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 Soulbond: The Beginning

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MoonShadow5
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:26 pm

I was sitting on a log several meters from where the forest opened up to the village, waiting for Kanna and her horses. My mind was a turmoil of contradictions. First off, the ordeal with Master. Part of me...no, most of me, still trusted him as my teacher and caretaker, not to mention the one who saved me, took me in, and even gave me my mother's old violin, which I learned to play very well and which I treasured greatly. But at the same time, I knew that he had been the one to light the fire. What I couldn't figure out was why? I tried to consider everything I knew about Master Vakrom. This is all I could come up with:
- He is very knowledgeable about tracking anything, especially people.
- He is a talented fighter, and teacher.
- He is strict in his teaching, and doesn't do well with mistakes or disobedience.
- He is very fond of fire.
- He doesn't talk about himself or his past.

I realized that everything I knew about him I knew from experience, not from anything he had told me. And I also realized that that did not amount to very much. But the fact that he was fond of fire solidified my theory that he was the arson. Fire was a daily routine, no matter what it was he was teaching me. He taught me how to light a fire with almost anything, how to navigate in any terrain that would be on fire, what to do for fire injuries, and different kinds of fire. I focused now on what he had taught me, and recalled the flames and the smoke. My suspicion was solidified when I came to the conclusion that it was, indeed, a gas fire. Someone, Vakrom or not, lit that fire. And Vakrom is the only person I know able to create such a fire that it would destroy the entire village. I remembered Pascale and his terrible burns, and immediately felt guilt. I should have been treating his burns instead of just sitting here! Oh well...I'll head back and do it now. Better late than never. Standing up, I limped back the way I had come, keeping a sharp eye out for any of the plants that treat burns. Seeing nothing, I sighed in frustration. Then, I slapped myself in the forehead for my stupidity. I had aloe leaves in the lining of my jacket! Master always made me be sure to have plenty of aloe vera leaves on my person "just in case". I limped back and found Pascale flopping around on the floor, with Venser watching with a smug, amused look on his face. He looked up at me with clear relief on his face and exclaimed, "Oh good...now I don't have to crawl and find you."
I chuckled and knelt down next to him. "Good for both of us. Lay down flat, I'll treat your burns. It's better that you don't have extra scrapes from trying to come find me." He did so, and I carefully retrieved a few aloe leaves from the lining of my jacket. With the knife, I split them open and scraped out the inner jell with my finger. As gently as I could, I applied the cool jell to Pascale's more major burns before moving on to the smaller ones. As soon as the aloe was applied, he sighed and relaxed all of his muscles, surrendering to the relief from the burning pain. When I was done, I placed the remaining leaves in my pocket. I would need to find a needle of some sort before putting them back into the lining of my jacket, so my pocket would have to suffice for now.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:00 pm

Resourceful, I mused.
<Glad to see you looking better.> A slight chuckle entered my voice, and Pascal squinted suspiciously. <Now you are burnt, puffy, and slimy!> On the last word I broke into all out laughter, rocking back and forth as I wheezed. Aithne glanced at me uneasily, but Pascal just glared.
<Oh, ha ha, very funny.>
I gradually stopped laughing, although a wide smirk remained on my face, revealing pointy teeth. <You know, I do happen to have a craving for aloe...>


"What? No! Venser!" If I could have moved, I would have smacked my forehead. The small silvery, smirking animal had jumped on me and started licking the aloe off my forehead. Maybe smacking my forehead wouldn't have been such a good idea.
<Mmmm. Tasty. I haven't had aloe in ages.> He continued to bathe my head with his obnoxiously long tongue.
Aithne came closer, hand hovering protectively over her pocket of aloe leaves. "He likes to eat aloe?" Her eyes narrowed. "What kind of dragon eats leaves?"
<I do,> Venser retorted smugly, but of course, I was the only one who heard him.
"Do you have any other way of talking, or am I going to have to tell everyone what you say?" I said in exasperation.
Aithne seemed intrigued. "He's talking to you?"
"Yeah, he sort of speaks in my head, and I can talk back to him, if I sort of direct my thoughts at him. He pretty much knows everything I think though." I mock glared at the preening dragon, now licking my ribs. "Hey, that tickles."
"You're ticklish?" Aithne had a strange look on her face. Gah, why'd I say that? Now I'm going to die by tickling.
"Erm...uh.....yeah..."
She burst out laughing as sweat trickled down my face. "You look so panicked. I'm not going to tickle you....yet."
"Alright, how about we make a deal. Venser, you stop licking me if Aithne gives you a leaf, and I'll give Aithne a needle and thread if she promises not to tickle me."
Venser launched himself on Aithne, who batted him aside with a deft swipe. <Gimme!>
"Whoa, so enthusiastic." She brought out a single leaf, which Venser instantly devoured. She turned her gaze on me. "Where's this thread?"
I tried to sit up again, to retrieve it, but she pushed me back down. "No, I'll get it. I assume it's in your boots somewhere." Closing my eyes, I muttered, "Yeah."
With a firm grip, she grabbed my boots and pulled them off. "These things are heavy! What do you keep in here?"
I smirked. "Everything."

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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 8:27 pm

Mmm...crunchy aloe... It's so soothing to eat, and the aftertaste leaves absolutely nothing to be desired. Nothing! I am a dragon, but, still, dragons can appreciate the more delicate flavors of nature. I licked my teeth, cleaning out the last little bits of green. Disgustingly enough, some of it was tainted by the sweat from Aithne's hand. Eugh...nasty. Way too much salt. It sure is a good thing that humans don't wash themselves, like cats. They would die from sodium overdosage. Although, bathing in water doesn't seem to appealing either. Hah! Spiritcreatures don't have to bathe!
Pascal's eyes flickered. <Did you say something?>
<No.> I was slightly embarrassed that he may have picked up on the debate inside my head. Only I should be able to read his every thought and whim. Suddenly feeling fatigued, I glided back onto Pascal's chest and splayed my wings. He was awfully warm, but the breathing was better. As I drifted off, I could hear Aithne rummaging through some boots. They must smell awful...
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:33 pm

"Balooga balooga, baloo-ooga!" I opened my eyes and jumped as everything was some shade of neon green. Flapping my wings, I propelled myself high into a minty sky infested with sparkly clouds. No, the clouds were filled with shiny golden chickens! They were shouting, "Balooga balooga!" Suddenly, the world flashed red, and everything was sucked into a purple and black zebra striped vortex. Noo! I don't want to die! Pascal, where was he? Just as I thought it, a giant aloe plant with Pascal's head sprouted from the walls of the vortex, chanting, "Balooga balooga!" I tried to talk to him, but a lighning bolt struck my nose, making a bunch of poppies sprout from my snout. They barked like puppies and started growing fur. I sneezed, and the whole vortes jumped off the ground and into the spirit plane. Silver figures darted around yelling, "Balooga balooga!" I tried to say something, but I couldn't, and the words balooga grew bigger and bigger, then...!

I awoke with a start. Everything was normal. Whew! Only asleep for five seconds, I yawned, already drifting off again, and such a random dream...
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 9:48 pm

Dragons... I thought with exasperation. Of course Venser just had to have a craving for aloe, the one resource we need that we actually have. I sighed to myself. He's probably going to have aloe induced crazy dreams or something. Looking over at Pascal, I smirked, remembering the fact that he was ticklish. I would have some fun with that, but not now...I'd at least give him the courtesy of waiting for his burns to heal. Redirecting my attention to the old, smelly boots before me, I started to empty their contents. It was mostly full of random things that had to meaning to me, but could be sold for a small amount. It's probably all stolen, but eh...I don't think the bounty means much, now that the town is burnt to the ground. I finally found the needle and thread, and replaced all of the other small items back into the boots. Sitting down next to Pascal, I took off my jacket and set to work. It only took me a few minutes to re-do the threading of my jacket lining, and I carefully replaced all of the remaining aloe leaves. I looked over at Pascal and tried to make minor conversation. "So...quite the stash you've got there huh?"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sat Aug 11, 2012 11:17 pm

Is this a trick question? Most of the stuff she saw is junk. Inside, I started freaking out. She can't find it. I have to get them back before she finds it... Something about my expression gave me away, my slightly veiled eyes, my nervous habit of runnin my hand through my hair (although, at the moment, it basically amounted to rubbing my head), my hesitation.
She narrowed her eyes playfully. "You're not telling me something."
I feigned nonchalance. "What? That the boots are junk?"
She smiled wickedly. "Well then, you won't miss them when they're burned."
I gulped. "Go ahead," I challenged, cursing immediately afterwards. It was so obviously a lie. I was too agressive. I stretched out a hand. "Fine, theirs some stuff you missed. All the stuff you saw is just odds and ends I didn't know what to do with."
"No, I think I'll hang on to these," she said slyly. "You'd better tell me how to find the good part."
I sighed, closing my eyes. So it comes to this, my secrets to be shared after all. "Okay, insert the bent horse shoe into the cleft to the left of the seventh bump down on the outer edge of the left boot." With wary eyes, she did so. I could tell she had successfully opened the compartment because I saw the wonder in her green eyes. The pure excitement was quickly veiled by suspicion. I sighed again, mentally preparing myself for the story I had to tell.
"What is this?" Aithne gasped.
"Which one?"
"Any of them! Here in my hand I am holding two gold signet rings of ancient lineage and a ruby worth more than all of this village put together, before it burned." She looked sharply at me, with an eager glance. Sitting next to my head, she focused intently on my face. "You have some explaining to do, Lord Venser d'Artagne et Konninger." How did she know the signets? She must have spent some time at court... Annoyance blossomed in my chest. Why should I have to explain all of this? If I wanted to forget itall, why couldn't I ?
"First of all, I am not a lord. I-I could have been, but..." I scowled at Aithne. "Why should I tell you?," I demanded. "I didn't ask for any of it to happen, I didn't want this." Unbidden, tears began to stream down my face. "I would not have chosen to be Venser Pascal Chaldor d'Artagne et Konninger for anything." I spat out the name spitefully. I glared at the sky. "I've chosen my own path now."
Memories flooded back, streaming faster than the tears on my face as I wept over past wounds.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 12:01 am

I had been planning on forcing Pascal - or should I say, Lord Venser d'Artagne et Konninger - to spit out why he was a street thief instead of in court and who he really is and just..what was going on...but when I saw the tortured look on his face, I changed my mind. I of all people knew what it was like to have a dark past, including things that I didn't want to share with people. Things happened to me that I didn't chose, or want to happen. I could understand that. But still... the Lord Venser! I wouldn't force him, but I would certainly not keep him from telling me the truth of what his past was either. I couldn't help but be rather curious about it all. I sighed and softened my expressions. "Alright, good point. You don't have to tell me...though I do admit I'm extremely curious. I know you probably won't believe me when I say this, but I'm the last person who would rat you out about...who you are."
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 1:02 am

Why? Why? WHY? I knew why she was asking. I just didn't know why I should tell. Or why I should believe her. It always comes down to trust... The little demon doubt crept back into my mind. You can't trust her. You've never trusted anyone. You can't do it. You aren't strong enough. No! I could do this. Venser said there would be a time for me to tell. He also said I had strength, and I needed to trust. This seemed like a good time to do it. Good thing he's asleep. I could never do this with a smirking dragon leering in my face ready to deliver snide comments.
Taking a deep breath, I wiped the moisture from my face and tilted my head to look Aithne right in the eye. "Promise not to tell?" Good, my voice didn't crack. She nodded solemnly, although the fire of excitement remained kindled in her eye. "Wouldn't dream of it."
She paused. "Although, Venser might. Aloe induced hallucinating nightmares." She hesitated again, then grabbed my hand which had been lying limp at my side. "You can trust me, Pascal."
I almost smiled. Almost. "Okay, well, you seem pretty informed, so I won't go into any history stuff." I snorted ruefully. "You probably know more of that than I do. Anyways in this land the reigning monarch is the Dummkopf family. The d'Artagne family has traditionally been the flamboyant, do whatever, voice your opinions type of branch. They are one of the original dynasties of this land, in ancient times. The Konningers were traditionally the rivals of the d'Artagnes until recently. Well, until about twenty years ago. The only son of the Konningers and the only daughter of the d'Artagnes sort of had a thing for each other, so they eloped and got married by an alchemist. Their parents disliked it, so all the older generation of Konningers and d'Artagnes promptly died of mysterious causes. As their name shows, the Dummkopf family didn't do anything about it, no investigation or anything, and the new Lord d'Artagne et Konninger ruled the court with his lovely lady. No one knows who killed them. Even today, people are trying to figure it out. This is where I come in. I am the son of that ill-fated pair. See, they had all this wealth, so they needed to have an heir real quick. Therefore, I was born to an empty headed flirt of sixteen and an immoral twenty-eight year old who only cared for toying with the flirt. I was given to a wet-nurse, so the rake could continue playing with the flirt. By the way, they have no other children. Anywho, I grew up with other young snobbish lord-to-be's, including the nasty Prince Dummkopf. He was twelve when I was eight, and he used his age to bully others. I avoided him as much as I could."
"Wait a minute. You were the most well off person other than royalty. Why are you here, burned in a field?"
"I-I ran away. It's not that easy, you know," I said defensively. "Being nobility has a price. You are practically chained to whoever has the most power and you have to suck up to them to have them throw treats to you. I'm going to skip a lot of stuff, but basically, when I was six, I was kidnapped by some amateurs who were looking for a ransom. They were caught, but I was intrigued by them. THey actually did something, not just sit for boring lessons or practice etiquette. " I sighed. If I hadn't met them... "I wanted to learn more, so I visited them in prison, before their trial. I asked them if they could tell me the name of a friend. They suspected something, but they gave directions to a tavern. On the next festival day, I pretended to get lost, but I really just ran straight to the tavern. I gave a code word the kidnappers had given me, and I found myself facing a young man, about my age now. We eventually came to an arrangement, and he taught me useful things, like climbing and picking locks. Over the next four years, I became well acquainted with the city's low life. They taught me lot's of stuff."
Aithne was still staring at me. It was unnerving. "What?"
She shook herself. "Sorry. Uh, didn't your parents wonder where you were?"
"Well, this is the kind of confusing part. See, my parents didn't really see me at all. In fact, they officially 'went missing' when I was seven. However, the public wasn't informed until the dead bodies were revealed four years ago. My nurse was told to not tell me, and just keep an eye on me. But, well, she was the friend of...well, another friend who was a knife thrower who knew the thief I first hooked up with. There wasn't really any life for me other than learning the thief's trade. It was fascinating, all the different skills. Well, it couldn't last forever. When the death of my parents was announced, I was ordered to be brought under the stewardship of the castle. It was the end of the world for me. I was twelve, and I tried to postpone the move for as long as I could. I had grown used to the city life. However, they came, and I had to go eventually. Then, well, my friends in the city knew I didn't want to go...So they lit the castle on fire."
Aithne gasped. "So that's what happened!"
I glanced at her sharply. "You can't tell! It's a sworn secret. I didn't ask them to, and thankfully, no one died. I thanked them of course, and I set out on my way here. I wanted to find a small village, and somehow make a new start." I hesitated, unsure of how much more to say. I had already left out some parts... "You may have heard of the Lord Venser. It's sort of a mystery. Some say I died in the fire, and some think I'm in prison somewhere. Others say I'm in the country, on the family estate. No one knows for sure. All they do know is the estate can't be broken up or given away until my death is proven. That hasn't happened yet."
Aithne was silent for a moment. Then I felt three hard lumps pressed into my hand. "I know there's something you're not saying, maybe many somethings. But, just know that I am really sorry for you. You should keep these." I looked down at the items recently pried from my boot. "Maybe someday, you will need them."
Maybe. I hope not. Or, if I do have to return, I'll have Venser dispose of the old court first. They were all a bunch of airheads.
Aithne sat, looking thoughtful. "It's interesting your dragon's name is Venser."
"Yeah." Suddenly seized by irrational panic, I grabbed her wrist. "You can't tell anyone!"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:10 am

What if someone found out where I was? That did nothing to help the paranoia in my mind. I would be dragged back. I would be forced to stay at court, maybe even brought on trial on charges of arson. Who knows. And there was the deal with the crazy man. He knew who I was. I still had no idea what a Soulbonder was, but apparently he had tried to kill me before...I squeezed my eyes shut. Why can't I just sleep peacefully like Venser? It's a good thing I don't go by that name. Otherwise, things could get confusing.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:41 am

I wished I was awake. These dreams just keep getting weirder. At least the colors were normal in this one...

"Lord Venser!" A stern voice made me open my eyes. I blinked blearily at an elderly man, balding and wearing ornate spectacles.
"Yes, Jargha?" my body answered automatically. Whoa! I could talk! A quick mental inventory confirmed the fact that my body was indeed human. How weird.
"My Lord, you must focus. You have been staring at that arithmetic sheet for an hour now. Do you require assistance?" His voice was tired, but kindly enough.
I seemed to have no control over my body. "No, thank you. I am just fatigued from staying up to view the meteor shower last night. I will have them done by tomorrow." Standing, I exited the room with poise and grace. Okay, think it was pretty good, considering I could only use two legs. Stepping out the door, I entered a bustling city street. Walking along briskly, I covered my more ornate clothes with a worn cloak. Spotting a familiar face, I casually brought my hand up to my face, forming the thief's sign...

The moment I awoke I jumped into the air. Pascal looked drained. He was clutching some stuff in his hand. Aithne seemed stricken as well. Wait a minute, what if my dream was really one of his memories?I thought. His name was also Venser.
<Yes, it was,> came his voice in my head.
<Hey, you can read my thoughts now?>
<Only certain ones.> He smirked weakly. He seemed pretty tired. What have they been doing?
<That was just another ordinary day. Nothing special.> He was telling the truth.
<Oh. Can you show me the thief's sign?>
He made a face. <I would, but I can't really move very well.> He turned to Aithne. "Erm, Venser wants to see the thief's sign. Could you do it for me?"
She nodded. "I think I know it." She brought her right hand up to the corresponding side of her face. Her thumb went under her jaw, and the second and third fingers made a "v" under her right eye. The fourth finger twitched momentarily before the whole hand dropped down to her side in a fist.
Pascal nodded. "That's pretty good. There are a few little things different, but it takes time."
Hmph. Too bad it is impossible for dragons to make the sign.

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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:44 am

I was shocked, but I tried to hide it from my face. So that is the truth....albeit with a few holes no doubt, but the truth... I had a certain memory from when I was a small child, and I tried to recall specific details...names, mostly, from it.

Rose and her husband, Aldon, sat their youngest of two daughters, Aithne, down on the ground between them. It was time that they told her, despite the fact that she, being only just six years old, wouldn't understand most of it. Her large, shimmering green eyes stared up at them expectantly. Rose glanced at Aldon and took a deep breath before beginning. "Aithne, I'm going to tell you a secret about you, and mama and papa, and this whole village. Far away, there are people who are kings and queens, lords and ladies. Royalty and nobility. There are two particular kingdoms, Konninger and d'Artagne. One man from d'Artagne and one woman from Konninger got married and had a son. However, d'Artagne had a brother who he did not know about. You see, his mother had another child, before him, but that child was kept secret and sent far away to be raised away from nobility life for...certain reasons. But before they could ever tell anyone about this real first son, they died. And so their son grew to marry the Konninger and had their son, who's name is Venser d'Artagne et Konninger. The secret son is your papa. Bad things would happen if anyone knew about this history in our family, so that is why we, and a certain number of people who swore to protect us, live here in this secluded village. If you ever were to come across an outsider, you must not tell of this secret, Aithne!" The child's eyes were nearly crossed with confusion, but she pinky swore to never tell. Her parents laughed, and the conversation changed to less important things.

I took in a sharp breath as I recalled all of the names in my parents' old story. Pascal - I was still going to call him Pascal - and I were related. Distantly and secretly, but still. I didn't have any family anymore, so this was big to me. I would never tell a soul about his past or who he is, because for one, I'm not that kind of person. Two, he would be taken away, and I knew a person suited to the streets when I saw one. This boy did not belong in the court. I understood his fear. I myself would probably be imprisoned or killed for being proof of such shame upon the family if my lineage were ever discovered. I looked Pascale straight in the eye with an unwavering gaze. "I will never tell anyone. You have my word, Pascal." I decided to wait for a later time to reveal to him about myself, if ever.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 5:19 pm

I was little relieved by Aithne's profession of silence. It wasn't that I didn't trust her, I just felt that with every person I met, I was that much closer to discovery. Aithne was quiet, probably lost in thought. Her thief's sign was actually better than I thought it would be. There were some subtle differences, but it would pass in the lower levels.
<Venser?>
<Yeah.>
<You said you had something you wanted to tell me earlier?>
<Oh, yes.> Without warning, a sudden barrage of images flooded my mind. I gasped, recognized the other Venser as my father. Guess it makes sense. People name each other after other people. Something didn't seem quite right, but I focused in on the animals who accompanied each person there.
<Venser, they all have a silvery animal, like you.> I was astonished. <Why?>
<Erm, well, it's sort of a hereditary thing. If you have a history of Soulbonding, then you are more likely to be bonded with a Spiritcreature...>
The word Soulbonding triggered a torrent of memories...
...I, a small six year old, sat terrified inside a rough burlap sack. A leering voice spoke from without. "Yes, I have you now. Finally, the last Soulbonder. Hah. Your father really was dumb, labelling you Venser. It was too easy. Now, it is over. Prepare to..." He was cut off abruptly with a loud clang. A knife slit open the bag, and I blinked in the sudden light.
"Hey kiddo," said a sympathetic voice. "You've got some enemies huh?"
I nodded, tears trickling from my eyes. The rugged face before me smiled warmly. "Well, I'll just have to look after you. Do you have a name other than Venser?"
"Y-yeah. Pascal."...
...Wiry hands latched onto the iron railing. My hands, at twelve years of age.
"I don't want to leave. Why do I have to go to the palace?" I yelled at the sneering guard in front of me. The other two guards finally pried me off of the landing, dragging me back to the big stone heap. "Trust me, if I had anything to do with it, I'd leave ye where ye deserve!" The guard spat at my feet. "Don't question the Crown, got it?" Silently, my tears dripped to the ground, watering the weedy path...
..."Your parents are dead. They drowned in flood."...
..."You aren't happy here. I can get you out." I refused to look at him, my only friend.
"I don't want anyone to get hurt..."
He snorted. "Don't worry."...
...the fire...
..."Get away! Here's a horse. I'll try and find you. Or, you find me. Go!" The saddle was cold and hard. I lurched off awkwardly on the way to big horse. Off to find a village. I was to find someone called Aldon who knew who the real Valdor was. I didn't know why they would help, but my only friend had told me to, so I believed him...
...the madman lighting the recent fire, yelling, "I've got you at last, the last Soulbonder!"...

I was snapped out of my reveried by a sharp pain in my palm. Opening my clenched fist, I saw the rings, and the ruby. I was to show them to Aldon, to prove myself. I sighed. Now, who knows what'll happen. I need to rest and heal before I can begin looking again.
I needed to distract myself from the past. All of this Soulbond mystery could wait til I was fit again. I looked up at Aithne and cleared my throat.
"So, er, do you want to play a game or something?" Wow, that sounded really lame.

...
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:22 pm

I was rather surprised when Pascal proposed playing a game. It just seemed like the most ridiculous thing to do in this situation. But I was bored and out of things to talk about, so I decided to go along with it. The only problem was, I didn't know any games. "Okay...but what? Master Vakrom never taught me or allowed things like games, so I don't really know how one would work." I blushed slightly in embarassment as Pascal looked at me, incredulous. "Aithne...you seriously don't know any games?" he said in disbelief. Now this was getting rather irritating. I scowled and mumbled, "Yeah, so? It can't be the most important thing in the world to know..." I heaved a sigh and asked, "So, do you have anything in mind?"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:29 pm

"Uh, well..." I was also slightly embarrassed now. "I don't really know any games that are good for this situation either."
"What?"
"Well, most of them involve running or doing dares, or something extremely active, which neither of us is in the state to do..." I trailed off rather lamely. Think! There's got to be something.
"Can you gather about twenty different stones, half light and half dark?" I had an idea.
"Sure." She got up. "Do the sizes matter?"
"Nah." With a grunt, I rolled onto my stomach and began clearing a patch of ground, to create a smooth playing surface.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 7:38 pm

I was curious, if not a little skeptical, about this...stone game Pascal had in mind. But again, the lack of things to do drove me to collect the required stones, most of them rather small. After a few minutes, I had all twenty and returned, dumping them in a heap on the patch of ground Pascal had cleared. "Ok, now what?"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 8:00 pm

I was crazy, trying to play a court game I had only seen twice, with dirt and stones.
"Okay, first, you place the rocks in a four by five grid." Aithne moved them all into place. "Alright. So, we take turns drawing lines to connect a pair of rocks. The person to complete a square claims it. The object is to get the most squares." I looked up at her. "Got it?"
"It sounds a little simple."
"Oh, yeah, whenever a square is completed, the person who didn't get the square moves any stone they want to a position on the outside of the board. That way, the board keeps expanding."
"Okay, let's do this." She met my eyes with an ironic grin. "After you, My Lord."
"No, ladies first, I absolutely insist," I quipped in an uptight voice. I spoiled the effect by grinning profusely.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:46 pm

Despite the fact that I quickly caught on to the concept of Pascal's rock-square game, I was absolutely terrible at it. But then again, we both were. I could tell that he was almost as unfamiliar with this game as I was, since whenever I asked for clarification on a certain point of the rules, he seemed uncertain about it. In spite of my lack of skill in the game, I found it fun playing with Pascal. I comically mimicked the haughty voices of the lords and ladies of the court, which he seemed to find amusing. After a few minutes of the game, I asked him, "So, why do you think Venser appeared to you? I mean...what exactly is the story with him?" I quickly glanced up at his face to check if I was wandering into dangerous territory. His expression had tightened, so I dropped the topic before he had time to refuse to tell me. "Ah..never mind." I mumbled.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 9:53 pm

Hmm, more aloe was sounding good at the moment. But you got really wacko nightmares... Well, maybe if I just sleep a couple hours after the aloe digests. I looked up at Aithne and Pascal, sensing a sudden tension. She'll never give them to me. She needs them to treat Pascal...Aha! Epiphany!
<Pascal, you are going to tell Aithne why I am bonded to you, and she is going to give me an aloe leaf in return!> I shouted triumphantly.
Pascal turned towards me sharply. <Why should I do that?>
<I'll tickle you,> I smirked. He glowered at me, dark brows pulling downwards, silver sparking in his brown eyes.
<I'll get you for this.>
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 10:56 pm

Why am I stuck with Venser for all eternity?
"Venser says he wants an aloe leaf."
Aithne raised an eyebrow. "Why should I give him one?"
"Erm, well, I'll tell you about this Soulbonding stuff..." I avoided her eyes.
"Well, fine, but what did he threaten you with?" she asked, reaching into her jacket.
I felt intense heat flare up on my cheeks. "Uhh, he's offering death by tickling..."
Aithne burst out laughing.
"It's not that funny," I growled, my flush spreading to the tips of my ears. Putting my hands under me, I tried to raise my body off the ground. I got six inches up before my arms gave out. Why can't I do anything?
Aithne rose and took a step towards me. "Here, I'll help you up. Then you can get on with your story."
Irrationaly frustration built in my chest. "I don't need--"
She waved the words away. "Stuff it. You obviously do."
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:16 pm

I chuckled as I undid my jacket lining for the second time today and pulled out a single aloe leaf. I tossed it to Venser, who I was liking more and more by the minute. He was irritating due to eating my aloe leaves, but useful in getting information out of Pascal. I'd have to somehow conspire with him to attack Pascal with tickles at a later date. The small dragon eager snapped up the leaf in his mouth and sat chewing it contentedly. I looked at him skeptically, remarking, "You know Venser, you'll get aloe-induced dreams again. Maybe even hallucinate while you're awake. So don't make eating my leaves a habit, OK?" He looked up at me and met my eyes, and I saw a flash of rebellion that slowly soothed into acceptance in his eyes. Good. I bet he understood that it was for Pascal that he needed to stop consuming all of the leaves. Then an idea occurred to me. When you use aloe to treat something, you scrape out the jell on the inside, but leave the rest of the leaf. I leaned my cheek on my wrist and contemplated whether I should tell the little dragon about this now, or save it for later. I decided to save it. Best not to have him bugging me to treat Pascal's burns every five minutes. I turned my green-eyed gaze to Pascal expectantly. "So...'soulbonds'?"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Sun Aug 12, 2012 11:35 pm

Sitting up was excrutiatingly painful. The muscles in my lower back protested, but I gritted my teeth. I was not going show weakness in front of Aithne. It was bad enough I had broken down crying earlier.
"Yeah," I started slowly, tracing circles in the dirt. "When the crazy man tried to burn me up a few hours ago, he said something about the last Soulbonder. The person who kidnapped me ten years ago said the same thing."
"What exactly does a Soulbonder do? I mean, why would they want to kill them?"
"I don't know!" I exploded. "Nothing really makes sense. I can't get much out of Venser other than cryptic remarks and an image of a combusting tree. It appears to be a hereditary thing, that's why they tried to wipe out the d'Artagne and Konninger lines. Venser reads my thoughts, and I can sort of pick up on his now. At first I couldn't even mind talk to him. He can only mind talk to me. From the story of the massacre here, I guess Soulbonders can gain power from the Soulcreature, meaning Venser. The crown sorcerers wanted them all gone for some reason." I stopped rambling. "Venser is awesome, but so far he's only been a pain."
Aithne chewed the corner of her lip thoughtfully. "Hmmm....then maybe I can...." she muttered.
"What?"
"Nothing." She looked up guiltily. "So, you'll just have to spend extra amounts of time "bonding" with Venser so you can gain immense powers and overthrow the Dummkopfs."
My eyes widened in shock. "Why would I want to do that?!"
She raised an eyebrow. "Don't you want to gain immense wealth?"
"Not really. I haven't discovered it's appeal yet." My head jerked up. "You haven't ever had to prepare for a court event. All this time spent on clothes, hair, how to talk...It's madness."
<What do you want?> Venser queried.
<I-I don't really know.>
<We'll have to find out then,> he chuckled, his voice shifting back into smugness.
"I know," I said flippantly, "I'll give all of my newfound wealth to you, and maybe Kanna, if she comes back any time soon."

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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:28 am

Soulbonders...I couldn't figure out why Master would be associated with them, no less wanting to destroy them. Then again, he clearly wasn't who I had thought he was. And what was this about a combusting tree? I got more questions than answers out of the explanation. Oh well, it was better than nothing. I looked in wonder at Venser. So I've got something to do with that in my genes too huh? This brought up another question. "You mentioned Vakrom and your kidnapper said you were the last Soulbonder...is that true? Are there no more? If that's the case...and they're after you for some reason, then there must be some sort of secret gain from killing the last Soulbonder. Which means we have to be even more careful in travel" I paused, then continued in a joking manner, "Speaking of gain, that fortune wouldn't be refused."
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:53 am

Silly girl. Of course I would conspire with her, but there were a few problems. One, I could only "talk" to Pascal, and two, by the time we could plan anything, he would be able to read my thoughts like I saw his.
"Baloo-ooga....baloo-ooga..." I whirled around, but no one was there. I buried my head in my wing to hide my confusion. I've really got to stop eating aloe.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:56 am

"Someone thinks I'm the last one." I still sat staring at the ground. My back ached even worse, but I wasn't going to show it. "I wish I had some sort of power. I could really use it."
"Maybe you should lie down again."
"No! I'm fine," I lied very unconvincingly, but she didn't press the issue. "I suppose Soulbonding is a hereditary thing, so they've watched all of the bloodlines, to exterminate us. I have no idea what they would gain. Whoever, they are."
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:18 pm

I twirled a stick in the dirt, deep in thought. What Pascal mentioned about heredity surfaced the fact that I was his cousin of sorts back to my mind. I glanced up at him. Would now be a good time to tell him? There really wasn't much else to talk about. However, if there was something to be gained from destroying the last of the Soulbonds, then there may be an advantage against our enemies to there being an unknown other Soulbond. And the less people who knew that information, the better. If I told Pascal about myself, then if he were ever captured, it was possible that the attacker could get that information out of him, and then there would be even more trouble. As much as I was sure Pascal could hold his own with keeping information to himself, was it worth the risk? Would he even want to know that he had another family member? Doubts swirled in my mind, making me indecisive. I tried to casually ask him, "Say, Pascal...do you hate your family? I mean, is there a possibility that you would like someone you're related to, or do you just harbor bitterness towards them all?"
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