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GUILD OF HEROES MAGAZINE

# 9, August 1995

{The GOH Mag Harvestide of 95}
Special Edition: The Harvestide Edition
The end of summer is here and from it rises a new issue of the Guild of Heroes Magazine! :::waits for the massive roar of the crowd to subside:::

Well, this is the first issue since the Magazine has gone to a quarterly format. This issue is packed with the same familiar faces...

NW Snowie's Petting Zoo lets the Umber Hulks run rampant.
The Goddess' Apothecary examines small stones with wonderous powers.
NW (retired) Jareth's fumbles throught his Mystical Grimoire.
NW Kishpa looks at dual classing vs. multiclassing.
NW Essex discusses some of the extreme points of view.
NW Aziza's Tour has really gotten lost going off the map to the surrounding regions.
NW Baldor pounds out some quality armor in the Armory.
NW Mistie goes into the archives and digs for the history of the guilds in Neverwinter.
NW Strider serves up 2 (count 'em) stories by Mistress Aidynni.
And yours truly looks at the Powers of the Forgotten Realms.

New to this issue...
NW Ehlzey (Elspeth to the rest of you) takes a look at an average day in the Realms.
NW Kel's Magical Cafe & Mailroom is open for business.
And I get yet ANOTHER section in the magazine! I'm the editor, I can do what I want.
This and much more....

So it on back and relax..the GOH Magazine is back to kick butt!

:::crowds goes into a massive frenzy and chants of AHE! AHE! AHE! echo through the air:::

Enjoy!
NW Elladan
The GOH Magazine
Editor-At-Large


{NW Kel's Magical Cafe and Mailroom}
Mail & Muffins! Life is good!
Kel's shop has finally opened up and this month we got some mail from people. Not to mention Kel's offers a wide variety of Muffins and Coffees from all over Faerun. So this is an appropriate place to begin.

TODAY'S SPECIAL: Trollsberry Muffins & Durpar Dark Blend - 5 silvers!
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Dear Elladan:

Cool Magazine Dude!

Sick of listening to you beg for mail in Floodblest

(Dear Sick,
Thanks and I dont beg ;p
-Ells)
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Dear Elladan:

Why did the magazine go to a quarterly format? And how do I get an invite to the Beachhouse? I really need a tan!

Elven Babe
in Longsaddle

(Dear Babe,
The magazine had to go to a quarterly format because NW Events and Guilds saw my last expense report and whined about it! Sheesh, just cuz they dont get as much gold as I do. Any way the budget was cut, forcing me to lay off hundreds of halflings and gnomes. Dont worry, Neverwinter has an excellent unemployment office so they're doing fine. As for the invite...Elven Babe huh? Hmmm... Ill send Fred, my frog familiar over with directions ASAP.;x
-Ells)
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Dear Elladan:

I really need a job! How do I become an NWA?

I Wanna Do Tours! in Triboar

(Dear Wanna,
You can find an application form to join the NW Staff in the GOH File Library. Just fill that out and send it to NW Snowie pronto.
-Ells)
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Dear Mr. Editor:

I really think that it is unfair that you have not relinquished the editorhood of the GOH magazine even though you left the area a long time ago. It is about time you let go and let Strahd take his rightful place as the editor. It's unfair business practices such as this that give all the NW's a bad image. You are nothing but a glory hogging tyrant!

Angry!
in Neverwinter

(Dear Stra...uh..Angry,
;ppppppppppppppppppppp
-Still the Editor of the GOH Mag)
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That's if for this month's mail. If you got something you want to say to the distinguished editor of this fine publication, please send email to NW ELLADAN. Please state if you want to remain anonymous.

Enjoy!
-Ells
{NW Elladans obnoxiously opinionated points of view}
Bound to get an Uproar: Higher Levels
Welcome to the this new area of the GOH Magazine, which will give the opinions of your illustrious editor. It's not meant to offend anyone but will play Devil's Advocate on some of the more popular points of view. This month, I tackle one of the future possibilities in Neverwinter Nights. Please remember that this editorial does not mean this will or will not happen, and also, in no way reflects the views of the Neverwinter Staff or AOL.

While I was reading up in the suggestions and future upgrades issue, I ran into a lot of people who thought higher levels was the most important improvement that NWN needed. While I think it may be fine and dandy, I dont see it as the most important upgrade to be made to Neverwinter Nights.

OK, higher levels sound wonderful. Get up to 15th (or so) level, and blast some poor and defenseless dracoliches with some new spells and wonderfully powerful (to match the level) magic items. Sounds fun eh?

Now lets think about why it might not be so fun:

1. Dracoliches get enough abuse as is. Is there any maxxed character out there who hasn't trashed over a dozen dracs already without even getting a hair singed on their heads? There are tons and there will be tons more. Yes, you can always make more dracoliches and make more powerful monsters, but heck, not too many things can make dracs look wimpy. For all of you who have faced one drac in a paper AD&D campaign may have seen it wipe out a nice party of 10th+ level characters.

2. PVP? With spells like harm, destruction and powerwords, PVP's would be rather short encounters. Harm and nice Delay Blast Fireball would have a Maxxed PC nicely toasted before morning break and still allow plenty of time and firepower to wreak some more havok. Yes, mirror images may help and yes, you get better defensive spells but c'mon. Sounds great if you're on the delivering end of this barrage, but you will be on the receiving end also.

3. Neverwinter Nights is a game that has not even begun to explore many of the possibilities that AD&D offers. Some will be impossible or very hard to program, but keep in mind that most of the action in AD&D happens in the 6-11th level range. Developement of a character can be challenging and fun. Even the monsters now lack the strategic thinking that could make them very dangerous. Imagine our alluring sorceress casting a variety of spells to counteract your every move and strategically planning your demise...:::shudder:::

I can probably list more reasons. But above are just a few. I'm not saying that it is a totally bad idea, I just don't feel that it is an essential upgrade. Many of you will disagree and I'd like to see your opinions. If someone has legitimate opposing point of view, I would be glad to read it. If it was ok with the sender, I will publish it in the next issue so that the opposing point of view has equal time.

I think that we can get a very constructive discussion together especially due to the fact that most GOH members are experienced, long time players.

Enjoy!
-Ells
{NW Snowie's Petting Zoo}
UMBER HULK
(input umberhulk pic here)
ARMOR CLASS: 2
MOVE: 6
HIT DICE: 8+8 (16 - 72 Hit Points)
ATTACKS: 3 for 3-12/3-12/2-10
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Confusion Gaze
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic Evil

SNOWIE'S SCRIBBLES:
The Umber Hulk is an oddity, even in a place like the Forgotten Realms. It appears as a jet black humanoid creature about 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It lives in subterranean areas (although Windycliffs is infested with them), burrowing through all forms of earth to get from location to location. Many adventuring parties have met their demise being ambushed by umber hulks crashing through dungeon walls.

The unique features of this creature are its large mandibles and four eyes. It attacks with its massive claws (the same used to burrow through even stone) and mandibles, both capable of doing respectable damage. However, the deadliest weapon of this creature is its four eyes.

Any unfortunate soul who looks directly at all four of the umber hulk's eyes will be affected as if enchanted by the confusion spell. Only the hardiest of minds will not be affected, but those that are affected, are left in one of several states.

Most souls beguiled by the umber hulk just stand there, caring not for their safety. Others flee with panic risking death in the escape. Some get enraged and attack the umber hulk with abandon. Few get so enraged that they attack anyone in sight. I have seen the best of friends and brothers kill each other after gazing at an umber hulk. Fortunately, the effects of the gaze is not permanent. Unfortunately, mirrors offer no protection against this attack.

The best method to survive an umber hulk encounter is to stay at a safe distance and use spells or missile weapons. Its hard to gaze at the eyes at this distance and the umber hulk's lack of speed make this an ideal position to be in.

Good luck in your journeys!
{The Goddess Apothecary}
IOUN STONES

Ioun stones are small magical stones which bestow upon its owners some very powerful benefits. There are 14 known varieties in the Forgotten Realms, each reputed to have a unique ability depending on its color and shape. In the world of Neverwinter Nights, two are readily findable, and one is available via the Pearl Plan.

An ioun stone's power takes effect when the stone is let loose around the owner's head. The stones instantly go into an orbit circling around constantly until stopped by force. You may have seen several of Neverwinter's citizens with veritable asteroid fields around their heads. Those "asteroids" are ioun stones. The following three stones exist in Neverwinter Nights.

Color: Scarlet & Blue
Shape: Sphere
Pearl Plan Cost: 25 Pearls
Available in Treasure: Yes
Benefit: +1 to Intelligence (18 maximum)

Color: Incandescent Blue
Shape: Sphere
Pearl Plan Cost: N/A
Available in Treasure: Yes
Benefit: +1 to Wisdom (18 maximum)

Color: Deep Red
Shape: Sphere
Pearl Plan Cost: 60 Pearls
Available in Treasure: No
Benefit: +1 to Dexterity

Outside Neverwinter, there have been reports of rhomboid, prism and even ellipsoid shaped stones. Stones of purple, white and even pink have been recorded. It is said that some of these stones even bestow its owners with magical immunity!

So, if you're feeling dull or rather foolish, look for these stones. They can make you as smart as the most powerful of arch mages and wiser than the most pious clerics!

If your feeling clumsy, better start gathering those pearls, as deep red stones are rare indeed.
{NW Jareth's Mystical Grimoire}
The Magical Yin & Yang: Fireshield
FIRE SHIELD: 4th Level Magic User

RANGE: Caster
DURATION: 2 Rounds + 1 Round / Level
AREA OF EFFECT: Caster

A magic user is not very good at hand to hand combat. To counter this weakness, there are spells specifically designed to counter such a situation. One of the most powerful and useful of these spells is Fire Shield.

When a magic user casts the fire shield spell, he/she becomes enveloped in magical flames. These flames do not affect the mage in any way but are very dangerous to those attacking the the mage. Anything hitting a fire shielded magic user, with body or hand-held weapon, will take double the damage that it did to the magic user. Even those with more than double the magic user's hit points will think twice before continuing this form of attack.

A fire shield comes in two forms:

Hot Shield: Envelopes the caster in hot blue or green flames. The caster will then save vs. cold based attacks at a +2. In addition, cold based attacks will do half or no damage, depending on whether the save was made or not. The only downside is that the mage will take double damage if he/she fails the saving throw. Not a good spell to have up against red dragons or a fireball.

Cold Shield: Envelopes the caster in cold blue or violet flames. The caster saves at +2 vs. fire based attacks, and if the saving throw is made, take no damage. A failed save leads to only half damage. As you may have guessed, cold based attacks will do double damage if the saving throw is unsuccessful.

Fire Shield is a very potent spell when battling monsters. Keep in mind that monsters in Neverwinter which are immune to fire, are immune to the counter attack properties of both the hot and cold shield. So, dont cast this in a swarm of fire elementals or fire giants.

Good luck and hope you all shoot 60 point fireballs!
{NW Kishpa's Class Acts}
Dual Class VS Multi classing
Let's face it. Going solo class is not in. You need magic user spells to survive the tougher regions, and single classed magic users just dont have good hit points and melee ability. So what do you do?

Well, you can go one of three ways.

First, you can go solo anyways. Not a bad idea. Many of the dwarves do this. They make excellent fighters and their ability to stay alive without the aid of magic is almost uncanny.

For those who do not want this kind of challenge, there are two big options in Neverwinter: go Human dual class, or go Demi-Human multi-class. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

A multi-class is basically any non-Human character who specializes in more than one class. Some of the more popular ones in Neverwinter are Elven F/MU, Elven F/MU/T, Half Elven C/F/MU, and Dwarven F/T.

The main advantage of this class is that it allows a character to have all of the benefits of all the classes at the same time. A Elven F/MU/T can have a very easy time getting experience points in the beginning due to the ability to wear good armor and cast spells. Furthermore, a Half Elven C/F/MU can heal, cast a sleep spell and then swing a sword without losing a beat. Very useful and very handy.

Unfortunately, there are downsides to this. First of all, demi-humans have lousy level restrictions. Since Neverwinter is pre-Unearthed Arcana 1st edition AD&D, these are extra lousy. Furthermore, in order to reach the upper echelons of their respective classes, they must have excellent stats. An elf with a 17 intelligence can be a 10th level magic user at best.

Demi Humans also take a while to max. Not very different from duals, but a triple class must split the experience points three ways, and sometimes, that takes a loooong time. Hit points are fair as they are an average of two or more classes.

While multi class characters rise slowly to their maximum potential, dual classes rise up and then must basically start over again.

Dual classed characters are humans who take up a profession and then give it up for another entirely later. In doing so, they forfeit all the abilities of the original class until the skill level of the second class surpasses the first. A dual can give up its first class at any time, but once the first class is abandoned, that is the end of the road.

In order to dual class, some requirements must be met. A character must have at least 15's in the prime requisites of their first class, and at least 17 in the second. Different from multi-classes, incredibly high stats are not required to achieve maximum potential.

Hit points of the dual class depends on the classes. A dual gets the normal hit points in their original class, but does not accumulate hit points in the second until the second class level surpasses the first. Rangers who max at 10th level to MU will not get additional hit points until they reach 11th level.

The only disadvantage to being a dual class is that restrictions of all classes must be kept at all times and just when things start to get easier, things must be done from the start. A small penalty for power.

As you can clearly see by looking at the general population of Neverwinter, dual classes are more popular than multi classes. They do achieve greater power, but mainly because of the lower level restrictions of the multi classes.

If you havent tried either one, go out there and roll up another character. You'll find that both offer their unique brand of fun.
{NW Essex's Study in Attitudes}
Chaotic Good
CHAOTIC GOOD

"While creatures of this alignment view freedom and the randomness of action as ultimate truths, they likewise place value on life and welfare of each individual. Respect for individualism is also great. By promoting the gods of chaotic good, characters of ths alignment seek to spread their values throughout the world." -PH

"To the chaotic good individual, freedom and independence are as important to life and happiness. The ethos views this freedom as the only means by which each creature can achieve true satisfaction and happiness. Law, order, social reforms, and anything else which tends to restrict or abridge individual freedom is wrong, and each individual is capable or achieving self-realization and prosperity through himself, herself, or itself." -DM

LAWFUL EVIL

"Creatures fo this alignment are great respecters of law and strict order, but life, beauty, truth, freedom and the like are held as valueless, or at least scorned. By adhering to stringent discipline, those of lawful evil alignment hope to impose their yoke upon the world." -PH

"Obviously, all order is not good, nor are all laws beneficial. Lawful evil creatures consider order as the means by which each group is properly placed in the cosmos, from lowest to highest, strongest first, weakest last. Good is seen as an excuse to promote the mediocrity of the whole and suppress the better and more capable, while lawful evilness allows each group to structure itself and fix its place as compared to others, serving the stronger but being served served by the weaker." -DM

CHAOTIC EVIL

"The major precepts of this alignment are freedom, randomness and woe. Law and order, kindness, and good deeds are disdained. Life has no value. By promoting chaos and evil, those of this alignment hope to bring themselves to positions of power, glory, and prestige in a system ruled by individual caprice and their own whims." -PH

"The chaotic evil creature holds that individual freedom and choice is important, and that other individuals and their freedoms are unimportant if they cannot be held by the individuals through their own strength and merit. Thus, law and order tends to promote not individuals but groups, and groups suppress individual volition and success." -DM

*All PH references are found in Player's Handbook, 1st edition, p. 33.
*All DM references are found in Dungeon Master's Guide, 1st edition, pp. 23-24.
{NW Aziza's Fantastic Tours}
Aziza's Still Missing: Her log book recovered
The bad news is Aziza is still missing. The good news is we found her log book in the possession of a merchant coming from Icewind Dales. He said it was sold to him and he only kept it because it gave off a magical dweomer. Well, after a careful perusal of the pages, it seems she is around Silvermoon, which is good, or Lurkwood, which is bad. Looking through the pages, it seems Aziza's been a busy girl. I found some notes on some towns and cities which might be of interest to you. For those of you who want to help in the search, we can use all the help you can offer.

Conyberry:
"Boy! What an uproar here. This little town is mumbling something about some drow ranger and his giant and dwarven sidekicks. So they go off to kill a banshee. Like that sounds tough. I still dunno exactly where I am. I can see the Neverwinter wood start at the western end of town. Mebbe if I go into the woods, I wouldnt be so lost....."

Mirabar:
"What a city. It's so busy here and people run around constantly busy. This city ain't hurting for cash that's for certain. Everywhere you turn, you see gold, gems, and other riches. This town really thrives off of the mining. I'm not too sure I feel safe here, as I heard they do business with those damn pirates."

Silverymoon:
"I'm finally in Silverymoon! Wow, the "Gem of the North", who would think that after all these years, I would come here. All these tall towers and huge trees, this city makes the best sections of Neverwinter seem like the slums! And all these people, so friendly. Even the dwarves and elves get along together. This is so cool....mebbe I'll even run into Lady Alustriel! Ack! What would I say? I really admire you? Can I have your autograph? Uh...you inspired me to become a mage? I've never really met like a queen. I think she's a queen. I know she's really powerful, an arch-mage even. I wonder if they're hiring?...Naw Snowie would kill me. I'll spend a few more days here before I move on though...I think I'll go check out the Moonbridge now..."

Everlund:
"I hated leaving Silverymoon....but Everlund's not that bad. Weird though, never had to kill so many orcs, trolls, ogres and other baddies before I walked from Silverymoon. I wonder how the two cities survive in this nasty region. Everlund is very nice place. The rangers seem to do a great job in maintaining all the trees and gardens here. Trees aren't as big as Silverymoon, but they sure are pretty. I think its them Harpers. This place is full of them. Bards, Rangers, Mages.... Sigh...I miss Neverwinter...."
{NW Baldor's Might makes Right Armory}
Second Skin: Armors in Neverwinter
There are several types of armors in the realm of Neverwinter Nights. Some offer better protection, and some better mobility. So do you go with protection or mobility. Following are the armors available in Neverwinter Nights and their properties.

Leather Armor:
Consists of leather pieces hardened by immersion in boiling oil. It offers good mobility but does not offer very good protection.

Padded Armor:
This armor is a heavily padded coat. It's a bit bulkier than leather armor but offers about the same protection.

Studded Leather Armor:
This is just leather armor with metal studs attached to offer a little better protection. However, the added mass and weight limit the wearer more than normal leather armor.

Ring Mail:
This bulky armor is a variation of studded leather. Instead of studs, little metal rings offer addition protection.

Scale Mail:
This form of armor has metal scales sewn on leather to emulate creatures like the dragon. It is bulky and restrictive in movement, and offers a fair amount of protection.

Chain Mail:
Chain Mail consists of metal links over padded armor. The mesh of metal can be very restrictive but offer good protection.

Elfin Chain Mail:
This is chain mail without padding, and with a finer, but stronger mesh of metal.

Splint Mail:
A combination of chain and leather, it also have pieces of metal plates to offer better protection.

Banded Mail:
This is a layered armor of padding, chain, and strips of metal. The strips are overlapping to provide a good deal of protection.

Plate Mail:
A suit of chain with metal plates over various areas. Armor-wise, the best form of armor in Neverwinter. However, the weight and bulk offer little mobility.

Shield:
Neverwinter shields are considered large shields and offer a bonus of 1 to the wielders armor class. Mirrored shields are metal shields with polished faces, to reflect the gaze of various monsters.

The following chart shows the difference in armors.

ARMOR          AC       WT*    MOVE*   BULK     COST
-------       ----    -------  -----   -----   ------
Leather         8     15 lbs.   12     None     5 gps
Padded          8     10 lbs.    9     Fair     4 gps
Studded Leather 7     20 lbs.    9     Fair    15 gps
Ring            7     25 lbs.    9     Fair    30 gps
Scale           6     40 lbs.    6     Fair    45 gps
Chain           5     30 lbs.    9     Fair    75 gps
Elfin Chain     5     15 lbs.   12     None      --
Splint          4     40 lbs.    6     Bulky   80 gps
Banded          4     35 lbs.    9     Bulky   90 gps
Plate           3     45 lbs.    6     Bulky  400 gps
Shield         +1     10 lbs.    -     Bulky   15 gps
* Magical armors weigh half of their non magical variations. They also allow the wearer better mobility by 3, with the exception of leather and elfin chain.
{NW Strider's Tavern Legends and Tale's}
Heartbreak by The Bard Mistress Aidynni Chapters 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess by the Bard Mistress Aidynni Chapters 1,2,3,4,5,6,7
----------------------------------
(Heartbreak)
Chapter 1

The large, circular room, covered walls adorned with suits of armor and various weapons, was silent. In the center sat a large circular table made of stone. And seated before it were grim looking men and women, staring at the center of the table where a white cloth, stained with dry, rust colored blood was covering a large bundle. One of the padded chairs were empty, and a black sash was draped across the back of it.

An old man, his tanned and scarred face grim, got up from his chair and removed the cloth, revealing a broken suit of armor encrusted with streaks of blood and a shield which was neatly cut in half. All those present leaned over closer to the pile, and quiet whispers and murmurs broke the murky silence after an uneasy moment.

The same man raised up his gloved hand, and the room immediately fell into silence once again. He then smoothed his peppery beard and spoke. "The Angel of Death strikes again." He then picked up one of the halves of the shield and ran his fingers over the cut edge of the metal. "She cut Amoyal down in half. Shield, armor, everything. In one stroke."

"Impossible!" A woman exclaimed. "No sword ever made can achieve such a feat!"

The old man raised his brow at the red haired woman, and she fell silent, her anger coloring her features crimson. "Its always been the one who wields the blade, Rebecca, not the blade itself." He said, reproving the woman. He then passed the shield to the person next to him and continued. "Not only do we have the evidence, we also have eye witness accounts as well. Notice the clean cut on the shield edge. The cut was effortless. Only one person, dead or alive, could have achieved such a feat."

"Does the Angel of Death dare oppose the will of the Black Blades?" A large, one eyed man asked, looking inquisitively at the man, his black eye patch creasing as he frowned.

"Surely she can't do so and hope to live." A dark haired woman added, her green eyes looking around the room like a cat hunting. "Let me go after her, and I shall bring her severed head for your trophy case." She added in a dark, sleek voice and looked the man in the eyes, winking.

A thin man seated across from her laughed, and the dark haired woman's hand immediately went to her dagger on her hips, quick as a striking serpent. "What makes you think you have a chance against the Angel, Kiria." He chuckled, paying no attention to her drawn daggers.

"You weren't there to see her in action, but I was. I saw her use Amoyal to kill lord Oden and his charge, then slice him in half with just one stroke! Such speed! By the time you reach for your daggers, she'd have you chopped up like dinner."

Kiria's face grew dark, but she returned her daggers to their place and purred, "If one didn't know you better, Clancy, one would mistake you for a coward."

"Enough!" the man with the beard shouted as Clancy angrily bolted out of his seat. "We are not here to bicker amongst each other. We are here to find out why Amoyal, the best of the Black Blades, was cut down with such ease. Jonah," He turned to the large, one eyed man.

"What is your thought on this matter?"

Jonah folded his massive hands before him and looked at the bloody armor in front of him. "It's simple. Amoyal was in armor and the Angel was not. She had a distinct speed and visibility advantage.

She led him by the nose and killed him."

"That still does not explain how the Angel managed to slice right through his armor and shield." The red haired woman retorted, fingering the cut edge on the shield.

"She learned from Hiroshi, and she has his sword." A dark, small man, looking disinterested, spoke up and answered her.

Kiria snorted and stretched her lithe body in boredom. "I suppose that explains just about everything, Marko. Ridiculous."

"It does. Our records indicate that this Hiroshi appeared out of nowhere one day and..."

"I can't believe we're wasting our time like this!" the red haired woman shouted, interrupting Marko. "Our leader is slain. We're the laughing stock of all of Eteria! We must strike her down now if we're to regain what is left of our reputation, not sit around like scared fools discussing history!"

The old man held up his hand to silence the red haired woman. "We all know how you feel, Rebecca." He said, "I know that Amoyal's meant a great deal to you. However, we cannot rush into this thing blindly. The Angel is too dangerous a foe."

"I cannot believe I'm hearing this, especially from you master Owen." Kiria said disgustedly. "We are the Black Blades. Our skill hold all of Eteria in fear and we are cowering like plucked chicken before this one wench!"

The old man called Owen turned to regard Kiria and smiled indulgently. "You hear caution because there is much to worry about this matter." He began, rubbing his stubbled chin. "Cyan, the Angel of Death. Do you realize how long the rumors of her existence had been going on? For over a century, maybe more. She had all that time to perfect her skills. Not stale lessons you learn under a teacher, but in actual combat. How long have you been plying your knives for killing, Kiria? Matter of fact, all of you? Have any of us been wielding our weapons for that long a time?"

When the room felt silent, Owen sat back down and stared out the window. From this vantage point, he could see the city of Kentar stretching out before him, dusty and crowded with people. "If we fail in killing her, then our organization will be no more." He whispered to himself, but all members present had heard, and looked around uneasily. "For her vengeance will surely be terrible."

"Then what will you have us do, master Owen?" Rebecca seethed, looking at him with rage and impatience in her eyes. "Sit on our hands while Amoyal's death go unavenged?"

"You still don't get it, do you?!" Clancy shouted out, his thin form taut and angry. "She is immortal! We don't even know if she could die. No one has even seen her bleed."

Rebecca's lips grew thin into a smile that was vicious and terrible. "She will, when I whip her into pieces. Her sword will be no match for it. She will bleed for me!"

Owen shook his head. "I will not let you. There is too much at stake if you fail. I forbid you to go after her." He commanded firmly, his veins strained and visible on his neck.

Rebecca got up from her seat slowly. In her hand, she held a coiled, golden whip that looked like a sleeping serpent. Her eyes were red and glistening with tears as she cried out, "Then I have no choice. I cannot let my love's death go avenged. From this moment, I am no longer a member of the Black Blades!" The room grew silent as she slowly walked away from the table and opened the door. And as she was about to step out into the hallway, Owen asked in a soft voice, staring at the bustling streets of Kentar, "Reconsider, Rebecca."

Rebecca turned her head and smiled through her tears at Owen. "I cannot. I must do this for him, father." She whispered, and walked out of the door, closing it softly behind her.

"Owen..." Kiria began, but swallowed her words as Owen closed his eyes and collapsed into his chair, leaning back and breathing out a deep, tired sigh.

(2)
Heartbreak
Chapter 2

A man limped through the worn trail, carrying a wooden bucket in his hand. And as he neared a small ledge that led to a small, babbling stream, he ran his hand over his neatly trimmed blond hair and took out a handkerchief out of his worn pants pocket, wiping trickling sweat from his brow. "This isn't getting any easier." He muttered to himself, and carefully lowered himself over the edge, and stepped on something soft. "What the..." He began, and looked down. Before him lay a young woman, half submerged in the water. He immediately got off her hand and tossing his bucket away, squatted before her limp form and felt her pale white neck for a pulse. "She's still alive." He whispered to himself, and dragged the rest of her body out of the water. As he pulled, he tore the clinging white sleeves of her blouse and almost fell backwards. He then noticed that through the tear in her blouse, he could see that she wore a metal scale shirt underneath.

His curiosity reached, he moved the wet, clammy blonde hair covering her face and thought her the fairest woman he saw in his life, her beauty touching his long repressed sense of chivalry deep inside him.

"I don't know where you came from lady, and I don't know what trouble befell you," He began, dragging her out of the ledge and carrying her before him. "but by my honor, I will protect you with my life."

The man started to limp out onto the trail, leaving the babbling stream and his wooden bucket, bobbing and floating freely downstream. In his arms was the woman, her limbs hanging limp and lifeless like a broken doll.

(3)
Heartbreak
Chapter 3

An old man, dressed in a simple brown robe, sat on a porch of a worn down shack, mixing a pasty substance that smelled of sweets in a wooden bowl. He mopped his creased brow, and happened to look up to see a man limping out of the woods, carrying a body in his arms.

"Good lord..." The old man whispered, and put the bowl down gingerly and got up from his chair. He then trotted out towards the limping man.

"Ah, Father Smith." The man began as the old man reached him. "It seems instead of bringing you water, I've brought you a patient."

The old man felt the woman's clammy forehead and then raised her eyelid. "Or a corpse, Sumner. Come on, let's get her inside, and we'd better hurry." He finally replied, and reached over to take her off his arms.

Sumner shied away from his hands. "If you don't mind, father Smith." He said, not unkindly.

The old man opened his mouth to protest, but stopped himself when he caught a glimpse of Sumner's eyes, and said instead, "Yes, of course. Come on then."

(4)
Heartbreak
Chapter 4

Sumner gently laid the woman on the soft, worn bed as master Smith removed the small gray cloth over the window to let the sunlight in, revealing a room lined with shelves containing vials of various sizes and herbs. In the center of the room was a long wooden table, covered with small bowls and a basket of bread that looked moldy. A small desk was next to one wall, and a wall above it hung a black cross.

"Please start the fire." father Smith asked as Sumner cleared the wet, clingy hair from the woman's face. When Sumner limped over to the fireplace and put a log in it, he laid his head over her breast and raised an eyebrow. "Fished her out of the stream, did you?" father Smith asked, now running his hand carefully over her head.

"Yes father Smith." Sumner answered as he got the fire going. "I found her lying half way out of the water. Unconscious."

Father Smith stopped his hand over a spot on the back of the woman's head. "She had a rather nasty fall." He remarked. "It's a minor miracle that she didn't drown. How odd.."

"What is?" Sumner asked, looking up from the fireplace.

Father Smith turned to face Sumner and with a puzzled expression on his face, answered, "She didn't swallow any water. She really should have, seeing how she is completely soaked. It's almost as if she stopped breathing altogether when she hit the water." He straightened himself upright with a wince, and started to undo the woman's blouse.

"Father Smith!" Sumner shouted indignantly when he saw what he was doing, causing the priest to fumble with the buttons.

"You don't expect me to just leave her freezing in these wet things, do you Sumner?" Father Smith growled back, annoyed and surprised at the sudden outburst.

"But..."

Father Smith sighed with a mild annoyance. "If your delicate sense of propriety is offended, then I suggest you face the other way until I have her covered."

Sumner's face turned a shade of dark crimson as he turned around and stared into the fire as Father Smith finished removing the woman's clothing and covered her with a blanket. "Alright, I'm done." Father Smith announced, and pulled up a small stool next to the bed, sitting himself gingerly on it. When Sumner limped over to the bed, he handed him a rusty scale shirt. "Why would a girl like her wear something like this?" He asked, looking up at him.

"I've been wondering about that myself, Father." Sumner said as he studied the shirt carefully. "An old design. The armorers don't make these kinds of shirts anymore since they offer very little protection. It doesn't seem to have seen too much use either. Good thing for her."

"And this." Father Smith said as he pulled a leather pouch from the woman's pants pocket. Upon opening it, both men stared at the glittering contents with their mouths agape. "There must be a king's ransom in here.." Father Smith finally managed to say, taking one of the gem stones out and holding it against a dirt stained window. The yellow gold sparkle of the jewel reflected the sun's light and lit up the dark room like a small sun, hurting their eyes with its brilliance.

"Could someone have tried to attack her for those jewels?" Sumner asked as Father Smith gingerly put the jewel back into the back and drew the strings up tight.

Father Smith put his wrinkled, worn hand on the woman's cold, clammy brow that looked to be porceline delicate, and brushed the wet strands of her hair away from her face. "We won't know what truly befell her until she tells us. Unfortunately, I've seen people who kept on sleeping until they died from these kinds of head wounds. We can only pray that she does not. Meanwhile," the priest said as he turned to regard Sumner, "I want you to go into town and inform the lord Sheriff of what happened."

When Father Smith saw Sumner's face grow uneasy at his words, he softened his voice and said, "I am sure a disappearance of a girl like this won't go unnoticed for very long. Someone, her father perhaps, will probably be along shortly to claim her."

Sumner glanced briefly at the woman's lifeless face and nodded curtly to the priest. He limped over to a wall where a sword hung and buckled it on. He then draped a faded cloak, decorated with two black wolf heads, over himself and headed out the door.

When Father Smith heard the hooves of Sumner's old warhorse disappearing in the direction of the town, he looked out the window and murmured wanly, "Dressing like that...Still can't let go of your past, can you Sumner?"

(5)
Heartbreak
Chapter 5

The seeress, an old woman who looked eternally tired and irritated, sat on a stone throne in a dark hall with only braziers that threw soft, quiet light around to no avail for company. She closed her wrinkled eyelids and breathed out a deep sigh, crossing her thin, frail fingers in her lap.

"This won't do at all, seeress." A female voice announced somewhere from the dark, her voice carrying a tinge of irritation and frail in the vast, empty hall. "The angel still has too many obligations to fulfill for her to forsake who she is."

The seeress cleared her throat, and answered in a cautious voice, "I assure you lady, that in time, she will remember who she is and continue."

"Your 'assurance' rings hollow seeress and does not fool me into complacency. If the angel will not fall back in line, then you leave me in a very difficult position. One that you and all Eteria will not like very much." the voice replied, matter of factly.

The seeress opened her eyes quickly, and looked to be troubled at the woman's words. "You cannot mean it. You promised me that this will be how it shall be done." the seeress said, her voice leaning towards desperation.

"Provided that the angel continues to be the angel, and fulfills her duty." the woman's voice informed from a form that slowly appeared before the seeress.

Before the seeress stood a young woman in a flowing gown that seemed to be made of the softest and fluffiest of white silk. Her hair, long and flowing like golden strands, chased away the darkness of the room and seemed to eclipse the flickering light of the braziers. The seeress bowed her head before the woman, not daring to look into the icy cold beauty of the woman's counternance that seemed to glow like a pale moon.

"More time, lady. I need more time. Silsalon will be here shortly and he shall find the angel." The seeress said nervously, cowering before the woman as if the light eminating from her burned like fire.

"That traitor." The woman spat out, her face growing dangerous. "He is the cause of this mishap. He can no longer be trusted to carry out his task and will have to be eliminated."

The seeress cowered before the woman's words. "Please, lady. I.."

The woman raised her hand and the seeress, even though her head was bowed, grew deathly silent. "Enough. Bring him in here. I know that he waits outside." She commanded in a voice laced with annoyance.

The seeress feebly clapped once, and a door slowly opened with a soft creak. A small, glowing form flew inside as the door closed once again, flying towards the two women like a firefly. It stopped before the young woman, and grew in size until a young man with dragon fly wings growing out of his back stood before her.

"My goddess." He said reverently as he bowed and knelt before her, not looking up.

The young woman looked scornfully down at the man, her crimson lips curled upwards like a check mark. "Raise that spiteful face, you traitor!" the woman spat out. When the man slowly did so, staring at her face with eyes full of unfathomable fear, she held her right arm up before his face, the place where her hand should have been ending in a stump. "My angel, my right hand, is no more because of your trechery, Silsalon. What is a fitting punishment for a wretched one who has betrayed a goddess' will and trust?" She announced angrily, her words smelling of brimstones and thunder.

Sils swallowed hard, and held up his hands weakly as if trying to ward off a physical blow. "I make no excuses, my lady." Sils answered in a trembling voice. "But I could no longer follow your will. Because,"

"Because what?!" the goddess asked.

Sils lowered his face and answered, "Because she means more to me than my life."

The goddess' face grew livid with rage. "How dare you!" She exclaimed in fury, and raised her hand high. Thousands of whispering voices rose up as if answering her, and Sils' body started to rise up from the floor. "No matter how close you think you are with her, she is still me, do you understand? She will not be soiled with a love of a mere mortal as yourself."

Sils' body started to tremble and tensed as if unseen hands were pulling at him from all directions. He shouted in terror as he started to feel the tiny but forceful tugs grip all over his body and started to tear his limbs from his shivering form. "Wait! You cannot do this to me! Who shall control Cyan if I were to be killed?!" Sils blurted out, his voice full of shock and agony.

The seeress got up from her chair as well, taking cautious steps towards the goddess. "He speaks truly, my goddess. There is no one in this world who can control the angel if Silsalon was no more." She spoke urgently, but was forced back into her seat by an unseen force with a hard enough shove to take the wind out of her and leave her breathless and in cold dread.

"Sit down!" The goddess commanded. She then turned her attention back to Silsalon, whose limbs were stretched out to their breaking point. Her hardened look softened as she saw him squirm under all the pain, and breathing out a sigh, she closed her outstretched hand. Sils' broken body fell lifeless to the cold, stone floor, breathing in raspy gasps that rang out painfully against the dark walls.

"Sils, look. Look at my face." the goddess commanded gently, lifting the long strands of hair away from her right eye. Sils slowly raised his pain filled face as commanded, and he trembled as he saw that her right eye was missing. In place was a dark, fathomless pool filled with stars that went on forever into cold, empty eternity.

The old seeress saw this as well, and she crumpled out of her chair as if her bones could no longer support her. "The eye!" She cried out in shock and dismay. "You promised us that this wouldn't happen!"

The goddess ignored the old woman and continued to talk gently to Sils. "The other gods demanded it of me, Sils. But my eye will not act until I give her permission. Do you not see, Sils? I know what lies in your heart. I know you want the angel to be mortal. But you seem to have forgotten that she can never be what you want her to be. She is my right hand. Nothing more. Regardless of the emotions she seems to have developed in time, she will return to be my right hand when her task is finished."

Sils nodded dejectedly at her words and cast his eyes downwards. His body still ached from the ordeal the goddess had put him through, but inside his head, one single thought, that of freeing Cyan from the goddess' clutches, pulsed unchecked through the pain.

He slowly got up and managed to sit on his knees before the goddess, his head still bowed. Had he looked up, he would have seen the bemused and sad smile that slowly formed on the goddess' lips as his thoughts betrayed him to her.

"Will you go to her?" The goddess asked softly, her smile melting away slowly like sinking in quicksand.

Sils nodded his head slowly in pain, answering back, "What will I say if she asks me why I've come back for her?"

The goddess turned to regard the cowering seeress and replied, "You will tell her that you have gone to see the seeress at Kentar and that she has told you that her prophecy has not been fulfilled as of yet. Promise her that all will be revealed to her when her tasks are completed."

Sils looked up slowly, facing the goddess. "Will you truly? For the truth shall drive her mad, I think."

The goddess sighed and replied in a tired voice, "That is none of your concern."

But Sils persisted, saying, "If she were to know that she was you, and that it was her face that she had been seeking all this time..."

"Enough." The goddess said simply, and Sils knew then to keep his mouth shut then. "Go to her, Sils. Let her be my angel of death. And if you should fail in that, my eye will be loosened upon all of Eteria. She will not be as discriminating as Cyan, this I promise you."

Sils eyes took on the look of the shocked, and his face drained of all color. With a visible strain, he forced down the tremors of fear that swept throughout his body and winced again as he got up. He bowed once to the goddess and to the seeress of Kentar, who looked as if someone had knocked all sense out of her. He then turned and flew out of the room without a glance back, and closed the massive doors behind him, leaving the two women.

The seeress slowly turned to the goddess, looking full of caution and fear. "Surely you do not trust Silsalon to fulfill what you wish of him." She ventured, her voice hoarse.

The goddess looked up towards the vast, empty ceiling of the room, and looked to be in deep thought. When she finally spoke, her voice was tinged with sadness. It was as if her cold anger was a mask to be slipped away, leaving her true self exposed to the world. The seeress couldn't help but be touched by this revelation. "He must. The other gods want destruction of Eteria for they see their doom in it. They fear, Saina. They fear the new god that spreads his will upon the land even as we speak. They have chosen me to quell this new religion, but fear that I've taken too long in achieving this goal. A century ago, they forced me to release my eye to completely destroy Eteria from the face of this land, to halt the spread of this new religion. They did not like the progress I was making with my angel."

The seeress's wrinkled eyes started to become moist with tears as she gazed into the goddess' sorrow filled face. "Oh my goddess.." she whispered, and reached out her wrinkled, frail hand. The goddess saw this and with a sad smile, took her hand in hers gently, filling the old woman with a warmth that felt like a gentle summer breeze.

"Saina, my faithful servant, my daughter." the goddess said gently and leaned her eternally young face to the seeress' wrinkled ear. "Do not hate me for what I've become, even though I no longer call myself mercy." she whispered gently into her ear and hissed her cheek. And as the goddess' soft, warm kiss slowly dissolve away into the darkness, so did she, leaving the seeress cold and lonely in the darkness.

(6)
Heartbreak
Chapter 6

The Tepper Inn was half empty and quiet, with patrons looking about them disinterested in a lazy afternoon haze. The barkeep, a thin, young man with nervous eyes, kept a weary eye on the patrons as if they were his greatest of enemies, all the while keeping a more stealthy one eyed gaze on his plump, overly excitable barmaid, who was at the moment looking longingly at a well dressed man passed out on one of the tables.

When the door opened and a red haired woman walked in, everyone's attention went towards her, their gazes eager to bring them out of their stupor with something new. However, when their laze filled stares slowly realized who this woman was, they hurridly averted their eyes lest she saw them take notice of her.

Behind the woman followed a tall, well muscled man with a black eye patch. Even though he was dressed conservatively, his huge, bulging muscles were straining the fabric of his clothes to a taut stretch. A long, broad sword with an unusually large guard was strapped to his back by a leather belted scabbard, and it made a sound akin to a clinking coin as he walked.

The barkeep bolted out from behind the bar and rambled towards the two. He bowed deeply before them with a sickeningly scared smile on his face, leading them to a large table in a corner.

"Welcome, lady Rebecca and Master Jonah. It indeed is an honor to have you here once again." he blabbered in a nervous voice as they sat down. He then turned to the red haired woman and with his face straining to put on a semblence of sadness, said, "I am extremely sorry to hear about Master Amoyal's death, lady. Who could have thought that he would meet his match..urg!"

A golden whip slashed out and coiled itself around the barkeep's neck. "Never, ever spread such false rumors again, do you understand me, wretch?" Rebecca spat out venomously and yanked the whip, causing the barkeep to fall to his face and bloodying his nose.

"Y...yes, lady! Of course! P..please forgive me!" the barkeep blubbered, red faced and bleeding as the whip slipped off his neck with a stinging bite. He beat a hasty retreat as the other patrons pretended to study their drinks and look busy.

"Lies, I'll never believe it! How could this falsehood have spread this far from Sanaria?!" Rebecca demanded angrily as she replaced her whip to her hip.

Jonah raised his eyebrow and unbuckled his sword, laying it against the table. "The stories that traveled out of Sanaria is not falsehood, Rebecca." He said as he sat down.

"How dare you?! He was our leader! He deserves more respect than some blabbing gossip!" Rebecca said as she looked at him angrily.

Jonah leaned back into his chair, which groaned under his massive weight, and simply replied, "He is dead. What more of a proof do you want?"

"Not by Cyan's hands! Not by a single person's hands! It's not possible." Rebecca said bitterly, and sat down, looking worn.

Jonah remained quiet and impassive as Rebecca gripped the edges of the wooden table until they creaked under the pressure. "I can see that you are upset."

"You are so perceptive." Rebecca retorted, her voice dripping with sarcasm, but softened when she noticed that her words had an effect to the usually stoic Jonah. She lowered her head and relaxed her grip on the table. "I'm sorry, Jonah. I am not myself today." She apologized softly.

Jonah laid his large, rough hand on Rebecca's. "You should tell that to your father, Rebecca. He is besides himself over what you have done today."

Rebecca shook her head hard, and slipped her hands away. "No. Never. If my father is too much of a coward to carry out justice, then I have no need of the blades. I will.."

A cold, mocking laughter cut through Rebecca's words, and Rebecca turned her head angrily towards the source. Before her were two figures. One a man with white hair that grew to his shoulders, dressed in a gray robe with a purple sash He smelled faintly of incense and herbs, and wore a necklace with a golden circle. Another, the originator of the laughter, was a young woman, golden haired and eyes as cold as blue eyes that seemed to pierce everyone in the room with an eerie gaze of something inhuman. She was unearthly beautiful, with a cold, heartless and wild edge to that beauty that caused Rebecca's wondering fingers to hesitate and stop their progress towards her whip. The young woman also wore the same robe as the man, albeit her sleeves and skirts were bordered with violet. She sat down before the two, and motioned the man to sit down also, never taking her mocking gaze off Rebecca.

"Justice! My dear black blades. How you love to roll in that word like some flea bitten mongrels." The woman said, her smile beguilingly intoxicating. Jonah flinched to protest, but found that his thoughts began to swirl and lose coherency in the woman's beautiful smile, and began to feel hot and sweaty as if he was being beaten down by the summer sun. "Let us make one thing very clear, black blades. You are nothing more than glorified assassins with a bent towards politics. Your justice is money."

Rebecca's face grew red, but she still couldn't break away from the woman's icy cold eyes. She felt herself drowning in those blue pools and found it hard to breath. It was only when the woman broke her gaze with her and winked at Jonah, who looked dumbfounded with his slackened jaw, that she could gather her addled wits. "I'll not sit still for this outrage!" She managed to blurt out angrily and got up.

The woman tilted her head coyly and regarded Rebecca, but this time, her gaze didn't affect her as the first time. "You will, if you want to know where you can find Cyan, the angel of death." the woman answered, her voice sounding full of mischief as if she was having fun.

Rebecca's features betrayed her surprise and she found herself slowly sitting back down, gazing at the two new arrivals.

"You do want her, do you not?" The woman asked, her smile carrying a faint hint of some secret amusement. When Rebecca nodded her head cautiously, she turned her gaze towards Jonah and said, "wonderful!". Jonah couldn't help but smile along with the woman and felt himself blush, almost causing Rebecca to gasp in surprise for she had never seen the stoic man even hint at a smile before.

"Well, then. Since we do not have much time," the woman began, but Rebecca held up her hand, stopping her.

"Just a minute. Who are you and, by the gods.." Rebecca exclaimed as she finally noticed who was sitting next to the woman, kicking herself for not seeing who he was before. She bowed her head reverently before the man, and said, "Archmage Waren of the Circle. It indeed is an honor."

Jonah also bowed before the man, but did not say a word, his gaze wandering slowly back to the young woman, who was looking amused at the reverence displayed for the man sitting next to her.

Archmage Waren noticed this and a wan smile appeared before his lips. He returned the bows gently, and absentmindedly ran his hand over his hair, it sharply contrasting a face that belonged to a man in his younger years.

"It is not often that we see you leaving the towers, master Waren." Rebecca began, noticing an air of unease the archmage was trying to hide before the young woman.

Archmage Waren nodded curtly, and with a voice that was a bit too dry and brittle to sound anything but calm, answered, "No. But my lady here needs my full attention."

The woman smiled coyly at this, and gave the archmage a sidewards glance that seemed to physically overwhelm him and made him look to cower. "All the attention in the world isn't enough to keep me in check, darling. You know that." She said gently, but her words felt heavy and sharp against the skin.

The woman turned to Rebecca once again and with a disarming smile, continued, "If you want the angel of death, you will go over to the temple of the seeress right now. There you will see a Ralantian. Follow him and you will find your query."

Rebecca sneered, but immediately regretted it without knowing why, for she felt a cold finger of fear touch her heart and made her shiver. She forced down a feeling of utter panic and blurted out, "Why should I listen to you? I don't even know who you are."

The woman mocked surprise, and said, "Why that's right! How rude of me to not announce who I am. Very well.."

"My lady!" Waren shouted out sternly, cutting her off.

The woman turned to the archmage slowly. Her smile turned mocking and dangerous as she regarded the mage. "If you do not wish me to reveal who I am to these mortals, then you will tell them that I speak the truth." She said, her voice calm and measured.

The archmage looked to be speechless for a few moments, staring at the woman before him. He finally let out a deep sigh, and turned his head wearily towards Rebecca and whispered harshly, "My lady speaks the truth. The Ralantian will lead you to the angel if you hurry."

Rebecca's jaw hardened, and with her eyes closed tightly, she bolted up from her chair. Without a backwards glance, she quickly walked towards the door, slamming it on her way out. Jonah looked away from the woman's face as if waking from a dream when the sound reached his ear, and looked around him wearily with groggy eyes.

"The seeress's temple. You will find her there. And remember, Cyan looks exactly like me." The woman said, smiling at him.

Jonah got up unsteadily as if drunk. Taking his sword with an unsteady hand, and with an awkward bow towards the woman, left the table after Rebecca, his pace quickening as he distanced himself away from her.

The young woman laughed, and gathered her long, golden hair in her hand, gently laying its silken length over her left shoulder. The patrons of the male persuation gazed at its lengths that spilled over into her lap like a golden waterfall in awe, while Waren's features looked strained as he turned his head away from her with an effort.

"That big one will remember me. Don't you think, Waren?" The woman asked in an innocent voice, turning to lay a gentle hand on the archmage's shoulder to get his attention.

Waren shivered and laid his hand over her own, trying to remove it for it felt as hot as a glowing brand. He breathed out a sigh as she removed it with a twinkle in her eye, and replied, "He shall. Even if you did not mess with his head. It isn't often that a mortal gazes upon a goddess and lives to tell of it."

The woman laughed gently, and raised her head towards the ceiling that was blackened in places from the years of kitchen smoke. "I am not a goddess, my dear Waren. You know that." She said, and turned her gaze towards the men that were staring at her. "Look at them. So much like animals. All they can think about is how they would like to have me for their own." She commented in a bored voice, and turned to Waren. "But you, my darling. You know what I am about, don't you? That's why there's so much fear in that pretty little head of yours." She reached over to him and gave him a kiss on his cheek.

"Stop it!" Waren shouted furiously, bolting up from his chair. "What you did here is not right. The goddess has forbidden you to do anything until this issue is solved! Until the angel fails, you were to do nothing!" Waren noticed from the corner of his eye that two of the men sitting in the next table was giving him an angry glance and fingering their swords.

The young woman shrugged before Waren, whose face was flushed with a mixture of anger and fear. "I've waited a century with you, my darling. I was beginning to get extremely bored. Weren't you?" She asked, reaching up to take Waren's hand. "Look at you, sweetheart. Not a day older than the first time my mother left me in your care." She said as she gently caressed his hand. "Although I don't see why you found it necessary to try to negate it. You don't really look good with white hair."

Waren did not answer, but clenched his jaw and looked away from her.

The young woman let go of his hand, and with a hint of annoyance and malice in her words, said, "I imagine that's what your lover's hair is like now, if that even remains of her, rotting away in.."

Waren slapped her hard across her cheek, coloring it an angry crimson. Her long hair flew in disarray from the blow like the rays of the morning sun, falling like a golden curtain to cover her face as the woman lowered her head and gasped in surprise.

As Waren winced in regret at his action, the two men came upto him. One of them laid a firm hand on his shoulder and said, "I don't care who you are. You can't treat a lady like this."

Waren's features grew dangerous as he raised his hand to swat the man's hand away. "If you know what's good for you, then you will go back to your table." He said, and forceably removed the man's hand.

Without a word, the two men drew their swords and raised it to strike, but found their weapons glow and turn to dust in their shocked grasp. They then started to walk backwards toward their table, and collapsed into their chair with a blank look on their faces. The other patrons saw this and one by one crept quietly out of the establishment, quickly followed by the barkeep and the maid.

Waren sat down wearily, and with hesitation, reached over and ran a gentle hand over the young woman's hair, feeling the silky smoothness that felt as if he was dipping his hand into waves of a golden sea.

The young woman, without looking up, leaned her head closer to his hand and in awhile, whispered quietly, "Only you, my darling. No one would even dare, not even my kin."

"I am sorry." Waren said gently, his arms enveloping her in an embrace.

After what seemed to be eternity of silence, she whispered back faintly, "Are you really?"

(7)
Heartbreak
Chapter 7

The road was sunbaked and dusty, causing Sumner to blink and cough too many times for him to be comfortable with. He wanted to shake the road dust out of his hair too, but he daren't let go of the reins. Not only had his horsemenship deteriorated in the five years spent in that hut in the forest with father Smith, his horse had gotten used to the continued disuse as well and Sumner knew that if he showed any signs of losing control, he'd end up on his rear in the middle of the road with his horse flying off back into the forest.

As he got closer to the town, he began to pass by people and grimaced inwardly as they gawked at him and whispered amongst each other. One or two of them actually waved to him, and those he nodded politely to. When he reached the town gates, the guards looked surprised and one of them came up to him.

"Master Sumner, by the gods. It is you!" He shouted, look of welcome spreading across his face.

Sumner gave him an uneasy smile and reached over to pat the guard on the shoulder. "It's good to see you again, Finn." He said and turned to the other guard, who was coming towards them with a smile. "Shawn. Still can't take it easy with the spirits, I see."

The other guard laughed and rubbed his head as he reached out to grip Sumner's hand. "Naw, master Sumner. Can't kick the habit, I'm afraid."

As Sumner was about to reply, he spied the flag that was flying above the gates. A look of surprise was not unnoticed by the guards and Finn spoke up. "That happened a few weeks ago, master Sumner. I guess you haven't heard."

Sumner stammered and replied, looking dazedly at the banner of a red serpentine dragon emblazoned on a golden background, "No. I have not. That's lord Michels' banner."

"Lord Oden was killed. By the Angel of Death herself, I hear." the guard named Shawn spoke. "There's a new high king in Sanaria now, master Sumner."

Sumner turned to Shawn and asked in a surprised voice, "The Angel of Death? What nonsense is this?"

Shawn shook his head fervently. "Oh no, master Sumner. It's no nonsense. sheriff Steward saw it himself."

"He was there when lord Oden challenged lord Taran for the high kingship. Darndest thing he ever saw he says, the way he was killed I mean." Finn added excitedly.

Sumner creased his brows and looked to be in thought as he said, "Since he's lost, his land is forfeit. Now we're under Michels' control." He gave the guards a pat on the shoulder and turned his horse back towards the gate entrance. "I'll see you men on the way out. I have business with Steward." He said as the horst trotted in towards town.

As the two guards saw him turn a corner and disappear, Finn asked ruefully, "Do you think he's here because of this?"

Shawn rubbed his red nose and sniffed. "Even if he is, he'll never get his job back." He replied, readjusting his grip on the spear. "But I would like to see him receive something. It's just unfair what they did to him."

Finn spat on the ground and returned to the well worn spot next to the gates, saying bitterly, "You mean what lord Oden did to him. I for one am glad that that butcher finally got it."

Shawn rubbed his jaw and readjusted his helmet straps, replying, "I'd watch that tongue if I were you, Finn. Especially around master Sumner. Them high born nobles have a strange sense of honor and he might just take offense to your words."

Finn raised his eyebrows in surprise and retorted, "Are ye kidding, man? Oden's the reason why master Sumner became a commoner! If it wasn't for him, he wouldn't be a useless cripple!"

Just then, a horse drawn cart tumbled towards them and before they could halt it and smashed its load of garbage all over the ground before them. Shawn slapped his head in disbelief and disgust as Finn, removing a rind of watermelon off his shoulder, angrily walked forward towards the driver, who lay in the filth dazed and confused.

(8)
Heartbreak
Chapter 8

Sumner reached out and felt the faded white walls of the temple of Mylana as the horse clopped along the cobbled streets, its eyes rolling mad and wild while the masses of people pressed around them, going about their daily businesses. Sumner quickly noticed this and lay a gentle hand on the horse's neck, saying, "Easy Renni, easy. We'll be out of here soon."

Sumner then deftly ignored the old women who came up to him, holding various things they wanted him to buy, and broke the horse into a light trot, smiling as people quickly made way and clearing a path straight to a drab, stone building. Upon reaching it, he gingerly got off his horse with some difficulty. As he tied the reins to the post, a man walked out, and after giving him a squinting, glance full of disbelief, came up to him and gripped him on the shoulders.

"Sumner! It is you!" the man shouted, his voice carrying both surprise and friendship. "Mylana be praised!"

Sumner gave the man an awkward hug and replied, "It's been awhile, Steward."

The man named Steward held him out before him and smiled. "It has indeed, Sumner. It's been too long. How's the quack priest?"

"Father Smith is doing well." Sumner replied, his smile slowly fading.

Steward let him go, noticing this, and said in a voice tinged with annoyance, "Father Smith, is it? Sumner, I swear, that old man and his ridiculous religion has you ensorcelled."

Sumner's jaw hardened as he heard this, and his voice turned cold as he said, "Deputy sheriff Steward. I did not come here to discuss my regious preferences. I came here to.."

Steward held up his hand, interrupting him. "Don't take offense at my words, Sumner. Deputy sheriff indeed! I must've really angered you this time for you to call me thus. Listen, Sumner, I've been your friend since we were wetting our pants and eating dirt! When my best friend leaves his estate and just walks off one day into the woods to be never heard from again in 5 years, 5 years! Try to see it from my point of view, will you? What am I supposed to think?!"

Sumner gazed into Steward's face, which was flushed red with anger and concern, and sighed after a few moments of silence. "I fished a young girl out of the creek near Beggars falls this morning, Steward. She's being cared for by father Smith at his hut." Sumner began, his voice quiet and apologetic.

"I see." Steward replied in a subdued voice, looking as if to be moping. "You'll have to bring her in to town, Sumner. The high priestess of Mylana forbade anyone from going over there or have anything to do with that priest."

Sumner looked towards the white temple walls and replied, "She has, has she?"

Steward raised his head and said, "Yes. Listen Sumner, I'm sorry if,"

Sumner turned to him and with a quick, uneasy smile and said, "It's alright, Steward."

"Friends again?" Steward held out a hand.

Sumner laughed out loud, thinking Steward's jesture childish. But he was touched by it deeply and gripped his hand tight, replying, "Of course, mud face."

"Swell, cracker head!" Steward growled, and started to drag him towards the building, hiding a wince as Sumner started to limp after him. "Listen, as long as you're here, you're not leaving until you have a drink with me and the boys." Steward said in a hurried, uneven voice. "Don't you dare say no Sumner, because there's so much I have to tell you."

Sumner took care not to bang his sword against the door frame as he stumbled in after his friend, and sat down in a chair before a large wooden desk littered with scrolls, the feeling of unease from the earlier outburst still fresh in both of the men's minds. "If it's about Lord Oden being killed, I'm afraid Finn and Shawn beat you to the punch, Steward." He said as he took the dusty cloak off him and tossed it expertly to a cloak hanger in a corner, where it snagged one of its arms neatly. He smiled wanly as his friend sat before him behind the desk, feeling a pang inside his heart, for once he himself was the occupier of this very same office.

"They did, did they? Then you should know what it means, don't you?" Steward said as he opened one of the drawers and pulled out a bottle and two cups.

"I don't quite follow." Sumner replied as he accepted a glass of wine from Steward.

"It means, my friend, that we can finally compensate you for what happened to you. When lord Michels reads my report of how wrongly you were dismissed, I am sure he'll provide for your..." His voice trailed off as he saw Sumner face turn first from shock, then to angry crimson.

Sumner slammed the cup down on the desk, making Steward wince. "I'm not a cripple, damn it! I don't need to be looked after like some invalid!" He said, his voice filled with anger. "Why in the abyss did you do it? Will you have me look like some beggar, looking for a handout, crawling back into the house like some rat after the cat's been driven off?!" Sumner bolted out of his seat, unable to control his rage. "I'll tell you what I really want, Steward. I want my sheriffship back! This desk, this office, it rightfully belongs to me!"

Steward got up angrily as well, smashing his glass against the wall. "Will you listen to yourself? Pining away for something that you can never have again?!" He shouted back. "Look at you! You can barely walk! How in the world do you think you'll hold this office as a cripple?!"

Sumner eyes flashed with rage, and his hand flew to his sword. But Steward held his ground, and leaned closer to him from behind the desk. "It hurts to hear it, doesn't it? But you've got to face it, damn it! You are not going to be the sheriff of this town ever again!"

Sumner lowered his head as those words hit home, and without a word turned away from the desk and started limping out of the office. His dragging left foot made a sound that made both of them wince and ache inside. Steward raised a hesitant hand to stop him, but dropped it listlessly as Sumner reached the door and slammed it shut behind

him. Steward slowly sat back down in his chair and took the bottle to his mouth. He started to drain it in huge gulps when he spied Sumner's forgotten cloak, decorated with two wolves' heads, hanging there like some dusty, worn battle flag. A growl escaped from deep inside him and he hurled the bottle at it, knocking down the cloak stand and splattering the wall with broken glass and liquor. "I hope you rot in the abyss for all eternity, Oden you bastard!" Steward slurred fearcely, and laid his head wearily against the cool wood of the desk.

(9)
Heartbreak
Chapter 9

Sumner rode through the sunbaked streets with a vacant expression on his face. He didnt bother to direct his horse, whom, sensing that his master was in a solemn mood, did not try to make an issue of his lack of direction. Rather, it neighed softly as if understanding and started to navigate its way through the throngs of people, who were busily going about their business at the market square and only made way for them when the horse butted its head against their backs.

The noises of the streets began to hush away into the distance, forgotten and lost. As the horse made its way out of the city gates and slowly trotted towards a worn road, Sumner seemed to awaken from his stupor and bit his lip as he recognised where he was being led. He then looked down at his horse, who neighed again as it stopped in front of a large mansion surrounded by a rusty fence.

"Renni, I suppose you knew. Yes, I needed to come back here." He said as he patted the horses neck and slowly got off. He gently pushed at the rusted gates and slowly walked in, looking around him pensively. The mansion itself was now completely covered by green ivy, being so dense in foliage that it was hard to make out the grey walls. The wooden double doors were scored with age and disuse. However, Sumner noticed a bright plaque that proclaimed that no one was to be allowed entrance upon pain of death, by the order of sheriff Steward. He then slowly walked towards the back of the mansion, towards a grove of trees that once used to be an orchard, trampling on patches of waist high weeds that tugged at him. He stopped in front of the short, iron gates that were left ajar, looking at the rose vines that entwined its bars with its blossoms that looked to be spun with white, fluffy clouds. He turned his gaze inward when he spied movement from one of the trees, and his eyes took on a bitter edge as he saw a woman, her long brown hair bound up with a red ribbon and clad in white robes that was harsh to the eyes because of its brightness. She looked up to meet his gaze from the distance, and she let out a cry and ran towards him.

"Oh Sumner! When they told me you returned I knew youd come here." She said as she fell into his arms and gripped him. She buried her face in his chest with tears coming down her cheeks, and cried, "My love. You have returned to me at last."

Sumner stiffened at her embrace, but laid a gentle hand on her head and said, "Hello, Dania. It has been a long time." He gently raised her face with his hand and added softly, "Youre looking well." He then worked himself free from her embrace, gently but firmly.

Danias green eyes had the look of the lost as she felt him slipping away from her, and her tears started to flow anew. "Sumner, please dont blame me for not coming after you. You just cant! I am the high priestess of Mylana. I couldnt break my own edict and visit you at that horrible infidel priests place. I couldnt!"

"That infidel priest was the only one who wouldnt just sweep me under a rug, nor fawn over me like as if I was some useless cripple." Sumner said, his voice calm and soft. "I dont know how a priestess of the goddess of mercy could be so shortsighted and vicious to a man you hardly even know. Things still havent changed around here, I see."

Dania closed her eyes and held her hands to her lips. "What of us, my love? Have they changed in time?" "There is no more us, Dania." Sumner said simply, and started to walk away, his face looking forlorn.

"How can you say that when I have waited for your return so faithfully?!" Dania cried, reaching out and grabbing Sumners shoulder, stopping him. "What of our pledge to be husband and wife? Will you toss me away just like that? Sumner, how could you?!"

Sumner lowered his head without looking back. "You deserve someone better than me, Dania. It would just not be right for a high priestess of your stature to wed a cripple like me." He spoke, his voice dispassionate and hollow.

"But I love you, Sumner. More than anthing!" Dania cried, turning him around. She opened her mouth to continue, but held her breath when she saw Sumners wry smile.

"You mean within reason." Sumner replied, and sighed deeply when he saw that his words had scored an etching mark on her, for she looked as if his words had physically slapped her. "Dania.." He began, but she held her hand up to his lips to stop him.

Dania, blinking away her tears, reached out to a rose petal from the rosevine behind her, and tore it loose from its stem. "We planted these roses together, Sumner. Remember how we pledged our souls to each other that day?" She asked in a trembling voice, and held out the flower before Sumner. "Please take it Sumner, and stay here with me."

Sumner shook his head slowly, his eyes downcast. "Im sorry, Dania. But I cannot." he answered, his voice wan and tired.

"Why not?" Dania asked softly, her tear filled eyes gazing into Sumners.

Sumner laid his hands on Danias shoulders and gently kissed her on her forehead. "Because its over. My life, this place that I used to call my own, everything. Good bye, Dania." He answered her softly, letting her go. He turned around slowly and limped away from her, leaving her gazing after him in stunned silence. The rose petal slowly slid away from her lifeless hands and fell crumpled to the ground, scattering away into the cold wind.

(10)
Heartbreak
Chapter 10

Sils flew out of the seeress temple, and stopped to sit on a branch of a tree. After a deep sigh that shook his tiny frame, he looked back towards the temple and shook his head. He leaned his head back against the trunk and looked towards the sky, ominous and threatening with blackened storm clouds.

(11)
Heartbreak
Chapter 11

"All life on Eteria depends on your unhappiness, Cyan." Sils whispered to himself, closing his eyes. "Damn you, Hiroshi. You knew this would happen and took the easy way out. Leaving me with this by my self." He continued, his voice tinged with anger.

Sils opened his eyes back slowly, looking towards the cobbled roads that led out of the city of Kentar. He saw the numerous citizens of this huge city going about doing their business and almost burst out in a hysterical fit of laughter. "If you only knew, you fools! If you only knew how close you all are from becoming nothing more than memories, if even that!" He shouted instead, and bowed his head as if his words had drained him of is strength.

"Please indulge me, so that I may learn." A female voice came from under the tree, and he felt a sharp bite of a whip surround and grab him. A red haired woman, the wielder of the whip, yanked it back towards her and grabbed Sils in her hand with a triumphant look.

Sils, after a moment to get his addled wits together for a coherent reply, answered, "It is none of your concern." He tried to wiggle free, but the woman merely tightened her grip, causing Sils to gasp out in pain.

"Careful, Rebecca. You might kill him." A large man standing next to her cautioned.

"Now, little man." Rebecca said, ignoring the big man. "I hope the answer to my next question will be more enlightening, for if it is not, I will squash you like the bug that you are, got me?" She finished by squeezing him harder, and smiled satisfactorily when Sils cried out in agony and nodded quickly.

"Now, Ralantian. I have heard from a reliable source that you can lead me to Cyan, the so called angel of death. Is this true?" Rebecca asked, somewhat relaxing her grip while gazing at Silsalons features intently as a cat about to devour a mouse.

"Who told you this?" Sils managed to ask in a shaken voice, his eyes betraying confusion and fear.

"Wrong answer." Rebecca said simply and began to squeeze. Sils began to see tiny stars before his eyes as the pressure on his body began to increase to an unbearable threshold.

The big man stepped forward and slapped Rebeccas hand, causing Sils to flutter out of her grasp and fall. The man caught him, however, and held him in his wide, open palm. "It is unseemly for a member of the black blades to behave this way, Rebecca." The man said sternly, and nodded his head at Sils, who was still wincing. "Please forgive the actions of my companion. She is under duress."

Rebeccas face turned crimson with anger, however, she looked to be visibly straining to hold her temper in check. "If youve forgotten Jonah, I have resigned my membership from that worthless organizaion." She spoke, her words not hiding the ire in her heart.

Jonah held up his hand, and regarded Sils with solemnity. "You are, I presume, Silsalon? Companion of Cyan, the angel of death?" He asked.

Sils, still unsure of what was happening to him, nodded cautiously.

"Good." Jonah said. "I am called Jonah, and this is Rebecca Sarayan, the wife of Amoyal Sarayan."

Sils face visibly paled when the name was mentioned, and this did not pass by unnoticed by Jonah, who continued, fully aware of Rebeccas angry eyes watching the two of them. "By your reaction, you probably have a good idea what we want?" He asked, but it was more of a statement of fact.

"You want her killed." Sils answered.

Jonah shook his head, smiling. "Eventually, yes. That is our hope. However, she will receive an honorable death, in combat."

"A lot more than what my husband received from her hands." Rebecca spat out enomously.

Sils regarded Rebecca first with curiosity and then annoyance. "Amoyal was cut down in single combat against Cyan, I dont see what is so dishonorable in that." He said, watching in satisfaction as he saw her face grow angry red. "And you, big man. What is so honorable in both of you attacking her at the same time, mind you," Sils added with a confident grin, "she would have no trouble with cutting both your heads off in a blink of an eye."

Jonah laughed. "Then you should have no qualms about taking us to where Cyan is, then?" He asked, still smiling.

Sils looked as if in thought, and finally after a tense moment, nodded his head and announcing as Rebecca looked on impatiently, "I will take you to Cyan."

Rebecca snorted angrily. "And just how does this little bug man know where she could be?!"

Jonah looked at her, puzzled, saying, "Just a couple of minutes ago, you were ready to kill him because he might. I do not understand you."

Sils straightened out his wings and flew into the air, hovering before them. "I have a special bond with Cyan. I know exactly where she is at any time." He announced, staring at Rebecca, looking into her green eyes. "Does that answer your question?"

Rebecca twitched her lip as she held Sils gaze and hissed, "You better hope that you do, because if you fail to lead us to her, Ill splatter you, you bug!"

"Then it is settled." Jonah said, and turned towards Rebecca with concern in his eyes. "Rebecca.." He began, but almost took a step back when he saw her eyes, for it brimmed with such bitter, uncontrolled hatred that his throat felt dry and parched as if he was being beaten down by the blistering sun.

(12)
Heartbreak
Chapter 12

In a cool, darkened room, richly furnished with colorful tapestry and furniture guilded with glittering things, a woman and man stood before a mirror that rippled and swayed as if it was a surface of a deep pond. The woman, staring intently into the mirror, had a bewitching smile on her lips as the images of Rebecca, Jonah and Sils flickered before her eyes, glistening them with an eerie glow that seemed to be of faerie fire. She turned to her companion as the three of them walked off and the mirrors surface hardened to reflect her unearthly beauty.

"Well, darling. It seems they have hit it off fabulously." She said, her words like spiders webs, light and soft, yet clinging.

Archmage Waren sighed deeply and not bothering to look her way, replied in a tired voice, "She almost killed Silsalon."

The woman feined surprise, and commented as if concerned, "She almost did, didnt she?"

"Im tired of this game." Waren said, sitting down on the soft bed.

The woman slowly came over to the archmage and sat next to him, her long, golden hair falling softly on his lap. And it was as if they had a life of their own, swirling around him, enveloping him in its depths and making him lose himself in its golden waves.

"Why do you do this to me?" Waren asked softly, feeling the soft, fragrant waves of her hair caress him. He felt that if he let himself go, he would be lost forever in her, a fate that tempted him desperately even as he tried to fight back.

She laughed, and her laughter seemed to him the sweetest music he had ever heard, making him slowly close his eyes in rapture. "I will do this, until you surrender to me." She whispered in his ear, her soft, warm breath feeling like a gentle summer breeze.

"Never." Waren said, his hands shaking. "Too much depends on it. If I surrender to you, then you will never be stopped."

The woman laughed again, and traced the outline of Warens face with her finger. He shuddered at her touch, for the touch of her finger burned something deep inside him. And that made him deathly afraid. "My beautiful man." She whispered softly. "Alright. We shall continue our game some other time, for I hear someone approaching."

The womans look hardened, and she looked towards the center of the room, where a flood of light flashed and swirled. And from that light came out a woman that looked identical to her, save her right hand was missing, and in place of her left eye, a glowing void that seemed to run towards eternity.

"Mother." the woman said, her voice sharp and full of annoyance, breaking Waren out of his stupor as if he was doused with cold water. "Mylana." Waren stammered when he saw the woman, and getting off the bed, hastily bowed before the woman, not daring to look up.

The goddess slowly walked towards the woman, who still sat on the bed looking annoyed, and spoke, her voice bitter. "My daughter, you have betrayed me and have acted against my wishes."

The woman got up from the bed, facing the goddess whos light seemed to flicker before her. "Who accuses me of such?" She asked, her voice civil, but with a dangerous edge to it.

"Do not take me for a fool, daughter. I have seen how you plotted to have Silsalon killed by driving that mortal insane." She intoned, her voice angry.

"And what is so insane about wanting to avenge her lovers death, I wonder." The woman mused to no one in particular, but her words angered the goddess, who clenched her glowing left hand. The woman noticed this and laughed. "You do not have the power to destroy me, not anymore." She said, smiling triumphantly. "And I am sick and tired of waiting so your conscience can be cleared of these pathetic mortals deaths. What is this puny land of Eteria compared to our existance?" She said with venom in her voice. "I am your eye of destruction, mother. Your angel of mercy has failed. As decreed by the other gods, it is now my turn to finish the work that she has begun."

The goddess stared back at her angrily, and Waren could feel the air between the two immortals crackle with unearthly energy. "That decision is up to me to make, not yours. And you are right. I no longer have the power to destroy you. However, you are still a part of me." The goddess raised her hands and spread them out in a fan before the woman. "I do this as a last resort, my daughter. You have become too much of a danger to my plans to keep unchecked."

"You wouldnt dare. Mother!" the woman shouted out as a greenish light enveloped her slowly. The woman winced in pain as the light completely surrounded her and pitched forward, crumpling to the ground. "You are insane!" She managed to croak out, trying hard to pick herself up, but failing.

Waren, with worry and dread in his eyes, quickly came over to the woman and knelt down, but stopped just short of touching her when he saw the goddess wave him off.

"Archmage Waren, you have suffered much because of all this and I feel that you should be compensated for your troubles." The goddess said as the green light left the woman, drifting away like a mist, and coalesced into a small ball, hovering before the hand of the goddess. "Take this ball and swallow it." She commanded, and started to lose form as he cautiously came up to her and obeyed. "Listen carefully, for I have not much time left in this world. What you have just swallowed is the power of all the gods that were in my daughters control."

Waren looked shocked, and understanding slowly came to his eyes. He cried out desperately as the form of the goddess began to flicker like a candle in the wind, "You cannot mean it! I want to play no part in the decision to destroy all of Eteria. This is no gift you give me, my goddess!"

The goddess closed her eyes and smiled wanly as her form started to disintegrate before the two of them. "In time, Waren. You will realize just what a precious gift I have given you."

Waren looked desperate, and he stepped forward. "I do not understand, I cannot comprehend what you are saying. Forgive me." He cried and cursed loudly as the form of the goddess disappeared completely and left the room in darkness and silence. He gritted his teeth and turned around to face the woman, but found her still on the ground, cradling herself like a lost child. Her fear and sadness made him feel boorish and stupid at his anger.

"How can you leave me all alone in this world like this..." The woman whimpered, weeping softly. She flinched as Waren came over to her and knelt beside her.

Waren laid a gentle hand on her shoulder and asked softly, "What did she mean by her words?"

The woman raised her head and stared into Warens worried face. "Do you know how me and Cyan was created?" She began, and when Waren shook his head, she sighed and continued, "The gods, even with all their powers, cannot make an offspring of themselves. When the gods decided to destroy Eteria because of the new god that threatened their existance was to find his foothold here, they decided to pool all their power into one of themselves, so she would have enough strength to create a being capable of completely wiping this land out of existance. But this goddess didnt want to do so because she was a goddess of mercy. The thought of so many countless deaths weighed heavily on her soul. So she cut off her own left hand and sent it to the realm of the mortals, in hopes that her hand would be able to kill the people that would bring about this gods existance."

"Cyan..." Waren murmured, look of understanding coming to his face. "I had guessed as much, but to hear it true...I find it unbelievable. Why couldnt the gods just come down themselves and do it themselves?"

The woman looked away from Waren and replied, "Because they are gods, they cannot. Individually, they do not have the power to manifest themselves in physical form before mortals, nor do they have the power to kill anyone. My mother was able to manage it because the other gods pooled their power to her. And now, in robbing me of my powers, she has managed to drain every bit of power that was left to the gods. She will not come back to the land of the mortals. Not for a long time." She laughed softly, if somewhat bitter, and added, "Does it surprise you how little of consequence the gods are in your lives?"

Waren looked stunned, but managed to reply, "But your powers. You, I mean, I still have them."

The woman shook her head and answered, "I guess you werent listening to our words. She and I are one. I am a part of her. My powers are hers. She has just used her powers to lock away my powers."

"So in effect, she has locked away her powers as well." Waren murmured.

The woman laughed bitterly and said, "If only it were the case. Since she had all of the other gods powers to play with, she has in effect rendered the other gods powerless. There are now no more gods in Eteria."

Waren sat back, leaning against the bed, with a look of wonder in his eyes. "And I have all their powers in my belly." He mused into the air which felt soft and cool against his cheek. He turned to the woman suddenly, and with surprise in his eyes, said, "I know your true name now. Aja, isnt it?"

The woman, with worry in her eyes, held Warens hand and said, "Listen to me, Waren. You must not use that power you possess. No matter how tempting it is, no matter how much you need it, you musnt. "

Warens eyes grew wider as he stared into the womans eyes. "By the gods, I can understand everything now. Everything." He turned his head to gaze at his surroundings with wonder in his eyes. "If I concentrate, I can truly see everything. There are no secrets. No hidden things. This is marvelous!" He then turned his gaze back to the woman and added, "Even you. If I just..."

The woman slapped him hard across the face, sending the archmage sprawling to the floor. Waren shook his head grogilly as he recovered from the blow, and slowly propped himself on his elbow. He then grabbed his head and shouted through gritted teeth, "My head, it feels like its going to burst!"

The woman quickly came over to him and cradled his head in her lap, holding his head against her. "Next would have been madness, Waren. Shhh.." She said in a soothing voice as she smoothed his white hair from his grimicing face. "No mortal, not even an archmage like you, can even begin to hope to wield the powers of all the gods." She said softly and sighed in relief as Waren stopped trembling and his body began to relax under her caresses.

"You have a very pretty name, Aja." Waren managed to whisper, smiling weakly. Then he closed his eyes, feeling his pain slowly subside with Ajas caresses. "Is it true then, that you are now powerless?" He asked.

Waren felt Ajas body stiffen at his question and guessed it to be true. "IfI were to kill you, then there would be no threat against Eteria, would there?" He added softly, and noticed that Ajas hand had stopped. Waren looked up to see her head turned away from him.

"If that is what you wish, Waren. I will not stop you." Aja murmured, staring at the tapestry of a white unicorn under an apple tree, surrounded by adoring maidens holding their golden boughs. "You can save Eteria from its eventual destruction if I was no more."

Waren sighed and replied, "Yes. Thats right."

"I would not blame you, Waren. You have every reason to. Ive tormented you for a hundred years." She said, and turned her head to stare into his eyes. "And Ive killed your wife."

Waren slowly got up from her lap, and stood up. The two of them stared at each other for some time, Warens expression looking tired, but unreadable. "Yes, you have." He finally said, breaking the uneasy silence, and walked towards the door. "But I wont." He finally said as he reached for the handle.

"Why not, Waren?" Aja asked softly, staring at his rigid back.

Waren opened the door, and as he closed it behind him, he replied, "Because it is my duty to see this through."

Aja lowered her head as if tired, blinking back the tears that threatened to fall unchecked.
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
(1)
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
by Bard Mistress Aidynni

The hot, steamy air was stifling and oppressive, yet Nicky felt somehow familiarly comfortable with her surroundings. She stretched out her legs and breathed a contented sigh as she leaned back against the warm, soft tiles that glowed in hues that reminded her of rainbows. She turned her head to see that another girl was sitting next to her, smiling uneasily. Nicky thought it strange that this other girl looked exactly like her, but she also thought it strange that she was lying naked in what appeared to be a hot tub too. But at this point, with the water being just so right and feeling every part of her body relax like molasses, she didn't care too much about whys and hows, so she returned her smile and just let the warm water soothe her and decided to worry about these minor details later.

"Sis, was father too upset that you let the rain fall a bit too hard?" the other girl asked in a worried voice, nudging close to Nicky.

Nicky raised her eyebrows questioningly at the girl, but instead heard herself say, "If he doesn't like the job I do, then he can find someone else to do it. I'm getting pretty sick of his demands! Do this, do that! Why.." It was as if she was watching herself from afar, like a hazy movie perhaps, and she began to wonder if she brought any popcorn.

The girl raised her hand frantically and stopped Nicky from going further. "Shh!! Please, sis. I don't want you to get into any more trouble! You know nothing escape his ears!" She said, looking around her nervously.

Nicky leaned back even further and closed her eyes. "Relax, willya? What else could he do to me? He's already stuck me with weatherwork. I mean, how much lower can he bust me down to?" She said lazily, while wondering why she was stuck with such a boring job and noticing that her "sister's hair was pitch black as the midnight sky.

"I don't know...But ever since you refused to marry Bonner, father's been in an extremely irritable mood. I wouldn't press your luck with him if I were you." the girl said, raising her hand in the air. Tiny points of light started to appear, glowing in different colors like small fire flies.

"Bonner! If father thinks that I'm going to marry a self centered, egotistical jerk like him, then, why, why, oh, that's pretty." Nicky heard herself say as the tiny sparkles danced around them. She caught one in her wet hands and held it close to her ear and smiled as it started to sing like a tiny harp.

"But to refuse one of the gods just like that. I can't help but wonder if there's going to be some kind of a punishment because of it." the young girl said, looking at Nicky with worry in her eyes.

Nicky turned to her sister and sighed. "You know, you're beginning to sound a lot like father."

"I'm just worried about you, that's all." the girl said. "Bonner always gets what he wants, no matter what. He's not going to worry about etiquette or propriety. He's threatened to take you by force."

Nicky yawned at this and said in a bored voice, "Oh spare me! If Bonner thinks he can do that, he would have done it a long time ago. He doesn't have the power to.."

"Oh do I not, fairest Llwyn?" A male voice asked gently from behind them, causing the girls to both flinch. The tiny lights all blinked out at once with a loud pop, and the young girl gasped and vanished along with them, leaving Nicky feeling cold and alone.

Rather than be stunned about this sudden turn, Nicky covered herself as best as she could and cried out angrily, "How dare you barge in here?! have you no decency in you, you jerk?"

Bonner smiled and kneeled before her. "I do apologize for my sudden appearance, my lady. But when I heard that your father had stripped you of your powers for your disobedience, I thought it my chance to spirit you away." He said, and offered his hand to her. "Methinks it is time for you to join me, yes?" He said, smiling at her.

Nicky's face blushed crimson and she slapped his hand away, accidentally showing more of herself than she wanted to and infuriating herself further when she saw Bonner clear his throat uncomfortably and turn his head away. And with her sister's speedy escape/abandonment fresh in her mind causing her to be filled with such anger that she started seeing the color red everywhere, she screamed at the top of her lungs, "Get out, you scum bucket!" and noticed much to her surprise that wasn't supposed to be her next line.

"I will not, until you say yes to me." Bonner said uneasily, trying to recover his composure and his hearing. He straightened out the collar of his shirt that looked as blue and wavy as the sea and said contritely, "Really, Llwyn. How long do you plan to stay such a child? You have your duty as a goddess to think about."

Nicky snorted at his words and replied acidly, "I don't recall getting married to you as being one of them, you fool."

Bonner's eyes twitched, but he cleared his throat and answered evenly, "No, but it's a step in the right direction. You need a husband to look after you. Even your father agrees with me. You being too `impulsive' and all. Let's face it, Llwyn. You are too generous with your powers. The way you're going, you'll make miracles an everyday occurrence."

Just as Nicky was about to reply with an angry retort, the door to the bath burst open and the mists were blown away by a cold whirlwind that had the both of them shivering and ducking for cover. In the clear stood the young girl, her ebony hair whipping away from her face like an angry flag, wearing a white dress that fluttered in the wind as if it was made out of clouds. In her hand, she held a glowing white ball that pulsated with power.

"You leave my sister alone, you big jerk!" the young girl exclaimed threateningly as she held the ball threateningly at Bonner.

Bonner's face drained of all color, and he started to back away from the girl when he realized what she was holding in her hand. "Now take it easy, Mist. I was just merely chatting with your sister." He stammered uneasily, almost slipping on the wet tiles. He turned to Nicky and whispered furiously, "Do something Llwyn! She's got a charged dragon ball!"

Nicky almost laughed out loud at him, but found that she no longer had any control of what was about to happen. Instead, she lazily watched as she heard herself say, "Why should I? Serves you right if you get fried to a crisp, you creep!"

"Right!" Mist chimed in after her proudly, and readjusted her grip on what appeared to be a crystal ball the size of a tennis ball. "Now, Mr. big shot wind god, why don't you make like one of your charges and blow on out of here?!" She commanded, and did a little curtsey when Nicky cheered and clapped loudly at her bravado.

Bonner held up his hand. "Now come on, you two. Quit joking around." He said nervously and gasped when Mist, intent on closing the gap between the two of them, slipped on the wet floor and dropped the ball.

The dragon's ball, glowing an angry, ugly red, did not shatter, but bounced into the air. And as the three stunned pair of eyes watched, fell like a falling star on Nicky's head, shattering into a million pieces. Nicky screamed as the red glow from the ball enveloped her, and swallow her in to a long, pitch black tunnel. As she started losing consciousness, she heard Bonner's pitiful voice scream out her name over and over...

"Hey! Wake up! What's the matter with you?!" She heard a voice shout in her ear, and Nicky reluctantly opened her eyes, blinking against the harsh yellow light of the morning sun shining into the room.

"Finally. I thought you were being killed or something." Wendy said sarcastically as she stopped shaking her. "Nightmare? No, don't tell me. You were being eaten by a bear. Yet again." She asked, adjusting her glasses.

Nicky shook her head groggily, and rubbed her eyes. She sat up, propping herself up against her pillow. "You wouldn't believe me even if I told you." Nicky said wearily.

Wendy got up, and picked up her back pack. "Well believe this! You're going to be late for your class. Again!" She said as she started to rummage through a white desk, strewn with books and papers.

"It's in your pocket." Nicky said as she slowly got up and stretched out the kinks in her muscles.

Wendy reached into her pocket and felt the keys. Satisfied that they were there, she went over to the microwave and took out a burrito. "Here's breakfast, Ms. America!" She said as she tossed the burrito to Nicky, who caught it and bowed less than gracefully towards an imaginary audience. She then took a bite, walking half dazedly towards the closet.

"I wish I won the lottery so I don't have to put up with these morning classes anymore." Nicky droned in a sleep filled voice as she took out a pair of faded jeans.

Wendy snorted and hurried over to catch Nicky from falling backwards trying to put them on, and answered, "Don't we all?" She then looked at her watch and sighed. "Got a midterm in 10 minutes. I gotta go, sweety."

"I hope you get an A, Wen!" Nicky shouted as Wendy quicky left the room and slammed the door on her way out of the apartment.

Still chewing on the burrito, Nicky went over to the desk and got her homework together, and shoved them all in her backpack. After wincing at the clock that told her she was going to be 15 minutes late for her class, she made her way to the bathroom and started to brush her teeth when she heard a knock on the door.

Still brushing, she navigated the left over pizza cartons and dirty laundry to the door and asked, "Who is it?"

"State lottery office!" A male voice answered.

"What?" Nicky asked again in a sleepy voice, slowly brushing her teeth.

"State lottery office! We'd like to talk to Miss Nicole Jones please!" the same male voice answered, followed by excited chatter and what sounded suspiciously like a whine of a camcorder.

When Nicky wearily opened the door, cameras started clicking and the flash bulbs went off like firecrackers all around her. Realizing that her hair was a mess and she had a toothbrush stuck in her mouth, she quickly reached for the door handle, but a man in a three piece suit and a cowboy hat stopped the door with his nice leather shoes and asked excitedly, "Are you Nicole Jones?!"

Nicky cowered before them and squeaked, "Yes."

"Well, well! Congratulations cutie, you won 70 million dollars!" the man exclaimed, giving her a bear hug.

Nicky's toothbrush fell out of her slack mouth, leaving a trail of toothpaste bubbles along the man's back. "I did what? How could I? I didn't even buy..."

The man let her go and stood next to her, smiling broadly. "Yessiree, missie! You're now a millionaire!" He said as the cameras once again started to click and a woman fought her way through the cameras and came up to ask excitedly, "Jimmy Bob, how much will this young woman receive in yearly payments?" Another man came up to them with a microphone, staring into one of the TV cameras and saying, "We're now live in location with Lottery spokesman and mascot/personality Jimmy Bob Swanson, where a young woman just claimed this state's biggest single jackpot in the State Lotto's history!"

"I figger she'll be receiving 5 million dollars a year for 14 years, Jenny!" Jimmy Bob said winsomely, smiling and flashing his tobacco stained teeth. "This lil' lady's not gonna have to worry about money ever again, I guarantee you that! Hyuk hyuk!" He said, slapping Nicky on her back and watching in shock as she pitched forward straight into the man holding the microphone.

(2)
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
by Bard Mistress Aidynni

High above the city, two small bright lights that looked like stars blinked into existence. Out of those lights, which disappeared into nothingness, came out two figures, flying amongst the few clouds that littered the sky.

"You feel that?!" the girl said, brushing a charcoal black strand of hair out of her eyes. "She's used her powers!"

"I sure did. Let's hope she didn't wish for anything drastic." A man answered next to her, constantly looking over his shirt, which was looking as if it was about to tear off him.

The girl turned to him and angrily waved a piece of a cloud off her face. "It won't come true if it did. There's only two of us who believe in her here!" She answered, and waved a flight of ducks out of the way, who noisily obeyed, nodding their heads in respect.

The young man was about to wipe a tear from his eye, but the wind whisked it away briskly. "To think that we found her after all these years! Our love must.."

"Come off it, Bonner!" the girl interrupted angrily. "The only reason we found her was because of my daddy! If he hadn't suggested that we send out a dream to make her remember, we would have never found her!"

Bonner sniffed and said, "Whatever, Mist. I'm just glad she remembered me. I still don't know what scum bucket means, but it must be a term of endearment."

Mist laughed out loud when she saw Bonner's uneasy expression, the frigid winds of the high altitude taking the edge out of her harsh laughter, and looked downwards at the ground. She grimaced at the hazy smog that was hanging over the city and said, "To think that the dragon ball had the power to send her to this awful place. Oh, how she must hate me for it.."

"Now that's not my fault!" Bonner stated triumphantly, lying on his back as he flew through the air next to Mist. "I told you not to mess around with that thing, but no.."

"Oh, shut up!" Mist growled, diving down to the noisy city below like a preying hawk.

Bonner dove after her, saw that she landed gently in an alleyway, and landed next to her. He saw that she was studying a drunken bum sleeping next to a dumpster and said cautiously. "Is that how they dress in this place?"

Mist held her nose and wincing, replied, "What strange perfume they use! It is most repulsive!"

Bonner sniffed, and winced as well, gagging out, "That's not perfume, Mist. That's the smell of mortal excrement."

"How would you know?!"

"I'm a god of wind, I hang around mortals. I know them." Bonner answered evenly, and took Mist's hand and started to lead them out of the alley and into the busy morning streets.

"Wow..." Mist murmured as she gazed at the cars that roared by them on the road and the masses of people crossing the streets to a row of large buildings. She tightened her grip on Bonner's hand and moved closer. Bonner was busy examining the rows of people waiting impatiently in front of the ATM machines, not paying attention to the gawking looks that he got from them in return.

"They must be street performers." one man said as he looked the two of them over. "What a bunch of weirdoes." Another man observed, while another woman quipped, "You see all kinds of freaks here."

Mist's face turned crimson and she hid behind Bonner, who was trying to engage a man who was waiting in line and trying valiantly to avoid making eye contact with him, in a one sided conversation. She felt the hostile, threatened stares of the people, and then looked at her own clothing, which looked like a cross between a multicolored dress and a plaid bordered coat, complete with a long train, and began to feel embarrassed and stupid. She dragged Bonner, who was now starting to get mad at being completely ignored by the man, into a shop next door and stopped next to the candy display.

"We have to change our clothes." Mist mumbled, her face still a dark shade of red.

"The mortals here sure are rude!" Bonner observed angrily. "Why I have a mind to turn that.. What's wrong, Mist?" He finally said when he spied Mist's face.

Mist let out an exasperated scream, causing the customers in the shop to cringe in surprise. "What's wrong?! What's wrong?! Haven't you been reading what they were thinking?! They think we look like freaks! We stick out like an ugly sore thumb! We must change our clothes!" Mist exclaimed, grabbing Bonner's arms and shaking him.

"Really, this sort of behavior is very unbecoming a goddess, Mist." Bonner said through rattling teeth. "You are causing a scene." When Mist looked around her, smiling at the people looking at her, and stopped shaking him, Bonner cleared his throat and pointed past the shocked shop owner to shelves of magazines.

"Whilst you were having an ungoddesslike fit over our plight, I have used my powers to locate a collection of books on proper mortal attire." Bonner said calmly. "Satisfied?"

Without answering, Mist raised her hands to her lips and breathed, "By my powers, I commend thee, books, to give up thy knowledge to me. Give them up, so I may take on the guise of a mortal." As the words left her lips, a bright, blue light shot out of her hands and smashed into the magazine counter. Sounds akin to a thousand humming birds buzzing surrounded Mist as her clothes melted away like some glowing wax and reformed into a navy skirt, a blouse, and a matching jacket. Her sandals were also reformed into army boots, but with a few angry words, formed back into sandals. She then pointed to Bonner, whose clothes melted into and was forming a navy skirt, a blouse, and a matching jacket, but with a gasp and a few corrections on the words from Mist, changed them into a blazer, a pair of neatly pleated pants, a polo shirt and a pair of loafers.

"Now that that's settled," Mist began as the magazines started to smoke and catch fire, "We need some money. Hmm.." She walked over to the cash register, where the owner was busily talking to the 911 operator, and said innocently with a charming smile, "Can I have some money?"

The owner, looking pale and shaking all over, opened the cash register and scooped out all the bills, handing them over to Mist with an uneasy smile.

"Thank you, you are very kind." Mist answered, and stopping herself from turning around, said musingly, "How rude of me. I should reward you, shouldn't I." She then raised her hand and touched the register, whispering out words that sounded as silky as a spider's web, "Come to me, what is deemed most precious in this mortal's heart, and become this device." As the words left her lips, the whole register started to glow in a blue light, and turned into a solid piece of gold. Mist turned to the owner and asked, "I hope you are properly compensated for your troubles?"

The owner, looking at the cash register dumbfoundedly, hung up on the 911 operator and nodded vigorously, smiling widely until his lips hurt. Mist smiled back, and led Bonner, who was busily examining a box of condoms, past the few brave customers who were still cowering in the store, back out into the streets.

"Now we go get Llwyn and get out of here." Bonner said purposefully, and started to walk off, but Mist stopped him.

"No we don't." Mist said, leading him to a street corner, taking satisfaction in that no one in particular was paying much attention to her except for a few men here and there, who's interests in her she found flattering. "If we show up at her doorstep now, it could be dangerous."

Bonner scratched his head and replied, "I don't follow. Why can't we just grab her and leave?"

"Because," Mist answered with annoyance in her voice, "She has her powers back now because we're here. And her memory is not fully back yet. Which means..."

Bonner snapped his fingers and answered for her, "She might use her powers against us, viewing us as a threat!"

"She could still beat us both, even if her memory is sketchy." Mist stated, looking worried.

Bonner sighed, and said tersely, "Your father shouldn't have reinstated her powers, at least not until we were safely out of this place and married."

Mist winced and whispered under her breath, "That's exactly why he did, you jerk."

Bonner looked towards the sky, and seemed to be in deep thought while Mist heard sirens coming closer and closer towards them. "Wonderful!" Bonner exclaimed as Mist saw several police cars converging towards where they were.

Mist stared into Bonner's sly, coveting eyes and immediately turned red with anger. "You can't! How can you stoop that low?!" She exclaimed, while the police cars screeched to a halt next to them.

Bonner's smiled as police officers ran past them and into the store that they just came out of, and replied dreamily, "I have a golden opportunity here, Mist. I can reintroduce myself back into her life and make her love me."

"You mean to trick her, and I won't allow it, Bonner!" Mist exclaimed as she raised her hand. "Dragon ball, your goddess calls you!" Mist commanded fiercely, and with a brilliant flash of blue light that outshone the sun and whipped her ebony hair in a frenzy, a clear, crystal like ball the size of a tennis ball appeared in her hand while surprised people around her scattered and took cover.

Bonner covered his face against the light, but stood his ground. "Not this time, Mist. You're not going to interfere. I advise you to stay out of my way!" He shouted, and disappeared in a flash of yellow light that knocked the stunned people off their feet and sent them tumbling into Mist as if a tornado wind had blown them.

Mist, standing her ground amidst the flying bodies and screams, gritted her teeth in anger and commanded, "Disappear, ill gotten wind!" The dragon ball started to glow a dark hue of deep sea blue, and a piercing shriek emanated from it, cutting through the harsh wind and smashing it asunder. Dazed people fell to the ground gently and dead silence returned to the streets. Mist, wiping her brow, fell to her knees as if tired. She then gasped when she noticed a little boy who was moaning under a car, having been blown into the streets and run over. Mist quickly got up and went over to him, who saw her and was trying weakly to reach out to her with pain and fright in his eyes. "This is my fault." Mist said miserably to herself as she took his hand in hers gently, looking full of guilt.

Sounds started to return to the streets as stunned people picked themselves up and noticed what had happened. Few brave souls ventured out into the streets to where Mist was, and the cars that were in the vicinity quickly steered clear of the accident and went off about their business.

The driver of the car, an old lady, came up to Mist and the boy in a hysterical condition. "Oh, I didn't mean to run him over! He just appeared out of nowhere and I had no...Is he okay?"

Mist felt the boy's hand grow colder and colder with each passing second. Pinned under one of the tires, the boy was not breathing and turning pale. She then saw in the corner of her eye that the shop owner was excitedly pointing her out to the police officers. She held the boy's cold hand up to her cheek, ignoring the old woman who was screaming for help, and fought an unsuccessful battle to stop her eyes from brimming over with tears, for her heart started to break for what she had done. "If I save you, little boy, I will be caught...But I can feel you dying." She said, her voice weak and uncertain.

Three of the police officers came up to Mist, while the other called for an ambulance, and one of them laid a hand on Mist's shoulder. "Miss, we'd like to ask you a few questions." He said sternly, while his partner bent down to check the boy's pulse, looking up and shaking his head slowly afterwards, which renewed the old woman's nonsensical babble.

Mist ignored the policeman, and raised her head towards the sky. Her green eyes started to glow, and as if answering, the ball in her hand started to glow a deep shade of blue. The two police officers immediately backed off, dragging the old woman with them. One of them took out his taser gun and aimed it at Mist as she raised the glowing ball high. The car lifted effortlessly off the boy amidst gasps from the crowd, and his lifeless, broken body was lifted out, and was placed gently on Mist's lap. Mist then closed her eyes and intoned in a shaky voice, "I as a goddess bestow on you the greatest of gifts, that of life. I defy you, death. I have snatched him away from you, for he is mine and it was never meant for you to have him so soon." Her grip on the ball grew tighter, and she started to wince as she and the boy was both enveloped in a swirling light of deep blue. And as the ball shattered with a crack and the tiny shards fell to the boy's body like a sparkling rain, she felt tiny pinpricks on her back and a terrible shock go through her body. She crumpled forward weak and lifelessly like a broken flower as the boy's eyes slowly fluttered open with life.

(3)
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
by Bard Mistress Aidynni

Nicky stared blankly into the ceiling, looking spent and tired. She finally managed to finish signing the lottery papers and posing for pictures, and even got to see herself on television, looking ridiculously silly, she thought, with her mouth constantly agape and speaking in incoherent half sentences to the questions posed by reporters. The full effect of what had just happened to her hadn't actually hit her until the last of the reporters left, and the euphoria of winning all that money wore off rather quickly with it, leaving her dreadfully tired. All that remained on her buzzing mind was just what was she going to do with all that money. She slowly reached for the phone, but yanked her hand away, remembering that she had disconnected it because of the unwanted calls from people who just had to have her money for various purposes. She chewed on her nail nervously for awhile, and decided to call her parents immediately, feeling safe since she didn't see anything wrong with that decision. Just then, a knock came at the door.

"Who is it?" Nicky asked in a timid voice from the couch.

The door slowly opened, much to Nicky's surprise since she had bolted it tight, and a man walked in. Dressed in clothes that seemed ripped straight out of a magazine and smiling in a charming manner that somehow grated on Nicky's nerves, he fixed his grey eyes on Nicky and slowly walked towards her. "No, don't get up." He said as Nicky quickly bolted up from the couch. "We have a lot of things to talk about, you and I." He continued, coming closer.

"Who are you and how the hell did you get in?" Nicky said cautiously as she slowly backed away from him, her hand balling up into a fist to smash into the man's chin that looked as smooth and chiseled as marble.

The man came closer, his sharply defined nose making a definitely juicy target for Nicky's fist, which was cocked and ready. "My name is Bonner, my lady. And I came to brighten up your life. To take you away from all this mortal duldrom." He said, and gasped as Nicky's fist connected with his nose, sending him reeling into the television, knocking the said appliance to the ground with a loud smash. "It's nice to see that you still haven't lost your touch." Bonner mumbled as he held his nose, wincing in pain.

"Get out before I call the cops, you creep." Nicky said, and reached for the phone. She gasped as it was ripped from her grasp by an unseen force and smashed itself into a million pieces in midair.

The man slowly got up and dusted himself off. "I dislike using force on pretty girls like you. But if you do not cooperate, you will leave me in a very difficult spot." He said, his smile disappearing. Nicky noticed that his nose, which should have been broken, was perfectly all right, showing no signs of even being touched. She started to regret wasting her money on that stupid martial arts class for self defense, and wondered why Wendy, who taught the class from time to time, ever bothered dragging her to it so religiously. She wished Wendy would be here to actually practice what she preached, and noticed that a bright light was forming between the two of them immediately after her thoughts had pointed in that direction, and exclaimed as Wendy, still in a seated position with a pencil in her hand, was unceremoniously dumped into the middle of the living room.

"Ouch!" Wendy exclaimed as she landed with a thump. She then looked around her surroundings and started to grow pale. "What is going on here." She mumbled, then saw Nicky and the man looking at her.

"Wendy!" Nicky said as she pointed to the man. "Kick his butt!"

Wendy slowly got up, her eyes still registering shock. "What?!" She exclaimed.

"Beat him up! He's trying to kill me!" Nicky pleaded.

Wendy looked at the man over, and gritted her teeth as he shoved her aside. "Mortals have no business in this. Move aside before I turn you into a toad." he intoned imperiously.

Wendy needed no more goading. She tossed away her pencil, locked up his arm and smashed a fist into his belly, barely noticing that she was encircled in a strange, glowing light. As the man staggered backwards, she swiped his head to the side with a kick, and smashed her foot into him again with a flying kick.

"How did this happen.." the man panted as he lay on the ground. He then noticed the glowing light emanating from Wendy and winced, finally understanding. "Mist warned me about this..." he croaked, and slowly disappeared into thin air.

Both of the girls stood with gaping jaws, staring at the spot where the man used to be. Wendy shook her head, finally getting to her senses, and turned to Nicky. "Would you mind telling me what's going on here?" She said in a shaky voice.

"You won't believe me even if I told you." Nicky replied wearily.

Wendy came over to her and sat her down on the couch. "Try me." She said, standing over her with her arms folded across her chest.

Nicky opened her mouth and closed it. Then she started to laugh hysterically.

"Nicky!" Wendy shouted, grabbing her shoulders and shaking her.

"Well, Wen.." Nicky blurted out between guffaws. "It seems anything I wish for, it comes true!"

Wendy stopped shaking her and stared at her unbelievingly.

"Well it's true!" Nicky stated, staring back at her indignantly. "Why do you think you're here?!"

Wendy opened her mouth to protest, but stopped herself, her eyes going blank. "That's right...I was in the middle of my midterm." She murmured weakly.

Nicky reached over to the coffee table and got a piece of paper. "And that's not all, Wen. I won the lottery." She said, and handed her an official looking document.

Wendy took the paper with numb fingers and slowly sat down next to Nicky. After glancing over the document, she whispered to herself, "This is unbelievable."

"I don't know what to make of it myself." Nicky said weakly.

Wendy leaned back and closed her eyes. "This is all a bad dream. I'm going to wake up from this any minute now.. Ow!" She exclaimed as Nicky pinched her arm. "Okay, so maybe it's not a dream..But this doesn't make any sense." Wendy said as she nursed her bruised arm.

Nicky looked away from her friend, clutching at the arm of the sofa. Then she slammed her fist down and quickly turned to Wendy. "That's it!" She exclaimed, while Wendy, shocked out of her thought, leaned back away from her.

"What is?" Wendy asked cautiously, carefully looking at her friend for any sign of mental imbalance.

"Don't you see? No, of course not! I haven't told you yet!" Nicky exclaimed, getting excited. "That jerk you beat up. Bonner. He's from my dream!"

Wendy scratched her brow and asked, "Say what?"

Nicky quickly got up from the sofa and wheeled around to face Wendy. "That dream I had this morning! He's the same man from my dream!" She informed, looking hopefully at Wendy.

Wendy snorted at her words and whispered to herself, "Sort of your dream lover, wasn't he?"

Nicky picked up a sofa cushion and bashed her across the head, saying, "Get serious! That guy was a total loser! He got his butt whipped by you, of all people."

"Hey hey! Watch the hair!" Wendy exclaimed, and held up a hand while readjusting her glasses. "Alright, so that explains your new boyfriend." Wendy quipped, smirking when Nicky's expression grew outraged. "But that still doesn't explain the fact that I was in a middle of a test a few minutes ago and why you're now a millionaire."

Nicky feigned sadness as she sat next to Wendy and patted her head. "Ah, dear, naive Wendy. I knew it was just too much for your simple mind to completely grasp the situation." Nicky said in a gentle voice.

Wendy brought an elbow into Nicky's ribs and retorted, "Yeah, I know! You wished that you could win the lottery this morning...." Wendy growled, but stopped herself from going further. "It can't be a mere coincidence." She murmured finally after a few moments of thought.

"Precisely!" Nicky announced excitedly, rubbing her rib. "Ever since this morning, everything I've wished for has come true."

Wendy raised her brow and retorted, "That's preposterous! But then again, coming from a weirdo like you..."

Nicky ignored that last barb and persisted, grabbing a hold of Wendy's arm. "Why not test it out? Tell me what you wish for and I'll make it come true!"

"No! Forget it! This is ridiculous!" Wendy protested, trying to free herself from Nicky's grasp.

Nicky snapped her fingers, then smiled. "I know! You always hated those glasses!" She then pointed her fingers to Wendy's face and said, "Fix it!"

Immediately as the words left her lips, bluish light shot out like streaks of lightning, slamming themselves into Wendy's eyes. Wendy shouted in shock, trying to back away so fast that she slammed the back of her head into the wall, knocking her glasses off. She covered her eyes with her hands as the lights flickered away like flames blowing away into the wind. "What's happened to me.." Wendy mumbled as she cautiously removed her hands and gasped. She slowly got up, not paying attention to the fact that she broke her glasses into pieces by standing on them for she was just too busy looking around at her surroundings, her eyes wide with wonder.

"Nicky..." Wendy said, her voice trembling.

"It worked, didn't it?!" Nicky asked, excited.

Wendy turned slowly to her and mumbled in a stunned voice, "My head hurts."

"Want me to fix it?" Nicky asked, pointing her finger at her.

"No, no, no!" Wendy said, shaking her hands. "Just my fault. I banged it on the wall. I think I'll go lie down a bit. I'm hungry too. Oops, I should be going back to school." she chattered on, backing away from Nicky. She then slapped herself and winced. "Just let me get my senses in order 'cause I'm about to go berserk here." Wendy finally said, looking disheveled and tired.

Wendy slowly came over to Nicky and took her hand in hers, sitting down next to her. "Tell me why you have this power." She asked, looking gravely serious and making Nicky feel a bit uncomfortable.

"You're not going to believe this." Nicky began, squirming. "But I think I'm a goddess."

Wendy sighed and let her hands go. "You're right. I don't believe this."

"I can hardly believe it myself, but that's the only thing that makes sense to me right now. That man showing up here clinched it for me." Nicky started, leaning back into the cushion.

Wendy sighed again and said, "I think you'll have to tell me just what exactly happened in your dream this morning."

"Alright." Nicky said, hoping that what she was about to tell her friend would make some kind, any kind of sense to her as well as herself.

(4)
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
by Bard Mistress Aidynni

Mist sat in a wooden chair, blinking against the harsh fluorescent light that made her eyes water. She rubbed the circular marks on her wrists where the handcuffs had chafed her and started to cough delicately as the rancid smoke from the cigarettes burned her lungs.

Seated across from her were two men in dark business suits, wearing name tags that looked important. Before them, on the metal table were strange looking devices that blinked with weird colors that made Mist want to reach over and smash them against the wall. Next to Mist stood one of the police officers that arrested Mist, dressed sloppily and looking in need of a shave. He put out his cigarette when he noticed that Mist was glaring at him and said apologetically, "Still can't kick the habit, I'm afraid. Sorry."

One of the stern looking men cleared his throat and pointed a strange looking probe in Mist's direction. "Let me clarify what you said. Now, you say that you're a goddess from another planet, and you're here to reclaim your sister that you accidentally sent here?" He asked as his partner bit his lips to keep himself from bursting out laughing. The man with the probe noticed this and looked daggers at his young partner, who stammered out, "Sorry."

Mist pounded her fist on the table and exclaimed in an exasperated voice, "Are you stupid or what? How many times do I have to tell you the same story over and over again to get it through to your idiotic mortal skull?!"

The man ignored her outburst, and readjusted a dial on his console, raising his eyebrow as a bunch of gibberish was displayed across the screen. "Okay then. Could you tell us how you changed that cash register into solid gold?" He asked, totally engrossed with his equipment.

"I used my power. Such deeds are trivial to one such as I." Mist replied haughtily, and noticed the young man looking intently at her and came to the conclusion thatthought that he probably thought she was deranged. She felt frustrated that she could no longer read the thoughts of others and felt like breaking something apart to sate her anger.

The police man laid a gentle hand on Mist's shoulder when he noticed her tense form and said soothingly, "Take it easy, honey. The man's just doing his job. It'll be over soon."

The man with the machine looked up from the console and replied coolly, "Wrong, sergeant. We'll be here for quite awhile longer."

The young man saw Mist's face turn ashen and cleared his throat and got up. "Sir, may I see you outside for a moment?" He said to the man and opened the door that led out of the interrogation room.

The man put down his probe and sighed. "Alright. Watch her carefully, sergeant." He said to the old man as he followed the young man outside and closed the door. He reached for a pack of cigarettes as he stared around the crowded police station. "What is it?" He asked as he put a cigarette to his lips and lighted it.

"Sir, I think we're wasting our time." The young man said, looking cautiously at the older man.

The man shook his head and moved as an officer passed between them. "Agent Bartley. What I do with my time is my business. You're only here because these cops called the FBI before us. If I had my way, you wouldn't be here at all."

Agent Bartley cleared his throat. "With all due respect, sir. You don't have an alien in there. What you have is a young woman who has a healthy dose of imagination. Maybe she's mentally disturbed."

The man chuckled. "She's got you fooled. Just because she's got a pretty face, you think she's.."

"That's not it!" Bartley exclaimed, cutting him off. "I'm saying that what you're doing here is illegal. She hasn't committed any crime, and from what I heard from the arresting officers, she saved a little boy's life. We don't have any reason to hold her here any longer."

The man angrily took the cigarette out of his mouth and stamped on it. "You seem to conveniently forget the circumstances behind her arrest, Agent Bartley. Did you even see the security tape from that shop she wrecked?"

Inside the interrogation room, Mist got up and stretched her sore limbs. She then noticed the policeman looking at her and sighed. "Do you always try to destroy something you don't understand?" She said finally, surprising the policeman.

The policeman looked uncomfortable under Mist's gaze, but he answered, "I don't believe in existence of gods."

Mist tilted her head in curiosity and asked, "That's not the question I asked."

"I'm sorry." The policeman said, not looking at her. "If we hadn't arrested you, you wouldn't be here."

Mist sat back down slowly. "What's on your mind?" She asked, desperately missing her powers to read the minds of mortals.

The policeman pulled up a chair next to Mist and sat down gingerly, looking nervous. "I witnessed a miracle today, that's on my mind." He began. "That boy was dead, and you brought him back to life, just like that."

Mist twirled a strand of her raven black hair and replied, "I could do no less. I was partly to blame for his death, after all."

The two sat in silence for awhile, watching the blinking lights of the machine.

The policeman broke the silence with a question, his voice shaking, "Are you really who you say you are?"

Mist looked at the man, and saw that his question was not in jest, for his eyes looked troubled and serious. "Yes, I am." She replied, and felt shocked to be feeling the electrical tinge of power returning to her.

"Why did you allow yourself to be arrested then?" The policeman asked cautiously.

Mist, surprised that her power had returned at all, let alone so quickly, smiled most charmingly. Immediately, she was surrounded by an aura of bright blue light that made her looked to be aflame with it. Her clothes that she got from the magazine melted away as a long, white gown with a dark, filmy blue cape replaced it. A long scarf, transparent save for dots of glittering jewels along its length, coiled around Mist's hair, giving the policeman the impression that he was gazing into a summer's night sky, full of sparkling stars.

"Be at ease." Mist said soothingly when she saw that the terror in the policeman's eyes. "I will not harm you."

The policeman slowly nodded as he gazed into Mist's eyes. "You are real." He murmured in a voice filled with wonder.

"Being so far away from my believers, I didn't think I could recover my powers after saving that boy." Mist began, her eyes glittering like deep, liquid green pools. "But I have a believer in you. Thank you." She bowed gracefully before the policeman.

Just then, the door burst open and the two men burst in, seeing the glowing blue light spilling out of the room.

"Holy..." Agent Bartley murmured when he saw Mist, and felt his knees buckle and his heart beat furiously when he saw her smile his way.

Mist raised her hand aloft and closed her eyes. "Dragon ball, your goddess calls to you." She intoned softly, and immediately a loud clap of thunder was heard as a tiny ball appeared in her hand. The machinery on the desk started to beep furiously as agent Bartley was shoved aside by the man who quickly moved over to the console to read the screen. When Mist then raised her other hand, a loud humming sound started to shake the whole building as the room started to glow blindingly. The machinery, along with everything else, started to rise up from the floor and started to swirl around Mist in slow, lazy circles. Mist pointed to the policeman, and in his frantic hands appeared an old dog, who barked and licked the policeman's face gratefully. The policeman, who looked stunned, was slowly returned to the floor, hugging the dog tightly against his chest.

"That's what you wanted from me, was it not?" Mist asked gently, smiling.

The policeman blinked away his tears and stammered out, "I don't know how to thank you."

"You already have." Mist replied, then turned to the man, who was trying desperately to reach his machine. With a stern gaze from Mist, the machine broke apart as if it was being crushed by a trash compactor, reducing into little broken pieces. As the man looked on with utter terror in his eyes, Mist sent him flying out of the room and headfirst into a garbage can as stunned police officers watched, frozen in their place. She then turned to Bartley and cocked her head. "What should I do with you?" She wondered, with her eyes full of mischief. "Ah yes." She finally said as Bartley floated around her with wide, terror filled eyes, desperately holding onto a chair. "If you know what is good for you, then I trust that you will not meddle in my affairs." She finally said, returning him to the ground with a thud.

"Who are you?" Bartley asked, his voice filled with terror, yet feeling a calming peace spreading in his soul as he gaped at Mist.

Mist smiled and held the dragon ball to her chest. "I'm definitely not mentally disturbed, like you thought." She said as the light withdrew itself from the room slowly, coalescing around Mist as she faded away. "And no. I don't think a relationship between you and me is possible." She added with a smile as she disappeared into thin air.

Bartley felt his face turn red with embarrassment as the stunned police officers started to file into the room and helped him back up.

(5)
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
by Bard Mistress Aidynni

With a loud buzz that sounded like thousands of extremely angry bees, a large circular light appeared in the middle of the sidewalk, glowing in a swirling blue color like a whirlpool and making people jump quickly out of the way for their lives. Mist slowly floated out of the hole as people watched in stunned silence, and planted her feet firmly on the pavement as the hole disappeared. She ran her hand through her long, black hair and yawned, covering her mouth. She then surveyed around her surroundings and saw the stunned people gaping at her with their mouths open and gasped.

"I really have to work on my entrance." Mist observed in an embarrassed voice and smiled at the people, who quickly dispersed away from her. She reached out to stop one of them and asked sweetly, "Pardon me, but where am I?"

The man stammered and blabbered, holding his brightly colored bags close to him. He finally pointed to a large sign on the side of a huge row of buildings and quickly made his getaway while Mist looked up at it and read out loud, "Oakmont Mall."

Mist then looked at the rows of cars in the parking lot, then turned to watch the large bustle of people walk in and out of the buildings. She crossed her arms to her chest uncomfortably and stood there, not knowing what to do next. She then spied a wooden bench under a shade of a tree next to the entrance to the mall, and decided to sit there and think up what to do next.

Mist gingerly sat down on the bench, making sure not to crinkle up her filmy gown. As she sat there, looking lost in thought, tiny birds flew over to her and landed on her shoulders, chattering their daily complaints into her ears. A small squirrel scurried over to her and sat on her knee, reverently offering a piece of chocolate that it had scrounged up from a trash can and joining in on the chat. people passing by her looked upon this scene and some laughed quietly, for the sight of a beautiful girl lost in thought amongst cute little animals warmed them up and made them feel at ease, while others sighed and thought the sight beguilingly innocent, touching something deep and soft in their souls that they thought lost and gone forever.

Mist, not paying attention to either the animals or the people, started to fidget with a violet colored tassel of her belt, and scooted over slightly when a young man sat next to her, dumping his backpack wearily next to him.

"That jerk! I can't believe she skipped classes again!" He cursed, leaning back on the bench and running a hand though his shortly cut blond hair. The birds looked at him and started to curse at him in their language for his impertinence at sitting so close to their goddess.

Mist noticed this and held her hand up to quiet them.

The young man suddenly raised his head as if catching something in the wind, quickly turned to Mist, his blue eyes widened. "A goddess!" He exclaimed, his eyes widening.

Mist gasped, and scooted away from him. "What did you say?" She asked in an uneasy voice.

"You. You are a goddess!" The young man persisted, grabbing her arms.

Mist batted his hand away from her. "Let go!" She exclaimed.

A pair of men who were watching Mist with longing in their eyes came over to the two and one of them asked, "Is this creep bothering you, miss?"

"He sure is!" Mist exclaimed as the young man's face drained of all color when the two grabbed him.

"Wait! I'm a god too!" The young man yelled as the two men dragged him away.

Mist heard this and bolted up from the bench. She took one of her thin bracelet off her and tossed it towards the men. The golden bracelet grew in size until it became as big as a manhole cover, smacking the two of them in the head in turn and making them drop the young man. It then bound them together and tossed them up to the roof of the building as they shouted in shock. Having done that, the ring came back to Mist's upraised hand and slipped back onto her wrist. She then gasped in realization and quickly looked around her to see if anyone had seen what she had just done, and sighed in relief when she saw no one.

The young man ran up to her and exclaimed, "You still have your powers! How?!"

Mist tilted her head questioningly and replied, "You don't?"

"Not like that!" The young man exclaimed. "I do have snippets of power, but not enough to do anything like that!"

Mist looked surprised at the young man and said in a suspicious voice, "Then what kind of a god are you?"

The young man looked apologetic and rubbed the back of his head. "Actually, I don't think we can be called gods anymore, technically."

The young man cautiously reached over to lead Mist back over to the bench and sat themselves down. "One of my ancestors was a god a long, long time ago." He began, looking embarrassed. "You see, people stopped believing in him and he turned mortal."

"How dreadful!" Mist exclaimed, looking at him with pity in her green eyes.

The young man smiled apologetically. "It isn't that bad, being human."

"If you say so." Mist said, unbelieving, and motioned the little birds to stop pecking away at the young man's head.

The young man laughed. "This world has grown too old for fantasies and mysteries, goddess. With technology and all, we were bound to become anachronisms and tossed away. There are many like me and we have this club at our school...."

Mist shrugged and replied, "Why bother? I mean, you guys are now more human then divine."

"But we do have a little immortality in our veins, even though we couldn't even toast bread with our powers." The young man informed her in an apologetic voice. "We have to keep our heritage from being forgotten, you know?"

Mist thought about it for awhile and finally replied, "Yes, I guess you are right about that."

The young man smiled. "Well, good. Now, I have a question for you."

"Okay." Mist said, returning his smile.

The young man cleared his throat, after being stunned by Mist's beguiling smile, and asked, "How come you still have your powers?"

Mist leaned back on the bench and replied breezily, "Because I'm not from this planet."

The young man sighed and leaned back on the bench also. "Well, that would explain things. And here I thought we were making a comeback."

"In my world, I am a goddess to the dragons." Mist continued, desperately trying to shut off the blue aura that threatened to leak out of her. "I'm relatively new at having this much power." She said apologetically as she managed to shut off the aura. "I'm only a thousand years old you know."

The young man whistled low. "Only? Geez. I'm only twenty. A thousand years is perty old in mortal terms."

"Pardon?" Mist asked.

"Uh, nothing. nothing!" The young man hurriedly replied, and said, "I'm Mike Swensen. You are?"

Mist still looked a bit puzzled, but she stated, "Mist."

"That's a pretty name, Mist." The young man complimented, and was awarded with another smile from Mist, warming him from head to toe.

Mist asked, "You like it? I thought about changing it since now I'm a dragon goddess. I used to be only a goddess of mist, you know."

Mike sighed inwardly, secretly worried that what he thought he felt for her wasn't grounds for being fried to a crisp, and said, "It suits you just fine, Mist."

"Thanks! And I wasn't going to kill you or anything. I'm not that kind of a goddess." Mist said, smiling.

Mike stammered, "You can read minds?"

Mist nodded.

Mike's face turned crimson and said, "How embarrassing. Then you know that I want to ask you out?"

Mist's smile faded as his words registered and she asked in a puzzled voice, "What?"

"Uh, nothing! Nothing! Say, are you hungry?" Mike stammered, getting up and grabbing his backpack, realizing that Mist's mind reading ability wasn't as thorough as he thought it was.

Mist put a hand to her tummy. "Well, I am kind of.." She said, and looked at the bits of potato chips and chocolate that a bunch of squirrels had busily offered in her lap.

"Good! My pop runs a Scandinavian restaurant at the mall. Viking food. You'll like it." Mike said, offering a hand to Mist.

Mist took his hand, sending a pleasant shock through Mike's arm, and said, "Okay."

Inside the mall was cool and fragrant. Being a weekday, there weren't that many people populating the mall, and the place looked empty and vast. Mike felt the envious eyes on the two of them as they passed by the men and felt a bit guilty and fake, for he knew that Mist and him were almost complete strangers. He sneaked a peek at Mist's face, watching her green, liquid eyes sparkling and full of wonder at all the different shops with their colorful display, and walked a bit closer to her, feeling that same pleasantly shocking feeling course through his body.

A sudden thought cringed up into his mind as he resigned himself to stare absentmindedly into her face, and he snapped his fingers, waking himself up in the process. "That's right! You look exactly like her!" He exclaimed, smacking right into a planter and grabbing his knee in pain.

"Pardon?" Mist said and looked down next to her feet as she felt her arm being tugged downward when Mike fell to his knees.

"Well, I know this girl in my Chem class. She's my lab partner. She looks exactly like you, except that she has blond hair." Mike said through his teeth as he winced in pain, feeling idiotic as passerby's laughed at what just happened to him.

"What?!" Mist exclaimed and kneeled next to Mike and brought her face close to his, her eyes eager.

Michael's head swam when he realized how close to her warm, red lips his own was. There was a hint of a smell of spring's wild flowers about her, and he could feel her cold, silky hair on his arm, sending tiny shivers through them as the ebony strands moved about as if alive. He stared dumbly into her clear, green eyes and felt his soul being drawn into them.

Mist grabbed Michael's shoulders and started to shake him back into the world of the living, and the effect was as if he had a bucket of cold water splashed on his face and smacked with it upside the head. He cleared his throat uncomfortably and said apologetically, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to compare you to a mortal. She's nothing like you. She's always late, she's childish, has a real bad temper..."

"Are you close to this girl?" Mist asked, her voice urgent.

Mike thought for a briefest of moments that maybe Mist felt jealous that he knew this girl, but kicked that notion out of his head when he saw that Mist's expression was that of urgency and not of jealousy, making himself feel idiotic. "She's just a friend." He said, for that's the answer he had prepared by the first, and false, assumption, and felt like crawling into a hole when he thought that Mist looked at him strangely.

"Wonderful. It's all falling into place." Mist then whispered to herself as Mike looked on with a miserable expression. She turned to him, noticing his expression and raised her eyebrow. "Does your knee hurt that much?" She asked in a worried voice.

Mike looked away from her and slowly got up, while squeaking, "No. I'm alright."

Mist got up also, and leaned close to him. "Listen, Mike." She began, ignoring the hooting calls of some teenagers who thought they were about to kiss each other. "I need you to arrange a little meeting between this girl and me. Can you manage it?"

Mike leaned away from her dejectedly, and replied, "Yeah, sure. She's going to come over to my pop's store to copy my notes today."

Mist noticed Mike's attitude and asked, "What's wrong? Is my request inappropriate?"

Mike sighed and remained silent, feeling foolish and stupid for lusting after Mist like some lovesick idiot.

She is a goddess, for god's sake! And I'm just a nobody. He thought miserably, feeling Mist's worried eyes on him and angry with himself for still caring if his hair was not too messed up for her taste.

Mike forced himself to reach over to Mist's hand and started to lead her to his father's restaurant. "Let's go." He said gruffly, drawing angry glances from the passerby's for the way he was treating Mist and not bothering to look back at her as he dragged her behind him, trying to fight off the calming effects of jingling chimes that Mist's bracelets and earrings made.

Mist looked at Mike's back with puzzlement in her eyes as she followed obediently, feeling uneasy for she found that she could no longer read his thoughts at all.

(6)
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
by Bard Mistress Aidynni

"Hey look! My hair's grown!" Nicky exclaimed as she held her waist length hair that was fine as spun gold strands. "And the texture! My god! I can't get results like this with shampoo!"

Wendy looked depressed at Nicky. "I'm happy for you." She observed dryly. She sighed once again and started to play with the pizza carton with her toes.

Nicky came over to Wendy and sat down next to her on the couch. "What's the matter?" She asked in a worried voice, looking at Wendy's pensive face.

Wendy slowly turned to Nicky and opened her mouth to speak, but cleared her throat in stead. After a long sigh, she finally spoke. "It's you. You're changing right before my eyes. It's not just your hair, Nick. Your looks seem 'enhanced' somehow."

"What's that supposed to mean?!" Nicky exclaimed, outraged. "What?! I was ugly before or something?! You think I am using my powers to change my looks?!"

Wendy shook her head and replied calmly, "No. That's not what I meant. I mean that you don't look, how shall I say, human anymore. I mean, look at you! You're glowing with a white light for god's sake."

Nicky looked at her hands and saw that a faint glow the color of lightning enveloped her limbs and said in an awed voice, "Oh yeah..." Nicky smiled and quipped, "Hey, we won't need the lamps anymore. You realize we can cut our electric bills in half?"

"Oh, very funny!" Wendy exclaimed. "How are you going to go out to school looking like that?! Matter of fact, how are you going to go anywhere looking like you just got struck by lightning?!"

Now it was Nicky's turn to sigh. "Leave it to you to find something wrong with all this." She said, leaning back on the couch and staring at the broken television.

"I'm just being reasonable." Wendy replied. "And listen Nick, now that you have all this power, I think you should get serious and consider really acting like a goddess. I mean, you're acting like a kid with a new toy."

Both of them remained quiet for awhile, listening to the passing cars on the street and absorbed in their own thoughts. Nicky then turned to Wendy and gave her a hug. "Thanks for smacking some sense into me." She said, letting her go. "I was being really foolish with this whole thing. I gotta get serious about this."

"Just a little." Wendy observed, and smiled as Nicky shot her an angry look.

Nicky grabbed a bundle of her hair and started to twirl it with her fingers that glowed with an eerily soft light. "I could be a super heroine, fighting crime, putting evil doers behind bars." She wondered out loud.

Wendy rolled her eyes and advised, "You're a goddess now. You have to think in grander terms."

"This is complicated!" Nicky exclaimed, stretching out her limbs and yawning. She then turned to Wendy and asked, "What do you think I should do?"

Wendy thought quietly for awhile, then said, "Maybe you should start out by curing world hunger."

Nicky thought about this for awhile, and shook her head. As she did so, a pair of silver, circular earrings appeared on her ears, jingling pleasantly. "No. I can't. I don't have that kind of a power. It's funny, whenever I try to use it, I start to remember things about myself when I really was a goddess. And I remember this rule about exactly that. Even if I did have the power, I was forbidden to do it because it would upset the order of things."

"Who forbade you?" Wendy asked.

Nicky looked lost in thoughts as she replied, "My father. He said that if I were to do that, then I would have to cause natural disasters to kill the number of humans that would have died due to hunger. To avoid overpopulation." Nicky turned to Wendy with an uneasy expression and observed, "I was sickened to hear it. As if mortals were like cattle, managing them like that. That's the reason why I was busted down to managing weather."

"So that's basically the reason why you ended up here." Wendy observed. She then sighed and shook her head. "Boy, I'm really having trouble thinking of you as a goddess."

Nicky stared at her friend's uneasy expression and said, "Then don't. The more I remember about my past, the more I don't want to be a goddess. I just want to be Nicky."

Wendy gently took Nicky's hand in hers and looked her in the eyes. "Like it or not, Nick, you are now a goddess. Let's just try to make the best of this, huh?"

"Yeah." Nicky said weakly. "I know. Let's just think on this for a couple of days and take it from there. I don't think a decision like this can be made just like that."

Wendy smiled and replied, "Sounds good to me. And Nicky?"

"Uh huh?" Nicky answered.

"You think you can zap me back to my midterm?" Wendy asked with hope in her voice.

Nicky raised her hand, but stopped herself. "I can't." She announced.

"Why not?"

Nicky looked apologetic and cowered before Wendy as she murmured, "Because it's over."

"No..." Wendy groaned as she smacked her forehead.

(7)
C'est La Vie, Little Goddess
by Bard Mistress Aidynni

Mike's father's restaurant was in a quiet corner of the mall, away from the loud and populated fast food court section. Maybe that explained why there weren't that many customers at the restaurant, or it could be the fact that Mike's father dressed up as a Viking, complete with a horned helmet and a furred vest and leggings, and served the few remaining customers as gruffly and rambunctiously as a Viking would. However, the smell that floated out of the kitchen was undeniably good, and it made Mist's tummy growl with hunger.

The customers did a double take when Mist was led in, giving her looks that Mist had gotten used to tolerating since she had to run a gauntlet of leering, lovesick eyes just getting here. Mist smiled pleasantly at them all, while holding onto Mike's hand tightly for comfort. Mike swallowed hard at this and cleared his throat.

"Hey, pop." Mike said, leading Mist to the back of the small restaurant.

Mike's father raised his head from the cash register and scowled at him. "It's about time you got here, Mike!" He growled, his long mustache twitching, while raising the helmet out of his eyes. "You know how short on help we are around here. Hurry up and get dressed!"

"You mean free help." Mike grumbled under his breath. "Pop, I'd like you to meet Mist." He said, clearing his throat.

Mike's father looked Mist over as if examining her for cracks and broken pieces, finally saying, "Fine. She's a looker. But where'd you drag her from? A costume party?"

Mike's face turned beet red and whispered, "Pop, please! She's a goddess!"

Mike's father harumphed as Mist bowed gracefully before him. "Good for her. You can play with your club friends after work, Mike. Dressing room, please?" He said impatiently, motioning him towards the kitchen.

As Mike opened his mouth to protest, he held up his and added, "Nicky called. She says she'll stop by tomorrow to pick up the notes because she's too busy with her life. Whatever the heck that means."

"Tomorrow!" Mist exclaimed dejectedly, looking crushed.

Mike looked at her and felt his heart growing heavier as he saw her troubled face, and blurted out the first thing that came to his mind, "If you haven't got a place to stay, you can stay over at my place for the night."

"What?!" Mike's father yelled, making not only Mike and Mist flinch, but half the customers as well. "Absolutely not! Out of the question! I'm not going to have a free loader living at my house!"

Mike's eyes glittered as he fumed, "But it's for just one night, pop! Have you no heart?! She has nowhere to go!"

"Actually, I do..but It's not.." Mist interrupted, but was drowned out by Mike's father.

"No way! Impossible!" He yelled, as all eyes watched him fume. He raised his burly arm and shook his finger at Mist. "I don't know where you drudged this hussy up, but she's going back out into the streets where she belongs!"

Mist's eyes flared up with green fire when she heard this, and she clenched her fist until her knuckles showed bone white against her smooth skin. Yet when she began to raise her hand to do something horrible to him, she checked herself, feeling a thread of sadness and frustration emanating from the burly man, so instead, she regained her composure and spoke so softly that he had to strain, therefore, shut up, to hear, "Let me help out at this restaurant for room and board, sir. I can do anything you want."

It took a few quiet moments for the male customers in the restaurant to yell out in unison, "Please, let her!"

"Mist..." Mike murmured as he gazed at Mist's calm, serene face, looking into his father's eyes.

Mike's father glowered at Mist, but he felt his anger suddenly melt away like ice on a hot sidewalk as he gazed into her delicate, gentle curves of her features and he ended up saying, "I need a waitress. You think you can do that?"

Mist nodded and said, "I can."

Mike's father looked away from Mist uneasily and grumbled, "You can't possibly be worse than my clumsy son. You got yourself a deal." as the customers cheered and clapped loudly.

As Mist walked into the tiny office to change, she noticed a framed picture of a young woman with a baby in her arms on a messy desk littered with a calculator, documents, and receipt papers. She slowly reached down to the picture and picked it up.

"That's my mother and me." Mike said in an uncomfortably shy voice. "She died when I was young."

Mist studied the woman's face and replied, "She was the one that descended from the line of the gods, wasn't she.." Mist noticed the long, double braids that Mike's mom had woven her hair into and thought for a moment with her eyes closed, then she started whispering words that sounded wispy and soft like spider webs. Immediately, her charcoal black hair started to work themselves like living black snakes into two long braids, tied with two large golden ribbons. "Like it?" She asked Mike, who stood there and watched her with stunned eyes.

"I'll...get you the costume.." Mike stammered.

"Don't bother." Mist said. "I can take care of it. I take it your father wants something like this..." She said as she began glowing with a soft, blue light. Her white, filmy gown melted away like wax and was replaced with a silky dress that defied color categorization, for it looked beige at one time, and wheat golden the next, with a low neckline that showed the snow white beginnings of her breasts, and cream soft sleeves decorated with long stemmed beige flowers that encircled their length. Her thin waist was bound with a purple rope like belt that ended with golden tassels, and on her ears appeared large golden earrings, dangling with Viking long boats.

Mike took a quick look at the drab, food stained dress hanging on the wall that his father had bought from a second hand costume store and the accompanying braided wig and then back at Mist, who made the costume look like ripped beggar's rags. He felt like a fool for even daring to mention the waitress outfit to her.

Mist played around with arranging the strands of hair that hung about her forehead and started to glow with a glowing light that seemed to outline her features like a ghostly shadow. As she started to walk towards the door that led back to the restaurant, Mike reached out a hand to stop her, surprised to feel how icy cold she seemed to feel under his fingers.

"You don't plan to go out like that, do you?" Mike said, his voice uneven.

Mist looked at him with question in her eyes and asked, "Why not?"

Mike cleared his throat uncomfortably and said, "Because you're glowing."

Mist gave him a smile that seemed to melt him from head to toe and asked, "You earth people have a saying, 'A moth to a flame', do you not?"

Mike nodded.

"Well, I'm going to bring a swarm of paying moths into your restaurant." Mist said and kissed Mike on the forehead, and making him almost lose his thoughts and reason, for he had not expected it from her. "Thanks for arranging this, and for everything, Mike. I appreciate it alot." She said, and left him standing there like a statue as she walked back into the dining area.

Long after the warm sting of Mist's kiss left Mike's forehead, he gathered his addled wits and went out of the office and into the kitchen. He noticed that they were cooking a larger volume of food then they ever used to and also noticed that the board that the order was tacked up to was completely overfilled. He exchanged hellos with the two suddenly very overworked chefs and ventured out into the dining area. He almost gasped when he realized that every table in the restaurant was completely filled with people, and the waiting area was also packed with men who looked absentmindedly at Mist, who walked amongst the tables like some beautiful, glowing faery, and was busy smiling and making small talk with the customers as his father sat behind the cash register, happily ringing up the profits.

"Pop.." Mike began, looking dumbfounded at his father.

"Mike, just look at that!" His father exclaimed excitedly as he pointed to the outside of the restaurant, where groups of men were gathered before the entrance, waiting impatiently for people to leave so they can get in. "That girlfriend of yours is a goldmine!"

"She's not my girl." Mike whispered weakly, and then noticed a bunch of notes next to the cash register along with wads of money. "What's that?" He asked, pointing to them.

"She's been stacking her tips there, along with phone numbers." His father said, scratching his cheek. "I daresay, she's got a day's profits with just tips alone. Not to mention dates that'll keep her busy well into next month."

Mike saw Mist smiling and serving drinks to a couple, where the boyfriend was too busy admiring her to notice that his girlfriend was angrily glowering at them both, and suddenly felt an overwhelming sense of jealousy. "A goddess shouldn't stoop herself to serving mortals like them. I don't know why you agreed to this, pop." He spat out, staring possessively at Mist.

Mike's father looked at his son's face, staring at Mist, and an understanding came across his face. "Your mother wasn't too proud enough to not work at the restaurant." He said gently.

"Yes, but she wasn't a true goddess with powers! Look at her, pop! She's the real thing! We can't let her do this!" Mike answered hotly, not taking his eyes off Mist and feeling like going out there and punching out every one of those leering jerk/customers.

Mike's father looked across the restaurant to gaze on Mist, and said, "For me, there isn't a shred of difference between your mother and her. She is so kind with the customers. Even the way she is dressed, everything she does reminds me of her..." He then looked at Mike squarely and said quietly, "You better grab a hold of this girl before she gets away from you, son."

Mike gritted his teeth as he stared at his father, and said, "You too, pop?! She must've put you under her spell!"

Mike's father then looked at him with a hint of pity and said, "Why can't you just accept her as she is? She's a gift from heaven."

"What? Just a couple of hours ago, you were ready to kick her out of here!" Mike retorted unbelievingly.

His father sighed and took off the horned helmet, running a hand through his grey shot blond hair. "Perhaps you don't understand because you do have that immortal blood in you. But mortals like us need a bit of fantasy in our lives. Whether it's miracles or impossibly beautiful girls, it makes us forget our troubles for just a little while. That's all any of us ask for. We shouldn't wonder why, because that'd spoil the magic."

"Pop..." Mike stammered, speechless before his father's sudden attitude adjustment.

"I knew what she was when you first brought her in here, son." His father said, gazing at Mist, who was carrying a couple of plates to a table, of which some customers actually got up and took it from her and served it for her. "I guess I didn't want her here because of your mother. I guess I was afraid of what she might do to me. I've been angry so long...but just watching her, I can remember the days when your mother was here. Those gentle, happy days..."

Mike looked on without saying anything.

"Is something wrong?" Mist asked, bringing with her a fresh air of spring, and handfuls of tips and little notes, of which she dutifully put next to the cash register.

Mike's father smiled at her and said, "Nothing, dear. Just teaching a thing or two about life to my son."

Mist smiled and said, "That's a very big topic, Mr.Swensen."

"Well, I try to keep it simple." Mr.Swensen replied good naturedly.
{NW Mistie's Political Theories}
A Brief history of the guilds

In the beginning, Neverwinter existed without guilds. It was a good place where people gathered to fight monsters and other nasties together in unison. The city was fairly new, and the surrounding regions were not yet thoroughly explored. It was dangerous, but PVP did not exist and only the monsters threatened the daily traveler. Neverwinter began to gain fame and people began to gather there.

Things did not remain this way however. A young mage discovered one day that the powers of magic could be used to threaten and kill others. The power he discovered quickly corrupted him and the Realms were never the same.

This young mage, named Beelzebul, quickly gained followers and soon ambushes and murder became a common sight. Other evil spell casters appeared and the Realms were suddenly not so safe.

Lord Nasher quickly took action and placed guards in several populated areas. The evil mages, however powerful, dared not to challenge him and retreated into the Lost Hills and beyond. Parts of the Realms were safer, but with Floodblest not yet settled, the sole passage to the Woods and the rest of the Realms were through the Lost Hills.

During this time, Beelzebul gained many followers. He and his band of brigands began to proclaim themselves as a new order, one which would eventually bring the fall of Neverwinter. Thus, the Guild of Chaos was born.

The good heroes of the Realms began to realize that safety remained in numbers. A hero named Handler1 gathered several of Neverwinter's good citizens and created the Crusaders of the Realms. COR, as they were (and are) known, existed to thwart the plans of the GOC and to protect the innocent from all evil.

It was about this time that a young girl came to Neverwinter. As talented as she was beautiful, she began to record some of the history of Neverwinter. Her gift to Neverwinter was song and rhyme, and in time she gathered a small band of musicians, comedians, and poets. Lord Nasher, much a lover of the arts, granted Aidynni permission to create the Bard's Guild.

Other guilds soon followed. The Grey Knights of the Balance sought to maintain the balance which was threatened by the warfare between the GOC and COR. The Ministry of Creative Anarchy preached the ideals of 'pure' evil. The Guild of Clerics gathered priests of various deities towards a common goal. The Helper's Guild consisted of guides who offered their services to all newcomers. And guilds such as the Order of the Golden Staff were formed to better all of Neverwinter.

Then came the Day of Reckoning. Beelzebul, mortally wounded and near death, stumbled upon a man. This man revealed himself to be the god, Tyr. Healing Beelzebul, Tyr handed the evil one a staff made of pure emerald, and instructed him to perform a service for him. Beelzebul was to return to Neverwinter to form the Neverwinter High Council. This Council was to consist of the Guild Leaders of the Sanctioned Guilds, to lead Neverwinter to a greater future. It is a mystery why Beelzebul agreed to the task. Some say it was fear, others say he saw a chance for greater evil.

Beelzebul returned to Neverwinter with a staff for each Guild Leader. Each staff was crafted of the finest gemstone and metal. When Beelzebul told a gathering mob of his encounter with the God of Justice, no one doubted him. The Neverwinter High Council was formed that day.

Time passed, and many guilds came and many left. Leadership of the guilds changed hands, and things were good. However, this did not last long. The NHC, struggled in its existence. Guild leaders could not come to agreement on various issues. Tensions were high and violence between the guilds rose to a new level.

The Neverwinter High Council was disbanded shortly afterwards. It is said that Anthrax, the GOC GM at the time, rose during a tumultuous meeting and shattered the Emerald Staff of Tyr, denouncing the NHC and Tyr himself. Soon, each guild left one by one, realizing that such cooperation could not exist between the guilds. Many wonder if Tyr created the NHC, just to prove this point.

People feared for the guilds after the fall of the NHC. Guilds were expected to weaken and disappear. However, the opposite happened. Guilds began rising in strength. More were forming and gaining membership. And unthinkable things began happening.

One example of such was the rise of a new kind of guild. A small guild formed out of nowhere and changed the face of Neverwinter. The ITB's were a guild of evils who defiantly wore their symbol in the open, daring all who opposed them. Until then, evil guilds, and even some good, kept their membership a secret. The ITB's began a trend which even now, is followed by guilds such as SOL, KEF, Mech, TK, and many others.

Neverwinter became the center of the Sword Coast, even guilds of dwarves and elves. Warriors from all over based their guilds in Neverwinter, each with their own purpose and ways. Today there are over 20 Sanctioned Guilds in Neverwinter, and even more Unsanctioned Guilds. With the increasing population, the future of the guilds in Neverwinter have never looked brighter.
{NW Tempus & NW Thorn's Hall of Heroic Heroes}
Heroes of COR

I'm Tempus! I'm Thorn! And we're here to PUMP you up! Hehe, actually we're here to introduce our new area....The Hall of Heroic Heroes...sorta like a Hall of Fame. You know famous characters from the past (and present).

We're gonna kick off the induction by entering five...count em five.... members from the Crusaders of the Realms. These five have had an influence on even the most long lived Neverwinterians...(uh Thorn..Winterites)...uh Neverwinterites.

Now, the inductees....

Our first two inductions will go to a pair of ladies who have been a household name in Neverwinter for a long time. Combined, they have probably influenced and trained more characters than the rest of the Realms combined. Their reputation for goodness and helpfulness is so widely known that even the baddiest of the baddies have allowed them free passage through the worst PVP areas. Both are now semi-retired, reputed to be living in their own homes deep in the Neverwinter Woods... Congratulations, Sinestra and My My.

Sinestra of COR
Human LG P/MU 10/11
Once the proud owner and headmistress at the Little Black Dragon Nursery School, Sinestra has done all there is to be done in Neverwinter.

My My of COR
Human NG R/MU 10/11
It is a wonder that this quiet and shy lass strikes fear into the hearts of the worst monsters. What she lacks in words, she makes up in knowledge and action.

If any of you newer citizens get a rare chance to travel with either of these ladies, take notes. They know their stuff. You will not find a finer guide anywhere.

OK Tempus, who's next? Oh...OK...

The next three inductees are all former Guild Masters of the Crusaders of the Realms. These three have led COR through thick and thin, keeping the guild strong. It's because of them that COR exists today.... Let's welcome Handler1, Trollsbane, and Volant!!

Handler1 of COR
Human LG (later CN) C/MU 10/11
What Handler1 lacked in size and brawn, he made up with intelligence and tact. The founder and first GM has fought for the good of the Realms. His current whereabouts are unknown, but his place in this Hall can not be challenged.

Trollsbane of COR
Human LG C/MU 10/11
Massive in size, Trollsbane is an impressive sight in combat. His size betrays his quiet demeanor. His wisdom is also well known, as he careful examines every detail before taking action.

Volant of COR
Human LG C/MU 10/11
Of all of our inductees, only Volant is commonly found in the Realms these days. Volant is a cornerstone of COR, as he is said to be as old as Neverwinter itself. It is said that he trained Sinestra when she was new to the Realms.

Congratulations again Inductees! May many more follow in your footsteps!
{NW Ehlzey's official neverwinter glamour shots}
(Ranger)
It was another normal day in Neverwinter as Daneel was on a shift with one of Neverwinter's new NWA's, Ranger. Things were quiet as adventurers were socializing and relaxing in the soft moonlight. Hmmm... I wonder if Daneel has noticed that Ranger is falling asleep.... (input normal night in nwn pic here)

(Dwarves in action)
I happened upon Monfort and his fiancee Wild Sin, both of Clan Axepeak, while walking through Floodblest. They were involved in a battle with a cloud giant and bugbears. Suffice it to say, the large creatures had no chance: dwarves seem like they're custom made to kill them.
Wild Sin rolls under the blow of the cloud giant. The giant's club passes harmlessly over her head leaving the giant open for attack. Seizing the opportunity, she quickly stands and swings her axe in a wide arc. The blow lands solidly on the giant's thigh and it lets off a blood curdling cry! (input dwaves in action pic 1 here)

Taking over where Wild Sin left it off, Monfort spins off the glancing blow of the wounded Cloud Giant. Ignoring the pain that shoots through his body, Monfort positions himself under the massive creature. Using all of his might, he thrusts his sword upward. The sword slides effortlessly under the giant's ribs. The giant breathes its last breath as it is disemboweled in a bloody mess. (input dwarves in action pic 2 here)

(Sewers Battle)
I stumbled across a battle in the Neverwinter Sewers. Five Mechs were in battle along with the SOL GM Abysss. I tried not disturb the fight and take pictures quietly, but when Mech Shock saw me, he ran for the camera wielding a big grin. Boy talk about an attention hound! (input serwers battle pic here)

(The first Marital dispute)
Hotshield and Velvetr0se were recently married. I was walking through the Triboar Arena, when I heard the newlyweds arguing.

It seems Hotshield neglected to take out the garbage. Instead of promptly taking out the garbage, Hotshield attempted to silence his blushing bride. I whinced at Hotshield's mistake and continued to take pictures.

Velvet had had enough. She took the garbage and promptly dumped the contents all over poor Hotshield. It wasn't long before the stench of the garbage overtook him. I don't think he'll ever forget to take out the garbage ever again.

(input marital dispute oic here) (The Fiery host)
I ran into the Paladin, Lrd Honor in the Westbridge Dungeon. He was holding off a legion of fiery creatures with just his Trident. Already suffering some severe burns, Honor holds back the pain as he thrusts his trident into the flames of a nearby Fire Elemental. (input fiery host pic here)
{Ellster's Party Beach house}
The greater powers of the Forgotten Realms

Heya! C'mon in! Ya miss me yet? Hehe... I'm okie, how are ya guys doin? Good to hear it. So what ya guys wanna talk about today? Oh...deities? OK, I don't have all year so how bout I cover all the greater powers? Cool okie.... Lesseee....

Ah, how can we start without talkin about the big baddie himself, Bane. Bane is the god of strife, hatred and tyranny. He's just plain mean. The Zhents worship him along with a variety of baddies. Plainly put, he and his lackeys are a pain in the butt to us goodies.

Old Bones, Myrkul is another one who's thoroughly annoying. He's the god of the dead, wasting, decay, corruption, parasites, old age, dusk, fall and exhaustion. Pretty extensive huh? A real baddie if you ask me.

Shar is the goddess of darkness, night, loss and forgetfulness. They say she's very hot, but I dunno if ya wanna risk gettin a date with her. Shar dispises light and unfortunately a lotta her worshippers consist of once good people made bitter by the loss of a loved one.

The last of the greater evil powers is Talos. He's the god of storms and destruction. Simply put, he breaks things....people, things, places...you name it he'll try to break it. He exists by the simple motto of "If it ain't broke, break it. If it ain't dead, kill it". Funny thing is sometimes, he ends up breakin a lotta his followers in the process. Go figure...

Of the good greater dieties, Chauntea is one of the most revered. She is the goddess of agriculture and is the embodiment of everything good nature has to offer. She is also an extremely modest diety, which is almost unthinkable. Her greatest enemy is Talos, as she creates and she destroys. Clerics of the two religions just don't like one another.

Chauntea is the goddess of good things of nature, and Silvanus is the god of nature. He is worshipped by druids. He maintains this neutral view as things must kill or be killed or grow or die for everything to exist in harmony.

Oghma, the god of knowledge and invention is another neutral diety. His business is to know everything and he does. Oghma is also the patron of bards.

Mystra is the goddess of magic. She is the manifestation of the Cosmic Balance. She is a lawful neutral diety as magic is seen as a lawful neutral art form. It is inherently neutral and functions through internal order and laws.

The last of the neutral dieties is Tempus, the god of war. Followers of this god live to fight and fight to live. He delights in combat and has been known to involve himself directly in the warfare of men.

Lathander is the embodiment of good. He is the god of spring, dawn, conception, vitality, eternal youth, renewal, self-perfection and beginnings. He is the god of creativity and he seeks always to create.

Sune is the goddess of love, beauty, charisma and passion. She is the most beautiful, her beauty perhaps beyond comprehension. Sune's clerics are all good lookin and rather snobby. It's uncertain if the goddess is like her followers in this manner.

The last of the greater powers is Tyr, god of justice, patron of Neverwinter. He is the epitome of lawful goodness, trying to achieve perfection with law and good.

Some of the other greater dieties who involve themselves in the affairs of the Forgotten Realms are Corellon Larethian, the chief elven god, Moradin, the dwarven lord, Yondalla, the protector of halflings, Garl Glittergold, leader of the gnome gods, and Gruumsh One-Eye, lord of the orcs.

The following chart has information on the various greater dieties of humans:

Name        AL           PORTFOLIO
--------   ----          ------------------------
Bane        LE           Hatred, strife, tyranny
Chauntea    NG           Agriculture
Lathander   NG           Spring, dawn, conception, vitality, renewal, 
                         eternal youth, self perfection, beginnings
Myrkul      NE           Dead, wasting, decay, corruption, parasites, 
                         old age, dusk, fall, exhaustion
Mystra      LN           Magic
Oghma       N            Knowledge, invention, bards
Shar        NE           Darkness, night, loss, forgetfulness
Sune        CG           Love, beauty, charisma, passion
Talos       CE           Storms, destruction
Tempus      CN           War
Tyr         LG           Justice
Well, that's it for the greater dieties. I gotta run now. Next time we'll check out the lesser gods of the Forgotten Realms. Enjoy!!!
{Kregar, Garion, Calvin & Hobbes, Attornys}
** All the information in this month's GOH Magazine can be found in the original First Edition TSR Advanced Dungeons and Dragons books, Monster Manual (c) 1979, Players Handbook (c) 1978, Dungeon Master's Guide (c) 1979, Cyclopedia of the Realms (c) 1987, and the Second Edition TSR Advanced Dungeons and Dragons book, Volo's Guide to the North (c) 1993 ***


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