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mystique_01

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mystique_01
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PostedJul 25, 2007 2:40 pm
Mmmm... this is getting more and more exciting... so much action and suspense... what a great mixture you've made! Wink Excellent! I really really enjoy reading your story... Very Happy
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fuzzy

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fuzzy
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PostedJul 25, 2007 9:49 pm
Well, here it is, the next part, a day late again. I seem to be making a habit of this. Anyway, bon appetit!



A Stone of Contention, Part VIII – A Rogue By Any Other Name


No one knew exactly how long he was under. Swaglord himself remembered little more than waking up and seeing the face of his dear friend through the crystal clear water. How worried she had looked at first and how like an angel when she smiled, the watery reflections of the morning light dancing over her face, teardrops glowing from the corners of her eyelids. How like home it had felt to the little boy when she drew him from the creek, hugged him so tightly he could barely breathe, and whispered in his ear.

“I’ve got you,” were the sweetest words he had every heard.

Waking, Swaglord inhaled the vapors of his quickly fading dream. The air felt cool and dusty, his chest unnaturally tight and heavy. Blinking against the brightness, he opened his eyes to a blurry figure looking down at him, a female face that seemed familiar. Against the blur, amid the vapors, he hovered on the lip of a vivid memory that called to him like a long lost friend.

Could it be?

He blinked again, rubbed his eyes, and raised his head up off the dirt, squinting. “Oh, it’s you,” he said, dropping his head back down against the ground.

“Hmph. Nice to see you too,” said the rogue, unsheathing a dagger and inching forward in her seat atop the knight’s broad chest plate.

“I’m sorry,” he replied, closing his eyes. “I didn’t mean it that way.”

“Uh-huh.” The rogue grabbed a handful of Swaglord’s hair and pressed the tip of her knife against his chin. “Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t,” she said.

Swaglord opened one eye. “You’re very pretty. Do you know that?”

The rogue’s face softened for just a moment, then screwed itself into an even tighter frown. She tightened her Swaglord’s shaggy locks and poked him again. “Look, knight!—“

Swaglord opened his other eye. “What’s your name?” he asked.

“What! Why?”

“I’d just like to know.” Swaglord glanced down at the dagger. “Considering that you might be about to cut my throat, I think I might be entitled to know.”

She released his hair and let the hand with the dagger slide away from this face. “Hmph.” She slid her dagger back into its sheath, reached out and patted him on the cheek. “Don’t worry, handsome, I’m not gonna scrag you. Not today anyway.” She leaned slightly back, crossing her legs, and then bent forward putting her elbows on her knees and resting her chin lightly in her clasped hands, all in one smooth motion like a cat curling up into a ball.

“Ripper’s what they call me—on account o’ my blades.”

“Your guild name?” he asked, taking a breath with some effort, the rogue floating up and down as his lungs filled and then emptied.

“That’s right,” she said, nodding while keeping her chin against her hands, causing her to rock slightly atop her metal perch.

“What name did your mother give you?” he asked, feeling slightly queasy from the girl’s motion.

“Not that it’s any of your business…” she said, continuing to rock like a bored child, apparently oblivious to the knight’s discomfort. “Kass.”

“Kass? Kass…” He said, with a puzzled look. “I think I knew a Kassandra once—“

“No one calls me that,” she said, lifting her head and dropping her hands to her thighs.

“Very well,” he said, “Kass it is.”

“Hmph,” she said, standing up and stepping away.

Swaglord immediately filled his lungs and raised himself up far enough to turn and lean on one elbow “A nice name, Kass—.”

The rogue spun around to face him. “What’s your game, knight—speaking of which, I didn’t get your name.”

Swaglord pulled himself into a sitting position, using his shield as kind of crutch to help himself up. He left his sword lying on the ground. “My name?”

“If you don’t mind.”

“Well, it’s… uh, it’s… Swaglor—” he said, stopped before he quite finished saying it.

“Hmm? Swag-low?” she asked, cocking her head and taking a step toward him.

“No, no, not Swaglow. Just, uh…call me Swag.”

“Swag?” The rogue grinned. “You’re mother give you that?”

“Not exactly, sort of—it’s complicated—but you can call me that. I’d like it if you did.”

“You would, huh? Okay. Well, Swaggy,” she said, losing her grin and folding her arms tightly across her chest, “if you’re quite done napping, let me ask you something. What now?” The rogue started pacing in front of him. “I mean, you almost killed me back there—I can’t forget that, Swaggy—but you did save my horse’s life. Maybe mine too, once that fight started. I dunno, really. And there’s that heaven stone, which I still think I won fair and square… But then you did too, I suppose…And my poor horse!”

While the rogue paced, Swaglord tried to casually sneak a peek inside his gauntlet. She saw him doing it and stopped. “Yes, it’s still there,” she said rolling her eyes, and the milky glow coming from deep inside the cuff confirmed that it was. The next thing he knew she had plopped down cross-legged on the ground right next to him, bumping shoulders with him slightly as she landed.

“I mean, this whole situation has gotten so complicated!” she said, bending forward and putting her head in her hands.

Swaglord, sat up a little taller and then leaned backwards on one arm. “How long was I out?”

She lifted her head up and looked toward her horse. “A little while. I dunno. Long enough for me to tend to Heavenstone. She’s pretty banged up. I don’t think it’s too serious, but I won’t be riding her for a while, and I should get her to a town soon.”

“Heaven stone?” Swaglord asked, grinning.

“Yeah, my horse. That’s her name.” She spun toward him, her legs and feet scraping against the ground. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Nothing, nothing at all.” Swag sat up again, reflexively pulling his weapon hand up to his lap and glancing around for his sword. “Just…no wonder you wanted it so badly.”

“I know,” she said, bending her head down again, “it’s a funny name for a horse.”

“No, no, not at all—“

“It’s alright.” She said, laughing. “I got her when I was just a girl. And I always loved them. And I loved her so much, right away, that’s what I called her. It’s stupid…’

“No, it’s a nice name. Hey, my pony’s name is—“

“Teacup! I know!” she said, laughing again, a bit harder than before. She noticed Swaglord scanning the nearby trees and tapped him on the arm, pointing, “They’re over there.”

“Ah,” he said.

“Your pony hasn’t left Heavenstone’s side the whole time.”

Swaglord smiled. “He’s a funny one, sometimes.”

“He sure is. Wherever did you get him?”

“Long story, that, but getting back to your question, I think it might be a good idea to stick together for a while.” Swaglord started to stand up, which he did rather lowly. “Truth is, I’m not feeling too well myself.” Getting to his feet, he put a hand behind his neck. “I took a couple shots to the head before. Feeling a little dizzy. I should probably get to a town too.”

Kass stood up easily in a swift, graceful movement and stood facing him. “And the heaven stone?”

Swaglord stopped rubbing his neck and looked down at her. She was a good head shorter than he, with a thin, athletic, almost boyish body, but a face that was pure girl. She was no more than a couple feet away, well within his reach, with her blue as the sky eyes locked on his.

I could look into those eyes all day…

“Swag?” she said. “The heaven stone?”

“Uh…yeah.” Swaglord tore his eyes away from hers and looked at the ground. “We’ll see. If I can get a good price for it, well, we’ll see about some of your expenses—for your horse, at least... We’ll see.” When he looked back up she was smiling at him.

Such a pretty smile. Who does she remind me of?

Suddenly she took a half step forward, almost closing the distance between them, dropped her head and just hung there. For a long moment she was absolutely still.

“Kass?”

Swaglord put his hand on her shoulder and gently shook her. She raised her head but didn’t quite look at him, her drooping eyes seeming to look right through him, her mouth opening, but making no sound. He thought he saw her lips move and then all at once she fell forward into his arms. As her head slumped down against his shoulder, he noticed a thin, black dart sticking out from the back of her head. He looked up, past the dart, quickly scanning the area around them.

Surrounded!

Pulling the rogue close, he put his lips to her ear. “Don’t worry, Kassandra,” he whispered, “I’ve got you. And I won’t let go.”


To be continued…

FrozeBlood

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PostedJul 26, 2007 12:10 am
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHATS GONNA HAPPEN NEXTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!

bossmtking

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PostedJul 26, 2007 5:00 am
whaaat next! Smile

bossmtking

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PostedJul 28, 2007 11:49 am
Mad whts the next part allreaddy

fuzzy

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fuzzy
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PostedJul 31, 2007 10:10 pm
For once it looks like I'm on time this week. Thought I'd have a little fun in this part. Hope you like it.



A Stone of Contention Part IX – Amateur Hour


“You missed!” came a woman’s voice from somewhere beneath the glare of the setting sun. From the angle of the dart in Kass’s head, Swaglord judged the owner of that voice to be standing near the spot from where it was thrown.

“I did not!” It was a man’s voice this time, from about the same direction as the woman’s. The voice sounded young but raw, with the same nasty tone as the other one. “Look! It’s still stickin’ there. Right in the back’a the head.”

“You missed the neck, you fool,” said the woman. “THAT’s where you’re supposed to hit them.”

“I hit her!” replied the man. “What difference does it make where? I hit her s’what counts!”

There was a pause in the exchange and then Swaglord heard a faint windy sound that he took to be an exaggerated sigh. “They work better in the neck,” the woman continued. “Or weren’t you listening to the old man we bought ‘em from.”

“I heard ‘im. Look, I listened as well as you. An’ I hit her. What more you want?”

“Decent aim, if it’s not too much trouble.”

“Alright then, I’ll stick her again if it’ll shut ya up.”

There was a pause again. Swaglord squinted into the sun trying to locate the source of the voices. He had already spotted three other shadowy figures that he had taken to be bandits, arranged about them like points of a compass at East, South and West. The spot the voices came from would make a complete set.

All of a sudden Swaglord got a funny feeling about the sudden quiet. Before he fully realized what he was doing, he found himself kneeling with Kass tucked between his body and his broad shield.

-Tink!-

A dart ricocheted off the shield and onto the ground a few feet away.

Just in time! he thought. I’ve got to be more careful.

“Oh brilliant, Tom,” said the woman. “So much for takin’ ‘em by surprise.“

“Look,“ the man replied, “we’ve got ‘em surrounded, we’ll—and what did I say about using my name? It’s Blue Leader, got it!”

“Oh, stuff it, Tom.”

“Blue leader! It’s Blue Leader!”

“You’re such a twit sometimes.”

There was another pause in the exchange and then Swaglord finally spotted the man walking to his left. “Blue one,” he called.

“Aye?” Another man, the one at the East compass point, replied.

“Get ready to dart the knight,” said Blue Leader, “and tell Blue Three, too.”

“Blue three-two?” Blue One replied. “Who’s ‘zat?”

“Not three-two, three—Blue Three—tell him, too, got it?.”

“Oh, Russell—o’course. Why din’cha say so?”

“I did. And that’s BLUE—“ Blue Leader said and then stopped suddenly, putting a hand over his eyes. “Just… tell him to get ready, okay.”

“Sure, Tom. No problem.”

Blue leader shook his head, turned around and started walking back, slapping himself on the forehead with one fist—hard. As he passed the woman, Swaglord heard him say, “I’ll show you… Strategy! Hmph! We’ll get ‘em.”

“Like it matters,” the woman replied. “Poor girl’s probably got brain damage by now.”

Swaglord raised one eyebrow and hastily lifted Kass’s head up to take a look at her. He could remember her looking better. The drool running down her chin didn’t worry him, he’d seen people sleep like that before, but the twitch in her right eye, and the way her tongue curled and uncurled in her slack mouth was downright disturbing.

“I can’t imagine what it’ll do to her parents,” the woman said. “Probably kill her mum.”

Swaglord peeked over his shield toward the woman. “Say,” he called, “about that brain damage…”

“Shut up, you,” yelled Blue Leader continuing his quick walk. When he neared the other compass point, he called “Blue Two?”

“Sir, Blue Leader, yes sir!” came the quick reply.

Blue Leader stopped suddenly, clearing his throat and taking a more officious air, said. “We are preparing to assault the target. Be ready.”

“Sir! Yes, sir!”

Blue Leader drew his shoulders back and raised his hand up to a crisp salute, which Blue Two enthusiastically returned. “Very good, Blue Two,” he said, adding, “Exemplary,” and then turning and marching quickly away.

“Aw thanks, Dad!”

Blue Leader stopped, shook his head, and then resumed his course back to where he started.

“No, really,” Swaglord called again, “you don’t really think that’s a possibility, do you?”

“I told you to shut it!” barked Blue Leader. “You’re about to be in a world of hurt.”

“Aw, don’ worry, hon’,” the woman called, “I’s just teasing on account of Blue Phony over here.”

“And you can shut yers, too!” Blue Leader barked.

“Jus’ gather up some a’them purple flowers,” the woman continued, “they grow practically everywhere. Make her a nice tea out of it. She’ll be alright.”

“I see,” said Swaglord, smiling. “Thank you very much.”

“Oh don’t mention—“

“RIGHT!” Blue Leader had gotten back to the North position and had one hand in the air. “BLUE SQUAD! PREE-PARE TO FIRE! DARTS! NOW!”

As before, Swaglord nearly forgot to duck and cover, but as Blue Leader's voice faded he managed to crouch down low, doing his best to make a protective tent around Kass with his shield and armor.

-Tink!—Tink!-

Two, he counted. Swaglord waited a bit more then, deciding the other two had missed, poked his head up again to look around. Blue Leader was slapping his forehead again.

“Right!” he said, starting to pace. “Good. Fine…”

“Those darts don’t grow on trees you know,” the woman said. “Stop wastin’ ‘em.”

Blue Leader spun toward her. “Wasting! This is a burgle, for cryin out—“

“Yeah, Dad. I’m hungry,” Blue Two called. “Can’t we go now?”

“And he seems like such a nice fella’,” said the woman.

“WE WILL GO WHEN I—“ started Blue Leader, then he stopped suddenly and turned back to Swaglord. “BLUE SQUAD! SHANKS! NOW!”

Swaglord made the metal tent again and waited.

-Twang!—Thud!-

From the sound of it, one dagger struck his shield, and he felt what seemed to be something blunt, probably the hilt of a poorly thrown dagger, hit him in the side. Again, it seemed as though two of them missed completely.

“That’s just great, Tom!” said the woman. “Keep that up and he’ll soon have all our weapons!”

As Blue Leader selected some more choice words for his female companion, Swaglord peeked up over the shield. He heard a small commotion off some distance past Blue Leader and the woman, and a few seconds later a small group of horses emerged from a stand of trees and ran down the path away from them.

“Um, excuse me, Blue Leader?” called Swaglord

“Blue Leader spun around and stomped two steps toward him. “Whatta you want, fancy britches?”

“Well, uh, those wouldn’t happen to be your horses, would they?” he said, pointing directly behind where Blue Leader stood.

“What?” said Blue Leader, looking behind him. “THE HORSES!” He turned and ran back two steps, called “BLUE SQUAD! FALL OUT!” then spun around and started pounding the ground for all he was worth after the fleeing animals.

“Bye hon’,” the woman called. “Sorry to be a bother.” Swaglord waved as she turned and chased after Blue Leader.

“Excuse me, sir,” came a voice from his right. Swaglord turned to see a teenage lad standing a few feet from him, waiting politely.

“Blue Two?” Swaglord asked.

“That’s right, sir,” he said smiling. “Could I have my dagger back, please?”

“Oh,” Swaglord said, glancing at the ground and noticing the scattered weapons around them. “Sure, son—and why don’t you take the others, too.”

“Thank you, sir,” the boy replied, stooping down to gather them up.

“Say,” Swaglord started, “you wouldn’t happen to know the way to the nearest town, would you?”

“Yes, sir. Just take the road up that way,” he said, pointing. “Follow it ‘til you come to a river, then follow the river away from the mountains until you get there. You can’t miss it. About two day away, I’d say.”

“I see, thanks.”

The boy smiled and bowed and then started running after the others with his armful of darts and daggers. Swaglord watched them fade into the distance. A few seconds after they were out of site he saw another figure emerge from the stand of trees and come galloping toward him. Shortly he recognized his clever pony and smiled as it ran back over to the rogue’s horse, hidden behind a pine tree against the near hillside.

Atta boy, Teacup!

Swaglord gathered his sword and carried Kass over to the animals, where he leaned her against a large rock. He took off his shield and laid it down, stacking his sword on top of it, and then started to sit himself down on the soft sod where he hoped to take a long nap. But before he could get quite settled, Kass began to stir.

“Mmmm….” She pulled her head back and opened one eye, which blinked uneasily and then, with some difficulty, scanned the area while her head and the rest of her body remained quite still. “What I miss?”

Swaglord opened his mouth to reply and then stopped, staring thoughtfully toward the path. “Nothing,” he said. “You didn’t miss a thing.”

“Huh…” Kass said sleepily. “So… what are we going to do now, Swag?”

Swaglord frowned. “You get some rest,” he said, very slowly standing up again, “I was just heading off to pick you some flowers.”


End of Episode One

FrozeBlood

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437
PostedJul 31, 2007 10:44 pm

OMG

Could you explain a little more about the Blue people? Like who are they and whatnot.

ClementineKat

Aeria: Product Manager
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PostedAug 01, 2007 1:42 pm
Wow, Fuzzy, that is some AMAZING writing. Keep it up. I can't wait for the next episode. Keep it up!

You cant swing a cat without hitting some kind of demonic activity. Not that I swing cats. Or eat...Nope. Cutting way back. Cholesterol... Morals! I mean morals. - Clem from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

bossmtking

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PostedAug 02, 2007 5:13 am
duude part 1 over? aaah keep goin btw i didnt get the first part about the blue ppl dosnt make sence Confused

fuzzy

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fuzzy
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PostedAug 03, 2007 8:04 pm
It's never a good sign when you have to explain something you thought you just explained. Crying or Very sad

So... FrozeBlood and bosstmking, I have to admit when I went back and re-read this I could see why you might have been confused. It all happens pretty quickly and there is little explanation about the Blue people. The basic idea was that this was a group of bandits who were not quite pros when it came to banditry. The leader (Tom) had decided that they shouldn't use their real names when they were on a mission so he gave out names, Blue One, Blue Two, etc., to the other bandits and called himself Blue Leader. Kind of like what the leader of a squadron of fighter jets might do. And some of the squad wasn't too keen on the idea or, perhaps, too dim to pick up on it. I know, it's kind of stupid but I was going for humor value, so... yeah. (Apparently, it didn't work so well.)

mystique_01 and gm_clementine: what can I say? TYVM! Very Happy

I may take a little break before the next part. Not really sure about the "End of Episode I" thing. I could just continue with Part X, etc., but I may want to shift into a different storyline. Not sure. We'll see...

Thanks very much to everyone who has been reading and posting. Nothing means more to a writer than being read.
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