” Samuel asked quietly.
“That?” the nomad asked in surprise, “that is just a sword… here take this to.” The nomad handed him a longbow. “They are both fine weapons, though I can’t see why you would take them over these other treasures.”
Gesaru just laughed. He knew the value of these weapons. “These are just fine,” Samuel assured the nomad, “in fact they’re great, but we should be on our way.”
The nomads set off again with Samuel and his new friend along with them. But back at Moonwatcher’s camp things were anything but fine.
Smoke could be seen rising from the scorched earth. The tents were burning and so were the people. The entire camp was ablaze. At the center of it all was Wolfe and his dark coven. “Your troll is dead…” Wolfe said musingly.
“I know,” Said Raven.
“Gesaru… I don’t like the fact that he’s still out there,” said Wolfe, “true he isn’t truly from my grandfather’s tribe… but he could still pose a threat to my ambitions… I want him dead.”
“Allow me!” Raven said seductively, “let me take him for you.”
“No. I want Falus to do it,” said Wolfe. He is stronger than you… plus I won’t care if Falus get his fool self killed!”
“Well I can’t argue with that,” Raven said admittedly, “but I still think you should let me do it. I’ll bet his heart is his weak point!”
“That may be true… but I don’t think we need to stab at his weak point… I think a show of force will be enough to end this problem here and now,” said Wolfe coldly.
“I feel I must warn you,” said the slender nomad that sat on his horse in front of Gesaru, the outlanders are mostly human, and many of them don’t like furs much. So many of us are slaves in their lands. Things are different from city to city I hear… but the outlanders have been know to steel children to take as slaves so be weary.”
“I think I’ll be alright,” Gesaru reassured him, “I’m no child.”
“I know,” said the nomad, “but be careful. Well be arriving by nightfall.”
As the ship on the horizon came closer Gesaru stared in awe at the size of it. Could man or beast truly build something this big he wondered. On the flat planes he could see the ship for some time before he could see the humans scurrying around the scattered camp. As the party grew closer he could barely make out the shapes of tents and cages, crates and nets. A small city of tents slowly became clear. As they moved yet closer a trumpet sounded from within the camp. Its mighty call resounded over the planes like a stampede. The sun grew low on the horizon as the party reached the camp. They were greeted by several humans, one was wearing a red suit the likes of witch Gesaru had never seen.
“I am Captain Reynolds,” said the man in the red suit, “and I’m captain of the Rockmore, this grand ship you see before you! Who is in charge here?”
“Hey Samuel,” the kitsune whispered, “we should go arrange for transport.”
Gesaru and his familiar slipped away. In the background the sound of heated bartering could be distinctly heard, and faintly, very faintly the sound of crying. As Gesaru approached the large vessel the sound got louder and louder. He tried to ignore it, but found it to eat at his nerves and his good humor. As the last of the sun’s rays fell cold over the plains and the sun sank into the sea he wondered if this was wise. He found a quiet spot near a human tent and sat down. “So kitsune… I think we should find you a name…”
“I would like that,” she said.
“Well then… let’s see… Rit,” Gesaru suggested.
“Rit! Doesn’t that mean fox spirit?”
“It does.” he said defensively, “You don’t like it?”
“No… I think its great… though I’m no spirit”
“Well Rit it is then… I’m glad I’m not alone.”
“So am I,” Rit confessed, “you don’t know how long its been.”
The sun was warm on Gesaru’s fur by the time he woke up. Rit lay in his lap looking up at him. “It’s about time you got up its nearly mid-day,” she protested.
“Give me a break Rit… I haven’t slept quite rite in a while.”
“Still upset about…” Rit began to speak but was cut off.
“My tribe… yeah,” he interrupted sadly, “but never mind that now… we have to try and get a ride.”
The two of them walked around for a while. The camp was picking itself up. The outlanders were preparing to leave. Gesaru looked for someone who looked important. He found him. “Captain Reynolds!” he called.”
“Who’s this?” Reynolds bellowed, “I thought all the furs had gone!”
“I’m not with them,” Gesaru said plainly, “I seek transport across the sea.”
“If you’re sure!” the captain said through thick laughter, “then I cannot deny you passage… if you can pay.”
Samuel thought about this. “I can give you this,” he said holding out his staff.
“This staff is a powerful magic… its all I own,” Gesaru said hopefully.
“Let me see… yes that will do! You’ll have to pull your weight though.”
“No problem,” he said.
With that Gesaru and Rit were off. The journey that was began would be longer than they knew, and would find more lands that one world could hold. But in this moment it was all fairly simple. Samuel found himself tortured by the sounds of crying from below deck. He could not look past the pain of his people.
Slowly he and his familiar walked up the gang-plank. The ship was huge and made of a golden colored wood. The railings and the ends of every beam were covered in ornate carvings. In all his days Gesaru had never seen such a thing. He saw a large door in the center of the deck being closed. As the gaping maw shrank and was closed the sound the cries from below faded and were gone.
“This way lad!” Reynolds called to him, “or would you rather sleep on deck?”
“No I… I just” Gesaru started.
Captain Reynolds just laughed, “I was only joking boy come on!”
Gesaru followed him below deck. The captain showed him a room with a bed and a desk. “This is the largest ship in the free fleet… most ship quarters are only bunks strung five to a room! You should feel lucky to have come just as you did!” the Capitan said loudly. But Gesaru didn’t feel very lucky. In fact he felt very uneasy about this whole thing. But he also felt there was nothing he could do. So he resigned himself to the trip and began helping the crew of the ship as best he could.
Gesaru was much smaller than most of the crew and found he had a hard time keeping up with the demanding chores put forth for him. But he worked as hard as his body would let him and finished everything the crew asked him to do. As he finished mopping the galley he noticed that night was falling over the ocean like a thick fog. He returned to his bunk and laid down. Though he was exhausted he found he could not sleep. The sounds of the moaning from below deck still haunted him. As all became quiet he thought he could hear them again. He rose to his feet and walked to the door.
“What is it Samuel?” Rit asked concerned.
“Can you hear that?” Gesaru asked quietly
Rit cocked her head, “Hear what?”
“No… I suppose not… come on I’m going to find out once and for all,” Gesaru said.
He opened the door and walked out. As he did his familiar followed though with a puzzled air about her. Gesaru walked to the end of the hall where the stairs lead up unto the deck and looked up. Then he looked down the hall the other way. He saw at the other end of the hall way that there were stairs leading down. Two large men sat in chairs on either side of the portal down. Both were snoring loudly. “Come on Rit,” he said “I want to know what’s down there worth guarding.” Rit simply looked at him without making a sound. As he walked she followed him. Quietly he slipped past the guards and down the hall. He descended into the belly of the ship, and there in the cold dark bowls of the great craft he found what was surely the most horrific thing he had ever seen. There in the deep darkness were hundreds of Furs, chained together, lying in their own waste. Crying and moaning. As he walk through the mass of quivering bodies he thought for sure that he had stepped into hell somehow. And there at the end of the vast hold he saw two eyes staring back at him. Through the darkness he saw a familiar face. It was a face he remembered well. A friend from his past.
“Krista?” Gesaru asked uneasily, “could it be?”
Suddenly recognizing him the female wolf looked away. “Don’t look at me!” she said in terror.
“Krista is that you? We thought you were dead… I… I thought you were dead.
“Gesaru,” she said slowly “It really is you isn’t it? Why are you here Medicine man? Surely they couldn’t catch you?”
“Catch me… no… I… I came onboard to find passage to the human lands,” Gesaru told her fearfully.
“But why?” she asked.
“The tribe… they... they found out… about my magic. They weren’t as delighted as you and Falus were.” He explained to her, “I was cast out… I’m going to the human lands to find my past. But why are you here?”
“Can’t you see?” she asked in pain, “I’m a slave here! Look at me!” As she spoke she raised her face to look him in the eye. A deep scar ran down her face from just above her left eye to the bottom of her jaw. Her eye was pale and dead.
“Oh! What have they done to you?” Gesaru gasped, “What have they done?”
Krista buried her face in her paws and began to weep softly. “Oh, Krista I’m so sorry… If I had known you were alive,” Gesaru said softly with pain in his voice and a tear in his eye.
“Then you’d be a slave to,” she said, “I know you Velki (The Tribal word for a medicine man) you would have come after me and gotten caught to.”
“If you truly knew me Sshara (The tribal word for a chief’s wife or about the same thing as calling some one princess) then you know I would never have stopped until we were both free or both dead,” Gesaru said, “But now that I have found you I’ll get you out of here.”
“I wish I could believe you Gesaru… but I’ve given up hope,” she said. “If I only had your courage I would have been long dead.”
Gesaru looked at her wrists and saw several scars there to. He rose to his feet, holding Krista’s paws in his as he did. “I give you my word Sshara I’ll get you out of here… I’m not a boy anymore. And I’m not a Velki ether. I’m a sorcerer. And if I can’t get you out of here I’ll sink this whole ship!” His words seamed to breath new life into her eyes. She looked up at him, and saw her childhood friend all grown up. A strong man despite his small stature. And for the first time in years she felt hope. She knew that she would soon be free at last, and in truth she didn’t care if it was in life or in death that she was free. She simply knew that soon her pain would be over forever.
The Journey Home
Gesaru let out a deep moan as he rose from his bunk. He could hardly believe what had happened the night before. For five years Krista was dead to him and now she was alive, and on the same ship with him. The only thing he could think was how he was going to get her out of this place without killing them all. He had a hard time believing his journey would end already.
“Watcha’ thinkin’ lover boy?” Rit asked teasingly.
“Oh Rit… how am I ever going to get her away from here?” Gesaru asked almost in tears.
“Hey there its okay,” Rit said sympathetically, “She’s a slave right… just buy her from them.”
“What! I can’t do that!” Gesaru shouted.
“Settle down… you want to get her out don’t you?’ Rit asked calmly.
“Well… yes.” He said quietly.
“Well…” Rit paused, “Do you smell that?”
“Smell what?” Gesaru asked.
“Smells like… squid.” She said.
Just as Rit uttered the word squid a thunderous crash sounded through the ship, and as the vessel rocked violently the sound of splintering wood could be heard from above. Gesaru and Rit just looked at each other for a moment. Then in unison they bolted for the door. The two vulpines ran to the stairs leading up on deck. As they approached the stairs a very distinct odor began to permeate the air. And as they burst through the portal unto the main deck they were bathed in the putrid aroma of a giant and horrible squid. There on the deck was a huge Kraken, its eight tentacles swinging madly at the crewmen as they tried desperately to fend off the creature. Gesaru just watched for a moment as it seamed the crewmen were gaining the upper hand. But then one crewman got just to close. In the blink of an eye he was dead. A long spear like tendril shot out from the Kraken’s body and pulled the crewman into its waiting beak. The giant creature lashed out at another crewman, but when the monstrous arm struck his arm the monster got only a chunk of him. He lay on the ground screaming, though not for long. The creature moved with stunning speed. In only a moment it was on him and in another he was gone. “Its fast…” Gesaru noted aloud to Rit, “Got any suggestions?”
“Only one,” Rit said terrified, “Run away.”
“Not a chance!” Gesaru said as he stepped fully out into the sunlight.
“The hand of God strikes hot and fast. Fire of his breath, strike… Lightning!” Gesaru yelled as he charged the beast. As he ran a white hot streak of fire ran down from the sky. The Kraken sparked and squealed as current surged through its body. Gesaru now had the squids undivided attention. “Lightning!” he commanded again. But this time there was a different reaction. The spell just fizzled. Gesaru tried again, “Magic Missile!” But again there was nothing. The creatures long spear shot out at him. There was no escape. The creature had him now and in a moment he would be squid chow. Quickly he drew his sword. He couldn’t see or hear anything but the speed of his flight. Time seamed to be going in slow motion. He desperately tried to swing his sword around, but his arm was moving like he was submerged in thick mud. The squid flung him hard and he hit the mast with the force of a thundering bull. He laid there stunned. He couldn’t understand why he was alive. He looked up at the monster, and quickly he understood. The slimy demon was screaming in pain. Rit had clamped on to its back and the creature couldn’t reach her. Gesaru fumbled painfully for his sword but found that he had lost it somewhere. His hand hit the shaft the lost crewman’s spear. He picked it up, and slowly stood. He was untrained with this spear. He thought to himself about how much a bow would help right now. He let fly the spear. It hit its mark, but bounced off the rubbery skin like it was a toothpick. His body ached all over. But the Kraken was flailing wildly and, soon Rit would be shook loose and then it would have her. His head throbbed. He wished he had brought his bow. There was no sound, and everything looked blurry. Then he saw something. He wasn’t sure if it was just his imagination but he thought he saw a silver thread glinting in the sunlight. He saw it again. It was like a spider’s streamer. It was a thin golden thread and it started at the Kraken’s body and lead away from the ship. He reached up but his hand got caught in another thread. This one too lead away from the Kraken. This one was blue but it shone like pure gold. He pulled on the thread, and the Kraken convulsed in pain. One of its massive arms shot out at Gesaru. He yanked on the thread as hard as he could. It pulled away from the Kraken and he had it in his hand. The vile monster’s arm slowed to a stop. It looked petrified. In fact nothing was moving now. The air was filled with blue threads. They criss-crossed each other like some giant spider had been through the whole area. There where threads coming from every person. Leading in all directions. And there shining like a star different from all the rest was one golden thread. Gesaru reached for it. It passed up over his head and away from them. He tugged on it, but it wouldn’t budge. Some massive force seamed to hold it in place. He pulled with all his might. He managed to get it close to his mouth. He bit down hard, and ground his teeth. He tasted it. It had a metallic taste to it. Not like gold though. It tasted like blood. suddenly it snapped. The thread was broken, and then the world sprang back to life. The Kraken let one last scream of agony fly from its huge beak and then all fell silent. The threads were all gone. The crew of the ship were all just standing there staring at him. Even Rit was staring. “What?” he said, “what happened?”
The crew were all over him. Everyone was asking him questions at once. All he could make out was every few questions some one asked “How’d you do that?” he shrank away. All the attention was to much for him. He went back down to his quarters. Rit was there waiting for him.
“Dang… Gesaru said… it’s a good thing I saw that strand,” Gesaru said, “or we’d have been dead.”
“Strand?” Rit puzzled, “What strand?”
“You didn’t see me bite that thread?” he asked, now puzzled himself.
“No…” Rit said slowly.
“You didn’t see me cut that thread that killed the Kraken?” he asked.
“No… you just said… ‘Die’ …and it did!” she said amazed and baffled.
Now he was truly confused. He didn’t remember saying anything. The only thing he could remember was the taste of the golden thread. It seamed to burn in his mouth. He couldn’t help but think that perhaps there was something more to those threads than he knew.
“Something isn’t right here,” Rit said, “the Kraken was stronger than it should have been.”
“My magic couldn’t touch it,” Gesaru agreed, “Some one must have been protecting it.”
“It’s like the troll… way to strong for its kind.”
Gesaru shook his head. “it won’t do us any good to speculate for now… we should search for clues… but… I need to rest,” Gesaru trailed off as he slowly sank back to his bunk. Slowly he shut his eyes. He could see the gentle eyes of Krista staring back at him. Not the sad scared eyes he saw in the hold, but rather the young cheerful eyes of his youth. He and his friends were laughing and jumping. Falus and raven were sitting on top of a small hill. They spoke but no sound came from their lips. He could hear their voices though like echoes in his mind. He remembered this scene. It was one of the most exiting days of his life, until recently. He watched as he and Falus played a mock battle for the hill. Falus chased him down from the hill and into the forest. He could hear it now though then the wind was to strong through the leaves. The sound of a snake in the grass. Frightened and angry that these huge creatures had invaded its lair. He saw it in slow motion as it struck wildly at Falus’ leg. He heard a scream as Raven and Krista ran to him in panic. He was quiet. He clutched at his leg. Gesaru remembered seeing a green glow. He could see the poison, but it seamed the others could not. He sank to one knee, and laid his hands on the wound.
“…Samuel… Samuel… wake up,” Gesaru heard Rit’s voice
Slowly he opened his eyes. He saw Rit sitting on his chest. There was a knock on the door. He tried to call out to the visitor but found he could not. Slowly he willed his body to rise. Pain surged through every trace of him. He pulled himself to his feet and stumbled to the door. Try though he might he couldn’t open it. He let himself drop to the floor with his back against the door. After a time he looked up at Rit. “How long was I out?” he said, “I feel like crap.”
“You’ve been out for three days… I was getting worried about you.” Rit replied, “we’re nearly to land… and the Capitan wants to speak with you.”
Gesaru rose to his feet. “I guess I better go see him then,” he said.
Rit nodded in agreement. Gesaru put his hand on the doorknob. He let out a deep sigh and opened the door. There was no one in the hall, and everything sounded calm above deck. He began walking toward the captain’s quarters. Above deck he heard someone call out, “Land! Land HO!” he climbed the stairs onto the deck and looked around. Everything was picking up now. People scurried around in preparation for docking. Gesaru walked up to the Capitan’s door. He rose his hand to knock but before he could the door swung open. “Ah! Lad! Just who I was looking to see!” the Capitan bellowed at the sight of Gesaru. “I’m sorry but… I’ve forgotten your name lad,” he said.
“Its Ge… um… Samuel. My name Is Samuel Wolfe” Gesaru responded.
“Fair enough then Samuel,” the Capitan said with a pause. As he sat back down at his desk he spoke again, “My crew and I owe you our lives. I don’t claim to understand magic… but a man who can command a beast to die… and have it obey him is no enemy I want. I wish to repay you for your help with that beast… in any way I can. Is there anything I can do?”
Gesaru paused for a while. “Well, there is one thing,” he said slowly.
“Just name it!” the Capitan said enthusiastically.
“You have slaves in your hold…” Gesaru said.
“Yes,” the Capitan said worried.
“I want one.” Gesaru replied.
The Capitan looked at him puzzled and said, “I thought your kind was against slaves?”
“Yes and what makes you think I want a slave… I want one female in particular,” gesaru snapped back.
“Oh, I see.” The Capitan said, “Here this key will unlock her bracers.”
Gesaru took the key and looked at it. It looked simple and worn, tarnished with rust and nearly beyond use, but at the same time it seamed to glow. He looked up at the Capitan and then down at Rit. “I want you to stay here Rit. Don’t take your eyes off of him. I don’t trust him.” He looked back up at the captain who seamed puzzled, and then walked back out the door. As soon as the door was shut behind him he began running for the hold. The guards didn’t even try to stop him. He ran as fast as he could to where he knew Krista was. He looked down at her and his heart nearly stopped. She was so still. He knelt down beside her. “Krista?” he asked almost In a panic. He shook her and repeated her name. at last she stirred. As she looked up at him he began to cry. “Oh, Krista for a moment I thought I was to late.” He sobbed, “but don’t worry it’ll be okay now.” He unlocked her manacles and tenderly rubbed her wrists where the fur was matted down from years without removing her bracers. “come on,” he said, “your free now.” She said nothing with her voice. But her one good eye told volumes. As she looked up at him he thought he could almost see the child he had known in his youth. He helped her to stand. Slowly they made their way up to the stairs. The sound of gulls could be heard loud above deck. Many footsteps thundering about. And the calls and sounds of a port. Krista knew the sound, but to Gesaru it was new and strange. The smell of the salt air was fresh now despite the long voyage nether had appreciated the smell until just then. They ascended the stairs that lead on deck. As they stepped out into the light three eyes saw for the first time a city of man. The port city of Alexandria. Rit trotted up with the Capitan close behind.
“Well Samuel I never thought I’d say this to a fur… but good luck to you on your journey,” the Capitan said loudly.
Gesaru looked at him for a moment, “Yes, thank you. You watch out for monsters.”
At that he walked off. He could hear the Capitan laughing hardly as he descended the gang plank to the docks below. There where more people here than he had ever seen before in his life.
Krista looked up at Gesaru and asked, “Why did he call you ‘Samuel’ Velki?”
“That is my name now Sshara… I have learned that I come from the human lands. Moonwatcher found me in the wild and I had a name tag… he kept it from me. It says my name… my name is Samuel.” Gesaru explained.
“What was your tribal name pray tell?” Rit asked.
“That’s behind me now” he said.
“Aw… But Sammy!” Rit teased.
“It was Gesaru… my Velki,” Krista said soothingly.
“Aw Krista!” Gesaru protested.
The two females just laughed. The three of them were stunned by the size of the city. “We should find a place to stay then try to find out about this,” Gesaru said holding up the small metal name tag. The two females just looked to Gesaru with approval. He knew no better than them how to find his way in this strange land, but he decided he would just have to try. He started walking into the city. The streets were lined with tall buildings each with large colorful signs. He looked from one to the other. There were signs with swords on them and signs with what looked like bread or armor. One had a strange symbol on it. It was three balls connected by lines that curved together so that it looked like an arch with a vertical line running through it with a ball at the end of each line. He walked up to the door and slowly pushed it open. Inside there where several people walking through isles of shelves stacked with various items.
“Hello there strangers can I help you,” the rather tall elf behind the counter said to them.
“What kind of place is this?” asked Gesaru, “you see I’m new here and…”
“Oh I see Barbarians then? Or Tribesmen?” asked the shop keeper.
“We were from the tribe lands… but I am a sorcerer,” Gesaru said firmly.
“Ah very well… this is a pawn shop, but let me tell you a little about our city! This is the fine port city of Alexandria! Here is where most all of the trade from the wild lands of the barbarians and the exotic products of the triblands enters the lands of man! If you need cash to buy food or lodging, you can pawn your things here. If you need a place to sleep find an inn or a tavern. If you need gear or goods there are shops all over the place. Just look for the sign for what you need. Oh, and don’t forget this is a pawn shop… if you need something for a cheap price look here! This is where people come to sell their things so if you need quick money or a cheap product look here!” the elven shop keeper said, almost singing.
“I see,” said Gesaru, “Well…”
“Here,” Rit said as she jumped up on the counter, “how much can you give me for these?” As she said this she dropped several exquisite gems onto the counter.
“Oh my,” Said the shop keeper, “these are incredible… and from a talking fox no less!”
“My name is Rit,” Rit explained, “and I was a kitsune, this is Samuel and Krista… they were from the Wolfe tribe.”
“Samuel huh? Strange name for a tribesman… I wonder? Do you know the story of that name?” asked the elf.
“The story?” Gesaru puzzled.
“Right well my name is Tharivol Siannodel, and I am a bard! Stories are my life!” Tharivol sang.
“Well then lets hear this story,” Gesaru said, “I’m am in this land to discover my past.”
“Very well! The story goes like this: The great king Samonice Veriteptice and his wife Bellona had a son named Samuel. He was the pride of both his lines! Samonice was from the line of kings and Bellona from the line of mages. Young Samuel was a gifted sorcerer. Even though he was to young to speak he could already cast cantrips from memory. He was the most brilliant mage the world had known. He was the hope for his kingdom’s future. But alas it was not to be! The great king and his entire family disappeared nearly twenty years ago. The struggle for power is not yet over, but everyone fears that Thomas Krakouvos will gain control of the kings crown.” Tharivol told with flare.
“What did you say that kings name was?” Gesaru asked.
“Samonice Veriteptice… why?” Tharivol responded.
Gesaru pulled his name tag out and looked at it. “Samuel A. Veriteptice…” he said quietly, “Samuel Aaron Veriteptice!”
“What? You know the prince’s middle name! but it was known only to a select few…” Tharivol said surprised.
“You know it?” Rit asked.
“Well yes I knew the king… I used to entertain the young prince… I am Tharivol Siannodel of the line of fools… but how did you?” the elf’s words trailed off as he began to think.
Gesaru put the name tag down on the counter. “Explain this…” Gesaru said.
Tharivol looked at the tag then up at Gesaru in disbelief, “where did you get this?”
“It was found on me as a child… abandoned in the wild,” Gesaru said quietly.
“No… I… can I believe it! Samuel! Little Samuel?,” the elf squinted as he looked at Gesaru, “You would be the right age…”
“I do not presume to say that I am your prince… but I am here to find my past… will you help me, you seem to know much of this land.”
“Samuel I do not assume you are my price… but you have his dog tag. And that alone puts me at your service! I will not only help you but I will lay my life on the line for you! Come first we must find a guide. The forest is dangerous! We will need to go to Gate. It is a long journey and we will need many things to make it alive. Come let us be on our way!” Tharivol exclaimed with a thunderous resolve.
Tharivol cleared out his shop, and gathered some things. He gave Krista a suit of leather armor and a sword and shortbow. He gathered his lute and several books. He put some supplies and goods in three bags and gave one each to himself, Krista, and Gesaru. With fervor the four set out to find a guide. Tharivol explained that only a ranger or a druid could make the journey alone and to find their way they would need to go to a tavern or pub and find themselves a guide.
They went to a small place called the Wolf’s Head Tavern. Tharivol said that it was a place know to be a hangout for rogues and rangers. They found a table and sat down. A young woman came up to their table.
“Can I help you travelers?” she asked.
“We are looking for a ranger. A good one.” Tharivol said.
“Well I don’t know…” the girl protested.
“Bring us three pints of ale and a loaf of bread. I’ll give you five darlings.” Tharivol said.
The girl smiled, “Very well sir right away.”
She walked over to the bar and told the portly man behind the counter something in his ear. The man walked into the back room and shut the door. The girl went upstairs.
“I don’t get it, “Gesaru said, We already have food…”
“Its not the food. What I asked for cost maybe three silver coins called draiks. One darling is worth ten draiks. It was just a bribe so she would do what we wanted.” Explained Tharivol.
“oh,” Gesaru said. He was stunned at the way Tharivol had convinced the girl to do what they wanted without even saying it.
The girl came back down the stairs. At the same time the barman came out from the back room with three mugs of ale and a loaf of bread. The girl walked by the bar and picked up the food. She set it on the table. The bread was wrapped in a piece of paper. On the paper was written a number: 347.
“Excuse me a moment,” said Tharivol. He got up and walked up the stairs. With a signal from Gesaru Rit followed him. As she walked she noticed the elf was looking for something. As they passed a torch on the wall Tharivol stopped. The bracket that held the torch on the wall had the number 347 carved in it in small numbers. Tharivol pulled on the torch and a hidden door opened up. Inside was a room. Mostly bear the room had a bed and a desk. Therivol looked around. He walked up to the wall and pulled out a dagger and stabbed the wall. He pulled the dagger out then moved it down and to the right.
“Okay, okay, elf you found me.” A voice seamed to come from nowhere.
“Take off that cloak Ranger we need your services,” Therivol said coolly.
The ranger took off his cloak, and as he did he became visible. The change was subtle. It wasn’t that he wasn’t there before but rather that Rit had not noticed him. The ranger looked expectantly at Therivol. “Lead the way elf.” He said. Therivol lead the ranger and Rit back down the stairs. They each took their place at the table.
“To what do I owe this honor?” the ranger asked sarcastically.
“We need you to take us to Gate,” Gesaru said.
Tharivol grimaced at the directness of Gesaru’s proclamation. He would have preferred to be subtle about things. The ranger however was pleased, “I like your stile fur. What can you offer me?”
“Well human I don’t have much yet… however, my familiar has a gem or two for you,” Gesaru said.
Rit hopped up onto the table and dropped a blood ruby, “This should get us to Lamend. We’ll discuss further payment from there.”
The ranger thought about this for a moment, “My name is Regrin Thomson… and I’ll be ready by morning.”
Tharivol rented two rooms from the barkeep and party ascended the saris to their rooms. Regrin returned to his, Tharivol and Gesaru went to one of the rented rooms, and Krista and Rit to the other. Though this arrangement didn’t last long. Though he tried Gesaru found he could not sleep. Slowly he crawled out of bed. He ventured out into the hall and walked over to Krista’s door. He could hear voices inside, so he knocked. For a moment everything went silent. Finally Rit called out, “Who is it?”
“Its me. May I come in?” Gesaru asked.
“Come in Velki,” Krista called out.
Gesaru opened the door and slowly walked in, “I couldn’t sleep.”
“Nether could we,” Krista admitted, “Rit and I were just talking about you.”
“Should I be worried?” Gesaru said jokingly.
“No its mostly good.” Rit said teasingly.
Gesaru just shook his head, “Well since we’re all awake… why don’t we share stories? I don’t really know to much about you Rit and I guess you don’t know much about us. And it’s been so long for Krista and I. I think we should each tell our stories.”
“I… I suppose. Mine is a fairly sad one though,” Rit lamented.
“That’s okay I think that all our stories are sad,” Gesaru reminded her, “Why don’t I start?”
“Sure,” Rit said with melancholy in her voice.
Gesaru began, “I guess I should start at the beginning. I’ve just recently learned that I was found as a child in the wilds of the tribe lands. Well I was raised as Mooneyes child Mooneyes was the Sshara of our tribe… so she couldn’t have a child of her own.”
“Wait… I thought the Sshara was the chief’s wife?” Rit interjected.
“Well she is,” Gesaru explained, “but the tribe has a very precise structure. You see the Chief or ‘Alkar’ is the military leader and he is in charge of choosing the hunting party. In times of peace he is merely a figurehead. The Velki is the spiritual leader and the healer. In peace he is the real leader of the tribe. The Sshara and the Velki are the only ones who are allowed to practice magic. The Sshara’s magic however is destructive. She is the one who acts as protector and secret weapon during war. The lowest member of the tribe is the Zeru. She is the wife of Velki, and her job is to entertain the Alkar. Because the Sshara and Velki must never know another’s touch. So you see the Velki and Sshara can never have children. And the Alkar’s son is born to the Zeru. Every other member of the tribe has a rank based on their duties.”
“oh,” Rit said somewhat confused, “I see… go on.”
“Okay my story really begins on one hot summer day,” Gesaru told, “Krista, Falus, Raven, and I were all playing chief on the hill top. Falus was the chief and I was trying to nock him off. But he was stronger than me so he won. He chased me into the woods nearby… and he was bitten by a snake. I… well I cast a spell to cure his wound and remove the poison.”
“Wait… sorcerers cant cast divine magic,” Rit interrupted again.
“Who is telling this story Rit?” Gesaru demanded, “Now pipe down and let me tall my story. I learned a little cure magic from the tribe’s Velki. As I was saying. I cured Falus. Well this was illegal. I wasn’t allowed to use magic, but Falus wasn’t complaining. The three of them called me Velki from then on. We always joked that the four of us would start our own tribe. Falus the chief, Krista the Sshara, myself as the Velki, and Raven the Zeru. But as you know young dreams often shatter on the truth of life. Krista disappeared. And once he joined the hunting party Falus became distant and cold. Raven was my only friend… then she was married to Larus in Footpadden’s clan, and she moved away. So I was alone. Then as you know I got in a fight with Wolfe… used a fireball and then… well then I was exiled from my tribe… and the rest you know.
“Wow… and I thought I had angst,” a male voice said from behind Gesaru. He turned around to see Tharivol and Regrin standing behind him.
“how long have you been there?” Gesaru asked.
“From the part about ‘we should each tell our stories’ if you three were any more oblivious you might not be able to find the ground in the morning,” Regrin teased.
“Very funny ranger,” Gesaru said sarcastically, “Any way… Rit its your turn.”
Rit looked down and sighed, “Well my name used to be Loria of the high order of Velar… I was the most powerful Kitsune in the order. A kitsune with nine tails is immortal you see so I’m very old. Nearly five-thousand years. I was the orders champion. But… well I did something the order doesn’t approve of. I… I’m sorry but I don’t want to tell you all now what I did, but it resulted in a sentence of death by age. They decided to cut off all but one of my tails. A kitsune who looses all her tails becomes an ordinary fox. A fate worse than death. I managed to escape with just two tails. I wandered the arctic wastes for years. Then I heard your sad lonely heart call out to me Samuel, and I just couldn’t bear to be alone anymore. And so here I am.”
It made Gesaru happy to know that he was the answer to Rit’s loneliness. Everyone looked at Krista expectantly. “If you’d rather not describe your life in detail Sshara we would understand,” Gesaru said in compassion.
“No there’s not much to tell. I grew up with… ‘Samuel’ and his friends. When I was forty-two moons old I was taken as a slave. My life from there hasn’t been pleasant until just recently,” Krista said quietly.
“Forty two? That’s fourteen years,” said Tharivol.
“That’s right,” agreed Regrin, “How long were you a slave?”
“About fifteen moons,” Krista said.
“So your nineteen then,” Tharivol concluded.
“I guess… a year… is three moons?” Krista asked.
“That’s right the moon goes through all its phases three time exactly in one year,” Regrin confirmed.
“Well that’s my story… what about you Regrin?” Krista asked.
“Oh no… I never said I would tell my story. Maybe another time,” Regrin protested, “The elf is next.”
Tharivol laughed, “Well mine is a short one. All my life I’ve been a jester in the royal court. When the king disappeared things got dangerous, so I left. I settled down here and raised enough money by performing to open my pawn shop. That’s all.”
“Simple enough. Listen we need to get some rest. It’s a long trek to Lamend, and not free of danger ether. Rumor has it marauders have been tearing up the countryside with a pet dragon,” Regrin explained.
Gesaru sighed, “He’s right… lets get some rest.”
With that they each slept soundly, except for Gesaru. He could see something faintly as if through to much fog. It was shifting all the time as though it wasn’t sure what to be, but he could make out the form of a wolf fur. Dark against the shifting background he could tell it was male and fairly large. He was running now, though he couldn’t tell to or away from it. He was angry and sad. He felt a deep pain in his chest. When he looked down he saw that there was a gaping hole in his chest and he held his heart in his hand. There was no blood but the pain was unbearable. He stumbled and dropped his heart. When it hit the ground it shattered into thousands of pieces. He fell to his knees. It became clear he was chasing the dark figure for as he sat there crippled it rapidly vanished into the fog.
“Samuel wake up! Were ready to go!” Rit's voice pierced the fog. Slowly he opened his eyes and groaned.
“I’m up…” he said and found that there was a pain in his thought, “I’m up.”
Gesaru found that he was not only the last one up but that the rest of the party was waiting for him downstairs. He looked out the window and down at the street below, and he saw them all sitting in a wagon with two horses. “Are you coming or not?” Regrin called up to him. He grabbed his pack and started down the stairs.
“How did you sleep?” Rit asked him.
“Not to hot,” He replied.
“Oh?” Rit asked in concern.
“I had a dream… don’t worry about it… I’m just nervous. This is my first time outside of… the camp after all. Every day is an adventure,” he said.
Rit took it at face value and said nothing more. Gesaru and Rit walked downstairs and out into the street. “It’s about time you got up!” Krista said teasingly. Gesaru smiled and shook his head as he climbed into the wagon. As they set off they could hear the sounds of a crowd gathering nearby. The wagon clacked on the cobblestone street as they set off. They rounded the corner to find that the street was blocked by throngs of people. The croud was yelling and cheering loudly.
“Arg! We’ll never get past!” Tharivol said.
“I’m going to see what’s going on,” Gesaru said as he climbed back out of the wagon.
He walked into the croud. Squeezing his way through the closely packed people. As he neared the front he could see what all the fuss was about. There was a fight going on. When he reached the front of the croud and stepped out into the open he saw that it was more like a beating. There was a huge orc large even for his kind fighting a tinny creature. She was about five foot even and looked like she could weigh no more than one-hundred pounds. Gesaru didn’t recognize her race. She looked almost human except that she was covered in short fine fur and had catlike markings, a tail, and cat ears. She was doing more running than fighting. The orc swung his massive fist at her but she dodged it. “No please I…” she began to protest but he cut her of with a backhand. She fell to the ground and cried out in pain.
“Hey! Why don’t you pick on some one your own size!” Gesaru yelled as he stepped out into the “ring”. Though in truth Gesaru was nowhere near the Orcs size. He was only a few inches taller than the girl and built only slightly heavier. The orc didn’t seem to mind this inconsistency though and gladly charged Gesaru. Gesaru called up a spell in his mind. Normally to cast a spell he would have had to say the words and make a few magic gestures, but this time Gesaru needed more speed. He changed the spell even as he was casting it. He made no sound or motion but in an instant he became as strong as ten of him. Strong perhaps even as ten of the orc. The gibbering behemoth let one huge fist come down on Gesaru’s skull. Gesaru however had other ideas of what the orc could do with his fist, he blocked the blow easily with his new strength. The orc was stunned. How could this tiny creature be so powerful. Gesaru didn’t give him the chance to think about it. He took his staff from off his back and swung it hard at the orc's head. The orc’s jaw turned into a mess of teeth and blood. “There’s a battle scar for you orc!” Gesaru said as he spit on the fallen orc. The orc grunted and spat a massive glob of blood and teeth.
“I’ll kill you fur!,” it said in a horrible broken voice with the sound of blood bubbling in his thought. The orc swung again, but this time Gesaru didn’t block him with his arm. He unsheathed the blade hidden within his staff. The orc saw to late what this meant. The orc’s wrist struck the sharp edge of the blade and kept going. His fist however acquired a new direction. It flew from his arm and landed somewhere in the croud. The orc screamed in pain and dropped to his knees. Gesaru saw that a single blow could kill the beast, but then he remembered why he was fighting. He ran over the girl he had been fighting to protect. She was lying in the dust without movement. Gesaru knelt down beside her and said, “Are… are you okay?” the girl moaned in pain.
“Did you kill him?” she asked in pain.
“No,” Gesaru responded flatly.
She breathed a sigh of relief, “Thank God.”
Gesaru was confused but he was more concerned about her safety than finding out why she would care for her attacker’s life. He carried her back to the wagon. It was much easier to get back than it had been to get in. the croud was all walking away now that the fight was over. Gesaru laid her down in the wagon and started checking for wounds. Her cheek was swollen and bruised, and her lip was busted. Other than that though she looked fine. Gesaru thought just these words, and then thought that they applied in more than one way. He felt guilty for thinking it. Even though he was not with Krista he felt like he shouldn’t be thinking of this stranger until he knew how Krista felt.
“Ugh… I’ll be… Ah… fine,” she said as she tried to sit up.
“Hey take it easy I’m not done checking you for wounds.
Through her moans of pain she said, “You don’t look like a cleric to me… who are you to treat my wounds?”
Gesaru laughed, “Well to be honest I’m a Sorcerer, but I learned healing magic and a great deal of mundane medicine from my tribe Velki.”
The word Velki was meaningless to her but she could tell he had a good heart and that he was telling the truth so she relented, “I think he broke my ribs… but your not going to treat that here… ohg… and I know he broke my wrist.
He pressed on her chest lightly and pulled his hand back in terror. The orc had indeed broken her ribs, and Gesaru was afraid that one might stab an organ. Quickly he pulled several small bits of plant matter out of a pouch. He put them in her mouth, “Swallow it whole,” he said forcefully, “This might hurt a lot.” The herbs tasted horrible and stung her mouth and through going down. But the pain in her chest seamed to abate just a little. Gesaru put his right palm over her heart and his left on her forehead. “No passing of time nor grace on earth can mach the eternal grace you give… Heal!” he commanded. A flood of pain surged through her body. She arched her back and screamed out in pain. But it lasted only a second. In a moment her pain was gone. She felt wonderful. Better in fact than before she had been injured.
“Thankyou I…” she started to speak but stopped.
they both looked down at the same time to see shat Gesaru stull had his heand over her heart, which consequently made the situation a little more tense. Gesaru jerked his hand back, “I’m sorry… I didn’t… oh, are you akay?”
She looked at him wearily, “Well I feel fine I guess as long as you weren’t just trying to take advantage of me just then.”
“No no! I swear! I had to… put my hand there to cast the spell… I just,” Gesaru said almost in a panic.
“Well then your delay in removing it will be taken as a lack of attention rather than what it seamed to me at first… I’m sorry I don’t mean to seem rude. You saved my life and for that I am greatful. I just wonder does it always hurt that much?” she said starting off angry but seaming more calm by the end of her statement.
“Well no. In fact it’s normaly quite pleasant. Its just when it’s a fatal wound that it hurts. The pain you feal is your soul being wreched back ito place. At least that’s what I’m told,” Gesaru explained.
“Well… either way… I owe you my life. I’m Calista, Calista Ronin of the paladin,” she said.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Calista. My name is Samuel Gesaru of the Wolfe. At least is now,” he said, “I’m sorry to save and run… but I’m afraid we must be going. I’m on a quest and we were just leaving before you… droped in.”
“A quest? Tell me about this quest,” she said with notable jubalance.
“Well I don’t think it’s a paladins quest… I simply seak to know my past,” he said knowing that paladins jump at any chance to join notable causes.
“Oh… your group has no fighter… dispite my performance against the orc I’m usually pretty handy with a blade. I was caught off my guard and the beast stole my blade. But my point is that perhaps you could use my help. A paladin never turns down a chance to help those who might need her,” she said obviously wanting to go with these strangers.