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Chapter Eight: Limbo
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Kalanna Rai



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

Posted: Tue Oct 18, 2011 8:36 pm    Post subject:  

And I realize it was delayed, perhaps I need to keep beating my real life. Either way, here it is. Enjoy!
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Chapter Eight: Limbo

"Is she alright?!" Lukan had lost count of the number of times he'd asked that question, running his hands anxiously through his brightly colored hair. Each action only served to tousle it more, until it resembled something a bird might have passed up for nesting in.

Each time he asked, Yevard's answers grew shorter. Originally the Master Summoner had replied kindly, being slightly gentle to the boy. Now the old man scowled from under his bushy eyebrows, snorting loudly through his nose. "By Saint Lyre's balls, yes boy! She's had a bit of backlash, not uncommon for the untrained, and her sight is temporarily lost. She'll have it back in a day or so and be just fine. However, if you ask me again, YOU won't be."

Lukan stood for a moment, shifting from foot to foot, opening his mouth, then shutting it again. He wasn't going to argue with this slightly frightening old man any longer. He was starting to even regret walking into that dusty old shop looking for someone who could help with Farseeing. Being a native of Haga'Dir, Lukan had bypassed the Conjurors and had headed straight for the Summoners. People with transportation magic were far more capable of seeing great distances accurately in his experience.

This crusty old man, Yevard, had taken hours of pleading and cajoling to get agreement from. But he'd promised to be both discreet and accurate and, more importantly, he was the first Summoner that hadn't politely patted him on the head and said that Farseers weren't worth the time it took to say their name. Instead Yevard had grumbled and complained and finally agreed to guide Tessa just once. Which was yet another disappointing fact.

Tessa hadn't been able to see the Gate itself, or figure out why it was open. All she'd seen were coils of dark water that swallowed all creatures that came close to it and released bands of the walking dead. She'd spotted bands of dead marching along the waterways of Falverald, tirelessly moving onwards. Where they emerged on land, they slaughtered, but for all the bands that had been caught above water, there were more still walking. And they were headed for Leyond.

But as alarming as this evidence was there was no proof. Nothing they could take to Astor and make the king act upon. And that left Lukan feeling more helpless than ever. Now he knew what was wrong...but he couldn't do anything about it. It was just like being back home, spotting carcasses of mountain rams on daily flights, but nobody believed that a Red-Crested Drake could be anywhere nearby until it snatched a child out of a field.

As always when he felt like this, he ended up in the stables grooming Beak. The big animal knew something was up with his master, keeping one massive golden eye fixed on Lukan at all time and taking a few strands of Lukan's hair into his beak from time to time and grooming them. That never failed to bring a smile to Lukan's face. "I know, I know. It's just I feel like we're not doing anything at all here. It's like...we've landed on what looks like a sturdy ledge, but it's just a slab on shale. We're waiting to fall."

Beak was restive which quickly took Lukan's mind off of bigger problems and focused it on the unique needs of his mount. Attempting to pick Beak's hind hooves while Beak was trying to nip his way out of the stall was a struggle and a challenge that Lukan was more than familiar with. "You've been cooped up in here way too long. I suppose that Grandfather can't forbid me from taking a nice long flight to tire you out can he?"

And that's when the first glimmerings of a plan jumped into Lukan's head. He backed up and scratched Beak between the eyes, laughing at the noises that issued from the suddenly blissful Beak. "Percy, you out there?" He'd only managed to make one friend among the stable-hands but Percy was a good friend to have, lively and quick witted.

Sure enough, the dark head popped up from a stall three down, a grin on the face just as youthful as Lukan's own. "What can I do for you Luke?"

"Mind pulling out Beak's tack? If I leave him to stew in the stall much longer, we're all going to regret it. You don't need to put it on him mind, just make sure it's all oiled and set out. I still have to wrestle permission out of my Grandfather after all." He laughed and Percy joined in before the young men both split in their separate directions, Percy to the tack room and Lukan to seek out his Grandfather.

He finally found Astor in his study, surrounded by several maps of the kingdom. Aside from the two Guards that usually attended him, he was alone and in relative peace. Lukan felt almost guilty for breaking it, from what he'd seen Astor's time to himself was the single most precious commodity in the kingdom. "Hello Nogard, hello Arture." He nodded to the guards on either side of the door, gesturing toward Astor. "Do you mind? I need to ask his permission for something, I'll only be a moment."

The two shared a glance before Arture smiled an inclined his head toward Astor, giving Lukan permission to enter. The flame-haired youth grinned a bit more broadly, raising a hand in thanks to both of them before entering the study and waiting politely for his Grandfather to notice him. Which was a long and lengthy process all told. In his more charitable thoughts Lukan told himself this was because his Grandfather was absorbed in his task. His practical mind, however, told him that Astor knew full well he was there and was choosing to make him wait.

Finally the aged king lifted his head and fixed his eyes on his youngest grandchild, a piercing gaze that reminded Lukan uncomfortably of hungry sky-eagles looking to pluck off your tender bits. "Ah Lukan...have you come to pester me with fairy stories too? I hear that you and your sister were involved in something like that recently."

"Actually, Grandfather, Tessa just enlisted my help. I didn't ask what for, I assumed she just wanted more current news from home. She wanted a Summoner to guide her sight and I found her one. I suppose that was foolish of me, I really should have asked why." Play the stupid kid card, even if Astor suspected something, it truly was a plausible excuse. And, had this been a month ago, it would have actually been legitimate. However, the longer he was exposed to the court here at Eresinne, the more savvy he was becoming. He was, however, doing his best not to let others on to that little secret.

Astor stared at him for a few long moments, the weight of that gaze growing more uncomfortable moment by moment. Finally the old king returned his gaze to the charts spread before him. "Perhaps. Anyway, what has brought you here if not that?"

"Beak, my hippogriff actually. Since I've arrived here I've made only a few short flights with him and it's starting to show. This is traditionally the mating season back home and coupled with a lack of exercise it's only a matter of time before he either hurts someone or himself. I'd like your permission to take a longer flight with him to make sure that's he's properly worked and that he burns off the excess energy. You have my word I won't fly east if you're worried about my deserting you, or you can put any number of watchers on me. I just need to take him on a good long flight."

He watched Astor for any sign that his Grandfather had even heard him as the King of Leyond didn't seem to have registered what he'd said. Seconds dragged into a minute and a minute dragged into an eternity. Finally Astor spoke as he smoothed a hand across one of the maps.

"I'll consider it."
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Does Astor grant Lukan's request for a long flight? If so, what information might he pick up from the skies?
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A little shorter than usual but I hope you liked all the same.
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Shillelagh



Joined: 11 Mar 2010
Posts: 398
Location: Kansas

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject:  

I'm going to say that the answer is yes, but Lukan really doesn't know what he's looking for. The East(?) has the final gate, so there's nothing out there. And the West(?) has all of those monsters, but they're mostly underwater, and I don't see him wanting to head over there, anyway.

Something catches his eye, and he ends up going north. To his surprise, he sees something related to the dragons.
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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: Wed Oct 19, 2011 5:42 am    Post subject:  

that was a short one, but it was good! i love that we're seeing Lukan mature into a young man now. I'm excited to see where that goes.

for the DP, i'm with Shille. answer yes, either head west to the Dead or north just to see what we can see.
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Muaddib



Joined: 31 Dec 2004
Posts: 1765

Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2011 7:54 am    Post subject:  

No, Astor doesn't give Lukan permission. Lukan snaps at being denied such a simple request and tries to assault the king.
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Lilith



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

Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:04 am    Post subject:  

Well, it was a decent chapter alright, but I would have liked to see the search for the Summoner and the scene Tess saw. :(

As for the DP: Astor grants his permission and sets 'Watchers' to go with Lukan... but the boy gives these watchers the slip and takes off pellnell towards the Gate of the Dead to see if he can find out more than what his half-sibling could.
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Thunderbird



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

Posted: Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:32 pm    Post subject:  

I loved the delay I read into the very last bit of dialogue there. A powerful moment of tense silence. And it says a lot. Obviously the King has his suspicions and has been considering that this request would come and that it would only come when it would become a convenient cover for mischief by the young prince.

Therefore, he must have been pondering this before hand as well... and was only allowing that delay to send the nerves of the boy scrambling for a sense of security that will never be able to exist for one who must stand and take full responsibility for themselves and their nation as a King must do.

I think he sends Lukan on a task with the Gryphon rather than allowing the boy to ride off into trouble. This not only makes use of Lukan and his glorious mount, but also throws him into the throws of a calculated challenge.
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Kalanna Rai



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

Posted: Mon Oct 31, 2011 11:40 pm    Post subject:  

Ooh, look, a poll. This must be a trend..
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Kalanna Rai



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

Posted: Tue Nov 01, 2011 9:49 pm    Post subject:  

Oh good gravy you're an indecisive lot. *chuckles*
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