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  #11  
Old 05-29-2009, 10:11 PM
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QTChi QTChi is offline
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I am unable to say as much as kitten...LOL! I loved every minute reading and re-reading the story. I'm still waiting for the next installment!!!
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  #12  
Old 05-29-2009, 10:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QTChi View Post
I am unable to say as much as kitten...LOL! I loved every minute reading and re-reading the story. I'm still waiting for the next installment!!!
Aaw, Thanks Q. As you know my creative side gets pulled in a few different directions but I do have more nearly ready to go, should be in the next couple of days.
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  #13  
Old 07-04-2009, 01:44 AM
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Chapter 7


Vallious, Creager and Riss rode into the night for the better part of five hours and they rode those hours in silence. Vallious took the lead, spurring his rapidly tiring mount despite the darkness of the moonless night. Creager, as always, followed just behind Vallious and slightly off to his right, a position he had occupied since becoming Vallious’ Captain many years prior. Finally came Riss, riding last in the formation behind them.

Several times it had crossed Riss’ mind to strike up a conversation with Creager, even though at this stage he still did not know the man personally. After he had retrieved a fresh horse from the Hearthfire stables and returned to the gate, there had been little time for pleasantries or introductions. He found that Vallious was true to his word and had ridden out without waiting for him, after he had taken as much time as he dared at the stables ensuring he acquired a mount that was up for the hard journey ahead. Even after he galloped to catch up to them, Vallious had not even acknowledged his presence though his offsider, Creager, had at least given him a slight nod of welcome. Vallious had seemed cordial when they spoke at the hold, and now Riss found himself hoping that this would continue, though at this stage he certainly wasn’t sure that would be the case. He straightened in his saddle and spurred his mount, attempting to simultaneously catch the other two riders and give off the impression he wasn’t in the least bit tired even though he felt so exhausted he could have fallen off his mount if hit by a reasonably sized bug.

Up ahead, Vallious didn’t want to stop but could feel his horse shortening its stride as it tired. Even though he was unwilling to accept it given the circumstances, he could feel just how soft he had become in his time away from the battlefield, he too was breathing hard and sweat from his brow stung his eyes. Shaking his head and muttering under his breath he slowed his mount down to a walk, allowing Creager to come to his side.

“We’re going to bed down for a few hours Creager,” he said with a quick sideways glance towards Riss who had also caught up to them, “Ride ahead and see if you can find a clearing or something where we can rest for a while”
Before Creager could answer Riss interjected,

“I’ll ride ahead, General, if I may”

Vallious paused, staring at the infiltrator. He thought of his son despite an earlier oath he swore to himself that he would think like a soldier first and a father second until he found out what had happened. He remembered Menfis and Riss sparring with some of the Hearthfire cadets some years ago. Even then, both boys showed great skill and fortitude. He had been proud of Menfis that day, though never told him so. Vallious blinked and shook his head slightly, realising that Creager and Riss were still waiting for his reply.
“Sure Riss, if you please” said Vallious.

A small smile began to creep onto Riss’ face before he threw his shoulders back and put on a more serious expression.

“Thank you, general” he said as he tightened the reigns of his mount, causing it to begin circling nervously, its feet stamping the ground. Riss sniffed the air a few time before continuing, “There is a stream running beside the road a bit deeper in the woods, I’ll scout ahead and find a clearing where we can rest and water the horses, Sir”

Creager raised one quizzical eyebrow and snorted slightly,

“You can smell a stream?” he asked Riss, unable to hide the bemusement and doubt in his voice.

“No sir, I can’t smell the stream” said Riss, puffing out his chest with a full smile now on his face, “but I can smell the animals that have crossed this road recently to get to it, I can smell the moss growing on the rocks at the water’s edge. And of course, I can hear the stream, my ah... senses are very good, it was part of my training”

Creager’s eyebrow remained raised, “Impressive, young man” he said with a nod.

Riss smiled broader still and with a dig of his heels set off down the road at pace. After he was out of earshot Creager turned to Vallious:

“Can you hear a stream Sir? I can’t... and he can smell moss... well...” he said raising his eyebrows and shaking his head. He moved his horse closer to Vallious. “What do you think of him, Sir?”

Vallious looked down the road but Riss had already disappeared into the darkness. He felt a connection to Riss, no doubt through their shared connection to Menfis. He found that he trusted Riss, though it made him uneasy to succumb to such feelings. He turned back to Creager,

“He certainly seems capable” said Vallious quietly, “Blister peak doesn’t turn out sub-standard graduates”

Creager laughed out loud, “sub-standard graduates” said Creager, doing his best to imitate the overly officious tone of voice Vallious had just used, “I meant what do you think of him turning up here, do you mind him joining us?”

“I wouldn’t have let him join us if I was against it, Creager, you know that.”

Said Vallious in a far less serious tone. He turned his mount in the direction Riss had rode and moved off slowly, Creager following suit at his side.

“I find myself trusting him, Creager. In fact I’m glad he’s with us.” Continued Vallious who felt a pang of longing shoot through him as he spoke. This was however, quickly replaced by a surge of anger and frustration which was fast becoming a comfort for him.

“It may sound strange, Creager, but I can’t help but think he may be the closest I get to being with Menfis again.”

Creager didn’t reply, simply nodding slowly to show Vallious that he understood. They continued on in silence.


* * *


After riding silently for another twenty minutes or so, Vallious and Creager finally came across Riss’ horse which was quietly grazing in a small clearing just off the road. A campfire had been lit, casting light that danced around the clearing and through the surrounding trees and undergrowth. Riss, however, was nowhere to be seen. Creager dismounted first and approached Vallius with the intention of helping him off his horse, though Vallious waved him away.

“I can do this myself, Creager, go tend the fire or something” scowled Vallious.

“As you wish, Sir” replied Creager with a slight air of insubordination, though it went unnoticed by Vallious who was now intently working on removing his wooden leg from the stirrup it had become wedged in. Frustration grew and Vallious felt his temper boil over as he tugged on the wooden leg far harder than he should. Meanwhile, he did not notice Riss emerge from the undergrowth at the edge of the clearing.

With a guttural grunt that echoed through the woods, Vallious gave one mighty pull on his leg and it came free, but he had pulled too hard and toppled himself completely off his horse, landing on his back with a thump, though his travel armour soaked up much of the impact. Still on his back he let out a slight groan and let his head fall to one side, feeling quite the fool. He saw now that Riss had not only returned but had witnessed his embarrassing dismount. Riss, however, looked flustered and was doing his best to pretend he had not seen Vallious fall.

Vallious dragged himself up and limped over to the fire. Riss came towards him with a slightly dumbstruck look on his face, as if unsure of what to say. Vallious, feeling sorry for him, raised a placating hand,

“Don’t worry Riss, it’s not the last time you’ll see me fall flat on my behind” he said though there was no humour in his voice, “you best get used to it”

“Ah... yes sir” replied Riss as he dropped a small sack next to the fire, “I’ve caught some food, if any of you are hungry.”

He sat his crossbow on the ground and tipped out the contents of the sack - several large fish caught from the nearby stream. Creager moved over next to the fire as well.

“I’m starvin’ to be honest” said Creager as he eyed the fish, “how did you manage to catch them, with that crossbow, in the dark?”

“Yes, sir” replied Riss with a smile.

“Hmm, well done, well done... How ‘bout I start cooking these and you take the horses down to the stream for some water” said Creager, patting Riss on the shoulder.

“Yes, Sir” said Riss who wasted no time gathering up the horses and leading them off towards the stream.

Creager skewered the fish and hung them over the fire, occasionally glancing over to Vallious, flashing him a mischievous smile.

“Out with it, Creager” spat Vallious, “what’s on your mind?”

“I like this kid, General, that’s all” said Creager, “I think we should give him a chance, let him feel like he’s part of the group.”

“He is part of the group, in case you haven’t noticed” retorted Valllious with some sarcasm.

“You know what I mean Vallious” replied Creager in a more serious tone.

“Yes...yes, I know, Creager” replied Vallious with a wave of his hand.

They remained silent until the fish were cooked and Riss returned with the horses. Riss joined them by the fire and Creager handed him some fish to eat, which he devoured much too fast. They all ate well and relaxed by the fire, soaking up its warmth and drifting towards sleep.

“We’ll rest a few hours, then leave before dawn” Said Vallious.

Both Creager and Riss nodded, Creager with his eyes already closed. Vallious, found sleep more elusive than the others. He got up and moved over next to Riss, who was still awake, but only just. Vallious spoke to him quietly, so as not to wake Creager.

“Riss, tell me of Menfis, was he a good student, did he do well?” asked Vallious. He already knew Menfis had done well, he still had connections in the army that allowed him to keep track of his son to some extent. He asked the question more because he wanted to hear something of him, something personal, something that would make the memory of Menfis somehow seem more real. Riss paused, considering his words before answering.

“He was the best student, Sir, top of the class. But you already knew that, Menfis discovered that you had people keeping track of his progress,” said Riss with a slight laugh, “you forget as infiltrators we’re trained to detect such things.”

Vallious smiled, “Indeed... It was foolish of me to assume otherwise. Perhaps deep down I knew he would find out and was glad, at least he knew I still cared”

“I believe he knew that Sir” Riss paused for a moment considering his words carefully, “he didn’t hate you, but he didn’t understand you, General.”

Vallious nodded, raising his hands towards the fire, warming them,

“Perhaps he should have hated me, you both should” he said staring into the fire, “I no doubt deserved it”

“He trained harder than anyone else at Blister Peak... studied harder. I think he did it for you General” continued Riss, “he did it because he knew you would notice”

Vallious felt the anger within him begin to turn inwards and did his best to push the emotion out of his mind. There would be time for self loathing later.

“Though other people noticed him as well” continued Riss, “Marcus Renuncia himself came to the Peak and checked out Menfis personally”

Vallious snapped out of his tiredness in an instant. He sat more upright and turned towards Riss.

“Renuncia, what do you mean Riss? Tell me of this” exclaimed Vallious with anger rising in his voice.

“You did not know General?” asked Riss with uncertainty causing his voice to waver slightly.

“Know what Riss?” Replied Vallious

Riss sat more upright as well as a log in the fire cracked loudly, sending a plume of embers spiralling into the air.

“Menfis did not complete his training at Blister Peak. Lord Renuncius decided Menfis would complete his training with his own personal guard. There are several high ranking infiltrators as part of that guard, including the Captain of the guard”

“Tormossi...” exhaled Vallious.

“Yes, Captain Tormossi. Lord Renuncia said that she would complete Menfis’ training personally” said Riss. He cocked his head to one side before continuing, “You know Captain Tormossi, General?”

Valllious looked down to the ground, gritting his teeth slightly. He took a deep breath before continuing,

“Yes, I know Tormossi. She was not always an Infiltrator though, if you can believe it. Marcus convinced her to become Captain of his personal guard after hearing of her exploits, and her lack of mercy, her lack of regard for the lives of others, friend or foe” Vallious said with disdain. "She trained in the ways of infiltrators after joining Renuncius and, from what I heard, excelled at it."

“What did she do before joining Lord Renuncius?” asked Riss.

“She was a soldier under my command, part of my own legion in fact” replied Vallious, “and trained as a Storm Lord before joining me.”

Unoticed, Creager had opened one eye, listening in on the conversation. He could not help but say something,

“That vile creature, inhuman and pitiless, she would kill her own grandmother if it brought her glory or gold, she would not care which.”

“Indeed” continued Vallious, with a nod of recognition towards Creager, “I can’t believe she has anything to do with Menfis. Why did I not hear of this... when did this happen Riss?”

“In our third year at the Peak General, so two and a half years ago” replied Riss, “to be honest I haven’t spoken with Menfis for some time, we kept in contact at first and made plans but...” Riss straightened,

“That doesn’t make sense General, I mean, that you don’t know” continued Riss, “Menfis said he was going to send you a message to tell you... Lord Renuncius himself said he would make sure you were informed, convinced you would be proud of Menfis”

A look of anger flashed across Vallious’ face, “I received no news of the sort, I haven’t received a message from Menfis since he left, and my sources certainly never told me this”

“I’m at a loss General, I thought you knew” said Riss sheepishly.

Vallious fell silent, seemingly lost in his thoughts for a moment.

“let’s get some sleep” Vallious said coldly, “we’ll be riding hard tomorrow, I want to make it to Turnian by noon” and with that he rolled over, facing away from Riss and Creager. It took some time for Vallious to fall asleep, and he did not sleep well.
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  #14  
Old 10-27-2009, 09:52 PM
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Wow Nin that is fantastic news about the stories Congratulations on your sucess and I hope you have boatloads more of it in the future

Sorry to hear about the other and I hope your sucess brings you a little comfort in that area. So atleast one thing can be going right you know? Take care and stay positive if you can. Good luck
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:14 AM
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I want to say: you are too great.
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