Jan 21

Shards Of Memory – Chapter 2, Part 1 – Wayfarer Foothills

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To the norns, the Hunt is a feat of strength, courage, and strategy. It is a time to prove your worth, your skill, and to be noticed as a great hero. For Koda’s Breath, it was an opportunity to ingratiate himself into his adoptive nation. Had he memories of who he was, perhaps his sense of purpose would be more defined. However when your self has been taken away, the act of redefinition is crucial. Without a purpose the mind begins to slip and madness draws ever closer.

Koda’s Breath arrived without fanfare. His deeds were not known and he felt like an outsider amongst these competitive beings. They boasted of their previous feats, and tried to create instability by claiming the ease in which they would fell this new foe. Knut had tracked an Icebrood wolf pack, seemingly controlled by a single master, to the Icesteppes near Twinspur Haven. He suspected that they were the murderous group who had infiltrated the Might and Main, and had sent mail to each participant to be prepared for this unique foe. Eir had excused herself early in the preparations, as she had been called to the Pact base far to the west.

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Jan 19

Chapter 5: Part 4 – Laying Ghosts to Rest

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It’s not in my nature, as an asura or as a thief, to be particularly forthcoming about myself. Asura like only to boast, after all, and thieves live their lives shrouded in secrecy, locked behind wall after wall of hidden agendas. At least, that’s how a thief is supposed to operate. In the months since I’d left Rata Sum, I’d exposed nearly all my secrets to those who cared to listen: to Darr, and to Erin. Out of the two, I knew whose confidence I preferred to keep.

We left the Veins of the Dragon at a swift walk – Erin seemed to be as keen to put it behind us as I was. I never wanted to see another Son of Svanir; even now, my fingers itched to reach for a dagger or a pistol, and next time, I might not be able to summon quite as much self-control.

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Jan 18

Chapter 9: Part 2 – Before the Storm

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The fire crackled and popped. Rain beat on the worn, mossy bricks outside. The sounds mingled together. However, for the time that I spent thinking what I had just heard over, it sounded like nothing more than silence to me. “You think Angel has feelings for Tobih?” I repeated, making sure I was hearing this correctly.

“Talks between her and I always end up with him in them. She’s trying to convince herself that she hates him, but why would someone do that?” Ragnvaldr turned to look at the fire that reached upwards. A piece of firewood inside crackled as it fell into two halves, sending embers into the air around it.

“She always talks fondly of him to me,” I added, not moving my gaze from him.

“Only adds to my suspicions, Claire.” There was worry in his voice and I wasn’t entirely sure why.

“You’re worried?” I questioned him, taking his hand with mine.

“With good reason. Think about it for a moment and you’ll see what I’m getting at.” He tossed a stick into the fire carelessly.
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Jan 16

Eternal Blade Saga Book 1, Chapter 4: Dreams and Deceit

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I strolled through the grass field on the far side of my aunt and uncle’s farm like I used to do as a child when I made my way to the bridge just outside of Shaemoor. The sun was shining brightly and I could feel its warmth on my face. The sweet smell of grass and earth filled my nostrils and I happily took in a deep breath of it. I exhaled, letting my cares drift away with my breath.

Nothing mattered.

A light mist had settled in during the early morning and was growing heavier which seemed unusual but my heart felt as light as a feather so I paid it no mind. My hands trailing along my sides, I felt the tall grass tickle my skin and I smiled contently. I could see the gentle flowing stream ahead and hear the bright calls of moas nearby. Skale played in the water and along the banks with their young. Water swirled around their long, finned tails as they swished them back and forth. I kept my distance. Skales could be aggressive but they were even more so when protecting their young. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 14

Shards Of Memory – Chapter 1, Part 3 – Bear Lodge

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A week after Ulfridda’s quiet visitation to Eir’s homestead, Koda’s Breath was preparing to join the Hunt. Ulfridda had given him encouragement, noting his good health and strong body, putting him through a series of tests before allowing him the day off to join. No such tests were administered to Mara, and the norn woman displayed her enthusiasm in her broad smile. She wore her hair in a long braid today instead of her usual tight bun, and Meeki’s fur was well groomed. She clearly hoped to catch a young norn’s eye. Koda’s Breath suspected he knew who, but was not worried enough to further investigate.

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Jan 12

Chapter One: Of Whispers and Valedictions IV

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Baen and I left the Altar Brook Trading Post shortly after dawn. With the clouds hanging low and threatening in the sky, we wanted to steal as much time as we could before the rain begun again. A brief downpour in the night had turned the road to mud, and by the end of our first day’s travel I was coated to the knees in the muck. My boots and travelling skirt had taken the worst of it, as to be expected, but there had been enough puddles and a single passing cart to ensure that I’d been splattered liberally from head to toe.

It was unpleasant, but as the days pressed on and the weather only got worse I kept my complaints to myself. Grapple appeared to be genuinely enjoying romping through the filth and Baen seemed, as always, entirely unbothered by the elements. Complaining would only give her an excuse to make sport of my displeasure, bringing up matters of class and upbringing she knew nothing about.

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Jan 07

Shards of Memory – Chapter 1, Part 2 – Bear Lodge

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It took Koda’s Breath little over a week to recover, during which time Ulfridda attended to him when her other patients weren’t in need of her direct attention. She had two assistants, Kaelbarn, the perpetually negative human engineer whose speciality was designing or fixing the various tools Ulfridda used to distil tinctures or administer antitoxins, and Mara, an overweight ranger whose pet bear Meeki was used to warm the bodies of patients suffering hypothermia. Koda’s Breath was a welcome addition to the team of healers, as he was a natural having spent his life training as a guardian and thus, the art of regenerative magic was already his to wield.

Ulfridda was old but showed no sign of the bent back that characterises the elderly, and she would often challenge Koda’s Breath to lift more and more heavy boxes of bandages, phials of various elixirs or tinctures, and most importantly, carry patients to and from the room she used near the back of Bears Lodge for surgery. Despite his weakened state, he quickly became strong. The backbreaking work was good for him and he began to feel his muscles becoming taut once again. Although only of middling height for a kodan, Koda’s Breath was broad chested, his shoulders rounded out well, and his waist slim. Like all kodan, his chest muscles were powerful but did not jut outwards as they grew stronger.

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Jan 05

Chapter 5: Part 3 – Perceptive for a Norn

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Hoelbrak. It’s a curious city, half monumental architecture and half disconnected jumble of homesteads and lodges. The norn like their space, you see, which means it takes twice as long to get anywhere in their capital as it would elsewhere.

Not that I really paid much attention to the geography of the city as Erin led me through the surrounding mountains and out the other side. I took in the noise and bustle, the wind whipping across the open plaza, the smell of roasting meat and strong ale – but mostly I was thinking about the last time I’d walked these paths, and of course about Mikk.

Erin, it was clear, was glad to be home. She led the way along paths carved into the snow, taking a rambling route up a hillside that eventually deposited us on a terrace of wood and iron, rimed in white ice. She walked to its railing, propping her arms on the top as I peered through the slats.

“Hoelbrak,” Erin breathed, her voice a contented rumble. “Have you ever seen its like?”

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Jan 04

Chapter 9: Part 1 – The Causeway

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Floodwater Causeway was quiet save for the croaking of frogs, which I had become used to from our time by the oasis. The dolyak steadily pulled the cart, its stomach filled with grasses the sylvari had given him at our last camp. It seemed happy, which made me not feel so bad about the fact that it was pulling everyone and their equipment.

The further we got into Sparkfly Fen, the more I could smell the faint trace of rot that hung on the air. It was a little disturbing; it reminded me of what was waiting for us at the end of the road. I had spent a lot of time worrying about the group and less about the people that the Risen used to be, but it was all coming to me now. I had heard that they went about their daily lives, as if nothing had ever happened, until they met with a living being.

Or that very well could have been Angel making things up again. Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 02

Eternal Blade Saga Book 1, Chapter 3: Bladed Words

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“I ought to skin you alive and make socks of your fur for all the ones you’ve stolen from me!” a tall Norn woman threatened. She wore a long sleeveless cream-colored coat with a metal center plate on her chest, over dark brown breeches and dark brown studded boots. Like many Norn, she bore traditional tattoo markings on her body in the form of intricate lines marked on her shoulders, her upper arms, as well as at her collarbone. The woman had her hands firmly clenched into fists and shook them furiously at the recipient of her rage. Her long ponytail of earthen hair swung back and forth with every move as she shifted her weight and stance. A petite snowy owl had perched on her shoulder but took to flight when the woman gestured violently.

In response, a deep, guttural growl echoed in the small, but surprisingly spacious main hall. A large Charr warrior stood opposite the Norn woman, standing at equal height but with a much broader frame. His fur coat was an intricate pattern of brown and black stripes and he had a pair of long horns reaching to the back of his large head. He also had a second, smaller set of horns which were as long as his two sets of keen hearing ears. He wore large, spiked pauldrons on his broad, muscular shoulders and thick leather and metal straps crossed his furred chest. He swished his tail sharply back and forth and his armored legs clanged as he shifted his edgy stance. He pointed directly at the Norn, Liliana, with a long, sharp claw. “They were left in the hall scattered about, free to claim!” He wrinkled his nose and let out a frustrated huff as he narrowed his pale green eyes. Read the rest of this entry »

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