Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Allison2016
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Alee'a'sawn A'ma'hee crept through the Durhamdam Glen with great caution, checking the forest floor before every step and glancing toward every unusual sound to discern its source and potential danger.

For six days, Allison -- as she was known by most of her Community -- had been desperately trying to evade Kyla of Gray Rock, an assassin whose sole mission in life was to track down and kill Magical Beings.

Ironically, Allison was certain that the assassin was herself using a Magical Spell to aid her in her mission. Allison was very comfortable and capable in the woods -- in any woods -- and even against the most skilled of Magic Killers -- the derogatory term for such assassins -- she should have been able to evade Kyla after the woman's first attack.

Yet, every time Allison relaxed and began feeling as though she'd escaped the assassin, the woman surged out of the woods to begin firing her bow, sending Bolts of Infinite Cold at high speed and high accuracy at Allison's heart. The Elf had successfully avoided more than two dozen of the dangerous missiles so far, through dexterity or magic or a combination of the two. Yet the assassin continued to reappear! Allison had little if any doubt that a Magical Power was at hand.

Humans were not a Magical Being like the Elves, Pixies, and Fairies. Even those Humans who had been birthed and raised here in this Magical Realm were incapable of performing their own Magic. It was probably the reason they employed Hunters to track down and kill those who did have the power, because they saw Magic as a threat to their existence as a Being.

Allison knew what this meant: someone who was a Magical Being had casted a Spell upon the Assassin, giving her the ability that she shouldn't have had. But who would do something so heinous against their own kind?

Allison was getting tired, and she knew she couldn't evade the assassin much longer. For the past two days, she'd remained on guard -- fending off any sense of calm and relaxation -- and had been laying a trap for the assassin. She left a confusing trail of tracks and disturbed undergrowth that greatly hid her changing direction; then, she hung her outer coat and cap on a small shrub hidden in the undergrowth to mimic the way she typically laid back to sleep.

She found a hiding place, then did her best to calm her heart and mind. She needed to find peace to lure in the Magic Killer. And it worked! Kyla suddenly burst out of the undergrowth, sprinting directly for the decoy where she leveled her crossbow and prepared to fire.

Allison heard the crossbow discharge its deadly cargo and leaped out from her hiding place ... just as Kyla -- who'd anticipated the ambush -- spun back toward the Elf; in her power hand, she held one of her deadly bolts, and as Allison raised her hands to cast a spell, the assassin threw the bolt in Allison's direction with great accuracy.

The Elf realized in an instant that she herself was being ambushed instead. Her ruse had failed, and she was about to die. More unconsciously than consciously, Allison casted four spells in rapid succession: Delay, Shield, Deflect, and Portal.

Now... even the most practiced of Magical Beings should never attempt so much magic in such a short period of time. And while Allison had risen out of the ranks of Novitiate, she was still an Apprentice at best. So later, when she regained consciousness after the incompatible spells caused a massive explosion, Allison wasn't surprised at the result.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

After laying on the ground for the longest time, unable to move yet fully able to experience the pain of the event, Allison finally rose to her knees, then feet, to look around for the assassin who had so very nearly killed her. Kyla of Gray Rock was no where to be seen...

...and while Allison was still deep in a thick wood, she could see that this was most definitely not the Durhamdam Glen. The trees and undergrowth were totally unfamiliar to her; even the sounds from the insects, birds, and other creatures were different. She looked to the sky through a gap in the canopy, looking for the Mistress of Kallan and the Roran Cup, only to find Sparkles that fit no constellations familiar to her.

Her heart skipped a beat at the sound of an animal she didn't recognize. The howl sounded canine in nature, but it wasn't a Worlent or its smaller cousin the Cayan.

Allison found herself walking quickly down a trail, not having really decided to do so yet not stopping herself once she was moving. Her pace quickened as the howls seemed to get more numerous from more directions … and more closely as well. Before she knew what was happening, she was racing down what she soon realized had once long ago been a road but for a very long time had been ignored. She could see the woods ahead of her thinning and realized they ended; just as the howls seemed to be almost upon her, Allison burst out into the open to find herself staring at a large black mass.

At first, she thought she'd come upon a cliff, blocking her escape and leaving her at the mercy of the canine creatures closing on her. Then, as the clouds above parted, the bright light of the moon illuminated a large structure. It wasn't a castle, per se, but it was bigger than any castle back home save that of the Elven Queen herself.

Allison heard another howl and turned back to the woods, ready to cast a spell to protect herself. But suddenly realizing that she was probably in this place because of her misuse of her magic, she hesitated. And as she wondered what else she could do, a thought came to her; it wasn't so much her own thought, as it was a thought that seemed to … to just come to her … from another person perhaps?

The Elf realized that the reason she was here in this strange place was because she had understood that her death at the hands of the Assassin was imminent … that her magic wouldn't be enough to save her … and that she needed help escaping to a safe place.

She turned back toward the big structure, and as she wondered Is this that safe place? Allison saw movement ahead of her … a person … a woman. And she wondered, Did you bring me here?
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by London Kat
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It had been market day in Watervale and Edenbrooke, the two towns closest to the portals between Fantaja, the mansion, and the human world. Letha traded baked, dried, and canned goods to both human and fantajan merchants for things like milk, flour, and sugar. Sadly, the merchants were the only ones who remembered the place even existed.

The mansion had once been meticulously maintained, and was the setting fo many human/fantajan meetings. As relations deteriorated, meetings happened less and less. The place eventually fell into disrepair as most of its residents and caretakers either left or died. The gardens were allowed to go wild, so now the grounds are covered with a nice mix of vegetation from the woods and plants that were once cultivated.

A lot of the plants in the yard were ripe for harvest, and Letha had spent the day picking them between merchants. She was harvesting grapes off of the vines that climbed the walls as she listened to the howls. Even the more domestic dogs that stayed near the mansion wanted to join in, but Minnie, the smallest dog, let out a short howl and everyone fell silent. The little dog walked over to an opening in the wall, and looked out.

Is someone out there? wondered Letha stepping over to the opening, since Minnie hardly ever left her side. She looked out, and immediately spotted the woman standing in the road. “Hello there. Are you ok?” She asked with a concerned smile.
Hidden 6 mos ago 6 mos ago Post by Allison2016
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Allison stared ahead into the darkness at the female coming toward her through the gate in the wall. No … not a gate … a gap! she would quickly realize, seeing what appeared to be decades, maybe even centuries of decay in the stone wall.

As the woman stepped into the moonlight, Allison realized it was no woman but a girl ... a youthful, fresh face … except … this girl had the delicious curves of an adult … a woman.

And Allison suddenly felt guilty: instinctively -- clear back in the woods at the first howl by the unseen, unknown animal -- she'd ripped an arrow out of her quiver, notched it, and run through the woods to this place ready to put the missile through the heart of the first scary thing that moved. The woman before her was unknown, but she wasn't scary. Of course, most wouldn't think Allison as scary when first they laid eyes upon her, but … well, she could be downright dangerous and deadly if the need arose.

Another thing the woman before her wasn't was River Elf; even in the low light of the glowing moon, Allision could see that. Still mostly obscured by a moon shadow, Allison contemplated altering her appearance to match the female's own Being, in the hopes of limiting any fear that might arise at Allison's appearance.

But once again Allison remembered that magic -- or at least the accidentally misuse of it -- had been behind her transport to this strange place. She decided to leave her look as it was and … and see how the young woman reacted.

“Hello there. Are you ok?”

Not the reaction Allison had expected but definitely the one she was happy to experience. The woman was polite and friendly and unafraid … the latter of which Allison wouldn't really say she was herself. The circumstances of her situation were … well, simply unexplainable, and while Allison had never been accused of being a coward, she'd never been in a situation where she didn't know exactly what was happening around her.

The howling...

Allison pulled her eyes away from the gap in the wall to look about herself. The creatures who had seemed to be chasing her down were suddenly no longer there; the woods behind her were silent … though, over the next minute or two, the insects and other less threatening night creatures would come back to life once again.

Turning back to the woman before her, Allison looked to the canine in her arms. She smiled with delight; it seemed as if a puppy -- so small, so seemingly fragile -- and yet something told Allison that that dog wasn't anymore what it appeared than anything else around her.

Suddenly realizing that she still had an arrow notched and the string pulled back for release, Allison relaxed the bow until it and the arrow both unthreateningly by her side. She studied the presumably young Being before her for a moment before speaking.

"I am Alee'a'sawn A'ma'hee … of the Trumbow Forest." She hesitated, wondering whether the woman was a Human or another Being with a similar appearance before saying, "I am called Allison by many. I…"

She never liked showing her vulnerabilities … yet Allison continued, "I do not know where I am … or how I got here."

Returning the arrow to its quiver and slinging the bow to the same in a way that made it appear harmless yet left it easily retrievable should she need it, Allison finished, "Can you help me understand?"
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by London Kat
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Letha nodded. “I can most certainly try. First let me say, it’s nice to meet you Allison. I’m Letha, and this is Minnie.” She said indicating the little dog she had picked up. “I guess the first thing I should tell you is that the building in front of you used to be known as Synoro mansion, but that name hasn’t been used in decades. As for the land we are in, I don’t think it has a name. I’ve never heard it called anything. I guess you could say that this place acts as a buffer between the human world and Fantaja. I’ve had a lot of wolves and dogs from the human world find their way here, but not many Fantajan animals have. Any how, that’s all I can tell you about where you are. As for how you got here, I honestly don’t know. I don’t know how anything that comes out of those woods gets here, but all of them seem to need some kind of help. Some times it’s as simple as a safe place to stay, and others can be as complicated as an orphaned puppy needing raised or someone needing minor medical treatment. How about you? What do you need?”
Hidden 6 mos ago Post by Allison2016
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“I can most certainly try,” the young woman responded to the request for help.

Letha showed the lost Elf a kindness and courtesy Allison would net have expected. They were very different, the two of them; and, of course, Allison's last interaction with a human -- with the Magic Killer, Kyla -- hadn't exactly been something the Elf wished to continue.

Allison thought she recognized the name Synoro -- perhaps from the tales of the Ancients, the ancestors of the Elves -- but she couldn't place it in a context. It was odd, Allison thought, that this place -- the Land itself -- had no name; after all, Allison's world was Fantaja and the human's world was the Human World. Okay, so, the latter wasn't very creative; and Allison was sure the Humans probably had a name for their Land; but Allison had only been there a few times for a total of a few days, and the only Human with whom she'd interacted much had been trying to put a Bolts of Infinite Cold through her chest.

Letha asked, “How about you? What do you need?”

Without hesitation, Allison looked back over her shoulder toward the woods. She wasn't looking for the howling beasts -- Wolves and Dogs Letha had called them -- but was instead looking for her pursuer. She couldn't know whether or not Kyla had transported to this place with her; Allison couldn't know because she had no idea how she had gotten here.

Looking back to the young woman, Allison told Letha, "I am cold … and hungry … and … lost."

That last was obvious, of course, but the Elf spoke the word anyway, just to ensure Letha remembered. Allison glanced toward the house, then back to the woman with the little puppy and smiled meekly.

Hidden 6 mos ago Post by London Kat
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Letha instinctively knew that Allison needed a safe place to stay just from the way she spoke and acted. “Please, come on in.” She said with a smile as she put Minnie down, and picked up the basket of grapes that she had just picked. She led Allison down a somewhat clear path to a back door. The door hinges showed clear signs of rust, but the door was still hanging on. Letha held the door open for Allison and the dogs that had followed them.

The door they entered led to the work side of the house, with the kitchen on their left, a hallway ending at a set of stairs to their right, and a hall leading to another door straight ahead of them. The largest of the dogs walked past Allison and pushed it’s way through the door in front of them. “You can follow Midas into the other room, and warm up by the fireplace if you want. I’ll make us something to eat.” Said Letha as she pushed the door to.

If Allison did follow the dogs she would find herself in a large room divided in half by a large fireplace. On one side of the fireplace would be a living room setup, and on the other would be a dining table and buffet. The dogs would all find comfortable places to sit or lay down, leaving only the floor or a chair that faced the front door for Allison.

Letha took the grapes into the kitchen and fired up both ovens before going to the main living area. She adjusted the front door to where it was completely closed, and barricaded it with a bat that slid into holders on each side of the door. She then went out to the smoke house and brought in some meat before starting to make a loaf of quick bread and some cookies.

While the bread and cookies were baking she cleaned, peeled, and cut up some fruits and vegetables. Letha put each plate in the serving window as she finished filling them, and then she came out to the living area where she transferred each plate to the buffet. She took five bowls and 2 plates out from under the buffet, and filled the bowls with food for the dogs in the living room. “Come and get it.” She said putting the bowls on the floor along the wall.
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“Please, come on in,” Letha said with a smile, turning for the house.

Allison wasn't hesitant … but she did hesitate; she didn't know this young woman, and there was something so mysterious about her. She appeared young, barely more than a girl, yet Letha carried herself with the poise of a confident older woman who knew the world well.

As they headed up the path, Allison caught movement to each side; unusual Canines appeared from various locations and joined them as they walked forward. Initially, Allison went on guard, even reaching for her bow, though, she never removed it from its resting place over her quiver. But it became obvious that the Canines were domesticated and friendly to Letha. Allison hoped they would be friendly to her and, -- soon enough -- realized they would be.

The house had appeared ancient and dilapidated from afar, and up close it only proved itself to be even more so. It was so odd to Allison that a structure of such enormous size would be in such disrepair: it was far bigger than even the Elven Queen's castle in Fantaja, as bigger wasn't always seen as better in the Elven culture, nor was bigger seen as a sign of power or importance; yet at the same time, the Queen's castle was always immaculate in appearance, gleaming and without a speck of dust because of its dozens of dedicated workers, inside and outside.

That was what was missing from Letha's home, obviously: help. As they entered the back of the house, Allison kept on guard for dangers, most particularly others who might cause her harm or distress. It wasn't as if she actually expected to be assailed; no, Allison was just the cautious type, and -- of course -- she been being chased for days by a woman bent on turning her into a pillar of eternal ice.

But … there was no one else in the massive home. No one; not a servant or family member or neighbor or … well, no one.

She studied Letha for a moment as they young woman directed her to a doorway, thinking How can you be safe here all alone, little girl? Then, Allison's mind moved to the more important question, How can you be happy all alone here. The Elven people were a very social people. With the exception of when she was hunting or adventuring -- as she had when she used a Portal to access the Human World and set in motion this latest mayhem -- Allison was never alone for long.

Her village had a population of almost 200 men, women, and children, and yet they all lived together in fewer than 12 houses. Allison shared her home with her parents and some of her parents' siblings and most of the children of these 8 adults, as well as with another 6 people not of her bloodline who -- for a variety of reasons -- had found themselves alone and needed the comfort of their Elven Kind. Allison shared her bed, too, of course; since the time she ceases sleeping between the warm bodies of her mother and father, the River Elf had shared her massive straw and fur covered bed with a variety of female relatives and friends. It was just the way it was; it was their Culture, which made Allison a bit uncomfortable with the emptiness of Letha's home.

“You can follow Midas into the other room," Letha told the Elf, "and warm up by the fireplace if you want. I’ll make us something to eat.”

Allison looked to the dog that led the way as if understanding her hostess's invitation. Had he? Had he sensed what Letha was offering? Or had he actually understood the words. In Fantaja, the Canines kept by the Elves literally understood the words of their Masters, but that wasn't because they had the needed intelligence to do so; it was a result of Magic casted upon them, to make them a better servant. Back home, the average dog was just that, an average dog.

But what about Midas, Allison wondered. She had the ability to detect the presence of Magic in both living and non-living things. And yet, Allison detected nothing in the beast leading her into a large room. In fact, Allison suddenly realized, she detected no Magic at all here … None whatsoever! But … was that because there was none? Or -- as during her visit to the Human World -- was something blocking her ability to detect the Magic of others.

That, of course, was the reason Allison had very nearly been killed in that other Dimension; Allison had noticed immediately her inability to detect magic when she attempted to locate the Portal to return to Fantaja and couldn't. It was the reason she'd been unable to follow Kyla's demands to get out of the Magic Killer's worlds. Allison hadn't been looking for a fight; she hadn't been intentionally defying Kyla. She simply hadn't been able to depart that world in a timely manner … and for it, Allison had been chased into this world that -- like the Human World -- was so different from her own.

Allison had been studying every aspect of the enormous room when her hostess returned and said to the dogs, “Come and get it.” She watched with curiosity at the young woman set down bowls of food for the Beasts. She asked with a sincere tone of surprise, "You feed your Canines?"

Yet another difference between the worlds: in Fantaja, the Canines -- even the Magical ones -- hunted their own food, most often Ryshmere, a smallish creature that were considered a Pest because they liked to build their tunnel homes in the ground beneath Elvish homes, thereby making them unstable and sometimes even leading them to collapse.

Sometimes Allison felt sympathy for the Ryshmere; they were semi-intelligent, with a rudimentary language and the ability to use tools and even make tiny spear-like pikes for protecting themselves against other ground dwelling, non-intelligent animals that would either displace them in their tunnels or even eat them. Allison had seen such a relation as the Elves-Ryshmere during her visits to the Human World, where Humans hunted or otherwise caused the death of other semi-intelligent creatures of their dimension.

Such behavior seemed to find a place in all cultures, it seemed.

"You called your home something," Allison said as she watched Letha care for the beasts who excitedly headed for the food-filled bowls. "I … I may have heard that name before … I am uncertain. Stories from the Ancients … my ancestors."

Allison very nearly launched into an explanation of from where her People had come but didn't; she still did not know this woman or this place enough to give out that kind of history. And, honestly, Allison didn't know all of the history herself anyway. Perhaps Letha would tell her more about her own world first...?
Hidden 5 mos ago Post by London Kat
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Allison was giving Midas too much credit. He had gone into the main room to relax by the fire, nothing more, nothing less. The dogs had given her the chair facing the door because they had sensed her weariness though.

"You feed your canines?" asked Allison

Letha nodded. "Yes. These guys came from the human world where they were kept as pets, and people provide for their animals in the human world. They don't know how to fend for themselves." She explained while stroking the back of one of the dogs.

"You called your home something, I … I may have heard that name before … I am uncertain. Stories from the Ancients … my ancestors."

Letha picked up a plate and started filling it. "Please come and eat. I'm not surprised that Synoro is mentioned in your peoples history. Many Elves have attended meetings here in the past. Hundreds, if not thousands of meetings were held here over the years, between people from Fantaja and Humans. In the past, this place was always full of life. People staying here to attend meetings, the ones who acted as intermediaries or peacekeepers, the staff. There was so much life." She said a bit sadly. "Now it's just me, the animals, and the random temporary person in need. I keep the house up the best I can, but all I can do is maintain the interior."
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As she watched her hostess lovingly pet one of the dogs, Allison reflected on the differences between Letha's canines -- the Human World dogs -- and the Canines of Fantaja, the Worlent and the Cayan.

Allison had seen dogs in the Human World on her visits there, of course; how could one not see them as they were every where. Humans led them on leashes and took them to public locations to play with other dogs; they reserved rear seats for them in their Beastless Carriages and -- mostly Female Humans, but not always so -- even carried them in their purses. Humans did the strangest things with their dogs; they dressed them in Human clothing and trimmed their fur into unnatural shapes and more.

And the kinds of dogs! There were so many shapes and sizes and colors, whereas in Fantaja, there were only the Worlent and Cayan.

Of course, those two were plenty enough for Allison. Each of the species was a killer; Allison had lost loved one to both types of Fantaja Canine and had nearly lost her own life to each as well. While the Worlent and Cayan were very different from one another, they had one thing in common: a taste for the flesh of River Elves.

The Worlent was similar to the Human World's Wolf, only much bigger and very different in its hunting nature. With its head high to peer around itself, a Worlent was as tall as Allison, a height the Humans would call sixty six inches or one hundred and sixty eight centimenters (not that Allison knew what that meant, of course). It was a solitary hunter, unlike the Human World's much smaller wolf; and it hunted more like the Human World's big cats -- the Jaguar and Tiger -- by stalking its prey quietly through the woods and striking without notice.

The Cayan was so very much different than its bigger Canine cousin. Allison had once seen a Human World coyote in something called a photograph and thought it looked very much like the Cayans of Fantaja, only the Cayans were nearer the size of the Human World's wolves. And it wasn't only their size that was different; the Cayans hunted in in packs as large as 40 individuals, encircling their prey and closing in, toying with them mercilessly. Allison had heard stories of how Beings surrounded by Cayans were in such panic and distress that they almost begged the Cayan to just kill and eat them already, to end the horror.

"Please come and eat.

Allison took the offered plate and studied the food upon it as Letha told the story of Synoro. The young woman's description caused a flood of memories in Allison about the land, not Allison's first hand memories but instead the stories told to her by others back home.

"Now it's just me, the animals, and the random temporary person in need. I keep the house up the best I can, but all I can do is maintain the interior."

"You help others … have helped others, in the past?" Allison asked. She listened to Letha's response, then said with a slight bow of her head, "I thank you … for myself, and for the others as well. You are a person of honor."

Allison ate a few bites, her gaze shifting from Letha to the dogs to the interior of the room and back. She felt a bit uncomfortable contemplating her next inquiry, but she went with it anyway. "The dogs are from the Human World … you get visitors from that dimension and from my own, Fantaja. But … but you, Letha. Are you … well, are you of the Human World? What I mean is, are you Human? You seem so-- And I mean not offend you with my words, but … you appear so young … yet … you think and speak as if an older, wiser person. Do I ask too much...?"

Hidden 5 mos ago Post by London Kat
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Everything that Letha served was food that Allison would recognize. There was smoked Jackafur (rabbit-like animal the size of a fox), Evi (Root vegetable with the flavor of a carrot), Skarn (a blueberry-like fruit with a citrus flavor), and more. Letha started filling her own plate while Allison asked,

“You help others… have helped others, in the past?”

“That’s right. Many people have found their way here over the years. They normally only stay a few days, but people have also stayed as long as a few years.” Letha answered as she headed over to the table to sit down.

“I thank you… You are a person of honor.” Said Allison before asking, “Are you of the human world? You appear so young, yet you think and speak as if an older, wiser person. Do I ask too much…?”

Letha shook her head. “No, it’s not too much. Actually, you are not the first person to ask that. The only problem is… I don’t know.” She said with a sigh. “All of my memories are of living here at the mansion, and I was told that a hunter staying at the mansion found me abandoned out in the woods. I used to think that I was human since I looked like one, but I have lived far too long to be one. I don’t look like any race I have seen come out of Fantaja, so… what does that leave for me to be?”
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