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Chapter Seven: Underestimation
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3071
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Thu Oct 06, 2011 10:51 pm    Post subject:  

And here it is, rescued after a battle with the RL monster. Enjoy!
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Chapter Seven: Underestimation

She couldn't comprehend it, she honestly couldn't. Tessa knew what the others thought of her, that she was a scheming bitch, and she didn't much care. She had goals in mind and she'd never let something like public opinion stop her before. Change was rarely popular, it took courage, suffering, and an iron backbone to make it happen. She did feel bad though, both about the impression she'd made on her brothers and how she'd treated them since then. She'd avoided them like the plague honestly, focusing her attentions on Astor himself.

And her efforts had paid off indeed. He didn't favor her, but he no longer questioned why she was requesting this scroll or that ledger. Why she wanted to know the crop yields of the Hillbranch, the disputed district that the king of Haga'Dir was so eager to get his hands on, or why she wanted to know the average cost of a bushel of apples in the markets of Eresinne. Indeed he seemed to encourage the way she was familiarizing herself with the workings of the kingdom...or perhaps he was just amused by the discomfort she was endlessly causing the stewards who all seemed to believe she'd be better suited to stitching shitty needlepoint in a dusty salon somewhere.

What she'd uncovered in those dusty records though...it chilled her to the core. She just couldn't comprehend it, it made no sense. Leyond was a fertile land and the sun was truly shining upon her. Her fields were bountiful, the harvests had been regularly producing crop yields that were absolutely staggering. Yet...none of that food seemed to be making it to the people. Import quanities of foreign crops were higher, driving prices higher and higher in the markets, and there was no reason for it. No domestic lack that would have made importing necessary.

At first Tessa had blamed the armies of Leyond, but the more she'd delved into those records, the faster that idea had been laid to rest. The armies consumed, this was true, but the unique methods Leyond employed with her soldiers ensured that the massive standing armies she kept at the ready were not overtaxing. The soldiers were so entrenched on the borders that each man was assigned a task, be it tilling a field or mending fences...if a soldier wasn't fighting, he was working. They grew many of their own crops in those borderlands, the stocks kept on reserve for them refreshed with every harvest, the older stores distributed to other regions in need.

Though this cycle continued...the stores of the armies seemed to be going more and more places these days. The threat of famine was looming on the horizon and there was no reason for it...unless the Lords of Leyond were, to a man, reporting larger crop yields than were actually there. And that couldn't be the case as many of the Lords had written letters expressing their concern over the fact their serfs and landholders were beginning to go hungry. There were also hints that diseases had cropped up again as malnutrition became more prevalent.

On top of this came the strange news from home, teleported in fresh this morning. She'd heard rumors before she left of course, but she'd been too busy planning her upcoming journey to give them more than a brief moment of her time. However, her mother's letter was full of details that were nothing short of chilling. Entire coastal villages slaughtered when the dead had literally walked out of the sea. Whole legions of the militia had been dispatched to deal with the problem and, each time, the dead were defeated. But there were always more, always moving inland. The most recent attack had actually been up one of the great rivers that ran the length of Falverald. Whatever the dead wanted, it was to the east...the direction of Leyond herself.

Tessa sat in the window, papers scattered around her, fingertips pressed to her temples as she tried to wrap her mind around the facts and put the pieces together. It was like one of those clever little puzzle boxes from the Sahakine Isles far to the west of Falverald. It didn't look like they fit together at first...but there was always a way...

"Tessa? Can I talk to you?"

The soft voice and almost hesitant speech took a moment to register in her mind, head slowly turning toward the figure that stood a few respectful feet away. Her youngest brother, with hair like a torch, and a smattering of freckles on his tanned face was peering at her cautiously, as if she was going to bite him. And considering her first impression on him...he had every right to think that.

Quietly she moved over, patting the seat next to her. It was time to start rebuilding her damaged bridges with the rest of her family here. After all...whoever ended up on the throne, the problems that were looming needed to be addressed. If not by her then by the brothers she'd suddenly acquired. "Certainly Lukan...what's on your mind?"

Slowly, gingerly, the youth sat and fidgeted for a moment before turning to look at her. "Is it true...that the dead are slaughtering the living in Falverald? Alasdair and Khafi...they know...but they're not telling me. I don't even think that they know I overheard them. Or if they do I don't think that they think I can help. But I want to help...you've heard about the Gates right? Do you think they're just a fairy story too?"

She sat for a moment, gaze locked on the world beyond the window, where autumn was coloring the world with brilliant colors and crisp frost. "Yes, the rumors are true Lukan...but keep that to yourself. If Alasdair and Khafi are not going to ask for our help, then they have a plan. That doesn't mean that we can sit around and do nothing though. I have a small confession to make Lukan, but you can't tell anyone...can I trust you?"

The youth thought for a moment, then leveled a gaze at her that was shrewder than she'd ever have given him credit for. "That depends Tessa...is this a secret that I'm going to regret keeping?"

She smiled at him, tucking a ripple of her wavy mahogany hair behind her ear. "No little brother, this secret isn't going to hurt anyone." She turned to face him better, smile vanishing as her face smoothed. "Magical talents run in the royal line of Leyond. Alasdair has his transformation magics, his healing powers. I suspect Khafi has a pinch of personal magic about him, but like everything else he's likely keeping it a secret. Myself...I have only one talent that any second rate Conjuror will laugh at. I can, with proper preparation, Farsee."

He sat for a moment, thinking, before his eyes seemed to refocus on her. "Can you see places you've never been before on your own, or do you need a guide. Because I think I know someone who could help. And yes, your secret is safe with me Tessa. I've seen Farsight abused where I come from...my uncle loves his spies. But for being a 'minor' talent...it takes more willpower and concentration than many other things do."

She chuckled a little, resisting the urge to reach out and ruffle his hair. He was young yes, but not that young. Only a couple of years younger than herself. And, behind that youthful facade, she was beginning to believe the mind of a much older and wiser person worked...sometimes. "So Lukan...do you have a talent?"

It was his turn to laugh, shaking his head a little. "I was just born to fly. But that's not really why I came here, to discuss magic. I came to ask if there was any truth to the rumors and, if there was, to ask you if you were going to do anything about it. And you still havn't answered me about if you believe in the Gates or not."

"Of course I believe in them...there are quite a few people in Falverald who do. Then again, we live near the Great Seals...those teleportation platforms that bring people too and from the Sahakine Isles and other distant places in the realm. Why not Gates that lead to places unknown? And yes, I want to do something about it, but I honestly don't know any more about this than you do."

"Can you use your Farsight....if you were guided?"

Tessa was already beginning to regret telling him she had it. Ever since her twin had died, her gift had been a hollow shell of what it was before. Usually she was limited to seeing places she'd been before and, considering that while she was a schemer she wasn't normally a snoop, she had only rarely used the ability to check on different parts of the lands she'd owned and run. Now...now she was wondering right along with Lukan if she could do what he asked. If guided by a talented mage, could she See places she'd never been before?

"I could burn my mind out trying Lukan. Or go blind. Or shatter my gift into complete uselessness. Any number of horrible things could happen if I try this and fail."

"Any number of horrible things will happen if you don't. Tessa...Alasdair and Khafi...they're strong. Khafi is pretty sure he's smarter than anyone, you can tell by the way he treats everyone, by how he talks to us. And Alasdair is so secure in his own strength...they'll rely on each other but I doubt they'll think to include anyone else. If there's anything we can do...and we don't do it...how many people are we damning to die? Let Alasdair and Khafi handle whatever it is they're handling...but let us do something to."

She stared at him for a moment before gathering the scattered papers and pushing them toward Lukan. "Alright...I'll try. Give me an hour. However, Falverald isn't the only one in danger...tell me...how much do you know about crops?"

"Not much, I confess. I know a bit about shipping and a lot about the care and keeping of winged creatures...but nothing about farming and the like." He shrugged his shoulders, giving her a disarmingly boyish grin.

She sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose. "I hope you didn't have anything else to do this afternoon...because before I try and go looking at anything I want you to understand that there's a crisis looming in Leyond. And the fact that there's apparently absolutely no reason for it. Maybe you can see where the crops are disappearing to..because by just looking at the numbers I can't."

"But you are going to try and see that Gate, the one the dead are coming from?"

She looked up from the papers, resisting the urge to smack him for that eager and puppy-like tone. "Yes...I just hope the information is worth the price..."
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So...Tessa is going to try and Farsee the Gate from which the dead are coming. However, there could be horrible consequences for her...and she could get nothing in return. It's up to you...what price does Tessa pay and what information does she get?
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A confusing DP I know...but once again the story is all up to you. You could, with a few votes, cripple or kill Tessa...or you could make her a hero. Anyway you go, I hope you liked.
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Shillelagh



Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:26 am    Post subject:  

I like Tessa too much to harm her. I'm going to say that whatever mentor she's working with is experienced enough not to let her harm herself. But to make the plot interesting... she's also unable to control her visions. Her Farsee talents let her view things which are important to upcoming chapters, but she can't see anything that she wants to see.
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Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:22 pm    Post subject:  

good chapter! i'm curious to see what's going on here...i'd say she's blinded...but it's temporary. she gets some useful information, but not definitive answers. maybe Alasdair & Khafi get wind of what she's going to try and are able to do the big brothers thing & stop her before the blindness becomes permanent? yeah...ima go with that.
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Lilith



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 1597
Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:34 pm    Post subject:  

First off, I'm sorry I wasn't able to read this earlier today. Had a rough night last night, on top of a nasty cold that won't leave and it just wasn't the right time for me to be trying to read.

Now... Tessa, Tessa, Tessa.. for shame. I'd say that she speaks as she Sees what she needs to see *BUT*... the entire length of the time that she's seeing puts far too much strain on her body.

She collaspes just BEFORE she sees the Gates. Just to make things interesting. ;)

Oh no, what will little brother do? He's encouraged her, will he feel guilty?

Ah, enjoy. :tempt:
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3071
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:57 am    Post subject:  

New poll is live, get your votes on!
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PopeAlessandrosXVIII



Joined: 10 Oct 2010
Posts: 1858
Location: Surrounded by many beautiful naked men

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:35 pm    Post subject: I Think.......  

Another fine collection of chapters! Lovin' it. *Grins* These boys are making me all warm and fuzzy. . . .Tessa seems to be growing more brains then thought she had.

The jumps between chapters remain one of my favorite parts of this tale. I'm glad all the kids are at least BELIEVEING in the gates, that makes things so much easyer. The style here is one of smooth intregue, and hidden interests, I love it!

Too bad I missed th DP suggestion phase AND the voting phase...*Sniffle* Makes me sad. . . .BUT! I will simply wait patiently for the next one!

Can't wait to see more!
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Thunderbird



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 2139
Location: Rising from the ashes

Posted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 7:33 pm    Post subject:  

Yes, my only complaint is that I missed the poll... But I'm a little undecided there anyhow so that's ok. I think a good option won it and a great author is behind it so we'll continue to see brilliance continuing here I'm sure! ;)
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