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It’s been a long time since I read the first chapter, but the first paragraph made me remember what the story was about and what had ha...

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Llorrin left his cabin and headed down to Carekon’s infirmary. He quickly grew anxious. How was he going to explain what was wrong with him, when he wasn’t even sure of it himself? ‘Greetings master Carekon, lately I’ve been getting these sudden urges to violently murder people for no reason?’ He sighed, but continued onward anyway. Luckily Carekon wasn’t far: he’d taken up residence on the ground floor of the forecastle, which was home to a mess room, an armoury and an infirmary. The dwarves had been wanting to turn the infirmary into a distillery, but everyone who wasn’t a dwarf had dismissed that as a terrible idea, much to Borax’s dismay. When he finally arrived at the infirmary Llorrin entered without knocking, wanting to get this over with quickly. Carekon was standing over a table with his back to him, sharpening his surgical tools.

“Llorrin. Finally,” Carekon said as Llorrin closed the door behind him.

“You were expecting me?” Llorrin asked.

“More or less,” Carekon said, wrapping up the tools in a blanket.

He turned towards Llorrin.

“I know why you’re here,” he said.

That left Llorrin speechless for a moment. “But… If you knew something was wrong with me, why didn’t you come see me?”

Carekon crossed his arms behind his back and walked to the far side of the room, away from him.

“I had to know you were in control before I could talk to you about this. That you came here of your own accord shows that you are, and for that I am grateful,” the chaplain said.

“Why all the mysteriousness, Carekon? Can’t you just tell me what’s wrong?” Llorrin asked, laughing nervously.

Carekon looked over his shoulder at Llorrin. “There’s something dark within you, Llorrin. I will be blunt. I think a demon is trying to take over your soul.”

Llorrin wanted to dismiss it as nonsense, demand evidence, kill Carekon for even suggesting such a thing- By the stars, he thought, trying hard to contain his anger. He’s right. Carekon’s eyes widened; he must have sensed his anger. The chaplain raised one hand towards him, his palm emitting a bright light.

“Begone!” he commanded. There was a flash, and when Llorrin opened his eyes his anger, the urge to kill, was gone. Carekon sighed exasperatedly and sank down on his chair.

“Is it dead?” Llorrin asked, grimacing.

“No, no it isn’t,” Carekon sighed, shaking his head. “I’m afraid it is not that easy.”

“How long have you known this?” Llorrin asked, feeling anger once again, but this time the anger was his.

Carekon looked up at him. He suddenly looked much older than he was.

“I only had suspicions, but when you survived injuries that should have killed anyone, and used magic to empower the ship… It all became clear to me.”

“But how? When?”

Carekon rubbed his face with his hands.

“I suspect the first seed was planted when you fought the warlock… He was clearly trying to summon demons, or at least sacrifice us to them. It must’ve taken advantage of you while you were still recovering from the battle.”

Llorrin touched the burn marks on his belly, remembering his gruesome battle with the warlock. He’d stared into the flames, those green, dancing flames, for how long? Probably too long. Carekon was right: if he’d been possessed, it must’ve happened back then. Still, it made little sense to him.

“Why would a demon be interested in possessing me? I’m…” Nobody, he thought.

“Only it knows. Demons aren’t logical, predictable creatures, Llorrin. It’s what makes them so dangerous. Perhaps it was impressed by how you resisted the warlock’s spell. Or perhaps there’s something more. You’re full of fear, and rage, and hate… All of them things demons thrive on.”

“That’s hardly my fault,” Llorrin, who thought it sounded a little too much like an accusation, said.

“Maybe, maybe not,” Carekon said, rising from the table and walking closely to Llorrin.

“What’s more important than finding out the demon’s motivations however, is deciding how we’re going to deal with it.”

“What options do we have?” Llorrin asked.

“Well…” Carekon said as he started walking around the room in circles. “The demon may be trying to posses you, but it clearly wants you to stay alive. That’s why I think it helped awaken your magical powers. You are still you, for the most part, so this means you’re either able to resist it, or that it wants you to remain as you are. By all means, I hope it’s the first option.”

Llorrin’s mouth had become incredibly dry. He swallowed, then coughed.

“Magical powers…” he said in disbelief. “For most of my life I’ve always thought I felt something, but I never did anything magical. I’m sure if I had the talent to become a mage someone back home should’ve noticed, yet no one ever did.”

“Someone without an affinity for magic would never have been able to break the warlock’s spell like that, and you did that before you stared into the flames. It’s almost as if… something was keeping your powers in check, until the demon chose to break them free.”

“Can that be done?” Llorrin asked, raising his eyebrows.

Carekon shook his head in doubt. “I don’t know, but it’s the only explanation I can come up with.”

“To hell with understanding this demon! If I’m going to rely on demons for power, I’ll be as bad as the orcs once were! Let’s just get rid of it!” Llorrin exclaimed, and as if in response, he felt a sharp pain in his head. He reached up to touch the painful spot, but didn’t let it cloud his resolve.

“I can’t,” Carekon said, raising his hands in a helpless gesture. “Not without risking both our lives. The demon will resist, and there’s no telling how strong it’s become. The only way to be sure is for you to become stronger than it. Try to learn to use your magic… And moreover, try to let go of your anger, your fear and your rage… This will starve it, and hopefully weaken it.”

Llorrin clenched his fists. “You make it sound so easy.” It was almost like Carekon was suggesting the things he felt were all his own doing. He thought of Captain Willow trying to usurp his position, the burdens of command, the traitors he had had to eliminate, of how everyone kept piling their problems onto him and most of all, his reason to seek revenge. The parents he had never had due to the Horde would never be at peace until justice was done.

“How do you expect me to let go of all that?”

“You’ll have to find the answer to that question yourself, I’m afraid,” Carekon said, stone-faced. Llorrin wanted to leave, but stopped halfway on his way to the door.

“Will you tell anyone?” he asked, looking over his shoulder.

“Not a word. If a time comes where the demon has taken over your soul completely, I will do everything in my power to stop it… But as long as there’s hope, I won’t give up on you. And Llorrin… If there are things that cause you pain which you can’t let go of, at least try to find something to compensate for them.”

Llorrin nodded, expressing his silent gratitude, and left the cabin. He knew where he was going. In order to gain control of his magic, he’d go back to the place where it had first been awakened.
The city gates of Denneg awaited him like the gaping mouth of some terrible beast. Trinius felt his heart pounding in his throat as he approached them. This wasn’t even the main gate – only the imperial highways led to the main gate -, but it was still well-protected, with flanking towers on either side and a portcullis to reinforce the wooden gates. Denneg had clearly increased its fortune since Trinius was last here. He’d only seen the city once, but that was years ago. The walls had since expanded and the gruff mercenary soldiers of old had been replaced by a professional militia with mail armour and matching red tunics that bore the crossed swords crest of Denneg. Trinius could see the symbol well as the two guards posted on this side of the gate moved to stop him.

“Halt, elf, state your name and business. Denneg is home to many fine traders, and we don’t want any crooks here,” the elder of the two guards said.

“I assure you, I’m not a crook, I’m just a mere traveler,” Trinius said, raising his hands in innocence. “My name is Trinius Leafblade.”

“Oh? Then what brings you to Denneg? You don’t look like you have coin to spend,” the guard, whom Trinius decided to refer to as ‘the grumpy one’ said.

“I was hoping to find one of my friends here… We were traveling together when we were attacked by a group of thugs and got separated. I figured she may have made for the city… At least, I hope she did. Did she pass by here? It would’ve been only recently.”

“A lot of people pass by here,” the grumpy one shrugged. “Can’t expect me to remember every face.”

“She would’ve been alone, in a hurry, and she may have mentioned someone chasing her, because I don’t think those thugs-” Trinius continued, but the younger guard interrupted him. He looked at his companion doubtfully.

“Just now a woman did pass by here claiming she was being followed. She even demanded to speak to Captain Keran about it. But she didn’t mention any-”

“So she’s here? She’s alive? That’s wonderful news! Oh, she must’ve thought I was dead!” Trinius exclaimed, his words very much in conflict with what he felt inside.

“Wait,” the elder guard said, raising one hand to keep him at bay. “What is her name?”

“Alana,” Trinius said without second thought, hoping the Setani wasn’t going by a different name to cover her tracks.

“And what did the thugs look like? There are many bandits in this area, we may know some of them,” the younger guard continued.

“Well, they didn’t seem like common bandits. I’ll describe them carefully, so you’ll know them when you see them,” Trinius said, rubbing the back of his neck as if he were trying to remember something very hard. “One of them, the leader I think, is taller and more muscular than any man I’ve ever seen. He’s bald, with a closely cropped beard, and is dark of skin. He has many scars on his chest. When he attacked us he was wearing a large shoulder pad over his right shoulder and a belt with a large buckle to protect his midsection, but little armour apart from that. He was armed with a rough sword that looked like a giant saw and he also carried a crude shield. There was also an elf, about my size, with blonde hair which she wears in a ponytail and bangs that frame her face. She carries a longsword and was wearing a green gambeson over mail armour, as well as leather greaves and vambraces. She’s likely to be in a bad mood,” Trinius said.

“That matches the description the woman gave us,” the young guard said, and Trinius held back a sigh of relief. It was clear Alana had spoken to these guards, but he hoped they hadn’t been corrupted. The grumpy one’s eyes narrowed.

“I find it difficult to believe that she would mention her pursuers, but someone she was traveling with. Why were these thugs after you in the first place?”

“I have no idea, but I’m guessing they may have some history with her. If she didn’t even tell you, it must be something secret. I only met her on the road a few days ago, and she welcomed my company, maybe because she was looking for protection. I don’t think she expected me too, but I want to find her again, because I’m looking for answers… And though she hasn’t been entirely honest with me, I don’t want those thugs to get her, either,” Trinius said.

“Sounds believable enough,” the young guard shrugged.

Reluctantly, the grumpy one made way. As Trinius tried to get past him, however, the guard suddenly grabbed him by the shirt, stopping him.

“One more question. What does she look like, your friend?”

An alarm bell started ringing in Trinius’ head. He was an excellent liar, but if he couldn’t give a description of Alana, all of his lies would have been for nought. The guard gripped his shirt more tightly when he failed to answer, and Trinius’ hand instinctively went down to the Everdawn dagger.

“Auburn curls,” he suddenly heard himself say. “Bronze skin, high cheekbones. She’s quite tall for a woman, and she has bright green eyes, the kind you’ll never forget.”

“I think our dark elf here has another motive for finding her,” the younger guard laughed. The elder guard merely scowled.

“Now can you tell me her whereabouts?” Trinius asked, no longer hiding his irritation with the guard.

“I recommended the Three Swords inn to her,” the younger guard said.

The grumpy one let go of him and stared back out across the road. “I suggest you go look for her there, or take your business to Captain Keran. As long as you can’t tell us why these thugs are after you we can’t really help you. We’ll stop them, of course, but we’ll have to hear their side of the story first. I’m warning you though, the captain doesn’t want any trouble in this city. The guard’s first duty here is preserving the peace, not solving outlanders’ troubles for them.”

“Unless you’re a rich merchant,” the younger guard chuckled.

“Which you’re not,” the grumpy one growled. “I suggest you go find your friend. We’ll keep an eye on those thugs, and if they cause any trouble the captain will sort all of this out. Maybe it’d be best if you and your friend go to him until we’ve resolved the situation. You’ll find him in the center of town, at the guardhouse on the marketplace. The Three Swords inn is in the last alley on your right before you reach the market.”

“Thanks a lot,” Trinius said, grateful that he could finally be on his way. He still wasn’t sure what had just happened, and felt wobbly on his legs as he followed the road into the town. How could he have described Alana so thoroughly without ever seeing her? No one could be this lucky. The Three Swords inn where Alana had been sent was exactly the same place Trinius was supposed to find the Keepers’ spy. He could hardly believe that was a coincidence. And why did he feel like the name of this ‘Captain Keran’ should somehow ring a bell?

Trinius contemplated going to the guards and telling them everything, but quickly forgot about it. His people weren’t very well-regarded, so the guards of the human-dominated city of Denneg were unlikely to care about his troubles. Moreover, he wasn’t too sure he believed everything he’d learned and been through today himself, so why should they? For now, sticking to the plan and going to the Three Swords inn seemed like the safest bet. He might recognize Alana if she was indeed there, but she didn’t know him, and if he found this Brandon, he’d at least have some form of ally inside the city. Felana’s promise still rang in his ears. “If you run, we’ll find you, don’t doubt it. And don’t think you’ll be safe inside the city if you try to double cross us. One way or another, we’ll find our way in.” If there was one thing he didn’t doubt it was that Felana and Wolf were indeed efficient killing machines. Crossing them seemed to be a really bad idea, but whichever side he chose, he was going to end up in trouble, that much was inevitable.

Trinius had been so caught up in his thoughts that he had barely been paying attention to where he was going, and he nearly bumped into a fat human who was wobbling on his legs.

“Hey, watch where you’re going, you dark elf scum!” the human said, pushing Trinius, who had less trouble staying on his feet than the obviously drunk man seemed to.

“I apologise,” Trinius said, hurrying past the guy before things could escalate further. Only now did he truly take in the sight of the city. Denneg was rich, and even in this part of the city the houses were made of white brick and timber, with red tiles on the roof and chimneys that puffed smoke happily. Most houses in this district only had one floor however. Most residents weren’t wealthy enough to afford servants and since it was common for the servants to sleep on the highest floor, they didn’t need the extra floor. The closer to the center of town, the more the houses grew in width as well as height. The paved streets were very clean, and apart from the drunk there were only few people about: during the day most were off to work at the many guild- or workhouses that sustained Denneg’s wealth.

Those he did encounter shot him distrustful glances, but that wasn’t what made Trinius uncomfortable. He had the eerie feeling he was being followed. As he snuck a glance of his shoulder he caught a glimpse of a red uniform disappearing in between two houses.

Drats, they’re already keeping an eye on me, they must be possessed! Trinius thought, his heartbeat once again rising. How many people did Alana control, and how far did her control go? He wanted to believe the guards wouldn’t have even let him in if they were truly under her control, but somehow that did little to ease his tension. Trinius tried to quicken up his pace, which became more difficult as he came closer to the market center and had to push through denser crowds that didn’t exactly welcome a dark elf who wasn’t stopping to buy things. He was happy to finally be able to dive into the side alley, where he found the Three Swords inn almost directly in front of him. The sign was clear enough: two swords that crossed each other diagonally with a third one set in the middle.

Trinius quickly entered.  The tavern was a rather broad building, with square tables with four chairs each on either side of the wall. Those on the far side were far enough from the first side to allow people some privacy, and each section was separated from the one behind it with wooden screens filled with intricate carvings or simple paintings, which made Trinius think this was the kind of place rich merchants came to discuss business arrangements. There was plenty of room at the counter in the middle of the bar for those who wanted more social contact, but there were only a couple customers sitting there right now, and there were even fewer at the tables. He ordered water, both because he only had a few coppers left and because alcohol had a rather debilitating effect on him, which he didn’t find unpleasant per say, but it would certainly not be to his benefit right now.

The bartender nearly turned his nose up at Trinius’ money, a collection of outdated imperial coins and coppers from the city states, of which sadly none bore the crossed sword insigna of Denneg. “You’ll pay double with those for nearly everything here in the city,” the bartender warned him as he took two coppers. Trinius had heard about how Denneg was trying to boost its own economy by making their own coins more valuable than outsider money. He suspected them of simply taking the foreign coins and melting them to make more of ‘their’ coins, and silently wished this plan would backfire on the greedy bastards at some point.

Trinius found a cosy spot opposite the stairs that lead up to the inn’s no doubt luxurious rooms. He saw a stout servant girl struggle up the stairs with a pot of hot water, which meant some of the rooms, at least, must have been occupied, though it was an odd time for a bath. The bartender had disappeared into the door on the other side of the counter, which led to the kitchen. Trinius wondered if the bartender could be the spy he’d been told to find. With his ample stomach, bald head and relatively old age he didn’t look like much of a spy, but perhaps that was the whole point of being one, and as a bartender he did have the opportunity to pick up on a lot of conversations inconspicuously.

Trinius quietly slid the Everdawn dagger into plain view. No one would think much of an exposed sidearm even in an establishment such as this, except someone who knew about the special nature of the weapon, which should be no one save for Brandon. As long as he didn’t draw it, the faint glow it emitted probably wouldn’t catch the eye of anyone who wasn’t paying special attention to it. Trinius didn’t feel like taking any more initiative than he already had though, aware anyone he encountered might already be under Alana’s control. He kept an eye on the stairway and the door; if he saw anyone enter or descend that looked like it could be Alana he’d have to hide the dagger again, because there was a good chance she’d already seen it if she’d helped her mercenaries against Hegan. There was nothing else to do, so Trinius relaxed as well as he was able to. He was still glancing about warily, waiting for something to happen, when the bartender suddenly returned from the kitchen with a plate of beef stew and a loaf of bread, and put it on his table.

“I didn’t order this,” Trinius said, confused.
“Don’t worry, you won’t have to pay for it with that outlander money. It’s already been paid for. The lady from room six sends her regards. She said she was expecting you, and will be with you shortly,” the bartender said, much more friendly than before.
“That’s not possible,” Trinius said, alarmed. As he tried to get up the bartender put a hand on his shoulder and held him down with surprising strength. Trinius may as well have been trying to push back against a mountain collapsing on top of him.

“I think you should sit, and eat,” the bartender insisted.

Oh no, Trinius thought, suddenly realizing that all of the patrons were looking at him. If he tried to leave, they would no doubt stop him, and who wouldn’t believe that a dark elf had been caught trying to steal and had subsequently been mobbed by angry attendants, especially in an establishment like this?

“Fine, then,” Trinius said softly, looking down at the plate. He took a piece of bread and a spoon and ate, be it reluctantly. The food was no doubt delicious, and he was very hungry, but right now it tasted like ashes in his mouth. The bartender smiled approvingly and left, leaving Trinius to his food. The patrons kept their eyes on him however, and Trinius didn’t think he’d be able to slip past them, nor did he want to kill them to force his way out if they were indeed possessed. He was just about finished when he heard soft footsteps coming down the stairs, and a woman in a bright green dress appeared in the doorway.

Alana, Trinius thought as the woman smiled and walked confidently towards him. She looked just as he’d described her to the guards, and though he’d never seen her in person, he felt like he’d already known her for a very long time. Without introduction she sat down across from him, crossing her legs and folding her hands together. She smelled of perfumes and oils, the kind rich folk often used in their baths. Alana gave him an intense look, her bright green eyes seemingly drawing him in, and then she smiled.

“You are no Keeper,” she finally said.

Trinius saw no point in answering that. He simply shook his head. If it was just the dagger that had given him away, he’d be a fool to reveal he knew anything else about it.

“So, why are you carrying that?” she said, extending one slender finger towards the Everdawn dagger on his hip. She clearly knew more than she was letting on, but he couldn’t guess the extent to which she had already read his intentions, or worse, his mind.

“I… found it with some dead people, back in the forest. I thought it looked pretty valuable,” Trinius said.

Alana laughed heartily. She seemed quite amused.

“I thought for sure the Keepers would be able to get it back after my last mercenary fell and I had to leave it there, but it seems I got lucky,” she smiled.

“Why didn’t you just take it yourself if you were so interested in it?” Trinius asked, feigning ignorance.

“I couldn’t stand to touch it,” Alana said. Then her eyes narrowed a little. “As you are well aware.”

So she knows that I know, Trinius thought, feeling desperate and confused.

Alana smiled and looked into his eyes, then reached over to touch his arm. Her skin was still warm, but still her touch sent shivers down his spine.

“I’m sorry if I’ve made you uncomfortable, but I have to be very careful myself. You’ve seen what kind of people I’m up against,” she said softly. “I’m aware this must be difficult on you. You picked up that dagger and got caught up in all of this against your will.”

“How do you know?” Trinius asked, looking back into her bright green eyes, whose irises danced like flames.

Alana pulled back her arm and chuckled.

“I heard everything you said at the gate. You’re a very clever little liar, but you couldn’t have known that I’d already touched the guard with my spell. You were looking for me under false pretenses, and the descriptions you gave made clear that you had already met the Keepers. When I saw you were carrying that dagger it was easy to put two and two together. Wolf and Felana would’ve never let you live if you hadn’t agreed to work with them.”

“Saw?” Trinius asked, looking at the barkeeper, who was keeping a close eye on the door. He felt both fascinated and scared. “You mean you were… Inside those men’s heads?”

“More or less. I can pick up their conversations and determine their actions to a certain degree, but there are limits to how many people I can influence at a time, and how much control I can exert. However, I can choose to give up control whenever I wish. My helpers are never permanently affected. Since the guards are already on the lookout for the Keepers regardless, I no longer have to control them.”

“I see, and that made it easier for you to take control of these people…” Trinius said, looking out across the bar. They were no longer looking at him, but he was certain Alana was in control of all of the people here.

“Why are you telling me all this?” he asked. It would’ve been easy for her to just kill him and let someone take the dagger off of him.

“Because I, at least, am trying to be honest with you,” Alana said. “The Keepers underestimated what I could do, or they didn’t tell you because they thought you’d chicken out if you knew. They should’ve prepared you better before risking your life. It goes to show how much they value it. To them you’re just a tool.”

On that, at least, Trinius could agree. It was all becoming clear to him now.

“So you wanted me to come here,” he said.

Alana nodded, looking at the dagger on his hip. “You… And the thing you carry.”

The bartender had come from behind his counter and was holding a large bag open in front of him.

“I’m offering you a way out. Put the dagger in the bag, and this good man here will make sure that it is never found again. Without it, the Keepers are harmless to me,” Alana said with an idle gesture.

“Harmless? Perhaps to you, but they’ll certainly kill me if I betray them!” Trinius said, Felana’s promise ringing in his ears.

Alana raised an eyebrow. “What right do they have to demand loyalty of you? They won’t do anything to you… Not if I kill them first. And without the dagger… Do you follow?”

Trinius hesitated, looking at the bag. If he dropped the dagger in there, and Alana remained true to her word, all his troubles would be over… No one could hold him accountable for stepping out of such a mess, not when he’d only gotten involved due to a stroke of bad luck. But what if Wolf and Felana were right? Could he really allow something like Setaneism to fester? Could he bear their deaths on his conscience if they were truly fighting for the greater good? Could he betray Wolf, who’d taken a huge risk by allowing him to live? Would Alana even allow him to live, considering what he already knew? Alana reached out to touch his arm again. Her intense eyes bored deeply into his. It was impossible to look away from her. All the world seemed to consist of nothing but her eyes, and the curve of her lips as she spoke to him.

“They dragged you into this. They’ll kill you if you don’t do exactly as they told you, and afterwards they’ll undoubtedly attempt to recruit you. I’m asking nothing of you. I’m offering to save you from their paws,” she said.

Her words were strangely appealing, but Trinius still hesitated. What he'd seen of her power was far too sinister.

“I saw those creatures you sent against the Keepers…” he panted.

“A necessary step for me to defend myself. Don’t let your eyes deceive you. Power is simply that, a tool that can be turned to either good or evil. The way it appears is irrelevant to what it can achieve. Have you seen the sword that brute Wolf carries? It’s ugly, but it gets the job done, and in the hands of another it could be turned to a just cause... The elf who was with him may be prettier for it, and her weapon more elegant, but she would’ve used it to kill you, an innocent, just as well.”

Trinius noticed his breathing was getting more and more heavy. “They wouldn’t be trying to kill you… Without a reason.”

“They are merely jealous of my power. They want it all to themselves, all the knowledge they have on it. That’s why they hunt me. Help me, and I could be very grateful. I’m not like them. I will share what I’ve learned, if only you help me. In time, my power will be able to create beautiful things, as well, if that’s what you want. Please, give me the dagger.”

It was becoming more and more difficult to resist Alana’s offer. When her lips parted and he saw her smile, his hand went down to the dagger almost involuntarily. Just as he was about to draw and surrender it, however, he felt new strength in him, and a desire to defy this manipulative sorceress. The world returned to normal.

“No,” he heard himself say. “I don’t think I can.”

“In that case,” Alana sighed, pulling away from him. “You force my hand.”

Before Trinius could react the bartender pulled the bag he’d been holding open over his head and pulled it close, trying to strangle him. Trinius instinctively shouted for help, even though he knew he would receive none here. He feared his head would be ripped from his shoulders as the bartender pulled him off his chair and started hauling him over the ground. Trinius’ fingers grasped at his throat, trying to get the bag off of him. He heard the sound of splintering wood, and then there was noise all around him. He heard shouting and the sound of breaking glass and splintering wood. Suddenly the hands were no longer on him. Trinius ripped the bag off his head and immediately kicked out at the back of the bartender’s legs, before he even saw what was going on. The bartender collapsed, with Felana still latched onto him. His heart skipped a beat. The Keepers had come! Trinius jumped up to see one of the patrons sprawled out on the ground, and Wolf struggling with two men who normally should have been no match for someone his size. To his surprise, both Felana and Wolf were completely unarmed. Trinius wanted to go help Wolf, but the warrior shook his head at him, nudging his head in the direction of Alana, who had simply risen from her table and was regarding the fight with an eerie calm.

“No! Get her!” Wolf shouted.

“Use the dagger!” Felana said as she struggled with the bartender, who had one arm wrapped around her neck.

Alana’s eyes turned towards him as Trinius reached for the dagger… And then a score of guardsmen burst into the inn.

“Stop, in the name of the city guard!”

Within seconds the inn was filled with guardsmen in red uniforms who wasted no time breaking up the fight. Moments after the guards had entered Trinius had at least three swords pointed at him. Seeing no benefit in fighting the guards, he calmly surrendered. Felana and Wolf did so as well, for more guards were still entering the inn. Finally a guardsman in heavy armour and a feathered helmet entered. He looked pretty young to be a leader, but it was clearly what he was, for the other guardsmen – those that weren’t too busy keeping their eyes on their captives - looked at him expectantly. The officer looked over his captives with what seemed to Trinius like a somewhat tired and disappointed look, like he couldn’t believe people were still breaking the law even after they’d gone through the trouble of getting themselves matching uniforms.

“I am Captain Keran, and you’re all under arrest,” the captain said softly, just loud enough to hear, before turning to his men. “Take everyone to the court room. I want this settled as quickly as possible.”

Wolf no longer struggled, so Trinius didn’t either, but Felana was fighting like a raptor that had been driven into a cornerl. It took four guards to keep her under control. As he was dragged outside Trinius saw Alana through the ranks of the guards. She was smiling.
Sunder Chapter 3
In the third chapter of Sunder Trinius' resolve and cunning are put to a serious test.
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Trinius’ eyes flickered in between Wolf and Felana. Both were poised to strike should he draw a weapon or attempt to flee, of that he had no doubt.

“I…” he started, feeling how his hand moved slowly to the dagger, how his fingers grasped around the hilt. No doubt the keepers saw it too. There was a sudden glint in Felana’s eye.

“I’ll do it,” Trinius said quickly, releasing the dagger. Wolf and Felana relaxed as well, though Felana seemed disappointed rather than relieved. Trinius felt as if a massive weight had just fallen of his shoulders, only to be replaced by an even heavier one.

“Glad to hear it,” Wolf said. “Come with us.”

Trinius fell in behind them, but he quickly found Wolf and Felana moving to either side of him, no doubt to make sure he wouldn’t try to slip away. An awkward silence fell between them as they walked. Felana’s fists were still clenched, and though she shot the Everdawn dagger on his hip occassional glances, she was clearly occupied with her own thoughts. Trinius had the uncomfortable feeling Wolf was looking at him the entire time, though his eyes seemed to remain on the road. Whether it was to keep an eye on him or to gauge his chances of survival, he didn’t know. Trinius didn’t know whether they saw him as a companion or a prisoner, but he feared it was the latter.

“So, Trinius, are you any good in a fight? You dodged Felana’s attacks quite skilfully,” the big man finally asked.

“Oh, I tend to avoid getting into fights,” Trinius said, noticing how Felana and Wolf glanced at each other doubtfully. Contrary to Wolf, he didn’t bear a single scar on his entire body. The large man bore many on his torso, and a couple more on his arms. Trinius wondered what it must’ve taken to inflict so many injuries on such a man.

“So I’ve noticed,” Felana said irritably. “What he wants to know is if you’ve ever killed someone.”

Trinius hesitated for a moment.

“Yes… But they were all crooks,” he finally said, grimacing. “I’ve only ever killed in self defence.”

“How many?” Felana inquired.

“You people keep counts?” Trinius asked, raising his eyebrows, but Felana’s glare made clear she wanted a serious answer. “Less than then, more than five? I’m not sure, I try not to dwell on it too much,” Trinius said.

“You should,” Wolf said firmly.

“Those are big words coming from someone who hunts people for a living,” Trinius chuckled.

“Setani are not people. The corruption reduces them to mere beasts,” Felana said.

She didn’t seem open to discussion, so Trinius looked away from her and set his eyes back on the road. Mere beasts… Trinius had a hard time picturing this Alana, a living, breathing person, as nothing more than a mindless animal. Why should he believe anything these two had told him? There were plenty of cults who did reproachable things because they were convinced it was ‘right.’ Would he end up killing an innocent if he followed through with the Keepers’ wishes? Either way, he didn’t feel too good about this, and not simply because he was concerned for his own personal safety. Yes, he had killed before, but only out of necessity. Hunting someone on purpose was an entirely different matter. The mere notion itself made him feel a little sick.

They’d just passed a crossroads when the sound of running horses alerted them. Trinius looked over his shoulder just in time to see two riders come galloping around the bend onto the road they were on. The riders were a richly dressed couple, a rare sight on one of the post roads, and they seemed to be on the run from something.  

“Make way!” the man shouted, leading his horse straight towards them. Wolf and Felana jumped to either side of the road, Wolf jerking Trinius along with him. Both riders gallopped past like the devil himself was behind them. Confused, Trinius picked himself up, watching them as they passed.

“Flee while you can!” the man shouted over his shoulder.

“What for? More careless riders?” Trinius shouted back angrily, dusting himself off. Then he heard a growling sound behind him. He turned just in time to see something jump up at him. He instinctively drew his combat knives and jammed them upwards into the belly and the chest of his assailant. Teeth slammed shut right in front of his neck, close enough for him to feel how sharp they were. The thing crashed down onto him and its sheer weight and momentum knocked him down onto the ground. The sheer weight of the creature knocked the air out of his lungs. A searing pain went through his elbows as they took most of the force of the fall. Despite having Trinius’ combat knives deeply imbedded into its body, the creature was still moving.

He heard a battle cry, and the thing’s crushing weight was knocked off of him by Wolf. The force of his kick sent the beast rolling away, right into Felana’s waiting blade. She didn’t remove it from the beasts’ neck before she’d made sure it had stopped moving. Trinius didn’t get up immediately, instead taking his time to get a better look at the creature now that it was dead. It was like a wolf, but it was far too large to have been one. Its limbs and back were bulbous, like it had been swelling out of its original shape. A lot of the wolf’s fur was missing, leaving skin and even bones exposed. The fur that remained was caked with blood. Whatever had touched this creature to make it so was completely unnatural.

“Now you see the wonders of Setaneism at work,” Felana said, not bothering to hide her disgust.

Wolf offered a hand and helped Trinius up. “This is but a taste of what it can do.”

“Shoddy work, indeed,” Felana nodded, pushing the wolf with her foot so that it rolled over. “She must’ve realised we were getting close.”

“We have to hurry,” Felana said as she finished cleaning off her blade with a piece of cloth she carried for just that purpose.

“Agreed. There’s no telling how many creatures Alana’s already corrupted,” Wolf said, starting down the road hurriedly.

Trinius wiped both his daggers on the dead wolf’s tail before going after him. Thankfully he hadn’t gotten as much blood on his clothes as he’d feared. Trinius didn’t want to attract every wild animal in their vicinity, especially not if they’d gone through the same ‘process’ as the odd wolf they’d just faced. Then, as his heartbeat started falling back to a normal pace, something dawned on him.

“Wait, you’re saying Alana did this?” he asked Felana, who was making sure to keep close to him even as Wolf ran on ahead.

“Yes. It means we’re closing in on her. She’s no doubt trying to slow us down so she can reach the city,” Felana said.

“The city?”

“Cities are safe havens for Setani, because local authorities know nothing about their corruption. We can’t murder her in cold blood, or the guards will interfere.”

“Could she do the same thing she did to that wolf to the people of the city?”

“Yes. That, and worse. There are limits to what they can do however, and usually they only taint people’s minds as long as they’re in a city, to avoid drawing attention. That’s why we were trying to stop her before she could reach the city.”

She made it sound like an accusation, and Trinius was almost grateful the conversation didn’t need to continue. They heard a cry further on down the road and kept running. To Trinius’ horror they discovered the richly garbed couple from before, and their horses, as they were being devoured by a large bear that had been deformed in ways similar to the wolf. A row of pikes portruded from the beasts’ back and it seemed to grow even larger as it fed on the couple’s remains. Wolf wasted no time, drawing his large cleaver and the massive shield he carried on his back. The bear caught wind of the warrior storming towards it and screamed. The sound was shrill, unnatural.

“Go around!” Felana commanded as the bear started charging towards Wolf. She veered off to the right, but Trinius hesitated. Wolf used his massive strength and momentum to turn his shield into a weapon, bludgeoning the creature with his shield as the two crashed together. He then swung his cleaver, but even though he cut off a bulbous piece of flesh growing out of the bear’s side, it didn’t stop the bear from biting and clawing at him. Thankfully Wolf managed to keep his shield in between him and the beast, constantly using it to push and keep the creature off him.

Felana cried out as she came in from the side, plunging her sword through the bear’s side all the way down to the guard. Before he realized it Trinius was running around to the left to get around to the creature’s other flank, bow and arrow in hand. The beast shook violently despite the grave injury, forcing Felana to let go of her longsword. Even with the sword still stuck in its body, the bear lunged at Wolf again. By this time Trinius was in position however, and he fired an arrow at the beast, unsure if it would accomplish something.

The arrow struck deeply into the bear’s side, but once again it didn’t seem deterred by the injury. Trinius swallowed, for he seemed to have attracted the attention of the mighty creature. Blood and saliva dripped down the beast’s mouth as it looked at him. Trinius knocked another arrow, but before he could fire Wolf had already used the moment’s distraction to throw his shield and perform a massive two-handed swing, thus taking the bear’s head. The tainted creature finally collapsed.

“I’m not sure how much more of this I can take,” Trinius said as Wolf and Felana regained their composure. If the wolf had been bad, the tainted bear was easily ten times worse. It was truly gruesome to behold, and killing it hadn’t made it any easier to look at. Now that it’d been killed the creature had stopped growing, but the bubos that covered its back had started to pop open. Trinius didn’t even consider trying to retrieve his arrow from the corpse, afraid of what might happen if he got some of the tainted blood on him.

“If you want this to stop, we have to kill Alana,” Felana bit.

“Hold on,” Trinius said. The woman that’d been killed by the bear had dropped a small book; a diary from the looks of it. Trinius took it, mostly because he was curious as to why such richly garbed people had chosen to take the more dangerous post roads. There was no time to read it now, so he tucked it into his pouch. This gained him a disapproving glance from Felana, but he was getting used to that by now.

“Can’t leave dead people’s stuff just lying around, can you?” she remarked.

“I doubt picking up this diary is going to cause me as much trouble as picking up the dagger did,” Trinius quipped.

They had only just started down the road again when a faint rustling on their left alerted them and caused them to stop and once again draw their weapons. However, to Trinius’ relief it wasn’t another tainted creature that emerged. From between the trees a young woman in a blue robe that flowed around her like a waterfall stepped. She had azure blue eyes that didn’t show even a hint of anxiety despite the scene in front of her. Her hair was jet black and long and her skin was pale, like she spent all her time under the cover of the trees, away from the sun.

“Is that her?” Trinius asked, wondering if someone this innocent-looking could really be a Setani.

“No, but I still don’t trust her,” Felana said.

The young woman ignored them as she strode towards the remains of the bear, kneeling down next to it and placing her hand over it. She did everything with such an air of calm that it made Trinius wonder whether she was truly of this world, for she walked the earth as if it were a dream. Trinius’ jaw dropped at what happened next. Blue light pulsed under her hand as the woman began to whisper incantations, and the bear slowly grew back to its normal form, the corruption fading from it. Within seconds, every trace of Setaneism was gone from the bear, yet, having been decapitated, it remained dead. Even so, Trinius felt grateful that no one would have to look upon its horribly deformed shape any more. The mysterious woman slowly rose, with her hand still hovering over the bear, shivering and closing her eyes as she breathed in. She took a few moments to regain her composure and then turned towards Trinius and the keepers, opening her eyes and looking at them closely before she spoke. Her voice was gentle and soothing, but it seemed to come from every direction, as if the trees and bushes rather than her mouth were producing the words.

“There was a strong image of the two of you imprinted in this bear’s mind,” she said to Felana and Wolf, looking as if she was piecing together everything she’d just witnessed.

“Did a woman pass by here very recently? She was likely alone, on foot and in a hurry,” Felana asked, apparently at least trusting the strange sorceress enough to ask her questions.

“A woman did pass by here. Her aura was… peculiar,” the woman said.

“What- who are you?” Trinius, who was intrigued by the magic the woman had just used to remove the corruption from the bear, asked. The Keepers had claimed their Everdawn weapons were the only thing that could stop Setaneism, but this woman seemed to be able to affect it to a certain degree as well.

“I am Mishaado Hyaena,” the woman said with a polite smile, paying no heed to Trinius’ slip of the tongue. “I look after these woods.”

“Look… After?” Trinius asked.

Mishaado started walking towards them.

“A city has its guards, the highways have their patrols… The woods have me,” she said. “I suspect you are hunting the one who did this, would you accept my help?”

“Not at all,” Wolf said, sharing a meaningful look with Felana. No doubt magic that could affect Setaneism the way it had done to the bear intrigued the Keepers as much as it did Trinius.

For some reason Trinius already felt much better about their odds now that Mishaado was with them, even though he knew next to nothing about her. Even Felana studied Mishaado with great interest and what seemed like admiration.

“I doubt you’ll be able to catch her before she reaches the city,” Mishaado said solemnly. “She’s corrupted a large stag, like she did the bear, and was riding it towards the city.”

“There’s no way we can gain on her then. Damnit!” Felana said, kicking the ground in anger.

“How do you know these things?” Trinius asked.

Mishaado stretched out her right arm, and a bird that had been singing nearby fluttered down and landed on her palm.

“I have my ways,” she smiled, her eyes twinkling as the bird fluttered off again. “In fact, I’ve heard everything you’ve been saying to each other since you met each other... Trinius, Felana, Wolf,” she said, saying their names as if to prove her point. “I realised something was wrong when this Alana started corrupting animals. When I understood what you’d been saying, I realized I had to intervene. I wasn’t confident enough to confront her on my own, however.”

“That was probably wise,” Felana remarked.

“So she’s out of our reach. There’s no use in exerting ourselves then,” Wolf sighed, continuing down the road. “Mishaado, if I may ask, what kind of magic is it that you’re using? I have a lot of experience with Setaneism, but I’ve never seen magic that can affect it the way yours does.”

“I was born with it. I have no name for it,” Mishaado said plainly. “I’ve lived in harmony with this forest for as long as I can remember, and I know very little outside of it.”

“How long have you been living like this?” Trinius asked.

“I can’t say,” Mishaado said, apparently genuinely confused. “That’s strange, isn’t it?”

Trinius didn’t think it polite to confirm it, but he was indeed mystified by Mishaado’s nature. She was clearly no ordinary human. The trouble was, she didn’t seem too sure about what she was herself. Felana however, didn’t share Trinius’ reservations about speaking her mind.

“It’s beyond strange, and more importantly, it’s difficult to believe,” she said.

“Felana,” Wolf warned his companion. No doubt he had questions about her nature as well, but they could wait until they’d dealt with the situation at hand.

Mishaado didn’t answer that. She seemed preocuppied and focused on the woods around her rather than her newfound companions. The mysterious woman spoke softly in that strange language Trinius couldn’t understand a word of, and the trees seemed to rustle in response to her every word. Considering how peaceful she seemed, Trinius wondered if she ever got angry.

The rest of the trek proceeded far more slowly, and without incident. Mishaado was chanting softly to the woods, Felana was brooding and Wolf was most likely thinking of a plan to catch Alana now that she’d managed to reach the city. Trinius used the opportunity to open up the diary he’d acquired. There was no name written anywhere on or inside the diary, which was uncommon, but a smart precaution should the diary fall in the wrong hands. The dead woman had had a fine handwriting, but Trinius quickly saw that most of her diary was naught but a collection of reports of various social events and political maneuvering, so he skipped to the final few pages. Her handwriting was notably less elegant from this point onward. The accounts were very brief and there were often gaps of a few days, like she’d never had much time to write.

‘There’s trouble. Lord Caerus keeps growing stronger. Most of our neighbours have given up their lands to him. Few have resisted his claims. Those who did he crushed. Soon he’ll come for us. We cannot stay here, but we won’t give up our lands either. Tomorrow we’ll flee east. It’s the only solution. He’s become too powerful. That upstart Caerus has no rightful claim to our land, and we won’t let him kill us or force us to sign one. Once his candle dies out we’ll return here and take back what’s ours.’

Interesting, Trinius thought. The account went on with descriptions of the journey and the land they’d passed through. He’d never seen too much of the westernmost regions of the continent, and was somewhat disappointed when he reached the last page of the all too short account.

‘Traveling by post road is a menace, but we have no choice: we had to leave behind our fortune. I can’t go on like this for much longer, but there’s no time to rest. Caerus’ men are likely right behind us. The city of Denneg is only a few days away. We have to push on. We must. Keran should still be part of Denneg’s city guard. If we manage to reach it, he’ll keep us safe.’

“That’s sad, to die so close to your goal…” Trinius murmured.

“What?” Felana asked.

“Oh, nothing. That couple was apparently on the run from someone who was after their lands. They were hoping to find shelter in Denneg,” Trinius said, showing her the diary.

“Hmm,” Felana said, showing little interest. Clearly she was too focused on the task ahead of her, or maybe she felt guilty she hadn’t managed to stop Alana before she claimed more lives. Trinius chose to give her the benefit of the doubt. With nothing else to read, he decided to try and talk to Felana about something other than whether or not he should die for a change.

“How come you and… Your friend got divided in the first place?” Trinius, who had forgotten the dead Keepers’ name, asked.

“Keepers can feel each others’ presence, and alert one another if they need help. We’d split up trying to find Alana. Hegan was going to try and secure the road to the city, because that seemed like the most obvious way for her to go, while we scoured the woods. We had agreed to signal one another and wait for help if we found her, but we didn’t anticipate she’d have a group of mercenaries helping her,” Felana sighed.

“You can ‘feel’ each others’ presence?” Trinius asked, wondering how much more strange magic he was going to be introduced to today. “So how does that work?” he asked when Felana didn’t answer him.

“It’s… A feeling, I can’t describe it,” she said, somewhat annoyed. “We simply know, like there’s a compass inside of us that points us towards our companions if we’re trying to find them. When a friend is in danger your heartbeat rises and your senses are on edge, almost as if you were being attacked in his stead. I clearly felt that when Hegan was attacked. When I could no longer feel him I tried to tell myself he was simply hiding his own presence so we wouldn’t endanger ourselves trying to come for him. I guess I should’ve known better.”

Felana grew very quiet again, her eyes set on the road, and Trinius thought it best to wait a while before speaking to her again. As he put the diary away he noticed something. Mishaado’s soft chanting had stopped. Perhaps it was because they were almost out of the woods? The strange sorceress smiled at them confidently.

“I’ve warned the creatures in the woods around Denneg to stay away from this Alana, so no more of them should become corrupted. I’ve imprinted her aura into their minds. The birds will keep their eyes on her if she leaves the city, which she must have reached, because she isn’t anywhere to be found in the woods.”

Felana gave er a look of disbelief, and Wolf frowned as well, but he said:

“I thank you, Mishaado, for your help, though I’ve never met anyone with your abilities.”

“Nor I,” Mishaado smiled solemnly. Then she made a startled jump.

There, waiting on the edge of the woods, was the stag Alana had been using as a mount. It’d been corrupted, like the wolf and the bear before it. The animal seemed like it’d been driven close to the point of collapse, and it was foaming with every breath, but it still turned its antlers towards them, preparing to charge. The corruption had turned the antlers into crooked, razorsharp spikes that would certainly impale anyone who found themselves on the receiving end of a charge. Felana and Wolf drew their swords as Trinius knocked an arrow, but Mishaado moved forward and raised an arm, motioning for them to wait, and they did.

She slowly approached the stag, raising a hand towards it. Trinius lowered his bow. If the stag chose to charge, there was nothing they could do to protect the unarmed woman, and he’d be in danger of hitting her if he tried to shoot the stag. Trinius held his breath as Mishaado placed her hand on the stag’s forehead, once again murmuring in her strange tongue. Once more a light spread from her hand, and the corruption slowly faded from the stag, the beast shrinking and its antlers returning to its normal shape and size. The creature looked about when it had returned to normal as if it’d just awakened from a dream, then fled into the woods once it saw Trinius and the Keepers.

Trinius first breathed a sigh of relief, but then gasped when all of a sudden Mishaado collapsed. Felana reached her first, pulling her up to her knees and checking her eyes as she had done to Trinius. Since Felana didn’t slit her throat, Trinius guessed Mishaado hadn’t been corrupted either. Wolf grabbed one of her arms and pulled her up.

“Are you alright?” Trinius asked, quickly rushing over to her side.

“Uff… It’s like it was trying to get inside me as I was removing it… If that makes sense,” Mishaado said, reaching up to her face.

“Believe me, that’s probably closer to the truth than you realise…” Wolf said.

“Can you walk?” Felana asked.

“Yes… I think so,” Mishaado said, and soon, they were on the move again. Felana did keep supporting Mishaado, since it didn’t look like she’d recovered entirely. She seemed grateful for the help, wrapping one arm around Felana’s back to support herself.

“The man they killed… Was he your friend?” she asked as they were walking out of the woods.

“He was more than a friend,” Felana said, the pain in her voice clear as day.

“My condolences. I will beseech the animals of the wood not to fall upon his remains,” Mishaado promised.

“I… I’d be grateful,” Felana said, keeping her doubts about Mishaado’s powers to herself for now.

“You know, you’re pretty well-spoken for someone who lives out in the woods,” Trinius told Mishaado.

Despite her apparent mental exhaustion, she managed a smile.

“Oh, I’m always polite. It is dangerous enough to be mistaken for an evil witch when you live as I do without the need for scowling and snarling at people.”

As soon as they’d passed out of the forest they could see the walls of Denneg in the distance. Large fields that produced food for the city lay to either side of the road, and men and women alike were working the fields hard, watched closely by their overseers. The overseers shot their little group some distrustful glances, which Trinius found ridiculous. Other than some pitchforks and a few bails of hay, the peasants had nothing to steal. Trinius could see the busy imperial highway to the south. No doubt if they’d come over that road the overseers would’ve greeted all of them with a smile.

“We’ve almost reached the city, we need a plan,” Felana said quietly, keeping her eyes on the peasants around her as if she feared any of them could have fallen under Alana’s spell.

“Can’t you simply call in more Keepers? You can ‘feel’ each other, right?” Trinius asked.

“No, no others are near,” Felana said. “We can spot each others’ presence and call for help, but even the strongest among us can only feel one another over a range of a couple of kilometers at best.”

“I don’t suppose warning the guards will be an option,” Trinius said, wishing they could do what seemed like the sensible thing. The Keepers didn’t even answer him, and once again he was reminded this game was played by a different set of rules than he was accustomed to.

“So… There’s no one who can help us?” he asked.

“Yes and no. We have at least one spy in every major city, but they are always junior members who haven’t yet gone through the joining ritual,” Wolf explained.

“And this joining ritual is what gives you your powers?” Trinius asked, wondering if any of the peasants working nearby could hear them, and what they would think if they could. They’d probably think we’re insane, he mused.

“It’s too risky to induct people who live so far away from our headquarters or share different loyalties in our orders’ secrets. In the past, some of our spies have turned to Setaneism themselves. Still, we have to assume our spy has had his eyes on Alana since she’s entered the city. Finding him should be our first step to finding up what she’s been doing… and where she is going,” Wolf said.

“Getting inside the city may not be so easy, I bet she’s already set up the guards against us,” Felana said.

“Agreed,” Wolf said, and Trinius had the uncanny feeling they were both looking at him.

“Trinius, you’ll have to go on ahead. Try to find out if the guards are on the lookout for us. Alana will have likely printed our image into their minds, but she doesn’t know about you. If they’re waiting for us, just continue on in and try to find our spy. His name’s Brandon, and he operates from the Three Swords inn. Since you’re carrying an Everdawn weapon, he’ll likely find you before you find him. Just drop our names and be honest with him and you should be able to gain his trust. On the off chance that the guards are not waiting for us, just loiter around the gate for a bit and we’ll join you soon.”

Trinius was surprised the Keepers would trust him with such a task. Part of him liked it, but he also doubted if he could handle all that responsibility.

“If you run, we’ll find you, don’t doubt it,” Felana promised. “And don’t think you’ll be safe inside the city if you try to double cross us. One way or another, we’ll find our way in.”
Sunder Chapter 2
The second chapter of Sunder shows Setaneism at work and introduces a new, peculiar character as Trinius is confronted with his first major task.
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I've started writing a fantasy story featuring an organization called 'the keepers (of the ancient lore).' So far I've written 'keepers' without a capital letter. I'm debating whether I should use a capital and refer to them as 'Keepers' instead. Thoughts?
Hello dear viewers

As you may have noticed I've just uploaded the first chapter of a new story. This is one of these story ideas that came to me very naturally and then just continued to grow, though I'd been looking to incorporate the main character (who is an old favourite of mine created during my time spent writing on message boards, and I still name characters after him in games like Dragon Age: Origins or Inquisition) in some of my series for a while. Turns out he deserves his own series. My mind sort of decided that on its own.

Sunder is a whole new series with a tight plot, set to be a trilogy, however finishing Fallen Children first will still be my priority.

Cheers

Teano

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TEANO
Belgium
Hi there Deviants. So what is there to know about me? I've been writing for as long as I can remember, mostly spending my time writing my stories on RPG boards. Now, I've decided to finally start putting all my ideas into novels... so expect mostly writing from me. I tried my hand at drawing but have to admit I'm not very talented, maybe I'll upload a goofy drawing I did here and there some time or even pick it up again, as it's not something I have complete given up on (I'm bad at giving up...) :) My other interests include Music, Sports and Gaming. I look forward to meeting all of you :)
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:iconxbastex:
xbastex Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Photographer
thanks for the fav
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kanyiko Featured By Owner May 11, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Many thanks for the llama badge!! :hug:
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner May 17, 2015
You're welcome!
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:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Woah, new chappies! Should've let me know you posted them:). I found them only because I had this intuitive "go check his page now" :D
I'll take a look at them soon. Today's the last day I can enter a second work into a writing contest. My first one ever. Then I'll finish reading and rating the last of those other's have submitted (you know, they rated mine, so it'd be good if I returned the favor). I wrote a horror short story, but I kind of ruined it by adding comedy elements, which spoiled the scary atmosphere. But its other elements were quite well received.

I hope your teaching work is going well.
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Edited Jan 5, 2015
Yeah I probably should have, though I figured you'd check eventually, when you had the time to do so, and would catch up in time anyway ;) The end of a year tends to be a busy period for most people so I didn't want to seem pushy. There's no rush anyway. Right now I have exams and I'm really unfocused (on studying) because there's a lot of other things I want to be doing, writing being one of them, but I'll pull through somehow.

Good luck with the contest! All I can say is that generally it's a good idea to establish the general tone of your story early on and not vary it too dramatically, but I'm sure you've already realized this yourself.
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:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
I see.
I hope you're doing well.

The contest was certainly fun. Submitted two short stories. The one I liked most but unfortunetely had to cut up in a haste before the deadline, due to a character limit got 28th place of 50.
The other got 44th, BUT the contest organiser told me that the one that got 44th almost got into the top 5 stories chosen by the jury. But I don't regret, because the one's who won were my favourites too. Two of them weren't but were written so well technically that one could suspect them of being lifted. So... it's an honor, really, to have lost with such professionally and often hilariously funny works.

Buuuuut I got the highest people's choice award for the best commenter/reviewer of submitted stories. The writers themselves decided that my critique was the most detailed, thorough and that they learned the most of it.
I got printable diplomas to prove all of this, but since it has my name on it, I'd rather not post it publicly:) Perhaps in a private message or something.

Sorry if I'm bragging too much, it was my first time taking part in a contest in forever and I'm still pumped from all the good things that came from it.

Perhaps you should try it too? If the whole doesn't fit the criteria of the contest, try to cut something out, add some intro or cliffhanger etc. You can writer very well, and you could really get exposure by joining contests.

I took the time to comment on all of the 50 stories. The amount of work I put into it created loyalties that in turn gave me valueable feedback on my short stories. I'm pretty sure I'll get some more if I submitt something to the group for feedback outside of the contest. On the other hand those who submitted stories to the contest, but didn't bother give a single comment in return are now frowned upon.

Oh, I'm also rewriting the "Behind the curtain of life" story I posted here on dA. I'm starting it way earlier, with scenes that have more action in them. And we actually get to know Triss, the girl the protagonist waited for in the original intro. This will also make the waiting scene shorter. No longer need to TELL the reader about her. At leats not that much.

If you take part in a contest or something feel free to share your experiences.

Best wishes:)
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner May 9, 2015
(I really need to get to these messages sooner). 

Stating the facts is not bragging mate :p And if your reviews were as thorough as the ones you post on my chapters then it's no doubt deserved.

Those should make for interesting changes. Lmk if you've finished them in the meantime.

I don't really take part in contests, it's one of those things I know would be good for me but just don't get around to because I know I lose focus often and with how much my inspiration / dedication changes I would probably become one of those people others frown upon... :p 

And this is going to sound extremely egoistical but I'm not the kind of guy who really looks for gratification, it's nice, mind you, but the most important thing to me is that I'm happy with something myself. 

Right now I'd be happy with myself if I could be a bit more productive writing... 
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(1 Reply)
:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Busy with college I presume?
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:iconteano:
TEANO Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014
It's pretty rough. 

Internship starts next week. 

Then a week of vacation in which I have to... prepare the next phase of the internship (teaching requires an unfathomable amount of preparation...), because in the week I'm supposed to make my lesson preparations, I need to do a course from the first year which I couldn't do last year, meaning I'll be gone for a week. Then 2 weeks of internship, teaching teaching and more teaching.

I need to become more efficient and generally have more energy to spend on a day to day basis if I wanna continue all or at least some of my hobbies. I guess having a good physical condition also helps you to be more energetic throughout the day (it used to be that way, at least), so maybe I should work on that. 

'Cos I *really* wanna continue this... 
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:iconpedigri:
Pedigri Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh, I see. Focus on your responsibilities then. Drop me a message once you're back. Or reply to my review, whatever works for you. I'll be waiting.
Best wishes!
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