The Melancholy Imp - A Collaborative Story

Discussion in 'Writing' started by Erebus, Aug 19, 2001.

  1. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    After a request for a collaborative story, which interested members could add to and continue, I've decided to get the ball rolling with a story entitled The Melancholy Imp.

    Thanks to An8el for the suggestion that we try this again! Anyone wishing to contribute may do so by posting their additions/chapters as a reply. I look forward to seeing how it goes!
     
  2. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    The Melancholy Imp

    1. Herbs and Crisis

    Gnash had always been such a happy, somewhat mischievous imp. If there was ever laughter echoing around the capacious halls of the kingdom's palace, you could be sure in your belief that Gnash had started some sort of ruckus or practical joke.

    His humor was legendary and unrivalled, at least it had been. Everything changed with the rising of the seventh moon this year. No longer was there fun and laughter in the kingdom. Instead, a feeling of unexplained sadness had overcome Gnash, descending across the kingdom like a veil of evil.


    [This message has been edited by erebus (edited August 22, 2001).]
     
  3. An8el

    An8el New Member

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    "It can't be *that* bad."
    Gnash had just hit his head on the top of the doorframe. He'd brushed against the edge of it to get around Neffer and the cross-beam had fallen on him. He stood there, rubbing it and looking up while Neffer parted his hair to appraise the damage, narrowly supressing a giggle.
    "How could I miss the fake edge!" growled Gnash. He picked up the linen he was carrying.
    "It's just a cut. The healmaker will rub it away with some of his stinky gunk and you're heading there anyway. Whoever set that one up must be trying to make you feel better?" Neffer giggled openly this time. She slapped Gnash's back. "Right?"
    Gnash twisted by her with no comment.
    She grabbed his cloak and said,"Meet me in the library after dinner or next time it will be me!"
    Neffer continued out to the river with a worried look on her face. She was heading to pick spices from the herbalist for dinner, but she decided she had time to stop in at the diviner's to ask about Gnash.
     
  4. sanclemente99

    sanclemente99 New Member

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    Gnash stumbled down hall, rubbing his head while awkwardly balancing the linen. He'd skip the healmaker; not enough time as it was. Not enough time at all.

    The light from the window he was passing glistened off the fresh blood on his hand. He stopped, dropping the linen in shock as he glared at his bloody fingers. It reminded him of what was to come, and how he was powerless to stop it. He was an Imp and he knew what that meant.

    "Gnash! Pick that up this instant. What do you mean leaving my clean linens on the floor?"

    "Sorry ma'am," Gnash bowed and rose, then bent again to retrieve the linens. "Just taking them..."

    "...back to the laundry. I'll not have Her lying on filthy linens." said the parlor maid, pointing the way to laundry.

    A clever retort flash in his mind, but was gone before he could grab it. He frowned. "Yes, ma'am." Another bow and he disappeared up the hall.

    The parlor maid watched him go, the wicked grin on her face fading. When she was certain he was out of sight, she pulled the small package she was carrying from within her robes and cautiously headed down the hall after him.

    "Stupid," she thought, "I should have let him pass. Now I'll be delayed following him. And me late already." She clutched the package closer to her. The Diviner would know what it meant.
     
  5. Aleya

    Aleya New Member

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    Gnash grumbled quietly to himself as he reached the laundry. None of the imps spared him a glance as he heaved the heavy linens up onto the shelf with a grunt, a sign of how tense things had become since the Patriarch had fallen ill.

    Of course the fate of the Patriarch was hardly the concern of imps, particularly those on the opposite edge of the Kingdom, but no citizen could shake the feeling that things had begun to decline when he took ill, and didn't show any sign of stopping. Even the King seemed lost nowadays. Whatever it was that had befallen the old man, they had better cure it soon or it seemed the whole land would suffer the results.

    Finally relieved of his burden and thus deprived of the opportunity to dawdle he turned dutifully and headed off to the great hall to help with the dinner preparations, his head still throbbing.
     
  6. Aleya

    Aleya New Member

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    Linala followed the imp as far as the laundry door to make sure he didn't try anything. Satisfied that the dirtied linen was indeed being rewashed she clutched her package tightly in one hand, picked up her skirts and ran.

    Swishing past a number of servants and narrowly avoiding knocking the head butler clean over (for which he had awarded her one of his most disapproving glares) she landed outside the Diviner's study with only a few hairs out of place and a great deal less late than she would have been. She had gone to some trouble to get this appointment, and could not afford to be tardy.

    Taking a deep breath to calm her pounding heart she knocked timidly on the huge oak door and waited.

    "Come!" came the distant command from within, and she pushed into the room with only slight hesitation.

    "You are late young woman."

    The Diviner had his back to her, leaning over some volume on one of the bookshelves, and his matter-of-fact tone betrayed little of his thoughts on the matter. He was a wiry little man with a wrinkled brown raisin of a face always screwed up with one profound thought or another. His white hair and beard fell in almost transparent wisps all about him, straggling this way and that as if possessed of it's own free will. He was a kind man at heart, or so it was whispered, but his abrupt manner and constant fidgeting made Linala nervous.

    "Yes sir," she mumbled out, crinkling her nose at the musty old book smell of the room. Didn't he ever have a maid in to clean?

    "Well then? I don't have all day dear, I am a busy man," he replied, turning to peer at her with raised eyebrows.


    [This message has been edited by Aleya (edited August 21, 2001).]
     
  7. Cadfael

    Cadfael Guest

    In another part of the academy, a small man entered a darkened room and approached the seated figure...

    "I hope you have something good to tell me?" inquired the figure in the chair.

    "They are being delivered as we speak"

    "They?"

    "I have also taken the liberty of having a package delivered to the herbalist my Lord" he shuffled his feet, waiting for the outburst... "He is an aquaintance of the diviner, thus I decided..."

    "For this once, I shall let that pass", the seated man rose, and looked at the small man "you have shown initiative, but in the future... check with me first. You are sure that no other has an inkling of what is to come?"

    The small man at last felt his feet on firmer ground "Of course my lord, whom else would know?"

    "Whom else" agreed the now standing man.
     
  8. An8el

    An8el New Member

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    Linala sat down in the dusty chair and gathered her nerve to speak to the Diviner.
    "Here...here's the package from Forsyth," Linala stammered, unwrapping it from her apron's pocket. "I would have been here sooner, but I had to chaperone that helper of yours to the laundry."
    "Lay it on the other chair next to you." He slammed the book closed with a puff of dust and climbed the ladder return it to the bookcase. He took his time coming down, and seemed to be finding the next volume. Linala waited patiently while he dawdled. She arranged her beltskirts. Suddenly, he jumped off the last rung of the ladder and shot out, "You are still here for...?"
    "Well, ah, I thought that I could have your professional opinion..." Linala's voice trailed off. Both of them looked to the door Linala had left ajar that seemed to be squeeking by itself as it creaked further open.
    It's Neffer who peeks around the edge, "Guess you have to get Gnash to oil that door again, Diviner Raight. Sorry, I tried to be quiet."
    "Come in and be quiet then, Neffer. This young lady here says she wants my opinion." He swivels his head and his body at the same time to face Linala.
    Linala stammers and fumes with excuses, saying nothing. She can't ask her question while one of the apprentices is watching, she has been told that nobody else must hear. She finally gets out that she has something very important to do elsewhere and makes a hasty exit. The diviner closes the heavy door after her.
    "I guess that I made her leave," Neffer said sheepishly. "I was on my way to the Herbalist Ryan's shop so I thought I'd stop in and ask if you had anything you'd like me to run over there for you."
    "Yes, just a moment. I have some charts for you to take for the next geomancy plot this next new moon." He unrolled multiple sheets wound together and selected a smaller one. He rolls it up and drips a seal on it with the candle wax while he talks. "People think their worries are so important and special. It's not your fault that she left in such a huff."
    He shuffled up to the chair and picked up the package as he handed the roll off to Neffer. "This doesn't seem to be what I expected. I don't think it's even from Foryth, look at this unusual string." He turned the package around and looked at the seal on the bottom.
    "I also wanted to ask you about Gnash. I'm worried about him. He's lost his fun snide remarks and just ignores me."
    "Gnash is getting his sight. It's going to be a long time before he feels like himself again. Very disturbing when you start to see what's going to happen right in front of you, without knowing anything more about Timing. That's happening to him and he's not very happy about it. Nothing he can do but learn to use it now."
    Raight patted her on her shoulder. "Get on to your Master Ryan. The cook is going to be upset if she doesn't have her garnishes before the dinner bell."

    [This message has been edited by An8el (edited August 22, 2001).]

    [This message has been edited by An8el (edited August 22, 2001).]
     
  9. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    "But it seems more than that, Diviner. He never laughs any more, and just today he-"

    "It will pass, Neffer," he said, dropping the small package on his desk before leading her gently towards the door. Neffer turned quickly and headed back to the desk. "I must have dropped my list," she said, bending down to pick it up.

    ***

    Gnash had taken only a few, less than enthusiastic strides when he was suddenly overcome with a sense of foreboding. The hallway darkened around him as if a shadow of evil had momentarily obscured the sun's welcome light. A familiar image briefly flashed into his mind but was gone in an instant. "Neffer!" he shouted, setting off again, this time racing as fast as his little legs could carry him.

    ***

    "Here it is," Neffer said. "I would never have been able to remember to get all of-"

    The small package on the Diviner's desk exploded into a fireball, incinerating Neffer's body in an instant. A second, larger explosion ripped through the room, bringing down much of the ceiling.

    Diviner Raight stood frozen in the middle of his office, a look of absolute horror on his face as the large, walnut bookcase crashed down on top of him. When the flames died away and the dust eventually settled, both he an Neffer lay dead amongst the ruins of the room.

    Gnash stood weeping in the doorway, blocking the path of many curious onlookers gathering in the hallway behind him. "What have I done?" he sobbed, crumbling to his knees.

    End of Part 1


    [This message has been edited by erebus (edited August 31, 2001).]
     
  10. sanclemente99

    sanclemente99 New Member

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    Gnash lay on the ground, in shock. His eyes unfocussed and glazed, his face passive, his skin a pale white.

    Assuming he was injured in the blast, villagers bent to his aid, but found a catatonic imp. No obvious injuries, not even a burn, nothing but an imp frozen in body.

    But not in mind. From the depths of Gnash's despair a foreign feeling erupted. His mind focussed on a package, lying on a desk. He could feel the rising heat of ignition. The paper slowly gave way to the expanding gas, which burst free in an hellish fireball. The flames rose from the desk in a distorted sphere, the outer edge of the shock wave growing faster now. The edge of the flame reached Neffer and froze. Captured for an instant was his friend, no comprehension of what was to befall her, at the edge of perdition. Then the ball engulfed her and she was gone.

    "NO!"

    Suddenly he was as if a hummingbird hovering feet above the heads of the crowd. He saw his own prostrate form partially blocked by the rescuers' backs as they bent to offer aid. He heard the word that erupted within him, though saw his mouth never moved. He saw the rescuers fall back, away from him as if they had been shoved. The door to the cottage swung suddenly open, affording him a view of this inside of the cottage. Through the portal he could see a hellish red light -- flames! -- but they weren't consuming. It took his mind long to accept what his eye was showing it: the flames were retreating, gradually coalescing into a single ball, which shrank and diminished and faded until they were no more.

    The afternoon sun streamed into the open portal, illuminating a small package lying on a desk, a girl bent over picking up a list, and the Diviner standing to one side.

    And then he was Gnash again. And the light went out.


    [This message has been edited by sanclemente99 (edited August 23, 2001).]
     
  11. Erebus

    Erebus Keeping The Equilibrium

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    ***

    The sound of urgent voices pulled Gnash back to lucidity. His head ached and his eyes were sore and gritty. Someone had carried him back to the safety of his bed. Dozens of imps were milling about in his cottage, wringing their hands while they nervously paced the cold stone floors.

    "Did I save them?" he asked, coughing up a mouthful of phlegm.

    "Gnash! You're awake!" Linala shouted. "We've sent for the Healmaker. As soon as he's done with-"

    "Did I get to them in time?" Gnash ask again, more urgently this time.

    Linala dropped her head and the room fell suddenly silent. Tears welled in Gnash's eyes and he read the expressions on his friends' faces. "The Healmaker's been doing all he can, Gnash, but the blast..."

    "Leave me, please...all of you," Gnash said, waving his friends away. "And tell the Healmaker not to waste his time coming to see me. I have not been harmed...at least, not in any physical way," he mumbled. "Now, please leave me to rest a while longer. I shall see you all after dinner." Gnash slowly closed his eyes again, burying his face in the folds of the bed linen, his mind slowly filling with images of the Kingdom's Herbalist.


    [This message has been edited by erebus (edited August 22, 2001).]
     
  12. An8el

    An8el New Member

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    Just then Herbalist Ryan was making up one of his concoctions in the apothecary. He shuffles over to the jars and feels the heat from their chemical responses.
    He begins to lean over, then tucks in his red beard that hides a craggy, young face. Finally he finds the jar he decides is done and opens the lid to sniff the contents. Eyes watering, he bends down to get the stepstool to reach up to the top shelves where there are smaller vials. He grabs a few and begins to fill them methodically, making attempts to keep the liquid off his hands, which are cracked and worn from gardening.
    He pauses awhile, thinking. Are there reasons why I should not try it on myself now?
    He goes to the drawer and brings out a knife and dips it in the mixture, tapping it on the back of his hand just enough to break the skin.
    Just then Ryan hears someone else calling out, walking across the gardens.
    "Herbaliiiist Ryan!" says the kidlet imp.
    "Over here, inside," answers the herbalist.
    The little imp slams open the door. "Diviner Raight's cottage blew up!"
    "Where did you hear about that, Gnat? I find that pretty hard to believe," said the herbalist, continuing to fill the vials.
    "I saw it myself. I saw them carry the Diviner to the infirmary because his books fell on him when it happened. They sent me to tell you to make something to make him wake up. He got hit on the head really bad. There was blood everywhere. Gnash is hurt too, but they don't know what's wrong with him."
    "I'll be along right away." Ryan put the lid on the treatment and stoppered the vials he had already filled. He tied up his tattered shirt, grabbed his hat and carry bag and slammed the door too on his way out.
    On his doorstep he noticed a small package. He picked it up, turning it over and noticed the string was unusual. He carried it to the potting bench in the shed and left it there on his way out.
    As he hurried down the path, the package he left behind began to hiss. A fine mist began to escape from the top of it, covering everything with a pink dust that slowly faded to become undetectable.
     
  13. Cadfael

    Cadfael Guest

    ***
    The small hit the wall, and bounced... knocking over the lectern that stood there, he landed on the hard floor, the coppery taste of his own blood... he cowered under the gaze of his master.

    "THIS... this... should not have happened! What in the name of all that is evil did you put in those packages" screamed his tormentor "they should have infected them... 'dead in seconds' you said"... the angry threw his hand up into the air... "how can we work with this... this... DISASTER!!!"

    "I... I... never thought that the infusion would react with the catalyst for the packages. Instead of the dust being released in the the surrounding air... they... they..."

    "EXPLODED!" shouted his master and hitting the small man in the face to get his point across, the master then began to pace, his face a mask of concentration "we have to make this work... we must make this work... I wanted it to be done thi..." the Master paused in his rant... "Ah... AH... yes... yes" he turned to the small man "you are lucky..." he said, waiving a finger "I do not need to end your existance just now... we shall say it was the blast that caused the spour to be released"

    He began to pace one more time, nodding his head... "Yes... yes... listen to this... instead of their infernal experiment accidentaly releasing the plauge into the worlds... it was their experimenting, that caused the explosion... therby" he began to dance"... releasing the toxin!"

    He ran over to the small man and lifted him, rather as a father would raise his baby son over his head... "You have done well, I knew I could trust you"

    He tenderly placed the small main in a chair, and began to walk from the room. The small man was sure his arm was broken.

    Just before his master exited the room, he glanced back and looked at the small man...

    "I bless the day I mastered you... Imp!"
     
  14. KATS

    KATS Registered User

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    Beads of sweat slowly formed , then slid down the Patriarch’s tired face. She quickly re-wetted her cloth and gently wiped the old man’s forehead. He had started to babble again. Sometimes he was coherent, but those times were becoming more infrequent. She tried to remember when he’d last recognized her, but lately her days seemed to blend together.

    “Tamra?” his voice strained as his eyes fluttered open.

    “No, Grand-pappa. It’s Talli. Your granddaughter,” she answered softly.

    “Tamra, we’re late for my coronation. We must hurry,” he insisted, his voice rising in urgency.

    “Grand-Pappa, you’re not late, no need to hurry,” she reassured him calmly.

    “Tamra? Where did you go? TAMRA!!” he shouted, looking wildly around the room. Finally his eyes settled on Talli. She tried desperately not to think of her grandmother. Her hand quickly dashed the tears from her eyes.

    “She’ll be right back. She just went to check on the baby,” she tried to alleviate his fear.

    “Talli? The baby’s alright? Talli must be alright. Everything depends on her. Talli . . . and the laugh maker. The laugh maker one must laugh again. Everything depends on them,” he insisted, fixing his gaze on the woman.

    “Talli is fine. Tamra will be right back,” she assured him, sorrow tainting her voice.

    A small commotion pulled her attention from her grandfather. A small man with one arm in a sling had entered the room. The attendants were questioning him quietly. After a short inspection the attendants nodded. The small man handed a package to one of the attendants, hesitating only a moment before releasing it. He looked toward Talli and their eyes locked. She tilted her head in surprise and his eyes lowered instantly. The small man quickly found the door and vanished from sight.

    The attendant brought the package to Talli and bowed. “This is the new medicine from the senior Healmaker,” she said softly as she handed the package over.

    “Thank you, I’ve been expecting this, but I didn’t recognize that runner. Is he new?” she inquired.

    “Yes, your Highness. Said he just started today,” the attendant answered quickly.

    Talli paused for a moment then spoke, “Very well. You may return to your post.” The attendant quickly obeyed. Before Talli could ponder the small man’s defiance, the Patriarch again started to ramble. This time about a dark man, death, and suffering. Talli re-wetted her cloth and once again delicately wiped his brow.


    [This message has been edited by KATS (edited August 26, 2001).]

    [This message has been edited by KATS (edited August 29, 2001).]
     
  15. sanclemente99

    sanclemente99 New Member

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    It took herbalist Ryan only a cursory examination of Gnash to begin ordering those in attendance into action.

    "You...yes, you, I need the jar of Unglin, 2 Sprox nobs, and some ambergris," he said to the imp closest to Gnash's side. When she didn't move, he said in a loud voice, "HEAR ME! We can save them all but we must move fast. When I give an order you'll carry it out."

    "You! Go get me those reagents. Now! Move!" The imp nearly wept but made no motion towards the door.

    "Damn fools," said the Healmaker as he pushed past the startled imps and headed out into the hall.

    Moving with all speed, he descended the dimly lit stairway, and exited out into the noonday sun. Ignoring the gravel path, he headed directly through His Magesties Garden, ignoring the yells of the groundskeeper, and arrived at the door of his workshop. He flung the door open, and pulled up short.

    An imp who followed him from the sickroom crashed into his back. "Oooph! You oaf. No, wait!," said the Healmaker, grabing the startled imp and shoving him roughly against the door jam.

    The Healmaker sniffed, then sniffed again. "So, the ancient terror is reborn again," he thought. He glanced about the room, but the noonday sun cast shadows which obscured the package from his sight. "It happens again."

    He released the pained imp, who fell to the floor gasping for breath. The Healmaker lifted the imp by his arms and dragged him outside, shutting the door to his workshop.

    "You, what is your name, oh never mind, you stay RIGHT HERE and do not let ANYONE enter that building. No one is to enter for any reason, understand?"

    The imp nodded painfully.

    The Healmaker sped off, in search of the fire brigade. He'd need a torch, some oil, and some water to ensure it didn't get out of control.

    As he sped down the gravel path, he thought "The ancient terror is back. Oh, my workshop, yes, my entire workshop is lost. Fire, must get fire. Who would unleash such a horror? My reagents! That poor imp, I could have eased his suffering. Now he must deal with it as best he is able. Lucky thing I noticed the smell or we'd all be...ah, the rope." He pulled the rope, and the town alarm bell rang, once, twice, faster and faster, as people raced from the fields, from the nearby cottages, and from the castle itself.
     
  16. enazwo

    enazwo Eloquence & Inebriation

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    Inside herbalists Ryan's shed the pinkish dust had settled on everything. On things that Ryan prefered people should not know about. And for their own good. Things that some people used for evil, but Ryan chose to use them for his own designs.

    Just as the fine dust appeared to settled it seemed as if a breeze had kicked the dust up. Then the fine residue danced into a shape that seemed to possess it's own sentience. For indeed it did. The fine particales twirled into a small hazy funnel shape, then moved across the shed where it stopped in front of bolted door. There the pink haze blew through the small crevice between the door and the jam.

    At that moment had anyone had been in that shed, they may have sworn they heard whispers. Whispers that hinted at the darkest desires.

    From behind the door sounds like the weeping of damned souls began to cresendo. The sound became louder, then the locked door shook violently upon its hinges.

    What had that daring fool Ryan hid in his secretive shed? What good did he think he could have done with this?

    The door exploded outward into pieces. A dark red fog hissed forth. There was something in the center of the billowing mist. It was massive, but undefineable, as it shambled out into shed. There it peered out of the shed and saw Ryan dashing away from the herbalshop.

    The dark abomination then released itself from shed and disappeared into the darkening woods.

    The ailing Patriarch moaned in his sleep, then his eyes fluttered open. With the first lucidity in his eyes in days he croaked, "No it cannot be happening, I haven'the strength anymore."

    Gnash bolted upright from his bed with a look of abject madness in his bloodshot eyes. "No it was only a dream. Please let be just a dream. What can I do? I'm just an Imp"

    [This message has been edited by enazwo (edited August 27, 2001).]
     
  17. Giarc

    Giarc New Member

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    She was poised on her quartz throne like a diamond: all flashing eyes and glittering smiles as the envoy of the silent lands entered. Dismissing the hovering swarm of maids with imperious disregard, Isen, Queen of the Imps and most beautiful of them all, rose to her feet and actually simpered at the man to the amazement and chagrin of the departing maids.

    The tall arrival bowed deeply, his expression serene and masking the roiling depths of hatred and contempt that seethed within.

    For seventeen turns of the moon he had endured the Imps and their irritating falsetto voices. Even their laughter gave him blinding headaches. It rankled that he, the most powerful of his order, had to endure endless hours of tedium while his weaker brethren were gloriously infiltrating the kingdom. How the bloodmagic must sing in their veins! He would have killed to be closer to the sacred Bloodwood, sowing dissent and plague amongst their ancient enemies.

    Theirs was the more dangerous mission, since the Order was forbidden from the greater kingdom. Forbidden everywhere except this remote refuge of fools. Here, where the Order's foes believed that the dark magic of the Bloodwood could not reach. Thus it had been Chokan, greatest mage of their number who had been sent where the magic was faintest. Where only he could do what was necessary.

    If the King or the Patriarch knew just how far the bloodwood influence now extended they would never have allowed the exiled Order anywhere near their borders. The bloodwood had extended it's invisible network of bloodroots over the centuries, feeding from the blood of the slain throughout the kingdom and drawing power from it. Now it could even be felt, if distantly, in the land of the imps where once it could not be felt at all.

    Even so, it hadn't been easy gaining the trust of these foolish folk. How the ancient order of bloodmages had ever been crippled by one of these ridiculous beings was beyond Chokan's comprehension. In fact, he was certain the story was a myth and nothing more. After all, it was never mentioned exactly how the Imps had undone all that their order had achieved.

    The envoy straightened and smiled ferally at the Queen. She was nearly completely under his sway now, although it was taking almost his entire strength to hold her there despite the failing protection of the Patriarch.

    "Your majesty..." he began with guarded tones before pausing theatrically and murmuring more personally, "...Isen. You are more beautiful than I believe this mortal soul can withstand. I came as soon as your maid summoned me" he paused and added rakishly, "As if I could do otherwise".

    Isen blushed and came close to forgetting why she had summoned the man. Raich had kept on at her to get rid of him but he was clearly harmless. Why, he was always ready to lend her his advice or counsel whenever she asked. Raich could be such a grumpy old bore, so it was perfectly understandable that she'd rely more on this dashing envoy who was so clever and knowledgable. Her dreamy smile faltered suddenly as she recalled. "Diviner Raich!" she squeaked out in dismay. Regaining control of her voice the tone dropped to a more typical soprano. "Oh Chakon! Diviner Raich and one of his apprentices are dead! Someone switched packages while my parlour maid's back was turned and it seems that it blew up and killed them!" She explained hurriedly before she forgot it again, like she did so often these days.

    Sometimes, when Chakon had not visited for a day or two, she almost thought it strange how much she trusted this envoy of a race that had enslaved them all. But as quickly she dismissed the nagging doubt, that was generations ago and the power of the Bloodwood could no longer corrupt their people where they were. In her most private moments she sometimes daydreamed of the two of them together, away from the eyes of the world for just one night. How wonderful that would be. At first the fantasies were just that, but more often of late she had begun to question the value of her crown if she could not even choose a lover without the condemnation of her subjects! Perhaps it was time to use her power and evil take those who questioned her decisions!

    Chokan feigned sorrow, "A tragedy m'Lady, if you wish I would be pleased to investigate the matter and discover the assasins responsible"

    Relief washed over Isen at his words, she had been planning to ask Gnash since he was closest to Raich but he had been acting strangely of late. Yes, this was a much better idea.

    "Oh would you?" she exclaimed, "That would be wonderful. And perhaps..." she hesitated, some inner voice giving her a moments pause.

    "Perhaps...?" the envoy repeated queryingly.

    The Queen pushed down her doubts and firmed her resolve. Raich would agree now, and even if he didn't, he was dead. "And perhaps this evening, if you're not too busy, you might like to dine with me and discuss the investigation. In my private rooms, since we don't want other ears to hear the details" Isen added with a definite reddening of her cheeks.

    "Of course, whatever my Lady desires" Chokan answered smoothly, taking her hand and bending to kiss it. "I will also see to it that your guard is increased. In fact, I will detail some of my own men to the task. Your safety could also be in jeopardy" he cautioned.

    She nodded and smiled, butterflies dancing in her stomach with excitement.

    The envoy bowed once more and departed, a feral smile lit on his face. Perhaps this mission would have some compensation after all. He would have to find his pet imp. He now had a new mission for him. An imaginary assasin needed to be found and executed to bring justice for poor, old Raich. Chokan chuckled suddenly as he thought of the perfect target. It would be a good day, his mission triumphant, the Queen a biddable bedmate, and silencing the mirth of that idiot imp Gnash before it ever returned.



    [This message has been edited by Giarc (edited August 29, 2001).]
     
  18. lior

    lior Registered User

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    Talli knelt down beside her grandfather, touching his tangled, sweaty hair with gentle, loving strokes.
    "be calm, grand-pappa, I have something that will ease your pain."
    she got up and went to the package, her fingers touched the bright laces.

    Suddenly, the patriarch sat upright in his bed, his eyes wearing a look of dread. Talli watched him in horror as he opened his mouth to speak. she knew those are going to be his last words.
    "Tamra, he is here, the usurper has arrived...hide your children, lock your doors, Tamra, we should have known better..."
    He looked at Talli, his face contorted in pain, and collapsed back on his pillow.

    Talli stood up, the package still beyond her.
    "grand-pappa?"
    she inched closer to the bed.
    "grand-pappa? grand-pappa?"
    He just lay there, his eyes wide open.
    she sat on the bed, holding his hand, sobbing quietly.




    [This message has been edited by lior (edited August 29, 2001).]
     
  19. enazwo

    enazwo Eloquence & Inebriation

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    From the recesses of the darkening wood the shapeless abomination watch the imp that had been standing gaurd on the herbalist's shed.

    The wavering, blood red, mist shifted in shades of pink to bruised red.

    There was a glint of hard sanguinary color in center of the billowing cloud.There was simplistic motives inside that steely glint, the source of its thought.

    The evil blood mist recalled it's simple pleasure of caressing the imp as it departed from the shed.

    The imp had glanced over his shoulder, when the abomination passed through him. The imp couldn't make out anything other then a quickly departing mist.

    The nebulous abomination felt pleasure watching the imp double over in agony, then totter over on it's pitiable side. The cloudy mass pulsated a nearly black shade of red.

    The imp then convulsed, as its face cramped in a rictus of exquisite agony.

    The cumulous bloody shape, then, seem to become more solid, with more shape. But it was still unholy, and undefinealbe.

    There was a commotion as the herbalist, and crowd, came charging back to the shed with fire brands and buckedts of water.

    Ryan cried out as he saw the dying imp before him. He dug into his pouch, and pulled out a root. The Ryan began to chew on it quickly softening the root then swiftly forced into the imps mouth.

    Ryan stood up and face the black impenatratable woods and yelled, "You don't think I knew what I had in there? Beware you have angered the Ryan the herbalist and I will come for you and your master."

    Ryan turned to the crowd and barked, "There's no need to burn the shed now. The ancient horror has become something more. And what ever it is it is gone. Who could've known what was in the shed? Who?"

    Unseen from the dark woods, the bloody shapeless mass retreated. It felt a need to touch people but more importantly it wanted to touch an imp that was laughing. The branches of the tress rustled as if they had been caressed with an evil wind. That was only indication the abomination departed.

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


    Chokun glanced down upon the imp with the broken arm and asked, "You saw to it that Talli received the package?"

    The imp cautiously answered, "Yes master I watched with my own eyes as Talli received the package. Talli looked at me oddly. She did not know who I was."

    With his arms folded Chokun snapped, "That is not your concern. But I'm barely able to resist rejoicing. There are only several more obstacles before me and I will soon accomplish on my own what the whole Order has been unable to."

    Chokun looked fondly upon his mirthless imp. It was so advantages to have an imp that did not laugh. Imp laughter not only did he hate, he knew it was the potential source of his undoing. Fortuneatly the one imp with limitless mirth that knew no bounds had fallen into a mood. Yes, soon, Gnash would be gone.

    Soon Talli and her old dodderer grandfather would be out of his way. Ah for now I shall pay that imp Queen a visit. I have such an appetite.

    Talli sobbing, into her grandfathers silent form, opened her eyes and caught a glimpse of the package the broken armed imp had delivered. The string was unusal. She'd never seen that style of string before. A chill crept across her spine when she realized that her grandfather had sat up and babbled of evil when she offered to use the contents of the package. Talli became suspicious remembering that she had never seen that broken armed imp before either.

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

    Linala, the parlor maid, was hysterical as she clenched and unclenched her hands in her lap. She did not want to be directly responsible for anyones death. She had been deceived about the packages. Oh indeed she knew that they were going to cause trouble but not death so soon. She prattled out loud, "I must go to Gnash and warn him. He must have some feeling of whats happening. He should by now. Maybe Gnash can help me. Yes if Gnash could only laugh for me, I would feel better. I must do something to right my wrongs." Linala had been so distraght during her ramblings that she did not hear that someone had entered her room. She heard a sound then turned towards the door. Her face changed to look of shock she started babble, "How long have you been there? I was going to tell you but I'm confused. I....................

    [This message has been edited by enazwo (edited August 31, 2001).]
     
  20. An8el

    An8el New Member

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    Chokan had already returned. "I'm the one asking the questions around here. I already know who is responsible for these abominations. You needn't concern yourself, I'm in charge now. Confine yourself to the royal wing until I return for the rest of the story you have to tell me. Now, go and tell Your Highness that I'm here for my private audience."

    Linala was angry and overwhelmed. She grabbed her skirts and rose to do Chokan's bidding. Later she would make sure she didn't run into Chokan again.

    ***

    Gnash was still asleep, or trying to sleep. It was the first time in a long while that he had missed three meals in a row, although the last meal was still there on a table by his bedside. He hoped that he was still exhausted from his attempt to turn back the clock to save his teacher Raight and friend Neffer. The bed and pillow felt so comforting. He still felt angry and frustrated at his ineffectiveness, despite Raight's assurance that even his novice practices would help, if attempted at the critical Time. Gnash couldn't keep himself from seeing the two the moment before the bomb went off, reliving the explosion over and over again.

    If there was any result, it seemed to be the dreams that were so upsetting. While Gnash lay there nodding in and out of dreaming, he could feel an intense whirl of fate swirling all around the events of the castle. He tried to remember some of what Raight had predicted; how Gnash would have to be the new Diviner now. He didn't want to get out of bed and face anything new. He just wanted to be the imp he was. But that ineffective wish had been going for sometime now, to no use. Gnash would tell himself that he was just going to have to face that there was no going back. Then he would start to cry again.

    "Oh, very good, what you tried. It did buy me some time," said a disembodied voice that sounded familiar. "I got to think about a few more things I forgot to plan. It was disorienting to die suddenly, despite what I could forsee."

    Gnash assumes that this is just another painful dream, as he has had quite a few nightmares in the last few hours.

    "There are some things that I want you to do. You must get up and go see Queen Isen and give her the copy of my will, before anyone else is appointed to my post as Diviner. Oh, and Neffer says she is not sad and hopes you don't blame yourself for not telling her."

    Gnash sobs again, thinking of Neffer. It's then that Gnash realizes that the voice was Diviner Raight's.

    Almost immediately Gnash is angry at himself for being such a forgetful imp. Raight had mentioned that he would talk to Gnash after the blast. Gnash had assummed that Raight would survive to do that talking.
    Gnash dragged himself out of bed, feet hitting the stone floor and toes curling up from the cold, threw on some clothes and coat and gobbled a piece of bread, stuffing the rest of the loaf into his pockets. He paused to open a chest at the foot of his bed where Raight had demanded the will be kept only a few weeks before. Then Gnash snuck out toward the royal end of the castle before anyone noticed he has gone.