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Fiery Folly and Foolish Fright
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:14 am    Post subject: Fiery Folly and Foolish Fright  

Hey, everyone!

Here I am, posting like a big girl. Yay for me! ;) I haven't written in a few months, let alone anyone take a look at it so I deeply apologize in advance. I'm hoping you guys will be interested enough to keep me motivated in writing so I'll force myself to start writing again. Haha! Enjoy!

Prologue

Surely, he shouldn’t have been so foolish, so careless, so arrogant. Everything in him - every bone, vessel, and thought - had screamed at him to move, to act, to rescue and this is what he got. The blood on his chest and the rusty scent in his nostrils were a constant reminder of how wrong he had been. If he needed anymore evidence of his moronic mistake, he could simply look behind him and watch the burning sky.

But no. He didn’t need to look. Despite being miles away, he could still feel the heat at his back and hear the screams of those burning alive in his ears.

He had been so deathly wrong.

And now, everyone was going to burn and die and rot and -

He woke with a start, reaching for his sword and chest simultaneously. He wanted to be safe, wanted to make sure that the horror was far behind him.

Damn. How unfortunate. His wound still throbbed with pain, but it wasn’t as fresh as his dreams wished him to believe. That battle was months ago and he wasn’t even within a hundred miles of that place. Right? He couldn’t be. Not now. Not after all that running.

Cyphrus shifted and looked at the green trees above him, the grass below him, and the flowers scattered around him. No forest within two hundred of that cursed battlefield would be able to thrive like this. That place, so heavy with spells and death, had warded off any trace of happiness or hope or good. But here. Here he was safe. For now. He could practically taste the raw life and white magic in the air. It was why he came to rest here in the first place. The wind was so pure, the intentions so serene, and the peace so deafening that on a few occasions, he had wondered if he was actually dead and simply wandering through the afterlife.

But each time he wondered that, he remembered that the dead couldn’t feel pain like he did - or maybe they did and he was simply being punished for his...his…

The man shook himself and sighed, closing his bright blue eyes and pondering. He didn’t want to think about it anymore. Truly. It wasn’t worth it. All it did was make his throbbing pain worse and, in turn, that made it impossible for him to rest. If he didn’t rest, he would never recover. If he didn’t recover, he wouldn’t be able to...fix his mistake.

Pssshhh. Fix.

Cyphrus opened his eyes and stared at the clear, blue sky for a moment.

Fix. He couldn’t fix it. He knew it. All that was left was to atone.

How did one atone for such a heinous thing anyway?
Cyphrus shook his head and dragged himself to his feet. There wasn’t any atoning. He knew that. At best, he could hope for penance. Gods knew killing him didn’t work.

The wind stirred, bringing the scent of laughter and joy with it. This wasn’t any natural joy though - it was a mortal. The man was suddenly curious as well as loosely alarmed. He hadn’t come across anyone for weeks, let alone one who was happy. It was nature’s task to stay happy, not some mortal.

Nonetheless, he found himself driven forward, moving slowly among the trees, looking for this...person. He supposed it shouldn’t be unexpected to come across someone like this. It was mid-morning and the sun was high in the sky. This forest wasn’t unused to people, but it certainly hadn’t seen some in sometime. He hadn’t either. He’d been avoiding mortals since the incident, too embarrassed to face any of their kind at all. Perhaps it was finally time to move out of the forest and into somewhere new. Or, perhaps it was time to start using magic again to mask him.

Despite his curious racing thoughts, Cyphrus moved slowly. His chest still hurt and he was trying to mask the dark magic leaking from the wound. He’d tried everything to heal it, but it refused and he now wondered vaguely if it had attracted mages or bloodletters. Both were bad news and he frowned at the thought. But...the forest was so kind and welcome. Surely, he would have sensed any foul aura or intention.

The man paused and leaned against a tree, panting as pain and doubt took over his body. This was ridiculous. He shouldn’t have moved, let alone hoped for something good. He’d come to accept in the past few weeks that nothing but nature itself was good. Mortals were silly things created by the gods for fun and due to their short lifespan, they were usually cruel and stupid. The gods were petty too. The only good thing was the forest before him and the fresh scent in the air. Nothing else mattered. Not now.

Cyphrus resolved himself to stop, his curiosity dying. What did he care? He didn’t. Probably just some stupid mortal looking to cause more pain and destruction. He didn’t -

As a twig snapped and broke his train of thought, he realized the mortal was closer than he thought. Alarmed, he turned defensively, clutching his sword and trying to stand tall.

“Mister!” A small girl snapped up at him, her fair cheeks flushed and her brown eyes wide with surprise and fear. “Hide! Quick! He’ll find us if you don’t!” Her little trembling body shook and she panted for breath.
-----
So DP - what does Cyphrus do?
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Sapphire_Rayne



Joined: 17 Sep 2015
Posts: 38

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:49 am    Post subject:  

First of all, welcome! It's nice to see a new face!

I am extremely interested in reading more of this! My attention is hooked! I want to know so many things, like what exactly was that battle? If he refers to humans as mortals, and Gods as that exactly, then what race is he? And that wound worries me with dark magic flowing out of it and whatnot. That's not normal . . I'd hope it isn't normal!

As for the DP, well . . she seems scared. And I don't know quite enough to know if it's in character or not, but I say that he hide with her. Maybe it might make her less scared? And we'll find out who this he is she's referring to.
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 12:59 pm    Post subject:  

First thought- it's really cool to see a story start with a flashback, when there's been such a prevalence of stories that have visions of the future lately. Certainly a nice surprise! Especially in a setting with magic. I like the implication that there's magic in the very world- it's something I've been toying with myself, and it's always neat to see another persons take on it!

The fact that he survived what sounds like a terrible fate, and that he's referring to something as a mortal, as 'their kind', makes me wonder what our Cyphrus is, and I look forward to finding out! This snagged my attention, and I've added it to my favorites already!

As for the dp, he seems like the sort who wants to rescue- it's all but said as such in the first few lines- so I'd think he either tries to hide with the girl like Sapph said, or he prepares to defend her. Maybe as part of his attempt at atonement?
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:59 pm    Post subject:  

Welcome to If, Wellspring!

This is a great start. I reallllly want to know what exactly Cyphrus endured just a few short months ago (and why he seems to be the only one to have survived it), but I suppose I'll have to be patient and wait, haha.

For the DP...Cyphrus should hide the girl, but he should stay out in the open to intercept whoever it is that's chasing her and misdirect them if he can.
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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: Mon Jan 18, 2016 2:33 pm    Post subject:  

Welcome to If!!

Well, isn't this just REALLY cool?? I love the setting, I love the mystery of it, and I love a good cynic. Hahaha! I'm very curious to see where this goes.

I'm going to jump on with Seraphi and say he hides the girl and readies himself to defend her.

Again, welcome! Can't wait to see more!
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 12:21 pm    Post subject: Chapter 1  

Heeeey, everyone! Thanks so much for the input and the encouragement. I'm so glad you guys like it so far. It's pretty okay for being on a whim. xD

Since everyone basically had the same idea, I just wrote the next chapter. I hope I'll actually do a poll next time - I got busy and forgot. lol

Anyway, enjoy!

Chapter 1

Cyphrus stared, uncomprehending for a few long moments before moving forward.

“What’s wrong?” He leaned down, his tall figure still towering over her despite being on his knees.

“Dario!” She insisted and shrank away, her small legs carrying her behind a tree. “Quick!”

Cyphrus inhaled and smelled another mortal headed this way. They were fast moving and carried the scent of a hunt with them. The tall man looked at the small girl and frowned. Maybe this was one way to atone for what he did. Perhaps saving one small mortal would count for something.

“Hide.” He said in the sort of voice of someone who would not be challenged. The girl shrank back and stared at his chest.

“You’re...hurt.” She said and suddenly looked frightened. “Are you okay?”

Cyphrus glanced down and swore internally. Damn. The stab was now leaking black blood along with the foul magic that was starting to contaminate the air. He saw its venomous fingers grip for anything full of white life. He recoiled and concentrated, head spinning, world shifting and pulsing as he reached for a tree to lean on. His magic washed over him like a powerful wave and moments later, he stood shakily, blinking away pain and confusion. The venom was under control for now. She’d be safe and so was the forest.

The small mortal was looking up at him, eyes wide.

“Mister-”

Cyphrus jolted as he heard the other mortal approaching and looked down at his bloodied hand. Hell.

“Hide, dammit!” As she retreated, he drew his sword and turned, trying to ignore the smell of blood and his gore on his hand. It was a small price to pay. He was ready to face this purser of children.

In front of him, moving without a care in the world, was a young, tall, dark man, his skin the shade of dark sand, his hair blacker than the foul magic, and his eyes brighter and bluer than the sky above them. He moved swiftly, surely, playfully and Cyphrus realized this stranger had not only several inches on him, but also several pounds of muscle. To make it worse, the man seemed to be...enjoying his hunt. That repulsed Cyphrus. What type of sick individual enjoyed hunting small children to the point of fright and exhaustion? Well, he knew exactly what type - the type that had nothing to lose.

This was going to be difficult.

“Stand where you are!” Cyphrus snapped and raised his sword with determination. To his surprise, the stranger stopped immediately and regarded Cyphrus with a large degree of curiosity. His piercing blue eyes gazed intensely for a few long moments before his attention shifted and he looked at Cyphrus’s chest.

“I say,” he said with an irritatingly warm tone and accent. “You’re quite a bit hurt, aren’t you?”

The stranger was infuriatingly relaxed and seemed not at all ruffled.

“...I…” Cyphrus scrambled for words as the world pulsed again. “...won’t let you near her!”

Confusion clouded the stranger’s eyes before he slowly smiled and laughed lowly. The woods seemed to respond to the merry sound and Cyphrus felt a distinct rise in the pure magic. The man’s smile bounced and seduced joy all at once and Cyphrus found his cynicism fading reluctantly - but only for a few moments. He shook himself and pointed his sword evermore determined.

“What’s so funny….you?”

The stranger approached cautiously, amused and smiling. “Tess...did you give this man a hard time? Come on out! I know where you are.”

Cyphrus heard Tess giggle and, before he could stop her, she rushed out from her hiding place and into the man’s arms. He picked her up and laughed, again confusing Cyphrus with the pure joy of the sound.

“Dario!” Tess giggled. “You won. Again.”

“Well,” Dario said and ruffled her hair lightly. “You almost had me.”

Cyphrus’s head swam with confusion and ire. “Just...what is going on here?” He stumbled and caught himself on a nearby tree.

Dario frowned and put down Tess. “Isn’t it obvious? Hide and Seek. I’ve won three times in a row.” Tess panted and then hid behind Dario’s long legs.

“He’s scary, Dario.”

“Oh, I don’t think so.” Dario took a few steps toward Cyphrus and smiled, offering a hand. “Welcome. You look like you need help.”

“Who are you?” Cyphrus demanded, the pain and venom confusing him further. He couldn’t quite explain it, but the closer the young man got, the more his wound hurt - it was almost as if a cleansing fire had started and didn’t want to be stopped. The pain was nearly unbearable and he doubled over, trying to mask it.

“I’m a gypsy.” Dario stated simply and got dangerously close. “You’re in my forest.”

Cyphrus let out a pained laughed. Who owned a forest? “I...don’t believe you.” He panted pathetically.

“That’s all right. Many don’t.” Dario sounded oddly chipper for someone who had just been challenged.

Tess came closer as well and Cyphrus could tell she was nervous, but she wasn’t afraid anymore. Dario crouched and Tess hid behind his broad shoulder, her blue eyes wide with wonder.

“Would you like help?” Dario offered politely, as if it was a very small thing. Cyphrus knew better. Help meant contaminating whatever life they had. But it also meant...rest.

Cyphrus groaned and glanced up, torn and off-put by the sudden kindness. He stood shakily and found that he could still bear weight on his legs. That meant he could leave as well.

He straightened up slowly and looked at Dario, having reached a decision.
____________

What does he do? =D
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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 Jan 22, 2016 12:35 pm    Post subject:  

STILL LOVING THIS!!

Dario sounds hott...just sayin'. HAHA! I love gypsies. The way the forest seemed to respond to him was rather intriguing as well.

I'm going to be boring and say we accept the offer of help. The forest responds well, and his magic seems pure. We're not doing so hot on our own, so let's see what they can do.
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 3:30 pm    Post subject:  

Agreeing 10000% with Andi here...Dario sounds hot XD

I'm also very interested in Dario's relationship with the forest. It responds to him, he called it his...and then there's the way Cyphrus' wound reacted to him physically, like Dario is even purer in magic than the forest is.

Go with the (hot) man, Cyphrus. Go.
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:21 pm    Post subject:  

Just as a forewarning: I'm still sick, still on cold medicine, and not completely coherent, but you asked me to read it, so here's my best shot.

I did have my suspicions that perhaps there was more to the girl and her pursuer than the immediately obvious, and it's rather nice that that's the way it turned out. I'm not entirely sure that this Dario person is to be trusted, but considering the shape he's in now... Well surely that's got to be an improvement?

However, I thrive on being the dissenting voice, so my dp suggestion is that he questions Dario a little more first.
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:34 pm    Post subject:  

Hey, everyone! I'm finally out of the hospital and have proper internet access. =D Yay for me!

Okay, maybe next time I can finally do a proper poll. XD

Chapter 2

He suddenly stood silently and swallowed, almost unable to accept help. For a moment, he tried once again to ignore the powerful, demanding pain.

“I...suppose I don’t...have a choice,” Cyphrus admitted reluctantly and breathed out uncertainly.

Dario smiled, his eyes lighting up.

“Excellent,” he turns to Tess. “Want a ride?”

Tess laughed and eagerly clutched at him. “Yes!”

Dario picked her up easily and lifted her onto his shoulders. He nodded at Cyphrus, concerned.

“Do you need help?”

Cyphrus’ pride flared up and he scowled. His chest suddenly felt wet again and he glanced down, annoyance growing as the blood spread. Again. He really didn’t care anymore, he reflected. He just wanted to be able to hold his own. Cyphrus didn’t want this...youngster carrying him. That was entirely too embarrassing.

“No,” he said and took a few determined steps.

Dario nodded and didn’t seem perturbed. Tess abruptly broke off into a language Cyphrus didn’t understand. Dario walked forward at a slow pace and seemed at peace.

“Iv taeuh dismunette?” She asked uncertainly.

Dario shrugged and spoke. “Nir sa. Iv aet korr grynous ae.” He observed Cyphrus for a moment and at length, he spoke.

“She wants to know if you’re going to leave.”

“Not currently,” he admitted and tried hiding a hiss of pain. “As I said, I - I don’t have...much of a choice.”

Dammit. He was dripping blood again and it burned. Dizziness started to consume him and he stumbled like a drunkard. Dario paused and put Tess down.

“Please...let me help you,” he stated as he moved forward to help. Cyphrus’ wound flared up violently and his pain doubled. He fell hazily to the ground. As Dario stepped toward him, Cyphrus murmured faintly and let the darkness overcome him.

He panted desperately and bolted for cover. He felt the heat of the magic and knew there was no time to look behind him and check his enemies. His spine tingled and he rolled out of the way as a dark purple claw reached for him. The purple blinded him for a brief moment, but he recovered and dashed evermore determinedly for the trees. He was a hunted animal and he knew this and wished the roles were reserved. No time for wishful thinking now. He had to concentrate.

And then his chest tore open and he was reeling from the hit and pain, burning, damn, dizziness, darkness, and pain, pain, pain, pain. He was dancing in the stars and drowning in the oceans all at once. His breath caught somewhere in his chest and his heart burned with rage.

As he lay helplessly on the ground, something carnal awoke in him and red washed over him. He let it devour him and he stood, rage and red becoming one in the same. Cyphrus took a deep breath and let the blood stained black expand and dance within him.

Consciousness beckoned him and he had no choice but to stir. Cyphrus slowly opened his eyes and realized several things.

First, he was being carried over someone’s shoulder. Second, his wound burned, sending icy fire up into his chest and heart. Third, he was dangerously hot, and fourth, he didn’t know who carried him.

He squirmed violently and felt the person beneath him stiffen.

“Stay still,” they murmured but he did not comply. Instead, he struggled all the more and his captor stumbled and clumsily dropped him. Cyphrus found himself spitting out dirt. He scrambled to his feet and drew his sword with confidence and hot rage. He turned warily and was blinded by a brilliant, terrifying light. White magic flowed around him and he suddenly understood that the black magic within him was being burnt and consumed all at once. The pain pulsed and Cyphrus saw crimson again. Through the red, he beheld a powerful being full of radiant light and magic. For a fleeting moment, he wondered if they were a deity of old.

“I am not here to harm you,” they said, their voice echoing like a thousand choirs singing. “I want to help.”

Cyphrus frowned in doubt as he noted an orange glowing orb in the deity’s hand. This was dangerous magic. As the being moved forward, Cyphrus’ breath caught in horror. Behind the stranger was Dario, limp and gray on the ground.

“You aren’t here to help,” Cyphrus said angrily. “You’re here to hurt.” He gripped his sword protectively and allowed his rage to make him stand.


_______

All right! What does Cyphrus do? Does he trust the person? Does he run? Does he fight? Does he do something else entirely? =D
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 7:50 pm    Post subject:  

Still loving this story so far! The way you describe the wound and the magic is intriguing, and I can't wait to learn more about the causes. Bring on those flashbacks!

Dario, no! I sure hope he's somehow okay. Maybe Dario is just a shell for this being of light? I'm not sure, but either way, now is not a time for rash decisions. Wait for this weird other-being to make the first move!
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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: Thu Jan 28, 2016 8:33 pm    Post subject:  

DARIO!!!

First order of business is to see if Dario is okay. He was helping us. We know that much. Let's try to stall this being. Find out exactly who/what they are, and see what happened to Dario. Also, where did the little girl go??

On another note, I really loved this line...

"He was dancing in the stars and drowning in the oceans all at once."

The whole italicized scene was very poetic. I loved it. Can't wait to see more!
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 1:13 pm    Post subject:  

I'm so glad you guys like it! =D I love writing it so far. I know my posts are kind of short but I'm a firm believe in saying more with less. XD Something I've been practicing since one of my favorite authors does that.

I'll leave this open for a little bit to wait for Seraphi to comment.

And, I'm curious - what do you guys think of the language? I've been working on it for the past few days.
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 2:38 pm    Post subject:  

Thanks for the patience, Wellspring. I'm glad I get to get a comment in before some polling action :3

So the italicized part was awesome. And (like Andi) I thought the "He was dancing in the stars and drowning in the oceans all at once" line was really poetic and I loved it.

I like how we're steadily learning about this curse/wound he has, how it seems to be something that controls him but that he can simultaneously use it (like allowing it to give him a sort of adrenaline rush to stand and face this strange creature person thing).

I'm going to agree with Noni and say that this being actually is Dario in a sense, and that the flesh and bone body is just its vessel. Maybe it can only exist in this world as a pure being of magic for a limited amount of time.

The language. Lawd, the language. A+++ I really like (and I didn't even know you had made it, I thought it was Romani - that's what it reminds me of anyway). I hope we get to see/hear more of it.

Enough of my blabbering, though, for the DP I say...take a jab. If this person is truly not going to hurt Cyphrus, then it will defend and not counter. Maybe this aggression will get it to give him some space. With an increase in proximity maybe his wound will stop hurting and Cyphrus will be able to have a civil conversation with it lol.
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 5:09 pm    Post subject:  


Thanks so much, Seraphi! I'm really glad you like the language. I've been working on grammar rules and vocab pretty hardcore. XD. There will definitely be more as it is story important.

This is a general shout out to people - if anyone else wants to read and comment, do it ASAP. I'll be polling tomorrow. I'm excited to see where you guys take me. =D

-dramatic hours later-

Okay! Polling is up. =D

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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:41 pm    Post subject:  

Heeeeeeeyyyyy, everyone.

I got really excited and so I just had to write again. =D So I'm just going for it. XD.

So the people who voted are NoNi, Seraphi, and Andolyn. The final tally was to torture me so I was properly tortured and it was wonderful. XD

Chapter 3


The being recoiled slightly and hissed. “How dare you raise your blade!”

Cyphrus was taken aback by the violent tone, demanding question and underlying threat. This creature was powerful and their words alone stole his breath and somehow gave life all at once.

He lowered his sword cautiously and waited for a few moments before exhaling, trying to get the red out of his vision. If he didn’t...well, the forest would be gone just like…

Cyphrus started, suddenly remembering Tess. The red reached for him and he held his sword tightly.

“Where’s the girl?”

The being moved forward a bit and sighed, obviously disappointed.

“He sent her away.” The voices and light brightened.

“...what?” Dario was even more of a mystery now.

The being moved back, becoming dangerously close to Dario. “He hasn’t used his Replusing magic for sometime. I believe it took a toll on him.”

Cyphrus found himself relieved and intensely curious all at once. Tess was safe. That was something. But...Dario. Replusing magic was more ancient than the trees themselves and few knew how to use it. How did a young man, a boy barely a man, know how to use it?

Cyphrus suddenly moved forward as the being leaned down. “Leave him alone!”

The creature reached an arm down, the arm suddenly becoming sickly green and reeking of foul magic.

Through a protective crimson haze, Cyphrus stumbled forward and took a clumsy swing at the being. Surprisingly, he managed to graze them and he caught himself just before his blade went into the ground. His bloody vision was helping him stand but his body was tired and wounded and despairing. He couldn’t really stand anymore and fell to his knees beside his companion.

The creature recoiled back several yards, dripping green and shrieking violent colors of murk and fire.

As the screaming died down, Cyphrus reached over and shook Dario, alarmed at the heat and ragged breathing resonating from the man.

“Dario! Wake up!”

Suddenly, the being started to whimper and cry and Cyphrus felt regret and frustration. No matter what he did, someone ended up hurt. This was almost unbearable. Cyphrus felt his breath catch and his vision pulsed black. Sounds faded for a brief moment and he heard nothing but buzzing; the smells around become almost unbearable and he become nearly drunk off the gasping freshness and invading rot. The black beckoned him again and he found himself panting against the sharp pain and overwhelming desire. Now wasn’t the time to blackout. He had to...

Through his fog, he felt Dario stand and foreign words echoed in his ears. At an unbelievable speed, Dario moved between Cyphrus and the being. Dario glanced at Cyphrus from the corner of his eye and seemed unperturbed.

Cyphrus came to his senses but had difficulty feeling anything but the pain. Dario leaned down and smiled, looking just as content as he had before.

“We’ll be fine. Hold on for a moment longer.”

Cyphrus took an arm and held tightly - Cyphrus was tiring of his perpetual paranoia and somehow just knew in his heart of hearts that Dario could be trusted. He gave into the pure faith he had in the man and gasped. His eyes welled at the sudden pain relief and he lost his breath, now weak and almost entirely useless.

Dario smiled briefly and turned back to the threat. He allowed Cyphrus to continue gripping his arm despite the firm hold.

The green was starting to consume the forest at an alarming rate. The creature shrieked something at Dario, a thousand enraged voices overwhelming the forest.

“Everrech nir yusa sa!”

Dario cocked his head and responded in an even, quiet voice.

“Iv olda byo fipha.”

Cyphrus didn’t speak this strange language but he somehow understood that Dario was protecting him. His head reeled from the thought and he nearly let go, but somehow couldn’t - he didn’t want to go back to wallowing in pain.

The being’s next response was nearly unrecognizable and the green suddenly intensified. Cyphrus smelled rot and knew it was steadily coming for them.

Dario took a few calm steps back so that he and Cyphrus were side by side.

“We’re leaving.” He said simply, and his free arm started to glow. The magic washed over them in a vague, colorful wave, every imaginable shade of blue and red and green and gold and silver singing and dancing about them in wonderful, tangible harmony. Cyphrus forgot everything but the song around him and suddenly felt small, but not in an uncomfortable way. He simply understood the meaning of himself within the universe. He saw the oceans of sorrow and regret within him, whilst observing the rivers of compassion and contentment. The rushing glint of complexity and confusion stabbed at him for a brief moment before being pushed away by awe and curiosity.

Somewhere, in the back of his mind, Cyphrus knew that whatever he was feeling, whatever he was seeing, was himself and the forest all at once. He didn’t mind. He knew it was magic and this magic was beautiful: it wasn’t like the magic he harbored within him.

The colors intensified and Cyphrus suddenly felt as if he was being pulled along with a great wind. Whispers and wisps turned into shouts and gusts and Cyphrus was drowning again but this time it was different. This time it was right and whole and beautiful.

He tightened his grip and gave into darkness.

Nothing but darkness and blood and shouts and screams for mercy. Nothing but a hunger for gore and steel and justice and rage. Nothing but fear and anger and cowering.

The glass shatters
The heart breaks
The waters stir
The soul dies

No, no, he’s not like them! Not like it!

Pain and fire, pain and fire, pain and fire.

“Sleep.”

Light and water, light and water, light and water.

Calm and darkness.

Cyphrus blinked, blinded by the bright light. It took him a few moments to come around and realize that he was in a small shelter made of wood and leaves. Through a small hole, he could see the trees above him and the wondrous sunlight. The quiet chorus of the leaves reached his ears and the wind and birds joined it, the anthem of the forest climbing into the sky. He took a deep breath and soaked in the fresh scents a while longer before sitting up.

He was so dazed, he didn’t understand that his wound no longer smarted until he had stretched. Shocked, he looked down and saw it...healing.

Healing? That was entirely impossible. It couldn’t be. He had tried for months to…

Cyphrus felt memories flood him and he frowned. Dario. There was no other explanation. As he stared in disbelief, he noticed he wasn’t wearing his blood stained shirt and leather armor. They had been replaced with a brown tunic and pants. He suddenly felt naked and shifted uncomfortably. Where was his sword? How could he fight in this ridiculous outfit?

Cyphrus decided to venture out and left the small refuge. The small shelter had been constructed in the trees near a small clearing. Everything was wonderfully green, not at all like the venom he had seen. The birds were not afraid to continue their song as he moved about and peace started to creep into him. The feeling had become entirely foreign and Cyphrus inhaled at the wonder of it. He suddenly remembered all the past months that had been pain and misery and felt overwhelming relief, his eyes tearing up from it.

He leaned against a tree and wept. He wasn’t sad - he was overwhelmed and heaved a few times.

“Thank the gods,” he murmured and inhaled a few times again. Somehow, he was not ashamed of his tears. Instead, he embraced them.

After sometime, he straightened up and remembered his sword.

Cyphrus turned and saw it safely laying on the ground in its sheath. He went over and examined it absently for a few moments before concluding that no harm had come to it. Cypherus sighed and closed his eyes, his knees embracing the soft forest floor. He allowed the raw life to wash over him.

“Oh. You’re up.”

Dario’s voice brought him around and Cyphrus opened his eyes. Dario stood before him, carrying a leafy bag full of berries and foreign vegetables. His merry blue eyes stared and Cyphrus almost didn’t notice how pale he was.

Almost.

Behind his smile, Dario was exhausted and worn. It seemed that ten years had been added to him and he was unnaturally pale. His warm tan skin was now light and thin.

“Better?” Dario moved so freely, his weariness was barely detectable. “Would you like to eat?”

Cyphrus simply stared, unsure of what to do.

_____

DP = what does Cyphrus do? :D
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Sun Jan 31, 2016 6:59 pm    Post subject:  

Uh, ask Dario if he's okay, obviously! This boy (man? Magic person?) obviously put himself through quite a bit of trouble for a basic stranger. That, or ask if there's anything he can do.

I'm still loving the descriptions of things! There's just enough of a hint of chaos to it that it feels baseless and wild, like magic ought to. The language is really neat, though I'm with the others- I had no idea you had made it up til you mentioned it.

That green being is proooobably going to return at some point, angry. I can only hope everyone is ready when it does.
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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: Sun Jan 31, 2016 8:00 pm    Post subject:  

AWESOME. Awesome awesome! I love this whole magic and deity running around amuck. It's FANTASTIC. (Very literally.) I also love the language. Very well done. I think Tolkien would be proud. haha!

As for what he does, I'd say ask if Dario is okay, but I doubt he'd be truthful. We can tell he's not okay. I'm going to say that instead, we ask what happened. Who was the other being? Is Tess okay?
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Cyberworm



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 651
Location: Spatially found, temporal lockdown.

Posted: Mon Feb 01, 2016 10:21 am    Post subject:  

Alright, firstly something that caught my eye.

Prologue:

Quote: No forest within two hundred of that cursed battlefield would be able to thrive like this.

I might be spazzing, but two hundred what? Meters? Miles?

Chapter 1:

Quote: Cyphrus inhaled and smelled another mortal headed this way. They were fast moving and carried the scent of a hunt with them.

I get what you meant, the undefined by gender conundrum that English has. Though surely there must be a better way to convey it than plural, no? :) Color me picky. xD

Quote: He was so dazed, he didn’t understand that his wound no longer smarted until he had stretched.

Lass, are you an English major? I have never heard smart being used as a synonym of the verb to hurt. Kudos.

Ok, now for the less serious stuff.

I'm amazed, the choice of language as I've just said is very admirable. Lyn commented on it splendidly, so I have nothing to add on that front. Very colorful, vivid, descriptive and immersive.

As for the story, it certainly smells fresh. Looking through his confused eyes, something I can relate to and similar to a vertigo a character of my own is going through, I have to say you painted it nicely and the tint of magic and strange magical creatures brings another level of confusion to the reader as well as the character. I'm definitely curious, got me hooked.

The decision is simple, I have nothing on me that the others haven't said. I'd ask about the white magic and the creature. :D How come they spoke and such. Why such a resolution, and what the hell happened when he fell, all grey.

Have fun writing, I certainly had fun reading it! :D
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Tue Feb 02, 2016 2:45 pm    Post subject:  

Thanks for the input everybody! I'm so glad to have such good readers. :D I'm thrilled that you guys are still excited and along for the ride.

I really appreciate pointing out the typos, Cyberworm. I'll go back and change stuff shortly. XD. I am actually a writing tutor at a tutoring center so I'm not an English major but I enjoy it and read a ton. :D

Thanks for the praise, you three. :D I'll try to keep the story interesting/sad/whatever it is the hell I do. XD.

I'll start polling tomorrow as I'll probably be AFK for a bit. However, I want to give people a chance to catch up and comment. :D
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Fri Feb 05, 2016 4:23 am    Post subject:  

(shame on me for failing to comment before the poll went up XD)

I really enjoyed this chapter. We've learned some things, but there are still so many questions to answer. The language you made continues to be excellently enticing. And I love the language you use as you write as well, every sentence I read, its just so beautiful and clear and refreshing and...well my brain is running out of adjectives, but, in sum, very nicely done.

And I'm not as thorough as Cy, but one thing that did stand out to me was...

Quote: Sounds faded for a brief moment and he heard nothing but buzzing; the smells around become almost unbearable and he become nearly drunk off the gasping freshness and invading rot.

...you switched briefly to present tense for part of the sentence. Its a quick fix, just make those o's into a's and you are good to go.

So, I will vote and then painstakingly await the next chapter. Keep up the great work :3
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:04 pm    Post subject: Chapter 4  

Okay! Finally got to writing - stole my grandma's old, clunky computer for a while. XD. Anyway, I'm excited about this one.

So NoNi, Andy, and Sera voted and asking what happened/is Tess okay won out. So here it is. =D

Chapter 4

"Would you like to eat?

He just nodded vaguely and crossed his legs, seating himself comfortably on the forest floor. Dario absently handed him the basket and stared at the sky for a few long moments before sitting himself. He moved with faint stiffness but did not seem off-put or particularly forthcoming about the recent events. Instead, he looked ahead and then offered Cyphrus a side smile.

“Are they good? Some people don’t like the roots.”

Cyphrus realized he had bit down on a nutty root and swallowed, feeling puzzled and awkward. “They’re excellent...if you don’t mind me asking - is - is Tess safe?”

Dario turned and looked at him fully, stealing Cyphrus’ breath in the simple act. Dario’s eyes were blue - they had to have been, because one could not forget such a pure, innocent, wild color. But now...now one of Dario’s eyes was partly green. It was as if an artist had been painting a canvas and then accidently splashed the wall with a vivid green. Light emerald splatter dwelt within that eye and Cyphrus was reminded of the bright forest around them. How this had happened, he did not know and simply stared, gaping like a fool.

Dario did not seem to notice and simply responded,

“Of course she is. She’s back at my camp.”

“Ho-how?” Cyphrus wasn’t sure if he was asking about Tess or the eye.
Dario smiled and took a handful of blackberries, popping them in one by one. “Repulsion magic. Haven’t done it in a while. Took a bit of a toll.” Cyphrus found himself irritated with the sureness and calm with which Dario spoke.

Cyphrus gathered himself and looked away, a little overwhelmed. “Repulsion magic. The art of vanishing from one place to another. Few know of it. To send her away like that takes considerable skill.” He surveyed Dario closely, hoping for some sort of reaction. He didn’t get one.

“Fortunately, I have that skill.”

Suddenly, Cyphrus understood. “...is that how we got here?”

Dario nodded and occupied himself with chewing on a root.

“Where is here?” Cyphrus probbed.

Dario shrugged. “Haven’t the faintest.”

The silence surrounded them closely and it would have been easier to be annoyed if the pleasant ambiance of the forest had not been so loud.

“What...exactly happened? From the beginning?” Cyphrus felt himself becoming hot with frustration and concern. Agitation whispered at the corners of his mind; yet, he still felt that regardless of Dario’s vague answers and enigma, Dario could be trusted. The conflicting emotions whirled about him and he simply waited in flustered silence until Dario spoke again.

“Well...near as I can tell, your black magic upset the forest. Tess found you, I found Tess, you passed out and then the forest found us. I knew the forest was angry, so I simply sent Tess away and you’re well aware of what happened next.”

“My...blackness? It angered the forest?” Frustration drained from Cyphrus and deep shame took its place. He chewed nervously and swallowed, the berries suddenly bitter and undesirable.

Dario nodded. “Yes. Don’t worry. It’s gone now. I got rid of it.”

The desire to vomit and spew questions overwhelmed him. But, he knew that asking them was pointless. After all, even in his answers, Dario had been carefully ambiguous and he doubted the man would provide any real answers. Cyphrus sighed and pushed away the food like a pouting child. Dario extended another smile, this one somehow understanding and even more kind.

“The forest will be fine. She has had worse. She just saw you as an enemy. You aren’t anymore.”

Cyphrus stretched, observing the canopy of the forest. He admired this mortal to some extent. Rather than fuss over such an event, Dario easily accepted it and seemed to be fully sure of himself. Cyphrus envied such a trait.

“So,” Cyphrus said after a long pause. “Where are we?”


Dario gnawed at a root before answering. “Still haven’t the faintest.”

Cyphrus sighed and resisted an urge to glare. “I thought Repulsion magic needed a destination to work. Users concentrate on a single place. Where were you thinking of?”

And then Cyphrus saw it - a quiet, minute hesitation before Dario said anything.

“No where,” he shrugged and gnawed a bit longer. “Just happened to end up here. I believe we’re right outside of Raynia.”

“That’s...that’s nearly one hundred and fifty miles south of our previous location.”

“I know. Don’t worry. We’ll get back.” Dario picked up the basket and stood. “But. For now, you must rest. That wound hasn’t fully healed yet and I haven’t the strength to carry you again.” He grinned a bit and Cyphrus felt embarrassment and relief all at once. He wasn’t sure what to make of anything anymore, but he did know what to make of Dario - he was childish and wise, playful and solemn, safe and wild.

This journey would continue to be interesting.
------
Being the Black Sparrow meant being many things. It meant understanding multiple political tactics; it meant being skilled in all deadly arts; and it meant knowing when and when not to strike. This was perhaps the most vital skill among them all - if one did not know how one’s actions would affect future events, one was useless in a position.

Fortunately for the High Court of Effeliia, Letaliné knew exactly when, how, and why to strike. In this case, she watched an exchange between two men - one was irrelevant to her, but the other was incredibly valuable and she had been tracking him for about a week. The High Court had sent her about two weeks ago to bring back a fugitive of sorts. She knew little of the reasons why or what crimes he had committed, but she did know that he was extremely deadly and that’s why they had sent her, the Black Sparrow.

Letaliné shifted on her branch and, for a moment, longed to be back with her people, walking along the shores of the Great Sea, and residing in the villas surrounding it. Letaliné had thought that a change of pace would be nice, but she had thought wrongly. The forest resided a little bit too far inland and now her elvish eyes and heart desired the long shores and shifting sands. Her heart ached at the thought.

Letaliné shook herself and saw that the exchange had finished. Her target walked toward the river, while the other one went inside the makeshift shelter. She wasn’t sure how much longer these two were staying, but she was willing to kill the other and then capture her prey.

As the Black Sparrow, she was deadly with a bow and so it took little effort to aim and draw. She took a deep, steady breath, and released her arrow.

To her absolute surprise, the target heard the arrow and turned and made eye contact with her. His blue-green eyes smiled against his dark skin and as the arrow buried itself into his shoulder, regret clawed at her.

“Oof!” He tumbled over and she heard a faint laugh.

“Dario!” The other one scrambled out of the shelter and headed toward him. Abruptly, he stopped and looked up at Letaliné.

She knew that look - challenge and fury wrapped into one.

Skillfully, she leapt down and drew her swords, trying to finish him off before he could cause trouble. He dodged and danced away for a moment, picking up his sword at inhuman speeds. Letaliné followed him closely, and he barely managed to meet his blade with her own.

“Stand. Down.” He hissed through his teeth and his dark eyes threatened much more than death. “I am much older and much angrier than you. Leave. Now.”

Letaliné found herself perplexed and something at the back of her mind ate at her. Now wasn’t the time for doubt.

Instead of answering, she broke away from him and brought her second blade around to slice him. He dodged, she countered, and tried again.

“Very well,” he said. “You will meet my full wrath.”

Letaliné’s blades suddenly became hotter than a furnace and she dropped them with a yelp. The man approached at the speed of a hawk and she barely managed to leap back out of the way. She had gained a few yards and drew her bow.

“Stop!” She snapped. “I don’t have to kill you too.”

The man snorted. “Little bird, I will be killing you.”

Fire whirled around her and her bowstring snapped from the heat, leaving her arm stinging in pain. The flames drew a small circle about her and she was entrapped. Oddly, the flames did not hurt the forest - they only burned her.

“I have the fire of a hundred suns and the rage of a thousand soldiers. Prey to your gods, pathetic thing, before I consume you.”
------
Cyphrus stared at the stranger, furious, the crimson consuming his vision. He was barely aware of what he was doing, but at least he was somewhat aware of it. A week ago, he would have blacked out but Dario…

Dario.

“Prepare to meet your end.” He announced in a voice that was not his. “I am your reaper.”
------

=D

DP- What does he do???
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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: Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:28 pm    Post subject:  

That was AWESOME! As usual. Poor Dario, though! Dude's got it rough!

I'm glad we got to see Cyphrus in action. He's pretty badass himself, it would seem! Dario continues to be an enigma, and I love it. He's VERY intriguing. I'm very curious about his eyes, and the way Cyphrus described him with so many varying juxtapositions was both accurate and interesting. Well done, there.

From that laugh and the fact that Dario saw the arrow coming, I'm going to say that it has more to do with what HE does as opposed to what our protagonist does. Cyphrus is going to want to kill a hoe. I'm betting that Dario will stop him, though. Considering he's on the ground with an arrow in him, I'm guessing he just yells for Cyphrus to stop.
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Cyberworm



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 651
Location: Spatially found, temporal lockdown.

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 2:09 am    Post subject:  

Quote: Prey to your gods, pathetic thing, before I consume you.

Just a wee bit of a typo, prey and pray sound the same but are quite the opposite. xD

Alas, lass, lovely chappie! I figure as much as Lyn, Dario knows stuff and is being a jerk for being silent, but I would wager that Cyphrus would do some real damage now that he's healed. At least, he'd let himself be consumed by rage just a bit.

Someone did just try to kill his only benefactor in ages, as mysterious as a benefactor he is.

Keep up the fantastic work and have fun! :D
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:50 am    Post subject:  

Great new chapter, Wellspring!

We've got ourselves a new character. The mystery around Dario just seems to keep growing and growing. And your descriptions are as wonderful as always.

I say Cyphrus lets himself go wild. As long as he is aware of himself, I think he could stop himself at any time, but let's put some fear into this assassin lady first, lol.
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 11:55 pm    Post subject:  

Ooou, eye color change! I love that kind of plot device, I can't wait to see where it goes. Sure was a surprise to hear how far they'd gone and how nonchalant Dario is about everything. I'll admit when I was reading through it I somehow thought Cyphrus was the target, so I actually gasped aloud when it turned out to be Dario. There's a lot he isn't saying, and I'm certainly starting to wonder why.

As for the DP, I say Cyphrus takes a moment to see what our lovely new little lady is going to do.
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:42 am    Post subject:  

Thanks so much for the encouragement and input, everyone! It's really quite appreciated. I'm so glad that everyone is liking it so much and you're having as much fun as I am! What fun it is to share art. :D

I'll change that from "prey" to "pray" as soon as I get the chance. XD.

Anyway, I know you're all eager to see what happens so the poll is up. It closes in 48 hours. Best of luck. :D
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 12:04 am    Post subject:  

Oh no, I made it a three way tie.
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:08 pm    Post subject:  

Hey, everyone! Here's the next chapter. The people who voted are Andy, Seraphi, NoNi and Cy. The waiting and seeing what Letaline does won out. This is shorter than the others, and I feel like it's not as descriptive, but my head isn't on straight so this alone was a struggle. Hopefully I'll be able to find my poetic legs again before the next chapter. Enjoy!

Chapter 5


As Cyphrus stared through the hot, raging fire that was the red, he saw her eyes - truly, deeply saw them. They were dilated with defiance and fear, their pale green orbs both pleading and stubborn. His breath caught in his throat -

- “Don’t you think?”

Golden laughter, quiet peace.

“You pretend to be so big and calm but I know you entirely, you lovely creature.”

A faint kiss, strong bewilderment -

Cyphrus stumbled back, retracting his flames in an instant. Guilt washed over him and he blinked rapidly, trying to chase away the rage within him.

The elf stared for a few long moments, gathering herself in surprise and indignation.

“That’s it?” She demanded after a strained pause. “You’re just going to stop?”

Cyphrus looked at her in wonder and then shook his head, sheathing his sword. “I have better things to do than kill a child.”

The elf laughed and the trees nearly recoiled from the mockery. “Child? How dare you! I am the Black Sparrow of the High Court of Effeliia and I demand that you hand over your partner at once.”

Cyphrus ignored her and turned to check on Dario. She was a small angry little girl. He did not wish to harm her further.
He gazed at her briefly and then raised an eyebrow as she reached behind her.

“Really? After all of that you’re going to try to kill me again?” He demanded.

She straightened up and Cyphrus saw wounded pride within her. “I am the Black Sparrow. I cannot return with unfulfilled duties. Now.” Her pale graceful hands moved quickly and she held up a throwing knife defensively. “This blade has Death Wish on it. I suggest you listen.”

Cyphrus frowned as he glanced at her burnt elbow. The red haze had vanished by now and regret started to seep into him like the sap on the trees.

“You’re hurt. I can help you.”

As soon as the words exited his mouth, Cyphrus found himself both surprised and horrified. Gods, he was starting to sound like Dario and he felt like it wasn’t becoming. Cyphrus was a fierce warrior not...not whatever Dario was.

He tried masking a scowl and his new enemy stared.

“I...can’t tell if you’re joking or frustrated.” She seemed rather confused herself, though she tried not to show it.

“He is right, you know,” Cyphrus spun and surveyed Dario, surprised that the young man was even moving. “We can help you.”

Dario limped delicately and concern washed over Cyphrus. Before, Dario had been white but now, he was nothing short of grey. Gore soaked his raggish, green clothes and the bolt was buried deep in his shoulder. Dario held the arrow in place awkwardly, no doubt to ensure as little damage as possible.

Cyphrus hadn’t seen such brown lips in months.

“We don’t mind, do we, Cyphrus?” Dario paused and hid a small pant by moving his hand to Cyphrus’ shoulder, leaning on him heavily.

“What...is wrong with-” The elf stopped herself and glanced from one to the other and then back again. She regained her courage and leveled her knife skillfully. “I will kill your companion if you don’t surrender. This has-”

“-Death Wish. Yes, I know,” Dario leaned more on Cyphrus and Cyphrus resisted the urge to put an arm around him. “I overheard your conversation. It’s a pleasure to meet the new Black Sparrow.”

This struck a cord with the elf and she blushed, her cheeks flaming with embarrassment. “I-I’m not new. I’ve-I’ve been the Black Sparrow for three months now and...how would you know that anyway?” Her indignation returned in spades.

Dario let out a small, sharp breath. “I...know things.” He said simply and then looked at Cyphrus. “Think I’m about to…” Dario’s voice faded along with his consciousness. He fell listlessly and Cyphrus caught him just before he hit the ground.

“Dammit!” Cyphrus managed to drag Dario up and looked at the elf in a rage. He considered snapping her neck, but she appeared so befuddled and lost that he dismissed the idea.

“Well?” He spat out. “Are you going to help me or not?”

“Help you?” She sighed and threw her hands up, exasperated. “Are the both of you mad?”

“Yes,” Cyphrus said without hesitation. “Now do you want to stand there like a fool or lend me a hand? Or, I suppose, you could try killing me again, but this time I promise I’ll burn you into ash.”

“...I’m Letaliné.” She put her dagger away and approached.

“Cyphrus.”

Letaliné slipped an arm around Dario’s other shoulder and they managed to drag him to the shelter. She bit her lip more than once and Cyphrus sensed she was swallowing question after question.

After a strained pause, she asked politely if he had bandages. Cyphrus sighed and started going through Dario’s things.
_________

Letaliné somehow knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that if she harmed her target, Cyphrus would burn her without a second thought. As he dug through the bag, she glanced down at the unconscious man and briefly considered poisoning him. Then, she could bring him back to the court and her duty would be fulfilled. She knew this man was dangerous, yet she felt that he wasn’t at the same time.

Letaliné stopped gazing when Cyphrus joined her.

“Here you are.” He handed her a stack of bandages, herbs, and then a leather pouch of water. “I could do it or you could.” Letaliné glanced down at the man.

“I can bandage him.”

Cyphrus scoffed. “I’m not letting you bandage Dario. I meant you.”

“...what?” Her mind reeled with questions and she simply found herself dumbfounded and stumbling for words.
______

All right, fellas, what next? XD
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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 Feb 12, 2016 7:42 pm    Post subject:  

DARIO!!! NOOOO!!! Poor guy. I just really love him. I have so many questions about him. I think that whomever ordered her to kill him knows his power, and therefore says he's dangerous...but he isn't because he would never use that power for evil... That's what I hope/predict, anyway. I just love him. Standing there all about to pass out & offering help to the one who shot him? He's a good guy, and I just wanna hug him. <3

For the DP, OBVIOUSLY we don't let her anywhere near Dario. She's already shot him. Cyphrus wouldn't trust her as far as he could throw her where Dario's safety is concerned. I doubt she's going to let him bandage her arm either, so I'd say she takes care of her own wound while Cyphrus bandages Dario.

I love this so much!! Keep going!! <3
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 6:37 pm    Post subject:  

Normally I'd push for Cyphrus to bandage her arm to form some sort of a trust or bond or something- but Dario is kinda laying there bleeding, quite likely to death. Maybe Cyphrus should let her bandage herself as he works on Dario's wound.

As for the writing, while the chapter feels a little shorter than the last, I didn't see any flaws with it. ^^ Don't go and beat yourself up. Getting overly descriptive during action scenes can slow down the whole feel and ruin the pacing, anyhow.
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:56 am    Post subject:  

Well, I don't know what you're worried about - a shorter chapter it may be, but I still found the writing to be quite excellent.

Cyphrus should let Letaline patch herself up while he sees to Dario. Maybe she can take this opportunity to ask some of those questions she kept to herself while they were dragging Dario into the hut. (I know I have a lot of questions I want answered. CURIOSITY, hehe)
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Cyberworm



Joined: 19 Aug 2007
Posts: 651
Location: Spatially found, temporal lockdown.

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 12:58 pm    Post subject:  

I really, really have no constructive suggestions on this one. xD

It's all been said before me, including Letaline's fixing herself while Cyphrus patches up Dario.

I mean, wonderful chapter, it's just that my brain has nothing useful to say.

Keep up the good writing! :D
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 2:26 pm    Post subject:  

Okay, since everyone said the same thing, here's the next chapter up for grabs.

In particular, I am curious what you guys think of the tension. I want to know if it's okay.

Enjoy!
----------
Chapter 6

“Do you need help?” He seemed flustered and Letaliné defensively shook her head.

“No. Of course not. I’m the-”

“-Black Sparrow. I know.” Cyphrus rubbed his temples and Letaliné suddenly felt guilty.

“...not that I really care, but will he be all right?” She did care. She cared completely, but she struggled against it - the whole situation had gone an entirely different direction and she attempted to hide her frustration, but she was certain Cyphrus knew.

“Just...shut up and bandage yourself. I’ll worry about Dario.”

Dario. What a silly name.

That’s what she told herself over and over as she worked on her arm. It helped create distance between them and distance benefited everyone when she hunted. But even as she sat there, trying to ignore her burns, she felt intrigued, an intense curiosity gnawing at her. Who were those people and why were they so...odd? A desire rested in her to know more, but she could not. Duties came first.

Cyphrus suddenly gasped and pulled back. “Dear gods.”

Letaliné looked over and inhaled sharply, so surprised that she could not say anything at all. Cyphrus had pulled off Dario’s shirt to get a better look at the wound. Letaliné had assumed he was fit, so the defined muscles and strong abdomen was not a shock. However, the fillery tattoos tracing across his chest were many and intricate as any painting and Letaliné felt enthrallment overcoming her. The leaves and vines embraced each other seamlessly and even though they dominated his entire chest and abdomen, they seemed to be little and many at once. The tattoos stretched onto his shoulders and upper arms and they had such fierce beauty to them, it was difficult to look away. Despite the blood staining Dario, Letaliné saw the tattoos clearly and stared in wonderment.

“What the hell?” Cyphrus murmured. For a few long moments, he appeared to have forgotten about the wound in Dario’s shoulder and simply gazed. Abruptly, he shook himself and reached for the bandages and herbs. He managed to stop the bleeding and started packing the gory hole.

Letaliné went cold, doubt and fright overtaking her like a current. If those tattoos meant what she thought, then deathly danger surrounded them all.

“What...what is he?” She swallowed, hoping, praying that he was not what she thought.

Cyphrus sighed and concentrated for a moment.

“How’s the burn?”

Letaliné looked down, confused, and went back to wrapping her wound. “It’s...fine, but Dario is-”

“-wounded, thanks to you. He’ll take some time to recover.” Cyphrus gently checked the bandages one more time and then lifted Dario carefully into the shelter. Letaliné started to feel frustrated at the lack of answers. She pulled her wrapping tight in anger and immediately regretted it.

Sometimes she forgot she hurt herself more than others.

“Dario is-” She started again.

“-resting now.” Cyphrus seemed determined to not let her finish her sentence.

“-an ancient mage.” She countered defiantly. “That’s what he is.”

Cyphrus scratched his head and glimpsed at her intensely. Letaliné knew he was trying to mask his own surprise as well, but couldn’t.

“See? This isn’t fair. He lied to you.” Her voice dripped with accusation and certainty.

Dario was nestled safely in the shelter and so it was no astonishment when Cyphrus moved like a god and pinned her roughly against a tree. The bark bit into her back but she cared not - instead, she meant his grim grey eyes with her own calm blue and inhaled, trying to catch her breath.

“Look, elf,” The way he spat out the name was an insult in of itself. “I don’t like you. The only reason I’m sparing your petty life is because he...he saw you and will know if I end you. Don’t tell me what he has and has not done, for you know nothing. You stupid little oaf. Your people have bathed in nothing but blood and ignorance for centuries and I will not have it here.”

Letaliné’s vision pulsed in anger. “That is your problem? The fact that I am a child of Dipeeva bothers you? Of all the racist-”

Cyphrus dropped her and let her grovel on the forest floor for a few moments. Indignant rage overtook her, but he was already talking again.

“You are the child of no one,” he snapped at her, looking down with fierce hate. “You are a small part of a rotten, disgusting forest.”

Letaliné stood, shaking from rage. “How dare you, a mere mortal yourself, say such things to me!” She blinked away tears of fury and blindness. “My people have been here for thousands of years. You are the ignorant one to judge me because of my race! I am a proud elf and I will be taking your Dario, my sworn enemy, with me!”

Something in her snapped and she spun, bringing her knife up at an impressive speed. Cyphrus stopped her stab and kicked her solidly in the ribs. Letaliné flew through the air and hit a tree. As she landed, her nose snapped and blood flowed freely into the dirt. Shocked that she had been foiled so easily, she lay, trying to gather her senses. She coughed, gasping for air and fighting to ignore the fiery pain pulsing in her chest.

Cyphrus reached down and grabbed her, dragging her up by her hair.

“Who said I was mortal, worm?” He hissed and forced her to stare into his eyes. Grey locked with blue and a storm screamed in her mind.

A field of soldiers, in perfect formation

Piles of bodies, pools of blood

Darkness incarnate, fire in the air

Wings of destruction, a heart of stone

Falling deeper and deeper into black, scratching to be let out

She wanted to leave

Gods, leave

Letaliné snapped back. Cyphrus had broken the connection and now she was weak with horror and deep, unrepressed sorrow. Her sanity had slipped and was continuing to do so. She didn’t know how to stop it and tears fell freely.

“Don’t cross me.” He breathed raggedly. “And leave Dario alone.”

He dropped her and Letaliné sat, defeated and breathless. Her mind wandered and it was all she could do to rein it in. She clutched for reality, for certainty, and wept from fear and bitterness.
-------
Phew. Okay. What now? Does she run off? Does she attack? Does she do something new? =D
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:38 pm    Post subject:  

Tension spot on, friend. Phew. I definitely felt it. And I love it. (AND holy hot damn Cyphrus is getting intense *fans self*)

So we know what Dario is now - an ancient mage. Very intriguing. I'm sure there's more to that story, and I'm going to say that's definitely why he's being hunted by Letaline (it seems like many Black Sparrow's have been sent after him in the past, too).

The mind assault she went through is interesting as well. I like the impact it had on her, how it was both mentally and physically taxing.

Now what to do...I say she scarpers out of sight but stays close to watch them. We already know she won't return without Dario, so she won't go far.
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



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

Posted: Mon Feb 15, 2016 6:58 pm    Post subject:  

Well, the tension is plainly working, cause my heart is pounding and by the end I just sat there for a moment, trying to catch my breath.

Really neat to know what Dario is! I had a feeling he wasn't near as young as he appeared. Loving the hints towards Cyphrus' nature as well. Can't wait to learn more of the backstory to this setting.

I say she remains where she is for a moment. Any more sudden movements could be interpreted as another attack, and it's probably better if she tries to get a grip on reality again before moving.
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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: Tue Feb 16, 2016 11:37 am    Post subject:  

AAAAAHHHHH!! What happens next??

The language and imagery continues to be wonderful. The characters are developing nicely. I'm totally in love with Dario. Just throwing it out there. And when do we get to see Tess again?? She was so cute!

Okay. For the DP, I'd say after that she'd be a little too stunned to do much of anything besides sit there for a few minutes. After that, I'm not sure, but I'd say Cyphrus will go watch over Dario while she sits there collecting herself.
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Wellspring



Joined: 13 Jan 2016
Posts: 20

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:14 pm    Post subject:  

Hey, everyone!

Letaline staying where she was won out - however, I changed her name randomly because I came up with one that was more fitting. She's now Zyveira. Weird, I know, but necessary. :P

Anyway, here's your chapter! Enjoy!
------
Chapter 7
The underbrush raised to meet her. Her feet embraced the soft moss and she laughed softly at the vines that teased her toes. The clear day smelled like peace and chaos all at once. Something had changed in the air and trees. They beckoned her from her place of rest and pulled her from her slumber.

“The king is here! The king is here!” They whispered to each other and their voices snuck their way into her mind and heart.

“Ezstyr!” They sang her name. “Come! He awaits you!”

Her fragged mahogany skirt brushed the trees and bushes as she walked among them. Her exposed stomach felt the gentle breeze and almost tickled her. She smiled at the sensation and adjusted her short shirt. All was well and it would only be better once she saw him.

Ezstyr came up on the people with the king. They argued in a language she did not understand but it mattered not. Only the king mattered.

Ezstyr paused and kneeled, trying to hide herself. Hiding was always difficult when the forest was this green. Her light, caramel skin stood out along with her black hair and dark eyes. Fortunately for her, the two of them seemed so absorbed in whatever intense conversation they were having that they did not note her. She jolted in shock when they resorted to violence but realized this was her opportunity to save the king.

Ezstyr moved quickly and smiled when she saw the king.

He lay in a small shelter, his chest exposed and a tight bandage around a wound. She wondered why such a heavy magic fatigue surrounded him but, for now, all that matter was his safety. She glanced at the people and nearly recoiled from the dark, mind magic encompassing them. The man was consuming the elf’s soul but stopped before any real damage was done.

Ezstyr grabbed the king’s arm and smiled. He was safe; he was here.

“Teslii byo fipha,” she murmured, hoping to comfort him in his stupor. She lifted him until his arm was around her small shoulder. He was heavier than her by a good fifty pounds and taller by a full head, but with the help of her magic, she was able to support him. Slowly, carefully she started to drag him away.

The man suddenly shouted and ran toward her, sword drawn. She reached into her reserves of magic and easily stopped him where he stood. Vines leapt up and grabbed him, quickly becoming strong and draining him of the ability to move. Ezstyr sensed his care and worry and felt some guilt, but knew that the king was safer with her.

“Shhh,” she whispered and locked eyes with him. He stared, enraged, confused, and desperately tried to pull himself out of her tight vines. She saw inside him for a brief moment and his sorrow seeped into her. He was so angry and beautiful at the same time. She felt Dario’s magic all over this stranger and suddenly understood why he had helped. “Iv byo eta fipha. Kinja iv byo poleia.”

Ezstyr felt her magic grow and her tattoos radiated power as she touched the bright darkness within her. Strength consumed her and she hurdled herself up to the trees, leaving the man far behind her, trapped. She bound from tree to tree, branches assisting her, leveraging her deeper and deeper into her forest.

“The king has returned! The king has returned!”

Their happy voices made her laugh and she flew at inhuman speeds.

The king had returned.
------
Cyphrus pulled in a rage, struggling to leave, longing to destroy.

“Zyveira!” He shouted. “Snap out of it!”

Anger overpowered the regret of ripping her mind to shreds. He didn’t care. He wanted out. Yet the vines held him with such determined power that he could not move. He saw red again.

“Zyveira!” He practically bellowed. “Get me out of here!”

Zyveira looked up numbly, her eyes wide and dilated. She shook, worn and horrified. Her hands sat uselessly in her lap and she gazed past him, her cheeks tear stained and her .

“...what happened?”

Cyphrus grunted. The bitch was getting away with Dario. “Are you not the Black Sparrow? Pull yourself together, elf! This isn’t the time to grovel. Move for gods’ sake!”

Zyveira suddenly blushed and stood breathlessly. She locked eyes with Cyphrus.

“You’re a fucking bastard,” she said angrily. “And I would leave you where you stand but we need to work together - we both need Dario. I’ll let you out, but you have to promise to not cross me again.”

Cyphrus took a few deep breaths and reluctantly released the red. Now wasn’t the time to be petty. It seemed that Zyveira wasn’t the enemy after all: it was the damned forest and its magic. From the start, it had been harming him and Dario. He had to focus his energy toward that, not some sniveling elf-child.

“...fine.”

Zyveira sighed, drew her short sword and kneeled. With nimble skill, she started to cut away the vines. Yet, she went slowly and hesitantly. Cyprus quickly became impatient.

“What's taking so long?” He snapped.

Zyveira frowned and looked up at him. “There's something...different about them. They hold great magic. If I'm not careful, I'm afraid of what might happen.”

Cyphrus found himself frowning as well. “I suppose I shouldn't be surprised anymore. The damned forest seems to want to stop me from accomplishing anything at all. And to think I believed it was safe…”

Zyveira returned to carefully cutting the vines away.

“It is safe,” she asserted frankly. “It is safe to the inhabitants but not to outsiders. It is like the sea - it loves and knows that which is familiar. The unfamiliar makes it defensive. For you, your magic does not help. As the Black Sparrow, I am accustomed to detecting foul magic. Yours intimidates even me.”

Cyphrus scoffed at her tone. She was so young and yet so certain of her experience and knowledge. It tired and aggravated him. He wished he wasn't traveling with such a...certain fool. Yet, part of him understood that this was simply youth. He himself had not been young for so long that he sometimes forgot what it was like to just know with foolish certainty what was one’s place in the world.

He found himself thinking of Dario. The mage had a sense of certainty about him as well, but his seemed to be from experience rather than youth. Cyphrus reflected that Dario's kindness had somehow changed him - it was a small whisper that was becoming ever louder and he wasn't sure what to make of it. All he knew was that he owed Dario for the peace in his chest and soul. He needed to save him.

“...that's very interesting.” Cyphrus murmured lamely.

Zyveria paused and eyed him carefully. “While I have you here...what is it?”

Cyphrus huffed.

“None of your business.” He didn’t like the look on her face. He hoped she wasn’t thinking of leaving him tied up until he told her.

Sure enough, she backed up abruptly. and held her sword cautiously away. “I believe it is if we’re to be working together.”

Cyphrus felt his nostrils heating up at an alarming rate.

“It’s none of your business,” he strained out and locked eyes with her. “Let me out.”

Zyveira faltered and Cyphrus saw the brief terror in her. Good. She was afraid. Now if she would only listen, things wouldn’t have to get nasty.

“I don’t understand your ties with him,” Zyveira approached and then kneeled and began working on the vines again. “How do you know each other?”

Cyphrus swallowed and felt himself falter as well. “Also none of your business,” he said curtly.

Zyveira started hacking dangerously close to his skin. “Perhaps you should teach me such a level of ridiculous discretion,” she stated angrily, mockingly. “Then my job may be more secure.”

Cyphrus stayed silent and simply pulled at the vines.

For Dario, he might even endure this commentary.

“How long?” He panted, straining as hard as he could.

“Few more minutes.” Zyveira focused. “What’s your plan once you’re out?”

Cyphrus suddenly realized that a plan should be in order, but he had none at all, let alone how to track such a ghost.
------
All right, guys, thoughts and DP?
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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: Sat Feb 20, 2016 12:49 pm    Post subject:  

Dario is a KING!!! That's so freaking epic! I want to know more about this chick & where she too him. Is he okay??

I'm also still very curious about Cyphrus and his powers. I can't wait to find out what he is too.

For the DP, I think the best plan right now is just to head in the direction the woman took Dario. Try to track her as best as possible.
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Seraphi



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

Posted: Sat Feb 20, 2016 4:34 pm    Post subject:  

Awesome, awesome, awesome. I love how we get a few more bits and pieces about the characters each chapter.

For the dp...the sprite/spirit/fairy girl is using magic to haul Dario around, so maybe Cyphrus can use his own to track her down.
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