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 Soulbond: The Beginning

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Pascale d'Artagne
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:35 pm

I thought for a moment. What a random question. I guess I don't really know.
<Is there anything you do know?> Venser put in.
<Shut up. You're not helping.> I looked up. "Well, I'm not sure. I only saw my parents once or twice. I despise most of the court, and we're all related in some distant way. But, well, I don't know. I wouldn't hate someone just for their blood." My voice wandered off. Shaking myself, I refocused on Aithne's still downturned face. "Why? Did it sound like I hated them?"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:46 pm

I snorted, surprising myself with a small puff of smoke. I didn't know I could do that! It would be awesome if I could breathe fire. Silly male pride. Pascal is obviously in pain, but he won't lay back down because he would need help doing it. I chuckled briefly, before remembering that Pascal could probably hear me. Thankfully, the aloe induced hallucinations had worn off. Mostly. I still whirled around every few minutes because I thought I glimpsed a neon green sheep bleating, "Balooga baloo-ooga!" It is very unnerving, and Pascal keeps looking at me funny. Aithne doesn't seem concerned, but Pascal has more reason to worry. He's the one who is stuck with me forever. Literally! We will only grow closer over time, so that eventually we are one being. Yup. I'm not sure I'm looking forward to it.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:58 pm

I was gazing at Aithne playing her violin, sort of spacing out, when Pascale spoke.
"Isn't that bow made out of horsehair?"
my face drained of color, and my mouth opened in an 'O' of horror. The horses! I shot to my feet and screamed in a hoarse voice, "My horses!" I took off running toward the distant stable at full tilt.
As I ran, tears slipped down my face and mixed with the soot that coated it. How could I have forgotten my horses? The one things that tied me to that place? I shook my head and ran faster.
As I got closer, I heard their screams and cries for help.
"I'm coming!" I screamed back, desperate to save them.
I looked around in a panic, trying to find a way into the burning building. My eyes locked onto the back door to the stable, now completely burned to the ground. I rushed forward, and kicked in the remains of the door. the black smoke overwhelmed me for almost a full 30 seconds before I ripped off my left sleeve and tied it around my face.
I ran to the first stall, and gripped the halter of the panicking horse within. Somehow, the panic of the animal next to me calmed me.
"Easy there. Come on, girl." I talked soothingly to the horse, and soon it quieted. I walked out of the stall and, as I suspected, the young gray mare followed.
At each of the twenty stalls that followed, I would just fling open the door and the horse inside would follow. There were some exceptions, though. The old bay gelding, Banner, was laying on his side, dead, when I found him. I quickly swallowed and moved on. He wasn't the only casualty. Molly's little foal, and three other old ones had died. Each death struck me hard, but it wasn't until the end of the row that I stopped. The building was falling around me, burning, and yet I stopped. An arm stuck out of a pile of hay to my right. A large beam obscured the rest of the body, but I knew who it was. Old Stram the Stable Master had died in his stable, killed by a part of the walls he loved so much.
I shook myself, and started running. There was something I had to find, before it burned up.
My boot thudded into the wall as the horses behind me jostled and pushed to get closer to me, their one source of protection. The wall thudded down and revealed the secret compartment that I had stashed my most prized possessions. I grabbed the satchel, and sprinted toward the cooling air outside as my horses galloped around me.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:18 pm

I looked up as I heard the sound of approaching hooves. I looked at Aithne, who had also raised her face. "Look's like Kanna's back. You two can fight for my fortune." Forgetting myself, I tried to stand. Of course, I fell down in a miserable heap. Please don't ask, please don't ask, please don't... To my immense surprise, Aithne didn't ask if I needed help.
"You need help," she stated, coming over to help me up.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:35 pm

Finally, I could hear the thunder of horses heading in our direction. I decided to just pick Pascal up and meet the horses, then plop him onto one to save time and hassle. His face took on a look or surprise and indignation when I picked him up, but was too weak to really struggle at all. My eyebrows raised when I realized that despite him being taller than me, he was light and easy to carry. I limped towards the oncoming group, including Kanna, who I was somewhat relieved to see unharmed. A medium sized grey horse trotted up beside me, and I was about to carefully deposit Pascal onto it's back, but then I hesitated. I didn't know anything about these individual horses. Still holding Pascal like a princess, who still disapproved, I looked over to Kanna and inquired, "Hey, Kanna. Is it alright if I put Pascal onto one of these horses?"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:47 pm

The neighing of horses sent shudders through my wingtips. The hallucinations are back! However, when they neighed normally, I relaxed. Swooping down to land on Kanna's head, I laughed as Aithne picked up Pascal with ease and went about setting him on a horse.
<It's like the classic fairy tale, only the role of distressed damsel and heroic knight seem to be switched,> I continued chuckling as Pascal growled. At first I was relieved his face wasn't too red, but then I saw it was white with pain. <What's wrong?>
<Lot's of things. First, I am being carried by a twig of a girl four inches shorter than me. Next, I am badly burned all over, and a hand happens to be digging into that burn. Oh, and yeah, I'm carrying three really special items in my hand that I don't want Kanna to see, and my boots are left way back there.> Pain lent extra acidity to his voice. Ha ha...Well, maybe I should stop eating the aloe...I should feel some sympathy.
<Yes, you should,> he growled. Startling me. Curses! He could read my thoughts. I kept forgetting...
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:04 pm

I smiled with relief as Kanna nodded her consent to the grey horse. I carefully sat Pascal down onto its broad back, and hurriedly retrieved his boots for him. He shot me a look of thanks, and I understood that he didn't want Kanna to know. I casually stood between him and Kanna's range of view as he stuffed the rings and ruby in his boots, and then shoved them on. I noticed his pale complexion, and felt a wave of self-loathing as I realized that he was in a lot more pain than I had though. Retrieving some more aloe leaves, I re-applied their healing jell to his burns. I smirked as I tossed Venser the excess leaves, thinking of all the hallucinations he might have. It was concerning on one hand, but rather humerus on the other. Eh, it was his choice to eat them or not.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:08 pm

I can't believe it! She's just throwing aloe at me! Snapping the first one out of the air momentarily dampened my enthusiasm. Oh, it's crunchy... She was giving me the wrung out husks of Aloe leaves! The nerve! Although, the flavor was pretty good, and the texture was improved.
"Baloo-oo-ooga baloo-ooga!!!" The horse under me yelled. Gah! The hallucinations were worse! Quickly, I dove into Pascal's lap and screwed my eyes shut. Will I never learn?
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:17 pm

It is annoying to share the thoughts of a hallucinating dragon. Retreating into myself, I tried to stop the barrage of neon green images. As cool relief flowed down my back, I tilted my head to look at Aithne.
"Thanks," I said. She nodded, accepting it, knowing it was for more than just the aloe.
"Hey, we should probably get going. Can you ride?"
"Erm...passably..." I trailed off. Kanna came over from soothing the other two horses.
"Oi, if you aren't up to it, we can wait til tomorrow morning." Aithne glared at her, guessing, rightly, that I would never admit to weakness.
"No, I can do it. Venser's the one who might not make it," I added, pointing to the cringing dragon in my lap. Aithne chortled as Kanna looked worried and confused.
"Is he alright?" She glared at Aithne. "Don't laugh at him. Animals feel bad when they're sick too."
Aithne burst out laughing again. "N-no he's not sick," she managed to get out. "He's just hallucinating from aloe leaves..." She didn't get any farther.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:22 pm

I bust out laughing as I saw Venser's reaction to the aloe leaves. This dragon really was funny. Ah well, the hallucinations will wear off in around half and hour or so. Turning my attention back to the horses, I realized with disdain that they were all rather....tall. There was only one that was small enough for me to ride, but it would look rather ridiculous...I sighed. Small person, small horse. Makes sense, really. I limped over to her and patted her flank. She seemed receptive enough, so I deftly lifted myself onto her, relieved to have the pressure off of my ankle. Turning around to face Kanna, I asked her if she could tie Pascal's horse to either mine or hers so that he wouldn't have to concentrate as much on riding. "Otherwise, Venser might fall off of his lap." I added, avoiding putting weakness on Pascal. I could tell how much he hated it. Ah, boyish pride.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:28 pm

I wasn't sure why Aithne said Venser might fall off, but, whatever. I wasn't sure how much good it would be tying the horses together though. I gritted my teeth and hoped the horse wasn't stubborn. I had no energy left. It took all I had to not slump forward in the saddle, thereby smashing Venser. Could you smash a spirit animal? I decided not to attempt it. The last thing I needed was a mad hallucinating dragon trying to tickle me while we galloped over uneven terrain.
Drawing in a breath, I shouted over Aithne to Kanna, "How long are we going to be riding?"
"I don't really know. These horses haven't done much recently, so I don't know how long they'll last." Good, I wouldn't be on this grey lump of horse for very long. [i]Oh, the saddle sores will be horrendous tomorrow morning. I wonder which will be worse, the sores or the burns?"
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:55 pm

I looked at my two companions with slight disdain. Didn't they realize that those horses had been trapped in a burning building and had been terrified out of their wits?
"Aarg!" I bent down on one knee and screwed up eyes in pain as the brand on my left shoulder burned.
"What is it?" Aithne stopped patting Panda, and looked over at me in concern.
"It's nothing." I muttered. "We had better move away from the village. And ropes won't be necessary."
I staggered to my feet with difficulty, clutching my left shoulder.
"Come." I whispered to the horses. They all looked up and followed me as I walked into the woods.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:04 am

I sighed as Kanna started walking, despite being surrounded by horses. "Uhm...you look like you're hurt. What happened to your shoulder?" Then I realized that my horse was following Kanna without me directing it anywhere. I raised an eyebrow in confusion. Looking around, all of the horses were following her, and I hadn't heard any indication of where to go being directed to them. How strange...must be a horse person trade secret or something. I thought to myself, brushing the concern aside. I glanced back at Pascal, and sure enough his horse was in suit of Kanna as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:21 am

"Hey Kanna, wouldn't it be easier for you to ride the horse?" At first I wasn't sure if she heard me, but then she stopped walking and pulled herself slowly onto a very tall horse.
"Let's go," she said.
"Go where?" Aithne pointed out. How could we sit around for hours without figuring out where to go? Oh, well. There was a good hollow, in the middle of the plains ahead of us.
"I know a place," I volunteered. "Just follow the Point star for about five miles. There's a pool of water and a dip in the ground." Kanna seemed skeptical, but too tired to care. She guided the horses towards the Point star, and we began the longest five miles I have ever ridden.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:31 am

I whispered to Star, and got her permission to ride. As I heaved myself into the saddle, I looked for the Point Star. Ah, yes. The star that my horse was named after. I looked down at Star, and smiled. Ugh, eh gods, I was tired! As the horses finally made it to the little clearing, I slipped of and lied down on my face. Erg, I just wanted to sleep forever. Of course, it was then that Pascal and Aithne caught sight of the tattoo of the screaming horse branded onto my left shoulder blade, and quite possibly my biggest secret ever.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:05 am

Being unable to dismount without falling in an undignified heap, I remained in the saddle. Aithne had already jumped to the ground, preparing to rip open her jacket for more aloe leaves. She was about to go to Kanna, but she glimpsed something, and froze.
"What's wrong, having aloe hallucinations?" I joked, but in a whisper. Subtly, she shook her head. Busily, she set about getting me from the saddle, muttering all the while, "She's got the tattoo of the Screaming Horse!" What? Horses didn't scream...well, not the same as humans...
Seeing my blank look, Aithne registered surprise. "You don't know what it means?!" she whispered fiercely, placing me on the ground. I shook my head, laying back on the tall grass. So what? Tattoos are pretty common. Maybe not among young, impoverished village girls, but I wasn't shocked like Aithne. What does the symbol mean? Shrugging, I thought back to the words of my friend. "No, you may not get a tattoo. It is death to a thief. His job is to be unnoticed, just another person. Injecting yourself with ink is not the best way to do that." He smiled, easing the tension. "Besides, it hurts." I squinted suspiciously. "How would you know?" He grinned knowingly. "I have my ways."
Whatever. I didn't care if Kanna had one tattoo or a hundred. "How about some aloe?" I asked hopefully. Seeing Aithne's look, I added sheepishly, "Give it to Kanna first, of course."
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 11:37 am

I raised my head as Aithne handed me a strip of aloe.
"Thanks." I muttered, when I caught sight of her expression.
She had a studied blankness on her face, but behind that was a hint of deep suspicion. What? Why would she...? I twisted around, and caught sight of the place where I had ripped my left sleeve off. Oh no! The Screaming Horse tattoo stood out black against my tan skin. And judging by Aithne's expression, she had seen it, and also knows what it means.
I quickly grabbed the aloe she offered, averting my eyes. As I smeared the thick goop over the tattoo ( hopefully hiding it) Panda the little black and white mare looked up. Sensing my discomfort, she leapt in between Aithne and I, while baring her teeth and pinning her ears as Aithne was knocked over. She turned to nuzzle my chest, asking what was wrong. Great. If Aithne didn't know what the tattoo meant before, Panda's display was enough to tell her.
"Thanks" I muttered, and walked to the other end of the clearing to check if my last worldly possessions were still okay.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 12:58 pm

Okay. Aithne has some sort of secret past which she cries about, and Kanna has a weird tattoo which freaks Aithne out. Alright, it just unnerves her. Stretching on the ground, I stroked the still hallucinating Venser absentmindedly. The ground was slightly damp, and I revelled in the cool slippery grass. The green fronds danced across the edge of my face, urged on by a light breeze. Hopefully the wind won't carry the fire this far. Idly contemplating the benefits of farming, I was startled by a loud whinny, followed by the sound of a body hitting the ground. Gah, I can't sit up!
"You guys alright?" I called into the night sky. The stars sure were pretty. The dragon is still there, hmm, phoenix is rather dead looking tonight...Whoa, the rearing stallion outshines all the rest. How strange, considering it is summer.
Not having received a reply from Kanna or Aithne, I called out again, "Hey, what's going on?"
Aithne's voice came from strangely close to the ground. "Well, nothing much, unless you count being sat upon by a wild pony." Something, or I suppose some-horse, whinnied.
"Uhh, okay." I was still confused, but there was nothing I could do. "I'll just go to bed now and leave you all to sort this out."
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 1:11 pm

"Balooga baloo-oo-oo-oo-ooga..." chanted the dancing monkeys and sheep. Frantically, I tried to pull free, but my captors continued to drown me in sunlight.
"Noooo!" I cried, frantically twisting, trying to escape.

I snapped back into reality as a feverish hand methodically stroked my back. Stupid aloe, I muttered. Pascal's hand felt really nice. It was the closeness to a physical entity that had dragged me out of my hallucinations. A deep sound of contentment rose from my throat, vibrating my whole chest. I didn't know I could purr. I thought back to my earlier conversation with Pascal. Perhaps I was too harsh. He does know some things, like to not eat aloe... Gah! Stupid aloe, it was making me go all soft. Or maybe...
<Hah, I caught you. You cannot infiltrate my thoughts. Don't think you can make me pity you,> I informed Pascal. Well, I tried. With my head on his chest, I felt his smooth breathing, interrupted by a few slight coughs. Drat. I can't rant to a sleeping person. Sighing, I curled into a ball and pulled by wing over myself, blocking out the night air. This sleeping deal might have some merits.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:27 pm

I glanced over at Pascal, and noticed that he had fallen asleep with Venser on his chest. That little dragon really was the most adorable thing. I quickly stretched my arms over my head and lay down on the soft grass of the meadow. My eyes closed, and I quickly fell asleep.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 2:46 pm

I awoke early from the clutches of sleep, and seeing that the sun had yet to rise, I quickly opened up the satchel that I had saved from the fire.
The satchel was a plain, simple leather bag. Unassuming, the bag held one of the greatest treasures my ancestors had passed down to me. The great twin blades, Yin and Yang.
My hands plunged into the bag, but hesitated in front of the blades. The legendary twin swords were not to be taken lightly, so I moved past them and grabbed my personal blades.
I quickly pulled them from their sheath, and inspected them. They were the same as always, their bright steel flashing in the sunrise, and their cutting edge as keen as ever. I rubbed my thumb across the Lapis Lazuli stone set into each of the two hilts, polishing them. And with that, I began to dance.
Of course, it wasn't dancing. It was sword fighting, sparring with an invisible partner. But the motions so fluid, so graceful, it resembled a great and deadly dance.
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Tue Aug 14, 2012 4:47 pm

Groaning, I threw off the remains of a restless sleep. Jumping to my feet, I began pacing instantly, battling through the pain. I couldn't just sit around because I hurt a little. Going in the direction of a lake, I almost tripped over Aithne. Carefully, I went around her, greatful I hadn't woken her up. A few pain filled steps later, I came across a Kanna sized depression. Odd, she didn't strike me as a morning person. A glint of steel from a copse of bushes to my right distracted me. Moving silently, I scrambled through the thick brush, finally coming out on the edge of a surprisingly large clearing. I gasped. It looked like Kanna was dancing in a field of fire, surrounded by golden mountains. Really, there wasn't any fire. The awakening sun glinting on her twin swords gave new life to the hidden place. Whoa, where'd she learn that fighting style?
<Venser, you've got to see this!>
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Thu Aug 16, 2012 12:00 am

<Stop it!> I groaned, plugging my ears in vain. <I just want to sleep.>
<No, you need to come see something.> Pascal's voice was both urgent and playful. <Although, I do agree, you need your beauty sleep.>
<Ha ha,> I thought. I was already drifting back into the fuzzy realm of dreams when a broken image of swords and fire invaded my mind. I shot into the air, wings flapping frantically. <Whoa, what did you do?>
<I sent a picture to you,> he smirked. <Since you're too lazy to come, I'll just tell you all about it.> Inconsiderate boy... <I heard that. You're not so considerate yourself.>
Blast the mind-reading!
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PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:02 am

My senses were on high alert, and my body in the slightly dream-like state of intense concentration and sensory input. My eyes were half closed, staring at space of air where my enemies eyes would have been. My fingers tingled as they gripped the leather-bound hilts of my swords, almost seeming to merge with the blades to form deadly extensions of my arms. My feet were light on the surface of the ground, dodging, twisting, running. My body twisted and leapt in the dance-like moves of the fighting style my people had perfected over the centuries. Quite suddenly, I heard the swish of a branch being swatted at. I turned and saw a person standing, half concealed in the bushes around the clearing. My feet slammed into his chest and my swords were at his throat before he had time to draw breath.
"Kanna?" My assailant gasped, pain coloring is voice. I blinked and the person I had just attacked came into focus.
"Oh. Sorry Pascal." I said, embarrassed. I extended my hand and hauled him to his feet. All he did was just slide his back down a tree trunk and sit with a bump and a groan on the ground.
"Sorry." I muttered again as I sat down next to him. "So, why were you up so early?" The rustling sound I heard earlier sounded behind me. "And why is Venser attacking a tree?"
Pascal sighed. "Never mind. And Venser is attacking neon green sheep that only he can see."
"Oh." I must have looked really confused, because he raised an eyebrow and said, "Well you see, there are these aloe leaves..."
I held up my hands. "I don't want to know."
"Ah, but there are things that I need to know." he said seriously.
I looked at him suspiciously. "What type of things?"
He fixed me with a piercing stare. "Where did you learn that fighting style, and why is Aithne so worried about your tattoo?"
Just perfect. I thought to myself.
I sighed. "Well, one thing will lead to another, so I had better tell you my whole story.
I was born on the Northern Plains in the last of the great Horse Tribes. They were a proud people that traveled as nomads selling horses. I was happy there, until the day I turned six.
"It was discovered by the Tribe elders that I had a special energy, a special chakra, they called it. One day, they called my mother and father to their tent. The elders said I was what they called a Horse Witch, a being with the power to control horses. They only came around every fifty years, and were said to have the ghost of an animal follow them around. Well, they said i was it. The one." I sighed, and looked at the beautiful new sky. "Of course, I was treated differently from then on. A freak, an outcast. Then, there was that day. There's a reason that ten years ago the Horse Nomads died off suddenly. They were murdered.
"A man in a black cloak came to our campsite, and demanded that they hand over the Soulbond. My mother protected me, and hid me in an old badger's den. But her efforts were not enough to save me. The man found me, and told me i was going to die like the rest of my tribe had died. 'I want you to see your death as he rips you apart." he whispered. 'This is Jacko.'
"The space beside the cloaked man rippled, and a huge jackal appeared. I was so terrified at that moment. All I could think of was getting away, or running. And the horses obeyed my unconscious demand. They thundered past me, attacking the cloaked man. As one scooped me up, I saw a small insignia on the back of his cloak.
It was a silvery-blue whiskered soul screaming and being torn apart."
I looked down at Pascal. he looked troubled and disturbed. I smiled a sad little smile.
"That is my story."
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Posts : 150
Join date : 2012-08-06
Age : 20
Location : Here there be dragons...

PostSubject: Re: Soulbond: The Beginning   Thu Aug 16, 2012 10:27 am

My first reaction was, Whoa, another Soulbond. Awesome. However, three things bothered me, as I lay on the ground. 1)Were Horse Witches another type of Soulbond? I had already concluded that, in my case, it was just a hereditary thing. Could there be even more types of Soulbond? 2) The evil Soulbond had been trampled by a herd of horses. Could that happen to Venser? 3) Most troubling of all, why would a Soulbond want to kill off all the other Soulbonds? A different evil Soulbonder had killed Aithne's village. No wait, the one who attacked Kanna was not a Soulbond. Get rid of fear number two. Were they in league with the other attackers?
Little legs irritated the skin on my cheek, which I recognized to belong to an ant. Deadened, my arm would not move. I looked imploringly at Kanna.
"This may seem a little weird, but could you smash the ant on my face?"
Seeming slightly confused, she did so, pressing the bug into my face, her finger leaving an imprint. I replied woodenly, "Thanks." I tried to stand, but realized that once again, I was stuck on the ground. Allowing my eyes to close I sank into the floor. Might as well be comfortable while I wait.
<Wait for what?> Venser asked snidely.
<To feel good enough to walk.> He really was a nuisance. Steel softly slid into sheath, and I felt two strong hands picking me up. Again.
"You can't just sit here all day." She seemed to have calmed down a little. "I'll take you back."
Before I could stop myself, I blurted, "Well, how about you take me to the pond then?" I stopped abruptly, ashamed at so selfish a request. She just bared her soul to me!
She just smiled, changing course. "Alright."

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