Thursday, October 26, 2006


“She’s on my tail again.” Gurok grumbled as he turned around picking Kammy up by her mantle and tossing her at Moltov.

Moltov caught the Mithra and she clawed her way up to sit on his shoulders. “He’s so mean.” She whimpered as she pulled Moltov’s mantle up around herself. “Why did we have to bring him?”

Moltov gave Kammy a handful of cookies and the Mithra quieted down for awhile while she glared at Gurok and nibbled the treats.

Willowkarr’s tail swished angrily. She had been fighting with Foxx the entire trip over everything and everyone was tired and cold.

The tarus legs where tried and it was snowing so hard the drifts where difficult for them to climb over so Apocolipse carried Petru and Fox. Gurok had jumpingtaru tucked under one arm like a bed roll. I would have thought that would be a rather embarrassing and uncomfortable way to be carried but Jumpingtaru was sleeping peacefully. I’m sure Garness would have been willing to help out too but his wyvern Rover hissed at anyone who came too close to his napping place around Garness’s neck like a great scaley scarf.

As I looked out over the snow I was struck by its eerie beauty. I had been here before but under much better circumstances. Brodie had taken me here on vacation to ski Beaucedine Glacier and see the lights in Xarcabard. I remember the first time I saw the rainbow of glowing mist rising out of the deep scars in the earth leading up to the castle. It took my breath away. It’s a shame such a beautiful place is over run with some of the most feared beastmen.

“That’s a lot of demons up there.” Ryger said as he came up behind me while wiping Evil Eye blood off of his sword’s blade. “I think we should use sneak and invisible spells and potions up to the door.”

“Or we can kill them all!” Martin yelled as he rushed the nearest demon knight driving his sword deep into its black hide spattering it’s blood all over his white paladin armor.

Gurok dropped Jumpingtaru into the snow and Garness leaped into the air coming down with impressive force onto the demon’s head with his long lance. You would think the weight of a massive Galka thrusting a large weapon into its brain would be enough to kill it instantly but wouldn’t you know it actually took a bit more effort to kill him and all his imposing winged friends. Must be like cockroaches. Do you know how long they can live without their heads? Very icky.

We opted for the kill everything in our path method so when we finally arrived at Castle Zvahl Baileys we needed a rest to say the least. We all huddled just inside the door where we were protected from the cold and wind. For reasons unknown beasts never wander to the castle door. You would think that would be a favorite waiting place, easy pickings and all. Wait, stab unsuspecting adventurers, rest, and repeat. Great plan! Thank goodness they seemed too stupid to think of it or maybe I’m just more diabolical than they are. Interesting thought….

“I’ll stand guard.” Doma announced. “Everyone else should close their eyes and rest awhile until we feel up to full strength for this unknown witch we are about to chase out of her hiding place.

“Sleep? Not a problem at all.” Petru said as tipped his mage hat over his eyes and dozed off almost instantly.

“Rest not sleep. We don’t want to be caught off guard and groggy. This place gives me the creeps.” I said as I wedged myself between Brodie and Ryger to take advantage of the warmth for a few minutes. Pulling out my map I tried to make sense of where to go. I only wish I had some idea what we were up against and what we would do once we found Orabu.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Rescue Party

“This is it Kupo!” Moogle squealed as he dropped a large dusty book on the table. “This is the map I was looking for Kupo. See, the room is hidden. Only if you touch the wall with a heart aching with a burning desire will the wall give you passage Kupo. I will pack the map for you with your sneak oils. Take great care Kupo.”

I managed to pull together a full alliance to go after Orabu. The first few where from ThumbMonkeys and were easy to convince. Jumpingtaru, Willowkarr, Martin, Petru, Garness, Brodie, Kammy, Apocolipse, Ryger, Siegg, Marrcus, Doma, and Moltov jumped at the chance to support Orabu’s rescue attempt. Some of the others were a little tougher.

“Foxx you said I could call on you when I needed you.” I begged.

“Well that was then, this is now and now I don’t recall why I said that. Tell me why I should go?” he said with a rather evil grin on his face.

I really just think he wanted to see me beg for his help which I was happy to endure for this cause. I knew he was a friend of Orabu’s and he would give in once I satisfied his need to make me grovel. After a large meal at the local pub and plenty of promises I convinced the Taru to join us.

Gurok was the next man I went to. I had met him while in an experience party at The Boyka Tree. He was the best Paladin I had ever had the pleasure of working with in that type of situation. A large Galka with snow white hair he had an amazing talent for knowing just what to say and do to keep a monsters attention on him only. I never had to worry about missing a trick attack with him either. He was as steady as a brick wall and nothing could move him against his will. All a Thief could ever hope for.

“So you say there are dangerous monsters and I get to kill them?” Gurok asked.

“Well if we need to. Really our only goal is to bring Orabu home in one piece. We need your protection and your brute strength if things get ugly. You are the most talented Paladin I have ever had the pleasure of leveling with you know.” I knew he would like that last part.

“For you cutie, I’m happy to help. You’re my favorite Thief you know.” The Galka grinned.

“I hear that is what you tell Camis too.” I glared in mock disapproval.

Next on my list was one I was a little reluctant to call on but I was really needed a full alliance of eighteen to give Orabu the best chance. I found the Elvaan sitting in Whitegate waiting for an experience party.

“Coming back for more?” he said with a sly grin.

I just rolled my eyes and sat down next to Beldin. “I need your help.” I started as I told him my situation.

“Oh yes, you mean the Hume who wants me dead or possibly just tortured in some dungeon to rot forever alone and far away from him?” he replied.

“Umm… yeah, that would be the Hume. I know you two don’t always see eye to eye but think of it as a favor to me because we get along so well and you think I’m swell.” I smiled as sweetly as I could muster.

“Well darling, I can do even better than that. I offer you my services along with my associate Dominuse. I think you’ll find his Galkan skills very useful. I look forward to the chance to rub in it Orabu’s face that he needed me to save him.” Beldin laughed and leaned back looking very satisfied with himself as usual.

Our party gathered in my home town of San D’Oria and traveled by way of Ranguemont Pass to Beaucedine Glacier. From there it was an agonizing trek to Xarcabard. More so because of our freezing feet and worried minds than the constant beast attacks we had to contend with. We just wanted to get to Orabu and fast. No one knew what we would find there and if there was even a chance for him against this witch of legendary power Most of our alliance had hearts heavy with worry.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Note

I’m retiring from adventuring forever. It’s no longer fun for me. I’m sorry I can no longer lead a linkshell for you all. I hope you understand. Thank you all for being such good friends.
Love, Orabu

We read the note that we had found on his empty mog house floor but it was still hard to believe. As I already told in an earlier chapter we decided to form a new linkshell as soon as possible to keep our little group together. It was a sad time for all of us but full of hope.

I flopped down on my mog house bed and hung my head over the edge letting the blood rush to my face as I reached out to touch the floor. It had been about a week since Orabu had left and no one had heard anything from him. I honestly didn’t think he would actually stay away. It didn’t sit well with me. Something deep within me ached and I was sure I was missing something.

That’s when I saw it. Under my dresser was a rock wrapped in crumpled paper. Reaching out I grabbed it and pulled myself upright again. I unfastened the silk string and tied it around my pony tail as I read:

I’m so sorry to involve you but you’re my only hope now. I made a bad deal with a powerful Dread Demon witch who lives deep within Castle Zvahl Baileys. I’m imprisoned as her slave. I couldn’t tell you before or the contract would have been broken and still she would have owned my life. I am a fool. Please find a way to help.
Love and grapes, Orabu

I felt a chill as I thought of that place. I was still only a level 52 Thief and that place was certain death if I went alone.

Moogle started spinning wildly over my shoulder. He must have read the note with me. “Oh Kupo, that’s bad news Kupo. I have felt that dark magic hanging over our homes all month. You’re very soul is at risk of you go see her. There are legends of a witch who lives deep within that castle and lures in those with burning desires and great ambition. She promises them great things but only after completing impossible tasks Kupo. Then they belong to her. She is very very powerful Kupo. Makes my blood feel painful cold at the thought. Please be careful Kupo and make no deals with her Kupo. That would be very very dangerous Kupo.”

There was no doubt in my mind that I could not leave him there alone. It was time to call in favors. I picked up my communication pearls and started calling franticly for help. This was going to take everyone I knew to save him. I only hoped it was not too late.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Starlight Celebration

“You need to come because it’s important to Orabu and he’s our friend.” I said.

“I’m sorry Alison, I can’t. I already have a date with a hot Mithra and I can not tell her I have other plans and ruin it.” Martin said.

“Oh come on, you can bring her with you. This is going to be a lot of fun. We need to support him in this. He’s going to be really upset if we don’t have a good turn out.” I pleaded.

“I’ll talk to her about it but I can’t promise anything. This is really last minute to change plans.” He said.

He was right. I wish I knew what was going on. Willowkarr and I had gone to every linkshell member we could find but the prospects were iffy.

When the night of the party came Orabu was there to great us at the door of the linkshell lobby. I didn’t know what was going on but I knew that he was on edge all week. As he reached out to hug me I whispered, “Are you ok?”

He didn’t get a chance to answer before Kammy bounded up behind us nearly knocking us both over. “Cookies!” she shrieked as she attacked a platter of festively decorated treats. Orabu laughed and left me to greet one of our favorite hyper Mithra.

Willowkarr brought me a strange blue drink with green mist spilling over the sugared rim. It was surprisingly tropical and very very tasty. “My secret recipe.” She grinned. It gave me a sensation of tiny fizzy bubbles in my nose. Very tickly I assure you but absolutely delightful.

Only trouble was I think the tiny fizzy bubbles made a big bubble of my brain. I don’t think that Willowkarr Special was intended for Elvaan. I do recall dancing on the sofa with Orabu and hiding under a bed with Kammy from something that I’m sure was very frightening but I don’t recall much else. Well except fireworks. I’m sure there were fireworks at some point.

Next thing I remembered was Brodie stroking my face and asking me if I wanted to come out now. I tried to sit up and hit my head. Opening my eyes I realized I was under the bed still and the sun was just barely coming up. I whimpered, “Ouch, that was my only head I just busted on that board. Why am I under here?”

“Well you said the rabbits were after you and that under the bed was the only safe place. Kammy assured you that rabbits don’t go under beds. I tried to get you to come out last night but you tried to bite my hand and Kammy scratched me. I think you had too many of Willowkarr’s special drinks. They were very delicious but I think she put some black magic into them for extra punch. Very effective.”

I squirmed out from under the big oak bed and Brodie scooped me up in his arms for the trip back to the linkshell lounge. Willowkarr, Kammy, Jumpingtaru, Clowns and Poptart were all passed out in various corners of the room. Taru really do have a surprisingly loud snore and I’m not sure how but apparently Mithra can sleep upside down.

“Where is Orabu?” I asked as Brodie set me down on a chair in the kitchen.

“He left around midnight. He looked rather upset. He said he was sorry he failed us and it meant a lot to him that we came. He said he wasn’t ever coming back and not to bother looking for him. I think he had too much to drink. I would have stopped him from going out like that but when I opened the door to go after him he had vanished into thin air. He must have warped or something. Really it was a crazy night. I’m glad I came a little later to see the effects of Willowkarr’s special brew so I could keep an eye on you.”

“I think there is more to it than that. He has been acting a bit crazy all month. I want to find him. I’m afraid he’s gotten into some kind of trouble.”

“Well first things first.” He said as he handed me a bag and a paper cup from a Hume bakery down the street. “I’m sorry I can’t cook but I did get you some breakfast.”

I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him. “I don’t think I have said thank you yet.”

“You’re always very welcome.” He said as he cast a cure spell over me to help speed my recovery.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Orabu, Before the ThumbMonkeys

“Orabu, where have you been all night alone? You look like you’ve been chewed by a dragon and spit out in the dirt to die.” I said with concern apparent in my voice.

“I’ve been out and I need a bath now. We can talk later.” Is all he said as he stumbled into his mog house and closed the door.

Little did I know what he had done made a night as a dragon chew toy sound cozy.

“Willowkarr, were you with Obaru last night?” I asked over my pearl.

“Nope, Siekarr and I were in Jeuno.” She said. “Is something wrong?”

“Orabu seems to have had an unusually bad night. I was just hoping you might know what’s wrong. He didn’t want to talk to me.”

“We’ll keep and eye one him too. I’m sure if it’s anything he’ll tell us.” She said without concern.

It was true. Orabu wouldn’t keep secrets from us. We had grown into quite the trio over the last few months. It seemed like we did everything together because it was simply more fun that way.

When Orabu immerged again his right hand was wrapped in a bandage that I wouldn’t have even seen if I wasn’t looking for something suspicious. His gloves were pulled over the bandage so it only showed if you looked around them at the wrist.

Something was definitely wrong and I was going to figure it out. I followed him for three weeks with no clues. I would have let it go but he continued to act strangely. He became obsessed with everyone’s location. If we were not on the linkshell he wanted to know why and where everyone else was. It seemed to consume him. He became irritable and wasn’t eating or sleeping well.

“Alison, I have and idea. We need to have a Starlight Celebration party for the linkshell.” He said.

I laughed. “I love the idea. That will be fun. I’m afraid a lot of our members will be away visiting their home towns but those of us left would love a get together.”

A look of crazed rage welled up in his eyes. “If anyone actually cared about this linkshell they would be here! Why isn’t anyone supporting us? I do all this for them! I thought they were my friends.”

He looked exhausted. I put my arms around him and hugged my dear friend. “Everyone loves you Orabu and we’re glad you’re willing to lead the Envy linkshell for us. It’s just that time of year and everyone is busy with holiday stuff. Once the holidays are past everyone will return.”

“That isn’t good enough” he muttered as he pushed me away and turned to leave.

“What’s wrong Orabu? You’re hiding something from us. I know it’s been a hard month for you but there is something more that you are not telling us. It’s not like you to be so unhappy and reclusive.”

He looked up at me with tired hopeless eyes and said, “This is my burden. If you want to help me make sure everyone is here for the linkshell Starlight Celebration party. It’s the last hope for us. If that fails we fail.”

“A little over dramatic don’t you think? I promise, everyone will come back after the holidays.” I said.

He turned and locked eyes with me. “It will be too late. I can not wait that long and I can’t tell you any more than that. Everything depends on that party.”

“I’ll do everything I can.” I said suddenly feeling his urgency.

“I know you will. Thank you for that. I need some time alone to think.” He said as he picked up his sword and left the lounge alone.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Good Morning

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I woke up to the sound of Rover gnawing on my bed post. The wyvern has been teething lately and getting into everything. For some reason he seems to have a fondness for my things. My guess would be because my love of cookies leaves a sugary smell on all of my belongings but it might be that he knows I have a soft spot for him despite all my yelling.

I stumbled bare footed into the linkshell lounge to call for Garness, Rover’s master.

“Garness, wake up and get Rover off my bed post! I haven’t even broken this bed in after the last one he ate.”


Really it’s impossible to wake that Galka a moment before he’s good and ready and I really didn’t have the energy to put effort into it this early. I’m not exactly good at mornings.

Brodie was sitting quietly on the sofa reading with a steaming cup of coffee. “Good morning Beautiful.” He said with a smile.

Oh the guilt. I remembered what I had done. It’s not like Brodie and I were officially bound to each other but still I felt there was an unspoken commitment and I had betrayed it.

He got up and wrapped a blanket around my shoulders and pushed my wild bed head hair out of my face. “Have a bad night’s sleep?” He asked. “Come sit down for a few minutes.”

In other words he was trying to tell me I looked like I had been run over by a pack of dhalmels. I kinda felt like it. Sleep wasn’t coming easy even before Rover had cut it short.

I really think I should take up drinking. I’ve never been much of a drinker but this might be the time. I’ve noticed it makes for a very convenient excuse for bad behavior. Maybe I was missing out on a good thing there. I could be living the wild life, free of bounds and then blame it all one too many Norg’s Notorious.

I shook my head and chuckled to myself. I knew I never would. My proper Elvaan upbringing would not allow me to act like a wild Bastokian. Guilt is too much of a driving force in my life. No amount of intoxication would sooth my conscience enough for me to abandon my personal code of conduct.

Brodie interrupted my thoughts as he handed me a plate of pumpkin bread and a cup of extra rich hot chocolate.

“I woke Garness for you. He should come out for Rover soon. I didn’t want to be bitten again so I left the wyvern alone. I don’t think he likes me. Maybe he thinks I tell him no too often.” He sat down next to me and continued to read the notorious monster guide he was studying when I interrupted him.

Right on cue Garness stumbled out with his eyes closed knocking over an end table with his shin. He yelled what I can only imagine is some Windurstian swear word and called for Rover. The Galka tossed a raptor steak into Rover’s feed bucket and what was left of my bed post was spared.

“Thanks big guy and good morning. I think I’ll let you wait until after Rover is finished teething to buy me another new bed.” I grinned with delight to see someone else struggling this morning. I am an evil woman.

Garness just grunted and staggered into the kitchen to scavenge.

I watched Brodie read as I held my hot chocolate. If he found my staring unnerving he never said so. He was a good man.

He smiled and reached his arm around my shoulders pulling me in close to kiss my forehead. “So what’s on your mind that you did not drink your hot chocolate yet?” he asked.

I looked up but Garness had not yet emerged from the kitchen. “I met someone during a besieged this week.” I muttered.

“Oh really? Anyone interesting?” he asked.

“He kissed me.” I said sheepishly.

Brodie turned to face me squarely with a serious look on his face. “And did you kiss him?”

“Well no. I hit him.” I replied.

“Do you want me to hit him some more? Murder is fine too. Some men just need a good murdering to get them on the right path.” He said.

“Well, no. I think that would be overkill, no pun intended. I think I can handle it. So you’re not mad?” I asked.

“Mad? No, it sounds like you have it under control. I know you can handle yourself. I’m always willing to help if you want me to though.” His face softened into a warm smile again and he pulled me into his chest and leaned his head on mine. “When you’re happy I’m happy.”

Ouch. Guilt. Really the conversation was very anti-climatic. I really expected a little more emotion. I was almost worried that he didn’t get more upset but I didn’t want to mess up a good thing with over thinking.

I sipped my hot chocolate and wrinkled my nose setting it down due to lack of hotness in my chocolate. I guess I shouldn’t have waited so long.

Friday, October 06, 2006


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I heard Beldin shouting for assistance from across the Al Zahbi quarter of the city. I grinned to myself as I thought of the adventure I had around him without him ever even meeting me. It seemed like a good time to introduce myself though it might be wise to leave out the, “Oh by the way, I once was hired to kill you,” part.

“Thief at your service.” I said as I drew out my daggers and prepared to battle the swarm of undead that were about to attack the city.

“Well, a female Elvaan Thief in full artifact armor. That’s something I don’t see every day.” He said as he grinned and looked me over.

I wondered if he recognized me. Really the curiosity is what drove me to place myself in the situation where I could be caught by a man who clearly had no problem killing when he wanted to.

Ok, to be completely honest I’m a woman after all and what woman isn’t drawn to the bad boy? It’s in our wiring. Most of us have the good sense to ignore it but I guess I was not one of them that day. This is a pirate with slate black hair and a rough beard. Come on! A pirate! Not a stinky diseased ship hand with missing teeth, this was a well dressed sweet smelling captain. He was one sexy hunk of man steak. How was I supposed to stay away from that?

I think I must have been staring and lost in my thoughts when I was jolted back to readiness. Beldin yelled for us to stand together and attack.

I loved these raids. They make my blood rush with the thrill of being surrounded by beastmen who could kill me in four swings if given the chance. We swarmed on the creatures like ants only bringing them down by the shear numbers of us. These beasts were powerful and I craved the feeling I got from bringing them down.

I drew my bow, aimed at the nearest Qutrub, and let the arrow fly. As I refocused off my hard sight used to aim I noticed Beldin just standing and staring at me with a somewhat shocked expression on his face. I guessed he had just figured out that he had in fact seen me before and we did not seem to be on the same team when he first caught sight of me.

He didn’t have much time to worry about it. A lamia sliced her dagger across his back and he turned to fight her. I thought it might be a good time to disappear but I didn’t. I stayed near him and fought until the undead swarm retreated out of the city walls. My blood felt electrified by the thrill of the besieged victory

“Your stance, you bow, and that ring. I think I’ve seen you before.” He said questioning.

“Well I am around a lot. Full time job and all. I’m sure we must have crossed paths before.” I knew where he was going but I wasn’t going to give him answers that easily.

“I want to show you something.” He said as he gestured for me to follow him and he led me to a walkway overlooking the boats coming and going from the dock in Whitegate.

“This is my favorite place. It’s quiet here and the sea is like home to me.” He said as he leaned against the stone wall gazing out across the water. The place smelled of stone and salt and the sound of the water breaking against the deep water port was almost hypnotic. I walked up beside him and took in the view. This little nook was a stark contrast from the noisy bustle of most of the city. It’s as if this walkway was made just for this purpose. It was a good place.

“I think we’ve met before and it wasn’t just a casual crossing.” He said as he took my hand.

I looked up at him with a bewildered expression. I felt like a stupid school girl and blushed despite my desire not to.

“This ring. I remember it. It’s the only one like it I’ve ever seen.” He said with a boyish grin of a child who has discovered a naughty secret capable of getting his least favorite sister in trouble.

I took my hand back and rubbed the ring. It was a gift from Brodie. He made it with his own hands. Rough molded bronze with his name inscribed on the inside of the band, it was my most treasured possession. He was away more and more these days and the ring was a great comfort to me in his absence.

The gig was up. I had to tell him everything. He listened patently without drawing any weapons or accusing me of unforgivable deeds. He was actually smiling at me. One hour turned into two and two into three. We laughed and smiled as time seemed to disappear. I found him to be very enjoyable company. Surprisingly enough we thought a lot alike on many subjects and found we enjoyed many of the same things. Who knew I would have so much in common with such and uncommon person?

The sun began to set casting a rosy glow over the stones. In a moment of silence he grabbed me rather roughly and bent me back at the waist kissing me. I pulled away in surprise and slapped him sharply across the face.

“I didn’t deserve that!” he said in a hurt tone. “It seemed the perfect moment!”

“I think you did. You know I’ve already given my heart to another man. How dare you attack me like that?” I yelled back at him.

“The Hume? Really, you’re an Elvaan. It’s not exactly a perfect match. They are a little short aren’t they? And if your heart is so encaged then why spend so much time with me here? Why not leave and be with him?”

He had me there but I was offended by his outburst. I loved my kind hearted honest Paladin but sometimes I did get frustrated waiting for him to propose marriage to me. In a moment of weakness I had wanted the pirate to kiss me and almost intuitively he had. I was just as guilty, even more so because I didn’t leave. I sat with him until the sun set even letting him put his arms around me as I lost myself in thought.

“Welcome home Kupo!” Moggle said cheerfully as always. “Is something wrong?”

“No Kupo, just a lot on my mind. I think I’ll just go straight to bed tonight.” I replied.

“No hot chocolate, Kupo?!” he said with a shocked tone as he spun around like top in mid air.

“No hot chocolate.” I said as I crawled into bed.

Moggle pulled my blanket up to my chin and handed me my gobbie doll. “Oh this can not be a good sign Kupo.” He said as he turned out the light. I had to agree.