Dream of Anduir

(© by lunarsangel 2005, all rights reserved)

        The following story is a work of pure fiction and contains homoerotism as well as some
good ol’ medieval bow-and-sword action. If either of these offends you, you are under legal
age to read stuff like that or it’s illegal where you live, you’d probably better push this little,
left-pointing-arrow-button in the top left-hand corner of your screen and leave now.
        Otherwise I hope you enjoy the story.

Author’s note:
        Before you go on reading, I have to state a few things. If you don’t want to hear’em, feel
free to skip this paragraph, but don’t complain about me not having told you afterwards. I
wash my hands of it.
        First, there won’t be any explicit sex… at least as far as I’ve planed it. I I’ll give some hints
but to finish it, you’ll have to use your imagination. Hey! No scowling! This is the fantasy-
section after all, so I can call for some fantasy from your side, too, can’t I?
But like any halfway talented Hollywood director I’ll try to make up the lack of explicit sexual
content with some action and violence (and a hopefully exiting/interesting plot, of course…*g*)
        Secondly, this is my first story on Nifty… my first “real” story at all, to be honest… the
longest continuous English text I’ve ever written, to be even more honest. And as English is
not my native tongue, please be clement.      
        Thirdly, I was/am inspired by several sources. When I think it might be necessary to state
one of them e.g. due to copyright, I’ll do so at the end of a chapter. 
        And last but not least, everything written in italics is meant to be communication only
heard/understood by no/a single/very few present character(s). An example? Oh well, why
not. It could be a foreign language none of the currently involved characters is able to speak.
But you, as (almost) omniscient readers, will of course understand every single word. Direct
translation, to give it a flashy name. So I don’t have to bother making/looking up words, and
you don’t have to bother unravelling them. Deal? Oh, yeah, if I feel funny enough to let
anyone use some kind of telepathy, that would be written in italics, too.
        This is actually a reedited version of chapter one. So if you didn’t read it yet, feel
privileged to be confronted with less typos but some additional story-stuff. If you already read
it, feel free to do so again and spot the changes, if you want. When you find all of them, you’ll
win a prize. *g*
        Hmm, that should do it for the moment. Still there? Nice. I already like you  ; )
Have fun.

      Chapter I – Red Leaves

        He carefully studied the face watching him from the calm surface of the small pond
beneath. It was a handsome face, at least in his opinion. Nose, chin, ears and lips, all smooth
and well proportioned, making him look a bit younger than he actually was. Most people
wouldn’t believe him being twenty years old, much to his own annoyance. He was a man and
fully accountable for his deeds before law and God. The Almighty knew that he was willing to
take this responsibility. He looked into deep green eyes, gleaming with determination, but his
short, black hair, still wet and messed up, betrayed his ambition to appear perfectly reputable.

        Not being especially content with the present, his thoughts drifted to the past, musing
about everything he had left behind, back in Dunburgh, his hometown. Not that there was
much to muse about.
        Almost six years had passed since he talked to his father or mother for the last time. Or
were it seven? He didn’t know for sure and furthermore he didn’t care. The final words he
had exchanged with his master Almaric a week ago weren’t of the nicest kind, too. Being
completely focused on his studies, he had no one back there to be called a friend. At least not
anymore. Maybe several acquaintances, but no real friends. And the city itself? Well, getting
sentimental about a conglomeration of cut rocks and carved wood and calling it ‘home’
always had seemed quite foolish to him.
        ‘Nothing is going to last forever and embosoming only increases the pain of loss.’ He
seldom agreed with other people’s opinion without reservation. But this quotation from ‘The
Way of Mankind’, a controversial book well known among the philosophers of the western
world, simply hit the mark.
        So why even bother?

        A single maple leaf touched the so far motionless surface and caused his reflection to be
blurred by concentric ripples. His thoughts being disturbed as well, he turned his gaze to the
branches above, searching for whatever caused the leaf to fall off in late midsummer. The
vague figure of a blackish bird, maybe a magpie, took to the skies marking its farewell with a
throaty caw. It was the first remarkable noise this morning apart from the gurgling of the little
forest creek nurturing the pond.
       Then something else caught his eye. The rising sun let its first warm rays seep through the
upper branches and turned ordinary insects into little wisps of light, dancing among the
already slightly reddish leaves. Autumn was slowly but steadily approaching. Soon the trees
in Firewood forest would be clad in a bright red garment, the apparent origin of its name.

        He watched the mesmeric dance for a while, before resuming his task of breaking up this
night’s camp.
        “No, there won’t be much I’m going to miss.” Vincent muttered to himself, finally putting
an end to his pondering. He stood up slowly and winced when he felt a sharp pain in his back
        “Well, maybe sleeping in a warm, soft bed.” he added sullenly, throwing an angry look at
the root which must have been the cause of his restless sleep. Vincent took a rough towel from
his leather-backpack, wrapped it around his head and started ruffling his hair through the
fabric. A single beam of sunlight was caressing the flexing muscles of his bare back, somewhat
soothing the ache. His hair being relatively short, the task of drying it was quickly done.

        An accident during his early training taught him that long hair, at least concerning his
own, wasn’t only very bothersome to tame every morning but could also be hazardous.
Almost half of it had burned away completely. After the first shock eased up, he had decided
to get the other half cut, too, and keep his hair shorter from then on. He had waited some days
nevertheless, just to tease his master and, of course, for the sake of dramatic effect. After
Almaric had admonished him several times, he finally went seeing the barber.

        Slightly smiling at this ambivalent memory, Vincent stuffed the damp towel back into his
backpack. He picked up his dark blue, woolen shirt from the forest soil and pulled it over his
head, covering his slender, nicely defined torso. A trail of dark hair led down from his navel,
disappearing under the black linen cloth of his trousers. Spending most of one’s time with old
books and parchments won’t very likely give you a woodcutter’s build, but Vincent had to
take care of enough chores, involuntary tasks assigned by his master, to prevent him from
becoming too chubby or lanky.
        He looked around, making sure not to leave anything of importance behind, grabbed the
strap of his backpack and made his way from his shelter through the undergrowth back to the

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

        Low hanging branches, mainly maple, lime and beech, heavy due to their dense foliage,
made the road almost appear like a tunnel of dusky twilight, as they mostly shielded it from
the midsummer sun. Tree trunks supported the ceiling of leaves like randomly placed
columns, carvings of masterly authenticity, their roots breaking through the roads’ soil. The
gaps in between the trees were filled with thick, lush undergrowth: Stinging nettles, haws and
other small bushes barred the wind, making the air a bit close and sultry. A woodpecker could
be heard in the distance, adding his very special sound to the forest’s unobtrusive song.
        But Vincent paid not much attention to his path and its natural beauty. What would have
been quite appealing to the willing observer could only casually gain his advertence. The
urgent growling of his stomach was just too prominent to obtain less than his full regard. He
cursed himself for taking along only so few supplies from Dunburgh. But visiting the villages
of Shalting and Millford, both not further than a day’s walk from the city’s walls, were his
longest journeys thus far. So he was hardly to blame, was he?
        And now he was alone on this solitary road leading right through the Firewood. Once it
had been the main connection between Thurbin Castle and Dunburgh, but since the Royal
Trading Route provided a comfortable way to bypass the forest in the south, nature had
gradually claimed it back.
        During his studies, Vincent had certainly read some books about plant life in the Western
Quarter of Branduria Kingdom, his homeland, the duchy of Grenshire, being part of this
region. But relying on what he remembered, he could only tell which herb or plant better not
to eat… if he was lucky. So he had decided to leave anything not clearly identifiable, by
having it already seen at the market someday, untouched. This reduced the extent of Vincent’s
present-day meal a lot, some meagre wild strawberries being all he gathered so far. The fact
they tasted quite sour and their flavour couldn’t match with the strawberries he knew didn’t
help to better his mood at all.
        At least he would reach a woodcutters’ settlement by the already nearing evening,
according to the mossy signpost encountered roughly one mile ago.    
        A sudden movement in front of him brought Vincent rudely back to alertness. He
stopped dead in his tracks, when he realized the tip of a spear pointed at him, only ten inches
away from his chest. Its bearer wore a broad grin, as well as his goblin sibling standing next to
him, armed with a large knife. Both were clad in light, loose fitting armours made of rough,
dark leather. Their sharp, yellowish teeth were plainly visible and as disturbing as the green-
brownish skin stretched over their bony faces. The two were roughly one foot shorter than
Vincent, him being nearly 5’9’’, as their long, pointed ears extended even somewhat above
their bald heads. Despite of this apparent disadvantage, their narrow, rusty-brown eyes
clearly showed their belief in having found an easy prey.
        After a short moment of shock, Vincent reached for the dagger he carried on his side.

         “Dont’cha move human.” the spear-holding goblin hissed, making use of the Branduran
trade tongue with a heavy, brutish accent.
         “Befor’cha even touch yar sheath, I pierced yar chest with yis spear of mine.” To
emphasise his words, just in case they could be misunderstood, the goblin wiggled the slightly
rusty spearhead in font of his victims face. 

        Vincent slowly drew back his hand. Now the other goblin, a few inches taller and
apparently older than his fellow, started to speak, even less intelligible as he spit through
gritted teeth.
         “Wise shinking, boy. Cha don’t look all shat poor,” he pointed at Vincent’s dagger,
“alone yis lil’shing looks pretty costy, so if we pleashd from what we get, perhapsh we let cha
lif. Now gif us all cha haf. But no foolishy, do cha hear me!?”

        Despite of the fear seizing his heart, Vincent’s pride would not allow him to simply obey
this imp’s scornful demand.
        “In your stead, I’d go back where you belong. Or…”

        ”Or WHAT, pinkskin?!” the smaller goblin cut him off, now clearly getting angry, “Cha
gonna stab us with yis knife of yars?! Try it and be so dead before cha even blink!”

        Vincent ignored the irate outburst, took a step back and closed his eyes.

        Perfect darkness surrounded him, no light, no noise, no distraction. He immersed in
infinite silence and quickly found the secret place he was looking for. Reaching out, touching
his subconscious, he sought the one pattern desired right now. Others were trying to force
their way out into his conscious mind, from where they had been banished an indefinite time
ago to keep them under control. Repelling the unwanted, he went on, unwavering. After some
time had passed, may it be hours, days or just the blink of an eye, Vincent discovered the
objective of his search. He embraced it and withdrew from this place, coming closer to reality
again. The pattern quickly expanded, growing tendrils like a vine, filling him up and taking
over almost everything he was. He felt his fingers move in delicate, almost invisible gestures,
impossible to be performed singly by a human being. His inner voice chanted words of an
unearthly tongue, to no one but himself, yet their meaning remained a mystery to him. By
now, energy was flowing through his body, drawn from unknown spheres. The pattern itself
was getting weaker and weaker under their surging influence, finally loosing control of him.
Now he was able to gain control over his own body and mind again, forcing the enfeebled
shape back into its dark prison.

        Vincent opened his eyes and saw the two goblins staring at him, ready to attack, when he
let loose of the energies.

        The bold human seemed to ignore Jizirg’s warning and actually dared to move. But
instead of drawing his weapon and dashing forward to attack, he backed away. Most
probably the sod was trying to get out of his spear’s reach. With a quick glance to Lirmak,
who was tightening the grip on his weapon, too, Jizirg decided to go for an attack. He turned
back to the human, who suddenly opened his eyes wide, held out his right hand, his fingers
spread apart as much as possible, shouting three strange words:
        Rissin wanest karme!”
        Suddenly Jizirg was engulfed by searing flames, bursting forth from the humans
extended palm. The pain was overwhelming. He heard horrible screaming but wasn’t able to
determine whether it was Lirmak’s panicked voice or his own.

        The two goblins howled in agony, stumbled and dropped squirming to the ground.
Perhaps they hoped to smother their burning rags, but maybe they were simply unable to
control their movements anymore. Vincent was over the bigger goblin in a flash. He pressed
his boot on the creature’s chest and drew his dagger. With a swift cut, he sliced the green-
brownish throat, reddening last years withered leaves beneath. He turned to the smaller one
to put an end to his suffering, too, only to find him already dead.
        Although still feeling slightly dizzy from the spell he just had cast, the cynical part of
Vincent’s self couldn’t resist.
        “I blinked, did you notice?” he muttered, before wiping his dagger clean of the other
goblin’s dark blood on Jizirg’s clothing. He sheathed the blade, leaned against a nearby tree
and took in a deep breath.

        After a short time the adrenaline had subsided and he had calmed down. Still leaning
against the tree, Vincent lowered his gaze from the rustling branches above and glanced over
to the two dead bodies. Thin bands of smoke rose up from their still smouldering clothes and
were blown away by a light breeze.
        He didn’t know for sure what exactly they were. Most certainly goblins, but they could be
orcs or trolls as well. He had only heard vague descriptions of these creatures so far, mainly
from drunken travellers or grey-bearded storytellers. There was no way for him to identify
them faultlessly, at least not from this distance. So he took a closer look.
        For the first time Vincent recognized their slender, almost childish built. The heads being
a bit too big to match their bodies only emphasized this likeness. He shuddered and turned
away with disgust, partly of himself. Any desire for further investigation was gone.
        They were intelligent creatures, although one could debate on the degree of intelligence.
He had put an end to the life of two sentiment beings, a rather sad premiere. But did he have a
choice? If he had tried to fight with his dagger, he would definitely have been no match for
those two. Hell, he had only used it to slice his bread and greens so far. And now the mere
thought of reusing it for this common purpose again, after blood was spilled on the blade,
made him feel sick and definitely not hungry anymore.
        Vincent turned his back on the scorched bodies and resumed his path, walking slowly as
he continued to ponder.  

        He tried to warn them, didn’t he? But they wouldn’t listen. He would have told them that
he wielded a weapon far more dangerous than any dagger. He would have given them the
chance to retreat. But now it was too late.
        Being an apprentice of Almaric he had learned the fundamental secrets of magic years
ago and now, disappointed by his former master, Vincent was on his journey to bring this art
to perfection on his own. He knew it would turn out to be a hard quest for sure, those two
dead bodies probably not remaining the only victims to be left behind on his path, as a result
of opposing him. It might be a cruel thought, but most likely he had to get used to it
sometime. He had to numb himself to scenes like this, the faster the better.
        Someday he’ll become a Changer, a magician the world would remember. Respected by
his allies and feared by his foes. Being one of the Eight Great Paths of Magic, the Art of
Changing was the key to alter the fabric of reality itself, causing space and time to bow to
one’s will. Just a few moments ago, he made air to become fire and one day he might even be
able to change the person he was, getting rid of those confusing feelings…

        He had been walking for maybe half an hour, when something else caught his attention,
disturbing his sombre thoughts. Was it just a dark cloud in the meanwhile reddened sky or
was it…smoke! The smell of burned wood was unmistakable. Shouldn’t he have reached a
settlement by now? It could be a bonfire. No… the gloomy cloud was too large. He sped up
his pace and suddenly heard distant screaming. Then realization struck him like lightning.
        Vincent started to run.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

        The village of Hewings and its roughly two dozen houses, leaving out some barns and
sheds, were bathed in reddish light. Unfortunately the fast approaching sundown wasn’t its
only source. A barn in the northern part of the settlement was ablaze and two neighbouring
buildings had also caught fire. Several men, most certainly the owners, were desperately
trying to put out the fire, but most of the villagers either fought the plundering goblins or fled
from them, trying to hide somewhere within the settlement or to escape into the woods.

        Vincent stood there for a moment, shocked and stricken with fear. He had left the road,
sneaking closer to the village through the adjacent undergrowth to get a better view. He still
had a chance to withdraw. No one had noticed him yet, neither goblin nor human, so he could
run back into the deceptive safety of the forest. But this would mean spending another restless
night with roots and twigs poking in his back and face.
        Again, he cursed himself inwardly. Hell, why did he decide to travel through the
Firewood? He could have easily made his way westwards, passing the border to the Earldom
of Cathings, and avoid all this trouble. It would have been just another day’s walk from
Millford. But despite his resolute decision to abandon his place of birth, it seemed to take quite
more to leave one’s homeland behind.
        But there was no sense in regretting his past decisions now, so Vincent focused his
attention on what was happening ahead.  

        As far as he could see, the fight was kind of balanced: the sturdy woodcutters were no
easy prey for the more numerous little devils. Perhaps his intervention could decide the battle
and guarantee him a remarkable reward. And right now, a warm meal and a soft bed, perhaps
a bath in between, appeared very remarkable to him. If he wanted respect, why not start
earning it right here and now?
        So his decision was made, but this time, he would be the attacker, not the victim. They
wouldn’t catch him off guard.
        Again, Vincent let himself sink into deep concentration, seeming to last only for the blink
of an eye. This time he sought a throughout different pattern and found it with ease. He
reopened his eyes and extended his arms in a slow, pushing motion. Still concentrated, he
muttered the words once chosen to release this magic’s energy:
        Oret o calvis irest wavin!
        The air in front of him flickered slightly for an instant, then everything seemed to have
turned back to normal. With a content smile, ignoring the hint of light-headedness, Vincent
left the concealing undergrowth and neared a gap between two houses.

        His smile faded quickly, when he saw the havoc already caused by the savage intruders
at close range. Still hiding in the houses’ shadow, he peered on the road that winded though
the settlement. Smaller fires caused by thrown away torches burned in front of some homes,
several doors were torn open. Vincent sincerely hoped that the inhabitants were able to flee or
were still fighting elsewhere.
        Then he took notice of someone lying on the dusty street. The man, who could easily have
been his grandfather, was dead. The black-hilted knife jutting from his back left no doubt
about that. Just when he wanted to avert his eyes, Vincent’s gaze met the panic stricken face of
an elderly woman. She was hiding behind a pile of logs, not too far from the dead. Her watery
eyes pleaded him to go away, as if she feared he could be discovered. Vincent realized
everyone could spot her easily from his position. He was not nearly that well hidden and
would probably draw someone’s attention soon. A goblin’s attention in the worst case. Then
the dead man’s sacrifice, leading the attackers away from his wife’s hiding place, would have
been in vain. Sudden anger came along with this insight, defeating the last remainder of doubt
and hesitation, but also wiping away the necessary caution, considering the still present light-
headedness, which usually should have worn off by now.
        Vincent dropped his backpack, stepped out of the shadow and hurried towards the
village’s centre, where most of the fighting took place.

        After not more than a hundred yards, two goblins, perhaps another fifty yards away,
noticed the approaching human and prepared to attack. Vincent saw them, too, as they cocked
their shabby crossbows and aimed at him. He stopped running and started to concentrate, as
the first goblin pulled the trigger of her weapon. The bolt shot through the air with
tremendous speed, directly towards its target.
        But to the female goblin’s surprise, the projectile was repelled in midair, maybe in a foot’s
distance from Vincent’s chest. It flung backwards and fell to the ground.
        Just as the slight shimmer in front of the magician faded, he opened his eyes, stretched
out his left arm and pointed at the two archers with his index- and middle finger. His clear
voice was heard by several people hiding in houses nearby.
        Sarbest, qulet o misar!
        Those who dared to watch witnessed two tapered crystal shards appearing from
nowhere. Glowing with a deep-green inner light, they seemed to be a pair of sharp-edged
emeralds, maybe ten inches long. Closer examination was impossible, as the shards headed
for their two targets in an instant. Flying even faster than the crossbow bolt just a few
moments before, they left nothing behind but a trace of greenish light.
        The goblins screamed in fear and turned away to flee, as they were hit in the back. The
shards did not pierce their armour yet exploded in a bright flash of energy, killing both of
them immediately.

        Vincent felt no desire to check on the result of his magic. He held his eyes closed to fight
the upcoming, surprisingly strong dizziness. Now finally realizing its cause did not help
tempering it. Never did he expect hunger and the continuing lack of sleep having such a
disastrous influence on his spellcasting. He had to recover real quickly since the fight wasn’t
over yet. He could already hear the approach of more bare feet, so he forced his eyes open.
        As his slightly blurred vision cleared up, he saw five new attackers only thirty yards
away. Although he didn’t feel ready for this at all, Vincent decided to go for one of his
strongest magics and closed his willing eyes once again.
        This time it took him some real effort to bar the unwanted patterns from breaking free
from their imprisonment. He knew there was not much strength left. After this spell, he had to
find some place to rest for a while. Maybe he could hide with the elderly women… sitting
down, keeping his eyes closed for a moment or two… perhaps even get some sleep… at last… 
        Vincent pulled himself together and focussed back on his task just in time. Passing out
now would be a deadly mishap.
        Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to him, he found the pattern and withdrew. He
enjoyed the moment of relaxation, as it took over his body and mind, although Vincent knew
he must not allow himself to let control slip away that easily.
        The goblins were merely ten yards away, when he reopened his eyes, raised his right
hand over his head and spoke the concluding words, his voice slightly trembling.
        Rathowar odenasa in vailass veles.
        He turned his face away, his head throbbing fiercely, as a dozen or more small mute
explosions of brilliant white light illuminated the area in front of him. He heard the goblins
scream in shock as their eyes were blinded. At least for the next few hours they should pose
no threat to anyone.
        The light vanished quickly and Vincent wanted to check his surrounding, hoping to find
a way for a safe escape. He overestimated himself this time for sure and truly regretted his
decision not to run away in the first place. He looked through his daze, his vision being
clouded heavily, and made out a vague figure ahead.

        Urgath was kinda lucky. The Dark One had to favour him for sure. Just when the human
sorcerer summoned his magic, he tripped and fell. So, cause he didn’t look into the terrible
light, he did not have to share the pitiful fate of his yammering, fleeing comrades. Now he’d
finish the weakened sorcerer who was barely able to stand anymore. No big deal. He’d slice
his stomach and then bring head and belongings to boss Steelhand… after taking the human’s
money, of course. He’d certainly gain an additional award.
        Urgath lifted his short sword, aimed and stabbed. A magical force knocked the surprised
goblin back, causing the air to glisten, but also causing the sorcerer to tumble. So the human
still had some tricks left. However, Urgath was sure he’d pass out after a few more of his
crushing blows.

        Vincent was pushed back and almost fell. By now he had recognized the figure as an
enemy, willing to attack again. His magic had saved his life once more. He groped for his
dagger and unsheathed the blade. He could have the hint of a chance, if only his protective
spell kept on working until his eyesight began to better
        The goblin went for another attack, but was repulsed by the shimmering shield again.
Vincent took his chance but missed by far, his enemy being much too agile. Two exchanges of
missing blows followed, spell and dexterity preventing damage on either side.
        Vincent, already panting, backed away and felt a cold shiver running down his spine. Just
now, he could sense the magic rapidly fading away. His enemy, already attacking anew, was
hindered by the last remaining energies, distracting his blow, but not causing him to miss.

        Urgath was right. He got him. Magic was gone. One nice cut into his left upper thigh. His
enemy was screaming in pain and had even dropped his weapon. Urgath was having the
upper hand. That was a fight of his liking. One more slash and he’d be finished.
        Raising his blade again, he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his back. A whimper emerged
his throat as his world grew darker.

        Vincent was still wincing from the pain and held the gash on his thigh with both hands.
Blood was oozing through his clutched fingers. He expected the next, maybe final stroke,
when he saw the still somewhat blurred figure of the goblin fall to his feet. A white-feathered
arrow stuck out from his back. Unbelieving, Vincent looked around.
        Even through the remainder of the daze he could discern the person standing about sixty
yards away, down the road, still holding a bow in its hand.
        His vision was getting clearer from heartbeat to heartbeat and though he was too far
away to make out any detail yet, Vincent was sure to see the most beautiful boy he could
imagine. The slender young man wore trousers of a dark-red colour, topped by a white shirt.
A mysterious silvery shimmer surrounded his torso.
        But it was his face that caught Vincent’s attention. Just… angelic… no other word could
describe it better, framed by shoulder-long, brown hair. He couldn’t believe that he
considered himself handsome, when he watched his own reflection in the small pond this
morning. Comparing to this stunningly beautiful being…

        Stunning, indeed, Vincent stared at the figure that seemed to approach slowly. He did
neither realize the movement to his left nor did he hear the agitated call of the running young
man he was gazing at. Exhaustion and pain were simply too much for him.
        He just dazedly wondered why this person would probably shoot him, right after saving
his life, as he watched how the stranger stopped walking, took an arrow from his quiver, drew
his bow and finally aimed at him.
        He already expected his life to end here and now, so he would rather die by the hand of
this boy than being killed by a rusty goblin blade. The archer let loose of his arrow, when
something hard hit Vincent’s left temple. Once again darkness surrounded him.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

        He drifted alone in silent blackness. Oddly enough this place seemed somewhat familiar.
But how did he get here? First fragments of memory came back, as he tried to remember what
       The goblin… the mysterious archer… silvery shimmer… an arrow pointed at him…
resignation… then dull pain followed by... nothing… and finally awaking in this darkness.
        He hoped his reason would not leave him right now. He had to think clearly. Dull pain…
whatever hit him could not have been the boy’s arrow. Strangely, this thought bestowed him a
feeling of happiness.
        From afar he heard the faint echo of a voice. Not more than a melodic succession of
unknown words, yet somehow… Could it be his inner voice, finally gotten beyond his control,
chanting with a will of its own? The voice seemed to get closer, as he felt the slight pressure of
fingers on his chest, a hand, barely touching his skin.

        “…therefore I call upon your aid, Lady of Dawn. Show your mercy and lead this mortal man back
into the light. Don’t let pain and sorrow seize his heart and soul. I beseech you…”                 

        Vincent slowly opened his eyes, the eyelids slightly fluttering. He felt the straw-filled
mattress underneath and the thin linen sheet covering his body. He was lying in a bed.
Finally. But despite his earlier longing, this was of no importance to him right now, neither
did he notice any detail of the inn’s bedroom and its wooden furniture. On a chair next to his
bed sat a young man. The archer. The one who saved his life.
        His right hand was gently touching Vincent’s bare chest, his left enclosed something
hanging from a golden necklace. The boy’s eyes were closed, his full lips moving in a fluent
motion, forming the strange yet melodic psalm. Vincent didn’t dare to move, as he feared to
chase him away like a shy bird or at least disturb his beautiful chanting. Instead, he examined
the face bowed over him less than two feet away from his own.
        His high cheekbones were in perfect unison with his nose and smooth chin. Like strands
of silk, his straight auburn hair was adorned by natural highlights. It fell loosely to his
shoulders and due to his slightly downcast head, even somewhat over his forehead. There
was no way this boy could be older than seventeen or eighteen. Against his effort Vincent
could not suppress a shiver of delight.
        The praying boy fell silent. Vincent regretted his lack of composure and the interruption
of the chant only for a brief moment, as the boy opened his eyes to have a look at his patient.
They were of a light hazel colour and Vincent was convinced to see even a hint of gold,
possibly only originating from the candle which lighted the room from his nightstand.
        A warm smile spread over the boy’s face as he drew back his hand from Vincent’s chest.

        “So, you finally woke up.” he stated relieved, “I already began to worry. This drub on
your head was meant to kill you and it almost did.” Then the boy’s face lit up a bit. “But it
seems my sorrow was in vain.”

        Vincent stared at him, captivated by his eyes and enthralled by the young man’s voice.
He desperately wanted to say something, thank his saviour or introduce himself, just anything
to not appear like a complete fool. But the words refused to leave his throat. So after a moment
of silence the boy went on.

        “To introduce myself: my name is Enorín.” Another awkward moment of silence passed
as Enorín’s smile grew bigger. “You’ve got a name, too?”    

        Eventually Vincent broke his paralysis. “Sorry… I’m Vincent.” The roughness of his own
voice surprised him, so he cleared his throat. “How…?” he started to ask, but his voice
abandoned him anew.

        “A goblin came from one of the houses to your left. There was no way you could have
seen him in your state. But he did not notice me either…” Enorín answered kindly and left the
obvious unspoken.

Vincent nodded slowly. Finally it made sense. “Thank you… for helping me…”
        His gaze loosened and wandered around the room. Back and left side of the bed were
posed to the walls. To his right, behind the chair Enorín was sitting on, an oaken wardrobe
reached into the room bisecting it, its front facing the bed. At the left wall, about two yards
from the bed’s end, a wooden door most probably led to a corridor. And at the outer wall,
which opposed the closet’s side and the bed, a window opened directly above a small table
and another chair. It was dark outside, stars and moon barely visible in a clouded night’s sky.
        “…and for bringing me here.” Vincent finished his sentence. “It’s already dark outside?”

        Enorín followed Vincent’s gaze and corrected him. “It’s dark again. You overslept a
whole day.” He met Vincent’s still weary eyes, concern reflecting in his own. “You must have
been very tired.”
        Vincent nodded briefly not knowing what to answer. So Enorín continued “But I didn’t
bring you here in first place. Some of the villagers did.” 
        More of the recent events returned gradually. The settlement, houses afire, the plundering
horde and the fighting villagers.
        “The attackers…?” Vincent asked.

        “…were all defeated or driven away. Some men still working in the woods saw the
smoke and returned just in time. Apparently the goblins did not expect so much resistance…
and especially no one with your abilities.” Enorín added with a respectful undertone. “Some
of the villagers claim to have witnessed quite impressive things.”

        Usually Vincent would have been flattered by such a comment, but hearing it from the
one who actually saved his life made him feel slightly uncomfortable. So he quickly tried to
change the topic. The attackers’ identity he already had suspected being verified, he got a
starting point to do so.
        “I met two straying goblins not far from the village. They ambushed me… but raiding a
whole village… Do you know what they wanted?”  

        “I’m not sure. They looted a food-storage in the northern part of the settlement…”

        “The barn which was set afire?” Vincent interrupted. Enorín nodded and went on.

        “After the fire was put out, they found much of the supplies missing. Fortunately winter’s
still several months away.“ He sat back, unconsciously combing through his hair with his left

        Much to his own surprise, Vincent caught sight of Enorín’s delicate, slightly pointed ear,
which so far had been covered by the silken hair. Abruptly he realized the strangeness of his
saviour’s name. Could it really be? First goblins and now even an elf?! Vincent felt like the
fairytales of his childhood suddenly came true.
        He was barely able to pose his question. “You… you’re… an elf?”

        Enorín quickly put his hand down and stood up. With a shy smile he muttered, “Well,
you’re half right,“ before looking straight into Vincent’s eyes, “but you’d better get some more
sleep now. Tomorrow we’ll have enough time to talk.”

        On the one hand Vincent still felt very tired and didn’t doubt he would be sound asleep
in no time. But on the other hand he did not want Enorín to leave. He was as curious as
confused and furthermore he enjoyed his simple presence.
        So he tried to lengthen their talking, hoping to make him stay a little longer and to get
some answers. “Wait! Where do you go?”

        The half-elf, already touching the doorknob, stopped and turned back to him. “I’m going
to look after some of the villagers. Like you, they were injured yesterday.” His face took on a
serious expression. “I fear some of them are beyond my skill to heal. The gods’ mercy may be
upon them…”
        Enorín slowly opened the door, the old iron hinges slightly squeaking. Now Vincent
knew delaying him any further would be incredibly selfish. With a hesitant nod he showed
his understanding and turned around to blow out the candle. Darkness spread in the room as
well as the smell of burnt wick when he lay down on his pillow. A few moments later Vincent
heard the door shut and while he listened Enorín’s footsteps fading as he walked down the
corridor, sleep embraced him anew.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

        It would have been quite nice to be roused by some bird’s song or the first warm rays of
morning light, but neither was granted to Vincent. Although the sun had already risen and
more than one bird was chirping outside, it was the almost painful grumble of his stomach
that woke him up at last.

        He laid there for a moment, stroking his belly and trying to gather his thoughts. The
rebellion of his stomach was certainly no surprise. He hadn’t eaten a thing for two… no, three
days. Well, aside those awful strawberries, of course.
        Virtually by instinct he turned his head rightwards and discovered a wooden plate on his
nightstand. A loaf of sweet bread and a mug of fresh milk were waiting for him to wake up.

        Addressing a silent thanks to the Almighty, he took the bread and began to wolf it down
right away. Once in a while he paused but only to take a gulp from the mug. Soon the whole
loaf was polished off.
        With a satisfied sigh, Vincent sank back on his pillow and took in a deep breath. Casually
he glanced at the chair, still standing next to the bed. Relieved, he found his boots beneath, his
cleaned, neatly folded clothes on the seat and especially his backpack atop. It contained his
most precious possessions… his only possessions, to be exact.
        But the feeling of relief was quickly replaced by shock: His clothes on the chair meant that
he was almost naked! A quick peek under the sheet confirmed his misgivings. He solely wore
his underpants. So who had undressed him? Hopefully not Enorín… or hopefully yes? He
swiftly shrugged off the thought as well as the upcoming images and decided to get up.

        He reached for his trousers and noticed something else: the black fabric had been patched
at the left upper leg. But why?
        The last missing fragment of memory returned. Vincent quickly jerked away the sheet
and stared at his thigh.
        The cut was gone. He couldn’t even make out a scar in between the light dusting of dark
hair. How could this be? The patch on his trousers proved that all this hadn’t simply been a
nightmare. Vincent sighed in resignation. One more thing he had to ask his new acquaintance.
        And he could barely wait to talk to him, to see him again. He thought about his smile, a
smile to die for, as he finally got out of bed and put his trousers on. In fact Enorín had rescued
him. And he really seemed to care about him. Vincent pulled his shirt over his head. But
hadn’t Enorín told him he took care of other wounded, too. So his concern was not part of a
special treatment. He had simply been nice to another casualty. There was nothing special
about that at all. Probably…   
        Vincent slowly shook his head. These thoughts would lead to nowhere. This whole
brooding he had gotten so familiar with didn’t do him any good lately. During all these years
he himself had been his favourite interlocutor, never criticizing, always compromising. But
right now, these mental monologues only created more and more confusion.

        He put on his boots, made of soft, almost black leather, grabbed his backpack and went
over to the small table. Vincent looked out of the window, putting his backpack on the other
        The bedroom being on first floor, he had a good view over the already busy but still quiet
village. This window had to be pointing northwards, because he could make out some men
carrying and working wood to repair the burnt barn. The remainders of its charred walls
stood tall, like the gloomy figure of a black rib cage. Vincent’s gaze wandered along the street
beneath as he watched some other villagers passing by in silent haste. The recent events had
left their evident marks, physically as well as emotional, but these people could not afford to
let this affect their daily routine. To his right, the still reddish sun had risen completely above
the line of proud maple trees seaming the settlement.
        It was time for him to get to work, too.   

        Vincent turned around finally noticing the other half of the room. Its back to the
wardrobe, which faced his bed and the door, stood another oaken wardrobe of similar style. It
also faced a bed and an additional window pointing eastwards. Next to the window stood a
low, sturdy table with a big bowl and some folded towels on it. Single rays of warm morning
light seeped into the room through the closed curtains, falling on the bed’s linen sheet and the
sleeping person underneath.
        Because it was late midsummer and nights still could get pretty warm, he wore no shirt.
Vincent watched Enorín’s bare chest heave and sink. During the night the sheet had slid low
enough to expose his well defined, hairless torso up to his abs. His hair was falling loosely
upon the pillow. Even… or especially sleeping he looked adorable.
        Vincent took his time to observe every detail. Only God knew when he would get another
chance to behold such beauty. But this thought was immediacy followed by feelings of guilt. It
was not right to stare at another man like that. He had to distract himself, do something
useful. At best he’d eventually get started with his actual intent for this morning.

         Vincent grabbed his backpack, put it on the table and loosened the tied strings. He pulled
out his towel and quickly checked his belongings. Nothing seemed to be missing. With a sigh
of relief, he took a rectangular package, wrapped in soft, black cloth tied with a silvery cord
and placed it on the table. After stuffing the towel back, he put his backpack on the floor and
sat down. Carefully he loosened the knot and unpacked the bundle.
        The book was bound in dark blue leather and engraved with winding silver ornaments. It
was only eight inches high, six inches wide and two inches thick, nothing compared to most of
Almaric’s tomes. But it was his very own. Usually he would admire its artwork, the fine lines
and their masterly precision, but this time something far more admirable was lying not more
than sixteen feet away from him. Vincent stole a glance of the peacefully sleeping figure
before he concentrated on his task again.   

        Once in a while it was necessary for a magician to recapitulate his spells in order to keep
them under control. ‘Know your foe!’ as Almaric would have called it, a wry smile on his
wrinkled face. Doubtlessly they had their good times, too. But now Vincent was on his own:
no Almaric to remind him of his duties and admonish him of his omissions. He had to act
with according responsibility. And regarding what had happened lately, he knew it was more
than necessary to dedicate some time to his spellbook.
        Vincent was grateful that the pattern he needed right now belonged to the Art of Seeing.
It would perform its task and retreat without any resistance afterwards. He didn’t know why
these patterns behaved so differently from those belonging to the Art of Changing or Bringing
he used otherwise. He didn’t even know why they showed any kind of intelligent behaviour
at all. Lacking proper explanations, Vincent simply had accepted it.
        He started to concentrate and reopened his eyes a moment later. Placing his fingertips on
his temples, he silently muttered the concluding words. 
        “Ginasilwar fasos in nel nera.”
        Gradually the letters on the opened books’ page in front of him began to reveal their
deeper complexity, usually hidden from the normal eye. Vincent relaxed a bit, but retained
enough concentration to keep the spell working. Like he already had expected: no problems at
all. Sometimes he could really envy any Seer for the apparent easiness of their Path.

        Page by page he carefully studied all the secret details and hidden particulars which
would help him to discern the patterns later on and told him how to keep them at bay. He sat
there in silence for almost half an hour, slowly flipping the pages back and forth, when Enorín
finally woke up.
        He watched Vincent for a while, not sure whether to disturb his concentrated reading or
not. But as he had to get up sometime, Enorín decided to make his presence known. 
        “Good morning. Glad to see you up already.”

        Vincent looked up from his spellbook, a little bit surprised but retaining concentration. Of
course he had expected him to wake up eventually, and this time he would not act like a fool.
        He smiled and returned the greeting. “Good morning. Guess it got late yesterday?”

        Enorín nodded, a slight grin spreading on his face. “Indeed. Usually I’m quite an early
riser.” Pushing the sheet away he got up in one swift movement and went over to the window
at his bed’s end. Pulling the curtains apart, he finally let the sun enter the room. Enorín took in
a deep breath, closed his eyes and fell silent for several moments. 

        Vincent watched him carefully. The sunlight, giving his soft skin a golden hue, and his
barely messed up hair made him almost look like a statue. Only his silently moving lips
betrayed this impression… and the fact he solely wore his knee-long underpants. His
roommate was definitely in better shape than himself, still slim yet muscular…maybe a few
inches taller… just perfect. With an inner sigh of delight, Vincent tried to focus back on his

        After finishing his morning prayer, Enorín reopened his eyes and turned to the washbowl
standing on the low table to his left. He splashed the cold water upon his face twice and
combed through his hair with still wet fingers. Sparkling drips of water were running down
his neck and torso, as he took one of the towels to dry his face.

        This scene got Vincent’s attention for sure. Completely captivated, all concentration
necessary to keep up his visionary magic was blown away. He did barely move until Enorín
lowered the towel and met his gaze. Blushing he stared back on his book and its meanwhile
cryptic sequence of letters. 

        The half-elf moved to the wardrobe to take his white shirt and deep-red trousers from a
drawer. He dressed, put on his soft, brown leather-boots and went over to Vincent, who
seemed to be absorbed in his reading. As the other chair was still standing next to Vincent’s
bed, Enorín stood slightly behind him and peered curiously over his shoulder. His mere
closeness let Vincent’s heart skip a beat. 

        After a short moment of confusion, Enorín decided to ask. “Excuse my ignorance, but
what is this? I mean, I can read the letters, but it doesn’t seem to make any sense.”

        Vincent looked up and turned his head to face Enorín, happily stopping to pretend to
        “That’s because it doesn’t make any sense, at least not in any language I know. It’s… well,
it’s some kind of cipher. What counts is the pattern behind the letters.”

        “And you can decipher it?” Enorín asked half fascinated half surprised, as he went over
to Vincent’s bed to get the second chair, without breaking eye contact.

        “Not without um… magical aid.” Vincent answered somewhat reluctantly as he felt a bit
strange talking openly about this topic. The arcane magic was not forbidden in Branduria
Kingdom. In fact it was officially treated with respect and even promoted to a certain extent,
at least compared to what Almaric had told him from other distant countries. But magic was
surely a topic most commoners would frown.
        ‘Men fear what they don’t understand and they always try to destroy what they fear.’
another reasonable citation from ‘The Way of Mankind’. But Vincent was sure this did not
apply to Enorín. He wasn’t even human, to begin with. So he continued.
        “Once in a while it’s advisable for a mage to have a look at those patterns, just to refresh
the understanding of his spells. Probably it would work without this effort, but I won’t dare
risking it.”  

        Enorín placed his chair opposed to Vincent, sat down and eyed the blue hardbound book
with a questioning look.
        “Well, I don’t know much about magic, and I certainly don’t want to offend you, but
there are not that much written pages…”

        “Hopefully that’s going to change soon.” Vincent stated with a sly grin. “As soon as I get
to Thurbin Castle I’m going to visit a friend of my… former master. His name is Cardac. I
really hope he can help me out.”

        Totally aware of the strange pause in Vincent’s statement, Enorín decided not to go into it
right now.  There was something more important to clarify first.
        Thurbin Castle? That’s weird. I’m headed there, too! If you want, we could travel
together. Especially considering all those goblins around here…”

        Now Vincent was really caught off guard. Despite his intent to appear more eloquent this
time, he could only nod approvingly, before answering several moments later.
        “Yeah, that would be… great, I mean… just fine. I’m really not looking forward to be
ambushed by those imps at night. And four eyes will see more than just two.” he clumsily
stated the obvious to distract from hopefully far less obvious reasons why he welcomed this
suggestion so much.
        “But… I know it’s none of my business, so you don’t have to answer… what could an elf
possibly want in Thurbin Castle? I mean, I didn’t even know your folk existed. Well at least
outside legend or fairytale. And now I’m sitting right here, talking to you!” 

        Enorín still smiled yet studied the human critically without his notice. They had warned
him about telling a human too much… as well as they had warned him about so many other
things. But they could not make him stay. He had to see it with his own eyes… And what he
saw right now, was the honest curiosity in Vincent’s face. He was convinced that it would
surely do no harm to share at least some information.
        “So many questions,” he began as his honest smile returned, “I don’t even know where to
begin…” Enorín’s gaze wandered to his right. Framed by the window the silhouette of
Greywall Mountains towered the treetops in the distance, below a barely clouded sky.
A moment of silence passed.  
        “Well, how about that: firstly, I’m not an elf. My father was human just like you. That
makes me what your fairytales would maybe call a half-elf.” He looked back at Vincent and
paused again to let this piece of information sink in.
        “Secondly, the elven people does exist outside legend. I guess I’m the living proof. They
withdrew from the world of men and their affairs a very long time ago. At least considering
human standards. And thirdly I’m not really headed for Thurbin Castle. But from there I can
take the road to the City of Grenshire, right?”

        Vincent nodded slowly, absorbing the facts which actually raised only more questions.
“Yes, the Royal Trading Route leads there. It’s the duchy’s capital after all. But I don’t assume
that’s the reason you want to go there…”

        “No, not quite. I want to see St. Eustace Cathedral. It’s supposed to be really

        Vincent stifled a small laugh of surprise. “You travel all this way just to see a church? I
mean, I also hared it’s a grand building, but…”

        “Well, I want to get to know human culture. I simply owe it to my father. So I’ve been
toying with the idea for several years now and a short while ago I came to the decision to
finally leave. But I had to begin somewhere. And being a priest myself I thought a human
temple would be a proper starting point…”

        “You’re… a priest?!” Vincent could neither believe it nor hide his shock. Enorín looked
so… different from anyone he would suppose to be a priest. He sat back in his chair, staring at
the half-elf in disbelief.

        Vincent’s honest reaction amused Enorín. “You seem to have more problems with me
being a priest than being no human.” he stated, trying to keep a serious face.

         Suddenly realizing that he might have offended his new friend, Vincent quickly tried to
        “No! I mean, I’ve no problem with either. Not at all! Really! It’s just... so many… surprises
at once. I think I’m just a bit overwhelmed. And… well, you don’t exactly look like a priest…
at least not like any priest you’d meet at St. Eustace’s.”

        “Maybe cause I’m not priest of any human deity.” The warm smile was back again.

        Another shock. Vincent swallowed hard, his thoughts were racing. He was definitely not
a pious person. Since he was old enough to decide on his own, he had no longer attended
mass. But his whole life, he had been told that there’s only one god, the Almighty. Merely
claiming the existence of other... deities seemed blasphemous.
        On the other hand he had also heard tales of priests performing miracles. And if his fast,
even scarless, recovery was no miracle, he didn’t know what else deserved this name. By now
he was sure his healing was due to Enorín. And that meant he could barely doubt the
existence of his… deity, too.

        Enorín noticed the confusion in Vincent’s eyes and hoped further explanation could help
him to understand.
        “I’m grateful to humbly serve Melyanna, the Lady of Dawn. Thanks to her mercy, I was
able to take care of you.”

        Slowly Vincent was regaining his composure. Hell, he was a magician himself! Dealing
with unearthly powers could be called his daily routine. So how on earth could such news
upset him like that?! He took a deep breath to calm down.
        “Yes. I noticed that. Thank you... or her… Melyanna… very much.” A sheepish grin
spread on his face. “Sorry, but I’m not used to be exposed to… divine… miracles…” He
shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t even know how to thank you properly.”

        “Well, I think this was just fine.” Enorín reassured him kindly. “Hopefully I can meet the
villagers’ expectations, too.” he continued, getting more serious again.

        “To what extent? I’m sure you did all you could to help them.”

        Enorín slightly shook his head. “No, that’s not what I mean.” He looked up, renewing
eye-contact. “They want me to hold the funeral ceremony. “
        Again, Enorín had managed to surprise his new friend. And again, he noticed and went
on to explain. “Their… cleric has fallen victim to the attackers. So there’s no one who could
burry the dead orderly. They saw me praying for the wounded and now they believe me to be
a ministrant of your god or something like that. But I don’t know anything about your
religious rites! And I don’t think anyone wants me to perform an elven Song of Parting…
which wouldn’t be the right thing to do after all.”
        Although Enorín was still smiling, Vincent could see the helplessness in his expression. “I
told them I’d sent a priest as soon as I have arrived in Thurbin Castle but they insisted on the
ceremony taking place tomorrow. It would take too long otherwise. And of course they are
right, but…”

        Vincent could understand Enorín’s dilemma and felt surprisingly affected. Usually he
wouldn’t care much about other peoples’ problems, but right now it was different. Was it only
because of Enorín? Be that as it may. It didn’t change the fact that he wouldn’t be of great help
to him.  
        “Sorry, I’d really like to give you some advice, but I’ve only been to a funeral once and I
was still a child then. I can barely remember the event let alone any prayer or sermon. But I
could tell you whatever I can recall, if you want.”

        Enorín’s face lit up. “Thank you, that’d be great. The cleric’s widow already offered to
give me the proper texts and tell me about the procedure, but if I get some information from
you first, I won’t appear completely ignorant. I only wonder why she doesn’t do it herself. She
seems to now everything necessary…”

        Vincent shook his head. “Women aren’t allowed to become priests or to perform divine

        Now it was Enorín’s turn to look surprised. “That’s… strange. Seems quite unfair to me.
Is there any reason?”

        Vincent shrugged. “I don’t know for sure. I’m not the most competent contact concerning
religious questions. It’s always been like that, I guess.”  

        “It seems that I’ve much to learn about your people… and even more to understand.” His
quizzical expression fading, Enorín’s smile returned.
        “But right now I’m hungry. I think I’ll go down and get something to eat. You want to
come, too?”

        “Yeah, go ahead. I’ll come after you. Just going to finish this one fist.“ Vincent said,
patting on the dark hardcover of his spellbook.

        Enorín nodded and got up. “See you downstairs!” he called from the corridor, as he
closed the door behind. 

        Vincent carefully wrapped his book into the black cloth, retied it with the silvery cord and
placed the bundle back into his backpack. He got up and walked slowly through the room,
approaching the other window. Looking at the wandering clouds he began to ponder.
        Could it really be? They would be travelling together, sharing company and camp. On the
one hand he was more than happy. He would have someone to talk to, someone who would
listen to him. He would be close to the most fascinating being he’d ever met. He was finally
given the chance to find a real friend… or even more?
        But on the other hand there was worry.  Not because of the perils, which might await
them, considering last days’ events. They could be overcome by some means or others.
Vincent rather feared this new friendship could be spoiled by his feelings. What if Enorín
noticed his secret glances? He was sure he wouldn’t be able to hold them back for long. Damn!
Of what use is any arcane power if you’re not even able to control your own feelings and
        A gust of wind caused the lush maple leaves outside to sway and rustle. A single reddish
leaf was torn from its twig and danced through the air. Vincent watched it casually, still
engrossed in deep thought. The leaf finally landed on the windowsill as his thinking led to an
end. He simply had to try to do his best, wherever it might lead him.
        Vincent pulled off his shirt and turned to the washbowl on his right.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

   to be continued…

Famous last words:
        Phew! Finally finished. Wow…that’s a great feeling *g*. And you made it here, too! That’s
good, cause now you can tell me, if it was worth the effort.
        If you like the story, please drop me a line (lunarsangel@hotmail.com). If you think it’s
crap you can also tell me, but use a kinder choice of words, okay?! Please send anything dull
and/or insulting to bitemyass@idontcare.com. Your feedback is probably going to determine
whether/when the next chapter is posted. So? Won’t you eventually start typing?!  ; )
        What else to say? Two protagonists introduced, some more to come. Mage and priest…
guess who’s next. Or just wait and see.

        And concerning language(s): the spelling of the Goblin speech was on purpose, no need
to correct me in this case.  ; ) But if you found something else worthy of your to constructive
criticism, feel free to comment on that, too. I’m here to learn *g*.
The magic spells are not written in italics, as their meaning maybe will be revealed later on.
It’s an actual language, believe it or not. Okay, an actual imaginary language, to be honest, but
hey: better than nothing! 
        Oh yeah: And what’s so bad about the metric system, hm? It took me sooo much time to
figure out what those guys measure in feet and inches. Geez, I sincerely hope my calculation
was correct and my protagonist’s not a dwarf now…  ; )