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The Mages of Braidwood:


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#1 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 05:12 PM

Refuses to count how many unfinished 'stories' she has here :rolleyes:

Here's my latest idea...my faithful reader had already seen this (like months ago now!), but maybe if I post it finally I'll get to writing, especially since the cold months are coming. It's sort of a story for "kids"...not necessarily in age but in spirit. All the main characters are "teenagers"; although their ages are never actually stated. Hopefully, my faithful reader's children will read and enjoy it! :wink: (But if it sucks, they're not allowed to see it...they already think I am weird enough as it is!)

I did...for a brief moment...contemplate this as an RP game; then I decided I didn't have the knowledge about magic nor the temperament to try to GM a game about magic. But it would have been fun.... sighs wistfully.  :sigh: Anyway, here's the intro...stories to follow (so don't hold your breath waiting  :whistle:).




* * * * * * * *


Millennia ago the world was populated by humans, fey (or sidhe), and the elves and their darker kin, the drow. Each settled, developed, and controlled their lands with only minor arguments and skirmishes. Mostly the races co-existed and interacted peacefully. Magic also existed as a natural part of life.

Then the plates holding the land masses in their places were violently disrupted and the world was thrown into chaos. Lands separated with great tremors which were felt all over, allowing seas and oceans to fill the divides. When the earth settled down and ceased moving, many hundreds of years were required for the races to rebuild their lands and societies. Old ways of living had to be remade, as well as new ways of living created. Communication was re-established and transportation modes  were rebuilt. With the work of low-level magicians, the newly formed noble class, farmers, traders, and merchants the races were once again reunited and the world began to move on; although, not always peacefully or harmoniously.

At the start of the chaos the greatest mages of the races banded together and founded a protected school in the approximate “center” of the all the lands. They hoped to save the purity of magic and leave a legacy that would last for the ages. The elders sought and gathered together as many of the young as they could—those that had been tested and found to have magic within them. Many parents refused to give up their children, but others did—and some came as orphans—until there were enough at the school to continue the practice of true and powerful magic.

At the present time magic exists, but is more mysterious and sought-after than in the long distant past. Common and accepted in some areas while feared and looked upon with suspicion in others, magic is bought and sold, used and abused, and wielded by a few but sought after by many.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 22 January 2008 - 06:54 AM.


#2 Raeven

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 03:28 AM

LOL Nikki, the kids will be reading it - they love your stories (and they think you're a good kinda weird) :D

#3 EChatty

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 07:05 PM

Sounds like something I might read too.

And Rae is right-you're a good kind of weird :love:

And I refuse to count how many unfinished stories I have-period ;)

Edited by Chatterbox, 04 October 2007 - 07:06 PM.


#4 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 09:46 PM

Yay!! Good weird is good :D :wink:

Chatty, now we just have to get Rae to start writing but not finishing stories! ;)

Thanks to you both :D :hugs:

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 04 October 2007 - 09:46 PM.


#5 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 04 October 2007 - 10:05 PM

For now:

Kesari Sujana (Human)
human.jpg

Ellar Delcan (Sidhe/Human mix)
sidhe3.gif

Arwen Sabry (Drow/Human mix)
drow1.jpg

Nienna Faelwen (Elf/Human)
elf9.jpeg

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 06 October 2007 - 08:19 PM.


#6 Mikoto

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:01 AM

Is that what the Drow look like? I realised they were dark but not that dark!

*Amused look.* I'll be reading it, of course. Like Chatty I have so many stories unfinished.

Edited by Mikoto, 05 October 2007 - 06:02 AM.

Rejected and gone.

#7 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:05 AM

View PostMikoto, on Oct 5 2007, 06:01 AM, said:

Is that what the Drow look like? I realised they were dark but not that dark!
According to the RP books and whatnot, yeah. But for our dragon story they are various colors...but that's a good example of the dark black I was trying to describe...not human skin color but more flat.

#8 EChatty

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 08:22 AM

It kind of reminds me of Nightcrawler of X-Men, except his skin is more midnight blue.

#9 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 05:29 PM

human.jpg
Kesari Sujana: A Place to Belong

- 1 -


“It’s just not fair!” Kesari exclaimed to her friend with an immature stomp of her foot as they neared the end of the wooden, zigzag bridge that crossed the narrow, greenish, nearly motionless stream that separated the countryside from the edge of town. She spoke in Plain-speak, as did most town and city people, rather than the native language of Yanmarese that the country folk seemed to prefer. “More than that, it’s not right!”

Yulia shook her head sympathetically at the other girl as they stepped onto the dirt road that led into Seljuk.  As the oldest—a la’teen—in the yuumgui where she lived, Kesari was allowed to walk to the market by herself. Today she had brought her younger friend with her. Yulia waited patiently for Kesari to continue, but the older girl was momentarily lost in her own thoughts of injustice. As they approached the downward slope of the road that would allow them to catch sight of the town, another la’teen, a boy older than Kesari by a year or so, trotted by on a fine horse. He sneered at them when he noticed the distinctive clothing that marked them as having no parents and living with others who suffered the same fate.

Yuums!” shouted the boy, who was dressed in a short red, embroidered coat with black trousers. “Nobody loves you!” Then he laughed cruelly and clicked his tongue in the side of his mouth to urge his horse on down the dirt road.

Kesari glowered, her anger at the morning’s events fueled even more. She furiously kicked a rock into the green grasses that lined the road. Before the boy rode on, the horse turned its head to seemingly stare at the young golden-skinned girl with the almond-shaped eyes. A brief picture of the horse bolting wildly away with the horrid boy flashed through her mind and then was gone. The horse neighed and tossed his head from side to side, then snorted gently and turned away almost sadly.

“Stupid clothes,” Yulia whispered.

Kesari refused to look down at the identical clothes the girls wore: long, sturdy, sleeveless tunics—made from a lighter material for the spring and summer seasons—in the dull, washed-out blue-grey color that marked them as from the yuumgui. Wide sashes made of old leather were tied at their waists, while their feet were encased in cast-off leather sandals. Kesari’s clothes had grown snugger with the onset of the changing shape of her soon-to-be young woman’s body.

But Kesari decided she wasn’t finished with her recounting of her morning eavesdropping. “I can’t believe Okasa wanted to sell me…”

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 06 October 2007 - 08:25 PM.


#10 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 08:04 PM

* * * *

It had been just after daybreak, and Kesari had finished her morning chores feeding and watering the goats, sheep, two cows, and work horses. It had been difficult, as usual, to leave the animals but the old tusala, a quiet but kind man, had shooed her away. As she was walking by the open window of Okasa’s main room, Kesari heard the Great Mother speaking of her by name. Knowing she should continue on her course Kesari instead stopped just to the side of the window and leaned gently against the faded, wooden building.

“She’s too old to be adopted,” Okasa said calmly. “Too old…no one will want her,” she repeated as softly protesting voices could be heard.  “There are places where young girls can be sent to work…work in nice homes. We will be paid well for such a healthy girl.”

Kesari’s mouth nearly fell open in shock. She was too stunned to move now even if she’d wanted to…or even if someone discovered her. She was to be…sold?

Another voice, probably Jejune—plump and soft when the younger children needed a hug--, spoke up. “Oh, we couldn’t do that!” Then her voice grew subdued.

Kesari could imagine the tiny, wrinkled, ugly old Okasa glaring at the younger woman who helped to take care of the orphaned children.

“Well, I mean…why not put Kesi to work instead. Stop her education and let her earn her keep, Okasa,” Jejune offered with less emotion.

“Yes,” interjected another, bravely. “Turn her over to the tusala for further training with the animals.  She is very good with them.”

Kesari blinked back hot tears and wiped angrily at the ones that had dared to escape down her golden cheeks. She liked the old man who cared for the animals, in fact he “allowed” her to spend more time with them beyond her chores. Under normal circumstances Kesari would have been excited to work with the animals full time. But to be spoken of as if she were mere property to be bought and sold hurt the girl deeply. And it made her angry. She ran a hand through her chin-length dark hair. She had known for some time now that Okasa did not like her very much and wanted her gone.

“Bah!” exclaimed the old woman exclaimed who ran the yuumgui. “Kesari is trouble…the girl doesn’t know her place—here or in the world. She is lucky to be here…warm, safe, dry, and with her meals provided…and yet she always wants “more”. More out of life than what she is entitled to as one who has no family. The girl is ungrateful.”

Able to listen no more, Kesari slowly walked back the way she’d come, head down.  She circled around the group of wooden buildings with the typical curved roofs that made up the yuumgui and headed into the forest. She desperately needed to be alone for awhile. It was true, the girl with the small, flat nose decided, she did want more out of life. She wanted to make something of herself and her life beyond being a poor girl with no family. She wanted to belong somewhere…to be a part of something “more”. Was that so wrong? And now to possibly be sold like an animal…

* * * *

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 06 October 2007 - 08:05 PM.


#11 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 08:11 PM

“Oh, Kesi,” Yulia said as confidently as she could manage, patting her friend on the arm. “Okasa wouldn’t really do that, I’m sure of it. None of the others who were too old were ever sold.”

“Well, they wouldn’t exactly tell us that, now would they, Yulia.  But, we’ll see,” Kesari mumbled. “We’ll just see. I’ll run away first, you can be sure of that!”

Yulia, wise for her younger years, said nothing about the fact that none of them had any place to run to nor anything to take with them. Kesari wouldn’t listen anyway. Then she pointed to the town that had grown larger as they walked until the two girls had reached their destination.

“Look, we’re here,” she announced brightly, hoping to distract her older friend with the colorful sights and noisy sounds of the outdoor market that now lay in front of them.

#12 EChatty

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 09:34 PM

*Sets up her lawn chair and popcorn maker*

More!


#13 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 10:54 AM

LOL! *grabs a bit of popcorn*

And okay ;) :D!


#14 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 11:08 AM

- 2 –


With the morning sun shining on their dark heads, the two girls wandered down the wide, bricked passageway between the backs of the permanent town shops and the vendors with their goods displayed against opposite wall. The two yuumgui girls drew minimal attention in all the activity and were mostly ignored. Their clothing again gave away their lowly status, and most of the traders and merchants assumed the girls had nothing with which to buy their goods anyway. With a dismissive motion the girls were waved away by the sellers as they waited on paying customers. Ignoring the girls would be a costly mistake to an unlucky few.

The long rows of temporary stalls laden with goods and food, tents with inviting wares out front that promised more inside, and simple cloths on the ground with items spilling out of baskets were busy with the mid-morning crowds. Kesari and Yulia meandered slowly, winding their way through the taller adults. The noise was nearly deafening—Plain Speak and Yanmarese was mixed with a scattering of foreign languages and the chirping of song birds and the chattering of the more colorful, larger birds.  The vibrantly colored long and short tunics—along with loose trousers for some—that the adults and other children wore created a multicolored mosaic the competed with the markets’ wares and produce.

“There,” Kesari whispered into Yulia’s ear, pointing to a seated trader selling a star shaped fruit that came from distant areas of Yanmar, the land in which they lived.

Yulia grinned and nodded. She walked casually over to the far side of the stand and promptly tripped over something, spilling a basket of golden potatoes.

“Hey…you, yuum…get up and go away!” the owner, a short man with a long braid down his back yelled. He tried to shoo the yuum creature away, but she was having trouble getting up. He had to stand up and physically lift the girl to her feet. He set her down quickly and wiped his hands together. The trader gave Yulia a little shove to send her on her way.

Behind him Kesari’s hand snaked out and snagged two of the fruits. They disappeared under the sash around her waist. She held her arm over them as she scurried away behind the trader. Meeting up in a corner behind a huge clay pot that held a tree, the girls giggled as they devoured the star shaped fruits. With sweet juice dripping down their faces and making their hands sticky, Kesari and Yulia enjoyed a treat…something they rarely received at the miserly place where they lived.

With her younger friend as the distraction, Kesari helped herself to a few trinkets and worthless items as they made their way out of the other end of the market. Kesari hated being so poor that she had nothing. She thought that she and the friends she trusted at the yuumgui deserved more than they were given—which was hardly anything at all. She was just trying to make everyone’s life—including hers—a little more bearable. Everyone who was rich had “things.” Kesari wanted to have “things” as well because having “things” must make one rich. And if she had things then she’d have to have a place to put them---some place of her own where she had a real life.

#15 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 08 October 2007 - 11:14 AM

“Don’t you feel a little guilty when you…we…steal?” Yulia asked later, feeling just that way herself as the two girls headed back in the direction of their little village, Darya-Sur.

They could hear the lazy stream flowing gently through the trees as it paralleled the road.

The somewhat slender older girl shrugged her shoulders. “Sometimes…maybe,” she answered absently. “But we have nothing. I have nothing. It doesn’t seem fair is all. I just want us to be like other people and have things that are nice. Is that so wrong?”

Before the other girl could answer the air was shattered by a loud, frenzied barking. Yulia jumped and spun around quickly. A large, dirty dog bolted out of the nearby trees where it had been crouched unseen by the girls. Sharp teeth sank into the bottom of Yulia’s tunic before Kesari could even react. The dog yanked the smaller girl down to the ground. Her screams of fright and for help made him growl and snarl even more as he tugged

Kesari stood frozen for a moment unable to react. She jerked her head up and down the road looking for help even though she knew they were alone. The only thing she could think of doing, since there was no possible way for her to physically move the dog off Yulia, was to yell. She knew she’d be lucky not to be mauled herself, but she couldn’t just let her little friend be hurt.

Waving her arms above her head Kesari shouted, “No! Go away! GO AWAY! GET OUT OF HERE NOW!”  Kesari didn’t notice that she made a slight growling noise at the end.

Releasing the material in its mouth the dog turned to growl at Kesari, slobber dripping from its muzzle. She saw him inch toward her but then he seemed to bow down with his front legs stretched out while still growling.

She bravely stamped her foot. The untamed dog shook his head as if he had something in his ear, or as if saying “no” very aggressively. He alternated between standing up and lowering the front half of his body while growling and barking. Kesari continued shouting for him to go away and pointing. She couldn’t figure out what he was doing…the dog seemed confused and unsure of what he was supposed to do. But with a final bark, the large creature ran away howling as if in pain.

“Yulia? It’s okay. It’s gone. The dog is gone, I swear. It’s okay!” Kesari half picked the sobbing girl up and supported her with one arm. “Come on, we’d better leave, though.”

Just in case it decided it regretted its decision and returned Kesari half dragged Yulia back home over the zigzag bridge, through the farm lands, and into the sparse forest. She didn’t know why the mean dog had seemed to “listen” to her. Kesari loved animals to be sure and talked to the ones that she helped take care of, but they didn’t really understand her for Zinsi’s sake! Only Zinsi herself--Yanmar goddess of animals--could talk to her charges. It was just lucky that the dog ran away, the girl decided.

“I think I’m well enough to walk on my own now, Kesi,” the girl tucked into Kesari’s arm said in a muffled voice. “You can let go now.”

#16 Raeven

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Posted 09 October 2007 - 02:28 AM

I am going to print it out and give it to your young fans, I'll let you know what they say :D

#17 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 07:11 PM

^^^^^Uh oh...but okay :wink:. *crosses fingers*




- 3 –



For some reason Kesari wasn’t pleased at the sight of the nomads from the Steppes and Okasa talking—conspiring--on the flat stones that made up the front entrance to the main building of the yuumgui. And that’s truly what she imagined they were doing—conspiring, making secret plans against her. Was Okasa truly going to sell her then?

The nomads had skin darkened from the summer suns and weathered by the bitter winter and dry summer winds. Their rough clothes looked itchy and hot, she thought to herself. Nomads had a hard life out on the grasslands.

Kesari was just about to run the other way when Okasa motioned her over with a sharp motion. The la’teen girl rolled her eyes and sighed. Next to her Yulia looked confused and fearful.

“Come, child,” Okasa  said briskly to Kesari. “These are your people,” the old woman announced abruptly as the girl approached slowly. “You know you were found out on the Steppes near a burned out campsite of these…of nomads. These people here remember losing a group to a fire, and you are the right age as the five year old they lost then.”

Kesari could only stare in disbelief at the solemn, lined faces—a mixture of yellow, tan, and brown—staring at her. They didn’t look unkindly at her, but still, she thought, they didn’t look like they were going to be throwing her a welcome home celebration any time soon.

“I…,” Kesari began. She didn’t want these people to be her new…or even old…family. Being a nomad was certainly not the life she wanted to lead.  Even if her parents, who she could only vaguely remember flashes of memories about, had been nomads.

Okasa interrupted her thoughts. “It’s a miracle they arrived here today to trade in the town and chose to stop by here. You are going home,” the petite woman said, the relief obvious in her tone.

Okasa didn’t elaborate at to why the nomads had decided to check up on a five year old girl lost so long ago.  Kesari wondered just who had brought up the subject in the first place.

“Go gather your belongings, girl. They wish to leave now.”

Horrified Kesari could only stare. Now? Just like that. With hardly time to say goodbye to her friends, the other workers, not to mention all the animals! Her mind flashed. She felt the anger bubble up and had to fight back more tears. Kesari could feel her slender body begin to shake. A smaller hand slipped into hers as Yulia came up beside her, and Kesari squeezed tightly.

“For you,” a young woman of the nomads said quietly in Yanmarese as she approached shyly and handed a folded stack of her own clothes to the girl. “Soft, much nicer than those you wear. They will fit better. You’ll like them.”

Kesari stared around her at all the adults watching her intently. Okasa looked as if she wanted Kesari to hurry and leave; while Jejune had sorrow and helplessness in her eyes. The nomads just waited patiently. No one was coming to her rescue.

She didn’t want to go…she almost yelled out that she refused to go. But then what? She was old yes, but not old enough to take care of herself out in a world that she had no real ideas about. If she ran now, Kesari would be nothing more than another poor, beggar girl on the streets. No one would take her in or help her, she was certain. She had no choice right now but to leave with the nomads.

Bowing her head, her short, chin-length hair falling into her face to hide her tears, the young nomadic girl nodded in defeat and began to walk slowly toward the sleeping rooms.

#18 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 10 October 2007 - 07:35 PM

- 4 -


“Goodbye, Kesi,” Yulia called out with tears streaming down her dirty face. She waved to her older friend.

Riding on a sturdy horse behind the young woman who’d given her the clothes, Kesari turned and gave a last, feeble wave to the only home—such as it was--and family she’d ever known. The horse-riding nomads spread out into pairs and headed down the trail that eventually led back toward the grassy Steppes. Kesari glanced down again at the different clothes she wore—a much softer tunic than anything she’d ever had, dyed a warm brown, brown leggings for protection against riding, and boots that reached to her knees. The tunic was adorned with simple embroidery and the sash was of multicolored material braided together.

There were small packages of food in her satchel and a waterskin on a cord looped crosswise over her chest. The nomads…Kesari supposed she should start calling them “her people”…had been kind to her, at least. But they didn’t feel like “her people,” and, frankly, she didn’t want them to be “her people.” Regardless of the fact that she came from the Steppes, she hadn’t grown up out there nor did she have any deep down ties or longings to return to the hard life these people experienced.

For hours the la’teen was lost in her own thoughts, although she remembered grunting or murmuring answers when the young woman in front of her would speak. Finally the ulamda, the leader of the small group, called a halt to the journey. Dark would be upon them soon and a small camp needed to be set up. In the far distance, at the end of the Steppes, Kesari could see a wide half-circle of mountains to the north. They looked tiny from this far away, but the stocky girl could see they were green with foliage. She figured they must be nearing the center of the Steppes.

The small group dismounted the horses. Kesari stretched her aching muscles as best she could without being too obvious.

“Don’t ever go near the Dragon Mountains,” the young woman with whom Kesari had ridden whispered solemnly in Yanmarese as she passed with her horse to free the animal of its simple saddle.

“What?” the girl answered whirling around, a look of exasperation on her face. Oh no, these people didn’t actually believe in all those old legends, did they? “Please tell me you don’t believe in dragons,” Kesari said out loud.

“Many have gone there,” she pointed vaguely toward the green and brown mountains with dirty fingernails, “to find out…and they’ve never returned.” The young woman’s eyes were wide, and she shrugged. “You tell me where they went when there is nothing beyond the mountains but the sea.”

“Oh, Great Asherah,” Kesari murmured in Plain-Speak under her breath, gazing up imploringly at the faint but coming moon herself. Then to the young woman, in Yanmarese. “Probably other cities and towns…and then the rest of the world,” she said in exasperation. “And maybe hundreds and hundreds of years ago there might have been dragons, but not now. Where are they all then? They’re not flying around in the sky.”

Kesari couldn’t even imagine what things were like millennia ago, although she’d been taught some ancient history in the yummgui—especially of the great separation of the land mass into the world as it existed today. And even she knew some modern geography: the world consisted of her own lands, Yanmar, that were connected to the hot desert lands of Nineveh toward the east by the land bridge over the Aspu Gulf. South of Yanmar, across the Samudra Sea lay Mercia and west of that Iariann, which was a massive island.  There was also a great sea to the south of  Mercia which would be the northern sea of Yanmar, aptly named the Dragon Sea…in the direction of the Dragon Mountains.

“In the mountains…waiting,” the young nomad woman whispered. “Our Shashen is the most powerful around…he has told us…he is sought after by many for his knowledge both up here...” she tapped her head, “…and here,” she showed her hands to Kesari. “He has much shash’a in him.”

So her “people” had a powerful mage, did they? Kesari had never seen a real mage before, and she wondered if the nomads’ Shashen was really all that powerful. The few people she’d known that claimed to be mages could do little more than minor tricks or feeble attempts at mind reading. She’d heard that the real mages—those that were left--were found among the Elven, Drow, and Sidhe races, but rarely within the Human race.

The young nomadic woman nodded solemnly to Kesari then hurried off as her father approached.

Speaking only in Yanmarese the nomad leader instructed Kesari on her various chores in helping set up the traveling ger for sleeping. The life of hard work outdoors and little rest had begun. All thoughts of imaginary dragons and shash’a—magic—were driven from Kesari’s thoughts as she worked hard to set up camp.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 20 January 2008 - 04:29 PM.


#19 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 03:25 PM

* * * * * *

After an evening meal of dried meat, hard cheese, goat’s milk and water, all the nomads but one had settled down to a deep, tired sleep on their wool blankets. The traditional traveling ger had not been set up because the large, round, house-like structure seemed unnecessary in the fresh spring night.

Only one of the nomads remained awake.  Well, two…for Kesari lay with her eyes open as far from the small, protective fire as possible. She had vivid thoughts and visions of running away, but the nomad on first guard duty of the night sat awake and watchful of the night around him.

Kesari scowled, her almond-shaped eyes glittering black as she stared up at the thickly clustered stars. Soft snores around her added to her discontent…making fun of her for her inability to sleep or to feel part of a new family. The feelings of failing to belong brought back earlier memories of her first years in the yuumgui. Kesari used to have trouble falling asleep when she was a child due to the strange dreams of animals she would have. Well, not of animals really, she remembered, but of being an animal. At first the five year old child would wake up in the mornings with her bare feet muddy or wet and be accused of going out at night or walking in her sleep. Neither action was approved of by Okasa, and Kesari had been harshly punished when this occurred. Kesari had been told if she could not behave then she would no longer be able to remain. Finally, after being watched throughout the night or literally tied to her bed, the strange dreams began to lessen then stopped altogether.  

Suddenly Kesari turned her dark eyes toward the wakeful nomad and thought viciously, Oh, go to sleep, why don’t you, and just let me leave!

The dark-haired girl’s mouth nearly fell open when the nomad yawned widely and his head dropped forward onto his chest. He raised it once, blinking hard to wake up but sleep overcame him.  Kesari lay frozen and watching. Was he faking it? Had he somehow heard her in her own mind and was now waiting to catch her in an escape? Kesari had heard that such magic existed--or used to exist--in the world. As she lay on her borrowed blanket wondering if the nomad had magic in him, she felt time slipping away from her. The longer she stayed the riskier it would become to leave.

Taking a huge chance Kesari quietly rose to her hands and knees in the moonlit night. She draped her satchel and water skin over her chest with one hand, still keeping a wary eye on the people closer to the fire. Hunched over she scurried over the grassy ground to the group of horses tethered to large rocks. Suddenly something wrapped around her ankle.

Kesari stifled a cry as her heart pounded and she looked down. But the hand that she expected to see was merely a long stalk of grass that she had nearly tripped over. The girl took a deep breath, admonishing herself for being so easily scared and ran the rest of the way to the horses. She approached the same animal she’d ridden all day, grasping the bitless night halter.  The horse gave a startled snort from its flared nose.

“Please,” she whispered to the nervous horse. “Don’t be frightened. I need your help.”

She felt the reddish brown horse calm down and the others stopped moving around. Kesari thought it was a good thing she had a way with animals as she climbed on a steady rock and swung a leg over the horse’s bare back. Glancing behind her she could hear small movements and noises.

“You have to take me far,” she whispered, leaning over the long neck of the horse. “I should go north…south is where I came from and I can’t go back.”

At first stepping delicately through the new, green grasses and around bushes, the horse began carrying Kesari away from an unwelcome change in her life. Before the horse began to run, the nomads could be heard waking up and trying to figure out what was going on. But Kesari and the horse soon left them behind as they seemed to fly through the night beneath the full Grass Moon.

“Asherah protect me,” Kesari murmured, performing the protective sign of the Goddess of the Moon. “Take wing, my horse,” she whispered.

And the horse seemed to do just that as Kesari could barely feel or hear its hoofs striking the ground in the dark night.

#20 Nikki Peppermint

Nikki Peppermint

    Zen moment

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 01:57 PM

(I'm back...again :blush:)


- 5 -


At daybreak Kesari reached the edge of the Steppes where the grassy land melted into the thick line of trees that blocked her view of the Dragon Mountains. The sun’s dark pink and purple light was barely coloring the sky, and Kesari could see the Grass moon disappearing. Inside the trees lay shadows and darkness.

The small, sturdy horse was edgy and refused to cross the boundary of the Steppes and the forest. He would start forward, then rise up with his forelegs pawing the air as he wheeled around.

“Alright then,” Kesari said, sliding off his back before she could be thrown off. “I don’t blame you. It is a little scary, isn’t it?”

She patted the horse on the neck and soothed him. “There’s no going back for me, I’ll go alone from here.” She swallowed hard. Big words for someone her age and size, but she really had no choice. “You go home. I thank you for the ride,” she said, leaning her forehead against the horse’s forehead. “You go now.”

Kesari was a bit disappointed that the horse actually began to leave her and head back the way they’d just ridden. He turned around briefly and neighed, shaking his mane as he lowered his head, almost in a bow. The girl with the short, dark hair waved somberly.

Then Kesari watched as the figure of the horse grew smaller and smaller until he was out of sight.

She sighed. She was alone. Truly alone--not just alone with people around and not paying attention--for the first time in her life.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 20 January 2008 - 06:23 PM.



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