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Chapter 7: The Mage Uncovered
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Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 592
Location: The middle of anywhere...

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:26 am    Post subject:  

Author's Note: So here is Chapter 7 of Elvendor, a big thanks to all who have supported the sg so far. If you are a regular player/reader of this sg there are two ways currently that you can show your support (in addition to playing).

Firstly Elvendor is involved in one of the closest SGotM run ins ever, if you feel that Elvendor deserves to win SGotM and haven't yet voted then please (pls, pls, pls :) ) do vote here - your vote could well be the deciding one.

Secondly by adding or re - adding (if it expires) Elvendor to your favourites by clicking on add to favourites in the top right.

Anyway enough from me; let the adventure continue, onwards and deeper into the Rusheldon Hills.

Chapter 7: The Mage Uncovered

Elvendor notched another arrow to his taut bow, aiming for the dragon’s glowing right eye, and fired. The arrow shimmered in the air and appearing to miss the dragon by less than an inch. He notched another arrow almost instantly and fired. Again the arrow seemed to shimmer slightly before plunging into the dragons neck.

That’s three times now, he thought, it keeps shimmering…which could mean that the arrow is being substituted and isn’t real…if so the dragon isn’t real…if the dragon isn’t real then it can’t have killed the man and yet he existed. Suddenly the man’s story began to fall apart before his eyes, how could a whole troop have been further South without anyone’s knowledge? Why was he so insistent that they didn’t go South? Why hadn’t he been killed before now, given the over-done injuries he carried? The whole thing was a show, the bumping was deliberate, an attempt to prove that he was real before he ‘died‘.

Elvendor had already begun to run over to the patch of scorched grass where the man had disappeared as he worked things out in his mind. The dragon releasing a burst of glowing flames behind him as he ran. Elvendor felt the heat on his back and wondered if he was right…yet the person behind this could manipulate sight and sound, so why not temperature? Besides the heat he felt wasn’t even close to the heat he’d expect from a dragons flame. Reaching the scorched grass, he bent down to find that the blackness was merely a shroud for the healthy heather beneath, what was more he could see footprints leading round the lake.

“Alex come,” he cried out, Alex hesitated, then stared in disbelief as he saw the dragon engulf his friend with flame, swell up and explode into a shower of brightly coloured sparks. Running over the heather he was relieved to see that Elvendor was fine.

“How did you guess?” He asked, “what about the graves?” Elvendor frowned as he suddenly remembered the graves,

“I’m not sure,” he said thoughtfully, “perhaps they were planted there…anyway we can go over that later, I think I’ve found the tracks of our persecutor though. We should follow them quickly before they disappear.”

“Really! Then that man was…oh…!” Alex’s mind slowly filled in the blanks that led to Elvendor’s conclusion. A conclusion that meant that they had turned the tails on the one who had constantly been besieging them, now he was the pursuant and the mage the one pursued.

Elvendor and Alex closely followed the tracks that led around the lake and headed South. Occasionally the tracks vanished or bent off in another direction, however Elvendor was able to feel the real tracks beneath the fake. Where the track had actually been smoothed over Elvendor was able to tell, due to the different texture of the mud that had swelled up to fill the track, where the print had been. The game of cat and mouse went on for the rest of the evening, until eventually they emerged out from the moors, once again amongst steep valleys and towering rocky hills. It was here, emerging into a wide valley littered with pine trees that Elvendor and Alex began to lose the true tracks. Fake tracks began to appear all over the place, confusing the pair. They sat down to rest as the night drew in, to try and come up with a plan.

“He must be nearby,” stated Elvendor, "but where?”

“Why didn’t he conjure up all these false tracks sooner?” Alex pondered, mystified. Elvendor considered the question…

“It must take him some time to do each one,” he mused, “and therefore we were too close to him for him to risk it before, as if he felt that we might see him move - perhaps some unusual movement in the grass…”

“But now he feels safe…because it’s dark?” Alex queried.

“Perhaps…or more likely that he’s reached a place of concealment where he feels safe, or that he’s reached his home and is now desperate,” Elvendor considered. “In any case how are we to go about finding him?” Both spent several minutes thinking over the issue…

“I think our best bet is to move in a straight line from where his initial tracks entered the valley,” Alex finally suggested. “It’s something he probably wouldn’t expect us to do, and he may well have headed straight for his home if it’s here…at least initially.” Elvendor gave him an appraising look,

“I think you may well be right,” he replied, “although I think we should wait until morning now. Assuming it’s his home he’s unlikely to be going anywhere, we should be able to lull him into a false sense of security by resting here overnight.” Alex wasn’t so sure, he wanted to strike whilst the iron was hot, but he deferred to Elvendor’s judgement. Both curled up and prepared to sleep for the night, they needed no watch for Elvendor, like most elves, was a very light sleeper. As he drifted off Elvendor’s thoughts wandered over his travels.

Who’d have thought that all this would have happened within a week. I’ve experienced the sights and sounds of human towns, picked up a companion, talked with the human Mayor and fought through several tests of the mind within these barren, yet impressive hills. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

He shifted his position uncomfortably, and not just because the ground wasn’t particularly accomadating. There it is again, the impression of being watched, stupid illusionist…now I need some sleep…

High above the pair, amongst the pines that stood tall around him, sat the silent watchful figure of Regen. He was awaiting the return of Gail, who had left with a message for Constantine after witnessing the demise of the dragon, so kept a close watch upon the pair he was following to relieve the boredom he felt. The Mayor obviously knew what he was doing when he picked these two, he thought, I wonder what other surprises lay in store for them?

* * *

Early morning, the sharp and wild cry of a golden tannow (a bird of prey, with a black beak and as the name suggests golden plumage) that circled the hidden sky above rang out across the valley. The tannow was hidden from the view of the travellers, because of the dense fog and mist that had packed the valley overnight. Probably in an effort to deceive us further, Elvendor thought as he awoke to the sight of swirling hands that reached and groped about him, caressing his figure and that of Alex nearby. He nudged Alex awake, who stumbled to his feet and blearily tried to get his bearings in the shrouded surroundings.

It wasn’t long before Elvendor worked out where they needed to head, then kept himself and Alex on a straight course by observing the direction that the small, purple, daisy like flowers that cropped up across the valley floor pointed. The cry of the golden tannow rang out again, now accompanied by the caw of a raven, both cries overshadowing the faint sounds of water running in the distance. Step by endless step they moved forward across the soft grassy ground, rewarded by the occasional piece of a footprint, Elvendor determined not to lose their tormentor. Thankfully although the hills surrounding the open valley contained many pine trees, very few had ventured into the valley itself, although it was safe to assume that the numbers within the valley were growing, and that before long the valley floor would be claimed by the evergreen trees. Softly the pair continued to move forward across the valley, drifting past the towering gaurdians that emerged from the shroud about them, then almost as swiftly moved out of sight.

The trail suddenly ended abruptly at a solid rising hill face. Elvendor stared blankly at the grassy wall, no! We can’t have lost him again, not now he thought despairingly as he leaned against the embankment, head on hands. Alex joined him, reaching out both his hands to rest them upon the hill beside Elvendor. His right hand however passed straight through, causing him to lose balance and spin round to the ground, falling into the hill…giving him a nasty bump on his head.

“Ouch,” he muttered as he stood up and looked round. Facing him stood a red wooden door with a brass handle. He tried the handle but the door was bolted. Looking back round he saw Elvendor step through the semi - transparent part of the hill.

“Are you all right?” asked Elvendor tentatively, Alex smiled ruefully, rubbing the back of his head,

“Yeah I’m fine…relatively anyway.” Stepping back from the door he withdrew his sword. “Stand back Elven, I’ll take care of the door.” He swung the sword round in a narrow arc, bringing a blow down hard upon the door, that started to crack and splinter. Within four blows it had succumbed to the heavy iron sword and Alex was able to reach through the battered wood and undo the bolt. Carefully he pushed the remains of the door aside and crept cautiously into the darkness. Elvendor slipped in behind Alex and both made their way warily along the dusty passage. Alex stiffened as growling came from deep within the tunnel, but Elvendor placed a hand upon his shoulder and whispered,

“Ignore it, all the visions and sounds within this tunnel are almost certainly false or else he’d have set them on us before now.” Sure enough when snarling bloodhounds raced towards them, Alex’s sword thrust straight through them. Cautiously they continued to advance until they entered upon a cavern that radiated darkness. Elvendor brushed past Alex with his bow drawn and walked boldly forward. As he did so Alex observed the darkness behind him began to fade, sheet by sheet, revealing more and more of the room. Chairs and a bookcase emerged from within the dimness.

Head towards the blackness, Elvendor told himself, that is where he’ll be. Wait, the darkness is fading…As it faded the figure of an elderly man sitting within a rocking chair emerged into the room.

“Oh dear,” he muttered sadly, as Elvendor pointed the bow at him,

“Freeze and tell us who you are and why you have been tormenting us and the other travellers across these Hills.” Elvendor was surprised at how firm and harsh his voice was, yet even his elfin patience had been tested by the range of devices used against them.

The man looked at the elf before replying hesitantly,

“Can I at least light the fire?” Seeing the elf’s suspicious glance he continued, “no tricks this time, I promise.” Slowly he got up and moved over to the fireplace where he took hold of two sticks that had fallen from the stone hearth. He started to rub them together whilst concentrating on the point of contact until the sticks suddenly burst into flame. Gently he placed them on top of the others and let the warming glow of the fire penetrate the earthen room, before sitting back down upon his chair - Elvendor’s bow following him the whole time.

As the fire became brighter, Alex was able to survey the whole room. It was a fairly small and homely room with a bookcase and a simple wooden bed lining the left wall. Various pots and pans hung on the other wall and in addition stood the rustic grey stone hearth. Above the hearth sat an elegantly built brass ornament, with a circular disk at the centre, bearing the numbers one to twelve and sticks that appeared to move at varying speeds. Curious Alex went over to examine it as Elvendor continued to question the man.

“Your name, and why you’ve been mis-leading us?” he once again asked. Now that the fire was dancing away (the flames distracting Elvendor - who like most elves found fire both awe inspiring and terrifying), he could see that the man before him was probably in his fifties. His hair was greying but still showed hints of black, he had pale blue eyes and a fairly wrinkled face that showed wisdom and contentedness, a relatively long grey beard ran down upon his chest. He clearly hadn’t been intending to leave his dwellings for some time, as he was still dressed in a plain grey woollen dressing gown, made from the wool of a sherpa. His general appearance of harmlessness though was still negated by Elvendor’s irritation with him.

The man this time responded to the first question in an absent minded tone,

“My name… ah umm Simeon, yes that’s it, Simeon, assuredly.”

“And the reason for your trickery?” Elvendor queried impatiently,

“Reason, oh yes,” the man started to look increasingly uncomfortable, “well I just wanted to scare you of course, bit of fun.” Either he’s a terrible liar or an incredibly good actor…and I’d favour the former, thought Elvendor. Still it looked like, despite his vastly impressive creations, that Simeon was harmless enough himself, so he lowered the bow.

“Do have a seat,” said Simeon, pointing to a wooden chair in the corner. Elvendor went to take it then remembered that it was made from a tree and nearly turned away…however the wood’s dead like that in the fire, he mused, nothing can be done to save it now. Reluctantly he pulled up the chair and allowed the fire to warm him, unsure as to whether he really should. Most types of fire were barred within the elven provinces because of the danger to the forest should one spread, as well as it being a waste of the limited supplies of pruned wood that they collected. Just occasionnally it was used to forge an important sword or ornament and a large crowd would gather to watch the event in his home town of Evertian. Elvendor remebered seeing fire there for the first time, watching from amongst the crowd as the light sparkled and danced its victory upon the wooden corpses beneath it. Quickly he returned his mind to the present and the man that he now faced, meanwhile Alex continued to study the object upon the mantelpiece with no little amount of fascination.

“So how did you do it?” asked Elvendor as he faced Simeon, curious as to how one could pull of such grand spectacles. Previously the grandest illusions Elvendor had seen, were the human entertainers in the Elfin capital Arimaia, who had produced objects from the air with their slight of hand and with equal ease turned them back into thin air. Elvendor recognised though that the illusions he had witnessed in the hills were of a different nature altogether.

“ is a secret that takes much time and patience to master,” Simeon’s replied, “but since you have found me I will tell you its basic structure...When this world was formed, much of the energy that was around at the time became condensed and sunk into the dips and valleys of the land we live in, forming pockets of 'heavy energy'. That energy has sat there, slowly leaking out over the years into space, due to the rotation of the planet, but has the unique property of being dense enough that it can be shaped by mind waves into matter, matter and energy are interchangeable after all. My father,” a tear formed upon Simeon’s eyelid at this point but he quickly blinked it away, “who was a great man and an exceptional craftsman of 'heavy energy', had enough of the stuff left to create real matter and beings from those pockets of energy. However creating and destroying real matter from the energy resulted in a lot of it being lost and so by the time I started out it made more sense to merely create illusions than real beings, seen as the amount of energy left in this area had diminished so significantly.”

“Was it he who created the creature that killed the men at the monastery then?” asked Alex as he managed to tear himself away from the ticking mystery for a few seconds. Simeon paused for a long while, his eyes almost going blank, before answering sadly,

“Yes, but it was a long time ago, at the start of his work in these hills. His own father died young and so he had to learn a lot of lessons by himself. He only meant to scare the men at the monastery, singe them a little perhaps, but he failed to gain control of the dragons mind in time and it killed four of the men with a single burst of flame. Of course it did succeed in driving the men from the monastery, but it was hardly his intention that they should die.”

So that explains the graves, yet he’s still hiding something from us thought Elvendor but what? Why was he so insistent that we didn‘t go South?

“What’s this?” asked Alex, pointing to the object that he’d been studying intently. Simeon shifted uncomfortably, as he observed what Alex had been studying,

“Oh that…it just tells me when…it moves around in circles…I mean at least those stick things do.”

“I had noticed,” replied Alex slightly dryly, “surely it has some purpose, look the big stick is nearly at the twelve and the smaller one at the four.” This analysis seemed to make the mage positively petrified.

“Umm…I don’t think it has any real purpose…should we perhaps depart and talk this over…I could do with some air,” he mumbled as he half rose from his chair. Elvendor however rightly suspected that this was just a ploy to leave the room, as Simeon clearly couldn’t tell a lie to save himself - so beckoned him to stay seated. An eerie stillness settled over the three as their eyes remained transfixed upon the larger stick that slowly trundled over the twelve. They remained frozen for several more seconds until a knocking sound, not quite disguised by the mages cough, echoed within the room.

“I’ll check the front door,” whispered Alex as he slipped into the tunnel. Elvendor nodded, he wasn’t sure but it sounded to him that the knock had in fact come from within the room. ‘Knock Knock’, there - the sound had come from the far left corner of the room, behind the linen covered bed. Silently he moved over there, his foot uncovering a trapdoor beneath the cover of a sandy mirage. Simeon tried to rise and stop him but collapsed back into his chair with a sad sigh as Elvendor reached down to pull up the iron ring, realising it was too late.

Elvendor cautiously opened up the trapdoor, to see a small human like creature but with sharper facial features, about half a knee length tall and dressed in a loose grey cotton shirt, clinging to an iron ladder and holding a covered basket. Seeing the elf it yelped what sounded like ‘Cripes’ in leprechaunese before flinging the basket through the hole and vanishing back down the ladder.

Leprechaunese, said Elvendor’s mind in response to his sub-conscious inquiry, the language spoken by leprechauns’, once thought to be a small mythical race upon planet Earth, it turned out that they are in fact a separate race altogether, who originated from the Andromeda System. Small (average height 60 centimetres) with sharper features than humans and known amongst the races for their unquenchable sense of humour and intelligent minds. Elvendor paused as he heard Alex return, unsure what he should do next…

Jump straight to Chapter 8: Captives [*]here.
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Mother Goose

Joined: 09 May 2004
Posts: 511
Location: Connecticut

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 11:01 am    Post subject:  

First reply!

Great chapter; I love the diffident mage. I'll have to read it again and think a bit before I can make any suggestions, but just a technical point: "pursuant" actually means following, as the suffix -ant is equivalent to -ing. For the one pursued you could say pursuee, but I think it's easier just to say "the one pursued".

Your imagination is certainly keeping this interesting! Keep up the good work, and good luck in the sgotm.
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Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 287
Location: Australia

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 5:13 pm    Post subject:  

I think Elvendor should start wondering and questioning about all the astronomical things he's being told. The old man mentioned planetary rotation, the thing in his ear referred to the Andromeda System.

For the moment, he needs to have a discussion with the man. Here is how I see Elvendor's side of the conversation:

Why did a leprechaun on a ladder under a trapdoor just deliver a basket?
Don't lie!
I see. So why are you trying to stop people travelling through the area?
I told you not to lie!
Ok, and what is the purpose of that circle thing with the moving hands?
Why do you insist on lying? We're not going anywhere until you give me straight answers!
Oh is that all? Why are you going to so much effort to hide these things?
I see. That's interesting.
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Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Posts: 8876

Posted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 9:27 pm    Post subject:  

Indeed. I f5 Duke, and also ask him about where he got these things from.

Mainly though, what is south???

Another nice chapter!
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Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 592
Location: The middle of anywhere...

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 12:05 am    Post subject:  

Thnks, some good responses :) . Interesting...the only other thing to consider is the leprechaun himself, by questioning Simeon now instead of chasing the leprechaun they lose i) any element of surprise and ii) the leprechaun himself...althougth it's not gauranteed that they would catch him shouldthey chase him.

Keep adding in any other questions for Simeon though, as I may well have Elvendor ask them assuming that that option is chosen in the poll (probably go up Monday).
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Joined: 12 Oct 2005
Posts: 287
Location: Australia

Posted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:24 pm    Post subject:  

JezSharp wrote: Interesting...the only other thing to consider is the leprechaun himself, by questioning Simeon now instead of chasing the leprechaun they lose i) any element of surprise and ii) the leprechaun himself...althougth it's not gauranteed that they would catch him shouldthey chase him.

I considered this. I just think its generally bad policy to chase something you don't know a lot about down a dark ladder into a place you are unfamiliar with. Besides, the Leprechaun hasnt done anything to them. The man with the clock, on the other hand, has been harrassing them. They would be more interested in keeping him caught than catching something new.
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The White Blacksmith

Joined: 02 Apr 2006
Posts: 2629

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 2:29 am    Post subject:  

See what's in the basket.
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Joined: 18 Jul 2006
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Location: The middle of anywhere...

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 8:49 am    Post subject:  

Ok, some excellent suggestions. Solus suggested that they should explore the tunnel, putting the mage in front so I'll add tht into the poll alongside Whitey's and DukeReg's ideas. I'll run this poll until Thur/Fri then release Chpter 8 just before I embark on the adventure of Uni Life which may see a slowdown in the turnover of Chapters for this sg (or not I really have no idea at this stage).

SGotM Update: Elvendor is sitting one vote behind Scrapyard in probably the closest contest to date (Scrapyard 6, Elvendor & Lords and Ladies 5, I Don't Believe In Fate 4) if there is anyone else who wants to or was intending to vote Elvendor for SGotM then pls do (here)as your vote is crucial.
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Joined: 24 Oct 2005
Posts: 258
Location: Montana

Posted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 6:57 pm    Post subject:  

Finally caught up, nice story here.

Anyway, voted to question the mage about the leprechaun. Also, I'd suggest that you make the mage investigate what's in the basket, or at least take the top off so you can see the contents without getting too close. If it's something nasty, we probably want to be further away when it's uncovered.

Looking forward to the next chapter! :D
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Joined: 18 Jul 2006
Posts: 592
Location: The middle of anywhere...

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 12:04 am    Post subject:  

Poll will be closing within 24 hours, so that I can put up the next Chapter sometime Friday before I go, so please vote quickly if you haven't already.
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Joined: 21 Oct 2004
Posts: 4123
Location: Hollywood, USA

Posted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:30 pm    Post subject:  

I've been reading the first two chapters. It looks good so far. I will keep reading in intervals and then tell you what I think.
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