Paladin Thread
by Chainsaw Baron, [CYA] Wolf, Firetalon, Lady Alani, Okissaki, Sapphire Night and Shadow of Light

OOC stands for Out Of Character. Anything following OOC is not a part of the actual story.

Most of the Paladin thread was edited by me to show it from the perspective of my two characters, who are the only Paladins anyway. It made it easier to read. Towards the end, though, you'll notice the posts are by other people, which is when I just copied and pasted from the Wayfarer Thread. The Wayfarer thread was the 'main thread' where everyone posted.

There are probably many grammatical and spelling errors throughout, but I can't be bothered fixing them. This was done for fun, not an English assignment. :) Still, 38,000 words is rather impressive.

Oh, and yes, there are many similarities between Sha'o'el and Elora. Maybe they're the same people only on different planes? Or maybe I just like RPing like this. :)


Searching for the Citadel

Shadow of Light paused, half-crouched, one hand touching the rough trunk of a tree as she looked around with forest-green eyes. She had been in this forest for a week, now. Had been alone in the wilderness for over half a month. Searching.

A breath of wind fluttered through the leaves and she inhaled slowly, testing the air for danger even as she listened to the disturbing silence that had settled over the area. Lips tightening into a grim smile, her right hand inched toward the hilt of the greatsword strapped across her back. Her left clenched the intricately wrought medallion hanging from the chain around her throat - the 'Circle of Binding', symbol of her covenant with the Blood That Binds.

The grunting speech of two wartoks drew nearer. Shadow of Light drew her sword with a fluid motion and stood, stepping into full view, light glinting off the blood-red platemail of a Dragon Master.

"You two haven't seen a Paladin Chapterhouse around here, have you?"

The wartoks grabbed their axes. "Human!" one bellowed.

"Wartok," she replied, pointing at them with her sword. "Excellent. Now that we know each other, would you mind answering my question?"

One of the wartoks started forward with a gutteral battle-cry, but the other grabbed his hairy arm. "Bloodbound!" he shouted.

She raised her blade slightly in salute. "Shadow of Light." When they glanced at each other in confusion, she grimaced. Evidentally her name was not yet well-known enough to strike fear into the hearts of Dark Unionists. "Dragon Master of the Blood That Binds?" she added, hoping to spark even a dim memory.

The wartoks took a step closer, their pig-like eyes alight with the anticipation of an easy kill.

"Bonded of Shadow of Light?"

They stopped, confused again. One scratched his head. "You Shadow of Light!"

"Interesting story, actually," she said, smiling as they tried to search the sky through the dense forest canopy for the shadow of dragon wings. "My name and hers mean exactly the same thing among the languages of our separate peoples. Since we Bonded, most people just call me SoL to differentiate between us."

From the blank looks on their faces, she knew she'd lost them. Probably near 'differentiate'. Or maybe 'language'. Wartoks weren't overly intelligent.

"Did you want to meet her?" SoL asked.

The wartoks backed away, eyeing the tree-hidden sky nervously.

"Are you sure? She's a nice dragon, really. She has such a...warm presence."

They fled.

SoL sighed and put up her blade. "Nice to know that one of us inspires terror," she muttered, brushing one hand against the Circle of Binding.

A draconic voice replied, seemingly through the medallion, "It's nice to know we dragons are still taken seriously."

With a grin, SoL said, "You ever doubted it?"

"You told me not to interfere in your journet to the Paladin Citadel, Sha'o'el," the voice reminded her, using the true name given by the nomad tribe she'd been born into. The two always spoke to each other using true names. "So I was thinking I might have become obsolete."

"Really? Where are you now?"

"Sunning myself on a mountain north of your position," the dragon answered without a trace of conscience. "Do you know how hard it is to find a decent-sized mountain with no snow on it in the Iceflame Peaks?"

"Watching my back, hm?" SoL was amused, but glad she wasn't alone. She should have thought of talking through the medallion earlier.

"Someone has to be. Are any other Bloodbound seeking the Order of Paladins?"

"I don't know." She shrugged and started walking again, keeping an eye out for more wartoks. "If they are, I'll see them at the Citadel or on the way there. If they aren't..." She shrugged again, not relishing the idea of being the only Bloodbound Paladin in all of Drakan, but accepting the possibility anyway. She would persevere.

"Virtue be with thee, Sha'o'el," the dragon rumbled at last.

"And with thee, Tarshaeva."

The journey continued.


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 19th, 2000 08:21 AM:

'I remember it from last night, and am still unsure whether or not it was a dream. I found myself in the battlefield of Relic, armourless, a katana in my right fist. Another warrior awaited me there. A Bloodbound, like me, though wearing a strange name and bedecked in silvery platemail.

'After greeting one another, I set off to equip myself as swiftly as possible. Platemail, Soultaker and Health Crystals I collected at first, then sought out my opponent.

'I found him high up on the narrow wall of an alcove, watching, an Axe of Fire held ready. When I feinted a forward movement, rings of flame rushed out from him with a crackling roar. Then he readied an Axe of Frost, but this time I didn't wait. Backing away to give me room to run, I dashed forward and up the side of the wall toward him. At the last moment, I attempted a right-lunge...then slipped. Anger at my clumsiness was quickly replaced by relief as I heard the activation sound of a Rune of Invulnerability, then of the Frost Axe. Needles of ice lashed the back of my neck as I retreated.

'Our fight continued, and it seemed that no matter when I engaged him, he had a Rune. I finally succumbed to the lure myself, knowing that it was against the code of the Order of Paladins I was intending to join. I remember using my Runes only when I was fleeing, though. What point to die at the blade of one who cannot, himself, die? As I struggle to remember the "dream", I can only hope that I never used a Rune offensively.

'I recall killing him once. He turned to face me after acquiring a fresh Axe of Fire, and a triple-slash with my Soultaker dispatched him before he could so much as use another Rune (of which, he admitted, he'd still owned).

'When the battle finally ended, though, I had lost. I had slain him once, while he had killed me twice. As the dream faded, I looked up at him in his silvery armour and wondered at the meaning of this. Had I failed because I lacked skill? Because I had knowingly gone against the Paladins' code, even though I was not yet a Paladin?

'I couldn't tell, yet my mind kept thinking the latter option. It was because of the armour my opponent pure a white as the Paladins' armour if not for that faint sheen of silver...of dishonour.'

SoL paused, then put away her quill and ink, leaving the journal open so the words she'd written would dry. A second dream had followed the first, in which she had faced four adversaries (one of them the same person as from the first dream), again in Relic. She had remembered the Paladins' code this time, and fought as best she could with their restrictions.

She had triumphed. And not by one or two kills - by many.

She didn't want to add that in her journal, though. What she'd included was more useful as a warning.

With a deep breath of elation, she closed the leather-bound book and put it in her pack, stood and stretched as she glanced around the forest.

It was time to get moving again.


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 22nd, 2000 04:01 PM:

'I received news today. It was important enough that the Soulseeker of the Blood That Binds, Rowan, Master Wayfarer of Water, brought work to me herself. My young sister, Kra'malee - FireRage in the common tongue - has become a Bloodbound.

'I accepted this with joy in my heart. Young though she is, I had given her some training myself before leaving on my journey. She shows promise, if she can learn to control her sometimes fiery temperament and talkative tongue. Perhaps it was for these reasons that I hesitated to present her before the Council of Five myself.

'Virtues' Blessing to thee, my little sister, for the Blood ties between us have now strengthened beyond measure. If thou hast been accepted, then thou must indeed be worthy. My thoughts are with thee during thy Pledge weeks. Thou shalt make a fine Guardian.'

It was high noon and raining when SoL reached the rocky foothills of the Iceflame Peaks. The forest ended some distance before the lower crags, leaving a wide area of long, rain-flattened grass.

Shielding her eyes, SoL peered up through the shower, seeking the mountains' heights. Sure enough, her Bonded dragon, Tarshaeva, was perched on a prosty pinnacle. Smiling, SoL waved a greeting.

Tarshaeva's head, the scales black and shiney in the weather, swung in SoL's direction as she unfurled silvery-undersided wings to return the greeting...and let out a thunderous, fire-tinged sneeze. "What a horrible climate," the dragon rumbled, shaking her wings irritably. "Why couldn't you have been a Wyrmguard? I've heard they have some lovely volcanos around their fortress."

SoL grinned and walked closer. "I did consider it," she shouted, neglecting to use the Circle to talk. "Firetalon even invited me to join, but I didn't think I could do the Wyrmguard justice."

"You underestimate yourself."

"Perhaps." She wiped rain from her face. "But I tend to think that prudence is the better half of Valor. You won't see me leaping to engage someone with a Dreadnaught when all I have is an ugly stick!"

"You've done it before," Tarshaeva replied, teeth gleaming as she grinned.

"Don't remind me!"

The grass before SoL suddenly burst upward in a green and red explosion as a large, snarling creature jumped at her. A body the size of a big dog knocked her onto her back and sat on her chest as blood-stained, clawed hands raked across her breastplate.

The scavenger shrieked its terrible cry, bloody spittle flying from its fangs. Its head lunged at SoL's face, jaws gaping, but the Dragon Master brought one gauntletted fist around in a heavy punch that knocked it aside.

"Need any help?" Tarshaeva offered mildly as the monster howled.

SoL grabbed a clawed arm that lashed at her eyes and twisted with all her might. There was an audible snap. "I'm fine!" she yelled, punching the scavenger in the teeth. "Ow!"

The scavenger screamed and scuttled backwards off her chest, one arm limp, several fangs missing.

Arching her body, SoL jumped to her feet and drew her sword. The scavenger crouched in front of her, watching with flat black eyes and hissing. "I'm not very tastey, you know," SoL told it in a conversational tone, panting slightly. "And you probably just discovered that I cost a bit."

The scavenger snarled mindlessly and drooled in a rather disgusting way.

"Trying to talk to a scavenger is like speaking to a brick wall," Tarshaeva observed from her perch. "Except for the slobbering, of course."

Spinning, SoL's greatsword slashed a silver circle through the rain and neatly deprived the scavenger of its head. Then she looked up at her Bonded with irritation. "I was trying to be witty!"

"You don't need to try, Sha'o'el. Besides, that sort of thing is wasted on one of those."

SoL shook her head. "I guess we should see what he was eating." She poked around in the grass for a while before discovering a half-devoured human corpse. Enough of his clothes were intact to identify him. "A messenger from the High Wayfarer!"

There was a flap of wings and the ground shook as Tarshaeva landed nearby. She craned her long neck forward, golden eyes narrowing. "He carries something."

SoL detached a dented metal scroll-case from the man's belt and pulled out a sealed parchment. The wax bore the imprint of a wolf's head.

"It could be urgent," Tarshaeva said, extening one wing to shelter her human and the scroll.

"Or private." With deep misgivings, SoL broke the seal and quickly scanned the scroll. "It's for Chainsaw Baron, Master Wayfarer of Air. From High Wayfarer Wolfe." She brushed straggling, wet brown hair from her eyes and frowned. "It's urgent, summoning him to the Grand Temple. Slavers have captured a village in the south and the Wayfarers are gathering to decide a course of action. Tarshaeva, I need you to deliver a message to Wolfe for me."

"I will go."

"Thank you. Tell him That his messenger to Chainsaw Baron has been killed and that I am going to investigate the situation in the south myself." Her green eyes narrowed as she looked at the scroll. "I'll need help. If Wolfe asks you to carry word to Chainsaw Baron yourself, do so. But after that, fly to the Wyrmguard fortress and ask for aid. Maybe Arthalan - " she paused and smiled, " - Firetalon will help."

"I will send word to you through the Circle, Sha'o'el," the dragon said. "Virtue be with thee!" she backed up a pace, crouched and launched herself into the air with a powerful beat of her wings.

SoL took a deep breath, turned her back on the Iceflame Peaks, and headed back south at a swift stride.


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 23rd, 2000 02:45 PM:

Call of the Wolfe
(OOC: continued from the Wayfarer's thread)

SoL started awake at the sound of a voice.

"Sha'o'el,can you hear me?"

Rubbing her eyes, SoL touched the Circle of Binding around her neck. "I'm here, Tarshaeva. What news?"

"I'm at the Grand Temple. Lord Wolfe wants to speak with you - he's here with me now."

"Wolfe?" SoL sat up in her bedroll, forcing herself to alertness. "How can I be of assistance, High Wayfarer?"

There was a deep chuckle from the medallion, followed by Wolfe's voice. "Ah, I see this functions for another purpose, excellent. I will come to the point. I wish you tocome to the Grand Temple as soon as you are able. If you wish speedier passage, I can instruct you to a Way gate close to where you are?"

"If I knew exactly where I was, that might be useful, my Lord," SoL replied wryly, glancing around the dark grove she was sleeping in. "All I can tell you is that I'm south of the Iceflame Peaks and currently in the Great Southern Forest. Where exactly is this way gate...and how do I use it?"

"Travel three miles to the North East," the High Wayfarer answered. "Close to the edge of the mountains, there you will find a cavern, with an oddly shaped stone gate within, this gate is one of the many Way gates." There was a brief pause. "Send me a message when you are within the cave. Then I will activate the gate."

Great, SoL thought tiredly. I should have stayed right where I was instead of coming back south. She couldn't quite supress a sigh. "Very well. I'll speak with you soon."

"Virtue be with thee, Sha'o'el," Tarshaeva's voice said.

SoL smiled. "And with thee, Tarshaeva. Looks like we'll be seeing each other soon." Lowering her hand, she quickly rolled out of her blankets and set about packing her things and putting her armour on. "No rest for the weary," she muttered to herself, stowing a blanket in her pack and pulling out a torch and tinderbox. She lit it, blinking a few times to get used to the light. "Let's go, Sha'o'el..."


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 23rd, 2000 02:57 PM:

Way Gate
It was dark. No, it was very dark. It was so dark, SoL was sure she'd be able to see nothing but for the torch. What made it worse was that the forest didn't have a road - she was travelling cross-country. All she needed was a misplaced step, a low-hanging branch and she might start a forest fire.

Grumbling to herself, she rubbed her eyes sleepily and tried to concentrate on where she was going. Hopefully there had been enough rain the previous day to reduce any threats of fires.

"Which way is north-east?" she wondered aloud, squinting into the forest and coming to a halt. She glanced around. "Or was that north-west?" Muttering something about the tendency forests had to hide the sky, she started walking again, gradually warming her muscles until she felt she could run. Once she did, she started to feel better. The cold, night wind flew past her face and through the untidy braid of her hair, the torch flickering and crackling in her hand.

When she reached the edge of the forest, she breathed a soft sigh of releif. She'd been running in the right direction after all. Holding the torch high, she walked through waist-high wet grass until she reached the mountain cliffs, then followed them east until she found a dark opening.

She entered.

The firelight danced off a tall stone obelisk that dominated the centre of the cave, glittering along carvings set in the rock.

SoL nodded to herself and touched the Circle of Binding. "Tarshaeva, I've found it."


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 23rd, 2000 04:02 PM:

The Grand Temple of the Wayfarers
"I hear you," Tarshaeva's voice answered.

There was a brief moment of silence. SoL waited, chaffing the cold hand that clenched around the torch before she became aware of a humming noise. Warily, she glanced around the cave, her free hand reaching over her shoulder for the hilt of her greatsword.

Then she noticed the light. The runes encrusting the stone pillar flared with golden brilliance, brighter even than the flaming torch. SoL shielded her eyes, squinting, and backed up a pace.

The voice of the High Wayfarer ghosted from the portal.

"Enter, Bonded of Shadow of Light, and be thou welcome."

SoL took a deep breath and squared her shoulders, then stepped forward into the light. She held out one hand, stretching it into the gold incandescence, feeling for the stone pillar...but she couldn't find it. Step by step, she edged deeper into the light until she could see nothing else...

...Then, without warning, stepped out into a marble hall. Graceful pillars of black, gold-threaded marble stood at regular intervals spanning between roof and floors of the same colours.

SoL glanced around in confusion, noticing that she'd walked through a mirror. There was a young boy - probably an apprentice - watching her with wide eyes from nearby. Composing herself, SoL doused her flaming torch then looked at the apprentice. "Uh, greetings," she said. "You don't happen to know where I might find High Wayfarer Wolfe at this time of night, do you?"

The apprentice stopped gaping, then nodded. "I do...?" he looked at her inquiringly.

"Shadow of Light."

"Bloodbound Dragon Master?" He looked at her with open awe, and SoL couldn't help grinning. It was nice to be recognised, if only by name. "Lord Wolfe is attending your dragon at the Grand Temple entrance. I'll take you there."

SoL followed the boy through the beautiful hall, looking around constantly at the amazing architecture. Before long, they reached the main doors and stepped out into the night again.

"My Lord," the apprentice said, bowing to the tall figure of Wolfe. "Shadow of Light."

SoL spared a smile for Tarshaeva - who returned it gleefully - then inclined her head slightly to Wolfe. "Greetings, my Lord."


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 26th, 2000 04:32 PM:

The High Wayfarer
(OOC: continued from the Wayfarers' thread)
Wolfe turned to face SoL and the apprentice. His eyes were very dark, and they scrutinised both newcomers closely. His black cloak rustled softly as he stepped a pace forward, then stopped, the cloak falling into place like silken shadow.

"Thank you, young man." He guestured to the boy. "You can leave."

The apprentice gave a short bow, and SoL bestowed a smile of thanks on him before he left.

The High Wayfarer's dark eyes returned to SoL again, and he bowed once more, a slight smile gracing his lips and lighting the dark eyes. "Welcome to the Grand Temple, Bonded of Shadow of Light." He paused. "Before we begin our talks, perhaps something to eat and drink for you, and your Dragon?"

SoL returned his smile. "I wouldn't mind a drink, Lord Wolfe, but it's a bit early in the morning for a full meal." She glanced at the dragon. "For me, at least." The thought crossed her mind that the same might apply to Wolfe, too. After all, he seemed quite awake for this hour of the morning.

Tarshaeva shrugged her wings slightly. "I appreciate the offer, but I'm not hungry. My time would perhaps be better spent flying to the Temple of Air?"

"Let's wait and see what Wolfe says, first." SoL returned her attention to the High Wayfarer, one eyebrow rising in expectation.

Wolfe nodded and turned to speak to the dragon for a moment. He procured a small scroll from his belt and held it up to her. "Take this, then the Temple of Air will know you have come from me, fly swiftly my draconic friend, and hopefully Chainsaw will come to our aid." He then returned his gaze to SoL and guestured, "If you would like to follow me?"

"Lead on, my Lord. You can just call me 'SoL', by the way." She grinned. "It's less of a mouthful than 'Bonded of Shadow of Light'..."

The dragon snorted as she took the scroll in one claw, but didn't comment. With a single bound, she was airborne and SoL couldn't help watching her for a moment, a proud smile lighting her face at the sight of her flight. There was a strange paradox on her Bonded, for which she'd been Named. Light turned her scales to iridescent blackness, while the dark caused them to shine like white pearls.

"I'll deliver this to the Temple of Air," Tarshaeva's voice roared. "Did you want me to go to Fire's Reach Fortress next?"

SoL turned to follow Wolfe as he started to walk within the Temple. "Lord Wolfe," she said, and he fell back to walk beside her. "I was hoping to contact Firetalon of the Wyrmguard to request her aid." A slight smile played around her lips as she said this. Firetalon would probably be insulted if she wasn't invited. "With your permission...?"

"Firetalon." He mused softly, "Of course, contact her, friends and allies must come together if a battle is to be won." Then his eyes seemed to flicker with a faint, golden light.

Like a wolf, SoL mused to herself. "Yes," she said aloud, touching the Circle of Binding. "Go to the Red Citadel after the Temple of Air. Virtue be with thee."

"And with thee."

SoL let her hand fall from the Circle and gave Wolfe a grim smile. "So, what's the
situation at this village and the slavers you mentioned?"

The two were deep into the temple of the Wayfarers before Wolfe spoke again. Black leather boots creaked softly on the floors, almost inaudibly, actually. SoL admired the stealth of these people, but was willing to put up with platemail for its added protection.

Wolfe waved a dismissive hand at someone who approached and offered a shake of his head to a partially formed question.

"Lord Wolfe?"

"Later Tyrias, seek one of the other masters to harry. This lady and I have much to talk about."

The shadowy figure nodded and sped off towards the halls of learning.

SoL raised an eyebrow.

"You must excuse my abruptness SoL, the apprentice Tyrias is one for long deep conversations and I have not the time for that." He paused before a large oak door and opened it, down curled spiral-stairs, cut from the very stone of the earth. He decended them with quick steps. "Reports have come to me from some of my Journeymen in the South, that a small village has been sieged by slavers, but I fear this is part of a greater plan. Something more elusive"

He continued down.

"It sounds like fairly commonplace practise to me," SoL commented, following him down the stairs. She made a face at the noise her plate boots made against the stone, then realised the trip upstairs would be much less fun... "So I'm guessing you have a reason for this assumption of yours. The Wayfarers aren't known for throwing unsubstantiated claims about."

Wolfe nodded to SoL's remark and shook his head, "I wish for once, It were true that we could say it was only, simple, slavery." He
paused at the foot of the stairs, at another door, again, he opened it, and walked inside.

The chamber was huge, its ceiling so high that it was completely lost in shadow, despite the many, many torches bracketted in the walls. Flame and shadows alike danced across floor and the circular design there. Like a compass in appearance, at each of its four point rested a symbol for one of the elements.

Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Lastly within the center of the symbol glimmered a full moon, and behind it an almost wolf like visage.

"SoL, you are about to witness a closely guarded secret, but one which should explain a little as to how I know." The High Wayfarer
said cryptically.

SoL stepped inside and glanced around, green eyes curious. Reaching back, she shut the door and gave the symbols on the floor a long
look, then turned her attention to the High Wayfarer. Wordlessly, her face serious, she nodded.


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 27th, 2000 07:21 AM:

Temple of Air
(OOC: Continued in and from Wayfarers' thread)

A few minutes after leaving the Grand Temple of the Wayfarers, Tarshaeva wished she'd have taken the time to rest a bit longer. Maybe even have a drink. No food, though. The last thing she needed was to carry even more weight across the skies.

It was getting lighter now, and her scales had shifted to a peculiar grey-pearl colour in the pre-dawn. Blinking her golden eyes a few times to keep herself awake, she flew on until a glittering jewel of a building appeared atop a high mountain.

The dragon trumpetted a roar of greeting, relieved that her long flight was half over. The sun topped the mountains on the eastern horizon, staining the sky the pale colours of a rainbow and transforming the pyramidal structure of the Temple of Air into a thing of wonder.

Set onto the very summit of a mountain, clouds scudding around its foundations, the Temple of Air was indeed incredible. Shadow of Light spread her wings and glided, angling down toward the landing platform designed specifically for dragons.

Once she'd landed, she let out a soft grunt as muscles protested the sudden lack of movement. "Quickly," she said to a human watching nearby. "I bear a message from the High Wayfarer Wolfe." She held out a scroll. "It's for Chainsaw Baron - please see that he gets it."

"Will you stay and rest?" the man invited, taking the scroll.

"No time!" The dragon turned, walked a pace forward and pitched herself off the platform and down the side of the mountain, wings
snapping out to catch an updraft and she wheeled in the direction of Fire's Reach fortress. "But thanks anyway!"

She swooped upward again and took a momentary delight at the speed and sheer fun of dropping off a cliff, but the feeling faded all too soon when time came to beat wings again. Taking a deep breath of the chill air, she kept going, the promise of warm volcanoes and rest held before her like a star.

Fire's Reach Fortress
(OOC: continued from the Wyrmguards' thread)

When the dark red structure of Fire's Reach Fortress came into view, glowing like black metal in a forge, Tarshaeva's wings almost went limp with relief. Finally, was all she could think. Finally... Summoning what was left of her strength, she wearily beat her wings and pressed on. After a few minutes, she thought her eyes were playing her false when several dark specks rose from the Red Citadel...a flight of dragons heading her way.

Letting out a deep sigh, Tarshaeva locked her aching wings and glided. Thank the Virtues for humans (and dragons) who could think. It seemed only a minute before the flight reached her, and she barely managed to gasp out, "Shadow of Light, Bonded dragon of SoL," before they arranged themselves around her - two supporting her wings, one in front to lead the way, one below in case she lost altitude.

"Hold on, Tarshaeva," one of them said, startling her slightly that her true name was being used - not many knew it. "We'll guide you to the landing area."

She nodded her understanding and gratitude, allowing them to support her all the way in. All she had to do was keep her wings out and hang on...and land. Preparing, she stretched out fore-and-hindclaws to touchdown. It was remarkably easy with the help of the
other dragons, and she landed without injury. Once on the ground, though, she allowed herself to lie down and catch her breath,
wings splayed out and sore.

When she noticed a woman in crimson Dragonscale Armour standing nearby, she raised her head and managed a smile. "Greetings, Firetalon."


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 29th, 2000 02:57 PM:

(OOC: Continued from the Wayfarers' Thread)

Wolfe stood at the south point of the symbol and closed his eyes. One by one the elements flared into life and began to glitter. From each point the multi-coloured flames moved into the center of the circle and shone with unearhly incandescence.

Within this white fire, a scene coalesced. It seemed to be centred low to the ground, as though taken from the point of view of an animal.

Through the vision, a village could be seen. Men were running around something covered with a large sheet of some kind. As SoL and Wolfe watched, the men started pulling the covers off.

It was a statue, almost jet-black, quite tall, scaled and draconic in appearance, it stood as rigid as the stone walls of the Temple.

The High Wayfarer turned to SoL and his eyes were glimmering...they looked more animal than human now.

It finally confirmed SoL's suspicions. She looked away for a moment, looking at the vision instead, thoughts whirling. "A dragon in the sleep of stone..." she breathed, one hand rubbing her chin. Her eyes narrowed slightly, glittering like facetted emeralds in the light of the magic fire. "I'm trying to decide which is the more closely guarded secret," she added softly, and gestured at the circle on the floor. "This..." then she looked at Wolfe directly. "Or you."

Wolfe chuckled softly, a sound like the deep rumble of a wolf.

The vision shifted for a moment. A rustling could be heard from the image, leaves moved past at lightning speed. SoL imagined she could hear the sound of paws in the grass.

"What does this look like to you SoL?" questioned Wolfe.

"I think you know," she answered, and there was no humour in her voice. But no fear, either. Wolfe was a Bloodbound. The High Wayfarer. He could be trusted. Her eyes flicked back to the vision. "You know about these slavers, the dragon, all of it, because you saw it yourself." She watched as the picture sped through bushes, low to the ground, almost noiseless. "And not as a human." Again, she looked at him. "As a wolf..." One eyebrow rose. "Right, Lord Wolfe?"

Wolfe countered with a smile. It almost unnerved her to see that his upper and lower canines appeared more pointed. "I have always been a Wolf SoL, but I can also call on their aid, and see through their eyes."

After a short hesitation, SoL nodded her understanding.

The image cleared a little more and a new view crested the edge of the village, closer to the dragon statue.

"My companion is moving ever closer, watching them as we speak." He paused as the view lowered, then turned to SoL, "The Dragon is not stone SoL, but Iron and Steel."

SoL regarded the vision, now seeing that it was true. A flicker of light glimmered off the dragon's smooth surface in a way no stone coule emulate. "Why would one fashion a dragon of steel? If indeed it has been fashioned, of course...anything is possible."

And she now knew that for a fact, she added with a rueful, inward smile.

"What are the surroundings of this village like, that the Slavers brought it here? I can't believe that they just found it in the village itself. Mountains? Forests?"

"The Dragon was constructed in a secluded valley not far from the village, which is surrounded by forest on one side, and a mountain on the other. Through this runs a
small river." He watched her face with his searching eyes, "It was created as a weapon, but I have reason to believe soon it will be infused with a Dragon's Soul Crystal." He trailed off for a moment, "And that would mean anyone who controlled it, controlled the Iron beast. A weapon of no small power my lady."

"Providing it works," SoL pointed out. "Has anyone heard of anything like this happening before? Every dragon that has lived has his or her dragonstone - a soul crystal. Why would it work on something that is obviously..." She paused, then let out a short laugh, "...inanimate?" Folding her arms, she stared at Wolfe and asked, "Have they found a soul crystal?"

"Yes." He replied somberly, and then added, "They have already prepared the magic that will breathe life into the creature. I have seen it move twice now." He paused regarding her with his serious eyes. "We cannot stop the Iron Beast from awaking, the time-frame is too short. Which is why I called you
back here, it is too dangerous to go there without a plan, nor the correct tools for the job." He began to pace to the other side of the image, around the circle.

One of the men in the image brought forth a shimmering crystal stone, but this one was pitted and blackened in places, as though the colour had been leeched from it.

Wolfe turned to watch, focussing his will for something.

SoL let out a long breath, glad that she'd heeded Wolfe's invitation to come to the Grand Temple, and said nothing, watching the vision intently...waiting to see the steel, draconic monstrosity move as the High Wayfarer had. Not that she wanted to see he was right.

This could be bad...

As the man in the vision held the shimmering crystal closer to the metal statue, she saw its unliving eyes flare in response.

"Very bad..." she whispered.

A strange sensation suddenly flowed from Wolfe. SoL's senses prickled in the presence of the High Wayfarer's magic. She'd never studied the mystic arts, but she had inherited the gifts from her mother's side of the family.

Within the vision, the Soul Crystal's light flickered and died, the light from within the Dragon's glowing-red eyes also faded.

Annoyance registered on the faces of the men in the image, and no little fear. One spoke, barely audible, "Damn it, Karas will have our heads if we can't get this thing working soon." He tucked the Soul crystal away.

Wolfe dropped to his knees, all the colour drained from his face as he shook his head. SoL jumped forward and grabbed Wolfe by the shoulders before he could lose his balance any more and fall on his face. "I cannot do that again," he said. "I have bought us some more time. But I wonder if it will be enough."

"Just don't faint," SoL ordered, unshouldering her pack and grabbing a waterskin from it. Uncorking it and sniffing to make sure it was the one that contained rathemai, an herb with restorative properties, she thrust it into the High Wayfarer's hands. "Drink up, and no arguments. You need it."

Wolfe took the offered drink and gulped a large quantity of it down, knowing SoL's tone brooked no argument. He was no fool and would never turn a helping hand away.

She stood then, considering what she'd just seen in the vision. "If time is really so short, dare we wait? Is there a Way Gate to this village, or nearby?"

His eyes searched hers as he stood once more, "I cannot allow you throw your life away on your own. If one person attempts to destroy that thing then they will fail. No matter what a warrior you are. We will need more than just strength and steel."

He paused and coughed a little, "We will need four elements, and a Dragon for each." He paused. "And you, my dear SoL, will need rest." He broke into a smile.


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 29th, 2000 03:38 PM:

The Red Citadel
(OOC: From the Wyrmguard Thread)

Acknowledging the salutes of the Wyrmguard with a curt nod, Firetalon turned toward the dragon. "Greetings, Tarshaeva," she said quickly.

In almost the same breath, she snagged a hapless recruit and gestured grandly to the weary dragon.

"Please fetch our guest some refreshment," Fire said smoothly, in a hostess-type voice that brooked no argument.

The recruit gulped, nodded quickly, and vanished through a doorway.

Tarshaeva felt the urge to grin. If anything had changed in Firetalon since she'd become Captain of the Wyrmguard, it was that she had become even more authorative than before.

Fire dismissed the Wyrmguard escort and again turned to Tarshaeva. "Pardon me if I'm being a bit blunt, but what brings you to Fire's Reach?" she said, raising a brow inquisitively. "The last I heard, you and Sha'o'el were on your way to that Flame-forsaken hill of snow those Paladins call a fortress." She smiled wryly. "For some reason, I doubt you're here because you've tired of skiing and come to your senses. What news do you bring? And where is SoL?"

The dragon couldn't help a tired laugh at Firetalon's words, and nodded thanks at her offer of refreshments. "Sha'o'el is at the Grand Temple of Wayfarers, Arthalan," she said in a voice as soft as a dragon could get. "Something is wrong in the south. A village overrun by slavers is the official reason, but it must be more..." She paused for a breath, head lowering to her foreclaws again. "...else High Wayfarer Wolfe wouldn't have summoned my Bonded." Golden eyes regarded the Wyrmguard, shadowed with worry. "And you. Sha'o'el wanted to invite you to join the party, and Wolfe seems to have no doubt that we'll definitely need you help."

"Slavers, hm?" Fire muttered, her brow furrowing slightly at the dragon's words. "I had suspected something was wrong in the South. Methinks a trip down to the Grand Temple is in order here," Fire smiled dangerously.

Again, Tarshaeva felt the urge to grin. Some things never changed.

Firetalon paused and waited as the recruit finally appeared and set down a large tray with several items. "Oh, and before I forget," she said to the recruit. "Send for a Dragonhealer."

The recruit nodded quickly. "Yes, Captain."

As soon as the recruit left, Fire continued. "If Sol's at the Temple already, perhaps you should go ahead and warn her I'm coming," Fire said, glancing pointedly at the Circle of Binding. "I'll get there as soon as possible, but even by dragonback, it'll take a while." Fire raised a brow, "But you were probably already aware of that."

"As for you, Tarshaeva, you're going to stay here for a while," Fire glanced at the dragon in concern. "You're in no shape to be making
a return trip right now."

Fire then glanced over at the tray the recruit had left. "Ah, someone with foresight!" she exclaimed, picked up an odd looking feathery plant. "This is dragonfern. It's supposed to help with muscle aches," Fire said, passing it to Tarshaeva. "There's also some-, ah, but here comes someone who can explain all of this better than I."

The rustle of wings heralded the coming of the Dragonhealer.

Fire nodded respectfully in the direction of the newcomer. "Tarshaeva, may I introduce Clawmaster Jherexian, one of our master
Dragonhealers here at the Fort. She'll direct you to your quarters, and make sure you get the rest you need, as well as provide for any medical attention you might require."

Fire waggled a finger. "I won't have Sol telling me I'm being a neglectful hostess." She grinned. "After your stay here, you'll be more than ready to take another long flight. As for me, I'll be taking my leave."

Fire bowed slightly to both Jherexian and Tarshaeva.

Tarshaeva smiled. "My thanks, Arthalan. Sha'o'el will have nothing to complain about."

As the Wyrmguard Captain turned away, the dragon nodded to Jherexian and rumbled, "Give me a second," then touched her Circle of
Binding. "Sha'o'el, it is done. Chainsaw Baron has received the message and Firetalon is on her way to the Grand Temple."

The reply came at once. "Good work. Are you all right?"

"Tired and very sore."

"Thought so. Well, Wolfe has ordered me to get some sleep, so I'm going to do the same to you."

"Firetalon beat you to it, I'm afraid," Tarshaeva said wryly. "And I'm more afraid of her than of you."

There was a laugh. "Get some rest. Hopefully we'll see each other again soon."

The contact broke and Tarshaeva looked at the Dragonhealer. "Ready now."

She smiled. "Long flight? Eat that dragonfern first, then I'll take you to where you can rest."

Tarshaeva complied, sighing as a warmth flushed through her body. "Lead on," she said, pushing herself to her feet.


[This message has been edited by Shadow of Light (edited April 29, 2000).]

Posted by Shadow of Light on April 29th, 2000 03:49 PM:

Quarters in the Grand Temple
(OOC: from the Wayfarers' Thread)
SoL looked irritated. "Rest," she muttered. "Of all the Virtues-damned inconvenient times..." Rubbing her eyes with one hand, she sighed. "As you wish. I suppse there is time to spare before anyone else gets here, and I could do with some sleep." She suddenly realised that that last statement was truer than she'd thought. Her muscles were aching terribly...

I hope Tarshaeva is all right...

"I was not, however, intending to fight that thing on my own." She said aloud, crossing her arms to hide the trembling that had invaded them. If one could hide anything from a wolf. SoL wasn't without completely without pride. "I'm not suicidal."

As if in answer to her thoughts, the Circle of Binding buzzed and her dragon's voice came through it.

"Sha'o'el, it is done. Chainsaw Baron has received the message and Firetalon is on her way to the Grand Temple."

SoL grabbed the Circle, casting a quick glance at Wolfe. "Good work. Are you all right?"

"Tired and very sore."

"Thought so." SoL nodded. That explained her own discomfort. "Well, Wolfe has ordered me to get some sleep, so I'm going to do the same to you."

"Firetalon beat you to it, I'm afraid," was the wry response. "And I'm more afraid of her than of you."

SoL laughed. "Get some rest. Hopefully we'll see each other again soon." She let it go, then looked at Wolfe again. "It begins."

The High Wayfarer nodded and smiled wryly, he could sense SoL's unease and decided not to comment. Noticing her tired state, he dismissed the image within the center of the room.

"Usually guests are quartered in simple surroundings, but you look as though you could do with a little pampering." He chuckled slightly. Reaching for a medallion around his neck, he touched it once, with the tip of a finger, drawing a trail of sparks.

Another portal shimmered into being, this time it was like a rent into space, showing the place beyond.

The room was dimly lit by four torches placed around on long tall holders, they flickered slightly as the portal shimmered at the edges. The walls were oak-panelled and splendidly formed. Hanging on them were pictures and various frescoes of Wolves, in all forms of life, at play, sleep, fighting. Dominating the centre of the Room was a huge forest-scene carpet, depicting a castle in the distance caught in the light of the moon. At the far end of the room sat a magnificent four poster bed, with each post carved to resemble wolves and trees. A glow flared from a huge fireplace off to one side. SoL could see that there were many tables and chairs placed around the room.

"There is also a bath if you should wish to partake, with hot water." Wolfe once more grinned and waited for a response.

SoL frankly stared. She'd never been provided with such quarters before. From her childhood as a nomad, had always been used to having a simple bedroll or blanket as a bed, and a cold river as a bath.

"Wow..." She took a step toward the rift, eyes wide. "I guess I can forgo any further arguing about wasting time," she said, and smiled. "Thank you, Wolfe. You will wake me when it's time to leave?"

Wolfe smiled slowly, almost ferally. "I will wake you when the other's arrive, if not before." He bowed, "Sleep well my lady."

SoL returned the bow then stepped through the rift and into the luxurious room. There was a slight sucking sound and she glanced back in time to see the rip in the air close and vanish, leaving her alone. With a smile, she took in her surroundings.

"Yep, I could get used to this." She paused, noticing all the wolves. "As long as Wolfe can't see through their eyes..." Another smile, and she started preparing herself to rest.


Posted by Shadow of Light on April 30th, 2000 08:16 AM:

Sha'o'el Sleeps

SoL unbuckled her sword-belt and stood the sheathed blade in one corner before fiddling with the straps on her armour. It took a while, but she eventually got it all off and laid out on the floor in a mass of crimson steel.

Belatedly, she remembered why she was even here in the first place.

"So much for trying to find the Paladins' Citadel," she murmured, gazing at her platemail. She suddenly felt an incredible urge to kick a chair across the room. "Damn!" She'd been so hoping to reach the Citadel by the month's end. There was no hope of that now. And if this problem in the south was even half as bad as Wolfe was making out, she'd be lucky to be a Paladin by the end of the year.

Clenching her fists, she took control of her anger and went to the bath room. There would be no use in going into a screaming fit, even if it would make her feel better. Perhaps a good wash and a sleep would calm her down...

Stripping completely, she stepped down into the steaming water and went completely under, letting it wash away the days of accumulated dirt, sweat and weariness. What the water didn't fix, she attacked with a bar of soap and a lot of scrubbing. A few minutes later (and feeling grateful that there were no wolf pictures in the room), she emerged, refreshed, and dried off with a thick black towel. Wrapping her hair in it, she found something clean to wear to bed then located a brush and sat down, busying herself by untangling her partially-dried hair.

Just think of this steel dragon quest as another test of the Paladinhood, she thought to herself. After all, the journey to the Citadel is meant to be a test. What use if nothing happens along the way?

Laying the brush aside, she took a deep breath and concentrated. Some magic she did know, though it didn't compare to Wolfe's. Gesturing with one hand, she extinguished all but one of the torches in the room. She slung the wet towel over the back of a chair to dry, then climbed into the gigantic bed and pulled up the covers.

Who needs Valor Points when you have feather pillows? she thought sleepily, and let her eyes drift shut.

And she slept...


Posted by Shadow of Light on May 1st, 2000 03:37 PM:

Dragon's Rest
Jherexian, Wyrmguard Clawmaster and Dragonhealer, was a green dragon with vivid, dark blue underwings and eyes as golden as Tarshaeva's. She led SoL's Bonded away from the landing area of the Red Citadel at a walk, at first, then asked if Tarshaeva felt ready for a short distance flight.

"It will only make it quicker," the Dragonhealer admitted. "But the sooner we get you to a decent room, the sooner you can rest."

Tarshaeva stretched her wings carefully and nodded. The dragonfern had definitely helped. "I should be able to make it."

Jherexian smiled. "Good. Follow me!" Holding the tray the Wyrmguard recruit had brought, she beat her wings and rose into the air, waiting for Tarshaeva to follow before she headed toward the section of Fire's Reach allotted to the dragons. They landed in the entrance and Jherexian led her patient inside to a large, warm, cavernous room. She set the tray down on a huge table and gestured at the soft blankets piled into a shallow dip in the floor - almost like a nest. "Make yourself comfortable."

Tarshaeva settled down, nestling among the blankets, and curled her tail around herself. She let out a weary sigh.

"Now," the Dragonhealer said, handing her a large cup of liquid from the tray. "Do you have any hurts that need attention?"

"No, fortunately. Just sore muscles." She sniffed at the drink.

"It will help you sleep. You look quite wound up."

Tarshaeva drank, but didn't reply. She was worried about SoL. Her Bonded had been really looking forward to making it to the Paladins' Citadel by the end of the month, which was why she'd wanted to settle the situation in the south as quickly as possible. She hoped the human didn't take it into her head to go off on her own...

"...will check on you later," Jherexian was saying. "The food and drink will stay here for you when you wake, so you won't have to wait...", SoL wouldn't go off on her own. Unless she was really sure she'd be able to handle things. So what was happening? What did Wolfe want her and Firetalon and the Elemental Masters for?

Tarshaeva's eyes were half-closed when Jherexian smiled, wished her blessed dreams in a soft voice, then crept out the door.

Just a few hours sleep, Tarshaeva thought sluggishly. Then back Sha'o'el...roast some...slaver...scumbagsszzz...


Posted by Shadow of Light on May 6th, 2000 09:05 AM:


SoL and Tarshaeva regarded each other calmly.

"We're dreaming," the first observed.

"So I noticed." The dragon glanced herself over, watching shimmering waves of iridescence run across her scales in the strange half-light of this place. As if her body couldn't make up its mind what colour she was supposed to be.

SoL also looked different. Her armour shifted through as many colours as the ones gracing the dragon's scales. But then the armour itself changed. Leather...scale...banded...plate...dragon...leather again. Her eyes were green, then blue, brown then grey.

"This is by far the strangest dream we've ever shared," SoL said softly. She held out one hand and watched her sword change into a mace. Then an axe. "What's going on?" Frowning, she glanced up at her Bonded. "You look like a damn rainbow."

"So do you!" Tarshaeva snorted and flicked her tail. Then she felt it. A strange sense of loss...Loss of identity? She stared at SoL and saw the same expression of confusion mirrored there. "Who are we?"

The dreamscape suddenly shifted to show a new image. Instead of a featureless plain, they stood on a high dune of sand. Below, a small forest of tents. SoL's eyes widened when she recognised a clan banner rising in the middle of the nomadic camp. The Shadow and the Flame. This was her home. Beside her, Tarshaeva drew in a hissing breath.

Riders on black horses thundered across the sands in the east, curved blades gleaming in the midday sun and fierce cries echoing between the dunes. Desert raiders. A cry went up from the camp and tents emptied of people, each wielding a weapon to meet the black-armoured warriors. But there were too few.

"We have to help fight!" SoL shouted, and took a step forward. She was halted by one of Tarshaeva's strong foreclaws on her shoulder.

"We already are."

In the camp a younger Sha'o'el, clad in leather armour and swinging a longsword, ran at the raiders with the other nomads.


The shriek of a dragon sounded overhead and a young, female dragon, black-scaled and silver-winged, dove from the deep blue sky, talons extended and fire blasting from her jaws to envelope the raiders.

"The past?"

The fight was short, swift and brutal. Five of the fifty raiders escaped and fled back into the desert, three without horses. Of the nomads, thirty had died, twenty-three lived and one was close to death. That one was Sha'o'el. She had run alone behind the sword-wielding raiders to charge the five archers sitting their horses at the rear, loosing arrows at the dragon defending the nomads. She'd killed them. And they'd nearly killed her.

"Who we were."

The young Tarshaeva landed, pulled some arrows from her hide, scooped up the dying Sha'o'el in her foreclaws, said something to her distraught people, then took to the skies. Made straight for the one place that could save the human. The Circle of Binding. Carved on a flat mountaintop of stone deep in the desert, a pedestal of some strange, crystalline structure rising from the centre. Tarshaeva laid Sha'o'el down near it, then produced her dragonstone - her Soul Crystal - and placed it in the pedestal.

"You would have died had we not Bonded."

"I know. But why Bond at all? You would have been free and I would have died. Like a human is meant to."

Light shot from the Soul Crystal as both the past Sha'o'el and Tarshaeva rose into the air, their spirits melding, joining. Binding. Becoming one. Lightning flashes between them…

"Perhaps it was impulse. Perhaps I felt I owed you for taking out those archers."

"As if I and my people didn't owe you for helping us against the raiders in the first place."

The young Tarshaeva crumpled to the ground as her life-force flowed into Sha'o'el, bringing her back from the edge of death. For a long time, both were still. Then, still lying on the warm stone platform, they raised their heads and looked at each other, as if trying to figure out what they had done. And how they should be feeling. Until an hour ago, they'd never lain eyes on each other before. Didn't even know that their names were the same, even as their souls now were.

"I had no regrets. I still don't. You were worth it."

"After all that happened afterwards, I wouldn't have had it any other way."

"Nor I. This is who we have become, and I'm happy with it. I can't imagine what life would have been like not being your dragon."

"And without me being your human, I wouldn't have a life."

There was silence for a moment.

"We'll always be Shadow of Light."


Posted by Shadow of Light on May 13th, 2000 05:02 AM:

(OOC: continued from the Paladins' thread)
"Do you hear it?"

A long, mournful howl of a wolf sounded through the dreamscape.

SoL let out a deep breath, saw the illusionary walls around her shimmer and start to fade. Saw Tarshaeva's form ripple as though she were a reflection in a pond that had just been strewn with tiny stones. "I'm waking. That was Wolfe."

The howl grew in volume, then began to drop away. As it did, the dream grew even more indistinct.

"I'm waking, too," Tarshaeva said. "Then I'm returning to the Grand Temple. I'll..."




SoL's eyes snapped open and she drew in her breath sharply... then let it out and stared at a wall with its wolf paintings. For a minute, she didn't move. She lay there, thinking of nothing.

Then she hauled back the blankets and got up. There were some clothes folded in a neat pile at the end of the bed. Loose trousers, a white tunic... she put them all on, and the leather boots sitting on the floor. She didn't remember them being there before, but didn't dwell on it. In fact, she was grateful. She wouldn't have to wear her armour.

Locating a brush, she pulled it through her hair and turned...and stared.

Her armour...wasn't red any more. She stepped closer, hands clenching on the brush. The steel wasn't white, but silver, and sporting a small glyph on the right shoulder guard.

"Dragon Lord," she breathed. It took a moment to sink in. Then she straightened, grimaced at herself in a mirror, then muttered, "About time!"


SoL strode purposefully through the marble corridors of the Grand Temple, her steps falling silently on soft carpet. After eating a fine meal (which, as had the clothes, had appeared mysteriously in her room), she'd strapped her greatsword to her back, left her armour in the room and accosted the first person she saw to ask where Wolfe was.

So now she was looking for the library, which was at the end of this passage. Or so she'd been told.

She tossed her thick brown braid over one shoulder and brushed a tentative finger against the Circle of Binding. "Tarshaeva?"

"I am coming, Sha'o'el."

She smiled and dropped the amulet down the front of her shirt again. That meant Fire and Khal, and hopefully the Master Wayfarer of Air would be here soon.

Before long, she reached a door bearing a brass plaque that identified the room as the library. Not pausing to consider if she should knock (after all, wasn't a library meant to be quiet?), she cracked the door open and slipped inside. Shelves upon shelves of books went unnoticed as she walked straight toward the balcony where light spilled into the room and where two figures stood looking out at the sky.

Halting a few feet behind them, she said, "Good morning, my Lord and Lady."


Posted by Shadow of Light on May 15th, 2000 06:44 AM:

Awakening - The Red Citadel

Tarshaeva's eyes opened and the dream ended. She folded back the silvery wing she'd tucked her head under during her sleep and glanced around the cavern thoughtfully. The dream had been strange. She hadn't thought of her Binding with Sha'o'el in a long time.

Her train of thought was distracted by a heavenly scent wafting from a tray on the stone table. She sniffed, then inhaled deeply and let out a hungry sigh. Fully awake now, she wriggled around in her nest of blankets and stretched her neck toward the table, nostrils twitching.

"Bacon..." she muttered, and sniffed the air again. "Beef..." she stretched as far as she could without moving from her bed, straining to see over the table's edge. "Fish? Ah yes... definitely fish. Deep fried, extra crispy."

She had no idea how the Wyrmguard got fish when they lived on a volcano, but, as her mouth started to water in earnest, didn't exactly care. Among her people, desert-born dragons, fish was a delicacy.

Tarshaeva wriggled her hindclaws forward a bit, inching nearer the table but still reluctant to leave the warm blankets. "Getting closer," she whispered, stretching as far as her neck would go. She inched forward again, and once more tried to reach the tray with her mouth.

This went on for about five minutes.

She eventually decided that a quick dash to and from the table would serve just as well. It wasn't that the cavern was cold (after all, it was situated around a volcano), just that it wasn't as warm without the blankets. And in Tarshaeva's opinion, the warmer the better. It was too bad the Order of Paladins was in snow country instead of a lava lake. Or, even better, a desert.

Nestling back into her bed, the dragon feasted on assorted meats she warmed piece by piece with her flaming breath, some vegetables, a bit of that healing plant Jherexian had left, and a jug of water. She didn't have too much, even though she was hungry. It would make the flight back to the Grand Temple hard if she had a full belly.

As if knowing she was awake, Jherexian called on her a few minutes after Tarshaeva had eaten. "Feeling better?" the Dragonhealer asked.

Tarshaeva smiled. "Very much so. That muscle-soothing weed did wonders." She stood and flexed first one wing, then the other experimentally. "I think the pain is gone."

"Well, the rest would have done you good, too."

"Thank you, Jherexian."

The Wyrmguard dragon smiled. "No problem. What are you planning to do now?" she added, noticing that Tarshaeva was still standing.

"I have to return to my Bonded." Tarshaeva stretched her hindclaws and tail, then her foreclaws. "It will take me about a day, so I'd better leave as soon as I can."

Jherexian only nodded. Had Tarshaeva been of the Wyrmguard, however, she suspected the Dragonhealer would have ordered her to rest another day. "I'll take you to the door."

The two dragons left the cavern and walked until they reached the entrance to the dragon lairs. The sun was just rising behind a misty veil of cloud, and Fire's Reach Fortress was glowing with a dark, sultry flame.

Tarshaeva spread her wings to either side and, as Jherexian stepped back, beat them strongly. Her hindclaws snapped forward, launching her body into the air and her wings beat again.


Posted by Shadow of Light on May 19th, 2000 01:52 PM:

(OOC: Continued from the Wayfarers' thread)

When a crimson dragon suddenly popped into view in the blue skies outside the balcony, SoL thought she was seeing things. She pushed past the High Wayfarer and the Master Wayfarer of Fire (rather unceremoniously, I might add), rushed to the balcony edge and leaned over as far as she could, gaping in astonishment.

High above the graceful towers and gardens of the Grand Temple, the red dragon hovered for a moment as if to catch his bearings. In that minute of inaction, SoL got a good look at both him and his rider.

"Arthalan!" she shouted, grinning. "It's Firetalon! Fire! Khal! Down here!"

The two apparently didn't hear her, as they eventually descended to a tower some distance away. SoL let out a sound of exasperation. Cupping both hands around her mouth, she yelled as loudly as she could, "FIRETALON! KHALEMBETH! YOU KNOW THAT HARD-HEARING IS A SIGN OF OLD AGE, DON'T YOU?"

"Next time Shadow of Light," the High Wayfarer's amused voice said from behind her, "would you be so kind as to push us off?"

"It does my heart good after all these dark days, my Lord Wolfe to see such, er, enthusiasm," Juliana added, "Oh and SoL, greetings. I think we were interrupted."

SoL, still a little distracted by the sudden appearance of her friend, turned to blink at Wolfe. "Push you off?" she echoed. Then she smiled sheepishly. "Oh, sorry." The smile suddenly turned into a wicked grin. "I can try again, if you like."

There was some movement on the distant balcony accompanied by a somewhat offended "WHO'S old?!!"

Belatedly, SoL bowed to the Lady. "I apologise for my rudeness, my Lady." She cast a nervous look outside. "Excuse me a second."

Wolfe chuckled softly and nodded as SoL leaned over the balcony again. She drew the sword across her back in a smooth motion, waved it in salute and greetings then shouted, "I WAS JOKING, YOU REALISE!"

An instant later, the red dragon leaped from the parapets and glided toward her and the Wayfarers with a single powerful beat of golden wings. He landed on the broad landing, glowering menacingly.

Firetalon rolled her eyes, jumped nimbly down from his back and grinned at SoL before turning to present herself to the Wayfarers.

"I am Dragonlord Firetalon, Captain of the Bloodbound Wyrmguard," she said, bowing slightly, but never letting her eyes leave the Wayfarers. Fire gestured to Khal. "This is my Bonded, Flameseeker Hissblood, also of the Wyrmguard. We have come as requested."


Posted by Shadow of Light on May 24th, 2000 10:53 AM:

Return Flight

"Tarshaeva?" came SoL's voice through the Circle.

"I'm coming." The dragon flew on in the weak morning sunlight, absently wondering if she should get a nickname. She and Sha'o'el had discussed once how they felt when someone called them 'Shadow' or 'Light', and had decided that though they didn't mind it that much, they preferred to be called by their full name, or by something that meant their full name. Being called half of one's name felt strange.

Sha'o'el's nickname was easy. First letter, middle letter, last letter. SoL. Coincidence that it was also the first letters of 'Shadow of Light'?

Tarshaeva shrugged, even in flight, and watched the ground whipping past below her with little interest. Nothing was going on, it seemed. She wasn't as much of an adventure seeker as that barbarian-dragon Khalembeth, but she didn't mind some action.

She locked her wings into an easy glide, watching the ground more intently. Maybe she'd find a wayward wartok, or some other combustible nasty. Brightening at the concept, she started to hum, "Burn, baby, burn... Burn, baby, burn..."

She almost didn't notice the dark, glittering shape that was descending on her from above...


Posted by Shadow of Light on May 24th, 2000 07:35 PM:


A scream shattered the air as Tarshaeva folded her wings, dropping like a stone to evade the aerial attack. Silver talons gleaming with faint traces of red swiped the air she vacated. Not making the mistake of glancing back, Tarshaeva swopped low, wings almost brushing the tops of the trees and she snapped them open to glide up again in a graceful arc. Spinning in midair, she unlaunched a barrage of fireballs with deadly precision.

The dragon pursuing her didn't even slow at the onslaught. Jaws gaping in a metallic shriek and every scale resisting the dragonfire like polished silver steel, it flew straight at her with talons extended and eyes blazing blood-red.

Tarshaeva lashed out with her hindclaws, attempting to shove her attacker's chest and force it back. The shock she got through her legs when she kicked something that wasn't flesh was beyond belief. It was followed by four slashes to one thigh as the other dragon raked one foreclaw across it, razor sharp talons tearing through scales and flesh like steel swords.

Baring her fangs in fury, Tarshaeva twisted away and tried to gain altitude with powerful wingbeats, and the steel dragon followed. She wasn't worried about it being faster than her, but wasn't yet convinced that this creature was stronger than her.

Or invincible.

Dodging the whip-like tail, she arched around and slashed across one vast wing with a claw, simultaneously sending a lancing blast of lightning streaming into the steel creature's face.

Her claws did nothing but screech against the shining surface. The lightning breath had no effect at all, that she could see.

In return, the metallic beast's teeth snapped at one wing and tore at a segment of silver membrane.

Letting out a snarl, Tarshaeva broke off and retreated, hoping that the minor damage to her wing wouldn't slow her down so much as to mean her death. She was not about to try and face this thing alone.

A steel dragon...

Her mind whirled at the concept.

Fortunately,it didn't seem to want to leave the area and thus didn't chase her far.

And so, one wing and one leg bleeding, she continued with all speed toward the Grand Temple.

"Sha'o'el," she said, quickly touching the Circle around her wrist. "Have your friends there heard of a living steel dragon?"


Posted by Shadow of Light on June 2nd, 2000 08:13 AM:

Wolfe watched Firetalon and Hissblood with his deep set gaze, taking in the measure of the tough yet shapely Captain of the Wyrmguard, and her bonded companion. He smiled broadly, revealing the slight points at the ends of his canines.

"I am High Wayfarer Wolfe, and this is the Master Wayfarer of Fire." He paused as Juliana bowed gently. "The Lady Juliana."

"Well met Firetalon, Captain of the Wyrmguard." He turned his head to the Dragon, and said something in the language of the dragons. SoL didn't understand enough of it to translate what he said, though it sounded like a welcome. She could only watch on as a wry smile fell onto Wolfe's lips.

"It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the Grand Temple of the Wayfarers," he added in normal speech, then folded his arms.

Fire didn't seem surprised by the fact that Wolfe could speak draconian, though wariness shone briefly in her eyes. "The honor is ours," she replied, nodding graciously to the two Wayfarers.

Hissblood, on the other hand, was not inclined to be gracious. He eyed the High Wayfarer suspiciously. "Welcome indeed, ghwer'wiroth," the dragon rumbled irately. He fixed an accusing eye on Wolfe.

Wolf-creature... SoL translated, nodding to herself.

The dragon glowered at the High Wayfarer. "I know not what you are, ghwer'wiroth, but I know you're in charge of tha-"

"My companion refers to the... turbulence we encountered on our way to your temple," Fire interjected smoothly. "Magic, I presume?"

SoL listened, smiling slightly, at the conversation, wondering idly how much Firetalon and Hissblood knew already, and if it was natural intuition or because they had been a part of the Wayfarers' guild once.

She tried to shake the feeling, however, that something was taking place somewhere else.

Something dangerous...

Meanwhile, the High Wayfarer met the Dragon's gaze with his own level stare and nodded, transferring his attention to the woman known as Firetalon. "A defence mechanism of sorts. Only friends actually make it through the illusionary wall of stone, those we deem as enemies are slammed into the mountain and crash to the rocks below." Wolfe chuckled

Juliana listened, remaining fairly quiet, although her lips quirked slightly at the look on the Dragon's face.

Wolfe continued, unfolding his arms, "Of course, Firetalon, you were never in any danger." His face lit with a grin, then his scrutiny fell upon SoL for a moment.

"Shadow of Light, are you, alright?"

SoL's heart-rate had suddenly tripled, and sweat broke out on her forehead. "I don't..." she began, just before four long stripes of blood appeared on her right thigh and she stumbled forward, eyes widening. "...think so!"

Hissblood and Firetalon both let out low growls at the same time.

The dragon glowered suspiciously at the Wayfarer, his eyes narrowing and the low growl in his throat sounding like distant thunder.

Fire grabbed Sol's shoulder to steady her. "What's going on?" she demanded.

Wolfe ignored the dragon, giving the creature now, no more attention, instead he moved to Firetalon and SoL, grey/green eyes curious. He saw the stripes of blood and muttered.

"Claws." He pulled out a strip of black cloth and wrapped it around SoL's leg before she could argue, then looked at Fire.

"It is my thought that her bonded has come under some sort of attack, since claw marks do not appear on their own, less there is an invisible enemy abouts."

SoL grit her teeth as fresh pain came to her. "It must be Tarshaeva," she gasped. "But I've never felt anything as bad from her as this!" Grimacing as a bandage was wrapped around her leg, she nodded her thanks. "I think it's over..."

Then the tense voice of her dragon came through the Circle of Binding. "Sha'o'el, have your friends there heard of a living steel dragon?"

SoL's eyes widened and she looked at Firetalon and Juliana, then Wolfe in alarm. "It's awake!"


Posted by Shadow of Light on June 27th, 2000 08:31 AM:

The Coming of the Master Wayfarer of Air

Fire's brow furrowed. "Steel dragon, hm?" Her face darkened further and she glanced at Wolfe, Juliana, and SoL. "I take it this is what we were summoned here for," she said dryly.

Hissblood rumbled darkly. SoL was well aware of his distrust of magic.

Fire glanced at SoL in concern. "Where is Tarshaeva? Is she in danger?"

SoL paused in the act of relaying Firetalon's words to Tarshaeva when the voice of the Wayfarer of Air rang out from the courtyard of the Grand Temple.

"Hello! Anyone at home?"

"Sha'o'el?" Tarshaeva asked through the Circle.

"Sorry, I'm still here. Are you all right?"

"I'm not being pursued," the dragon replied. "I'm over a section of forest, about half-way between Fire's Reach Fortress and the Grand Temple. I'll make it."

SoL let out a short sigh of relief, then glanced at the the Wyrmguard Captain and her glowering dragon. "The steel dragon is the reason why we're here. Someone has managed to merge a Soul Crystal to it, which has evidently brought it to life."

She smiled wryly. "Now will someone please get His Baron-ness up here so we can decide a course of action? I do want to become a Paladin some time this year."

A snort came through the Circle of Binding, but all the dragon Shadow of Light said was, "When you're ready, I'll tell you everything I observed about the steel dragon. You probably won't like any of it."

Juliana withdrew from the Balcony and made her way off into the Shadows of the Grand Temple, she had a task to perform, warning the Priests and the other Wayfarers that something was amiss, and attempting to contact the Wayfarer of Water, who had not heard the summons.

Wolfe turned to look at Firetalon for a moment and nodded curtly. "That and much more." Was his quick reply.

He shouted a greeting to the Baron and proceeded to examine SoL further.

"When your bonded gets here SoL, we shall take a look at both of your wounds, together."

"It will take a while, High Wayfarer," Tarshaeva's voice came through the Circle. "I should arrive just after nightfall, when the moons rise."

"Any healing you give me she will feel, anyway," SoL said to him. "It would be strange if we could feel each other's pain and nothing else."

"What do you know of this Steel Dragon?" Fire asked Wolfe abruptly. "And how do we stop it?"

Wolfe looked at Fire and his expression changed for a moment, there was a stirring in his eyes, a slight flicker as they altered for a moment.

"All in good time Firetalon, let me see to SoL then, with Chainsaw here, we will have to start without the others." A pause and he added. "Much is at Stake here."

He knelt down close to SoL and removed his temporary bandage. Running his hand over the bared wound and closing his eyes.

SoL felt warmth flow over her wound, and an instant later the blood was gone; there was no sign nor trace of wound. It was as though it had never happened.

Wolfe's brow was streaked with sweat and through all this his teeth had been gritted, sharp and pointed.

When he rose he turned to Firetalon and nodded. "The time has come to take action."

SoL tested her leg carefully, and a surprised grunt came through her Circle of Binding. The only evidence that anything had happened to her was the four parallel tears in her leather trousers. Her skin was unmarked.

She stood. "Thank you," she said to Wolfe, a trace of wonder in her voice. "When all this is sorted out, I don't suppose you could teach me how to Heal, could you?"

Wolfe smiled a little at SoL and nodded his assent to the question. "Of course, I would be glad to teach you the arts of healing magic. Although tis more like a prayer to the soul of the world, than true spellcasting."

Another wry smile graced his lips. "Lady Firetalon, would you be so kind to get our Baron up here?"

Right on cue, the voice of the Master Wayfarer of Air drifted up from the courtyard: "Firetalon, Firetalon! Wherefore art thou, Firetalon?"

Shooting dagger-filled looks at everyone present, Firetalon moved closer to the edge of the balcony and glanced down.

"I hope you realise we've been waiting because of YOU," she said irritably, glowering down at the Baron. "So stop dawdling and get over here!"

A minute or so passed, then the Baron himself alighted onto the balcony (evidentally, he'd climbed the flower-decked trellis), bowed to Firetalon and handed her the rose he held in one hand.

"Sorry to keep you waiting. We ran into a squall line earlier, which delayed our arrival. But I'm here now - ready to save the day ... or condemn it!", laughed the Baron. He then nodded almost solemnly to Wolf and Shadow of Light, although it was obvious by the look in his eyes that he was still grinning inwardly. "Long time, no see! How's it going?"

The Wyrmguard raised a brow at the proffered flower. She then rolled her eyes and sighed in exasperation. "Oh, besides there being a steel dragon on the loose, everything's just fine."

Fire glowered imposingly at the Wayfarer of Air. "It's about time you got here." She raised a brow. "And there ARE doors, you know. Even I knew that, and I just got here! But if you insist on climbing trellises, at least do it more quickly."

She grabbed the flower in irritation and glowered at the Baron again for good measure.

SoL gave both Chainsaw Baron and Firetalon a very odd look. "Uh, greetings," she replied to the first. Arching a curious brow at the Wyrmguard Captain she added, "Am I missing something here?"

Ignoring all the commotion that the humans were making, Chainsaw Baron's dragon, Aeera, sidled up to Hissblood, fluttered her eyelashes at him and growled seductively.

And cast a mocking grin at the Baron.

Hissblood blinked his eyes quickly and made a sound somewhere between a snort and a rumble. If it were possible, one could even say the dragon blushed.

Firetalon rolled her eyes at the two dragons, then regarded Sol blankly. "Missing something? I don't know what you're talking about."

SoL kept stern control over her facial muscles and merely nodded. Turning to Wolf, she said, "I think it's time now. This steel dragon is obviously awake and we have to know how to stop it." She glanced at Firetalon and Chainsaw Baron, then at the two dragons. "You'd better tell them what you told me, then we'll need to know how to stop it."

Wolfe nodded to those assembled and to Shadow of Light, a slight smile creased his face at the two Dragons, then vanished like a drifting cloud.

"I will explain as quickly as I am able to." He added for good measure, "SoL is indeed correct, there is a steel Dragon, a creature not of flesh and blood but of metal and sorcery. But worse, empowered by an ancient Soul Crystal." He paused for a moment. "This beast is now awake and I believe has already attacked SoL's bonded." He looked across at the sky. "I do not know yet if this Dragon-thing is controlled by an outside source, but I do know it has to be stopped before it destroys any villages or cities."

Another pause.......

"The Question is how?"

It was about that time that SoL heard an ominous creaking coming from somewhere above. Just as she was raising her eyes to look at the large tree stretching its branches over the balcony, there was a loud, "SNAP!" followed almost immediately by the voice of a woman shouting, "Watch out!"


Posted by Shadow of Light on June 27th, 2000 08:35 AM:


The dragon Shadow of Light flew more easily after High Wayfarer Wolfe had healed her bonded. The weather was clear and the winds were strong under her silvery wings.

From the voices coming through the Circle of Binding, it was evident that Firetalon had arrived with Hissblood at the Grand Temple. The commotion that followed revealed the appearance of the insufferable Chainsaw Baron, Wayfarer of Air.

Tarshaeva grinned, inwardly wishing she could see what was going on.

She glanced up, squinting at the sun's position. Just past noon. She'd reach the Grand Temple after sunset.

Then, because a glimmer of caution still remained from her previous encounter, she glanced back over her shoulder to see if she was being followed. She wasn't, and she felt both a sense of relief and of disgust at herself for feeling that way.

A steel dragon... apparently inpervious.

Letting out a deep sigh that trailed streamers of flame from her mouth, she flew onward.


Posted by Shadow of Light on June 29th, 2000 05:05 PM:

A Squire for Sha'o'el

Wolfe's reaction to the loud crack was instantaneous. Stepping smoothly aside, words of power streamed from his lips to catch the plummetting Apprentice Wayfarer just before she became a puddle on the stones of the balcony.

The spell seized her shoulders and brought her upright to face the stern visage of the High Wayfarer, whose smile was replaced by a look of irritation.

"I don't suppose," he said in a menacing whisper, "you would care to explain what in all the nine hells you think you were doing before I have you fed to Hissblood?"

Hissblood looked up at the mention of his name and regarded the scene with mild interest.

SoL had watched the entire incident with one brow raised slightly in curiosity at this young Wayfarer's interruption. Now she decided she had to step in - not because she felt the young woman wouldn't deserve whatever punishment the High Wayfarer dealt out (or that Hissblood wouldn't want another collection of bones added to his already impressive collection), but that time was already running short.

Besides, she recognised the woman as Lady Alani - a Bloodbound like herself. The 'punishment' SoL intended to give her for eavesdropping on fellow clan members would probably be both worse than Alani expected, but less than she deserved.

It would also double as a timesaver, she added to herself with a trace of whimsey.

"My Lord Wolfe," SoL said as the High Wayfarer glowered at his apprentice, "If I might be so bold, I would ask that Lady Alani be given to me."

Wolfe raised an eyebrow towards Shadow of Light and turned slightly to face her. His stern look didn't fade, but a wry smile lit on his face.

"And tell me Paladin Shadow of Light, what would you do with this, young eavesdropper?"

Alani, having regained her feet, cast quick glances between the two Bloodbound and eventually settled for facing SoL. Any gratitude she had for the prospective Paladin saving her from the wrath of the High Wayferer, however, was lost as she straightened and raised her chin in obvious defiance.

Her bold front collapsed rather suddenly when the voice of her dragon came through her Circle of Binding. "L'ani? Why have they stopped talking? Wolf was just getting to some good stuff, then there was this kind of 'ooof' and everything went quiet."

Alani turned beet-red and hissed an order of silence through her amulet.

SoL held back a small smile. So, two had been responsible for this little escapade, hm?

Only one is to blame, here, she thought to herself, and looked directly at Alani with her green eyes before raising them to see Lord Wolfe. "As the current Pendragon of the Blood That Binds, I claim the right to ask that Apprentice Alani serve me through the coming venture as my squire." Ignoring the snort that came from Hissblood's direction, she again stared down at Alani. "You can start by going to my room in the east wing of the Temple and readying my armour for me."

SoL had no need of help to take care of her armour or anything else, but this penance was not for her own benefit.

"You may go now, Squire Alani," she said. "I will tell you what you need to know after our meeting here is at an end." So saying, she turned back to Firetalon and Chainsaw Baron.

Firetalon conveniently yawned. "Pardon me for interrupting, but there are more important issues to discuss."

She glanced at 'Squire' Alani, then turned to the Wolfe and Sol. "We are facing a creature that is stronger than we are, apparently impervious to dragon breath weapons, and under the control of a being whose motives we know not." She regarded Alani with casual indifference. "If the girl wishes to involve herself, then by all means, let her join." Firetalon shrugged. "It's her death."

SoL smiled to herself.

Fire glanced at Lady Alani's Circle of Binding and rolled her eyes at the muttering emanating from the silver disk.

"Would you kindly summon your Bonded here, Lady?" Fire said with thinly veiled irritation. "He's caused enough commotion, and if it doesn't stop, I'm afraid I'll have to send Hissblood after him."

Hissblood examined Alani with a big golden eye. He then smiled, revealing rows of very long, very sharp teeth.

Alani looked at the dragon askance, then rallied with a sweet smile.

"Birdwing?" She said into her circle, a razor edge in her voice.

The youngster stopped his grumbling for a fraction of a second. "Yes?"

"Get your great scaly rear end over here now. We need a…ahm…little talk."

After a while, a small dragon with pale orange colourings could be seen winging his way to the balcony. He alit, grinned at his Bonded and the gathering of impatiently waiting Bloodbound, then said, "Hey! Who died?"

The Baron grinned back at Birdwing, and replied "Nobody yet, but that is subject to change."

Aeera snickered and glanced coyly at Hissblood ... with a look in her eye that roughly translated to "My Hero!"

The Baron grinned wryly and shook his head in amusement. Casting a mischevious grin at Firetalon, he spoke up, "Well, Firetalon is right, we do have more important issues to discuss ... and some evil scum to roast. I suggest we get moving."

Sniffing the air, he paused for a moment. "Is something burning?"

Wolfe looked at the rest of the group and returned his gaze to Alani, then to SoL, "Do with this one as you desire, Shadow of Light. We do have a Steel Dragon to stop." He chuckled.

"I'd like to get to that before Firetalon goes on a smiting spree in the middle of my temple." He grinned. "And I would hate to see our eavesdropper made that Target."

His gaze regarded Alani and her bonded for a moment, "You are both lucky I don't have you expelled from the order for this."

SoL inclined her head slightly to Wolfe in acknowledgement of his acceptance to her wish. Then she looked at Alani, as if surprised the Apprentice was still on the balcony. SoL gestured meaningfully at the door.

", please. First rule: Don't ever keep me waiting, unless you plan to be an Apprentice forever."

She turned back to the more senior Bloodbound. "To business. Lord Wolfe was able to show me through magic arts where the awakening of this steel dragon took place. A village, overrun by our supposed slavers. That's where the steel statue was, and where they used a soul crystal to infuse it with life." She pursed her lips thoughtfully. "I think we should search there first."

She touched her Circle. "Tarshaeva, where did you encounter our steel dragon?"

Her bonded's voice replied: "Over a forest, about halfway between Fire's Reach and the Grand Temple. It seemed reluctant to follow me when I broke away."

"Where exactly is the village, my Lord?" SoL asked Wolfe.

Wolfe smiled at SoL and nodded, "The Village is to the Northwest, about a Third of a days flight by Dragon I would say."

He paced the balcony a little, "All I can tell is that they used the Village as a staging point, your bonded was attacked over a forest SoL, pehaps they moved the beast into the forest to awaken it?"

He paused, "We should investigate the Village and the Forest carefully, before we decide to lock horns with our foe."

"Then I will be passing over the village later today," Tarshaeva's voice observed through SoL's Circle. "Should I just pass over it and return to the Temple?"

"If we wait for her," SoL said to her friends, "we won't be leaving here until nightfall at the earliest."

She regarded Firetalon, Chainsaw Baron, Hissblood and Aeera. "Do any of you particularly need to rest?"


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 11th, 2000 06:27 AM:

Squire Alani
Firetalon glanced at her draconic companion, who was currently occupied making strange faces at Aeera. He stopped when he noticed Firetalon glowering at him. The red grinned sheepishly.

Firetalon sighed in exasperation, then turned to SoL. "I intend to investigate this as soon as possible. I am somewhat familiar with the area, as some of the Wyrmguard supply trains go through that location."

Her brow furrowed slightly. "The Tribunal should know of this." She glanced at the High Wayfarer. "Would it be possible to send a message with one of your Wayfarers?" She paused. "Er, preferably a non-magical one..."

Wolfe nodded to Fire with a, "I can send one of the apprentices who have not learnt the arts yet."

The Baron just grinned about the reference to rest and said "No, I'm pretty rested already. Let's get this show on the road."

SoL found herself slightly distracted by the byplay of the two (apparently) mature dragons. Aeera gave Hissblood a smouldering look of passion, twirled her long, whiplike tail with her talons and crooned seductively.

Dragging herself back to the task at hand... "We can go straight there, then," SoL said, and quickly instructed her Bonded to wait for them when she reached the village. "I'll be back in a few minutes," she added, indicating her armourless state.

The High Wayfarer gave SoL a low bow. "We await you here..."

With a slight bow of return to Lord Wolfe (and a sly grin at Hissblood and Aeera), she strode from the balcony and back into the Temple.

When she was alone with only the sound of her footsteps with her, she again spoke to Tarshaeva. "Are you truly all right?"

"I am. No need to worry," the dragon's voice rumbled. "How are you going to get here?"

"Unless Wolfe has other means of getting to the village, I'll ask one of the dragons if they'd mind carrying two."

"Hissblood and Aeera?"

"And Birdwind."

"Isn't that Lady Alani's Bonded?"

"That's right." Sha'o'el smiled to herself. "Those two young Bloodbound will be joining us."

"Oh?" The dragon sounded interested. "What for?"

SoL's smile widened. "Education. But not the kind they're probably thinking of. I've made Alani my squire, for the present." She could almost imagine Tarshaeva's eyeridges rising in surprise.

"But you're not a Paladin yet!"

SoL chuckled and turned a corner in the passage. "Squires are not the sole right of a Paladin. Alani was caught where she shouldn't have been - namely eavesdropping on an important meeting - and rather than have the High Wayfarer expell her from the Temple, I called her to task as a Bloodbound."

A gusty breath of understanding came through the Circle. "You won't be Pendragon that much longer, Sha'o'el."

"That doesn't matter. The penance will still be binding." A smile graced her lips again, and her green eyesseemed almost to sparkle with mirth. "We'll see what happens."

She reached her room, and Alani was inside, hard at work polishing a gauntlet. Closing the door, SoL gave her new ward a brief nod, unbelted her sword and picked up her breastplate.

At her touch, the metal turned from platinum to the deep royal violet of a Dragon Magnate with brilliant, flame-red edgings (the Pendragon's colour, and one that would be passed on in a few days to whomever was worthy). SoL blinked at the change, then muttered, "I wish the Council of Five could make up their minds when it comes to colour."

Another good reason to become a Paladin, she thought with a wry, inward smile. White armour may be a boring wardrobe, but... she shook her head and smiled again.

Strapping various armour parts on herself, SoL regarded the Apprentice Wayfarer thoughtfully. "We're going on a mission," she said at last, "if Birdwing hasn't already told you. Evil magic has brought to life a dragon made of steel for purposes we don't yet know, but are intending to find out." She took the gauntlet and pulled it on. "Our first destination is a village about a third of a day's flight from here. That's where the dragon was animated."

Straightening, SoL rebuckled her sword belt across the front of her breastplate and shook out her hair. "You're coming with me, Squire Alani, but only if you wish to. This will be dangerous, and I will not compell anyone to come on such a quest against their will. My Bonded, Shadow of Light, has already encountered the steel dragon, and no attack she tried - physical or breath - seemed to harm it."

Folding her arms, she looked intently at Lady Alani. "If you come, you obey any direct orders I give you at all times. If you choose to stay here, you and Birdwing will stay in the Grand Temple until I return for you."

"What is your choice, Squire Alani?" the Pendragon asked quietly.

Alani sat, lost in thought for a moment. She toyed with the edge of her tunic for a while, then stood and walked to the window, aware of Shadow of Light standing behind her. She looked out at the valley below. She sighed deeply, turned back to SoL, and drawing herself up to her full, yet tiny, height replied. "Yes. It would be an honour to go with you, Bonded of Shadow of Light," and then the smallest apprentice grinned wryly. "And you never know, I might even learn something."

The Dragon Magnate grinned back. "That's sort of the idea. Though it won't all just be fetching and carrying." She opened the door and gestured for Alani to follow. "Let's go. The others are waiting."


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 11th, 2000 07:35 AM:


After her conversation with Sha'o'el, Tarshaeva continued to fly in silence. The sun was beginning its descent by the time she caught sight of a small village nestled between forest and mountains. Even at this distance, she could make out a lot of activity in the village. Lots of people.

Circling around, she found a clearing large enough for her to land in. Then she began creeping, belly low to the ground, through the trees and closer to the village. No mean feat for a grown dragon. Eventually she was close enough to hear what was going on amongst the humans fairly well, so she turned around a few times, catlike, hollowing out a comfortable area to curl up in. A couple of trees were knocked askew in her efforts, but she gave them no mind.

Feeling the sun warm her scales from above, she listened carefully for anything of interest.


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 16th, 2000 07:31 AM:

The Listener

It wasn't long before Shadow of Light heard something that caught her interest. The slavers didn't have control of the steel dragon. They had been acting under the specific instructions of another as to bringing the beast to life. In fact, when the dragon had woken, several of their number had been killed.

Tarshaeva stretched her neck out further, straining to hear a name. A location. Anything that would help.

" it going?" a male voice demanded.

"Northwest," a second male growled. "By Navaros! This wasn't a part of the deal!"

"We're going to have to do something! You realise that that creature isn't invisible? Someone will see it and we'll have every Dark Union opposer descending on us!"

"What do you propose we do?" the second man asked shortly.

"Kill the villagers and run."

Tarshaeva felt a chill. She couldn't see the speakers through the trees and houses, but she didn't hear a reply. She took the silence that followed as agreement. She pulled her head back and lay still, wondering what she should do.


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 19th, 2000 12:16 PM:


A sudden pain shot through Tarshaeva's shoulder. It was so unexpected that the dragon roared aloud, rearing up and crushing another tree. The agony increased for a second, as if someone were twisting a sword in the wound, and she thought she'd lose consciousness. Considering she'd probably alerted the whole village to her presence now, that would be a stupid thing to do.

As quickly as she could, she moved backwards through the trees in search of the clearing she'd found before. If she was attacked, she'd stand a better chance in an open area. But with this wound... flying would not be easy.

"Sha'o'el, what is going on??" she demanded through her Circle.

"The Grand Temple has been invaded," was the tight-voiced reply. "I'm a bit busy-"

"The slavers are going to raze the village," Tarshaeva interrupted before her bonded could continue.

"What? When?"

"I don't know! Do I help them or you?"

There was a long silence and the dragon knew perfectly well what the human was thinking. "Be careful," was the whispered reply, then silence.

"You too, Sha'o'el," Tarshaeva said to herself, then raised her head and looked around swiftly. Someone was nearby. Turning a circle in the clearing, she half-spread her wings and let out a threatening growl. Whoever was there, they didn't hang around.

Tarshaeva then heard voices calling from the direction of the village. Slavers were coming her way to investigate the disturbance.

The dragon's eyes narrowed and she smiled with a kind of dreadful eagerness. She hadn't had a good fight in a while...

Turning to face the right direction, she drew in a deep breath in preparation of unleashing lightning, and waited.


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 20th, 2000 03:25 PM:

OOC: Linked to the Steel Dragon thread


Tarshaeva felt someone approaching again and opened her jaws to fire. The presence drew even closer, though, and she suddenly knew that whoever was here was invisible.

A figure in jet black Ninja battle armour suddenly flickered into view even and a female voice shouted, "Dragon, save the village! I'll handle the slavers! Go!"

"Who are you?" Shadow of Light growled suspiciously.

"I'm of the Shinobi sect," the Ninja replied quickly, "sent to help protect the village. Listen, the main force of the Slavers are holed up in a large building with a weather-vane shaped like a serpent. Destroy that and the rest should be easy."

Shadow of Light's eyes narrowed. The Shinobi were the noble and good sect of the Ninja, but she still didn't know enough about them to be entirely comfortable with trusting one. Finally she nodded, for the voices of the slavers were getting nearer. "Virtue be with thee," she said, then leaped into the air with a mighty downsweep of her wings.

Her shoulder was agony, but she swerved around once clearing the treetops and tore toward the village with all speed. The building the Ninja had told her about was easy to find, and she noted a couple of slavers walking in through the front door.

Desperately hoping that she had not been played false, she unloosed a barrage of fireballs at the house and it instantly went up in flames. Smoke billowed up from the thatched roof and the two slavers that had just entered the house reeled back with their clothes alight. SoL swooped and finished them off with a sweep of her talons before pulling up again.

Circling, she let out a roar as more slavers ran from buildings and a couple drew bows from their cloaks.

In the distance, she could see another dragon approaching... she hoped it was flesh and not steel.


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 21st, 2000 05:26 AM:


Shadow of Light stared at the pair closely. "Bloodbound? Hm, I must have missed the Soul Seeker's last report... I confess I don't recognise either of you."

"You can help," she continued. "I've taken out the main building, but there are probably other slavers in there and someone has to find the villagers. I'm a bit big to be fitting through any front doors," she added with a grin. "Then there's a human I met down in a clearing just east of here." She raised her head and glanced over in that direction. "A Ninja. She might need some help with the slavers that went down to attack me."

As she finished speaking, a sudden brilliance of white light erupted around her like concentrated lightning. A force lifted her off her feet and into the air, a sensation she had not experienced since bonding with Sha'o'el.

A voice spoke in her mind...

"The journey to seek the Citadel of the Paladins hath two parts: the physical and the spiritual. One cannot be completed without the other.

"Thou hast passed the spiritual quest to become a Paladin, Shadow of Light. The path to the physical Citadel now lies open to thee.

"In recognition of thine achievement, receive now the Light..."

The light grew to incandescence and Tarshaeva, awestruck and silent, felt a sudden jolt. Then she felt all her wounds heal as if by themselves.

"Virtue be with thee, Paladin."

Shadow of Light felt the floor under her feet once again, and the brilliance faded.

"Well," she mused aloud. "That was enlightening."


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 21st, 2000 08:14 AM:

Grand Temple Battle, and Ascension

A detonation sounded from somewhere nearby and SoL's attention was snapped away from her new Squire. She heard something like fragments of rock striking the floor. Not waiting for Alani, she started down the hall and rested one hand up on the hilt above her shoulder just in case. "I confess that I haven't been to the Grand Temple before," she threw back at Alani, "but I'm pretty sure that sound doesn't belong here."

She was even more sure when she heard the sound of fighting. SoL broke into a run, sword sliding free with a metallic rasp. Ahead of her, two warriors in dark armour rounded the corner, saw her and charged.

"Wayfarers!" Shadow of Light cried in as great a voice as she could muster while running. "Your temple is under attack! To arms!" She ducked under a sweeping blade and crunched her own through a breastplate. That warrior collapsed and the other aimed a kick that glanced against SoL's shoulder-guard.

SoL surged upwards, her gauntleted fist slamming up under the man's chin and lifting him into the air as he flew backwards.

"Someone find Lord Wolfe, Lady Juliana, Firetalon and Chainsaw Baron!" SoL yelled as she finished the warrior off. "NOW!"
Pulling her greatsword free, she went around the corner...

...and saw where Wolfe was.

SoL drew in a sharp breath of denial as Wolfe was felled, but two more warriors attacked her before she could even shout out to the High Wayfarer. Weapons whistled through the air and the Dragon Magnate lost sight of Wolfe as battle claimed her eyes' attention.

All at once, there was a roar like that of a dragon (though how could one be within the Temple?) and the shouts of even more warriors. Had the intruders brought reinforcements already? she thought bitterly. There was already carnage from one side of the North Passage to the other, and she had a fleeting thought of Alani. The girl was her responsibility as her Squire... SoL hoped the girl had had sense enough not to follow her up to the fight.

Both opponents dispatched, SoL got a good look at the newcomers and her eyes widened in amazement when she saw that there was indeed a great blue dragon in the temple. What's more, she recognised Sapphire Night.

The Bloodbound suddenly slammed into the woman-warrior, Crimson, standing over Wolfe, knocking her closer to where the prospective paladin was standing. Without missing a beat, Sapphire knelt beside the High Wayfarer and began a healing spell.

Sha'o'el took her cue and jumped in front of Crimson before she could return to her prey. "I challenge thee," she said softly, her phrasing deliberately formal.

Crimson laughed and took her time regaining her feet. Casually, she drew a second sword from the scabbard across her back. She didn't know who this human-woman was, but she must be a fool indeed not to have killed while Crimson was defenseless. "I accept," the wolf-warrior replied with a chilling smile, and immediately lashed out with her sword.

SoL parried, months of fighting in the field, training from the Bloodbound Master At Arms Okissaki and of the current Pendragon Draco coming to the fore. Jumping a sweeping kick Crimson aimed at her legs, she spun in a roundhouse and followed up with a heart-poke.

Crimson was no novice fighter, though, and she managed to both evade the first and block the second. "When do I see the triple-slash and the skull-splitter?" she taunted, and pressed forward with a series of hacking overhead blows designed to force her opponent back in range of Wolfe and Sapphire Night.

"Now," SoL grated and, shoving Crimson back, let loose the triple-slash attack.

Crimson snarled, dropping to one knee as her her helm was completely shattered and her armour sheared across the breastplate, but retained wits enough to raise her weapon as Shadow of Light jumped and began a skull-splitter...

...which, in this instance, almost literally lived up to its name.

SoL let out a grunt of pain as her enemy's sword drove completely through her left shoulder and her vision swam. Sinking to hands and knees, she hoped she'd regain her vision before she lost her head...

Pushing further down on SoL's injured shoulder the warrior snarled angrilly, "You bloodbound never learn...!"

SoL heard a sudden clang as Crimson's sword was deflected.

"Is this a private dance, or may anyone cut in?" a male voice asked innocently. "As much as I hate to interrupt a duel such as this, I feel I must warn you that I don't care for the particular way you fight, miss red."

"Get out of here boy while you can still walk."

"I'd love to m'lady but you see, you're wrecking the temple of the way and that can't be good for either of our karmas. Now can it?"

This man stood a little to the side of Shadow of Light, his tirade perhaps buying her time to recover.

"I should introduce myself, I'm Markus, Master Wayfarer." He ducked an experimental sword slash of Crimson's and gave her a reproachful look. "Dear lady, don't you know tis rude to attack someone on their first date?"

SoL was dimly aware of him luring Crimson away.

She's stronger than she looks...

Keeping a death-grip on her greatsword, she pushed herself up again but almost passed out when she moved her shoulder. Gritting her teeth, she straightened and forced the darkness clouding her eyes away.

Crimson was trying to run down a young-looking wayfarer who was skillfully avoiding her attacks. Her attention seemed wholey focussed on the red-headed rogue, so SoL spared a second to undo the shoulder guard that was digging into her wound.

Then Tarshaeva's voice was coming through the Circle of Binding.

"Sha'o'el, what's going on??"

"The Temple's under attack. I'm a bit busy right now-"

"The slavers are going to raze the village."

"What?" SoL stopped herself from swearing through the simple action of biting her tongue then chopping an enemy soldier's head off. "When?"

"I don't know! Do I help them or you?"

SoL stood still for a minute, breathing hard. Too well she remembered the fate of Dragonriders whose dragons had been slain. But she also knew that there could only be one right choice. "Be careful," she whispered.

Then she looked grimly at Crimson and her Wayfarer opponent.

"Crimson... giving up on our duel already?" she called, eyes glinting dangerously.

Crimson heard her voice and bristled.

Markus' ears twitched he heard the plate grinding on two warriors sneaking up behind him and dropped to one knee as two swords clove the air above him. He shortened his staff and pushed it behind his back, lengthening it again and pushing forwards to sweep the two off their feet, in a clatter of metal.

With him occupied Crimson stalked towards Shadow. "Just taking a breather my...dear.."

SoL allowed a small answering smile to play across her lips and raised her blade slightly in a mocking salute. Then her sword whipped out to meet Crimson's in a clash of steel.

The two female fighters duelled across the carpetted marble floors of the passage and no one interfered. So absolute were the combatants' attentions on each other that the slightest attempt to help either had the chance of getting both killed.

At last, Crimson and Shadow of Light stood corps a corps, their blades crossed almost at the crosshilts and neither pulling back. The two glared at each other, forest green eyes to black. SoL could feel her shoulder throbbing in pain with every second of holding her position.

Then Crimson smiled. "One question, Bloodbound. Are you ready to die?"

SoL felt the shift in movement and saw the warrior's left hand dart to her belt, pulling free a wicked-looking dagger. Without pausing she thrust and SoL, watching it all without so much as batting an eyelash, twisted aside and grasped the wrist with her steel-encased fist.

"Are you?" SoL replied softly as surprise registered in Crimson's eyes, then pulled back and levelled her sword to point at Crimson's heart.

Crimson stumbled forward at the sudden lack of support, unable to recover, and fell into SoL's sword. The wolf-woman's eyes widened, then went blank as she slid limply from the blade and slid to the floor.

Sha'o'el lowered her weapon and looked to see what the situation was within the Temple.

Crimson down, who-knows-how-many foes to go... SoL kept moving in a slow circle, eyes continually scanning the faces of invaders in case they decided to go for an attempt at vengeance. None of them did, though some tried and were only intercepted by those who had arrived to defend the Grand Temple.

She could see that Wolfe was healed, thanks to Sapphire. The High Wayfarer stood and flung a bolt into the fray, which struch the warrior fighting the young wayfarer who had drawn Crimson away while SoL had been incapacitated.

"Shadow of Light," Wolfe called. "Over here!"

SoL drew breath to answer then ducked instinctively as a scimitar whistled over her head. The fight wasn't yet over. She was back in the fight, wounded or not. Several minutes of close combat followed, weapons ringing and shouts filling the air. Sha'o'el barely noticed the arrival of the warrior White Wolf, she only felt the tide of the battle shifting in favour of the Wayfarers.

Then it was basically over.

SoL, breathing hard, wrenched her greatsword free of a dead wolf-knight and rubbed her forehead, which left a smear of blood across her brow.

Then she caught her breath in amazement.

A sudden brilliance of white light erupted around her like concentrated lightning. A force lifted her off her feet and into the air, a sensation she had not experienced since bonding with Tarshaeva.

A voice spoke in her mind...

"The journey to seek the Citadel of the Paladins hath two parts: the physical and the spiritual. One cannot be completed without the other.

"Thou hast passed the spiritual quest to become a Paladin, Shadow of Light. The path to the physical Citadel now lies open to thee.

"In recognition of thine achievement, receive now Virtues' Blessing and Spiritblade."

The light grew to incandescence and SoL, awestruck and silent, felt a sudden jolt. The weight of her armour shifted as she felt its form change, though she couldn't see anything through the blinding light. The sword clenched tightly in her right hand also seemed to alter. Then she felt all her wounds heal as if by themselves.

"Virtue be with thee, Paladin."

SoL felt the floor under her feet once again, and the brilliant light faded - though not completely. Her plate armour, of a design she had never seen and now pure white, was infused with a faint glow, as was her sword, though the blade also carried elusive traces of pale blue lightning in its shining white blade.

A Spiritblade.

She was halfway to becoming a Paladin at last.


Posted by Shadow of Light on July 21st, 2000 08:25 AM:


The blazing white light filled the grand hall and the North corridor with its pure brilliance, reflecting off any available surface, mirrors, armour, all.

The High Wayfarer saw it all through his practised eyes, he was still bristling from Crimson's magical treachery and her corruption of the Wolf Knight armour. He watched Shadow of Light carefully as she was infused with the power of a divine being.

The Lord of Wolves watched also, sword sliding back into his scabbard with a metallic click. He faced the glimmer and smiled beneath his helm, the metal contorting with his expression.

Finally, standing close to Sapphire, the young red-headed Wayfarer Master, Markus grinned slightly and strolled over to greet SoL as she came down from her experience.

"Well now." He said with a boyish and impish expression on his lips, "That was some show, have you ever thought of beheading more evil warriors like that?"

He then bowed, florid and fluently, "Markus, Master Wayfarer, at thy service knoble warrior of the blood."

Wolfe looked to the tall figure of Whitewolf as if to say, "Why me?"

"Perhaps later," Markus interjected again, "You and I can spar some?"

Wolfe once again gave the sky /the/ look.

SoL raised a brow at Markus as she grinned and bowed back. "Master Wayfarer, I am Shadow of Light," she introduced herself. "As to slaying the forces of evil, one does one's best."

Straightening again, she slid the Spiritblade into the scabbard across her back. "Spar, hm?" she replied with another grin, and was suddenly reminded of a conversation she'd observed between Firetalon and Chainsaw Baron. "I guess it would depend entirely on what weapon you're intending to use."

Laughing softly to herself, she swept past Markus to confer with Lord Wolfe, who had apparently recovered enough to roll his eyes skyward in exasperation.

The Lord of Wolves watched the interchange between Shadow of Light and Markus with his usual impassive stance, looking past them to the slowly dying battle, as the last few rag-tag warriors were killed by his men, he turned to Lord Wolfe and nodded, "I go to seek my kinsmen in the Temple, I will speak with thee much later. Hail to ye, Shadow of Light." And with that, he strode off down the Corridor, leaving a breeze in his wake.

Markus watched her, and smiled, now she moved well, and she made that armour look mighty fine, but she was talking with his Lord and he kept his distance for the moment.

Wolfe watched SoL approach and performed a slightly pained bow, "It seems Shadow that I slow in my old age, that magic of Crimson's I did not expect, I thank thee for slaying her."

He looked past to Markus and gave him a nod, the red-haired Wayfarer bowed back and then walked slowly over.

"Lord Wolfe?" He inquired.

"Since you have already met Markus, Shadow, I would like you to work with him, he is one of my finest Wayfarer's and a good ally to have by your side. You both might learn a little from each other. If I can stop him drooling over your armour long enough."

Markus chuckled, "Lord Wolfe, I meerly have an eye for fine work and fine beauty and when you combine both within one single star, then I am awed and stuck dumb."

Wolfe chided, "That will be the day. What say you Shadow?"

It was SoL's turn to roll her eyes, a vaguely amused expression crossing her face. "I don't see why not, my Lord. Why? Did you have a mission in mind appart from the current Steel Dragon and slavers situation?"

With a sidelong glance at Markus, she added, "If so, looks like we might get some sparring time after all..."

Markus grinned at that and gave SoL a gentle bow, his eyes shining. "I couldn't let Crimson cleave such a head from those shoulders, it would be a waste of a mind."

Wolfe, cut him off for a moment, "Perhaps you two could start by taking a turn around the temple and seeing if there are any more, stragglers about." He listened to the rattle of Shakari armour and smiled, "Not as though I think there will be."

Markus waited for SoL's response with another one of his grins.

SoL sighed in exasperation.


She hoped there were some more bad guys waiting in the corridors to be hacked up. Things might get... interesting... if Markus was left in a deserted corridor with her, and she'd really hate to have to kill him if he tried anything inapproriate...

Unless he was only joking, of course. That option would probably be less hazardous to his health.

"Lead the way, Markus," she said grandly. "You know this place better than I do. And I won't have to worry about you watching my back if you're in the lead," she added dryly.

Markus walked on poking his nose into the corridors and occasional rooms, all the way into the deepest recesses of the temple, SoL walking slowly behind him.

"You know I'm not that bad, Shadow." He offered after a while. "It's mostly a boy-ish sense of humour, I wouldn't do anything that would offend you, and as for any behaviour, well, I'm a blast..."

His eyes travelled to a pair of figures in dark cloaks at the end of the corridor, each carried a serrated sword.

"I was about to ask you, if you wanted to learn how to use one of these." He flicked the cylinder from his belt and smiled, "Well, looks like I get to hammer someone else this day. Ok, you have the one on the right, he looks tougher, and I have the one on the left."

SoL watched her oncoming opponent with a kind of cool detachment, her gleaming blade sliding from its sheath. As Markus drew off to take on the other man, she stepped into the attack of her own and caught the serrated sword against her crosshilt.

She could see a faint green staining her foe's weapon. Poison?

"So are you an Assassin or a Shadow Warrior?" SoL asked, then whisked her Spiritblade around as the man pulled away and tried to skewer her.

The fight didn't really last that long. For all that this guy looked tougher than his companion, SoL didn't have any difficulty in taking him out. It occured to her as the man toppled over, dead before he hit the floor, that he hadn't answered her question.

With a sigh, she leaned against the wall to wait while Markus finished playing with his friend. She wondered how her other friends were doing...


Posted by Shadow of Light on August 12th, 2000 11:44 AM:

OOC: Tarshaeva fluffs up her wings, looks down her nose at SoL and says, "Watch a pro RPer at work, little human."

SoL: "LITTLE human?? Watch it, flame bucket, or I'll..."

Tarshaeva: *coughs* "Excuse me, I'm in the spotlight here... I'll sign autographs later."


When the strange Bloodbound and her dragon left to help the Ninja Tarshaeva had met in the clearing, Shadow of Light felt a sudden chill deep within her being. With a kind of terrible certainty, she knew what was wrong with her and what had happened.

She had lost the power of Fire.

"The Heart..." she breathed, watching as the thin streamers of smoke trailing from her nose vanished in the air and stopped altogether.

The dragon threw back her head, drew in a deep breath and exhaled.


Something zipped past her earflaps and she roared, ducking instinctively. A sharp pain struck her low in the chest and her roar changed to a snarl. Switching to Lightning, she unleashed an incandescent bolt at the pair of slavers hiding near the side of a house. Both were shocked and killed, but it had been a lucky shot. Lightning wasn't very accurate, and it was taxing to use.

Tarshaeva pulled the arrow from her body and looked around for more enemies, but her attention was diverted by the building she had recently put up in flames.

My powers of Fire have gone...

She considered seeking out the Heart of Flame, but told herself not to. It was not her responsibility - the people in the village were.

Lumbering towards the first, she reached out and ripped door from its hinges.


OOC: Tarshaeva: *bows floridly* "Thank thee, thank thee!" *accepts a bunch of flowers* *accepts an Emmy* *accepts the Nobel Peace Pr-*

SoL: *mutters* "Show off..."

Posted by Shadow of Light on August 18th, 2000 07:35 AM:

Tarshaeva: The Village

The people were safe. She'd been obliged to break through a few walls to set them free, but they were alive and well.

And grateful. Several young humans immediately found toy swords or axes and ran around pretending to be Bloodbound.

Tarshaeva rested for a while, got tired and worried of waiting for those she'd met earlier to return from the clearing in the forest, and decided to contact her bonded. She might know what was going on with the Heart of Flame.


"I'm here."

"The Heart is gone!" Tarshaeva heard panic in her own voice and took a steadying breath. "Sha'o'el, the Flame has been taken. I tried to keep calm but... I can't breathe fire any more, and I feel different. Not good..."

"Are you hurt?" SoL demanded worriedly.

"No, I just feel... cold. Sha'o'el, the village is safe. A Shinobi Ninja, a Bloodbound and his dragon helped clear out the slavers, but we haven't looked for anything connecting to the Steel Dragon yet. What should we do? I want to find the Heart of Flame!"

"Hold tight. You still have Lightning. Stay in the village until I call back. I want to hear what Wolfe has to say. The Heart of Flame and the other elemental totems are under the protection of the Wayfarers."

And with that, Tarshaeva had to be content.


Posted by Shadow of Light on August 18th, 2000 07:48 AM:

Sha'o'el and Markus
From the Wayfarer Thread

When the slavers' bodies fell to the floor Markus approached SoL again and said, "Well that takes care of those two. You check that body, and I'll check mine - watch out for their habit of trapping their pouches with poisoned needles though."

He then turned and expertly searched the body for anything, he did not look happy when he plucked a pendant from around the dead warrior's neck, a black-ebony hand with a scar across the palm.

"The hand.." he whispered softly. "Oh, fiddlesticks.."

SoL flicked the her sword down to her opponent's neck and lifted an identical chain and amulet with the point. With a deft jerk, the chain snapped, the medallion flew up and she caught it in her left hand to examine more closely.

"So what's it mean?" she asked before kneeling to search the corpse further. The only other thing she uncovered was an ornate dagger with the same marking etched on the pommel and poison on the blade. "I'm guessing they're Ninja," she went on, slamming the dagger back into its bamboo sheath. "What say you?"

The young Wayfarer's face dropped a little as he knelt by the other body, he looked directly at SoL and said, "They're much worse than Assassins, although these were easy enough to deal with, they are still members of the 'Hand'"

He paused and turned the pendant over, "They are part of an elite sect of killers that make the Ninja and the Shinobi, look tame, they've been around at least as long as some Dragons. If they're involved the stakes just got higher than I would dare imagine. It's a good job we're as good as we are, and that's no joke. Otherwise we'd be dead."

"If you want to know some more, I can tell you a little of what I know?" he queeried.

"Go on," SoL said to Markus, frowning at the dagger and amulet.

"The Hand serve the Eye, and no one knows who the Eye is, but trust me Shadow, we can guarantee who ever or what ever the Eye'll be trouble..."

Markus dropped the pendant back onto the body in disgust. "It's also said that the Eye sees while the Hand moves, so I'd rather keep those pendants where they fell."

He looked around once more and smiled, "Looks like we'll be working together though. You move well, Shadow of Light, and you fighr like a demon. Which I like."

The Paladin stood and said, "I should. I learned from a daemon." Smiling slightly, she tossed down both amulet and dagger before adding, "Don't ask. Long story, many killed. Literally.

"And you can call me 'SoL'," she advised as they started walking down the corridor again. "I prefer it to just 'Shadow', and it's not as big a mouthful as the full translation of my name."

The young Wayfarer trailed a little behind SoL, as they walked, "SoL it is." He said with a slight grin. And moved on.

She fell silent for a while. It was a little hard to think on the situation at hand when she could only picture what had happened to her friends. She thought she'd seen Firetalon somewhere during the fight but couldn't be sure. There'd been a lot of red. Everywhere.

Then there was Alani. SoL frowned inwardly, hoping the girl hadn't been killed as so many others had.

"So," she said at last. "Should we be expecting any more of those guys back there?"

Markus replied with a grim smile, "They won't give up that easily, they never do, I should know, my entire family were wiped out by them, and the slavers."

He paced on, "We can expect more of them, and if they send one of their finest, we might not know it till there's a dagger in our backs. Even I have trouble keeping up with one of theirs.

"They can strike from the shadows, as part of them, and be back there just as quick, they brew poisons that can fell a Dragon."

"Does everyone have a traumatic childhood?" SoL glanced down a branching corridor as they passed it, sword in hand. "It was raiders for me, though my people were not wiped out.

"Since you've said these Hand people work for someone 'higher up', they're not common slavers. What did they want with your village?"

Markus looked to SoL, "Seems we share a little kindred spirit there SoL, as to why, I was only a child, so was Sapphire. The Hand must have been after the sacred relic they kept in the Village, some kind of stone."

"Stone..." something tickled the back of SoL's mind. Brow furrowing, she remembered the scene Lord Wolfe had shown her with the steel dragon and the slavers and...

"It wasn't a... Dragonstone... was it?" she asked softly, her tone intense.

"Wolves teeth..." hissed Markus with a slight indrawn breath, "It could have been. A Soul-Crystal?"

His eyes went to SoL's for a moment...

"This keeps getting, better and better." He said and gave a wan smile.

SoL chewed her lower lip thoughtfully, eyes narrowed as she regarded Markus. "Could be. I'm not sure... even if I were, how would it help? Unless there was some knowledge on the dragon who previously owned the crystal."

They reached the end of the corridor and it rounded a corner to travel south. "Keep going, or go back? Wolfe might be interested if you can remember anything about the stone. Provided we're right in out assumption of what it really is."

Markus kept his eyes on SoL as if reading her expression.

"We could tell Lord Wolfe, or we could, work on something together, it would mean, leaving the temple, and me showing you another wayfarer secret."

He paused, "It would also mean that I would have to swear you into total secrecy."

At this, the Paladin's face set and she shook her head. Briefly, she told him about how she'd taken Lady Alani as her squire. "I don't even know how she fared during the battle and I will not leave her behind again, even if it is for her safety." She glanced back the way they'd came. "If you want to show me anything, you're going to have to show her too.

"Besides," she added with a small smile, "if I don't take her, she'll most likely follow, climb a tree to hear what's going on, fall out and break her neck."

The young Wayfarer smiled and nodded, "I heard about her, she almost have Wolf a bump on his head eh?" He asked with a boyish grin.

"Well, I wouldn't want anyone to miss out on anything, and I'm sure as senior Wayfarer I'm allowed a certain amount of freedom to pick a recon group." He chuckled.

"After all, how's she going to learn stuck here."

Another grin.

SoL nodded to Markus. "Alright. Let's go back to Wolfe, if you don't mind, and we'll see if Alani is able to come with us." And hopefully see if my other friends survived the ordeal, she added to herself.

Without waiting for a reply, she started back down the corridor.

Markus nodded and followed Sol quietly, his own thoughts turned inwards for a brief moment and he sighed, it was going to be one hell of a clean up job.

They found Wolfe stalking the corridors with a dark gaze he stopped and bowed to them.

"Markus, Sol?" He questioned, "Looking for me?"

--SoL & Wolf

Posted by Shadow of Light on August 18th, 2000 07:51 AM:

Shadow of Light and Sapphire Night
From the Wayfarers' Thread

SoL bowed slightly to Wolfe, green eyes taking in his appearance. "I'm glad to see you've recovered, my Lord. We were looking for you, but first..."

She glanced past him and caught sight of Sapphire Night bending over Lady Alani. The apprentice Wayfarer was unconscious, and it looked like she'd just gone through some extensive healing on one of her arms.

Excusing herself, the Paladin quickly crossed over and glanced at Sapphire. "Is she going to be ok?"

Sapphire looked up as SoL rushed over.

Sapphire smiled. "She's going to be fine. She lost quite a bit of blood and could have lost her arm, but we're out of the danger zone. Right now all she needs is several hours of good sleep, which I have just ensured with a sleeping spell. Has anyone found her bonded though?" said Sapphire. "With the severity of her injuries, I am extremely worried that he or she is in very bad pain, and possibly dying."

SoL stared down at Alani and managed to let out a relieved sigh. She'd be ok. "Her bonded is a young dragon named Birdwing," she told Sapphire. "I'll try and find him." She didn't bother trying to utilise Alani's Circle of Binding, as it would only work between one human and dragon.

If Alani's ok, then it's almost certain her dragon will be. They ARE bonded, after all.

"Markus, Lord Wolfe," she called back over her shoulder, "I'll be a few minutes. I have to make sure Alani's dragon is alive and more or less well."

--SoL & Sapphire Night

Posted by Shadow of Light on August 18th, 2000 08:04 AM:

Sha'o'el, Firetalon and Birdwing
From the Wayfarers' thread

She started off at a jog down the corridor and drew her Spiritblade after rounding a few corners. There were still a few foes hiding amidst the wreckage and it paid to be cautious.

She mustn't have been paying that much attention, though, because Firetalon still managed to run straight into her.

"I have to find Khal," the Wyrmguard said, and ran off - presumably in the direction of the Library and its balcony. SoL followed behind, and Firetalon led her to where she'd last seen Birdwing.

As Fire whistled and yelled for Hissblood, SoL looked around for Birdwing. She waited for the red-armoured warrior to stop yelling (and start climbing down a tree to the courtyard) before drawing breath to call out the name of Alani's dragon.


One of the many dragons flashing across the sky angled himself downwards and smoothly glided up to where the SoL stood. He dropped into a hover, so he was at eye level with her. "What happened?" The adolescent blurted. "Where’s Alani? Is she alright? What happened?"

Relieved when she saw the pastel-orange dragonling slide down the wind to where she stood, SoL was nevertheless forced to raise one hand to protect her eyes as Birdwing decided to hover right in front of her.

"Alani is fine," SoL assured the drake. "Her arm was injured, but she's in the best of care. Sapphire Night of the Wayfarers has healed her and tells me she'll sleep for at least the rest of the day - inside, though." She glanced back, then met Birdwing's worried eyes again. "I'll ask Sapphire to give her a room with a window so you can look in on her, but I promise I'll stay by her side until she wakes.

"Before that, though, I have a question." Sha'o'el could see Firetalon down below. The Wyrmguard was staring at something, and she had stopped calling the name of her Bonded. "Birdwing, did you see what happened to Firetalon's dragon friend Khalembeth?" she asked in a low voice.

"Kahlembeth?" Birdwing frowned. "The one known as Hissblood? As matter of fact…" The orange dragonling scratched one side of his muzzle in a remarkably human gesture of puzzlement. A moment later he continued. "Ah, I remember now. It was while L’ani was unconscious, so I wasn’t thinking particularly clearly." He frowned again. "There was a lot of raw magic zipping around, so it might have been completely random, but I swear when I was flying past the north Balcony- you’re familiar with it?-that something almost reached out and grabbed me. Not a creature, you understand- or at least not by our definitions, but…some kind of air current? Anyway, I got away from it, but only just. I stopped a minute to see what could be causing this" – he gestured wildly, causing SoL to duck- "thing. Another dragon flew into me, though, and I couldn’t get back to it. I suppose it is entirely possible that Hissblood got caught by the air current, but I’m afraid I couldn’t tell you where it led to." He cast a pleading look at Shadow of Light. "Could I please go and see Alani now, even if she is asleep? I have every confidence in Sapphire Night’s healing abilities, but…" He sighed anxiously and ended, "I can’t help worrying until I’ve seen her myself.

"Understandable." SoL looked down once more where Firetalon was, still unmoving and silent. "Give me a minute, please," she said softly to Birdwing. "I have to tell Firetalon what you saw, then I'll have Alani taken to a room with a large window - or you can accompany me into the Temple."

The doors were certainly big enough, and if Sapphire Night's full-grown dragon could fit, then why not Birdwing?

SoL swung herself over the railing and climbed down the tree. When she reached the ground, she went to Firetalon's side and relayed what Birdwing had seen.

Fire stood silently, carefully turning the rune shards in her hand, while Sol repeated Birdwing's story.

"I'm no expert in such things," the Paladin added, "but it sounds like this could have been a rift." She could now see what Firetalon was looking at. Hissblood's Flameseeker rune. Broken. "I'm sorry," she said softly.

Firetalon nodded slightly, but remained silent. She glanced at the rune shards for a long while before gently placing them back onto the ground. "May you be one with the Flame, my friend," she said finally.

The rune glittered dully, its powers, as well as the soul that guided it, gone.

Firetalon sighed, then turned to Sol. "We'd better head back. We still have that steel dragon to stop."

Firetalon seemed to be taking the loss of her dragon friend rather calmly, but SoL knew the Wyrmguard Captain wasn't one to openly display all her emotions. She regarded her friend for a second, then nodded.

"I promised to take Birdwing to Alani - she was wounded, but Sapphire healed her - and she's back in the northern passage, unless she was moved."

"Sha'o'el!" Tarshaeva's voice came through SoL's Circle of Binding.

SoL winced at the volume and touched the amulet. "I'm here."

"The Heart is gone! Sha'o'el, the Flame has been taken. I tried to keep calm but... I can't breathe fire any more, and I feel different. Not good..."

"Are you hurt?" SoL demanded worriedly.

"No, I just feel... cold. Sha'o'el, the village is safe. A Shinobi Ninja, a Bloodbound and his dragon helped clear out the slavers, but we haven't looked for anything connecting to the Steel Dragon yet. What should we do? I want to find the Heart of Flame!"

"Hold tight. You still have Lightning. Stay in the village until I call back. I want to hear what Wolfe has to say. The Heart of Flame and the other elemental totems are under the protection of the Wayfarers."

Her dragon reluctantly subsided, and SoL climbed back up to the balcony where Birdwing was. "And after we talk to Wolfe," she called down to Firetalon, "I'm out of this Temple."

She looked at the still-hovering Birdwing. "Coming inside?"

--SoL, Firetalon and Lady Alani

Journey Onwards