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I LOVE IT!!!! :3 0.57142857142857 57.1% [ 12 ]
Meh, it's ok... :/ 0.23809523809524 23.8% [ 5 ]
I don't really like it :{ 0.14285714285714 14.3% [ 3 ]
It could use some work... :( 0.047619047619048 4.8% [ 1 ]
Total Votes:[ 21 ]
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Ok, so I'm writing stories about this guy I created. No, I'm no professional, nor do I want to be. I don't need your harsh criticism. Everyone has their opinion but don't push it. This is purely for fun and enjoyment. You may discuss the stories, characters, suggest ideas, etc. I do hope you enjoy. I'm going to reserve the first 20 spots for the stories. I'll post them as I write them. They have no order, for now, they're just short stories. There is no focus. I'm working on that, though. That's why I'm writing them.

As for rules, well just follow the TOS. That's about it. No flaming, no complaining, just read, talk, and enjoy biggrin

If you have any stories that spawn off of this, do tell. And if you share these stories with others, I ask that you give credit to me under the Creative Commons License as directed below.

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Now for some quick intros to the characters

Fenix Shimian [fee-nicks shim-ee-an]--Fenix is an elf. He is 128 years old. He is a gentleman and was raised as such. He is a bladesman and carries 5 swords and a dagger, all of which are posessed by spirits who act as mentors and are his friends. Fenix comes from a tribe of forest elves who specialize in crafting. His father is an average swordsmith and his mother comes from the royalty of the tribe as a princess.

Jo'Akol [joe'ack-ol]--Jo'Akol was a human with a barbarians heart. He loved to fight and had strength beyond most humans. He's wise and acts as the leader of the spirits. He died in the glory of battle at the age of 76, the oldest fighter of his hometown. He now posesses a greatsword which is Fenix's main weapon.

Swift [swift]--Swift was a small rogue. He lived in an average home with two sisters, both assassins. He couldn't bring himself to avidly kill for a living so he chose to be a theif and odd jobs worker. Need a lock undone? He was your man. Did it have a magic barrier? Easy for him. Otherworldly guards? No problem. Unfortunately, his sisters were heartless and when a large hit was put on him after stealing some very important ceremonial weapons, they did what they did best. He died at the age of 36 with two needles in his neck. He's the lesser known of the group and now posesses Fenix's dagger.

Drake [dray-kuh]--Drake is a ranger and was a hero in his hometown along with his twin, Jane. He sported a crossbow that had an enchantment, allowing him to fire multiple bolts in mere seconds. He had a ranger's pride and was the animal-lover of the two. He always seemed to have a small squirrel with fur so black it looked purple in the sunlight following him. He never shot to kill any living thing. However, he maimed them pretty good. He died fighting an evil wizard and was forced to posess the amber-colored scimitar that Fenix now wields. He's Fenix's best bud.

Jane [Jain]--Jane is the twin sister of Drake. Jane was the nature-lover of the two. She sported a long bow, carved from the oak she was born under. The enchantment put on it allowed her to either summon it from anywhere or transport herself to its' position. She was a true shot and never gave lenience to her enemies. She also died fighting the evil wizard that plagued her town. She was forced to posess the red-colored scimitar that Fenix now wields. Her's is a love-hate relationship with Fenix.

Starlight [Star-lite]--Starlight, or Star for short, is an elf from the Moving Winds tribe of legend. Her tribe was said to posess the wind itself and could make it do as they please without hesitation. Star was a fighter, as was her whole family. They used weapons, as light as the summer breeze itself. One day she tried to take on a spectre but she lost and died at the young age of 137. The spectre imprisoned her spirit into a purple longsword that Fenix came into posession of after defeating the spectre. She's in love with him.

Char [charr]--Char is a dwarf. He was an average craftsman of his clan, just another forger. However, it's said that on a hunting expedition outside of his clan's mountain, he ran into a spectre. He became a legend of his clan for preventing the spectre to ever come near the mountain as Char put a curse on the spectre as he died. The spectre still managed to imprison his spirit into a blue longsword. He was 359 and died just before his 360th birthday. Fenix now holds the longsword. Char is the stoic protector of the spirits and Fenix.

Well, that's about it, now for the short stories biggrin biggrin biggrin biggrin
<===={--STORY 1--}====>


"By the powers of the gods of the spirit world, I summon those of the names I speak: Jo'Akol, Swift, Starlight, Char, Drake, and Jane!"

The spirits appeared, completing the circle around the summoner, with their respective blades behind them. The warrior named Jo'Akol stood. He was average height for a human with the heart of the barbarian. His weapon was a large warhammer, with the dents of many battles. His hair was a dark, rusty red and his eyes, a bright blue. The sword he possesed was a greatsword.

"What have you summoned us for this evenin' that you couldn't just ask us yourself?" He seemed a bit irritated and the others seemed to agree.

The summoner got to his feet. He was an elf, tall for his people. He had long dark hair, fair skin, and grass-green eyes with gold fringe. He was well-built from years of training with multiple swords. With his usual smile, he gave his reply:

"Well, I wanted to have a quick meeting."

Jo'Akol sat back down and all the spirits sat back and waited.

"Well, as we all know, I'm having issues with agility and dexterity due to the weight of your swords. Fortunately, I have the answer.

Upon our recent dungeon raid, I found several scrolls. One of them told of the Army of a Dozen Swords. Every warrior in this army held at least a dozen swords apiece. Most of them were hidden. You would never even know who they were until they drew their swords. It also explains what their swords were. When they drew their blades, all you saw were the hilts. Until they spoke a cantrip, that is. Once they said the spell, the blades appeared from the hilts, magical as they were. It even goes onto describe the process of how to make them.

So, the inevitable question arrives: What would you think of my turning your swords into these specialty blades?"

Jane stood abruptly. She wore a basic rangers uniform with a quiver of arrows at their side and a bow on her back. She was quick and smart. Her sword was a scimitar.

"You must be joking. I know you're having issues with movement but turning all but our heads into some kind of dissappearing act isn't the way to go."

Drake stood up, grabbing his twins' hand. His weapon of choice wasa crossbow, slung on his back as a sword would. He wore a belt full of arrows and also had a set on each of his legs. Like Jane, he was agile and intelligent and also possesed a scimitar.

"Calm yourself, Jane. He may actually have the right idea. Do tell us more, Fenix."

Fenix looked at the other three, Swift, Starlight, and Char. Swift seemed intrigued. He was smaller than most, dwarf-sized but human. His weapon of choice was a dagger, like that which he possesed. Starlight and Char acted as if it didn't matter. Starlight was an elf, not only by race but also by nature. She was a very beautiful elf whose weapons of choice were a saber and dagger. SHe always swore if she wasn't a spirit, she'd be all over Fenix. Char was a dwarf, seemingly opposite of his elf counterpart but was well-balanced with her. His weapon of choice was a battle pickaxe. He was wise and quite tempered for a dwarf. They both possesed longswords.

Fenix focused his hands and constructed an illustration using the common magic of Mindrel.

"Well, I would take your blades and build a magic field around it." He conjured a translucent sphere surrounding the shape of a basic short sword. The sphere had many symbols circling it. "And while in the magical field, I will sever the blade from the sword at the crossguard." The magical barrier expanded as he enlarged his construction to show detail. The visible part of the metal that was the blade was cleanly parted from the rest of the sword. "Then I inscribe a set of cantrips into the severed metal. Next I write several more cantrips connecting the blade back to the crossguard." The lone piece suddenly lit with runes and then strings of runes grew like living ivy from the blade to the rest of the sword."Then, after focusing on the symbols on the severed piece, it will disappearand come back, connected completely, when I command." As his illustration dissappeared, Fenix sat back down, awaiting everyones approval.

Char, who became interested about halfway through, stood up.

"So what does this do to us?" He asked.

"Well, I consulted with Kastereldah and she suggested I make a spirit field just inside of the magical one. Basically, what will happen is you will either follow your sword and become just a head until I summon your blade, and thusly your body, or you will just stay the same. Most likely the former."

Char, a bit unnerved but satisfied by the answer nonetheless, sat down as his counterpart Starlight stood up.

"So there's a good chance that we could end up as a floating head until you feel like otherwise???" She wasn't happy at all.

"Well, Star, like I said, it's more than likely that you will remain as you are now."

But that didn't ease her nerves at all.

"But, Fenix, this is you we are talking about. With your luck, we'll all end up as nothing." She glared and looked at the others, hoping for support. Only Jo'Akol nodded his agreement.

Fenix stood back up.

"Jo'Akol, you just don't really like me. Now, Star, this is something I've already actually practiced."

He pointed to his left upper-arm cover. He smiled as he reached under and produced a small metal piece.

"This, is one of my throwing knives. Kastereldah guided me through a couple at first. This is actually my eighth successful knife that I did alone."

Fenix held it up to show the spirits.

"Now all I need to do is speak the spell and it becomes the full throwing knife. 'Become whole and defeat my enemies!'"

The knife turned from a dark steel color to a light blue and the blade of the tang appeared. He took and threw it down at at the ground. Without so much as a push, the knife went into the ground almost a whole meter.

"And do you wanna know the best part?" He asked with a smirk. "RETURN!"

And with that, he held out his thumb and forefinger, and between them was the handle, with the blade having disappeared. He slid it back under his armor and sat down, waiting for the spirits to say something.

Drake and Char looked to Jo'Akol. He gazed at Fenix for a few moments then nodded his head.

"Alright, I trust you, but I want this Kass of yours there with you. If anything should go wrong, she should be able to reverse it." Jo'Akol smiled a bit and looked to the other spirits. The only spirit that didn't seem to agree with them was Jane.

Drake and Fenix glanced over to her. She had her arms crossed, looking away. Star walked over to her.

"J? Is everything ok? I mean, It works out just fine. Are you afraid of losing your body? If he does happen to actually mess up, it can be undone, you know."

Fenix stood up and put his hand on Star's shoulder. "Jane, Star's right. If you do end up as a floating head, Kass and I can return you back to your original state." Jane glared at him. "J, do you want me to keep you as you are?"

Jane got up and grabbed Fenix's hand.

"Would you? Please?"

Star turned around and glared at her.

"Uh-uh, we are a team, we do this as a team." She slapped her hand away from Fenix.

Char stepped inbetween.

"You two, calm down. Jane, what is your issue with this? It'll help you fight better. Your sword will be stronger and sharper. Not to mention your skills will be enhanced greatly."

"I don't know, something just doesn't seem right. Look, Fenix, go ahead and do it. But at the first sign of something going wrong, I want you to stop immediately and reverse the process. Got it?"

Fenix nodded and everyone sat back down.

"So,I'm gonna go ahead and contact Kastereldah tomorrow. We'll figure out when to begin the process. But of course, since you all will be with me, you'll find out."

Jo'Akol stood up once again and walked over to Fenix.

"Well, good luck, my friend." He held out his hand. Fenix shook it and nodded.

"Thanks. Now I'll send you all back. 'I dismiss the spirits that I have called by name!'"

Each of the spirits nodded their goodbyes and disappeared.

One by one, Fenix took the swords out of the ground, wiped them off, and put them in his scabbards. He then headed out of the forest and home.
<===={--STORY 2--}====>


"It's not gonna happen. Maybe in another life."

As she turned and walked away, the words echoed in Fenix's head. Then silence. Not a sound occurred until his knees hit the ground and his scimitars at his side hit the ground with them. The spirits said nothing but Fenix could feel their sympathy. He could especially feel Starlight, her arms holding him tightly. His tears flowed freely.

After a few, he could finally hear something other than those words. He heard a slight breeze. He heard the Twins give their apologies. He felt Jo'Akol pat him on the back. He knew it was done. Fenix unstrapped his sheathes and laid down with his swords beside him.

He cried looking into the sky, wishing he could have done something to get her back, wishing he knew what happened to cause this. The spirits summoned themselves and sat around him. They knew speaking wouldn't do much but they all knew he needed them right now. Jane grabbed his hand, caressing the back of it. Char looked into his eyes and saw the despair. Fenix seemed to just ignore them. Then suddenly Starlight disappeared. She cared for him too much to just leave him like this. She had to know why. She took the chance of never returning to her sword as she finally reached and posessed the bow on the girl's back.

"Please. Tell me what happened. What caused you to suddenly change how you feel about him"

The girl looked frantically around, shocked that she heard a bodiless voice.

"WHAT IN THE SEVEN LANDS IS GOING ON?!?! WHO'S SPEAKING TO ME???"

"It's your bow. You can call me Starlight, or Star for short. I am a weapon posessing spirit. I am original the spirit of Fenix's purple-laced longsword. Look, none of us know why you're doing this, but that is all we want. Fenix didn't send me, it's just us spirits that are pursuing this."

The girl stopped and stood for a minute. Then she nodded and pulled the bow off of her back.

"Look, uh, Ms. Starlight? I don't mean to offend you, but GET OUT OF MY BOW!!!! Fenix and I are over, that's all. I didn't even know about you. And you say there are more of you?? Just, I'm done. He's just too...he's too...I don't know."

She sat down and set the bow down in front of her.

"Look, I don't know. I guess I'm just not used to a guy who actually wants to be there. Most men these days just seem to want nothing more than someone to brag about. A girl who can't fight so they feel important. It doesn't seem right. But with Fenix, it seems too good. I don't want to be hurt. I don't want to be right and it be too good to actually be true."

Starlight smiled. She knew what the girl was talking about. Back when she was an elf in the forest, she met a black elf on the hunt whom she fell in love with. He was just like Fenix. He wouldn't force his way in front of her or let her take over while he sat behind her. The drow elf would always fight side-by-side with her.

"He may seem too good to be true but he does have his flaws. I mean, he was insecure about us. He wears six blades. Each one is possesed. People think he just talks to himself. You didn't know of us but you took it in stride. That's why he was willing to do anything for you. You overlooked his flaws and knew the real him. Honestly, he felt the same way. But he knew what he had and held on."

She smiled as Starlight continued on. She began to think back to Fenix. Starlight finished and appeared before the girl. She sat and waited. They relaxed in the sun for a few minutes.

Back with Fenix, he had calmed down and began bouncing off ideas with the spirits of what to do for the next day. Jo'Akol said that they all should hit the tavern. Jane and Drake both agreed some sparring would be a good idea but the rest of the group said no, they didn't feel up to it. Char said they should go look for Star but Fenix said to just leave her alone. She knew what she was doing, he believed. Swift just sat back. He knew that he would be no help.

Soon enough, Starlight joined them again. She came over and gave Fenix another hug. She sat down and joined the rest of the spirits. They all looked at her with the same question in their eyes. Fenix looked around and realized they had been there since late last night when the girl left. It was early morning and the usual fog was settling down.

"So, Star, the question weighing down on alll of us right now is, 'What did you do?'"

She smiled and said, "Well, I needed to go for a walk. I'm good now, though"

No one believed her. Swift, with his sharp ears, perked up and looked out into the fog. Suddenly, an arrow appeared at Fenix's feet, whizzing inbetween Star and Jo'Akol's heads. Fenix worked it out of the ground. It had a knot carved into it about halfway up the shaft. It was the girl's sign. They all looked into the fog from where the arrow came from.

A shadow started to solidify as a figure walked toward them. Fenix looked to Star as she winked and smiled.
<===={--STORY 3--}====>

Dedicated to a good friend and brilliant musician, A.H.


"Oi. I'm so bored."

Fenix sighed as he sat back and rested against a tree. He hung the swords in the tree with the blade tips down. The spirits sat inside the blades as if they sat in a mirror.

"Ok, guys. So do any of you have any specialized talents that you can teach me?"

The spirits all looked around thinking about it. Char cleared his throat and looked at Starlight and nodded. Fenix looked confused until Starlight explained.

"Well, I was good at music when I was alive." She looked around at the ground. "Take up a blade of grass. I'm going to show you a skill only my tribe knew. As you'll remember, my tribe was of the Wind Forests. We used the elements of the wind to our advantage. One trick of ours was using it for music. Now take that grass blade and hold it in your left hand."

Fenix followed her instructions and waited for the next step.

"Now, as you are good with the elements, it shouldn't be too hard to figure this out. Bring the blade of grass up to your lips and blow on it."

Fenix exhaled slowly on the blade of grass. It began to whistle. He started blowing harder and the whistle turned into a buzzing sound. As he found a medium, the buzz turned into what sounded like a flute.

"Wow. Thats quite interesting."

Starlight smiled and continued.

"Now, you can do this by focusing the wind around it much like blowing on it. And as you master it, you can begin to change the speed of the wind in different areas and also vary the width of the wind you're forcing across the surface to create different notes and sounds. Now, take my sword."

"Ah, I think I'm getting the idea here."

Fenix got up and untied Stalright's longsword from the tree. He took out of the sheath and sat it down across his lap. Starlight continued talking to Fenix telepathically. In the spirit world, Starlight sat cross-legged and gathered the otherworldly wind around her.

Fenix focused on the sword and held his hands flat, hovering over the blade. He joined Starlight and focused the wind around her blade. He encircled it with the breeze. He then began to control it with his hands, forcing it to go against the sharp edge of the blade. he focused the wind into columns. It was too much to differentiate the speeds at the moment but he began to "play" the sword as one might use a flute.

Starlight began to vocalize. Her's was a beautiful elven voice. It charmed and enticed. It turned the wind-blown music into a melody that all of the spirits enjoyed. It became a song of peace. It gave Fenix visions of wind blowing through the forest. All kinds of faerie life ran with the wind. Colors streamed by vibrantly. Fenix continued, moving up the pace. The images began moving faster, more intense. They turned into epic battles between enemies like Forest Elves and the Drow. Swords clanging with all the strength their wielders can muster. The speed began to reach a crescendo and suddenly Fenix and Starlight stopped. The fighting stopped. The two elves looked at each other, their swords at their sides, with deathly malice in their eyes.

Fenix began again, starting slowly as he imagined the fight in his head. Starlight began to vocalize again and Jane joined her. The elves held their swords up again. Their mouths moved but no words were heard. Suddenly the drow screamed a warcry as he charged to the elf. The music began to pick up again. Fenix played notes as the fight came to his head. With every hit of a sword, the song hit an odd note. One that made the heart beat faster. It pulled the listeners into the fight. The elf dodged blows and began to catch on to the drow's techniques and sequences. The fight continued to pick up and Fenix and the girls kept the song moving increasingly faster. And then the song began to sound ominous as the elf took a hit from the drow. The black elf smiled as he continued his barrage of slices and strikes. The forest elf quickly recovered and kept parrying and blocking.

The song turned back into the nuetral steady beat as the forest elf began to take the advantage in the fight. Following the fight, Fenix began playing a more joyous beat as the forest elf started to beat down the drow. Soon enough the the elf made several continuous hits on the drow and knocked him down. The elf drew his swords to the drow's neck. The song hit another crescendo and then began to play slowly as the drow swatted the swords away and took off running. As the song reached its end, Fenix envisioned the elf raising his swords to the sky and began running through the forest. Fenix morphed the song back to the beginning chords as he lost track of the elf and began flying back out of the forest.

As Fenix played the final notes and as the girls quieted, the other spirits opened their eyes and looked to Fenix. He opened his eyes and looked to them. He exhaled and smiled. His questioning gaze was answered with nods from the spirits as the inevitable question surfaced: "Did you just see that?"

Fenix stood and hung Starlight back up and she reappeared on the blade. He flexed and rubbed his now sore hands. He was somewhat drained of his magical power and sat back, resting. He exhaled once again, trying to slow his quickly beating heart.

"Wow, that was amazing. Thank you Star. It was beautiful. We should keep that one."

Starlight smiled with a wink.

"Yes, let's remember that song."

"Well," Fenix began, "Let's head back home."

Fenix stood and gathered the swords and sheathed them, and began walking down the dirt road, into the distance, towards home.
<===={--STORY 4--}====>


"So, what trade do you plan on learning?"

Fenix laughed as he remembered his father's question. He brought up Char in his left hand to block as he stabbed with Starlight in his right.

"I wanna be a swordsmith like you! That way, I can make great swords and fight with them" He still could see his dad as he beamed brightly. But now his father, and mother, were hundreds of miles away, working for the king of some far realm.

"FOCUS, FENIX, FOCUS!!!" His teacher screamed. His name was Jaru. He was a half-elf. A bit shorter than Fenix but with the muscle and grayed hair of an experienced and well-toned fighter. His moves were flawless, graceful, and powerful. He blocked Fenix's stab with his shield and rushed foward with it leading the way.

"Sorry, Master." Fenix jumped to the side swinging both swords parallel towards his back. Jaru caught it just in time and turned around holding up both his sword and shield to block.

"Alright, time for a break."

He sat down and set the sword and shield next to him. He looked to Fenix who was unstrapping his sheaths.

"By the gods of the elves, I'll never understand why you carry so many swords. What's the point?"

Fenix smiled.

"Well, you don't know this yet, Master Jaru, but these swords are all posessed."

Jaru's face turned to one of fright as he hopped onto his feet and backed away.

"POSESSED!?!" He screamed. "GET THOSE AWAY FROM ME!!!! HOW DARE YOU BRING POSESSED WEAPONS INTO THIS PLACE???"

"Master! Master! Calm down, sir. Not that kind of posessed. These swords are not demons, nor do they carry them. When I say posessed, I talk of old spirits who inhabit these swords and help me fight. They do not carry any alignment. Would you like to meet them?"

"Um, no thanks. How did they come to be posessed, I must ask?"

"Oh. Well, it started back when I wanted to become a bladesman. I wanted a dagger to start off with. Something small to help me begin to fight. Being so young, my father gladly obliged. He's a swordsmith, you see. He created this here."

Fenix drew Swift. He seemed ordinary enough until you looked closer. At first glance, it looked like a curved, steel dagger, much like you would find on a Drow slave. But when you got closer, you could see the the blade had a black tinge to its' edges. Just beyond the edges were carvings, small and simple. They seemed to say something in some ancient language but it was nothing more than artistic engravings. The engravings were inlaid with gold.

As you moved down to the crossguard, you could see that it looked like snakes slithering outwards. In the eyes were small gold spheres. They were perfectly symmetrical on both sides of the dagger and the skin had the black tinge, much like the blade.

Then there was the handle, smooth and black. Upon closer inspection, it was made of a marble-like material. It was actually ebony, and as expensive as it was, his father had no use for it so he created the handle for it out of what he had left.

And to finish off the piece, the pommel was nothing more than a steel ball with a solid iron core, great for giving a good bruising.

And after years of fighting, it was still in good condition.

"This, this here is Swift. He came to posess this dagger after my father had finished making it. Being that I was young, he wanted me to use it and defend myself with as much protection as possible. So he took it to a nearby monk to have it blessed. Well, as he was praying over it, Swift saw the opportunity and took over the dagger. Being a weapon-posessing spirit, he needed to find a weapon before he disappeared. He had just come from a broken sword almost two cities over. Since then, he has been a great help to me and has gotten me safely out of many battles.

Now this is about what happened with the other spirits though their posessions each had a defining moment. For example, here is Jo'Akol."

Fenix pulled out the greatsword from its' sheath. It was a beautiful masterpiece. It had carvings, intricate and stunning. It's blade was of a greenish hue indicating it was made with adamantite, a hard metal to forge. It was just over a handswidth wide and about three feet long. It was a double-edged work of art. Jaru gasped as he looked it over.

"I have never gotten a good look at this one. It's amazing." He said.

It's crossguard was solid and sturdy. No specific design to it but stood out nonetheless. The handle hade bits of gold embedded into it. The pommel was an emerald, so pristine and clear. It was one of his father's greatest masterpieces.

"My father left me this one before he and my mother went off to help our allied king. Jo'Akol is his name. He posessed my sword shortly after it's maiden battle. A goblin commander caught me sneaking around his soldier's camp and challenged me for the greatsword. He had a solid black scimitar that had a red aura around it. I defeated him and broke the tip of his scimitar with the second to last blow. That's when Jo'Akol, who had been forced into the sword by a goblin shaman ecscaped into the greatsword. I let the commander go but not without taking off his left hand in battle.

"Jo'Akol is like the leader of all of the spirits. He has guided me as a wise mentor would. Not saying anything against you, Master. Then there's the two sets of twin swords I have. First is Drake and Jane, my twin scimitars."

He put away Jo'Akol and brought out Drake and Jane. They were true twin scimitars. The only difference was color, of course. He held out Jane first. She was a red tinged steel piece. The base of the blade was slender and led out to a curved edge. The crossguard was simple and had the color of silver. The handle was lined with silver. The pommel was a matching ruby, cut into the shape of an arrowhead.

Drake was much the same though his color was a dark yellow. The pommel was of amber, also in the shape of an arrowhead.

They didn't contain any engravings other than a symbol just above the crossguard. It was a bow, sideways, with two arrows in a cross centered over the bow. He pointed it out as he began to describe Drake and Jane.

"This here, you see it? This is how the twins are bound to their scimitars. The spirits that posess them are rangers. I went on a dungeon raid when I found these guys. The dungeon was home to an old wizard. He was quite powerful. He had been forging money and buying expensive potions and ingredients. Well, when he was caught, he ended up killing the two storeowners and at least a dozen guards as he got away. The twins were the heroes of the town and went in pursuit. In their last attempt to defeat him, they both attacked at once as the wizard prepared and cast a de-spiritizing spell. Their barrage of arrows and bolts took down the wizard, but their bodies were destroyed forever. They took shelter in the weapons store the wizard held as treasure. They found this pair of scimitars, fitting for the twins.

"When I got there almost half a century later, the wizard was nothing but a skeleton full of shafts. I started looting around and found the scimitars. I grabbed them and their scabbards and hauled out as much as i could and as I left, there were two voices yelling at me, telling me to stop what I was doing. It turns out that Drake and Jane weren't quite used to posessing things and didn't stay in the scimitars for long. So I left the scimitars there and went back into town to find a sorcerer. Thankfully there was one on hand who was willing to help, in exchange for the pricy ingredients and potions the wizard had stored. The sorcerer then bound them to the scimitars and they've been with me ever since. Great fighters they are, good teamwork and stamina."

He set them aside and pulled out the last two, Starlight and Char.

"Now, these two are my most recent of acquisitions. This is Starlight, and this is Char."

He showed off Star first. Her longsword was a dark blue steel with laced engravings. The lace was purple in color and looked like a thorny vine. It winded its way from the pommel up to the handle. From there it wound around the crossguard and onto the blade. It surrounded the edge of the blade. The crossguard was a round column with a round spike at each end. The handle was inlaid with an unknown material that was a clear purple. The pommel was amethyst spike, like the two spikes on the crossguard. It was a beautiful piece. It had an enchantment on it that looked like it was always polished. Again, Char looked much like Starlight except his color was blue. His pommel was made with sapphire. But the substance was still unknown, though it was blue to match.

"These I got from a recent fight. My opponent was some kind of spectre. He was able to solidify as he attacked. But, being a spectre and fighting in both our living world and in the spirit world, the spirits I've already collected fought along with me. I defeated the spectre thanks to Jo'Akol and the Twins. As the spectre would go back to the spirit world to dodge my attacks, Jo'Akol with his mighty warhammer and the Twins with their cross and longbow barraged it with attacks there. The spectre had enslaved both Starlight and Char and forced them to fight with it. They fought with all their might against my friends. When Jo'Akol told me of their situation, I told them to dodge attacks and such from the captured spirits and only to attack the spectre. After a while of fighting, Jo'Akol and the Twins surrounded the creature and went for the kill. He dodged it of course but I was ready on the other side. He materialized and I cut off his left arm at the elbow. This kept him in the living world. I got one of my spells out and cast him into the netherrealms leaving the spirits and the swords they were already posessing behind. And that's how I acquired my swords and the spirits along with them."

"Amazing." Jaru seemed to be in awe. "So, they can fight in the spirit world, should your opponents have access to it?"

"Yeah. And supposedly they can give me enhancements in this world. We're all still a bit new at this so we haven't quite figured out that one yet. So, Master, ready to continue?"

Jaru looked off into the distance. He appeared to be in deep thought. After a few moments he replied.

"No. That's enough for today. Maybe next time I'll meet these spirits of yours."

"Alright. Thank you, Master."

And with that Fenix gathered up his swords and left towards home.
<===={--STORY 5--}====>


A small figure darts through the darkness. He wears plainclothes, no weapon, nor pouches. He hops over crates with great agility and speed. He's holding something very close to his body.

Suddenly, he speeds up. He notices something watching him. He doesn't turn around to look but grips the object closer. He spots a puddle up ahead. It hasn't rained in days in this usually overcast city. His sharp eyes note the deep purple color.

What do I do? He thinks.

His pointed ears hear a noise behind him. Whatever is chasing him is getting closer. He starts running faster.

Dodge or dive? He can feel the chaser's presence in throwing range. Damn it, I don't have the time or a choice.

"DOWN I GO!!!" He screams as he puts the small object into his mouth and lunges for the puddle as its' color turns to a tinged pink.

He reaches the bottom of the shallow pool. He opens his eyes despite the stinging of the water. He sees two lights, leading back to the surface. One is ahead of him and the other is to his left.

That one there is closer and I can't hold my breath forever. Here we go.

He began to swim towards the light to the left. He was running out of breath. Just as he neared the light, he swam for one last burst and passed out as the light surrounded him.

"Hello? Wake up! Sir, wake up!" The frantic voice became more clear as he came to consciousness. "AH! You're awake! Can you tell me your name?"

He looked around. He was laying on a table surrounded by chairs. The high ceiling and tapestries around the walls most likely suggested a dining hall. He heard clanging and looked towards his right. There was a propped-open doorway leading into a kitchen. On the floor in the back, there was a purple puddle.

He still had the object in his mouth. He took it out and sat up.

"Um. My name is, my name is Swift. How long have I been out." He looked to the creature. It was a stout dwarf with unusually black hair. He wore the clothing of a slave, plain brown tunic and black trousers with a red piece of cloth on his neck. But it couldn't be. His long beard and stout appearance was truly that of a dwarf but no dwarf would ever accept slavery. The dwarf-like creature didn't even have the accent or the rough voice of a mountain-dwelling, ore-mining, masterpiece-crafting dwarf.

"By the look you're giving me, sir, I assume you do not understand what I'm doing here. Yes, I am a dwarf, I'm an ager, the Chief Ager, in fact. We ager are slave dwarves. Though slave is an awfully cruel word. We're more like servants. We are born and raised here to serve our Master. And to answer you're question, you've only been out a few hours, sir. Our Master Ajirla was kind enough to allow us to help you. We tried to give you healing potion but your mouth was clamped shut. Even my strongest ager wasn't able to pry open your mouth. Excuse my observation but that must be an important trinket."

Swift looked around. A couple of the other dwarves had come out from the kitchen to see how their guest was doing.

"Would you like anything, sir. Food, maybe some ale?" One of the other agers asked.

"No, no thanks. Um, may I meet your master so that I can give him my appreciations?" Swift asked.

"No, allow me to come here." The voice was surpisingly serene and light for the figure that appeared in the far doorway. "Do get off of the table, though, now that you're up and moving."

The Master was tall and graceful. However, he had the ugly appearance of an orc. Like the ager, he was what he appeared to be but then again...

"My apologies, Mister Ajirla. Thank you for giving me rest and helping me. I don't quite know how to repay you, except to offer my services. Other than that, I do believe I'll be on my way, with your permission of course." Swift said, bowing.

"Please, no mister, just Ajirla. And what services would those be?" He walked over toward Swift, towering over the small human.

Swift did not back down. He stood as tall as his small stature would allow and looked the orc directly in the eyes.

"Ajirla, I am an acquirer. I come upon objects of all shapes and sizes, money of all amounts, and locks of various eras. Should you need me, I am at your service and in your debt for your hospitality."

The orc took a step back and looked Swift up and down.

"Hmm. I think I might actually have a job for you, little one. However, with the magnitude of it, I don't know if just a few hours stay will make up for it. While I give you the specifics, why don't you stay a few days and prepare yourself. Any food you need will be provided." Ajirla started to walk away. He suddenly stopped and turned around. "Ah, I will also provide for you a certain tool you will need. And one more thing, should anything go amiss, you will immediately be missing your theiving little hands. Understood?"

Swift smiled and nodded.

"Good. Meet me here in the morning for breakfast." He pointed to the ager. "One of you show him to the guest room on the east wing."

"Good night, Ajirla." Swift bowed.

The Chief Ager came over to Swift.

"This way, sir."

The next day, Swift was awake and already at the dining hall table as the ager came into the kitchen to begin cooking.

"Morning!" He said cheerfully.

They greeted him in turn and starting prepping. Ajirla walked into the dining hall. He noted that Swift was at the far end of the table.

"Come, little one. Sit over here next to the head of the table, so that we may speak of your commission."

Swift shrugged and walked toward the head of the table. He sat on the left side of the large orc. The slave dwarves began to bring out food.

As they were eating, Ajirla summoned an ager.

"Go and get my tools."

The dwarf left the room and came back heaving a large sack.

"Now, before I give you your job, I'm going to give you these. I understand that every theif has his own set of tools, the ones they put their absolute trust in. But with this job, your tools won't work."

He reached into the sack and pulled out a roll, two knives, and a block of metal.

"I know I said last night that I'd only give you one necessary tool, and that's this block right here. However, the more and more I think it over, the more I really don't want you to fail this job." He handed him the roll. "In there are all the basic tools you will need."

Swift unrolled the fabric and found all the tools of his trade. He looked at the block.

"So what is that block?"

"This block. This is your ultimate tool. If at anypoint during your job, you are stuck, use this."

"So is it some kind of magic?"

Aljira handed Swift the block.

"No, no it isn't. It's just a piece of metal."

"So, when I'm in a life or death situation, you want me to depend on your average, everyday doorstop?"

Aljira smiled.

"Well when you put it that way, you make it sound like I'm throwing you to the wolves. But, to be honest, yes."

"And the knives, anything special with them?"

"No, they're your basic meat-stabbers. Orc-made but they are pretty sturdy."

Swift took the sack and put all of the items back into it and set it aside.

"Alright, onto the job. What do you need me to do?"

Aljira's smile left his face. As he began to explain, the ager cleaned the table.

"I may be an orc, but I am quite refined. I'm not like my savage brethren. I like to collect rare objects and masterpieces. In the richer circles, there is speak of two ceremonial weapons of the Mastercraftsman Red Blazenale. Story goes that he created them as his last hurrah, and died in the forge afterwards. They are worth more than all of the gold in this realm. The only way the current owner acquired them was because he ordered them. They are now so rare, that he has Algernia's greatest security guarding it."

"So what do I have to do to get these weapons?"

"Well, there is a black elf outpost, Malagjss, guarding their canyon fortress, Ulviraste. Once at the outpost, you must trip a lever inside of it that opens a hidden gate towards the bottom of the canyon. There is a small lever next to this one which magically activates a chute next to the outpost. Get to Malagjss and get this done. Once inside the fortress, you need to get to the back of it to their dungeon. Hidden in the dungeon is where these ceremonial weapons are supposedly kept."

"Amazing. So where is this Ulviraste?" It's located in the Duraghar Forest."

"A canyon in a forest?" This seemed very odd until Aljira explained.

"In commontongue, Duraghar means Cold Death. The forest is a forest of dead trees. Accompanied by the chill in the air, it's named was rightly earned. About a league into the forest there is a sheer dropoff. It goes down for about just under a third of a league. Across the way the same distance is the other side. On the other side of this chasm is Malagjss. Do you have any questions?"

Swift took in all the information like dry bread in a bowl of water.

"Not that I can think of. Well, won't the Drow already be watching me once I step into the regular forest? Also, do you have a map of this fortress?"

Aljira smiled again.

"No, they aren't allowed outside of Duraghar. And as for the map, I've already sent for it. As soon as we get it, I'll send you off. Until then, I've had the ager set up a training room. A few of my magical friends have agreed to come over and supervise over the next few days as you train. One of them even specializes in Drow magic."

The next four days were rough as Swift picked hundreds of locks and disamred deadly traps. He even picked up a few spells he could use on Drow seals. Then the messenger came holding a black, wooden scroll case. It contained a detailed map of the fortress.

It seemed simple enough. Two floors and a dungeon. It was a 10 minute walk from one side to the other. An easy job. That is, it seemed like one until Aljira pulled out a second scroll. This one contained the security detail in the Duraghar Forest. The security spanned the entire forest to the outreaches where the regular forest appeared.

Swift rolled up the scrolls and put them back in their casing. He put the case in the sack and put it on his back.

"Thank you for everything Aljira. I should be back by tomorrow evening."

"Swift, young one, listen to me. If you're not back by the end of a week, I will have your head propped on those knives, understood?"

Swift couldn't resist a look of being intimidated.

"Understood."

And with that, Swift left. It was midday when he reached the Duraghar Forest. According to the maps, there was a clear path through the traps. However, it was most likely guarded by drow. Despite all of his skill, it is still quite hard to be able to hide and be unnoticed amongst standing twigs. And yet, the drow have mastered the art of stealth.

Now I'm stuck. Hmm, maybe that block will help. I could use it to trip any traps. No, with the way that Drow wizard was talking, the block wouldn't last very long. He did give me something I could use, that wierd looking amulet.

"To trick the Drow is nigh impossible. However, they rely on all of their senses. If you can make yourself unnoticable to their senses, then you have a chance. This amulet will make you invisible, even with their darkvision which allows them to see heat signatures. It will also create a sound barrier around you that blocks any sound you make. Should you step on a twig, the Drow won't even hear the leaf that twig then moves. When it comes to your scent, however, you are on your own. Oh, and a warning, the Drow can also get your scent by tasting the air, so when you hide your scent, don't do it by overpowering it with another scent." The mage handed him the amulet and and wished him luck.

Swift got into his pack and pulled out the amulet and put it on. For the past two days, he did his best to keep to the forest to hide his scent. As far as he could tell, it worked. He'd find out soon enough. He began down the path and no sooner had he done so, he heard a scream from afar.

Well, the Drow know I'm here. Apparently, they don't know where. That mage said they'd try stuff like that. Just remain calm, S. It's ok. They don't know where you are.

Swift calmed himself and continued walking as quiet as possible.

"So if they can't hear me with this sound barrier, can I hear them?" Swift asked after the mage gave him the amulet.

"Yes, it's only a one-way barrier. Supposedly, it even amplifies the sound coming in due to the fact that even you won't hear the sounds you are making. This way, your sense of hearing focuses more on whats incoming since theres no outgoing." The mage assured.

Swift kept going when he noticed a tree that didn't really look like it should. He walked around it and once he had passed, turned around to look at it. He was shocked to see a Drow just waiting for something to walk by. It's hands were locked together in some magical form that modified the air in front of him to blend in with the tree. He had something in his mouth. It looked a little bit like a dart.

"No matter what, never, ever, get hit with their darts. With your small body, you'd be dead in an instant. I repeat, do anything you can to avoid their darts." The mage had a frantic look on his face. "The Drow's poison is deadly, deadlier than any creature's natural poison in this realm."

Swift shivered and shook his head. He turned around and kept walking.

It was almost evening when the little human reached the ridge. He was mostly unscathed. His worst injury was tripping over some hidden roots and rubbing skin off his hand as he landed. He looked out across the gorge and spotted Malagjss.

He remembered that object he had stolen before he got this job. He pulled it out of his sack.

"Can any of you tell me what this is?" Swift asked the mages and pulled out the object.

The mages all looked at it and looked at each other.

One of them stepped forward and motioned for the object.

"This appears to be just a small talisman. A rock that brings good luck is what it seems. However, it's actually a Gid Rock. It's dwarven for want. Though they are few and far between, there are dwarven mages. They specialize in enchantment. This is one of the specialties of the Badren Mountain Clan. Basically, this rock can be anything you want or need."

Swift held up the rock. There was no incantation, no spell, no ritual necessary to use this rock. He just needed to think of what he needed.

I need something to get me across. I need a grappling hook!

Before his eyes, the rock turned to a dark gray color, like the sky with a terrible storm coming in. It transformed into the hook he needed. He grabbed some spiderwire out of his sack. This was a risky move but he'd rather die trying than by the hand of that "refined" orc. It was measured out to be a mile, almost the whole length of the gorge. He would have to throw it out as hard as possible and then jump.

He tied one end to the hook and the other end to his belt. He held the hook up and summoned all his strength to his arm as he backed up a few steps. He charged forward and just as he reached the edge, he leapt into the air and slung the hook with all of his might to the other side.

Everything went into slow-motion. For a few seconds, nothing happened. The hook just sat in the air as Swift flew forwards. Then the hook started going down. He prayed to Kurell, Olidammara, and Norebo, all gods of the rogue and thieves. He especially counted on Norebo, who loved gambling. For this is one of Swift's most important gamble of all.

The hook reached the other side, just a few metres from the top and started to bounce off. And as Swift's heart began to hang low, the hook swung back to the wall and stuck onto it, withouth hooking anything. The wall seemed to have attracted the hook back to itself and held onto it.

Swift smiled and gave a quick thanks as he swung toward the wall. He then realized he'd never done this before. He'd heard stories of people who tried this stunt but slammed so hard into the wall, they dropped to their deaths. He instinctively brought his feet up. Hopefully, he could land on the wall like one would land from a long fall, and just coil up as he landed.

Sure enough, as his extended feet touched the wall, he swung in and coiled his lower body together. There was still a major shock, but he stayed conscious and held on.

He looked up and around to see if anyone had seen him. He heard no voices nor audible signals. But then again, the Drow didn't need them with their sign language. He'd have to hurry.

He scurried up the wall, wrapping up the spiderwire and grabbing the rock along the way. When the Gid transformed back to it's original form, it kept the end of spiderwire inside. Swift just shrugged and put it all away when he reached the top.

His amulet was still working. He had confirmed this as he climbed up past a Drow looking for what caused the clang of the hook hitting the wall. He looked around and spotted Malagjss again. He began walking towards it and decided to wait. The moon was rising and he'd already gotten this far. He walked along the ridge and found a small cave just below. He climbed down into the cave and slept.

The sun filled the cave as Swift was waking up and gathering his sack. He ate some dried meat and drank from his waterskin. He climbed back up onto the ridge after making sure he had his amulet on.

He walked back towards the outpost. As he reached it, he began to circle it, looking for how many Drow there were, how tight the security was, and for any entrances and exits he could use. He knew it was too risky to just walk on into the outpost with how small it was. And then, Swift went and sat down to look at the Malagjss itself.

It was a post of very sturdy construction. It was three levels high with a room on each of the top two. On the bottom level, there was a horse tied up and several weapons racks. The whole outpost was about 7 metres by 9 metres. There was at least two brave Drow outside at all times. Though the skies were all overcast, the sun could peek through the clouds at any time. If Swift remembered correctly, the sun didn't really hurt the Drow, just their eyes.

The middle level of this building was closed in. There were glyphs all over it. They glowed with many colors and shades, altering from one hue to the next. He couldn't read all of them but they appeared to be protective. There must be something important inside it. Then there was the top level. It was open about halfway up the level. He spotted three Drow in there. Two were using spyglasses, searching the landscape, while the third held what looked like a slimmed down crossbow. From what his sharp eyes could see, it had another of those cursed Drow darts in it.

"OH! One more thing before you leave, young one! Be careful about using magic around the Drow. Of all the elves and faerie, they are the most sensitive to magic." The mage had a worried look in his eye. "You do know that you're almost guaranteed to die on this job, correct?"

Swift just smiled and nodded.

"Norebo should be proud of me."

He started walking towards the outpost. His amulet gave off very little magical aura, so it wasn't very disturbing to the Drow's senses. However, using the Gid was risky. He walked to the back of the outpost and pulled out the metal block. He was stuck and this was the perfect chance to use it.

All the Drow were currently facing the ridge when he launched it. They didn't know it came from behind but they noticed something moving. The rifle-bearer commanded the ground guards to go find out what it was while the two lookers tried to spot it. Swift quickly ran to the weapons racks and knocked them over. The lookers were forced to climb down to find out what happened as Swift scurried up the back.

He reached the top and saw the two levers he needed to trip. He waited til the lookers found his trail leading to the cave and followed it. Once they were gone and the ground scouts were still out and searching, Swift pulled out a knife. He climbed over the half-wall and snuck up to the Drow. He put the knife into his neck and put his hand around the Drow's mouth to muffle it's cries. He took the knife back out and put it away.

He tripped the levers and heard a noise to his right. He looked over the rail. There was a hole in the ground, the chute that Aljira was talking about. It appeared to go straight down for a couple of metres then angled off. He figured he might as well jump for it rather than chance crawling down and and the chute closing before he got to it.

He hopped over the rail aiming for the chute. He pulled his pack around and hugged it as he balled up and went down the slide. It was dark and rough, leaving him with a few bruises along the way. Towards the end he saw the exit leading to a couple of guard Drow. Above the exit, there was a small hole leading into the ceiling. Just as he was about to drop out of the exit, he uncurled and leapt into the hole, rolling into the ceiling above the guards.

He stretched out and looked around. He was in a small intersection with 5 more chutes. He went for the one in front of him.

If my sense of direction hasn't failed me, this should lead to the back of the fortress to where I can access the dungeon. I wonder how far down I have to go though?

By his sense of time, it was near evening when he reached near the end of the chute. He could also smell dinner being prepared through out the fortress.

He stopped above a kitchen. There was a hole just above it for the smoke to come out and the hole lead all the way up through the ceiling towards the surface. The Drow were in the far corner of the room, huddled up and talking. There was some freshly prepared and wrapped meat on a table just below him.

He reached to his sack and pulled out the Gid Rock and spiderwire. He imagined the shape of a slender arrow. the rock transformed to a rock with the spiderwire embedded into where the "fletching" would be.

The Drow started moving around again and he backed away from the hole. They left the kitchen, probably to get food orders. Swift flung the dart into the meat and pulled it up through the hole. He put it in his sack and with the Gid and spiderwire and continued crawling along.

He could see the end of the chute. He could smell the blood and rotting flesh of the dungeon. He shook his head and decided to call it a night. The next morning would start day three.

He woke up to the smell of breakfast flowing through the chutes. He pulled the package of meat out of his sack and ate it. He took out his waterskin and took a long draw.

Damn. Here we go. I should've been back by now. I need to get back by nightfall in four days.

Swift shook his head again and continued on. He needed to get down to the dungeon and soon. He reached the end of the chute within a few minutes and started examining the entry. He looked down and saw a hallway. It was quite a nice dungeon despite the Drow's way of keeping a dungeon. They were notorious for their torture techniques and ways of killing. It was said that the Drow knew over 1000 ways to kill a creature and held contests to see who could exact them all before their victim died.

He heard no Drow in the hallway but wasn't going to risk it. He looked around the entry and found a crack in the hole heading to the surface about a foot up. He retrieved the Gid and imagined a smaller rock. The Gid suddenly became smaller, but only held until he inserted it into the crack. Then the rock seemed to exhale as it fit itself to the crack. He grabbed onto the spiderwire and lowered himself, headfirst, into the hallway. He got a good look at the passage. There were only two doors, one at each end. He spoke a despell cantrip that the mages had given him. He then saw that it was not in fact a hallway, but a room of jail cells. Apparently even the Drow grow tired of watching creautres suffer.

Cells were all empty but blood stained the walls and even some small bones were scattered among them Swift shivered at the thought of those bones being his.

He heard talking and pulled himself back up as two Drow entered the area.

"Curse that Elaugran. His spell doesn't last very long." One Drow said to the other. The other one laughed.

"Well, what do you expect? His name is the Lesser Mage. So is it our turn to guard the daggers?"

"Aye. We got it for the next 8 hours. Then those shi'near get to guard it next."

"Why call the fresh meat by name?"

The first Drow laughed as they exited into the other room. Swift looked around to find another chute. He felt along the walls and found a small hole to his right, the direction to where the Drow went. He took a knife from his pack and dug it into the hole. It crumbled around the knife with ease and soon he dug into the wall about a foot. He removed the Gid and put it away to continue digging. He dug on into the night and the next morning. When he finally took a break, he judged he had about another foot and he would be in the room the Drow were in. If he remembered correctly, the young guards were in their now.

Even at a young age though, Drow are still deadly to the inexperienced. Their favorite spell is actually in innate ability which creates this darkness around them. If you were to walk into this darkness, you would see absolutely nothing, not even the Drow's weapon coming for your throat.

Swift shivered at the thought and tried to remember the anti-spell that the mages had given him. It converts the darkness into light. This light then blinds the Drow and gives the user the advantage.

He'd have to be quick. He grabbed a knife out and the pulled the Gid rock back out from his sack. He imagined the rock to be a slender throwing dart. The Gid transformed, with the spiderwire still attatched. He readied the spell's verses in his head then jumped into the room. He had two days to get this done.

He landed, throwing both the knife and the throwing dart at the Drow. The knife went through the neck of the Drow on the left as the dart stuck into the chest of the other. He yanked the throwing dart back and tucked backwards as the living Drow shot a poisoned bolt at him. The Drow then grabbed his chest and went to his knees, feinting death. As Swift readied the dart to throw at him again, the Drow casted the room into complete darkness. As soon as Swift saw the room going dark, he rolled to his left while casting the anti-spell. As the darkness turned to light, Swift saw the Drow lunging for where he was. Swift launched the dart into the Drow's neck as he landed.

With both Drow quickly dispatched, Swift figured he had about a half an hour until he would be captured. He looked around the room. It looked like an artifact museum. He cast his own trap-finding spell. Surprisingly there were none. He decided to cast the Drow dispell but all this magic was causing a drain on his strength. He remembered the dried beef he had left and sat down to eat it.

The dried beef wouldn't do much but it was what he had. And he had survived on less before. He finished about five minutes later and got back up. He still heard no commotion. He casted the dispell and it appeared that nothing happened. He cast the trap-finder again and there was still nothing. So he began walking around looking for the daggers.

As he looked at the displays, he was tempted to grab some other objects, like a steel wand with gold engravings and a rare blue amber stone in it. He knew he had a mission to complete though. He looked through the displays and found nothing that resembled a dagger.

After about ten minutes of searching, he started walking around the rest of the room. He headed to the door and picked the Drow for any weapons. Their miniature crossbows were useless to him. He found nothing else of use to him either. He looked to the door to listen for any footsteps. There was still no noise. As he looked at the door, he noticed a small weapons rack next to it. He then looked around the room. There were stacks of bolts, crossbows, and small knives and daggers ready to be used on any intruders such as him.

It was then that he noticed two very good-looking daggers in particular. He walked over to them on the other side of the room. They both looked very different. But he knew they were the ceremonial daggers he was searching for. He grabbed them and put them into his sack.

He ran to the door and grabbed his knife out of the wall and held the Gid in his hand. He imagined a rock that started out light as a feather but then increased in density. He threw it up into the chute as fast as he could. It landed in the chute with a very faint tap but after a few seconds, he tugged on the spiderwire without it giving in. He pulled himself up into the chute, transformed the rock back to it's natural state and put it away.

As he crawled back through the network of chutes, he heard alarms and footsteps. He had hidden his escape through the chute but nonetheless, he crawled with all the speed and quiet he could muster. He judged it was getting close to nightfall. He had to hurry.

He continued without stopping on into the early morning until he reached the vertical chute at the entrance. He had no choice but to scale the almost completely smooth walls. The climb would be almost 150 metres but he knew it would take much longer.

He looked around. The Drow seemed to not examine the network because he was still alive. As soon as he got out to the surface, he knew it would much tougher from there. He began climbing the chute upwards.

He continued running the landscape through his mind trying to find the best plan for ecscape. He had until sundown tonight to get out of Ulviraste, past Malagjss, out of the Duraghar Forest, and back into Aljira's mansion.

He then remembered his amulet. He had taken it off when he was digging into the treasure room. He stopped climbing and put it back on. That should get him safely back. He just had to hurry.

He pulled the Gid back out again. He imagined the rock sticking to the side of the wall and threw it up as far as he could. It went up about 30 metres in the air and fell only 4 metres until it clasped to a wall and stuck there. He shimmied up the rope as fast as he could. Once he got up to the rock, he unattatched and threw it up further. He continued to do this until he reached the surface.

It was midday when he got to the top. He didn't stop, he imagined the rock sticking to the other side of the ridge, at the top of it, and took off running. He ran with every ounce of energy he had and jumped off the edge, launching the Gid. He was amazed. It stuck to the top of the other side of the ridge while he still had the other end of the spiderwire. He pulled on it as he swung down. He landed with a bounce and began climbing again, never looking back.

He judged that he had about five hours until sunset. This wasn't going to be a leisurely walk. He scurried up the ridge going faster than he ever had. His life depended on it. He threw up prayers to Norebo as he ran through the non-trapped trail of the Duraghar Forest. He ran as if he had two dragons, three platoons of Drow and two platoons of Orcs were all on him. In two hours, he had gotten from the surface of the chute to the end of the dead forest. But he took no breaks, he had to keep going.

<=={- -}==>


By this time, Aljira was in his dining hall with two young female humans. He gave them a description of Swift and offered food as he awaited to give them the order. They were about one and a half metres high each. The stood nonchalantly sharpening metal objects.

<=={- -}==>


Swift had three hours to get back to the mansion. He ran with half the speed of the deadly, poisoned Drow dart.

After another hour, he had almost made it out of the forest when he felt a weird aura. It surrounded him and made his body tingle. He looked around as he ran and saw no one. He kept running.

<=={- -}==>


"Do it. If he's not out of that forest in another hour, find him and kill him on the spot. Give me his head and the pack on his back." Aljira looked absolutely enraged. The two girls nodded and left.

<=={- -}==>


As Swift continued to run, he noticed he started to glow. He was shining a greenish hue. He ignored it. He had to keep going. Suddenly, he tripped and landed face-first on the ground. He was knocked out instantly.

Later, he was awoken by what felt like a pail of cold water to his face. But as he examined himself and his surroundings, he wasn't wet at all.

"That was some fall you had there, young one."

Swift looked over to see an old man sitting at the base of a tree.

"Sir, you saw me fall? How long has it been?"

"Well, 'saw' isn't quite what I did but it's been about an hour or so."

Swift seemed confused at what the old man meant. But he had no time, he would have killers after him soon. He started to get up, but the old man stopped him.

"You had a deadline didn't you, small one? Sunset has already passed, look around you."

Swift did so and realized it was too late. He would die before midnight. He had no way to protect himself. Aljira was a very rich man. He would hire only the best. A feeling of immense dread at the thought of his inescapable doom fell upon him. He sat down, his mind racing.

<=={- -}==>


The two assassins placed themselves at the edge of the forest, just inside.

"Sharp, you do realize what we are about to do?" one asked the other.

"Yes, my sister, I know."

"But, should we really kill him?"

Sharp glared at her sister.

"Strike, you know we must never ask that question. We are deadly assassins. We should be willing to even kill each other should the hit go out."

Strike looked apalled. Her sister smiled.

"Do not look so shocked, my sister. We are heartless killing machines. Even if it means we kill our own brother."

<=={- -}==>


Swift looked to the old man.

"Is there anything you can do to help me. No, I didn't make my deadline. And now there are going to be assassins after me. Please, there's got to be something."

"Young one. There is only one thing I can do. I can guarantee you another life. If what you're saying is true, I can help you to live after they kill you." The old man stood. He pulled out a small staff from under his cloak. "I am a sorcerer."

"What?? That's not gonna help me at all!! I want to live, not become some undead thing!!!!"

"Calm, little one. It's ok. Here." The sorcerer walked over to him and held out his staff. "Before I do anything, answer me this: What is your best quality?"

Swift looked stupified.

"How can you ask me such an irrelevant question at a time like this????"

The old man gave a stern look and gestured for an answer.

"Oi, fine. My best quality is actually two qualities. I have a fast mind and fast reflexes to match."

The old man nodded and pointed the staff at him. Two sorcerer's circles appeard on Swift, one on his forehead, and the other on the back of his neck. They began glowing, and then rotating. The old man spoke a spell in a language the small human couldn't understand. The sorcerer then lowered his staff and stepped back.

"There we go, young one. I have applied an attatchment spell. It will block most weapons. Also, If you are to die, should this shield not work, you will not completely die. You're spirit will be set free. It will most likely attatch to a weapon. Don't worry. Everything shall be fine."

And with that, the sorcerer disappeared, leaving a stunned and confounded Swift behind.

What do I do? This spell should block weapon attacks, but why did he do that spirit spell bit?? Well, hopefully I can sneak to Aljira's mansion before any of those assassins find me.

And with that, he snuck off towards the mansion.

<=={- -}==>


"He should've passed here by now." Sharp sneered.

"Calm, sister. He'll be here. There's no doubt that stubborn boy would keep going."

"So do we know why that ugly orc put a hit on Swift?"

Strike thought to herself. After a few moments, she looked back to Sharp and shook her head.

"Well, we know that he needs whatever Swift has in his backpack. Maybe our 'refined' orc friend hired him to steal something." Sharp smiled.

"What if Aljira thinks Swift kept the item to himself, that he double-crossed him."

Sharp shook her head.

"Stupid thieves honor would prevent him from doing that. But I doubt Aljira understands that."

Strike suddenly cupped her hand over her sisters' mouth.

"Shhh. I think he's here." She whispered.

They readied their weapons. Strike wielded assassin's needles while Sharp preferred a small, twin daggers. Strike backed away to the other side of the trail's entrance. They hid and waited for Swift.

<=={- -}==>


Swift stopped just short of the dirt road. He didn't want to leave the forest just yet. He spotted a good lookout tree near the edge. He climbed the one next to him and agilely leapt from tree to tree with as much silence as he could muster. As he reached the lookout tree, he spotted the assassins at the trail's entrance. They were quietly awaiting his appearance. As he looked closer, he saw that they were the greatest assassins in the region, his two older sisters. He knew they wouldn't even flinch in killing him. There was no chance of him living.

He thought about ways to get around them. He reached into his pack and pulled out his knives. If they taught him anything, it was how to kill quickly and accurately with small blades. But from his position, he only had a good line of sight with the younger of the two, Sharp. Then he pulled out his Gid. If he could time it just right, he could put the two knives into Sharp and tie up Strike to the tree she was hiding behind. He had only one chance and the running he did before would pale in comparison to the dash he would have to do to get away from his sisters and to the mansion.

He sighed and readied himself. He sat in wait for another five minutes. When he felt ready, he put the two knives in his right hand and imagined the rock to be an increasingly heavy hook that would continue wrapping around Strike and the tree and then latch onto itslef as it ran out of spiderwire. He had to be just as heartless as his sister's would be when they would try to kill him.

He steadied his heart and calmed himself. He watched the girls making sure they wouldn't move. And when he was ready to strike, he prepared his attack, running it through his mind one last time.

Now.

He threw the knives into the neck of Sharp and launched the Gid around Strike. As he did so, he flung himself off the tree and landed on the dirt road running. He didn't look back to see if he was successful, he didn't even try to listen, he just kept running. His life truly depended on it.

The two knives went through Sharp's neck much like the Drow. The rock, however, left Strike's lower arm free while it almost completely wrapped herself to the tree. With an assassin's accuracy and strength, she flung the needles into Swift as he ran for the mansion.

They struck the back of his neck, paralyzing him instantly. As he fell to the ground and stopped breathing, he knew he had failed. His last thought was of how amazing his last quest was and how proud his gods would be of him.

<=={- -}==>


As Sharp lay dead by her tree and Strike constricted to hers, Aljira heard the commotion and came outside. He saw Swift, dead on the ground ahead and rushed to him. Aljira opened the sack, still attatched to Swift and pulled out the wrap containing the ceremonial daggers. He walked over to the girls and smiled.

"As refined as I may be, I am still an orc and you still failed me."

He walked over to Sharp and pulled the knives out of the ground next to her. He kicked her over so she faced the ground. He then walked over to Strike.

"Orcs don't take well to failure from their subordinates. Keep this in mind, young one."

She smiled and nodded with as much range of motion as she could. Then, she spoke with as much strength as she could muster with her lungs so constricted.

"Would you please free me from this, Boss."

Aljira nodded. He walked over to her and pressed one hand to her back. He thrust the dagger in his other hand into her neck, twisting it, and killing her.

"You are free, young one." He said with a smile. He then walked around the tree to the Gid. "I quite admired this when Swift showed it to the mages. How does it work again? Oh, yes."

He touched the rock and imagined it to be just a regular rock. It unlatched itself and released the spiderwire.

"Hm. One more thing."

He walked over to Swift and with the last knife, he decapitated him and mounted his head on the knife and walked back inside.

<=={- -}==>


When Swift woke up again, he looked around. He was in a vast plane. There were other creatures but they didn't pay any attention to his arrival. He heard voices, lots of them. But one stuck out.

"And with this I pray, bless this weapon with your holiness and allow it to protect this young elf. There you go young man. Be careful with it, would you?"

Another voice appeared, this one much closer.

"Thank you, sir. And I promise." The voice said and laughed. "Hm, now what to call you? What is your name?"

Swift had no idea why, but he answered.

"My name is Swift."

"What?!? D-d-did you just speak??" The voice seemed very confused.

"Um, yes I did."

Swift wished he could see who the voice was. He wished it with all he had. And suddenly, the plane disappeared. He looked around. He was outside. He appeared to be on the edge of a city. He saw the young elf who was the owner of the voice.

"Well, hello there. My name is Swift. What is yours?"

The elf looked shocked. He stuttered out an answer.

"M-my name is, is uh." He cleared his throat. "My name is Fenix. Fenix Shimian."
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