Shadowed Stone

Nanowrimo Time

Well it is time for me to focus on Nanowrimo rather than on the blog for a bit.  I need to write around 1700 words a day to keep the pace of 50,000 by the end of the month.  Right now the first two chapters are weighing in at just over 1500 words, so I am a bit off pace.  Hoping to bang out an extra chapter or two on the weekends to keep my head above water and take some pressure off during the work week.

One of the things that will likely suffer is my blog itself.  I really want to make it through an entire year of daily posts.  So as a result you guys are going to start seeing me posting my chapters as I finish them.  The big caveat is that I have not even attempted to edit anything yet.  I figure December is for edits and re-writes.  I am roughly 3500 words into the project so far and I plan on writing this evening as well.  Now for the first chapter.

Shadowed Stone

“The capital quarter is rather lovely when completely empty” he thought to himself as he wandered among the buildings, very obviously on a scale that was neither human nor elfenmade.  The monumental works of stone, with arches twenty or thirty feet tall to allow for the easy passage of the trogish owners.  This old part of the town is such a contrast to the new and modern sprawl, with its spriteglass signs painting everything in a garish magelight glow.  Yes Baigan thought, this is precisely where he would live given the chance.

The wispy elf picked his way up the long stone stair leading to the house he had been plotting his steady course towards.  Wrapped in a thick black woolen cloak, he moved like a flitting shadow against the ancient stone sentinels guarding every stone passageway.  Moving cautiously as not to alert anyone to his presence.  While travelling with all the proper paperwork as required by the bureaucracy, he also wanted as little trouble as possible while he was in Tjorba.  While he himself was a shade and widely accepted, the Trogkin and Elfenkind were never known for being the best of friends.

Transitioning from a narrow passageway to a much larger courtyard, Baigan could finally spy his destination.  Rising up some five stories into the sky rested the keep of Morgo Bain the particular lord he can come to pay a visit this evening.  It had to be around high shadow when he finally began ascending the stone steps that lead into the main entrance of what would have normally be the second floor.  Expecting to see more stone sentinals, he was rather surprised to find a pair of stone-plate bedeckled guardsmen startling to attention and narrowing their wet yellow eyes on the cloaked figure.

Baigan slowed his pace and peeled back his hood to reveal to the pair his dark silver skin.  The closest of the guards spat something at him in Troglish that loosely translated meant “Stop now or I bleed you”.  Which is of course a fitting thing to say in a language that most resembles Russian if it were spoken by a throttled toad.  To which Baigan produced ever so carefully a stack of papers bearing the blue and silver emblem of House Bain.

“Relax men, I am here at your lords request… there is no need to ‘bleed’ anyone tonight.” The elfen pronounced as confidently as he was capable of mustering while offering up his stack of papers.  His own master had taught him many times that when dealing with Trogkin there are two simple rules.  Never show them disrespect, as they are extremely quick to anger and woefully capable of backing up those threats.  Secondly never show them any weakness, because like the barely civilized brutes they are, they respect only force.

The guard who had spoken before grasped the documents with his gigantic blue fist, and while trying to hide what he suspected with an inability to read, proceeded to pantomime reviewing the papers.  Baigan for a moment sifted through all the things he might have given them instead of an actual passage leave.  A smile must have crossed his lips, because the guard jabbed the paperwork back at him in a frustrated motion uttering what is loosely “Go in, its your head” before blowing a giant bone horn to signal the guests arrival. Which I guess seemed to indicate that the Lord of the keep was not at all in the habit of entertaining guests… or at the very least not a pointy eared elfen.

Upon entering the inner courtyard of the keep entrance he could hear a rapid shuffling of feet off to his left from a darkened passage.  As it drew closer a red robed figure, considerably shorter in stature than the Orts guarding the entryway.  In fact as he drew nearer, Baigan could see that the new figure was smaller even than himself.  His immediate suspicion that this was one of the gobbley turned out to be the case as the small man began to speak.  Unlike the gutteral Troglish, he always found Gobb to be a stark comparison, with its long yammering sentences.  He was glad he had brushed up on all the varied languages spoken within the Trogjan Empire, because he was certainly getting a workout trying to translate all of this on the fly.

“I am Sork the house steward of Morgo Bain the Lord of Winter, we have been expecting you” yammered the the gobbley.  Baigan found himself visibly wincing when Sork pronounced Morog the “Lord of Winter”.  What right did he have to that title.  He is not even bound to the elements, nor does he have any claim to them.  These Orts know nothing of the subtle grace of winter, the only know war and brutality.  He quickly found himself overcome with anger, but just as quickly as it had come he forced it away with the techniques his master had shown him forcing the same calm smile back to his lips.

“Well then Sork, if your master is expecting me, that I suggest you take me to him”, he said making a gracious waving motion with his arm towards the gobbley steward.  The other grunted slightly and nodded an agreement, and together they were off towards the center of the keep, up several flights of stone stairs walking for the most part in silence other than a few quirky utterances from the steward.  Baigan was fine with this, as the Trog races were not known for their conversational skills.

Within a few minutes they had passed through several more cooridors and finally arrived at what appeared to be a throne room.  At the center back of the room, atop a bluish stone pedastel sat what he could only assume was Morgo.  Baigan was not sure exactly what he expected as he had never seen a Gorund.  He had learned in his books that they were the ruling race of the Trogjan Empire, but up until now all he had actually seen were the skitterish gobbley and the brutish Ort.  The Gorund were something entirely different it seemed.

Morgo standing would have measured roughly 8 feet, and unlike the bulbous mass of meat that the Ort tended to be, he was something more sinewy but no less powerful.  While the guards outside were blunt enforcers, the Gorund looked every bit the artisans of battle that they had become known to be.  He wore a rather stately looking robe, that left parts of his chest and arms bare showing off his whitish green fur.  His ears formed horn like spires jutting out from either side of his head.  Morgo managed to look both deadly and wise at the same time, Baigan was admittedly nervous.

“Lord Morgo, I bid you greeting on behalf of the court of shade.” Baigan said with as much pomp as he could muster, making a open arms gesture while locking eye contact on the large gorund.  “It was gracious of you to grant us an audience with such short notice.”  When the other spoke it was with slow and deliberate words, and non customarily in archelfen, the old tongue.  “I assume you are Baigan Derrow, the Prince of Shades?  If that is in fact the case…  you don’t need to waste my time with the customary gestures.  You’ve come here for a reason, and it should be a good one for coming all this way”  as he spoke the words Morgo narrowed his gaze on the elfen messenger.

“We shades hear the battle at the summerwall is not going in your favor.  The forces of the summer court are pushing forward into your realm, and not even the might of your Ortan backbreakers can halt them.  But we bring you good news.”  with this Morgo raised an eye, the elf had obviously peaked his interests.  He spoke more quickly this time without the deliberate pace.  “What news would an Elf have that my spies could not gather for me.  The lord of crows keeps me informed of all things that matter to the realm.”

I long smile passed across Baigans face as he relayed his payload.  “The summer queen is leaving Avalon to travel to the human realms.  During this time she will be relatively unprotected, only having the Woodsblade to keep her safe.  We do not know why she is travelling there, but we know how and when and most importantly where.”  He arched his back slightly as a shiver of enjoyment ran down it after delivering the information to the “Lord of Winter”.  “We will provide you all of this for a price, and with this knowledge you can turn the battle”.  He could not help but beam as he watched the realization ripple across the face of the elder gorund.

Letting the statement sink in for a moment, the wizened whitetuft cautiously eyed the elfen messenger.  “If you can deliver everything you just said, what would be your price?”  To his left Baigan could hear the gobbley steward fidgeting nerviously waiting for his answer.  “You know that we have no love of the summer court.  Our price is that Avalon burn, and when it does its remains are ours and ours alone to control.  If you do this for us, the shades will give you the Queens head on a pike.”

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