Veilreach: Chapter Eighteen

[ What has that golden-flecked high elf been up to? Hmm… ]

Vesper waited in his office until the small intricate watch in his slender fingers ticked to a certain point. He then tucked it safely into a deep hidden pocket of his charcoal robe. He stood and walked to the door behind his desk and casually wandered through leaving his office behind. Where he emerged however was far from the College grounds.

The hall that stretched before him was carved of black stone and silver metalwork. It’s walls stretched far above his head and the air smelled of charcoal and resin from the massive burning torches. Once the office door closed behind him, it melded and disappeared into the wall.

He twitched his nose slightly, resisting the urge to sneeze as he walked down the corridor and ignored the massive amount of stuffed trophies, mounted kills, and weaponry that adorned the walls in huge cases all around him.

None of it impressed him much. It was nothing he hadn’t been forced to see before.

He passed up door after door along the hallway seemingly made for giants until he reached the end of the hall and the grandest of doors in the room. This one looked as if it had skulls and faces carved into the deep blackened oak wood. Each one staring out at Vesper.

The door was at least eight feet high and excessively heavy. Even for the elf he had to push rather hard to swing it open. It creaked with the sounds of a dozen whimpers when it moved, he was certain it was charmed to do that.

Inside the room was a highly luxurious parlour that looked like someone had copied a royal hunting lodge, but made it on a far larger scale. Plus soaked blood into the carpets and drapery a little here and there.

Sagorath lay there like a huge bloated warthog, half dressed and half drunk. His large dark mottled body splayed out still guzzling from a huge tankard of thick mead. His skin tone was one hard to describe. It either looked like a dark patina iron, or slightly purple hued mud. There were times he even resembled very loose horse feces – but no one had the guts to tell that to his face. No matter what colour his thick skin appeared, he still had the huge mass and ability to crush most people into fleshy puddles.

One of his slave girls, perhaps once a high elf, absently cleaned the carpet that he obviously had messed on earlier while another scantily clad slave was carefully cleaning one of his large black glowing horns. It wasn’t an easy job to clean anything attached to such a large and reckless creature, as the bruises and bandaged skin of her arms could attest to.

Sagorath Menia’Tath was an Infernal. Albeit, not the best specimen of one. In fact Vesper was quite sure he was more like the dim-witted obnoxious cousin in the family of Infernals. However status and bloodlines weren’t much of his concern.

My lord.” Vesper whispered smooth, glancing towards the woman on the floor cleaning the carpet before sneering and looking back at the hulking male instead.

Heh, I always find it amusing how you seem to despise her most of all. What is it that turns you off my little mage? I mean she is an elf, and is quite bountiful.” His large voice sounded as if it were raked over hot coals. It reverberated with a crackle of power which clearly overshadowed everything.

You are allowed whatever pets you wish, lord. They are simply not my type. I find them… boring I suppose. They displease me because they are so pathetic.”

Hrm, perhaps. They have their uses however. How goes the search for the Oracle?”

Things are underway. I have sent the Dean on a retrieval mission. He knows who had it last and I assume he will be able to–”

You sent HIM?” The Infernal jolted forward, unfortunately flinging the girl cleaning his right horn over his head and onto the floor in front of Vesper who held his hands clasped behind his back and did nothing to slow her fall.

Indeed. Why not have him do something useful? It was his mistake that caused the Oracle to be missing from its resting spot.”

But he is a fool! He’s bound to lose it!” His voice boomed louder, spittle and spilled ale speckling the air.

He already has lost it. He will bring it back to us. You know very well I can not do so myself. His over inflated sense of self-preservation will ensure he will get it done.”

After a few loud breathy hisses and being amused at his whimpering slave girl as she untangled herself and limped back to him, he relaxed. His thick frame settled back against the couch and he shrugged.

I should not doubt you too much. You have been one of my most useful assets so far. You are -certain- this Oracle will be what we need?”

Everything hinges on that vial, I assure you.”

Good boy. Keep this up and I may allow you to take a pet for your very own! Then again, I’ve never seen you ‘indulge’ in such things… why is that?” Sagorath downed the rest of his drink while he kept one red glowing eye watching the elf curiously.

It doesn’t interest me. It never really has.” Vesper shrugged.

Please! It is pleasure and power, how can that not interest you? It is basic instinct!” To accent the point, he threw his tankard at the wall and motioned towards his groin. “You should live a little!”

I assure you, one can live perfectly find without those distractions.”

Lonely little spinsters and the ugliest of men I’m sure! But you? I have always liked you little mage, you’ve been useful over the years…”

I do try, my lord.” His voice remained smooth, calm, and relatively sincere.

…and yet you have asked for almost nothing! I’ve had the ugliest of pets and the most deformed of trolls begging me to offer them sex appeal and a hot woman to call their love trophy! Hell, I could call you up the prettiest of male concubines if you wished to swing that way… I can force anyone to love you, and since you are not hard on the eyes, it would be child’s play… you still want nothing?”

Vesper tilted his head and watched the man with a very guarded stare. As if quickly calculating what was the best answer but in the end he went with honesty. “Love is a weakness that the strong mind can not afford to dwell in. As for sex? It bores me more then love.”

You may be my favourite, but you certainly are unusual.” Sagorath chuckled deeply. “Lucky you are so useful, you’ve replaced a lot of the weasel-headed little worms I had before! It’s far more.. quiet. No begging for this and that! It gives me proper time to relax!”

The Infernal shrugged and stretched out once more as one of the women filled his large hand with a fresh new tankard of alcohol. Likely hoping the large brute would drink himself to sleep.

Get that Oracle for me, and you will be heavily rewarded. Once I have it I’ll crush those of my kind that have insulted my worth. We will see how they like being outcasts!”

Vesper nodded and left the room without another word.

He had his own plans to attend to.


Veilreach: Chapter Seventeen

“And you are certain you can trust him? Shut up you damned beast!” Krill was still highly on edge and each time she pulled a bit too tight on the reigns one of the goats would bleat curses and throw her into a fit of trying to shush the beast. She tried to snap the reigns a few times, but that only acted to piss it off further.

“Will you relax? Give me those!” Kelle pulled the leads from her hands and blew a few strands of hair from her eyes in frustration. Since the clouds were relatively darkened she had decided to brave the daylight to keep Krill on task. She seemed a little uncomfortable, but whatever salve she had loaded up onto her skin seemed to be helping, although it gave her a slightly bluish tone.

Maybe it had been normal for her to be bluish in the sunlight, Krill didn’t feel like asking. As long as she didn’t stick out like a sore thumb by doing something ridiculous like sparkling – Krill didn’t much care.

“I just don’t like the idea of some stranger knowing more then they should.”

“Look, I know the kid alright? I’ve worked with his father, and grandfather.. and great grandfather come to think of it. Anyway, it’s fine.”

“What exactly did you tell him to say?”

“He’s going to tell him that a strange woman was spotted at my place trying to pawn off some sort of magickal potion they stole. He won’t have a lot of details of course, but just enough important ones to send them off to my place.”

Krill’s eye twitched. “Aren’t you supposed to.. oh I don’t know.. point him in another direction?! What if one of them recognized your wagon?”

“Relax. And keep it down, I think Tusky is asleep.”

Krill grunted, but indeed could hear the soft wheeze of snoring from inside the carriage. It also gave her the time to once again lean her head around to scan the road behind him. Empty.

“You know, I’m not worried because I’m afraid the fancy-pants sparkle-boy is going to find a way to off me. He had his chance. But… you know. I’m not the only one involved.”

“You worry about him, don’t you?” Kelle softened and lowered her own voice a touch as she glanced around and let the other merchants gain a bit more room ahead of them. The goats seemed to enjoy the lazy pace anyway, and it was far quieter back here. “The plan is that they will have to head to my place first, they’ll find out I’m on a merchant trip – that means they have to come back up the road to find me. Unfortunately for them, we’ll no longer be with the caravan and they’ll be out of luck for finding us.”

“I see a few problems with your plan.”

“Do share.”

Krill finally yanked down her hood and shook out her silver hair. “First, we are talking Mage’s. They could just transport up the road from us. Sure, it would knock out a lot of their power but they could just drop one of their weak members and the rest would be ready to fight…”

“Nope.” Kelle interrupted.

“Nope what?”

“You saw that god-awful ugly large contraption they were in? The one with the fancy logo and the iron rails? It’s enchanted. It can likely withstand a landslide, but would still be stranded because it can’t be moved by spellwork. Traditional standard travel only.”

Krill arched an eyebrow and folded her arms across her chest. “Seriously?”

“Look, there is only a certain amount of spellwork that can be done on an item. Everything has it’s limits.. those are diplomatic coaches, Tusky said so himself. As in they are made for SAFE travel, not so much quick travel. Everyone knows that teleportation is a finiky science. No one is going to risk only half of a political diplomat arriving if something goes wrong…”

“Well then. Okay that handles that situation – but those horses looked pretty strong. I imagine THEY could still be enchanted to hurry the hell up.”

Kelle chuckled and let more space between them and the other merchants develop. It was clear she was letting them move on without her.

“I like the fact you are so strategic. More strategic then they are I’m certain. However I have an answer for that also.” She licked a fang and waited as a small path started to show in the road ahead. It was a country path likely leading off into the Kingswood. “Have you ever seen Marshland Goats run?”

“These things? I doubt they—”

Krill nearly bit her tongue clean off when Kelle cracked the reigns hard and whistled out a clear sharp tone in the air. Immediately all six of the muscled goats pulled with an unbelievable force and broke into a run as if their lives depended on it.

Krill clung to the seat biting her nails into the wood and whatever curses her lips sputtered or shouted in pure shock seemed to blow right off her lips and out of earshot.

Kelle meanwhile was laughing like a sadistic bluish banshee.

If Tusk had been sleeping a few minutes before, he sure as heck would be wide awake now as they disappeared into the canopy of the thick Kingswood at breakneck speed.






Veilreach: Chapter Sixteen

While the two old friends tucked back into the walls of the Mage’s College, the rather posh stuffed carriage clanked and clattered down the cobbled path towards the main road. The Dean was sitting alongside Roden while the younger two, Tanis and Maude, settled themselves in the precarious seats on top of the carriage like a couple of perched crows.

How they decided which way up the main road to travel was all down to a rather shoddy divination spell that the Dean himself had performed. It led them in the direction with the best chance for success, and that direction was up towards Skila rather then down towards Kingswood. So Skila they would head.

Feeling far more confidence then sense, everything appeared to be going well. They were making good time and everyone was keeping generally quiet and unobtrusive. He barely heard a peep from the youngest ones and sometimes even forgot they were riding on the carriage roof (leading to an unfortunate incident where a low branch nearly knocked off Maude’s head).

Trouble didn’t start until the roads, which were pretty quiet and almost empty, suddenly seemed to get more exciting. Up ahead it became clear that there was a merchant caravan headed their way and the students were getting quite interested.

What in the stars name are they coming through now?” He pulled the reins and edged the large steeds to pull a bit more towards the right side of the road instead of taking up the entire thing.

Merchants! Oh that is excellent, I could use a few supplies!” Tanis grinned, peering over a rail. “Look at them all, there must be at least fifteen in all! Is there a festival coming up?”

Not yet, it would certainly be early. Perhaps there is some sort of trades conference? It happens occasionally…” Maude quietly added.

Enough! We are on a mission remember? We don’t need to dawdle for candy or nick knacks!” Marthis snapped.

There wouldn’t be any room for them anyway.” Maude sarcastically retorted.

So it was they slowed their pace and waited as a few of them passed. Buskers and tradesmen, some playing random music and some joyfully whistling or rehearsing song and lyrics. A few of the colourful carriages also had beautifully painted signs and flags whistling in the wind. It was as if the entire grouping was more of a parade then a civilized sort.

The Dean would normally simply snub his nose up at the lot and continue on his way, but it seemed the others enjoyed the distraction and were hard to wrangle back on task.

So it happened that nearing the back of the line Krill’s eyes caught sight of the hard to miss sight of the Dean’s motely crew first.

Oh, shit!” She cracked her elbow hard against the carriage wall and slid over to frantically get Kelle’s attention. “We got a problem out there, I think that’s a Mage wagon!”

How can you be sure?” Kelle popped her head out covering her eyes and peering through traffic while a few noisy jugglers were keeping themselves occupied by throwing bottles at each other.

…It’s got the Mage crest plastered on the side of it. I don’t think anyone could miss it. Plus it looks like the same dumb bloke in the drivers seat that tried to off me.”

A few seconds later and the noise of scuffling caused Tusk to pop his head out beside Kelle’s. “Idiots!” he hissed as he squinted hard in the direction of the wagon, after finding it between the other chaos going on. “I mean who takes the bloody show carts out for a joyride? I mean seriously! They were only meant for serious diplomatic travelling!”

Okay… not the point. What do we do? Hope the idiot doesn’t see us?”

Honey, I have a far better idea… just keep that hood up and keep on trucking by no matter what. Don’t stop and look casual. I got this covered.” Kelle and Tusk both popped their heads back inside, and a moment later Kelle had slipped out the back of their Carriage and Tusk was keeping hidden still inside.

I didn’t recognize any of the ones with him… they weren’t in fancy robes so obviously they aren’t on council.” She heard him through the thin wall between them.

True. My eyes are better then yours old man – they look fairly young. Least the two riding on top. Not sure about the guy up front with the Mage. He looks more like a soldier. Maybe a trained guard? I don’t know. What’s she got planned anyway?”

Your guess is as good as mine…” he chuckled. “Maybe she’s hungry?”

Hey now!” Quick as lightning she had apparently returned with barely a whisper of a noise. Neither of them had even heard the carriage door shut again. “I have very distinguished tastes, and I assure you that one would certainly not be it. As for what I did? Well, lets just wait and see..”

It didn’t seem they would have to wait long as while their carriages started to pass each other a young man, barley older then a boy and looking dishevelled ran up to the Mage’s carriage and nearly plowed into the large tired horses as he waved his arms frantically to get their attention.

Whoa! Are you trying to get yourself killed?!” Roden yanked the horses to an angry and loud stop, and the Dean nearly fell from his seat at the jarring. The horses pounded the ground in frustration while their flanks twitched.

I’m sorry but is it true?! Are you from the great Mage College?” He ran up to the side of the carriage even as the Dean pulled himself away from him, a hand absently reaching out to grab Roden’s arm, which Roden pulled away from him with a grunt.

Kretin! Get back, we have no money for you! How do you know who we are?”

Oh relax, he’s got blood on him already! I doubt he’s going to maul you…” Tanis rolled his eyes and peered down. “And… seriously? I mean I think -everyone- knows who we are at this point…”

Hush boy!” Marthis snapped back, with his lip still curled in disgust. “I know my reputation proceeds me, but this is not the… oh. You mean the carriage. Well.. yes.” he cleared his throat, turning his attention back to the dirty little merchant that was still looking at him all too patiently. “As for you… what do you want?”

Carefully he had readjusted his composure, and straightening himself up as if his momentary surprise had been nothing of note. His spine straightened and his arms crossed.

He wasn’t scared after all. He was just momentarily distracted… It happened to everyone! He had a lot of important things on his mind after all and these unimportant peasant folk were violent, sneaky and unpredictable. Not to mention this one looked like it may have been covered in all manner of disease or afflictions…

I’m sorry to trouble you sir! I know how powerful and important you Mage’s are! I am ever so fortunate to have found you when I did! You see I’ve heard rumours around here of some dangerous things going on! Yes we merchants hear lots of stuff where we go, people talk you know?”

Hurry it up boy, what is this about – some sort of nasty little troll or witch? That isn’t our problem!”

Kelle’s cart was almost safely away, trudging on and blending in as best they could. Even the six large Marshland Goats that pulled the carriage seemed quieter then normal, although they smelled just as bad as they always had.

A few more feet and the danger would be all but gone. Krill having just as good of hearing as she did eyesight meant she still managed to catch a few words of the conversation the other group was having while they headed off towards freedom.

No sir, nothing of that sort.” the young man removed his cloth hat which made his already dishevelled hair all the worse. He wrung it nervously in his hands. “Just a tiny little bottle with a whole lot of bad stuff inside.”

Krill stiffened. The Dean stiffened.

Both for very different reasons of course.

For the right price… I can tell you exactly where it is.”

Veilreach: Chapter Fifteen

[ Cleo is so bloody fun.. I could write a whole story just based on her. I must force myself to stick to one story at a time! Argh! ]

Cleo wrapped the finely knit shawl around her shoulders as she sat and watched the Dean and his motley crew load up a carriage with all manner of unessential gear in the early morning stretch of daylight. She wasn’t sure what strange shenanigans they were up to, but they interested her to no end.

Sipping from a warm mug she smirked and watched one of the youngsters struggle to lift a rather large and bulky sack into the back of the pompous and cramped looking carriage. With a perk of her rounded ear she could make out barked orders from a rather impatient Marthis while the three students were trying to gather their senses.

And they were a young three at that. Certainly they weren’t babes just out of the womb – but even from this distance she could tell that they were untested whelps – but who was she to judge someone based on age?

That one boy gave her the shivers, though she couldn’t figure out why. Maybe it was just the way he seemed to move. Was she getting so old that teenagers seemed shady in general?

“What in the world are ye all up to?”

“Cleo? Whatever are you looking at?” Jen’Rar may have gone through quite the transformation recently, but both women had always had a bond that lasted far longer then any trickery on each others appearances.

She stopped a moment and sat with her old friend on the dusty bench overlooking the pavilion below. It was something they had done hundreds of times before.

“Our little tum-tucker Marthis is getting himself in quite a bind, is he? Look at em. Stuffing bits and bobbles and kits aplenty into that posh wagon of his.” she laughed and glanced to her friend, giving her a soft pat on the knee. “It’s almost charming how bloody stupid he is. Almost.”

They both shared a brief chuckle, but the distaste for the man lingered in the newer eyes of Jen’Rar. “Stupid yes, but dangerous as well..”

“As the stupid usually are. Where the hell does he think he’s oft ta anyway? Scalping more money from a carnival show?”

“He’s on a retrieval mission it seems. Returning a very important item that he allowed slip from his grasps. It shouldn’t be that hard I suppose… he needs to track down the unusual thief and simply get it back. The object he’s looking for is very powerful, not really that hard to miss you’d think.”

Cleo laughed long and hard, nearly spilling the remains of her heavy mug. Her old lilac eyes teared up for a moment as she brushed them clear, careful not to nick herself on her sharp edged claws. When she composed herself again she twitched her whiskers and shook her head once more. Her round furry ear perked up in amusement.

“Oh is he now!”

To most people who came upon a Koonem they probably wouldn’t even notice at first. A natural air of unassuming hung from them like her old knit shawl. One of the many species with a bit of magic in their very blood. It allowed them to blend and hide better then any race so far discovered in Veilreach, but once they allowed you to peer past their natural camouflage the rodent like creatures were generally strangely pleasant company.

63 even to a Koonem was fairly old but even in her old age she was still as rascally as ever.
For many years Cleo hid here in plain sight only making solid friendships with a few of the older members of the school. She saw many of those friends come and go but thankfully a few still remained. The closest of those friends sat beside her.

Was she a teacher? Student? She didn’t care what the majority classified her as. She had her reasons for staying in this little home of hers, away from prying eyes and old criminal records.

“Silly boy. On a mission to find something, and leave behind the best tracker he had in place for loud and boisterous youngsters? I’ve tracked long hidden royal blood, and I’ve stolen far too many unmentionables in my time! I could steal the unmentionables from hidden royal blood even! I think I have once or twice… Ah well, I’m sure he’ll manage just as well. The foolish tum-tucker has survived this long.”

Jen’Rar shrugged, glanced over to her old friend with a hard grin. “That’s quite alright, I’m rather glad he left you here. I could really use your help shaping this place up in his absence. After all, I’m the acting Prime Dean now… how about we put your talents to even better use?”

Cleo chuckled at the prospect and glanced away from the bunch as the sly lightened. A new dawn while the twilight stars still brightly shone. In the far distance however, her still sharp eyes saw a brief shadow of dark clouds streaked towards the sun. In the culture of the Koonem this symbolized powerful possibilities afoot.

“Aye my friend, perhaps it best we team up. The creepy corners is all well and done, but perhaps it’s time to make a little trouble in our well-worn ages? This place has been dreadfully dull and tiresome for my itchy bones. What mischief do you have in mind?”

Jen’Rar watched as the Dean shoved off with his band of students. How he fit everything inside that overly obvious transport while those draft horses strained – she never knew and certainly didn’t care.

“I recently experienced some… life-changing events. It has taught me a few things.”

“Life-changing for sure, you shed some years off your scraggly bones my friend. Tryin’ to make me the eldest I see?”

“Non-intentional I assure you. But it has given me a chance to see things from a new perspective. I no longer think sitting back and waiting for things to happen is for me anymore. Perhaps it’s a bit of the frost drake in my blood.. but I think our old bones have a few adventures left in us. Perhaps just enough to see this new thing through.”

Cleo stretched her legs and bristled her back as she let out a sharp toothed yawn. She then reached back and scratched behind an ear before nodding as if the act of shaking the sleep from her bones helped her come to a decision.

“Ain’t any cage that could hold me, or grave still me yet. You are my oldest friend and best family I have – I’d rather go down in ground with you at my side, my girl. When do we start?”

Veilreach (previously untitled): Chapter Fourteen

[Finally continuing on with the story… Prime Dean Marthis sits in his study and ponders the crew he will take with him…]

Jeramiah had written the five names and key information about each student rather elegantly on the thick rolled parchment. The reason it was so stiff and heavy was due to it being expertly culled from the skin of a large oxen, and it still smelled slightly of dank old leather and ink. Considering the teachers heritage, he had a surprisingly fine script that was almost better then the Dean’s own writing. However he was able to write so finely with his beastly claws was none of his concern.

Five names. And with the cryptic prophecy it seemed the Dean was only supposed to pick two of them to go with him… or was it three? He was rather certain the dragon said only three of them should leave, but did that mean three of the students, or three in total?

His head was already throbbing. He drank back another long glass of Nebula wine and pondered the details closer.

Tanis Hawthen. Age 17. The youngest on the list that was certain, but excelling in physical magicks. He would probably be pretty useful if things were to get messy. He apparently showed little success in theory work, and had been written up twice for not submitting thesis work and refusal to attend the quarterly health assessment.

Roden Draper. Age 26. This was apparently his first year. He seemed to be an interesting one who came through the school on a special sponsor by the Crestfall Guard. Apparently they thought him special enough to pay for a years scholarship rather then have him continue with his military work. This must mean that he showed some sort of talent, right? Unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of notes on what skills he showed yet.. but he would have some basic combat experience as well so that definitely helped his chances.. the Dean’s chances that was. After all the mission was simply to find and subdue a thief – how much skills did they really need? And he was certain that the Crestfall Guards at least had -some- knowledge on how to track a felon on the run.

Ghav Tarr’en. Age 20. Marthis snorted simply reading the name and looked no further down the notes. This would be an automatic no. The Tarr’en name was one that he knew well and he was already in deep enough troubles for that nonsense. That was an Elven bloodline from somewhere near Kingswood, and if Marthis had dared to get one of them killed his reputation would suffer immeasurable damage. Sure, they weren’t Highborn – but any Elvish blood was far too political. Let alone the mess it would make with nasty politics and a lot of paperwork from the Elven courts. He didn’t care how bright and shining their nomination might be – there was absolutely no chance he was getting them involved especially when he needed this matter to be kept close to his chest.

Maude Lucane. Age 19. Although there was little in the way of background information, her skills in Resonance Magick made him pause. It was even underlined. He vaguely remembered hearing about a rather excellent student who the late, now non-deceased Jen’Rar spoke of. Someone who had the potential to rival even her adept skills one day… was this her? He wished he had paid slightly more attention to the daft old woman now. Although Jen’Rar was horrid at moving objects and transporting them – she was quite good at finding them, and someone highly skilled in that branch of magick would make identifying the real artifact far easier.
Last but not least was the name: Cleo Denwater. Age 63. 63?! Dean Marthis rolled his eyes and grunted loudly. How on earth did Jeramiah come up with some of these names? He expected him to bring a wet-nurse along with him while he was trying to track down a thief! What would she be able to do? Knit him a bloody sweater?

She was definitely out. At least that was another easy one.

He rubbed his eyes and grabbed a hunk of cheese rather unceremoniously and jabbed it into his mouth. He wished he was in a better mood to enjoy it’s rich creamy flavour – but he tried to all the same. After-all, it was expensive.

“Fine.” He mused when he’d finally swallowed the cheesy lump. “He said two will remain, so I leave the Elf and the Hag behind.”

He raised his glass mockingly towards the names of those he would bring. “A toast to whichever one of you fools gets killed off. Cheers.”

New Story: Untitled – Chapter Thirteen

(We finally continue the story where we left off.. Prime Dean Marthis is royally screwed, but choosing to try and weasel himself out of his own problems the only way he knows how! Trying to get someone else to do it…)

Prime Dean Marthis was a man of considerable wealth, political standing, and fancied himself well gifted in appearance – but what he was blessed with in social graces he lacked in common sense and patience. Therefore the chore of going through various student records to find a choice selection of pawns to bring with him on his journey seemed like a monumental task.

Paperwork was never his thing. Unfortunately he didn’t feel like testing his luck with Jen’Rar by making her do it either.

What to do? It was obvious this little trip needed to be handled immediately, there wasn’t much choice there. It was also obvious he wanted to put in as little effort for as little risk to himself as possible.

Hence why he found himself, folders and all, heading into the bowels of the school after hours. He muttered the entire way. Down a flight of cobbled stairs, into a dusty hallway that wasn’t entirely maintained well. It was trudged through by a very few handfuls of students who were chosen to study the boring and archaic study of Primitive Divination or the intensely rare subject of Physiological Magicks.

It was the former class in which he promptly invited himself into.

Ah.. Dean. What brings you to my dusty hoard?” There was a clinking noise as Jeramiah shifted. His deep raspy voice sent a small breeze towards the intruding man, curling plumes of candle smoke in the air. It made his nostrils tingle.

I see you still haven’t switched over to the more efficient lighting apparatus I mentioned? Seriously Jeramiah, I already told you I could install them myself if you so wished… I am sure your students would appreciate it.”

Jeramiah was one of the few newer additions to the college, although there was nothing about his classroom or his looks that would have ever given that indication. In fact, like most of the Primal Dragons, he looked as old as dirt. And possibly was.

However the esteem of having a dragon actually teaching in his college? Well, that was far too useful to throw away. Not only was it a bragging rite – it certainly gave the school far more character. Even if Jeramiah wasn’t always predictable.

I have no need of your fancy devices. I prefer the simplicity of wax and flame, and methods which have lasted far longer then you – little meat-sack. Now, you come bearing folders, files and nonsense – but I feel that has very little with what is truly on your mind.”

Marthis ignored the twitch in his right eye at the insult and swallowed down a nasty retort. Primal Dragons were amazing creatures – able to communicate and learn swiftly and intelligently. They were remarkable and extremely long lived… but had a tendency to be very bold, brash, and… brutally honest. They had little respect of social constructs or even political endeavours.

There was a reason it was such a high prize that Prime Dean Marthis could attain a dragon teacher for it’s school… because no other school managed to do it. Or bothered to try…

Look, I don’t care. I just need you to look over these damned files and tell me what students would be best to bring along with me so I can get my errand done as quickly as possible and get back to where I belong!”

Jeramiah’s large golden orbs of eyes seemed to glimmer in amusement as he crooned his long thin neck towards the man more. “Oh, and what pray tell is this errand of yours? One so important it would pull you from your precious hallways?”

…it’s not important. Well it is important but.. look it’s complicated… it’s not the point.” He almost dropped the files and instead fumbled them messily onto a table. “Can you do it or not?”

Jeramiah rustled out another deep raspy laugh as he stretched out – leaning his shoulders forward and pressing his spine in a gentle curve like a cat stretching after lazing out in a sunbeam for a while. His naked scales of ruby and bronze glimmered in the candle light.

Silly meat-sack, you talk and talk and forget what I even am. You forget what I do. You forget because your squishy brain is too busy with lazy devices and silly quick methods!”

That is quite enough!” His cheeks were flushed. “Can you do it or not?”

His laugh was much louder now. It seemed to shake the dust from the rafters of the large room.

You only go to prove my point. I teach Primal Divination, you idiot. I already knew you would come here. I already know why. And I have already made a list for your lazy eyes to see. My old dusty methods and all…” He grabbed a rolled piece of parchment from his side and chucked it to him. It was surprisingly heavy and thudded against his chest.

One word of warning, however. The future is never set in stone, so some things are still obscured to me. You indeed have a list of candidates there, five names of students you could bring. Each one has their purpose and qualities that will be useful. Take only three of them with you, for only two of you will return to this place. Pick wisely.”

His face, previously flushed with frustration now paled a little. He felt a chalky nauseous feeling in the back of his throat. “Are you saying I may die?”

Now the Dragon’s words were slower, his golden orbs glowing with an almost glimmering starlight deep inside. It wasn’t just the voice of the irritating Jeramiah, but the oracle in the dragon’s blood. The hissing sound of blood born divination that went far beyond spells or rituals.

When he realized what was happening, he tried to get out of the room as quick as possible. It was well known that a prophecy only becomes real when it’s heard by another soul, but the dragon’s voice followed him out as only a dragon’s voice can… some prophecies refused to be silent.

From five you will pick. But only three must depart.

Each one faces danger, and each will play their part.

Two will remain, but only two return again.

You had better choose them wisely,

for your life relies on them…”

Great, he thought to himself in a mental whimper. This was the last thing he needed. He made a mental note that when he finally got himself out of this tricky situation, he would fire that blasted dragon.


Dreamtime Adventures: A free story for children

A while ago I started an idea for a children’s book. Just something small that I wanted to try and create with artwork and a simple story. During this year, while I was needing something to keep me focused during quite a difficult time – I managed to get the artwork made, and the story flushed out.

It was certainly a learning process and definitely an experiment in making and understanding visual story-telling. It was hard to get over my perfectionism and stop trying to rework things -constantly- (It’s a bad habit of mine…) but I managed to get the artwork done, coloured, the story put in, and the project finished. It was excellent practice for potentially more stories told in this method later on.

I wasn’t sure what to do with the finished piece however.

After a long thought process I decided to post it on my website for free. Maybe one day I’ll make physical copies to sell – but for now I feel good about letting it go out into the world as it is.

So if you are interested in it, you can find it here:

Please don’t mind the watermarks – it’s a safe way of trying to protect the artwork.

If you have any comments or want to share your feedback, please remember that there is also a facebook group for this Blog here:

I hope to have more chapters up soon, just taking a break to write and settle after the holiday season.

Best wishes to all of you!