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The Spellbinders ~ Polling 8-3
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:03 pm    Post subject: The Spellbinders ~ Polling 8-3  

Since most of my stories have grown dusty and been moved to the dusty books section I figured I'd give a fresh offering might be needed. That said, enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter One: In which the Violet Moon rises and our tale begins...

The cold winds of autumn whistled through the trunks of the forest ancients and the old spinster wrapped spindly fingers around the throat of her shawl to hug it closed for more warmth. The sun was going down and the coming night was swiftly leeching what scant warmth it left from the land, urging the growth of frost in it's nurturing shadows. Normally she'd be in her favorite chair by her fireside or perhaps hunched over her worktable with some project of simple arcana but tonight was different. Tonight something lured her from the safety of her cottage and deep into the wild wood that surrounded it. A song, wordless melody. A voice, almost remembered. A lure.

She swore a most unladylike curse as she put a hoof wrong and lost her balance, both hands grasping her staff for support as she pulled the offending limb from between the grasping roots where it had caught. Her shawl slipped down around her stooped shoulders and she tugged on it, pulling it up. Age had bowed her spine and raised a hunch there and it took her a few moments to resettle the garment properly. Once upon a time she'd have skipped across these gnarled roots but her youth was well beyond her and her wild spirit was long dimmed with age. Still her tale lashed in irritation and each labored breath bore a curse as she continued along her way.

It was deep into the gloaming time when she broke from the treeline and mounted the hilltop meadow. This was the place, where the pull ended. She wrinkled her nose and peered about, squinting to make the most of her dim eyesight. There was nothing here aside from her. Above her the clouds lingered from the autumn storm of the previous day, slowly dispersing like the idle crowd after a hanging. She had to admit that it had been some time since she'd last climbed here, to the highest point of the forest, and she'd missed this view. Across the crowns of the forest ancients she could see for miles with her watery eyesight. On the western horizon only the merest strip of violet could be seen where the sun had gone, the last of her light dragging after her like the train of a wealthy lady's gown.

She'd be going back down in the dark, what a fool she was to be lured out like this. She rubbed the tip of her nose with one hand, milky skin luminous in the dark. That's when she noticed it, the violet hue brightening the world around her. She turned, looking upward, and froze. The clouds had broken apart and spearing down through them was soft violet light. The moon had risen. Her staff clattered forgotten to the ground as her eyes widened at the fat violet orb in the sky. The whispering of ages gathered in her ears and suddenly her chest felt too tight. Her breath came in shallow gasps and she heard the snapping of bone yet there came no pain as her spine grew straight again, as the bone twist was wrung out of her joints. Her alabaster skin smoothed and the luster returned to her ivory hair. In moments the light had undone the work of an age, shedding the crone to revive the maiden.

She gazed at herself, awestruck, and a rich laugh bubbled up from deep in her chest. She stepped free of the clothing that no longer fit and in a fit of joy she danced, her hooves scarcely touching the grass. The silken hair on her legs and tail fluttered like flags and unbound from it's braid, the hair of her head was a banner. Wings snapped at the air, lifting her skyward before she remembered her modesty and dropped to the ground. A casual flick of a wrist sent her magic skittering and her clothing rose and wrapped her, the fabric twisting and ripping as it reshaped itself to her revitalized form. With a deep breath she got hold of herself and reclaimed her staff from where it had fallen, leaning on it as she gazed up at the moon again.

"And lo' did the moon rise violet and did it's light cast open the doors to the old ways and illuminate the path to forbidden places." She shook her head, talons tapping against the sleek wood of her staff. Already she could feel the old magic of the wood rising, the forest ancients stretching from their long slumber. The violet moon was the harbinger of magic and now it bathed the world in it, raw and wild. The leylines under her hooves surged with power, much like small forest streams in a storm, the tranquil flow now rapid and raw. As good as this was for her personal fortunes, the havoc soon to cover the land was nothing to dismiss.

"The magics of mortals will fail them when it is most critical that they be strong...is this why I am renewed?" Ever had she been the ally of man, she and those like her. She called them sister when in truth they were nothing of the sort. Like her they had been warped by wild magic while still in the womb. Like her they had been born inhuman of human mothers. But none of them had been born under the violet moon itself. Where she felt a surge of strength, where she had been given youth, they might have been made weak and feeble.

Seized of purpose, she made her way back down from the hill. She skipped over the gnarled roots and called out greetings as the forest ancients peered with rheumy eyes from their bark faces. She glimpsed a unicorn near one of the smaller streams and the fire of a dragon briefly illuminated the copse to her right at one point, a white stag with singed fur crossing her path soon after. Misintyr Wood was shaking off the dust of a dull age and she couldn't help but feel excitement. This was the world she belonged to, this was the world of her youth. Full of wonder. Of danger. It had been an age of legend and it was come again. This time she had the knowledge and skill of a lifetime to face it with.

Her cottage was as changed as she, the roof no longer sagged, the mosses no longer hung. The vines that curled around the posts of her awning bloomed with night flowers and there was perfume on the air. She gave a grateful sigh as she pushed her door open and stepped inside. Her mirror gleamed and twinkled, messages already waiting from others who'd observed the violet moon and now wanted her reassurances that all would be well. She had none to give them sadly. When the violet moon had last risen it had remained for five years. It had risen the eve of her birth and set the night after she'd first knowingly used the Power. But they didn't know that, to them she was the authority. She was Kerdiwyn, the White Witch of Misintyr Wood, the eldest practitioner of the Art and hoarder of obscure lore. Didn't change the fact that she couldn't help them just now.

She cast about before finding what she wanted, a small jeweled box on one of the higher shelves. Carefully she lowered it onto her worktable and eased open the clasp before raising the lid. Four locks of hair lay on a silken pillow within, each carefully bound with a simple ribbon, waiting for her to cast the Call. "But which one?" A weight landed upon her shoulder, startling her for a moment before a warm tail wrapped around her neck and a buzzing purr rumbled in her ear. "Ah, Calimere, come to help me decide? Alright then, let's be about it."

She pointed to the first bundle, a wavy black with a sheen of blue-green layering into it. "The hair of Irisi, called the Loreli. Her power lies in song, luck, sea and sky. I've always found her a little wild myself. She's the youngest of us, the most prone to wander, and she has the biggest sense of wonder I've ever seen in anyone outside a sheltered child. She was born aboard a ship as it sailed through one of the last great mana storms. It is, perhaps, a testament to how luck does her bidding that she was not cast into the sea at that moment. I've found that her whimsy often sparks my mind down paths it otherwise would not have followed."

After a moment her finger moved to the next bundle, short strands of honey gold with streaks of a brown sugar bronze hidden amid them. "The hair of Thena, called the Illuminated. Her power lies in light, shadow, truth and justice. She is the eldest save for me and can be a bit holier than thou, but she's calm under pressure. She was born when two godlings quarreled over 'holy ground'. Her mother gave her to one of the orders who, surprisingly, followed the tenants of their faith to look beyond her appearance and raise her true. Though she serves their cause not, she has been a force for good in the world and a true friend in my darker moments."

She paused to give Calimere a pat before gesturing to the third bundle. The length of the copper and scarlet lock was impossible to guess, so twisted into ringlets was it. "The hair of Avony, called the Fury. Her power is art, fire, passion and hope. A middle child, I've always thought it odd that someone so loving could come to so associated with violence. I've never seen her raise her hand in anger and yet I've seen her burn a village to cinders. Cut from a dead woman who succumbed to the Bleeding Fever, the doctor kept her alive in hopes that her blood could be made a cure. Eventually it was. Always the calming influence that one."

Lastly she pointed to the tuft on the end, a rich auburn that shimmered with a greenish-brassy hue. "The hair of Wynn, called the Dryad. Her power lies in life, travel, in earth and stone. The other middle sister, she's the one with the temper and oh can she be stubborn. But she's also patient and quick to forgive...although not to forget. She prefers the company of beasts to that of the so called civilized races but when last I heard she was living among a group of farmers, tending an orchard for them. She was born in the house her father built...which was unfortunate situation on top of the intersection of several strong leylines. A wizard, keen to take the power, was kindly enough to take them on as servants and requested that she stay alive that he might study her. He was more a father to her than her own father was. When I need grounding there's no finer choice."

She settled into her chair, staring at the locks, putting Calimere into her lap to stroke while she contemplated the decision of who to summon.
-----------------------------------

So the violet moon rises and brings with it all the magic that has been bleeding out of the world. Our White Witch is gathering her sisters to her but she can only gather them one at a time. So the choice is who does she gather first?
-------------------------------

I hope you enjoyed.
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:18 pm    Post subject:  

Alright, New Rai story. Sign me up!
Anyway, definitely enjoyed the read (too much, I have tea in the kitchen going cold so I might write this post. Whoops) I really liked how the descriptions were so vivid I could almost see it all happening. I was confused when I read 'hoof', and actually had to quickly skim what I'd already read to see if I had missed something important. I quite like that her traits are stated matter-of-factly, as they simply are. I'm really enamored with this idea of them being born differently because of magic.

As for the dp, I find myself drawn to Irisi, possibly because of the 'her whimsy sparks my mind down paths it otherwise would not have followed'. It sounds like she'll need as many thinkers and options as she can get.
On the other hand, why not leave it to luck? I'd toss them all up in the air at once, and call on the sister who's hair landed closest to me.
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:34 am    Post subject:  

Awesome start to this new story, Rai! As always your writing is so mesmerizing that I get sucked right in.

I really like Noni's "leave it to luck" idea, but if I had to pick a singular sister, I'd go with Avony. At this time, when the reasoning behind the violet moons appearance is unknown and its effects on the surrounding world are still in question, someone possessing calm and hope would probably be very useful.
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Jovin Joestar



Joined: 09 Oct 2015
Posts: 1

Posted: Tue Nov 10, 2015 12:07 pm    Post subject:  

Good introduction to the story. Good use of describing things and how she reacts to things to both get a sense of her personality and the world around her.

Anyways, I think that it would be a good idea to gather Wynn the Dryad first. What we need is someone to bounce ideas off of and to keep us from going off in directions that could lead to disaster or be too unrealistic as to what is needed.
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2015 11:31 pm    Post subject:  

Alright, going to leave this open another week for suggestions and then I'll put up a poll. Thanks for all the feedback so far.
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themightyzan



Joined: 18 Sep 2015
Posts: 57
Location: TN

Posted: Mon Nov 16, 2015 6:44 am    Post subject:  

I'm excited about this story. I love the beginning. I'm going to say she should summon Avony. calming influences are good!
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Fri Nov 20, 2015 5:15 pm    Post subject:  

Alright everyone, new poll is open. Voting times to be had.
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:23 am    Post subject:  

We're still tied. If the tie isn't broken soon I'll think of something to solve the issue.
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:16 am    Post subject:  

Oof, I made it worse. I'm sorry!
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kkdestiny



Joined: 05 Oct 2010
Posts: 674
Location: The Library of Interfable History

Posted: Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:04 pm    Post subject:  

There you go XD

Just glad I didn't make it a 4 ways tie~
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Sat Jan 02, 2016 8:41 pm    Post subject:  

Alright, now that everything has slowed down I should have a chapter up for you folks tomorrow. Get ready to make some magic!
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 8:01 pm    Post subject:  

Here it is, a chapter for all of you to enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter Two: In which help arrives...

It had been ages since she'd donned the articles of power that were the tools of her trade. Into her hair had been woven a circlet of silver adorned with violet flowers that had each been carved from a gem of power, thrumming as they woke from long sleep to her call. Over her svelte form were leggings and a top made from the silk of an extinct breed of spider, fabric so strong naught but a dragon bone needle could have stitched it together. Last but not least was a vestment spun of the wind itself or so legend went, the white fabric so sheer as to be nigh transparent and in constant motion. All had been gifts to her early in life from those she had loved, those she called family.

Other things she had found for herself such as the pendant that hung from around her neck and the sash that circled her waist. Keepsakes of a life of adventure. Loot to some, necessities to her. By far though the most valuable, and dangerous, item she had ever acquired was her staff. It had been a ruin when she'd found it, splintered into pieces that she'd spent a human lifetime acquiring and repairing. But now she cast aside the stick that she'd used to hobble around in her age and she took it up again. With this staff she had worked wonders and fought terrible perils. With this staff she had forged a legend.

A creak on her porch had her smiling, a moment later a polite knock echoed and Calimere began to dance about. The one she had Called had arrived, in good time too. "Come in Wynn."

The door banged open and a massive form backed through slowly, an axe held in both of it's broad hands. Wynn, beloved of the earth, had a longstanding feud with Misintyr Wood. Wynn claimed it all stemmed from a misunderstanding about her power, an assumption she'd stupidly made. Keri knew that wasn't true entirely. Oh Wynn had made an assumption and the fact that great bloody axe was her chosen weapon didn't help, but in truth the Wood simply hated all outsiders equally. It just happened to have a particularly spiteful streak where Wynn was concerned. The big woman waited until she was well into the cottage before shutting the door and straightening.

"Thank you, another minute and I-" Silence came as Wynn's copper green eyes stretched wide and her nostrils flared in surprise. It didn't happen often that Wynn was surprised and while she evaluated Keri, Keri evaluated her. Wynn hadn't changed much although rivers of silver threaded their way into her dark auburn hair, starting wide at the temples before narrowing to nothing. Wynn still wore her hair in a tail, several strands beaded with wood and stone ornaments. Her great ram horns were banded in gold, glyphs of power etched into the soft metal.

"I see you perfected that stone armor you were working on. It looks remarkable." Wynn was a warrior, a fighter, one of the reasons that Keri had chosen to call her. She dwarfed Keri, over seven feet of hard muscle, sinew, and bone. Once when she'd been young, Wynn had compared them like equines. Wynn was a strong draft, made to put her hooves in the earth and move mountains. Keri was a unicorn, dainty and magical and hardly fit for work. The comparison was apt, from the short brush of Wynn's tail to the long hair 'feathering' that hid her massive hooves. Now that massive frame was garbed in armor as unique as it's owner, part the pebbled hide of some angry desert beast, part actual stone it seemed. Yet Wynn had moved as though it weighed nothing. Still, they had stared long enough and Keri coughed, snapping her fingers to break the daze.

Wynn blinked, shaking her head, her beads rattling like hail on cobblestones. "I trust the moon is to thank for your sudden rejuvenation? You're the first person to have any luck with it then. I didn't stop much on my way here but I can tell you it's all begun already. I passed a town nigh deserted. Someone had strung a young woman from the wooden arm where the sign of an inn once hung, dangling from chains with no eyes nor lower jaw. Passed another where someone had planted the occupants on poles in a field, the way one might beans. Nobody, from the eldest grandfather to the newest suckling babe was spared. I've seen more faery rings and fields scorched by dragonfire than I care to think about. It's like someone has finally lanced open a wound in the land and everything is boiling out. It's bringing the Mother relief but all that pain is spilling over onto us mortal folk."

Keri gestured to a chair, settling herself into the one opposite it and gathering Calimere up in her arms. "That's why I chose to Call you Wynn, over the others. Not here ten minutes and you've already given me more useful information than the past seven days of study have. That and what we need to do will likely be dangerous, where we need to go will be perilous. Once you told me I was dainty and magical...this hasn't changed. I may no longer be old but that just means I move a little quicker, a good blow is still going to knock me off my hooves. I need you. Need your strength and your axe. I need your good sense and your patience to hear me out. None of the others have all those things. Thena could protect me but she'd try to correct me at every step and we'd never get anything done trying to do things 'proper'. Avony would listen and promptly do whatever she damn well pleased, fickle as fire that one. Irisi would argue me everything and, to be honest, the girl's not much tougher than I am."

Wynn sat for a moment, drumming her blunt talons on the table, her impossibly large axe resting against her. It's haft was so long it might as well have been a polearm, it's blade so heavy and unwieldy looking that only in the hands of someone of Wynn's size did it make any damn sense. Then again, it was a weapon crafted for the long vanished giants. In that perspective it made sense. "Alright then. What can I do but help you. Where do we start?"

Keri gave a mirthful laugh. "We start with answers. I think I know where we might find some."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Where are they going to find answers? Let your imaginations go wild. Is there a temple somewhere? A library? How old might it be? What might be guarding it? Is it easy to get to or will they face terrible peril? I'm counting on you, dear readers!
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kkdestiny



Joined: 05 Oct 2010
Posts: 674
Location: The Library of Interfable History

Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2016 10:13 pm    Post subject:  

I like the idea of a library...hm...in an old huge gnarled treee....in the middle of a deadly forest....yeah...that sounds like a good first epic journey :3
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2016 2:01 pm    Post subject:  

Dang it, kk, you stole my idea! XD

So instead...a temple. One dedicated to the moon and all its mysteries built by a mortal people long ago. They are gone, but there is said to remain prophecies and wisdom within its walls. Getting to it as it resides on a spit of land that floats high in the sky (and often changes location due to treacherous winds and atmospheric pressure), now there's the rub.

Loving this all over, Kalanna! Very excited for more! :D
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Lilith



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

Posted: Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:56 am    Post subject:  

Delicious new story, K-Rai, as always color me well pleased. Well, the first sister Keri called to her would be one of earth, with a warrior attitude... so it would stand to reason there is a purpose to needing Wynn's strength to balance out Keri's dainty magic. Perhaps these 'sisters' have a male equivalent (brothers or some such) who keep knowledge well-guarded by spoken word. And in order to acquire the knowledge/help/assistance from them, the seekers must answer riddles or perform tasks, ect. Along the way it would be reasonable that the other two sisters might seek Keri out with the insanity surrounding them all.
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:51 pm    Post subject:  

Alright guys, one more day till polling!
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 9:42 am    Post subject:  

And the poll is up!
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 7:23 pm    Post subject:  


Hey, there!

I'm new in If and Noni directed me here. I must say, I am very glad she did!

Rai, I LOVE your writing style. It's somewhere between old elegance and new words - very appropriate for fantasy writing! The flow is fantastic and it is easy for me to see, feel, and hear the setting and characters. I'm really excited to read more of your stuff!

That being said, I like the characters so far too. They're more on the quiet end and I'm a huge fan of that. I look forward to getting to know them better. Also, your word choice is wonderful. I can't wait to go to the next setting - I know it'll be great. :D
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2016 9:59 pm    Post subject:  

Welcome Wellspring, I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Thank you very much for your kind words as well.

Hopefully you've been charmed into lurking around our fair city, I promise we don't bite too much!
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 1:09 pm    Post subject:  

Alrighty guys, gonna let this go one more day to see if we get a tie-breaker otherwise I will get creative.
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kkdestiny



Joined: 05 Oct 2010
Posts: 674
Location: The Library of Interfable History

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:22 pm    Post subject:  

well I COULD get pop to break the tie...but I actually wanna see what comes from combining the two :3
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:43 am    Post subject:  

Sorry for the long delay folks, things have been hectic in my neck of the woods. Here is your new chapter, I hope it's worth the wait! Enjoy.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter Three: In which the task is set...

She glanced around one last time, making certain that everything was where it needed to be. Books put away, workings well hidden, disguise in place, Wynn out of sight. In the past day they hadn't spoken two words to each other, not since Keri had told Wynn her plan. The Temple of the Seven Sisters, an old wives' tale to some but very real to others. From a time when history was nothing more than a collection of camp fire tales, new life and new verse breathed into them with each and every retelling. These ancient myths took on a life of their own and the Temple was one such place, or many such places, on this the myth never seemed to quite agree. Keri had spent her youth searching for scraps of lore about it, convinced that it held the key to her existence. Perhaps it still did but it had been a long time since she'd bothered to go looking for it. Now, it was their best chance at real answers. To find it though they had to deal with a group of unsavory individuals...the Brothers.

When a child was born under the influence of wild magic it was forever changed. She and her sisters were empowered, their arcane might greater than that of even the mightiest mortal mage. In compensation their bodies were changed, shaped, made monstrous in the eyes of their mortal kin. They were all similar, all of one race, one family, though each Sister had her own features. Keri's wings, Wynn's size, Thena's scales...the list went on. These forms were strong as they needed to be to contain the raging pressure of power that surged through them. Still it meant they could not hide what they were from the eyes of the world. This was the price they paid for the power they wielded.

In contrast were the Brothers. They had no magic, not even that most base of sparks that could be found in a blade of grass or a singing cricket. They were dry and barren and devoid, salted earth from which no wellspring could arise. Their physical forms were utterly average, so painfully mundane that one was in the process of forgetting them even while the eyes rested upon them. In the absence of magic though the mind flourished and brought forth from it's depths strange and sometimes terrible powers. The Brothers could speak with each other without ever moving their lips, without heed of distance. They could see without limit and without using their eyes and while this power was easier used on that which was near and dear to them, familiar things, it could be used on that which their mortal eyes had never seen. They could conjure flame and force where neither existed without the slightest twitch of a muscle. By far their greatest power, and their most dire, was that of command. The strongest of them could simply enforce their will as they would, as though it were made of binding iron. A man would cut his own throat, weeping all the while and yet unable to save himself. All because the Brothers wanted it so.

The Sisters could cast no spells or enchantments upon the Brothers but neither could the Brothers use their powers on the Sisters. While the ladies had, over the years, simply accepted that fact as part of the balance it terrified the Brothers that they could not exert their control upon these powerful entities. For them the command was as easy as breathing and they expected obedience where none was owed. Their fear of what they could not control eventually became a poison hatred. The Brothers waged a war against the Sisters more insidious than any other. Thanks to their not insignificant efforts they were seen as a benevolent order of wise men, entry into their ranks a high honor and a great blessing. The Sisters were hated and hunted monsters.

Though the myths of old were rife with accounts that this had not always been the way, this dichotomy of male and female, only one example had been seen in recorded years. A male child born with monstrous form and terrifying power. In his presence Keri had seen hope that perhaps a reconciliation was possible. Yet the Brothers had feared him most of all and when they had worked together to destroy him the end had come swiftly indeed. She hated them for that and they knew full well they had the full weight of her ire. Had she been a more vengeful woman then perhaps the White Witch might have brought down the hells upon them...but she had not. Instead she had let them suffer her silence, never knowing when she might change her mind.

Now she was going to go to them for information because if anyone could scry the location of the temple it would be the Brothers. The magic and wards that hid the temple from all those who had used spellcraft to find it over the years would be nothing compared to their extraordinary sight. Wynn was convinced this would bring nothing but ruin and had only begrudgingly agreed that they had no other option. Still, Keri took precautions. She hid away her books, making it seem as though she were not desperate at all. She hid Wynn so that they might not know she had sent for the help of the other Sister. Lastly she had woven a powerful glamour about herself, making her appearance that of her aged self. While she could not fool the eyes of the Brothers directly she would not be speaking to them directly. That was what her Mirror was for.

She reached out and pulled the dark fabric from the surface, smoothing her hand across it thrice to prime the magic. Leaning forward she exhaled a breath upon it slowly and watched as fog covered the surface. When it dissipated she found herself peering through a window into a lavish chamber, richly appointed with gilding and expensive silks. The Brothers certainly lived well off the largess of the mundane folk. All those donations in exchange for wisdom...were people really that foolish? Keri loved discovering knowledge for herself. Nothing was more thrilling than finding a passage in an old manuscript and realizing that it had been misread for a thousand years, unlocking it's true meaning. But that was her.

He kept her waiting, the old man at the table. When had that happened? The Brothers aged slower than the average mundane mortal but not so slow as the Sisters themselves. This particular Brother was nearly as old as Keri herself. Not through any quirk of good luck or healthy fortune though, nay his survival was the result of a cruel and vile power. When the sands in the hourglass of his life began to run low he found himself a young and willing member of the Order and he swapped bodies with them. He had left a dozen young men to die over the past four hundred years, living out their stolen youths and middle ages and leaving them with a corpse nearly rotted. Her personal loathing for him was difficult to set aside as he turned finally and gazed at her.

"Ah...Kerdiwyn. My aren't you looking ancient, here I'd hoped you'd gone and died at last and left me in peace. But once that damnable moon rose I knew I'd be dealing with you at least once more. I have foreseen it." He grinned smugly, rising to his feet and walking toward the mirror. "Once again I'm right. I also happen to know the purpose of your visit and yes, I can give you the information you seek. The location of your precious Temple of Seven Sisters. But first we discuss my price. In the temple on the alter there sits a bowl containing a single stone. Not just any stones mine you but an Echo Stone. It was abandoned and left behind and has been sitting there since the temple was lost, soaking up all those energies. I want it."

Her fingers tightened on her walking stick as though it was his neck and she might throttle him. Echo Stones! She'd only been privileged in her life to hold one at the very end of it's power and had still been terrifying. This stone, if it had indeed been gathering it's energies for so long, would be able to crack the world. "What use would you have for an Echo Stone? You've no power to wield it. No spark to kindle it's flame."

He waved at her in dismissal and when he spoke it was in a tone that was usually reserved for small children and family pets. "It doesn't matter what I want it for. That is my price for this information. I want the Echo Stone." He folded his arms across his chest, his colorful silks rustling while she thought it through. He had her though and she slowly dipped her head in agreement. His smile widened and he clapped his hands together. "The temple you seek is right in your own back yard you blind crone. Where your beloved Wood meets the sea there is a place where the water is black as night and the clouds never move, an ocean of white in the sky. Navigate it and you'll find the temple in the eye of that tranquil storm. Well you'll either find it or die trying is what I mean. Either way I get something I want."

The Sea of Storms...that was where the temple had been all these years?! She remembered when she was young and foolish she'd once tested her wings against the edge of those winds. They'd nearly been ripped from her back. It suddenly all made crystal clear sense and the maddening laughter from her counterpart only made her grind her teeth in frustration. "Oh shut up you old coot. Isn't that skin of yours getting a little ripe? Best hurry off and find some young boy to murder for your next new start. Otherwise you might die before I do and wouldn't that just be a pity in the eyes of the Mother? I'll fetch you your damn stone just so I can cram it down your throat till you choke. Till next time Baldrus."

Before he could coax her into doing something incredibly stupid she slapped the mirror and the image rippled like water and dissolved. With a shaking hand she lifted the cloth and seated it back over the mirror. Only when she was certain that nobody could spy out of it did she drop her glamour and turn to where Wynn stood. The other Sister was shivering in an equal measure of fear and fury. Fury because she had been right and the Brothers had been as demanding and dangerous as ever, fear because of what they asked for. Keri smiled softly. "It seems bleak Wynn but honestly there are worse things that could have been asked for. An Echo Stone can be dealt with."

Wynn shook her head angrily and the beads in the braided tails of her hair rattled like a swarm of ominous bees. "Oh, I should dearly wish to know how you plan to deal with it. You've told us tales of Echo Stones and those are tales of a stone nearly spent. This is a Stone full prime...he could use it to-"

She held up a hand, carrying soft words on a whisper of wind so that only the other might hear them. "He asked for the Stone...he said nothing about it's power." Keri's Stone was old and near used up. It had only enough power in it to resonate, to like the smell of honey after the jar has been licked clean. It would be tricky, it would be dangerous, but the power in one could be poured into another in the same manner a full goblet of wine could be poured into an empty one. Wynn understood at once what would be attempted and some of the tension bled out of her.

"I don't like this. A temple in the sky? I'm a creature of the soil and stone. Ask me for the womb of a mountain or the heart of a forest and I can blaze you a trail but the sky...I could charm myself to fly I suppose."

Keri shook her head. "That would do you no good. When I was a good deal younger and more foolish I ventured near the Sea of Storms. It called to me. I have always known there was a great power there...how could I have been so blind to the Temple's presence? It matters not, I cannot change the past. What I can tell you though is that no charm or cantrip will survive there. When I dared to fly into the teeth of that gale I drew upon my power when my wings failed me and it was scattered like so many grains of sand."

Now it was Wynn's turn to sit and she did so heavily, letting out a gusty sigh. "So I cannot charm myself to fly and I have not your wings. I feel I will be useless to you." A fist crashed down upon the table in frustration before she relaxed and drummed blunt nails upon the surface. "You mean to dare the temple alone?"

Keri chewed her lip thoughtfully for a moment, a habit of youth returned in a moment of stress. "I think I may have to, at least for the initial ascent. However, the Temple wasn't always hidden. It was a place where mortals brought worship to their goddesses so they must have been able to reach it. I believe once I am inside it I should be able to open whatever path they used to you. The question is how I shall make my ascent. I can call on my magic while in that storm but I can make no use of it. Like cupping water in my hands it will dampen my skin but it won't wash my hair."

Wynn nodded, the speed of her drumming increasing. "There must be some way..."
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Alright then my friends, there must be a way to reach the temple but what is it?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once again, sorry for the delay. I hope you still enjoyed the chapter!
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:54 am    Post subject:  

No need to worry, Rai, this chapter was well worth the wait! I like the contrasting form of powers between the Brothers and Sisters. And the creepiness that is the Brothers' borrowed lives to achieve immortality is top notch. (Also, haha, in your face Baldrus, Echo Stone loophole)

Now, let's see about a solution to this current predicament...if Keri can't use magic within then maybe she can start by using it without? If there is a spell that both Keri and Wynn can conjure together, maybe they can pierce the cloud enough that Keri could fly in sans the wing-ripping turbulence. Wynn might have to eventually channel the magic on her own from the ground so Keri can concentrate on flying, but she seems sturdy enough to handle it.
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kkdestiny



Joined: 05 Oct 2010
Posts: 674
Location: The Library of Interfable History

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:56 pm    Post subject:  

Yes, well done :) I like how that combined.

Im thinking... "well, if you're going to just steal the energy from the stone anyways, why not use it?"

That might be able to build on Seraphi's suggestion..
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:20 pm    Post subject:  

Still enjoying the story, though I will admit it came as a shock that the Brothers are... I suppose evil is the closest word. I was so hoping for some sort of a collaboration. Oh well, it will be nice to see how these Sisters might bring the ruin of the brothers.

Too bad Wynn can't just throw Keri most of the way there. (I jest, I jest.)

Hmmm. Maybe there's a way to form a structure up that high, rather than try to fly from the ground.
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Sun Feb 21, 2016 1:03 am    Post subject:  

New poll is up all!
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Tue Mar 08, 2016 11:23 pm    Post subject:  

I'm not sure if more votes are incoming, but I certainly am not above bumping to try and draw more notice! Was there a vote count you were waiting on?
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 12:03 pm    Post subject:  

Sorry about the delay all. I'm in the middle of moving house and it's been keeping me busy. New chapter will be up by Wednesday my time so hang tight!
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 1:26 pm    Post subject:  

Apologies for the delay, here's your next chapter. Enjoy!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Chapter Four: In which a plan goes awry...

There were no good options for them to choose. No good solutions to the problem. They spent a week attempting a joint spell but much to Wynn's frustration she couldn't maintain the twined magics once Keri put her concentration elsewhere, the White Witch's power sliding away like vapor. Earth and Air, like fire and water, were opposites in many ways and skill in one did not translate well to the other. Wynn simply could not develop the skill needed to handle the fragile power in such a short time yet the week they'd already spent was too long. It was into the uncomfortable silence after their latest failed attempt that Wynn finally voiced an idea she'd been turning over the past few days. "What about your Echo Stone? Could it?"

Keri shook her head, gazing to the box where the stone rested. "When it was given to me it felt so...powerful. It radiated magic like a bonfire and in my foolish youth I thought it would always be so. There is little enough power left in it now, it is like a candle in the darkness. Flickering and dim. There's just enough power in it now to radiate as magical. It couldn't help me strike a match." She rested her chin on her fingers and sighed, violet eyes closed in thought. "But it is still a focus for magic. Perhaps, if I fit it into my staff, I can use the echo stone to amplify the power there."

She stood, crossing the floor swiftly to remove the milky white stone from it's bed of blue velvet. Stretching out a hand her staff flew to her, smacking her palm with a weighty thud while her fingers closed around it. She shifted her grip, taking hold of the long shaft where it branched out into the intricate caged shape that was the tip, where the nexus of power formed when she worked. Her violet eyes narrowed and she muttered to her self and the words would have made any sailor blush as she tried to convince the staff to open the cage just enough to ease the stone into it's embrace. It took some time, hesitant movements, and every ounce of patience she possessed...but she emerged victorious.

The white stone was caught firm by the ivory wood, power sparking and chasing along it's smooth surface and glowing softly. Keri's shoulders were stiff, her skin clammy with sweat, and she was utterly exhausted. "We shall attempt the ascent tomorrow...tonight I suggest we pray." Because if this didn't work...well she wouldn't be around to worry about the consequences. She tried to put that out of her mind as she made her way to her bed trusting Wynn to sort herself out. Yet the thought wouldn't go. Keri had long ago left her fear of dying behind in her younger years. She knew what waited her on the other side and sometimes...sometimes she wondered where she found the strength to make paradise wait.

She lay in her bed, staring at the wall, tail flicking restlessly. Sleep would not come for her. The light of the violet moon streamed in through the window and rested across her like a blanket, as though it had a real and physical weight and a warmth like the sun. "Oh mother, what am I doing?" Her mother, both the woman that had bore and abandoned her and the druidess that had raised her with love and pride, was long dead and it had been years since she'd bothered her mother's memory. Perhaps it was being young again that did it. When she'd last worn this shape and guise, her maiden years, her mother had been alive and a source of both support and wisdom. She didn't have that now and she clung to the memory of it like a freezing man might blow on an ember and hope for a blaze.

Somehow she found reassurance. Somehow she found sleep. Soon enough the light of the sun drove her from her bed and set her to gathering up...things. Some of them were meaningful items she'd need on a journey while others were brick-a-brack that she just felt unable to leave behind. Calimere, sensing her discomfort, was a silent but loving presence that fetched things before she asked. It was steadying to know that at least one creature out there had faith in her...well, perhaps Wynn did too but the other was a woman of few words and neutral expression.

Lightly laden she stepped out of her house and into a waiting wood. Branches stirred and grasses rustled in a way that had little to do with the playful breeze tugging her hair. Her wood was offering reassurance. It knew she was worried and it was reaching out to her with it's ageless voice and reminding her how far she'd come. This plan would work and her self-doubt had no place in her actions this morning. So it was with a smile that she and Wynn set off along a path the forest laid out for them, companionable silence stretching between them as each was lost in her own thoughts. Calimere sprinted in circles around them, chasing butterflies and batting at fragile Dandy's Bells, setting their fluff born seeds free with each bat of his paws.

His good spirits lasted until they reached the edge of the wood and stared out over a lichen covered expanse of rock. The blackness of the eternal Sea of Storms spanned the horizon, the wind snarling a warning and bringing with it the stench of salt from the sea beyond the nearby cliffs. It's fingers plucked at her hair and clothing and ruffled her feathers the wrong way so it was with a calmness she didn't feel that she took off her cloak and handed it to Wynn. "For safekeeping. It will only foul my wings if I try to rise with it and I won't need it keeping me warm as hard as I'll be working. When I see you again in the temple I'll take it back from you."

Wynn nodded, taking the pristine fabric and draping it over an arm, holding it against her chest to prevent the grasping wind from carrying it off. "It's not too late to reconsider. Perhaps send for the others and with the five of us-"

Keri placed a hand on Wynn's arm and smiled, shaking her head. "I know you've sent for them but honestly I've delayed enough Wynn. They can join us in the temple or we shall collect them afterward but whatever is happening isn't going to slow it's course simply because we are not ready to undertake the challenges laid out before us. If this succeeds then we are one step closer to answers. If this fails then we are no further than we were before."

With that she turned, took firm grip on her staff, and charged away across the rocks toward the nearby sea cliffs. Slowly her wings unfolded, the pinions flicking and stretching as they aligned themselves. It had been ages since she'd flown. Kingdoms had risen and fallen. Mortal generations moldered in tombs. Not since she'd retired to her forest and left the world behind. Not since Wynn had been born certainly, perhaps not since Avony had been. But now she felt it again in her blood the wild rush of it all. When the ground fell away she was ready and she found herself buoyed easily, gaining height with every beat of her wings. Her body straightened and leveled and she gripped the staff to her as she fixed her eyes on the surface of the Sea of Storms and ignored the black water and land that receded below her.

She could feel the winds grow from unfriendly to hostile. From difficult to strong to clawing at her feathers and building strain in her back. She called on her magic, willed it to rise while she could. It pooled in the staff, gathered in the nexus, and chased through the Echo Stone. White light tinged with lavender gathered and pulsed, wrapping around her like a cocoon. She raised it as she approached the lowest layer of the clouds and pressed forward, the light flashing before her in a brilliant explosion of light and color. Then the clouds had swallowed her.

On the ground Wynn waited with Calimere, one hand clenched into a fist at her side as she gazed upward at the hole in the clouds that Keri had vanished into. She'd done it! She'd pierced the surface. Now all Wynn had to do was wait. She blinked her copper green eyes again, trying to chase away the burn of that bright flash of light. So much energy, Wynn couldn't even see where Keri was in the thickness of the clouds. Did it swallow all that light? Was it truly that dense? Her eyes flicked back and forth for any sign, any indication. There! A flash of white. Another. Wynn was caught unprepared for the noise, an ear rendering crack as though lightning had struck next to her. It was followed by a roar that drove her to her knees and set Calimere scraping his ears against the ground. Some massive shape roiled in the clouds, some beast hidden in them until moments before.

Then Calimere let loose a terrible noise, racing forward to the edge of the cliff, his nose following a pale object that hurtled downward from the clouds like a splinter of the sun. The staff! Wynn charged forward, hastily calling to mind some spell that would extend the earth below her feet, but she'd never make it in time before the staff plunged into the sea and Wynn doubted it could ever be recovered if it plunged into those ebony waters. Her heart pounded in her chest and she sent half finished prayers to the Gods new and old that something, anything would happen.

Someone answered.

A hand shot upward from the sea, long fingers gracefully intercepting the staff before it could strike the waves as the water swelled upwards. Slowly it revealed a familiar face, skin a dusky blue-grey, raven waves so black they shone blue with a soft hint of green, and eyes as crystalline as the warm southern sea. Irisi seemed slightly puzzled, gazing at the weapon as a column of water dropped her off on the edge of the cliff, the sharkskin leather of armor gleaming and a belt of white shells circling her waist. On her back a trident of pearl and coral rested, pinned in place by a sleek pack of goods. She looked up, her black waves dancing in the wind and one shapely brow arched. "What in in Biels Hells is going on? Wynn? What the hell is this thing? Even these dark waters wanted nothing to do with it."

Wynn plucked the staff from her grip, wrapping Keri's cloak around it. It seemed like the right thing to do. Calimere pawed at her leg and she set the bundle down gently, letting the little familiar crouch over it and guard it as he seemed intent on doing. 'That is Keri's staff. She tried to use it to pierce the Sea of Storms. She succeeded in it but...something attacked her. She must have dropped it in the conflict or had it stripped from her grip. Either way, she hasn't come back down."

Irisi's gaze flicked upward, brows knitting together. "Damn, I told you to wait for me. I got held up trying to sort out Thena and Avony but you know those two. Thena drags her hooves any time the old woman is involved and Avony spends needless time placating her. So you're telling me that you let our withered matron take up her staff and attempt to fly again rather than just...I don't know...sitting on her until I arrived?"

"I'll explain later. Right now we need to figure out a plan to help Keri and I don't think we have much time to do it with." Wynn stared up at those angry storm clouds. Now they had Earth and Water...but they'd lost Air.

"Maybe the staff can help? I mean...I'm alright at air magic and you know I'm a fan of storms...but that seems like too much for me and you...you're a rock in the wind. You're not going to fly further than you've been thrown." Irisi crouched down, stroking Calimere's ears, trying to sooth the familiar. "Look, she's alive or little Cali here would have gone poof. I'm just saying we've got the old bat's greatest magical tool and her familiar right here...we've got to have some way to help her."
------------------------------------

So, dear readers, what shall we do? The White Witch is lost, but not yet gone, and the youngest sister has entered play. Will the two of them be able to figure out a daring rescue, or perhaps just send aid? The clock is ticking....
-----------------------

I hope this was worth the wait, once again I'm sorry it took so long!
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Wed Mar 23, 2016 2:58 pm    Post subject:  

I gotta say, that flowed so naturally I couldn't even tell there had been a conflict in the poll. In fact, I find myself doubting that there was. Either way, the flow was a lovely gradual incline to the dramatic points! I could perfectly picture that hand thrusting up from the sea!

As for what they are to do, I'm not sure. While waiting no doubt isn't the most prudent option, it may be their only one. If Keri is up there still, she may be executing a plan, and it wouldn't do to interrupt it. I say wait, either for another sister to arrive, or for another sign of Keri or the beast.
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scribe siren



Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 102

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:43 am    Post subject:  

Recent read chapter: Here I write what I thought as I went along to write.

SPELLBINDERS CHAPTER 1: In which the violet moon rises

As I read to the 4th paragraph of the first chapter: I thought the woman was turning into a werewolf, since the hair become white fur and her bones snapping, but then she grew wings. Which was very interesting! This so far, made me want to know what creature she really was after the moon’s effect. And if she has hooves, that might make her a pegasus?

At paragraph 5 I thought she was a horse type, but now after receiving her staff and leaning on it, she is then an furry bi-ped horse human. I loved the idea where she changed, especially when she didn’t just turn into a werewolf. Which would have been rather predictable.

At paragraph 6: I was really confused with this. She had hooves, now she has talons? Is that someone else then? Or was that a story mistake. The words at: Lo’ Behold the moon rise violet and did it’s light cast open the doors---” Made me think someone was telling a story, but suddenly I find that she has talons , instead of hooves. Unless she has two feet hooves and hand talons. Make that a bit clearer.

I know I”m being picky and full of questions but I hope it will help you. I’m reading like a normal reader would think. After reading each piece I find that I have to see if she has clawed hands and horse hooves to stand upon.

The rest I read at paragraph 7: Here I believe that she has two hooves and two claws, then I read that someone was telling a story to someone… unless you’re trying to convey that it’s like narrative written work for the readers.

Paragraph 8: Here I’m wondering if she was someone new-- the main character. Or was she the character first mentioned, who infact was reincarnated…. ? because she says , “Thus why i am renewed.”

Paragraph 9: Seizing what Purpose? Where was she? What made her move like that?
So she might have just an urge to run in the world she so desires to live in… that is what I learnt.

Paragraph 10: Here I like where I’m told who she is. And what would the reason be for being called a white witch. I keep reading as I’m commenting on your work. I love the imagery of your point of view.

IS Calimere a cat? I believe it is if she is a witch…

I loved reading the first chapter, riveting and very imaginative. Mysterious written work which makes all question the work and how you came to make this
An old friend had a char that was a vamp bat with hooves with wings. since your main char has fur. It would be strange for her to be a vampire . A furry vamp would be awesome. Or just a strange fawn mix. Or a hybrid...

I would love return favour for my work. Be as brutal as possible.
I'll continue reading after dinner.


EDIT: chapter two was wonderful. However my question still sits. Is the witch and Wynn the same race? ok so they are sisters Keri and her sis is under wild magic. Makes me want to continue reading chapter 3.

I've read chapter 3. It answered quite a few faq. So there is a brother that lives on life force. And a temple in the sky is great idea. I'm getting to your 4th chapter.
Keep an eye out for my reply on chapter 4:

Reply on chapter 4. My fave scene is where she as old witch gives her cloak to Wynn. Here I have to say. Do not jump to conclusions.
She might be ok. Or something did get her. I'd ask the others with her what they know about the sky temple and the reason B wanted it for. I'd suggest using a grappling hook and a hook...

Or they can build a mount of stair with. Land and water. Calimera Is doppelganger animal. A spirit animal... if calimera is not screaming in pain. Then Keri is ok for now.

Find a flying contraption from someone.

Or a portal from a mage.

That mirror in the chapter has to be very important for some reason. Otherwise you would not have mentioned it.
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:09 pm    Post subject:  

DEFINITELY worth the wait (definitely), so no worries. As always I am mesmerized by the flow of your writing. And I really loved how you implemented the choices from the poll.

For the dp...oh gosh. Waiting certainly won't do. Perhaps they can try communicating with Keri through her familiar to learn of her predicament and whether or not it is precarious? If that fails, they do still have the stone/staff combo - it was powerful enough to get Keri into the storm in the first place, so maybe with that, and the better suited to work together magic of Earth and Water, they can work to create a spiraling tower up into the storm (sort of like spearing into the clouds with a building as their protection haha).
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Kalanna Rai



Joined: 21 Jan 2006
Posts: 3075
Location: The Frozen North

Posted: Wed Aug 03, 2016 2:24 pm    Post subject:  

But I'm not dead yet. Just unfortunately carried away from the things I've been intending.
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scribe siren



Joined: 20 Mar 2016
Posts: 102

Posted: Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:46 am    Post subject:  

Hello there! I know how it feels to be busy.

I am excited to read the next chapter coming up.
I hope my earlier comment did not discourage you.
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