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Old 08-01-2003, 04:50 PM   #76
Charizard04621
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Ah, that was great! And whoa, I guessed some things right, too. I had a feeling that the conversation you gave us a preview of would have been between Erin and Timper... And that Timper's motive to follow the group had to do with Erin. As for the poll, I have no idea. =P Timper and Erin have proven to be unpredictable at times.
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Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
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Old 08-01-2003, 06:00 PM   #77
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Rip it apart? NOOOOOOOOOOO, it's been so ... erm... whasstheword...oh...*thinks* helpful seeing a sucessful questy fantasy ficcy thingy....although mine's not as good ^__^;;

Erin! *gasp* ahh....she can endure ANYTHING....:-) she's still kool, but I was gonna ask you:

How many chapters have you written? I have 6...i'm nearly done Ch7 but I ain't posting it for a while, just...well, see the Topic as for why...it's a lot harder then Trainer fics!

Keep up the great work, I'll be rooting for you!
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Old 08-09-2003, 04:12 PM   #78
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Still working on this fic?

About the poll, I think the events in chapter 14 will cause Erin to be more open to everyone, and she and Timper will grow to be closer friends because of there confessions.

........................... waiting for the next capter.
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Old 08-09-2003, 07:04 PM   #79
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Yes, I'm still working on this fic. I'm sorry, I have a VERY demanding university life so, as much as I'd love to spend my days writing, I can't. I have a final on Tuesday. After that, I'll have a few free days, so I guess you can expect a new chapter before this month comes to an end.
Thanks for your patience, and for reading this fic. I'm sorry I have to make you wait, but I promise I will keep writing it. Oh, and Master Kirby... your guess on your previous post was right.
And I'm glad to know you liked the surprise.

I have written up to chapter 15, have clear plans for chapters 16-18 and the general idea for the rest of the fic. Once I've written chapter 16, I'll post chapter 15. I really wish I had more time to write!! There's nothing I want more... except maybe graduate from university, so I can write without feeling guilty because I'm not studying.
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Old 08-19-2003, 11:21 PM   #80
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This chapter is a long one, which may make up for the fact that the following will be really short. It may leave a few things hanging, but that's what the poll is for.


Chapter 15: New-found links

Minutes passed and there were no signs of Erin and Timper. The group began to worry, and decided to search for them. All but Mariel parted in different directions, while the young elvin waited at the meeting point in case they showed up. In the meantime, she tried to find a way to do something for the forest. She couldn't stand watching the destruction that had just fallen upon it. Most of the vegetation in the area had been burnt or cut down during the battle, and there were no signs of any animals around. "We need to be more careful, or else we'll be no better than the forces we're fighting against," she sentenced. But how? How could they defend themselves without causing pain and destruction to those around them? There had to be a way...

Then she remembered the books she had brought along. She hadn't had time to read much since the journey had started. Now was a good time to see if she could find any useful spells. She skipped through the pages of a book and then another, until a picture of a blooming tree caught her attention and she stopped to read that page more carefully. Vegetal magic: one of the most basic forms of Life magic. Why hadn't she thought of that before? At least there was a way to make up for the damage they had caused.

2 hours passed before anyone returned to the meeting point. That gave Mariel the time to get the handle of a basic plant healing spell and apply it on several trees and bushes. She couldn't revive dead trees and wasn't proficient enough to regrow severed trunks and fallen branches, but she managed to heal most superficial burns and cuts. And all in just 2 hours! She reckoned Vegetal magic would be something interesting to explore in the future. It might even help the group on their quest eventually.

Then, a sword came floating in the wind at high speed.
"Watch out!," Mariel cried.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," Gallead said, regaining his original form. "Wow, you've done all of this?"
"I've been trying to heal these trees, yes."
"It's amazing!"
She looked at him and smiled. She remembered how Primrose used to say she was a prodigy. She wasn't really sure if that was true, but she was glad she could do things well. They'd need as much power as they could get.
"So... you haven't seen them, have you?," she asked Gallead.
"I'm sorry. I managed to find my sword, but Timper and Erin seem to have disappeared. I was hoping someone else would have found them by now."
"I hope nothing bad has happened."
"Have you tried using your magic?"
"To find them?"
"Yes. Like you did at the cave, you used your magic to reach us all."
"Oh, that only works if you're close enough. And even if you are, if the person doesn't want to be found then it will be hard to make it work."
"Why wouldn't they want us to find them?"
"I don't know, I was just telling you how it works. I don't see any reason why they wouldn't. They must just be further than we thought."
"Or closer," Gallead said, pointing up.

Mariel looked at the sky and saw the shapes of an eagle and a faerie flying above her head.
"I'll get them," Gallead offered, and took off again.
Erin and Timper were caught in a small private tornado. Erin tried to fight it, but Timper helped her calm down.
"Easy, it's just Gallead," he told her. "Mariel's waiting for us below."
"I wish I had the an eagle's sight," Erin sighed.
"You have me," the eagle said, winking.
"What am I getting into?," Erin murmured, shaking her head while she let the wind carry her down.
"You're here! Where have you been?," Mariel greeted them when they landed.
"Talking," Timper said. "Lost track of time."
"You got us all scared."
"Sorry, but you should know better than to get so worried about us," Erin told her. "Not many things can blow the air out of me. Certainly not some plants."
"But... the fire?"
Erin and Timper looked at each other.
"We'll explain that when the others are back," Timper promised. "I take it they're searching for us?"
"I'll see if I can call them," Mariel offered.

It didn't take a long time before the group was reunited. Pura showed up right away as soon as she received Mariel's call, and Eric ran as fast as he could, taking only a few minutes to join his friends. Erin decided to let Timper do the talking and watch carefully in case he said anything that made her look bad. She was surprised at how good his words were to her, and how well the others took the information. The first one to make a question was Eric.
"Why didn't you tell us before? Were you afraid of us?"
Erin shook her head.
"Leave it to you to ask annoying questions. I should have known you'd come up with one."
"And I should have known you weren't going to reply," Eric shot back. "But I thought you were finally opening up."
"I've opened up more than I ever thought I would. Let's just not try to undress my deepest emotions right now. I have my reasons for doing everything I do. They may be right or wrong, but they are."
"Sorry, I won't bother you again."
"Where do we go from here?," Gallead inquired.
"I guess we'll continue on the same path," Timper said. "Finish what we started."
"We'll have to make new plans and get more training," Eric suggested. "Get comfortable with teaming up with each other, and know the range of our powers and everything we have. Is anyone else keeping a big secret we should know about?"
An awkward silence settled in, broken only by Erin.
"I think I know everything about our weaknesses and capabilities. I have that covered."
Pura descended and sat on a rock.
"Indeed you do," she said. "I must thank you for that coverage."
"If anyone has any secrets, that someone is likely to blow them on their own anyway," Erin replied.
Not many understood what Erin was going on about. Timper had some suspicions, but he decided to trust Erin. He wouldn't get anywhere if he didn't.

The group used the interval to have something to eat, and then set off, not wanting to waste the remaining hours of light. Everything seemed to be going fine until Mariel announced that something strange was going on. At that exact moment, a small creature jumped down from a tree and planted itself in front of the group. The skin of this being was completely white, while the loose, full-body suit and conical hat resembled the clothing of a clown or harlequin, except that they were made entirely of shiny black silk. The creature's gender was impossible to determine until it spoke with a thin, yet male voice.
"Good travelers, will you please help me?"
"Who are you?," Eric inquired, still a bit startled.
"My name is Meinor. I live in a small village near the river."
"You're far away from home," Erin said. "We have passed the river a long time ago."
"Am I? I don't understand much of what's going on, but... You need an explanation. I'll tell you as much as I know."
"What race do you belong to?," Mariel asked.
"He looks like a mannur," Timper noted. "Speaks like one too."
"He's right," Meinor confirmed.
Gallead smiled to himself. When Meinor looked at him, he manifested his thoughts.
"You must have found out a lot about us by now, right?"
"What do you mean?," Eric asked him.
"Mannurs can sense the feelings of others," Gallead explained.
Erin clutched her teeth. She wasn't too comfortable with that information.
"Don't worry. I won't intrude in your lives or anything," Meinor told her. "I just need help."
"What kind of help do you need?," Queried Mariel.
"I need you to help me find my partner... And my home."
"It's not common for a mannur to get lost," Timper remarked.
"I told you I don't know what's going on. Kyra and I were walking through the forest and then we found a tunnel on the ground. It hadn't been there before, and Kyra wanted to explore it, so she went inside... and suddenly I stopped feeling her! I looked for her, but she was gone. And I suddenly ended up in a part of the forest I'd never seen. I was about to crack from despair, until I found you. I felt you were all trying to do good things, so I thought you could help me."
"Do good things," Eric laughed. "A very simple way to describe what we're all here for."
"I really don't think we're here to find a lost creature find his way home," Erin said. "He'll find it sooner or later and we've lost too much time already. We shouldn't forget our true objective."
"Come on, it won't hurt to help," Eric insisted.
"How do we know it's not a trap?," inquired Pura, taking Erin's side for the first time. "We've fallen into one before, I wouldn't want that to turn into a habit."
"I don't think it's a trap," Gallead stated. "Mannurs wouldn't generally hurt others on purpose, since the pain and suffering they caused would bounce back to them."
"That rules out most cases, though some beings actually enjoy suffering," Erin pointed out. "Still, if it were a trap, he'd probably have thought of a better story to tell us. This one's just too stupid not to be true, so I'm guessing he does need help. Either that, or the trap would be too simple and we'd get out of it easily."
"Why are you so defensive?," Meinor questioned.
"Experience," Erin replied.
"If he was transported from another part of the forest, maybe the river he mentioned isn't even the one we passed by," Pura noted. "How do we know where he's supposed to go? And how did he get here in the first place?"
"Did you feel anything strange before finding yourself here?," Mariel asked Meinor.
"Nothing. I just walked into the tunnel to search for Kyra and all of a sudden I was here, standing on a branch of that tree."
"It's got to be magic," Eric sentenced. "Isn't it, Mariel?"
"I can't think of any other explanation," the elvin responded.
"Does it work backwards too?," Pura wondered. "I mean, if we go up to that tree, will we appear at the entrance of the tunnel?"
"I'm not sure. Meinor, you didn't feel Kyra when you got here, did you?"
"No, no signs of her," Meinor lowered his head with sadness.
"You both walked into the same tunnel, but the magic didn't bring you both to the same place..." Mariel rubbed her head, thinking. "This could be hard. It may take time to find out how the spell works."
"Should we really use our time on that?," Erin questioned. She seemed to be more irritable and anxious since she and Timper had reappeared. "He's not hurt, nor in danger. He's just lost. He and his girl can find their way home on their own, and we can't let our enemies gain terrain."
"But there's magic involved," Eric reminded her. "Our enemies must be causing this. It must be part of a bigger scheme. If we break the spell now, it's a win for our side."

Erin sighed. She should have known that. What was causing her to get distracted like that? She concluded it might be the fact that the mannur wouldn't stop staring at her. Weren't there more interesting things out there to look at? Just as she had those thoughts, Meinor turned his sight off of her and fixed it on Mariel.
"What's that sensation? Is it magic?," he asked her.
"It's shifting," she replied, without losing her concentration. Then she turned around. "There's more than one point."
"What does that mean?," Eric asked her.
She turned to look at him.
"It means that the spell is active on more than one place," she explained. "I don't quite understand it yet. But I can feel the magic on more than one spot, and I think the location is changing. If only I could reach into it and... Aahh!"

While Mariel was speaking, a hole opened on the spot where she was standing, swallowing the earth below her. She began to fall, but instead of landing on the bottom of the pit, she disappeared.
"Mariel!," Eric shouted, rushing to the place where the elvin had just been.
Pura flew past him and launched a ball of light at his chest to stop him.
"What are you doing?!," he yelled at her.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't think of another way to stop you," she apologized. "You were about to do something crazy. You've heard what they said. If you get in there, you won't find her. You'll just appear on any other place and then you'll be lost too. We need to think logically."
"We need to find her!"
"I hate to say this, but that could be hard," Erin said. "She's the one who knows the most about magic. Without her, we have no way to trace the spell to wherever it is it took her. I hate to admit this, but even I took her for granted."
"There's a way," Eric said, determined.
"Yes, there must be," Pura supported him.
"No, there is one. I may not be an expert in magic, but I've felt Mariel's magic many times. I've even helped her with it a few times. If she uses it, and she will, I'm sure I will feel it and find her."
"But what if she's too far away?," Pura questioned. There was worry in her voice.
"Wait," Gallead said.
"Wait for what?," asked Pura. "For her to find the way back?"
"No, I'm feeling something."
"But you can't use connection magic! How can you be feeling something?"
"Is it Mariel?," Eric asked with hope.
"To both of you, I don't know. Wait here. I'll go and check."
"I'm going with you," Eric decided.
"Then I guess I should go too," Pura sighed.
"No, I think you should wait here," Meinor told her.
"Why? What do you know?," the lurian asked.
"It's just a feeling," he said, while Eric and Gallead rushed into the unknown. "But I think there's nothing for you where they're going. The ferwill's mind may be confused, but his heart knows what he's after, and so does your charge."
"How did you know Eric was my charge?"
"That's the kind of feeling you have for him. Aside from friendship. Besides, I know lurians train warriors of other races to fight for them. Though I can't imagine the reason. There are many things about your race that I don't understand at all."
"We're a mysterious kind and we'd rather remain that way," Pura replied. "But if you're sure he'll be alright, I'll let him go."
"He's already gone."
"I can still reach them."
"Oh. Right. You're fast. Don't worry, he has more confidence and determination than I've ever seen on anyone before."
"Yes, the little big guy is admirable in that respect."
Pura's voice reflected a smile of pride.

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

Gallead guided Eric up to the entrance of a cave, and then made a sudden stop.
"What is it?," Eric asked.
"I don't know. I... I suddenly stopped feeling it. It came from inside this cave."
"What were you feeling?"
"Warmth... a welcoming sensation. It was like magic, or maybe something even more powerful."
"What can be more powerful than magic?"
"By the way you came rushing at the first chance of finding Mariel, I believe you have an answer to that question."
"Pardon?"
"It doesn't matter now. It's gone."
"We should go into that cave."
"I'm not so sure. Things didn't turn out well the last time either of us went into one."
"Don't tell me you're afraid of caves just because one cave you entered was enchanted."
"No, but this one's enchanted too. At least I felt something coming from inside. And now that it's gone, it could have changed into anything else. If we go in, we don't know what we would find."
"We won't find anything at all if we don't take the risk," Eric pointed out. "You can back off if you want. I'm going in."
"I'm going with you. The aim of all this might be to separate each of us from the others. Let's not give them what they want."
"Alright, then we'll go in together."

Eric took Gallead's hand to make sure that both of them arrived at the same place. He was rather disappointed when they crossed the entrance of the cave and found out they were inside... a cave. He looked back to check if anything at all had happened, and he noticed the cave went on for as far as he could see. So, they had been transported after all. The question was: was that the same place Mariel had been taken to?

Eric didn't have much time to ask himself questions, for rocks suddenly began to fall from the top of the cave. He jumped forward instinctively, while Gallead assumed a more ethereal form until the threat was over. There was no use in fighting falling rocks. An opening was made on the roof of the cave, and the travelers could soon see what had caused the stones to fall, as a huge creature with brown skin that resembled an arid mountain made its way into the chamber where Gallead and Eric were standing. The creature stood upright. Its two legs were the size of large tree trunks, and its two arms, with no fingers at their ends, matched their length if not their width. Its face wasn't easy to distinguish, but its eyes could be inside the two small caves on the front of its head, and using some imagination the stone-like protuberance below them could be its nose. There was nothing on that face that resembled a mouth or ears, let alone eyebrows.
"Hmm... You don't think this creature is friendly, do you?," Eric asked Gallead without much hope. When he was forced to jump back to avoid being hit by the pillar that conformed one of its upper extremities, he replied to himself: "thought so."
Gallead took out his sword, but the light blade couldn't even scratch the giant's thick skin. Eric's reinforced sword wasn't doing much better, leaving barely any marks where it passed. The creature didn't show any signs of pain or fatigue. It was time for a change of strategy.
"Gallead, up!," Eric instructed his friend while planting his sword into the ground.
Gallead understood the message and took off right before the base of the cave began to shake. The monster was about to land a punch on the merial, but the earthquake caused it to trip and dig its fist -if it could be called that- into the ground instead, with such strength it had trouble taking it out again.
"Nice move!," Gallead commended Eric, becoming solid again.
"Yeah, but I don't know how many of those I can pull out. Using that much power is exhausting."
"Then let me help you."

Gallead placed his left hand on his chest and the right hand on top of it, then did the same on Eric's chest. Eric felt his strength flowing back to him, his heart returning to its normal, relaxed pace, and his lungs getting filled with fresh air.
"How did you do that?," he asked.
"Healing. One of the two spells I know," Gallead answered. "And I guess I'll have to use the other right now."

Gallead's greyish skin became lighter for a second, and then he gave a huge leap forward and to his left, carrying Eric along with him, just in time to avoid another blow. They might have held the creature back for a while, but it would take a lot more effort to bring it down. Luckily for them, the massive monster wasn't as fast as it was strong. Eric's natural agility and Gallead's boosted mobility helped them avoid the most dangerous blows. Even when the beast stomped on the ground, causing a shockwave. They managed to jump up right in time. And when the right pillar did touch Gallead, he transformed into wind before taking serious damage. However, they were beginning to feel tired, while the creature looked like it could keep going forever, and none of their efforts to hurt it or stop its attacks had given satisfactory results. That was until Gallead made a connection.

"This creature has no hands or claws," he pointed out.
"I can see that. But it punches hard," Eric replied.
"No, I mean... what would a creature need them for?"
"Hold a sword? Write?"
"That too, but without hands or claws, you can't climb!"
"Oh!," Eric open his eyes widely in realization. "I get it. Fade when my sword hits the ground."

Gallead nodded and ran to the side, blowing a gust of wind at the monster to get its attention. As soon as the creature turned around, Eric took the chance to sink his sword right between its feet. At that moment, Gallead faded from sight, and strong tremors created a massive crack on the ground where the monster was standing. Caught by surprise, the brown giant tried to cling to something solid, but to no avail. Giving up, it fell helplessly into the depths. The breach opened was so wide, even Eric fell into it shortly after the monster. The two were too close together. The merial had known that would happen, but there was no other way to get his opponent trapped. He had stayed close to a solid wall, though, and stuck his sword into it to prevent himself from falling any further. However, what he had not prevented was the beast enduring the fall without much harm and beating on the walls of its new prison, making them shake. If it kept going like that, Eric's sword would break loose and he would fall inevitably. He tried to climb up, but every stone he held on to eventually cut loose and rolled down to the bottom. He didn't dare take his sword out of its place before he could find something firm enough to hold him.

"Let go," Gallead's voice said from above. "I'll get you."

Trusting his friend, Eric pulled back his reinforced steel sword and let himself fall. His fall didn't last a second, however, as a strong whirlwind lifted him up and deposited him on the surface.

"Thanks," Eric said as soon as his feet touched the ground and he could see Gallead's face again. "I owe you one."
"No worries. We make a good team."
"Yeah. What was that, anyway?"
"I don't know, but it reminded me a lot of the trasks we fought before. Strong, earth-based or so it seems, incredible resistance, no signs of reasoning..."
"It does seem like Jor's doing, doesn't it?"
"Yes. I wonder why he's after us. I'd never seen him before the trasks attacked."
"Neither had I, but Mariel said he was the one who attacked the lurians. So I guess we got in between him and something he wants. Either that, or Erin really pissed him off during their night watch."

Gallead laughed, but his laughter was short-lived. A sticky white fluid suddenly popped out of one of the cave's walls and wrapped the hand that held his sword, solidifying immediately. He turned around to find the source of the attack, but only to have more of that fluid shot at his face, and then at each part of his body, trapping him completely. When he tried to transform into air, he found his prison to be so tight and complete that he had no way out. Eric wasn't any luckier. He received the same attacks, and was soon encapsulated into a solid, white container. He could hardly even breathe, and the little air left for him wouldn't last for too long. How could they have fallen into that trap? How had it all happened? It was then that both Eric and Gallead heard voices inside their minds. The voices were not quite the same for each of them, but the message was. "Don't give up now."

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

Minutes earlier, when Mariel touched the ground, she found herself inside a long, dark tunnel. No light came from above and, aside from the pile of dirt which had fallen with her, there were no signs of the place where she had been mere moments earlier. She reckoned that, while trying to analyze the spell, she had attracted it to herself. She also realized that her friends didn't have much of a chance to find her; she'd have to find her way back on her own. That wouldn't be easy. The spell had acted too fast, not allowing her the chance to understand how it worked before it dropped her. Now it was no longer active on that location. That meant she'd have to walk through the tunnels using her magic until she could sense it again. At least the lack of lighting wouldn't be a problem for her.

Mariel walked along the quiet tunnel, her sight assisted by a sphere of light which floated a few centimeters above her right shoulder, and her magical perception guided by a seeking spell. Wouldn't she be surprised, when after a not very long walk she found the first signs of magic, and these turned out to belong to a seeking spell much like her own! She followed the trail. Something told her she had nothing to fear about the user of that magic. Moreover, as both seeking spells intertwined with each other, the resulting pattern began to seem familiar. The elvin sorceress ran towards the source of that magic, and once her orb met an equal form of light and they both illuminated the dark figure sitting at the end of the tunnel, she concluded, with a broad smile, "great minds think alike."

"That's what my sister always says," the black-haired witch laughed, standing up. She, too, had been feeling Mariel's presence as she got closer. "Though she and I didn't think alike when I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at the magic-filled hole which had sprouted out of nowhere. But it can't be that bad, if it helped us meet again. I can't believe you're here too! I didn't expect to see you again so soon. I was hoping I would some day, but I thought it would take longer."
"Yes, it's a surprise. It's good to see you again too. Though it would be best if we weren't both lost."
"So your friends aren't with you?"
"Not right now. We were together, but then I tried to track down a spell and, it ended up tracking me down instead and bringing me here."
"But they're fine, right?"
"Yes, everyone's alright. Gallead thinks about you a lot."
"He does?"

Jamie's face lit up at the mention of Gallead. She wished she could see him again, have him by her side. When she first saw him, she had been amazed at his sight just because he was a ferwill. But that feeling was long gone and had been replaced by something much stronger, something she could hold on to while she waited for the silent war to end and she and her family did thier best to protect the part of the forest they lived in. The way he had looked at her... she felt she could keep gazing into those eyes forever. They made her feel special, important, loved. They brought her peace, hope, and many things she couldn't put in words. She could almost feel him at that moment, as she thought of him... Almost?

"What is it, Jamie?," Mariel asked, noticing the change in her expression.
"Gallead's getting close," the human replied.
"Really? How do you know?"
"I don't know, but I can feel it. He's about to reach a portal and get here. He'll find us."
"That's great!," Mariel cheered.
"Oh, wait..." Jamie's smile slowly slid away from her face. "Too late. The spell has moved again. I can't feel him anymore."
"Don't worry, we'll find a way to get back," Mariel encouraged her. "If we work together, we'll decipher this spell and revert it."
Jamie nodded, and they both tried to trace the spell once more. It took time; it had already left the tunnels, and they had to combine their efforts to lead it back to them. It was a kind of magic neither of them had encountered before. And they failed to understand it. They did, however, manage to see through it at one point. They saw the walls of a better lit cave, and small creatures (or large insects) stuck on them. They saw the insects open their mouths and release some thick, white liquid. And then they saw nothing else, but they felt something: shock, frustration, fear. They didn't know why those visions had come to them, but they knew what they meant. Eric and Gallead were in danger.
"Don't give up," both girls whispered instinctively.
Only then each of them realized the other was seeing and feeling the same things. They looked at each other and asked no questions; there was no time for them.
"We need to help them break out of those prisons," Mariel said.
"Yes, but how? We're not even there!"
"With our wills unfurled."
"What?"
Jamie didn't quite understand Mariel's answer, especially since she had never heard her song, but Eric reacted to her words.

"Mariel?," the warrior spoke out inside his shell.
"I'm with you," came the reply. "You need to get out of there."
"Gallead, can you hear me?," Jamie tried.
"Jamie! I can hear you," the ferwill answered. "But how?"
"The spell connects different places," Jamie explained. "We used it to help us connect with you and Eric."
"We? Who are you with?"
"She's with Mariel," the answer came from outside. "They're working together."
"You got it right!," Mariel cheered. "As always."
"I wish I could get the way out of this prison right like that," Eric groaned. "I'm stuck! What's it made of?"
"Something that came from the insides of some big, grey bugs," Mariel replied.
"How do you know?"
"I saw them attack you. There was magic around them."
"Hidden by magic," Eric concluded.
"What was hidden by magic?," Gallead asked.
Jamie provided the explanation.
"Why can't I hear what Mariel says?," Gallead questioned.
"I guess I could only connect with you and Mariel could only connect with Eric," Jamie told him. "The spell is strange and tricky. We couldn't neutralize it, we couldn't bend it... All we could do was ride on it and make use of what was already there."
"Are you saying there was already a connection between us?"
"If I said 'yes', would you be surprised?"
Gallead thought for a moment before responding.
"I'd think everything's beginning to fall into place," he finally replied.
"Makes sense," said Eric, who had heard Gallead's words. "I guess that connection isn't meant for us to say goodbye before the air runs out. Is there any way we can get out of this bug-made cocoons?"
"If they're natural, they should respond to erosion," Gallead suggested.
"What's that?," Eric asked.
"Wearing them away."
"What's what?," Mariel inquired at about the same time.
"Erosion. Gallead has already answered."
"You didn't know?"
"When was I supposed to learn it?"
"Hmm... I guess this is as good a moment as any other. Erosion could work, but it might take too long."
"Mariel says it would take too long," Eric told Gallead.
"Eolic erosion alone could take ages, but a sword could help make it faster."
"Good idea!," exclaimed Jamie.
"What language are you speaking?," Eric wondered.
"Eolic erosion means erosion from the wind," Gallead explained.
"Ah, I should have guessed. That sounds good, try it and help me out if it works."

Gallead's cocoon was attacked from the inside by the force of an enclosed whirlwind and the sharp point of the Swift sword. It took less than a minute for the dense material to give in, letting the sword cut an opening around the sides. The upper half of the shell was pushed away and a strong wind came blowing out of the capsule. More fluid was shot from the walls, but it fell to the ground as it was released. There was no way to hit the wind.
"You've done it!," Jamie cheered. "Now blow on the walls. Send the bugs away, that should give you the time to help Eric."
Without stopping, Gallead followed Jamie's advice. He couldn't see the bugs, but he felt them cut loose as he blew all along the walls of the cave. Once he was sure he had all of them, he tossed them away through the hole opened by the earth giant like a hurricane. Then he made his sword spin around his friend's prison to cut an opening and release him.

Eric had never been more delighted at taking in a breath of fresh air. He thanked Gallead as the ferwill assumed his normal form and offered him his hand.
"I'd never done that kind of precision work in wind form before," Gallead admitted. "I'm not sure if I'd be able to do that again."
"I know you would, but let's hope you don't have to for a while," Eric said.
"The bugs are coming back!," Mariel warned Eric.
"A cave-in could stop them," Eric thought out loud.
"A cave-in would block our way out," Gallead said, guessing what was going on.
"We can make another," Eric assured.
"Ok, I'll trust you with this."

Eric lifted his sword and hurled it against a side wall. Once it got stuck there, he grasped it with his hands and used it to channel as much magic as was left on him. The walls began to shake, then the ceiling, and Eric took out his sword and ran just in time before the hard rocks gave in and collapsed. Once the rambling stopped, there was no light left in the section where he and Gallead were standing.
"Did that stop the bugs?," Eric asked. Fighting invisible enemies was not something he enjoyed.
"Yes..." Mariel said. "No, wait! Some landed on your side!"
"How can we stop what we can't see?!," Eric growled, frustrated.
"They're not gone yet?!," Gallead joined him.
"A glare could daze them," Mariel suggested.
"I don't know how to do that," Eric told her. "And even if I did, I don't think I could cast another spell right now."
A string of white fluid was shot at him. It hit his shirt, but he managed to jump away before getting hit by another attack.
"Gallead, can't you crash them against the rocks or something? I'm running out of options," Eric said while evading another attack.
"I don't think that would work," Gallead replied, also jumping from one side to another to avoid being trapped again. "Nothing I did could stop them before."
"Trust me, Eric. You don't have to use a spell on your own," Mariel insisted. "Just channel my magic like you've done before."
"All the times I did that, I was standing still," Eric pointed out. "I can't concentrate on channeling your magic and dodging the attacks at the same time."
"It will be just a moment," Mariel said. "They won't have time to hit you."

Eric decided to trust Mariel and, after warning Gallead to close his eyes, stopped moving for a moment. A new string was shot at him, but before it connected, he felt Mariel's light surge through him. He let it out, and the whole cave became brightly lit. It was too bright to look. Eric had to close his eyes too, and even so he could see the light through his eyelids. If that didn't stun the bugs, nothing else would. Fortunately for him, when most of the light faded away and he opened his eyes, he realized it had worked even better than he expected. Not only were the bugs dizzy and circling without direction, but they were also visible! They looked like grey crabs the size of his fist, only with 6 legs and no pincers or antennae. Their eyes were small black circles on the front of their shells. Satisfied, he turned to look at Gallead, but he couldn't find him.
"Gallead's searching for something Jamie felt," Mariel said, guessing his thoughts. "It may put an end to this whole mess."

And so he was. The ferwill blew through the darkness, wishing he could see where he was going. But he trusted that he'd know it when he'd found what he and Jamie were seeking. The space became narrower, and he managed to spread across it, feeling every rock, every drop of water, every little fungus and every crack on the stone walls as he passed. If he and Eric hadn't been in danger, it would have been an enjoyable experience. Finally, he encountered something sharper. It felt like a big, icosahedral crystal.
"That's it," Jamie's voice told him. "I can feel it. The magic's coming from that crystal."
"Does that mean that if I break it, the spell will be broken too?"
"I think so."
Gallead stopped to reflect.
"What's the problem?," Jamie asked him. "You don't think it will work?"
"I'm wondering what will happen if it does work," Gallead reply.
"I think we'll all go back to the places we were at before this all started."
"Will the connection be broken?"
Jamie didn't answer right away. Gallead could hear her take a deep breath and sigh.
"It will," he deduced. "You said you used the spell to reach us. That means you won't be with me anymore if I break this crystal."
"That won't happen," Jamie said. "The connection spell may break, but the bond between us won't. I will be with you, and you will be with me. We'll be supporting each other all the time, giving each other strength until we meet again. And we will meet again."
The answer wasn't as comforting as Gallead would have wanted, but he knew what was the right thing to do. So he decided to trust that Jamie was right when she said they'd meet again. She'd always been right so far, and if they both managed to live through the war nothing would stop them from fulfilling what they both wanted. Both of them thought what they felt was crazy; they weren't even biologically compatible, he was elemental and she wasn't (and neither of them had shifter blood to stop that difference from being an obstacle). But it was truer and stronger than anything else they'd ever felt. It was worth following it to its last consequences, breaching all the obstacles to make a safe world for that feeling to grow in. To see each other's faces again. To do things they'd never done... together. Trusting that feeling, Gallead lifted his sword and swung it against the crystal, shattering it. At that moment, a bright light came out of the shards and installed itself inside the Swift sword. When the blade stopped glowing, the sword felt even lighter than before. Before he could figure out what had happened, Gallead felt the air around him slowly begin to change, light making its way to his eyes.

"He made it," Jamie smiled, feeling the spell being slowly lifted like a wave leaving the shore.
"It was nice working with you," Mariel said. "I hope we can do that again some other time. Hopefully under better circumstances."
"I hope so too. Oh, wait! Before I go, there's something I need to tell you!"
"What is it?"
"We've been scouting the forest with connection, feeling the magical energies. We've found out that Shadowy Meadow's not the only focus of resistance. There's another to the northeast. Look for it, you may get help there."
"Thanks. Your family's doing a great work keeping the evil forces from spreading to the south. Please keep it up!"
"Will do."
Mariel saw Jamie's image become transparent, until it finally disappeared. Then, light descended towards her. It wasn't a magical light. It was sunlight. She was back.
"That was a nice trip," she joked.
"She's back!," cheered Pura right before getting down to where Mariel was and flying in fast circles around her head.
"It's nice to see you again, Pura. Though you're making me dizzy," Mariel told the lurian.
"Oops! Sorry!," Pura said, stopping behind her friend's neck.
"No problem. Now it would be great if someone could help me get out of this hole."
"Oh, now she'll want a ladder and all. The things I have to do for you!," Timper joked before serving as a means for the elf to climb up.
Meinor was no longer with the group. He and Kyra were probably together again, standing wherever it was that he had come from.

In the meantime, Eric and Gallead had appeared together at the mouth of the cave from which they had originally been transported. Understanding that the spell was broken, they made their way to the spot where they had left the rest of the group. They had lots of questions, but only one was spoken, possibly the most shallow one.
"You healed me at the cave, but I thought you had said you could only heal yourself with magic," Eric said to Gallead.
"Yes, I had yet to try it on others. But I'm glad it worked," Gallead replied.
Those were all the words they spoke before meeting the others. For all the other questions, they felt they would find the answers later; neither of them had them at that moment.

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

Far away, a tall figure stood before a metallic door with geometric patterns carved on it. His bright, golden eyes were contemplating either the door, or their owner's thought, or both. Straight, shiny black hair crowned the head those eyes belonged to, and the rest of the body was covered in white and golden robes. The elf turned around when he heard footsteps behind him, and his gaze was met by a pair of shiny turquoise eyes which gave an expression of excitement to a face framed in wavy golden hair. That hair fell down to a pair of shoulders covered by a white cloak, and he did his best not to look below them, but his instincts failed him. The sight was too good to be true. He forced himself to shake that sensation away and speak in a harsh tone.
"Nice work. But that dress doesn't suit you."
"Of course it does," the female replied. "I noticed the way you looked at me."
"I was just examining your appearance. And I owe you no explanations."
"Then don't give them. I never asked for them."
"You're good," he admitted. "Very good at what you do. But it's all just smoke and mirrors."
"You know it's more than that," she replied. "I've got a grip on how things work around here. I've done a good job; otherwise you wouldn't have called me to this place."
"I might have underestimated you. How much have you found out?"
"A lot, actually. It's amazing how much Jor and Wilson talk when they think they're alone. I'm also surprised someone as powerful as Jor would let his guard down like that. I would have thought he'd notice me. But it seems he's only on the watch for magic."
"I'll make sure to scold him. One of our enemies could have done the same thing you did. We can't afford becoming vulnerable. Not now."
"Not ever."
"True," he said with a smile. "I like the way you think. That's why I have decided to show you something I'm sure you haven't seen yet. Right behind this door lies the answer to all our calls. Our greatest source of power and the reason why we can never be defeated."
"That sounds too good to be true."
"I understand your skepticism. I actually cherish it. But because of the way this artifact works, it will never be broken; it can only add to its own power, feed itself from everything it takes. But before I show it to you and tell you how it works, I need to know something. Are you ready to join our group and take our quest to the last consequences? Are you willing to claim ultimate power and use it to get revenge on the world that turned its back on you? Or are you having second thoughts?"
"How can you be asking that? How could I have second thoughts? They took everything from me; there's nothing left in the world as it is that I would want. And they wouldn't think twice before smashing me to bits, so why would I?"
"Alright, then. By the time spring comes, you'll have the power to shape the world to your liking. Now I'll open this door and show you..."

Haggaus -for that was his name- was interrupted before he could finish the phrase, by an angry faerfliye who burst into the chamber, nearly knocking the door down.
"Wilson! What could have happened to cause such anger in you?," Haggaus questioned.
"Jor's recruit in trial screwed up, that's what happened," Wilson replied, literally catching fire.
"Easy. You won't achieve anything by burning this place to ashes. Why don't you tell me the exact events as they unfolded?"
"I'll tell you the exact events as they unfolded," Wilson mimicked him, putting out the flames on his head. "He felt a possible threat on the south-east and decided to try and destroy it on his own. He ended up being repelled instead, by an army of warriors and sorcerers gathered in a fortress called Twocastle. He sent the magical version of a cry for help and Jor's on his way to pick up what's left of him. But he said his condition seemed bad. Orb of Souls kind of bad."
"I'll be the one who decides that. Jor doesn't even know how to use the Orb, and apparently doesn't seem to know how to choose his candidates either. When he brings him, I'll give the merial one last chance if he can endure the treatment. But if he fails again, it will be the last time he does so."
"Speaking of candidates, is she the one you've been training?"
"Yes, and let me tell you that she knows much more about you than you know about her. You'll need to learn to be on the watch for her now that she'll be our partner."
"So you have promoted her."
"Yes. We're four now."
"Make that six. The whisterels I chose have done an impressive work. I hadn't seen a more perfect act of destruction for years. They complement each other amazingly."
"If it's a perfect act you want to see, you should see me on the stage," the female said.
"You'll have time for your hobbies later," Haggaus dismissed her, not turning to see the signs of the rage his words provoked on her. "Now I'll let you take a look at the Orb and then we'll get back on business. We need to do something about that fortress... What was its name?"
"Twocastle," Wilson answered. "And I think I know exactly what we can do to bring them down."



`,,`,, ` ,,`,,`

Previews:

"I'm the most experienced of us," Erin complained once the decision was taken. "How come we never get to do what I say?"

No further instructions were given. There were no fixed rules, so the practice would be over when they considered they'd had enough, and they were free to do whatever they wanted.

"I should have imagined you still had some secrets," Timper commented.
"Have fun figuring out that one," she dared him. "Tell me if you give up, I might explain it to you if I'm in the right mood."


Poll for chapter 15: this is a question that calls for more questions. Did any questions come to your mind to you while reading this chapter?
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Old 08-20-2003, 09:49 AM   #81
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Great Chapter! I really like Mariel now...Elven people rule . I guess the only question that came to mind was 'why doesnt she leave the fic and star in her own?' but that's just silly


Anyway, some great work! I liked the Vegetal Magic...that's a really cool idea! Kudos!
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Old 08-26-2003, 09:53 PM   #82
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Coolness. ^_^ That was good, Gabi! You've got several typos here and there, but it's such a long and great chapter it doesn't matter anyway. (y)

[EDIT]: I spelt "and" with a "g"...
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All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.

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Old 08-30-2003, 04:58 PM   #83
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I'm glad they all escaped.

I have a question about this chapter. Will Mariel be able to still be able to communicate telepathically with Eric now that the spell is broken? They had said something about this connection having existed before they were transported to the cave.
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Old 09-01-2003, 03:13 PM   #84
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Brit Chris/Shiny Marill: Thanks a lot!
Karin: thanks for your help. I've fixed all the typos you pointed out.
Master Kirby: it's not that simple. They can't just communicate telepathically whenever they want, but the base of their connection is still there and will continue helping them throughout the fic.
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Old 09-01-2003, 03:35 PM   #85
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Chapter 16: Change of Course

Everybody had a lot of questions about what had happened. They discussed them during their night stop. Not the least intriguing of those questions was what that had been all about, but since they couldn't answer that one yet, they moved on to others like what had happened to Swift when Gallead broke the crystal, how many different places had been connected by that magic and whether there were more hidden portals around, what the creatures who had attacked Eric and Gallead were, and last but not least, what was the place Jamie had told Mariel about, and whether they should go there instead of heading straight to the wastelands or whatever was lying in the north.
For most of the questions, the group found no answers, so they decided to stay on the watch. Mariel assumed that the creatures had been altered by magic, but since she hadn't been there, it was just a theory. It was likely, though, since none of the experts had managed to figure out what they were; not even after Gallead had drawn them on his notebook and Eric confirmed the likeness was remarkable. About their course, they argued for a while, but the opinion that prevailed was that they should check out the place Jamie had mentioned, as they could learn more about what they were up against, restore their energies and maybe even add new numbers to their ranks (needless to say, not everyone was in favor of that last part, but half the group trusted the Wilmslow family enough to believe that whatever they could find there would be good, and two out of the remaining three considered it was worth trying).

"I'm the most experienced of us," Erin complained once the decision was taken. "How come we never get to do what I say?"
"Well, the rest of us have agreed," Mariel told her. "If 5 want something and 1 wants something else, and we can't do both at the same time, I think it's fair that we do what most of us think is best. Or we could keep discussing it until we all agreed, but that could take forever. Believe me, I know. My parents have spent whole days and nights away from home for that reason."
"I think we've done well so far," Eric commented.
"By chance," Erin remarked. "We've been relying on luck and last minute inspiration too much, and working too little on improving our teamwork. Ok, I agree with you about going to the northeast instead of straight to the north; we're not ready to face the shadows anyway. But we should work hard on getting ready. We don't even know what we have on our side right now."
"What do you mean?," Pura asked.
"I'm talking about Gallead's sword," she explained. "Something affected it, right? But how? And how will that affect us next time we battle? And Mariel is learning new spells; is there any chance they could help us against our enemies? And even me; you've never seen me use fire - except for Timper, that is. You all should get used to it, so that I could use it in battle without watching out for anyone accidentally getting in the middle, nor worrying about anyone getting distracted from the surprise. I say we need a training session before we go anywhere."
"Alright, we can have one first thing tomorrow morning," Eric agreed.
"I think now would be best," Erin countered. "We've been lucky so far, we've never been attacked by night. But we should be prepared in case it happens. The more battles we win, the more attention we draw to us. One day they will come for us, if they're not working on it yet."
"Makes sense," Eric said. "Is everyone ok with it?"
"I'm sleepy," Pura objected. "But I'll do my best. It's true, if they come for us, they won't wait for us to wake up. But let's make it short or else we'll all be sleepy tomorrow."
"You act like a little girl," Erin told her.
"I'm not in the mood for arguments now. Bite your tongue and let's start."
"Same pairings as before?," Eric asked.
"No, let's try something different," Erin suggested. "We must be ready to adapt to changes, as well as work with any of the others. So... I know. Eric against Timper, me against Gallead, and Mariel against Pura."
"Strange, but interesting," Timper commented.
"I won't last a second," Gallead flinched.
"If you can't handle a friendly match, why are you even here?," Erin questioned him.
"You may be good at fighting, but you know nothing about motivation!," Pura scolded her. "Don't listen to her, Gallead. Her tongue is sharper than her sword and, unlike her sword, she can't hold it. But she means good. She won't hurt you, and anyway, you're quite hard to hit for all I've seen and heard. I think she wants to be the first one to see what your sword can do."
"Don't provoke me or I might stop holding my tongue for real," Erin warned the lurian. "But, for a change, your words have been useful this time."
"Please don't start it again!," Eric yelled. "I don't know what the problem is between you two, but you should sort it out. How are we supposed to defeat our enemies if some of us keep fighting against each other?"
"It's just some minor tension," Erin said. "You could call it a tactical disagreement. Other than that, we're fine. You're right, we should focus. Shall we start now?"
"Ok, I'm ready," Gallead declared.

No further instructions were given. There were no fixed rules, so the practice would be over when they considered they'd had enough, and they were free to do whatever they wanted. They already trusted each other enough to know nobody would cross the line.

Oddly enough, Erin was the first one to be surprised. Gallead easily avoided all the blows she directed at him. She deduced he'd taken the chance to use his agility spell while she and Pura were arguing; she had to give him more credit than she'd thought (and pay more attention in the future). She took out her sword to try it against Swift. Gallead's light sword moved incredibly fast, and almost took Erin's weapon out of her hands. Hadn't it been for her strong grip, he would have succeeded. She tried a different approach, and flew up to the top of a small tree to put some obstacles between her and her opponent. Swift slashed through the branches as if they were made of air, but as soon as that happened Gallead ceased his attack.

"Sorry, I got carried away," the ferwill said. "I won't let that happen again."
"What? The branches?," Erin questioned. "They'll grow again, there are more important things. Stay focused. A moment's hesitation in a real battle can cost you your life. Sorry to sound harsh, but I'd rather you didn't learn that the hard way."

Erin was apologizing for her rudeness before anyone made any remarks about it. That was a first. Gallead understood her good intentions and nodded, getting back in motion.

In the meantime, Mariel was having a hard time trying to hit Pura. The lurian moved faster than anything she had ever seen, except maybe light itself. She could throw as many light balls as she wanted without getting tired, but so could Pura and, while Mariel's landed far away from their target, Pura's were quite accurate. Speed had never been the elvin's strong point. She could work on improving it, but no matter how hard she tried, she could never hope to be as fast as Eric or Gallead, let alone Pura. She'd have to change her strategy if she wanted to get a hit in. She tried a glare, but her opponent turned out to be the only one not affected by it. After most of her companions reminded her to focus on her own match without interfering with the others (Gallead was the only one who took an understanding role, and Mariel was disappointed that even Eric was unforgiving this time), she promised not to use that spell again without a warning. It had been useless anyway; apparently Pura could see through intense light.

"If you're going to attack someone with their own element, go for an intense attack that can actually do some damage," the teacher advised. "You may harness light easily, but it's not the same as being a light elemental. Unlike you, I have a natural resistance to it. You'll have to find a way to get through that, or refrain from using light against me at all."
"Now I see why you were chosen as Eric's advisor," Mariel said with a smile. "You do your job very well. Alright, I guess I'll try some new tricks."

With this, Mariel pulled her shield out of her backpack. It was so glossy, it reflected all the images around it like a mirror.
"Have you spent hours polishing it or used a spell on it?," Pura queried.
"You'll see," Mariel smiled.

Teacher and sorceress resumed their practice battle. Pura kept firing shiny projectiles, but this time Mariel didn't counter with light balls of her own. Instead, she only covered herself with her shield. Surpassing even her own expectations, the enchanted artifact absorbed all the light and deflected it back to the sender as fast as it had come. Not even Pura could react fast enough to avoid it.
"Wow, I'm impressed!," the lurian exclaimed, her voice showing some agitation. "As I always am whenever you're involved. That was a good spell! Had it been anything other than light, I'd be lying on the ground by now."
"Thanks. I could try another new spell, but I'm exhausted. I guess I took too long trying to hit you and dodge your attacks before I decided to try this. Maybe next time I can try the new tricks first. Can we call it off for now?"
"Sounds good to me. I was getting tired myself," admitted Pura.

So, Mariel and Pura retreated to the camp and watched the still ongoing battles from the distance. Timper was doing a nice job evading as many blows as he could by taking different shapes at the right time, but Eric was clearly dominating the match. Unlike the others, the two of them didn't have any long range attacks to use against each other, so they stayed close together most of the time. Timper's disadvantage came not only from the lack of fighting experience compared to Eric, but also from the fact that he didn't have any weapons except his own body. Luckily for him, he was good at improvising, as he showed when he turned into a spider, his small size and the darkness of the night sheltering him from Eric's eyes, ran quickly to the spot Eric was about to step on and took the form of a hard and pointy spike, breaching through Eric's shoe and piercing his skin. Eric reacted fast, however, taking out his foot and hitting Timper with the flat side of his sword. Neither the sword nor the spike took much damage from that, which was a sign that at least one of them would have to do something different if they wanted the training session to continue. Once more, it was up to Timper to provide the change. When the next blow came, this time from the side, the shifter released his hold on the ground, transforming into a sphere of steel. The impact sent him rolling away, and he took advantage of the distance to try out his own new trick. Arms and legs sprouted out of the metallic sphere, followed by a red-haired head, a torso and a pair of transparent wings. When the faerfliye charged against Eric and actually managed to pull his reinforced sword out of the warrior's hand, the shock was enough to break even Erin's concentration. However, Timper had to request for the session to finish, as Eric, before losing his grip, had swung his sword in a way the explorer hadn't predicted, forcing Timper's palms towards the edges. So, in spite of succeeding to disarm his opponent, the shifter had cut his own hands in the process.

If seeing Timper take the form of a faerfliye in front of the others hadn't been enough of a shock for Erin, watching him pull off exactly the same maneuver she had used when she'd first trained against Eric definitely was. She concluded he would never cease to amaze her, hardly realizing that she'd never said that about anyone before.

"Are we done too?," Gallead asked his training partner.
Erin shook her head, landing back into reality.
"We've barely even started," she said.
She let her hair ignite, and launched a fireball against the ferwill. Gallead barely managed to evade it in time, but he was readier for the next one. Instead of trying to block the attacks with his sword, like Eric did, Gallead summoned strong winds to blow the fire away before it could touch him.
"Not bad," Erin pronounced. "But how much can you handle?"

The fire grew in intensity, and so did the wind. The forces looked evenly match, but in the end, it was Gallead who stood firmly on the ground, and Erin who was airborne, with nothing to hold on to but the air itself. The air currents eventually became strong enough to blow her away. All the spectators were stunned at the thought of Gallead actually beating Erin, but things changed when the faerfliye placed her body in a horizontal position, holding her sword firmly with both hands ahead of her, and cut through the wind at an incredible speed. It looked as if, instead of repelling her, Gallead's wind were pulling her towards its source! Gallead was forced to fade immediately in order to avoid the living projectile, and when he reappeared, Erin was ready and pointing at his chest with her sword.
"Now we're done," she said, letting her sword disappear in a blink.
Gallead sighed and let himself fall on the ground.

"Wow, Erin, that was impressive!," Eric cheered. "How did you do that?"
"I can still pull some tricks out of my air-bag," was her puzzling reply.
"I should have imagined you still had some secrets," Timper commented.
"Have fun figuring out that one," she dared him. "Tell me if you give up, I might explain it to you if I'm in the right mood."
"If this is a game, give me all the pieces and I'll solve the puzzle."
"Right now what we all need is to recover and sleep. How about 6 shifts again? The ones who lost can take the 3 last ones, so you can sleep first."
"Evasive as ever. Ok, I won't oppose. I'll take the 4th shift if you take the 3rd."
"Whatever, but after my shift I'll be going back to sleep right away. We have a long way ahead of us. We don't even know how long."
"When did we ever know?," Timper laughed.
"I think I can lead us to the place Jamie mentioned," Mariel offered. "If her family could feel it, I think I can too. It will just take some concentration."
"Ok," Eric agreed. "Rest now so that you can be fresh in the morning."
"Let me heal your foot first."
"It's fine, it was just a small puncture."
"We'll have to walk all day tomorrow. Learn enough humility not to hinder yourself."
Eric was impressed at the way Mariel managed to keep smiling and sounding sweet even when she was scolding him.
"Alright, can't beat your logic," he gave in.

`,,`,, ` ,,`,,`

This chapter was short, but the following will be quite long, and relevant. Here are some previews of it.

He began to test many things he'd seen and heard from this new point of view, and things that had been impossible to comprehend suddenly began to make sense. If only he could prove it! He had the means, but he was not supposed to do that. It could cost her the trust of those around him, including Erin's, which he'd worked so hard to earn. He didn't want to take that risk. Some things were worth more than a professional achievement.

"What does that mean?," queried Eric as soon as he heard the news. "Is the resistance point gone?"
"I don't know," Mariel replied. "I just don't feel anything anymore."

"Are the six of you up to the challenge?," the gatekeeper questioned.

"Busted. I knew you'd figure it out sooner or later."

"Yes, good job. Sorry if I don't applaud, but my hands are freezing. Let's get down there. Whatever we find can't be worse than this place."
"That depends," noted Timper, kneeling down to look through the hole.

"As usual, you figured it out, but too late. I thought it would be best if you knew the name of the spell that killed you."

Mariel couldn't hide her fear anymore. She hadn't been more scared in her entire life. Something was about to kill her, and she wouldn't even see it coming.

"And then she said 'what's a secret worth if I can't save you, little big guy?'"


All this and more on Chapter 17: Revelations.

Poll for chapter 16: what do you think the revelations will be? And what do you think the place they're heading for is?
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Old 09-01-2003, 07:24 PM   #86
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Hmm....the janitor has gone crazy and locked me in...

Hi Gabi, remember me? I don't know why I stopped reading this but, it's inspired me to right a fic of my own! I love Erin's personality, the shipping hints of Eric and Maeriel (sp?) and Timper's abilitys. Is Jamie okay? The preveiw made me think something was going down. What ARE the revelaitions, so many things going around my head @.@
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Old 09-04-2003, 06:50 PM   #87
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Fun chapter, Gabi!

"Busted. I knew you'd figure it out sooner or later."

"And then she said 'what's a secret worth if I can't save you, little big guy?'"


Uh oh, Pura's revealing her secret... And I don't like how she sounds, because her words have a sacrificial tone to it.

"As usual, you figured it out, but too late. I thought it would be best if you knew the name of the spell that killed you."

Mariel couldn't hide her fear anymore. She hadn't been more scared in her entire life. Something was about to kill her, and she wouldn't even see it coming.


...And Mariel's got a confrontation with one of the evil twelve...

Apparently the group is split up or something; I just get that impression. No clue why.
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Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.
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Old 09-06-2003, 05:00 PM   #88
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Welcome back, fireguardian! Well, some things are going down, but Jamie's ok. I could say more, but I don't want to spoil the story. I'm glad you like so many things about my fic. As for Eric and Mariel, you might like the ending of chapter 17. >:-)

Karin, great guesses! Not all of them were perfectly accurate but, as I told you on AIM, you figured out something I didn't think was clear from the previews. And with the information you had, what you got was amazing!
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Old 09-23-2003, 07:05 PM   #89
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That was a good idea to take a break from traveling, and train some more. When in a situation of danger and fighting, it is a big advantage to know your partners' skills weaknesses.

I am guessing in the next chapter they are going to try to find those wizards who were resisting the evil forces. They will probably find a very powerful foe who will trap them and bring them close to death.

Another idea is that they could fall into troubles that they don't know who caused (but were created by people on their side), to test how well they can cope withe close encounters to death.
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Old 09-23-2003, 07:40 PM   #90
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Interesting thoughts, Master Kirby. Thanks for replying.

I'd like to thank Karin and Tara for the nominations this fic got for the winter awards. It's the first time I'm writing a fic, so being nominated really means a lot to me.

I'm writing chapter 18 so if everything goes well, chapter 19 should be up in a week or so.
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