Tales from Shoal Keep: Ch. 19 - Anemoné

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Tales from Shoal Keep: Ch. 19 - Anemoné

Postby MadameRed » January 16th, 2011, 1:40:58 am

Tales from Shoal Keep





One. A Desert Journey

The young woman stood back to admire her handiwork. She was tired, very tired, but as she gazed upon her project, she knew the energy expenditure was worth it. The enormous lake she created was over two miles wide and had several different temperature biomes in it. Tropical and tundra and swampy and brackish, all in one lake, all separated and maintained with magic. The people of Voltar requested an area for Aquatic life to survive in their baking land. The magi that lived in and around Voltar were not strong enough to take on a task, so they called for a magi from the keep, one skilled in Water magic.

Red placed her hands on her hips and grinned broadly. The creatures of the magi that lived here would most definitely appreciate this oasis of water. The lord-governor of the city of Voltar, the man who had commissioned this project, had just ridden up in his carriage. He stepped out; more like jumped out. He was a large man, both in height and in girth, with a broad, genial face and a bottle-brush mustache. He was a low ranking magi many years older than Red.

"Ah, Lady Red! Finished already? Why, it's only been two days!" he boomed. Red smiled at him, bowing.

"My Lord, I am no Lady, but your humble servant. And yes, all is finished. The lake and the biomes are complete, as you have asked. Would you care for a tour of the lake?" He turned to look out over the lake, being closest to the tropical portion. He patted his stomach as if he had just feasted upon a great meal and sighed just as contentedly.

"No, no. I didn't bring the Misses and her Koi, wouldn't be right." He turned back to Red. "Are you quite sure I couldn't entreat upon you to stay one more night? My daughter would love the company." Red bowed to him again.

"I'm afraid I cannot stay. The Earth Unicorn herds are migrating back to the Keep for the summer months and I'd like to see if I can find my two and journey home with them," she said. It was tempting to stay one more night, for the soft bed and the hot food was welcome. But she did miss her friends..

"Quite understandable, my dear. Now, now, payment." He gestured to the footman of the carriage, who brought over a small chest. Inwardly, Red groaned. She really hoped she wouldn't have to carry a chest with her all the way back to the Keep. The footman padded over to them and lifted the lid. The lord-governor rummaged around inside and procured a scroll and a leather pouch.

"This scroll is for Thane's library at the Keep. It's a detailed report of the flora and fauna of this region, and their breeding patters and migratory paths. And this," he held up the leather pouch and gave it a shake, "is from Voltar to you, with much gratitude." Red could head the jingle of gold coins within. She accepted both with a smile.

"Thank you very much. You've been very hospitable, and your city is lovely. It's been wonderful staying here." A few more departing pleasantries were exchanged, and the lord-governor got back into his carriage and rode back into the city.

Red walked to the water's edge and picked up her traveler's belt. She attached the leather pouch to it after inspecting it (a few hundred gold coins lay within) and fastened it about her waist. She admired her work a few moments longer before turning around to see her Vanil Shaa, Elansa, cantering toward her, tongue lolling. Red dropped to her knees and hugged her companion, fondling her soft ears.

"Hello, beautiful! How was the hunt?" Elansa barked once and wagged her thin tail. Domestication made her almost puppy-like in her affection for her mistress. She swiped her tongue against Red's hand and barked again. Red laughed. "I see you're eager to get back on the road. I can't blame you; I need freedom, too." She stretched her arms above her head and smiled up at the sun. "Do this, move that earth. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the gold, and I'm sure Thane will like the scroll, but it'll be nice to do my own thing, yanno?" She looked down at Elansa, who nodded and barked. Red grinned and wished her companions could answer her; she knew they understood what she was saying, but they were not blessed with the gift of gab.

"Well, let's get going then. We've got a long journey home and I want to put a lot of sand behind us before sundown." Making sure everything was secured, she flipped her light, emerald cloak over her shoulders. It was enchanted so that it would keep the wearer cool beneath the hot rays of the sun.

"Let's head home."

--

Four hours later, Red walked slumped, her arms hanging dramatically limp. Despite her cloak, it was still hot out. Her boots shuffled through the sand and her tongue hung from her mouth. More than she was hot, she was bored. For a while, she had entertained herself by creating smoke rabbits for Elansa to chase. None of the little bunnies lasted very long, for the Shaa was a fast and clever hunter. She leapt and pounced upon them for some time. However, she grew tired of chasing them after a while, and Red grew bored again.

"I know you're just loving the desert, but I wish I'd brought Pippa. Riding is so much better than walking, and we'd be at the next village by now," she complained. Elansa stopped chasing a fly and stared at her with the most flat expression a Shaa could manage. Red stuck her tongue out at her companion. "I know you like the desert, but I'm out of my element here! All this sand and no water makes Red a sad Xand bear, yanno." Elansa made a little wheezing sound (that Red suspiciously thought was a laugh) and trotted ahead.

"You're so cruel," Red whimpered. As she picked up her pace to catch up with her companion, she heard a pounding behind her; something was running toward her. Just as she began to turn around to defend herself, she heard an excited whinny. Instead of magic crackling on her hands, she spun with a smile on her face.

Two magnificent Earth Unicorns were galloping toward her at full-tilt. As they grew closer, they slowed down and Red approached them. They were much taller than she was, and they bent their heads and shoved their noses into her shoulders, nuzzling her affectionately.

"Hollywood, Lightfoot, it is so wonderful to see you again. I missed you all winter," she murmured, wrapping her arms around their necks. The unicorns whickered their agreement, swishing their tails happily.

Normally, her Earth Unicorns would have headed just south of Synara City for the winter months, but recent climate changes have left Synara and the surrounding lands much cooler than normal - too cool for the unicorns' comfort. So Red had sent them down toward Voltar, where they were sure to find the warmth they so craved.

Elansa trotted up to the female, Hollywood, and placed her paws upon her leg, snuffling at the base of her neck. Hollywood's skin twitched, and she playfully lipped at Elansa's tail, returning the affectionate greeting.

Giving each of her companions a kiss on their necks, she mounted Lightfoot bareback. Her thighs squeezed his sides, and she ran her fingers through his mane of tawny-blond hair.

"Shall we get to the village before sundown? I'd rather not be in this desert after dark, and I'm pining for a bed," she said. Elansa gave that little wheezing bark again and ran off to the north. Red knew that the Shaa had been itching for a good run since she got out into the desert. Hollywood set off at an easy gallop, and Lightfoot was not far behind.






There we go, chapter one. Uneventful, but perhaps it gave you a feel for the main character. I promise, things won't be this boring all the time. Characters will be introduced, and the plot will thicken and thinnen. Comments? What do you think it needs, if anything? Did you like it?
ORR you could just say that you want more. Whatever boats your float. Thanks for reading <3
Last edited by MadameRed on October 8th, 2011, 10:19:57 pm, edited 25 times in total.
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby MadameRed » January 16th, 2011, 1:41:14 am

Chapters
One - Title Page - A Desert Journey
Two - A Dinner Guest
Three - A Plot Dumping
Four - Identity
Five - The Sorcerer's Tale
Six - Shifting Intent
Seven - Enter the Villains
Eight - A Mission from Thane
Nine - A Peaceful Interlude
Interlude I - A Tale of Two Lovers
Ten - A Plethora of Introductions
Eleven - Moonreaper
Twelve - To The Sea
Thirteen - Jungle Haunts
Fourteen - Tactical Planning
Fifteen - Lucinda's Aid
Sixteen - Moonreaper What He Sews
Seventeen - The Cave
Eighteen - Let's Talk it Out
Nineteen - Anemoné

Characters!


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Last edited by MadameRed on October 18th, 2011, 8:30:33 pm, edited 28 times in total.
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby freakazoid » January 16th, 2011, 1:56:28 am

For your information - water floats my boat. :yarly:

ANYWAYS, I love it! My Magi is also a Water Magi. However, I like the idea of a cloak that keeps you cool. That'd be nice. :lol:

Moar? :derr:
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby Kynali » January 16th, 2011, 2:13:05 am

Love it! ^^ Gosh you have 100 times the talent i do, Keep it up~ XP

And i prefer ice boating my float. Since it is less dense :cool:
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby BluMajica » January 16th, 2011, 3:43:45 am

hmmm.. love this - can not wait to see what happens.. another story to bookmark! yay!
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby MadameRed » January 29th, 2011, 11:03:04 pm

Thanks, guys! This is my first venture back into writing, and it's not going so well. It's very difficult to get myself to sit down and write. It was so much easier in school! I would writewritewrite all day long in school, because it was better than paying attention to my classes. Now I've got the internet in front of me and it's frustrating. oh well. C'est la vie.


Two. A Dinner Guest

"I'd like a single room for the night, dinner and breakfast included as well, please," Red said, dropping a few golden coins onto the counter.

The inn she stopped at was the only one in the little desert village, a place she had been lucky to come across at all. She had sent Elansa ahead to scout for just such a village for lodgings for the night. She was tired from the heat of the desert, and nearly cried out in joy when she saw that the inn was built of limestone bricks; the building was pleasantly cool inside.

"Here is your room key, dinner is ready now, if you'd like to take a seat, and will be served until nine past HighSun. If there is anything we can do for you, please let myself or the housekeep know," the clerk said with a small bow of his head. Red thanked him and dropped the key into a pouch secured to her belt.

Lightfoot and Hollywood were happily set up in the stables behind the inn with all the grain and fresh water they could eat and drink. Elansa, being a great deal smaller than a Unicorn, accompanied Red into the inn. Red settled into a comfortable armchair by the door, and Elansa curled at her feet, relaxed but alert. A busty barmaid approached Red, a serving tray balanced in the air and her hips sashaying from side to side.

"What'll you have, hon?" she asked, her voice husky.

"I'll have a beef stew if you've got it, a loaf of bread, warm mead wine, a side of spiced potatoes with cheese and cream, and a raw steak for my companion here," Red ticked off her order on her fingers. The barmaid blinked once at her and smiled.

"It's good to see a healthy appetite on a young woman. I'll get that order in now, hon." She winked at Red and flounced off into the kitchen.

With a contented sigh, Red sat forward and scratched Elansa behind her ears, who pressed her head into her mistress' hand. "Thank you for coming with me on this trip. I know you don't like being away from Denubis, but I've enjoyed having you with me." Elansa stood and rested her head on Red's knee, blinking up at her fondly. Red bent down and touched her nose to Elansa's, grinning. "You can leave and go back to the Keep in the morning, if you'd like." The Shaa shook her head, placing a paw upon her knee. "I'll be fine, dear. Lightfoot and Hollywood will be with me, and I'm hoping to meet Nuru and Atari somewhere in the desert - they should be heading back to the Keep as well. You head home to Denubis; you'll be able to get to him by nightfall without me to slow you down." Elansa was one of the fastest Shaa in the land, and so traveling from the southern edge of the Etain Desert to the Eastern Coast would take her a day.

In her joy of reuniting with her mate shortly, Elansa reared up and nuzzled her head against the side of Red's, who hugged her companion and smiled into her warm fur.

It did not take long for her food to come out. The food was steaming and fresh and smelled positively mouthwatering. Elansa took her raw steak in her mouth and pushed the door to the inn open, where she ate her messy meal outside. Red rubbed her hands together in anticipation; food was a passion of hers. She loved eating, and could put away some food. She was going to do just that as she tucked her napkin into the front of her shirt.

She tore off a chunk of hot bread and dipped it into the beef stew. She stuffed the soppy chunk into her mouth and smiled around her food, closing her eyes in bliss. She ate her stew with much gusto, and dipped her potatoes in the stew gravy. It took her only minutes to complete her meal, and soon she sat sipping her warm mead wine, curled back in the chair and smiling contentedly. She closed her eyes and was simply enjoying the taste of the wine when he heard the scraping of wood against stone, a scraping that was getting louder and louder.

She opened her eyes to see a man in a bright white traveling cloak taking a chair and settling himself at the opposite side of her table. He leaned forward, his elbows on his knees and hands fisted under his chin. She blinked once and rested her mug between her legs, which were criss-crossed.

"I assume you're here to hire me, or here to determine if I'm a prostitute or not," she said. The man chuckled and shook his head, his long white hair falling forward. He shook his head roughly and it fell away from his face again.

"My, my, don't we think highly of ourselves." Red narrowed her eyes at him, and he smirked. He waved his hand dismissively. "No, I'm not hiring any service you may offer. You own the two Earth Unicorns in the stable out back, right?" Red stared at him hard.

"I don't own them. They are not my possessions. They're companions, like dear friends," she said. The man pursed his lips, sighing.

"Let's not be difficult here, love," - and before Red could protest the 'love' comment, he charged on - "I take it that you... are friends with the Earth Unicorns out back." Red nodded curtly. "Good, we're on the same page. Keep up with me here, love. Why are they here, so far south?"

Red sat forward, unfurling her legs and setting her mug down on the wooden table between them. "Who are you?" The man's face split into a grin and he leaned back on two legs of the chair and propped his feet up. His boots looked like they were better suited to trekking through the snow than the desert.

"You can call me Nikko for the time being. Now can you answer the question, love?" Red narrowed her eyes and ground her teeth. Maybe if she just answered his silly little question, he'd leave her alone.

"The lands to the south of Synara are unusually cold for this time of the year. Earth Unicorns usually go there during the winter months, but it's too cold for their liking, so I've sent them to the desert. Are we going anywhere with this? Are my Unicorns exceptionally special to you or something?" she asked testily.

"All magical companions are special to me right now," he said loftily. "Have you been to the Etain Desert before? And by before, I mean have you visited it several years ago?" Red nodded. "And have you noticed a change in the temperature here?" Red was about to open her mouth and ask him what the third degree was for, until she realized that she had noticed that the desert was slightly cooler than the last time she had been here.

"Who are you?" Red asked again.



Suckchapter is suck. I'm trying to get a few ideas, so if you've got them, fling them at me. <3
Reviews, comments, critiques :3
Last edited by MadameRed on February 4th, 2011, 1:01:28 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby freakazoid » January 29th, 2011, 11:08:34 pm

Haha, gusto. I love that word now. x3
REALLY UBER AWESOME CHAPTER! <3

If any man called me 'love', and I had no idea who they were, I'd go off on them. That'd be just too creepy for me. :wtf:
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby MadameRed » January 29th, 2011, 11:17:27 pm

:t-blush: Thank you!

Nikko is, if you can't tell, an arrogant narcissist. He thinks he's the gods' gift to women. The more I'm developing his character, the more I like him XD He's going to be the character you love to hate.
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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby Kestrad » January 29th, 2011, 11:41:26 pm

I muchly like your writing. It is detailed and interesting to read, with well developed characters. (Not to mention you have good grammar, something which is a must for anything I read!)
If I owe you a rekel, don't worry, I have it! I will be stuffing them into trades over the next week or so.

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Re: Tales from Shoal Keep

Postby MadameRed » January 29th, 2011, 11:50:44 pm

Thank you very much! I appreciate that. I've always striven for proper grammar in everything I write. It means a lot to hear that I've accomplished that! -bows-
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