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 Soulbond: The Beginning

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Pascale d'Artagne
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PostSubject: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:51 pm

Alright, let's go!

:)


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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:55 pm

Oh, and choose two colours for your people. Background narrative is going to be black (intro, random evil fillers, etc.) Pascal is going to be brown and his soulbond is going to be green . You both pick two colours, and remember, its first person, except for random narration. After the intro, you guys can do it too.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 5:56 pm

The next post will start the story.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 6:23 pm

Click.....click...Damon winced as his dress boots made contact with the stone stairs. Why did I have to wear these shoes? he grumbled. Granted, his usual attire would have been out of place at the palace banquet, but still, he should have thought to bring them with him. After a few more agonizing attempts at tip-toeing, he yanked off his shoes, continuing down the dusty stairs in stockinged feet. Ma's gonna kill me for this, he thought, wincing some more as the carefully darned threads of his socks tore on the uneven stones. This trip better be worth it.
Fifty stairs...one hundred... a few ancient symbols on the walls... then a wooden door. Slowly, he grasped the ornate handle and pulled. It opened surprisingly easily, for the door to an ancient vault, unopened in a thousand years. With some trepidation, he inched across the threshold, stopping in the center of the vast room, awed by the thousands of ancient scrolls. Man, how am I going to find the right one? He gulped, then choked on the stale air. Well, I'll just start with this one he shrugged, going up to a shelf and plucking off an officious looking scroll.
Slowly opening it, he was startled by the styled of writing. This looks pretty sloppy for an official document Despite that minor hindrance, he was quickly intrigued. Lighting a few candles, he sat down on the floor, slumped against a wall.
By decree of His Great Majesty the ... Okay, skip the boring stuff The word "fire" at the bottom of the first page caught his attention.
In this age, the Soulbond has grown to its largest potential. All inhabitants have come to be familiar with the basic fundamentals, and the land has prospered. We now reap the benefits of many years of hardship. Still, it is only proper that praise is given where it is due. Today, to commemorate the tenth Great Bonding, His Majesty has ordered that an account shall be written to preserve the Bond Secrets for ages to come. The Great Bonders have graciously consented to write the account in their own hand. May their tale continue to enlighten future generations as it has graced our own... Scribe Tineso.
Well, after that fabulously formal introduction, I, Pascal, have taken charge of this document. Prepare to be amazed! No, but seriously, this is important. Without Bonding, my life would be way worse than it is. Even worse than it was, all those years ago...Anyways, this is also about two other very special individuals. Actually, five others, making six who form three, who in turn form one... but I'll explain that later. For now, just start with the names. Names are important. I was not always Pascal, but I will not go into that, as it has nothing to do with our story. I guess I haven't changed too much, to be keeping secrets from the world after so long...Alright moving on for real now. You must be tired of me already. In all seriousness, listen, alright?
It all began so many years ago. I first met the other two Soulmates on a very fateful day. The day before the village burned...
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:06 pm

Pascal POV
Okay, one thing I need to say right away. You need food That may seem like a pretty obvious statement, but it's important. Why do I say this? Well, okay, I didn't have any food, and I needed some. Like, really badly. And what do homeless, vagabond youths do when they need food? Yup, they take it. This is all just to explain what I was doing on the roof. For some of you, this is not that strange. I mean, some folks have roof top gardens. Let me tell you, I was not gardening. Usually, I wait til night to get food, because there is more camoflauge. Also, during the day, my "official occupation", according to the town council, was courier. Translation: servant to anyone and everyone else. Why? Well, I was sort of abandoned or something, because I was found at the door of some kind old lady's hut, crying and squirming in my swaths of baby linen. She died when I was three, so we didn't really get too close. After that, I was given to community care. Yup, servant for life. Ha! got you there! Did you really believe that sob story? Yeah right. Here's the real thing. I ran away from a strict society of rules because I am a non-conformist, and I became a professional thief at the tender age of seven. Ha! Did you believe that too? Ouch, that hurts. I'm not really all that bad. Okay, well, it's sort of too things. 1) I don't know, it's all really blurry, and I don't know what's real and what I made up to tell people, and 2) I don't want to tell you. Let's just leave it with where we began. I was sitting on the flat roof of a bakery, about noon, sweltering under a coarse outfit of thick cloth, waiting to partake of freshly baked bread.
Yes, I was going to take it, without paying. Weren't you listening earlier? I'm a professional thief. Oh, yeah, I did make it up. Well, I was going to take the bread anyways. Don't worry, I always payed. After a fashion.
Carefully, wrapping my left hand in an old scarf, I crouched on the roof, creeping towards the edge. Leaning over, I flashed a piece of mirror, gaining a view of the bakery's interior. The baker, never mind his name (he dies anyways), was just turning away from the oven, a long row of fresh loaves on a board before him. Quickly, I retracted my mirror as he brought them to the window sill below me. Without waiting another second, I flipped off the roof, hooking one hand in the gutter, and grabbing two loaves with the other. Gathering into a tuck, I landed silently on the main thoroughfare, my bounty already out of sight in my voluminous shirt. After waiting for a minute, I entered the bakery through the front door, bought a small stale roll (from last week) for a microscopic copper piece, and sauntered back down the road. How come he didn't notice the missing bread? That's why I bought more. It distracted him. Don't believe me? Okay, ask him. Oh, wait, he's dead.
I'm not really that heartless. I just pretend a lot. I pretended all the way back out of town. First, I came across some convicts in the stocks. Slipping into the attendant crowd, I politely inquired of the policeman as to why they were convicted. He gave the official view to a curious young townsman. Next, I pretended to have lost a small token (of ambiguous description). This, combined with some elementary flirting, gained some attention from the young feminine airheads in the crowd. They gave a great story of how the two men had stolen some bread from the wonderful baker, and they were so distressed, and would I (who looked so "big and brawny") please do something to keep them safe. It is nice to have that attention, and I have won many a free dinner off of that kind of invitation. Ha! First off, I am five foot seven, no where close to big. Second, despite my earlier lies to you, I did spend most of my life in extreme poverty, which is not conducive to brawniness. I'm not really sorry all those idiots burned to a crisp hours later. Okay, that was more acting. I'm not that mean.
Well, you get my drift. I just pretend to be whoever is most convenient. It is amusing to be everyone. I am great at being ignorant, snobbish, rakish, conscientious, sagacious, trustworthy, mad, vengeful, grief ridden...the list is endless. Almost. The one thing I am not is myself. More on that later. Let's just say, by the time I reach the forest on the village fringe, I have to burst out laughing. It is funny, how I fool the world. Well, it was funny, until that night.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 7:41 pm

The sound of my name being called broke me out of my dreamless sleep. I groaned as I heard Master Vakrom bustling around in another room and again commandingly bellow my name, "Aithne!" Jumping off of my thin hide bedroll, I quickly struggled to get clothed for the busy day ahead of me. I pulled on my thin wool shirt and over it, my tanned leather traveling jacket, and then my worn old trousers. Hurriedly reaching down for my boots, I tripped over myself and fell flat on the floor with a loud thunk. There was a pause in the sound elsewhere in the vicinity before hurried footsteps to my door, which swung open to reveal Master. As he surveyed the scene, I noticed an exasperated expression grow onto his face. I sighed as I picked myself off of the floor and proceeded to tie my boot laces. I knew what he was going to say. I had certainly heard it enough times. Sure enough, when I had finished tying my laces and stood up, he crossed his arms and scolded me, "Aithne...nearly every day that we have a job you're slow getting ready! We have to be out and ready in ten minutes, and all you're doing is tripping over yourself and wasting time! Get outside NOW, and forget about breakfast. The slow bird doesn't get any worms." Yup, exactly what I thought he'd say. I took a step towards the door and winced. My cheeks flushed with embarrassment as I ashamedly looked up at Master. "My ankle...I think it's twisted." My shame deepened as his brows furrowed. "Well" he said, "that doesn't change anything, except now I have to rent you a horse. You're still coming with me for the job, but you can't do it on foot." I nodded solemnly and limped after him out of my room, through the hall way and to the bright outside. On the way out the door, I grabbed my hunting knife and my newly-sharpened pair of long daggers, and attached them onto my person. As we made our way across the busy streets of the village, I inquired about the job for the day. Master replied, "Nothing that will bring in much money. We just need to find and catch a petty thief that's been around lately." My mind scrolled through all of the possibilities of danger of this job, and concluded that it would be a rather boring day.


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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:38 pm

My shovel hit the mound of stinking horse dung, splattering a bit on the walls. I groaned, the stable manager would freak if he saw the splats on his "wonderful whitewashed walls". Oh well, it wasn't like I had anywhere else to go after hours, I would just clean it up after all the rich-but-not-rich-enough-to-own-their-own-horse people all left. I looked around the stable with it's new and whitewashed walls, old stinking hay, and old horses. I was proud of those horses. The rich-but-not-rich-enough people that came in here to rent them would say that they were nothing special, just old skinny, boney, fleabags that could be found on any street corner. But they weren't that to me. I knew every one of those skinny, bony, flea-bags like my siblings. You see, I was the head groomer (and when I say head groomer, I mean the only one) at the stable where they rented out horses.
"Oi! What are you doing standing there with yer mouth gaping open like a fish?" I turned around wearily to see the manager, drunk as always, lurch into the barn.
"Nothing sir, I'm cleaning." I winced as his small, bloodshot eyes took in the muddy walls. His eyes widened with anger and his arm stretched out of him to point at the stain on the wall before he fell flat on his face and started snoring. I looked down at him in disgust. The second time this week. I thought to myself. Suddenly, I heard the creaky door to the store open. Customers! I quickly grabbed the nearest shovel and flung a bales worth of hay over the manager to cover him from prying eyes. I heard impatient noises from the counter and the ringing of the bell.
"H-hello?" I cursed my stutter with a vengeance as the tall man and girl looked towards me.
"And who might you be?" The man's voice was in the clipped tight tones of the inner city.
" My n-name is Kanna, and I'm the H-head groomer."
"Where is the manager?" he said, looking severe.
"He's out." I briefly fought back a chuckle as I thought of his predicament.
"Well then, I am Master Vakrom and I wish to hire two riding horses. Fast ones."
"R-right away, Master Vakrom. P-please wait in here." I quickly ran back in the stable, only to run back again to ask what type of saddle they preferred.
"Hey, Can I get a fast horse?" I looked around in exasperation as a black-haired teenager waltzed into the barn. For reasons unexplainable, the barn grew eerily quiet as soon as he said those words.
"What?" he said, confused as to why we were all staring at him. Then all hell broke loose.
"After him, Aithne!" yelled Vakrom, as he ran toward the teen, knocking over a table as he did so.
"What?" said the girl next to him, looking alarmed.
"What?" said the teenager as he looked at the apparently mad Vakrom sprinting toward him.
"Oi! My table!" I shouted as the black-haired boy made a run for it.
Both parties sprinted out the door, leaving me, a girl, and a broken table.
"Come on." I muttered to the girl, grabbing her arm. There was no way I would miss this much excitement.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 07, 2012 8:51 pm

Don't panic. Don't panic. Alright, I never panic. Not really, I just pretend. Anyways, I think now I was panicking pretty realistically. As I sprinted over the small horse field, dodging dung heaps, I glanced over my shoulder to glimpse my attacker. Okay, my chaser. He hadn't attacked yet. All I wanted was to get a horse and take a short hop over to the city, see what the wide world has to offer. But, oh no, I think between breaths, some crazy dude has to set the hounds on me, and now I'm running for my life . I may not be "big and brawny" but at least running is up my alley. Therefore, I was surprised when I reached the village sweaty and short of breath merely a few lengths before the strange assailant.
"Stop!" he yelled, not slowing a bit. "I just want to talk! It's really important!"
No really, I thought. It must be, but I don't believe you. Being a consummate liar really breaks down one's trust. I didn't trust anyone, not even myself. That was one of my problems. Thinking to outsmart the bulkier guy, I headed towards the old warehouse segment of town. The old shed there had many attics that would not support the weight of a full grown man, but would tolerate mine. Another problem with making up stories all the time is I don't remember much of real events. I don't recall all that took place on the way there, other than my stolen bread fell from my shirt, and I was forced to discard my bag full of personal belongings (okay, mostly taken from others). The chasing guy also had this sardonic grin on his face, giving me chills.
Reaching the door of the first warehouse, I ran full force into it, breaking the rusted hinges. Climbing the rusted ladder took only an additional minute, and seconds later, I was carefully ensconced on the ceiling beams. Wiping rust powder from my hands, I lay on my back, breathing deeply. A thin bead of sweat trickled from my forehead, and a small gnat whizzed around my ear. I heard the man come panting in after me. What did the guy want? He obviously wasn't law enforcement, but he sure was good. Not many knew the back streets like I did. He had this girl with him at the horse place... An accomplice? Relative? Informant? Nah, she didn't look like a tattle-tale. Relief shot through my throbbing legs as the man fell heavily to the floor, courtesy of a loose seventh rung on the ladder.
"Think you're so clever, city boy?"
What? City boy? What city? The nearest one was not that close, and I hadn't been there since...well, since forever.
"You must have mistaken me for someone else," I shouted down, my voice reverberating off the rafters, echoing my racing pulse. Sitting up, I fought a sudden wave of nausea. That was a hard run!
"Oh,no. I know exactly who you are, Soulbonder. Too bad there's no one to save you this time." He then broke into maniacal laughing. As my pulse skyrocketed, my mind seemed to slow down. Think. He can't do anything to you. He doesn't have a bow, and he can't climb up... Then, I smelled burning wood. He'd lit the building on fire!
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:19 am

The acrid stench of flaming timbers scorched my lungs. Hacking up black goop, I sat on the floor of the warehouse, surrounded by dancing flames. The fire seemed as crazy as the man who lit it, cackling evilly as it's hordes devoured painted splotched walls and delapidated wood planking. As soon as the fire had been lit, I had rushed down the rusted ladder, readying myself to face the man head-on. Anything would have been better than burning to death. Not very surprisingly, the man had left, barring the only door behind him. Actually, he had lit the heavy oak door on fire. No, I amended, sniffing the air before falling into another coughing fit, he doused the door in oil, then lit it on fire.
Dropping to my knees, I began to rip off a piece of my shirt to cover my mouth. However, I didn't like to ruin an otherwise perfectly fine shirt, so I just took it off and pressed my mouth to it. That eased the strain of breathing, but as the fire raced up the walls of the building, the heat grew even more intense. Red blisters sprouted on my back, the already dry skin withering under the fiery blaze. A sudden pop sprang from the door, sending shockwaves of pain through my body. I screamed as the flaming door shot fiery hot splinters across me. Curling into a ball, the sand against my face provided some cool relief. Thank goodness they couldn't afford to put in wooden floors. With a derisive snort, I realized that I didn't want to die. It's good to know something is real about myself.
Tilting my head, I gazed between my arms at the smoking door. That fire sure was bright...
"Gah!" I yelled, a small tendril of flame sprouting from my scalp. Quickly, I patted it out with my hands, earning a few more burns. Get a grip!I thought harshly. Just think. If the door is spitting splinters at you, then the door must be smaller now. There is probably a whole now. You can run through. It sounded sane enough in my head, but, when I actually looked at the door, my paranoia rose up again. There was in fact a hole in the door, getting wider by the second.
I don't have to go now. I can wait a little bit. I tried to hold down a real surge of panic. I knew another truth about myself. I was scared of fire. The raging temper of destruction, it repulsed, terrified, and even awed me. There was no way I was going to run through that door. Still crouched in the dirt, I contemplated digging myself into a hole until the fire burned out. I almost started doing it, but, well, then the roof started caving in. So, yeah, I kind of had to make a quick escape. I had no idea what to do. I couldn't face the flaming door, I just couldn't. Yes you can. The calming voice came from deep inside me. I started to protest, trying to drown my inner self in reasoning I didn't really believe, deep down. It cut me off. You can do this. Cast off your outer hindranced and embrace who you really are. Look inside and find inner strength... Okay... Creepy voice telling me to run into the fire. Somehow, I found it comforting. Was this really who I was? There were many things worse than courage. Do you really trust this voice? It all came back to trust. I didn't trust myself, so I made up feelings to hide the real ones. Could I trust this "inner voice"?
The crashing of roof shingles behind me made up my mind. Sending up a quick prayer, I stood slowly. With a gulp, I walked towards the door. The fire seemed to be reaching for me, asking to devour me. With a shake of my head, I took a deep breath, and ran through the door. Wood burned my face as I barrelled through, but I made it, pulling in a deep breath upon reaching fresh air. The next thing I knew, I saw the ground coming up to meet me, and everything went black.

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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:55 pm

My feet started to ache as I ran faster along the road, dragging the limping girl behind me. Suddenly, I saw a huge column of dark gray smoke rising into the air as the brisk, dry wind brought me the scents of an out of control fire. Ahh, fire. For many years, I have harbored the (sometimes insane) desire to burn things to the ground. But that wasn't why I was running so fast. Fire brought life to the early people, but it also brings death. I had no wish to see faces with eyes unseeing, and skin charred black with the white bones showing through. At least, not again. I felt the girl's wrist slipping from my grasp, so I let go with enough suddenness to make her trip. I kept running, however, despite the searing stitch in my side.
One of the old structurally deficient warehouses on the edge of town had inexplicably burst into flames, and had started setting others alight. The creaking and snapping of seasoned timber filled the air, as well as the hissing snapping sound of a fire fueled by the fast hot winds that come every summer. I raised my head and smelled the air, frowning slightly. There was the smell of burning wood, but there was also the faintest trace of oil lingering around the front of the building. But all thoughts rushed from my mind as I saw the form of a black haired teenage boy lying a few yards in front of the heartily burning building.
"Hey! Kid!" I yelled to him, hoping he would respond. He didn't. I cursed silently under my breath as a Large timber thudded into the ground a few yards to my right. Just great, the building was collapsing. I hesitated slightly, then ran toward the boy, dodging burning splinters that were spraying into the air.
"Come on, come on." I muttered to the unconscious boy while pulling his arm around my neck and hauling him away. I felt my muscles earned from years of hefting saddles and tugging on reins tense in preparation of the boy's weight. But really, he wasn't that heavy. Just the weight of a bale of hay, or a silver-clad western saddle. I hurriedly shook myself of these thoughts, and dragged him away.
Just at that moment, he regained consciousness.
"Hey kid, come on get to the forest! The village is on fire!" For now the fire had spread to several different homes, spurred on by the dry fast wind.
The black haired teen struggled out of my arms and took a wobbly step forward.
"Yeah, yeah, you can walk, but lets get out of here! "
Suddenly, before I could stop him, he started sprinting toward the burning building.
"Oi! Idiot! you're going to die!" I shouted after him, too exhausted to run.
"Fine. Be that way." I muttered to myself. But for some inexplicable reason, I didn't want him to die.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:45 pm

I pulled myself up off of the ground, wincing as pain lanced through my injured ankle as I stood back up and gazed after the strange horse girl that had run ahead of me. Suddenly, my whole body tensed as I caught on the wind the scent of ash. I bit back the pain pulsing in my foot and raced towards a column of death-black smoke that was reaching into the sky. When I arrived at the scene of the fire, I quickly took in the situation before me. The building, an old decrepit warehouse, was beyond the point of no return and the flames were spreading quickly due to a sharp wind that had picked up. Several other surrounding buildings were already catching ablaze. Next, I saw the horse-girl and the boy - whom I figured was the thief Master and I were to catch - slowly heading towards the forest. She seemed to be dragging him, and to my surprise he lurched away from her and ran at high speed back to the burning building! I shook my head a little, confused. Why on earth would he go back? Then I remembered that Master had gone after the boy. Thinking that he may be trapped in the building, I ran over to the burnt door of the warehouse. I caught the boy by the shoulder and pulled him back from the burning doorway. "Listen, I don't know who you are or why you steal things, but that doesn't matter right now." I observed his sallow skin color and his heaving chest. "You're obviously not in the best of shapes at the moment...wait here. I need to make sure Master isn't in there, then I'll help you get away from here and to a safe place. If you don't want to wait, at least make your way over to the edge of the forest." From there, I left him at the entrance and prepared myself for the intense heat that was sure to occupy the interior of the burning premise. I speedily charged through the burning wooden doorway and tried to see through the smoke of any sign that Master was still there. Before I could get a thorough look at the room, a large, fire-ridden beam cracked and started descending towards me. Oh no.. I thought to myself. Scrambling backwards, I just managed to escape the building as the huge beam crashed in a firey blaze where I had been standing seconds before. My heart was racing in my chest, and I paused to try and calm down and reassure myself. Well..the best I can do now is hope that Master wasn't in there. He taught me all that I know about navigating in a burning building, as well as nearly all other possible dangerous situations...I'm sure he's alright. The sound of screams from the direction of my home jolted me out of my thoughts. Turning back that direction, I spotted a second plume of dark smoke. "Oh no, no, no. Please no!" I muttered to myself. All thoughts of the boy and the horse-girl and Master forgotten, I ran faster than I had ever run before back to the house. When I arrived, I saw that it had started to burn, and a few people were standing in front of it. Some simply stood there, seemingly paralyzed by the sight of the blazing fire. Others screamed and ran away. Without thinking, I rushed into the door and fumbled through the smoke to my room, tripping several times over my injured foot. I nearly crashed into the small closet that was the sole piece of furniture in my room, unless you counted my bedroll. Flinging it open, I grabbed my most precious possession: my violin in it's old wooden case. I clung it to my chest, pausing for a moment to revel in my relief that it was not burnt. Then, my mind returned to the reality that I was in a burning building fast nearing collapse. I made my way out of the house and back to the place where I had last seen the horse-girl who, to my surprise, was still standing there. The boy was next to her, staring at the burning catastrophe before him. When I joined them at the edge of the vast line of trees, I looked in despair at the boy and the girl and asked, "What on earth is going on here?!"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:17 pm

Deep black. Thick goopy ink swirled around in my head. What was going on? Oh yeah, I fainted. I tried to stand, to see, to hear, to do anything. It was pointless. Somehow the only action I could take was to think. I hate thinking. Okay, I just hate thinking about myself. Not in a conceited way or anything, but in a serious meditative way. It brings back too many memories, and the lack of them. Stop it! I didn't want to start down that path again. Inexplicably, a twisted path appeared, leading into the blackness. I began to move down it, although I had no power over my movement. Suddenly, everything was black again. No, not black. It was that strange voice from deep inside me again. You just are not looking. You need to stop hiding and look for truth. Agony sprang through my head as a memory was dragged before my unwilling eyes:
A young boy sits on the floor, soft fingers burying themselves in the thick rug. There is no sign of hardship on his face, and he laughs in response to a voice. The speaker drew nearer, still speaking unheard words. A peaceful smile plays across the young face, the corners of the mouth arching up, drawing skin tight across high cheekbones. He reaches out of view...
"Gah!" I yell. I know that image. I am grateful it ended where it did. What happens next is too awful...There is a reason I fear fire. The voice comes to me again. You must accept what has happened. Use it to gain strength for the future. Next, laughing flames devoured the scene, leaving me once again in blackness. No,I thought. [/i]It is not black. It is emptiness.[/i] The voice came once again, a wise, old voice. Yes, you are ready now. Come follow me.
A second later, the searing pain of an arm clamped across my back brought me back to reality. Alright, thoughts are reality too, they just aren't the physical reality. Some girl was trying to pull me away from the fire. No! I mentally protested. I had to get to the voice. It would give me my answers. My spinning vision suddenly focused on a surprisingly sharp image in the growing flames. A griffin? Griffins were the symbol of....I shook my head, falling out of the girl's grip. No, think about that later. Some other girl, (wait, the bounty hunter girl who gets hints at the tavern where she plays violin?!) came up and said something, but I wasn't listening. All my attention was focused on the shimmering griffin in the fire. Somehow, he had made it to the treeline, but the fire wasn't any farther away. The griffin sat just under the edge of the flames, beckoning me with a silent urge. When the first girl was distracted by the other one, I dashed after the apparition. It was going to give me answers. After four minutes of chasing it, it finally halted in a side alley, almost entirely engulfed in flames. The fifty feet between us was covered with mud and burning wreckage.
Come to me. What? I must be out of my mind, I thought, before diving headlong into the grime. I had to get the griffin. It could give me answers, and I felt it needed me too. I mean, there's this story and all about griffins...or was that dragons...Crawling on my hands and knees, I crept towards the creature. He was truly beautiful, even through the soot. Falling flat on my face, I narrowly missed being smashed by a falling window sill. Standing up, I sprinted the final distance and halted right in front of the...whoa, wait a minute! That's not a griffin! Standing in it's place was an icy silver dragon with blue accents. For a second, I just stood there, awestruck by his magnificence.
<Nice to meet you too,> he said smugly.
"Hang on. You're a dragon?" I was very confused.
<Yup. Gotcha, didn't I?> he preened, flashing his silver wings to catch the firelight, turning them gold. <Ready to go?>
"Erm, hang on. You're a dragon, you showed my past, you led me into a burning alley, and now you just say ready to go?" I was incredulous, but also intrigued. How could I, muddy, beat-up, run-of-the-mill me, be worthy of a dragon's attention?
<This is hardly the place for discussion,> he pointed out, jumping up to land gracefully on my shoulder. <Let's leave and find the others first, shall we?>
My body went into auto pilot, running back out of town through the chaotic streets. As I neared the end of the road, I could see two faint smudges standing outside the village. Some people survived! Oh yeah , the bounty hunter gal and girl-who-freaked-out-over-table.
<What are their names?>
"Err...I don't know. Why do you care?"
<Well, I was going to go and get them to come help you, because you're going to start hacking up gunk soon.> This dragon was very smug and sure of himself. It was sort of annoying and endearing, but more exasperating. <But you act this way sometimes.>
"Yeah but I only act...Wait! How do you know what I'm thinking?!" I didn't get any further because the predicted coughing fit seized with a vengeance. As I fell to the ground, I heard the dragon laughing.
<Ha ha. This is going to be great fun. I'm really looking forward to this.>
All I could think of was the cool touch of two pairs of hands.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 6:37 pm

I shook my head and blinked a few times, staring again at what I had thought were two people before. Instead, it was just the horse girl, looking at me with a perplexed look on her face. The boy was running towards us. I squinted at him as he drew closer - was he talking to himself? I shook away the thought and observed as he started violently coughing and took to the ground. My forehead creased in concern and I involuntarily let loose a sigh. For some reason, I couldn't seem to stop myself from wanting to help out this boy, despite the fact that I, as a bounty hunter, should only be thinking about catching him. I placed my hands on my hips and turned to face the girl beside me and said, "Shall we help him into the shade, away from the smoke? If he continues coughing like this, his lungs might give out."
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:18 pm

Idiot. That was the only word I could come up with to describe the boy. I sighed, and answered the girl.
"Yeah, I guess we had better save his worthless carcass." I really had no idea why I was helping him. He was just some guy I had just met. Ouch, that sound way too much like a random chick-flick for my liking.
"You get his feet." I quickly grasped him under his arms and started walking backward toward the forest. I quickly grabbed my water canteen and upended it over his face.
"Gaah!" he spluttered.
"Wow. You look horrible." It was true. He looked like a lumpy mud cake smeared with ash and lightly toasted.
"Thanks." The boy said, giving me a slight glare.
"We should probably get him washed of." The weird annoying man's girl looked slightly concerned.
"Yeah." I said, looking at her. She obviously came from the inner-city with that well-fed look. But she wasn't fat, nor was she an anorexic twig like all the others around her. she was short, too. Actually, both of them were shorter than me. But the girl was shorter. Her hair was a wavy brown, with forest green eyes.
"What?" she asked, looking confused at why I was staring at her.
"Nothing. What is your name?"
She blinked, then replied "Aithne. What's yours?"
"Kanna." We just stood there, looking at each other, until a voice spoke from the forest floor near our feet.
"I'm Pascal." Oh yeah, him.
"Look, Idiot-boy, do you know how stupid that little stunt you pulled was? How honestly stupid that was? You would have died if I didn't save you!" I glared at him, angry for once in my life. And he had the audacity to look completely dead-pan about it! I opened my mouth to yell at him again, but something stopped me.
The crashing, hissing and crackling of buildings falling and bursting into flames were not loud enough to cover the screams that rent the air.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 7:46 pm

I had been observing the girl, Kanna - goodness was she tall! - when both of our attentions were drawn back to the town. My eyes widened when I realized that the entire village was on fire, people included! The air was thick and heavy, and the screams of people burning penetrated the air. For a moment I didn't realize why people were screaming, why they weren't just running away to avoid burning. Then I realized that all of the people had gone back into their houses to get their belongings and had been trapped by the buildings collapsing around them, drowning them in oceans of flame. I struggled to speak, and finally only managed to croak out, "This is very bad..." I looked up at Kanna, indecision wracking my conscience. "What should we do? We can still save some people!" I exclaimed. Looking down at the barely conscious boy she was holding, I added, "But not if..." my voice trailed off at the thought of having to chose between his life and others. Looking back at the burning village and hearing those terrible, terrible screams...then looking back at the boy...I shook my head and made up my mind before waiting for an answer. Saving his life was something we could do, but going back into the fire was risking his life and it wasn't guaranteed that we could save anyone else. When it came down to it, I chose one sure life saved over one or two not likely salvaged. Still holding my violin case close to me, I took a limping step into the forest, refusing to look back up at the burning city, trying to dim the sound of the screams, but knowing that they would haunt my sleep for years to come.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Wed Aug 08, 2012 8:32 pm

<Are you going to say something?> asked the cocky dragon who had taken up residence on my shoulder. Huh, what?
His claw tapped my shoulder, and I winced as they touched an exposed burn. <The bounty hunter girl and the girl-who-freaked-out-over-table are helping you, not going back into the village and trying to help the others. You should say something.>
"How do you read my thoughts?" I practically yelled at him.
"Are you talking to me?" the tall girl asked, looking concerned.
<Better explain this one.> Smug dragon. I hope he gets more tolerable.
I sighed. "No, I'm not. I'm talking to a small obnoxious dragon on my shoulder who says he is going to be spending just about the rest of my life with me." She, oh right, uh...Kanna, and er...Aithne both turned to stare at me like I was insane. They glanced at one another as if to say, how long are we stuck with this nut-case? I guess my looks didn't help much. Half my skin burned up, and the other half covered in mud...I reached my hand up to explore my head, and I came upon some more burns and mud, mixed with blood and a very small bit of singed hair on one side. I guess I did look kind of loony. Konna came closer with a concerned look.
"Dragon? Are you sure? Where is it now?" Her voice was the kind nurses use to humor whining toddlers. My frustration burst over.
"First of all, it's not and "it", it's he. And he's right here on my shoulder." Seriously, how blind could people get?
Konna's eyes widened. "Oi, how'd he get there?" Then, "Hey pretty thing. What's your name?" She turned back to me. "Can he talk?" she asked, grey eyes shining.
<Of course,> the dragon snorted, sending out a plume of flame, catching Aithne's attention.
"Whoa, a dragon? Awesome! That could fetch a lot of money..."
<Careful, don't blow up in a fake rage...> he told me, as I grew extremely angry for the sake of being mad. I wasn't sure what to feel, so I just subsided into mediocrity again. Still, how could you even think of selling him? Turning to him, I asked, "So, what is your name?"
Smugly, he informed me, <My name is very familiar to you. I am Venser.>
Stunned, I stared at Venser for a long time. It couldn't be! But, how...?
"Well?" Kanna prompted.
"What?" I returned, startled, and on the defensive.
"Oh," she seemed slightly miffed. "I was wondering what his name was?"
"Didn't you hear him?" I asked, mystified.
"No..."
"His name is Venser." I turned to him. "We'll talk about this later, meaning his mode of communication.
<If we must,> he said, extremely resignedly.
Aithne snapped Kanna and I out of our contemplations of Venser. "Well, this is all fine and dandy, but we really should be going now."
Sitting up, I tried to stand, but fell, sadly, on my burned back. "I'd love to comply," I returned sarcastically.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Thu Aug 09, 2012 1:48 am

That ends chapter I. The next one begins chapter II. Big Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:36 am

"Well, gee, I wish I could help," Aithne and Konna replied simultaneously, Aithne in a mocking tone, and Konna with genuine concern. Aithne sat down with a smirk on her face. "If you're gonna help him," she pointed an acusing finger at me, "then you can deal with my ankle too."
Now, this was slightly humiliating. She was mocking me! I shrugged it off. Eh, who cares. I lay back on the grass, trying to refrain from tensing up. Oh, I will never run into a burning building again!
<You won't have to,> Venser commented dryly. <I am all that you will need in life.>
Oh, really...
<Yes,> came the smug reply. Looking over at Aithne, I saw her playing the violin? Seeing my astounded look, she smiled amusedly. "I'm just making sure it didn't get damaged in the fire. Since I can't go anywhere, I might as well do this." She then set about giving the violin a vigorous tuning. Kanna seemed uninclined to talk, so I tried to keep up conversation with Aithne.
"So, the bow is made of horse hair, right?"
"The horses!" With that, Kanna ran towards a burning barn.
Groaning, I flipped onto my stomach and began to crawl after her.
"Where do you think you're going?" Aithne bellowed in my ear. "She can survive a fire. You can't." With that, she sat on my legs, keeping me in place. "It's not worth it..." I gasped. "The horses, they're not worth it." All this death is awful. Still, a couple dead horses is better than another dead person.
<I'm sure the horses appreciate your concern,> Venser stated, more sarcastically than ever.
<Just be quiet!>I snapped, aiming the thought at Venser. Immediately, I felt a shiver run through me, and Venser chuckled.
<You are quick. Good job on learning Soulspeech.>
<What?> It was easier this time, and the shiver was less severe.
He flew over my head to land right in front of me, displaying his characteristic smirk. <You're smart. Figure it out for yourself. Now try this...> He sent me an image of a flowing river, complete with mist and splashing sounds.
<Great, now I'm thirsty.> Tilting my head, I looked up at Aithne. "Suppose we go find some water and wash up a bit. I'm slightly more than parched at the moment."
"Okay." She got off my legs, and I began crawling towards the forest. There was a river about a mile in...
"Hey, the closest river's to the south," She pointed over some flat grasses. "It's small, so it's hard to see, even though it's only twenty yards away." I greatfully adjusted my course.
"Thanks says the inchworm. Should we leave a trail for Kanna?"
She shook her head. "We're close enough. We'll see each other."
I shrugged. "Fine. I just hope this river comes up soon--" Of course, I chose that moment to fall off a three foot bank into a slow-running creek. "Ow, oh....oh...ah...It feels so good, yet hurts so bad." I sat in the shallow water, letting the soothing water trickle across my skin. Aithne made some noises.
"Yeah?"
"Well, there's a bend in the river right here, so...I'm going to wash up over there so...you stay here okay?" She seemed unused to sharing streams as bathtubs.
"Okay, sure." As she limped off, I suddenly shouted, "Wait! Do you have a knife I can borrow?" She came over, handed a small dagger to me, and left again. "Thanks."
Stabbing the knife into the muddy bank, I took a breath, and put my head underwater, the cool waves breaking down the gunk. Rubbing with my hands, I gradually got rid of all the mud and soot, leaving me with burns, hair, and burnt hair. Hence the knife. My arms screamed as I lifted the knife up to my head, so I gave up. There was no way this was going to work.
"Need some help?" Of course Aithne had to come back now.

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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:45 am

Why wasn't I frolicking in the water with Pascal? Well, let's just say I'm not fond of water. Not many Soulcreatures are, including some fish. Oh well. I just stayed where Kanna had left us. I knew where Pascal was. Now that we had Bonded, I would always know. I smirked. He was entertaining. It's fun to have someone to bother all the time.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Fri Aug 10, 2012 10:32 pm

This place was creepy. Normally, only a few Souls lived in any single area. They tended to mourn briefly, then move on rather quickly. The place beyon really doesn't seem too bad, but what would I know? Hovering in the air, the figures of hundreds of past Soulbonds flooded my Sight. This place must have a story Soulbonds don't just drop down dead in groups. Reaching out, I felt Pascal doing something in the water. Ugh, water. Awful wet slimy stuff that dampens the Soul, creating a greater connection to the Physical realm. Seeing he needed no attention, I glided over to the nearest Soulbond, a horse.
<Greetings.> The horse raised his head, black pools gazing up at me from a silvery body.
<Greetings.> He seemed slightly startled. <It has been many years since a Soulcreature has last wandered here...> He sighed, sending ripples through his image.
Perturbed, I strove to correct him. <Actually, I'm a Soulbond now, not jus a Soulcreature...>
<Ah, yes, many pardons. You are just so young that I could not identify the markings.> He looked mournful. <I suppose you aren't here to hear a story after all?>
Story? Of...how they all died? < I would love to,> I answered emphatically. <Is it especially exciting?>
<Of course!> he snorted. <It had better be "exciting". We all died for it you know.> He beckoned me closer with a shake of his head, tossig silver mane to one side. <I will show it to you.>
<How?>
<Using thoughts of course. It is very efficient, and an easy tecnique to master. I believe you have sent an image yourself once.>
<Er, yes.>
<Well, then, get ready.> All at once the world spun, and I was dragged to another era...


"Hail, Valdor."
"Hail, Venser," came the cheerful reply. The two men laughed then hugged. Their embrace tightened momentarily, squeezing leather armor. "It's been a long time brother."
Valdor opened his mouth. "Yes, it certainly has..." A piercing whistle broke off his comment. With another glance at each other, the brothers followed thirty other people towards a central stage. The crowd had a varied appearance, some wearing war garb, others in the robes of monks. Still others had horns, tails, and other creaturlike characteristics on otherwise human bodies. A silvery form sat about each person, identifying the crowd as a gathering of Soulbonders. They all sat, watching the tent. Noises came from inside, keeping the crowd from leaving..
"This is taking too long."
"Hush, Venser. You are too impatient." Valdor lightly chided.
"Huh, I think this is all a hoax," Venser protested. "We were all brought by mysterious summons, all of us Soulbonders...for all we know, the only remaining Soulbonders."
"This man promises to give us knew strength. You know our power is failing."
"Is this our fault? Maybe there is some other cause...."
Valdor glanced harshly at Venser. "Quiet! I know you dislike this, but it is necessary. We must try and restore the Soulbonds to what they were."
Venser rolled his eyes, kicking the ground. "Hey! There's a rope here." He tried to pull it out of the ground.
Seconds later, a large net sprang from the ground, enveloping all of the Soulbonders.
"I told you something was up!" Venser quipped as he sawed at the thick rope with badger claws...

Whoa, that was weird...
<Hang on!> I yelled at the horse. There's more right?
<My time is over, and I pass on. Find another to continue the tale...> The horse then had the nerve to disappear, infuriatingly enough, in the middle of a story!
He could have at least given a recommendation, I grumbled. Glancing around, I glided over to a silver Soulbond badger.
<Hello, my name is Venser and -->
The badger looked up with piercing eyes. <Venser? How unfortunate. My life did not bring much luck to the name. I pity you.>
<Wait, you're from the story the horse was telling me.> Why was I named after another Soulbonder?
<Ah, he has told you then?>
<Erm, no, he didn't finish. YOu are all currently in a big net.>
<I guess I must finish his work then.> I was once again launched into a pool of blackness.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 12:20 pm

It's really weird, getting these story-images.

"I told you something was up," Venser informed Valdor lightly, as he briskly shredded a human sized hole in the net.
"Yes, I realize that," Valdor grumbled, fighting chagrin with scorn. He gestured at the hole. "Since we're one of the last ones in the net, shouldn't we get out now?"
Venser mock bowed. "After you." Making a face, Valdor slid out of the net. Venser remained inside, helping other Soulbonds out. He seemed to talk to himself at points, like he was arguing with himself. "No, I'm not sure. Yes. No. No. Gah! Just let me get everyone out of the net. How could that be a bad thing?"
Just as Venser was himself exiting the mass of cords, someone yelled, "There's a flood coming!" Insantly, Venser began transforming into a massive badger, to dig a hole to hide from the flood. All around, the Souldbonders began merging with their Soulcreatures, and their were soon many different animals tensed and waiting for the water. As the water crashed over them, Venser spotted red uniforms dotting the ridge. It's all a trap! The net, the water. Everyone knows spirits are weakened by water. Vainly, he struggled to separate his physical entity from his Soulcreature, but it was no use. The last thing he knew was a thundering wave of water.

Shaking my head, I shuddered. How awful, to die a physical death. Hopefully, I would never have to go through that, but Pascal...I'll deal with that later. I glanced down at the badger again. Thankfully, he hadn't disappeared like the horse.
<So, you were all tricked?> I prodded.
<Yes,> came the melancholy reply. <We were lured by crown "sorcerers" to our doom. We all came, because we felt our power was failing. I was the only one who thought the cause lay inside ourselves, and the others were too prideful to listen. The net was to distract us and make us connect with our Soulcreatures. The water then drowned us all because spirits are weighed down by water, giving them physical essence.> He looked keenly at me. <I'm sure you have felt this aversion yourself.>
I nodded. <But the plan didn't work. Some Soulbonds didn't die. All of them didn't come.>
He looked mildly surprised. <Oh, really? What makes you think that?>
<I am a Soulcreature, and my Soulbonder had to come from somewhere. All the other Soulbonders couldn't have died.>
Venser the badger form chuckled, and his image began to fade. <How little you know. Farewell little dragon. I will wait for you in the heavenly realms.>
How infuriating! These Spirits seemed to just disappear when they had something good to tell. I didn't even know what crown sorcerers were. Would they now try to get Pascal? Thinking of him, I centered in on his emotions. For some reason, he was extremely embarrassed. Hah I snorted. What'd he do now? While I could feel everything he thought, he was not yet adept enough to pick up all of my thoughts. In the massacre, they transformed into animals...could Pascal do that? I shuddered, as more emotions wafted from Pascal. What is going on over there?. However, I was more reluctant than ever to venture near the river.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:52 pm

I looked skeptically at Pascale as he attempted for the third time to cut out the burnt strands of hair. And for the third time, failing to even lift his arm. Poor guy. Not waiting for him to deny my help again, I seized the knife and deftly sliced out the charred hair, ignoring his look of indignation. His face quickly took on rosy features of embarrassment, I assume at having to be assisted to cut his own hair. After asking him if he needed help exiting the river and drying off, which he swiftly denied, I slowly retreated back to where I had left my violin. Not having anything to dry myself with, I chose to sit on a rock in the sun and contemplate what all had occurred that day. I had been tempted to chase after Kanna earlier, but I couldn't deny that horses were essential if she could manage to save a few of them. It would take a day or two for my ankle to be back to normal condition, and there was no way Pascale could travel in his state. I would have worried about her in the burning barn, but she was rather fit looking, so I had little doubt that she could handle herself. The fire...my mood turned darker as I tried to work out what all had happened. What could have started it? Where had Master Vakrom disappeared to? An answer had wormed its way into my mind, but I didn't want to believe it. Despite this, the more I thought about it, the more true it seemed, until I was certain of it, and all the more dreading what it could mean. Master lit the fire! All of those people dying...My mind was sent back to that time, long ago. In a different village, far away. Before bounty hunting. Before Master. Before the pain and suffering that raked my heart on a daily basis.

It was a bright, sunny spring day. A few puffy white clouds embraced the crisp blue sky. Dew shimmered on the healthy green grass, and birds sang cheerful songs. A very small village was nestled here, made up only of a handful of houses, one general store, and a stable that housed only two horses. A young girl, only six years of age, beamed up at her father and mother, having just convinced them to come with her to go pick strawberries by the river that flowed a half mile from the village. They had been reluctant, since it was their turn to be on guard of the village, but what could possibly go wrong on such a nice day as this? So they consented to go with their young daughter, Aithne, and told their older daughter to keep watch in their stead. The girls' mother put her hands on her older daughter's shoulders and told her, "Now Zerai, this is a very important job your father and I are giving you. If you see anything suspicious, tell Drake, the general good's store manager. But I doubt there will be anything suspicious, so don't worry! You'll be just fine." Zerai, a moody sixteen year old, shrugged off her mother's kind hands. "Whatever.." she mumbled as she stalked off towards the general goods store, where she would climb the roof to observe the surroundings. Her mother sighed and mumbled something about, "She's just in those teenage years." to her husband. They each took one of Aithne's hands and headed out to the river. They picked a whole basket full of ripe, delicious looking strawberries, which the small Aithne was so proud of. She had never been aloud out of the village before, so it was all a grand adventure to her. With a smile that lit up her whole face, she looked up at her parents and exclaimed excitedly, "Look mama, papa! We have so many strawberries! We can share with the whooole village!" Her dad smiled and replied, "That we can!" He then picked her up and placed her on his shoulders. Her mother laughed and picked up their basket of strawberries, and the three started the walk back to the village. They were all smiling and laughing, and it was the happiest place in the world. Until they returned to the village.

I screwed my eyes shut, forcing the tears to stay in. I didn't want to think about what had happened next. I sorrowfully glanced at my violin, and more memories flooded my mind before I could stop them.

Aithne's father noticed upon their return that it was quiet in the village. Too quiet. No birds chirped, none of the horses neighed, and the clouds were darkening. There was not a voice to be heard, and no one was outside. He slowly took Aithne off of his shoulder's and set her down by his wife's side, shooting her a warning glance. He silently told her with his eyes to stay back, and she nodded. She had noticed it too. Aithne looked up at her parent's suddenly serious expressions and confusedly asked, "Mama? Papa? What's wrong?" She looked around and noticed a ruffled lump of blue and red on the ground several yards away. Before her mother could stop her, she trotted over to it to discover a dead blue bird, it's feathers stained red with blood welling from two large holes in its side. Tears welled up in her eyes as she turned to look up at her mother, who had chased after her. "Mama...the birdie.." Her mother did not respond, except to clutch her daughter tight to her side. A strangled shout came from behind them. They whipped around to see Aithne's father being constricted by...something. As far as they could see, there was nothing there. He was suspended in the air, and clearly struggling and in pain. Aithne's mother, Rose, shrieked and took a step towards her husband, but he managed to scream, "NO! Don't come closer! Stay away!" She freezed in her tracks and watched in horror as huge holes appeared in his arm, then in his side. Bite marks, like those of a snake. But huge. A man dressed all in black, with a hood that concealed his face, stepped out from behind a building. With a slithery voice, he addressed Rose and Aithne. "Good evening...I see you have arrived from your little venture into the woods. A pity, really. If you had been here, you might have been able to warn your townspeople about their incoming doom! Ah, I see you are confused. I'd like to introduce you to my companion, Xan. At those words, a ginormous snake was visible to Rose and Aithen. It was twenty feet in length and three feet in width. It's huge head swiveled away from its prey, Aithne's father, to look straight at Rose. The mysterious man turned his attention to the snake, Xan, and said, "Now! Finish off the man, then the woman! But leave the girl..." Aithne did not see what happened next, because her mother had pressed her face against her skirts. But Aithne heard the scream of her father, cut off, and an anguished cry continued by her mother, who's legs collapsed as she trembled with heaving sobs. In her sorrow, she let go of Aithne and fell to the ground, paralyzed with grief. Aithne, her eyes wide with panic and her face stained with tears, scrambled away from her mother, running to her father's side. She cried more when she saw him, and was sad and confused. He was like the bird. But it wasn't a bird. It was her father. From where she stood, she could see into the stables. The horses, too, were like the bird. And the stable boy. She ran into the center of town. All of the doors to the houses were open, and just inside were all of their residents. All of them were also like the bird. She didn't see her sister, but she came to think that everyone she knew was dead. She heard her mother whimper and turned to see her be bitten repeatedly by the giant snake, then lay still and lifeless on the ground like everyone else in the village. The man and his snake turned to her. This was more than a lot for the small, underdeveloped mind of a six year old girl who had never seen death before. This was more than that mind could handle. So when it came to fight or flight, this little mind ran. Aithne took one last look at the man who had taken everything from her and ran. She ran into the forest, branches of trees scratching her face and arms. She stumbled over rocks and large sticks, but she kept running and she didn't stop. Adrenaline was pumping through her veins, and she ran until she simply couldn't run anymore. It was dark when that time came. And wet. It had started to rain. She tripped over something yet again, this time falling flat on her face. Almost immediately upon hitting the ground, she lost consciousness.
Aithne awoke inside of a wooden house on a hide bedroll. The first thing she saw was her mother's violin. She bolted up and out of the blankets, panicked and not knowing where she was, where her mama and papa were. Then everything that had happened the previous night came back to her, and she plopped down on the floor and cried. A middle-aged man stepped into the room, and she backed up into a corner, afraid. He bent down with a sympathetic look on his face, and said softly, "It's alright, little girl. I found you and saved you out in the woods. Quite the tragedy that happened at your village...I followed your trail and discovered what had happened there....quite the tragedy indeed. This violin was the only thing there left undestroyed, so I salvaged it...does it mean anything to you?" Aithne, in her six year old mind, felt like she could trust this man. He had saved her and her mother's violin, after all. She nodded and sniffed, fat tears still rolling down her cheeks. "Ah there now...let me get you something to eat and drink. Follow me." He took her hand and led her to a table, where she sat down. He made her a meal of beans and chicken, along with some warm milk. She ate ravenously, and down the milk. The man chuckled and said, "My, how you can eat! And run, apparently. You traveled quite the distance in one night! My name is Vakrom. I am the bounty hunter in this village. I do happen to be looking for an apprentice....but I am a strict teacher. Would you perhaps like to learn under me as a bounty hunter?" Aithne looked at him, confused. "Bounty hunter? What is that?" She asked quietly. He replied, "It is a person who finds and captures bad guys." Little Aithne thought about it, and something clicked in her mind. A bad guy killed her family. She put a determined look on her face and sniffed, for she had started crying again. She managed to mumble out, "I'll do it!" And thus, Vakrom became Master, and Aithne was raised by him and learned the ways of a bounty hunter.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 2:57 pm

My stream of memories was interrupted by the sound of my name being called. I opened my eyes to see Pascale sitting on the ground before me, a worried but cynical look on his face. "What are you crying about?" I realized that I was, indeed, crying and quickly rubbed my eyes on my now dry arm, clearing away the tears. "Nothing." I mumbled as I looked away, ashamed. He stared at me, his eyes narrowed, then shrugged and looked away. A minute of silence passed, and I was getting bored of doing nothing. Shaking my head to clear it of any clinging dark thoughts, I stood carefully and limped towards the direction Kanna had run off to, watching to see if she was returning.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:19 pm

I knew she was lying. You didn't just start weeping randomly in the midddle of a field. After feeling thoroughly humiliated at the river, I wasn't really in much of a mood for conversation anyways. When she got up and limped away, I just watched her go, sitting silently on the ground. You could have helped. The words reminded me of Venser, but I knew they came from myself. I'm so used to carrying the burden of my secrets that it's hard to imagine anyone else having to deal with the same thing. That was why I didn't press for answers. I already knew.
<Venser?> I called timidly.
<Who else?> came the sarcastic reply, yet unusually mellowed.
<Are you alright?> I asked, intrigued by his strange mood.
<Yes. I'll tell you later.> Enthusiasm edged back into his voice. <There's something I want to try. It involves both of us. You wanted to ask something?>
<Yes. Should I tell them?>
I know he understood my full intent. <Is it really something that applies to our current situation?>
<Not really...>
<Then don't,> was the curt reply. I felt slightly wounded and retreated from the conversation. <Listen, Pascal,> came a softer voice. <There will be a time for it, just not now.>
I plucked idly at the grass. <Okay,> I sighed, feeling a little relieved. I'm used to my secrets.
<You could tell them what the man said to you.>
I felt electrified. <Yeah!> But Aithne was close to the man... <Alright, but I hope she won't take it too hard.>
Another snort. <She already suspects.> I closed my eyes, mentally preparing myself to crawl after a limping girl into a burning barnyard. When I opened them, Venser was sitting on my chest. He cocked his head. <Let's be off then.>
<Easy for you to say,> I muttered. <I can't fly.>

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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 4:40 pm

Silly boy, I chuckled inwardly. Pascal must have caught the drift of my thought because he glared up at me. Why would he want to tell them that? Stretching my wings, I lay down on his heaving chest. He sure as tormented, both physically and mentally. The demons of the past were really having fun with his mind right now. There would be a time to tell Aithne and Kanna, but not now. They would dismiss it as irrelevant in a crisis, or just be repulsed. Kanna wouldn't think twice, but Aithne...well, she was well travelled, and she may have heard the Legend of the Griffin. That could prove disastrous in her current state of turmoil.
<I'm gonna get up now,> Pascal informed me. I didn't move as his chest muscles shifted under me, and he tried to sit up. Grunting, he fell back down, his head missing hitting a protruding rock by and inch.
<Roll onto your stomach,> I advised, hopping into the air. <It'll be easier.>
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